July 3, 2013

July Non Beauty Favorites

I've probably lost close to 50 lbs since January but it's all for shit because I've gained 52. If I ever want to ask myself why, why Vanessa, why do you never lose weight? I don't need to look any further than these non beauty favorites posts.

Ray's Hell Burger
Two regular guys eating at the original Ray's
First off, I'm not a burger person. I've never even had a burger from McDonald's or any other fast food chain. Ever. I can't stand most burgers. Ray's is my only burger exception. Ray's is too good. For people who don't know, Ray's Hell Burger is a small burger place in Rosslyn, VA where you can pick out a specialty burger from their menu or build your own by combining different toppings. I finally worked out my perfect combination - an au proivre burger with pepperjack cheese, pickles and Heck sauce - and I could happily forsake all other burgers if it was asked of me. I've eaten at Ray's three times this month. I'm not even sorry. A burger has to be pretty good if you're willing to drive down M Street in Georgetown to get over Key Bridge for it even once but 3 times in 30 days? Out of this world.

The only pain about Ray's in that it has a new name and location pretty much every year. Technically, it's not even called Ray's Hell Burger anymore. I'm pretty sure the new name is Ray's To The Third and they're down the street from the little strip mall that housed their three former locations. Their new restaurant is a lot more put together than any of their other locations and you get to sit down to order so I hope they stay put in their current spot for good.

Goldfish crackers are pretty much all I've had in terms of snacks this month. Regular Golfish, pizza Goldfish, flavor blasted Goldfish - I have bought and consumed them all. My all time favorite variety of Goldfish are these french toast kind which is basically just cinnamon graham crackers in little fish shapes. Graham cracker Goldfish make up my entire food pyramid now. They have a bunch of other "New!" varieties which are obviously for chumps because these are the best snack ever.

Salt Water Taffy
I can't live with myself if I'm down the shore and don't pick up some salt water taffy. Salt water taffy is something of a Jersey state food. It's a tradition, like long nails or adding extraneous W's to words or secretly liking Chris Christie. Banana salt water taffy from the Jersey shore is my desert island favorite candy and I'm pretty sure I ate a little over a pound of it in the course of a day.

Aloe Vera Gel
I tried to tan for one day in June. I reapplied SPF 30 every hour. I was meticulous with the application. I laid out for only about 5 hours. And I got hideously sunburned. It was comical how sunburned I was. I had non sunburned areas literally in the shapes of my fingers on my stomach because every square inch that sunblock didn't touch burned. The above photo is this miniscule portion of my wrist that I apparently missed during one of my 5+ sunblock applications. I got sunburned on my feet but not on my legs and had a literal line that made my feet look like I was wearing bright red socks.


Not two weeks later, my boyfriend's family came to visit and we went to Arlington Cemetery for about two hours and I got sunburned again all over my shoulders and chest. I've probably used aloe vera more than I've used shampoo this month. I'm still peeling and covered in weird tan lines so it's kind of concerning to think about how far gone I'd be without slathering my entire body in green gel. My psyche is the thing that will truly never recover. You grow up with certain expectations about tanning when you move to Jersey at age four. They never tell you your great grandparents are from a country whose primary battle tactic is to just let their enemies freeze to death if they try to invade. Sun is not my friend.

July 2, 2013

The Perfect Red, White and Most Importantly, Blue for the 4th

The 4th of July is my favorite holiday - I love fireworks, I love summer foods (corn on the cob! hot dogs! popsicles! No wonder I'm always so bikini ready in the summer!) and I love 4th of July manicures. I'm not exaggerating when I say I look forward to 4th of July nails all year. I do a stars and stripes and sparkle variation every year and I always use the same colors. 

OPI Color So Hot It Berns OPI Alpine Snow China Glaze First Mate Fourth of July 4th of July nails nail polish manicure
OPI Color So Hot It Berns, OPI Alpine Snow and China Glaze First Mate

The perfect red for American flag nails is probably the easiest part. Just make sure your selection isn't too sheer, too dark, too pink or too yellow. OPI Color So Hot It Berns is my personal favorite. It makes a nice Christmas red as well - it's just an all around perfect red. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Red is a good choice as well and has a more vintagey look. China Glaze Ruby Pumps and Orly Star Spangled are also good options if you're looking for something with glitter.

In terms of whites, I never use anything other than OPI Alpine Snow. Lots of brands carry whites and some people might not want to spring for a salon brand but I just feel that it's better. The application is smooth, the finish is always perfect and it's not cream or yellow tinted. Plus, it's opaque in two coats. When working with a color as unforgiving as white I like OPI's formula - other brands are too thick and unmanageable or worse, too sheer.

The blue is the hardest part of Americana nails and the part that most people get wrong. I see a lot of people use just any old blue - medium blues, baby blues, blues that are too cool, blues that are too bright. The American flag has a darker blue, almost navy. I always use China Glaze First Mate. It's a rich, deep navy blue and it's perfect for any flag manicure. Good substitutes are China Glaze Man Hunt and Revlon Top Speed Royal but First Mate is my holy grail. I never reach for the bottle unless I'm doing a flag manicure.

OPI Color So Hot It Berns OPI Alpine Snow China Glaze First Mate Fourth of July 4th of July nails nail polish manicure
 China Glaze Man Hunt and Revlon Top Speed Royal

Julep America glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
Another great July 4th polish is Julep's America, a red glitter with silver and blue pieces mixed with silver stars. This looks great over a coat of red polish or as a glitter fade. I'm wearing it right now as a fade over Color So Hot It Berns:

Julep America OPI Color So Hot It Berns glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish

Here it is as a straight coat over the same red from election night last year:

Kleancolor Silver Star Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Celeb City glitter fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
Finally, I like to do a silver accent nail and add 3D stars to my yearly July 4th nails. My all time favorite silver is Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Celeb City. I've had this bottle longer than I've had most of my nail polish. My friend from college got it for me as a gift when I was admiring her incredibly sparkly silver nails back when I only had 20 or so bottles of polish. I have about 40 times that amount now but I've still never seen a better silver than Celeb City. I use Kleancolor Silver Star for the times when I don't feel like going through the hassle of using glue on rhinestones. Kleancolor isn't too well known in terms of mainstream~ nail polish brands but I bet you can find a display hiding at a dollar store and pick up a bottle for less than 2 bucks.

Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear Cherry Me White Out Revlon Top Speed Royal fourth of july 4th of july nails nail polish
I know a lot of people run to the store before the 4th after they realize they don't have the colors they need for a red, white and blue mani. I think these are the best drugstore shades you'll find on such short notice. Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear is the best line for basics. I prefer my OPI colors but these two shades in Cherry Me and White Out will do the job just fine and for less than $4.50. Revlon Top Speed Royal is more IKB than USA but it's the best drugstore option. The last time I checked they carry China Glaze First Mate at Sally's and Ulta and I think it's worth the trip.

My manicure is probably going to be the exact same as the one I did last year and the year before that - stripes on my pinky and middle, stars on my index, a mini flag on my thumb and silver sparkles on my ring. What are your plans for your nails this Thursday?