How-to: American flag nail art for the Fourth of July!

Since today is Independence Day, I thought I’d experiment with some American flag nail art.

First, I started with a layer of base coat and three thin coats of white nail polish. This gave me a nice, solid background for the flag. Make sure you let each coat dry thoroughly before applying the next one; if your nails still feel tacky when you touch them together, give them more time.

American flag nail art how-to

Next, I added a small square of navy blue in the lower left-hand corner of each nail. You might need to apply two coats to get a nice, deep blue.

American flag nail art how-to

Once that was done, it was time to add the stars and stripes. I used a $3 angled eyeliner brush from E.L.F. to add the small white dots for “stars” on each nail. For the stripes, any true red will do. Again, if you need to do so, use two coats to make sure the red is deep and the white “stars” really pop.

American flag nail art how-to

Finish it all off with a couple of coats of clear top coat to protect and add shine, and you’re done! Investing in a good top coat is worth the extra $$$ when you’ve spent so much time creating artwork on your fingertips.

American flag nail art how-to

Happy Fourth of July, everybody! Check out more American flag nail art on Pinterest.

A week’s worth of maxi dresses (all under $30!)

Summer was made for the maxi dress, and maxi dresses were made for summer. They make great casual pieces to throw on for brunch or a day of errands, cover you up going to and from the beach, and with wedges and some bracelets, they can even go out to dinner and a movie later in the day. Here are seven cute maxi dresses (all under $30) to brighten your summer:

Cute maxi dresses for summer

How do you style your favorite maxi dresses? Get style inspo on Pinterest.

Got the Monday blues? Check out these wild wedges!

Need a little pick-me-up this Monday morning? Check out these wild wedges from Payless—they’re guaranteed to put a spring in your step!

Love these wild wedges from Brash!
Brash Lunar platform, $34.99, Payless

Nice, huh? I could see these wild wedges with everything from skinny jeans to sundresses. And with so much color, you can slack off a little on the rest of your outfit—shoot, you can wear head-to-toe black if you like—and still look ready for the party. FYI: they also come in black, ivory, cobalt, and fuchsia, just in case you’re not feeling the wild pattern!

What’s the wildest pair of shoes in your closet? Any wild wedges or crazy heels, or do you mostly play it safe?

Product review: Hard Candy Lash Ink 4 Day Lash Stain

Product review: Hard Candy Lash InkI tend to feel like I look a lot more put together if I at least have a little mascara on, but I usually don’t have time for applying and removing makeup every day. So the idea of a lash stain that promised multi-day wear had me hooked immediately. Does it live up to its promise? I tried it…

The product: Hard Candy Lash Ink 4 Day Lash Stain ($7 at Walmart.com).

The claim: “Mascara that won’t quit until you do…paint Lash Ink on and don’t reapply for up to 4 days. Shower, go in the pool, cry, rub your eyes, or get rained on—your lashes will stay flawless no matter the circumstances!” (from the tube)

I tried it: I applied the lash stain per the directions and let it dry. A word of warning: this stuff isn’t called a stain for nothing, so let your top lashes dry before applying it to the bottom lashes to avoid getting spots on your skin. The spoolie is just a basic brush, nothing big and scary, so it’s easy to wield. The formula does seem to take a while to dry, though.

As promised on the tube, the stain is waterproof and rub-proof. However, I must say that after one shower, the stain on my lower lashes smeared and wore away—not surprising, considering no mascara formula I’ve ever tried has lasted more than a few hours down there, but odd considering how budge-proof my upper lashes remained.

The formula really did stay put through 2-3 days—no flaking, no smearing—but I think stating that it lasts four days is pushing it a bit. Still, three days was enough to make me happy.

My final thoughts: This would be a perfect option for a long weekend, a day at the beach, or for anyone who wants to apply it 2-3 times per week and then forget about it. If you prefer your lashes darkened but don’t want the everyday hassle of applying mascara (and then worrying about smears), then this is the product for you.

However, Hard Candy Lash Ink is not the formula for anyone who likes volumizing/lengthening/curling mascaras, since it doesn’t do any of the above. It merely stains your lashes jet black. My lashes are already long enough, so for me, this is the perfect formula.

In short, I love it, and at $7, it’s actually cheaper than my current favorite mascara, Revlon Grow Luscious, which typically retails for around $9 at drugstores. Considering that summer is just around the corner—that season of smeary makeup and on-the-go, no-time-for-the-mirror schedules—I think this is one product that will find a permanent place in my beauty bag. Visit hardcandy.com for more details.

Have you tried Hard Candy Lash Ink, or anything similar? What’s your favorite waterproof mascara?

Have you heard about Lemongrass Spa products?

Lemongrass Spa is all natural and cruelty-free!I’m not usually much into fancy-looking products, but I just had to share about this company. I’m not being compensated for this post, I just really fell in love with their products!

Lemongrass Spa is a Colorado-based company that makes natural, spa-quality bath and beauty products. Like other specialty beauty companies such as Avon, they sell their products through independent consultants, online, and through catalogs.

What makes Lemongrass Spa different? For starters, their products are free of sodium laureth sulfate, lead, parabens, alcohol, petroleum-based ingredients and phthalates. All their fragrances are phthalate-free, the colorants are from natural sources, and the essential oils are organically grown. Backing up that commitment to natural goodness, Lemongrass Spa is a signer of the Compact for Safe Cosmetics (http://www.safecosmetics.org).

The packaging for these products places an emphasis on sustainability with eco-friendly and/or recyclable materials. And, last but certainly not least, their products are cruelty-free.

If you have heard about Lemongrass, it was probably the same way I did: by going to a “spa party”, where a consultant gives you the pampering treatment with hand and foot soaks, scrubs, balms, and more, while showing the line of Lemongrass products.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been to parties before, and I’ve been snagged by sales guys and gals at the mall who want to show off their “exclusive” products. But this line actually impressed me.

The products are not only completely chemical-free and cruelty-free, they’re products you’d actually want to use. Yummy offerings like Candy Cane, Grapefruit Lily, and Pomegranate are just a few of the scents featured in these fab products.

Yummy scented bath products from Lemongrass Spa!

Considering that they’re all-natural, the products are comparable price-wise to anything you could find on store shelves, at the department store makeup counter, or in another mail-order beauty catalog. (Total selling point for this budget chick!)

So, bottom line: I’m psyched to discover a new company that sells natural, cruelty-free bath and body products. I think I’ll definitely be bookmarking their website for future perusal.

P.S. If you do get invited to a Lemongrass Spa party, by all means, go. Even if you end up deciding not to buy anything, you’ll get a great hour or two of fun and pampering with your friends, without the price tag of a day at the spa! And if you can’t attend, check out their online catalog and hook up with a consultant so you can try their products out for yourself!