Monday, February 13, 2012

Nail Polish: Sally Hansen Salon Effects Check it Out

I've been admiring the Sally Hansen Salon Effects for some time now, afraid to commit to actually trying them. My experimentation with nails has only ever gone as far as nail polish. There was a fear element to trying something new. 
I love fun designs for nails but have found it to be near impossible to do myself. It was time for me to bite the bullet and try Salon Effects. They are nail polish strips that you simply peel off a plastic backing and place on to your nails. Simple enough, right?


The kit comes with 8 strips for each hand. Plenty of sizes to fit your nails (almost) perfectly. There is also a nail file and wooden cuticle stick used to help prep and finish your new nail look. 


These nail polish strips are sadly not the easiest product in the world. You will struggle a bit to mold them to your nail, and may have to stretch the strips to make them fit properly. The biggest problem is removing the excess. After a few nails, you get the hang of it. I found that folding the strip over your nail, then pulling at the sides (using your nail as the sharp edge) is the best way to remove the excess. Then you can use the file to clean off the pieces that still overhang. 


Only two of my nails were covered perfectly without a slight crease at the tip. I'm sure the more times you use the Salon Effects, the easier and better it becomes. If it is your first time, like it was for me, then choose a print. I used Check it Out, a houndstooth print, that was able to cover up a lot of my mistakes. At a regular distance you would never see them, only when you're very very close are the creases and other little mistakes visible. 
An added step I took was to use a clear coat of polish over the strips to really bind them to my nails. The only fear I had with the Salon Effects was that they'd peel just as easily off. The clear coat of polish solved this problem. Just like with regular nail polish, the strips need ample amount of time to dry and harden. I put them on last night before I went to sleep and today they are perfectly hardened and I don't have any of the worries I had had originally. 
I would recommend the Sally Hanse Salon Effects for anyone who, like me, doesn't have the time, energy, or patience to put into making detailed nail designs. 


If you would like to purchase Salon Effects click HERE. If you want to learn more click HERE.   

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Workout DVD: Bethenny's Skinnygirl Workout

I'll start off by saying I am no authority on Workout DVDs. They always seemed rather hokey with horrible names like the Abs of Steel or Great Buns and Thighs. They sound more like machinery or a chicken platter than a workout. My feeling was always, if they don't take the name seriously than how can I take them seriously? 


After many years of following Bethenny Frankel's career via Martha Stewart's Apprentice to Real Housewives of NY and her recent reality show Bethenny Ever After, I have grown to love and respect her enthusiasm for helping others through healthy life choices. She has a fantastic line of cocktails, books (both cooking and lifestyle), clothing, and skin care. The Skinnygirl brand has expanded globally while still maintaining its original message of helping the everyday person live a healthy and happy life. 


When I first found out about her workout dvd's, I wasn't as skeptical as I typically would be. It's no secret that Bethenny has been doing yoga for 20 years, I mean look at her! She's fit as a whip. Of course her secret would be yoga, the workout that has been a Hollywood secret for years. Having used her products in the past, I knew there wasn't some behind the scenes ploy to get the consumer to buy into a phony product.


I bought the Body by Bethenny dvd over the summer (her first workout dvd). I loved it. The instructor Kristin McGee leads the workout with Bethenny, with a soft, calming voice that relaxes you, even if the moves can test you at times. With Bethenny's trademark wit, the workout is enjoyable and often times funny as Bethenny brings some comedy to yoga--a potentially boring workout style. The Body by Bethenny dvd focuses on the structure and movements of yoga. At only 40 minutes it is extremely convenient. I found it to be a great introductory program. 
Recently Bethenny released her second yoga dvd, Bethenny's Skinnygirl Workout. As much as I loved Body by Bethenny, I love the Skinnygirl Workout a thousand times more. It offers 3 sections, all roughly 15 minutes. It is incredibly easy for customization as you can choose how long you want your workout to be and which section(s) you would like to do. I find that Instructor Michael McArdle is a great balance to Bethenny's sharp tongue. The open instructing and conversation makes you immediately comfortable as if you are really there with them. This style of yoga focuses on strengthening and balance, two areas I find are perfect for everyone to improve. 


Now, I will mention this is a tough workout. It will definitely get your heart pumping at times. After the first time I did the Skinnygirl Workout, I was sore for days, my muscles screaming in agony. Part of the problem was that I pushed myself to do as the instructor did (not the best idea when they've been doing yoga for decades and I haven't.) You definitely don't have to push yourself like I did. After a week and a half of the workouts, I already notice a difference. My muscles feel tighter, my balance is stronger, and my flexibility has increased. 
I highly recommend Bethenny's Skinnygirl Workout for anyone and everyone. It is great for those who hate going to the gym and doing a mind numbingly boring routine (like myself) or for those who just want to try something new. With customization and the ability to improve with harder variations, this is a perfect workout for everyone. 


If you would like to buy Bethenny's Skinnygirl Workout click HERE. If you would like to learn more click HERE

Friday, January 13, 2012

Nail Polish: Essie Cute as a Button, Insta-Dri Snappy Sorbet, and Insta-Dri Lightening

Tri-color nails are all the rage, or at least that's what I'm telling myself since I decided to paint my nails three different colors. I was shopping the other day and stumbled upon (meaning I walked right towards) the nail polish section. I needed an update since I've been on a strict nail polish diet (not purposefully) using only Essie Mint Candy Apple or Essie Lilacism
I LOVE bright colored nails. I think dark nails look fantastic but there is something about looking at flashing neon bright nails that can turn your mood around. It may be because I wear so little color during the winter months that using shock worthy nail colors is a great way to add flash to my looks. 
My nail colors are Essie Cute as a Button, Insta-Dri Snappy Sorbet and Insta-Dri Lightening. Looking at my nails for the last couple days, I've decided that these colors are a Tropical Sunset. There's just something about the bright pink, neon melon and sunny yellow colors that scream lying on the beach in the tropics. 
As with all Essie nail polish its a bit watered down. You really have to layer it on to get a strong color. I suggest at least 2-3 coats. The Sally Hansen Insta-Dri polish is much thicker so only 1-2 coats of polish is necessary. Take a look at how my nails turned out. 
If you would like to buy Essie Cute as a Button click HERE or Insta-Dri Snappy Sorbet click HERE or Insta-Dri Lightening click HERE

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Food and Drink: Tazo Passion Tea and Joy Tea

It was when I arrived at the young age where my friends "discovered" coffee that I realized I hated the stuff. Coffee is not my friend. The strong flavor that seems to drown your mouth, nasal cavity, and throat so that you're breathing it all day, just didn't work for me. When my friends would ask, do you want to grab a coffee? I would hem and haw over my decision because the last thing I wanted to do was drink it. 


I had to come up with something to drink and after numerous occasions of being roped into attending the well known and not so well known coffee houses, I discovered tea (hot tea). It is important to mention that I had been drinking iced tea for years both sweetened and unsweetened. As weird as it may sound, hot tea is a very different animal than iced tea. The way the flavors hit your mouth is entirely different depending on the temperature. 


Eventually a friend had me try the Tazo Passion tea. It's really my go to tea, whether its hot or cold, it will always be my favorite. It has a bitter sort of flavor that I love. I usually tell people its the worst tasting best tea you will ever have because the flavor is so strong and pungent. I can understand why many won't like it but I think its fantastic. It is much more of a spring/summer drink with its light flavoring of hibiscus, papaya, mango, and passion fruit. 
I was left with the dilemma of finding the right tea for fall/winter. My cousin gave me the Tazo Joy tea as part of a Christmas gift and I've been drinking it obsessively since. The Joy tea is only released around the holidays--why? I have no idea. I think they should make it year round because it is THAT good. It is a fantastic blend of black, green, and oolong tea. If you can't find it in stores, try searching around online because it is definitely worth a try. I recommend drinking it without sugar so you can really enjoy the flavoring. 
If you would like to find out more about Tazo teas or purchase them, click HERE
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