One of the best things about the holidays is finding amazing items for yourself between shopping for your friends and family. I did a lot of my shopping at TJ Maxx this year and saw some incredible stocking-stuffer beauty items that I had to scoop for myself. One that stands out to me is this Formula X The System On The Go Kit.

Although I wasn’t able to find it online other than Amazon, I only paid $4.99 USD for it which was an amazing price for the set. It includes a nail cleaner, base polish, a nude shade and topcoat. I tried the entire system and loved that everything was in one place. Although nail polish bottles are relatively small, it was nice not to have to grab 4 items at a time. I also loved the color that it came with! It was a perfect nude that looked amazing on me. My only issue was that the color chipped after one day. Now I’ll admit, I’m not the most graceful when it comes to my nails but I like my polish to be able to withstand a few days worth of dish washing before I expect it to chip.

Overall, totally worth $5 and will be a shade that I wear often. Did you score any items while shopping for Christmas? I hope I’m not the only one!



The Rules of Red Lipstick

Tis the season for endless holiday parties and time with your family and friends. I don’t know about you, but this time of year I tend to wear a lot of red lipstick. There’s something about a bold red lip that amps up the holidays for me. I’ve already shared my favorite reds in older posts, (but they are here and here for those that are new!) so this post is going to be about rules I abide by when wearing red lipstick so that I can look and feel as fierce as I did when I swiped it on.

1. Be aware: When wearing red lipstick, it’s important  to be aware that it’s on. After lunch, don’t rub a napkin across your mouth, don’t touch your mouth throughout the day and be sure to lick your teeth ever so often to ensure your lipstick stays put and doesn’t venture over to your teeth.

2. Choose a matte formula: To minimize smearing and spreading, I prefer a matte formula over a glossy one. Not only does it allow your lipstick to stay in place, it also retains it’s hue for a lot longer.

3. Line your lips: Lining your lips is key because you want the shape of your lips  to look perfect. A red lip brings puts your pout at attention and liner will ensure that your lips look pronounced.

4. Drink from the same spot: One of my biggest pet peeves is seeing glasses with lipstick stains all around the rim. Pick one spot and stick to that same spot so that there’s one defined lip print.

5. Reapply: Nobody wants to be the woman with the fading red lips. You want to be the woman with the red lips, period. Even with matte shades, it’s normal to have to reapply at least once per day. Bring your liner and lipstick with you so that you are able to touch up.

Life after Acrylic Nails

I’ll be the first to tell you all. My nails are a hot mess. A flaming hot mess.

I’d been wearing acrylic nails for about a year now, and just last week I made the decision to take remove them. Growing up, my mother never allowed me to get acrylic put on my nails so as an adult I always wanted to. I loved the fact that I could have long nails and that my polish would never (rarely ever) chip. I’d also seen so many other women with them and thought they made any hands look a little more sexy.

My first few months with them were seamless. Sure I didn’t love having an extra bill of regular fill ins every other week, and inhaling unsafe amounts of toluene, formaldehyde, and dibutyl phthalate. However, I did enjoy how great my hands looked. After some time, I realized that some of my nails were beginning to become severely damaged, especially when it came time to remove the acrylic I had on my nails for months, and replace it with a fresh coat. Removing acrylic can be really painful and involves quite a bit of tugging and clipping. I also began to see brown spots on my nails and when I would go back to my nail tech to address it, she would always point out that I may be developing a nail fungus, but never admitted to being the one that caused it.

Granted, I’ve heard horror stories about unclean nail shops where tools are being used on several clients, but I never thought I would fall victim to that. After all, I know plenty of people that have been wearing acrylic nails for years and never had an issue.

To avoid any future fungus or damage, I’ve removed the acrylic myself and am having to learn to deal with my thin, nubbly, brittle nails in the meantime. Has anyone else had a similar experience? Any tips on re-growing strong nails?

I’ve been using Sally Hansen Strong as Nails right now to begin to rebuild but if there are other products out there that may help, I’d love to hear about them!

The book I can’t finish

If you are a regular reader of my blog than you may know that earlier this year I put out a list of books that I wanted to read and I was totally stoked about them. I was so stoked that I decided to rush and finish a book that I had been reading off and on at the end of last year and carried over into the start of 2016.

Sad to say, I still haven’t finished that book. The novel, Reconstructing Amelia received positive ratings online and I love a ‘gone girl’ type of mystery involving women. It’s totally crazy, but if there were books on missing men, I wouldn’t care as much. The story follows the proposed suicide of a 15 year old sexually confused girl and the narrative goes between her and her mother who is coping with the loss of her daughter that she didn’t spend much time with.

You would think that all of these factors add up to an interesting page turner, but sadly I am unable to stay interested. I’m not sure if I’m reading too late or if I’m simply not interested, but since I purchased the book, I’m somewhat determined to finish it at some point in my life.

Has anyone read this book? Please tell me that it gets more compelling!

Holiday Gift Guide for the Non-Thoughtful Person

As much as this hurts me to admit, I’m not the best good gift giver. I consider myself a thoughtful person but when it comes to gifts, I never seem to be able to give someone something that warrants a “gasp” and “gush” moment upon unwrapping.. Surprisingly, even though I know I’m not good at it, I don’t allow people  to tell me what they want for Christmas. I don’t want to go fetch a gift like a robot.  I like the idea of a gift coming from the heart and coming from within myself.

I typically handle all of my Christmas shopping a week before the big day because if I start too early, I’ll get enticed by all of the deals and end up with bags of goodies for myself. If anyone out there is similar in any way, shape or form, I’m compiling this list for you. It’s a list of goodies that would make any beauty lover happy on Christmas morning.

1.  Geo Print Makeup Bag – Forever 21, $7.90: The perfect gift for a frequent traveler, or someone who tends to have their makeup sprawled all over the bathroom sink. It comes in rosegold and silver. And that price? Gah!

2. Travel Coffee Mug – HM, $9.99: For the on the go girl that loves her cup of joe!

3. Tatcha Indigo Soothing Silk Body Butter – Tatcha, $48.00: I’ve posted about how much I love this moisturizer. It literally feels like silk on the skin and it makes the perfect gift for the person in your life that likes to live luxe. I guarantee they will be hooked on this stuff.

4. Tweezerman Ultra Precision Cuticle Nipper – Sephora, $35.00: Your manicurist wouldn’t approve, but snipping hangnails is much better than biting them off when they bear their ugly heads. Using the right clipper will lower the risk of injury or infection. Great gift for the woman who loves to do her own manis and pedis!

5. Tarte Maracuja Oil – Tarte, $48.00: This has quickly become a favorite of mine and I think it makes a fabulous gift. This face oil does not feel greasy and is fantastic to use after a mask. Any and everyone would love it, even men!

6. Slip Pure Silk Pillowcase – Nordstrom, $79.00: A bit on the pricey side, but this will be the gift that keeps on giving. This 100% silk case protects skin and hair from the rough abrasion of standard cotton pillowcases. Talk about beauty sleep!


Weekly Reading

After a long Thanksgiving weekend, I’ve truly loved taking some time to relax and enjoy the small things around me. Thanksgiving really kicks off the holiday season here in the states, and it’s filled with love and gratitude. I’m getting ready to head into a new week and wanted to share some articles around the web that I’ve enjoyed lately. Cheers!

1.  Ayesha Curry shows us how to make a super easy facial scrub in the kitchen – Allure

2.  A dress I could see myself living in..and it’s on sale! – The Line by K

3.  10 fall nail colors that will look good on everyone – Real Simple

4. Tips for a living room refresh – A Beautiful Mess

5.  A face oil that I totally fell in love with – Tarte

6.  Should you get Botox as a young person? – In Style

7. The rules of wearing glitter this holiday season – Elle

8. Meditating on the go – Marie Claire

9. Women are normalizing belly bulge and I’m not mad at it – Yahoo! Beauty

10. How to feel better after overeating ASAP – Redbook

Vacation Hair: Cornrows

I’m not a big fan of flying, but the idea of going on a week long vacay has me ready to pack my bags in an instant. I’ll be heading to Jamaica in a couple of weeks, and I’ve been going back and forth on what to do with my hair. My last vacation was this past Spring and I decided to try to let my natural hair run free. BIG MISTAKE. I found myself struggling to control my hair with all types of pool and salt water in it. Sure, fresh out of the water I had thick ringlets that were defined and shiny, but as soon as it dried, it resembled matted sheep’s wool. My curls had no definition and overall, it looked extremely dry.

This time around, I want a style that won’t budge no matter what I do, so I’m going to get beautiful, thick cornrows. I haven’t had cornrows with extensions in so long that I had to get used to the idea. The more I looked online for inspiration, I began to open up to the idea. I know that I want to try the new trend with varying sizes, and perhaps play around with the parts. I pulled some photos for inspiration and am continuing to look.

With so much fun to be had on a beautiful island, I want my hair to be the least of my worries.

Any suggestions on products for maintenance?