Tag Archives: Beauty

Stiletto Nails

Okay, so I am a pretty girly girl. I do the make up, the waxing (just the eyebrows!), I get regular pedicures, but I hardly ever do anything with my nails. I keep them super short and usually polish free. However, I’ve been seeing a lot of people rocking the stiletto nails and I thought, “maybe I’d like to do that.” You know, have fancy, slightly impractical nails that are maybe just a little scary. Originally I was going to go all in and get acrylics, but then the little voice in my head started reminding me how bad acrylics were for your nails and how I didn’t know if I was going to really be able to commit to these nails, so I thought, let’s go for some press-ons instead.

I felt like such a bad ass taking this back-lit photo with my purple sunglasses and my extra nails. Full disclosure, we were in a fairly nice restaurant and I am sure some of the other patrons were looking at me selfie-ing like “this bougie bitch”, but I only cared a tiny bit because I was feeling my nails. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning…My search started at Ulta because I thought “surely Ulta is going to have my back – I KNOW I will find EXACTLY what I need there” at least that was how I sold it to my husband. They, however, not only did not have the stiletto nails; they had zero press on nails. At this point, I am trying to figure out how to sell going to another store to Andy since this was supposed to be a very brief outing, and I remember the Riley Rose literally across the street in the mall. So I start trying to spin this like this really great no stress alternative and Andy just gives in so I stop babbling.

We quick march through the crowded mall on the last Saturday before school starts at lunch time – let me tell you he earned some good husband points for this one. We finally get to the store, and I am approached by this adorably tiny salesgirl (who was rocking some killer black moon cosmetic lipstick). She offers to not only help me find the nail, but she has used this particular brand and gave it rave reviews. I dutifully go through all the different colors, but it was love at first sight with the black and red nails. Everything applied fairly easily – I did take a minute to figure out exactly what size needed to go on each finger and set them up in order so I couldn’t screw up the application, but all in all, I’d say I was done maybe 10ish minutes from opening the box.In my head, I kept thinking “just like the Louboutin heels!” – who cares that I can’t pick anything up!So how did they wear you might wonder? Well… it was an adjustment. I think going from almost no nails to super long nails was perhaps not the best idea, but I sort of got the hang of it. I will say, I did get quite a bit of attention from strangers when I was out. People loved them and just had to know where I got them done. I haven’t received this big a response on something since my hair was purple. It was a great conversation starter, and once I told people how easy it was, a lot of them were keen to try it out for themselves. I figured out typing faster than I thought I would; I just had to adjust my hands a bit, but taking my contacts out that night and putting them in the next morning? Easier than I thought, but still kind of scary. Andy refused to even be in the same room with me because it looked “creepy”.I even managed to dye my hair with the nails. At the end of this, I feel like I am still a short nail girl, but I would absolutely reapply these bad boys for a special occasion or if I just wanted to feel a little more glamorous. I’d also like to try a shorter version because I think I would be able to make that work a little better for me. So if you’re feeling like you want to look a little dangerous, you should definitely give these bad boys a try. And if you’d like to try the same brand, here is a link to their website.

My Lush Addiction

My name is Julie, and I have a problem: I have a Lush addiction. It started out small, a bath bomb here and there, and then I started using the shower jellies. Before I knew it, I was forcing my friends and family to let me stop and shop every time we passed a store. I lost the ability to merely browse. Every in-store trip ended with one of their brown paper bags and a handful of samples. When I realized that I had caches of products stashed in both the guest and master bathrooms, I knew I had a problem.

Sadly, I am only slightly embellishing the situation. Lush is a great company; their products are cruelty free and vegan. I dearly wish we had one locally, so I could work there part time and get an employee discount. I’ve introduced many of my friends and family members to the wonder of their products, and now I am going to share a few favorite items with you.

1. Woosh Shower Jellie – One of my favorite products to use on those dreary hard to get moving mornings. The bright teal zingy citrus blend gives me the kick I need to knock that last bit of sleepy out of my head and get started with all that annoying adulting that the work week demands.


2.Beautiful Shower Gel – This is my go-to in the summer months. Rich lather, slightly fruity with a hint of spice; I get the moisturizing I need, and it leaves my skin softly scented. I was really impressed with how well this stuff works: I only need a dollop the size of a quarter to wash my entire body.
3. Fizzbanger Bath Bomb – My second favorite bath bomb. The cinnamon toffee scent is absolutely perfect for fall or winter, or when you want to crank down the thermostat and pretend that it’s fall or winter. Usually, the use of this bath bomb is accompanied by a mug of tea.
4. Dragon’s Egg Bath Bomb – My favorite bath bomb. I try to keep at least two of these in the house at any time. The citrus scent is perfect for any time of year, and the confetti makes every bath feel like something special. This is my go-to recommendation for any first time bath bomb user.

4. New! Shampoo Bar – Occasionally, when I am under larger amounts of stress, my hair will start falling out. Not an ideal situation for anyone, but it’s even worse when you’re a woman. I picked this bar up during some major work drama last year, and it really did help encourage new growth and made the rest of my hair feel and look thicker. Fortunately, I haven’t needed it in a while, but I will be express shipping a bar to Tallahassee if I ever do.
5. Shimmy Shimmy Sparkle Bar – This was an impulse buy that worked out incredibly well. On my last trip, I complemented the girl behind the counter on the shimmer she had on her arms and chest. She told me about the bar and then let me try a sample piece. I was delighted with the soft lavender scent and with how soft my skin was  (with none of that greasy residue that we all hate). Granted, I can’t really wear it to the office, but it is fun on the weekends.

If you aren’t already a Lush enthusiast, check out the store nearest to you or the company website. If  you are, I’d love to hear about which products you love best.

Broken & Beautiful

In May, florist Lisa Waud filled an abandoned Detroit home with 4000 flowers over 48 hours, creating an installation that was both wistfully beautiful and heartbreakingly fragil. Drawing inspiration from the 2012 Dior show outside of Paris and the wrapped Pont Neuf bridge in Paris by Christo & Jeanne-Claude, Waud put her plan into motion by purchasing two abandon properties for $500, one to use for the May preview and one for a larger installation piece to be completed in October. Here are some amazing shots of the preview.

Flowers 10 Flowers 2 Flowers 1 Flowers 4 Flowers 5 Flowers 6 Flowers 7 Flowers 11 Flowers 12 Flowers 9 Flowers 8 Flowers 13 Flowers 3

The full installation, to be unveiled in October, will include over 100,000 blooms. I can only imagine how breathtaking it will be. One of the things I love most about this project is the long term plan for the home; after the final event the structures will be dismantled, recycled, and the space used to grow flowers.

This piece really touched my heart. I feel like our homes can become part of our families. Their walls protect us, and their roofs shelter us. They give us a safe space to live our lives, and it makes me so sad to see them abandoned and unloved. It’s like the artist and her assistants are giving these structures one last hurrah, allowing them to go out being part of something beautiful and special, and when the curtain falls, their pieces are going to be used to create new stories. Not a bad way to go out.


Images from here.


$20 a Month: March 2015

This month’s $20 a month is a little odd. The normal retail for these beauty products would total closer to $30, but I had a coupon and caught some of the items on sale, so I figured you guys would forgive me since it meant there would be more to review. Here we go…


Revlon Super Lustrous Lipcolor – Nothing life changing, but a solid okay.  Coverage was good, and there wasn’t any strange taste or texture. I had to reapply after eating, but I usually do that anyway. I picked up Smokey Rose (a mauve-ish natural pink) and Rose Dew (peach-y pink), both colors I could wear at the office and throw on without having to worry about lip liner. They both now reside in my desk as my part of my back up stash. I’ll use the tubes I purchased, but I don’t think I’ll buy a second round where they’re gone.

Paladio Retractable Waterproof Eye Liner – This product was a really pleasant surprise. I am a bit of an eyeliner snob; usually for pencil or twist up liners I only use the Urban Decay 27/7 liner. I’ve been looking for a good drug store alternative, and I’d heard good things about the Paladio brand, so I picked up Exotic Plumb on my last trip to Ulta. LOVE! While the formula isn’t as smooth as Urban Decay, it’s the closest thing I’ve ever come across. The twist up applicator is easy to use, and with a little extra time spent on building your line, you have something that looks nice and will last all day. Bonus: it costs less than a third of what I shell out for my Urban Decay liner. I’ve already picked up a second color (Eggplant).

Burt’s Bees Pink Grapefruit Towelettes – Probably one of the best face products I’ve ever tried. Drug store, prestige brand, special order, anything, it beats them all. The slight grapefruit-y scent is pleasant without being overpowering and fades away in an hour or so. The towelettes are durable and even on a heavy make up day I never needed more than one to get my face clean. I now use these every night to wash my face before I go to bed, which is sort of a big deal, because my skin can be a bit temperamental, and I usually have to alternate products every few days to avoid dryness or redness. This is also the first “no water needed” product that I haven’t felt like a needed to rinse my face after using. My face feels clean and lightly moisturized, and there is no soapy or oily residue left behind. Best beauty purchase EVER.

$20 a Month

$20 a Month

Tried some really interesting products this month with seriously mixed results; let’s dive in:

Sweet Ease Leg Waxing Kit – Right up front I am going to say I don’t know if I correctly used this product. The instructions were very minimal: rub strip between hands to warm, peel apart, stick on leg, and rip off. They actually had more illustrations on how to not use the strips then they did on how to use them. I tried warming the strips using my hands like the package suggested, but it barely made the wax warm enough to pull apart, let alone rip my hair off my legs. The best technique I came up with was sticking the strips in the back of my waist band and letting the heat from my back/the couch warm them up. Once I finally managed to apply the strips I had the worst time getting it to pull the hair off. I ended up applying the strip rubbing my hand over it a few times to warm it back up, then ripping off. That actually took about 2/3 of the hair off. 13 strips out of the 20 pack later I decided I was better off shaving my legs and threw the rest of the kit in the trash.

Contact Lens Case Case – I found this at Target in the stocking stuffers area and thought it would be good for traveling. I have the worst luck with my contact lens cases not sealing all the way, and I thought this would keep the inside of my suitcase/purse from being unintentionally wetted. It worked. It also had the added benefit of keeping my lens case safe from Oliver. He thinks the clattering sound it makes when it hits the floor is the best things ever, and it makes an excellent kitty toy once it’s down there. The bulky hard case isn’t nearly as much fun: he pawed at it, sniffed indignantly and decided he didn’t want to play on the counter anymore.

Revlon Color Burst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya – This was such a pleasant surprise; I am a little snobby when it comes to drug-store lip color, but I really like this product. I’m not going to say it’s as good as MAC or some of the other higher end brands I’ve tried, but it’s actually pretty close. Now, this isn’t going to be your thing if you are looking for a hyper pigmented lipstick, but it’s perfect if you’re looking for a sheer wash of color with a little sparkle. Heck, with the shade I picked, I didn’t even have to bother with a mirror when I put it on.

Body Shop Sink-In Moisture Mask – I’ve tried Body Shop masks before and I like them a lot, but this was horrible. The strong perfume smell came rushing out the minute I opened the pack, which was a little off putting, but not a deal breaker. I applied the cream to my face, carefully avoiding my eyes and lips as recommended, and set the timer for 10 minutes. After three, my face was tingling, but I waited it out the full ten and then wiped it off. After an additional five, I was in the shower scrubbing my face and neck because it BURNED! I was lucky, and aside from being a little pink and tender, my face was okay, but NEVER AGAIN!!!

Body Shop Seaweed Ionic Clay Mask – After the previous experience, I decided I wasn’t going to try any more of these masks for a while.