[A Very Late] Midweek Manicure // Matte Florals

So, I had typed up this post earlier and had somehow  managed to delete it instead of post it. Here we go again.

If you follow me on instagram (@mrspelkey) you would have already seen this mani in mid June. I painted them right before heading to the wedding of one of my oldest friends (whom I hadn’t seen in a long time). The wedding was held outside in a beautiful garden, at a beautiful venue, and so I thought a summer-y floral mani would fit the bill.

20140719-214533-78333271.Aren’t we cute? ca.1988.

Also, please pay no attention to my cuticles in the following photos. They are JACKED UP. I know.

Matte Floral Nails

I used:

  • China Glaze Strong Adhesion Base Coat
  • Zoya Juanita
  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Rosy Outlook
  • White, yellow and brown Stripe Rite polish
  • Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat

Peach and Pink Floral Nails

After a base coat and three coats of Juanita (it’s pretty sheer), I used Rosy Outlook to dot round-ish circles on my nails wherever I wanted a flower to be. I then used a white striper polish to paint rounded lines within the pink blobs (that’s basically what they were) to give the flowers more dimension. Overall I kept it pretty loose and abstract. I then put one dot each of the yellow and brown in the center of each flower. Two coats of the Big Matte Top Coat and I was finished.

Floral Mani

Happy Weekend!


A Short NYC Getaway

I thought I’d share a few non-iphone photos from our 3 day trip to NYC at the beginning of July.

Central Park NYC

One of our first stops on the first day was Central Park. The weather was beautiful.

Central Park NYC

This view (also from Central Park) was one of my husband’s favorites. Something about how the building with the two towers was used in the movie Ghostbusters…

Times Square, NYC

Our hotel was in Times Square, and very close to Broadway (we saw Wicked on Broadway our second night in the City, it was fantastic).  We were close to just about everything, and Times Square at night is certainly a [very busy] sight to behold.

Martha Stewart at Today Show

On the morning of my birthday, the Hubby and I headed over to the Today Show Plaza near Rockefeller Center to catch the Today Show (my favorite)! As luck would have it, we managed to park ourselves right behind an area where Matt Lauer would be hosting a short segment with Martha Stewart. We took pictures of her, she took pictures of us, it was awesome.

Jeff Koons' Split Rocker

After the show, we walked around Rockefeller Center for a bit. Jeff Koons’ “Split Rocker” is on display in the center, covered in flowers. I can only imagine how lovely it will look when all of the flowers are in full bloom.

Food Truck in NYC

Food trucks galore in NYC. I wish we had more like this in New England.

Econo Lodge Times Square

This was our hotel in the City. In terms of price and location, it really can’t be beat. The staff was friendly and the room, although very small, was clean and had all of the necessities. Although it may lack a lot of the fancy frills that many pricey NYC hotels probably have, I found it to be a perfect place for D and I to stay. Saving on the hotel definitely allowed us to have more fun (and more food) elsewhere!

Top of the ROck, NYC

Later on in the day (on our second day), we headed back to Rockefeller Center to head to the Top of the Rock and take in some beautiful views of the NYC skyline. From the 69th (I think) floor we had great views of the Empire State Building, the World Trade Center site, the Statue of Liberty and the rest of lower Manhattan. On the north side of the roof deck were great views of uptown, including Central Park. That same night we went to see Wicked.

Mood Fabric NYC

Before we left Midtown on our last day, I decided I needed to have a fangirl moment and visit Mood Fabrics. Those of you who watch Project Runway will recognize this place right away. When the show is filmed in NYC, this is where the designers shop for their fabrics before challenges on the show! I even met the little dog, Swatch, who roams the store.

9/11 Memorial NYC

On our final day in the city, we took the subway downtown and visited the 9/11 Memorial. The memorial itself is breathtaking and does a great job in conveying a sense of sorrow, peace and resilience all at the same time.

9/11 Memorial Birthday Rose

At the memorial, a white rose is placed by the name of the deceased on what would have been their birthday.

City Hall Subway Station NYC

We took the subway to get to and from downtown (the R train I believe), as we were catching a train back toward home at Grand Central Station later that day.

New York Harbor

Our last little excursion was on the Staten Island Ferry. We had great views of the shoreline from the New York Harbor, and the ferry passes right by the Statue of Liberty. Best of all, the ferry is FREE and runs on a very convenient schedule, about every 30 minutes or so back and forth to Staten Island.

Staten Island Ferry Boat

We took the Ferry from Manhattan to Staten Island, then got off and back on again to head back to Manhattan. We rode the same ferry both times.

Life Jackets on Staten Island Ferry

I loved how the life jackets looked, stored overhead on the boat deck.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, in all her glory.

Although it was a short trip, it was a lot of fun. We packed a lot of sightseeing and activities into a few short (and HOT) days. I certainly dragged my husband all over midtown – and I love him for putting up with me. And…

Liberty-IslandI learned how to make a GIF, ya’ll! Ha. It’s actually not too difficult but I’m still proud of myself. This one isn’t too exciting, but I like it anyway.



Midweek Manicure // Drybrush ++

Blue Drybrush Nails

This week, I’m sharing some nail art I created using a drybrush technique.  It’s done exactly the way it sounds: you use a dry paint brush to create and abstract, multi-colored, brush-stroke effect on your nails.

I used:

  • Scotch tape
  • Ulta Snow White
  • China Glaze Refresh-Mint
  • OPI Keeping Suzy at Bay
  • OPI Can’t Find My Czechbook
  • Pastel Nail Studs
  • Seche Vite Top Coat
  • Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pen in White
  • Small, flat top paint brush (easy to find in your local craft store)
  • Paper towel
  • Aluminum foil (or some other surface to place dots of nail polish on that you can then dip your brush into)

Drybrush nail art

First I taped off the lower portion of several nails to keep them bare and unpainted. I then added two coats of Snow White on each nail as a base coat. After putting a small puddle of the green and blue colors I’d be using on a piece of tin foil. I dipped the very dry brush into the first color, and painted a few strokes onto the nail. I repeated this process with the different colors on the same nail, wiping the brush off on a piece of paper towel between color-switches. I then repeated this same process on each nail. Once everything was dry, I added a top coat and placed several nail studs on each half-painted nail to add a bit of interest.

A day or so later, I wanted to add a little somethin’ somethin’, and used a while I Heart Nail Art Pen to draw some designs over the top of the drybrush pattern.

Drybrush Nails with Tribal Print

Happy Hump Day!



Heatless Curls with Flexirods

Following up on my Heatless Curls with Curlformers post, this time around I picked up some flexirods to try, hoping they’d give me similar curly results. I purchased the flex rods at Sally Beauty Supply.  As was the intention with the Curlformers, I again wanted to create curls that were larger and looser than my natural curl pattern, so I went with the largest rods I could find – 7/8″ and 1″ rods. Flexirods are traditionally used for perm setting, but are perfect for creating spiral curl styles on natural hair, with minimal heat.

Flexirods Installed

I used:

After shampooing and conditioning my hair, I added a bit more One Condition as a leave-in before getting out of the shower. Then, I layered in a healthy amount of the Aphogee Restructurizer and the Creme of Nature leave-in. I then used a wide-toothed shower comb to detangle my hair. After that, I added about 4 pumps worth of the Motions Wrap lotion and made sure it was evenly distributed throughout my strands. I’m really loving the foaming wrap lotion, by the way! I find it’s perfect for setting curly styles. It works to create a smooth result and I get a lot more days of wear out of the finished product.

I then sectioned my hair into four sections to make installing the flexirods a bit easier. Working one section at a time, I began by taking medium-sized vertical sections of hair and rolling my hair onto the rod like you would with a traditional roller. Once I reached the root of my hair, I bent the rod in the opposite direction of the way I rolled it to secure the rod in place close to my scalp. I repeated the process around my whole head.

To speed the drying process along (for me drying takes a VERY long time, but dry time varies depending on hair type), I put on my softhood dryer and used low heat for close to two hours. Every time I do a roller set, I basically have to find a good book and settle in for a bit! Once I was sure my hair was completely dry, I removed the rods one at a time. After they were all removed, I rubbed a dime size amount of Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect oil into my hands and went around my head and separated the curls to add volume. I also used a pick close to the scalp to fluff up my roots. The more you separate, the bigger your hair will get. Separating the curls will also cause a little bit of a loss in definition, and a bit of frizz, which I don’t mind.

Flexirod Set

I loved the results! To preserve the style, I slept with my hair in a pineapple…i.e. a high ponytail. I also sleep on a satin pillow case to protect against frizz and friction. If I felt that my hair was getting a bit dry or frizzy, I’d add a bit of the Chi Deep Brilliance Oil. I still haven’t mastered the ability to prolong a roller or rod set for more than 4 or so days, but I was really happy with how long and how well this style lasted. By day 3 I had to start pinning some sections back but still had plenty of definition. By days 4 and 5, I was wearing half-up styles or buns. If anyone has any tips for prolonging this type of style I’d love to hear from you!

flexirod set day 3(Day 3)

I prefer the results I got from the Flexirods over the Curlformer results in terms of the longevity and manageability of the style. I’m not sure if that has more to do with the products I used or the tools themselves . I’ll have to do some more experimenting! All in all, I found the flexirods to be a great alternative to the high (and sometimes damaging) heat of curling irons or wands. I also find that the curl definition I achieve from a roller or rod set lasts exponentially longer than anything I could create with a curling iron (I’m lucky to get a few hours or curls from an iron before my hair falls flat for the rest of the day). Even though the install and dry time for Flexirods is high (versus using a heat tool), I’m pretty sure my hair thanks me for taking the extra time.



My Instagram Week

…well, a little bit more than a week’s worth of photos.  I took some vacation days from work for the first part of July, but my vacation officially started on Friday, June 27, at 5pm! I took the week off so that the hubby and I could go on a short trip to NYC to celebrate my birthday, but unbeknownst to me, the festivities started that Friday night with a surprise birthday party. I had absolutely no idea, it was great.

Lake Quinsigamond

A Friday night boat trip on the local lake

30th Birthday Cake

…The boat trip ended in a surprise 30th birthday party, complete with this delicious cake (from Sweet).

Shake Shack 8th Ave NYC

A few days later D and I headed to NYC. After getting off the train at Grand Central Station, our first stop was Shake Shack on 8th Ave.

Central Park

We walked off the burgers and fries by hoofing it up to Central Park. Then we hopped on a bike and had a tour around the whole area.

At the Today Show

The next morning we got up bright an early to stake out a spot on the Today Show plaza…

Martha Stewart

And then…MARTHA STEWART! We ended up standing right behind where she was doing a segment. She passed out cupcakes afterward. We made eye contact. It was magical.

NYC from the Top of the RockAn afternoon trip to the Top of the Rock. Beautiful views of the NYC skyline.

Wicked on BroadwayMy official birthday gift was going to see Wicked on Broadway. It was so, so amazing.

South West NY

Lots of great food, of course (@ South West NY)

African Burial Ground NPS

Our last day included a trip to the museum on the site of the African Burial Ground. After an earlier trip to the 9/11 Memorial, it was a very humbling day, indeed.

D and I in NYC

A trip on the Staten Island Ferry, and then it was back on the train home. A great trip.

Follow me on instagram @mrspelkey to see these (and more) photos in real time.


Midweek Manicure // The 4th of July (and birthday) edition

The hubby and I are just back from a short getaway to NYC! We went down for a few days to celebrate my birthday and we had a fantastic time. I’ll share some photos from our trip in a later post.

WHite Rhinestoned Nails

Since my birthday is so close to the 4th of July holiday, I wanted to do something that was both fancy (out came the rhinestones) and patriotic.

I used:

  • Revlon – Urban (a lovely deep blue with a bit of a purple tone)
  • Essie – Blanc (a nice creamy white)
  • Nail art Rhinestones in varying shapes and sizes – mostly round, a few tear-drop shaped (I think I got the ones I used from Sally Beauty)
  • Scotch Tape (to tape off part of my nail on the fingers where only part of the nail is painted)
  • Seche Vite Top Coat
  • Sally Hansen Big Matte Top Coat
  • Tweezers

birthday nails

I painted every nail with Essie Blanc, except for my thumb on each hand, which I painted with the Revlon Urban color. After each nail was dry, I used a pair of tweezers to place rhinestones along my nail bed. On my middle finger and thumb nails, I made the design more vertical. I used seche vite top coat to affix the rhinestones. You could also use nail glue, but I prefer a dab of the Seche Vite. Once everything was secure, I made everything matte with a coat of Big Matte Top Coat.

*this design was inspired once again by one I saw by @ninanailedit’s instagram feed.

And if you’re in search of more 4th of July nail inspiration, check out the Tie-Dye 4th of July Nails I sported last year:

Red White and Blue Tie Dye Nails

Have a Happy and Safe 4th of July!


Midweek Manicure // Southwestern Chic

I think this is one of my favorite designs so far (I’ve probably said that before…).  I just have a southwestern/Aztec preference going on lately (jewelry, iphone case, blouses). This week’s mani is inspired once again by @ninanailedit on instagram. Love her stuff.

Southwestern Nails

I used:

  • Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Royal Blush (index and pinky finger)
  • Orly Luxe (thumb)
  • Ulta Snow White (base for middle and ring finger)
  • Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Pen in Black (for the design on middle and ring fingers)

 Aztec Nails(after a few days of wear)

Using the pen made this design a lot easier (for me). And I’ll say again that what’s great about the pens is that they are water based. If you mess up, you can just wipe your mistakes away with a damp cotton swab. I wore this design OUT.  At the risk of being redundant, I might be trying variations on this theme again and again. What’s your favorite motif of the moment?

Happy Painting!