The hubby and I had an opportunity to take a quick three night trip to Cancun - all we had to do was get ourselves there! Whoohoo! Since the hubby travels a lot for work, he had racked up some points and free nights with Hyatt that we needed to use by the end of September. After finding cheap-o flights on Frontier, we packed up our bags and went on our little adventure this past weekend to the Hyatt Zilara.
Because You Need This In Your Life. You're Welcome.
Over the summer, Chipotle released the recipe to make their famous guacamole, and I took note. As a Chipotle connoisseur, I decided that I needed to try this out and see if I could actually make my favorite guac right at home. And guess what? I could! Since this recipe is so easy, and so delicious, I've decided that I need to share it again right here, right now, for the millions of Manis & Margaritas readers out there. I know, I don't really have millions of readers....I meant billions, of course! (wink, wink)
I've made this about five times since the recipe was released, and each time it has received rave reviews! Wish I could take credit for it. This stuff is dangerously addicting, and a huge hit at parties. I always end up making a double batch! Do yourself a favor and take this to the next party you are invited to. Everyone will compliment you on your cooking abilities and tell you how great it is! It's a win, win! You will feel like a champ for the night, with very little effort on your part since it's so easy to prepare.
Having prepared this guacamole several times, I have a few tips to help you make it the very best it can be. First, I always add a few extra squeezes of lime juice. The lime juice is what helps prolong the freshness, and keeps the guacamole from turning brown as quickly. If it turns brown, you're not eating it fast enough! Next, taste! Once you've mixed your guacamole all up, make sure you taste it and add additional ingredients if necessary - I always end up adding more salt. Lastly, cool the guacamole in the fridge for about an hour before serving. If you do this, make sure you put your guac in a sealed, air tight container to keep it fresh. "Cold guac > Warm guac"
This guacamole is best eaten the same day it is prepared.
A gluten-free recipe
Disclaimer: Recipe is as posted on Chipotle's website at https://chipotle.com/guac-recipe. Photos are my own.
Autumn has come knocking on my door, and I'm not sure how I feel about it! Last weekend, it was 92 degrees out and I was lounging in the pool, sipping on a mojito. Today, temperatures peaked in the low 60's! What the heck? I'm not ready for this, and neither are my nails. With its spring time colors, and flowery blooms, today's mani is clearly not autumn inspired at all.
In fact, my mani was inspired by an upcoming wedding! My brother is getting married this Saturday (yay!), so I've been trying out a bunch of different nail options this week, trying to decide on the mani that I will sport for the big day. The wedding colors are lavender, sage, and taupe, with some lace incorporated into the bridesmaids dresses. It will all look very romantic, and inspired me to create the abstract floral look that I have for you today.
While it looks like it could be tricky, this technique is actually pretty easy. Not to mention, it's great for beginners due to the fact that it's "abstract" in nature, haha. Perfect for me! I'm no artist!
Start by painting two coats of your favorite white polish to use as the canvas for your watercolor.
Next, choose three coordinating polishes. I'm using Warm & Toasty Turtleneck and First Timer by Essie, along with Hint of Lavender by L'Oreal. You'll also need a small piece of tin foil, pure acetone, and a small brush (I'm using the Sonia Kashuk brush #105).
The watercolor effect for this mani is created by combining nail polish with acetone. The acetone thins out the polish and causes a blooming effect on your nail, which is really neat! Start by putting a few droplets of your first color on the tin foil. I used Warm & Toasty Turtleneck as my first color since it is the darkest shade that I'm using. Next, dip your brush into the acetone a few times and transfer the acetone onto the tin foil next to your polish. Go back and dip your brush into the acetone one more time and then mix the polish and acetone together.
Lightly dab the nail polish and acetone soaked brush onto your nail, in a rounded flower shape. Make sure you keep your brush pretty damp with acetone to maintain the watercolor effect. If your brush is too dry, the polish will create more of a sticky, spongy look instead of the watercolor effect we're going for. In the picture below, you can see the the dots towards the tip of my nail are darker and more spongy looking because I didn't have enough acetone on my brush. The ones towards my cuticle, however, have the watercolor effect and the polish spread, or "bloomed", when I dabbed the brush onto my nail. This is the look you want.
Follow the same technique with your second and third colors, overlapping the petals, but keeping some of the white "canvas" visible. Remember, this is abstract watercolor, so it doesn't need to be perfect.
After you've finished the final color, let your nails dry for a few minutes, and then seal your artwork with a good top coat. The top coat really helps to enhance the watercolor look and will leave your artwork nice and glossy. I'm using Essie's gel setter top coat for a long lasting mani. If you'e never used this top coat, check out my review here. It's my new favorite!
Have you ever tried this technique? I think I might try it again in a few weeks using autumn shades once I become more accustomed to the idea of cooler days and sweaters. As far as I'm concerned, it's not autumn until I have a pumpkin spice latte!
Have a great Sunday evening, everyone!
Now here's something that's all the craze these days. Another "just like gel without the mess" top coat. I must have passed this Essie gel setter duo 10+ times at Target before I finally took the plunge and decided to try it out. I'll be honest, I've never had gel nails, so when I purchased this, I wasn't necessarily trying to replicate a gel manicure or replace an existing gel top coat. And I definitely didn't expect to have a chip free manicure for 7+ days (that concept just seems so unattainable to me for an at home manicure). No, I purchased it after months of frustration with my former go-to top coat, Seche Vite. The fact that it came with bikini so teeny made it that much easier to whip out the wallet and splurge. At $14.99 for the set, it's cheaper than buying each one separately, which was enough of a reason for me to pull the trigger.
To use, just apply two coats of any Essie polish and let it dry for about two minutes. The fact that you can use any Essie polish is a huge perk! There's no need to go out and buy special base coats or polishes in order to use this top coat, which my wallet certainly appreciated! Once dry, apply a single layer of gel setter and within about a minute, you've got a mani that's dry to the touch.
Essie describes gel setter as providing gel-like color and shine, with no lamp needed and easy clean up. It boasts the cushy, rock-hard shine of a gel in a foolproof formula. All great stuff, but there are even more reasons why this top coat passes my test.
Below is my mani on day four. Yes, there is chipping, but I wanted to include these photos so that you can see how gel setter wore for me. I think I'm pretty realistic when it comes to polish wear, and I consider this pretty darn good! I'm happy that the chipping was so minimal for me after four days. I have yet to find something that truly lasts a week or more with no chipping at all.
Overall, I'm extremely happy with Essie gel setter. I've decided to start using it as my go-to top coat because it gives my nails a glossy, long lasting finish. If you're currently a gel wearer looking for a cheaper alternative, or a non gel wearer that just wants a longer lasting finish, give Essie gel setter a try. I'm interested to see how long you can get your mani to last!
Have you tried this top coat? What did you think?
I feel like I need to formally say "hi" after being away from the blog for the past 3 months. I never intended to be away this long, but wow does time fly! I'm glad to be back, and really missed my little space here on the internet. So "hi", and welcome back to Manis & Margaritas!
Well, where have I been? I wish I had a really interesting adventure to tell you about, that I backpacked Europe or sailed around the world, but the truth is far less impressive. Actually, it's not impressive at all. The truth is, I hit a wall. After about 5 months of blogging, it started to seem like a chore. I wasn't getting excited about painting my nails, taking pictures, and posting it for all the world to see. The weather outside got nice, I got busy, and I fell out of the habit of finding time to blog. I had other things taking up my time, and the thought of pulling together a blog post seemed overwhelming. I never stopped painting my nails, I still love doing that, but I needed some time away. I couldn't get myself motivated, and decided to give it a break for a while.
To be honest, I had feelings of failure after I stopped. I had all of these visions of what my blog would be, and then I just stopped, cold turkey. I realize now that I jumped into this whole blogging thing kind of on a whim. I had no clue what it was all about, but I knew that I enjoyed reading other people's blogs, and I liked sharing my nail art and stories, so I thought "what the heck, why don't I start a blog?". I really underestimated the amount of time and energy it takes to run a blog. I went through a period of obsession, where all I talked about was my blog, and I thought about how I could grow my blog, advertise on my blog, make money off my blog, the list goes on... Eventually, I snapped back to reality and realized that I was spending a lot of time on the blog, and was starting to dread doing my nails. I needed to find a balance that worked for me. I wanted to come back when I was excited about it again, and now is that time.
So, bear with me as I wade into the shallow end of the pool. I've learned my lesson, and this time, I'm not going to dive into the deep end without a life jacket!
Here are a few snippets of what I've been up to this summer. Thanks for sticking around, and we'll chat again soon!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you stop by often!