My new Gelish goodies

Friday, May 31, 2013

It's time to talk nails.
I've been having so much fun playing around with my new gel nail kit.
{Remember when I named a nail polish color?}

I received my winnings from Gelish MINI last week and I couldn't be happier. I'm in love with the LED lamp it came with. Only 45 seconds to cure each coat of gel rather than 2-3 minutes? I'll take it! It only took me about 15 minutes to do my toes.

 Here's a look at one of my newest gel colors- Make you Blink Pink.

Don't be fooled by this first picture. It's the lighting that makes it look like it's just a nice, bright, fun pink color. It's actually much brighter in real life. Actually, it's perfectly highlighter neon pink.

Even this picture doesn't do the brightness justice. But as you can see, a perfect match.

It's insanely bright and I love it. And because it's gel rather than regular polish, I've now had it on for a week and it's still gorgeously chip free and shiny. I love me some Gelish! I'm not sure if I could go back to regular polish at this point because I'm obsessed with how long it stays on.

If you're wanting to try out gel nails and need a good tutorial make sure to check out my post here. It's my #1 blog post to date and it's full of professional tips and tricks that I've learned from being a nail tech.

Hope you're having a great Friday :)

Linked up to:

Things I Don't Love

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Good Thursday morning, lovelies.
I can already tell it's going to be a long day. It's been a long week!
It's time to vent my frustrations in a linky called Things I Don't Love.

Here's how it works:
Write up your own Things I {don't} Love post and link it up here. You can write about anything and everything. It can be about one thing or ten things, and you can choose to include pictures or whatever you'd like. It's completely up to you! Just tell me what you're not loving right now. Please make sure to grab a button or link back to my blog in some way, then hop around the link ups and check out some other blogs. Linky parties are a great way to meet new people and find some fun new blogs to follow, so have fun and be social. I always read and try to comment on every single link up!

Forgetting my camera SD card at home. I do this all the time and it's infuriating! Then we end up with crappy phone pictures like this one, where you can't even see my kid.

Having a 5 year old beat me with her rad artistic skills. If I wouldn't have signed my piece of work it would be hard to tell who did what.

Now it's your turn.

Link up your own Things I Don't Love post below.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter too so we can stay connected!

Lulu & Sweet Pea

Happy Birthday, Grandma

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Yesterday was Memorial Day, and it would have been my Grandmother's 70th birthday.

My parents visit the cemetery and bring flowers every year on Memorial Day.  I can't believe she's been gone for 20 years. I was almost 9 when she died, my younger brother had just turned 8, and my mom was pregnant with my youngest brother.

She was so young when she died too- just short of her 49th birthday from breast cancer.

Happy Birthday Grandma!
And I hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend with their families.

Weekend Wrap Up

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good Monday morning!
I hope your weekend was great- mine sure was.
Let's do a little recap of everything that happened, on & off the blog, this week.

I posted another DIY Gel Nail tutorial

I got to try out my new Gelish kit I won! I'm so in love with the LED lamp. It cures in 45 seconds. That saves so much time compared to the UV lamp that took 2-3  minutes to cure each coat.

I bought a watermelon and was asked no less than 50 times to cut it up.
I think she was happy when I finally did!

I hosted another week of Things I Don't Love, where I talked about ripping off tattoo ideas.

Ayden had a Grandparents Day concert at school, so Lily and I went (since none of the grandparents live here). Unfortunately I left my camera card plugged in to my laptop, so I couldn't take any pictures with my camera. I got one with my phone but it's pretty hard to see anything. It was cute nonetheless. Mom fail!

We found a cool Diary of a Wimpy Kid "wimp yourself" website. The kids had a blast playing around on it creating all kinds of characters. Then we found out that there's going to be an 8th book! Ayden is so excited.

And we had a bit of a scare here when a bridge in our town collapsed. There were a few terrifying minutes where I thought my husband might be on it- read about that here! I'm so happy and thankful that no one was killed or seriously injured, but now we're dealing with some awesome traffic. This is our I-5 bridge, so the freeway is completely closed for this section, and the detour routes are all nightmares.

 Hope you guys had a great weekend!

 Linking up at:
Sami's Shenanigans

A bridge collapse in our town

Friday, May 24, 2013

I cannot even begin to tell you how terrified I was last night.   
No joke.

When your husband is running late and news breaks you go into freak out mode:

This is my town.
This is the bridge my husband & I drove over twice just the night before on our date night.
This is the bridge I drove over to do my shopping at Joanns, Walmart, Lowes, etc.
 This is the bridge my husband drove over last night when he left the house.

Here's how our timeline went:

Shayne left around 5pm to meet up with a friend for coffee (over the bridge).
He was supposed to be home for dinner by 7.
7pm rolls around and he's not home, but he's always running late.
7:06 he texts me "On my way."
I started feeding the kids and decided to play around on Facebook and wait for him.
Minutes after sitting down to the computer I saw this pop up in my feed:

I saw this the second it was posted and they had no details whatsoever.
He should have been crossing the bridge right around that time.
And he was late.
Panicked, I immediately tried calling him.
My first call was at 7:24 and it wouldn't go through.
I tried a few times over & over again and nothing would go through.
Then I remembered seeing on the news where they said to text people in an emergency.
7:26 I sent "Where are you are you OK?????"
 There were a few minutes where my knees were shaking, I had tears in my eyes and I was saying "No, no, no, no, no, no....please God, no." 

Finally at 7:29 he replied "Yeah not on the bridge."
And that's when I finally collapsed on the floor and just started crying.

At 7:35 we were finally able to get through for about 5 minutes before the phones went out again. I quickly told him the bridge collapsed and that he needed to find a different way to get home. I hopped online & helped him re-route. It was another hour and a half before he was finally home- a trip that should have taken him about 10 minutes. When he pulled up I ran out to the driveway and jumped on him and I told him I thought he was dead.

Now, that might sound a tad dramatic, but look at the timeline. In the moment, I thought for sure he was on it. They said it collapsed sometime after 7, but I haven't heard a specific time still. He should have been on it. Thank God he talks so much and got delayed with his friend in the parking lot of the coffee shop. There are a lot more details and crazy circumstances surrounding this and I can't even begin to tell you guys all of it because I'm still in shock.

Amazingly, no one was killed or seriously injured. It wasn't rush hour and thankfully only 3 people fell into the freezing water. And thankfully it wasn't the middle of the bridge that collapsed because the water would have been much deeper and faster moving.

I was glued to the news all night and was so happy to hear that everyone was OK. It was scary to hear how many of our friends narrowly missed the bridge as well! Two of Shayne's co-workers had just gone over the bridge 15 minutes prior to it falling.

They are now saying an over-sized semi truck clipped the bridge while going across it and that's what caused it to fall. Let me say this: the bridge was sketchy before! Like majorly sketchy and it freaked me out to drive over it all the time. I always imagined it crumbling beneath my tires when I'd drive over it, but I'm kind of crazy like that. I'm always thinking of the worst case scenario. Hopefully this is a wake up call to Washington state to get our bridges inspected and fixed! I know a ton that aren't in the best shape.

And also, to the gawkers who flocked to the bridge in droves just to see the "action"- get a life. Shame on you. I'm glad all of the pajama clad people from Walmart herded themselves over with their children to sit and stare and get in rescue workers way. They were saying over and over again on the news that spectators were impeding rescue efforts and for everyone to go home. So annoying.

I'm just so thankful no one was killed and that everyone is safe. This is going to be a traffic nightmare for us, as it's the main route from Seattle to Canada. All of the ways to get around it are a pain in the butt and super far out of the way, but we'll figure it out. Everyone is OK. That's all that matters. Everyone got to return home to their families when it was all over.

Today I'm feeling extremely blessed.
Life is fragile.
Nothing is certain.
God is good.

Things I Don't Love

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It's Thursday, which means it 's time for another week of Things I Don't Love!

Here's how it works:
Write up your own Things I {don't} Love post and link it up here. You can write about anything and everything. It can be about one thing or ten things, and you can choose to include pictures or whatever you'd like. It's completely up to you! Just tell me what you're not loving right now. Please make sure to grab a button or link back to my blog in some way, then hop around the link ups and check out some other blogs. Linky parties are a great way to meet new people and find some fun new blogs to follow, so have fun and be social. I always read and try to comment on every single link up!

People who confuse "inspiration" with a blatant rip off. Yesterday I saw my friend Ashley mention something about her tattoo being copied by someone on Instagram and it really annoyed me. Probably because I've had plenty of my tattoos copied too. It's the price you pay for having your stuff online, but where does inspiration end and ripping off begin?

 Here's Ashley's tattoo:

Then she saw this:
Really? Same tattoo? Same placement? Even the same pose for the camera? And then admitting to the person (via social media) that you saw it on her first & wanted it? That my friend, is a blatant rip off.

I totally understand seeing a tattoo, loving the idea, putting your own twist on it, and ending up with something similar yet still unique. Do not, I repeat, do not straight up copy someone unless you're going to improve on the original.

Also, just an FYI: if you are ever "inspired" by one of my tattoos and decide to get matching ones, please don't tweet me about it! I probably won't be stoked on it.

Now it's your turn.

Link up your own Things I Don't Love post below.
Make sure to follow me on Twitter too so we can stay connected!

Lulu & Sweet Pea

How to fill or "refresh" your at home gel mani

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hello, gel nail lovers!

I hope you've been loving all of these gel nail tutorials I've put together for you so far. I've gotten a ton of positive feedback so far and I've replied to a number of emails regarding questions some readers have had about doing their own gels. My DIY gel nails post is my #1 most popular blog post to date, so thanks for all of the feedback and comments!

To recap, here's a list of the gel nail tutorials I've posted so far:

And now I'm going to tell you about filling, or "refreshing" your gel nails.
So, what exactly is filling?

Filling a term for what they do for acrylic nails when they grow out, where they go and "fill in" the new growth area. You know that area around your cuticles? That's the new growth of your nail, and it's obviously lacking polish, gel, acrylic, or whatever it is you use on your nails.

OK. Say you did your own gel manicure at home following my awesome tutorial.
Now say that it's 1-2 weeks later and your mani is still looking shiny and chip free. 
Except now you have the nail equivalent of "roots."
You have grow out.
Not cute.

Especially if you have a hot date, a meeting, or just hate staring at grow out.
Normally it would be time to change your gel polish, right?
But why soak off a completely good set of gel nails & start over?

If your nails are still in relatively good condition with minimal chips there's an easy way to refresh them without removing them and starting over from scratch.

We're going to basically follow the same instructions I laid out in my DIY Gel Nails post, but we're going to change our prep work just a bit. If you haven't read my DIY Gel Nails post yet & are interesting in filling your gels, I highly recommend reading that one first to get all of the detailed step by step directions. This version I'm going over is going to be a quicker step by step and won't be as in depth, so make sure you're really familiar with gel nail application before trying a fill.

Need a good gel polish starter kit? Try this one here- it's the same exact set up I have & love!

  • Apply sunscreen to your hands if using a UV lamp. If you're using LED, skip it.
  • Trim or file nails to desired length and shape with your 180 grit file. They will probably be long if it's been a week or two since your original application.
  • Using your cuticle pusher, gently push the cuticles back.
  • Use your file to gently buff off the topcoat of your gel nails, removing all of the shine and blending the line where the gel meets the nail until it's flush. Then use your buffer to go around the cuticle area & remove all the shine from the natural nail. There should be absolutely zero shine anywhere on the nail. Remember- gel won't stick to a shiny surface!
  • Remove the dust and oil with an alcohol soaked lint free wipe (I do this twice to be ensure all oils are gone).

You're now ready to apply the gel product like you normally would.
    • Apply Gelish Foundation to entire nail (sealing the free edge first). Get as close to the cuticle as possible without touching it.
    • Cure for 1 min (UV lamp).
    • Use a clean, dry lint-free wipe to remove the tacky layer (only do this for the Foundation layer)
    • Your nails should now have a glossy look to them.
    • Apply desired number of coats of colored gel nail polish to entire nail. Cure each coat according to instructions. (Example: When I used black I only needed 2 coats for good coverage, and I cured each coat for 3 min under a UV lamp. You may need 2-3 coats depending on the color, and curing times may vary on the brand/color you choose). Note: Gels will be sticky & have a tacky layer even after the colored gel has cured. This is normal. Do not touch or remove this tacky layer yet!
    • Apply Top It Off sealer and cure for 2-3 minutes (UV lamp)
    • Use an alcohol soaked lint-free wipe to remove the tacky layer after Top It Off has cured. Your nails are now completely set!
    Repeat on 2nd hand and you're done!

    I only recommend filling your nails once or twice and then soaking the entire set off. After you fill them a time or two they tend to get a little thick after the 2nd fill.

    I really love how my nails look and feel after I've filled them once. They seem to be the perfect thickness for me and they don't break or get chipped so I can wear them with a little more length on them.

    If you're wondering what black I'm wearing in the picture it's by Sally Hansen. This is the only Sally Hansen gel polish I've tried so far and I'm super happy with it. I only tried it because I couldn't find a black in the Gelish brand I love, and I'd been wanting to try the Sally brand anyway. This stuff stays on! Seriously...I'm pleasantly shocked and surprised at how good it is. I might need to try some more Sally Hansen colors!

    Update: I finally found a black in the Gelish MINI brand. It's called Black Shadow and I like it much more than the Sally Hansen brand. SH ended up getting a little runny and it takes a lot of coats to get good coverage. I highly recommend Gelish MINI's Black Shadow, which you can see that I used here.

    Have you ever had a chipped gel nail? Need to repair it?
    Find out how to fix a chipped gel nail!

     Hope you found this tutorial helpful!
    What gel brands have you tried and loved?
    Will you try filling yours?
    As always, please email me with questions and I'd be happy to try to answer them!

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    Melissa Swenson and Lulu & Sweet Pea