Natural Nails Manicure

Natural Nails Manicure || Runway Chef I have a serious love-hate relationship with manicures. I love the look of well-polished nails, and switching up polishes is an easy way to accessorize an outfit. But I can not keep a mani chip-free if my life depended on it. Seriously. I’ve tried. So while I continue to give myself pedicures on the regular, I’ve resorted to giving my fingers what I refer to as a ‘natural nails manicure’. It’s an easy, quick, no-polish required process that gives you naturally nice nails. I grew up watching my Mom give herself these manicures, it was the first mani I was allowed to have (since no harmful polishes were involved), and because of how easy and resilient it is, it continues to be a favorite way to keep my nails in tip top condition. Here’s what you need to do to give yourself your own natural nails manicure:

how to get nice looking natural nails


White Nail Pencil (I use Sally Hansen’s, but there’s also this, this or this)
Oil (I use coconut, olive, apricot, Vitamin E….basically whatever I have on hand)
Cuticle Pusher (I use the one on the Sally Hansen pencil)

1. Prep your nails by cleaning, trimming, and filing them to the desired shape.

natural nail care 2. Rub a tiny drop of oil onto each nail, concentrating on the cuticle area.

natural manicure 3. Use the cuticle pusher to push each cuticle down.

natural nails 4. Take the white pencil and slightly dampen it. Then, with a firm hand, run it under each nail tip once or twice.

easy manicure 5. Dust off any excess white and then rub a few more drops of oil all over your hands.

sally hansen 2-in-1 nail pencil 6. Use the pencil every few days to freshen your white tips.

natural nails manicure For comparisons sake, the two nails on the left have the pencil under the tip and the two to the right do not.

Brushing Up On Makeup Brushes

explanation of makeup brush basics I’m certainly not the first to discuss makeup brush basics and I know I won’t be the last, yet it seems I still have trouble finding a simple explanation of what brushes I should be using for what (please tell me I’m not the only one!). 

After a ridiculous amount of trial and error brushing up (pun intended) with all my brushes, I’ve been able to narrow it down to a handful I use every day, and an even smaller handful that I use for special occasions. I’ve broken them down into these two groups here to hopefully aid you in understanding and simplifying your own makeup brushes. Please keep in mind, I am not a professional makeup artist, I am simply sharing what I have found to work the best for me. I’d also love to know, what are your favorite brushes?

Makeup brushes  Everyday Brushes

Translucent Powder// I use this brush to finish off my look by “sealing” everything with a translucent powder.

Bronzer// I’m not sure where I got this brush but it is great for dusting on my loose bronzer powder. This one is a similar option.

Blush// I use this angled brush to add a little blush to my cheeks (and yes I know it is supposed to be for foundation).

Foundation// When it comes to foundation I use a mix of my fingers, a sponge and this brush. The brush is especially helpful when it comes to covering blemishes.

Eyeshadow// As with my foundation, I use a mix of my fingers and brushes to apply shadow. I actually have several different eyeshadow brushes (these are only $1.49 making them affordable enough to stock up on, but this one is my favorite) so as not to mix eyeshadow colors. I mostly use my brushes for filling in the crease and blending everything together.

Eyeliner// This is actually a concealer brush that is no longer for sale (but this one is similar), but I find it works perfectly for applying eyeshadow as a soft eyeliner for the daytime or darker liner for a smoldering evening look. Occasionally I also use it for filling in my brows (although I mostly use this and this for my brows).

makeup brush basics Special Brushes

Highlighter// I use this brush for applying highlighter powder and occasionally for a bit of contouring.

Eye Contouring// I love this brush but I only have time to use it when I’m doing more complicated eye makeup aka when I’m headed to an event or on a weekend date night.

Eyebrows/Eyelashes// The bristle side of this brush I use to put my eyebrows in place and the comb side I use to get clumps of mascara. Depending on the tools and mascara I’m using I don’t necessarily need this brush every day.

Concealer// Most days I just use my finger for concealer, but when I’m in serious makeup mode (aka not being lazy), I’ll use this brush.


Overall, my favorite brand of brushes (and the ones I own the most of) are these, these, and these (which are also great bargain brushes as they are all around $1). You can shop all my brushes here-

How-to: Marble Nails

How-to: Marble Nails || Runway Chef My love affair with marble is nothing new. I have long dreamed of a sleek, marbled kitchen (something along the lines of this) but unfortunately, the only marble happening in my kitchen is this. So you could say the marble print popping up in fashion is getting me slightly excited. Ok, really excited. Like uber, over-the-moon excited. After all, if I can’t have a marble kitchen, why not go for a marble closet?!

Now I haven’t actually taken the plunge on any marble pieces just yet, so I thought the perfect way to start incorporating the trend was with marble nails. It’s easy (no water, tape or plastic bags needed for these marble nails), it’s quick, it’s pretty much foolproof, and for those of you who aren’t quite sure of this trend (or only prefer it in small doses) this has your name marbled all over it.

easy marble nails marble nails marble print nails


White Nail Polish (I used Sally Hansen White On)
Gray Nail Polish (I used OPI Suzi Skis in the Pyrenees)
Top Coat (I used Sally Hansen Clearly Quick)

marble nails tutorial 1. Prep your nails- make sure they are trimmed, filed, and cleaned.

marble nail tutorial 2. Unscrew the tops from the nail polishes and set aside (it will make it easier to work if you keep them open the entire time). Working on one nail at a time, sporadically drop on a couple drops (2-3 for the smaller nails, 3-5 for the bigger nails) of the white polish.

marble nails without water 3. In between the white drops, add in a couple drops of the gray polish. To give my nails some variety, I used 2 drops of gray on a few nails and 3 drops on others.

marble print nails 4. With a toothpick, immediately begin swirling the polish around as you simultaneously spread it across the entire nail bed. If you find you are short on polish, simply add on another drop or two.

marble nails without water 5. Continue on in this method until you have completed all your nails.

easy marble nails 6. If needed, clean up any stray polish with a q-tip and nail polish remover. 

easy marble nail tutorial

7. Finish your nails with a clear top coat and let air dry for at least 30 minutes.

DIY Lip Scrub

DIY Lip Scrub I’m sure I’m not alone when I say my skin is a total nightmare in the wintertime. My lips, in particular, are a real trouble spot. Apparently an entire tube of chapstick a day just isn’t enough to keep them moisturized because those puckers continue to stay chapped and dry. Using this diy lip scrub is one of the only things I’v found to help. I’ll use it every couple days, along with scrubbing my lips with an old toothbrush (tip: rubbing your lips with an old toothbrush and a drop of peppermint oil is a great way to naturally plump your lips before applying lipstick). Since today is Valentine’s Day, I thought there was no better time to share this diy lip scrub, as I’m sure you’ll want to have those puckers in tip, top and smooth shape.

Grapefruit Lip Scrub homemade lip scrub

Coconut Oil
Exfoliant: Baking Powder, Brown or White Sugar, Ground Oats, Ground Almonds, Salt
Extras: Grapefruit Juice, Lemon Juice, Peppermint Oil, Cinnamon, Cocoa Powder, Herbs (such as Rosemary or Lavender), Rose Water

honey and coconut oil lip scrub 1. For the most basic lip scrub, you simply need coconut oil and honey. You can also use this mixture as a base carrier for other ingredients.

coconut oil and honey lip scrub 2. To make the scrub with additional ingredients, mix together equal parts honey and coconut oil. I usually do about 1 tablespoon of each.

DIY Grapefruit Lip Scrub 3. I chose to make a brown sugar grapefruit scrub, so next I will squeeze in about 1 teaspoon of fresh grapefruit juice. If you are using any other extras, now is the time to add them. Play around with your measurements…something like cocoa powder you would use a teaspoon of, but peppermint oil would only require a few drops.

how to make your own lip scrub 4. Finally mix in about a teaspoon of brown sugar (or the exfoliant of your choice). Bottle it up and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. Just remember to take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes prior to using, or run it under hot water to loosen the oil up. Use a spoon to stir it up if necessary. Then rub a small amount on your lips for 30 seconds before rinsing off with warm water.

diy lip scrub

Beauty Favorites

January beauty favorites I recently found out that I’m ridiculously allergic to rubber and a few components that make up rubber, components that also happen to be in quite a few beauty products and things like dish soap and shampoo (which means I am permanently off dish duty…sorry hubby!). Having sensitive skin (and a mother who uses only organic products), I’ve always been very careful of what I use. But finding out about my allergy has had me reading labels like a maniac. Turns out, there’s a lot of products that claim to be natural or organic, yet still have questionable ingredients. Consequently I’ve been trading in a lot of my old products for new ones, and I’m even experimenting with making some of my own. I’m still doing research and sorting through products (and plan to share some of my finds down the road) but for now here are some of my daily favorites that haven’t bothered my skin yet. (Please remember I am not an allergy/derm expert and all opinions are my own.)

Benefit Erase Paste Benefit Erase Paste // This paste works like a charm to cover up my dark under-eye circles, which is a miracle because sometimes I feel like my sunnies don’t even cover them. A little goes a long way, so this container lasts forever.

Beauty Addicts Mascara beautyAddicts ShowOFF Mascara // I received this in a gift bag and didn’t think much of it, until I actually used it. Holy thick and long lashes! I am obsessed!

bareMinerals mineral veil bareMineral’s Tinted Mineral Veil // This is the perfect bronzer if you want just a slight glow without becoming full on orange.

Stila liquid lipstick Stila Liquid Lipstick in”Beso” // I am on an almost constant search for my perfect lip colors. Red is especially tricky, but I’m pretty confident l finally found the perfect shade in this tube.

Sally Hansen Quick-Dry polish Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in “Clearly Quick” // I always forget to paint my nails until about 5 minutes before I have to leave. This used as a top coat has been my, or more my nail’s, saving grace on multiple occasions.

What are some of your current beauty favorites?