Jul 15, 2014

Extra Flair

Sometimes I don't realize how cute my outfit looks until the doors of the elevator at work close, and I'm left to stare at myself in floor length mirrors on the ride to the fourth floor. That same ride isn't as fun when I'm staring at a reflection of a girl with messy hair, no eyeliner, in a gray T and jeans. To combat the "gray T days", I've been loving easy summer dresses with a denim jacket (to ward off the cold A/C in the office). Statement jewelry is my go-to for adding some extra flair to a basic outfit and a bright purse is always acceptable.

Versona Accessories recently opened around the corner, in Winter Park, and I'm absolutely loving it. The entire store is divided into gold and silver, then there are tables that are color coded on each side of the store as well. So, if you're looking for gold hardware with blue stones or embellishments, there's a table for you. If you're looking for silver hardware waith black details, there's a table for you as well. It's so easy to walk in and find exactly what you're looking for, plus the prices are great. I recently purchased two necklaces (including the one in the photo), a ring and three bracelets for $50.

Outfit details: Dress (Macy's) | Shoes (Jessica Simpson) | Bag (Target) | Necklace in-store only (Versona Accessories) | iPhone Case (ShopBando) | Jean Jacket old (similar American Eagle)

What's your go-to look for summer?

Jul 14, 2014

Formula X

There are several things I look for when it comes to my nails: long lasting color, shiny and fast drying. It's one of the reasons I love gel polish as much as I do. The one negative to gel polish is my nails get really long during those two weeks the color lasts and there's a large gap of unpainted nail at the base of my cuticles. For me, seven days is my happy place for polish. If I can get the color to last an entire week, I'm perfectly happy painting my nails again, but if I have to start all over any day before the seven day mark, it's not the best.
A while back, I tried the Formula X system from Sephora and I absolutely love it. I've tested the colors with and without the entire system, and honestly, it's the base coat the holds it all together. I like nail cleanser (on left) because it really cleans off any remaining polish or oils before you swipe on the base coat. I'm not kidding, the base coat is the way to go. I use it with all my polishes now because it just works.

The only part of the system I'm not knocked out about is the top coat. I don't know what it is, but from day one the top coat has always bubbled as it dried. I've been using the "Out the Door" top coat I found at Publix and it works fantastic. It is super shiny, thick and really holds up.
My favorite color for summer is "Pyrotechnic". It's a fantastic red. No hint of orange or pink to it, just a good true red shade. I applied two coats, but you'd be surprised how great one coat of polish looks. There's no streaks, just great color.

After two coats of polish, the last step of my manicure process is the "Ta Da" drops from Julep. I received this product in a recent Julep Maven box, and it's great. I'm not the type to sit around and wait on my nails to dry, but that leads to smudges. Instead, I use a drop or two of the quick dry drops on each nail, and I'm able to wait half the time of a normal dry time.
As you can see, I made it seven days (including two days in the pool) without any major issues. The color was wearing off at the tips, but that's because I sit at a computer all day and the typing is hard on the ends of my nails. I also had a bit of the grown out look going on at the base of my nails, but it's not overwhelmingly obvious.

I'm also very curious about the Formula X Press pods. You get 24 of the most popular shades in single use press pods. These would be great for travel or wanting to test and find your favorite colors without having to purchase the full-size bottles. One press pod will do all ten nails with two coats of polish. I've been wanting to try some new colors, so I'm thinking this is the way to go.

Products Mentioned:

Affiliate links used, but all opinions are my own.

Jul 9, 2014

Summer Reads: Save the Date

There is seriously nothing better than dropping your butt in a beach chair, digging your toes into the sand and reading a great book inches from the ocean. (The only thing that could make it any better is a cabana boy and a cocktail.) A few weekends ago, that's exactly what I did. Life has been crazy busy lately with work and personal life and I wasn't getting any "me" time, which I really need in order to survive. I had been gone several weekends in a row, just kept re-packing the same bag every time I would leave, and the laundry wasn't getting done during the week. The bathroom hadn't been deep cleaned like I would normally do and the bedroom was a disaster zone. I didn't care though, I needed to sit and chill for a bit and I knew that wasn't going to happen out by the pool. Instead, I packed a mini cooler, beach chair and a beach bag and headed to New Smyrna Beach for a solo day trip. It was exactly what I needed.

I had pre-purchased Mary Kay Andrews' Save the Date on my iPad, so it auto downloaded on release day, and I had gotten through a few chapters, but life took over. Then, the night before I left for the beach, I found a signed copy at my local Target. You know I scooped that baby up. Next day, I read the entire book from cover to cover. Andrews makes you feel as if you're walking around Savannah with the characters, and if you've ever visited the southern town, you'll know many of the streets and locations used in the book. I loved the characters, the plot had a few unusual twists that I wasn't actually expecting and it let me escape my crazy, stressed out mental space I had been living in. As with all Mary Kay Andrews' books, this one is a must read.

Jun 30, 2014

Sun Goddess

It's summertime, the living is easy, and if you're semi close to any body of water you're on it as much as possible. If there's one thing I've learned from living in Florida my entire life, it's the importance of sunscreen. Not just the product itself, but the UVA and UVB protection, the SPF level and the most important of all—reapplication. Your sunscreen only works as well as you do. So, if you apply SPF 50 at 9am before heading to the beach, but then never reapply the entire day, chances are, you're going to look like a lobster ready to be plated for dinner.

There is this "Sun Goddess" ideology that in order to be a Sun Goddess you don't need sunscreen or maybe just the lowest SPF coverage. It's actually the complete opposite. You know all those girls you see with the perfect shade of brown to their skin? They all use sunscreen to their advantage to achieve their tan. If not, they'd be sunburned to a crisp. Long gone are the days of slathering baby oil all over, and laying out to bake in the sun.

It's easy to get a tan and be smart about it too. For me, I always choose a face specific sunscreen with SPF 30 and UVA and UVB blocking. I love both the Coppertone and Hawaiian Tropic face sunscreens. I cover my entire face, neck and tops of my ears with this suncreen. If I'm wearing light makeup that day, I always apply the sunscreen under my makeup.

Next, I'll use an SPF of anywhere from SPF 8 for a pool day under the screen enclosure to SPF 30 if I'm at the beach. I've noticed and read that there isn't much difference between SPF 30 or the higher SPFs of 50, 70 or 90. It truly comes down to the re-application of the sunscreen and whether you're dilligent. For pool days, I love Coppertone's SPF 8 Tanning Lotion. The screen enclosure blocks a high percentage of the sun's rays, so I can go with a slightly lower SPF as long as I reapply when I get out of the pool.

The beach is a whole different story. This year, Neutrogena released a Beach Defense sunscreen, and it's amazing. It's "beach strength broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection" and water resistant up to 80 minutes. I apply the lotion version first to make sure I cover every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen. Then, for touch ups I'll use the spray version.

Once I get out of the shower, I always apply Australian Gold's Moisture Lock lotion. It has aloe and Vitamin E to put moisture back into your skin. Plus, it smells really good. I actually use this lotion year round as my daily body lotion.

Affiliate links  included, but all opinions are my own.

Jun 27, 2014

Humidity's Got Nothing on a Good Hair Day

Florida—love it or hate it, we can all agree that the humidity is the worst! There's no true way to beat it either, which I think makes me hate it even more. I do have a few humidity tested and survived hair products, as well as one fool-proof hairstyle that helps me get through the worst humid days of summer. First, I've learned the longer my hair is, the more weight there is to hold it down, which crazy as it sounds, it does help fight against frizz. Second, I follow my leave-in conditioner with Alterna's Bamboo Smooth Frizz Correcting Lotion. It honestly makes my hair feel like silk, and it does wonders on a blowout. The last product I put on damp hair is the Alterna Bamboo Smooth Pure Kendi Oil, and apply to my ends only. This helps smooth out any split ends or damage I might have and really seal the ends from moisture in the air.

Next, I'll dry my hair straight with a round brush, making sure my hair is completely dry. Then, I'll move on and do my makeup, so my hair can cool down and "set" in a sense. Once, that's done, I do a quick spray of Paul Mitchell's Hot of the Press heat protectant hairspray and then break out my Hot Tools 1 1/4 inch curling iron. I curl in three sections, starting with the bottom layer and finishing at the top of my head. Last step is always a good coating of hairspray. A strong hold is a bit too much, and can get a bit sticky once the humidity hits it. So, I usually reach for a lighter hold hairspray on humid days.
You can ignore the "duck face". It comes so natural during a selfie photo session that I don't even realize I'm doing it anymore.
Since my hair has natural curl to it, pin straight hair is always going to be a "no-go" on humid days. So, I stick with a polished version of my natural texture and I make it through the humid days unscathed. Sure, the curls will soften and fall a bit, and the baby hairs around my face will do what they want, but overall I can still have a good hair day and not feel the need to pull it up.

One last tip, I find that if I do my hair at night and touch up the curls a bit in the morning, I fair a lot better against humidity as well.

Affiliate links  included, but all opinions are my own.