Wednesday, September 30, 2015

That Time I Tried on a Wedding Dress

Now that Steph's wedding is over I can finally post this and cross it off my bucket list. When we went to look a bridal gowns a funny thing happened....I ended up trying on a wedding gown. Now, before you go rolling your eyes thinking geez what an example of an overly eager maid of honor stay with me. I tried it on at my sister's request! She couldn't make her mind up between two absolutely gorgeous bridal gowns and she wanted to compare them while they were both on someone. So I stepped in to help her out, and in the process got to wear a pretty snazzy get up!
She ended up going with the one I had one because she liked the back more. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A True Love Story Never Ends: Steph's Wedding Recap

It's finally time for a Wedding Recap! As you all know my older sister tied the knot September 18th and along the way I've kept my readers well updated about the various wedding related things. I blogged about when Matt popped the question, fancy tuxes, the engagement dinner, when Steph asked me to be Maid of Honor, going to a bridal expo, the venue, dress shopping, planning Steph's bridal shower, Steph's bachelorette, and, of course, choosing wedding nails). Sheesh! Is this a blog about her life or mine?? Just kidding. I'm thrilled that I get to now blog about the culmination of all of that.....her actual wedding. But first, the nails I wore for the wedding. They were inspired by a manicure I found on AllForFashionDesign painted by an instagram user kiss_it_chic.

You know the drill, everyone got hair and makeup and then we helped her with her dress. The dress looked like it had beautiful covered buttons but it had a hidden zipper so it was a lot easier and quicker to handle. She looked stunning and her dress was beautiful! The pearl bracelet around her wrist was my wedding day gift to her. My uncle is a jeweler in California so it was custom made and featured a gorgeous diamond clasp. It was stunning and she loved it. I'm glad she chose to wear it as her "something new" on her wedding day.

After we were all finished dressing and primping we took some photos outside my house. Then we all loaded in the limousine and it was off to the church we went! I don't know if she was nervous but if she was she didn't show it at all. She was very excited and she looked amazing in her dress. See, nothing but smiles from the soon to be Mrs! 

Steph and Matt chose to get married in the same church that my parents got married in and the church that we used to go to every Sunday when we were younger. We had a couple minutes before the ceremony so we shared a few laughs while waiting to walk down the aisle. Not the best photo -- we're both making faces -- but I just love how candid it is so I wanted to use it anyway.

We all paraded down the aisle (so awkward) and then she said "I do" and got married! Official Mrs. status!! From left to right is her bridesmaid Alysha (who actually got cut out of this photo), Steph's college best friend Kelly, the flower girl (our cousin), me, Steph, her groom Matt, the best man (Matt's cousin and best friend), my broski Matt, and then the final groomsmen Matt's brother (who got cut out of this photo). I was a little annoyed that the priests stood in front instead of behind the couple. Way to block the visual, Fathers!

Following the ceremony we took a bunch of photos. Some were staged and classic but others were more candid and fun. I enjoyed this one because everyone seems to be freestyling. 

During the reception, I made the Maid of Honor toast. As a surprise I asked one of her bridesmaids to join me AND we sang Steph's toast! We changed lyrics to popular songs like Happy by Pharell, the Friends theme song, Backstreet's Back by the Backstreet Boys, etc. Everyone loved it and Steph and Matt obviously loved it if the photo below is any indication!
Check those big smiles!

I can't believe it's over. They are officially Mr. and Mrs. and I have fulfilled my Maid of Honor duties above and beyond what Steph could ever have anticipated. Who knows, maybe before too long we'll be planning another wedding here on The Files. Maybe mine!!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Cruise Recap: Island Adventure - Cozumel, Mexico

Today's post is the final in my Cruise Recap series. If you missed any of them you can read about the ship we were on and our days in Haiti, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. The final island was Cozumel, Mexico and this one may have been my favorite of all of them.

We arrived in Cozumel but traveled to the Yucatan Peninsula so we could visit the Tulum Mayan Ruins in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the final cities inhabited by the Maya and survived about 70 years after the Spanish started to occupy Mexico. I'm talking 13th to 15th centuries here! It was surreal to be standing somewhere that an entire civilization used in a time I can only imagine. The buildings were incredible and we were told that Tulum has a few of the best preserved ruins. We had an amazing tour guide who gave everyone headphones and packs so we could hear him without having to follow him too closely. It was so cool to get the history and hear stories about the Maya.

The focal point was clearly the Pyramid El Castillo (which translates to "The Castle") and I couldn't take enough photos of it. Seriously, when I was going back through my photos I had like 40 shots of it!
It was SO hot that day! I felt like I was baking at a few points. There were also some iguanas that just lounged around and crawled into the buildings. A few of the ruins you could walk through which was pretty neat.
The picture below is of the God of the Winds Temple . So incredible.
There were also really pretty flowering trees and crazy iguanas that were huge and just chilled out in the sunlight.
So there you go. I have now bored you with my entire trip! I hope you at least enjoyed the photos!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cruise Recap: Island Adventure - Cayman Islands

Today's post is the a follow up to the Cruise Recap series and will talk about our day in Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. If you would like to read about the ship and stuff, our day in Jamaica, or our day in Haiti.
Cayman is seriously gorgeous. There was shopping of course all throughout where we were but we decided to do a bit of snorkeling first. I never snorkeled before but it was so much fun!
 The excursion we did was "Reef and Wreck Snorkeling" and was basically just snorkeling in two different locations. The first location was a shipwreck and then we also went to a reef to see all the fish. The boat had a glass bottom and enabled you to see the bottom between the locations. I saw one of the largest sting rays I have ever seen in person or on TV. The thing had to be 2 feet wide! Unfortunately I didn't have my camera ready for that so I didn't get to snap a photo :( Just FYI, the snorkeling gear is super stylish and the mouthpiece gave me the best looking lips ever....
 

Seriously, who needs botox? Just walk around with a snorkeling mouthpiece on. Jk, that'd be a little weird. Anyway, a sneak peak of the reef is behind Andrew in this photo:
All in all, the snorkeling was so much fun and I can't wait to try snorkeling again! And if you can believe it, this was the only nail photo I took the entire trip! I figured having the backdrop of a reef underwater was too good to pass up. Pardon the chipping nails!! 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Cruise Recap: Island Adventure - Falmouth, Jamaica

Today's post is another followup to my Cruise Recap series talking about specific places we visited. You can also read about the ship or our day in Haiti. Today we're up to Falmouth, Jamaica! I'm sure you won't be surprised when I say Jamaica was also gorgeous. We docked near some shopping but first Andrew and I went to Chukka Good Hope Estate, an incredible former sugar cane and rum plantation that now does citruses and accounts for a crazy percentage of America's citrus fruits!
The estate is a preserved plantation from like...the 1700s and encompasses 2,000 acres near the Martha Brae River. It had amazing views because it was on a mountain (hill?) and you could see forever. Can you get better than this view?
There was no air conditioning BUT you really didn't need it because the breeze just floated through the windows of the estate. It was incredibly comfortable and so interesting to hear the history of the place and the stories behind it. Google it if you are interested in learning more about it! It truly was breathtaking and fascinating.

The estate also had bird aviary you could walk through and the woman let Andrew and I feed some parrots and love birds! She also started singing Bob Marley....which was perfect for Jamaica obviously! She said something interesting to me though. She asked where we were from and then she said "You are the lucky ones. You get to travel. You are lucky enough." After thinking about it in my mind I thought she lives on this beautiful island, has such an amazing culture, she actually calls the place we want to travel to "home." So my response to her is "You live on a gorgeous island that I dream of visiting. You are lucky enough too." Am I right?

I couldn't get the parrot to eat from my hand but Andrew was basically the bird whisperer and the parrot had no issue taking the orange from his hand! That parrot was sexist! Jk. At least a lovebird enjoyed the food I had to offer. I named him Paul.
So from me and my new bird friend, 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Cruise Recap: Our Haitian Adventure

Today's post is a follow up to my Cruise Recap post about my post-bar, anniversary, and birthday celebration cruise vacation. We cruised for seven days and visited Labadee, Haiti, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, Falmouth, Jamaica, and Cozumel, Mexico. The islands were AMAZING and I got so many incredible photos that I can't even share them all (but I want to!). This post is just for the time we spent in Labadee, Haiti.
On Labadee we decided to disembark and go to a Haitian beach and then try kayaking. It was the first time I ever kayaked and I seriously thought I was going to tip us over the entire time. I was lucky though and the sea was calm so we did not in fact end up in the water. We kayaked from the beach on Royal Caribeean's private island part of Haiti to the real Haiti. I'm glad we didn't stay on the private beach because the whole point of going to Haiti was to actually see Haiti. I met some Haitians who were so sweet and showed me a kind of life that was so different from mine. It was pretty eye opening.
The tour guide for the kayak was Alber (notice, no "T" on the end...don't call him Albert!). He had a great sense of humor and kept us entertained with a ton of info on Haitian life, food, fun, etc. He was super cool and I really enjoyed the kayaking trip.

After we got back from "the real Haiti", we took a dip in the ocean and walked around. The cruise line had lunch for us that day so there was a beach side barbecue for us to enjoy. It was delicious!

Then we finished up the day with some souvenir shopping so we could pick some things up for our families and of course buy a Haiti magnet for our travel magnet wall!

Next up is Grand Cayman!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Wedding Nails

Just another quick post today because oh my gosh, Steph's wedding is in TWO DAYS!! It's on Friday!! Tomorrow all the girls are getting our nails done before the rehearsal dinner...I know, I know....I should just do my own nails. But hey, it'll be nice to get pampered for once! I was thinking of a French Manicure because it's timeless and classic and I think will look stunning with the bridesmaid gown. So all the options are pretty much variations on a French Manicure. 

Must choose a wedding nail design for Steph's wedding:

Cruise Recap: The Ship and Stuff

As you may remember, after the bar exam in July, my boyfriend and I went on a cruise to the Western Caribbean (Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica, and Cayman Islands) for 7 days to celebrate us turning 25 years old, our 5 year anniversary, my law school graduation, and of course the bar exam being over. I wanted to just do a couple of posts talking about how the cruise was and show off some photos we took throughout the week! If you're interested in cruising or just want to see how the trip was, stay tuned!

We chose the Royal Caribbean ship Freedom of the Seas for our voyage and I have to say the ship was incredible! There was so much to do, the ship was incredibly clean, and the staff was so nice! Overall it had 15 levels (the highest being a chapel where a couple got married before we set sail on Sunday!) and then the other levels included staterooms, dining rooms, arcades, pool decks, a rock climbing wall,casino, art gallery, ice skating rink (no joke!), shops, and more food! There were also really pretty murals and artwork everywhere on the ship, including this really colorful parrot and wildlife one on of the pool decks. It was too colorful and fun not to selfie in front of it!


This was the three floor dining room. We were on the third floor and every time I walked in I was reminded of the Titanic (which was kind of scary). The entire ship was just opulent and extravagant and made me feel sort of like royalty. The formal nights were seriously something out of London high society. To dine you had your choice every night of going to the formal dining room or eating in the more casual buffet "Windjammer Cafe." For dinner we chose the formal dining room but for lunch we usually just went to the cafe. Breakfast was room service in our room because most days we ate while getting ready for the day on an island.

No joke, this ship had an ice rink! It was cold in there and kind of crazy to go from "hey let's go swimming and sunning on the pool deck" to "hey let's put on long pants and ice skate." A couple of the days they had a ice skating show for entertainment and the ice skaters included some former Olympians! They also let you skate throughout the week yourself so we made sure to do that.

There was also a pretty intense rock wall on the highest deck. It had been a really long time since I had ever tried to rock climb so we wanted to give it a shot. No, I didn't make it all the way to the top (I blame my short little legs!) but I didn't give up either...I literally fell off the wall while I was trying to jump to the next level since my arms couldn't reach! Andrew did make it all the way to the top though and rang the bell and everything. He's just so good at everything...lol. Mr. Perfect. Anyway, I did look around a little on my way down and it was scary to be fourteen floors up, surrounded by sea, AND hanging off a cliff all at the same time. Really pretty view though and I wish I had a GoPro to capture it!

There was also a silent disco....just like out of show The Royals! It was basically a club but in order to hear the music you had to wear headphones! Everyone was dancing and singing along, which was hysterical when you took off your headphones and couldn't hear the actual music....just a bunch of out of tone party-ers.
If you've been on a cruise, you know that the stateroom attendants leave adorable towel creations on your bed every day. The first day was an adorable little puppy. Then was a monkey, stingray, snail, and an elephant. It was such a cute little touch.

So that's basically the ship and whatnot. Next post will be more about our adventures and photos from the islands! Have you been cruising? If so I want to hear about it! Where did you go and what did you do??

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Nikki's Nail Files got a face lift!!

In case you have not been here in a while, you may not recognize us here at Nikki's Nail Files because we've undergone some drastic color and background changes! Do you like??

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Bachelorette Party Nails

Today's post is a photo of my "Bachelorette Bash" manicure that I wore to the bachelorette party I and the bridesmaids planned for my older sister. It's been a couple weeks but I liked these nails too much to not post. The night was relatively low key -- just a night out for dinner and then some drinks and dancing. It ended up being a lot of fun and my manicure was perfect for the occasion:

The inspiration for most of the manicure was the Bachelorette Corset cake we had made for Steph. Luckily, Steph's soon to be sister-in-law had a connection with a cake decorator (her mother-in-law) so it was perfect. And her mother-in-law was sweet enough to agree to do a cake for us for free! The cake was pink velvet (delicious!) and the icing was buttercream (of course!) I think it turned out spectacularly and Steph was blown away by it. It even said "Congrats Steph! Last fling before the ring." And just in case you are wondering like I was, the boobs are in fact cake instead of just mounds of icing. Then the other manicure inspirations were the countdown until the wedding (20 days!) and of course an engagement ring because, you know, it's a wedding and rings will be exchanged and all! 
Then came favors and such. I decided since it was a relatively small group of people to go all out on the favors and I purchased mini champagne bottles for everyone. To the bottles I attached a customized label and I tied a paper straw with either polka dots or stripes to the bottle with white tulle. The large champagne bottle in the middle was a bottle I bedazzled for Steph and had all the girls sign. The custom label just said "Pop the Bubbly before Steph gets her hubby" on the front and had a little poem on the back telling everyone who has twitter or instagram to hashtag "SingleToTingle" (Steph's soon to be last name)


I also made buttons for the "Bride's Entourage", "Maid of Honor", and "Bridesmaid." Everyone wore them as we went to dinner, drinks, and then out dancing and they were basically just overall awesome.

Lastly, the paper behind the buttons is the scavenger hunt I had everyone do. It included some crazy things like "take a photo of the bride kissing a bald guy's head"....which she did three times!

Of course we had to have wearable stuff for the bride so I also had a mini-veil and a BACHELORETTE sash for Steph to wear all night long. All in all it was a pretty fun night!

 If anyone would like a tutorial on how I made my nails, the customized mini-champagne labels, the bridal buttons, or the scavenger hunt just leave me a comment below or send me an email!

Monday, September 7, 2015

Shimmer of Blue Among All the Black

Today's post is an easy manicure to do when you're strapped for time, as I usually am. I do a couple quick layers of black and then add a bit of pizzazz by adding a swipe diagonally down the center in a shimmery color. For this manicure I chose Orly's Lunar Eclipse because it's just so gorgeous and definitely adds the sparkle I was looking for. The base was Orly Liquid Vinyl.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Friday Favorites: TV Shows

For today's post I wanted to do a Friday Favorites post discussing my favorite TV shows at the moment:

1. The Royals
The Royals is a scripted drama that airs on E! Network and is in its second season starting November 15th. It follows the story of the "British Royal Family"...which in this case has a slew of royal and non-royal characters, including a badass Princess and a handsoem Prince. The story follows their opulent, luxe, and privileged lives...which breeds drama, scandal, and comedy. 
I mean really, who would mind checking out these actors for an hour?? #GorgeousCast
If you need me I'll be over here watching my DVR episodes.

2. American Ninja Warrior
This show is on my list because I would love to compete on it. It has its contestants take on a series of obstacles in order to reach the end, hit the buzzer, and continue on to the next stage. The final level is called Mt. Midoriyama and no one has ever made it all the way to complete that! Maybe it's meant to be me!

3. Mistresses
This follows four women through drama and finding themselves and even scandal. The last season ended with one of the girls being accused of murder!

4. Ladies of London
This show kind of goes to my love of aristocracy, high society, and royalty. It follows six women's lives and some of them are in line for the throne. Of course this show is more like "Real Housewives" than royalty but still I like it because it shows a glimpse into a life I don't have. AND it's in London....so that's good too!

5. Rookie Blue
Loved this show since the first season and I'm so glad it's lasted this long. Cop Dramas have always had a special place in my heart but this one is the best.

6. Murder in the First

This one is hit or miss. I loved the first seasons but the second season kind of lost it for me. The first season followed a murder and concentrated more on the legal side which was perfect for me because I was in law school. The second season is kind of all over with murders, police corruption, etc and I'm sort of lost.

7. Masters of Sex
This one I'm actually new to and had to go back and binge watch about 3 seasons. It's about revolutionary sex researchers William Masters and Virginia.