Simple Layered Mani

Because sometimes one polish just won't do, you know? I wasn't deciding on a single polish to use for my nails today so I grabbed OPI Where's My Czechbook and Essie Turqs and Caicos and decided to do a simple layered manicure with both. There was something about the bright blue of the OPI polish that I thought would mix well with the green tiny of the Essie polish. I think I was right but see for yourself?
See? The Essie polish just barely covers the OPI but does change the color a bit. Do you layer polishes? Have you ever layered polishes that you ended up hating?

Ah, in other news, I have officially begun my "Shred Then Wed" weight-loss-tone-up plan and today was a decent day. There's supposed to be some rain coming for us tonight though so I have to go out for my run now or I risk missing out! Hope everyone is doing well! Anyone want to weight loss adventure with me??

Zoya Is At It Again!

I'm so excited that I checked my Instagram this morning and found out about the newest Zoya deal going on right now! That's right, Zoya is at it again:
To get your 3 Free Zoya polishes all you do is pick out SIX of your favorite Zoya shades and enter the promo code 34FREE when you checkout. I already ordered mine, what will you get?? The promo runs until July 5th at 11:59 pm so take your time deciding!

Let's See Some Selfies!

I found out about this while sitting in a deposition this morning and I quickly started thinking up what to do since this is most definitely a bloggable moment. If you didn't already know, today is National Selfie Day! So regardless of how you feel about the act of selfie-ing, grab you camera, iPhone, vlogging camera, selfie stick, tripods, and Instagram filters and let's take some selfies! Slap some valencia on that and upload it to Instagram so I can see it -- #NikkisNailFilesSelfies

My nails for today are inspired by my all time favorite selfie -- a Halloween 2015 selfie I took on the way to my sister's Halloween party. Don't worry, I wasn't the one driving. One of the main reasons I like it is my broski (aka Mark Ronson) photobombing it from the back seat.
And here are the nails, a simple black and white design that took five seconds..literally.
Leave me links to your favorite selfies!

Happy Father's Day 2016

My Dad has never liked when his kids spend money on him. In fact, he's never been into receiving gifts from us. For example, I spent $50 for a really awesome Peanuts snow globe gift for him when I was 12 and he ended up giving to back to me saying it was too expensive! Anyway, today is the one day a year where my Dad allows himself to be spoiled by us kids. Because he doesn't particularly enjoy gifts from us though I always try to come up with something to do instead. This year, the whole family (minus significant others shockingly--it ended up being the original party of five!) spent the day hiking on a really cool boulder field. It looks like this:
Photo stolen from their website but you get the idea. Big boulders don't change very much!

Then Steph and I prepared a steak feast for my dad to enjoy while drinking brewskies out back. And boy did we go all out! The menu consisted of steaks on the grill, baked potato wedge fries (cut and seasoned by yours truly), vegetable skewers, corn on the cob, and mushrooms. For dessert we had cheesecake with berries and berry shortcake with whipped cream. Let's just say my Dad was blown away and it was really nice to see him relaxing and just having a good time with us kids.

Here is a quick photo I took before devouring all the food!
For my nails I used my Winstonia stamps that featured two of my Dad's favorite things: Beers and Grills. I used a Sally Hansen nude as a base (don't remember which!) and Art Deco in black for the stamp.

California Adventure - The End

Our last day there we toured the west coast just Andrew and I. We stopped at Bodega and saw the church where the Alfred Hitchcock classic, The Birds, was filmed on our way to Bodega Bay. This church would be a good choice for our wedding, right? Destination wedding anyone??
It was seriously the most beautiful day ever. The sky was clear and sunny but it wasn't too hot. I was in jeans and was super comfortable. Here are some coast photos we took during our excursion.
Northern California beaches are weird to me because they aren't typical beaches. As you can see, there are a ton of rocks! And you have to be really careful with rip currents/tides if you decide to go surfing or swimming in the water. We just stayed on the land and in the sand and let the surfers enjoy the ocean.
How pretty is this photo though? I kind of want to frame it for a hallway or something. I really love the rock formation in the background, the wispy hint of the cloud, and the cresting wave. It just looks really pretty! I could stand and listen to an ocean forever.
What's really nice is you can drive the coast and then get out at overlooks where you can have some amazing views.
 Andrew took this photo. This is another one I'd be interested in framing and hanging up somewhere.
Lastly, just a few more photos of one of the vineyards we went to. These last two were taken a Chateau St. Jean. Is this not the proudest palm tree out there??
 And the final photo of us in the garden at Chateau St. Jean.
Seriously, if you have never been to California I highly recommend going! We had a blast and are so grateful that my family let us crash with them.

California Adventure - The Middle

We took a day trip to walk around some shopping places in cute little towns in Sonoma county. We also ended up going Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve in Guernesville to check out some super old (and super BIG) redwoods. To give you some perspective about the scale of these trees, here are a couple photos I took of Andrew. He looks like a tiny child next to the massive trees!
If you don't want to walk through the redwood grove you can drive up to the top of the hill and see some pretty cool views at the outlooks along the way. The road up the hill is a little terrifying since it's a one lane road with constant switchbacks but Andrew and I are pros at mountains since he lived in Colorado for six months.

Is this the first photo of me during this trip?! Andrew took it at the top of the hill and I actually really like the way it came out...
 And here is some of the view we were looking at:
It sort of reminded me of our one Jamaica photo actually. Maybe we just like standing on top of mountains?? There are more mountain photos in my Colorado recap. Of course I don't think we saw a sign like this in Jamaica or Colorado...
Enough for one post I think. I haven't bored you too much have I??

California Recap - The Beginning

A LONG time ago (lol, I know it's been a while already) Andrew and I visited my family in California. I already posted here on the blog about our wine tasting adventure but there are sooo many more photos and things to share about our visit.  Hmm, where do we start? At the beginning I guess... Andrew was in Silicon Valley for work the week before Memorial Day weekend so I joined him on that Friday. The sweetheart drove to San Francisco from Silicon Valley just to pick me up from the airport and drive back up to the Sonoma county area. This is bloggable moment #1 -- our trip across the Golden Gate Bridge. Apparently it was the 75th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge in least that's what a sign we passed said.
The last time I was in San Francisco was years ago and the last time I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge I was about 10-12 years old. Unfortunately, I was a clumsy kid (apparently) and I knocked into a bicyclist. He didn't completely fall off his bike but thank goodness they have those fence-like barricades to keep him from becoming roadkill!

Also, fun fact for you if you ever drive over the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco: Apparently, during rush hour (which is between 9 am and 11 am as we found out) the Golden Gate Bridge is a cashless toll. That means that although it usually does accept cash payment for the toll, you have to use a FastPass (or whatever it is called in California -- it's EZ Pass on the east coast) to pay during the rush hour. As non-west coasters, neither of us knew about the cashless toll until I noticed the lighted sign flashing on the road. A little late to find out! Thank goodness the rental car we had one of the cashless toll things!  Sheesh, I'll have to keep that in mind when we plan to drive places we don't know.

We didn't do much that first day in California only because my flight got in the the afternoon and we didn't get up to Sonoma until early evening. We got settled into my cousin's room (pay back for when my sister would be booted when they came to visit us I guess, just kidding!) and then we all went to dinner.

The next day we stopped for some snacks at Whole Foods (did I mention my California family is SUPER healthy) and then went to watch my cousin play baseball. He's on some serious little league team and he's really good! It was one of the games leading up to playoffs and I'm happy to report that his team is going to the playoffs now. I'm sure he enjoyed having some extra people in his cheering section and we enjoyed being able to munch on snacks while watching other people be active. I snapped this photo of him while he was at bat. He hit a double!
The next day, Andrew went with my Uncle to a car show nearby the house. It was really cool because my Uncle owns a really amazing classic/antique/old/vintage/awesome car. It's one of the ones below but I'm not telling you which!! Lol. I hung out at the house with my cousins (watching the Kids Baking Championship on Food Network). Obviously we all share the love of Food Network in my family. Remember this post where I talk about Food Network??
Then Andrew came back and we hung out and learned more about our cousins' hobbies. One of their favorite activities was playing with a contraption called a "Diablo", a plastic thing that you spin and do tricks with. We tried to learn (as evidenced by the photo below) but let's just say we'll keep our day jobs and leave the Diablos to them!
I think I'll cut it off there for now. I'll pick up with our trip to the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve.
Have you been to California?? What did you do?

Nails that "Float Like a Butterfly. Sting Like a Bee."

Today's post is going to be short, sweet, and simple because unfortunately I don't have a lot of time to draft my usual long, wordy banter right now. I actually painted these on Tuesday but I billed 13+ hours yesterday--yikes!-- and didn't get a chance to post.

Anyway, Muhammad Ali, an American boxer and activist, passed away on Friday of last week. (You may have heard.) I can't say I'm all that into boxing but I did know who he was...and this post is dedicated to him. One of Muhammad Ali's famous quotations was "Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." I really like this quote and so I painted these nails when I heard about his passing.
Can I be honest? This doesn't really look like a butterfly to me. I think I should have completed the full design on all the nails instead of just this one.

And in case you would like to see a photo of Muhammad Ali aka Greatest of All Time, here you go:
Rest in Peace, Muhammad Ali 

On Wednesday We Wedding Plan

It's official everyone! Outside of getting engaged, Andrew and I have taken the next major step on the marriage front because we booked our venues! We will be getting married on September 8, 2017. I don't want to share our venue details just yet (plus I want to get really really good photos of it first) but since venue-hunting was such an interesting journey I wanted to post about the ones we considered but decided against. Let me just say, as fun as venue-hunting was, it kind of sucked too. We were stressed because one of the venues was booked up through 2018 if you can believe it! In total I think we looked at 8-10 venues (but these were our favorites).

We really loved this first venue because it was really close to our apartment -- but the lack of outside photo opportunities and almost-too-high-pricing took it out of the running.
See, the outside was just bleh. It did have some outdoor possibilities (see below) but Andrew and I went with a venue that offered us more outdoor AND indoor opportunities for photos.
The inside was spectacular though. The cocktail reception area had an open kitchen so you could see everything being done...
...and just check out this ballroom. It was the perfect size for our moderately sized wedding and I really liked that the venue only did ONE WEDDING AT A TIME. Some of the venues were clearly wedding factories where they wouldn't care to get to know Andrew and me on a personal level. We really liked this venue's dedication to one couple at a time.
The next venue had a really gorgeous chapel and plenty of opportunities for photos but the actual reception facility left something to be desired. Plus, they asked us to guarantee 150 people which we just could not do!
Seriously, how GORGEOUS is that chapel? I could definitely see myself walking down the aisle in that chapel. The reason we didn't go with this venue is because it had a shared outdoor space and could have 2-3 weddings going on at a time. I don't mind multiple weddings BUT I at least want my wedding space to be separate from their wedding space.
Definitely an ornate venue for sure stately is this building?
Again, with plenty outdoor opportunities. Of course, I figure it will rain during my wedding so...outdoor photo opportunities is not as important as indoor photo opportunities!
And the indoors of the reception venue itself seemed a little dated:
The last venue we checked was way too over the top for us. Although I'm sure it could be stunningly beautiful for many brides, I think it was just a little too much for Andrew and I and it would tiptoe the line between elegant and tacky. Who wants to be tacky on their wedding day?!
We checked out a bunch of country clubs too but we just didn't like the county club vibe. Neither of us golf (or even like golf) so it didn't make sense for our wedding. Although they were definitely a bit more budget friendly than some of the other venues we looked at!

So what was your wedding venue like? Did you do a fire hall, banquet hall, hotel, outdoors, etc wedding?? Share below! And if you have any advice at all wedding related I'd love to hear it!

Celebrating Ham's 19th Birthday

My brother was vacationing with a buddy and family in Florida over his birthday this year so my family all waited to celebrate until he was back in the area. He turned the big 1-9 this year and I can't believe he's almost no longer a teenager. Actually, I can't believe he's a teenager to begin with! For his birthday this year I gave him a couple gifts, including a pair of custom designed (he designed them) Vans sneakers and some beef jerky...since it is his favorite snack. I didn't get to paint a Happy Birthday manicure but I was able to snap this sneaky photo of some birthday festivities!
Also while we were there we decided to take this super corny photo celebrating his recent acceptance into Villanova:
How funny is that dog? He was walking around in front of us and then on this photo he just stopped in his tracks and stared at the camera. Shortly after the photo was taken we all cracked up.

101 in 1001: #82 - Wine Tasting in California Wine Country

It's been a while since we had a 101 in 1001 post here on the blog and potentially that's because I haven't been doing anything am an awful blogger. Finally though, I get to check something off my list: Wine Tasting. And better yet, it was in Sonoma County aka California Wine Country. Andrew and I are...interesting...when it comes to wine: #1 He prefers beer. #2 I only drink reeeeeally sweet dessert-type wine. So, clearly we should go wine tasting in an area that is responsible for some of the most amazing wines ever, right? We went to Chateau St. Jean Winery and Ledson Winery and Vineyard. Ledson seriously looked like a castle!
My favorite wine is definitely a moscato or riesling (I know, some people don't even think that's real wine). What's your favorite wine? Have you ever been wine tasting?

California Adventure

Happy June everyone! I can't believe it's June already, can you? What's 2016's rush??
This past weekend, Andrew and I were in California. In truth, Andrew had been in California since May 22nd because he had a really fun vendor work thing that made me super jelly work in Silicon Valley and I joined him on Friday for the long holiday weekend. I have family in California wine country so it was perfect--we got to stay with them, celebrate our engagement, and catch up with what's going on with them in their world. The last time I went out there was 2006 so it had been a while! I flew early Friday morning (apologies to my May billable hours!!) and Andrew picked me up from the airport. Then we were off to visit my aunt, uncle, and cousins in our rental car until the following Tuesday.

Can I just say, I really enjoy traveling with Andrew. He's a really good travel buddy! You know how everyone has their own particular vacation-style and I"m glad to say ours is both "go where the wind takes you" instead of "every minute and activity must be planned!" We like to just see where the day takes us and go from there. More on the trip later but here's a quick overview of our vacation:

Friday: Travel day and meeting up with family. Everyone loves the airport, right? The baggage drop, the long security lines, watching the planes take off and land, guarding your personal belongings, what isn't fun about that?! Honestly, I really do enjoy going to the airport--that's why I get there so early! I love finding a spot in my terminal and then just people-watching until it's boarding time. Does anyone else do this??

Saturday: Andrew and my uncle went to a car show. show off m uncle's sweet car (he has a classic Ferrari!). We also went to Whole Foods to pick up some snacks and then went to watch my cousin's baseball game. He's SO talented -- he's in the minor leagues and everything!

Sunday: Spent the day walking around a couple of the cutest towns in Sonoma county. Andrew and I also went wine tasting! Can't wait to blog about this!

Sunday: Visited my aunt's shop and then also my uncle's jewelry store. My aunt's shop is brand new so I had never been physically there before and it was adorable! It's a "modern craft shop" store selling yarn, projects, craft supplies, and teaching classes I couldn't resist picking something up for my mom! (Of course then I forgot it in California!) We also explored the Armstrong State National Reserve (a state park in Guerneville) to see the super tall redwoods. I went there with my family about 15 years ago but Andrew had never been.

Monday: Explored the West Coast....literally. We took a drive along the coast but stopped at a couple places, beaches, and overlooks along the way, And since it was Memorial Day the family did a barbecue for dinner!

Tuesday: Travel day. Coming home always is such a relief because, no lie, I miss my bed!
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