Make Your Manicure Last Longer

September 2, 2014

After paying good money to have your nails done, or taking the time to it yourself at home, there is nothing more frustrating than having your freshly-painted nails get messed up the next day. It's happened to me countless times, and I've learned that even the simplest tasks, like typing up a quick email or snapping my handbag shut, can ruin a good mani. Here are some tricks I've discovered to help keep my nails looking good, days after I've had them done.  

1. Apply a top coat.
This may seem unnecessary if the nail technician applied a top coat at the salon, but adding a layer at least every other day will seal in the color and prevent chipping.

2. Keep cuticles moisturized.
Use a cuticle oil or this DIY cuticle cream, or grab some olive or grapeseed oil from your kitchen and apply a drop to each nail every morning and every night before bed to minimize peeling or splitting. 

3.Polish the free edge.
Applying the base coat, polish, and top coat to the free edge (the part that's been clipped or filed) helps to seal the nail color and minimize chipping.

4. Don't blow on your nails.
Your breath is warm, and applying any kind of heat to your freshly-painted nails actually slows down the drying process, which takes about 12 hours. If you want to speed things along, set your hair dryer to a cool setting and run it over your nails for a few minutes, or plunge your hands in a bowl of icy water. Just keep in mind that while they may feel dry to the touch, your nail polish has not hardened.

5. Wear gloves.
Submerging your hands in water, like when you're washing dishes, can lead to peeling. Wear rubber gloves whenever your hands will be immersed in water, and keep showers brief so your nail polish lasts longer.

6. Bring your own polish to the salon.
Sure the nail salon has loads more color options, but chances are they've been diluted with polish remover, which extends the life of old nail lacquer. Watered down nail polish won't last as long as newly opened nail lacquer, so bringing your own ensures a better, longer lasting manicure.

7. Cut them down.
You may love the look of long nails, but they're more likely to split. Keeping your nails on the shorter side will actually help your mani last longer.

8. Skip the sanitizer.
Hand sanitizer contains alcohol, which can eat away the shiny top coat and make color look dull. Instead of sanitizer, wash hands with a mild antibacterial soap or wipes.

9. Get it done early.
Since it takes roughly 12 hours for nail polish to dry and harden, don't wait until evening to get your manicure. You'll wake up to unsightly nicks or even sheet marks because you will have gone to bed before the polish had a chance to harden.

10. Take care.
Just because they're there, doesn't mean your nails should be used as a screwdriver or to scratch the label off a bottle. Be gentle and avoid using your nails as tools.

The Power of Love

September 1, 2014

With all the racial tension, hatred, and intolerance that seems to be plaguing our world, we need to remember that love is the answer.

image via

Friday Favorites

August 29, 2014

I had no idea how busy the back-to-school season is, so I spent much of this week prepping for my little girl's first day of kindergarten (READ: running around like the proverbial chicken). After several repeat trips to the grocery store and Target, and washing/drying/ironing about a million loads of laundry, I am especially grateful for this three-day weekend. And speaking of being grateful, my cousin challenged me to list three things I'm grateful for every day for the next seven days, and I accepted. I'm really looking forward to digging deep and reflecting on my life every day, and being reminded of why I am so blessed. Have a fabulous three-day weekend, and God bless!

Inspired ways to transform a humble box of macaroni and cheese

The most iconic shoe moments in in film. 

A cute idea for keeping track of appointments, meetings, etc

The impending arrival of boot season

Football whoopie pies for my husband.

A New Tradition

August 28, 2014

Today is my daughter's first day of kindergarten, and while I am an absolute wreck (she's been home with me since birth and we've spent nearly every day together), I wanted to make this day extra special for her. When she woke up this morning, I had this decorated chalkboard sign waiting for her.  All it took was a chalkboard (which came with an easel and screws for hanging), a few scrapbooking stickers and gems, and some glitter and glue, all of which I picked up at the craft store--it was simple and very much appreciated. I've decided to start a tradition of marking her first and last days of each school year with a photo of her holding her custom sign. It'll be fun to see how my baby matures over the years as we erase one grade level and write the next one; I imagine the sign will look smaller and smaller as her little hands grow, and her fashion and accessory choices will change dramatically. What I hope never changes though, is the precious smile on her face and the excitement in her eyes. 

Happy first day of school to my sweet girl. Mommy loves you more than life!

Hearty Breakfast Casserole

August 27, 2014

As the most important meal of the day, breakfast also happens to be my favorite meal, and I've been known to serve pancakes or omelets for dinner on more than a few occasions. During the week I typically stick to a quick breakfast of oatmeal with fruit, nuts, and flaxseed meal, but on the weekends I love to get in the kitchen and do some real cooking. I've made this casserole a few times, for my family and for a Bible study brunch, and received rave reviews every time (any breakfast that includes bacon and copious amounts of cheese is bound to be a hit, no?) It's ideal for a crowd, and is totally customizable; substitute the bacon with sausage, ham, or Soyrizo, add some veggies, top with salsa and avocado...the options are endless, and the results are always perfect 

Hearty Breakfast Casserole
1 pound sliced bacon
1 medium sweet onion, diced
6 eggs
4 cups frozen hash browns, thawed
2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
1½ cups small curd cottage cheese
1¼ cups Swiss cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 350° and generously butter a 13x9x2 baking pan. Dice all but 3 slices of the bacon (these will be the garnish). In a large skillet cook bacon until crisp, then allow to drain on paper towels, reserving bacon grease in skillet. Add onion to the skillet and cook until softened. Remove onion with a slotted spoon and set aside. 

In a large bowl, mix hash brown potatoes and cheeses (reserve about ¼ cup of cheddar cheese to sprinkle on top). Lightly beat the eggs and add to potatoes and cheese, then add the diced bacon and onion. Mix well to incorporate all ingredients. Spoon the mixture into the buttered baking pan, top with reserved cheese and garnish with cooked bacon slices. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until set. Let the casserole rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
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