Posts Tagged ‘beauty’


For today’s Friday 5, I thought I’d include a few things that I’ve bought for myself as a special treat. With budget cutbacks and furlough days, I’ve had to cut back on lots of extras and fun things, but every May I get a bonus check for some of my extra activities. The bulk of the money is bookmarked for more practical purposes, but I do like to use a bit of it to treat myself to a few things I’ve been wanting.

IMG_4503 Last summer Ani told me about Erin Condren, and she opened up a whole new world of organization to me. I’ve coveted the Teacher Lesson Planner for a year, and finally, today, I bought it for myself. The one I ordered looks something like the one in the photo, only my cover design has black lace and hot pink dots. It will also be personalized with my name on the front. So cool! The reason I decided to splurge on it for myself is because I love staying organized, write EVERYTHING down on a calendar to plan the daily lessons for my classes, and because I’m going to be teaching a new class next year that will require even more organization than usual. I’ll definitely post a photo as soon as I receive my planner in a couple of weeks.

images You guys know how much I love makeup, and I’ve been loyal to Bare Minerals for several years, but I wanted to change up my everyday summer makeup a bit and try something new. I’d been hearing great things about the Mac Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, and decided to give it a try. My face routine is to use Garnier BB Cream as a base and then add the Mineralize Skinfinish on top to set it. I tried it out yesterday, and the coverage is light to medium, which is perfect for summer. I also like that it helps me feel “done,” but lets my skin show through. I love that it’s a pressed/baked powder. I use Bare Minerals Ready pressed foundation daily for work and I love it, but it does make me feel more “made up” than I want to be on a regular summer day. I’ll save it for special outings this summer.

pBBW1-14865695v275I love Bath & Body Works products because they help me start the day smelling great. It was time to stock up on shower gel and body cream for summer, and today’s order included a few new (to me) scents. Beautiful Day smells incredible – floral, fresh, and light – perfect for summer. Sweet Pea smells just like the flowers, floral, light, fresh (notice a trend). I also decided to try Capri Seaside Citrus, because Capri is one of my favorite places ever, and I thought the light scent would be nice. Of the three, Beautiful Day is definitely my favorite, and one that I’ll repurchase again and again.

So, those are my fun splurge-y purchases – nothing too over the top, but just enough to set a festive feel to the new season.

20130531-171302.jpgThe weather’s heating up this weekend, and I wish I was cleared to swim. (I’m hoping that at my 2-week post op appt on Monday, the surgeon will remove the surgical bandages and clear me for swimming, because my plan is to make it a daily activity). Instead, I’m planning on getting out and taking some nice walks, reading outside in the backyard, and enjoying plenty of water in Mason jars. There’s something so summery about Mason jars, isn’t there?

images-1 I’m going to see Before Midnight with Ani this afternoon. I’ve seen each of the movies, Before Sunrise and Before Sunset, and it just seems right to continue the series. It’s gotten great reviews, and there’s something so charming about the characters of Celine and Jesse.


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Photo credit: Pinterest search: rain

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Photo credit: Pinterest search: Valentine’s Day, hearts, peonies

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Photo credit: Pinterest search: San Francisco fog

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Throughout the month of December, I’ll be participating in #reverb12: celebrating the successes of 2012, honoring the challenges of 2012, and planting the seeds for a rich and rewarding 2013. December is the perfect time to reflect on the year that has passed and start to manifest dreams for the new year.

Day 4 – How Will You Celebrate You?
How are you going to celebrate yourself this festive season?

To me, the holiday season is about doing for others – buying presents, sending cards, getting together to connect. Which is why I love today’s prompt; it’s so easy to lose ourselves in the rush of the holiday season.

One thing that I do to celebrate myself is decorate my house. I live alone, and I’m sure many people wouldn’t bother going through all the trouble. But to me, making my surroundings festive adds “sparkle” to my life.


Another thing I do for myself to help celebrate is to buy some new clothes to wear to the holiday festivities.  I love the incorporation of sequins into everyday items like sweaters, because it makes  it so easy to create a special look.

I use makeup to help get myself dolled up for the holidays.  I’m planning on pampering myself with a pedicure, because looking down and seeing red toes makes me smile.  I think I may just buy a special holiday nail polish, as well, so that I can add a bit of glitter to my nails as well.  Of course I love breaking out red lipstick during the holidays – red is a great color on me, but I only wear it this time of year, because it seems like a bit too much during other months.

How will you celebrate YOURself this season?

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This month I’m participating in 30 Days of Thanks (#30DaysofThanks) by writing a blog post about 30 things I’m thankful for. To join in, go to the link above. The best part is, you don’t need to have a blog or even be on social media to take part in the project; you just need to be thankful. I can’t wait to see how my life might change by spending the 30 days in November giving thanks for things in my life — every single day.

Today I am grateful that I was able to take advantage of a fabulous Groupon offer for a much-needed mani pedi. Better still the nail salon was in my neighborhood, clean and bright, and offered excellent customer service. I’m so glad I found the shop; I’ll definitely go back.

I haven’t had a manicure or pedicure since my birthday in July, so today’s appointment was a real treat. And for $12 total (Groupon is AWESOME!), it was a fantastic deal. The only drawback was that the deal was for “express” mani pedi, so no massages. Still, my hands and toes look great, and that’s what’s most important.

I got the same color on my nails and toes, which may seem boring to some, but I like the way they turned out. It’s a vampy, dark-dark red and I had the nail tech add a glittery polish to the ring finger accent nail on both hands. Toes are all vampy red, no glitter. I’m not going to post a photo of my toes because even an over-sharer like me needs to have some limits (too many foot fetishists out there – yuck!).


The blurry photo on the right captures the red tone of the glitter polish, which I love.

I’m thankful that I was able to treat myself, because pretty hands and toes make me smile.

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I think I’ve got a new obsession – my nails. Ever since my nails have been in such great condition now that I’m taking Biotin daily, I’ve become more interested in trying to become more of a nail expert.

In the past I’ve had gel nails, and was happy to have my hands look good and leave the “heavy lifting” to the professional. I’ve never been very good at filing, polishing, and caring for my own nails. But things are changing.

First I eased in with the Incoco nails, which I still love and plan to use throughout the fall and winter. But when I saw how well the accent nail that I’d polished looked, I figured I should try my hand (pun intended) at old fashioned polish.

I like the idea of changing my polish as often as the mood strikes. Plus, keeping my hands busy at night, when I tend to get the craving to snack, is an added bonus. And we all know that practice makes perfect. So, I plan on making NOTD a regular feature on the blog whenever I have new polishes that I’m trying out. If you have suggestions for colors I should try, please leave them in the comments.

I’d actually gone to Target to pick up a different polish (which will be featured later) and to pick up Seche Vite, a top coat that most of the beauty bloggers I read say is their holy grail product. And I have to concur – you apply it as soon as you’re finished with the last coat of color; the instructions say not to let them dry at all. Literally as soon as I was finished putting the final top coat on the pinkie nail of my right hand, my left thumb was completely dry. I was worried that doing my nails only a couple of hours before bedtime might risk getting pillow marks on my nail, but I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to shiny, gorgeous nails. I can’t recommend this top coat more highly, but more “evidence” of why later.

Now on to the topic at hand – Purple Yourself Together by Nicole by OPI (Target). I loved the color as soon as I saw it in the bottle. It’s a perfect, subtle purple (if purples can be subtle), with tinges of gold.


I love the way the color turned out, and that it takes on different shades in differing lights, as you can see.

20120812-223704.jpg The yellow light of my dining room.

The bright light of my bathroom: (these shots show the shimmering properties of the polish)


Natural daylight through my bedroom window:


I love this color!  It goes so well with every color in my wardrobe, and I think it looks great with my skin tone.   It will take me from late summer through the fall and winter.

20120812-223512.jpg And to prove the staying power of not only this nail color, but especially of the Seche Vite top coat, these are my nails three days later.  I spent over 3 1/2 hours cleaning my house from top to bottom, in and out of water, with all sorts of cleaners, etc.  I’m not one to wear gloves, so I was amazed that they still look this good.  Sorry for the dark lighting, but I think you get the idea.

So my first foray into the world of polished nails was a success.  Inner health like taking my vitamins regularly have led to outer beauty.  I like taking care of myself this way, and I love that my hands can look so good with me as the manicurist.

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Remember last week when I wrote about the side benefit of Biotin being that my nails are actually growing? I’d used Sally Hansen Nail Effects for the first time and really liked the way they turned out. They ended up lasting well over a week, and could’ve gone longer, but I wanted to change up the color thanks to my newest find.

I really loved the ease of use of Sally Hansen strips, but I do find their selection sorely lacking for someone of my age group. To me, their patterns and colors are geared for a younger crowd.

So, I did a search and found out about InCoco Nail Strips. They got great reviews on YouTube as well as MakeupAlley, and their prices were competitive. Their sets are about $7.99 for 16 strips. Luckily, I can use 1 strip on 2 nails, which means I can get two manicures per set. Not a bad deal! I really love their selection of colors and styles, and find them much more sophisticated than the Sally Hansen strips.

I ended up ordering quite a few sets to save on shipping, and couldn’t wait for them to arrive. They got here much quicker than I expected, and I was excited to spend some time on Friday playing with them. Before I show you how they turned out, let me show you what I got.


My nails will be looking great for the foreseeable future.


“Mochachino.” A pink, mauve, brown color that will be perfect for fall/winter.


The set on the left is a navy blue, the one on the right is more of a lemon yellow. I bought them to wear during Homecoming Week, when we get spirited and wear the school colors (blue & gold).


“Strike a Pose.” This color is a dark purpley/ gray color that will be awesome in fall/winter.


“Runway.” This one is a light gray, even though it looks similar to the previous color, it’s quite different in person. Another good new neutral for fall/winter.


“Twilight.” I’m not sure if you can tell that it has a dual chrome iridescence of blue, green, and gray. This one was suggested as a good compliment to “Strike a Pose” and “Runway.” I could wear it alone, or as an accent color with the other two.

Now let’s get to the set and the mani I chose.


All sets come with a sample (this one had two french manicure sample strips), a file, polish remover, and the actual strips. Not pictured: the nail stick used to push back the cuticles.

One thing I found out (the hard way) about nail strips is that once you open the package, they dry out, making reusing them impossible. But the genius packaging of the Incoco strips takes into account that you may want to use the leftovers for another mani. These strips come with a piece of adhesive foil to seal up any unused strips.


And now onto the finished product. Since most of my choices were geared more for fall and winter, I was glad that I’d made one choice that worked for late summer. Who doesn’t love polka dots?
20120806-231254.jpg The accent nail on my ring finger is polish, and unlike last week’s terrible mani, the polish hasn’t chipped. A good base and top coat make a difference! (I may give polish more of chance now that I can see that the color can last longer than a day). These Incoco strips really have staying power. My nails look as good today (3 days later!) as they did the day I did them.

Three of my friends have seen my nails and asked me where I got them done. They were shocked when I told the I’d used the strips. It’s fun getting compliments on my natural nails.


I love the way they turned out!

I’d highly recommend giving the Incoco nails a try. They’re easy to apply and make you look like a nail expert. I “liked” their FB page to hear about specials and limited edition strips. Fans also post their own photos of manicures, which can give you a great idea of the results.

Update: I took the following picture one week after I’d put the Incoco strips on, and I’m impressed with how well they lasted.  I wasn’t easy on my nails in the least, and they still look great, 7 days later.  My cuticles could use some help, but that’s another story.  I could have easily gone a few more days, maybe even another week, but I was in the mood for a change.


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