Gel Manicure At Home

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For most of my adult life I have taken the trek to the nail salon every 2 weeks. My preferred treatments include a “no-chip” gel manicure + a classic or traditional pedicure. I enjoy the no-chip gel manicure because I like for my nails to always be polished.

Traditional manicures would never last more than a 2 – 3 days for me because I frequently do chores at home including cleaning my house, washing dishes, etc. The no-chip gel manicures are nice because I can do all of those things but my nails still look freshly done – shiny, chip-free and groomed.

When doing the math, this is the amount of money I’ve spent on salon manis & pedis over the last five years: $10,400.00.

Truthfully I have other financial goals. I’d like to own properties in other cities (with New Orleans being at the top of my list). I’d like to travel more internationally. I’d like to invest more in for-profit ventures. When I look at the money that is going out, I quickly realized that I could take the money I’d spend on one or two salon nail treatments (roughly $80.00 per visit with tip included) to purchase my own supplies and invest that money elsewhere. Here is a list of what I purchased with links on where I purchased them from Amazon:

  1. Cuticle Pusher & Cutter  – Click here to purchase.

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  1. Gellen Gel Polish – Popular Nude Colors Series  – Click here to purchase.

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  1. Gellen Nail Polish – Fall Colors Series 6 – Click here to purchase.
  2. OPI Chocolate Brown (Squeaker of the House) Polish – Click here to purchase.
  3. OPI Bubble Bath Polish (my favorite nude) – Click here to purchase.
  4. OPI Lint Free Nail Wipes (lint free nail wipes are better than traditional cotton balls which leave behind cotton residue) – Click here to purchase.
  5. Professional Nail Soak Off Clips. (used to soak off gel polish) – Click here to purchase. Excited to use these instead of foil.
  6. Polish Organizer Box – Holds 48 bottles. Click here to purchase.
  7. UV LED Nail Lamp (curates gel polish) – Click here to purchase.
  8. Acetone (used to soak off nail polish) – Click here to purchase.
  9. Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Nail Coat (used as a top coat for toe nail polish) – Click here to purchase.
  10. OPI Orange “Freedom of Peach” Color – Click here to purchase.
  11. Gellish  Fantastic Four Kit – Click here to purchase. According to my research this kit goes with almost any brand of gel polish. It includes:

PH Bond – Goes on natural nail, Foundation (base coat for gel polish), Top it Off         (Top Coat) and Nourish (Cuticle Oil.). Each bottle is clearly labeled and the back of the box reveals the cure time for the lamp which was accurate. The Gel Polish also includes the recommended cure time. Essentially after each layer you cure for 60 seconds – 2 minutes, but must use the instructions on the box.

14. Rubbing Alcohol

15. Nail Clipper

16. Nail Buffing Block

17. Nail Brush

Some of the items can be purchased at your local Target, Walmart or other preferred store. Total spent: $198.40, which is the equivalent of 2.5 salon visits for me. I did splurge a little bit on buying multiple bottles of nail polish and gel polish sets. You can cut down on that cost significantly. You also don’t have to purchase the polish organizer. I match my nail colors by the season. In the Fall I love earth tones. In the Winter I do a lot of either greys & dark colors (like navy blues, etc.). I also like splashes of silver. In the Spring I like pastels and in the summer I like bright bold colors and nudes.

Here is the recommended process. Assuming that you’re starting with your natural nails:

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS FOR GEL MANICURE:

1. Push back cuticles.

2. Clip the nail with clippers & Shape the nail with a nail file.

3. Buff the nail. I personally like the labeled nail buffer blocks that tell you which order to do things. Click here for an example.

4. Wash hands using a nail brush like this.

5. Thoroughly dry hands & nails using a paper towel.

6. Apply 1 thin layer of PH Bond then cure (according to instructions.)

7. Apply 1 thin layer of gel polish of your choice and then cure (according to instructions).

8. Apply second layer of gel polish of your choice and then cure (according to instructions).

9. Apply 1 layer of top coat and then cure (according to instructions).

10. Wipe with a piece of cotton or nail wipe soaked in alcohol to shine.

11. Apply cuticle oil and rub into nail and apply lotion to hands.

12. You should be good to go for 2 weeks.

I will add a section in two weeks about how to remove the Gel Nail polish based on how long it takes me to soak it off using the supplies I purchased. Stay tuned!

Helpful Tip: When shopping on Amazon, I only purchase things that have 4 or more stars. I also read the comments to see what people have to say about the product.

 

 

Fashion Inspiration

I have been catching up on one of my favorite TV shows, The Crown, and I came across this beautiful outfit:

I believe that my favorite decade for Women’s Fashion was the 1960s! The looks are so timeless!!! Here are some more images:

I love shopping at thrift & consignment stores! Clothing was constructed so much better back then to me. I hope you’re enjoying your Sunday!

Ultimate Travel & Packing List – Part 2 

Check out my full list of packing & travel tips here.

One of the first things I do is check the weather and then I look up the Fashion & Style Norms for the country. Next week I will be traveling to London, England for the first time. I went on Pinterest and searched:

“London Outfit Ideas”

“London Street Style”

“London Fall Outfits”

“London Work Outfits”

Here are some of my favorite outfits, which will be used for inspiration when packing my clothes:

Mademoiselle C

I just finished watching the documentary Mademoiselle C about Carine Roitfeld, the former Editor in Chief of Vogue Paris. The documentary shares her journey as she exited Vogue to launch her own magazine CR.

I enjoy watching and reading about other industries and sectors. It’s important because it helps me to think differently about challenges I’m facing. It’s also very inspiring to see the journey of other women business leaders. I always grab a nugget of inspiration.

Plus, Carine always looks so amazing! Her personal style is bar none. Here are some shots of some of her looks that I love:


She is really into accessories, so I always noticed her necklaces & bracelets. I also like her signature skirt & blouse look.

Pins of the Week 


These painted pine cones are adorable for a table centerpiece or they’d also look great in glass vase! 


For all my side hustlers & entrepreneurs, this is a handy guide to writing a business plan. 


Radical love… I believe that God’s love is radical & try to practice radically loving others. 


Love this outfit! I’d save the pants for Fall. I’m in love with the leopard bag!!! 😍😍😍


Cute desktop wallpaper that also has an inspirational message! 

Click here to follow me on Pinterest!!! 

Pins of the Week – Visual Inspiration

I was an early adopter of Pinterest.  Even before Pinterest, I used to collect magazine and design book inspiration into massive binders. Pinterest is a visual “mood” board in a sense and there are thousands (maybe even millions) of users who also collect images there. 

Every Sunday, I’m going to share my favorite pins of the week. 


Style Pantry is one of my favorite e-fashionistas. I recently purchased a vintage pair of high waisted wide leg pants, and I’m looking for inspiration on how to style them. A button up silk blouse would be nice. 

Our First Lady is my style icon. I love this look so much! 


Found this shoe at DSW. I think it would look great with this purple vintage summer sweater dress I just bought. 

I’m always on a quest to get better organized and I love imagining my dream closet. I’m not a fan of white wood. I currently have white wood in my kitchen and its hard to keep clean but the chandelier is stunning! Looks like an orchid or a sea creature. 


Another cute closet inspiration. Bookshelves can be used to store more than books. This actually looks like something made for the bathroom that was repurposed into a handbag organizer. My goal is for my closet to look like a little boutique. I’d definitely borrow this look! 

For all of these pins you can follow me on Pinterest to see my curated collection! 

Web Roundup

LHJPhotoFirst lady Michelle Obama looks stunning in this gold dress. Consider rocking shimmery gold this holiday season.

Here are a few things around the web to take a look at:

How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-writing-things-down-can-change-your-life.html

70 Affirmations To Help You Stay Positive, Focused & Motivated: http://happyblackwoman.com/70-affirmations-to-help-you-stay-positive-focused-and-motivated/

3021457-poster-1213coverI subscribe to Fast Company because even though I’m in the non-profit sector, I’m still running a business and can learn a lot from for-profit ventures. This month’s Fast Company features Skateboard P, who gives lots of great advice about managing multiple projects and working with a team. It also features productivity tips from Cory Booker newly elected to the U.S. Senate who said “The more you limit your choices, thereby limiting thought, the more you can simplify your life and focus your energy elsewhere.”

Insightful Data About Google’s 200 Search Ranking: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/insightful-data-about-googles-200-search-ranking-factors.html

The 11 Organizing Stations You Need in your Home: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/the-11-organizing-stations-you-need-your-home.html

If you come across something awesome please share it in the comments section so that I can feature it. Happy Friday Eve…

Modesty is Beautiful

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I had the opportunity to see Imaan Ali at a fashion show recently and fell in love with her style. She’s a beautiful Muslim woman who started Hijablog in 2008.

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So many times, women think that they have to show a lot of skin to be attractive and appealing and Imaan reminds us that we can still be stylish. I love the way Imaan wraps her hair, and she layers clothing in a creative way.

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I also love the way that she shops at affordable clothing stores like H & M and Forever 21. I’m really going to channel Imaan next year during the Fall & Winter when Chicago gets blistering cold and layers are absolutely necessary. Her looks also work for my job where as a High School Teacher it is both professional and necessary to air on the side of caution and dress a bit conservative. Conservative does not have to mean boring or stale. Try a little mystery next time you get dressed.

American Hijab Design Contest

My husband & I went to the American Hijab Design Contest this past week. He served as one of the judges. You can learn more about the contest here: http://americanhijab.wordpress.com/faq/

Here are some of the entries before we actually saw them brought to life on the models:

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Here are some photos from the event:

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A woman can be both attractive and stylish while also being modest. I was definitely  taking notes during the event.