I actually do enjoying cooking in my kitchen, but I think we all know how much time I spend playing with makeup, and with an ever-growing collection of nail polishes, I was having some difficulty keeping them organized. That is, until I had the brilliant idea to repurpose my lovely spice rack as a nail polish organizer! It works perfectly! Not only are those tiny shelves the perfect size for my little bottles of nail color, but now I can see what I’ve got at a glance – no more digging through pails of polish to find the perfect shade!
Throughout the majority of the year, it’s unlikely that you’ll find me with brightly colored nails. I generally stick to a routine of classic red pedicures and sheer pinks or nudes on my fingernails. But during the hot, sunny, energizing summer months, I’m usually inspired to spice it up a bit. Normally I buy myself a bottle of hot pink polish and go nuts, but this year I’ve been drawn to a variety of brighter shades, and oranges in particular. It’s such an optimistic color, looks great with a tan, and is surprisingly easy to wear. I’ve been switching it up, moving from coral to tangerine, and each shade has earned me compliments. Even my orange-hating boss was inspired to pick a peachy shade during her last manicure! If she can learn to love this cheery shade, so can you.
Bright colors always look great peeking out of a strappy sandal, but the trick to wearing a neon shade on your hands is giving (or getting) yourself a quality manicure. Trim and shape your nails – I like a medium-short length and a softly rounded tip – push back your cuticles, and clean up any snags or hangnails that you might have. I always swipe each nail with nail polish remover before painting them – it removes any dirt or oil from your nails and allows the polish to stick better.
If you are painting your nails yourself, be prepared to take your time and be patient. You don’t want to spend all that time perfectly painting each nail, only to smudge one because you didn’t wait long enough for them to dry. I do one heavy coat of color on each nail – I find that two coats take longer to dry than I’m willing to wait, and the thick double coat of polish tends to peel off much easier. I do not use a base coat because, again, I find the color sticks better to the nail without it. I let the coat of color dry for approximately five minutes before applying a generous layer of top coat (I like Essie top coat). Make sure each nail is completely covered with the top coat – it smooths the nail, seals in the color, gives your nails a glassy shine and makes your manicure last.
Don’t worry if you goofed up a little and painted outside the lines – it’s easy to clean up! Approximately 10 to 15 minutes after applying the top coat, I dip a Q-tip in nail polish remover and use it to carefully clean up the edges of my nails. After that, I take it easy and resist the urge to use my fingers for as long as I possibly can – the longer you can wait, the better!
If you’re looking for a pretty, flattering, orange-y shade, here are my two favorites:
Essie Nail Polish in Clam Bake: This red-orange hue is the color responsible for inspiring my boss to try coral. It’s on the reddish side, making it a little less scary than full-on orange. I’d recommend trying this if you’re comfortable with reds but not quite sure about orange.
Sephora by OPI Nail Colour in Hi Def: I’m currently wearing this bright tangerine shade. It’s a very orange-y orange, and it’s absolutely perfect for summer. Better still, it’s currently on sale at Sephora.com for $5!
I dare you to try it.
It seems like most people either love feet or hate them. I know people who grimace at the mere mention of toes. I know others that live to flaunt their peds and accessorize them with sexy sandals, jewelry, and polish. And we all know that some people really love feet. Scandalous foot fetish videos, hilarious Sex and the City reruns, and creepy rumors keep us all aware of that fact.
Regardless of your personal stance on feet, I think we all can agree that we want ours to look nice. For some reason, being told I have pretty feet is a particularly confidence-boosting compliment.
If your feet are in really bad shape, get thee to a nail salon and get yourself a pedicure. If, like me, you just need a little maintenance to get yourself sandal-ready, here are some tips to keep your feet looking ridiculously pretty:
1. Trim your nails. Having talon-like toenails is sure to perpetuate the feet-are-ugly myth and will turn off even the most hardcore fetishist. Keep your nails trimmed, straight across, and on the short side.
2. Scrub-a-dub-dub. A good foot scrub is key to having soft, delicate-looking soles. I recommend giving yourself a foot soak once a week. After soaking your feet for 5 to 10 minutes in hot water (foot soak or salt optional), pat them dry and scrub them with a generous dollop of foot scrub. Right now I’m using Toe the Line, from the Bath & Body Works True Blue Spa line. Massage the scrub into your feet, paying extra attention to especially dry areas. I find using my fingernails to scrape off dead skin is the most effective way to get my feet soft and smooth – it’s kinda gross, but it really, really works.
3. Lotion up. Feet need extra moisture to keep them smooth. I follow every foot scrub with a healthy dose of foot cream. Bliss Foot Patrol contains aloe and peppermint and leaves freshly scrubbed feet feeling tingly and rejuvenated. To keep my feet soft between scrubs, I slather on a thick foot cream each night before bed. I’m currently obsessed with Ahava Dermud Enriched Intensive Foot Cream. It has a sweet scent and my feet still feel moisturized when I wake up. An alternative: try moisturizing gel socks. My grandmother, who appreciates a pretty foot as much as I do, gave me a pair for my birthday. The insides of these little gems are coated with a softening gel, and while it feels weird to slide your feet into a little gel sleeve, just 20 minutes gets your feet surprisingly smooth.
4. Pick a pretty paint. In the heat of summer I tend to spice up my pedicure with hot pink polish, but when I’m just trying to get pretty feet, I like soft nude shades. They look clean, lovely, and sophisticated. I’m still hooked on Essie nail color in Innocent, a soft nude pink, but I occasionally switch it out for Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Peachy Keen, a one-step light peach (it looks great on hands, too).
Who’s that Lady?
Sometime’s a girl just needs a change. With my birthday fast approaching and a new job just around the corner, it feels like a good time to get a new look. I’m starting to feel like a grown up, and as such, I want to look like a lady.
In addition to shopping for new work clothes, and developing a real appreciation for nice jewelry, I’ve recently discovered some new makeup that makes me feel fresh, pretty and, most of all, classy.
Before meeting with some VPs about the job I’m going to be doing, I decided I’d better do my nails so I could feel put together and confident about my handshake. I swiped on Essie nail color in Innocent, and lovely nude pink that looks clean, subtle, and unbelievably ladylike. It’s absolutely my new favorite nail color.
Every pretty lady needs to powder her nose, and my latest powder obsession is Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Powder Makeup. This luxurious powder comes in a pretty blue and gold compact, glides on easily, and really does stay in place, all through the work day. It blends effortlessly, keeps my cheeks from getting too rosy, and even keeps my chin from getting shiny, even after a busy day of running around.
Face freshly powdered, nails cleanly shining, and a new wardrobe ready to be worn… I’ll soon be a year older, but thanks to a few secret beauty weapons and a fabulous new job, I feel like a new woman. Or, perhaps more appropriately, a new lady.
I tried not to like Lady Gaga, I really did. I didn’t want to. I don’t condone dressing in bubble wrap or meat. And yet…
Her songs are so damn good! To call them catchy would be an understatement. And her videos are pure genius. The very first time I watched her “Bad Romance” video, I fell in love. It is, hands down, my favorite music video of all time. It’s just intoxicating.
So it should come as no surprise that when I discovered a Deborah Lippmann nail polish shade called Bad Romance, I had to have it.
In the bottle, it’s a garish glittery fuchsia, but on my toes, it’s a sparkly deep purple, which turns out to be great for fall. Just swiping it on my nails gave me an instant injection of sass. Knowing that it’s on my nails amps up my attitude throughout the day.
In short, it’s like Lady Gaga in a bottle. Minus the meat.
Loyal readers!! I must first apologize for falling off the blog bandwagon this past month and letting you all go so long without a new post to read. My behavior has been unacceptable. There’s just no excuse.
My latest beauty obsession has been on manicures, as I periodically decide that I can, in fact, pull off painted nails. Really, it all boils down to whether or not I can be ladylike enough to not chip off my manicure within the same hour I complete it.
A couple of weeks ago one of my coworkers came in sporting an amazing orange shade on her nails. Inspired, I decided to try a color I have long admired – Essie’s Hard to Get. It’s a pastel pink that, turns out, looks a little princessy on me. I took my time, did a good job, painted on two even coats. The manicure, miraculously, lasted for 5 days before I saw a chip. At which point I naturally started furiously picking the polish away from each nail.
A couple of days later, I decided to paint a gorgeous red on my nails (OPI’s An Affair in Red Square) to wear to an evening wedding. I got many compliments on my pretty nails that night, but by the next day the chips were already apparent. Why the difference?
In my opinion, OPI and Essie are comparable in quality, though if pressed to pick one I’d vote for OPI as the slightly superior polish. I believe the secret to the longer lasting manicure lies in both technique and a great top coat. With my OPI painjob, I only applied one layer and no top coat. With my Essie manicure, I was very careful, took plenty of time between layers, and finished with a coat of Essie 3-Way Glaze. I usually use the clear polish by itself to give my nails some shine and strength, but used as a top coat, it really added life to my manicure.
I’m currently back to naked nails. I found the burden of having to maintain a manicure too stressful. But if you want to try to rock an awesome manicure this summer, do yourself a favor and buy some 3-Way Glaze. And be prepared to put in some effort.
Brighten Your Day
So, here we are, mid-February, still stuck in our winter clothes despite the beautiful resort wear spreads in all the fashion magazines. Outside the days are slowly getting longer, but the snow piles do not appear to be growing any smaller, and I don’t know about the rest of you, but my skin has reached that special level of pasty where it begins to glow in the dark.
It would be an understatement to say that I need a pick-me-up. And thanks to some new products from the Victoria’s Secret Beauty Rush line, I’ve got one.
Two products stand out for me, in quality, color, and price. The first is Beauty Rush Nail Paint, which I bought in the hot pink Berry Pretty shade. The color is fun and bright, and looks great with my (extremely) pale coloring. I painted my toenails with it over a week ago and it still hasn’t chipped or faded. And just having a tropical color on my nails makes me feel a little bit warmer and sunnier in general. Well worth the $6 I paid for the polish.
The second product was a gift from my best friend. She purchased a tube of the Beauty Rush Glossy Shinestick in Melon Out and loved it so much, she bought me one too. This is a sweet-smelling gloss that is super smooth and glossy, with a little punch of pretty pink color that has been bringing out my sassy side. I can’t help but smile whenever I wear the stuff, and it appears that other people can’t help but smile at me – at work, in the grocery store, on the street. Again, soft lips, a good mood, and smiles galore from everyone you meet; for less than ten bucks, how can you go wrong?
Taming the Beast
It happened this morning, while in the car. I glanced in the mirror and noticed that my eyebrows, which are usually tame and well groomed, resembled an overgrown shrubbery, vague strips of hair that had no real shape and did nothing for my overall appearance.
Come to think of it, my elbows have been kinda dry and my feet look terrible – cracked heels and chipped nail polish taking the place of my trademark pretty peds. (That’s right, I said peds.)
So what’s with my sudden beastly appearance? Obviously I love grooming myself. I mean, I write a beauty blog! It dawned on me today, as I stared in horror at my brows, that I am guilty of a classic girl-in-a-relationship crime; I have let myself go.
Not in a spandex-wearing, ate-too-many-buckets-of-chicken kind of way, but in a way that is noticeable to me and, over time, to others. My boyfriend and I are apartment hunting, and for the past couple of weeks I’ve pretty much been living at his house, a sort of trial run for when we finally get to co-habitate for real. It’s been great, but the unfortunate side effect of nearly 24/7 togetherness is that I stopped doing the things I normally do that I don’t necessarily want him to see me doing. Like tweezing my eyebrows and scrubbing dead skin of my feet.
Which brings us to the present, where I am soaking my foot in a peppermint foot bath as I type. In an effort to tame the beast that I have become, I have also tweezed my brows and trimmed my nails, and will be giving myself a full blown pedicure momentarily.
For anyone else out there who has been neglecting herself and just wants to feel pretty again, here is my favorite 30 minutes or less beauty routine:
Fill up a big bowl or foot bath with hot water and a foot soak. Remove all nail polish from nails and trim both finger and toenails. Soak feet for 5 to 10 minutes, or until your skin has been softened and you feel relaxed.
While feet are soaking, I like to do eyebrow maintenance. Using a hand mirror, remove any obvious stray hairs. Using an lash comb, comb brow hairs upward and tweeze any hairs that are outside your lash shape. Then comb brows downward and do the same. When finished, comb brows back to their normal position and make sure you didn’t miss any obvious strays. This is a simple way to touch up between waxes or heavy-duty tweezing sessions.
When brows are done, remove feet from soak and use a generous amount of foot scrub on each foot, concentrating on any especially dry areas. Once you have scrubbed away any dead skin, rinse feet in the soak, and then pat dry with a towel. Immediately slather foot lotion on each foot.
If you have the time and would like to add nail color, swipe each nail with polish remover and then paint. The polish remover will remove any soak/scrub/lotion residue and allow the polish to stick to your nail. Your skin will be soft and your feet will look lovely.
My hooves look like feet again. Thank God.
What’s in a Name?
A few years back a friend of mine pointed out that the majority of the makeup I buy comes with a cool name. She laughingly pointed this out one day while we were getting ready to go out for a night on the town. While she painted her nails a color named something like “brick” and dusted on eyeshadow in a shade called “desert brown,” I was happily painting my face with my all time favorite makeup palette, Too Faced’s “The Temptress.”
It got me thinking, particularly when it comes to makeup, what’s in a name? Obviously the chicest, most fun name can’t make a lousy product a good one, but, I have to admit, I’d rather apply a product whose name is dripping with sex appeal than one whose name conjures up images of vultures and a cactus.
I have collected a variety of sass-inducing beauty products over the years, and I will confess to using them to boost my mood and confidence in addition to whatever increase in beauty they can contribute. Here, a few of my favorite sexy products:
– I’ve mentioned it before but I have to bring it up again. Ladies, if you don’t own Nars Orgasm blush by now, do yourself a favor and buy some. Yes, it has a naughty name, but the truth is this sheer pink blush looks fantastic on every skin tone I’ve ever seen it on. It goes on light, and you can layer it on for a darker glow or keep it sheer for a subtle one. There’s a reason it’s been a cult classic for years. It’s the second best way to get that glow.
– Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Lust. A metallic purple eyeliner might sound scary, but trust me, it’s not. This stay-put liner is one of my secret beauty weapons. Smudged lightly under the eyes it’s a subtle way to make my eyes pop. Or, when I’m feeling more bold, I use it to create a cat eye. Either way, who wouldn’t feel sexier after lining her eyes with lust?
– Too Faced Lock Down Ultimate Creaseless Cream Eye Shadow in Bedroom Eyes. One of my more recent beauty finds, this cream shadow is made with Too Faced’s Shadow Insurance, a primer that keeps your eyeshadow from creasing and smudging all over your face. Bedroom Eyes is a shimmery golden brown that stays put, even in hot and humid weather. And every time I wear it someone tells me I have beautiful eyes. Sold.
– My last pick is brought to us by OPI, a brand that in my opinion has mastered the art of naming products. My current favorite is their Nail Lacquer in An Affair in Red Square, a vampy red that stays put and looks absolutely fantastic, the perfect blend of classy and sexy.
And really, isn’t that what we want from our makeup?