Ooo Lala French Gel Nails


As of 02/2014:

Every since I had my first french manicure I’ve always loved them.  Thinking back, I’ve had manicures, acrylic nails, gel nails,  and now shellac or gel polish.  I don’t always go for french just because it costs more .  I just purchased the Sensationail french tip addition to my Sensationail at home kit.  It was on sale this past week at CVS buy 1 get one 50%.   I’m so happy I did.

Before I purchase the gel polish, I did some research and read that a lot of reviewers had problems with the  Sensationail French tip stickers they said they were hard to put on, would rip and wouldn’t stay.   It looks since then Sensationail has now added a bottle of white gel polish to the kit and suggest in the instructions to put an extra layer of top coat.

I’m so impressed with this kit.  I can understand the difficulty of adding the stickers.  I think with practice I will get them perfect.  I also learned afterwards to do my pinkie nails and work up to my thumbs rather than the other way around.   Pinterest pins and other blogs suggest on how to do the white tip polish instead of the stickers.  Looking forward to try that.  I’m happy.  What do you think?

After about 6 days I started getting some major chips so I decided to take it off.  I used the soak off with a cotton ball and foil and they came off very easily.   I plan on trying it again and see if I can getting it to last the full 2 weeks.   I’m not giving up!

What is gel polish?

Gel polish or soak-off gel polish is carefully applied in layers with a brush and then cured beneath a UV or LED light to dry and harden. It takes 30 to 60 seconds to dry in the LED light.  Gel nail polish lasts two to three weeks without chipping.   After the two or three weeks, the gel polish is soaked off the nails using acetone and gently removed from the bed of the nail.  The nails are not damaged or filed on.   The acetone can be drying and it is suggested to put petroleum jelly on the nail beds before soaking.

Here is a tutorial that I found that I’m going to try:

These are my opinions and my personal review.

Update as of 12/13/14:

Since I wrote this post back in February, I was so hesitate to actually post it.    I didn’t have great success that time and I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.  It would take me a while to do them.  Then the time to soak them off.  At one point, it took an hour or more to soak off and I was too tired to try again.    So I took a break a long break.   This Fall that I started getting interested in gel nails again, while over the summer I used regular polish.

I ordered the Gelish Foundation and Gelish Topcoat.  I also purchased the ASP version of top and foundation.   So far I have used Gelish and I’m in LOVE!  This stuff works great.   I don’t even remember trying the ASP and will at some point again but it is so hard to change something when the good is sooo good.  I can go for 3 weeks without chips!     My nails are growing out but the look so good.

I love the DIY guide above on French tips using the Gelish Foundation.  Then I started really researching Gelish and found a favorite blog.

I love Chickettes.  This blog is great she goes over all of the colors and how tos.    I’m so impressed!

Then the next phase!

I learned to just do clear gel polish and then use regular polish on top!  What a great idea!  Then if you want to change your color you can easily with non-acetone!   That explains why their polish looks amazing on Pinterest!

For my nails that break more often then others, thanks to Chickettes I’ve learned about “Acrygel”.  I did it so far on 2 of my nails to test it out and so far I’m impressed with how hard my nails are and how easy it was to apply and set.   I did a full manicure in my kitchen while taking care of my kids.    It hasn’t been a week but I’ve been doing a lot at my house since my little ones are sick this weekend.

Have a great holiday season!


Thank you for supporting Redberrydeals.  Some links are affiliate links.  These are all my opinions and personal products.

Holly’s Challah Bread – Easier then you can imagine!


I’ve been making this Bread as a tradition in our family since 2004. Yes! 10 years! I’m feeling old typing that. It was shortly after I got “my” bread machine. This recipe came from my bread machine cookbook and I have adjusted it so it works for me. I’m happy to share this with everyone! This is the best bread!

I like to make a large loaf as you can see from the picture above.

2 Eggs, room temperature plus enough Water 80 degrees to equal 1 1/2 cups
Oil 1/4 cup (I’ve used all types of vegetable oil and it all works great.)
Sugar 2 TBL
Salt 2 tsp
Bread Flour or All purpose Flour 4 1/2 cups
Active Dry Yeast 2 tsp
Bread Machine Yeast 1 1/4 tsp
(Note: A package of yeast is about 2 1/4 tsp. You can use all of the package too for convince.)

  • When I’m about to make this bread I will take my ingredients out about an hour or so before I start. That way everything is at room temperature. I freeze my yeast and “wake” it up by leaving it on the counter.  This works for me and my family since my little ones are always around I have to do something with them so I like to get it out and then do something else before we get started on the bread.

The best part is you can make this with all-purpose flour. Bread flour has more protein so it can create more gluten but per a lot of cooks and bakers all-purpose flour is just as good. I prefer unbleached.

  • Start with the wet ingredients. Most bread machines suggest wet and then dry. Some say the opposite. After making this with 2 different bread machines I’m convinced it is best to do wet and then dry.
  • Then add the dry ingredients just as listed above. Create a “well” for the yeast and place it in the “well”.
  • Follow your bread machine instructions for program DOUGH or White bread manual. You don’t want to bake this in the machine, because it is too large. Press START and walk away….

After it is done which can take about 2 to 3 hours depending on the machine. I’ve found it is ok if you forget about it. This happens in my household. So if it rises again in the machine that is ok! It will be better bread!

When you come back to it then do the following:

  • Place on a lightly floured surface. Divide into fourths. Use a pastry cutter with some flour dusted on it.  I prefer this style of braid but you can divide in as many braids as you want.  Then roll out the braid strands and braid it as usual then tuck the end under.
  •  Place the bread on a cookie sheet, and place a clean kitchen cloth  on top and place it in a warm location in the kitchen so it will rise a second time.  The bread should be double in size.  You can heat up your oven and then turn the oven off so that the warm oven can speed up the process.

Egg Wash
1 Egg
1 tsp water

  • After it has risen the second time, brush on the Egg Wash.
  • Place in a 350 degree oven for 20 minutes until the crust is a light brown and glossy.

I like to let it rest after I take it out of the oven so that moisture can escape before storing it.  If you need to do that.   Or if you are making this for Thanksgiving just cut into it after a minute and you will have the best bread.  I promise it will be gone!   If not, it will make great turkey sandwiches.

This year I will take pictures of the step by step process I do.

Enjoy!  – Holly


Here are coupons you can print out right now.

My ELF Order and Mystery Box Spring 2014


On occasion ELF will have a Mystery box special.  After you put $20 worth in your cart you can qualify for a FREE Mystery box using the coupon code.   My total was $26.95.    I placed my order and the next day they shipped it out via Fedex Smartpost.  It took a couple days.   I was shock at how big the box was!

Don’t forget to use Ebates!  You do get a percentage back even from ELF.   Win win!


Just the bag of what I purchased was big!



This is what I purchased:

  • Pencil Sharpener $1
  • Crease Brush $1
  • Large Stipple Brush $3
  • Concealer Palette Light $3
  • Concealer Palette Medium $3
  • Mineral Eyeshadow Primer $3
  • Makeup Remover Cloths $3
  • Eye Brow Kit Medium $3

Total = $20 + shipping and handling:  $6.95

The Good!

I really like the crease brush since it does exactly that.  I do wish there was a brush available that was bigger like a tapered blending brush.   I plan to get some of Wayne Goss brushes next.

I was impressed with the Makeup Remover Cloths.  They really do work well.   I have been having a problem with taking off all of my mascara and eyeliner.   After washing my face with my cleanser is not enough and these cloths do a pretty good job.  I would give them 4 stars because it isn’t perfect.   I would probably buy these again.

I’m in LOVE with the Stipple brush!  This is my favorite brush.  I learned about the stipple brush from Wayne Goss and from MAC.  MAC sells one that is $50-$30!   I found this one for $3 and it is amazing.  It works great on putting primer as well as foundation and blending to a flawless finish.

My favorite surprise in my selection was the Eyebrow kit in Medium.  I had thought I would get this but I wasn’t sure if this would be a great color.  The powder is too red/light brown for me but the gel is a great dark color.   I plan on using the gel more and mixing it with some of my darker shades like the Maybelline single Taupe or Paula’s Choice Matte palette dark colors.

The Bad

I wasn’t as impressed with the concealers as I hoped.  I really wanted them so badly!  I got both sets just in case and they are just so dark for me.  I’m have very fair skin.   I plan on working with them some more but I doubt I will ever by them again.   They are very creamy and tend to fall into any wrinkle that I have.   Bummer!


This is my Mystery Bag!   Again, I was so impressed with the size of the bag.



This is what I received:

  • Geometric Eyeshadow 36 colors Addition II $12 currently on sale $6
  • Crystal Blush brush in Pink $5
  • Crystal eyeliner brush in Pink $5
  • All Over Color Stick in Toasted $1
  • Shimmer Lipgloss $2
  • Waterproof Eyeliner Crayon $3

Total Value = $28-$22 (depending on the sale item)

The Good

I really enjoy the Geometric eyeshadow set.  I don’t like the size of the triangle shapes because it is hard to fit my brush in some of the colors.  I probably won’t buy a set like this because of this but it is a great set to try and the colors are amazing.

I’m impressed with the Shimmer Lipgloss since I’m not a big fan of lip glosses like this.

I also liked the all over color stick.  I will definately try this in other colors like the pink.

I still need to try the waterproof eyeliner crayon.

The Bad

I wasn’t impressed with the Crystal Blush or eyeliner brush so I gave those to my daughter.  She loves them to play with.


I would definitely do this again!   Even if they aren’t my favorite I can give these to other people to try too.   

I hope you like this post about my deal at ELF Mystery bag Spring 2014.

I do have some referral links in this post so thank you for supporting Redberrydeals!

How we are dealing with Mosquitoes this year!


Homemade Mosquito Repellent

Thanks to a friend last year introduced me to this awesome recipe for a Homemade Mosquito Repellent.   I can spray this on my clothes or on my skin and I won’t be bit.    It is amazing stuff.


  • 15 drops lavender oil
  • 3 Tbsp of vanilla extract
  • 10 drops of citronella oil or lemon-eucalyptus oil
  • 1/4 Cup lemon juice
  • Spray bottle


Combine above ingredients in spray bottle. Fill remainder of bottle with water, water/vodka or water/witch hazel mixture.

I used water and vodka and it worked great.   I purchased this Essential set from Amazon it is perfect for this application.

If you would prefer to purchase a good insect repellent I strongly suggest this AVON skin so Soft with picaridin   This has worked very well for me.

Prepare your yard

Fairfax County has information about mosquitoes and how to prevent them in your yard.

I suggest installing bat houses around the yard.  Bats eat a lot of mosquitoes each night.    We have 2 but our bats haven’t used them 100% of the time so we will be adding more this year.

We use a handful of Tiki Torches in the yard and use a citronella oil  that we find does help get the mosquitoes confused and we get less bites.


Teaching kids how to prevent mosquitoes.  Fairfax County has created the Fight the Bite campaign

If you get bitten

If you have a lot of bites and get a strong reaction talk to your doctor about taking Benadryl or other anti-histime.  It will help decrease the reaction immediately.   In addition, if the bites are very swollen they may not be mosquito but chiggers and they too are painful.   Talk to your doctor if you don’t know what the bites are.   I’ve had to do this myself.   You may need a strong cortizone cream.

Don’t scratch!  This is so much easier said then done.  To prevent scratching I strongly suggest using a Lidocaine cream or antithetic so that it will be numb.  There are so many on the market.   I’ve used lidocaine for waxing, and even tooth gel works great.

Per my dermatologist I have to put bandages on them.  It is essential to prevent yourself from scratching and I do scratch even when I don’t realize it.  Oops!   I like the Dollar Tree bandages the best since they are a little less sticky so they will stay as long as I want and then come off when I need them too.

I hope this helps you!   Have a great summer!

Thank for supporting Redberrydeals!  Some of the links are Amazon affiliate links.


Biglot: Cheap Makeup Finds



Thanks to G from Nouveaucheap!    I love G’s blog because she has some great tips and tricks on drugstore makeup.   She found out that Big Lots has some Loreal lip gloss, Wet N Wild eyeshadow and Revlon Lip Butters for a half the price or less than at the drugstore.    I also found the new Covergirl makeup for $4.   That isn’t a bad price.  I don’t think I could get it for that price with sales and coupons at CVS.

Most of these items are seasonal, which means it was in the drugstore for a couple months then returned to the manufacture who sold it to Big Lots  or sold from the retailer to Big Lots.

What impresses me is I can do my makeup now and spend what it would have cost to buy 1 eyeshadow pot from MAC.   Crazy!   I love good deals!

Store Makeup Brushes for under $2



Check out this cool trick.  Taking a flower pot and adding rice into it.  The rice  holds the makeup brushes up.   I suggest enough to make it about 3 inches deep so that brushes don’t tip over easily. The cost is under $2 since you use a cup or so of rice.


ReStore – Habitat for Humanity – DIY Home projects

One of my favorite places to buy cheap discounted house materials is the ReStore – Habitat for Humanity.  If you haven’t been to one of the local locations in NOVA, I strongly suggest you do. They have a location in Alexandria, and Chantilly.

ReStore – Habitat for Humanity has donated materials that come from home owners and builders.   Materials including tile, cabinets even paint that was used once.  You can donate just about anything to them too.  Light fixtures, ovens, and dishwashers are available.   We’ve found electrical material that my hubby was looking for and couldn’t find at any other store.

Click HERE if you are interested in donating items to the ReStore.   You can even schedule a pickup.

For our current house we bought some beautiful Bruce (named brand) hardwood flooring at the ReStore several years ago that we used in our upstairs hallway.  Wow! We got it for about $1 a square foot which is a lot less than anywhere else.  I don’t recommend this project for a beginner because it is a challenge but it is an example of getting good quality materials for a fraction of the price.  It turned out great!


Dollar Tree: XXL Bulk Stor It Bag for $1



I’ve been working around the house to re-organize as my 2014 goal.  I have to share this.   I’ve been going to a couple different Dollar Tree stores and finding some great products to help.  I found this XXL Bulk Stor It Bag.   You can see here it is pretty big.  I have it next to a regular gallon Hefty bag in the picture above.  This is holding my extra slip cover for my Ektorp sofa.  I can then store it under the sofa perfectly.   The best part is this seems to seal better than the Space Bags that easily cost $2-$4 each.  This is only $1!   Imagine all of the other things you can store in these type of bags.

My Laundry Schedule


Back in 2012, I asked about how others did their laundry and heard several different responses.  In December 2013,  I asked my friends on Facebook how they handle all of their laundry and the responses got me on a mission.   I had to figure out a new system for my family.

Step 1:    I got everyone in my family a laundry hamper that fits ONLY 1 X-large load of laundry.   This is key!  If the hamper is too big then the loads get overwhelming.  If they are too small then it just seems like a waste of water and time.   The Jall hampers from IKEA work great and the price is right currently $4.99 each.


Step 2.  I also created a hamper system for towels and delicates.  Towels are the easiest items to clean in my opinion so whenever I get a load of towels I can throw them in the laundry and put them away easily.  I love this picture by the way because my 2 year old took it.


Step 3.  Everyday I do at least 1 load of laundry.  I find that it isn’t as overwhelming as it may sound.   Whoever has a full hamper that is the load for the day.  I don’t sort by colors and whites.  I throw it all in.   Since the laundry is only that person’s laundry the sorting is super easy at the end.  My daughter’s laundry will be taken to her room and the boy’s laundry will be taken to their room.

Step 4.  Label each of the hampers.  I used Vinyl with my new Silhouette Cameo.


Step 5.   When I put the laundry away for items that need to be hung up I do it as I take them out of the dryer.   I have a shower curtain rod hanging in my laundry room and I put hangers on it.    Then all I need to do is put away the rest.   That is it!

How do you do your laundry?  Do you have a system?   What do you think?


$1.00 off Spot Shot Stain & Odor Eliminator