Monday, May 22, 2017

Tips for the Best At Home Manicure

I've been doing my own nails for just about as long as I can remember. While it can be a fun and relaxing experience to get a mani/pedi at the salon with girl friends, I more often than not still do my own nails at home. It saves (tons of) money and comes out just as well with few simple tricks that I've learned over the years. The years of practice have lent me a steadier hand, but just knowing these few tips can make all the difference to get that professional and flawless look we all want to achieve. 

So let's dive right it. Sometimes I start with a base coat, and sometimes I don't bother. But if my nails are feeling weak and chipped I'll often do a base layer of this Nailtiques protein treatment to help my nails stay healthy and strong even while painted. Especially if I'm working with a dark color that I don't want to stain my nails, a base coat can be a great place to start.

Next comes the color. Today I'm using an Essie color I've been loving this spring called "Lady Like" which is a gorgeous muted dusty pink. It has tones of lavender and works as a lovely almost-nude that goes with everything. I always apply two coats of color to make sure each nail is evenly covered. I start with a swipe of the saturated brush up the center of the nail, and then gently spread the color up each side of the nail starting from the bottom with every stroke and making sure to evenly cover the tip of the nail. I've learned that you only need a minute or two to let one layer dry before applying the second coat.

But here's the trick I use: don't paint your thumbnails until the very end. That way, after each coat applied to your other nails you can run your thumbnail around the edge of the cuticle to remove any excess polish that has gotten onto the skin. leaving the thumbnails bare until the others are all done allows you to ensure that all of those nails are flawlessly painted with no excess color spilling over onto the skin. Because let's be real, no matter how steady your hand is you're bound to get some polish on the skin. I learned this trick by watching the ladies at the salon, who tend to use one of their own finger nails to clean polish from your cuticles as they paint, and it works like a charm. I've tried other tricks like using a polish-remover soaked q-tip to clean the cuticles, but nothing works quite as well as using a bare nail to clean up as you go.

But then, what of those unpainted thumb nails? Well, they're not forgotten. Since I'm right handed I tend to be steadier when painting with my right hand -- so I start with my weaker side and use my left hand to paint the first thumbnail. This way I can still clean the edges with the last bare nail if my weaker hand makes any mistakes. After two coats have been applied it's time for the final nail to be painted. Since I'll be using my stronger right hand at this point to paint it, chances are I can get it pretty clean and accurate on the first try. But, if I do mess up, I like to use the tip of a metal nail file to scrape away any polish from the cuticles and skin. 

The last step: a clear top coat. This is essential to prolong your manicure and prevent immediate chipping. With a top coat I can get through at least a full week with fresh-looking nails as long as I let them dry properly after painting. Recently I've been using Essie's Super Duper top coat, and I really like it. I also previously used a Deborah Lippmann "Addicted to Speed" top coat that I loved until it started to get dried out and sticky after only a few short months which was really disappointing. Either way, a top coat is necessary to keep your mani looking fresh longer, and it also adds a smooth shiny finish to your nails. As much as it may seem like an annoying extra step, don't skip it! Without a topcoat your nails will be chipping within a day or two. 

So there you have it, my process for getting salon-quality nails at home. With these few tips that I've learned over time I'm now able to produce a flawless home mani easily. No more messy nails! And no need for expensive salon appointments! Cheers to that, ladies. 

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Spring Outfit Essentials

Spring means a chance to step up your color game and show off fun styles and silhouettes. That's just what I plan to do with this fun outfit ensemble. I wanted to highlight this outfit since it touches on all of my favorite spring essentials: flirty styles, blush pink, denim, and cute flats.

Classic nautical stripes are a great transitional print and a fun ruffle sleeve on this top I bought last year adds a flirty spring vibe. A pop of pastel pink is my go to for spring outfits, and this blush colored satchel is the perfect piece to add to a casual outfit. I tend to add touches of pink into any spring outfit when I can, it's just the perfect time of year to go overboard with pastels. I am also all about denim, no matter the season, but this time of year it starts to creep into our outfits in more unexpected ways, like these denim flats (which I am obsessed with currently!). Flats come back into play once the snow is gone for good but it might be too soon for sandals, so a pair like these is invaluable! They are super comfy and I just know I'll be pairing them with my everyday outfits all summer long for a classy touch.

Throw a few classic yet trendy pieces like these together with fun accessories like round shades and a soft pink lip and your outfit is made! I love that a look like this can be transformed by pairing it with jeans or a skirt, or even denim shorts! This look makes a statement yet remains classy and chic with a pairing of my favorite color combo: pink and blue. Seriously, how many of my outfits have incorporated this color dynamic? Quite a lot I might say!

 What are your springtime outfit favorites?

Top: J. Crew (also cute/and ruffled). Bag: French Connection (love this or this). Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: Anthropologie.

xoxo, CC

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Midnight Gingham

Last weekend was warm and beautiful and I wore this fun gingham dress for a full day of activities in the city. Starting with a breakfast run where I discovered this fun wing mural, then on to running errands, a street fair with tons of yummy food, followed by an impressive apartment rooftop party and then dinner out with my girls. I was comfy all through this fun-packed day in an off the shoulder dress and ankle strap flats. I had been on the hunt for a cute piece in a gingham print, and this adorable off the shoulder dress was exactly what I needed.

Gingham is a perfectly summery print that is casual yet chic, and I love the texture to this cotton & linen fabric and the girly ruffle along the neckline. To compliment the simple black and white pattern I added denim blue flats and a blue stone bracelet. Since the print is so bold I kept to a simple chunky bracelet and subdued color scheme. The loose shift fit was comfy to wear all day long on a hot humid day, and the shoulders stayed exactly in place the entire time. Plus, this dress has pockets. Enough said.

On our walk back from dinner we had fun snapping a few photos in the moody lighting of New York City at midnight.

Dress: Anthropologie. Bag: Rebecca Minkoff. Shoes: Aldo. Sunglasses: AJ Morgan. Bracelet: J. Crew (love this one).

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, April 4, 2017


Happy April! Who else is pumped that it's finally officially spring!

After the teasingly warm weather we had back in February, it finally warmed up above 55ยบ again this past weekend. I took the opportunity to wear this flowy peasant dress that I added to my spring wardrobe recently. I love the drop waist and peasant style tiers that make this dress ideal for early spring. The loose oversized fit is counterbalanced by the sheer fabric allowing your shape to show through despite the voluminous draping. I paired it with over the knee boots for a transitional look (and to hide my pale legs!), and added a faux leather jacket that was only barely necessary in the sunshine. Altogether the look is a little bit edgy yet still soft and romantic.

I spent the afternoon browsing the Affordable Art Fair in NYC and strolling in the sunshine along the highline in the sun. The wind just about blew me away when we were up on the highline getting the breeze straight off the Hudson, but in the sunshine the weather was impeccable. Perfect dress weather! The all black and white vibes of this ensemble are very city chic, but the tiered flounce and loose fit keep the look feminine and casual. The simplicity of a monotone look and comfy dress is just what I've been waiting to wear now that it's beginning to warm up! 

Dress: Scotch and Soda (similar). Jacket: Zara. Boots: Sam Edelman. Sunglasses: Anthropologie. Lip: MAC. Bracelet: similar.

xoxo, CC

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

5 Best Beauty Finds

Recently I've discovered a few new beauty products that I can't get enough of. I wanted to share my recommendations since I always love to hear other people's opinions when trying to navigate the endless options of beauty products out there these days. These are a few products I've been using pretty much every day and only wish I had found sooner! 

The first of these finds is the Smashbox under eye primer, which I feel like I can't live with out ever since I discovered it! I first got a sample size of this from Sephora with my beauty insider rewards, and it's the best thing I've ever discovered unexpectedly. I don't know what magic is in it, but it really helps to minimize under eye dark circles and puffiness. The gel is very sheer with a slight shimmer to it that is imperceptible once it's on your skin, but certainly helps you to look more awake and under eye circles less dramatic. Even on days when I don't bother with makeup, I will usually swipe a little bit of this under my eyes to make my face look more awake and presentable.

This bareMinerals tinted hydrating gel was an impulse buy when I needed to spend a few more dollars to unlock a promo, and I don't regret it one bit. It's a great back up to have on hand for days when you don't want to put on a full face of makeup, but want to even out your skin tone a bit and add a touch of color. The shade I grabbed is probably a little darker than would be recommended for me, but it goes on pretty sheer while still delivering noticeable results for a tanned look. I've used it under my regular makeup for a touch of hydrating color, and on it's own for more casual days.

A few months back I picked up this Lancome blush to replace my favorite bareMinerals one that I talked about here last summer. I wrote about just how much I loved my favorite hot pink blush from bareMinerals, but unfortunately it was a limited edition color so when I ran out I had to find something else to replace it! After testing just about every bright pink blush in Sephora I found this gorgeous shade from Lancome. It is very similar to the Bare Minerals one I had loved for years, so I am happy to have found something that I love just as much. Something about the hot pink shade adds a glowing touch to my makeup look that soft pinks and red tones just don't achieve. I love that it makes my face look awake and adds a bit of color while still looking natural. Believe me, it's not so shocking on as it my seem!

For some reason I have the hardest time finding lipsticks that stay. Even ones recommended for their lasting quality don't seem to work on me, they fade or rub off within an hour. This Makeup For Ever Artist Lip Blush is the first red lip color I've found that actually stays in place over a long period of time without fading or rubbing off! For some reason they only make it in one color (come on Makeup For Ever, let's get on this in every shade of the rainbow!) but it's a great bright cherry red color that is perfect for a touch of drama. I seriously have never found anything else that compares in lasting time, and I couldn't be happier with how this one wears. Definitely worth a try if you're looking for a lasting red lip! (and who wouldn't be?)

I picked up this No. 7 foundation on a (genuine, non-paid) recommendation I read from one of my favorite bloggers, and I really like it! It was recommended as an all-day lasting foundation with medium coverage and a smooth no-show appearance, which is exactly what I was looking for as a beginner to liquid foundations. (I previously used bareMinerals powder foundations for years, and still switch between the two sometimes). I love that this foundation goes on easily just applying with my fingers, and doesn't leave streaks or obvious lines. As always it's important to blend at the jawline, but I find that in general this formula goes on easily and doesn't look too obvious. I always like a natural looking makeup look that's not cakey, and this one does the job. The color I got is called "cool vanilla" and is the only light yet not pale shade with a blue undertone. I was nervous to buy it without getting to try out a tester, but the color is actually perfect for me and really evens out my skin for a soft and flawless look.

Any must have makeup finds or recommendations? Let me know! I always like to hear what other people swear by so maybe I can try it myself!

xoxo, CC