Fall Nail Faves + 5 Minute Mani Tips

essie and opi polishes

✘ Just a heads up! Links marked with an "*" are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission if you buy through them.

I'm trying to avoid wearing my dark, basically black, nail polish shades for as long as possible. Somewhat because I'm trying to avoid be that girl who always has on the same nail color (if you were wondering, it's Lincoln Park After Dark), mainly because I'm trying to avoid staining my nails. Plus it's such a pain to take off dark colors and no one has time for that.

It's still a guaranteed over 75 degrees, so I'm pretty content wearing lighter shades. But since it is fall, I'm going with ones that have more muted tones. Here are my current faves:

O.P.I. - Got the Blues for Red

Essie Gel Couture - Pinned Up

Essie - BBF Boy Best Friend

Essie - Smokin' Hot

Whenever I change my nail color, I always make sure I have time to do a quick manicure. It helps your polish last longer and keeps your nails/hands healthy! And who doesn't want that? I usually try to do this right after a shower so I don't have to worry about soaking my hands. But make sure to take your old polish off before getting in the shower!

5 minute mani tips:

  • push back your cuticles while they're still soft from the shower.
  • use some cuticle oil (I like to use this one by Essie* or this Josie Maran oil that I originally  bought for my face). 
  • file/shape your nails (I only use a nail clipper if they're really long and I want them significantly shorter, or if I'm trying to go from rounded to square nails).
  • wash hands well with soap and water or the oil will stop your nail polish from sticking
  • paint your nails! (make sure to apply thin even coats, it's better to have to do 2-3 coats instead of globing on a thick layer).
  • use quick drying drops* if you're short on time

Once your nails are dry, apply hand cream and make sure you really get it around your cuticles. Mine are always extra dry, and this is really important to keep them from being annoying and peeling!

Foam Rolling: Your New Best Friend

foam roller and sneakers

Raise your hand if your muscles get really sore after working out and stretching just isn't cutting it. 

Cool, me too. That's why I want to tell you about your new best friend – a foam roller. Foam rolling is really just convenient self-myofascial release that can be done everyday by people at all levels of fitness. Self-myofascial release, in less complicated terms, is really just massaging your muscles to relieve tightness or trigger points. It can also be done with your hands or a lacrosse ball, but a foam roller makes things easy!

So when your legs are pretty much useless after your leg workout from yesterday, you can use a foam roller to apply pressure to your sore muscles and help them recover faster. Recovering faster means normally functioning legs and not crying every time you have to sit down. (Or go up stairs, which is the worst).

Really, though, foam rolling makes sure that your muscles are elastic, healthy, and ready to go!

Foam rolling can assist in breaking up these muscle knots, resuming normal blood flow and function. The goal to any corrective or recovery technique is to get you back to the point of normal functioning, as if nothing was ever wrong.

But to give you fair warning, it's not a 100% pleasant experience. (It maybe like 89%).

Any kind of deep compression on your muscles is going to feel a little uncomfortable. Especially if you have any trigger points, which are like knots in your muscles. You might feel some (bearable) pain while foam rolling, but you'll feel relief after! (If its more than just an uncomfortable feeling, and actual pain, you should stop and see a doctor!)

So, you want to try it? Here's what to do:

Take 5-10 minutes before or after your workout to try these moves.

Calves: Sit on the floor and lay your calf over the foam roller. Move your leg forward and backward so the foam roller rolls from your ankle to below the knee. Rotate your leg from side to side to get all angles of your calf muscle!

IT Band: Lay on your side with the roller under your hip. Cross your top leg in front and rest your foot on the ground for balance (like you're going to do inner-thigh leg lifts). Roll through your entire outer thigh.

Glutes: Sit on the roller with one knee bent and the other ankle crossed over that knee. (You typically sit like this to stretch your glutes). Lean onto one hip and roll front to back.

Hamstrings: Place the roller under your thighs and roll from your knees to your butt.

Quads: Lay on your stomach with the roller under the front of your thighs. Slowly roll from the top of your hip to right above your knee. (This one is usually pretty uncomfortable).

Now you know what to do, so you obviously need to go out and get a foam roller. Theres a few different kinds you can try: 

Low-density foam rollers have some give so there's less pressure. This is the cheapest option and good for beginners, but the shape will wear out over time.

High-density foam rollers have a firmer surface and will last a few years.

The most intense foam rollers are made of high-density foam that is wrapped around a plastic pipe. This is the one that I have!


Black Friday Guide – What You Need to Get

black friday shopping guide images

✘ Just a heads up! Links marked with an "*" are affiliate links, which means I'll earn a small commission if you buy through them.

While I tend to be more of a Cyber Monday fan (especially since Black Friday now starts at 6pm on Thanksgiving...), there are quite a few Black Friday deals that you should't pass up this year. Plus, the Cyber Monday deals haven't been posted online yet, so I couldn't scope them out for you guys. (Sorry!)

Anyway! If you plan to venture out on Thursday night, or just need some gift ideas in general, here are some of my top picks. I know I'm going to be picking some of them up myself!

Now I know, I know, you probably want the newer one because it's waterproof. But they're really expensive and if you don't mind the original version, there's a pretty good sale on them. 

If you're a runner you 100% need these. For real. They're wireless, they don't fall out, and they sound fantastic. Also, they'll be on sale at Target for $89.99, the lowest price ever. Did I mention they're normally almost $200? Yeah. And Beats are never on sale. You know what I'll be buying. 

If you're just looking for a fitness tracker (a not a smartwatch) this is a pretty great option. Target will have them on sale for only $89.95! I don't know about you, but I'm definitely down for paying $40 less on one of these. 

Bare Minerals - You're Brilliant All Over Face & Color Brush Duo
You know I couldn't make this list without including some goodies from Sephora. This is exclusive is only $10 (a $32 value)! I love Bare Minerals loose powder. 

Urban Decay - After Dark Travel Pencil Set
These eye pencils are the best. And they last so long, too, which is why the travel sizes are totally worth it. They do go fast if you're using them on your lids, but if you stick to your waterline you'll rarely have to sharpen them. 

tarte - Intro to tarte Deluxe Discover Set
Get this for the mascara alone! But the blush from this set is super nice, too. This set is only $10 (a $39 value) as well!

(You only can preview the Sephora sales in their app, so you'll have to head over there to check them out).

Because Netflix...duh. But also, you don't realize how great and convenient an Apple TV is until you use your friend's and then have to go back to living life without one. If you tend to watch tv on your computer, you need an Apple TV. I promise!

If you've found any other must-have Black Friday sales, let me know! 

+ it's been a while, but it's good to be back, thanks for sticking around!

Golden Milk & why everyone is drinking it

golden milk

While I'm always willing to try weird home-made remedies, it's usually for the sake of experiencing it without expecting the results they promise. Mainly because there are so many "trends" now that no one even knows what's real or not!

I've seen a lot of posts about golden milk on Pinterest and other blogs that I follow so it's always been in the back of my mind. But the other day, someone had posted about it in a fitness Facebook group swearing that this helped with their stomach issues (and that they also don't usually fall for health trends/fads). 

That finally gave me the motivation to say "OKAY!" and actually try it. Also, I already had all the ingredients in my apartment–so why not.

My disclaimer for this is that I do not like spicy things. If I feel like I need to eat an entire loaf of bread and drink a gallon of water in order to get rid of the spicy-ness, then it's not worth eating/drinking whatever the spicy thing is. 

Well, unfortunately, golden milk is a little spicy. Not like hot sauce spicy, but burn-your-throat-a-little spicy. Because, y'know, turmeric. However, it still tastes okay and if you add enough honey or maple syrup it dulls the burning. 

SO, why are people drinking golden milk?

Well, it has anti-inflammatory properties, can boost your immune system, and may be a good digestive aid. Some people have also said it helps with anxiety and is really soothing. 

How do you make golden milk?

First of all, there's a lot of recipes that just include turmeric, ginger, milk and some honey. I do not recommend that unless you are 10/10 a fan of turmeric and don't mind drinking something that tastes pretty gross.

If you're a fan of chai lattes and want something a little more enjoyable, follow this recipe:

Make this small spice mixture to store an airtight container:
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger

Heat one cup of milk (I used coconut milk) in a small sauce pan on medium heat until it starts to steam (not boil!), then add in 1 tsp of the spice mixture and stir constantly while heating for another 2 minutes. Don't let it boil!

Once finished, add in 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and (a decent amount of) honey or maple syrup to taste.

Let me know if you try it!

P.S. People also add golden milk to coffee, so naturally I will be trying that at some point.