Easy DIY French Manicure

Do you ever wonder how some people have such perfectly manicured fingernails? Especially when those fingernails sport the always classy and in-style french tips? I always wondered whether everyone always went to the salon to have them professionally done, or whether the nails were complete fakes –simply too good to be true.

I’ve had my fair share of manicures and I know how talented nail artists/technicians are. It certainly is not a job that I could ever have the talent, ability, or coordination to do.

But, ever since I stopped biting my nails last summer, (hooray for kicking a bad habit to the curb!) I’ve been obsessed with keeping my nails polished and looking nice. This, of course, has led me to buying way too much OPI nail polish…but that’s a story for another blog post.

It also, though, led me to learn an easy an inexpensive way to french tip my own nails without going to the salon.

So, here’s my easy how-to guide to a Do-It Yourself French Manicure!

 

DIY French Manicure

Tools:

  • French tip white nail polish (or any solid white nail polish)
  • UV Top Coat (or any clear nail polish)
  • French tip nail guide stickers (any brand)
  • Nail polish remover
  • Nail file
  • OPI Drip Dry (optional)

 

Instructions:

1. Before you begin, you need to prepare your nails. Make sure your cuticles are pushed back and look even. Depending on whether you want your nails to be rounded or squared, file them appropriately and make sure they are even.

My fingernails are squared, so before starting my manicure I used a nail files make sure each of my nails looked neat and even.

2. Wash your hands and dry them thoroughly to ensure you are working with a clean nail surface.

3. Place one nail guide sticker on each nail. Be careful to leave enough room between the top of the sticker and the end of your nail for the french tip. Remember, the area you are painting will look smaller after you’ve removed the sticker guide.

The stickers are much wider than your fingernail. Try to center the sticker guide when you place it on the nail.

4. Using French tip white nail polish, paint the tip of each nail. Try not to paint too thick of a layer — this could make the polish gummy and cause smudges later. You can always go back and do a second coat if necessary.

For this tutorial, I used Avon’s French Tip White nail enamel.

This is what my nails looked like after one coat of the French Tip White polish.

5. Allow the first coat of French Tip White to dry for at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add a second coat of the white polish if necessary. Allow to dry another 15 minutes.

6. Once your nails have dried for at least 15 minutes after your most recent application, carefully remove the nail guides. Don’t be alarmed if the white polish pulls slightly when you remove the stickers. As long as you have let your nails dry long enough, removing the stickers should leave a clean line.

7. After removing all of the sticker nail guides, apply a coat of clear nail polish such as a UV Top Coat.

Here are my nails after one application of the UV Top Coat. For extra shine, apply a second coat after the first has completely dried.

 

8. To ensure that your nails are completely dry and to prevent smudging, consider applying a drying agent like OPI’s Drip Dry.

9. Your nails are now french manicured! Enjoy the classic and sophisticated look!

 

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5 Must-Have Beauty Products for a Glamorous and Naturally Beautiful Weekend (and Whole Year)

The weekend and end of July are almost upon us, so it’s time to talk beauty. Whether hanging out around the house or going out on the town, this Dame always likes to look her best. Here’s five of my favorite beauty-related products to help you embrace your glamorous and naturally beautiful side.

 

1. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Radiance Cream, SPF 15

I cannot tell you how much I love this cream. And let me tell you, I do not exaggerate. Up until a few months ago, I never wore any kind of moisturizing cream on my face. I don’t really know why — I just never got into the habit. One of the main reasons, I guess, is that I was blessed with a very good complexion and have very few skin issues on my face and never really felt the need to moisturize. Earlier this year, I started noticing that my skin was a little more blotchy than normal but I didn’t really know what to do about it. After seeing a TV beauty segment on radiance creams, I decided to give one a whirl. So, I ran down to the neighborhood drug store and picked up Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Radiance Cream. After using it consistently every day for several weeks, I noticed that my skin tone had evened out and that the red blotches were gone. This cream makes your skin feel amazing and gives it a cool and slightly tingly sensation. But the best part of the radiance cream: it truly makes your complexion brighter. You truly glow.

Pros: Gives you an even, glowing complexion; inexpensive (around $10); makes your face feel fantastic.

Cons: None!

 

2. Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation

A lot of my friends don’t wear foundation, but for some reason I do. I started in high school and once I got used to wearing it, I feel naked without it. That being said, however, I’m never entirely happy with any given foundation. It’s always to orange, or too light, or too heavy on my face. Maybelline’s new Dream Nude Airfoam Foundation is one of the better one’s that I’ve tried over the years. I comes out in a mousse-like spray, goes on even like you’re airbrushing your face, isn’t heavy, and doesn’t make you look like you’re wearing a lot of make-up. Unlike the Neutrogena Radiance Cream, however, the Maybelline foundation does have a few drawbacks to consider before your buy it. But, if you’re looking for airbrush quality foundation at a drugstore price, I suggest you try it. Plus, during these summer months when many of us a rocking a tan, this foundation goes on light enough that you don’t have to buy a darker shade for summer.

Pros: Provides an even, airbrushed finish; isn’t heavy; versatile.

Cons: Color really sticks to hands/fingers during application; can stain polished fingernails.

3. Covergirl Exact Eyelights Eye-Brightening Mascara

I’ve been using Covergirl’s Exact Eyelights mascara for several years. It comes in four shades, all that correspond to your eye color: brown, blue, green, and hazel. I truly adore this mascara. Not only do I feel that this mascara does what it is supposed to do to make my eyelashes long and full, it truly make my eyes brighter. When I wear this mascara, I never need eyeliner.

Pros: Great mascara, comes in both regular and waterproof, brightens eyes.

Cons: Doesn’t give you specific color choices if you like to mix it up.

 

4. Neutrogena Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover

The fact that I had and still have a good complexion is something of a wonder, since I really did nothing to take care of it. A fact that makes me even more thankful for it today. In addition to never using moisturizer, I also never took my make-up off or washed my face with a cleanser. I just washed my face in the shower with whatever soap/body wash I was using. So, when I bought the radiance cream, I also bought Neutrogena’s Naturals Fresh Cleansing wash and makeup remover. I like it because it leaves my face cool and soft. It doesn’t dry it out. It also doesn’t leave my face red and feeling hot like some other cleansers do.

Pros: Good for sensitive skin; leaves your skin clean and removes make-up; gentle; doesn’t burn eyes.

Cons: None.

 

5. Nite White Teeth Whitening System

This is the only item on my list that you can’t buy at your local drugstore. I’m including it though, because it’s a great teeth whitening system that really works. I purchased Nite White through my dentist — which is my suggestion to you. Truly, always ask your dentist or dental hygienist before starting a whitening regimen so you protect the strength and health of your teeth. Nite White comes in little syringes which you place into trays (I have personalized trays that fit to my teeth that were made at the dentist’s office). While you can (as the name suggests) use the whitening system overnight, you also can do it during the day as one treatment only takes about 2 hours. Each syringe gives about 4 treatments. Nite White provides great whitening results and I had no adverse effects.

Pros: Great results; better that whitening strips; effects last for a long time with periodic maintenance.

Cons: More expensive. (Example: My dentist runs a special every spring where you can purchase the system for $100. All proceeds are donated to charity. Normally, however, the system costs at least double.)

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Well, I hope that my 5 Beauty product suggestions have given you some great ideas for staying glamorous.

Remember: Beauty products are meant to enhance your natural beauty. You’re already beautiful. Embrace that beauty.

Reach for the Stars…Er, the Planets

When I was in grade school, I wanted to be an astronaut. This was followed by a brief desire to be be an aerospace engineer who designed the next space shuttle, which was quickly replaced by a desire to be President of the United States. Needless to say, none of those dreams lasted. I don’t like heights, I’m terrible at math, and being president of College Democrats in college left me so burnt out that I could have screamed.

But, regardless of the fact that my dreams of outer space have waned, I still love the stars.

I mentioned earlier this week that we’ve had some amazing weather in Ohio — it’s been in the low 70s for several days and I’ve been living in my flip flops. Because of this, I haven’t been running from my car to the house because of the cold at night, and I’ve actually had the time to turn my eyes to the sky and take in the stars.

Believe me, I’m no expert on the night sky — I usually rely on my Dad to point constellations and planets out to me. But, over the last couple nights, I’ve noticed something. There are two extremely bright stars located very close to one another in the Western sky. With the rudimentary knowledge that I have, I figured at least one was probably a planet, but which one I didn’t know.

Source: National Geographic online.

After a little Googling, I found my answer:

It’s not one, but two planets!

This week, Jupiter and Venus reached their peak for the year in proximity to each other in the night sky. In the photograph above, taken in France several days ago, Jupiter (on the right) and Venus (on the left) were virtually directly across from one another in the sky.

As of tonight, March 16th, the planets have begun to drift away from one another, but they are still very close together and very bright — particularly Venus which is often the brightest object in the sky.

This is roughly what they looked like tonight:

This photograph, taken by Greg Abbott and appearing on The Guardian website, shows Jupiter on the left and Venus on the right. This is roughly what the two planets looked like in the sky tonight, March 16th.

 

Jupiter and Venus are visible for about 4 hours following sunset. If you are having trouble locating them, look for the brightest object in the sky — Venus. It’s hard to miss. Venus is so bright that it looks like the headlight of a car shining at you from space.

According to Earthsky.org, March 2012 is one of the best months ever to view the five planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury) which are visible to the naked eye.

Next Sunday, March 25th, the Moon will enter into Venus and Jupiter’s dance:

Picture located at Earthsky.org

Take some time this week, look up at the night sky. Consider the immense universe we live in and the beauty it contains.

Plus,  it’ll be awhile until this sight comes around so brilliantly again. Although Venus and Jupiter come close to one another in our sky roughly ever 13 months, next year when they appear in May 2013, they’ll only remain visible for 1 hour before setting below the horizon.

 

Thank God It’s Friday: A Few Things I’ve Learned/Rediscovered This Week

So, I know I already posted once tonight. But, to be honest, I started that post a couple days ago and never got a chance to finish it until tonight.

It’s been a long and very busy week, but I’ve had some time to have some fun, learn/rediscover some things, and to appreciate the beauty around us.

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Appreciating Fall Weather

Today was one of those days here in Ohio that you wanted to jump in your car, roll your windows down, open the moon roof all the way, blast some great music and go for a drive in the country. I did this on my way to campus today. A wonderful 72 degrees, not a cloud in the sky.

I realized how much I missed fall weather and the leaves changing colors. There’s a calmness and beauty that the summer heat obscures and the Spring coolness doesn’t always display to its best advantage.

If I had had the time (and the extra money) I would have indulged in one of my favorite things, which combines my love of driving in the country on fall days with my love of shopping: driving the back way to the Grove City Premium Outlets.

For locals, I highly suggest you do this sometime. And the route is easy. Depending on where you live, get yourself (most likely via Interstate 80 and Route 376) to Route 208 in Pulaski, Pennsylvania. Take 208 through New Wilmington and Volant to Grove City. The drive is great, beautiful, and worth the few extra minutes.

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The Girl With Curly Hair Learns to…Curl Her Hair…With a Sock…

Yeah, you read that right. I want to curl my hair, but I already have curly hair. My picture on this blog is deceiving. I really have the most unruly, curly hair on the planet and I try to straighten it as much as possible because I don’t really like it.

It usually looks like this:

But, I saw this video on Youtube the other night about creating “sock bun curls” and, as I already had my hair straightened and love those soft curls, had to give it a try.

Here’s the video:

It worked okay, but I’m going to try it again another night when I’ve done some better preparation – aka, not decide to try it at midnight and forget to dampen my hair as directed.

Let me know if it works for you!

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Rest In Peace Steve Jobs

Finally, I leave you with a quote that, sadly, I rediscovered this week due to the untimely death of Steve Jobs. His brilliance has brought our generation and the world technological advances that have forever changed our lives. His philosophy about life, however, has forever changed our souls.

The quote comes from an Apple television commercial broadcast in the late 1990s. The slogan “Think Different” can and did mean many things, but one thing is clear from both the quote and the commercial itself: thinking differently, however you do it, can change your destiny and help you change the world.

Here’s the original commercial:

Here’s the written quote:

Have a great weekend! 🙂