Friday, August 30, 2013

Essence Effect Nails: 3D Nail Art

Whoooop it's Friday bidddddies! And that means it's nail day! It's also the start of a long weekend, which is exactly what I need right now. Did you know that it's also Labor Day weekend here in Canada? Except here it's "Labour" Day weekend. To me it actually seems more labor intensive to add a "u"... not at all in accordance with the holiday's spirit. But I digress!


Have you ever been into a bead store and been like..... "Damn I'd really love to have these beads all over my fingernails." Well you are a) eccentric and b) in luck! They make stuff like this now!

The Shoppers Drug Mart near my apartment sells a random assortment of essence products, which are all really cheap. Because they're so inexpensive, they make for fantastic impulse buys. I can try out products without having to invest a lot of money. If the products suck (like the French tips sticker set I mentioned in this blog), then I'm only out a couple bucks. Fortunately, in this particular case, the product I bought impulsively ended up being a deece purch! Hoozah.

Effect Nails are a new line of 3D nail art products from essence. They each come in a tiny little .29 oz pot and range in texture from pearls to flakes to glitter. I picked up a colorful pearls Effect Nails that is apparently called "Candy Buffet" - though that name is nowhere on the package itself. #NiceMarketing.

essence effect nails, candy buffet

Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet

Close up of Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet

These things are really easy to use, but a little bit messy. The pearls are really bouncy and roll around a lot. The instructions for these Effect Nails advise you to pour some of the pearls into the lid of the pot, and then roll your fingernail into them. However, the lip on the lid makes it pretty impossible to fit your whole fingernail into it to get even coverage, so I had to pour a small amount of the pearls onto a flat surface instead (a notepad). This is when they start rolling everywhere. #CurseYouPhysics

Application really is as simple as rolling your nail into the tiny pearls till your nail is completely coated in them. First, paint your nails 2 coats of polish. I was using a pearly Rimmel polish called Crushed Pearl. It's a beautiful formula - smooth and silky - but it's a bit sheer.  After you paint your nails, roll them into the pearls while the polish is still wet. This is what will make the pearls stick to your nails. I was suspicious about how well they'd actually stick... but they surprised me!

"Seal" the pearls onto your nails with a nice thick coat of top coat. Try not to drag too much while you're applying your top coat or you will drag some of the pearls along with it.

Accent nail, Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet

Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet accent nail

Close up, Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet, accent nail

Accent nail with Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet

CLose up Essence Effects Nails, 3D nail art, Candy Buffet

It's kind of hard for the camera to focus on the pearls very well since they reflect so much light, but I think you get the general idea.

These are actually staying on my nails pretty darn well. Occasionally one of them falls off, but they're so tiny that the ones that do fall off don't seem to make that big of a difference to the overall look.

Overall I'm pretty stoked on these things! I'll be going back to Shoppers Drug Mart to try to pick up some of the other Effect Nails soon!

What do you think of this 3D nail art look?

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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wedding Festivities!

Alright so now that we're nearly an entire month away from when the wedding occurred, it's high time I actually mentioned the wedding itself!  If you're just joining the party, you can read about the fun bridesmaid swag I got from the bride and check out pictures from the ladies all getting their hair and makeup done.

After we concluded our morning at Salon Bellisimo and ate a quick lunch, we made the trek from Newburyport (on the north shore of Mass) to our hotel in Fitchburg (about an hour north-west of Boston). At the hotel (a very forgiving Holiday Inn), we dropped off our overnight belongings in our rooms and grabbed our bridesmaid dresses and wedding essentials. Then all six bridesmaids and the bride-to-be piled into a vehicle [shoutout to Kara for being a good sport and sitting in the trunk of the vehicle covered in shoes and random wedding stuff] to head to Harrington Farm to get ready for the wedding.

The wedding ceremony was taking place on the property of Harrington Farm in Princeton, MA, with the reception being held inside the Farm's old renovated barn.  The property is off the beaten path (you need to take lots of small roads to get there), but once you arrive the scenery and mood are perfect for a wedding. There was a lovely meadow directly across the small street from the barnhouse, which later made for a fantastic photo shoot (more on that to come!). With clear views of the surrounding trees, it must also be a perfect place for a fall New England wedding. You've got to check out photos of all the grounds here:  Photo Gallery | Harrington Farm

Once we arrived at the farm, the ladies and gents all scampered upstairs to separate rooms in the old barnhouse, where we got into our wedding attire.

The bridesmaids got our dresses on, adorned ourselves with all of our brand new jewelry, made some final makeup touches, and then helped Jenna get herself situated.

.  jenna's momma helping with final touches!  .
Here she is looking absolutely freaking perfect before we headed down to the ceremony:

.  looking damn gewd  .
.  and check out those beautiful flowers!  .
When the guests had arrived and been seated it was finally time to begin the ceremony.

The bridal party had a long, sloping lawn to cross before arriving at the arbor area, so it was of utmost importance that none of us fall or lose our shit. Here are the trusty groomsmen who led us all flawlessly down the hill:

.  thanks guys!  .
.  aren't they dapper?!  .

Our friend Nigel (who was also one of the groomsmen, far left above) was officiating the wedding. This was a special choice for the bride and groom because Nigel was the mutual friend who introduced Jenna and Dan in the first place. The service was a great mixture of humor and sincerity from Nigel - he did such a great job!!
.  zee look of love  .
After the ceremony the guests all retreated to cocktail hour under a large tent that had been set up on the lawn of Harrington Farm. The bridal party started drinking and getting pictures taken by the photographer. This part was a blast - I can't wait to see the photographer's pics!

.  just married!!  .
.  one of the best (amateur) photos from the meadow photo shoot  .
.  content bridesmaids following the ceremony, champagne-ing and waiting our turn for photos  .
.  sarah, kara, me, abigail  .

Here's a look at the reception area inside the barn, before the ceremony:
Each bridesmaid/groomsmen couple danced into the reception to James Brown's Get Up, and I have to say that for several members of the bridal party, there was a little bit of nerves surrounding this part of the entire ordeal! I mean, check out how long that aisle is that we had to dance down! (Above pic) Fortunately, once excitement kicked in none of us really had to think about it too much and OUR BODIES TOOK OVER. #OontzOontzOontz. There IS video of these dance entrances, but I'll have to share that with you some other time when it eventually sees the light of day (read: When it shows up on YouTube somehow).

The reception was SUCH a great time -  full of good music, impressive dance moves, beautiful moments between Jenna and Dan...

.  awwwww  .

... unbelievably delicious Italian food, one thousand hugs, lots of fun pictures....

.  nigel, geoff, me, derek  . 

.  kathryn and kara  .
.  makin' moves  .

... and our friends' legendary dance-floor takeover for a good old fashioned "Shout!"
.  a little bit softer now...  .

.  a little bit louder now...  .


Fun fact: "Shout!" has been a staple song amongst my beautiful group of friends for so many years now. It started out as something we'd play at house parties in college (ZOOOOMASSSSSS), and it has seamlessly become a part of all of our post-college "adult" festivities as well. You've never seen a group of 20-somethings so excited about this song coming on over a set of speakers. Ever.

This picture is definitely missing lots of important people... like the bride and groom, for example.

I'm proud to report that my high heels lasted on my feet the entire ceremony and reception. I did my best to "wear them in" a bit while I was home in Vancouver, to make sure they would be as comfy as possible when the wedding came. I guess it worked!

(In case you are wondering, my shoes were the Dyeables brand in the style Aliyah. We all chose our own styles from the Dyeables selection and then had them batch-dyed a champagne color.)

After the reception, we piled into buses and shuttled back to our hotel in Fitchburg - that ultra forgiving Holiday Inn that I was mentioning earlier.

Here, we promptly took over the hotel - including their lobby and outdoor patio - and made all the other hotel guests wish they were invited to our raucous party.  #JKTheyProbablyHatedUs. #Winks. When we were eventually kicked out of the hotel patio at 3AM, it was a fitting end to a perfect celebration.

I wish I could go back and do it all again right now! Jenna and Dan (and each of their fun families) certainly know how to throw a party. Everyone had an amazing time at this wedding - a love-fest for the books!

Special thank you to Lauren and Kathryn for letting me use their photos for this blog post ;)

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Getting Gussied Up: Wedding Hair & Makeup

On the morning of the August 3 wedding of my good friend Jenna, I joined the other bridesmaids and the beautiful bride-to-be at Salon Bellisimo in Newburyport, MA to get our hurrr and makeup did.

We showed up with a few carfuls of women and were greeted enthusiastically by the team of stylists and makeup artists who were there to make us all look super fly. Basically everyone in the room was enthusiastic that morning, so there was a lot of estrogen and good vibes flowing.

And champagne - there was champagne flowing too!

Yes, to kick off our session of "ladies gettin' lovely" at the salon, there was a table of champagne/prosecco and OJ/cranberry juice for mimosas, fruit, and a box of assorted bagels with cream cheese. It was really a lovely spread:

Jenna's mother Elaine even brought us a platter of some fantastic homemade mini-quiches that she had whipped up for us that morning!

The stylists promptly got to work cycling all of us through their hair and makeup chairs.

.  jenna getting some falsies!  .

Jenna let us figure out for ourselves what we wanted to have done with our hair and told us to do whatever we felt comfortable with. I wear my hair in a simple side braid about 90% of the time - it's an easy peasy hairstyle and I'm not one to use a hair dryer or straightener very often. I thought it would be nice for the wedding if I went with a "fancier" version of my normal braid, so I asked for a fishtail braid. Here were the two inspiration pictures that I brought with me:

My stylist, Stephanie, claimed to be a little uncertain about how to do a fishtail... but she totally knew what she was doing. She did a fantastic job, too, and even gave me an awesome bump in the back for some v-v-volume. #BumpIt

.  bout to get that bump, bitchessssss  .

Jenna had some fun extensions added to her hair, which were then curled into big fabulous curls. 

The stylists at Salon Bellisimo masterfully maneuvered all us women through the lines of hair stylists and makeup artists, weaving us in and out of each other seamlessly. By the end of it, we all looked really freaking fabulous. I barely wear any makeup usually (beyond mascara/lip balm), so getting my face professionally done with airbrush makeup was pretty fun.

Here we all are right before we left the salon - Lauren (holding the veil in the middle) is also a professional makeup artist so she did her own makeup after we left the salon. Abigail (second from the left) was also doing her own makeup later that day.

.  this photo was taken by (and belongs to) the salon owner, lorna  .
.  me, abigail, theresa, lauren, jenna, sarah, kara  .


Salon Bellisimo
113 Merrimac St
Newburyport, MA
978.463.0004 //

One more wedding post coming soon - this one about the actual wedding!

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sweat Roundup of the Week

You may have noticed I stopped posting my weekly workouts in early July. That's because I more or less stopped working out for the last month and a half. Who does that? Who works out consistently until bikini season and then decides it's a good time to stop? #Backwards.

Add in my 3-week trip back to Massachusetts in (July 25-Aug 13), when I became a complete sloth, and I've been a Lazy Lucy for nearly the entire summer. Ugh. And I feel gross. I can feel my muscles disintegrating, which has been a real wake-up call for me that I need to maintain my workout routine if I want my hard-fought-for muscles to stick around. Muscles really can weaken quite quickly if you don't exercise them. #YOUMEANIHAVETOWORKOUTFOREVER??????? #FAHK.

So before my muscles deteriorate any further, I'm going to try to get back into a workout routine of some sort. Here's what I've been up to the last week:

8/17 (upper body and core)
20 mins biking
12 overhead press, 10 lbs 
12 bent over rows, 10 lbs
12 deltoid fly, 7.5 lbs
12 tricep kickbacks, 7.5 lbs
30 weighted v-sit twist, holding 10 lbs
1:00 plank
:30 plank
20 deadlifts, 10 lbs each hand
suitcase deadlifts, 20 each side, holding 10 lb dumbbell

6.6 mile walk to/from Spanish Banks in Vancouver

8/19 (lower body and core)
15 mins bicycle 
split squats, 12 each leg, 12.5 lbs each hand
15 dynamic side planks each side
20 heel presses on each leg
20 squats, holding 20 lbs
10 Russian get ups, 5 lbs each hand
20 side lunges + plyometric pushoff (each side)
30 weighted crunches on exercise ball, holding 12.5 lbs
30 calf raises, 12.5 lbs each side
30 cobras
12 lat pulldowns, 30 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 50 lbs
1:35 plank
5 mins elliptical

6.6 mile walk/run through downtown Vancouver

8/22 (upper body and core)
5 mins elliptical
12 chest press on exercise ball, 15 lbs each hand
12 bent over rows, 15 lbs each hand
15 Russian get ups, 5 lbs each hand
   - 10 deltoid fly, 5 lbs each hand
   - 10 deltoid raises, 5 lbs each hand
12 close grip chest press on exercise ball, 10 lbs each hand
10 alternating medicine ball flys, 10 lbs medicine ball
30 cobras
12 lat pulldowns, 30 lbs
12 lat pulldowns, 40 lbs


5 mile walk along Sunset Beach and into downtown Vancouver

As you can see, #bitchesbewalkin this week. The Seaside Bike Path is the place to be, y'all, so if you come to Vancouver you better bring your walking shoes... or your bike, I suppose. 

Today I'll finally be breaking in my new-to-me rock-climbing shoes and trying my hand at rock-climbing. We'll be heading north of Vancouver to Squamish, where I've gone before to hike the Stawamas Chief. Squamish is quite renowned for its rock climbing - though we won't be doing anything extreme, obviously, since I am still a total newbie. Hopefully my freshly weakened muscles will hold up while I'm climbing. Wish me luck!

Do you like going for long walks too? Do you live in a walk-friendly place? Have you ever tried rock climbing?

OH and for GOD'S SAKE please do not miss this tonight. You'll be kicking yourself for the next 15 years if you do.

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Friday, August 23, 2013

Pacific Blue with a Pop of Neon

This week my nail polish has once again been inspired by a fashion blogger's outfit. Thank god for these creative girls or else I might be out of a hobby.

Ally from Gumboot Glam pinned a picture of herself wearing this remarkably colorful outfit - a neon yellow blazer over a cobalt blue top. It was such an outstanding color combo - each color made the other appear brighter. Knowing that I had two colors in my nail polish stash that would coincide perfectly with this look, I pinned Ally's outfit to my Nail Polish board. {Lot of hyperlinks in that last paragraph. I hope you clicked them all.}

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue w/ a pop of neon yellow

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue, Claire's Sunshine neon yellow

Sally Hansen's Pacific Blue is such a gorgeous, pigmented color. Sometimes you can even get away with just one coat of it! I used two coats here.

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue w/ a pop of neon yellow nail polish

This neon yellow polish from Claire's is called Sunshine - truly a lackluster and thoughtless name for such an exciting color, if you ask me. My only problem with it is that it's verrrrry sheer - I lost count of how many coats I had to use over my white base. It also seems to dry matte, which is strange. My below pictures all have a top coat on them, so that gives the nails some extra shine.

Claire's Sunshine neon yellow nail polish with Sally Hansen Pacific Blue

Pacific Blue w/ a pop of neon yellow accent nail

Sally Hansen Pacific Blue and a pop of neon yellow

If you check out my Nail Polish board on Pinterest you'll get a look at some of the other outfits that are inspiring me, so you can scope out which ones may end up here on aka Bailey in the near future!

Have you seen a cool outfit that you think would make a fabulous manicure? Tweet it to me (@akaBailey) or leave it in a comment below!

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Goodies from the Bride

This is just one of several wedding-related blog posts I'll be putting up in the next week or so! I hope you like celebrations of love. If you don't... well then read this bitchy rant instead.

I was honored to have been asked to be part of the bridal party for my friend Jenna's wedding on August 3. Jenna and I met at UMass circa 2005 and she is one of the most positive and loving people I know. She and her now-hubby Dan started dating just a few months before David and I did, at the end of their senior year at UMass in 2007. They are a gorgeous couple, inside and out, and you can feel their love for each other radiating whenever you're near them.

Their wedding was absolutely perfect, making it even more of a joy for me to be a part of it all. As if getting to be in the bridal party for this beautiful couple wasn't enough, Jenna very thoughtfully gave her bridesmaids some lovely gifts as a way of saying "Thank you" to her girls. She is so sweet!

I loved this fabulous chevron printed makeup bag with my name embroidered into it...

Chevron makeup bag, embroidered with name
You might imagine that it's not easy to find items with my name on them (think keychains/magnets/coffee mugs/pens, etc)... So this was extra exciting for me: 

Name embroidered into makeup bag

Jenna is a talented jewelry-maker, and I knew in advance that she would be making the bridesmaids' jewelry for the big day. What I didn't know was that she was going to be designing unique jewelry for each of the bridesmaids. Here is the beautiful amethyst necklace and earring set that she designed just for me:

Amethyst jewelry set

Aren't they gorgeous?! I loved the dangling chain detail that hangs down the back of the necklace:

Amethyst jewelry set - necklace and earrings
.  the jewelry came in this beautiful little box too  .
.  bonus!  .
Jenna also gave each of her bridesmaids a glass ornament in the shape of our first initial:

Glass initial ornament
.  B is for "miiiiine, Bitchessss!"  .

It's a beautiful translucent light blue ornament of pretty substantial weight. I really like it and will probably hang it up on the wall behind my desk, which is sort of "my area" of our living room. Since Dave and I always buy tiny Christmas trees, I'm not sure that any holiday tree of ours will ever be strong enough to hold this ornament!

Here are all of the bridesmaids together at the rehearsal dinner:

Bridesmaids at rehearsal dinner
.  dan's sister theresa, me, jenna's sister lauren (MOH), jenna, abigail, sarah, kara  .
Check out the gorgeous bouquets that the bridesmaids got to hold during the wedding! I wish I had a close-up of these bouquets because they contained some amazingly unique items. Eucalyptus, succulents, lavender-colored roses, lamb's ear, calla lilies, orchids, and more. Jenna's bouquet is the one in the center with the additional bright magenta flowers.

Fun fact: The above is the last picture I have from the entire wedding ceremony/reception. After this my camera died and refused to take a picture the rest of the night!!! For that reason, any pictures from the actual wedding that I post here will not have been taken by me.

I also happened to have caught the bridal bouquet at the reception. Hysterically I wasn't even trying to catch it and I'd even had to be physically pushed out onto the floor to participate in the bouquet toss in the first place (thanks Derek and Marcou for the literal nudge). Even though her back was turned, Jenna seemed to throw the bouquet directly at me, so maybe she's trying to tell me something?

Another thing that I loved from attending this wedding were the favors: tiny glass jars of Mediterranean sea salt/seasoning. I snagged a few of them at the end of the night and have been using this seasoning on everything. Sandwiches, pasta sauce, salads, soups - you name it, I've seasoned it with this stuff. Jenna and Dan are both Italian, so this Mediterranean seasoning was very fitting.

I've got another post planned that's all about the fun hair and makeup we had done on the morning of the wedding. Getting our hurrr and makeup did professionally was a blast!

I also plan to do a whole post with lots of pictures from the wedding and, as promised, none of the photos will be my own. #ThanksCamera #WayToDieAtTheWorstTime

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