Nail Polish: The Spice of Life

Turns out, a standard spice rack is perfect for storing and displaying nail polish!

Turns out, a standard spice rack is perfect for storing and displaying nail polish!

Are you a nail polish junkie? Do you love finding creative ways to organize your beauty products? Do you spend more time cooking up new looks in the bathroom than cooking anything in the kitchen? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, read on.

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!

Orange Crush

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.

Foot Fetish

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.

Bad Romance

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.

Nailed it.

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?