Thursday, December 18, 2008

Gifts That Keep on Giving

As the holiday quickly approaches and shopping malls become crowded with last minute shoppers, think about preparing and showering your friends, family members, and coworkers with a labor of love. Your gifts will not only be unique, but will also save you money as our economy continues to plummet. Below are a few gift ideas and recipes to make the gifts. I chose the following because they are easy to make, long lasting, and will leave the recipient feeling good!

The soy massage candle has wonderful benefits. When lit, the soy wax moisturizer will liquefy and can be poured onto and massaged into the body.

3 oz. soy wax
5/8 oz. shea butter
¼ oz. coconut oil
¼ oz. sweet almond oil

candle wick
tin containers

Directions: Secure the wick in the tin container. On the stove or microwave in non-stick cookware, melt the 4 ingredients together, add your favorite scent (option), and pour into containers. Let harden at room temperature.

Foot soaks help to soothe tired and aching feet. They can also aid in the reduction of foot and ankle swelling.

Epsom Salt
Sea salt
Lemon or orange rind, mint, eucalyptus, lavender, or tea leaves
Favorite Scent
Glass container

Directions: Combine your ingredients and transfer into a glass jar. Cork the bottle and add personalized note giving instructions to pour into water, soak the feet, and relax.

The sugar, salt, or oatmeal scrub can be used as a hand and foot exfoliator to soften rough and dry body parts.

1 cup sugar (oatmeal or sea salt)
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Scented essential oils (examples: lavender, peppermint, sandalwood)
1 clear plastic or glass jar and cover

Directions: Mix the sugar, oatmeal or sea salt, and olive oil. Mix in a few drops of an essential oil, and pour into desired jar. Attach a note with directions to use a small amount and rub onto hands or feet, and rinse. Also, some can be placed on a washcloth and used anywhere on the body that needs exfoliation. This can be performed in the shower or bath.

The neck warmer is great for use when working, relaxing, and doing chores around the house. It warms the body and relaxes tired muscles.

Rectangular piece of soft flannel, fleece or terry cloth material
Dry rice, corn, or beans
Dry scents (tea leaves, lavender, spices, etc.)
Needle and thread or sewing maching

Directions: Fold the rectangular piece of fabric in half lengthwise. Sew one end and the one side together using needle and thread or a sewing machine. Stuff the fabric with dry rice, corn, or beans, along with a favorite scent. Sew the remaining end of fabric. Place on the rotating “lazy susan” in the microwave and heat for two minutes. The neck warmer can also be used as an ice pack by placing it in the freezer.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hello Fall

Fall has graced us with its presence and before you know it, winter will be here. As many of you know, the cold, dry weather can wreak havoc on your skin, especially your hands and feet, causing them to become dry, cracked, and flaky. One way to combat this problem is to keep your hands and cuticles moisturized. There are many products on the market but there are some natural products that I recommend which are:

Shea butter is an all-natural vitamin A cream that serves as a superb moisturizer with excellent healing properties for the skin. The moisturizers in shea butter are the same moisturizers produced by the sebaceous (sweat) glands in the skin. Some body’s sebaceous glands produce more while other produce less. Shea butter is great for use on all skin types with all types of skin conditions. I also know first hand that it promotes and accelerates wound healing and soothes dry itchy skin.

Hands, Feet, Body
You can use shea butter as a total body moisturizers and on hands and feet throughout the day. For advanced moisturizing of the hands and feet, put on cotton gloves or socks after application.

Olive oil is a natural product that can serve as a great hydrator to regenerate and soften the skin. It also hydrates and strengthens nails.

Hands, Feet
To obtain and/or maintain soft and smooth hands and feet, apply a generous amount of olive oil after your shower or bath and cover them with cotton gloves and socks. This could be done daily or several times a week.

If you have dry and brittle nails, you should soak them in a small cup of olive oil. This could be done several times a week to not only strengthen nails and soften cuticles, but to make nails shiny and healthy.

Almond oil is a light, non-greasy oil that is great for nourishing the skin. It also contains strong concentrations of Vitamin E. Because of its non-greasy nature, it is easily absorbed into the skin. It has soothing, healing, lubricating, softening, revitalizing, and nourishing properties. It is also rich in minerals, vitamins, and proteins; therefore, it is excellent for sensitive or irritated skin. I do not recommended the use of almond oil if you normally have nut allergies in food.

Hands and Feet
You could use the same suggestions of use given above in the olive oil section. It can also be used as a total body moisturizer.

Apply and rub into skin after your shower or bath.

Feel free to share your thoughts regarding my suggestions above as a comment to this blog entry. Also if you have any suggestions of all natural products for healthy hands and feet, feel free to share with Simply Beautiful blog readers.

Friday, September 5, 2008

You Get What You Pay For

Since I’ve been into nail care, I’m always amazed at the number of individuals who sacrifice quality service for cheap, bottom-dollar service from discount nail shops. I totally believe that you get what you pay for. This means that if you pay for a $25 pedicure, I guarantee your walking out the door with just as much dry and callused skin as you walked in with, as well as cuticle build-up, ridges, and possibly bacterium or fungus. Never the less, your nails will be esthetically pretty but the polish will only last for a couple of days…then its peeling and chipping time! If you get a $10 manicure, you may get cut from the nippers and develop hangnails within a day or two. If you get a $12 acrylic fill-in, your acrylic probably lifts within a week. Another downside of receiving service at a discount nail shop is that you don’t know what quality, professional brand name products, if any, they are using.

On the other hand, if you go to a professional nail salon or spa, you know that if you are paying $40 and up for a signature or spa pedicure, $20 or more for a classic or spa manicure, and $25 and up for artificial nail services, you are more than likely receiving quality service.

So f you’re searching for professional quality nail care service, please contact me for my service menu or the name of a shop or spa in your area (MD, DC, VA).

Have a Simply Beautiful Weekend!

Back By Popular Demand

Fantastic Friday ladies and gentlemen! I have been on hiatus but am back and ready to blog!!! I guarantee that as long as I have this blog, I will not leave you hanging this long ever again. Remember to comment on posts and ask questions as needed. Your comments are helpful when formulating my blog entries. Thank you for your encouragement and continued support!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

All or Nothing!

If you wear any type of nail polish on your fingernails or toenails, I’m sure you have experienced some minor or major chipping. This can be frustrating and most of us continue to allow it to chip instead of taking it off and applying new polish. But I am here to tell you that you must make sure you have even and complete coverage of polish.

Chipping is bound to happen! How soon and how much are determined by a number of factors:

1. The type of work performed by the hands
2. How the nail was prepped before the polish was applied
3. The quality of the polish (base & top coat, color polish or nail strengthener)
4. Health conditions that affect the fingernails and toenails

Do’s and Don’ts...
Since I’ve been into nail care, I’ve learned to adopt an “All or Nothing” mentality when it comes to nail polish; and I suggest you adopt this same frame of thinking. Polish makes your hands and feet “pop with color” and adds personality and interest. So if your nail polish has begun and continues to chip, remove the polish. Never put another coat of the same or a different color on top thinking this will cover the chipping. Now you have created a situation in which your polish is uneven: thick in some places and thin in others. Not to mention, when you finally take the polish off, it will take more cotton, remover, and time. Even clear polish chips and peels and when that happens, you are left with shiny spots here and dull spots there.

Some solutions that may help minimize chipping and keep polish “looking fresh, shiny, and bright,” is to put a clear coat of polish on your nails every two days, wear gloves when washing dishes or your hair, do not tap your nails on surfaces or put your fingers in your mouth.

So Now...
So remember, think, nice, even, complete coverage when wearing polish and adopt the phrase “All or nothing!”

PrayStampEatSleep asks...

"The area around my cuticles is tough, especially around my toes. I just hate it, what can I do?"

This can be frustrating and an eyesore but DO NOT PICK OR PEEL!!! I recommend you get manicures and pedicures often so that a licensed professional can soften, loosen, and nip the dead and hard cuticle skin. At home, you can take a sturdy nail file, dampen it with water, place the file flat on the skin, and file the skin in a downward motion. This helps to file away and soften some of the dead skin. Exfoliate your hands and feet by using an exfoliating scrub and be sure to keep your cuticle area moisturized and nourished. You can use a moisturizing lotion, shea butter, Vaseline, cuticle oil, or olive oil. Keep me posted ;)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Manicure Outline

It’s been a few days since my last posting but I hope you have been utilizing some of the information, tips, and pointers that I have shared with you thus far. Remember, I encourage you to comment to my postings. Also, you may ask questions in the form of a comment. No question is simple or dumb so please ask. You’d be surprised by the amount of people who have the same inquiries as you.

Now as I promised postings ago, I am going to explain the steps of a manicure.

1) Wash your hands with antibacterial soap. This minimizes the transference of germs/bacteria.Your nail technician may then give you and themselves hand sanitizers. This also minimizes the transference of germs/bacteria.

2) Any polish that is on your nails should now be removed with cotton.

3) Your cuticles should then be softened. This is done by soaking nails in a fingerbowl filled with soapy water. Some nail techs apply cuticle remover/softener to your cuticles before placing them in the finger bath.

4) After soaking fingers for a minute or so, the nail tech will then loosen the cuticle off of the nail plate by using a cuticle pusher or an orangewood stick.

5) They will then clean under the free edges to remove any dirt or debris.

6) Now they should nip only the cuticle that has been lifted and pushed back off of the nail plate.Removal of the entire cuticle is not recommended. The purpose of the cuticle is to protect and nourish the nail. Nipping of the entire cuticle can cause hang nails and I’m sure you already know that it’s dangerous because you can get hurt and bleed if your skin is cut. This now makes you susceptible to infection.

7) Some nail technicians will then buff your nails to a smooth finish. Some use cuticle oil and some don’t.

8) You should now receive a lotioned hand massage .The massage is meant to be relaxing so if you are feeling uncomfortable because the nail tech is applying too much pressure, don’t be afraid to let them know.

9) After the massage, your nail plate should be cleaned with lint free cotton to remove traces of oil. This helps to assure that the polish will adhere to the nail plate.

10) If you are getting polish, a base coat should be applied which is then followed by one or two applications of color. The polish is then sealed with a topcoat.

11)Now all you need to do is let your nails dry before attempting to go about the rest of your day.

Also there are add-on services that you can purchase a-la-carte to enhance your manicure experience. Some of the following add-ons are included in a spa manicure or other specialty manicures your nail spa/shop offer. Some add-ons include: exfoliation, aromatherapy, paraffin, or a longer message.

So if you haven’t been receiving the basic steps outlined above as part of your weekly or biweekly manicure service, have a talk with your technician or ask a friend for a referral...ASAP!

Simply Yours,


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ashley asks…

"I use shea butter to keep my hands from getting extremely dry. However, the cracks of my hand are sometimes still a bit ashy. Is there anything that I can use that will prevent my hands from becoming dry?"

Great question Ashley! Many people have this problem and there are a number of ways in which you can treat and prevent dry hands.

1. You should get a manicure and ask for a spa manicure. Spa manicures include an exfoliation treatment that a standard manicure does not. Exfoliation helps to remove dry dead skin, and softens the hands.

2. I also recommend that you get a paraffin wax treatment. This is often an add-on service. A paraffin wax treatment increases blood circulation, softens and moisturizes the skin, and rejuvenates dry skin. If you have impaired circulation, or skin irritations such as cuts, burns, rashes, warts, eczema, or swollen veins, you may want to avoid getting the paraffin wax treatment.

3. At home before bedtime, you can apply shea butter, Vaseline, or a rich -moisturizer of your choice and immediately slip on cotton gloves to lock in moisture over night. If you are interested in purchasing some cotton gloves, please email me.

4. Olive Oil can also be used as a moisturizer. More than likely you have it in your pantry and it’s all-natural. Just massage into skin and BAM!

5. You can also exfoliate at home. One product I suggest is the Satin Hands pampering set by Mary Kay. The Satin Hands kit includes the Satin Smoothie Scrub, which cleanses and exfoliates; the Extra Emollient Night Cream; and the Satin Hands Hand Cream, which conditions and moisturizes. If you are interested in purchasing this product, feel free to contact me - I am also a Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultant :)

Be consistent with your moisturizing routine and be sure to get in between the fingers and toes when doing so.

Don’t forget to post your comments or questions to the blog posts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

KaiG. asks...

“My GirlFriend has offered to cut my nails but has yet to do so. Are there any tips that you can give me to make the likelihood of this increase?”

Well KaiG, first let me ask you a question: “Do you think that your girlfriend appreciates you putting your personal issues out in cyberspace?” lol

Secondly, maybe you need to put your foot down and demand that your nails get cut.
don’t even try it…lol

Thirdly, I can assure you that she will cut your nails this evening. She also apologizes for the delay! :)

Fourthly, don’t forget to tip her ;)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blog Updates

If you would like for me to send you blog updates via email, please send me an email from the address in which you would like the updates to be delivered (

Kerri asks...

"What can be done to combat the damage that flip flops do to my poor feet?"

Well for starters, I know we all tend to gravitate towards wearing flip-flops because they are convenient, somewhat comfortable, and they come in a variety of colors. The only problem with flip-flops is that they lack arch support, therefore, your feet begin to hurt after a certain amount of time, and if worn frequently, they can cause long-term health problems. ( It is best to wear shoes that are comfortable, support your arch, and keep your body in proper alignment. I’m sure by now many of you have heard about fit flops but they aren’t that great either. At first I thought they were the greatest most comfortable flip-flop in the world but after some time, my feet didn’t think so. Recently, 20/20 produced a segment on fit-flops and tested whether or not they give you the support and work your muscles like the company says they do. The article is not available online yet but the results of the report were “No they do not!”

Now to answer Kerri’s initial question…
Our heels really take a beating in the summer due to the fact that we wear flip-flops, mules, sling backs, and other shoes that cause a flopping motion against our feet. In response to this constant pounding, the skin on the soles of our feet begin to thicken. This thickened skin is our body’s defense and serves as protection for the feet. Also, the soles tend to become dry and even scaly or cracked. This is why it is important to get a pedicure from a licensed professional every two weeks. To maintain your pedicure at home, you could use a foot file in the shower to file away and soften the dry-hard-dead skin. At night, apply Vaseline to your feet and wear cotton socks. If you want to intensify the moisture therapy, you could wrap your feet in saran wrap and then put on cotton socks. I don’t suggest you sleep with the saran wrap on because your body temperature will rise and your feet will begin to sweat, thus making your sleeping experience uncomfortable and leave your feet sweaty and your toes shriveled up. I also like pure shea butter and this can be used in the morning.

Remember at home maintenance is just that and it does not replace the job of a licensed professional nail technician. There are products that we use during a pedicure that are not available for purchase by the general public. I will get more into the types of products that can be used to solve some of your most common foot problems when I discuss the purpose and steps of a pedicure.

Friday, July 18, 2008

This weekend you are going to....

It’s Friday!!!! And what are you going to do this weekend, if you haven’t done so already? If you said make time to get a mani and pedi, you are right. Please take some time and find a nice, SANITARY nail salon or spa, and treat yourself to a manicure and/or pedicure. My plan was to give you pertinent information about manicures and pedicures but I am going to wait until next week. I am waiting because I want to hear about your experiences so please type your experience in the form of a comment under this blog entry. Next week, I will discuss the most common steps of a manicure and pedicure so you know what type of service you should be receiving. In addition, I will respond to your comments. Have a Simply Beautiful weekend!

Note: My Clients…please call me if you are due for a pedicure and/or manicure. If you would like to refer someone to me, you can do so as well. :)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Why should I care about keeping my nails, hands and feet groomed?

Have you ever paid attention to someone’s hands or feet and thought something like “How could they have the audacity to walk around looking like that?” It’s the truth right? But the main reason why many individuals walk around with issues like dry hands, skin build-up on their feet, and long discolored thickened toenails, is because they are not educated on the importance of nail and skin care.

Keeping well-groomed nails, hands, and feet, should be a part of your daily hygiene regimen. This goes for both men and women. Frequent manicures, pedicures, moisturizing, exfoliation, and a well balanced diet, will help keep your nails and skin healthy and simply beautiful. You know how good you feel when you get your hair done or cut, when you have on a new outfit, pair of shoes, perfume or cologne? Well having and maintaining nicely manicured hands and pedicured feet will make you feel good as well because it enhances your personal appearance.

Nails are also a prime source for the transmission of macro and microscopic organisms, toxins, and irritants, as well. In addition to bathing, washing your hands periodically throughout the day with antibacterial soap, using hand sanitizer, and even using antibacterial lotion are ways in which you can limit the amount of bacteria your nails harbor and transmit. When washing your hands, you need to make sure to wash under your nails free-edge and around the cuticle area. These are places where bacteria like to camp out. If you have a nailbrush handy, or even an extra toothbrush, you could use it to scrub around and under your nails when washing. When bathing, be sure to wash in between toes and under toenails and make sure your feet are completely dry before placing them in slippers or closed toe shoes. Fungi like to grow in dark, damp and moist places.

I hope today’s entry helps you to understand why it is important to keep your nails, hands, and feet well groomed!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Why should I care about keeping my nails, hands and feet groomed?


Welcome ladies and gentlemen to my blog!

Throughout the week, I will share tips about how you can maintain your manicured hands and pedicured feet. I will also share why it is imperative to take care of your hands and feet and some possible effects on your health if you don’t. In addition, I’ll share information about products that can be used in order to keep your hands and feet healthy and looking good. I am by no means a doctor, but I am a licensed professional nail technician, who has years of education and experience.

Elegantly Yours, Leah