Monday Miscellany: Home Manicure & More

Susan B. shows off an at-home manicure with Chanel Le Vernis polish in "Arancio Vibrante". Details at une femme d'un certain age.

First, thanks so much for all of your lovely and supportive comments on Saturday’s post. The topic of What Things Cost has been brought up by readers from time to time, so I just wanted to clarify my thought process regarding what pieces I feature and why.

An At-Home Manicure

While I guess some nail salons have reopened here, we’re still avoiding most “non-essential” businesses. With the virus out there and cases still surging, it just doesn’t feel safe yet, even with masks and other precautions.

So yesterday, feeling equal parts bored and brave, I decided to give myself DIY manicure. With bright polish this time. 💅 Not salon perfect, but not too bad if I do say so myself. 😆

Ring is from French Kande, HERE.

Susan B. wears Chanel Le Vernis nail polish in "Arancio Vibrant." Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Here’s the Official Beauty Blogger shot. I’ve had this bottle in my stash for a few months. Chanel Le Vernis in “Arancio Vibrante.” I used base coat, two coats of the color, and the Chanel Le Gel Coat on top. (I’ve used this top coat for some time, and have found that it really does extend the life of my manicure or pedicure. And it comes off easily with regular polish remover.)

I’ve also had good results with Essie Good To Go top coat. It’s a great option if you’re in a hurry and want something quick-drying. Both Chanel and Essie polishes are considered “non-toxic” and used by my local TenOverTen salon.

(Once the polish was dry, I cleaned up the “boo-boo’s” with a q-tip dipped in polish remover. 😂 )

Something Yummy

Cranberry Spritzer mocktail with a sprig of rosemary. Details at une femme d'un certain age

Since lockdown, I’ve been having fun making actual cocktails at home a couple of times a week. But in the interest of reducing both calories and alcohol, I’ve been on the hunt for some non-sweet cocktail-hour alternatives.

This one is pretty good…a Cranberry Spritzer. Mix 1/3 cranberry juice (I use unsweetened) and 2/3 sparkling water or club soda. Garnish with a rosemary sprig. Mint would probably be nice too. I find this is really refreshing on a warm day. If you prefer a sweeter drink, you can always add some honey or stevia.

My Wardrobe Makeover: Adding Color

Also good on a warm day, this Lentil Salad recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I’ve been making it regularly, though substituting halved cherry tomatoes for the sun-dried (what I have on-hand).

Have you been doing at-home manicures? Have you found any specific techniques that work for you?

Stay in touch.

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40 Comments

  1. NCR
    July 13, 2020 / 4:23 am

    I have a soda stream to make my own club soda so as not to buy more bottles. This is my go to summer drink too- instead of rosemary I use a squeeze of lime.

  2. candice clement
    July 13, 2020 / 4:41 am

    Long time at home manis, there is a pen style cleanup tool that is worth buying for the polish mishaps. I only use mademoiselle as I hate chipping and that color hides small imperfections. I also use solar oil for cuticle care. You did a nice first job. Gonna try that salad.

  3. Kathleen Lindroth
    July 13, 2020 / 4:44 am

    I’ve been trying out non- alcoholic gin. Drink Monday ‘ gin’ is really good and 0 calories! I add diet tonic and a twist of orange peel or lime and it feels like a real cocktail. Other brands of the ‘gin’ haven’t been as satisfying.

  4. Kelly
    July 13, 2020 / 4:44 am

    I’m really clumsy with nail polish, but I’ve found that using a slanted eyeliner brush dipped in nail polish remover works great for cleanup at the end. Still not salon quality but better than the hot mess it would be without the cleanup!

  5. Sara
    July 13, 2020 / 4:57 am

    I only use colored polish on my toes, clear on my fingers but found a tip I read useful for pedicures. It should work for manicures as well. Apply Vaseline around the nail before you polish, then polish does not adhere to skin, making clean up easier.

  6. Anne
    July 13, 2020 / 5:34 am

    I have always done my own manicures, and until a few years ago pedicures. Have to get pedicures done now. Just can’t paint my toes well. Where are you located? Our cases are low right now in Massachusetts so getting things done while I can.

    • Becky
      July 13, 2020 / 3:15 pm

      I’ve recently been using the Dazzle Dry system for nails and I’m very happy with it. It lasts (for me) much longer than regular nail polish and is non-toxic.

  7. Jill
    July 13, 2020 / 5:36 am

    Neither my husband or I drink, but I love the idea of a non-alcoholic cocktail hour especially in summer. Thanks for giving me the idea and incentive to make the effort. We are going to try it this evening by the pool. Now if only my manicure is successful!

    • Karin
      July 13, 2020 / 6:45 pm

      That color looks lovely on you. I’m dying for a professional pedicure, although I’m not willing to risk my life over it. Doing my own toenails has become more and more difficult as I’ve grown more nearsighted….

  8. Cathy
    July 13, 2020 / 6:38 am

    I’ve done home manicures since the 70’s ( I was a flight attendant).
    Here’s a tip that might help you to stay away from your skin. Lay the tip of your brush away your nail fold (about 1/8” away) and push your polish up close to it then pull the polish down to the tip. Be sure to use thin coats, it’s easier to control!

  9. July 13, 2020 / 6:51 am

    I do my own manis and pedis at home….I am a sucker for nail polish and have a drawer full. LOL…I love the names of the colors. Have used Essie, Revlon, Sally Hanson, Deborah Lippman….all good. Never tried Chanel, but will have to now. I have been having success with using Gelous Advanced nail coat as a base, then a layer of color, then another of Gelous, another color layer and then a top coat. On my fingers I use Seche Vite quick dry top coat, but have recently tried Seche Vite Gel topcoat and that is great. Usually do colors on my toes ( and ALWAYS have my toes done) and recently sticking to Essie Ballet Slippers on my fingers! Thanks for the great post – and the lentil salad recipe! Can’t wait to try it !

  10. July 13, 2020 / 7:37 am

    Kudos on your home manucure! Looks like a good way to disrupt boredom at home. I usually let my home mani/pedi dry oernight and then take a wet wash cloth to the booboos. Works well without removing anything I don’t want to take off.

    • Patricia
      July 13, 2020 / 8:45 am

      I do the same…and also for my pedicures…usually in the shower after my nails have been wet for awhile.

  11. Téa
    July 13, 2020 / 7:55 am

    I don’t really enjoy the “feel” of someone else doing my nails, so usually do them myself…yes to all above comments…thin coats, let dry well in between…I like the Essie gel brand…easy peasy…I will test the Vaseline tip! Sounds good! Nothing makes me happier than seeing colorful toes!

  12. Caroline
    July 13, 2020 / 8:47 am

    About the Cranberry Spritzer – my drink for this summer is 1/3 cranberry juice, 1/3 orange juice, and 1/3 San Pellegrino. It comes out a little sweeter than with cranberry as the only juice, but also more complex flavor.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 13, 2020 / 10:32 am

      Ooh, that sounds yummy! Am going to try it this afternoon.

  13. Patricia
    July 13, 2020 / 8:51 am

    Ginger beer (which is non-alcoholic) and a bit of Rose’s lime juice is a good mock cocktail, too. If it’s too sweet for you, add a bit of sparkling water or use a good squeeze of lime instead of the Rose’s. I had something similar at a bar with jalepena pepper added, and it was delicious.

    Both these topics are great, Susan. It must be hard to keep coming up with ideas to post…you’re doing a super job.

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 13, 2020 / 10:31 am

      I still have some ginger beer in the pantry, will have to give that a try, thanks!

  14. Nancie
    July 13, 2020 / 8:53 am

    I often get annoying bubbles in my polish. How does one avoid them. I’d be grateful to know.

    • Patrish
      July 13, 2020 / 12:18 pm

      Make sure your nails are dry. Wipe just before polish with alcohol or nail polish remover.
      And, don’t shake the bottle. Roll it around between your hands.

      • July 13, 2020 / 1:45 pm

        If you get bubbles, either Polish is too thick or applied too thick.
        Buy nail polish thinner and be sure to apply super thin coats.

        • Nancie
          July 13, 2020 / 3:45 pm

          Many thanks!

  15. Jane2
    July 13, 2020 / 9:24 am

    Love the Chanel gel top coat – even my pedis don’t chip. And as you say, it’s easily removed.

    My pedi tip that I got from a male friend who doesn’t think face products are just for the face – apply a thin coat of Neutrogena Hydro Boost Gel on your feet and toes after a bath or shower – the hyaluronic acid does wonders for them. My heels are smooth and my toes pink.

  16. July 13, 2020 / 9:48 am

    Kudos on the home mani. Practice makes perfect. Color is perfect for you also. We like vodka (Grey Goose) with unsweetened Cranberry juice and a splash of lime. Refreshing!

  17. Blume
    July 13, 2020 / 10:29 am

    My favorite mocktail when I was pregnant was the South Hampton: juice of one lime over ice, add several good sized dashes of Peychaud’s bitters (has to be Peychaud’s), top with tonic water. (And Q Tonic is relatively low in calories without resorting to the artificial sweeteners of diet tonic.)

    • Susan Blakey
      Author
      July 13, 2020 / 10:31 am

      That sounds fantastic!

  18. Susan M
    July 13, 2020 / 10:30 am

    I have been using either Sally Hansen or Essie Gel now for a few months – it is great – one color coat followed by one top coat. Lasts at least 10 days without chipping. It can be removed with regular nail polish remover and no need for UV lights. Available in most pharmacies now.

  19. Jennifer
    July 13, 2020 / 10:38 am

    Thank you for keeping us all updated on styles and recipes. I tried the salad using quinoa since that is what I had on hand. It was a great change up from our usual garden salad at noon. I was first attracted to your blog since you wrote about travel in France and one travel bag packing. We were able to have 38 days in France last August and September. It was wonderful! We can’t wait to travel again. I am also a color cat and so glad you found some color to your styles. I am not a fan of tan, orange or pink, but I do love blues, lavender, red and some yellows. Keep up your good blog!

  20. Jannie
    July 13, 2020 / 10:48 am

    Thanks for the info on nails. Luckily the gal who does my nails has more PPE set up than most places…in Pennsylvania the guidelines are extremely high. Plus she also autoclaves all her instruments…she did this before COVID-19. Essie came out with a new polish called TLC basically in pale shades…it lasts forever!! Has anyone else ever used it? I rarely do bright colors except on my toes!!
    And I usually have a glass or two of wine every evening…makes my day!! Stay healthy and safe everyone!

    • Marty
      July 13, 2020 / 2:31 pm

      i have just tried the Essie TLC polish and love it so far!

      • Jannie
        July 14, 2020 / 5:38 pm

        Glad you like it yet I forgot to add that you do not need base or top coat. With my chemistry it is a true gift!! Love it!!

  21. Janet D.
    July 13, 2020 / 11:18 am

    I’ve always done my own nails — mani & pedi — primarily because it bores me to tears to have to sit still while someone fiddles with them. These days it’s more difficult to do my toes — they seem farther away than they used to! — but I’m making it a point to do them anyway because it means I have to work hard to keep myself “bendy”. Now & again I sweet-talk my husband into doing them (for some reason it amuses him) but the last time I was reading & not paying attention to what he was doing, & he painted every nail a different colour. (I had small children following me for days afterward to see my “rainbow toes”.) My tip: do multiple thin coats. And thanks for the lentil salad recipe, I’ll give it a try. We eat quinoa salad regularly & love it: I cook a pot of quinoa & add diced green onion, celery, cucumber, bell pepper, carrot, peas, tomatoes, feta, olives, fresh parsley and/or cilantro. Sometimes I’ll toss in some chopped fennel bulb if I have any, diced avocado, lightly steamed broccoli & cauliflower etc. We enjoy the taste of the fresh veg without dressing, but a sprinkle of a red wine vinaigrette & a drizzle of maple syrup is nice with it.

  22. Kay
    July 13, 2020 / 11:31 am

    The mint in my garden is flourishing, so I’m going to try the lentil salad recipe. I love lentils done every way possible.

  23. Charlene H
    July 13, 2020 / 11:59 am

    I have a quick variation on your lentil salad…all from Trader Joe’s. Take one package of their prepared lentils (in refrigerated produce), a container of the TJ fresh bruschetta (fresh is better than jar), feta cheese to your taste, and diced cucumber to your preference. We use at least 1/2 of English cucumber to add a crunch to each bite. Quick, easy, and delicious. I enjoy your blog!
    Charlene H

  24. Carolynne M
    July 13, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    Kuddos for another great post! Susan, since I’ve been following you I’ve found many items that are now my “go to” ; from eye shadow (courtesy of another follower), shoes (love my Mephisto wedges!) and now polish! Keep up the good work! I love how you provide alternatives/price point for many of the items that you preview!

  25. Linda C. Green
    July 13, 2020 / 12:59 pm

    Your mani looks great, Susan! And what a perfect color for you. … Our one cocktail before dinner has been a pleasurable half hour’s respite my husband and I have enjoyed throughout this troubled time, and we won’t be giving that up. But your spritzer sounds delicious and looks beautiful!

  26. July 15, 2020 / 8:46 am

    It’s good to have a beautiful mani when holding a proper cocktail. About 10 years ago I gave up drinking for about 7 years. My ’cause’ vanity and decided to change my eating and drinking habits. When out with friends or business and it would be wine all around, I started requesting a wine glass [along w/everyone else] and a bottle of sparkling water for the table and fill my glass with the water. My occasional cocktail these days is a nice big red wine glass filled 2/3 with sparkling water and a splash of champagne or white wine. We live in an apartment now in Cuenca, Ecuador. I do miss our terraced back yard. I still have a terrace, it’s a lot smaller! It’s not the same. Diviértete en tu Jardin and enjoy your time off.

    • Kellee
      July 16, 2020 / 1:18 pm

      I love Cuenca! How long have you lived there? COVID seems to have been very hard on Ecuador – I hope you are well.

      • July 19, 2020 / 8:38 am

        Hello Kallee; We are going on year 3. We live in Tres Puentes, by the river. We are very happy here. We sold our house in CA and moved with our two pups. Did you live here or was it a visit? Nice to meet you Kallee. Great blog, don’t you think? xo Kate

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