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Hacks for a Professional Looking Manicure at Home

Hacks for a Professional Looking Manicure at Home

Believe it or not, the first thing a person notices when you shake hands are your fingernails. First impressions matter, especially if you happen to be the one who rules the boardroom. Yellowed nails, chipped varnish, and jagged edges show a lack of self-esteem. Fingernails accentuate the beauty of your fingers; they speak volumes about your personality. Instead of spending a lot of money at the salon, you can pamper them at home and get great results.

Here are some simple tips to guide you through a professional-looking manicure at home. To get a professional manicure at home, you need to stock up on these essentials:

  • Acetone-free nail polish remover
  • Cotton swabs or balls
  • Cuticle trimmer
  • Nail buffer
  • Nail trimmers
  • Nail file
  • Cuticle or hand cream, and cuticle oil
  • Nail polish
  • Base coat
  • Top coat

manicure set

    Once you have all the essentials tools, follow the instructions below to get beautiful nails at home, for less than a trip to the salon:

    1. Set up your workspace

    Nail varnishes have a tendency to spoil surfaces, so you must be careful! Never do a manicure near your laptop. Protect the surface where you are planning to do the manicure with scrap paper.

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    workspace set

      2. Remove nail varnish

      Use an acetone-free nail varnish. Acetone helps to remove the nail paint easier, but it is really harmful.

      Remove nail varnish

        3. Cut or file nails

        Use nail clippers to trim your nails, but don’t make them too short. The white tip must show. Use a nail file to get a clean shape and to smooth any rough edges left by the clippers. Don’t be aggressive with your nail file as this can weaken your nails. The ideal nail shape should be “squoval” or u-shape. Cut off any hangnails.

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        Nail FIle

          4. Buff your nails

          After giving shape to your nails, it’s time to polish them a bit. You can use a white block, stick, or a pad nail buffer. Use a soft buffer to smooth out the ridges on the nail.

          nail buffing

            5. Soak your fingers

            Soaking your nails in warm water and soap will remove all dead skin cells, fine residue particles and soften the cuticles. After dipping your hand, remove any excess dirt that settles under your nail bed. If you have dry skin and delicate nails, rinse them, rather than soaking them in hot water. It is advisable that you dip your hand first in lemon juice to remove the yellow stains on your nails and then soak your fingers in hot water. There are great ways to strengthen your nails by just soaking.

            soaking fingers

              6. Pamper your cuticles

              Using a sterile cuticle pusher, or a small binder clip without sharp edges, gently push back the cuticles. Make sure not to bruise your cuticles because that can cause infection. Apply the cuticle cream. Remove excess cream with a paper towel in the direction you pushed the cuticle. You can also massage your cuticles with a good cuticle oil, or olive oil, to allow blood circulation to make your nails look healthy.

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              cuticle care

                7. Apply a base coat

                If you want to use a nail varnish, start with applying a clear base coat or nail hardener. Let the base coat or primer dry completely. A good base coat will help remove all unevenness of your nails and make your nail varnish last longer. It also prevents your nail from staining.

                apply-basecoat

                  8. Apply nail polish

                  Select your favourite colour and get started. Before opening it, roll the bottle between your hands for 10 seconds. The first coat should be thin. Start by painting a vertical stripe down the center of your nail and repeat on either side. Paint to the edge, but keep a small gap at the side to avoid painting on your skin.

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                  apply nail polish

                    Place the brush at an angle and press gently so that the bristles spread and the colour glides smoothly on the nails. Use a touch-up pen to remove any paint on skin. Once you are a pro at applying nail polish, you can do nail art at home!

                    9. Apply top coat

                    Add a bit of shine to your newly-painted nails. A top coat ensures a hard and scratch-free top layer.

                    applying top coat

                      10. Finish off with lotion

                      This is best done after applying nail varnish. If you have dry skin, use an intensive lotion and keep it on for 30 minutes or longer to allow for absorption. If you’re using the cream before hitting the bed, wear simple cotton gloves and let the lotion work overnight.

                      hand cream

                        Doing a manicure is a great way to de-stress. Just play some music, light some scented candles and do your own manicure to get those enviable talons.

                        Featured photo credit: Manicure process in beauty salon close up/Africa Studio via shutterstock.com

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                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                        How to Control Your Thoughts and Become the Master of Your Mind

                        Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

                        Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality.

                        I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

                        You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

                        Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

                        When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

                        I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

                        Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

                        Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

                        Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

                        1. The Inner Critic

                        This is your constant abuser. He is often a conglomeration of:

                        • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
                        • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
                        • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
                        • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

                        He is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

                        Why else would he abuse you? And since “he” is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

                        2. The Worrier

                        This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

                        He is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it.

                        Occasionally, he is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

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                        3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

                        He is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

                        He can be set off by words or feelings. He can even be set off by sounds and smells.

                        He has no real motivation; he has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

                        4. The Sleep Depriver

                        This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

                        His motivation can be:

                        • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
                        • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
                        • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
                        • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

                        How can you control these squatters?

                        How to Master Your Mind

                        You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

                        Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

                        There are two ways to control your thoughts:

                        • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
                        • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

                        This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

                        The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

                        Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

                        For the Inner Critic

                        When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

                        You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

                        For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

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                        You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

                        “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

                        If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

                        • He riles up the Worrier.
                        • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
                        • He is often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
                        • He is a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
                        • He is the destroyer of self-esteem. He convinces you that you’re not worthy. He’s a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get him out!

                        Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

                        Replace him with your new best friend who supports, encourages, and enhances your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

                        For the Worrier

                        Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

                        Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

                        You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

                        • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                        • Muscles tense

                        Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

                        If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

                        Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

                        “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

                        Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

                        If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

                        Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

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                        Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

                        For example:

                        If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

                        “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

                        Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

                        “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

                        Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

                        For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

                        Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

                        The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

                        • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
                        • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
                        • Muscles tension

                        I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

                        Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

                        Breathe in through your nose:

                        • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
                        • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
                        • Focus on your belly rising.

                        Breathe out through your nose:

                        • Feel your lungs emptying.
                        • Focus on your belly falling.
                        • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

                        Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

                        Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

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                        One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

                        Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

                        For the Sleep Depriver

                        (He’s made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

                        I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

                        Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

                        1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
                        2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

                        When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

                        From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

                        For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

                        If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

                        You can also use this technique any time you want to:

                        • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
                        • Shut down your thinking.
                        • Calm your feelings.
                        • Simply focus on the present moment. 

                        Becoming the Master of Your Mind

                        Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

                        You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

                        Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

                        Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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