Why I love Jamberry Nails


Getting’ the blues

You may notice that my Instanotes feed shows pictures of my hand quite often, with decorated fingernails. Why is that? you ask. I’ll tell you.

I am addicted to Jamberry Nails. These awesome little things are vinyl shields with heat-activated adhesive that come in over 300 styles, take about 20 minutes to apply at home, last up to 2 weeks (I once went 18 days!), and cost about $7.50 per manicure.

How can you not love that?

Retro stripes

Retro stripes

Even better, they don’t chip five minutes after leaving the salon. You don’t have to wait 30 minutes at least for them to dry. You don’t have to spend $35 every two weeks to have fab looking hands.


Jamberry Juniors

If your little diva princess likes to have her nails done, you can make her look like a million bucks with Jamberry Juniors, specially sized for little hands.

Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day

I have always been blessed with attractive hands and nails, and I like them to look good. I’ve tried acrylic nails, gel nails and regular old polish, but it always comes down to the same things. They chip, they are expensive, and they require maintenance in a salon. I don’t like being tied to anything that could potentially be a hassle. Nail salons are a dime a dozen but quality manicures aren’t. Half the time you never get the same person twice, and at some of these large nail salons you don’t even see the same people week after week.

A friend of mine introduced me to Jamberry Nails about a year & a half ago. I instantly fell for the nail art aspect of them. They have florals, solids, graphics, charitable, school pride, even sports. Everything you can imagine you can probably find.


Red swiss dots

And if you are concerned about doing them on yourself, stop worrying! These are almost fool proof. If you can put a sticker on straight, you can do these. The beauty is that they come multisized on one sheet, so skinny pinky up to wide big toe sizes. You determine which one fits your nail the best, warm it up with something like a hair dryer, place it on your nail with some pressure to seal it down, then file off the end with a regular emory board. Voila, done!


Dramatic for a party

The vinyl is also BPA free, formaldehyde free, vegan, and made in the USA. If you worry about your little diva princess biting her fingernails, worry no longer. I have even heard stories of people who chewed their nails for years, only to find Jamberry Nails and like them so much they broke their nail biting habit. Awesome.


Pretty pink plaid

There are a few tricks out there, and it can never hurt to research them. On YouTube there are great tutorials on different application techniques. It all depends on your nails. Some nails are dry, some oily. There are ways to work with them. I personally spritz my nails with hairspray before applying the shield, and then once they are all on I run my hands under the hair dryer.

Also, even though they are easy to change, you don’t want to just rip them off your nails. Just like with a gel nail, you need the adhesive to release, otherwise it can take a bit of your nail with it. The Jamberry Nails website has a gentle removal technique they prefer. I use Melaleuca’s Sol-u-Mel in a little water to release the adhesive and remove any residue. It’s up to you what method you use.

I also use Nailtiques nail moisturizer under the tips of my nails every night. It helps to keep the nails strong. A good hand lotion with vitamin D or a cuticle oil is also suggested by the website.

I don’t sell Jamberry Nails. I just really love them. Frankly, I’m certainly helping my friend Angela send her three kids to college with my addiction haha. If you are a fan of great looking nails without the inconvenience of going to a salon and waiting (and who knows if the nail polish is contaminated with someone else’s toenail fungus, ick), you might give them a try. Plus, they have a buy-three-get-one-free promotion almost all the time. So for $45 you can get a minimum of 8 manicures. Even at a cheap salon, 8 manicures could run you around $120. That’s a $75 savings, and maybe you want to spend that on shoes!

Wait, did someone say shoes??

Dory Boats, revisited

A few years ago, I wrote about a local fish “market” called the Dory Boats, down in Newport Beach. It is one of the few remaining places where fresh caught fish is sold, usually off the bow of the boat after it has bee hauled up onto the beach. As a kid, I went with my family on a number of occasions to pick up fresh caught fish for dinner. It was always better tasting than anything bought in a store. One time we went with my grandparents, and as I titled my previous blog post “An Old Man Feels Like a Young Boy,” my Grandpa Jim was right down at the boats, helping to pull them up across the shore. I knew there was a photo of this event and I searched for many years, but at the time of the post I didn’t have it. I could picture him clearly in his red & blue plaid pants and blue shirt. At the time he would have been in his 70s.

Recently, I found the photo.

Dory Boats, Newport Beach, CA

Dory Boats, Newport Beach, CA

That little kid is me, bathing suit bottoms and a tee shirt. I have no idea who I was talking to, probably just some guy. Grandpa Jim is at the bow of the boat, to the right of that fellow in the jeans & white shirt. Those men hauled the boat up the beach by pulling it across rollers. When the boat cleared a roller, someone ran the roller around to the front.

You can read the original Growing Up OC here.

Painting furniture

Several years ago, I bought a child sized table and two chairs for Melody to use in her playroom. At the time, it was unfinished, but I always intended to paint it. But in the meantime, Melody worked her creativity on the surface, coloring on it, spilling glitter glue, and all together enjoying it. But we finally decided that at 6 years old, she ought to have a finished table and chairs. Over the Independence Day holiday recently, we determined the project would commence.

photo 2 photo 3 photo 4 photo 6

After a visit to Home Depot’s paint department, we had all we needed. Melody was very specific about the paint color. She chose a beautiful violet color, and wanted white flowers painted on top. So, with stencils, paint, brushes, sand paper, and primer, we began. You can see there was quite a lot of crayon to remove. The play-doh residue came off quite easily. The glitter glue disintegrated and covered everything in powdered glitter. Once the surfaces were clean and smooth, we primed.

photo 7

At this point, Melody lost interest in the project for the day. The primer dried overnight and I applied a second coat the following day. After that, I sanded the surfaces to take down any significant bush marks, dribbles or other imperfections.

Next, paint.

photo 9

It is very purple! Looks like we need to tone it down a little bit with some white flowers.

photo 11 photo 12 photo 10

The stencils turned out very pretty. They are Martha Stewart Crafts stencils and we used a foam “pouncer” to apply the paint. I am no pro at stenciling, but I read the instructions. I have to say, the Martha Stewart Crafts instructions were thorough and very helpful. Melody did the larger flowers and I did the small ones on her chairs. She wants me to make pads for the seats. I’ll see what I can do. Maybe that is something a Gramma could do for Christmas, heh, hint, hint.

The table and chairs are now in her playroom and she uses them to write in her summer journal, color and play. Hopefully some day, she will use the with her own children!

Heritage House – Riverside, CA

Sunday June 30 we were so pleased to attend the 20th Annual Old Style Independence Day Ice Cream Social at the Heritage House in Riverside, CA. This gorgeous Victorian house has been lovingly restored and is a curated museum of Victorian life in early Riverside. Mr and Mrs James Bettner moved from New York to Riverside for his health in the 1870s. After his death, Mrs Bettner commissioned the house as a grand showcase of Victorian living. The house gives tours from September to June. The summer months are reserved for updating projects and the upstairs rooms are just too hot for guests. This is a vintage home and they did not have central air, lol. There is a gift shop and the House staff is wonderful! My colleague from history events is a docent there and it is clear she has a deep love for the home.

The Ice Cream Social is an annual fundraiser for the House, and all proceeds will be used to pay for school busses to bring 3rd & 4th grade children to visit the house. It is important that young children not only get a lesson in local history but also touch the beauty of Victorian culture. If just one child in a group finds a love of history and goes on to promote learning, then the fundraisers have been a tremendous success! Children learn games and past times that do not involve electronics, how laundry was washed in a manual agitator washing machine, and how the grace of the Victorian era was more than just architecture. Check the gallery for some photos from our visit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Working with an antique bed frame

I love my antique bed. It has been in our family for over a hundred years. My grandfather slept in it, my mother slept in it, I slept in it, and now my daughter sleeps in it. I don’t know why a bed, such a mundane item of furniture, should hold my affections so firmly, but for some reason it does. I remember a long long time ago in Sunday School they were asking us littles about what we would be most sad to lose in a fire. I had no thought of the clothing, toys or other childhood treasures. For me, it was the bed. Even at that young age I had been captured in the spell of history, antiques and family treasures.

As a kid, I liked to crawl under the bed and look at the support structure, wondering about all the people who had slept on it. The supports of the bed originally consisted of five 2×4 slats that rest on small footers, a framed spring, and then the mattress. The top of the mattress was lower than the top of the footboard and it had a lovely sleigh bed profile. But, since that support structure was worn out and very old, my parents had a new box spring and mattress built. Of course, it is a non-standard size, so it had to be custom built. With the addition of the box spring, the top of the mattress became higher than the top of the footboard and for a while I was upset. I felt it spoiled the look of my bed. :-) We retained the slats to disperse the weight of the mattresses.

As an adult I learned about bed skirts. Particularly for an antique bed, which usually has a 12″-15″ opening below the bed, these are a great way to hide anything you store under the bed, or just give it a softer look. Since my bed has been modified from it’s original structure over the years, this project does not damage it any further. If your antique bed is in its original condition, think about whether you plan to take it on Antiques Roadshow before making alterations.

Because of the slats under my bed and the large box spring, I can’t simply lay the bed skirt over the box spring and leave it at that, so I had to devise a way to attach the skirt. First I tried a system of rails that lay over the slats, but I still had to remove the mattress (heavy) and box spring (insanely heavy) to install and remove the skirt. The other day I came up with the simplest of all methods: velcro.

Slats, underside of the bed

Slats, underside of the bed

Here you can see the slats and a bit of the underside of the bed. I apologize for how terrible these images are, but have you ever tried to take a picture of the underside of a bed? It’s not easy, haha.


Velcro placement

I used adhesive backed velcro and placed it right on the edge of the inside underside of the bed frame.


Velcro placement on the skirt

Next, I cut the center out of the bedskirt so that I had one long ruffle. I placed the other side of the velcro along the seam of the ruffle. Do not cut on the ruffle side of the skirt – I left about 2″ of the center portion as a buffer, just in case my measurement of the drop was off. I broke the velcro into three sections – side, foot and side – making sure to allow room to go around large corner posts. First, place the velcro on the bed frame. Then place the velcro on the skirt. The measurement should match up exactly. With this particular bed, I used a queen sized skirt because the bed is not a twin and not a full. I took a large pleat in the center of the foot section to make up for the overage. Continue along the other side until the skirt is placed.


Completed bed

The finished bed looks lovely! Since my black cat likes to go under the bed to hide, it will now be much easier to remove and wash the skirt to remove her hair that sticks to the skirt. If I decide to change the skirt for some reason, I will leave the velcro in place on the bed frame, and just reuse the pieces on the skirt. Keep in mind that the adhesive may wear out over time and you may need to baste the velcro onto the skirt.

Good luck with your antique bed, just remember to work with it, not against it!



Well it finally happened.


New fun-iture


Pretending to sleep

I have to give some praise to the guys who deliver from Living Spaces – they called 30 minutes ahead, were courteous, professional and fast! They really know what they are doing, plus they deliver until midnight! The last thing I would want to be doing at midnight is hauling a gigantic couch into someone’s house. Fortunately, they were at our house at 9:15. :-)

Check out these photos for some other stuff we have been up to lately.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



100th day of school

Today Melody’s school is celebrating the 100th day of school. That seems so odd to me. When I was a kid we celebrated the last day of school, but never celebrated actually being *at* school. Anyway, her teacher was given a theme for the kids to dress up, and her theme is “dress like you are 100 years old.” Had it been “dress like it is 100 years ago” I’d have that licked without even thinking! But dressing like a 100 year old really stymied me. All the 100 year olds I have known dressed like everyone else.

A friend suggested curlers, glasses and knee highs with a skirt. Here’s what we came up with:

Hello, dearie!

Hello, dearie!

Yeah, she’s way cuter than any of the 100 year olds I have seen, too. I checked with my parents – they live in a senior community – and they haven’t seen any cute 100 year olds either.



Melody did oblige in losing her second top front tooth this morning, so she’s pretty close to gumming her food, right?


Melody and another “centenarian”


What’s that? Speak up, don’t mumble!

Daisy Scout Field Trip: CPK

Our Daisy Scout troop went on a field trip last week to California Pizza Kitchen. And what fun for little girls! Who doesn’t like pizza and being with their friends?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

They showed the girls all through the kitchen, explaining all the different equipment and food safety features, and then the girls were invited to make their very own pizza! Someone suggested making a heart shaped pizza, and it was over…there were a dozen heart shaped pizzas, lol. And, perfect timing for Melody’s birthday, they gave us a CPK Kids VIP pass for a free ice cream. We will be going there for her birthday on Wednesday. Nice!

California Pizza Kitchen offers this at no charge for scout troops, and birthdays have a nominal fee. It was a great experience for girls and adults too. Bonus for CPK? They gave the parents a cup of wonderful coffee. Ahhhh. :-)