Nail Jewelry for Any Occasion + How to Set Gel Polish Without a UV Light

So I was ecstatic when I finally placed an order for my first set (2 sets, actually) of nail jewelry from @AlleyCatJewelry. I got a sweet Black Friday deal and felt the holidays would be the perfect time to do something a little extra with my nails. and seeing as how my nails seem to refuse to grow out long these days, the extra ornamentation felt perfect for the holiday occasion. 

Personally, I do not like intricate nail designs when my nails are longer. Given that fact, I kinda wish I'd ordered more gold pieces, one for each nail, to really drive home the point that when one's nails are short, you can go extra opulent from a design aspect. Nevertheless, working with what I got, I think that I'll definitely be getting a lot of use from these reusable pieces.

A couple of things to keep in mind:

When prepping the nail to apply the jewelry using a base coat and at LEAST 2 coats of color polish is an absolute must if your nails are natural. I actually highly suggest more. You want to give the jewelry a nice cushion to settle into. Plus, you'll be thankful for the extra protection when it comest time to remove. I used my standard non-light cured (5 layer) gel polish method. It's really 6 layers if you count the top gel coat-- Gelous, which I typically add the second day. It sounds complicated, but it's really just a few thin coats of polish:

1st coat Gelous

2nd coat pretty color

3rd coat Gelous

4th coat pretty color*

5th coat Seche Vite topcoat

6th coat Gelous

I used Kiss nail glue to apply to the predominately dry *4th layer then sealed with the 5th layer of fast-drying Seche Vite. The top gel coat, mentioned previously, is applied the following day. I like to wait about 90 seconds or more between cot applications.

This method typically gives me at least 7-12 good days of polish wear-- especially if I've been careful to use gloves when cleaning and to touch up the tips when I notice the tips are wearing thin or very lightly chipped (which is what I did in this case). In fact, the photo above was taken on Christmas, day 8-- only 1 day prior to me removing my polish. I definitely could've stretched this at least until NYE had one of my designs not popped off somewhere along the way between me getting dressed, packing my dog in the car and then getting out of the the car in SF. 

After that, it was a wrap and I was super irritated that my precious had gone missing. Needless to say when I got home that evening I was all ready to rip each piece off, and actually snatched a bit of my nail bed off of one nail on the first try. Whoa, whoa, whoa!!! That is NOT what the girls want. So I jumped on IG to consult with the designer about the best method for removal. 

Ally was super-quick to respond that she carefully removes hers using tweezers. I proposed acetone, but knowing that it might cause a problem with the finish-- it was neither of our first choice solution. I did find out that the silver set is sterling, so it can withstand the acetone, if necessary. I ultimately went back to carefully and gently pull off each piece. Which, it turns out, works quite well when you take your time. Also, the previously mentioned extra layers of polish definitely helped.

Overall, I'm very pleased with the two sets I purchased, and will likely continue to add to my collection in the future. Hit me up in the comments or on IG with questions or if you decided to add nail jewelry to your nail art repertoire. Also, do you have suggestions for other brands that I should look into? We love to support our small businesses!

 

Luxe at L'Occitane

*While supplies last

*While supplies last

Continuing with the recent theme of self-care for the season, I had the opportunity to hang out at L'Occitane, Emeryville for a holiday Pamper Party hosted by my soul sistar and business bestie, Bijoux of Fabulous & Grounded

There was wine on deck, courtesy of Rosenblum Cellars and guests were treated to a complimentary Sleep Elixir tea blend from The Sassy Nation, mini facials and hand massages while learning about skincare. The staff in the store are super knowledgeable and help both men and women with varying skincare needs find customized regimens.

Fabulous & Grounded had some beautiful, dressed Oshun Winter Solstice candles and manifestation journals for sale, which you can purchase here. Check out the pics below, and be sure to stop by if you're ever on Bay Street. Ask for Gerald and tell him we sent you!   

{For a limited time, get a FREE Sleep Elixir tea pack when you subscribe to The Sassy Nation}

Natural Hair Essentials To Buy Right Now

 

If you follow @TheSassyNation on Snapchat, then you're ahead of the game and aware that everybody's favorite natural hair care line, Shea Moisture, has been on promo at Walgreens for a few weeks now. Last week it was a BOGO half off situation. This week it's get 3 for the price of 2. IDK how much longer they'll stay on promo, this is the third week so far. I actually copped mines last Saturday. It seemed like the perfect time to stock up on their Jamaican Black Castor Oil (JBCO) infused Strengthen, Grow & Restore shampoo and conditioner.

I've been having great success with moisture retention using JBCO and other products that use it as a key ingredient. So when I saw that Shea Moisture expanded the JBCO line to include a few stylers, such as the Edge Treatment, I decided to give it another try. 

I've only used the JBCO conditioner and masque in the past, but didn't care for it because I couldn't use it as a leave in, since it seemed to dry my hair out. It wasn't until I later examined the content that I discovered it's conditioner has got protein listed pretty close to the top of it's ingredients list. Hence, the drying effect as a result of prolonged use (as in a leave in). For my hair, this is a no-no, and should be avoided unless the intent is to follow up with a moisturizing treatment.

However, my hair has been severely lacking protein and until recently I'd forgotten about this line and what it could be used for. So in addition to restocking it to restore my protein balance. I also got the cult fave Aubrey Organics GPB Balancing Protein Conditioner.

Now, about Aubrey Organics... When I first started my natural hair journey I was obsessed with only using products that were natural. This line was one of a handful that not only had a variety of products that worked, but was accessible on the ground in stores like Whole Foods. 

I remember talking to the regional reps at the ALIVE! trade show about how wildly popular their products were in the natural hair community. They had no idea why they couldn't keep up their hair conditioners on the shelves. I explained to them that most naturals washed their hair primarily with conditioner and used shampoo sparingly.

So, when I found out from my local health food store that one of the co-founders was recently deceased and they'd been manufacturing and distributing way below the norm, I figured I'd better stock up. If you use Aubrey Organics and are having trouble getting your hands on, really, anything in the product line (lotions, soaps, etc.), you may want to consider stockpiling a few things as well.

In the meantime I plan to resume my normal routine of using this specific conditioner as a part of my 2-step deep conditioning process, which I wrote extensively about here. Let's just say having both protein and moisturizing conditioners in one's curly hair arsenal and knowing when to use which is critical, yet very easy to learn. For now, here's a quick look at the result from my dry twistout using that JBCO edge gel. As expected, moisture levels are waaayy up, I feel blessed! :) 

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Talk back: What are your go-to holy grail moisture or protein-rich products? Leave a comment below or on social. We're always listening!

 

4 Beautiful, Bright Lip Colors Worth Obsessing Over This Spring

Springtime is on her way and I'm totally in love with the new(ish?) line of Vivid Matte Liquid color from Maybelline. While lip gloss has long been my first love, bright, saturated lip colors and stains and I have become fast friends. I think that's why I'm incredibly partial to this line... it goes on shiny like a gloss, gets satiny, then after some wear mattifies like a true stain. What I appreciate the most is that it doesn't seem to dry out the lips during and after wear like some mattes seem to do.   

I'd already been using and loving one of the colors from the fall/winter collection that you can check out here. However, when I caught a glimpse of these brights, I couldn't resist them. All of them. I'd been looking for replacements for my previous go-to drugstore faves from the Wet N Wild Fergie collection. And these babies, I'm convinced, are it. I'm sure there are a few more colors out there for me, but these four were the only ones in stock, so I grabbed them up immediately.      

This first color is Pink Charge, which I was slightly concerned would look a little too pale for my taste without the use of a lip pencil. However, it's the most neutral of the four I have, and it was the one I popped open immediately after leaving the store. I'm pretty sure this will be one of my go-to colors when I want to keep a low profile. I didn't use a pencil in any of the swatch photos here to show the true color-- but in the future I'll probably pair this particular one with a brown pencil.

A few notches up the color scale is Electric Pink. For some reason a smokey eye is calling out to me with this lip color. Although I seldom have an occasion for a smouldering look these days, I'm almost always in the mood for color, highlighter or bronzer and mascara. This is actually one of my signature looks when I want to appear like I put some effort into my look for the day. I don't know about anyone else, but there's something about winged eyeliner (especially when I get it right in less than 3 tries) that makes me feel like I've really got my shit together. Today took multiple tries, however, lol. I really wanted to be cute for y'all today.

 
2016-02-20 21.58.06.jpg

Color #3 is Fuschia Ecstacy. I think this might've been my favorite of all the colors. I actually thought it read a bit more on the red side off camera, but after looking at the pictures I thought maybe it's just my imagination. Either way, I'll definitely be rocking this color, hardcore and with regularity.  

Last but not least is Orange Shot. I was excited about the potential of this color because it looked more orange-y in the bottle, but it looked more brick red. Now, I'm always here for a good red, especially after that Nars teaser that Sephora gave away for everyone's b-day last year. But I honestly have to be in the mood for red. Today was not really a red day for me, per say, but I went with it. After swiping off the other colors for demonstration purposes, it felt wasteful to do the same to this one just because I wanted to go back to the fuschia.

Nevertheless, I got quite a few compliments in the market today. I actually put on my red specs before leaving out, and in comparison, the color definitely looked more on the orange side. So there's that. In all, I'm very happy with my new colors, and will be on the lookout for any of the others I might be missing from the collection. 

So what new hues are you obsessing over? Drop me a comment below or on social... see ya around!!!

Sassy Style Files: Day Trippin' in The San Francisco Bay-- 3 Climates, 1 Outfit

Black Radiance BB Cream, Chocolate + Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, Deep; Black Radiance Artisan Baked Blush, Raspberry; All Over Glow Bronzing Powder, Flushed Glow; NYX Matte Lipstick, Aria; Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid, Possessed Plum; Black Radiance Liquid Liner, Black. Maybelline Great Lash, Blackest Black. Shop this look  here !   

Black Radiance BB Cream, Chocolate + Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream, Deep; Black Radiance Artisan Baked Blush, Raspberry; All Over Glow Bronzing Powder, Flushed Glow; NYX Matte Lipstick, Aria; Maybelline Vivid Matte Liquid, Possessed Plum; Black Radiance Liquid Liner, Black. Maybelline Great Lash, Blackest Black. Shop this look here!   

In true California style, the weather was stunningly beautiful for mid-February this past holiday weekend.

I made plans to go commune with nature and visit the redwoods, and I don't think I could've picked a better day. It was nearly 80 degrees where I started the day off, hence the sandals and bright fuschia afro baby tee with fatigues. This is a little number I dubbed my "gangster of love" outfit, lol. Although these heels are not at all practical for hiking, I couldn't resist letting my feet get some sun action before pulling on my motorcycle boots later in the day.

 

With champagne, fruit, cheese, wine, and caprese sandwiches in tow, we began to make our way towards Marin county. We decided to take the scenic route through the city which, of course, resulted in a slight detour at the Golden Gate. The breeze was just enough to keep us from breaking a sweat on our stroll across the bridge. But it was definitely warm enough that I wished I'd opted to wear my pink flip flops instead. 

IMG_7750 (1).JPG
"Baby hair was pumpin', lip gloss was shinin'"

"Baby hair was pumpin', lip gloss was shinin'"

By the time we made it to Muir Woods it was pretty late in the afternoon and the sun was barely peeking through the tops of the branches. As a result there were only a few places that were lit well enough to get some good photos.

The woods were so majestic and ethereal that I felt terribly underdressed. A fairy nymph-style shimmery, off the shoulder ball gown would've been far more appropriate. Next time, maybe.

 

And finally, unexpectedly... the beach!

Nail color: Julep Maven

Nail color: Julep Maven

On a whim, we decided to hit up Muir Beach. We made it just in time to catch a brilliant sunset and pop that bottle for mimosas. And thank goodness for the kindness of strangers who let us take over their fire pits as they were leaving and bequeathed us their logs. This night surely would've ended much sooner and on a far colder and less whimsical note.

Hope your weekend was full of fun & love... have you had a chance to listen to the Sexy is the New Sassy V-Day Playlist I made for you yet? Well... what are you waiting for? Check it out here.

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