Katie's Guide to Growing Natural Nails

As many of you faithful Bubblegum readers know, I have a slight obsession with fingernails.

Getting gel nails stress me out.  I want MY nails to be pretty.  NO OVERLAYS.  About a year and a half ago, I was having really bad problems with splitting and peeling.  It actually go to the point my nails were so thin they were painful.  Thus, I began my quest on improving the overall health of my nails.

Here are my steps (and the necessary products) essential to growing natural nails (according to my exhaustive scientific research over the last year and a half):

1.  Make taking care of your nails a priority.  I know this sounds dumb, but you really do have to set aside time to follow all the steps.

2.  Start taking a vitamin with Biotin in it.  I recommend Sundown's Hair Skin and Nails vitamin.  Recommended by both my dermatologist and my hairdresser.  Go figure.

3.  Keep your nails painted at all times.  Not just with a clear coat.  With COLOR.  I don't know if it's because you can see a color when it chips and know you need to touch it up or if color is stronger, but just painting your nails clear will not really help them grow.  Even when I was having nail problems, I always had at least a clear coat on.  You have to use a color.

4.  Paint your nails at least twice a week.  When I say paint, I mean basically give yourself a manicure.  Remove all old polish.  Completely repaint from the bottom up using my 4 element polish recipe (see below).

I have also tried out MANY nail polishes and products that promise growth, nail health etc.  After all my research, the formula below seems to work for me:

Katie's Natural Nail Manicure Recipe:

1.  Start with Nailtiques Formula 2 on your bare nail.  I swear by Nailtiques.  Nothing else works on the natural nail like it.  My mother and I have used it for years and I have to say alot of my nail troubles started when I strayed from Nailtiques.  In my opinion, it truly is the best.

2.  Follow up with Orly Bonder Rubberized Base Coat.  I started using this because I thought it was the closest thing to the gel nail polish that I had gotten at the salon.  Use one coat of this on top of the Nailtiques and I truly think it prevents chipping and makes your manicure last longer.

3.  Two coats of color polish.  Any kind you like.

4.  Finish off with Seche Vite top coat.  This is the best top coat I've ever used.  It's widely held to be the best for a reason.  If you accidentally brush up against something, SV will prevent that from ruining your manicure.

5.  Let it dry completely.

This manicure will last between 4 and 7 days without a chip.  It just depends on what you do with your hands during that time.  However, once my nails start to show any wear at all, I remanicure them.

More Layouts

Just a few of the latest layouts.
Hope you all are staying cool in the 'ham.

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A lot of these were done for on line crop challenges over at Cocoa Daisy.

Lucky me, I get to scrap with some friends AGAIN this weekend!  yay!!!!

My Review of Country Strong

As a blonde who came of age in the 1990's I have a slight obsession with Gwyneth Paltrow.  She's the icy beauty you love to hate, but can't get enough of.

My fellow 90's blondes Leah F. Jackson and Karly Field. and I have been wanting to see this movie since it came out.  Unf, scheduling conflicts abounded and we were unable to see it together.  I finally caved and redboxed it Friday night.  The following may contain spoilers so be warned!

Basically this is a movie about Kelly Canter, an alcoholic country music superstar, that is being forced by those around her to leave rehab early and do a short, 3 city redemption tour (dubbed "Encore").   Her husband and manager, James (Tim McGraw) seems to be the main driving force behind the encore, removing her from rehab a month early and putting her directly in front of an arena full of people.  While in rehab she meets an aspiring singer named Beau (Garret Headlund) who she hooks up with and demands that he go on tour with her as an opening act.  James has been grooming his own up an comer, Chiles (Leighton Meester) a pageant type who Beau dubs "Country Barbie".  The movie focuses on this 3 city tour showing with the requisite affairs, breakdowns, tender moments of truth and something about a bird.  After coming apart on stage in the first show, not showing due to drunken bender in the second, Kelly finally does her star thing and hits a homer for the final show in Dallas.  Then she kills herself (which I did not see coming until right before it happened).  Blah Blah Blah.  Love and fame are not compatible.  Blah Blah Blah.

Here are my issues with this movie:

 1.  Why is Kelly and alcoholic?  Kelly and James's marriage is a big focus of the movie.  There are many many references to how happy and in love they were in "the beginning".  However, we don't know if she's always been a mess or if something happened (the stress of fame, affairs, some tragedy in her childhood, etc) that was the catalyst for her breakdown.  The movie opens with James taking her out of her second stint in rehab so clearly this wasn't a new problem, but we never find out what was really going on with her.

2.  The James/Chiles story.  Esp. early on, the movie hints that Chiles and James are having an affair.  However, there is never anything to really confirm or deny this.  The longer the movie goes on the more it seems like they aren't.  It was confusing and it really bugged me.

3.  If you are depending on an alcoholic meal ticket, have more handlers.  James convinces Beau to join the tour (oh yeah, he had to talk Beau into joining the tour bc Beau DOESN'T CARE about success in the music business.  He just wants to play good music for people that will appreciate it.  Uh huh.) under the guise of "taking care of Kelly".  Basically he wants Beau to keep her occupied and away from the bottle during the tour.  James hon, if your main goal is making money off your performer wife and the number one thing you need to do is keep her sober enough to perform, in addition to inviting her lover on tour, you need to do the following:
    a.  Hire (yes HIRE) additional handlers to watch her so she is never alone and thus can never slip a sip.  That's what they did with Robert Downey Jr. for a while.  It seemed to work ok for them.
    b.  Have a NO BOOZE rule on tour.  I mean, if you are the big rich important Country stars you claim to be, you should be able to keep alcohol away from the alcoholic.
I mean, I have no experience with this kind of thing, but I can figure out that much.

4.  Does James actually love Kelly or not?  So, James doesn't really care about Kelly's well being (since he took her out of rehab early) and apparently doesn't care if she is sleeping with some other guy (bc really, it seemed like James thought it was better for her to be screwing around with Beau instead of drinking bc at least then she'd be sober enough to perform), but then when Beau admits he was sleeping with Kelly, James punches him.  Kelly tells James she got "one of those Brazilian Bikini waxes" one night and he tells her he just took an Ambien (I laughed out loud all by myself at that). Before the last performance, he is about to open up about how much he loved her when they first met (and Kelly stops him presumably to table the discussion), but then immediately after the concert he doesn't go talk to her or look for her or anything, thus allowing her to overdose on pills and then have enough tim to let them actually work into her system so her life cannot be saved.  I guess they USED to be in love, but then they grew apart or lost sight of whatever, etc. etc. etc.  It would have been more clear cut if the presumed then not presumed affair with Chiles was more defined.

This movie was supposed to be a vehicle for a 2nd best actress nod for Gwyneth, and you may remember the reviews were not good.  I wasn't expecting a lot.  Gwyn's performance was fine, not great, but fine.  Her southern accent never wavered and was pretty good.  She was def. not afraid to let the mascara run all over her face if need be.  The script was thin and the character development was non existent.

The best part of the movie was Garret Heglund's performance.  He was really dynamic on screen.  Apparently, he was in Tron: Legacy, but a cursory review on IMDB revealed he also played Perecles in Troy.  For those of you that don't remember was Brad Pitt's young "cousin" that died when he dressed up as Achilles and tried to attack Troy.  Then Achilles (Brad) went bananas and killed everyone.  That was him.  IN Troy he was all pretty boy.  In Country Strong, he was gruff around the edges hottie and it was quite a difference.

Anyone else have any thoughts.

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I confess.  I am addicted to Pure Barre.

I would go every single day if I could.

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Disney Wrap Up

Note:  This post is old.  I had did it a while ago and for some reason, everytime I tried to log into Blogger, it was acting up.
 PK and Pirate J at Cinderella's Royal Table
 Me with Sleeping Beauty

Last week, the Prom King, the kiddies and I all went to the land of the Greedy Mouse (aka Walt Disney World in Orlando).  I am still tired from the trip and we got back 3 days ago. 

We left on Sunday morning and our plane landed about 1pm Orlando time.  We then took the Disney Magical Express to our hotel (the Beach Club).  After going up to our room we went to get on the bus to the Animal Kingdom.  And we waited.  And we waited.  And we finally took a cab bc it was now about 3:30 and we hadn't even seen the first park.

We had a great time that first day at AK.  The highlight was Expedition Everest, aka the Yeti ride.  J and B have a "thing" for the Yeti/Grassman/Sasquatch so they were super pumped to ride it together.  PK isn't really one for the roller coasters and it was a little much for him.  So I rode it with J the second time.  It was REALLY fun!

That night we had a character dinner at 1900 Park Fare where Jason met Cinderella.  He is now convinced Cinderella is in love with him.  Sometimes I wonder how we are going to instill self confidence in that boy.

The next day was spent at the Magic Kingdom, where Cam did the Bippity Boppiti Boutique (she chose to dress up as Sleeping Beauty) and J did the Pirate's League (Pirate Name:  Richard Bladecutter).  J and I rode all the fun rides while PK and the Tiny Princess rode the kiddie rides (but not the Tea Cups bc that would be too intense).  We ended the day at Cinderella's Royal Table where J got to spend more one on one time with Cinderella plus Snow White, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty and Belle.  Watching the kids during the whole Castle experience was my highlight.

We were all exhausted by that time so we just did a half day at Hollywood Studios the next day.  J and I rode the Tower of Terror (waited an hour in line for a 7 1/2 minute ride).  We had lunch at Pizza Planet (where the salad is actually pretty good) and then used our fast pass to ride Toy Story Mania. TSM is a real version of the Wii game of the same name.  I beat PK at it so that was nice too!

Thanks to the help of our Disney Vacation Planner, Brittney Smith, we made a good call on the hotel.  The Beach Club had a really cool pool which we took full advantage of on Tuesday afternoon.  It was a nice change of pace from the parks and it had an awesome water slide (that J went on about 57 times).

On our last day, we decided to forgo Epcot and hit AK again.  The "exotic petting zoo" was closed by the time we got there on Sunday so I really wanted to do that before we left.  I was thinking, "Disney exotic petting zoo probably means like Koalas or Monkeys or something.  Maybe a Kangaroo!".  Not so much.  They had goats, sheep and some burros.  Wow.  Exactly the same animals we have at our local petting zoo.

In hindsight, I think we would have fared better if we would have had a higher adult to child ratio.  We know several people that have gone with either just one child or all their kids but grandparents.  In fact, I highly recommend that the grandparents foot the bill for the whole trip.  That is certainly the way to go.

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Design Sponge is speaking to me

Just a few weeks ago, a DS editor came to Birmingham and raved about it.  As if I didn't love the site enough, this catapulted it to the top of my list.

NOW, they did a "Living In" segment about one of my favorite movies from my childhood.  Heathers

When I saw this movie, I thought it was the ultimate in cool.  It originated some of the best lines in cinema:

"What's your damage?"
"F me gently with a chainsaw."
"Corn Nuts!"

Right now, we are waiting for the second round of bad storms that debuted this morning around 5:30 am.
Driving around today, I saw a ton of damage.  Lots of big old trees uprooted and laying on top of crushed houses.  I pray for the people affected and for those waiting and hoping to avoid the storms.