Gradient Valentine's Day Nails

Things are going to start getting love-y, dove-y on Beauty by Birdy! It's nearly Valentine's Day and I have a bunch of fun posts in the works, starting with this gradient manicure. 

If you want to see how I achieved this look, keep reading.

I started with a white base and applied small pieces of tape around the outside edges of each nail. This will catch excess polish that may transfer to your fingers. The white also helps make each colour a little more vibrant. 

Next, I chose three different colours that I thought represented Valentine's Day best - a red, pink and purple. Of course you can choose any colours you want. I think three shades of pink would be really cute as well. 

I applied a fairly thick coat of each colour onto a makeup sponge, layering them one on top of the other. The gradient effect works best if you paint the colours from light to dark.

I dabbed the sponge onto my nails, one at a time, until the white became completely covered. I applied a fair amount of pressure to transfer the colour. I found that a light-handed application created bubbles and left very tiny specks of white.  

Before moving on to the next nail, I loaded up the sponge with additional polish in the same order and continued to do so for each application. 

I really wanted to gear this manicure for Valentine's Day, so I created this cute little heart on both of my middle fingers. I took a small piece of paper and cut heart shape, ensuring it would fit the space of my nail. I then placed the paper over my nail and held it firmly in place. Using the same sponge technique, I coloured in the heart and gently lifted the paper away. 

I waited a few minutes for the nail polish to dry before removing the pieces of tape. 

The end result is super girly, super cute and super loveable!



Tips to Better Your Beauty Sleep

Winter: the time of year when many people would prefer to hibernate and pretend it never happens. It's a time we feel most tired and lacking in energy. Our skin suffers from the cold, dry air and becomes flaky and dull. Our nice summer tans begin to fade and the dark circles under our eyes are more prominent amongst pale skin.

It seems that we get to work while it's still dark outside, yet when we leave in the evening to come home, it's dark again. With all this darkness, can you blame the yawns and exhaustion? Our body is tricked into thinking it's bed-time.

Now I've always been known as a sleeper. I can pretty much fall asleep anywhere and anytime - especially if I'm bored. A movie does not stand a chance unless it is super engaging. I apologize to anyone taking long road trips with me in the future because car rides seem to be the number one trigger - 20 minutes in and I'm snoozing away. If I don't get a good 7-8 hours of sleep at night, there is a fair chance I will not be a very nice person the next morning.

I consider myself very lucky! But I know there are many of you who struggle to get a decent sleep. Maybe you work too much? Studying hard and pulling all-nighters to complete school work? Do you have a new-born baby at home? Party too hard, too frequently? Have you hit that middle-age margin and the temperature is just never right - always too hot? Perhaps your brain is simply working on overdrive and you have too many thoughts swirling inside your head.

Here are some tips that can help better your beauty sleep:
  1. Drink Sleepy Time Tea: A decaffeinated tea like chammomile can be super soothing and relaxing. It's the perfect remedy for winding down after a long, hectic day.

  2. Pillow Mist: Bath and Body Works sells an aromatherapy pillow spray in various scents. My favourite is Lavender Vanilla. Lavender is a calming scent that aids with sleep. When I spray my bed with this before crawling under the covers, I find I fall asleep faster.

  3. Cut Off the Water: You may remember my Hydration's Best post from the inception of this blog. I LOVE water! But it's important to stop consuming any liquids roughly one hour before you go to sleep. This will ensure you're bladder isn't too full, which can leave you either wincing as you try to hold it in, or leaping out of bed and tip-toeing to the bathroom.

  4. Take a Bath: A warm bath a couple of hours before bed can relax your body and free your mind of any stressful thoughts. Just be sure your body has some time to reach its normal temperature before climbing into bed. I enjoy adding a bath bomb or bubble bar with a calming scent to my baths. 

  5. No Snacking: While eating late at night is known to be a factor of weight gain, it can also result in poor sleeps. Especially if you are eating sugary foods like chocolate, candy and even fruit, which can give you a boost of energy. You may also find yourself waking up with indigestion in the middle of the night because your stomach hasn't had the chance to digest the food you've consumed during the day.   

  6. Shut Down the Electronics: According to this study, shorter wavelength and blue lights omitted by devices like a laptop, iPad or cell phone can disrupt sleep. The reasoning is that it delays the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps control our sleep and wake cycles. Tuck these electronics away and choose a "book-book" to read if you need a distraction before bed. 

  7. Keep it Cool: It's always easier to add layers than it is to take them off. Keep your bedroom nice and cool and bundle up with lots of blankets if you need to. An increase in body temperature can affect the release of melatonin, and more simply, leave us in sweaty discomfort.  
Beauty sleep is actually a thing! Especially in the winter. It can help with the appearance of dry skin, fine lines and wrinkles. While we sleep, our body creates collagen - a protein that replaces dead cells and gives the skin strength and elasticity. It is also the one time every muscle in our body can relax, including our face, preventing wrinkles from forming.

Do you have any beauty sleep remedies? Leave your tips in the comments below. I would love to hear them!



Ros-elicious Duo: LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner & Rose Jam Shower Gel

Introducing the most hydrating and delicious smelling team of shower products.

While the Rose Jam Shower Gel is a big hit in my books, the star of this show is definitely the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner.

It took me about two weeks before I realized I was using this product wrong. Originally, I thought it was just a normal body butter that I slathered onto my dry skin. Oh no, no, no! There are instructions on the container that specifically say:

"Use like you would a hair conditioner, but on your body. Smooth on over wet skin after washing, rinse off, then lightly towel yourself dry."  

This skin conditioner stole my heart after I used it in the shower. It's loaded with cocoa butter, argan oil, brazil nut, almond oil and shea butter - which ultimately left my skin feeling like cashmere. If you are like me (lazy) and tend to forget lotion after having a shower, this is a great solution. It sinks in quickly and left me with noticeably hydrated skin.

Now, I'm not normally one for floral scents - especially roses. Remember that Outkast song? "Roses really smell like poo - poo" (or boo - boo) - whatever the words - that's pretty much how I feel about rose scented beauty products. They're usually too strong and "mature" for my taste. But the Ro's Argan Body Conditioner has a subtle note of citrus and vanilla that balance nicely with the rose absolute.  In my own description - I would say it is has a clean smell. In other words - it's really, really good! Like heavenly good...

Cue Rose Jam! This is where the delightful shower gel enters the picture. When the two products are used in conjunction, the scent lingers nearly all day long. Trust me - I got caught smelling my arm one too many times. It's a little bit runnier than some of the other shower gels I have tried from LUSH, but I was pleasantly surprised at it's lathering capabilities. A little truly goes a long way!

Unfortunately, Rose Jam was released as a limited edition product along with a full range of Christmas goodies, late last year. I'm afraid if I don't stock up now, I will have to ration this little bottle until next year.

I'm sure I will survive. Maybe...