Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year! (and December Nail Art Challenge Finale)

Out with the old, in with the new,
May you be happy the whole year through!

Happy New Year! I hope 2016 brings you health, wealth, and great happiness.
Cheers to you, my loyal readers and fabulous visitors!
For me, 2015 was a year of excitement, challenge, celebration, stress, and, most of all, change and compromise. I graduated law school, celebrated my broski's graduation, planned a bitchin' bridal shower, celebrated my sister's wedding, was able to review some products here on the blog, passed the bar exam (twice) and became a lawyer, traveled to HaitiCayman IslandsJamaica, and Mexico with my sweetheart, searched for the perfect job (still searching), and moved into a new apartment in a state I don't really like. Even though I have a lot of positive memories from 2015 that I will cherish, I honestly could not be happier to see 2015 come to an end. Is that bad? Maybe it was too much good? That being said, it's time to get back to the nails! Poppin' bottles, having fun, and making resolutions that you will never keep is what New Year's is all about, is it not? For my resolutions I made a 101 in 1001 list. For my nails, I did these:
For these I used Formula X Uncorked as a base with Formula X Glitz layered on top. I then stamped Formula X Dark Matter in Winstonia plate W117 for the champagne bottles, Winstonia W112 for the bubbles, and BundleMonster plate BM-220 and BM-216 for the year numbers.
This officially concludes the December Nail Art Challenge! To view all the December Nail Art Challenge posts, click here. The party isn't over though! Stay tuned for my annual Best Of post where I choose my favorite designs from the year and my Things for 2016 post discussing some more resolutions to do. Now, if you need me, I'll be over by the champagne!
HAVE A WONDERFUL NEW YEAR EVERYONE!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Poppin' Bottles with Formula X

Alright everyone, at the risk of repeating myself here are a couple things I love:
(1) nail polish 
&
(2) champagne. 

Surprise right?? So when I was walking through Sephora inside JC Penny with my mom and sister before Christmas my jaw nearly hit the floor when my sister pointed out this Bottle Service Nail Polish Set by Formula X. I mean, how could I resist?! A set of new fabulous polishes packaged in a faux champagne bottle? It was fate. I enlisted Andrew's help to go back to Sephora and get my own bottle o'polish to pop. I have to say, cheers to your Formula X, great packaging! How cute is this bottle? Today's post is going to be a quick overview of all the Bottle Service nail polishes and of course I wanted to show off how cute the package was. Alright, let's pop the cork on this post!

The set comes with a total of 10 mini polishes (all Big 3 and Cruelty Free BTW). They are: X <3 Rouge, Glitz, Dark Matter, Luxe, Spiked, Uncorked, Ignite, Thrilling, Intensity, and On the Rocks. Some are exclusive to the Bottle Service set and others are classic Formula X colors. The shades vary from traditional red to gray to champagne gold to black and the finishes include cream, shimmer, metallic, and glitter. Yes, you really get it all in this one package. The only thing I'll say about the variety of colors is that if you have an extensive polish collection then you probably already have many of these types of colors. Of course if you have that many polishes you're a hoarder like me and are always happy to have more polish!
As you will see from my brief swatches, the bottles are incredibly true to color. 

First is X <3 Rouge, a traditional fire engine red that is perfect for the holidays.

Dark Matter, a striking black polish. I can't wait to see how this stamps!

Luxe, a silver-white shimmer polish. Sounds as luxurious as it is!

Spiked. The website calls this a mink bisque whatever that means. For those of us non-color wheel aficionados let's just say this color is a really pretty tan nude/brown. I think this is might be the perfect polish for leopard print that I've been looking for.

Uncorked. This is a metallic bronze polish. Again, perfect for a champagne bottle package, right??

Ignite. A "smoking red"...aka a darker red than X <3 Rouge.

Thrilling. A cloudy-grey color.

Intensity, a pale pink that is super pretty both in the bottle and on the nail.

On the Rocks. This polish is a really tough one to capture in photos. It's a really dark brown but then in the light you get this really pretty bronze shimmer.
The only one I didn't swatch was Glitz because I'm going to use that in my NYE design. It's a gold glitter. So what do you think about this set? Any colors jump out at you or are you just feeling so so about the colors?

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Holiday Manicure Roundup

For today's post I have a few manicures that I completed during the holiday season that never quite made it to the blog. Since the holiday season is ending (nooo!) I figured I could put them all together in one post as my holiday manicure roundup before I started into some NYE nails.

First are some festive green and gold nails:

Next, we have my second attempt at Holly nails. You might remember these gold holly nails and I loved the way they looked so much that I wanted to swap the gold for a red polish. I think I prefer the gold ones though!

And finally I have a bit of plaid. I thought this photo was from when I did plaid nails in the December Nail Art Challenge but the red is actually very different. This red is a lot brighter than the one in the original plaid manicure. No clue when I did these but they don't look too bad!

101 in 1001: #2 Complete My First Cross Stitch Stocking

Today's post is a completion of an item on my 101 in 1001 List: completing my very first cross stitch stocking! Here's a bit of background: everyone in my family has a beautiful handmade cross stitch stocking that says our name on it....well, everyone except my little brother. He has a store bought one that looks really lame compared the rest of ours hanging on the banister. During law school, I decided that I would try to make him one because he started hinting that it bothered him how he was the only one without a stocking like ours. He's not one to complain so I ordered this Dimensions Needlecrafts cross stitch kit off Amazon for $19.34 on January 1, 2014 in order to make him one. It may have taken almost 2 years for me to finish it but I successfully completed it as a Christmas gift this year. Here is the finished product!
Voila, I added a bow and called it a day. For more photos, keep reading!

When I first started I worked on the snowman and broom first:
It took almost exactly 2 years for me to finish the stitching. (Spoiler alert: I don't think those nails ever made it onto the blog here because I didn't like them.) Here is a photo before I started all the finishing edging and stuff (like the red detail on the snowman's scarf and the outlining on all the little creatures):

Then I went with my parents to pick out the fabric for the backing. My mom has made all of our childhood Halloween costumes and random holiday dresses so she was a pro on how to do the stocking. The kit already came with the fluffy lining so I only needed to get fabric. I cut to size, pinned it in place (ok my mom pinned it), and it was ready to be sewn into a stocking form. Shout out to my fantastic mom for staying up late to help me finish the stocking (and for doing the actual sewing because I have no clue what I'm doing).
Here is a before and after shot for the sewing:
And here is a comparison of my stocking (brought to you in 1990 or so) and my brother's new personalized stocking:
And one last time, the finished product ready to be hung with the rest of our family stockings!
So I can officially check this off my 101 in 1001 list (and my bucket list I think!). Now I have two more stockings on the way for Andrew and I. I didn't have a stocking for our apartment this year and I made him a quick crocheted one as a placeholder. I figure I'll have the others done in about 4 years, lol. I also have a Beauty and the Beast project requested by my sister. Oy vey, so much needlework! When will I ever have time to paint my nails?? Just kidding!

Monday, December 28, 2015

December Nail Art Challenge: Sweater Nails (Ombre replacement)

It's not a challenge here on The Files unless I change it in some way, am I right? So for today in the December Nail Art Challenge I was supposed to do ombre nails...which you know is very difficult for me! Let us not forget this attempt and this attempt. So instead of ombre nails I wanted to do sweater nails, a design that I've seen on a ton of really great blogs around the internet. Here's what they look like:
For these nails, I used two new polishes: Formula X Intensity and Formula X Ignite. I also used one of my new Winstonia (First Generation) stamping plates (W120) that Andrew gave me for Christmas. I'll have a full Christmas haul post soon but that'll be after the new year I think.

In other news, tonight was the 6 year anniversary of me and Andrew's first date! So in order to celebrate we relaxed, watched a movie, and had a bit of champagne and homemade skillet cookie. Delicious!
There we go, next up in the December Nail Art Challenge is the finale post!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Product Review: Resistance Fitness Bands

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Hey everyone! I hope you had a wonderful Christmas/Holiday and spent time relaxing, opening presents, giving presents, eating delicious food, painting your nails, and doing what you love. For me, I love working out and I was recently offered a chance to try out the 12x3 Resistance Loop Bands courtesy of Fitness Answered Training Products. While I was given these bands for free, my opinions are entirely my own. Anyway, I used resistance bands ALL THE TIME when I was a gymnast and I was so excited to add these to my workout regimen. The pack comes with 5 fitness bands: Light (green), Medium (blue), Heavy (red), X-Heavy (black), and XX-heavy (orange). They retail on Amazon for only $14.99 for all five bands. 
Each band increases the resistance so if you want to go hard use the XX-Heavy and if you want light resistance go with light. The pack allows you to really customize what kind of workout you want. Here is a macro shot so you can see the difference beweteen the resistance potential of the light band (green) and the XX-Heavy band (orange):
Yeah, there's a definite difference in resistance there!
The bands are really high quality, durable, and are super easy to clean and care for. They are rubbery so I just wipe them down with a damp rag and some soap (like I do for my yoga mat). The bands even come with a handy storage bag for added convenience. You can keep all the bands together neatly in one place. I will say though if you throw away the plastic that each band comes in you may have some difficulty getting the bands in the storage bag. 
Resistance bands are so  common in fitness. They can be used in yoga, crossfit, as a barbell weight replacement, pilates, stretching, relaxing tension, and, if you are familiar with P90X you've already seen them! They're also perfect for post-op rehabilitation (so if you've had ACL or knee surgery). These particular bands are for yoga and I have to say I do love using them for added resistance in my practice but you can really use these bands however you want. If you don't have a gym membership, no problem! These bands can add so much to your at home workout without the need for storage of bulky equipment. The bands are obviously super flexible so you can stow them easily in your gym bag, your car, your work bag, or even your purse. They fold down to almost nothing and can fit almost anywhere.
This little pouch is as big as my hand and I use it for lip balm. It had no problem accommodating the XX-Heavy band rolled up. See, really transportable!

So what do you do with a resistance band? I knew a few yoga/stretching movements from my gymnastics days but if you're completely new to resistance band training I would suggest checking google and youtube for some examples of how to efficiently work with resistance bands. I think this this was a good video for some example exercises and it had many that I do with mine!


Obviously with any fitness related item, check with your health care/medical provider before starting something new. Also, be careful when using the bands! Don't snap it toward your pretty face!

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Friday, December 25, 2015

December Nail Art Challenge: Red

Scheduled Post

Today is Christmas, hooray! I always feel like a little kid on Christmas and I love being able to finally give everyone the gifts that I squirreled away for them. You remember I had wrapped the majority even before Halloween, right? Anyway, Merriest of Christmases and Happiest of Holidays from me to you all! Here are my nails for the December Nail Art Challenge Red prompt. I did these nails right after the reindeer on Tuesday because I knew I wouldn't actually be painting or blogging on Christmas Eve/Day. These red nails are inspired by the wrapping paper for the present to my mother this year, which looks like this:
I wanted something red and gold, and of course because millions of little kids are opening presents from Santa right now I wanted it to look like a present. So I did these nails:
I hope everyone is enjoying themselves and having a great holiday season. May it be filled with time off from work, relaxation and time with family, and sipping some champagne, of course!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

December Nail Art Challenge: Reindeer

For today's nails I have the Reindeer post for the December Nail Art Challenge. I modeled it after Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer (naturally!) but on second glance "Rudolph" looks a bit more like an funky owl. Still sort of cute but not exactly the look I was going for! See for yourself:
It almost looks like if I flip the face upside down the antlers would be perfect little owl legs.
And in other news, Andrew and I built a gingerbread house. We're young at heart, what can I say? We bought a cheap kit from Target and used it as something fun to do while I made him watch Miss Universe with me. (and can I say oh man I feel so bad for the winner! If you watched it you saw Steve Harvey say the wrong name at first! They crowned her, she took her walk, she had the sash...and then they named the other one as the actual winner).
 And a couple close ups. I mean we were master architects on this little house, lol.
This was when we were in progress and I was convinced the wreath would slide down by the time we were done...ha. I'm happy to report that the wreath has stayed put.
Now that we relived some childhood youth, back to the nails for the next post!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Officially Joining the 101 in 1001 Movement

I read a lot of different blogs around the internet and one blog in particular caught my eye because of its adorable name. Pink Champagne Problems is written by a girl in NYC and on her blog she had a list of 101 things she'd like to do in 1001 days (the idea of 101 in 1001 was created by another blogger Mackenzie Horan).  It's so true that the list is way better than a bucket list since it puts you on a shorter time frame. It also fits my obsession with making To Do Lists...so natch I wanted to create my own 101 in 1001. It seems this was most popular back 2013 but there are a lot of people still doing them! Here is my list. 

State Date: December 20, 2015
End Date: September 16, 2018

Personal (1/26):
001.      Create my own 101 in 1001 list. (Dec. 20, 2015)
002.      Complete my first cross stitch stocking.
003.      Complete my second journal.
004.      Vote in the Presidential election.
005.      Begin my Beauty and the Beast cross stitch project.
006.      Reconnect with a friend from high school.
007.      Celebrate something with champagne.
008.      Find my personal scent.
009.      Watch 26 movies, one movie with every letter of the alphabet.
010.      Answer the 50 questions that will free your mind.
011.      Watch a movie from the year I was born.
012.      Organize my closet.
013.      Dress up for Halloween.
014.      Send a postcard to PostSecret.
015.      Listen to every song in my iTunes library.
016.      Listen to the Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
017.      Complete a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle.
018.      Watch 10 of the IMDB Top 250 Movies.
019.      Inspire someone else to create a 101 in 1001 list.
020.      Complete a Pinterest project.
021.      Watch every Gilmore Girls episode.
022.      Watch 5 Ted Talks.
023.      Crochet something.
024.      Send myself flowers just because.
025.      Get a massage.
026.      Make a House of Cards.

Blog (0/3):
027.      Have 1k+ Instagram followers.
028.      Duplicate an outfit from a magazine, blog, or Pinterest.
029.      Have my nails featured on a blog, magazine, etc.

Fitness (0/18):
030.      Try a yoga, pilates, Zumba, or other fitness class I’ve never tried before.
031.      Bike 50 miles at one time.
032.      Do a headstand.
033.      Do a handstand.
034.      Do the 8 angle pose in yoga.
035.      Complete a Bike to the Beach.
036.      Be able to do a split.
037.      Do yoga every morning for one week straight.
038.      Go for an evening run every day for one week.
039.      Hike Every Trail at a State Park.
040.      Work out 3x a week for 1 month.
041.      Complete a race (like Tought Mudder or something).
042.      Comfortably fit into a pair of size 4 jeans again.
043.      Lose 5 pounds.
044.      Lose 10 pounds.
045.      Lose 15 pounds.
046.      Run 100 miles in 1 year.
047.      Fit into my skinny jeans!
048.      Try meditation.

Food & Drink (0/11):
049.      Try 10 new restaurants.
050.      Attempt 10 recipes from Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
051.      Bake a Loaf of Bread.
052.      Eat at a Food Truck.
053.      Have a picnic.
054.      Try Pei Wei.
055.      Do a juice cleanse.
056.      Make my own sushi.
057.      Eat vegetarian for one week.
058.      Bake a pie with handpicked fruit.
059.      No fast food for one month.

Read & Learn (0/5):
060.      Read a Classic Novel.
061.      Learn a song on piano.
062.      Read the entire Bible.
063.      Take a free online class.
064.      Take a photography class.

Career & Finance (0/3):
065.      Get a job in the legal field that I really like.
066.      Pay off one student loan in full.
067.      Put away $1 for each completed task.

Splurge a Little/Lot (0/8):
068.      Buy a bicycle.
069.      Invest in Hunter Wellies.
070.      No shopping for one full month.
071.      Buy a new phone.
072.      Invest in a great pair of pumps!
073.      Invest in a new Burberry coat.
074.      Buy a home.
075.      Buy a pair of cowboy boots.

Travel & Experiences (0/23):
076.      Have my palm read.
077.      See a Broadway play.
078.      Go to see a ballet.
079.      Go ice skating.
080.      Go to a concert.
081.      Go skiing.
082.      Go winetasting.
083.      Make paper.
084.      Paint something at a Ceramic Store.
085.      Selfie with the Welcome to Las Vegas sign.
086.      Pose with a Wax Museum Figure.
087.      Take a Trip with My Sister.
088.      Stay at a B&B.
089.      Visit a castle.
090.      Celebrate my broski’s 21st birthday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
091.      See a show in Vegas.
092.      Visit my buddy in Maine.
093.      Take a Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives roadtrip.
094.      Cherry Blossom Festival | Washington DC
095.      Travel to 5 new states that I’ve never been to before.
096.      Geocache.
097.      See the Rockettes in New York City.
098.      Visit Paris, France.

Doing What I Can (0/3):
099.  Volunteer for a cause I believe in.
100.  Contribute $X (value private) to a cause I believe in.
101.  Donate blood.

I will be adding this list under the top menu if you want to check back in on my progress throughout the next 1001 days. Fingers crossed that I accomplish at least some of these! If you would like to join in on the 101 fun and make your own list, be sure to comment below. I'd love to see what goals you want to achieve!