Midweek Manicure // Accessories!

Today was one of those days when things just got under my skin. Lots of things irritated me today, and I mostly can’t even explain why. Sometimes its just my mood, sometimes its the mood of other people, other times I think its just the phases of the moon… At any rate, nail art helps to make me happy again. It’s my one creative outlet at the moment, so I’m channeling all my stress and pent-up aggravation into designs, which lately means piling on the 3d nail charms.

Nude & White Mani

I used:

So Much Fawn Mani

After a base coat, I used scotch tape to tape off a few nails, because I like the look of leaving some of the nail bare on a few fingers. Then I painted all but one or two fingers on each hand with So Much Fawn which is a nice muted mauve color. It’s important to remember to pull the scotch tape off of your nail as soon as possible after painting the nail – you’ll thanks me. I then painted my middle nail on my left hand, and my thumb and ring finger on my right hand with the Marshmallow. When it was all dry, I used topcoat to affix various studs, pearls and open rings onto my nails in the pattern you see above. Once everything was placed, I painted over all of my nails with my favorite top coat (Seche Vite)!

Nude and While Nails with Studs

…now for some relaxing! … and wine!

kimberly

DIY// Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter

Coconut oil is having a moment right now, you guys. Suddenly it’s used by everyone for everything. And rightly so, because it’s apparently pretty amazing. It’s full of vitamin E, antioxidants and healthy fats, and can be used in countless different ways. I’ve used coconut oil in hair masks, lip scrubs, cookie and cake recipes, body scrubs, and I’ve recently been experimenting with using coconut oil for oil pulling (so far so good) and makeup removal. Today, I’m sharing a quick and easy recipe for Whipped Coconut Oil Body Lotion.

DIY Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter

This stuff can be whipped up (ha ha) in minutes, smells great, and is super moisturizing on dry skin. Also, a little goes a long way, so although this recipe doesn’t make a ton of lotion, it will last. I tend to concentrate it on spots where my skin is dryest – my elbows, and knees, specifically, then rub the excess wherever else I need a little more moisture. In addition to the coconut oil, this body butter also aloe vera gel which makes it extra soothing, a bit of olive oil for added moisture and to aid in producing the smooth consistency, and a few drops of lemongrass essential oil. The lemongrass oil gives the body butter a great scent, and lemongrass comes with its own long list of health benefits as well.

Recipe:

  • 1 Cup Organic Unrefined (or Virgin) Coconut Oil (do NOT melt it first, it must be in its solid state!)
  • 2 Tbsp Organic Aloe Vera Gel (I use Lily of the Desert brand)
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 5(or so) drops Lemongrass Essential Oil (or any essential oil of your choice, really). This step is optional.

Directions:

Add the ingredients to a mixing bowl. Use a hand- or stand-mixer to whip the ingredients on high for 7 or so minutes until they’ve reached a whipped, airy consistency. Remove you lotion from the bowl and store it in a glass container at room temperature. Apply it after a shower for supple, moisturized skin.

Whipped Coconut Oil Body Butter

I really have to recommend using only organic, unrefined coconut oil for just about all of the topical things you plan to use coconut oil for (this includes oil pulling). Refined coconut oil can have “other” things in it that you might not want to be absorbed into your body through your skin.

I’m thinking Key Lime Coconut Oil Body Butter next!

kimberly

 

Recipe adapted from Healthy Homemakers.

Midweek Manicure // Watercolor Nails

A nail tutorial that’s a lot easier than it looks (we know I like those). Nice and springy but also a fun Easter nail art idea!

Watercolor Nails

I used:

  • Base coat
  • Ulta Snow White
  • OPI Nail Lacquer Thinner
  • China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint (green)
  • OPI Can’t Find My Czechbook (blue)
  • Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure Rosy Outlook (pink)
  • China Glaze Tart-y for the Party (purple)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Small paint brush
  • Nail rhinestones
  • top coat

Pastel Watercolor Nails

To create the watercolor effect, I first painted a white base coat on all of my nails except for my index finger on my left hand, and thumb and ring finger on my right hand. I painted only half of those nails white. Using one color at a time,  used the green, blue, pink and purple polishes to create a watercolor effect. To do this, I placed a dot of the color on a piece of foil, and added a few drops of nail polish thinner and mixed it with a paint brush to thin out the polish to a watery consistency. Then I’d just use the nail polish brush to dot the color onto my nail in various places, repeating this process for each color. Be sure to clean the brush off with nail polish remover each time you switch colors.  I used a bit of topcoat to adhere a rhinestone onto the nails that I only half-painted.I then added a top coat and it all came together.

There are a lot of great tutorials for this on youtube!

kimberly

Midweek Manicure // Spring Thinking

As I was photographing my flowery, Springy nails last week, this was happening on the porch:

Snowy Porch

But, I’m happy to say that I think Spring is on its way now.

Purple Flowers Mani

I used:

  • Base Coat
  • Ulta – Snow White
  • Essie – Sand Tropez
  • Jafra – Raspberry
  • China Glaze – Tart-y for the Party
  • China Glaze – Re-fresh Mint
  • Tiny Round Silver Nail Studs from The Nail Room
  • Dotting Tool
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Top Coat

After a base coat on all nails, I painted two nails Snow White, and the rest Sand Tropez. I chose to add little purple flowers on the ring finger and thumb nail of each hand.

How to Paint Flowers

To create the flowers, I dropped a bit of Snow White, Raspberry and Tart-y for the Party on a piece of aluminum foil. I then used a dotting tool to swirl the colors together and then dotted the swirled colors on my nail in various places to make the flower pattern. Sometimes, I’d add a bit more of each color to each dot to make it more or less white, or more or less purple, depending. You can find various tutorials on youtube for this.

Floral Nails Detail

I then used a smaller dotting tool (you could also use a toothpick) to add little green “leaves” coming out from either side of each flower-dot. After it was all dry, I affixed a tiny silver stud to my index fingernail on each hand with a bit of topcoat, then added a coat of topcoat on all nails, and was finished!

Let’s not talk about how awful my cuticles are right now. Actually, maybe we should talk about it. I struggle. If anyone has any recommendations for cuticle repair, I’d love to hear them!

kimberly

Midweek Manicure // Angles in Blue

As I was getting ready to leave work today I made an amazing discovery. It was 5pm, but it was STILL LIGHT OUT! Maybe I’m late to the party on this one, but I was pretty excited. Oh, the possibilities. Warmer weather, longer dog walks, daylight, daylight, daylight. The realization just made me happy.

Blue Geometric Nails

This week I used tape and three different polishes for a geometric mani. I’ve had the color “Can’t Find My Czechbook” by OPI for quite a while now and I’ve been dying to try it, but sometimes I have to wait for the right inspiration. It’s a really nice cream polish in a sort of muted robin’s egg color.

I used:

  • Professional 10 Nail Lacquer in Moonlight (nude/beige color)
  • OPI Can’t Find My Czechbook
  • China Glaze First Mate (dark blue)
  • Scotch tape
  • Seche Vite top coat

Blue Triangles Mani

After a base coat, I painted two coats of Moonlight on all of my nails. After letting this dry completely (45 minutes to an hour), I taped off a portion of my nail to expose only a diagonal section running from one side of the nail bed to the end of my nail on the opposite side. I then painted this exposed portion with Can’t Find My Czechbook and removed the tape right away. After that coat of polish was also completely dry, I taped off the opposite portion of my nail and painted on the dark blue First Mate color, then pulled off the tape right away. The reason you need to let each coat dry completely is so that the tape doesn’t stick to the polish underneath (trust me, been there..just let it dry). Another good tip is to stick the scotch tape onto the palm of your hand first, then pull it off and put it on your nail, this makes the tape a little less sticky, so there’s even less chance of mucking something up!

Happy Hump Day!

kimberly

Midweek Manicure // Matte it Again

Well, the snow just keeps coming. That’s pretty much all I have to say about that.

Matte Half Moon Manicure

I’m really loving matte nails right now (again)!

I used:

  • Orly Nail Defense
  • Ulta Snow White
  • Essie Chinchilly
  • Essie Matte About You Top Coat

After using the Nail defense strengthening treatment as a base coat, I painted each nail with two coats of the Snow White. Then, leaving a sliver of white showing on each nail, I painted two coats of Chinchilly over that and achieved a sort-of half-moon design. Then I added two coats of the matte top coat and was finished!

kimberly

Heatless Curls with Curlformers

I’ve been on a hair journey of sorts.  In the last year or so, I decided that I need to lay down my flat iron, and start nurturing my curls more. My curl pattern is a curly-coily with tight ringlets that can often get pretty big and pretty frizzy. It needs lots of love, and conditioner. My curl pattern is best described as 3C.

My 3C Curls

My curls in their natural state… in desperate need of a trim!

In the past, instead of embracing my curls, I spent a long time trying to beat them into submission with heat. For a few years in high school (eons ago) I got semi-relaxers to loosen up my curl pattern (until I got a chemical burn!. After that, I turned to fairly regular use of flat irons, waving irons and curlers and curling irons to straighten my hair or at least make it less curly. Then I started to notice some heat damage. My curls just weren’t bouncing back like they used to. Now I’ve realized that I should love my curls. They are a God-given gift, and I should embrace the fact that they help me to stand out from the crowd – they’re really not that bad! In fact, nowadays I think they’re pretty awesome. See also: Natural Hair Movement. So, although I’ve stayed away from heat for a good while now and wear my hair natural in a wash-n-go style almost daily, I still like to be able to switch up my style and do different things with my hair. Enter: Curlformers.

Extra Long and Wide Curlformers

These puppies are a great way to get long lasting curls without using any heat at all, unless you want to set the curls faster, in which case you can use a bonnet dryer, which provides a gentle heat non damaging heat (but be sure to still use a heat protectant – I recommend Creme of Nature Perfect 7 Leave-In Spray). I have the Curlformers softhood bonnet dryer and I use it often when I do a Curlformers set because sleeping in them is not something I enjoy doing. At All.But to each her own :)

Curlformer Set

First I shampooed and conditioned my hair using Deva Curl No-Poo and Deva Curl One Condition. I detangled my hair in the shower and left in a fair amount of the One Condition in as a leave-in treatment.  I divided my hair into sections and distributed generous amounts of Deva Curl Light Defining Gel through each section. Using the tool provided in the Curlformers Starter Kit (and using the extra long and wide Curlformers), I installed them in one-inch sections all around my head. For this particular set, I let them air dry by sleeping in them overnight, but you can use a bonnet dryer to speed the drying process, which I recommend (again, just be sure to use a heat protectant). You want to make sure your hair is completely dry before removing the Curlformers. Once dry, you just pinch the Curlformer at the top and pull it down to release the hair inside. You’re then left with a perfectly bouncy (and soft!) spiral curl. I then loosen the curls by running my fingers through them – this adds volume and body. Some people prefer to coat their fingers with a bit of oil before running their hands through their hair. I sometimes use natural jojoba oil or Chi Deep Brilliance Reflect Silk Reflection for this, but depending on the moisture level of my hair, lubricating my hands with oil is not always necessary for me.

Curlformer Results

I love using these to loosen up my curl pattern. They give me a totally different look, the curls are smooth and frizz-free, and I don’t have to worry about heat damage. When my hair is stretched like this, it also gives me the opportunity to play with different styles that might not always look right (in my opinion) with my natural pattern (I mostly feel this way about braided hair styles). Overall I love these things. I even used them on the day of my wedding, for a loose and romantic style.

Curlformers Wedding Hair

I hope you’ve found this little review helpful! If you have used Curlformers, or intend to use them in the future, please let me know about your experience! Or ask me questions! I’m still experimenting with how to preserve the style for longer than just a few days, and am also constantly trying different product combinations to achieve the perfect set. So I’d love to hear what others have to say.

I purchased my Curlformers at Sally Beauty Supply. I’ve purchased and have experimented with both the Extra Long and Wide and the Long and Extra Wide styling kits on my own, and am excited to see that they’ve recently added Extra Long and Extra Wide Curlformers (might have to try those next, as those produce a larger and even looser curl).

For a complete tutorial on how to use curlformers, check out this YouTube video.

kimberly

*this post was not sponsored in any way, and all opinions are my own.