The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HAPPY MONTH OF CHRISTMAS!!!!

Every year when December hits I get a little bit…..

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……partly because it’s Christmas time and that’s amazeballs, and partly because it’s Christmas time and I have so much to do!

I maybe got a bit overexcited about having finally bought a tree for the house this year…..and I maybe put up my tree early.  Like maybe too early?!  How early is too early, does anyone really know that answer to that question?  I put mine up before Thanksgiving, but I didn’t decorate it or the garlands until after…..so I think that makes it ok!?  Let’s face it, houses just feel way more cozy and homey when they are decorated for Christmas, and you really only get to experience that feeling for a month….ish.  So, I feel like you should really extend it as long as possible to get the maximum effect!

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The face you make when you maybe decorated early, and you’re worried the neighbors are judging you.

December is also the month of my birthday, and tradition dictates that I do certain things…..namely work as little as possible, workout, and get my nails done!!  I’m happy to report that Friday was a great success in all those categories, except that I did end up work sightly more than originally intended.

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(Insert overly posed picture of manicure and Christmas ornaments)

I also got some sweet birthday presents this year.  Momma Mishappenings got me a blender and some ornaments for the new tree.  Now I just need warmer weather so I can whip up some smoothies and margaritas!!  Lil Sis got me some of my new favorite lotion and some flowers!

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I spent the weekend doing laundry and Christmas prep……exciting I know.  But, crafts and knitting aren’t gonna do themselves, so Netflix, tea, and knitting was my weekend to do list.  I did go to dinner and drinks with the BFB and the Hubby in Law last night so that was always a good time.  We intended to try a fun place downtown, but there was a construction accident there the other day and we weren’t sure we could get to our intended location.  Instead, we hit up the Irish pub, and I discovered they had Shiner Cheer on tap…..which is also a symbol that the best time of the year is upon us.  If you haven’t tried it, you need to….and it’s seasonal…..SO GET ON IT SOON!

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Brewed with peaches and pecans….it’ tastes like the holidays!

The other weekend activity I had to start was Christmas baking.  I only make poppy seed bread for the holidays, but since I can only do 4 loaves at a time, I have to start early!  I’ll link the recipe, it’s a family favorite and definitely worth a try.  Embrace the messy within you, and don’t be afraid of oozing poppy seeds!  I ripped small holes in all the loaves last night and had no explosions in the oven!!  #victory

Pro Tip:  If you have a hole or some oozing….just flip that part into the bottom of the pan…..that will sometimes….usually…..keep the explosion for occurring.  No explosion means a clean oven!

Well, that about wraps up my week of excitement.  Now it’s just onto crafting and knitting like a crazy person to get everyone’s presents done on time!  I know I should work on these things all year, or start earlier at least, but who wants a big pile of knitting in their lap when it’s hot outside?!?  Not this girl, I can tell you that!

At Home Pamper Sesh

It’s been a busy weekend of house cleaning, laundry, and HOA board member duties.  I spent most of yesterday checking sprinkler systems throughout the development.  I discovered that my house is the only property with a totally malfunctioning sprinkler head.  By malfunctioning, I mean that I’m totally missing a head and everytime the system runs it creates a mini pond in my yard.  Totally explains the hole that I’ve been continuously trying to fill with dirt that just keeps returning…….sometimes with houses the struggles are never ending.

It also turns out that if you ever need to impress several middle aged to retirement aged men, just show off your sprinkler adjustment skills and chat about the renovations you’re doing to your house.  If you need an ego boost beyond that, I suggest putting House Hunters on Netflix.  Nothing will make you feel more like a boss ass lady than watching helpless people turn down houses because the paint isn’t a color they like.

Despite being a boss level sprinkler adjuster, I love having my nails done.  If they aren’t done, I feel naked.  Plus there’s the added terror of maybe breaking an unprotected nail.  THE HORROR!!  I started getting gel polish manicures when I still lived out in Rapid City.  I worked at the blood bank there, and regular polish was just not getting the job done.  The vision of having a salaried position that allows me to get biweekly manicures is just not coming together for me, so I decided to buy a home gel system.  It’s easy, cheap, and let’s me update my nails anytime I want.

I bought a Sensationail brand starter kit which came with everything you need to get started.  However, the lamp will work with any brand gel polish.  I have colors from Sensationail, Shellac, OPI, Gelish, Red Carpet, and Sally Hansen.  Any brand LED or UV lamp will work, just follow the time directions for any lamp you pick.

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Things You Will Need:

  • Lamp
  • Nail Prep
  • Polishes — Base coat, color, and top coat
  • Rubbing Alcohol
  • Manicure Tools
  • Paper Towel

Start by removing any existing polish, and file and prep cuticles as you would for a normal manicure.  Gel will be thicker than normal polish, which is nice for strengthening nails and helping them grow, however it does come with some drawbacks.  If you don’t properly prep your cuticles and pay attention to the placement of the polish, you’ll get a ridge on the back of your nails that will more than likely catch on things and peel up.

Once nails are shaped as desired, wipe firmly with rubbing alcohol to remove any oils.  Once this is done, don’t touch your nails.  Apply the nail prep solution.  I’m not sure if this step is critical, but my kit came with the solution and I know that when I’ve had my nails done in salons, this step is always performed.

Gel polish is atleast a 4 layer process, so make sure the layers are thin.  Start with a thin layer of the base coat on each nail.  I generally do my 4 left hand fingers in a group, my two thumbs on their own, and then the right hand fingers.  I don’t like having all my nails wet at one time.  I cure my base coat for 30 seconds with the lamp I have, but again most come with directions, so just follow those.  Also, some lamps are larger which would allow you to place your full hand in at one.  Your color of choice should be applied in 2-3 thin coats.  Don’t worry if the color goes on a bit streaky.  It’s some sort of gel polish miracle, but it always levels and smoothes while it cures.  Again, be careful to stay a bit away from your cuticles, and be sure to run the polish lightly alone the front end of your nail to help seal them.  Also, because the gel dries as soon as it’s cured, it’s important to clean up any polish mistakes before placing your hand back in the lamp.  I picked up a cheap metal manicure tool for cleaning underneath nails, but I find it works really well if I happen to get any polish on the sides of my nail.  A tooth pick or orange stick cuticle pusher would work well also.

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My color polishes need to be cured for 1 minute.  Once you’re satisfied with the color, apply a thin coat of top coat.  My system has an all in one top/base coat that would only need to be cured for 30 seconds, but I cure the top coat for a full minute.  This top/base coat works with all the color polish brands I have, so don’t feel like you need to match brands or anything like that.

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Sometimes I get a bit fancy with my manicures.  This week I used a small brush to apply zebra stripes using two other gel colors.  You could apply these either directly on top of your color before applying the top coat, or you can apply them onto the top coat after it’s cured and then apply an additional top coat over the top of the design.  I tend to prefer the second option….because the color underneath has been sealed, if you mess up on the design it can be easily removed before curing and won’t have any effect on the polish color below.  Just remember to cure your hand again after you’ve applied the design and before you apply the top coat in either case.  That’s pretty much it.  Once the top coat has been cured, wipe them again with rubbing alcohol and you’re good to go.  No more dry time, or fear of easily broken nails.  I can grow my natural nails out longer than I used to wear my fake nails, and I almost never worry about them breaking.  I have broken some, but only doing atypical things around the house that most people wouldn’t subject their nails to anyway.

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You can see on my pointer finger where I got a ridge of polish on the sidewall of my nail.  If you’re careful, you can sometimes pull the polish down towards your finder pad and just that ridge will flake off.  Just be sure to do it slowly so as not to peel off too much of the color.

At $9-$15 per color you can’t really beat the price of these at home systems.  Yes, you miss out on those fabulous hand massages that come with salon manicures, and yes it does take more time and a certain level of skill and practice to get a good seal and clean edges.  However, it also allows me to spend a night every couple weeks doing something for myself while drinking wine and watching a movie.  Not that I don’t drink wine or watch movies other times, but it’s also a nice creative break for me.

In the coming weeks I’ll add a removal tutorial and a traditional polish to gel polish tutorial so you don’t feel like you have to totally abandon your nail polish collection….which is great!  I think once you try this, you’ll never go back to regular polish.

It’s Beginning to Look a lot like Birthmas!

I’m spending a lazy Sunday on the couch with my Lil Nugget drinking bloody marys with homemade dilly beans.  Yummm-o!  It’s been a busy week, but one of the best weeks I’ve had in a long time!

IT WAS MY BIRTHDAY WEEK!!!!!!

I turned the big TWO-EIGHT on Wednesday.  I did some of my traditional birthday activities…

  • Work a half day
  • Skip my planned noon workout for lunch
  • Annual manicure
  • Nap
  • Nachos, apple guinnesses, and free dessert at McNally’s with Bestie and the Hubby in Law!
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My Sexy Russian wanted me to write about my mani…….its Plum Raven by Gelish with loose and chunky glitter with matte top coat.  Yay bloody mary!!!

I also got several bouquets of flowers so my house and office are full of blooms!

I may have also ordered myself some new birthday makeup.  May I present the new, limited edition Urban Decay Gwen Stefani eyeshadow palette!

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This gives me life!! Much lighter than my Naked 2 for more subtle smokey eyes! #magicsinthemakeup

The birthday celebrations continued on Friday.  Momma came to town to take me to lunch, and Bestie took me out for an epic sushi dinner!  It was also a big week for her, she finished her medical lab science program at the hospital….congrats on being done Bestie!!!!  It was a good week, and I’m feeling very grateful and loved.

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Plum wine, white and fatty tuna, rolls, and a not pictured soft shell crab….EPIC!

Along with my birthday comes Christmas decorating!  Christmas was always been a major decorating event growing up.  I’m quite sure that Momma has a garland for almost every window, door, and mantle.  I don’t have quite that collection yet, but after two years, I think the living room decorations are really coming together.  I don’t really decorate the upstairs or my bedroom…..just the main room of the house.

While this is normally the highlight of my year, I’m still in a bit of a funk about it because Menards no longer stocks my favorite garlands.  So, if any of you out there have Menards connections….tell them I want my garland back!  Never the less, I soldiered on and made the house festive for the holidays.  Now that it’s all done, I never want to undecorate.  Why is that houses always feel much homier when they are decorated for Christmas?!  The general theme for my house is simple and traditional looking, with a sprinkling of snooty deer…..because if I were a deer I would be snooty!

Much thanks to my Momma for helping me redo my outdoor decor on a snowy Friday.  Also for helping me scrape ancient wax off some skis I collected from my Grandpa’s basement.

 

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Skis and a matching tear drop for the exterior!

 

 

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Snooty and jumping!

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So snooty!  A birthday present from last year, and I love him!!

That’s pretty much it for the decorations.  There is a small pot on my back patio and a string of lights with lace and tulle in my bedroom window, but they aren’t super exciting and it’s too dark to get good pictures of them now.

 

In other news, last week, on Thanksgiving morning, we had a death.  Captain Jack, my beta, had a good run but the rum got the best of him and he went down to Davy Jone’s locker.  After my sushi date with Bestie on Friday, we ran to Petsmart and got a new fish.  I’m please to introduce…..Black Pearl!  Yes, he lives in a Crystal Head vodka bottle in my secretary.  Welcome to the crazy little buddy!

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