Friday, May 27, 2011

Polka Dot Nails & Shoes

Last week, I asked for your help finding a polish to match the polka dot heels I planned to wear to my sister, Kelsey's, college graduation.  With your suggestions, I chose 4 colors that best matched the shoes, and from those, I selected OPI Sand in My Suit, which reader Erin recommended.  Musings from Manhattan suggested the Nicole by OPI Liquid Metallics, and I waffled for a long time between Nicole by OPI It Starts With Me and OPI Sand in My Suit because I love how shimmery It Starts With Me is.  For the polka dots, I knew that the Kiss Nail Artist Fine Art Pen in black would be perfect, and Kiss was kind enough to send me a set including the black and white pens so I could create this fun manicure.  You may remember the butterfly manicure (HERE) that I did with the pink and silver versions of the Kiss Fine Art Pens.

My nails match my shoes!

For this manicure, I started with two coats of OPI Sand in My Suit.  Once that was completely dry, I drew polka dots in varying sizes using the Kiss Nail Artist Fine Art Pen in black.  I topped everything with a coat of Seche Vite.

The contenders
Left to right: Nicole by OPI The Next CEO, OPI Sand in My Suit, Nicole by OPI It Starts With Me, Nicole by OPI Miss Independence

With the shoe inspiration

They are hard to see unless you enlarge the photo, but here are my polka dot nails.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  
I hope everyone has a fun and safe Memorial Day weekend.

Kelsey's Graduation!

Congratulations, Kelsey!!

Yesterday my sister, Kelsey, graduated from college.  I am so proud of her!  She earned an "A" in every class, thereby maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout college, and was awarded the President's Award for academic excellence. The college also presented her with a $1,000 scholarship for her academic achievements.  Kelsey is headed to pharmacy school in the fall.  She has accomplished so much, and I am so proud of everything she has done.
Congratulations on graduating, Kelsey!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dozer the Dog Runs a Half Marathon

A little over a week ago, I told you about the half marathon that my fiance and his sister ran (posted HERE).  During the race, I snapped some photos of a dog rounding the bend to the final stretch.  I assumed he was with one of the runners, but it turns out that the dog, named Dozer, saw the runners go by around the 5 mile marker from his front yard and made a run for it.  Dozer raced more than 8 miles with the runners, and received an honorary medal at the end.  He didn't even look winded as he trotted to the finish line - I think he would have kept going if the runners hadn't stopped!

Since the race, Dozer has recieved a lot of attention.  ESPN wrote about the 3-year old racer, there was an article about the escapee on MSNBC, there is a video of Dozer running posted on Care2, and now a racer's page has been set up for Dozer.  So far, he has raised a remarkable $6,173.00 for the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center!  You can donate to Dozer's page by clicking HERE.

How cool is that?  I would love to see a dog/human race; my dogs would probably need to start with a 5k, but I think a lot of dogs would enjoy racing and raising donations.

I can be reached at


OPI Spark de Triomphe with OPI White Shatter

I am loving this manicure!  It looks AMAZING.  The glitter didn't photograph nearly as nicely as it wears in real life, unfortunately, but the glitter showing through the shattered cracks of OPI White Shatter looks just amazing.  This is one of my favorite shattered combinations yet. The glitter looks great coming through the white shatter, especially outdoors in the sun.

Both of these shades were designed by Serena Williams and they are available in a two packs together as part of the new Glam Slam Collection.  

OPI Spark de Triomphe

Spark de Triomphe is a clear coat loaded with beautiful sparkly, shimmery glitter in a variety of sizes.  I used two coats for a semi-opaque look.  Spark de Triomphe dried super fast, and once it was dry, I applied one coat of OPI White Shatter.

I'll post pictures of the other shattered combination from Serena's Glam Slam Collection tomorrow!

What is your favorite shattered mani combo?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Black Tie Optional

I've wanted to do a shattered French manicure for a long time.  I have tried it a few times with other shattering polishes, but could never get the French shape right without messing up the shatter (because if you use more than one wet coat of shatter polish, the shatter effect won't happen).  I decided to try OPI Black Shatter over my white-tipped French manicure today and I am loving the black and white look.  A few of the nails didn't shatter as much as I would have liked, but I think it looks pretty awesome.

OPI Black Shatter over Kiss nail art white French manicure

Have you tried a shattered French manicure yet?

Shoe Polish - Color Matching Help Needed!

Next week, my sister, Kelsey, graduates from college.  For the graduation ceremony, I am planning on wearing these adorable polka dot shoes, and I would like to paint my nails a similar color of pale pink/champagne to match.  I am thinking I may even do black polka dots on my nails to match!

So I'm turning to you: 
Can you think of a polish that matches the pink/champagne color of these heels?

On a different note, I've been obsessed with french manicures lately.  I freehanded this one (below) on Monday night, and yesterday I redid my french manicure.  I've been loving how simple and elegant it looks.

Thank you for any polish suggestions!  I'm hoping to find a nice match, but if not, a complimentary shade.  I appreciate any suggestions.  I hope everyone has a nice Friday!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Race Day

Yesterday my fiance and his sister, Meredith, ran the Maryland Half Marathon benefitting the University of Maryland Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center.  It was J's 3rd half marathon and Meredith's first, and they both did great.  My good friend Melanie also ran the MD Half Marathon yesterday - without walking a single step!

I have to admit - all of this excitement makes me have a bit of running fever.  I spent Friday and Saturday carbing up with J and his sister, I wore my snazzy new sneakers to the race (even though I passed the time holding a camera), and I rested and relaxed and complained about how tired I was after the race.  I was a pseudo-racer.  I even dreamt that I ran a race last night!  So what better way to show my support for these awesome runners than to wear a fabulous race day mani?

For this manicure, I started with two coats of China Glaze Kiwi Cool-ada, a neon green polish.  Once that was dry, I painted one coat of China Glaze Crackle Glaze Broken Hearted for the awesome cracked effect.

And some race day photos!
J and Meredith after running 13.1 miles

The start of the race

J rounding the final bend in the home stretch

So, are any of my readers runners?  Is anyone training for an upcoming race?  Or, has anyone recently completed a race?
Thanks for stopping by!  

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fancy French

French Manicure

Yesterday my sister's boyfriend, Andrew, graduated from college.  For the ceremony, I wore a french manicure.  I free-handed the white tips without nail guides using the Kiss nail art white polish, so they aren't perfect, but I think they look pretty nice, especially with the rhinestones.  Of course, the rhinestones came off while I was straightening my hair, so my nails ended up being a basic french mani - but still fancy!  I haven't worn a french manicure for a while (mainly because my index nail keeps getting broken); this reminds me how much I like this look.

Congratulations Andrew!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day Flowers

It is two days late, but I wanted to wish all of the mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day.  I hope you all had a beautiful day!

Broadway Nail Dress

For Mother's Day, I wore this gorgeous Broadway floral "Nail Dress" on my nails.  They are basically sticky sheets of polish shaped to your nails.  They are super easy to apply (much easier than a another brand I have tried) and I had zero bumps.  You have to guesstimate which size nail will fit yours, and as you can see, I guessed wrong on my index finger (the first nail I did, but I got the rest right.  

Once you stick the nail down, you use the included file to file away the excess.  I wore these for three days with a topcoat, but I had to peel them off before a work meeting.

Broadway Nail Dress comes in a variety of patterns (including leopard print - can't wait to try that!).  These are available at major retail stores and drugstores.  Have you had a chance to try them yet?  I am just loving this floral design.  It is so pretty.  I got SO MANY compliments on my nails just in the few days I wore them.

The nails matched my dress!

I loved that the nail patterns weren't identical, which made it look more natural (a lot like Minx, but tremendously cheaper).

They even made my shorter nails (right) look nice.

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Cinco de Mayo!


How are you celebrating today?  I stopped by Trader Joe's and picked up some of their delicious salsas, and some avocados and tomatoes for guacamole and pico de gallo.  We're going to make tacos and margaritas too tonight.  Ole!

China Glaze B-Girlz

I couldn't decide on an appropriate Cinco de Mayo shade, plus I've had CND Shellac on my nails for two weeks, but I finally decided to try painting a color over my Shellac mani.  I went with B-Girlz because I haven't used it for a while and I actually don't have a single untried polish (amazing, right?).  B-Girlz is a gorgeous hot pink with a hint of blue shimmer.  I used one coat (since it was over top of an existing color) and it dried pretty fast.

Have a fun Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Lazy Girl's Guide to Building a Lightbox

A lightbox is basically a well-lit spot for taking photographs.  I've been putting off building one for ages because I didn't have the right tools (Exacto knife, tracing paper for the windows, fancy lights), but yesterday I picked up the perfect new light at Ikea, so while J was assembling our new cabinet last night (more on that later), I built a lightbox using materials I had around the house.  And while the cabinet took him more than two hours, I had this lightbox finished in thirty minutes flat.


  • Cardboard box (the size depends on what you will be photographing)
  • Knife (I used a kitchen knife)
  • White paper
  • Tape
  • Three halogen lights (more on this in Step Three)

Step One:
Cut out a square of cardboard from three sides of the box.  Determine which side will be the bottom.  You will not be cutting any cardboard from the bottom.  Cut a square out of the top and each side.

I used a basic kitchen knife for this and it was very easy.  There is no need to measure or try to make straight lines - just freehand cut.  Make sure to cut off the flaps (from where the box originally opened) as well (see last photo in this series).  I apologize for all the dark photos - I build this box at night and clearly my house lacks great lighting.

Step Two:
Cut white paper (I used paper right from the printer) to fit over the three holes you just cut.  Tape down the sides so the paper completely covers the cut squares.  Also arrange a piece of paper inside of the box to give the white backdrop (see the fourth photo in this series).  Mine stayed in place without tape, but you may need to tape it in.

Step Three:
Arrange three lights so each one is pointing at one of the cut sides.  I already had one (the little one on the left), but I bought the large one at Ikea yesterday for $10.  I am going to go back and get another one this week, because I need a third light source (for the right side).  The Ikea light came with a halogen bulb and is available in Ikea stores, although I can't find an exact match online.  Similar lights are available by clicking here.

My light from Ikea (it is hugely tall).

Step Four:
Get snapping!  
Here are some pictures I took immediately after building it (of random things that I had on hand):

It is ideal to set your lightbox and lights up somewhere where they can stay permanently, because it isn't too fun to pull the pieces out and set them up each time you want to take pictures. That said, with all the lights, this does take up a fairly large footprint.  I decided to set mine up on a folding table in the corner of the dining room, because we don't use that room much (although as you can see from this pictures, I had it set up on the floor where I was building it, which is definitely not an ideal location).

You can play around with different backdrops and arranging the lights different for unique effects.  Of course, it is important to remember that natural light is ideal and makes for the best photographs, but for taking pictures at night (as many of us do, since we work during the sunny hours), this makes for nice shots.

Remember: this is for an quick and dirty lightbox - not a nice, fancy one, but in my opinion, the pictures are pretty good.  If you need a lightbox and want something quick and easy, this is for you.  I am in no way an expert (at photography or lightbox-building), but this method worked well for me.
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