Perfect At Home Manicure

I have an obsession with all things related to nails.  I can’t help it.  I think nail art is just so much fun.  I love watching YouTube videos about nail art.  I have done my fair share of simple nail art.  I found after watching a TON of videos it isn’t as hard as it looks.  Well… some of it really is that difficult… but dots and swirls really do go a long way toward completing one of a kind manicures.

Summer Nail Art

Summer Nail Art

Simple Nail Art

Simple Nail Art

My nails are in an ever-changing state of length, color, nail art, etc.  I love the gel polish.  I can never get it to last as long as when I go to the salon and have it done.  I do have a home kit.  I love playing with it.  I generally make it too thick which leads to picking and peeling.  (I may have a mild case of picking and popping issues too….)  I love good old traditional polish.  I have a difficult time paying for a manicure in traditional polish anymore now that I am a huge gel fan.  I love having traditional polish on my toes and I love doing at home manicures with traditional polish.

The following are the steps that I take for a perfect at home manicure and some of my favorite tried and true products that I love.

You will need:

Nail Supplies

Nail Supplies

  • Cuticle Eliminator-  I love be natural’s this stuff is AMAZING!  It pulls stuff off my nails I didn’t know was on there!
  • Cuticle pusher-  I have graduated to a metal cuticle pusher from an orange stick.  An orange stick is a wooden stick with a flattened end used to push back the cuticle.  Orange sticks work just as good.  I just got tired of having to buy new ones every couple weeks…
  • Cuticle nippers-  I have some from Sally Hansen that are nice.  Make sure that they are good and sharp.  Nothing is worse than trying to nip a piece of cuticle and having to tug at it!
  • Nail files and buffer-  I use a coarse one, a medium one and a buffer to smooth out my ridges.  I have very thick strong nails.  I also find that if I lightly buff the tops of my nails (the ridges away) my nail polish lasts longer.
  • Base coat-  I like Instant Artificials by Salon Sciences if I am going to do a French Manicure.  It gives a nice pink base that doesn’t look too fake.  If I am not doing a French Manicure I pretty much use any clear coat.  I like NailTek stuff.  It makes me feel like I am doing a little bit more for my nails.
  • Polish-  I use Essie Marshmallow for the white tips when I do a French Manicure.  I don’t like bright white tips.  That my preference though.  If I am doing all one color I like trying new thinks.  I have Essie, O.P.I, China Glaze, Finger Paints… a little bit of everything.  Use what you like.


  1. Remove old polish.  I like to use Acetone to remove any old polish stuck on there.  This stuff will take everything and anything off.
  2. File and shape nails.  I like a “squ-oval” (square- oval) I like my free edge straight across and the edges rounded.
  3. Apply cuticle eliminator and let it sit for a bit.
  4. Use cuticle pusher to push back cuticles and dead skin cells back towards the cuticle.

    Pushing Cuticles Back

    Pushing Cuticles Back

  5. Use cuticle nipper and trim off the gunk that comes up once you finish pushing your cuticles back.
  6. Buff the ridges down if you have thicker nails.  If you have thin nails you may want to skip this step.



  7. I wash my hands and wipe my nails down with acetone at this point.  I think dehydrating the nails before applying any polish help make the polish last longer.  When you wipe down the nail with the acetone you will notice that your nail turns white.  That’s normal.
  8. Tape off the free edge of your nail.  I use scotch tape.  I find that any tape will work  or you can use the little white strips that they sell at Walmart or CVS in the nail section.  Make sure that the tape is sealed along the free edge.  Otherwise it will let paint leak under the polish.

    Taping off the free edge

    Taping off the free edge

  9. Paint the tapped off free edge with your base coat and let it dry.  Thin coats are always better.  The great thing about taping off the free edge is that you don’t have to worry about how neat your paint job is.
  10. Apply second coat to the free edge and let it semi dry.

    Second coat of tip color

    Second coat of tip color

  11. Peel off tape SLOWLY.  Take your time on this step.  Allow it to create a clean edge for you.
  12. Apply a thin coat of the Instant Artificial from the cuticle to the free edge.   Attempt to keep it off the white tip.  Allow to dry.
  13. Apply a thin top coat.  I like Sally Hansen Hard as Wraps.  Allow to dry.  This should smooth out any imperfections on your nails.
  14. Apply your favorite hand lotion or cuticle oil once your nails have dried.
    Finished product

    Finished product

    These are the steps that I take for a perfect manicure.  Tell me what your favorite manicure products are.  Any special tips or tricks you use for a perfect mani every time?


Five for Friday

5 things I’m loving this week…

  1. My Lemon and Sugar Scrub-  I posted a recipe this week and have loved hearing all the responses about it.  Check it out here.
  2. Vaseline Rosy Lips- This stuff is seriously keeping my lips from drying up and falling off.  I think I should do a review about it.  Look for it in the near future.

    Vaseline Rosy Lips

    Vaseline Rosy Lips

  3. The Walking Dead–  I finally caught up on last weeks episode and I can’t wait for the mid-season finale on Sunday!  I think the Governor is such a great bad guy.  I love to hate him.
  4. Thanksgiving-  I had a wonderful day stuffing my face with them.  I wish there was more time in the day/week that we could spend more time together.  It just never seems like enough with everyone’s busy schedules.
  5. Cuddl Duds– These are my favorite base layer in the winter.  I would seriously walk around in them all the time if it was appropriate.  They are a nice thin layer that keep you AMAZINGLY warm without being itchy.  I had to break them out this week because it is finally getting cold enough that a sweatshirt just isn’t cutting under my scrubs at work.

What are your favorite things this week?

Don’t worry if I get a sponsored post you will know it…

Gratitude on Thursday- Thanksgiving Special

Yesterday was filled with food, family and more food!  I had a wonderful time stuffing my face with my family.  We had all the trimmings: Turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, mac and cheese, corn, FILLING, and more!  I didn’t have room for dessert before I had to go to work.  But while I was at work I was able to stuff my face for a second time and find amazing dessert of apple pie and pumpkin pie.

On Thanksgiving this year I am thankful for:

  1. My family- always first and foremost.  I am so grateful that I got picked to be a part of their lives.  We may not always get along and see eye to eye but we are always there for each other and there is always love.



  2. Our new house. I am so grateful that we have finally put down roots.  After being rolling stones for almost 10 years it feels great to have a place to call our own.  It still blows my mind that we are homeowners!

    Home owners FINALLY!

    Home owners FINALLY!

  3. My daughter, J.  She is growing in to such an amazing, wild and wonderful girl.  I love that she loves to explore and learn.  I love reading stories to her at night before bed.  I love and appreciate her little attitude that is developing.  It can be exasperating sometimes but I know that it will serve her well when she grows in to it.

    J twirling

    J twirling

This is what I’m thankful this year.  What are you Thankful for this year?

Lemon Sugar Scrub

I figured I would post a “recipe” if you will for how I make my Lemon Sugar Scrub.  I love this stuff.  I keep a jar of it in the shower all the time.  The lemon helps to dissolve black heads and dead skin cells.  The sugar is fine enough to help buff off the dead skin cells on the top layer of skin.  It acts a little bit like a microdermabrasion.  The olive oil is SUPER moisturizing.  This stuff has been amazing at keeping the little white bumps (Keratosis Pilaris) I get on the back of my arms away.  I have started using it on my legs to help keep them moisturized during the cold winter months.  I can’t say enough good things about this scrub and to boot it is all-natural.  I can pronounce every ingredient in this scrub (sugar, lemon juice, olive oil)!

On to the recipe…




1.5 C sugar

3 tbsp. Lemon Juice

2 tbsp. Olive Oil

  1. In a water proof container place all of the above ingredients



  2. Mix.



I like my scrub to about the consistency of wet sand.  Add more Olive Oil if you need more moisture.  Use more Lemon Juice if you’d like more black head removal.  Adjust the ingredients to fit your needs.


Scrub texture

To use:  take a little bit of the scrub and rub all over your skin. **I do this in the shower.  I like the fact that I don’t have to worry about getting scrub all over everything and then trying to rinse it off. **  I also recommend shaving before you use this scrub.  The dead skin cells will clog up your razor if you try and shave afterwards.**

I don’t keep my scrub in a pretty jar but I think this would make an excellent Christmas, holiday or birthday present.  I think an airtight jar and some pretty ribbon would go a long way.

Hope y’all enjoy!  Please tell me if you make my scrub.  Tell me what y’all think about the scrub.

Product Junkie

I am a product junkie.  There I said it.  Admitting it is the first step right?!  I can’t help it though.  There are soo many cool and new and interesting products out there I want to try.  When I get the opportunity, I do.  But I am loyal too.  A lot of the stuff that I try usually ends up in the “that was interesting but I’ll never use it again bin.” So when I find something I really like and it lives up to my expectations I stick with it.  Like my foundation (Maybelline).  It is probably only one of few products that I have re-bought several times.  It works that good for me.

I honestly wish that someone would pay me to try stuff… I wonder if I could get a job like that?  For a long time my family thought that I would end up going to cosmetology school.  I don’t know what it is about the power of make-up and hair that is so transformative and fascinating to me but I love it.  I think the only reason I didn’t (haven’t) gone to cosmetology school (aside from $$$) is the fact that it scares me to think about people judging my work.  This seems ironic to me as I’m sitting here typing a blog that I am planning on publishing… let that sink in for a minute.

Please don’t read the above paragraph as “Please send me stuff to test, etc.” That’s not it.  I just love trying new stuff.  I get a kick out of it.  I am like a kid in a candy store when it comes to make-up and beauty products.  I could live in Ulta and Sephora.  I think that’s one of the reasons I started this blog… I have tried so much stuff, why shouldn’t I share about it?

One of my favorite gifts to give for Christmas is my make-up/beauty favorites from the year all tied up in a nice make-up tote.  My besties LOVE getting them.  I have gotten several requests for repeat products through out the year.

So I’ll follow this up with a question.  What is your all time favorite beauty/make-up product?  The one thing you can’t live with out or the one thing you have bought over and over.  What is you make-up staple?

A Day Late and a Dollar Short…

This is my 5 for Friday post.  It is only a day late.  Seems to be a theme this week. 

This week I am totally loving…

1.  The Walking Dead–  Totally in love with this show!  My husband and I binge watched the first 2 seasons and now practically tear our hair out having to wait a whole week for a new episode. 

2.  Game of Thrones–  I am in the process of binge watching this show and I’m totally hooked!  I can’t wait for the next season to start and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna start reading the books in the mean time.  I swear I don’t spend all of my downtime watching TV shows. 

3.  Lemon Sugar Scrub-  I made an olive oil, lemon and sugar scrub last weekend and I have been using it every couple of days and it is making my skin so soft!  I have also noticed that it is helping with some of my backacne,  the bumps on my upper arms, and helps with ingrown hairs. 

4.  Aquaphor- I love this stuff.  I have been using this stuff all over.  My skin gets so dry from work and the cold weather I can’t stand it.  This stuff is a God-send! 

5.  Red Carpet Nails– I painted my nails grey on Thursday.  I love using this stuff when I can’t get to the salon and get my nails done for me.  Lets see if it’ll last two weeks this time.

Would y’all be interested in me doing a post about how I make the sugar scrub?  Or maybe how I do my nails using Red Carpet Nails?  Have a great weekend!

Gratitude on Thursday

I missed this yesterday.  I am finding that I am not as consitant as I thought I would be.  I guess this illustrates a character defect of mine… I am really good at starting stuff but not so great a finishing. 

On to the post.

This Thursday I am (was) grateful for:

1.  My family.  I would be lost without their love and support. 

2.  My friends.  I had a dear friend stop over yesterday and hung out for several hours.  We had a lovely conversation about higher powers and religion. 

Anna and I

Anna and I

3.  Honeycrisp Apples.  We have an orchard near by that has these amazing apple.  This was our second half bushal.  My daughter now asks for them by name or calls them “the good apples.”  LOL!  I love it!