Favorite shades for summer nails

I love nail polish. I always keep my nails painted, and when I’m getting regular paychecks during the school year, I love to get a nice gel manicure here and there. I have a huge basket in my bathroom for all of my shades of polish, and I’m also a tad obsessed with the names of nail polishes. I mean, someone has that job! I’ve always loved a good play on words, so in my mind I’d love to name a nail shade “Mauve-elous” or something, but I’m sure someone has already come up with that one.

I digress.

Anyway, if you love nail polish as much as I do, I’ve rounded up a bunch of my favorite summer shades to share! Some of these are long-time favorite staples, and some I’ve just picked up this season. I’m loving the Defy & Inspire brand of nail polishes (they’re available exclusively at Target). For a while I got into a big Sally Hansen gel polish phase, but I find that no matter what, my polish tends to last only a few days before starting to chip. So my favorite brands these days are Essie, OPI, and the Defy &  Inspire brand! I also love the Essie gel polish line (pictured above).

What shades are you loving this summer? I feel like there’s not enough time to use them all before it’s fall and I feel like I need to switch over…but I’m going to give it my best shot!

All photographs courtesy of my best friend at J Parker Photography

A few of my favorite things.

And just like that, Spring is here!  I know that soon the sun will be here to stay for a while…and it makes me so happy.  (Remind me of this when I’m complaining about my makeup melting down my face in the July Raleigh humidity).  When the new seasons come, I always feel like a little bit of a change – a new nail polish, scarf, or a new pair of sandals to use through the warm months.  Still, there are always a few items I keep around no matter what the season.

There are so many products out there, and sometimes it’s overwhelming to decide what to splurge on or save on.  I’m no expert, but when you find something that works, you want to tell everything you know!  Here are some of my favorite tried and true items.

Face

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Rimmel Lasting Finish primer – keeps me feeling put together and hydrated, but not oily.  I know some people swear by fancy primers and how important they are…but for my everyday rush to teach the youth of America, I don’t always have time to be fancy.  This one does the trick for me, and my teacher wallet can afford it!

Bare Minerals concealer and brush – unfortunately, in my 28th year of life, I am dealing with the double-edged sword of under eye circles and the very occasional pretty frequent ‘random’ hormonal breakout.  I have read rave reviews about different under-eye concealers like Visible Lift Eye Concealer or Bye Bye Under Eye, and I’d love to try them (I’d actually love to try a lot of the It Cosmetics brand products…), but for now, until I win the lottery, I’ll stick to this Bare Minerals concealer.  The brush does a really good job of lightly layering and covering whatever you’re dealing with.  It’s not going to cover up a tattoo or a black eye, but luckily I don’t think I need to worry about that.  For everyday use, I love it.

Bare Minerals matte foundation powder and brush – no matter what foundations I hop around to, I always seem to come back home to Bare Minerals.  It’s natural-looking, and you can build coverage really easily without looking like a cake face.  I love that I don’t feel like it is clogging my pores throughout the day or in the summer heat.  The matte version of the foundation powder does a great job of giving a velvety finish.

Lorac POREfection baked pressed powder – the ultimate smooth, velvet powder finish with a good amount of coverage!  I love to keep this in my purse for long days/nights and touch ups.

Tarte Amazonian Clay matte waterproof bronzer and brush – I LOVE this bronzer.  It is subtle and does a great job of easily and naturally contouring your cheekbones.  I put it in a 3 shape from the sides of my forehead, going in at the cheekbones, and around again under my jawline for a nice and easy glow, then down my  nose.  This brush is awesome for contouring, but I don’t spend a lot of time doing that, and to be honest, my favorite bronzing brush is the black and silver drugstore one pictured above – I got it years ago at CVS – I think it was Cover Girl…similar brush here.

Smashbox Full Exposure mascara – I’ve been using this one since I got it as a birthday sample from Ulta back in November.  It doesn’t clump, and I have gotten a lot of compliments on my eyelashes since wearing it.  I am also a fan of most drugstore mascaras – L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara, many from Maybelline and Cover Girl.  Also, Tarte, whose products I am a big fan of, has an amazing mascara called Lights, Camera, Lashes  and it is everything.  If you’re not willing to spend the extra money on mascara, do what I do and keep a nice list of ‘wants’ for all of your fancy makeup needs.  Then, ask for them at birthdays and Christmas!

Stila stay all day liquid eyeliner – there is no other liquid eyeliner.  Plain and simple.  I would never want to do a winged eye with any other makeup item.  It never budges throughout the day, but it’s easy to correct with a wet q-tip if you mess up during application.  So worth the price.

 

Hair

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I am a pretty simple gal when it comes to my hair.  It’s thin, fine, and naturally stick straight.  Most days, I blow dry it with a round brush for volume and run a flat iron through the ends to keep them bouncy and turned under, and on those days, I stick to my volumizing products.  My two favorites are Aquage Uplifting Foam, which I read about for years from the small things blog, and Bumble and Bumble Thickening Full Form Mousse, which my friend and hair stylist suggested.

A couple of years ago, I finally trained my hair (or damaged it enough?) to hold a curl, so I love my Remington curling wand for big loose curls – I bought it when my hair was much longer, but still like it for my shorter ‘do, too.  I love that it tells me how hot it gets up to so I don’t have to guess.  After burning my fingers a few…dozen…times, I think I’ve finally gotten the hang of it.

This Dove dry shampoo is probably my favorite and most vital hair product…yes, people.  I said vital.  When you don’t feel like washing your hair every day or you just need some boost or texture, this stuff is it.  It smells amazing, and for me, the white spray is great because as my roots start to grow out, it keeps my hair super light and fresh-looking.  I use it even when I’ve just washed and dried my hair for a little extra volume and texture.  My best friend and the photographer behind the lens of all of my photos introduced me to it.  We both buy it two (or three) at a time!

Body

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Marc Jacobs Daisy Dream and Kate Spade Walk on Air are my two favorite scents to carry me through all of the seasons.  I have a handful of favorite scents, but these are my two all-time faves.  I got them both as gifts from my ‘wants’ list and it’s about time for both of them to be replenished!  My boyfriend Andrew loves the Walk on Air and that’s one of the many ongoing compliments that he has given me since we started dating – better keep it on hand!

Sally Hansen Miracle Gel nail polish – I am the type of girl who likes to keep my nails painted at all times.  I have an alarming amount of nail polish under my bathroom sink.  The most annoying thing is finding one that will last past a few good days without chipping.  If you ask me, there is no nail polish that will last you a full 14 days unless it’s a gel manicure from the salon, which is what this nail polish claims to do…but it does usually last me a solid week if I’m careful applying and drying.

This Spring, try something new.  Pick up a bright, bold color of lipstick (you know I’m all about that), jazz up your makeup bag, or start using a new scent.  It really is the little things, my friends.  Treat yoself.

All photo credits go to J Parker Photography