Monday, May 21, 2018

Nailed It: DIY Gel Nails

Recently I've been doing my own gel manicures at home ( it's my personal passion/hobby). I also realized that I hadn't done any nail post here in a while, and that I hadn't shared any pictures on the blog (seriously I'm trying to blog more).  It's not that I don't love getting my gels done at my favorite places by my favorite nail artist (Bisou Nail Lounge, Masako at Anton's Salon and Annex, or Laurel aka Pizza Perfect Nails in SF), it's just saving money is a priority and I've found that when I do my own they last way long (I found a really good gel base that works for me).

Check out what I've been up to over the past few months.

This was my first set back, not sure why I insisted on a dark color (hardest to work with especially for a novice/hobby). These lasted 2 full weeks and I could have gone longer.

These were my birthday nails, I was paying homage to the amethyst stone, and my favorite color with these.  They might be my favorite as well (I nailed it with the hand drawn glitter lines). These lasted 2 weeks as well (and could have gone longer), the striping tape was hard to work with though.

I took inspiration from one of my favorite nail artist Unistella and her "Diamond Nail" creation. I added my own special flair to my thumbs to make them my own unique design. These were so fun. ( These lasted close to three weeks).

These were an oops nail. I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do and ended up here. I didn't love them as much as the others, but other people really enjoyed them (they were also a tad too long, I like my shorties).

An Au Natural look doesn't have to be boring. These were subtle and eye catching at the same time. These lasted for soooooooo long I really could have gone 4 weeks with these, but I ended up just going 3.

These are a close second for my favorite nails. These were TOO FUN (well still are, I have them on now). I used a splatter technique I  used to do with regular polish.

If you want to see any of my future nail work then make sure you are following me on Instagram,

Friday, March 16, 2018

Walk MS 2018

I rarely ask anything of my readers, or really talk about causes that a close to me but if you could do me a huge favor and take some time to check out the link below that would be great. MS, has impacted not only a close friend (who is now passed away), but also a family member you passed away last November. This year a friend of mine who has a connection to MS as well reached out to me to ask if I want to do the walk, and I jumped at the opportunity. If you can help us (our team) reach (and get beyond) our goal of that would be great.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018



Hey guys, I was able to get my hands on a brand that I had not heard of (currently sold exclusively online), PUCKERED.  PUCKERED was founded by Sylvia Russell who has been working in makeup artistry and lifestyle for decades. Sylvia has done stints with the Tampa Bay Cheerleaders as a makeup artist, was the beauty and lifestyle expert from Tampa’s WFLA, Channel 8 and Channel 10, as well as a range of other work. She started PUCKERED in August 2017 and plans to move the brand from strictly ecommerce to pop ups and eventually retail locations.  PUCKERED is touted as “a beauty brand with a passion for lips” which celebrates “…the beauty in every woman and empowers women of color and of different ethnicities, to create the life they want.” I really enjoy the sentiment behind the brand, which is why I was willing to support it with a purchase.


I ended up purchasing two items once gloss (in Scarlett Red) and one Liquid Matte (in Creme)


Overall the formulation of both the gloss and matte applied well, had lasting power (I only wore one around the house), and didn’t dry out my lips. They also smell good (faint vanilla scent), and have a nice applicator (thin doe tip).  The one thing I did find frustrating not only here, and comes up  when I can only purchase online is that the colors weren’t swatched or represented on an array of skin tones to give me an accurate  visual description of the color. This is even more for a brand that celebrates “…the beauty in every woman and empowers women of color…” The color Creme I purchased looked orange online, but was 100% a totally different color when you get it home (see the color from the site below), now I’m stuck with a color I have to do magic with lip pencils and other colors to make work. I really just like to put on a color and maybe a lip liner that matches exactly and go. Other than that complaint which is kind of major I would say that everything else is good I really did enjoy the gloss, I’d even be willing to repurchase the gloss I have and pick up the  “Rosette” and “Baby Doll” colors of gloss as well without fear they wouldn’t work for me once I got them.


 Facts about the product:

Vegan and Gluten Free

Hours of kiss proof wear

Soft silk texture wit a flexible feel

Paraben and sulfite free

Cruelty Free

Made in the USA




Price Point:


$12-$21 depending on if you get a liquid matte , mattetastic metal, hydrating lip gloss  line and define lip liner,  or lip kit.




If you’ve had experience with this brand or would like to know additional information please let me know.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Health and Beauty Quickie: Yuni Chillax

I bought this product on a fluke, because it was fairly reasonably prices (compared to other natural muscle creams/treatments). I’m really glad I did.


WHAT:  Yuni Chillax (Muscle Recovery Gel)

HOW (it looks, smells, cost etc.): 


A natural minty/essential oil scent, which is really light, the product doesn’t really have a color it goes on clear. The packaging is a simple like a classic roll on deodorant, which makes it easy to roll onto sore areas.  


Price Point:






Water, Aloe Barbadenis Leaf Juice, Glycerin, Menthol, Peppermint Oil, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Cetearyl Extract, Capsicium Frutescens Fruit Extract, Camellia Oil, Lavender Oil, Arginine, Capri/Caprylic Triglyceride, Tocopheryl Acetate, Menthyl Lactate, Carbomer, Natural Oil Fragrance, Gluconolactone, Sodium Benzoate





 Yuni Beauty (, Anthropologie, Nordstrom (where I bought mine, you can also find it at




This product has become is excellent. Every now and then you make a random whim purchase that you know will become a staple and this is one of those items. I placed this on my shoulders and my lats (Latissimus dorsi muscle) after a week (6 days) of Olympic weightlifting, body building (accessory work), and a CrossFit Open workout that are all shoulder and lats  intensive. The next morning I woke up from being fairly sore to having zero soreness the day after using this product. I’ve used it a few times since then with the same result. All and all I have to say this is a winner. I suggest keeping one in the gym back and at home.  I checked out the Yuni website too, and there are definitely more items I’m interested in, hopefully those work as well as this one.



P.S. It’s great on the feet too.


Overall Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

Monday, February 26, 2018

DIY Facial


True confession, I really dislike people touching my face. So much so, that I never had a facial and I stopped getting my brows waxed/threaded about 5 years ago. That said, I am still into great skin and I can see the benefits in a semi-regular professional facial (because who isn’t into self -care). But some of us have “issues”, not to mention it may not fit into everyone's budget. Which prompted me to grab a couple tools to assist in doing home facials. The tools are inexpensive and you can pick them up on Amazon, they are also easy to use. Here is my weekly facial regimen (Note: I don't use the tool weekly):




Step One: Start With a Steam. You want to do this at least five minutes, I like to shoot for 10 minutes. I got my affordable steamer here.





Step Two: Cleanse (no special cleaner just what ever you typically use). I used Urban Skin Rx  Even Tone Cleansing Bar (they now carry this at Target).





Step Three: Steam Again ( This steam step is important before using the tool in step four if not using the tools you can skip this step and add on more steam time at step one)




Step Four: Extract/Exfoliate. You can use the tool that will help deep clean your pores, if you don’t have this tool you can exfoliate here.




Step Five: Mask. Use your favorite Mask. I’m using NOID Sanskrit Saponins as a mask.




Step Six: Tone. I use Thayers Rose Petals Witch Hazel




Step Seven: Hydrate. You can use your favorite thick nighttime cream or a hydrating sheet mask. (In the video I used a mask), but I often use Rosehip Seed Oil




Check Out How I do my facial below (not all steps captured):



Thursday, February 22, 2018

SF Beer Week 2018 Wrap Up

I’ve been attending San Francisco Beer Week (SF Beer Week) events for the past 3 years, and I even highlighted it once here.  I wasn’t lucky enough to get to attend the SF Beer Week Pre-Party/Launch even, but I was able to attend 3 events.


The first event was s Sour Sunday (Sour Beers are my all-time favorite). This even is held at Jupiter and Triple Rock both in Berkeley, so for an East Bay resident this is an event that’s easy to lyft to (and Lyfting is a must). The Jupiter location has 12 + stations and each station have at least 2 beers (including some unreleased beers from local favorites like Drake’s). . After you get your fill at Jupiter you can walk two blocks to Triple Rock, which features almost exclusively bottle beers, so if you really don’t want to miss any, I highly suggest you stop at this location first then go to Jupiter. This particular event is a staple for me (I don’t ever plan on missing it), and I highly suggest you splurge on the VIP tickets which includes a glass, shirt, and unlimited 3 oz. tastings.


The next event has been going on for 5 years, but this year was my first time attending. It was the Uptown Funk: Beer and Cheese Tasting, which is held at Drake’s Dealership in Oakland.  This was a fun and educational event which featured 7 beers and 6 cheeses. The pairings were really good and unique in some instances and it was capped off by a combination that tasted like a rich and creamy coffee shake, and it introduced me to a Croatian cheese that I know love called Paski Sir (which I must now find).  The event was curated by Drake’s Brewing Co Barrel Program Manager Travis Camacho, and Local Cheese Expert Kristin Jackson. Travis and Kristen described both the beer and cheese pairings and allowed each attendee to sip/taste and then engage in discussion on the flavors etc. For me the highlight of the event for me was I got a chance to try one of the best I’ve had in a long while. It’s called the Smoked Brette  (a blonde sour with smoked tea, 5.8% abv), and you may still be able to try it it’s on tap at the dealership location.




The last official event (I popped my head in a few of the free ones on the weekend) was the Aisle 5 20X 20.  This was nice and also another East Bay convenient location at a new pub/restaurant in Oakland (Aisle 5)  and also a celebration of the venues 1 year anniversary. The event features 6 local breweries  (Laughing Monk Brewing, Headlands Brewing Company, Oakland United Beerworks, Gilman Brewing Company, Sufferfest Beer Company and Ghost Town Brewing!)  and featured 20 unique beers.  Each attend received a 5oz pour of all 20 beers (If you choose to try them all), plus to celebrate the actual venue you also received 20% the food menu. This event started off slower (I’m chalking it up to a weekday, Black Panther premiere day, and it started at 5pm), but it picked up around 6:30pm and all the brewers were knowledgeable and eager to chat about their creations. What I did like about this event is there was even a Cider place (Blindwood Cider, Berkeley) that had a wonderful Dry Hop Cider)


I would say the most unique and tasty beer I had all night would be the “No Filter Banana Split Bock” a light in sport dark beer with some wonderful flavors from Oakland United (the Brewery will be opening in Jack London Square area in about 2 months).


Finally on Saturday I stumbled upon a Japanese Beer Fest at The Trappist There were several selections, and the theme was Yuzu. I of course I had to get the Hitachino Yuzu Lager Beer, followed by a “Wednesday Cat” Belgian Style White Ale.



Overall I say I had a successful SF Beer Week, and I can’t wait until next year!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Goodbye Belle Butters ( + Bonus Brands to Know)

I’ve discussed Belle Butters more than once and I absolutely love the products and deeply respect and admire the woman behind them (that friend in your head/online). Last year she gave her customers notice that she’d be closing up shop permanently in 2018. She gave updates and notice in her newsletters (even though she really didn’t have to) over time, however the change happened faster than expected for  her and her customers because in under a week her shop will be closed permanently (insert the saddest of funeral music here).


If you weren’t like me and didn’t start quietly stocking up last year there is still hope. You can stock up (within reason there are limits per customer) on your favorite products with a 22% discount through 2/18 (the show will officially closed on 2/19). Like I mentioned I have a good supply of the items I really enjoy from Belle Butters, the sad  news for me personally  is after I finally run out of Black Current and Lavender Oil Cleanser I will not know what to do (I’m currently looking for a replacement, but have two full bottles on the way, and one and a half bottles at home) as that for me is the only product I don’t think I can ever replace.



Moving forward there are some good options for when your Belle Butter stash runs out. Here are a few other brands I enjoy, and have great quality products as well as customer service.



Clean Glow


What’s Similar :


  • Butters com in a variety of fragrances

  • Can use the products on the hair and body

  • Has a beard specific products (Belle Butters has a men's balm)

  • Multiple Size options (4 and 8 oz.)


What’s Special:

  • Texture is almost like a balm meets traditional shea butter

  • Price point (one of the most reasonable brands I’ve seen)


Shea Shea Bakery

What’s Similar:

  • Variety of fragrances

  • Multiple size options

  • Also has skincare


What’s Special:

  • The variety of fragrances is vast and fun

  • Very unique packaging

  • Home goods items (candles/wax melts etc.

  • Box of the Month option (a variety of themed items)

Honey and Petal

What’s Similar:

  • Variety of fragrance

  • Can use the product on hair and body


What’s Special:


  • Unique formulation

  • Non-Shea option for those with allergies

  • Unique skincare items

  • Also has add on bath accessories


Don’t forget to wish Belle Butters' luck on her new adventures and let her know how much she'll be missed (she’s typically on twitter @BelleButters).

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