Monday, June 24, 2013

Meeting the actors at Trinity

So I'm in Providence, Rhode Island this week and I'm feeling very inspired and motivated by these actors to tap into my creativity and write more.

I'm thinking if getting some helpful literature to help me with my creativity, which I often feel I lack. I would really like to take a shot of writing some short fiction stories, since I enjoy fiction so much.

It would be nice to enjoy writing again. I write for work but it is such a prescribed type of writing, it is almost second nature. I want to challenge myself, and I think writing fiction could be a good start.

On my vacation note, I'm having a fantastic time visiting my good friend Amanda and meeting all her friends. It has been a great trip so far and I still have so much time left!

Back to my challenge. I don't know how many of you read this, but if you have ideas or prompts to get me writing creatively, I'd love for you to share them. Even if it just a word or a photo, I'd love to have the challenge of having friends and family inspire me as well!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Nails of May

Well its long overdue, but here is my weekend nail update showcasing my nail colors for most of May.
The month started out with some support for my San Jose Sharks! Currently in the second round of the playoffs! My bro came up to town and we are going to Game 6 tomorrow night! So excited.
Then I revisited my Euro colors, a little OPI Eurso Euro with Polka Dot Come layered over it.
Then I painted my nails the hit blue of the season with some subtle sparkle.
Then I became obsessed with finding the perfect coral. This is Essie Come Here! It's a great coral, this it it in the sun, and below in the shade. Might be a little red, not quite bright enough.
Then I chopped my nails (they were getting way too long) and I tried to create a cool blue/green Lake Tahoe type nail. I failed, the blue was too strong, you can't see the green flecks at all. Oh well, I have all summer to perfect this. I'll figure it out!
Then I wanted some rainbow prism like nails, here is Zoya Storm. Below is a blurry shot so you can see some of the rainbow sparkle!
And then I borrowed a fantastic neon coral color from my coworker Chris! The bottle looks like its going to be a neon pink, but it is clearly coral as you can tell from above, I think this is my new favorite go-to summer color. I will have to purchase this right away. This is China Glaze Pool Party. Above in the sun, below in the shade - both are spectacularly bright!

Looking ahead at colors I'm lusting after - OPI's new Minne Mouse collection has a color that is called A Definite Moust Have- a bright pink color that is a little more pink than anything I have. Want for get that or something like it.

And the collection I am most looking forward to is Essie's 2013 Summer collection, which should be available June 1! I can't wait. I definitely want Naughty Nautical, Sunday Funday and The More the Merrier. Also considering The Girls are Out. I hope they have a sample of this collection with small bottles, so much more affordable and easier to try! Fingers crossed.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Weekend nail update: Early

Well I'm headed off to LA for the weekend with Marie to go visit Lauren. We are going to do some shopping, see the sights and have tea the Huntington Gardens.

So this is a quick sign off an my weekend nail update early.

My mint nails from last week wore wonderfully with no chips. I changed my nails last night because I knew they would inevitably chip by the weekend.

This is Essie Bikini So Teeny with Essie Come Here Tips. The photo is a little blurry, sorry. I'm in a hurry and totally hopped up on coffee today. I got horrible sleep last night over something I wrote today, but now that the words are out of me, the anger has left as well.

Road tripping weekend here I come!!!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PKU Awareness Month

As I have spoken about before, I have PKU.

What is PKU? It is actually short for phenylketonuria (which to this day I still have to look up the spelling for) and in plain English it means I can't have a diet high in protein. I have had it since I was born and every newborn is tested for it when they get their heel prick (which tests for more than 240 metabolic disorders).

Basically the science behind it is that protein is made of 20 amino acids my body cannot break down the amino acid phenylalanine (phe). What does that mean? If I eat a hamburger will I start seizing on the floor, no. The effects of PKU are a long-term pain in the butt.

Maintaining a strict diet was extremely important when I was growing up and my brain was developing. See, having high phe levels in my blood levels affects my brain functioning. If I was not treated from birth, I'd be severely mentally retarded today. So thank you science, for figuring this out before I was born so I can function normally from day to day.

This graphic courtesy of shows it in very simplistic terms.

Wait a second, you need protein to survive right?! Yes, you do. I get my protein the form of 60 pills a day. Pills that contain the other 19 amino acids my diet lacks. You think 60 pills is bad? When I was growing up I had to drink a formula that was so bad I had to drink it in a thermos with a straw through high school because I would gag at the smell of it.

This is what 20 pills looks like, I do this three times a day.

Have they improved the formulas today? Surely they have. But when I was recently going back on diet (more on that in a minute), the red carpet was rolled out to me and I was sent a million different samples. Forumlas in the form of powders you could sprinkle on your food, forumlas that came in fruit flavored shot form (so that you could get it done quickly), forumlas you could shake in a bottle of water (Crystal Light style) and forumlas that looked like cool sports drinks. Did any of them appeal to me? No. Because I had the old science formula growing up, I knew that distinct awful amino acid flavor. I can't describe it but I can tell you that no matter how they try to mask the flavor, my tricky taste buds will find the flavor immediately. I'm sure its easier for children who get to try the new formulas right away.

What does this mean now? Well from about late high school through about the last few years, I was off diet. Eating things I should not have been, being rebellious, enjoying food. Not thinking about what I was eating every ten seconds.

Well as I have just turned 30 and I have begun thinking about having children, there is this wonderful thing called Maternal PKU. Basically I have to go and have the most strict and stringent diet before I even start TRYING to have a child.

So for the past two years I have been cutting bad things out of my diet and getting back on diet. I spent the better part of the beginning of the year figuring out where my blood phe level needed to be through pregnancy and before I want to start trying.

How do I manage the diet? Well everything is based on a point system, very similar to Weight Watchers. When I was growing up I was allowed 22 points a day. A banana is 3 points. A large french fry from McDonalds is 13 points. So all real world food (except sugary candy) pretty much has some sort of points attached to it. You literally have to think about everything you put in your mouth and you have to keep track of what you eat.

Well I found out that the maternal PKU diet is even more restricted, EVEN MORE. So I dove into the world of low-protein food. And basically for the three months before I get pregnant and throughout pregnancy I will be eating low-pro engineered foods with some low-phe veggies and fruits added in. It's not great, but that kid better be worth it!

So why am I sharing all these good bits? Well since it is PKU Awareness month I thought I would write a post explaining my weird freakazoid issues about what I eat. If you've shared a meal with me, you know all this already but if not I hope I've enlightened you a bit.

Why do people need to be aware of PKU? Well for starters it is expensive! Thankfully I live in California and insurance is required to provide 90 percent of the cost of my formula. They are SUPPOSED to pay for my low-pro food too, but I can't seem to make that happen.

Thus people needing to be aware of PKU. The insurance coverages and laws vary from state to state and country to country. In Europe, where health care is more socialized coverage issues are a lot easier to deal with. Here in the United States we have to fight continuously until we get what the law says is our right. Currently people are fighting for having a national PKU provision law in the United States which would help a lot of other states out. Personally for me, it took me close to six months to gain access to my pills via insurance. I had to appeal the insurance three times and they didn't actually pony up for the pills until I told the California Medical Review Board my story about their refusal to pay their share.

Anyway, thanks for making it this far. I hope you leave a little more educated about what PKU is, and what it means for me personally. It is a daily struggle, and I'm not going to lie, every day isn't perfect. But every day is a new day and a new opportunity to get my phe levels where they need to be.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Big C

So The Big C is back. I've been watching this show since its beginning as I love Laura Linney. This show has an interesting take on death, for seasons it has tried to take a lighter stance on death as we watch Laura Linney portray Cathy, who has been diagnosed with Stage 4 melanoma.

And now it is in its final season. I just watched the first installment of Season 4, which seems like it will have limited 1-hour episodes (the show has historically had 30-minute episodes). I literally was crying almost the entire episode.

This show is so sad. I've grown used to all the characters and been so impressed with the writing and a portrayal of death which is somewhat unusual. But it is time for it to end, and we all know what happens in the end.

Just expecting the death, feeling it coming on just is really upsetting. But I trust the writer and creator of the show. In this piece she wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, she said she wants to "lift the concept of dying from a loss to a win."

She said she doesn't even know if she ends up completing that in the end, but said she wanted Cathy's illness front and center in the final season so people actually begin talking about death being a reality. And that is happening, and it is tearing this viewer apart.

But that is what good art does. Be a TV or a novel, growing attached to the characters and crying when there is loss or crying when there is unexpected happiness, such happiness. Connecting the reader/view to the characters so that we feel what they feel. That is to be admired.

So this is a thank you blog. Thank you Darlene Hunt. Thank you for facing your fear of death and making The Big C. I think you started a lot of conversations about death in many households and I think that might be a healthy thing. Thank you to Laura Linney and the other actors on the Big C who are so talented and really do Darlene's writing justice.

Thank goodness for quality TV.

Monday, April 29, 2013


So because I am on deadlines on Monday, my creativity is sucked out of me because I'm busy throwing it all at this Wednesday's edition of the paper.

So each Monday I'm going to try to answer a blog prompt.

Today's question du jour: If someone gave you plane tickets to go anywhere in the world right now, where would you go?

I immediately think of my favorite past vacations when I think about this and my favorite vacations are the ones where I am surrounded by beauty, but can relax under the sun and read to my heart's content.

Now I realize this isn't my husband's favorite type of vacation, but he doesn't fly so I'll assume I'm taking a friend on this adventure.

Should I go somewhere I've been before? I've always wanted to go back to Santorini, Greece and I've only spent a little time in Hawaii, and then only in Kauai, so I have a lot of Hawaii left to see.

But Hawaii seems doable, and if I can fly ANYWHERE, I would want to fly somewhere that looks unlikely. Somewhere extravagant.

And like the freak I am I just checked the weather there to make sure that it is prime beach relaxation weather and it is. Mid to upper 70s for the next ten days.

So yes, Santorini it is. Why Santorini? Well I realize I've been there before but I was only there for one day and honestly, I'd love to spend a week there. The people were so nice. The food was fantastic and I could see myself just loving relaxing there at a beachside hotel run by some local family.

When we got off the cruise ship, my family and I went immediately to a restaurant overlooking the coast to try some local eats before we set off on our day. The locals who owned the restaurant were so nice and gave us all sorts of authentic Greek food to try and gave advice about what to see while on the island. They wanted us to have the authentic Greek experience, not the tourist-y one.

So they told us which beach to head toward, one on the other side of the island. They even helped us figure out which bus to take to get there. Now the bus, that was quite the experience. It was probably about 85 degrees that day on the island and the bus was so crowded and hot that I was standing and holding on to a seat, while another very sweaty Greek man stood next to me – my head literally placed right in his hairy armpit as he held the upper rail to remain steady on the bumpy ride.

But that unpleasantness aside, the journey was totally worth it. We got off the bus where the locals told us to and we were greeted by a nearly empty black sand beach, the likes of which I have never seen before. My parents got some Greek beers and we just sat on the shore taking in the gorgeous view and thanking God for the experience.

Black sand beach
So I'd like to have that experience again and a lot more time to see other parts of the island. Too bad this is just a prompt and not a real life situation where someone is handing me tickets to my dream vacation.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Weekend Nail update!

So in my quest to post more often, I'm planning to have weekend nail updates so you can all see what I've had on my digits all week!

This was an Essie Cascade Cool manicure and it stayed on ALL WEEK. Such great performance. Painted my nails on Sunday night and they didn't chip until Saturday morning. That is a great performance for my manicures. Used the Essie Good to Go top coat, which is quickly becoming a favorite as it doesn't shrink my polish like the Seche Vite does.

I did this one yesterday, inspired my Lauren's mint manicure she posted earlier in the week. It's Essie's Mint Candy Apple with Essie's Set in Stone over my thumb and ring finger.

And last weekend I gave myself a gel manicure on my toes so that I wouldn't have to continue to update my toes. Pedicures are so much harder for me than manicures. Anyway this is a neon orange with sparkle top coat (you'll see the sparkles better in the inside shot below).

P.S. Sorry my feet are a little ugly. They won't be featured often, as I don't really like to give myself pedicures very often. Giving myself a gel manicure on my toes was quite the challenge.


And my current favorite brand is definitely Essie. I just saw the swatches of their 2013 Bridal Collection and I can't wait to get my hands on Using my Maiden Name. I may also be lusting after some of Essie 2013 Neon Collection swatched here and here.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

How I'm lightening my hair

So last December, when I went to my in-laws for an early Christmas celebration I was greeted with a, "something looks different about you." It wasn't a good different either (to me at least), my hair had grown in very much darker than my other blonde locks and my eyebrows (not waxed or shaped or anything) was making it even more apparent.

Now I realize this is a dumb topic, but I've always been proud of the hue of my hair and how I've never had to dye it and my mother is still a natural blonde an is turning 60 this year – so why ruin a good thing?

Here are some photos from that Christmas, you'll be able to see how dark my roots are growing in. To hear that people were noticing this about me and saying I looked different, really hit me hard.

So I naturally freaked out, and was all worried about my hair and becoming an almost brunette, I was horrified. So when I was visiting my family for Christmas, my mother introduced me to this:

I started using these products: a shampoo and conditioner with extra citrus and chamomile to help speed up natural sun lightening and the spray which you spray in towel dried hair and then add the heat of a blow dryer to activate the lightening. So yeah, the spray does have peroxide in it, so I guess technically it is dying it a bit, but I am not experiencing any damage to my hair and the results are wonderful!

My hair has lightened and I am back to my bubbly blonde self again. The above photo shows how happy I am about artichokes, but it also applies to my hair too. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Blog discipline

Maybe I should have set the goal to blog every day. There has been such a lapse in blogging again. Whoops.

Anyway, not much new with me, work work work, but I am looking forward to the start of better weather. Mike and I want to hit up the beach as much as we can this summer and I am so looking forward to it.

I have finally been sucked into another book and I am so glad because there has been quite the pause in reading as I have been voraciously watching "The West Wing" via Netflix.

Anyway the book it titled "The Last Runaway," By Tracy Chevalier (same author from "The Girl with the Pearl Earring) and follows a Quaker girl having traveled from England to Ohio in 1850 and her involvement with the Underground Railroad.

I am loving it so far, as Quaker life is so foreign to me and to mix it with the Underground Railroad, so intriguing.

So that's my recommendation of the moment, but I'm going to try to set up guidelines and ideas so I can blog everyday (or at least Monday through Fridays). I am constantly inspired by my good friend Maile's blog and her different theme for everyday.

If you all have ideas for posts for days of the week send them my way. For now I am just going to keep  a sticky note with ideas so I can keep going.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Nail update

Want to know why I haven't been talking about nail polish lately? The newest trend in nail polish is textured nail polish and I am NOT a fan.

No need to be tempted by new colors when every new collection out there is all textured nail polish.

Zoya calls it Pixie Dust.

OPI calls it Liquid Sand.

I call it ugly. When I get even one bump in my manicure I scratch at it until I basically have to redo my nails.

That is my brief thought of the day. I continue to keep my nails painted every day, doing a manicure about twice a week. Mostly pastels for the spring, but I might have to bring back the neon trend this summer as I am so not digging this textured polish trend.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Work thoughts

I have so many thoughts and feelings about what I cover on a day to day basis. I am unbiased when I write but this ongoing saga I cover is getting to me.

Sitting in meeting after meeting, watching leaders make decisions that will ultimately lead to more litigation and more years of this being an issue – it's maddening. And watching the rude behavior on both sides is more than a little uncomfortable.

I can't get into it on this blog, for fear of it coming back to me. But needless to say I have feelings on the topic, I just wish I had some sort of outlet to get into it.

I could write about it, just to write about it – but no one would see it. I don't know how I feel about that. I do like to write, but I also like an audience. And I'd like this conversation to have feedback.

Anyway it is useless, I have to remain just the reporter on the topic, but after covering it for so many years and dedicating so many hours to listening to people give feedback, watching decisions be made and sitting in on the court sessions – I'm feeling pretty burned out.

There is no end in sight, no light at the end of the tunnel. Just more litigation, uncomfortable exchanges and me covering it all.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

To post or not to post...

So I didn't post to my blog yesterday. I was busy but also I didn't have very much to say. I don't want to force myself to blog every single day just because that would be cool.

I want to blog when I have something to share or some commentary to give. Yesterday I was busy and while I was thinking of what to contribute to the blog (I had ideas) I just didn't have the time and I think that is okay.

I want to blog often, but I don't want to force it. Especially when I am busy and will force my thoughts out too quickly.

That being said, this is my quick thought of the day. A reflection on a quote (one of my favorites). A revisit for this blog as I published it in my original post.

"Writing is the only thing that, when I do it, I don't feel like I should be doing something else."
– Gloria Steinem

And because I am inspired by this quote, I want writing to be a priority for me. I'm not going to push it. Because if I force it I will begin to write too quickly, or without enough thought or consideration into what I post. And I don't want to set a lofty goal I won't meet or burn out on.

As I student in elementary school and even through high school I was always told I was a strong starter. I think to this day that might be true. My real problem comes when in following through and finishing things.

Who knows when my life blogging will end, but I want to foster it and nurture it in a mature way so I don't give up!

Monday, March 11, 2013

The pink slip game

Photo Courtesy of Los Altos Town Crier
While going through my email today, I received a press release from California Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, who has drafted litigation that is designed to help mitigate the "cruel" pink slip game which occurs annually in California.

Essentially, school districts in California are required to issue tentative pink-slips to teachers by March 15 every year. Over the years, this has resulted in many teachers playing a guessing game about whether they will be employed for the following year. Usually a large percentage of teachers find out in July, that they ultimately will be teaching again the following year.

So why do we put teachers through this situation? School districts have to cover their own financial behinds by handing out the worst-case scenario of pink slips, based on preliminary information they have received regarding the state budget. Basically, school districts have to prepare for a rainy day, if that is what happens should the state make all the cuts they threaten every year.

When teachers receive pink slips, it is demoralizing and really hurts morale. I've covered many years of this practice, one in particular where a teacher spoke with me and actually showed her pink slip, which is indeed printed on pink paper.

It's rough to be first-year teacher in California. Often these are the teachers left in limbo, wondering if they should look for another job or if they should remain faithful to the district they are teaching in. With a large group of older-generation teachers retiring each year, new teachers are needed in California.

I've been told by people in education that within the first two years of teaching, a person can really tell whether or not they were meant to teach. I hope this pink slip game that California plays isn't dissuading potentially talented teachers away from the classroom.

This new legislation, would change the deadline for tentative pink-slips to June 1, a lot closer to the finalization of the annual state budget, and after the May Revise of the budget (which I know first hand to give the district a lot more clarity as to what the final state budget will include). This hopefully would mitigate the number of pink slips handed out, and getting one wouldn't mean so much of a guessing game.

Another part of this new legislation pushes out the final pink-slip notice from May 15 to August 1. This is the one the teacher's are going to take issue with, as it leaves so little time (two weeks) for them to find another job if they actually do get a pink slip. And the California Teacher's Union is a powerful beast.

So while I do like the intent of this bill, I wonder why we couldn't just push out the final notice to sometime in July or something, so teachers are still given a respectable amount of time to find other employment if that is the case.

And what about retirements? In the district I cover, teachers don't have any sort of an annual deadline to announce retirements. Why not make an annual deadline to announce retirements for the following year? Knowing this sort of information ahead of time would also save the districts from having to deliver pink slip notifications.

Anyway, just because I cover education in my day-to-day job does not make me a complete expert on the subject. I was just very interested to see this legislation going forward, though it does need some tweaks for sure.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Business of Marriage in China

So in today's New York Times there was an interesting article about the business of marriage in China. The article followed two different women searching for the perfect match, for someone else. One was part of an official match-making business searching for a mate for a very wealthy perfectionist with a very particular taste.

The other was a woman from rural China trying to find a mate for her aging son. Apparently it is hard to pair a male up who does not own property, etc. Equally hard to pair up is a successful woman, which to me is ridiculous.

The woman from the match-making business earns quite a living for herself, with something like $30,000 bonuses once the deal has been sealed. Her clients pay $500,000 upwards just for the service.

The one voice that was not represented in this story was the voice of women in China. I realize that is a completely different topic that opens a whole new can of worms, but what must it feel like to be walked up to while shopping in the mall and propositioned by a match-maker. And this is apparently not uncommon in China, as there is a big business to be gained to find the perfect mate.

And the women they are searching for are the ones who don't go to graduate school, who are willing to be less successful and be the shadow to the man's success. Just made me ill to read. I was so disappointed that I didn't hear what the women of China have to say about this practice.

At one point in the story, the mother searching for a wife for her son, matched him up with a very successful woman in China. She met with him, said "we get married and you'll never have to work again." And he turned it down because of his manhood.

What do the adolescent girls in China feel about this for their future? In western culture success for women is celebrated, I am somewhat shocked to see that this sexist thinking still exists in the world.

All I have to say is I am glad I live in the United States and was able to pick my husband based on love, not on success, money and artificial, sexist, class-system match-making.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Die Hard

So Mike introduced me to a classic action movie today and "Ode to Joy" will never be the same. It had enough of a plot to keep me interested so I guess I enjoyed it. Gave a decent ending to a crappy day (Sharks lost after a 3-1 lead, and we were there). I don't think I'll tune into any of he follow ups as most looked real dumb with plot holes aplenty. Although Die Hard With a Vengeance, with Samuel Jackson looked like it had a little promise.

That is it for today, as I am posting from my iPad, which is cool, but makes me want to keep this post brief.

Friday, March 8, 2013

The professor, the bikini model and the suitcase

Every morning I wake up and catch up on the news. In addition to reading new novels I try to keep up with the world and be inspired by other works of great journalism.

This morning I woke up and read a piece titled "The Professor, The Bikini Model and the Suitcase Full of Trouble." Right away it captivated me and was very wonderfully written, almost as though it were written by a novelist. 5,000 words later at the conclusion of the story, I find the author, Maxine Swann is a novelist (I'll be adding some of her novels to my to-read list shortly).

Anyhow, the piece is featured in the New York Times magazine and is a bizarre tale about a professor who was duped into believe a model was into him, which led him on a travel adventure, eventually acquiring luggage laced with cocaine and ending up in prison in Buenos Aires.

The professor, who is a very intelligent theoretical particle physicist, is obviously someone who spent his life in academia and a lot of social realities are lost on him. But later in the story, it gets even more strange as it is revealed he has a strange sense of humor and was texting his so called-model girlfriend about being afraid about drug sniffing dogs and so on. The story leaves you wondering whether he is guilty or innocent in an artful way.

At the end of the story, the professor was reflecting on his career and his ultimate goal of receiving a Nobel Prize. He said he has published 450 papers and then he pointed out what he had sacrificed, "Well I don't have a family."

Despite all the crazy about this piece, and believe me it is full of crazy, that last statement hit me hard. Some days I feel so attached to my career, being a journalist, that I feel so afraid to have a family and someday have to let that go.

I need to find joy in my own writing (hopefully this blog is a good start), so if someday I have to give up my career (I'm thinking that is a possibility because to be able to afford a house to raise a family in, we'd have to move, and newspapers are dying and so forth...) I won't feel I've lost the ability to write and create, and hopefully one day, inspire.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Finding balance

So I've been trying to integrate new literature into my life as much as I've been integrating the television shows.

It's a shameful fact I watch a lot of TV. I let my DVR grow and grow and then watch hours at a time. I want to balance this with a healthy amount of reading.

So far this year I have read three books. I wanted to make it a two book a month average, so clearly I am behind a bit. In January I read "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling within a few short days. I instantly wanted to meet Mindy and be her best friend, but I'll just have to settle "The Mindy Project" on television.

Then I picked up "The Age of Miracles" by Karen Thompson Walker, which was an unusual pick up for me. I truly enjoyed a coming of age story told as the Earth was beginning to end. Such an interesting concept and I really loved the narration.

I just finished "A Grown Up Kind of Pretty" by Joshilyn Jackson. This was another of those stories told from three perspectives of women, a grandmother, mother and daughter, all 15 years apart from one another. I really enjoyed this book, though the chapters were rather lengthy so I found myself staying up later than I had planned on just so I could finish a chapter. Particularly interesting about this book were the chapters told from the perspective of one of the characters who had suffered a stroke and how she tried to communicate when she couldn't.

On the TV front, I tore through Netflix's House of Cards and absolutely loved Kevin Spacey as the creepy power-hungry politician ruling the evil world of Washington DC.

Now I am going through The West Wing, which I never watched when it was originally on television. I just eat up good political drama. In another world, in another life, I think I was meant to flourish in a political environment.

Also to balance all the TV watching and the reading, I'd want to write more blog posts. So I'm going to try to post as often as I can (in a perfect world, that would be every day). I want to create a space for me to find my own voice in writing. Even though I do it for a living, it is never really what I want to write or what I am going through.

Monday, January 21, 2013

How I make my manicures last

So I know I'm a little obsessed with my nails and polish and stuff, but its nice to pamper my hands and nails twice a week (on average) while I watch any number of shows building up on my DVR.

Anyway to begin. These are tips I've picked up from several different places on the web and I have found that by following these steps I can make my manicures last 5-7 days with no chips and minimal tip wear.

A lot of it has to do with good products. I've found that I like Zoya polishes the best, their color lock system is key to making the manicure last. If you only have time to paint your nails (and don't want to go to the effort of soaking or exfoliating), do it with the color lock system and you should be set.

Step one: Remove your previous manicure with Zoya Remove. If you don't invest in anything else, Zoya Remove is by far the best nail polish remover I have ever used. It cleans the nail bed and keeps moisture in. So much better for your nails. The Remove is the first step in the color lock system.

Step two: File your nails if needed. I don't file my nails every manicure, but if my nails are peeling a bit, I'll file it smooth. Or if my nails are getting too long, I'll file them down. The best file for all manicures is any glass filer, like the one I have below. You can find these at most beauty supply stores. I have a full size one at home and a travel size one in my purse. 

Step three: Soak your hands in warm soapy water for five minutes (more if you're just trying to relax and warm up on a cold evening!). I just shower gel to soap my water, nothing special.

Step four: Use a good exfoliate, such as this Qtica Sugar Scrub (I have the Exotic Mango scent, which smells so good). This removes dead skin off your hands and around your nail beds! It's not a necessary step, but is luxurious and makes me feel like I am in a spa! After you are done, dunk your hands in your bowl of water to wash off the exfoliant and dead skin.

Step 5: Moisturize! I use moisturizer on my hands every morning, but doing it as you get ready to paint your nails helps to make your hands as healthy and full of moisture which will help your manicure last longer. After I finish rubbing in my Qtica Luxury Lotion (also in Exotic Mango, so my scents match), I rub a little Remove over my nails one more time to clean off the nail bed and take off any extra moisturizer.

Step 6: You're ready to paint your nails. Now since I swear by the color lock system, I start with Zoya Anchor, then put on two coats of any Zoya of choice (here I chose Zoya Dakota), add on Zoya Armor and top it off with Zoya Fast Drops. Make sure all your coats are thin!!!
TIP: Before moving to your next coat, wait about two minutes. Not sure you waited long enough? Test your nail by feeling to see if it is tacky or sticky, if so, wait until it is smooth to the touch.

Step 7: After you are done with all your coats and you've sat still for about five to ten minutes (I know the hardest part for me is not to multi-task toward the end), you are set. Now I don't have a perfect recipe to stay within the lines, but my best tip to you is: don't sweat it. I've had a lot of practice and I'm still not perfect at it. The next morning when I'm in the shower, I use the warm water to peal off any mistakes I made outside of the lines. I promise you this works every time. Below, I'll show you my not perfect job at application!

Throughout the week, I make sure to moisturize my nails every day and any time they look dry (especially in the winter when it is so much more dry outside).

Just try out this system once, it really works. It might take more time than your average manicure, but it lasts and it feels good to pamper yourself every once in awhile (and not have to pay someone to do it).

You don't have to go to the extremes I do, but it's nice do to every once in awhile. I've left links on this post throughout in case you are interested in any of the products I use (and no, I definitely was not paid by Zoya to do this post, I'm just a total fan!). Zoya has promotional deals all the time, follow them on Facebook and I promise you won't be sorry. They just had a promotion where they gave out three of their colors for only a $10 shipping fee. Their polishes aren't cheap, but I think the price is worth it because of how high quality their products are (and their products are vegan friendly and free from harmful chemicals). Aren't sure about the color lock system? Check out their MiniCure Holiday set, that is what got me started on the system.

In conclusion, if you've made it this far, thank you. Just sharing a bit about what I like to do in my free time and I'm so happy you've made it this far!!!