#ColorLove Eat Your Greens

#ColorLove Eat Your Greens

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#ColorLove of the Week – Kiss a Fellow Yellow

#ColorLove of the Week - Kiss a Fellow Yellow

Products for Healthy Nails & My Journey to Nail Obsession

 

This weeks fave color: Teal The Cows Come Home by OPI

This weeks fave color: Teal The Cows Come Home by OPI

It is no secret that I do my nails just about every night. I say it all the time. Some people find it hard to believe but, alas, it is true.

To be honest, I start thinking about colors and my nightly nail therapy around 7pm and get a jolt of excitement at the prospect.

When I tell other women my nightly routine I generally get two reactions – “Wow, but how do they not get ruined?” (Which I think is an odd question actually) or “Jeez, why?!” Which I find much more appropriate. I mean let’s face it. It’s a bit crazy and I’m never one to shy away from my Kharma-Crazy – I am who I am.

So, let’s get into how they don’t get ruined in a sec. For now let’s tackle WHY I do it.

When I was a kid my aunt Connie worked in NY and commuted back home to Pittsburgh so she lived with is during the week which was awesome (except the way she woke me up in the mornings, I am still trying to forgive).. She has always been sort of my beauty role model. She had so much cool makeup and nail polish I was enthralled. Even now when I think back to those memories I feel like the have a movie effect of glowing light around them. My mom definitely taught me how to put on polish and walk in heels but my love of makeup and polish came from my aunt. Connie would change her color almost every evening to match her clothes for the next day. Not to leave out, she is an absolutely beautiful woman who in more ways than beauty will always have a lasting impression in my life. So watching her and the change of colors put me in awe of the power of polish.

As I got older I found that I mostly change every day for three additional reasons. It relaxes me. I have a husband and three boys. When I say my nails are something that is for me and only me, I mean it. It has become a ritual I do for myself, by myself. Nothing repels the male species faster than the smell of nail polish remover. Also, I have OCD (not jokingly, literally – I don’t claim mental issues as a joke)  and can’t stand to look at the same color for more than a few days. Lastly, chipped polish drives me batshit. Women who walk around with nails half done make me want to scream. There is nothing wrong with bare nails so at least care enough to remove your polish. Your hand is the first thing you extend to a person when you meet. Have the decency to care.  I’m not a sexist – I feel the same way about men.  All people can groom their nails, it doesn’t mean you have to polish them.  That’s my thing, not everyones.

As you can by now imagine, doing your nails every day does not promote healthy nails but I have going some products that help tremendously.  And with that, I will show you something a whole lot of people get to see – I am bravely showing my bare nails. ACK!  But here they are, not too bad for a lot of abuse over the past xx years!

nails

Basic Rules:  

  • No acetone!  I’ve never been one for acetone unless I am removing tips or cleaning my saddle shoes in high school.
  • Nail Filing.  UGH!  Do not file back and forth.  Always, ONLY in one direction and use the correct grit.  natural nails do not need a heavy grit ever and you do not always need to file.  I use a gentle file a few times a week to smooth and even out.
  • Give your nails a break. If you wear tips or gel you should remove everything every few months for a few weeks to a month (or more). Last year I had one of those horror stories with fake tips and it’s taken me a year to get them back to normal with the help of the products below which are now my go-to for keeping my nails healthier and stronger.


Remover: Mineral Fusion Nail Polish Remover – No acetone and amazingly removes polish much easier than ANYTHING in the drugstore. A little pricey when compared to Cutex brand but worth it. Because I don’t have to use so much it lasts me about a month and a half (of everyday use!).  Great for removing glitter as well!

mineral fusion polish

Moisturizer: For daily moisture I use Essie Apricot oil once or twice a day. For a more intensive I use OPI Avoplex when my cuticles seem drier than usual.

apricot essieopi avoplex

Base Coat: Honestly, I don’t often use a base coat but know I should. Lately I’ve been using Nicole by OPI 3 in 1

nicole 3 1

Top Coat: OPI Top coat is great for thickness and shine but doesn’t last as long as Essie.

top coat


Quick Dry: Essie Quick-E drops. Smells awful but get the job done!

essie quick

Specialty Products: When my nails got jacked up after the tips-disaster of 2013 I used Nailtique Formula 2 Protein religiously every day and didn’t put any color on for about 3 or 4 months. It was torture but had to do it. Health over beauty right?  Speaking of health, I also take vitamin E and Primrose every day for my nails (and hair and skin) as well.

nailtique



Then I transitioned to using Julep’s Mighty Nail and Cuticle Serum which is the one product from Julep I really do love and still use it once a week or so. Word of caution though, it works best for me over my polish. When I use it before I polish, the polish doesn’t adhere to my nail well.

julep

 

Smooches!

 

#ColoroftheWeek – Tap a Foot to the Blues

#ColoroftheWeek Tap a Foot to the Blues

Tory Burch make up bag
neimanmarcus.com

L K Bennett belt
$110 – lkbennett.com

Kate Spade bracelet
bloomingdales.com

Stila eyeshadow
beauty.com

Illamasqua false eyelash
$22 – debenhams.com

TONYMOLY blue eye makeup
urbanoutfitters.com

Cut out pumps
$13 – newlook.com

Gray shade
lampsplus.com

Wall art
yessy.com

The Bookshelf: Call the Midwife by Jennifer Worth

call-the-midwife-jennifer-worthThis isn’t a hot new book or anything and in fact, has been made into a very popular television program for PBS/BBC.  Admittedly, I hadn’t really ever paid attention to it and certainly hadn’t watched the show although I loooooove PBS programming.  I just stumbled across it on Audible after trying to listen to a series of very un-engaging books with much frustration.  Wasn’t sure this one would even hold my attention for long but I always have to have something to listen to.

The book is very well written by Jennifer Worth who tells her real live experiences and stories of midwifery in 1950’s Londons East End.  I quickly became enthralled with the harsh life of her patients and at the same time was really interested in her and her journey through it all.  She was quite young at the time of the story, just around 20 and as well as the eloquent story telling of her own life during this time.  She was quite young and seemed to already have such an passion about her which really, shouldn’t all midwives?  Some parts may have dragged on a bit but there were others that were really laugh out loud funny – the entire scene when her friend from childhood and his friends come to the nunnery for dinner is quite hysterical.

The most interesting part of all were the individual stories of women and their surroundings bringing life into this world.  The complications that are shared are very similar to ones we have today and have had since the beginning of time but it is astounding that just 60 or so years ago it could have seemed the dark ages.  One example is the woman with pre-eclampsia.  I had that twice myself and once traumatically but that was in 1994 not 1950 in the slums of London so it was a little mind-blowing.  Being of African decent, we tend to always reference the women who gave birth in the fields and didn’t complain but listening to this book that really only touched on the issues in East End, I realize that every culture has legions of strong women who do what it takes to ensure life and procreation.  A lot of parts are simply heartbreaking but in every story, there is something.  A glimpse of hope or perseverance, family bond and support to just flat out destitution.

If you have not read the book, or watched the show – it’s worth a read.  Men will get a better understanding of the process of childbirth and women will get a renewed strength in sisterhood in knowing that we, as women, can overcome great odds no matter what life has thrown in our direction.

The Narrator: This book was narrated by Nicola Barber.  My thoughts on Ms.  Barber are conflicted.  At first, her breathy tone made it almost difficult to take her seriously.  She seemed quiet and timid which I didn’t find appealing at all.  However, once I got into it, her voice seemed a perfect match.  I have no idea what Ms. Worth actually sounds like but I imagine this voice could be it.  Her narration of the other characters in the book, however, I really did not like at all.  Her slow overly breathy tone for one of the characters was really almost too much to listen to but overall she grew on me and by the end I enjoyed it very much.  There are a few more books in this series and I may give them a try as well.

 

 

 

(typed in haste – please excuse errors and typos)

Review: Julep Plie Wand and Polish

I want to so badly.  I really, really do.  I want to love Julep polish and was so excited about the new Plie Wand I just knew it would make me really fall head over heels with the entire product line.

photo 1 (13)

Unfortunately, it was not meant to be.  What I DO like about Julep polish are the colors.  I love the vibrant, perfect in the bottle colors.  I really love the subscription box for the amount of polishes you get for the price.  I really do love the bottle.  The shape of the bottle, the longer neck of the brush handle is superior.  But, sadly, it stops there.

For months now I keep giving it a go and have been disappointed.  I put on the first coat and it’s really uneven even for a first coat. Parts of my nail will have thicker polish then a part will have a really streaky, almost watered texture.  That’s ok though, most high quality polishes without a lot of chemicals do that.  But then the second coat doesn’t seem much better.

photo 3 (12)

I can’t imagine someone who isn’t skilled at polishing their nails really getting the hang of an even coat.  I find that I have to use the most even amount of pressure with the perfect amount of polish on the brush or I can not achieve a good second coat.  Parts will dry fast and when you go back over, it drags a bit causing me to go back over the polish a few times which of course leave the polish too thick to ever dry well.  Speaking of drying – dry time is finicky as well.  First coat drys pretty normally but the second really does take a long time.  I have yet to be completely satisfied with two coats and most of the time am diabolically opposed to three coats of polish (not including a base or top coat); that is how badly I wanted to like Julep polishes.  Because I do my nails at night before I go to sleep, I don’t always put a base coat and have a great appreciation for polishes that don’t require a top coat for me since I remove my polish every day (Essie is superior for this) I thought the first couple of times that was the issue and it was user error but again, no haps.  I started using a base, let each coat dry for a significant amount of time between layers and then topped with a fresh top coat.  If I do this within an hour of going to bed, I still wake up with pressed marks which is frustrating.  I just don’t have that kind of time on my hands (lol  – pun intended).  Lastly, no matter what I do, by mid day it starts to show significant signs of wear which, for me, is a last straw.

So, I get the Plie Wand and am uber excited.   It’s like Christmas in May!

I can’t say I absolutely hated it but wasn’t crazy impressed.  That said, I do see the huge benefits of this tool for some women.  If you haven’t seen this yet, check it out.  The Plie Wand is really innovative.  The main claim to fame is the ergonomic hold of the brush allowing for easier and (supposedly) smoother application of the polish to both hands.

photo 1 (14)

The driving force is that the Plie Wand does a sort of… plie and twists to allow for a sturdier grip when painting with your non dominant hand whether you are left or right handed.  Brilliant!

photo 2 (14)

I am hesitant to say it does not work because this is really a personal tool and you can change the way you hold it so depends what angle may work for you.  No angle worked for me, I tried everything I could.  I chatted with another blogger earlier this week from LacquerFiend after she posted a review and her friends had some good results although she felt more like I did… what’s really the point?  I didn’t get any better results with the polish (my own issues) and the tool actually felt awkward in my non dominant hand.  I made a mess of my nails.

photo 4 (6)

Where I do see some potential is with a pedicure.  I am blind as a bat and the older I get the worse it is so painting my toes should be a lot easier.  So there you go, maybe for the 35+ set or 40+ set, it will help in that regard.  I think it is worth a try except that it only works with Julep polish.  Lots of women love Julep polish.  I am actually the only one I know that has such an issue so it could be just me or my drier than dry nail beds.  As I said, the colors are magnificent, it’s just not for me.  😦

After a lot of effort, the finished product came out pretty nice but took more coats that I would have liked, a long time to dry and then looked a mess by mid day.

photo 4 (7)

 

 

Scorecard

Polish Scorecard (Various colors)

One Coat Only – Highly streaky and uneven
Two Coats Only – Uneven, clumpy
Drying Time – Lengthy drying time (even with Essie Quick E drops)
Top Coat – Absolutely necessaary
Removal – Good, comes off easily
Glitter Removal – Standard
Cost – Subscription box is $20 a month, individual is $14 without subscription level
Formulated without – Parabens, Sulfates, Phthalates
Added Ingredients – Some polished contain a UV filter to protect the nail from yellowing
Exclusivity –  No

Total Score – 1.5 out of 5

Smooches.

Weeknight Beef and Collards Tostadas

photo 2 (9)

The Good Stuff

  • 1 lb Ground Beef (Grass fed always the best choice)
  • 4-5 Cups of shredded kale and click here to follow this recipe for the kale just only use this amount of kale
  • 1/2 Large onion (any kind works fine)
  • 1 1/2 Cup of Bell Peppers (multi colors), chopped
  • 3/4 Cup of Shredded Sharp Cheddar
  • 1 tbs Annatto (or chili powder)
  • 1/2 tbs Garlic Powder
  • Corn Tortillas
  • Sour cream, chopped tomatoes, cilantro for garnish

The Nitty Gritty:

  • Cook the veggies in a little oil (coconut is what I use) then add meat and seasonings and cook until brown.
  • Sprinkle cheese on top and cover.  Remove from heat.

photo 1 (10) photo 2 (10) photo 1 (8)

 

  • While that sits, heat about a tsp of olive oil in a pan on high heat and follow this recipe for the collards.
  • Heat vegetable oil on high heat and slip in one tortilla at a time cook on each side for a bout 30 seconds to a minute until reach desired crispiness
  • Remove from oil and place on paper towel, sprinkle with salt immediately

photo 4 (5) photo 1 (9) photo 3 (8) photo 4 (4)

Stack the collards, meat mixture and top with garnish.  Dig in!

Enjoy!

 

Beauty Box Addiction: Cocotique April

I wasn’t sure if my first box from Cocotique was some beginning of the year luck thing or if the boxes were really that jam packed with great samples that I can really use.  Ordered another one and sure enough… I received yet another box of great samples and full sizes of product that I will absolutely use.

Here is my May box.  You can see how choc full goodies this is.

photo 2 (8)

I mean right?!?!  There are FULL SIZE products in there so not only sample but USE it and see how you like it.  Honestly, out of most of my friends, I am the one who takes samples most seriously.  I will try it and if I think I will like it, I will most likely purchase – I am a cosmetics company’s dream client for sure.  So I tell everyone about Cocotique and urge them to subscribe if only just for a month because once you get the one month, it will be hard not to sign up every month.

The Nubian Heritage Hand cream I had tried before and really liked it.  Rich and creamy, great for dry hands like mine but not overly rich so it’s still ok to use in the warmer months as well.

The Shea Moisture products for hair, I have been hooked on for a few months now.  I have been using the leave in conditioner for days when my hair isn’t straight (I like to front like I have these awesome ringlets in the summer when really my hair is probably just a hot mess.  The leave in conditioner helps me achieve what I want much easier than anything else I have tried in a while. For the past few years, I have not been able to sit in the sun without my head covered because my scalp hurts like crazy so I am looking forward to trying the weekly Hair and Scalp treatment from Shea Moisture.

I am gearing up for a contest soon (check back later this week!) and will throw in the Naturalicous sample because I have an allergy to mud and clay but I wish I wasn’t – it looks like something I would normally love.

Products in the April box also included:

Specific Beauty Professional Moisture Complex

Su-Kari Mango Coconut Body Butter

Jones and Rose Pink Petals Sexy Body Butter

Karen’s Body Beautiful Sweet Ambrosia Leave-in Conditioner

Some other key bonus points working in favor of Cocotique is the superior packaging.  Since I am also a crafter and occasionally sell my own products, I am all about the packaging.  It comes in a box like all others but the box it is shipped in is not the actual beauty box so the cute brown, sizable and sturdy box you get inside doesn’t look like it was dragged through the streets by the post office.  It is chocolate brown with gold ribbon and you literally feel like you are opening a gift every month.

Also, the subscription is $20 a month.   For just $20 you get full sizes of products and some great samples.  Totally, completely worth it.

If you get one, let me know how you like it!

Smooches!