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