Topic: Nails

Gel Habits Die Hard: Quitting My Gel Manicure Habit

Published in: Guest Post, Just For Fun, Nails

gel nails, acrylics, nail polish

Baby’s first gel: a candy apple red (right) and my sister’s acrylics (left)

Last March, on a visit to see my sister, I asked if we could get a manicure together. Now, she gets gel acrylics, and while I’d only gotten a manicure maybe twice in my whole life, something made me really want one that day.

“Sure,” she responded, “I’m due for a fill!”

This began my obsession with gel manicures, which has continued to this day. Unfortunately, a year is all it has taken to potentially ruin my nails.

When I was around eleven, my mom was still getting acrylic nails. She loved going, and I loved how they looked. I also loved going with her and watching the whole process, seeing everything come off, and then watching the nail technician rebuild a perfect manicure right before my eyes. I felt the same sense of wonder when I started getting my own nails done as an adult.

A few years into acrylics, however, my mom got a horrible fungal infection under one nail, and she had to stop getting them altogether after that. That fact alone made me fear fake nails.

I got a regular manicure for a formal dance, acrylics for prom (which I promptly bit off a few days later) and, for some strange reason, decided that I needed gel acrylics in 2011. I got them filled twice before giving up on them, though, and it took my nails weeks to recover.

I was working in retail and wanted to have nice nails, but this was at the lawn and garden department of my local Walmart. It was hard to maintain them while I was literally playing around in the dirt.

My nails have always been thin and have a tendency to peel and crack. When they get even a little on the long side, they bend forward awkwardly, which leads me to believe I might be a victim of eggshell nails.

Over the past year, they’ve gotten better, as far as the peeling goes, due in part, I believe, to the fact that I quit smoking, started eating better, and I started taking collagen regularly. Nail problems can result from any number of things, like your diet (which, for me, despite my best attempts, isn’t always the best) or any medications you take.

Yet despite these problems, I’ve always loved doing my nails. As a kid, I had such an obsession with nail polish that I would paint my nails, but then take the polish off the next day to paint them a different color.

I can’t say this was exactly good for my nails…but it was fun. As an adult, I’ve been pickier. I’ve learned how to make my manicures last at least a week with gel top coats and by doing my best to preserve my hard work.

But the magic of real gel manicures hooked me. On my nails, they would often last almost a month, and it was worth the investment for something that wouldn’t chip or flake the moment I got my hands wet. For a while, they even seemed to make my nails stronger.

Some of my friends warned me against them and insisted that even though they were still my real nails, the gel process would cause problems (there are lots of arguments both for and against gel manicures).

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I actually started seeing, and feeling, the repercussions of “the lamp.”

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My Manicure Essentials

Published in: Beauty Tips, Guest Post, Makeup Tips/How To, Nails

manicure essentials

I love doing my nails. It’s relaxing, and I always feel proud of myself afterward for saving a few dollars (so I can spend it on more makeup, obvs).  

That being said, I usually don’t have a ton of time, so here are my essentials to get the job done as quickly and easily as possible.

Nail Clippers and File

Pretty obvious choice, but nothing ruins cute polish like ragged nails.  I’ve bought more expensive nail files, but I always go back to these cheap ones that come like a dozen to a box.  I like being able to stash these at work, in my purse and in my gym bag.  I also use the nail file to clean up the polish around the edges of my nails.

Cuticle Remover

I felt like such a pro the day I incorporated Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover into my manicure routine!  I never had the patience to soak my nails in water before pushing back my cuticles, so this product is perfect.  I squeeze it around my cuticles, lightly, push them back with my fingers, and then rinse it off.  It’s easy and really effective.  Sally Hansen Instant Cuticle Remover is available at Target for $5.

Base Coat

I’m always looking for the best base coat, and lately I’ve been reaching for Orly Bonder.  I think it works well with different polishes, and I love that it dries quickly.  

It’s an extra step, but my nails won’t last more than a day without base coat.  Orly Bonder is available at Ulta for $10.

Nail Polish

I’m usually choosing between a neutral and a bold color, but I almost always end up going for the neutral.  I’m really hard on my nails, so I like to pick something that won’t show the chips.  When I sat down to do my nails the other day, I debated between Golden Sand and Cashmere, both by Mineral Fusion.  

I ended up choosing the nude, of course!  Golden Sand is a neutral tan with subtle silver shimmer.  It’s a unique and really pretty shade.  I like how it’s close enough to my skin tone to be subtle but doesn’t look muddy or boring.

mineral fusion polishes
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The New Deborah Lippmann Sweets For My Sweet Limited Edition Nail Polish Set

Published in: Deborah Lippmann, Guest Post, Nails

Deborah Lippmann Sweets For My Sweet

Deborah Lippmann Sweets For My Sweet set ($34, limited edition, six nail polishes)

Pastel blue nails are my jam. I’ve had my nails painted the same shade (Sugar Fix by Sally Hansen) for about a year now, but when I saw the limited edition Sweets For My Sweet set, mainly that powder blue, My Boy Lollipop, I pretty much lost it.

Pastel blue is my idea of a neutral. I wear a lot of black, grey, and jewel tones, and it serves as a simple surge of energy for any outfit. I like the way it contrasts with red lips, and I think it makes me look slightly tan.

It’s a color that, in my mind, flows through every season. It’s akin to clear skies at the beach during spring and summer and those chilly, but sunny, days during the colder months.

sweets for my sweet
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Hello Kitty and Hello Spring: The Hello Kitty by OPI Spring Collection

Published in: Guest Post, Nails, OPI

opi hello kitty spring 2016

OPI Hello Kitty Spring 2016 Collection

That’s right, everyone, it’s time for spring…nails! Never mind that I am writing this in my fleece slippers while catching up on a particularly gruesome season of The Walking Dead, LOL. I’ve managed to ignore the show for several seasons, but my inner fangirl loves a good binge. My inner fangirl is also super satisfied by this super cute collection by OPI. The new Hello Kitty by OPI Spring 2016 Nail Lacquer ($10 each) collection features 12 amazingly bright and eclectic colors for those ready to kick back in flip-flops.

opi hello kitty spring 2016

(L-R) Spoken from the Heart, Kitty White, My Twin Mimmy, Super Cute in Pink, Starry-Eyed for Daniel

I have 5 shades from the collection, and in usual OPI style, all of the colors, except for maybe the yellow one, are incredibly opaque and smooth. Spoken from the Heart and Super Cute in Pink, in particular, are what I call “1-coat wonders” and were a dream to apply.

I had a little difficulty with My Twin Mimmy, the yellow cream shade, but, honestly, I’ve never come across a stellar yellow, and after 3 coats it’ll do the job.

Last, but never least, are the surprisingly complex glitters. I get a groovy Austin Powers feel from Kitty White — a super fine icy silver shimmer. This shade was a surprise favorite for me!

Starry-Eyed for Daniel — such an awesome name btw — is an amazing multi-dimensional hot pink glitter. It’s very glittery and very kawaii… I think it’ll be a popular one.

opi hello kitty spring 2016 nail swatches

Nail swatches of the Spring 2016 OPI Hello Kitty Nail Collection

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The Day in Beauty Vol. 14: The Newly Reformulated Chanel Le Vernis Nail Lacquers, Mythical Brow Genies, My New Favorite Necklace by Misa Jewelry, and Waffles at the Witching Hour

Published in: Chanel, Fashion, Just For Fun, Nails


If there were such a thing as an eyebrow genie that would grant three eyebrow-related wishes, first of all, that would be AWESOME, and second, I’d wish for the following…

1. For the super-skinny brow trend of the ‘90s to have never happened, even if it risked messing with the space-time continuum, because it would save literally millions of brow hairs from being plucked away into oblivion… I’d be like the John Connor of eyebrows.

2. To just wake up one morning and have my brows look exactly like Kiera Knightly’s in this Chanel ad, without having to do any of the, you know, actual work.


Sooo much brow envy right at this moment. You don’t even know. These are pretty much my dream brows, le sigh…

3) A stack of banana pancakes and a large vanilla shake, because I can’t think of a third brow-related wish, and I am SO HUNGRY RIGHT MEOW.

New Chanel Le Vernis

Now, can we take a moment to redirect our eyes away from Kiera’s amazing brows to focus on these nail polishes for a second? — because they deserve some sweet, sweet, lovin’.

These cuties are five of the 15 recently relaunched Chanel Le Vernis nail polishes ($28 each)?

All I have to say is wow!

Chanel completely revamped the formula, which is now billed as long-wearing and 5-free (no dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde, formaldehyde resin or camphor), and the new brilliantly shiny, glossy, gel-like finish reminds me of Seche Vite top coat.

The new line of 15 shades includes old favorites like Vamp and Particuliere, alongside some new colors.

Here’s a quick swatchy-poo of the five shades I have…


I asked Tabs for his professional opinion on which one I should wear for a mani, and he picked creamy reddish hot pink Camelia, a decision he relayed to me telepathically, sending his kitty thoughts into my mind.

Yes, we’ve reached that point in our relationship. Cat ladies, I know that you know what I’m talking about (at least I think you do…or I’ve lost my damn mind, which is also a strong possibility).

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