10,00th Instagram Post Giveaway

Hello lovelies! I'm running my first giveaway here! I'm celebrating my 10,000th instagram post and am giving one lucky winner a bunch of my favorite beauty products! Enter using the form below;

How To Make Gift Card Holders - Christmas is coming!

THROWBACK!!! This is a post I did in 2008 and found on an old blog. Super cute so sharing again.

Disclaimer: PLEASE DO NOT use this tutorial to make and sell your own gift card holders. I am sharing this for personal use only and I might be very angry if I see people selling items made from this tutorial.

1. Start with a piece of 4x6" cardstock, heavy is better. I reccomend bazzill.

2. Punch one egde of your cardstock with an edging punch, I like to use fiskars "threading water". There are lots of nice edge punches on the market.

3. Score your cardstock at 1" and 3.5" making sure to start at the non punched edge. Fold and attach the bottom flap using strong adhesive. Glue runners do not work for this, I use glue lines. Be sure when applying adhesive that you don't get it too far into the middle or gift cards will not fit inside the flap.

4. Cut 2 1" x 4" strips of patterned paper. Adhere one to the front and one to the inside, as shown in the photos. I like to add a bit of glitter to my patterned paper edges on the front only, but this step is optional.

5. Cut one 3/4" x 6" strip of patterned or plain paper. This piece is to hold the gift card holder closed. Fold it around the holder, affixing in the back. Be sure to make it tight enough that it stays on, but keep in mind that the holder will be thicker when a card is inside so make sure to leave room for it to slide easily on and off.

6. I often like to embellish my strip with a circle and a cutout from patterned paper, a bow, or a stamped image. This is optional of course. I also often add a little embellishment to the left or right side of the inside pocket. It's really up to you!

I hope you enjoy making this project :) If you make it, be sure to share some photos with me!

MMA Acrylic - The North American wide Nail Salon scam you NEED to be in the know about!

So, let's have a talk about MMA acrylic. MMA Acrylic is the worst problem in the nail industry. It is harmful, toxic, painful - and the worst part is that most people do not even know it is being put on them! ***FYI this is in any acrylic you buy from wish or aliexpress. Often, non standard nail salons (or not as politely, chop shops) are common in most cities, and as consumers we think that if a nail shop is open and has customers, it must at least be half decent but that is not often the case. Later on in this post after I explain MMA acrylic I'm going to show you photos of a client I removed an MMA set from. She unfortunately lost her whole nail and damaged her nail bed when the nail ripped off. MMA is too hard to be attached to the nail plate and this is a common problem with it, and depending how your nail rips off you may be left with damage that will be there permanently.Trigger warning as you scroll down if you are sensitive, I do show my client's finger but this photo was taken two weeks post incident of it ripping off and shows no blood or gore.

Exposure to MMA can cause:

- General Irritation
- Vomiting and stomach irriation
- Redness and Swelling
- Skin Sensitisation (tingling or numbness)
- Respiratory problems or eye, nose and throat irritation
- Fungal or bacterial infections
- Discolouration of the nails (yellowing)
- Nail damage or deformities

A little bit of History

Back in the early 1970’s the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began receiving complaints about injuries caused by nail products containing Methyl Methacrylate (MMA). They began investigating these complaints of fingernail damage and deformity as well as dermatitis. After lots of research and many discussions with medical experts, the FDA filed several lawsuits and injunctions against companies in the US. The FDA made it clear to the public that MMA was not to be used in nail products. Despite internet rumours, MMA is not completely banned in the US (read about nail products from the FDA site). It is however banned by over 30 states in the US that chose to take action themselves. It is also banned in Canada and New Zealand. MMA is used in dentistry and bone replacement, and it is Ok to be used in that sense. It is never OK to be used cosmetically on your nails.

What to be on the lookout for?

- Unusually low prices – MMA costs about a quarter of the price of EMA and is found in discount salons, although you can often find salons charging similar to what a real and proper salon would
- Nail Technicians wearing masks – certainly not an immediate indication of MMA use (one of our employees wears a mask), but all the clues will start to add up
- Vague description of brand and products – unlabelled containers and technicians who won’t (or can’t) tell you what they are using
- Much stronger odour – acrylic nails do tend to have a distinctive odour, but MMA has a much stronger and unpleasant fruity odour
- The acrylic nail turns yellow over time - normal with EMA acrylic but it will be more evident with MMA
- Electric files used on the natural nail – very dangerous and a big warning sign
- Salons are often in malls and strip malls, with a very bare bones feel and very little decor
- The acrylic nail is very hard and not flexible
- You are told you are getting gel nails, but they are done with a liquid on a brush dipped into a powder that then melts into a gel like substance (this is always acrylic)

These nails are on a long time client, done at another salon, done with MMA. She is one that I've tried everything with and never had any luck getting anything to stay on no matter what we did. She went w some friends to the local "chop shop" and got these done for a few months. She knew the risks but just wanted long pretty nails, and I can't blame her! So anyways. Here we are a few months later. She was helping her brother move and a tv stand fell on her nail. Instead of breaking like safe enhancements usually do, the MMA ripped her entire fingernail off the nail bed. Thankfully, her matrix was not damaged and since her nail has begun to grow out normally.

I offered to remove these for her, because the shop she had them done at would have just pried them off, even though I typiclly won't work with or remove any MMA enhancements. Unfortunately because of the time it takes to remove MMA the salons that put it on will never properly remove it, and instead just pry it off for the most part. The thing w MMA Is that it is soooo hard, and they file half of your nail off to bond it, so the enhancements are literally etched into your nail plate. These nails are also too long to be structurally sound because the length of them is more than double the size of her nail bed, there will be very little strength provided to the enhancement.

You can also see filings in my hand - they are all curled up and hard as rocks and sharp like plastic once they have hardened again after being buffed off the nail. Real and safe MMA acrylic does not get gummy, it gets flaky.

This stuff is TOXIC in liquid form and dangerous because of how hard it is. You're basically fusing plexiglass to a very thin structure with delicate flesh and nerve endings underneath of it. You can see in a few photos bruises in her nail beds and nail plate where she has obviously hit the nails hard but they didn't come off, they just bruised. You can also see a "ring of fire" like the rings of a tree stump from every fill - the redness is damage from over filing. In the photos above the red/black lines in her nails are bruises.

You'll notice in the short video how gummy the nails are after soaking - this is how you can identify MMA - EMA aka safe acrylic flakes off in acetone like gel polish

So in conclusion, please be on the look out for this nail scam! Gel nails are NEVER done with a powder and a liquid. Solar nails is a brand and not a real service. An electric file should never be used on the natural nails unless by a trained technician using it to prep the nail in a SAFE and NON painful way. If you are ever cut and bleeding, your nails burning, or your nails sore after a service DO NOT GO BACK. Nails should not hurt to be put on, it can be a mildy odd or uncomfortable sensation getting your nails done but it should never be out and out painful. You can't get great nails in 45 minutes, good things take time. Proper nails take a lot of work, and cost more than nails in these NSS salons but you will not be putting yourself at risk. This product is extremely frustrating to proper nail techs like myself who really value what we do - this issue is unfortunately so widespread and the general consumer has no idea. Please share this post with anyone you know who gets their nails done!

Shopping with Birch + Fog

Birch + Fog is Canada’s leading female-first cannabis company.

Their ethos from the beginning is to bring plant based wellness products for our specific needs and elevate the conversation on the possibilities of this wonderfully diverse plant.

I was contacted on Instagram by Birch + Fog and asked if I wanted to work with them. Of course, my answer was a very swift YES! I was given a code for product + shipping and my first order arrived in only THREE DAYS! You heard that right, three days! They ship via Canada Post in small and discreet packaging, and everything inside is packaged so sweetly! They even wrote me a little note. I love anything aesthetic so I was super into the pink tissue / packaging they use. I love it when a company takes care of all the details from the smallest to the largest. The process of uploading a photo of my ID was incredibly easy, all I did was take a picture with my cell phone and submit! Then ordering itself was also super easy - everything is laid out on the website in easy to browse sections. The checkout process itself was very easy - I used a code / card and never had any trouble or delay. They also take E-Transfer which is a nice option not usually offered with online ordering! If you have any troubles, they have a live chat right on their site, and always respond quickly via Instagram as well. 

I had mine left right in my community mailbox but you can also choose a signature on delivery option. I have been a medical patient for 3+ years and a long time smoker, so I had some idea of what I wanted to try. I am pretty big into CBD products, I love the effect they have on my overall health and my pain levels without the "high" effect although I do like THC products as well I find I use CBD more often. So, I picked out some 10:10 capsules (equally balanced THC/CBD) and a pre-roll as my first order. I loved my first experince so much I placed a second one right away and I got some Pheonix Tears capsules as well as some vegan Buudabomb gummies. Im about to place another order and can't decide if I want to stock up on CBD oil or get more gummies! I'm so into gummies and edibles lately. 

Soooo anyways... here is what I thought about the individual products that I tried! Click on the product name in bold to be taken to the exact page of each item I tried. 

I got 50mg THC / capsule. These were nice, not toooo strong but definitely felt them! I found this to be a good one for nausea and got me moving when I really didn't want to! I am going to try these in the 100mg in my next order. I got Sativa but they come in Indica as well. I like that these you could purchase per capsule.

Buudabomb Vegan Gummies; These took me some getting used to, at first I wasn't sure of the texture and flavor but I really like them now! I got two packages, in peach. The smell/taste of Cannabis in these is quite strong but they aren't bad. The blend with the peach is interesting. I found they had a medium effect, I would take 2-3 at once (10mg thc each). I love the packaging, resealable bag is great! And they are super cute. Vegan is great too, as many gummies are NOT vegan! I'm going to try the green apple in my next order. These would be great for someone just starting out with edibles, a half a gummy would probably work great for a new user.

"White Shark OG" Pre Roll; What a lovely strain! This Sativa had me full of energy and ideas. It was rolled nicely, and came in a resealable container which is nice if you aren't going to smoke the whole thing, or you can save it for taking another joint on the go sometime.

Apothecary Labs 10:10 Capsules; These are fantastic! These were the first thing I picked out, and I was really excited to try. Like I mentioned above I use a lot of CBD. These were a nice and mellow high, nothing too strong although a user with less tolerance would feel more effect. They were great for nausea and pain, but didn't make me too sleepy. The bottle was nice, brightly labelled, and child proof. I think they are a good value for the price and how many you get in the bottle. I would definitely purchase these again!

Want $20 off your first order? Use code SMARTPEST

Fantasy Shopping: Modcloth

I'be been really wishing I could go shopping lately. I'm on a real budget (always) but especially with my children being out of school for the summer and having to pay more childcare in combination with wanting to go on adventures this summer. I always come last in terms of new things as we all always do as moms lol.. (if you know me, you know how I won't throw out clothing I own if it has small holes lol that is just my look now hahahhaha) fantasy shopping helps! I went on Modcloth the other day.. .one of my favorite clothing websites. I actually avoid Modcloth and Asos and hardly EVER look because I want things too much. I figured I would make it a good fantasy haul and blog about it :D

My style is what I would call "cute and girly goth" I suppose. I love dresses and mostly wear dresses with leggings, but lately I've been getting more into separates than I have for the past few years. I also picked out a couple accessories and a couple random things I would buy. It was fun to put this together!