Stop Cutting Your Cuticles

March 28, 2018
"WTF! You won't be touching me with those fingers!" That is a response that I got that was jokingly said but to me that I took very personal because of my nails or should I say cuticles were not looking on point. So this doesn't happen to you I've got the top reasons why you should stop cutting your cuticles.

Salon /Pro Grade Manicures
Credit: Unsplash


First off manicures at the salon are quick and beautiful until the nails start to grow back. You sit down and start the prepping of the nails. They remove the nail polish with acetone nail polish remover, soak them in bubbly water, push back cuticles, cut them resulting in the occasionally bleed on at least one or two fingers on each hand. Then they finish you off with a nice amount of lotion quickly massaged into the hand and possibly the wrist if you are lucky. Then the final process of your manicure is the nail tech applying a few coats of bacterial filled nail polish that has been used on multiple hands and feet of people who may have nail fungi. After you are 90% dry you are sent to the front to pay for $35 manicure that will last you possibly two weeks. Look at your cuticles though! They are going to be so upset with you.

Push Back Cuticles Only
You really love the way that the nail tech at the salon did your nails despite the bleed that happened when s/he cut your cuticles. Had the tech only pushed back the cuticles then you would not have gotten cut. IF you are like me and are afraid of the possible bacterial infections that occur at when visiting nails salons then you are doing your nails at home. The best way to maintain cuticle care at home to simple. First remove all nail polish with a non-acetone remover, wash hands with anti-bacterial soap, apply Hand & Cuticle Repair, apply a drop of Cuticle Remover to each finger then push back the cuticles. DO NOT CUT THE NAILS. Knowing you and also me (in the past) I have gotten tempted to cut my cuticles then oooo shit...

Don't Cut Your Skin
You have pushed back your cuticles but then you see that there is a bit of skin that is hanging over the nail bed and you do not like it. You want to nip it so it can look pretty like you just left the salon. You are so tempted to do it but DO NOT. If you are at the salon and the nail tech starts to pick up the nippers do not allow them to. Only allow them and yourself to push back the cuticles. The primary reason that you push with the cuticle pusher is to remove the calcium build up and push back the skin that is hanging over the nails. Do not cut. If you do cut then you may risk infection.

Infection
You've done it now. You nipped yourself so bad that it has been bleeding for possibly an hour. If you are not sure what to do then stop what you are doing IMMEDIATELY. Sanitize the nippers and the cuticle pusher in barbicide or salon grade disinfectant. Next wash your hands with antibacterial soap and then dry hands with a paper towel and not a towel. Apply a drop of Nail Food oil and do not proceed with applying any polish to that nail until it has completely stopped bleeding and the puncture area has closed. Attempted to add polish to that nail will not only sting but if there is any living bacterial in that nail polish bottle, you will risk infection. If the nail tech at the salon nipped you and made you bleed as well be sure that you insist that s/he stops IMMEDIATELY.

Skin Is Rising Up
A little less than a week has passed and our nails have gone from 'Yasss girl to Do Not Look At Me' that is because the skin has started to rise because you cut the cuticles. Your nails looked amazing for all of 2 days and your life WTF. Well this happens because you either A, let the nail techs at the salon cut your cuticles, B pushed back your cuticles and didn't follow the steps and C you cut your cuticles yourself and now they look hella ratchet. Now it looks like your nails are developing an issue but don't worry they will be back to normal within two weeks.

Do yourself a favor, don't cut your cuticles and do not allow someone else to cut your cuticles. Make sure that you follow the steps listed above to properly remove the calcium build up along with pushing back the cuticles.


Achieve Glowing Skin By Eating These Vegetables

March 20, 2018
For the past few weeks I have been consuming a massive amount of vegetables both raw and cooked. Raw vegetables are by far the best for achieving glowing skin because they contain the most amount of nutrients. Last weekend I did saute some in a tablespoon of butter, soy sauce and sprinkle of lemon juice and was simply amazing but of course after cooking 2 portions of vegetables on 2 different days I went back to the raw vegetables and have seen the most amazing results from on my skin.

Vegetables
Smart food and beverage choices contribute to the goal of glowing skin. My glow up comes from within. It comes from choosing raw vegetables and water over tempura vegetables and clear soda. The benefits of vegetables are endless. Spinach is packed with iron like broccoli however broccoli is also good for building collagen and protecting you from free radicals. Carrots, a superfood contains vitamin c like orange juice and can be used to consume and made to be a topical treatment. My all time favorite are sweet peppers. They are packed with antioxidants, potassium like bananas, contains capsaicin which happens to protects the skin from UVB aka aging rays. TEAM NO WRINKLES!! Other vegetables that are known to pack mighty punches for the skin happen to be onions. They are great for flavoring, contain fiber, contributes to digestion and you can also strain the juice and use it directly on acne prone skin to treat and prevent. Besides vegetables grow from the ground and what do we use to help them grow? Water. I love water.

Water
Our body is made of primarily water. We use water to flush out toxins, keep us hydrated and keep the skin as healthy and as beautiful as possible. Have you ever seen the skin of someone who drinks not just the recommended amount of water per day but drinks water with each meal? Their skin looks amazing.  Now combine that with vegetables that they incorporate into their diet. Like their skin isn't aging at all. Not to toot my own horn but BEEP BEEP! I do not look my age. One other thing. Fast Food! Hmmm...

Fast Food
Remember the saying, "You are what you eat"? It's true. From past experience I know that food choices plays a tremendous role in skincare. I love a bad snack here and there but in moderation. If you are one to constantly consume deep fried proteins and carbohydrates such as chicken, fish or potato aka french fries, oh and let's not forget about pizza, mozzarella sticks and then you justify it by saying that the ingredients come from one of the food groups then honey, your body is upset with you. You body will start to reject all of the oil, trans fat, preservatives and chemicals. It'll push the bad stuff out of your skin and then BAM! BODY AND FACE ACNE! That is not pretty site and it doesn't feel good either. Granted we all love a quick meal but it is most definitely worth the wait to prepare your meals at home or if you do not know how to cook go to a restaurant that prides itself on their healthier food selections.

Granted we can all seek assistance of our glow up with makeup, moisturizers, chemical peels and microdermabrasion -which I definitely do hence the picture below- but it is the conscious food choices that will contribute to the natural glow up but it's the vegetables that help to achieve glowing skin.
glowing skin

How Do You Achieve Glowing Skin?

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Eating Bougie On A Minimalist Budget

March 13, 2018
I am a huge fan of foods that are considered "bougie" or as my younger cousin labels it, "that funny food". I categorize them as foods that you will not typically find on a menu at McDonald's, Chick-fil-a, anything in a small town shopping mall's food court or on the streets of a busy city. It is basically food items such as sushi/sashimi, grilled meat, anything with avocado, fresh vegetables and fruit, seafood, smoothies and almost everything at Starbucks.  Some people think is expensive but it really is not. It's all all about what you know.

As I mention in the previous post How To Enjoy Life On A Budget, I do not have a ton of money but I enjoy life, travel and eat "bougie" on a minimalist budget. When I first started dining out around the age of 19 I didn't realize how expensive it could be until I dared to look at the menu, noticed the portion size when the food came to the table and then the bill and thought to myself, "Wow. This for that. Okay." Although the dining experience was always pleasant I took notice of 4 important things. Their lunch hours, the specials, the bartenders and the bill. Fast forward a few months later I, myself became a waitress and that's when I really learned how to eat bougie on a minimalist budget. Take notes.

When To Dine
When going to restaurants I always view their hours of operation along with their specials for the week. Choosing the time to dine in at a restaurant depends on the amount of time you have along with the amount of money you can afford to spend.
Lunch Hour During lunch hours which is normally 11am-2pm here in the United States a lot of restaurants offer a lunch portion that are a bit smaller than the normal portion and about 2/3 of the price. It's a great deal because it is in the middle of the day and you do not want a heavy meal that is difficult to the digest if you sit primarily at a desk for work.
Weekday Specials These specials are normally posted on their website, on a display board near the entrance of a restaurant and occasionally an extra insert of their normal menu. They are priced quite nicely and the portion size is enough to where you will have left overs which means less money you spend on lunch for the following day. Try not to be bougie and leave your leftovers at the table. Be prideful. Take it and give it to the homeless if you are not one to eat leftovers.


How To Order 
How to order is just as important as the time that you decide to dine into the restaurant. You may have missed the lunch menu or there are no specials being offered that do so what you then do is flip to the back of the menu and view the ala carte menu. That is why it it is there.
Ala Carte Majority of restaurants have this option which I believe is beneficial to both restaurant and the patron. If you have food allergies or simply want to piece your meal together like you would at home then this comes in handy. Each item is individually priced and you can eat what you want. If the server gives you the side eye that is when knowing the bartender comes into place.
Starbucks If you are a espresso drinker and love Americanos I suggest ordering only 1 shot of espresso and adding the rest of the water yourself. If you want to fancy it up, add half and half and sprinkle on the flavored powder at the self serve station. Now if you buy a cup of coffee a day it is wise to purchase the $12.95 bag and make your coffee at home. That bag will last you an entire month and will save you a lot of COIN$:-)

Bartenders 
Knowing the bartender (or the barista) is like knowing the boss. They get along with just about everyone and somehow has a pull on just about everyone in restaurants. Servers love them, cooks love them, the boss loves them and they are just awesome. 
Sit At The Bar I always suggest that you sit at the bar the first few times that you go to a new restaurant. This gives you an opportunity to feel the scene, the people and of course and get to know the bartender. The bartenders knows the good and the bad. They pour the tea and you want to be there to sip it. 
Free Drinks/Appetizers If the bartender starts to enjoy your company s/he will start to offer you free drinks. These drinks are specialty drinks that the bartenders work on that the restaurant may be offering soon. I am a wine drinker so that wouldn't apply to me but it may to you. Also whenever a food order is screwed up the food always comes up to the front to reduce waste and guess who is there to try it? You and the bartender.
If getting to know the bartender is not your thing then the last and best option is to cook at home.

Cook At Home

bougie food
If you really want to eat bougie on a minimalist budget the best and final option is to cook at home. My first time cooking was when I was 10. I recreated an omelette after watching the cooks at a hotel during a family vacay. I watched, mentally stored their technique then applied it when I got home. That omelette was so good.
Grocery Shopping I love strolling through the aisles of the grocery store and thinking of recipes. Smoothies are my fav but was getting expensive just like dining out. I was spending $5 a day, 6 days a week on smoothies. By grocery shopping and making it myself I spent half that amount of money. Recipes I feature recipes here on the page BeautiFULL Food but there are also tons of other cooks and chefs that are constantly sharing their amazing knowledge. From a beginner to a pro cook there are recipes for everyone. If you do not know how to cook then now is the time to learn or heck buy the groceries and ask a friend or family member to make it for you and you all can eat good together.
Save Money Time is money and money is something that you want to spend wisely. Lunch time specials, weekly specials and knowing the bartender is all good and dandy but you are still spending more money than necessary. Find recipes that you like, make a list and hit up the grocery store.

Save more spend less. It's all about Eating Bougie On A Minimalist Budget. 

How Do You Save Money And Still Eat Good?

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How To Enjoy Life On A Budget

March 09, 2018

I have been living life on a budget for as long as I can remember. I did not grow up with money but I did grow up knowing how to get the best for less thanks to my sister and aunt who were coupon clipping and also cheap queens who now have a lot more money than you all need to know. By taking it one step further on saving to get what I want or go wherever I want, I want to share with you a few tips on how to live on a budget and still enjoy life.

travel

Coupons
Yeah it can be a hassle clipping those things but most coupons are now digital. My shopping preferences happen to be Ulta and Macy's for makeup. Macy's always have a sale for makeup and those coupons that they give you for 25% can also be use on makeup and beauty. Check the fine print babe! Every once in a while I go to Sephora but that is only if I have a gift card. I also shop on Anastasia Beverly Hills website when she is offering a deal but coupons are your bff. My model is, why pay full price when everyone else is else (budget saavy) is getting a deal. Ulta gives coupons out a lot if you sign up for the newsletter that comes by mail and by email. Be sure to check the expiration date because those deals go quick unlike the ones with Macy's. As far as any other store I always go directly to their website or on RetailMeNot.com. That site right there has everything from Kohls to Banana Republic but IDK about Gucci or Coach. 

Airfare
On Tuesdays the ticket prices for flights seem to be at their lowest. I am not sure why exactly but they have always seem to be a lot lower on those days. I usually spend hours throughout my day manipulating the calendar along with flight departure times to find what I am looking for.  I use Orbitz, Cheaptickets, and Smartfares to book flights so those are the ones that I know have the deals on the flights. To save even more money be sure to fly out on a Saturday and or a Wednesdays. Nonstop flights are less than $60 each way if you book separately. I never book roundtrip flights because cancellations on the airlines behalf have happen one too many times recently. Now if you are someone who likes to fly Southwest Airlines then they are not on the discount buying sites like Orbitz.com, Cheaptickets, Smartfares and etc. only on their site however you should always buy one way tickets with them. If one of your flights is canceled by the airline or you purchased a ticket for someone good luck getting another flight or a full on refund. 

Hospitality
Hmmm... now this can be a tricky one. If you are traveling with a friend then I suggest either using Airbnb and splitting the cost or either use a Hotels.com or Orbitz to find for a hotel and split the cost as well. Those 2 websites are really great at recommending places to stay and of course like Airbnb the reviews help you with deciding where to stay and how the experience has been. You do not want to end up staying in a bad neighborhood or a room full of insects who didn't invite you to their infestation.
The other option you have is to stay with a friend or family member. I've had the option of doing both but make sure that you actually spend time with your host. No one likes a someone who just comes to their home as a pit-stop. It is pretty rude unless they leave you there alone for the entire time. I cook so I do offer to make a meal or 2 or 3 IF the kitchen is clean. Oh gosh, I was recently on vacay at friend's place and in kitchen and bathroom there was a few unexpected 8 legged guests I wasn't aware that was living there. I freaked out, attempted to clean the bathroom at 3am after traveling for 6 hours and stayed away from that kitchen until the host had cleaned it. Yuck. The cringe is happening again. 

Transportation
Depending on where you are going, you have the option to either take public transportation like buses, taxis and Uber/Lyft or you rent a car. Be sure to download the Uber or Lyft app so you can get the $25-$50 credit with my UBER code "slt".
If you are going to use public transportation be sure to research their routes and the places that you plan to visit. Major cities like Chicago have day pass that you can use on the CTA aka Chicago Transit Authority. The pass is like $10 and you can have unlimited rides on CTA which are the buses and L-trains aka subways. There is also a $10 weekend pass for the METRA which are commuter trains that go from Wisconsin and/or other parts of Illinois that commutes people to downtown Chicago. The Metra rides are unlimited on Saturdays, Sundays and major holidays that are recognized. 
If you are going to rent a car be sure to use either Orbitz.com, Enterprise or Alamo. Booking directly on Enterprise or Alamo website will also save you money although sometimes Orbitz may beat them. They have really good deals on renting cars that starts at $16-$20 a day if you book at least a month and a half in advance. Do Not Wait 2 days before your trip otherwise the costs will be outrageous. Always book ahead and be sure to purchase the insurance if you do not have full coverage car insurance under your name for any vehicle that you are driving.

So there you go. There is always a way to enjoy life on a budget especially if you are single, pretty much budget constrained and love to travel.
How Do You Enjoy Life On A Budget?

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Maximize Your Hair Growth

March 08, 2018
Have you ever notice that minority women specifically African American women in the Southern states like Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas and other states have longer hair? If you have not noticed then take a look. Kenya Moore's and Porsha's William's hair from the Real Housewives of Atlanta is beautifully long and grows rather quickly. As a part time Floridian I for one noticed that my hair grew way quicker than when I am living primarily here in Wisconsin. I believe it has to do with several reasons. One being the sun, second being the amount of natural oils that is being produced thanks to the sun, third the fun and beautiful lifestyle thanks to the sun and fourth the hair styling options thanks to the sun. To maximize your hair growth let's start by zeroing in on lifestyle choices.

Lifestyle choices contributes to the way that your hair grows. When I was in Florida I did 3 main things that contributed to a healthier lifestyle resulting in maximum hair growth. The first being food, the second and the third and final was hair care. To elaborate more here's a breakdown or what you should be doing that worked for me.

Food and Beverages
hair growth

If you are eating foods that are not as healthy or beneficial to your hair, skin and nails such as  specifically fried chicken or lots of pasta dishes everyday then you may possibly be stunt the growth of your hair and clogging your sebaceous glands.

Fruit Nuts Try eating these bit sized pieces that are packed with nutrients, vitamins and proteins. Fruits nuts and seeds such as Brazilian nuts, cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds are really great for omega-3 fatty acids. You can also eat fish if you'd like.

Vitamin Sources Food such as carrots which is rich in Vitamin A is not only good for your vision but also great for maximizing your hair growth. Avocados another fav of mine improves blood circulation in the hair follicles which means more natural stimulation to get that hair growing. Click here to read and BeautiFULL Food recipes that I have developed.

Carbs Don't totally disregard carbs either. Go for whole grain instead of bleached white bread. Try eating breads that have seeds in them. My favs are breads with flax, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. Of course you have to get used to the taste but it is very yummy and much more filling than white bread. Don't forget to switch our your pasta for whole grain. It is totally worth it in the end.

Coffee If you are a coffee drinker be sure to drink equal parts of water right after you have finished the cup of coffee. If you drink regular coffee meaning not an espresso blend then you want to drink equal parts of water directly after. If you are an espresso drinker like myself I tend to mix a shot of espresso with 4 coffee creamers and steam water in a 12 oz coffee. After that I drink 24oz of water. Water is your bff aka best friend forever and we should always consume water to flush our system and cleanse our body.

Exercise
pilates

Exercising helps with producing natural oils in your body and on your scalp which means that ding ding, your pores are open and beyond ready for the hair to sprout out and grow. Of course growing your hair to it's maximum potential is the goal here, exercising is also very much a conscious choice that we should all be making.

Walk or Run Rather it is taking the stairs or walking to the grocery store instead of driving, definitely try to incorporate walking and running into your regimen. After you have mastered the stairs and walking to the convenient store then move on to walking or running 1/4 of a mile working your way up to a mile then go from there.

Pilates Using your body as it's own weight is one of my favorite things that I love about Pilates. With so many options to either join a class for a fee or simply follow Blogilates on YouTube for FREE it is very much ideal. Rather you're a beginner or a pro these exercises will get the natural oils from your scalp going.

Hair Care
keratin treatment

According to a Professional Cosmetologist such as myself and the books that I have read, hair can grow a half an inch to an inch per month. I'm of African American descent with a few other blends and I notice that my hair unfortunately grows 1/4 to 1/2 an inch when I live in here in Wisconsin but 1/2 inch to 1 inch per month when living in Florida.

Cleanse and Condition To maximize my hair growth when living in Wisconsin I have my NORMAL HAIR ROUTINE consisting of a wash and condition every 5-8 days, applying a DIY RECIPE deep conditioner consisting of olive oil and an egg. It nourishes strengthens and add shine. I have been loving a keratin treatment lately by Clairol called iThrive. It's pretty awesome and also considered a leave in hair treatment. DISCLAIMER UPDATE 3/29/2018 This treatment was working for all of 2 weeks and then it was too much for my scalp. It burned my scalp specifically around the hairline and under the occipital bone where my hair is a lot thinner. I do not recommend using this as a leave-in hair treatment at all especially if your hair is fine like mine.

No Tension Hair Styling  If you have naturally curly hair like me I suggest towel drying, thoroughly saturated the hair with Cantu Curling Cream to enhance and moisturize the curls then air dry. DO NOT ADD HEAT. Heat can damage your hair. I highly recommend no tension type hairstyles such as braids and or weave aka sew-ins. Let your hair and scalp breath. Yes braiders and weavologists can create some pretty styles but if the hair is pulled too tight it will cause breakage and early forms of alopecia aka hair loss.

Those 3 lifestyle choice are what contributed to my hair's maximized growth. Of course there are several other elements that you can include such as moving to a warmer environment or not using any type of chemicals on your hair but these are the basics. Eat right, exercise and maintain good hair care.

What are your tips to maximize your hair growth? Please share below. 

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Image Credits
https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8026/7573505978_3c6f3ee1c8.jpg
https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTFqXIqWQeqTJ_qqaeQjCMwP0Net1teuU1QueBrR_p_nDkbBZY9VA
https://s3-us-east-2.amazonaws.com/maplecdn/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/21194146/silk-18-natural-conditioner.jpg
https://www.clairolpro.com/products/care-and-styling/ithrive-keratin-rescue/information?type=treatment

DIY Oval Nails

March 08, 2018
I've been thinking about this whole oval nails nail trend for a while. You know the one where nails are in the shape of little swords but not so pointy at the tip. You see, I like it but I can't do the fake tips or the sword shape so I did a little compromise.
Here is what I did to customize my my natural nail shape and stay trendy while In A Rush.

Directions
  1. Cleanse hands and underneath nails
  2. Apply cuticle oil and push back cuticles with wooden cuticle pusher
  3. File nail in an oval shape starting from corners, inward towards the middle. Don't point the tip
  4. Use a brush to cleanse nails again brushing away the leftover particles
  5. Air dry hands using swift motions
  6. Apply 3 clear coats of nail hardener
  7. Air dry and go
  8. Optional: Add 2 coats of favorite nail color and apply a quick dry coat or gel top coat.

I really love the simplicity of this look.
What methods do you use for shaping your nails?

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