Thursday, March 27, 2014

Steps to the Perfect At Home Manicure

Confession: I paint my nails every two or three days. I get bored with a color pretty quickly, or see another one that I want to try. It’s my own little 20 minute ritual of “me time” that’s become an indulgence. As much as I love to get a salon manicure, I can’t really justify paying for it, since I’ll probably want to change it in a couple of days. So, I have perfected the at-home manicure. Follow the steps below for salon quality tips at your kitchen table.

You Will Need:

 The power players

Polish remover, Cuticle oil, hand cream, base coat, color (pictured is CoverGirl Stay Brilliant in Coral Silk), 
top coat, fast drops, buffer, cotton, nail brush, 
clean up brush, emery board, cuticle pusher, cuticle nippers, 

Easiest Way to Remove Nail Polish

Y’all. I have a problem with commitment. To nail color. I change my nail polish at least two or three times a week. Last week, it was four. What can I say? I like to change it up. Needless to say, I have had quite a bit of practice with at home manicures…and removing them. I hate going through two or three cotton balls that get all gross and can even deposit color residue on a clean nail. So after stumbling on this method on Pinterest one day, I played around with it and made it the most effective way for me to get old polish off my nails.  Here are a few tips on the easiest ways to get rid of polish and get a blank canvas for your next masterpiece. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Five Tips for Smudge Free Nails

Spring is finally here! And we had our first sunny day in like a week. Clearly, this calls for a spring manicure.

I love all these happy, springy colors. However, the urge to paint my nails always seems to strike about an hour or so before bedtime. You know how this goes: you spend 30 minutes filing, buffing, polishing and top coating, you don’t touch anything until you’re positive that your nails are dry, only to find a smudge a few minutes later. Or worse. Sheet marks the next morning. Ughhhh. So frustrating. I’ve been there. It’s the worst. But worry no longer, ladies. I have tried just about every trick I could possibly find on the internet and have the (thoroughly tested) answers. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Homemade Coconut Sugar Scrub for Winter Skin

I don't know about you, but I am so ready to see the end of this winter. Is it just me, or has this one been considerably worse than others? I think it's because these winter storms are getting their own names and this "polar vortex"  nonsense. I mean, we got snow in Charleston. That never happens. Gross. As I write this post, it is currently dreary and 45 degrees. Yuck.

Anyways, this prolonged winter weather has wreaked havoc on my skin, but especially my hands. I have eczema, which always worsens in the winter, as eczema tends to do. My cuticles are pretty out of shape and terrible too. So, today, I decided to whip up a quick scrub to show my sad, flaky skin a little TLC. It took three minutes to make. So easy.

At home/DIY scrubs are super easy to make and you likely have everything you need already in your kitchen cabinets. There's practically no excuse to spend money on body scrubs anymore. I prefer sugar scrubs over salt scrubs, but you can use either. I also like to use coconut oil, but olive oil works well too. 

You will need: 

1/3 c sugar (I prefer brown sugar, white granulated sugar works just fine too)
3 tbsp coconut oil
Lemon (or lime) zest
*Note: it's not advisable to add lemon juice to this little concoction. Citrus will find any tiny little cut or opening and make you wish you had not opened that lemon. Stick with just the zest (or don't, I just like the added scent)

Scrub ingredients

To make your scrub:
1. If your coconut oil is not soft and easy to stir, heat it up in five second increments in the microwave until it's soft.
2. Combine the sugar, coconut oil and lemon zest in a bowl and stir together until everything is incorporated. 
(That's it. Seriously). It should look like this. 

 Coconut sugar scrub. In two easy steps. Boom.

Take a big ol' dollop and scrub your hands to your heart's content. Or for about a minute. I like to rinse my hands off a little at this point and then keep scrubbing for a bit so it's all nice, and scrub-like. Rinse off completely. You know how to use a hand scrub. 
Now for the pampering.

My arsenal against dry, gross hands 

Next, I slathered my hands in my favorite creme from L'Occitane, Almond Milk Concentrate. This smells absolutely heavenly and makes skin so incredibly soft. It is also $49 for a 7 oz jar, so a sample every now and then has to suffice. I'm a maven on a budget.

Then I added a generous amount of Egyptian Magic to my cuticles. Have you ever used this stuff? Ah-may-zing. For absolutely everything. I slather it on my face every night and it has made a huuuuge difference in my dry skin. I'm hooked. It's a bit of an investment up front at $30 for a 4 oz jar, but it lasts forever. Trust me, totally worth every cent. I bought mine over a year ago and am halfway through it. I think I can (and will) do a post for this on it's own because it's that good. Because you need this in your life. Anywho....

Socks for gloves

Put some socks over your hands (or the fancy gloves that you get for this specific purpose. Again, I'm a maven on a budget, so I used a clean pair of socks) and relax for a while. I would suggest doing this after a bath and sleeping in them, ideally. That makes me feel too constricted, so I kept them on for about 45 minutes while watching Parks and Rec. My skin is soft and smooth and my ugly eczema patches are no longer angry and red and itchy. Hooray! 

Keep the rest of your scrub in an airtight container and enjoy whenever you need a little extra glow.

Now, winter, please kindly leave. And leave us alone. 

Loooove, Natalie 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Happy St Patty's Day!

I. Love. St Patty's. This holiday is definitely in my top three favorites. What's not to love about wearing ridiculous green outfits and accessories, drinking Irish whiskey and, you know, revelry? In college, my friends and I would always go to Savannah to celebrate. Now, we keep it closer to home. 

 Shenanigans with my hubs and friends at a 
St Pat's beach pub crawl this past weekend 

Since I already did my celebrating this weekend, I wanted to share my essentials for an everyday, but still leprechaun friendly, look. 

 Green essentials for today

First off, this lovely green nail polish in Hedge Fund from Ruffian. I love this little sample I got in a Birchbox a few months ago and it's perfect for being festive on this green holiday. Also, a gold glitter polish for an accent nail. Whatever. I'm still a huge fan of an accent nail. Especially a glitter one. 

Since a Monday St Pat's celebration calls for something a little more toned down than a weekend pub crawl, I opted for a subtle hint of green with Urban Decay's 24/7 Liner in Stash, a darker metallic green perfect for a pop on the lower lashline. For a little extra oomph, I paired it with Stila's Kitten smudge crayon and brought the Stash liner up into the outer corner and blended. (Sorry for no pics of the makeup look, spring time allergies caused me to rub just about all of my eye makeup off today before I could snap a photo).

And finishing off the look with this great pair of emerald earrings I snagged from Target last year during Emerald's reign as Pantone's Color of the Year in 2013. 

Happy St Patrick's Day lovelies! What's your favorite way to show your inner green goddess?

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Hi, I’m Natalie. 

I love makeup. And pretty things. And seeing people’s confidence expound when they feel lovely. So, I decided to join the blogger world to share some lovely things that make me happy; makeup that makes me feel confident, like I can take on the world; lovely lifestyle things; tips and tricks to make you feel beautiful and confident. Because, honestly, have you ever tried to tell a woman wearing red lipstick that she can’t take on the world? It’s more than just a beauty enhancement, it’s a state of mind.


I do this in the hopes that these things will also bring a little loveliness and a smile to your life. And maybe even a good beauty tip or two to add to your arsenal. I have worked as a makeup artist and still dabble in freelance work for special events. I grew up with a mom who is an interior decorator and she instilled in me early the appreciation for a good piece of furniture and I like to think that I inherited her eye for beautiful things and her touch for making things pretty. I’m excited to share tutorials, quick tips, favorite things and my expertise with you on all things lovely. 

So there it is. My introduction to you all. Even though I’m sure that right now, those of you reading this are my friends and family whom I have told about this (hi Mom, glad you finally worked the internet to find this). I hope you continue to follow along with me on this new adventure. Please bear with me as I navigate the technicalities of making a blog and please let me know of any topics you'd like to see covered here. Can't wait to see where it goes!