Hammer Time

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Today marks my 2 year Anniversary with Crossfit. I get rewarded by almost getting a DNF this week. If you didn’t know, DNF means Did Not Finish.

Have I mentioned how much I despise WODs with a time-cap?!? I’ve only gone to 2 boxes where I’ve encountered time-capped WODs. I’ve ALWAYS finished my WODs. I mean, ALWAYS, except for that one crazy self-inflicted Seal-Fit WOD I tried back in 09/2011 with my crazy Latina. The clock was hovering around 47 minutes when we finished 2 out of 4 rounds, at which time, we received a stern warning that fundamentals class was starting soon & we had to wrap it up. But that’s another story to be told another day.

HAMMER” was time-capped at 25 minutes.
5 Rounds, each for time, of:
5 – Power Cleans 135# 65#
10 – Front Squats 135# 65#
5 – Jerks 135# 65#
20 Pull-ups (thin red band, felt like the thin purple band)
Rest 90 seconds between each round

I got to the last round & started the Jerks when the time was up. The coach informed us he’ll give us 2 more minutes. I finished the Jerks, & then went to do the pull-ups. The pull-ups are the bane of my existence, my weakness, my kryptonite. My arms felt like wet noodles & were nearly falling off my body at this point. I’m admitting to you that plain & simple, I’m slow. I got through 12 of them when the 27 minutes were up.

The coach was serious when he said we should be done by now. So I whimpered off the pull-up bar & wrote in my book those dreaded 3 letters, DNF. It was branded in my book, scorching hot to the touch. I nearly had to contain my tears. Ok, that’s a lie, I don’t cry at Crossfit (except for that one time I nearly did but that’s another story as well).
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The owner, another coach, came up to me & asked how I did. I told him I didn’t finish & I’ve NEVER not finished a WOD before. Yes, I had to use double negatives to get my point across. I mentioned I had 8 pull-ups left & he told me to go back on & just finish them. With that, I went back & knocked out my remaining 8 in 24 seconds. I felt relieved & satisfied at the same time because now I can cross-out DNF from my book. I tacked on the 24 seconds to my finished time.  

Hubby said I still DNF’ed the WOD because of the time-cap, but the fact is I still finished the WOD even if I didn’t meet the time limit. Those are just coach imposed time contraints because they don’t want the class to go on for too long. I don’t mind putting in the time & work into my WODS, but I do mind time-caps.

DNF has been scribbled out, so, it’s still a happy 2 year Crossfit anniversary to me. 🙂

Cannelle Patisserie Review

CANNELLE PATISSERIE
75-59 31st Ave.
Queens, NY 11370
(Jackson Heights & East Elmhurst vicinity within Waldbaum’s mall)
At 77th St & 31St Ave
(Abundant Free Parking)

I found this place through a friend’s check-in. That’s one of the best ways to find good eats.

So I came here with my mom for the very first visit. GPS told me I was at my destination, but all I saw were housing & nothing more. I was confused. Perplexed, I searched on my smart phone to make sure I had the correct address because sometimes my smart phone wants to act dumb. :-/ I had the correct location, so how come I didn’t see anything?!? I decided to turn right to explore. Lo & behold, I had found the strange Waldbaum’s shopping center parking lot. You would never guess an amazing patisserie existed here, but you have to take my word for it, it does!
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The simple wood design with a large window makes the outside look very unassuming. We walked in & it’s a very casual place. To your left are scattered tables & a small counter with bar stools, & straight ahead on your right are a few more tables.
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Everyone lines up to order at the counter with their brightly colored displays of their drool-worthy confections & baked goods. They have more than desserts here. They offer breakfast pastries, sandwiches, quiches, cakes, tarts & even French macarons. Your eyes will have a field day with all the offerings, which can be quite intimidating if you don’t know what it is.
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I went with the counter person’s recommendations. We tried the apple strip & an almond strip. Mom & I only wanted a snack before heading to dinner. Both were flakey, not too sweet, slightly buttery, but not overwhelmingly buttery, & amazingly light & crisp. We were surprised because many times French pastries can feel so heavy. These were perfect for snacking.
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I returned a week later with a bunch of friends so that I could try more items. This time I ordered the guava danish, peach tart, Napoleon & grilled chicken sandwich. I also took 2 almond croissants home (they ran out of the chocolate). Okay, so I went a little crazy on my second visit, but in my defense, there were just so many delicious options that I had to try them all. *sigh*
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The guava danish looked so delicious & it was! Again, light, flakey & the filling was not too sweet as well. It was a great start. Hubby was hungry, so he went for the freshly made grilled chicken sandwich with blue cheese. Everything was made to order & they make their own breads on premise, so this was a treat for hubby. He loved the sandwich since all the flavors worked wonderfully together.
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Next, came the peach tart & I have to tell you, it was AH-MAZING! The tart crust had just enough crunch but melded together well with the almond filling & the natural sweetness of the peach. Each bite was better than the first. Hubby & I were fighting over the last bite. While our backs were turned, hubby’s best friend grabbed all the crumbs. It was THAT good. This was our absolute favorite of all the pastries. Hubby’s sister came late & asked us what was good. She took a bite of the peach tart, got on line & came back with the full-sized 6″ tart to take home!
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Everything else after couldn’t compare to the peach tart, but they were still very well-made & tasty. The Napoleon was very standard with the puff pastry layers, the cream filling & the fondant topping with the tooth picked design. It was not outstanding, but it was still good.
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The almond croissants were devoured the next day. Again, as with all the other pastries, it had flakey, buttery, light dough with a filling that is not cloyingly sweet. It was the perfect breakfast. It filled you up without making you feel gross & heavy for the rest of the day.

I will definitely be making another trip there to try more of their items. I heard through a friend the French macarons are pretty good & they even took their special custom order for a bridal shower, even though they don’t normally do that with the macarons.

This is a great spot for great food & to hang out with a friend.

Just don’t talk or laugh too loudly because the older patrons might start ranting, raving & cursing at you & challenge you to a fight outside because SHE is a black belt. Yes, you heard right, an older Filipina woman threatened us because she thought we were loud & inconsiderate. She never once asked us to keep it down; she straight up started yelling at us & caused a major scene. Her friend never once turned around to look at us because I suspect she was extremely embarrassed by her friend. True story.

I hope never to have that happen again. I had to console a gf after the incident. She was whimpering & crying in the corner. Her life is forever changed by this turn of events. Semi-true story.

Visit Cannelle Patisserie. You won’t regret it.

Nail Stamping Tutorial

Nail Stamping Tutorial

Nail stamping has been gaining popularity in the past year or so. Nail art has become all the rage. I surfed many nail blogs & YouTube videos to learn more about nail stamping. Then, I took the plunge. I bought myself the Konad Stamper & some plates from Konad & Bundle Monster.
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Overall, the Konad plates cost more, but they work 100% of the time. Bundle Monster has a wider variety of plates, but I’ve had some read duds. Either the etched design is too shallow or there was just too much space in the design, so the color never gets picked up. I think I’ll stick with Konad from now on. The price is worth the product working 100% of the time. Less frustrations & headaches from having to re-do your nails because the design didn’t get picked up properly.
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Your fingers should already have the base coat & color on it before you start. Make sure the color is completely dry before attempting to stamp, otherwise your color will get mushed up.
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The idea behind nail stamping is to use your nail polish to fill the design etched into the plates (that’s a Bundle Monster BM-213 plate I’m using).
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Using either the squeegee supplied or an old plastic credit card, you swipe off the excess nail polish from the template. Make sure to use newpaper to protect your table. No one likes nail polish all over their wood/glass table.
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Then you take your Konad stamping tool with the rubbery end & roll it on top of the template to pull the design off. Now the design is attached to your tool. It looks pretty cool at this point.
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Quickly, but carefully, place the design on your nail & roll it from one end to the other & pull off. Magically, the design transfers onto your nail.
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Clean the stamping tool with nail polish remover. And repeat the steps for your other nails.
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Using a cotton swab, clean off the edges. It comes off pretty easily. I put some flowers using the smaller end of the stamping tool onto my thumb. The flowers are from a Konad plate.

This is such a fun & easy thing to do to liven up your nails. If you have old chipping nail polish, it’s the best time to experiment with stamping before you remove your polish.
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I’ve found old, thick, opaque nail polishes work best for stamping. Putting a light base color with a darker stamping color makes the best contrast. The websites all tell you to buy their special stamping nail polishes, but I’ve read elsewhere many of the ones you already own work just as well. My Wet ‘n Wild White nail polish from over 15 years ago (bought at Caldors which closed down eons ago) works really well. This is a great way to use up all those old nail polishes that’s been sitting around.

Have you tried nail stamping? What’s your favorite design? Happy stamping!

Where to purchase products:
Essie – Sew Psyched
New York Color – Precious Peacock
Wet n Wild Wild – French White Creme
The plate I used above (BM-213) came from this Bundle Monster Set
Konad Plates
Nailtiques 1 – used as my base coat to help my nails get stronger. Here’s the larger bottle.
Nailtiques 2 – you’ll use this every day for a few weeks for brittle nails to get stronger.

Lemon Dill London Broil Recipe

Lemon Dill London Broil Recipeadapted from Big Oven

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds Flank steak or London Broil
1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Dry Red wine
1/4 cup Soy sauce
3 tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 tablespoon Olive Oil
1 tablespoon fresh Dill
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cloves Garlic
1/2 teaspoon Pepper

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Score meat in a diamond pattern.
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Mix the above ingredients in a large bowl & put your meat in it to marinate. Marinate meat 6-24 hours.
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Oil your grill & turn up to a high heat. Grill 3-4 minutes on each side (depending on how thick your steak is). Use a meat thermometer to gauge the doneness of the meat. Mine was grilled to medium rare, which was perfect.
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If you are grilling at home, make sure to open your windows. Mine were stuck so the fire alarm went off. Then, the alarm company called the house, then a few minutes later, they came to the house to ensure I didn’t burn it down. Yeah, it just got serious up in here. LOL!
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Add a side of Dill Roasted Sweet Potato for a complete meal.

ENJOY!

Mango Shrimp Summer Roll Recipe

Mango Shrimp Summer Rollsadapted from Steamy Kitchen

Ingredients:

1 tsp fish sauce (substitute with soy sauce)
1 tsp freshly grated lemongrass
freshly ground black pepper
½ tsp sugar
36 small sized shrimp, shelled and de-veined
2 bundles of Rice/Mung Bean Vermicelli
15 round rice papers (8″ diameter)
1 cup julienned carrots
1 cup julienned cucumber
4 oz bean sprouts
2 mango, sliced into thin slivers
1 small bunch of Thai Basil Leaves (optional)
1 bag (7oz) of Enoki Mushroom (optional)

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Grate lemongrass. Boil water & quickly drop the bean sprouts into the water. Take it out after 30 seconds. This is to ensure any bacteria/gems are killed off. Rinse with cold water & let dry in a colander.
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Peel & de-vein the shrimp. Mix the fish sauce, lemongrass, pepper & sugar in a bowl & add shrimp. Marinate for 10 minutes.
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Grill the shrimp in a frying pan with 1 tablespoon coconut oil on high heat until cooked through, ~2 minutes. When the shrimp is cool enough to handle, use a knife, cut each shrimp down the middle of its back so that you have two identical halves of shrimp. This makes the shrimp thin enough to wrap evenly.

Place 2 bundles of vermicelli into boiling water. Stir & make sure it cooks for a few minutes until tender (~2-3 minutes). Strain the water & cool the vermicelli with cold water to stop it from cooking.

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Cut the dirty ends of the Enoki mushrooms. Wash them under cold water, while separating the strands because they tend to stick together. I seasoned it with a little salt, pepper & olive oil & cooked it in a frying pan. It will release a lot of water. When the mushrooms are cooked down (no longer stiff), they are ready. Discard as much water content from them as much as possible.

Cut your carrots & cucumber into matchstick sized pieces. Take 10 basil leaves & chiffonade them into smaller pieces. Now all your ingredients are ready to assemble your summer rolls.

In a clean fying pan, boil a few cups of water. This will be used for the summer roll skins. Turn off the heat once it starts boiling. Find a large round dish to prepare you rolls. Have another large plate handy for your completed rolls. Take a summer roll wrapper & place into the hot water in the frying pan. It will soften into a pliable sheet. Carefully pull the sheet out & put onto your prep plate.

Here, you will start building your summer roll. Add the shrimp, then layer with the vermicelli, a few slices of the mango, then carrots, cucumber, mushroom, & basil. I rolled the bottom over the filling first, then folded the right & left sides in, then tightly rolled the bottom up to the top. Put the finished product on our finished plate.

Mango Puree – by Me
1 mango (remove skin & pit)
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
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Mix all ingredients together in a blender. Add more water if the puree is still too thick. This is easy to make & makes your food look so pretty (& tasty, too)!

Fish Dipping Sauce: Nuoc Cham – Recipe courtesy Corinne Trang, Authentic Vietnamese Cooking, Simon & Schuster, 1999
5 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup fish sauce
1/2 cup lime or lemon juice (~1 lemon)
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 or more bird’s eye or Thai chiles, seeded and minced
1 shallot, peeled, thinly sliced, and rinsed (optional)
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Mix all ingredients together & let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. This sauce is so tasty with the summer rolls or even just over vermicelli or rice.

ENJOY!

Purbird Review

PURBIRD
82 6th Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 857-2473

Purbird, located in the North Slope area of Brooklyn, was highly recommended to me by my brother & SIL, so I had to go try it. I’ve been back twice already & I love it more every time. It’s not a fancy place. You order at the counter & they bring it to your table. It’s as simple as that.

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Their specialty is the Amish farm-raised chicken, so you must order anything with the chicken. The staff are all super friendly & helpful if you’re not sure what to order. Everything is very affordable & they make a killing with their take-out business. Their best seller is the Chicken Breast Sandwich which comes with grilled chicken breast, avocado, turkey bacon, lettuce, tomato & mayo on a toasted roll.

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I ate the Chicken Breast Sandwich both times. I couldn’t help myself. It was good & I wanted more. The chicken is moist & tender, the toasted roll adds a nice crunchy/soft bite, the avocado adds creaminess, and anything with the word (turkey) bacon in it makes everything taste better!

If you don’t mind spicy, I’d suggest a side of the Jalapeno Mashed. It’s their mashed potatoes with a jalapeno puree. The jalapeno kick is amazing. I, reluctantly, had to share with my friend. I tried my best to eat only 50% of the dish, but it was so tasty that I think I entered the 60% territory. I’m so sorry, but I just couldn’t help myself.

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They also have a sweet potato mash which is just as good. It is very creamy & smooth. I even scooped a dollop right into my sandwich. I have a bad habit of mixing my foods together to create a different taste/texture. For example, I’ve been putting chips into my sandwich since 1995, which was way before Bobby’s (Flay) Burgers came out with their Crunchified burgers. He ripped off my idea. Yep. What a jerk! I digress.

The creamed spinach was a really fresh & tasty side as well.  

I love this place. It’s good, inexpensive, fresh food, done right. I’m sure you’ll love it, too.

All Burnt Out

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Sometimes we need to hang up our sneakers…

When I first started Crossfit, I was instantly addicted. I was so gung-ho about it that I went 4-5x a week. 9 months rolled on & my first Crossfit Games Open (2012) came. I was even more energized, so when I went 5-6x a week. After coming off of the CF Games Open high, I felt completely & utterly unmotivated. I had to drag myself to CF. Even then, I had to wake myself up from the deep mental slumber I was in. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. My body did the work, but mentally, I just wasn’t there. I knew I love CF, but my subconscious was protesting. It didn’t want this anymore. It was done. My body was there, but my mind had left the building. All I wanted to do was take a long nap. I didn’t think it was possible, but I was burnt out from Crossfit.

I had spoken to a fellow CF friend about how I felt. She had a longer CF background so she totally understood where I was coming from. She’s been there before & offered her advice. She told me I needed a mental break. She suggested I take 2 weeks off & when I come back, I’ll be (mentally & physically) stronger than ever.

I really didn’t want to take a break. I felt like my performance will go down the drain. I would have to start all over again. But, as it was, my performance was less than stellar. I wasn’t advancing. I was plateauing, possibly even declining. I was extremely disappointed with myself. I chose to listen to her advice & took 2 weeks off.

I desperately needed a mental recharge. It gave time for my body to heal from the abuse I put it through. My muscles weren’t constant sore anymore. My body felt whole again. It felt fantastic being away, but I still longed to be back at CF.

I’d have to admit, the first day back was a complete drag, but it felt so invigorating when I was done. The break was exactly what I needed to recharge & gather myself together again. Since then, I’ve taken 1-2 weeks off intermittently when I felt I’m nearing the burn-out phase. It’s always a welcome relief, both mentally & physically.

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…and trade them in for Munkie slippers to relax in.

Don’t be afraid to take some time out to give your body a rest. It will thank you for it. Your mind & body will be healthier with this balance. Give yourself a break; don’t be so hard on yourself. Everyone needs some time off every now & then. Listen to your body & be kind to it. This is the only way to lead a happy, healthy & balanced life.

Dill Roasted Sweet Potatoes Recipe

I was browsing Fairway market & came across some fragrant dill. I love the smell & taste of dill so I grabbed it & put it into my basket. Now what will I make with the dill? This is usually how I food shop. I never have any ideas of what I’ll be making until I see one ingredient that I love. Then, I go on a hunt to see what would go well with that ingredient. I know, I know, I’m not very efficient at this food shopping thing, but it is fun when you have time to wander. The supermarket is like the adult version of a candy store for me. I love supermarket shopping!!! I figured dill goes well with potatoes, but I chose sweet potatoes instead since they are a healthier option.

Dill Roasted Sweet Potatoesadapted from Minimalist Baker

Ingredients:
4 medium Sweet Potatoes
5 whole Garlic Cloves
4 tablespoon Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
½ teaspoon Pepper
1 large bunch fresh Dill (lightly chopped) (~ ½ cup)
½ teaspoon Paprika (optional)
½ tablespoon Lemon Juice (optional)

Pre-heat oven to 375 degree.

Line baking sheet with foil.

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Rinse sweet potatoes. Peel skin off. Dice into 1 inch cubes & place into large mixing bowl.

Mince the garlic & add to the bowl. Add olive oil, salt, pepper, dill & toss until everything is evenly coated. Optional: Add paprika & drizzle lemon juice & mix. I like the added lemony taste.

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Lay the potatoes on your baking sheet in a single layer & bake for 35-45 minutes until tender.

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Easy, fast & healthy. That’s the way I like my food.

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ENJOY!

Sweetleaf Review

SWEETLEAF
10-93 Jackson Ave
Long Island City, NY
(917) 832-6726

Hubby & I happened to be in the neighborhood & was looking for some coffee after brunch. We decided to stop in here. Upon walking in, we noticed the nice, homey, laid-back feel to the place. The cashiers were all really nice & didn’t rush you to order. They had chalkboard signs by the counter, a lounge area with vintage chairs & sofas, & in the back, a picnic table for those that want to use their laptops since it was forbidden in the lounge area. Oh yeah, did I forget the high ceilings? Yep, they have that too!

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I’m not a coffee person, so I left that for hubby to order. He opted for the Latte. Something simple & something he loves. He loved the Latte. He definitely thinks it’s one of the best.

I did read many rave reviews about the Rocketfuel (Cold-brewed w/ Chicory, Maple Syrup & Milk) & Voodoo Child (Vietnamese-style Cold-brew, sweet & creamy), so hubby will have to try those next time we make a visit, especially when he’s feeling really sluggish & tired.

I opted for the pastries, which they make fresh daily. I tried the Espresso Coffee Cake with Espresso Glaze. You can definitely taste the espresso in the cake. I’m not a fan of drinking coffee, but I don’t mind having it in baked goods form! 🙂 It was a denser Bundt cake, but it was still moist & would have gone perfect with a cup of coffee (if only I like coffee)! I enjoyed the cake while sitting in one of the cushiony chairs side-by-side with the hubby. It was a great place to chill on a lazy Sunday morning. I read my book & relaxed a bit. The place gets it spurt of loyal customers & I can see why they would come back time after time.

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Chillin’ with the Hubby

This is the kind of café that I would love to own one day. It is very laid-back & low-key, with great service, awesome coffee & baked goods. What more can a gal ask for?!?

DIY Matte Nail Polish Tutorial

Did you know you can get the Matte Nail Polish look without having to buy anything extra? There are tons of Matte Nail Polishes out there now since it’s the new trend. They’ve even created a Matte Top Coat so that you can mattify any of your current nail polishes.

If I can find a way to DIY, I will. Here’s a free DIY Matte Nail Polish you can do at home. FREE is always better. ;-D

DIY Matte Nail Polish Tutorial

All you need are:

Clear Base Coat
Nail Polish Color
Pot of boiling water
Top Coat (optional)

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Heat up water over your stovetop. While that is heating up, you can put your clear base coat. And your nail polish color. Let that dry, then apply a second coat of your color. By this time, your water should be boiling. Carefully hover you fingers over the water. Be very careful, because the steam is strong & can burn. You can also just turn off the stove top at this point & hover your nails over. You’ll immediately notice a matte hue to the color. You’re basically done! Make sure you let the color air dry.

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You can see Matte & Shiny finger in the above picture. You can use a top coat to change your matte nail back to shiny. I used it to create a French manicure look with the matte & shiny.

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This is so simple & can be done with any of your current nail polishes. I love saving money & I hope you do, too!

ENJOY!

Where to purchase products:
Nailtiques 1 – used as my base coat to help my nails get stronger. Here’s the larger bottle.
Nailtiques 2 – you’ll use this every day for a few weeks for brittle nails to get stronger.