The Top Top Coat

As a chronic nail-biter, my nails are extremely weak which means that my manicure is constantly chipping. And combined with my inherent clumsiness, which leads to lots of smudging, my nails are almost always a mess.

After complaining about this chronic nail problem to a friend, she suggested I try out her top coat and boy am I glad I did!

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Seche Vite top coat is a quick-drying clear coat that prevents smudging and chipping. It adds a glossy finish and firms up your polish to extend the life of your manicure.

At a cost of about $10 at your local pharmacy, this top coat is a little bit of a splurge. But as you only need one coat each time, you’ll get a lot of use out of just one bottle. Seche Vite top cost is absolutely an investment-worthy addition to your manicure kit!

Recommended Reading: Before I Go to Sleep

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If you’re looking for a bit of a thriller full of twists and unexpected endings, Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson is the perfect book for you.

I wasn’t exactly sure what to think when I first borrowed this e-book from my local virtual library (to learn more about that, click here). As I might have mentioned before, I’m a total hopeless romantic so trashy romance novels make up the majority of my reading. Which meant that this book was a bit out of my comfort zone, but I’m so glad that I tried it!

To give a little overview without revealing too much, the main character, Christine, wakes up one day with no recent memories. She learns from Ben, who says he is her husband, that she was involved in an accident nearly twenty years ago that left her with both short and long term memory loss. She is unable to retain any memories from the day before once she goes to sleep.

Christine tentatively accepts Ben’s explanation, but once he is at work, she finds a journal hidden in the closet. Written on the very first page are the words “DON’T TRUST BEN”. It turns out Christine has been keeping a daily journal the last few weeks and the entries she reads leave her confused as to who she can really trust and it’s up to her to save herself.

I read this novel in one sitting and truly did not want to put it down. It’s definitely a book that keeps you guessing and leaves you questioning your own gut instincts. I absolutely recommend this book to someone who is interested in a psychological thriller that leads you to question your own black and white definition of right and wrong.

Oh, and something I just learned — this book will be released as a movie next year, starting Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth. Can’t wait!

Have you read this or any other great thrillers? As I always say, I am constantly on the hunt for a new book!

5 Ingredient Chocolate Caramel Cookies

There are few things better than being able to whip together a delicious dessert in just a few minutes, and at a low cost too! That’s why this recipe for chocolate caramel cookies, passed along to me by a friend a few years ago, is one of my favorite things to bring to a dinner party.

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Ingredients:
1 box of Devil’s Food Cake Mix
1 package of Rollo’s
2 eggs
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
Confectionary sugar

Process:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Combine cake mix, oil and eggs together in a large bowl. You can do it by hand or in a mixer if you have one. Make sure to mix the dough until it’s smooth and wet throughout (no dry bits of cake mix).

3. Scoop a small amount of dough and roll it around an unwrapped rollo. You want to have enough do that the candy is covered, but not too much extra. Otherwise the caramel center won’t spread throughout the entire cookie.

4. Lay the cookies out on a cookie sheet, a couple inches apart so they don’t melt together!

5. Bake for 7-8 minutes. The tops should be cracked slightly here and there – that’s how you know they’re done! Depending on how big you make them, the recipe should yield 2-3 dozen cookies.

6. After they cool for a few minutes, sprinkle the confectionary sugar over the cookies to add a little more sweetness and make them a little more appealing to the eye.

Like I said, deliciousness in a matter of minutes! Got any great simple dessert recipes to share?

The Polish Series: Silver and Gold

Silver and gold are great nail polish neutrals. They look great on their own or as a compliment to another color. They can add a bit of sparkle when you’re heading to a party, or out for the holidays! However, it can be hard to find just the right shade of metallic, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites!

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1. The Next CEO, Nicole by OPI: A sparkly gold, this color makes a statement without being too tacky or outlandish.

2. Sequin, Revlon Color Stay: I love this polish as an accent nail pair with a bright pink or funky color.

3. Good as Gold, Essie: When dry, this color looks like a sheet of gold! I love it because it’s different than most metallics as it isn’t full of glitter.

4. Bronze Beauty, Covergirl Outlast: Despite its name, this shade comes out more silver than bronze. It’s a more subtle option but still has some sparkle to make it a little fun.

What are your favorite gold and silver nail polishes? Any shades to avoid?

How to Win at Yankee Swaps

First off, to clear up any confusion, what is a “Yankee Swap”?

It’s a way of gift-giving for large groups to alleviate the burden of getting a separate gift for every person or couple. Instead, everyone brings one gift to contribute to the “grab”. At the end of the game, everyone goes home with one nice gift instead of a bunch of smaller things they didn’t necessarily need or want. My family is huge, so we do this every year and I love it!

Over the years, I’ve picked up some tips and ideas of how to make the most of a holiday swap and thought I’d share…

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1. Always bring a gift you wouldn’t mind going home with. That way, you know there’s at least one thing you’ll like in the pile.

2. If you follow #1, wrap your gift as unappealingly or hard to open as possible. People tend to grab the prettiest or easiest to open gifts first.

3. Never let on which gift you really want. If your family is anywhere near as competitive as mine, it usually means someone will take it just to spite you!

4. If you’re there with a partner, team up to get something you’re both interested in rather than two things that are just mediocre.

5. If, after the swap, someone looks unhappy with ending up with a gift that you wanted for yourself, consider making a trade. It’s a win-win!

Have any tips for getting the most of a Yankee swap? I’d love to hear them; I’m preparing my strategy for mine already!