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.

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.

Shop for the Cause

As I’m sure everyone knows by now, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. To show support for the cause, virtually every designer and cosmetics company has created a special, limited edition pink product, the proceeds from which go to various breast cancer awareness and research organizations.

In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, this week I’m urging readers to do two things. First of all, flip through all your October magazines, do a little online browsing, and find a pink product you just can’t live without. Some of my picks this year? Sonia Kashuk’s target line is featuring adorable pink makeup brushes, as well as a pink eyelash curler. Lacoste has several pink items available this month, including an alligator emblazoned towel. OPI has a pale pink lacquer called Pink Of Hearts that would make any girl’s feet look lovely. And my personal favorite, and the item I purchased for myself this week, a set of mini pink lip glosses from Clinique. They are the perfect way to perk up a pallid October face.

Secondly, do what you know you should and give yourself a self exam. Yes, you may feel a little silly feeling yourself up, but we should all be doing it monthly, so get used to it. I found a lump while I was still in college, and though it thankfully turned out to be a false alarm, it was a scary time and I’m diligent about doing my self exams. A few years ago, a close friend of mine found a lump that did have to be removed, but her early detection of it kept it from getting out of hand. All women, young and old, can benefit from doing regular exams. As my doctor has often pointed out to me, simply knowing what your breasts normally feel like will make it easy for you to detect any abnormalities.

So please, in honor of all of the aunts, mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends who have battled or are battling breast cancer, remember to check yourself for any unusual lumps. Then go buy yourself a little something pretty.

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?