Friday Favorite – Two Kinds of Nail Polish!

 

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Happy March!! Spring is in the air and that means flip-flops and open-toed shoes! Yippeeee!! For me, the warmer weather and exposure of my tootsies also means getting a pedicure on a regular basis and keeping my nails looking nice and fresh.

I have always worn nail polish. I take after my grandmother and mother in that you will always see me with a color on my nails and some sort of jewelry on my body.  I can’t help it. They are my security blankets!  For many years, Monday nights were Nail Nights for my mom and me.  We would watch “Melrose Place” and do our nails so they would look good for the week.  At that time, my favorite brand and color was Cover Girl’s Thunderbird Red.  Most of the time, I remember the nail polish lasting for the better part of the week.  Some of today’s nail polishes, however, seem to only last a few days, which is very disappointing.  One kind I tried chipped THE NEXT DAY.  I was not happy.

After trying many different types of nail polishes over the last six months, I found these to be the best ones – Revlon Colorstay and Zoya (Sally Hansen’s Complete Manicure is not too far behind).  Both go on nicely, though I think I like the brush with the Zoya better. It is smaller and the color seems to go on smoother.  Both are around $8.00 though the Revlon will go on sale for “buy one get one half off” which is when I stock up.  The Revlon can be found almost any place that carries nail polish. Make sure you get the Colorstay.  I’ve tried the other Revlon types of polish and they do not last as long.  As for the Zoya, I had to go to Harmon’s to get it.  I am not sure if they are sold outside of beauty stores, but they have a website (www.zoya.com) and are also available on Amazon.  Both of these polishes usually last around 4-6 days for me.  This week, I did my nails using a new Revlon Colorstay shade of hot pink on Tuesday. My nails look great and are just starting to lightly fade at the tips, but I think this is because I type a lot.  I really only notice the slight fading because I am looking at them closely.

Here are a few tips when polishing your nails no matter what kind you use:

1.  Use a base coat. It will protect your nails against staining.  Last year, I polished my nails a beautiful orangy-coral color and did not use a base coat because I was in a rush. When I removed the polish, my nails had a yellowy-orange tint to them that looked gross.  I had to wear darker colors to cover up that unflattering tint for about a month.

2.  Put two to three THIN layers on.  If you put on thick layers, they tend to take longer to dry and smear easier.

3. Use a top coat.

4.  Give yourself time to let the polish dry. After about 20 minutes, I will sometimes run cold water on my nails to help them set.  However, the nail polish and top coat must feel smooth and be relatively dry before you do this.  Tap the nail and if it feels smooth, try the cold water on them.  If they feel a little tacky, they’re not ready.

5.  One of the biggest enemies of nail polish is cleaning products.  Always wear gloves when doing the dishes, dusting or doing everyday cleaning using chemicals.

Good luck with these and think spring!!!

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Friday Favorite – AmLactin Lotion

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This lotion is absolutely incredible.  The first person to introduce this to me was my father.  Now, my father is not really a “lotion” kind of guy.  In fact, the only lotion I ever saw him put on his skin was suntan lotion when he got older because his medications would cause his nice Italian skin to burn.  My dad is going to be 67 years old and has hardly any wrinkles on his face, arms, hands, etc.  He is lucky to have great skin. It’s not oily, but there is just enough moisture to ward away those pesky wrinkles except for one place – his  elbows.  My dad’s elbows were atrocious.  They were so dry and scaly that he proclaimed them to be “crocodile skin” and to be honest, I don’t think he was too far from the truth. The skin was so dry that his elbows looked white and if they happened to brush up against you, you felt it.  Ouch!  (Sorry, Dad!)

But one day, everything changed. At a doctor’s visit last summer, he mentioned his excessively dry skin and the doctor recommended this bottle of magic – AmLactin.  It’s about $17 in CVS, but as soon as my dad started using it twice a day as prescribed, the crocodile skin that plagued and embarrassed him for years softened up and disappeared. I could not believe how smooth and clean his elbows looked.  I honestly never thought that any cream could be that powerful and effective.

I immediately went to the store to get a bottle for myself. My elbows are not quite as bad as his, but they certainly do not look smooth.   I  knew that if it worked on my dad’s reptilian-like elbows, it would work on mine as well. And it did.  I also tried it on my heels, which get so dry, I could sand molding with them. Within two days, I saw a difference.  No longer do I have to worry about accidentally scraping my husband’s leg with my sandpaper heels at night. We are both happy about that!

A few tips – Make sure you use it twice a day for really dry skin.  I tried using it once a day at first and saw very little difference, but using it twice a day did the trick.  Also, after I shower, I put the AmLactin on my heels on while my skin is damp and then put socks on right away and keep them on while I am getting ready.  I think it seals in the lotion and really lets your skin absorb it well.

Spring is coming soon which means short sleeves and open toed shoes.  If you have crocodile elbows or sandpaper heels, give this a try so you will look good and feel good showing your skin.  I doubt you will be disappointed!

Friday Favorites – Avon Anew Rejuvenate Cream

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I hate to admit it, but a few months ago, I started noticing little lines around my eyes and on my forehead.  I kept telling myself that these lines were the results of all the smiling I had done over the years and that I should be grateful to have had so many happy times in my life.  Yeah. Whatever. It didn’t make me feel better. I wanted those lines GONE. As it was, I started going gray in my 20s and did not want these lines to remind me that I was about to hit the big 4-0.

I was always very good about taking care of my skin thanks to my mother who does not look anywhere near her age.  I remember she and I standing in the bathroom mirror in our nightgowns, washing our faces and putting on lotion every night before bed.  Mom used “The Magic of Aloe” routine of washing, exfoliating and moisturizing and would let me use it as well. I felt so grown up!  Later, my mom discovered Keri lotion.  It is wonderful and she still swears by it, but it is a bit heavy and looks greasy.  I think I actually scared my husband with it on a few times because it makes my face shiny. Very shiny. It is a great product, but I felt like I needed something different that wouldn’t make my husband have to squint to look at me and I found it.  It’s Avon’s Anew Rejuvenate Cream and it truly has made my skin look better.

I’ve been using it for about 6 months now and I really do see a difference.   When I apply the cream (using the tip of my ring finger as my mom taught me), I can feel my skin tightening, but not like a mask and not in an uncomfortable way.  It makes my skin feel firm and smooth. Since I began using it, I actually do see fewer lines around my eyes and some have faded altogether. Plus, it’s made in the USA and there is absolutely no animal testing with Avon products.  Those are two more benefits.

One more tip – I read that if you apply cream on damp skin, it absorbs better and deeper than on dry skin.  So, my routine at night is to wash my face with Oil of Olay’s Daily Cleanser, lightly pat my face dry, and put on the Anew.  And let me tell you, I feel like a-new person (sorry, couldn’t resist).  I highly recommend this cream to help tighten your skin and fill in those darned smile lines. I hopefully have many more smiles ahead of me, but my face does not need to show it!

Role Reversal – Mom and Me

Sorry that my post is late today.  My mom and I took mental health days and gave ourselves the best therapy we could think of – shopping and lunch. And then a second treatment of shopping!  We were both smiling and laughing the entire time, so it was definitely successful!

Shopping is something I have always enjoyed doing with my mom.  She does not really partake in any of my other hobbies (she has no time), but shopping is something we have done together for as long as I can remember. And it was not until I was older when I realized that she was teaching me lifelong lessons that I still use to this day.

My earliest memories of us shopping together are on Saturday mornings at the grocery store. She would make the shopping list and we would hop in the car, blast some Bon Jovi tapes on her cassette player and head off to Shop Rite.  While we were shopping, my mom would teach me how to compare prices, select the best fruits, vegetables and meats and to “always check the date on everything, especially dairy!”  These little lessons have proven to be essential now that I am an adult.  I love to look at my receipt to see how much I have saved by using her comparison shopping calculations.  Our fruits and veggies are always delicious and her advice about checking the date is priceless.  (I’ve grabbed yogurt and milk several times with expired or soon-to-be expired dates  and put them right back!  Thanks, Mom!) Finally, we would get in line and Mom would say that we really should get a little something for the ride home. Ya, know. For energy.  That usually meant Rolos or a Chunky bar that we’d split.  It was our reward for shopping and it was just for us. My father and brother never saw a morsel of our “energy for the ride home.”

Then, we began clothes shopping together. This is something we both love and try to do every few months.  Today, we were specifically looking for work clothes for her and today, I was giving the lessons. I advised her to branch out a little in terms of colors, length of pants, fit and the new styles.  My mom is still working, though she should be retired by now, and has always been pretty trendy…as long as I shopped with her.  I am not sure what went wrong those few times she ventured out on her own and came home with patterns that were way too old for her.  There came a point where I had to tell her to either take me shopping at all times or to not take the tags off anything she bought alone until I saw them.  Thank God that was short-lived. Since I moved, she and I don’t get to get together as much as we would like to and she has been doing very well choosing great patterns, prints and colors.  I like to think that my voice is in her head in the mall, much like her voice is in my head in the grocery store.

Today, she hit the jackpot.  She has very thin legs and we finally found pants for her at JC Penney.  Yay!  Our last stop was the make-up counter at Macy’s.  And, yes, I bought ANOTHER Bobbi Brown eye-liner gel (this is becoming an obsession). She bought the same colored gel, eye shadow and make-up remover.  These were based on my recommendations (along with the beauty consultant).  We took the consultant’s card and decided that the next Mental Health Day will also involve make-overs.

I love my mom very, very much. She was a mom to me growing up, not a friend and I appreciate that more and more as I get older.  The memories I have of us together during our shopping trips are in a special place in my heart and my mom’s advice is always in my head, especially in the stores.  I am glad we made the time to shop and spend time together today and cannot wait for our next excursion!!!

 

 

Friday Favorite – Norwegian Formula Hand Cream

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I like winter.  I enjoy the cold air and snow, mainly when I am able to enjoy it by going snowboarding, snowtubing or on the back of a snowmobile.  I do not, however, like having to bundle up just to go put the garbage out!

As much as I love winter, my body does not, especially my lips and hands.  When the air is cold and dry, even gloves do not seem to protect my hands.  They start to get that white look to them, hurt and then begin to look like an 80 year old woman’s hands.  AHHH!! Dried up hands do not go well with a nice manicure or when you like to wear rings, like I do.  This is one thing I despise about winter.  My poor dry hands.

When I was a teacher, I would wash my hands often to try and prevent getting sick, but the high quality soap in the school bathroom really left my hands dry and cracky.  (Is that a word?) Over the years, I have tried numerous hand lotions and found this one to be my absolute favorite.  My friend who is a nurse at Sloan Kettering Cancer Center recommended it to me about 10 years ago and I have been using it ever since.  You only need to put on a little bit and it will keep your hands soft and moist for hours.  It is a little thick, but once it’s rubbed in, it seems to form a protective layer. I always have one tube in my purse and another on my nightstand.  If you do have dry hands or feet, try putting this on before you go to bed and your hands will wake up nice and soft the next day. You’ll pay about $4.50 a tube, but if you belong to BJs, you can buy the 4 pack and it works out to a little over $2.00 a tube. That is a huge bargain!  So go bundle up with your scarves and gloves and boots and get to a drug store and try this lotion. Your hands will thank you!

 

Friday Favorite – Bobbi Brown Gel Eye Liner

This eye liner is incredible. It goes on thinly and smoothly and literally lasts all day.  I was first introduced to Bobbi Brown cosmetics about 10 years ago.  A make up artist at Bloomingdale’s did make-overs for my friends and I. I loved the way the make up felt on my face and could not stop looking at the Ivy green liner he had used on me.  Since I have brown eyes, I always stuck to the traditional brown or black liners, but that man opened up a whole new world for me with colored gel. After a long day of shopping and eating mall food, I arrived home to find my eyeliner still fresh and in place.  I was sold.  I can put it on at 6:00 AM and it will still be on at 7:00 that evening.  Yet, it comes off easily with make-up remover.  This is one of my favorite beauty products.  Give it a try!

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I have three that I use on a daily basis.  They are Violet Ink, Ivy Shimmer Ink and Espresso Ink.  I have also used Indigo Ink and need to get to Macy’s to get some more!  Not all Macy’s carry Bobbi Brown, but Bloomingdale’s does. I recommend using the Bobbi Brown Ultra Fine Eyeliner brush for the best application.

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