Wednesday, April 30, 2014

beauty review:: sensationail gel manicure

Another beauty review, another story about my nails.  For Christmas, my dad gifted my sisters and I with the Sensationail Gel Manicure kit.  I already had gel polish on my nails, so we tried the polish out on Kit, and it worked pretty well!  The color was a little shimmery for me, so I waited until I found a color I liked before I tried it.

The time came, and I was not impressed.  I had the polish picked off within a few days.  I was really disappointed, as I love the durability of a gel manicure, but don't have the budget to consistently get them.  (Oh, and they helped me cure my habit of nail picking!)

Fast forward to about a week ago - I was itching to get my nails done, but my budget said it would be awhile.  I decided to give gel polish set another try, so I picked up Island Oasis from Target, poured myself a glass of wine, and got started.

I'm impressed.  Very impressed.  I want to get all the colors, and if someone wants to send me Coral Sunset, that'd be cool.  The key is to take your time.  I made sure I was being precise.  When the directions said cure for 60 seconds, I cured for 90 seconds.  When they said two coats, I did three (mostly because I wanted it to be more opaque).  The biggest tip I have though - don't let the base/top coat or the color coat touch your skin.  If it gets onto your cuticle, you'll have more issues with snagging and peeling.  It's going to be on your nail for  couple weeks, it's okay if it's not right up to the skin.

It does take a little bit of time and energy to get it done, but so does going to the salon to get them done.  On the plus side, you can watch Netflix and drink wine at home while you do it.

I'll let you all know how long it lasts and how removing it goes when it comes time.  I'm sure it will be a process!

UPDATE: Pretty easy removal, except for a weird stickiness that's left on the nail.  Luckily it's easy to paint over.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 14, 2014

good food. az pt 5

I was a little spoiled with food while on vacation.  Nathan and I went to In-N-Out, of course, but we had plenty of other wonderful meals with friends and family during the trip.  As the memories that last the longest, they're the ones I'm using to wrap up the AZ series that went on a week longer than I planned (my bad!)!  And thank goodness it's finally warming up in Minnesota - I need to be on a patio again!

Early on in the trip, we went to dinner with some good family friends and had phenomenal steak, ribs, salads, and a jalapeno dip to die for - this coming from the girl who hates anything spicy.  There was a ton of good food between it, some relaxed trips to the deli and plenty of leftovers, and the trip was wrapped up nicely at a fantastic sushi place.  We were seated around the hibachi grill and my birthday was celebrated, which meant I got to stand next to the chef and play around a little.

What was truly fantastic about that particular dinner was the family with two kids sitting next to us.  My grandpa gets a look on his face, one that can only be described as pure joy and wonder, when he sees his loved ones or anyone under the age of 14 having fun.  Getting to see this look as he watched the kids trying sushi and talking with us about their dirt bikes was the best souvenir of the trip.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

running and running.

I was never a runner.  When it came time to run the mile in gym class, I usually walked it.  I joined track in middle school and the first year of high school to run hurdles; every work out over 400m was a nightmare.  I have never enjoyed running, or gotten a runners high.  Two years, ago, I decided to sign up for a 5k.  I told myself it would be good for me, and I had dreams of becoming a celebrated marathon runner, surprising everyone around me.  I wanted to prove to the people who laughed at my athletic abilities (even myself) that I could do it.

So I did.  I bought training programs.  I made running playlists and bought shoes and tried to watch what I ate.  I ran outside.  I ran inside.  I dreaded every workout and hated every workout I finished.  I never felt like I'd had a "good" run, I was never excited to run, and I kept counting down the days until it was over.

Six months after I had signed up, I lined up to start the race with two good friends from high school.  It was the Color Run, and if you've ever ran one, not much running can happen during them.  It was slow.  I walked a lot.  I struggled with the jogging.  I got absolutely covered in color powder and I had fun with my best friend, but I was so glad when it was over.  I hated running.  I'd run a 5K, I'd proven that I could, and that was the end of it.

Over the next year, I followed Nicole's journey as she kept running further, and more often, and making lifestyle changes, and I was more and more envious.  If she could go from not being a runner, to being a marathoner, couldn't I?

A year after my first 5K, I put on my running shoes and went for a run.  It was just under a mile, I didn't run the whole time, and I still hated it.  I still loathed every step I took and never wanted to do it again.

Last fall, I had a friend ask me to do a 5K with her.  I laughed in her face.  My running days were over - no more 5K's for me.  I tried it, and I'd accepted that running just wasn't for me.  I jokingly told my mom I'd run one with her as she worked towards losing weight.  She took me up on it.  With no offense intended to Mom, I thought I'd be fine.  It'd been at least 10 years since she'd gone running - I would be fine.  Nathan signed up with us, in February, we made the commitment to do it.

I was pretty lax in my running.  I went to the rec, would put West Wing on my iPad, and run for the length of an episode.  With bad knees, low impact on the elliptical worked for me.  It wasn't until two weeks before the 5K was scheduled to happen that I was able to get outside and actually run.

On my first run, I used MapMyFitness and went just over a mile.  It went okay.  The next time went even better.  The third time was awful, but the fourth one was okay.  Yesterday, I ran a 5K.  I ran 95% of it.  I helped my Mom do something she didn't think she'd do.  I told Nathan I'd run three more so I could get the MN Run jacket (I can be bribed).  I don't know if it was timing, or doing something for someone else, but I gained an appreciation for running.  I figured out what time of day makes me feel less miserable when I run.  I learned that I like running to Hugh Laurie's jazzy-blues albums instead of upbeat music or audiobooks.  I'm not a "runner" yet by any means, but I'm getting there, and I finally am getting an understanding of the phrase "it's all about timing".

Friday, April 11, 2014

612 Brew:: Minneapolis musts.

Last week, Nathan took me to 612 Brew for date night.  We went back in February 2013 when it was first opened, but hadn't been back since I was legal (!!).  It's a great space, and the walls are filled with murals and prints by local artist Adam Turman.  Let me tell you, I could look at his work for days.

Nathan bought an Amazon Local deal, which prompted us to go back.  The deal included a flight, two pints, and two pint glasses to take home with us - it was worth it.  The flight included Zero Hour, Rated R, Six, and Mal Beck (I think I spelled it right!), because they were out of the Gateway.  Nathan ended up with the Rated R, and I got the Six, even though the Zero Hour was delicious.  The wait staff was fantastic.  I've never had such a pleasant time with bartenders!

Whenever anyone asks me about this place, I cannot stop raving about the fact that they bring in a different food truck each weekend for food.  It means more space in the building, and that you never have the same experience twice.  Hibachi Daruma was the food truck of the night and it was so wonderful!

It was a blast, and I highly reccommend it as a Minneapolis place to visit.

(Also, my little brother mailed me his Flat Stanley, and I couldn't help but take him out to snap a quick picture.  Not appropriate for Kindergarten, but a good laugh for me, and an even bigger one from my Dad when I sent him the picture!)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

hiking. az pt 4

Hiking (read: exercise) is not my favorite thing in the world.  I promised Nathan last year that we would go hiking and, when we did, it was awful (kidding!).  I was dramatic, as usual, and we made the hour and a half trek there and back and had a fun time.  This year, of course, Nathan was dying to go again, and I promised him he would.

On one of the days we had no plans, we drove ten minutes to Usery Mountain Park and got ready for the hike.  I had so much more fun than I thought.  Honestly, I think last year it was that I didn't want to look weak in front of Marathon Nathan.  I knew that I could handle it this year, so I just let myself have fun.  It was such a weight off of my shoulders to just know I could do it.  The wind caves at the very top were fantastic, and there were ground squirrels everywhere - weirdly cute!  Stepping out of your comfort zone on vacation is terrifying, but can lead to new traditions and fun memories.

What have you done on vacation that was out of your comfort zone?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

beauty review:: Sephora by OPI Trend Tips

As I mentioned last week, I ordered the Sephora by OPI Trend Tips in Ikat.  Well I put them on about a week ago, and I would definitely order them and apply them again.  Let's start with the good:

The Good
- as long as you apply a topcoat, they last a long time.  I didn't have a chip for at least five days.  That may not seem like a lot to some people, but I pick at my nails and the nails break easily, so this is fantastic for me.
- they're subtle.  I got tons of compliments on them, but many thought I had done them myself!  While it's great to have professional looking nails, it's also a relief to know people aren't thinking "wow, that's intense to have professionally done".

The Bad
- they dry out quickly.  You have to apply them fast, and there isn't a ton of room or time for error.
- there are only 16 stickers.  It's a one time manicure, which is great for the price, but I was frustrated that there are only two of each sizes.  With smaller hands and similarly shaped fingernails, I had spots where there wasn't enough coverage, and others where I had to trim the sticker to fit.
- takes forever to take off.  I held off the review because I was curious how easily they came off.  Because they're metallic, it takes a little longer anyways, but there was also this sticky residue that was left on my nails. NOTHING I did got it off, so I just painted over it.

All in all, pretty good!  I'd give it a 3.75-4 out of 5, and I would definitely get it again.  I would get them for design and long lasting factor alone - it's way quicker for me to paint my nails.

Any products you're loving?

Thursday, April 3, 2014

in-n-out burger. az pt 3

I'm slow on these updates (four weeks left of school already!?), but here is part 3 of my spring break trip!

How I miss In-N-Out Burger.  Maybe it tastes so good because it doesn't exist in Minnesota, but I personally just think it's because it tastes like heaven.  I've been doing this stupid health challenge with Nathan (more of that to come...) and I can only think of In-N-Out, chocolate, and wine.  And soda.  And peanut butter.  And cheese.  Anyways.

Nathan and I took a day to go shopping at an outlet mall about 45 minutes from the house, and made sure that an In-N-Out was in a 10 minute radius at some point on the drive.  We made the stop and it was delicious.  On our way out, Nathan bought two burgers for the road and ate them both before we made it back to the house.  He claims he bought them for us to each have one, but his asking me if I was going to eat one sounded more like "you can have this if you want, but I'll fight you for it".  One of the many enjoyable parts of the trip, I still like to tease him for it.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

perfume love no.1

photo credit: Mellow Mayo

It's no secret that I'm a sucker for free things, a good deal, or a "buy this, get a free gift" promotion.  If I can get a $40 gift with my $40 purchase, well then each thing was only $20, right?  (This is how my mind works, people!)  My birthday was a couple weeks ago, and as I was going through the promotions tab in my inbox, there were two emails from Sephora that stuck out to me.  The first was that I could pick up my (free!) birthday gift in-stores or redeem online, and the second was that with every purchase I made, I could pick out five free samples instead of the typical three.  Well.  Let me tell you.

I initially disregarded the second email, as I had just gotten home from vacation and really did not need to spend any money on make up at the time.  My intent was to go to the website and claim my birthday gift, because I'm lazy at heart and didn't want to go to the mall.  Imagine my surprise (but not really surprise) when I discovered that to get my birthday gift, I had to buy something.  "Well," my internal self said, "that's okay, because then you get five free samples and your birthday gift, which is probably a $10 value or something."  (The lazy struggle is real guys.)  So I bought the Trend Tips for Sephora by OPI in Ikat.  They were on sale and I paid a little for shipping (I knowwwwwww) but I got five free samples and my birthday gift!  For less than $10 total!  Isn't that exciting?!

For one of my samples I chose Roses de Chloe perfume, because although I'm not a beauty nut, I love perfume.  The feelings I have for this particular scent are indescribable.  I hadn't smelled it before, but when I put it on I was initially unsure - fresh cut roses aren't always my thing.  But ohmygoodness, I'm in love.  I want to wear this scent every day.  Every.  Day.  If I wasn't so broke right now, I would definitely be buying (have bought) this right now (already).

Anyone want to get me a belated birthday gift?  Sephora, want to just mail it to me?

What scent are you loving?