Friday, December 6, 2019

6:00 AM

A personal update.

    I haven't blogged in 8 months and I have to admit I'm a bit rusty at it. I honestly didn't mean to step away for so long but it was something I needed to do for myself and my mental health. For those of you who have never tried blogging or becoming an influencer and putting your life out for the world to see you might not understand why the break was needed but I'm going to do my best to be fully transparent and share with you. 

     Blogging is a lot more than just writing words onto a page and hitting publish. There are so many things that go on behind the scenes that no one ever sees. You have to do research on SEO and coding, figure out what's trending and who your target audience is, and learn about every different social platform out there in hopes that your blog has a chance to be seen. Not to mention doing the project or review of whatever your post is about, photographing, editing and finding your keywords.

     Basically, you have to find the secret formula to success. While doing all of this, it's easy to start comparing yourself to those in your niche, wondering why they have found success while you struggle. Or maybe you're on the opposite end and success happens almost overnight and one of your posts goes viral. The pressure to keep up that momentum can cause a person tons of stress as well.

     After 6 years of blogging with quite a few small breaks in between, I realized that I wasn't truly happy. And I should have been. My life was finally on the right track, my kids were happy and healthy. I'd gotten engaged and bought a house I love. I was finally getting the opportunity to travel a bit, my job was going well and I was healthy. I should have been ecstatic!

     That's when I realized that I was unhappy with myself, with how I was feeling and with how I felt others saw me. I started to feel like I wasn't good enough to be a blogger and those feelings were coming through in my writing and my desire to write.

 Here's a quick back story, right before I got divorced I was diagnosed with situational depression.  I kinda laughed at it at the time because everyone has situations in their life that are depressing. I didn't put much weight in the diagnosis, to be honest, and just kept going on with my life. That was the wrong thing to do. Instead of getting the help I needed I tried to validate myself through blogging, placing my self worth in the success of my blog and how many likes I got on Instagram. What was I thinking! That was the exact opposite of what I should have been doing, it was only exacerbating my depression and I  needed to take a step back.

     I'd just hit 40,  put on more weight than I'd like to admit,  and was feeling frumpy and lost. I was happy on the surface but deep down something was off, I just didn't know what. I struggled with these feelings for 2 years. Telling myself I was just feeling sorry for myself. The post I wrote reviewing the Instant smile product sort of opened my eyes to what was going on and set in motion some much-needed changes. Since writing that post I have undergone 2 oral surgeries and have 8 more to go. The changes can't be seen yet but the fact that I'm finally doing something about it has me feeling empowered! 

     I made some lifestyle changes and the weight I loathed slowly started to come off, which gave me more energy. With that extra energy, I was able to spend more time with my kids playing games, taking walks and exploring places near our home. My heart is full because of it and I feel like a giant weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I'm now really living instead of just going through the motions and that is something that I haven't done in a very long time.  As an adult and mother, the responsibilities of everyday life and taking care of others can often take over and cause us to form a day to day routine that leaves an emptiness. That emptiness slowly grows and before you know it you're left feeling like you've either lost yourself or that you're a shell of what you used to be. At least that's how it went for me.

     Now I may have been extreme in my thinking but I decided to start my own business, make a little extra money to help support my family, continue the remodel on my 104 yr old farmhouse and challenge myself to break out of my comfort zone. That's why I chose to become a presenter with Younique. Not only am I learning skills that I've always wanted to learn when it comes to makeup application but I've found a confidence I didn't know I had. If you would have asked me to go live on Facebook a year ago and do my makeup I would have laughed you out of the room. Now I do it once a week. Yes I make mistakes and yes I'm still nervous as hell when I do it, but I do it, and that's huge for me. Just like with my nail art, I try to show the realness about it, the struggles that some of us have and just be me. Someone that people can relate to, and maybe even learn from. 

     Because of all the changes in my life I've decided it's time for the blog to change and evolve with me. I want to share my thoughts on things outside of nail art but still beauty related, maybe throw in a few clothing related posts as well. I don't have it all figured out yet, am I going to continue with this blog or start a new one? (I hate the thought of throwing away 6 years of work) Do I want to do a scheduled rotation of material? How many posts do I want to try and do a week.? Just like me, this is a work in progress and I have a feeling I'll figure it out as I go.

      I no longer place my value on how successful my blog is, how many views or comments it gets. I don't count likes anymore to validate my choices. I just want a place to share my thoughts and interests and to chronical my journey of self-love and discovery.

    I just hope that you'll stay on the journey with me and we can learn from each other along the way. That my struggles might empower someone to make the changes they need to be fulfilled and happy and maybe just maybe someone will be inspired. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

6:00 AM

Japanese Cherry Blossom Nail Art in 4 Easy Steps

     Have you ever sat down to paint your nails and had the end result be completely different than your original idea? That's just what happened to me when I created this Japanese Cherry Blossom look. I've actually wanted to do a manicure like this for quite some time but just never seemed to get around to it. I've either had other ideas come first or just haven't been inspired to sit down and actually create it. 

     Now I could get all philosophical and say that fate stepped in and in its way pushed me to finally create this nail art but I think it was more of a case of being inspired by the colors that I used.

     Back in February I rushed out to Walmart to find the latest core colors from Sinful Colors and have had them sitting on my desk ever since. We all know by now that I have a habit of doing this and I'm really trying to get better about it but old habits are hard to break I guess. Anyway, I've been looking at Violet Riot and Strike a Pose for months thinking that they would look great in a gradient. Which I finally put to the test last week and I was right. They go together beautifully. So beautifully in fact that they created a canvas that just begged to have nail art applied. And that is how my 4-step Cherry Blossom nail art was created. 

     Step 1: Paint a layer of Sinful colors Strike a Pose and let dry. This doesn't have to be a thick layer or even have full opacity since we will be doing a gradient over it. You just want to get a layer down so that you'll have better coverage on the gradient. 

     Step 2: Crate the gradient using Strike A Pose and Violet Riot. I like to use a sponge to create my gradients because I tend to get a better blend of the colors but you can do yours however you're comfortable. (The one I use is from Born Pretty Store and if you use code LAUNX31 you can receive 10% off your order.) Remember to use a liquid latex barrier around your cuticles to cut down on clean up. If you don't have liquid latex or are allergic you can always use scotch tape. Add a layer of topcoat and allow to dry fully. 

     Step 3: Stamp your desired image onto the nail. I used Clear Jelly Stamper plate Cjs-05 and Sinful Colors Body Language from the Naughty Nudes collection to create my branches. 

     Step 4: Using a small dotting tool you can create the blossoms. I used the smallest of my dotting tools and Hit the Bottle Drunk Tank Pink to create mine. I randomly placed dots along the branches and in bunches on my nails. Another layer of glossy topcoat and you're all done. 

     I've also included a step by step video tutorial for those of you who like to see how manicures are done. 

     And there you have it. My 4 easy steps to create a Japanese Cherry Blossom manicure. Pretty simple right? I actually loved how this turned out and didn't want to take it off. But like all nail bloggers know, the switching must go on and I was only able to wear this for about 8 hrs. 

    Have you ever had a manicure just sort of come together as you were doing it? Does your base color ever inspire your nail art? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for Stopping by and Happy Polishing! 



Thursday, May 2, 2019

6:00 AM

Swatch and Review of Serum No. 5 Some Bunny Wants Your Blood for Polish Pickup May 2019

    I'm squeeking today's post in just in time for you to update those wishlists for Polish Pickup. And boy do I have a polish for you today. Some Bunny Wants Your Blood from Serum No 5 has so much going on it's sure to have something that everyone will love. 

     Inspired by Bunnicula, Some Bunny Wants Your Blood is a smoky black thermal with a jelly finish loaded with red, pink, copper and gold glitter. And if that wasn't enough it also has flakies that glow in the dark.  Yes, you read that right a glow in the dark thermal with a jelly base. 

     This might be my most picture heavy post featuring only one polish in the history of my blog! When cold SBWYB shows the black base packed with glitter, when warm it shifts to a light sandy brown, and it glows a bright green color.

     The formula is easy to work with. Like all jelly polishes, I had just a hint of color on the first coat. The glitters are abundant and lay nice and flat on the nail. 

     The second coat built the opacity up nicely and you could probably get away with only doing two coats. Since I didn't know what color the polish would be shifting to at the time of swatching I decided to add a third coat for good measure and ensure full coverage during the transition. The polish is shown as three thin coats plus glossy topcoat in all my photos. 

     Because this polish is so full of glitter it does dry with a bit of a rough texture. A generous layer of good topcoat or two layers of a thinner one will leave you with a smooth finish. 

     And now for the glowing goodness! I charged my nails and the bottle under the lights from my lightbox for about 5 minutes and the results were seriously bright. In fact, my nails were still glowing over an hour later when I finally crawled into bed. It kinda freaked the Mr. out when he saw them and I got a good laugh out of it. 

     Some Bunny Wants You Blood goes on sale in the Polish Pickup on Friday, May 3rd at 11 am Eastern time and runs through Monday, May 6th. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Polishing! 



Tuesday, April 30, 2019

6:00 AM

Sinful Colors - Acapella Ella- Swatch and Review

     Do you ever buy nail polish, love it in the store and then forget about it once you get home? That happens to me all the time. When I actually buy in a brick and mortar store these days I tend to buy a few polishes at a time, especially when it comes to Sinful Colors. That is exactly what happened with Acapella Ella. I rushed out at the beginning of 2018 to purchase all the new core colors that were released and then let them sit on my desk for months. I actually swatched Acapella Ella last June but am just getting around to sharing it on my blog now. So I hope you enjoy this little blast from the past with me for today's post. 

pale blue creme finish nail polish

     Acapella Ella is a pale blue creme nail polish. In fact, you could almost say it's a blueish tinted white with how pale it is. A great color to use as a base for nail art in my opinion.

Pale blue nail polish with a creme finish.

     The formula is what I have pretty much come to expect from Sinful Colors. The first coat applied nicely, but not perfectly. The opacity is nice but I did have a few streaks. Thankfully they self-level and are gone when the polish dries. 

     The second coat applied much nicer with no streaking and even coverage allowing for full opacity. My photos are shown as two coats plus glossy topcoat. 

Pale blue almost white nail polish with a creme finish

     For me, this polish is a nice pallet cleanser from all the holos and flakies that I tend to reach for. I've already mentioned I think it would make a great base for nail art. (Which I need to get back to doing.) I also think that even though I'd consider this a pastel color and wear them primarily in the spring, this color transitions well into the summer months also. 

     What are your thoughts on pale colors like this? Do you think it needs a little shimmer to spice it up or is just fine as it is? Let me know in the comments and as always Thanks for stopping by and Happy Polishing!

Monday, April 29, 2019

6:00 AM

Swatch and Review of Northen Star Be Excellent for Polish Pickup May 2019

     Who's excited for Polish Pickup on Friday? Well, I hope you haven't finished those wish lists yet because I've got a versatile polish to share with you today from Northern Star Polish.  Be Excellent is inspired by Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. Am I aging myself if I tell you I remember seeing this in theaters when it first came out?

Dark Dusty blue nail polish in a glossy creme finish

     Be Excellent is a dusty dark blue creme nail polish. The formula is smooth and creamy, truly a dream to work with. I had even heavily opaque coverage on the first coat but not quite 100% full coverage. 

Dark Dusty Blue Nail polish with a glossy creme finish

     Full opacity and a smooth finish can be achieved with the addition of a second coat. This beauty dries to a very glossy finish, so much so that you'd think it already had topcoat added.  Shown here are two coats plus a glossy topcoat.

Dark dusty blue nail polish with a glossy creme finish

     Now I only wore this for about an hour but I had no discoloration on my nails or evidence of staining. I did use a base coat for swatching and recommend always wearing one under your polish. Not only will it help your polish apply nicer but it will protect your nails from staining. 

     Remember I mentioned this polish was very opaque on the first coat?  This got me wondering if it would work well for stamping and guess what? It does!

      I used Sinful Colors White Lies as my base and image plate UR-21 from UR Beautiful for this manicure. 

     Be Excellent is a lighter version when stamped but I really like the look. And it was so easy to work with, I was able to pick up a clean image each and every time. 

     Along with offering Be Excellent for Polish Pickup, Kristin is offering a cuticle oil set for Indie Pickup.  The Bodacious ‘80s snacks are inspired by the convenience store snack runs every Friday night: cherry slushie, taffy, lemon sour candy, and pink bubblegum.

Photo credit to Kristin of Northern Star Polish.
     Polish Pickup opens on Friday, May 3rd at 11 am Eastern time and runs through Monday, May 6th. For those of you unfamiliar with Polish Pickup here's the breakdown. The Polish Pickup is a new take on the polish collaboration boxes, run by Fair Maiden Polish creators Adrienne and Sarah. Instead of buying one set box, polish lovers have the option to create their own box by selecting from a variety of polishes available each month. Thanks for stopping by and Happy Polishing! 

Thursday, April 25, 2019

6:00 AM

Instant Smile product review

    Hey everyone, I've got a different kind of post to share with you today. And to be honest it's not an easy one to write. I have been given the opportunity to test out a product that really piqued my interest and I was hoping would boost my confidence a bit. But writing this review makes me very vulnerable to my readers. We all try to put our best selves forward on social media. I mean who hasn't seen that meme floating around about "if only your life was as good as it seems on FB"   I have to share with you something that makes me extremely self-conscious and that I try to hide from the rest of the world.
      The issue that I have is bad teeth and the Instant Smile comfort fit flex has been a temporary fix for that. When the company reached out looking for people to review their product I actually jumped at the chance. I wanted to see what I looked like with nice teeth again. I wanted to know what it felt like to smile a real smile and not worry about what people were thinking. Now, this is not a permanent solution to my problem, but it is a place for me to start.

     Time for a little backstory. As many of you don't know I'm a smoker, have been for many years and back in my early 20's, my teeth became very yellow. In an effort to combat that I began brushing my teeth extremely hard with whitening toothpaste. I did not succeed in removing the yellow stains, but what I did do was brush so hard that I damaged and removed some of the enamel. Over time this has lead to my teeth darkening and wearing away at the edges. 

     It's not a fear of the dentist that has prevented me from getting them fixed or a lack of time since I have summers off from work. They don't bother me physically, I'm not sensitive to hot or cold and they don't hurt. They just look bad and bother me in a physical appearance kind of way. I no longer really smile in pictures because I'm embarrassed. 

     So what has prevented me from getting them fixed? It's the cost. I'm terrified that I won't be able to afford it even with having insurance. Let me tell you that is an awful feeling and one I hope you never have to experience. 

     That's where the Instant Smile Comfort Fit Flex comes into my life. It's an affordable, temporary solution to my problem. And has allowed me the opportunity to see just what I look like with a real smile. It has helped me make the decision to get to the dentist and finally do something about my smile, and it has given me a small amount of my confidence back.  No, I don't wear them all the time in case you were wondering, but I have worn them on a few occasions and have gotten compliments from my friends. 

     The Instant Smile Comfort Fit Flex is actually pretty easy to use. All you need to do is place the set of teeth in boiling water for a minute and then mold to your mouth. It might take a few attempts to get it right but the nice thing is they can be molded again and again. My mouth is on the smaller side so for me I had to remove some of the molding form from the back of the teeth to get a proper fit. But once I did that, I was pleased with the results. 


     I honestly don't think they look too bad. I am able to talk normally with them in and they stay perfectly in place. It did take a bit to get used to having them in my mouth and I'm not able to eat with them in but I can live with that.  Especially since for now anyway I've got my smile back.

     The Instant Smile Comfort Fit Flex can be purchased online for $21.95 before shipping. They also offer a variety of products to help with things like a missing tooth or holding your dentures in place. Do they offer permanent solutions, no but for me, this was 100% worth it. Thank you for stopping by and Happy Smiling! 😀

Monday, April 22, 2019

6:00 AM

Swatch and Review of Literary Lacquers A Court of Feels and Sparkle Collection

     Today I have a very special treat for all of you! Literary Lacquers is back! *insert round of applause* Not only is she back with a stunning new collection she is also having a sale on all of the older collections. Let's get some of the details out of the way before we get to the polish, shall we? 
     Literary Lacquers is back with a collection of 7 new polishes (Plus a special limited edition gift with purchase polish) inspired by the Sarah J. Maas series A Court of Thorns and Roses. This collection will take you on a journey through the 7 courts of the High Fae of Prythian. The full collection will be available at a slight discount for $70. The Launch Date is 4/22/19, noon Mountain time. And I can't forget about the Sale: 4/22/19 – 5/1/19, 25% off all older collections, Plus you can receive Starfall, a Limited Edition polish as a free gift with $50 pre-shipping purchase

     Veiled in Roses – Rosy pink packed with holographic and opalescent microglitter - $10
Inspired by the Spring Court’s beautiful manor house, an alabaster estate covered in roses and ivy, surrounded by meadows and forests in perpetual springtime.

     The formula on this is simply wonderful with a smooth application and even coverage. You get a ton of sparkle in each layer. There was a slight VNL after the first coat but as you can see it builds up nicely. Full opacity was achieved with the application of a second coat. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat. 

     Adriata – Aqua opal, this polish is loaded with blue, green, and white opalescent flakies and microglitter $10. 
The Summer Court is home to the beautiful city of Adriata nestled in its half moon bay.

     The formula on this one gave me just a little trouble. The first few strokes were a tad splotchy. Almost like the flakes were all clumped together and needed to be separated on the nail. Which is exactly what happened after a few strokes of the brush. Once again I had a slight VNL after the first coat with full opacity after the second coat. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat.

     Autumn Fire – Deep coppery red holo with microglitter - $12
Fire is the power of the High Fae that reside in the Autumn Court.

     The formula of Autumn Fire is very easy to work with giving you even coverage with each layer. The first coat left a small amount of VNL with full opacity being reached with the addition of a second coat. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat.

     High Lady of Winter – Soft grey holo with white, silver, and blue flakies - $12
This polish inspired by the frozen Winter Court is a little shout out to the fandom and my girl Vivianne, may her voice be heard

     This polish has a formula that has a smooth consistency and even coverage. While it was more opaque on the first coat than I was expecting, I still had a slight VNL. The addition of a second coat will give you full opacity. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat.

     Sunstone Palace – Delicate metallic that shifts from copper to rose - $10
The books’ action only visits the Dawn court for a short period of time, but the description of the breathtaking palace inspired this lacquer

     The application is smooth and even with a nice dispersion of flakes on the nail. Again this was slightly more opaque than I was expecting but you're still left with a small amount of VNL after the first coat. Full opacity can be reached after two coats. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat.

     Cursebreaker – Bright white gold metallic with a subtle green iridescence - $10
The mysterious Day Court is home to Helion Spell-Cleaver, his power of Cursebreaking is vital to something I can’t tell you about because it’s a spoiler. 

     The formula on this was surprising. I was honestly expecting it to be more of a topper than a regular nail polish. With its smooth consistency and even coverage, this polish is easy to work with and leaves only a slight VNL on the first coat. Curse Breaker builds up quite nicely to achieve full opacity after to easy coats. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat.

     Court of Dreams – Black base with holo microflakes, silver flakes, and shimmer that shifts from blue through indigo to violet - $12
The Night Court is home to the mysterious and dark Rhysand and his hot muscular Illyrian warriors (ahem). No spoilers but fans self anyway.

     With a smooth consistency and even coverage, this polish is a winner in my book. I did have a slight VNL after the first coat but, it builds up nicely to reach full opacity after two effortless coats. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat. 

     Starfall - Deep navy holo with microglitter and opalescent green flakes
Amy really wanted to call this polish My Other Ride is an Illyrian Warrior but decided to go with the more sedate Starfall. Starfall is a holiday celebrated in the Winter Court on a night where star spirits migrate across the sky.

*If you want a My Other Ride is an Illyrian Warrior name label, let her know in your order notes and She’ll hook you up!*

     Just like the rest of this collection, the formula on this is a breeze to work with. It has a smooth formula and an even consistency. While the flakes aren't in abundance they scatter themselves quite nicely on the nail. I did have a slight VNL after the first coat and full opacity after two. Shown here as two coats plus glossy topcoat. 

     I know that was a lot to get through so let's revisit the details on this collection and the upcoming sale. The full collection will be available at a slight discount for $70. The Launch Date is 4/22/19, noon Mountain time. And I can't forget about the Sale: 4/22/19 – 5/1/19, 25% off all older collections, Plus you can receive Starfall, a Limited Edition polish as a free gift with $50 pre-shipping purchase. If you'd like to see some of the older collections be sure to check out my previous posts on the As You Wish Trio, Alice in Lacquerland Collection, The Faulkner Duo, or the Ocean at the End of the Lane Trio just to name a few. 

     As always, Thanks for stopping by and Happy Polishing! 

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