Thursday, December 15, 2016

Zoya Naked Manicure

This year Zoya had a really amazing deal on Black Friday.. 70% off the entire site!  Zoya is my favorite mainstream polish brand, so I had to take a look at my collection and then compare to my wishlist.  One of the things I'd been interested in is the Naked Manicure system, but just never got around to getting a kit.  I couldn't pass up the Black Friday deal, though!

Zoya Black Friday Haul

I don't know that I would consider this a "haul" since it's not many polishes, but it was a pretty good deal anyway!  I picked up the following:  Women's Starter Kit, Lavender Perfecter for the Naked Manicure System, Get Even Ridge Filling Base Coat (can't wait to try this underneath my Zoya satin and matte polishes), and some polishes (Dahlia pixie dust, Tove Satin, Merida, Troy).

The Women's starter kit includes the naked base, pink perfector, tip perfector, and satin seal top coat.  I was very interested in this system since I don't ALWAYS have polish on my nails.  These times are actually pretty infrequent because I have some staining on my nails (the bane of the polish addict I suppose!) and I like to keep that covered!  I like the look of healthy natural nails, though, so I was hoping this would be what I was looking for at those times I can't really pick a polish to wear or I simply don't feel like wearing any color.  Of course, before trying this system myself I watched several videos (JessFace90x, Simply Jary, CDBnails) to help lessen my learning curve!

I took a few photos in natural light and in my regular office lighting.  You can definitely see the yellow tinge on my nails and ridges on most of my nails.  Despite that, my nails are fairly strong and flexible thanks to plenty of nourishing oils.  I keep meaning to write a post about some of my favorite skin and nail care items.. someone remind me, ok?!

After watching the videos and reading up on the system on the Zoya website I decided to add the Lavender Perfector to my order to help neutralize discoloration.  I'm so glad I did this because my nails are obviously discolored!  I forgot to mention earlier that the kit comes with a manual that explains how to use the system and the benefits of using the system (cosmetic and long-term therapeutic effects).

For this mani I applied the following:  naked base, lavender perfector, pink perfector, tip perfector, satin seal.  I waited about 2 or 3 minutes in between each layer.  The satin seal top coat took about 5 or 6 minutes to completely dry down to the satin/matte finish.  On the tip perfector, I used the tip suggested on the video by Simply Jary.  It worked just great for me!  There is also a glossy top coat you can purchase, but I skipped this since I prefer the more satin/matte finish for a natural nail look.

On the next photo you can see a little better the difference the Naked Manicure system made on the cosmetic appearance of my nails.  I gotta say.. I really love it!  My hands and nails look so polished and neat!  I will definitely be using this system often, especially if I have some trauma to the nail like a break (I cringe at the thought because nail breaks can hurt pretty badly!!) or if they just look like they're taking a beating (thank you, Texas weather!), and also to try to rehab them and give them a break from polish while still keeping them protected.

What do you think?  Would you try this system?  I will be updating this post in a few days to let you know about the wear time.  I hope to keep this on my nails 4 or 5 days, but we'll see if I get bored before then!

The Zoya Naked Manicure system and other Zoya products (polishes AND lip colors!) are available for purchase on the Zoya website or at certain retailers (ex. Ulta).

Thanks for stopping by!

UPDATE: 12/19/2016 (4 full days wear)

I bet you thought I couldn't stand to have the SAME THING on my nails for 4 days straight.  I didn't think I could do it, either, honestly.  But, I really wanted to see how this would fare for me.  I have a couple of pictures for you.. I'm sorry for the inconsistent lighting on the collage.  The point is just to show you how well it wore over the 4 days (do you see any chips?  I don't.. maybe my eyes are not so sharp anymore, but I don't notice anything big).

And here's a closer look from today.  If you look closely on my middle, ring and pinkie fingers you can see the natural nail starting to peek through from the growth.

Overall I really love this system!  It really was so easy to use and I think my nails looked so neat.  I will use this system often and may even use it if I ever try to do negative space nail art.  Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, December 12, 2016

I am a runner

Hello, hello!

So... are you ready for a long-ish post?

This past Sunday I ran a half-marathon.  Is that a long way?  I don't know.. I guess it depends on what you consider to be long.  Let's back track just a tiny bit.

I never considered myself any sort of athlete.  Sure, I played the seasonal sports in middle school (volleyball, basketball, track & field), but not because I really like them.. more because it seemed like I "should".  I am Hispanic, and my family LOVES all the carbs.  So, that's how I grew up!  I ate more than my fair share of tortillas, and we were always encouraged to clean our plate.  I cringe at the thought, but we would have soda or kool-aid (the sweetened kind) to drink, not just plain water.  Sugar!  Whee!  This is why I felt like I "should" participate in sports... because I always felt like I should lose weight and get in shape.  It wasn't really because I was any good at it, or that I really enjoyed it.

Well, now let's fast forward to when I finally decided to give running another try.  My son was born in the last weeks of 2008.  I can count on one hand the number of times I actively did something like go to the gym or go for a walk.  I was so consumed by him and when I wasn't with him, all I wanted to do was sleep!  Well, at about a year and half he decided he was done nursing, and I was still waking up for his early feeding.  Instead of breaking that habit, I decided it would be the perfect time to go to the gym.  About a year later I was flipping through a women's fitness magazine (Shape) and saw an ad for an all-girls 5K obstacle course.  I didn't really know what to expect with an obstacle course or a 5K, but I decided to sign up for it!  Why not?!  After that, a friend who had run the 5K obstacle course with me told me about a new race.. a MARATHON.. a marathon was really going to happen in our local community.

In what I can only imagine as a fit of insanity, I signed up to run the full marathon.  Crazy, right?  Even crazier.. I still considered myself pretty "soft" but now I did consider myself stronger and "normal" by the typical media standards.  Throughout my running, though, my image has shifted and now I'm much more concerned with the way my body feels and what I'm able to do.  That didn't happen quickly at all and sometimes I still do fret about my size.  Thankfully, these little bursts do not last very long.

Onward.. let's train for a marathon.  I joined a running group and trained with others who were also planning to run the marathon.  Throughout most of this training I still did not understand fully what it would FEEL like to run 26.2 miles.  I experienced a lot of pain.  Muscles were sore, one of my hips was hurting quite a bit, my feet would hurt from the pounding.  I don't really remember much pain in my knees, though I'm sure I had that, too!

On the course!  That's my son running to catch me.
Completing my first marathon in 2011 was an experience filled with many ups and downs.  With each mile completed, a feeling of strength, but also of weakness, happiness, but also worry.  Somehow I arrived at race day in a semi-healthy state and survived to collect my finisher medal and tech tee.  Oh the feelings.. from "I just propelled myself through 26.2 miles, hear me roar!" to "oh it hurts so much to walk".  What an amazing experience and one I will likely remember the rest of my life.

Obviously it wasn't too painful because I've completed 3 other marathons (all on the same local race) and several half marathons.  I haven't really thought about marathon #5 in a while, but after this last race, I actually didn't dismiss the idea right away.  In the back of my head I would like to run a full marathon again when I am 45, which will be year 10 for the local event.  For some reason I think that I should do one before that.  Of course, I don't know yet.  I may sign up for the half marathon again and be content with that.  And the next hour I think I will register for the full marathon, knowing that, if needed, I would be able to switch distances or defer about a month before race day.

First marathon medal
Marathon #4--best part of the race
 So, what's the big deal with our local race?  First of all.. it's unlikely that I would travel to run a marathon, but if it's in my own back yard.. why not?  Second, the founder of the race is also the founder of Mercy Project, an organization that works to end child slavery.  They are currently working in Ghana, Africa and over 80 children have been reunited with their families.  I think they work they do is selfless and generous, kind and compassionate.  I can definitely get behind that.  That's why I choose to support this race.  The past 3 years I've been fortunate to run as a member of Team Mercy Project.  This team's mission is to raise even more funds to help the mission of Mercy Project.

Every year this race has gotten better.  The participant tees, finisher medals and finisher gifts have always been great.  For Year 5, the organizers did something really special for those of us who had run every year: a custom rack for our medals.

So.. about this year.  Well, this was a rough training year for me.  I wasn't in any kind of shape to actually race and attempt a PR, but I knew I could get through it.  I typically go through a routine leading up to race day: resting, eating, hydrating, polish selection, gear selection, alarms!

Let's talk polish.  This year I chose to use a black glossy cream: OPI Who are you calling bossy?!!!  It is from a Peanuts Halloween collection.. I adore Snoopy/Peanuts, so of course I needed to get this polish.  These photos show 2 or 3 coats plus glossy top coat.  I think my bottle may be a little tampered with, actually.  Sad face!  When I opened it for the first time I had to use a rubber grip to pry it open.. when I did open it, I found a layer of polish crusted on.  That shouldn't happen on a brand new bottle of polish, especially on one from such a big polish brand. Anyway, it applied well enough, but it wasn't opaque in 1 coat as some of the reviews I read said.  Oh well.  I like it anyway because Snoopy!

And finally.. some photos including my best running pal, the gear I wore and goodies received as part of this year's race.

Team Mercy Project tee (blue): received for being on the team and committing to raise $350 for Mercy Project
Brooks shoes: Ghost 9  I love Brooks!  version 9 feels really good and I will probably buy a back up pair or two to have ready to go for my 2017 training
Finisher medal: beautiful stained glass appearance etched with date and distance, first thing received after crossing the line
Watch: My trusty Nike+ finally bit the dust this fall, so my husband got me a replacement by TomTom.  I haven't quite figured it out yet, but it gets the basics done (time, distance, speed)
Participant tee (yellow): received for registering for the race
White quarter-zip: received for purchasing the VIP package which included VIP (speedy) packet pick up, valet parking, access to fancy flush toilets at the start line and finish line, VIP bag drop, access to climate control room for post race refueling and garment changes
Navy jacket: received for crossing the finish line

If you have stuck with me this far on the post, THANK YOU!  :)  Please let me know in the comments your thoughts on running, or anything! 

Read more about Mercy Project!
Read more about the BCS Marathon & Half Marathon!

Until next post XOXO

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Zoya August

One more for November..

I think I've always been into polishing my nails, but it didn't really became more of a hobby until I bought my first color from butter LONDON.  It was a deep red called "Saucy Jack".  Soon after that I tried my first color from Zoya, and that's when I really became obsessed!  Even though most of my polish purchases are now indie brands, I still really love the Zoya formulas and the range of colors.  I don't buy every new collection, but I definitely do keep updated on the newest releases.  This Fall Zoya released an amazing collection called Urban Grunge.  Of course I looked for reviews and watched my favorite live swatch lady on YouTube-- jessFACE90.  oooh.. I was so excited!  I decided to wait a little while, convincing myself that the shades would be around for some time. Not long after, though, I found someone on IG who was selling her extra bottle of "August" for a great price!  I had to get it.

Zoya August is described as a full coverage gray, like a fine expensive leather with mid-range, balanced tone.  It should flatter all skin colors.  This is promoted as a one-coat cream, but my photos show 2 coats.  I ALMOST got it in one coat, but it wasn't quite there for me.  Maybe it will the next time I use it.

 I *really* love this color!  It's so moody!  That is exactly my personality.. it may as well be called "Vanessa" instead of August.  Although.. fun fact.. my birthday is in August, so....  I guess it's perfectly named anyway.  Incidentally, Zoya does have a polish named Vanessa!  It's a bright berry red color.  I will feature it in a future post.

Even though I like the look of plain glossy grey, I wanted to add a little something.  This is August with one coat of Bliss Polish Holo Bliss, a subtle holographic topper in a clear base.  It doesn't really stand out much more in regular lighting, but in the sun you'll notice a little holo rainbow on your nails.

..and because why not?  Here is another photo of August with one coat of Bliss Polish Holo Bling, which is an amped up version of Holo Bliss.  Holo Bling also contains tiny holographic micro glitters and I prefer the look of this.  It works well over so many different colors, so of course I think it's a must-have in any polish collection. 

That's it for today!  Zoya had an AMAZING sale on Black Friday and I couldn't pass it up.  I picked up 4 shades and the naked manicure starter system.  I can hardly wait to try that out, as well as the new colors!  Two are from the Urban Grunge collection (Merida & Troy) and two are from older collections (Dahlia- a black pixie dust, and Tove--a slate gray satin finish).  So. Excited!

Thanks for stopping by! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Polish My Life Girls and Boys NYC edition

Organization is not my forte

Are we still here?!

Hey, everyone!  Wow, it's been so long since I've put together an entry.  It got a little crazy both at work and home for me.  While I still polished my nails often (check my IG @ace_vanessa), I didn't write about anything.  It's been about 3 weeks since I published anything!  I have a lot of things on my mind, but I'm sure I won't remember it all.

So, now it's after Thanksgiving.  I hope, if you celebrate, that it was nice!  For several years now, my family and I have made a very short trip to spend time with a cousin of mine (dad's first cousin).  It's so low-key and low-stress... we really love going there, especially my son! 

Another thing keeping my mind occupied is my training for a half-marathon.  This'll be the sixth year for our local event.  I have been a participant from the beginning and I intend, as long as I am able, to be a part of it every year!  Our event is held on the second Sunday of December.  The first 4 years I completed the full marathon, but last year and this year I am only working on the half-marathon.  It's still quite a bit of training, but requires much less time.  Maybe some day I'll be up for a marathon again.  Until then, I'll just focus on being healthy!  Any ideas on how I should paint my nails for race day?  I'm thinking a simple swatch of a favorite polish.. oh, but what color?

Speaking of POLISH.. I have some pictures to share with you today!!  These polishes are all from the Polish My Life NYC girls & boys edition.  I'm a member of Shaneka's facebook group and one of the perks is being able to order polishes a little bit early.  I am so glad I picked these up!  The glitter bomb in my later photos is a polish I won as part of a contest in her group!  I was super excited and it just seemed like it would work well with the polishes.  Let me know what you think!  I'll start you off with the swatches and then a little nail art.

9 to 5 Hustle
Swatch shows 2 coats plus top coat, but this one is a definite one-coater.  I found the formula to be so smooth and silky.  I am super impressed, and the color is so fantastic!  Perfect for anywhere---office environment or otherwise. So classy.. love it!

Concrete Jungle
Swatch shows 2 coats plus top coat.  This one has a thinner consistency, but not too thin.  It was very easy to work with, just like 9 to 5 Hustle.  I struggle to find greens that work with my olive based light skin tone.  I think this one looks great, and I bet it looks great on other tones as well.  It's not so bright to call too much attention, but still makes a statement. 

Perfect polish!  Swatch shows 1 coat and no top coat.  Holy smokes.. it's amazing!  I hardly EVER get a polish completely opaque in 1 effortless coat, but that's exactly how this one was.  WOW.  It's my favorite from the group for sure.  It practically applied itself!

Easy nail art?
I wouldn't call a water marble EASY, by any stretch.  I struggle to get a proper bullseye, and if I happen to accomplish that, then I usually mess up the dragging.  I think this one is semi-successful.  I decided to pair the polishes with the December 2016 polish, a glitter bomb called Holiday Gemstones.  It works well as a mid-coverage glitter topper over various bases, or on its own.  My photo shows 1 coat plus one sponged coat.

There you have it!  Shop link for Polish my Life will be below if you are interested (if you read this before Cyber Monday, November 28, they are 40% off.. a total steal, so go now!).

Thanks for reading!  Let me know in the comments what you think, or if anything else is on your mind!


Polish My Life

Friday, November 4, 2016

Bliss Polish - Bliss Basix

Bliss Basix cremes

Just about everyone loves a good creme polish!  When I first found Bliss Polish I was mesmerized by all the pretty holographic polishes in the shop.  I did grab several and really love them.  Earlier this year Bliss Polish released a new collection called Bliss Basix.  These are gorgeous staple shades for any polish collection in a classic creme finish.  I waited a little while before purchasing any since I have gobs of Zoya and butter London cremes, but I gave in after reading so many great reviews.  I had to see for myself!

Today I'm going to show you a few of the shades.  The formula on each one was pretty much the same and was really, really smooth and effortless.  Now I am regretting just a tiny bit that I didn't grab the first full collection, but I am happy to have the ones I managed to snag!  Let's get to it!

periwinkle blue creme.

Application: I applied super thin coats, so shown here is 3 plus glossy top coat (though these are super shiny on their own), but you can definitely get this one in 2 coats.  Next time that is probably what I will do.  I was just being overly (and unnecessarily) cautious! 

(Indirect natural light)

(Indirect natural light-slight shade)


I'm hoping this will be restocked soon, because I think you NEED this topper.  It's called Holo Bling and is a holographic top coat with a small sprinkle of holographic micro glitter.  It's so amazing and will dress up any creme!  I always apply a regular top coat over Holo Bling just to keep things lasting longer.  Trust me.. this is so pretty.  I love the little twinkles from the micro glitters.

Here are a few more of the shades. 

Asphalt (2 coats plus t.c. under ottlite)
 Eggplant (2 coats plus t.c. under ottlite). 
 Port (2 coats plus t.c. under ottlite)

I have a handful of other shades.  Even though many are no longer available, I'll probably still share with you because I believe there will be other collections.  It's my understanding these polishes stamp and water marble well.  I have not tried either, but if I do I'll post about it!

Bliss Polish links:
Instagram: @blisspolish
shop: Bliss Polish

Thanks for stopping by!  Let me know what you think of these cremes in the comments.  :)


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Pipe Dream Polish -- first impression

Pipe Dream Polish: Don't Scream!

Hey, y'all!  Last month I purchased my first Pipe Down This Love is Bliss collaboration box.  The makers from Pipe Dream Polish, Love, Angeline, and Bliss Polish put together a themed box and feature a special guest.  In October 2016 the theme was Goosebumps and the special guest was none other than Polish 'M!  I was hoping I'd be fast enough to grab a box (and I was!) since it was limited to 55.  Today I am going to show you a few photos of the Pipe Dream Polish release.  I'll write about the other polishes in future posts!

Don't Scream!
This is a burgundy/maroon creme with subtle holo.  It dries to a semi-matte/satin finish which I found SO beautiful.

Application:  I applied 2 thin coats, but this can certainly be a one-coater if you've got the hand and the skill!  I am sure I would get it everywhere if I tried to do that, so 2 safe coats it is for me.  Even without top coat the subtle holo will show up when the sun hits your nails.  Of course, a glossy top coat will make it more apparent, but really.. this polish is so pretty with or without. 

Regular indoor lighting, no top coat.  


This is my first Pipe Dream Polish and I am super impressed.  The formula was so silky and smooth, and EASY to apply.  I did wear this over a base coat (Polish My Life Saved by the Base), and no top coat.  No staining and no chips over 3 days.  Since this polish turned out so well, I will definitely try to get my hands on more!

Be sure to follow the group on Instagram @pipedownthisloveisbliss for future collaborations! 


Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Polish for Pit Bulls - 2016 Halloween edition

Polishes for a cause

How's everyone doing today? I've got a quick post today with two Halloween-themed polishes from Polish 'M (my hands-down favorite indie brand) and Cameo Colours Lacquers.  They get together regularly to offer a "polish for pit bulls" duo.  The cost is usually $20 and $12 of that goes directly to the animal rescue of their choice.  That's quite a big chunk from the duo, and I love that they support a local charity.  I meant to share this BEFORE Halloween, but life got a little crazy!  Anyway, let's take a look at the polishes!

Cameo Colours Lacquers Pawple People Licker
dusty purple base with shimmer and lots of flakies
application notes: 2 easy coats! I painted the first coat very thinly and the second a little more than a normal coat to even it all out.  It dried down just a tiny bit textured; I applied a regular coat of Rica Glossy Glam to smooth it all out.

Polish 'M 4 Legged Shadow
black base with purple shimmer and oodles of shreds and holo glitters
application notes: 3 thin (easy) coats.  You can do 2 regular coats and it'll be fine.  At 2 coats it was mostly there, but I wanted it to be even darker, so I went for the third coat.  Dried ever so slightly textured from the shreds and glitters, but nothing a regular layer of top coat couldn't take care of.

There were 30 duos available this time around and they sold all of them in a day!  Even though these are no longer available, I'm pretty sure the ladies will offer a Holiday version!  You can get more information if you are on Facebook and join one or both of their groups, or on Instagram!  I'll link their shops and IG information below.

What did you think of these polishes?  Which one do you like the most?  I think they are both really pretty!  My favorite is 4 Legged Shadow because I love love love black-based and deep dark polishes.

Thanks for reading!

Shop Polish 'M
Shop Cameo Colours Lacquers
IG Polish 'M: @creativenailchick
IG Cameo Colours Lacquers: @cameocolourslacquers

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Polish 'M: coffee and dessert

inspiration from coffee and dessert

Hi, all!  Today I have a beautiful duo of polishes to show you from one of my favorite indie brands: Polish 'M.  These two polishes were inspired from some of my favorite things ever: DESSERT & coffee!  Let's get right into them!

Instant Human (Just add coffee)
(blackened brown faint holo with a rainbow of micro metallic glitter and shimmery micro flakes)

Application: 3 thin coats, but 2 regular coats should work just fine!  This dries a tiny bit textured and a regular layer of your favorite top coat will do the trick and give you a smooth finish.  Applies just like a normal creme polish and the glitters/flakes spread themselves out nicely.  I love dark brown polishes.. they are edgy but still very office appropriate.  What do you think?

Oh, I wanted to see this matte, too.  For this mani I used Polish My Life Mat(t)erialistic.

Life is Uncertain (Eat dessert first)
(beige nude faint holo with a rainbow of metallic glitter and shimmery micro flakes)

Application: 2 coats!  My first coat was very thin, so I thought I would need 3, but I liked it after 2.  Like Instant Human, this also dries a tiny bit textured, so use a glossy top coat for a smooth finish.  This contains the same glitter mix but is much more visible thanks to the lighter base.  Let's talk about that.. isn't is just gorgeous?!  In some lights I noticed it had a slight pinky tone to it.  This is definitely office appropriate and honestly.. good for any day.  Sophisticated.  Love this one, and you know how I love my dark polishes!

 And again.. with matte top coat.  It just looks so soft, like a fleecy blanket.

These two polishes are currently still available in the Polish 'M shop!  You can get them individually for $9 each, or as part of a "quad" for $25 (an awesome deal!), which will also include two full-sized cuticle oils in the scents of Pecan Pie and Cafe Mocha.  They smell amazing!  In my experience, the oils work really well with my skin.  Could just be me, but I swear my nails grow a lot faster now.  Related to the oils?  hmmmm...

Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed this post.  Let me know what you think below!


Shop links:
Polish 'M
Polish My Life