Easter Bunny Manicure with Jen Tsourvakas, Celebrity Nail Artist

Easter Mani by Celebrity Nail Stylist, Jen Tsourvakas

Easter Mani by Celebrity Nail Stylist, Jen Tsourvakas

Easter Mani by Celebrity Nail Stylist, Jen Tsourvakas

Easter Mani by Celebrity Nail Stylist, Jen Tsourvakas

I hope y’all aren’t tired of my @jen_of_all_trades manicure updates because I love posting them! Even though this isn’t the usual post (where I show you how to DIY something!) it still lends to creativity and inspiration! What better way to get inspired than to look at creative nail art, right?! I always get great ideas for all kinds of projects after browsing unique, brightly hue-ed manicure designs on Pinterest, and I’m sure I’m not the only girl who does this! For April I knew I wanted something Easter themed with my monthly manicure, and after creating this year’s bunny-centric Easter blog content I wanted to stay with the bunny theme! I texted Jen a couple of photos to get our creative juices flowing. Our design is a shellac gel manicure, and Jen drew the half-moon on each nail, as well as the tiny bunny faces, by hand. One of the reasons I chose the half-moon on each nail is so that my manicure lasts longer! I first asked for a negative space at the base of each nail with last month’s mani (which I didn’t blog because it was so simple, but I absolutely loved it because it’s so my style). By leaving the base of the nail blank you can’t tell when the nail starts growing out. There’s nothing worse than a chic nail design having to be re-done or removed before it’s time because it’s growing out! My nails grow unusually fast (yes, I am lucky!), however Jen’s manicures typically last about 4 weeks for me, so it’s always such a shame when I must have the beautiful designs removed just because they’re growing out! Hence, my sneaky little trick of leaving a little shaped space at the base for the nail to grow so I can enjoy the manicure longer! I chose a rose-pink color for all the nails, except the ring fingers, because it’s such a pretty shade for Spring, and is an easy neutral to wear with anything. Each little bunny face is dark gray with white eyes and inner-ears, and a matching pink nose. Aren’t they the cutest thing?!

To see more of Jen’s work, visit her on Instagram @Jen_of_all_trades. To book an appointment visit Parlour 3 in Brentwood, Tennessee, call (615) 942-9020 (Tell them Rachel sent you!) or go online at Parlour3.com. Jen also does incredible makeup, brow shaping and brow microblading!

Jen’s shellac manicures start at $40. Prices are subject to change. For additional pricing inquiries call Parlour 3.

Easter Mani by Celebrity Nail Stylist, Jen Tsourvakas

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Vii Code Beauty O2M Oxygen Eye Mask Review

A few weeks ago, Elle, from Vii Code Beauty, e-mailed me to ask If I’d like to test out their 8-hour oxygen eye mask and write about my experience. After reading some reviews and doing some research on the product I said yes! (who can say no to free beauty products?!)

If you’re like me, scheduling any “self care” beyond brushing one’s teeth is increasingly difficult as priorities and obligations pile on, even on the weekends! Enter the Vii Code Beauty O2M Eye Oxygen Mask to pamper you without taking up any precious time in the process!

I’m fairly uncomplicated when it comes to skin care routines and I rarely try anything new because I’m worried about it affecting my often dry, sensitive skin. One of the things that appealed to me about the O2M mask were the ingredients, which are all gentle, yet effective, in my experience. I also loved that the mask wasn’t messy or difficult to apply, making it easy to pop on and wear while doing other things like answering e-mails and folding laundry! After wearing the first set for 4 hours I could see a noticeable difference in the brightness and over all elasticity of the skin under my eyes and along the top of my cheekbones. I also loved that the pads have a thick, cooling, gel like feel. Even after being on 4 hours they peeled off gently, without leaving any residue, lines or marks.*

My mask kit contains 6 treatments (2-3 weeks’ worth of masks if you use 2-3 times per week, as recommended) and after using just one treatment I’m excited to see how my under-eye improves in the next couple of weeks!

Shop my lounge look below:

Huge thanks to Vii Code Beauty for sending me a box of their products to test out! I wouldn’t be writing about this beauty item if I didn’t like it, so know my opinions are sincere anytime I tell y’all about a new product! (Vii Code did not pay me for my opinion – they only sent me the product to try out and I was asked to write my own thoughts).

*Individual results may vary. Always consult a health care professional before applying anything to your skin or near your eyes.

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Winter Beauty Must Haves

I have to treat my skin and hair with a little extra TLC in the Winter months because of the dry, cold air. Today I’m dishing on my Winter Beauty musts and discussing why each one is in my routine. Please know that I am in no way qualified to prescribe any sort of treatments or supplements, so if you’re thinking about switching up your skin or hair care routine, please consult with your physician before trying anything new or unfamiliar!

Winter Beauty Musts

  • Vitamins: Everyone has different vitamin and supplement needs and I take extra care to stick to taking my particular blend every day to stay healthy. A few of my favorites are Rasberry Ketone (to help curb those Holiday sweets cravings!), Biotin (to boost overall health) and Stress B Complex (all the B vitamins to keep me out of those winter blues!).
  • Hair: I’ve long touted the incredible health benefits of Thieves Essential Oil blend because it’s helped me in so many ways over the years. One of my favorite ways to use it is as a scalp cleanse. After shampooing my hair I will spray diluted Thieves on my scalp and let sit for 15 minutes before rinsing and going about my day. This rids my hair follicles of build up and oils and leaves my hair feeling and looking healthier, as well as promoting growth. I’m also loving It’s a 10 Miracle Leave in Product. One bottle lasts me about 4 months and I spray it on my hair after washing, before blow drying. This stuff truly is amazing; it leaves my hair shiny and bouncy with zero frizz or static.
  • Skin: Even when I neglect other beauty regimens I always take care of my facial skin! Right now a combination of Biore Charcoal Pore Minimizer, L’Oreal Youth Code Pore Minimizer and L’Oreal Revitalift Night cream is my power trio! Truthfully, I’ve been using this combo for almost 2 years and I thought it was time to share! I find that pore care is essential for my normal/dry skin in the Winter.

Winter health and beauty breakfast

  • If you haven’t heard about the restorative properties of Collagen you should check it out! I’ve been taking Collagen for over 4 years now and am especially mindful of making it part of my morning routine to take along with a vitamin C tablet. The glycine in Vital Proteins Collagen works amazingly towards lowering inflammation, which in turn can prevent many health issues. I also like the Great Lakes Collagen because it’s cold liquid soluble and I can shake some up in almond milk in the mornings.
  • Lastly, even if I don’t eat healthily the rest of the day, I make sure that my breakfast gives me a good kick start! Because there are so many germs floating around this time of year I make it a priority to ingest foods that support a healthy body and immune system! I’d much rather work on prevention than getting better from being sick and eating a good breakfast is part of that for me. A typical Winter breakfast for me includes eggs cooked in coconut oil, avocado and honey mustard on an English muffin or sandwich thin along with chopped banana or pineapple and 8 oz of unsweetened almond milk with 2 Tbsp of collagen.

Winter Beauty Musts

Maintaining a healthy routine is so important when the stress levels of Holidays go up and temperatures drop outside!

What are you Winter health and beauty must-haves?

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German Drugstore Products I Can’t Live Without & a Giveaway!

When I moved to Germany in April 2011 the nearest Sephora was in Prague, Czech Republic. Needless to say, a 2.5 hour drive and an obscene fight for parking is too much to ask me to pay for the ‘good’ stuff. This was also back before Sephora would ship perfumes or pressurized anything to an APO address… ahhh how times have changed for those of you moving here now and in the future!

Anyway I had to resort to exploring DM, Douglas and Muller (all shops within a 3 minute walk from my apartment) to find new beauty products. Now, 4 years later, I am almost in tears thinking about not having access to some of the amazing products I’ve discovered here when I move back to the States next month! Sure, a couple of these products are sold in the States, but the prices are insanely lower here in Germany.

My 5 Favorite German Drugstore Beauty Products + GIVEAWAY!

Here are the products I’ve discovered since 2011 that I really do not know how I will live without:

1. Schwarzkopf Essence Ultime Crystal Shine Heat Protector Spray. I discussed why I’m so in love with this product in my hair growth video tutorial in March. It also smells amazing. As you can see in the link the price to purchase even off the US Amazon site is ridiculous. In Germany Schwarzkopf products are in the 4-8 Euro range (currently exchanges to $5-$9).

2. Astor Big & Beautiful Lovely Doll Mascara. This mascara may be available in the States now but I had never heard of Astor products before moving here. My favorite part about it is the unique applicator. As you can see it’s extremely similar to the popular Benefit ‘They’re Real’ mascara but the Astor brand only costs about $6 a tube vs. $28 for the Benefit. If you look on the bottle of most standard mascaras you’ll see the ingredients are 98% the same. For me a ‘good’ mascara is mostly in the brush.

3. Catrice Made to Stay Inside Eye Highlighter. I’ve never found an inner eye liner that had staying power like this one does. It doesn’t flake or run and lasts 12+ hours easily but is a breeze to clean off. Also, it’s the perfect shade of pearl peach for that bright eyed look we all had naturally at 17!

4. Alverde natural tinted brow gel – 02 Dark Brown. This was actually the first brow gel I tried in Germany and have never tried another. It’s that perfect. The color has this uncanny ability to match any shade of dark brown or black brows, looks completely natural, and hold my brow hairs in place all day without feeling stiff. I deeply dislike that ‘hair-sprayed” feeling on my eyebrows that most brow gels leave.

5. Ebelin Professional Precision Makeup Egg Sponge. It’s going to sound like I’m being paid for reviewing this product (I’m not!) that’s how much I want to gush over it! First off it flawlessly applies makeup ANYWHERE wet or dry. No weird residue or smell, easy to clean and embarrassingly cheap! This sucker only costs $3! Compare that to such products as the Beauty Blender and you start questioning why you’re not booking a flight to Germany right now.

Now that I’ve mercilessly flaunted my amazing finds and repetedly mentioned how impossible they are to obtain in the States it’s time to apologize… ONE OF YOU WILL WIN ALL OF THE AFOREMENTIONED PRODUCTS!!!!!!! Yes, I’m giving away my 5 favorite German beauty products to one lucky reader with a United States address!!! So you can stop turning green and hating me now 😉

All you have to do for a chance to win is enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

The winner’s name will be drawn May 30th. Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Triple Threat :: An Easy DIY Detox for Fall

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I’ve noticed lately that my beauty, health and fitness posts get more views and shares than any other type (even though this is primarily a craftsy DIY blog!) so I decided to write another one!
This time I’m sharing 3 of my favourite detox secrets to re-fresh and rejuvenate before the cold weather sends us all into the blues! I’ve been doing these 3 things pretty much all Summer and it has really helped improve my mood, maintain (and lose!) weight, clear my skin and rev up my energy levels, as well as other health benefits I will share further down.
Everybody needs a good thorough detox every 3-6 months in my opinion. Even if you only detox for 3 days your body will surely thank you. I’m also a firm believer in incorporating new ways to be healthy into my lifestyle that aren’t just ‘trendy’ or ‘in’, but that will be realistic additions to my daily routine. That’s why I’ve compiled this list of ultra easy ways to detox.
#1. Oil Pulling

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I’ve raved about coconut oil before. And why not?! It can literally be used for everything… facial washes, hair health, detoxing, baking, cooking… the list is endless.
What is oil pulling?
Oil pulling is basically using coconut oil as a mouth wash and swishing the liquid for 10-20 minutes a day. The oil pulls toxins from your body. You can oil pull while you’re doing any other task, which makes it the easiest way to detox on this list.
Why do I need to oil pull?
Oil pulling is an a Ayurvedic health practice, which use has been recorded as far back as 800 B.C. that does the following:
 

  • Reduces bloating/water weight. (When you first start, do it daily for about 3 weeks so you really see give the practice time to reap benefits, then you can do 2-3 times a week onward.)
  • Clears skin
  • Reduces tooth and gum sensitivity. If you have any gum disease, cavities, or oral health problems in general, give this a try.
  • More hydrated. You will feel more hydrated and less thirsty.
  • Whitens teeth. (This is the thing I noticed first when I started oil pulling).
  • Great hangover cure 
  • And a LOT more… 
  • {sources & further reading: 1, 2, 3, 4}

 

How do I oil pull?
Take about a teaspoon amount of solid coconut oil (any virgin, organic coconut oil at your local Whole Foods or healthier alternative grocery store is fine) in your mouth. As you begin swishing the oil around it will dissolve into liquid at 72 degrees F. Swish for at least 10 minutes (but 15-20 is best). Do not swallow the liquid. It will be toxic as it is pulling toxins from your body. Spit into the trash (the oil will clog your sink drain!) and then swish with warm water and salt for a few moments to ease the irritations caused by the oil pulling.
Note: You can oil pull first thing in the morning (before you take food or drink of any sort) or at night last thing before brushing your teeth.

 
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#2. Apple Cider Vinegar

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What does it do?
Apple cider vinegar has long been touted as a miracle worker. The main substance in vinegar, acetic acid, can kill bacteria and/or prevent them from multiplying and reaching harmful levels. It has a history of use as a disinfectant and natural preservative.
 
Why do I need Apple Cider Vinegar?
Vinegar can help kill pathogens, including bacteria.
Can lower blood sugar.
Aids in weight loss.
Aids in heart health.
Protective against cancer. 
And MUCH more…
{sources & further reading: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7}
 
How do I Take Apple Cider Vinegar?
You can really amp up the effects of ACV by combining it with other proven health-benefiting substances such as warm water, honey, lemon juice and cinnamon which aid in digestive health, blood pressure regulation, appetite oppression, skin rejuvenation and heart health. 

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First, warm about 10-12 oz. of water. After pouring into a glass, add 2 tsp. of ACV (I prefer THIS kind), 1 tsp organic cinnamon powder, 1tbsp raw honey, 1 tbsp lemon juice. Stir ingredients together and sip until finished.

Note: Even though I’m not discussing them today, if you want to read a bit about health benefits of honey, lemon juice and cinnamon simply do a quick internet search and read a few articles.
 
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#3 Salad Meal Smoothies
We all know the benefits of eating your fruits and veggies… so I really don’t need to go into that… but I find a lot of times when I am making a salad or eating fruit during the day I add a lot of stuff to the process that packs on the calories and sodium content for my day. Such as salad dressings, croutons, turkey bacon bits and dipping apple slices and celery in peanut butter or nutella. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve negated the benefits of the good stuff by drowning it in chemicals and calling it food.

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Here’s my solution for this: Meal Smoothies. 
Now I know you’re thinking… and I agree, no one likes feeling so hungry they go into a blind food rage after drinking a ‘smoothie’ in the name of health only to ruin it because it didn’t do the trick!
The way I make smoothies does NOT leave me hungry and I’ll tell you why… I detox my entire system for days at a time by blending 10+ fruits and vegetables together in each ‘meal’.
This might sound insane but it totally works. Your body is still getting all the nutrients it needs without taking a single bite.

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I have 2 favourite recipes I like to alternate: {click on each food item for a link to it’s health benefits.}
The Green Salad:
+spinach +kale +banana +avocado +celery +carrots +almond milk +tomatoes +pink lady apples +butternut squash
Blend well and enjoy!
The Fruit Salad:
+mango +peaches +strawberries +avocado +almond milk +apples +pears + blood oranges +raspberries +blueberries +figs
Blend well and enjoy!
It is really amazing how full these ‘meals’ keep me and how vitamin and nutrient packed they are! Every fruit and vegetable has their own detox DNA that does something special and amazing for your body. Do a little internet research and mix your own meal cocktail! Click HERE for lists of smoothie recipe ideas.
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Thanks for sticking with me through such a long post! I hope you found some informative new inspiration to make your lifestyle a little cleaner.
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