REVIEW: ESSIE’S GEL-SETTER

A weekly manicure is, no joke, my lifeline. I can’t do bare nails. I’ve tried. I feel weird and naked and like something is missing when I’m not rocking a color on my tips and toes. It’s my weekly indulgence for myself, and I have fun changing up my color each time.

I’ve also tried to master at-home manicures (my mom used to do nails for a living in her twenties and it’s so embarrassing how bad I am at it) and I simply can’t figure it out. It always comes out goopy, or streaky, or smudged, or all over my cuticles. I may have been blessed with my mom’s smile and thick hair, but I definitely didn’t get her nail talents. So completely unfair.

I’m a die-hard Essie fan, and will defend them over OPI til I’m bermuda blue in the face. (see what I did there?) Their polishes just last the longest for me. I can generally make a manicure last the full week without chipping, and can even sometimes go longer. I love their selection of colors, I love the polish names, and I look forward to seeing their new collections each season. I’ll always be an Essie girl.

So when I saw the adorable ads for Gel-Setter, their new top coat, I knew I had to have it. I’ve gotten gel manicures before and while I love a manicure that can last and remain shiny and chip-free for almost three weeks, I hate the removal process and how brittle and weak my nails are afterwards. I only get them for special occasions.

Gel-Setter is essentially a top coat that gives you the shiny gel finish we all covet, but without the need to keep nails under a lamp. It’s also removed with regular polish remover.

It was a bit thicker than I was expecting and definitely thicker than normal top coat, but it made my regular manicure instantly glossier. I wouldn’t say it made my manicure last longer, but it felt like it had a nice protective coating over it. And my nails looked amazing — even my dad said they looked fabulous (my dad doesn’t notice things like that, so I take his compliments in a high esteem!).

Essie Gel-Setter is a great top coat and a must-have for ladies who DIY mani or who visit the salon. You can buy it anywhere Essie polishes are sold, and it comes on its own or with a popular Essie shade for a cheaper price (they had one of my favorites, mint candy apple). LOVE.

xo A

REVIEW: ESSIE’S GEL-SETTER

National Lipstick Day

Happy National Lipstick Day, ladies!

Admittedly, I have a very hard time finding lipstick that I like. My lips are very small, and aside from that, my skin is very fair, so I run the risk of looking like a clown in certain (read: most) colors. I also am constantly drinking liquids (water, coffee, and, if I’m lucky, a fabulous cocktail), constantly talking, laughing, and eating, and I need my lip color to go the distance. I like low-maintenance beauty — who wants to be constantly running to the ladies room to check on your makeup?!

I have three go-to lip colors that range from nude/every day (read: perfect for important meetings or job interviews), a peachy rose, and a sheer red.

The nude was actually gifted to me on my wedding day by my makeup artist — the fabulous Jeanette at Glo Beauty Bar. Leave it to a makeup artist to pick the most perfect shade imaginable. I am so addicted to this lip color that I woe the day it runs out, because it’s only sold at Glo. I’ll just have to make a trip there to pick up another. Here is me on my wedding day with the great lipstick and lip gloss Jeanette gave me.

My next favorite lip color is actually more of a tinted lip balm. It’s called benebalm by Benefit, and it’s perfect for just enough color to make your lips pop without being too garish. It’s super hydrating, and the color is light enough that it can be buildable over itself or a different lipstick. It comes in a fun red and pink polka dot case that looks just as cute on my vanity as it does on my lips!

My third favorite is the Phyto-Lip Shine in Sheer Cherry by Sisley Paris. It’s definitely pricey at $52 and not quite long-lasting (you’ll be reapplying for sure), but the color is so gorgeous and works so well with my skin tone.

Definitely break out your favorite shade today in honor of #NationalLipstickDay and get ready to pucker up. Smooches!

xo A

National Lipstick Day

HOT TIPS

I tend to be somewhat of a hair chameleon — I simply can’t help myself. I have the same style for a year, two at max, and then the urge comes over me to change it up. I’ve had a bob (and loved it), super long locks, and something in-between. I’ve done bangs, no bangs, layers, no layers. I’ve been every shade under the natural born sun, from dark brown (almost black), to light brown, to honey highlights, to red, to super blonde. I love the feeling of going into the salon and coming out feeling like a different lady.

Thankfully, I haven’t had too many traumatic experiences, save for one bad haircut in my younger years (this is when the Farrah-flipped ends came back in style a la Mandy Moore below, and it was NOT a good look for me), so I feel lucky and that makes me happy to experiment.

One thing I’ve never worked up the courage to try is dip-dyed ends. But I’ve ALWAYS wanted to, especially the last few years as they’ve come back in style. I currently am rocking a medium-length blonde coif, so I think pink tips would look killer. But I also tend to err on the conservative side with my overall look (I feel like all eyes are on me when I wear heels, for crying out loud), so I’m not sure I could pull it off without people thinking I had some sort of nervous breakdown.

But I love this look — it is so fun and vibrant and so much more fun than a boring trim. Here are some of my favorite looks. What do you think about this trend?

xo A

HOT TIPS

DEMI LOVATO ACTUALLY ISN’T COOL FOR THE SUMMER

Why you ask? Because she’s smoking HOT in her latest video for “Cool for the Summer.” (Sorry, bad pun, but it’s so true!)

Demi has been killin’ it in the gym for awhile now, posting sexy selfies in all kinds of flexible poses and cute gym wear, and it shows in her video, released today. The 22-year-old has tons of fun in the video, which includes a sexy pillow fight and foam party. Where was our invite, girl?

The song and corresponding video definitely show a more mature side, which Demi told Ryan Seacrest is a deliberate change to show the more fun, badass side of herself. Demi says:

“There’s nobody in the pop industry that says, ‘Don’t f**k with me,’” she explains. “There’s Rihanna and Nicki Minaj. Those two women, they’re like, ‘I’ll kick your f**king a**.’ And that’s the thing. I’m totally that, but in pop music. Not that they’re not pop music, but it’s just kind of a different world.”

“There’s a side of [me] that people don’t get to see with my past music, but it’s been there,” she adds. “It’s totally been there. And like hey, just because I’m sober doesn’t mean that I’m judging anybody else for their stuff. And also, it also doesn’t mean I didn’t have a damn good time back then either. I’m having a good time sober — a better time for sure.”

Enjoy the video for my favorite sultry song of the summer.

xo A

DEMI LOVATO ACTUALLY ISN’T COOL FOR THE SUMMER

LITTLE SLICES OF HAPPY EVERY DAY

One thing we all tend to forget in our day to day lives is how little it can take to bring a smile to our faces. We go through the motions — wake up to our alarm, stumble around to get ready for work, be prepared for 8+ hours of a grind with commuting and countless interactions (some good, some bad) and new things thrown at us each day, with the solitary goal of being able to make our way home to whatever chores lie ahead there, to plop on the couch before passing out and preparing to do the exact same thing tomorrow.

No matter how much you love your job, or where you live, or your coworkers or friends or family, this gets daunting and tedious quickly. For the past few months, I’ve tried to inject what I call little slices of happy into my routine each day. I know, hear me out. It sounds so cheesy and silly, but doing teeny tiny things can really help keep the work week from feeling so dull.

1. Drink citrus-infused water first thing in the morning.

Lately I have been trying to drink as much water as possible — it’s so good for your body, for your skin, and for your digestive system to be well-hydrated. But we all know plain water is, well, plain and boring! The way I combat this is by adding a slice of lemon or lime into my water bottle in the morning. It makes plain water delicious, and much easier to drink a lot of. If you drink it throughout the day, you will beat the heat and give your body exactly what it needs for no calories or sugar — just pure water with a twist. Staying hydrated becomes less of a chore and more of a treat.

2. Listen to music you love every single day.

Maybe you have time on your commute, or during your workout, or at your desk, or at night before you drift off to sleep. Incorporating music into each day, no matter where or how much you can, is such a great way to brighten up your mood. I love music so much — certain songs truly make me come alive, make me want to dance, and make me feel — they bring me to a happy place. It literally does not matter what you want to listen to — whatever rocks your world is exactly what you need to hear every day. Make a playlist, or listen to whatever is on the radio, but hearing music you love every day is a truly personal and wonderful thing to do.

3. Wear something that makes you utterly happy.

My gym sneakers are hot pink and yellow Nikes. They’d likely look ridiculous out on the street, but when I see them, I can’t help but smile. They also feel like I am walking on a cloud. I keep them in a spot that I won’t be able to ignore them in order to inspire the urge to workout. And guess what? It works! The shoes are so dope that I’m like “bring it, treadmill!” Put something on every day that you absolutely love, whether it’s a cozy sweater that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, or a piece of jewelry you got on vacation or as a gift from someone special. You’ll be reminded of something that makes you happy and that moment of joy is worth it all.

4. Compliment someone.

Nothing brings good energy your way like putting good energy out there. Make a point to compliment someone every day. It can be someone you know, or someone you pass on the street. You like someone’s purse or shoes? Tell them! Your coworker killed it in a meeting? Praise them! Your SO did something small like cleaning up the coffee table? Thank them! You will feel good knowing someone else smiled because of you.

5. Have little adventures every day.

Take the long way to work to finish hearing your favorite song. Walk to the coffee shop a little further away than Starbucks for your morning buzz. Go get ice cream on a Wednesday evening just because. Doing things that are different than the norm can motivate and excite you in ways you didn’t know were possible. Give it a whirl… every single day. Smiles will abound. 🙂

xo A

LITTLE SLICES OF HAPPY EVERY DAY

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

We’re not even halfway through the summer and already three major celeb couples have announced their sad uncouplings: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, and Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert. At a time when most summer flings are just starting to sizzle, these long-term couples are facing a new reality and a new dynamic. It got me thinking about other celebrity couples from the past that will always have a special place in my heart. Here are a few of my favorites:

Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian

The Bush and The Tush are hands-down one of my favorite pairings of all time. They were both stunning on their own, but together, the hotness meter just went off the charts. I mean, really, could two humans look any more perfect than these two?! During their time together, anytime Kim spoke about Reggie on Keeping Up with the Kardashians, she had such a sparkle in her eye. It was obvious that they were enamored of each other. They truly seemed a match made in heaven. I still firmly believe that Reggie is the one who got away (sorry, Kanye!) and am sad that we will never know what could have been. Though both have moved on with other partners, both marrying and having children (she famously wed basketball player Kris Humphries for 72 days, then rebounded with rapper Kanye West. The two have since welcomed baby North West, gotten married, and are expecting a new baby boy later this year. Reggie has also had a baby, Briseis Avagyan Bush, and married Armenian dance teacher Lilit Avagyan), I fondly remember the good old days of this gorge twosome.

Courteney Cox and David Arquette

I have been a longtime fan of this duo since the ’90s (they met on the set of Scream which is my all-time favorite horror franchise) and their on-screen and off-screen love seemed flawless. They co-starred in four Scream films and supported each others’ endeavors, co-owning a production company and executive producing a show together. They seemed to be the perfect complement to each other: she gorgeous and goofy and he adorable and quirky. Sadly, after over 11 years of marriage and one daughter together, they amicably divorced. Both have moved on, she with Snow Patrol member Johnny McDaid (the two announced their engagement in 2014) and David welcomed a son, Charlie West Arquette, in 2014 with new wife Christina McLarty. But my heart will always hold near and dear Dewey Riley and Gale Weathers (I mean, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, of course!)

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth

Ah, to be young and beautiful and in love… I was really rooting for Miley and Liam to go the distance despite how young they were when they announced their engagement (she was only 19!) but alas, it wasn’t in the stars for this duo to have a future together. She was already world famous while his star was quickly on the rise, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be. Earlier this year, it was reported the two had reconciled, but this turned out to be a case of the rumor mill churning. They seemingly still remain friendly, which gives us hope that maybe they can find each other again after Miley finishes sewing her wild oats.. she just can’t be tamed!

Britney and Justin

This is the one that hurts my heart the most. Has there EVER been a cuter couple than Britney and Justin? Together, they had it all. They were both massive pop stars, he with *N Sync at the time and she a solo superstar. I refuse to acknowledge that Britney is to blame for their breakup, reportedly having cheated on Justin with backup dancer Wade Robson (really, Brit?!). They were so cute it hurts, and I still have hope they will end up together in the end. I know, I know, he’s happily married and recently welcomed son Silas Randall Timberlake with wife Jessica Biel, but Britney is single now and I can’t help but wish the two would find each other again. They were just so sweet and goofy and charming. Sigh…

xo A

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO

LADIES I LOVE: AMY SCHUMER

I have to admit, up until about 18 hours ago, I sorely underestimated the power of Amy Schumer. I really only took notice to her when a quote she made while accepting the Trailblazer Award at the 2015 Glamour Women of the Year Awards made the internet rounds. Surely by now you’ve heard it, but if not, Amy said to her audience: “I’m probably like 160 lbs. right now, and I can catch a dick whenever I want. It’s not a problem. It’s not a problem.”

This quote stuck out to me, admittedly, because anytime a woman in the press puts a number to her weight, I am both shocked and impressed. It’s such a taboo thing to ever utter out loud (the only people on this earth who know my true actual weight are my doctors and anyone who happens to look at my medical files at said doctors office) that to have someone so unapologetically say “this is my weight and listen, guys do not care about that shit” is fantastic.

I am sad and embarrassed to say that this is the first reason I took notice of Amy Schumer, but I knew after watching her speech, peppered with plenty of NSFW words and quippy jokes, I wanted to follow her every move. Aside from being obviously smart and funny, she is not afraid to be who she is, and she’s the kind of lady I wish I could surround myself with in my every day life.

I have seen previews for her movie Trainwreck for weeks, and knew that it was the type of movie I wanted to see on opening night. Some movies are like “okay, that looks cute, maybe I should see it in the theatre” while others are like “yeah that one will be great for when I’m bored on the couch and it’s on HBO” but this one was a “sign me up for Fandango alerts, please.” Honestly, I really did not know if the world shared my Amy Schumer love or not, until we got to the theatre, about to utter the words “two tickets for Trainwreck, please” and were met with a “8:40 Trainwreck is SOLD OUT. The next show is at 10:40.”

My heart sank. I felt defeated. I had wanted to see this movie for so long and now you’re telling me it’s not going to happen?! But then I realized it’s because the world DOES share my Amy Schumer love. And I can’t fault them for that. So I declared to my husband that we’d be back the next night, and I’m holding him to it.

I can’t wait to see Trainwreck tonight because I love a good rom-com, and because Amy is so fabulous and funny. So cheers to you, Amy. Keep being your beautiful, hilarious, ball busting self!

LADIES I LOVE: AMY SCHUMER