Showing posts with label Beauty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beauty. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Q&A with Ami Vega, Author of Designer Nails: Create Art at Your Fingertips

According to Univision, "Ami Vega is a force of nail art in NYC." Ami Vega is the creator of El Salonsito, the innovative nail art business and blog (elsalonsito.com) that brings art to people's fingertips. She has worked with such major beauty companies as Revlon, Essie, and Maybelline and her work has been featured in national and international publications. She also has a monthly showcase column in Scratch magazine in the UK. Since the launch of El Salonsito, Ami is often called on to provide her signature nail art on high-end fashion shoots and runway shows. She created a set of tutorial videos with Maybelline NY for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week and has created nail art for super models, celebrities such as Demi Lovato, Vh1’s Mob Wives, and even art royalty like Diana Picasso, granddaughter of Pablo Picasso. Other clients include Monika Chiang, Donna Karan, and Chado Ralph Rucci. 

With over 13,000 followers on Instagram, it's easy to see why she's a hit amongst beauty bloggers and fashionistas in the trip-state area. 

I recently had a chance to ask her a few questions and here is what she shared:


What have you been up to, Ami? 

Professionally, I've been working on quality nail care and educating my clients on the importance of nail care and how vital it is to showcasing perfect Designer Nails. I'm also working on opening my first full nail studio in Manhattan for 2016. As far as personally, I've been working on getting back into illustration, a passion I've had all my life and the foundation for what I do today with nails. I'll be launching a website for my illustration and prints, which will be for sale.


Why did you decide to publish a book?

My desire to create a book came from my desire to answer many of the questions I get asked via social media. A huge part of my following are girls who are heavily into nails and are eager to learn all the techniques to get perfect nails and nail art. At times I can't reply to every questions, so I felt this book was a great way to address all questions and provide all I know when it comes to great nails and nail care.

Where do you draw inspiration from?
I'm inspired from life. I literally look around for things around me, from the pattern of a leaf to a pattern on a woman's dress. I love art as well, one of the key inspirations in my life has been Keith Haring. I'm obsessed with lines and patterns. I'm also in love with the art of architecture, great masters like Frank Gehry truly fueled my love for geometric shapes, lines and forms.
Any advice for young Latinas?

Never lose sight of your goals, and know that the road to success is not a straight forward ride. You're going to hit bumps in the road, so sigue pa'lante and don't let them slow you down! Also, embrace the greatness that is you - as an Afro-Latina woman, I know certain odds are against me - but I work through them and love who I am and you should too!

Follow @Amivnails on instagram and be sure to get a copy of her book!




Saturday, January 10, 2015

How to conquer Latina (frizzy) hair

I don't usually offer beauty advice or even stray (see what I did there? Ha) in that direction but here are a few tips and practices that have helped me.

I have been blessed with thick, unruly hair which for most of my life I've kept long. My hair wants to be big. Very very BIG. It's also wants to be curly but falls short. Instead it's usually a lame inbetweener of wavy and frizz that seems to defy even flat ironing and only behaves about one day a year.


Write till the ink is dry

The closest I've come to achieving salon-like shine, sleek and smoothness has been when I spend hours (seriously, like 1-2 hours) blow drying my hair and weighing it down with lots of leave-in conditioning products, and then sleeping in a doobie, through the migraine. And, as much as I was down with that in high school, today that isn't an option any more. I just love myself more.

But what I learned from enduring those ritual of self-induced agony is that even the slightest moisture will undo any chance of combating the frizzies. So dry, for as long as it takes, or don't bother.

There is a cure

Secondly, there is a method to stop the madness, and it's not about any certain product be it high end, dollar store or homemade.

It's about the process of how you treat your wet hair. When you wash your hair, only massage and lather your roots and scalp then and this is the important part, treat your hair to a strong conditioning treatment.

I like to use a bit of Moroccanoil® conditioner with a leave-in keratin for this - I start at the back of my neck and then go down to the ends and with the last bits of products go over the roots and top of my head, comb out the knots and tangles then put up in a soft bun and cover with a plastic shower cap for at least an hour. I go about my day, clearing up my inbox, writing emails and what have you then go back and rinse all the conditioner out.

The heat rising up from your own head warms up the water residue in your hair and soothes and coats it with the conditioning treatment as it locks it in.


You can air dry, twist, or blow dry and style as you prefer but this is the trick to banning the frizz and securing shiny, soft, glossy hair each and every time.

If you over do the oil and your hair starts to limp and lose it volume, just use a clearing shampoo or shampoo a bit heavier and frequently.

I tell you that this transforms my hair like nothing else. It looks and feels like someone else's smooth, soft, glossy hair. I wish some one had told me or taught me this decades ago. I hope it works for you.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

She Had Lots to Say

Here's to standing in your own power:


“She was fierce, she was strong, she wasn’t simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when she was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best.

She was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile.” ― Drake

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Stuff I'm Totally Sweating: butter LONDON 'Black Wallpaper' Nail Skins

Last night I was thinking about how I hadn't written a fashion related post here in a while so I decided to bring back my Stuff I'm Totally Sweating forays into fashion blogging. So excuse for a minute, while I get totally girly on you.

Last summer, my best friend introduced me to Sally Hansen Salon Effects, which are basically colored stickers for your nails that mimic the look of expensive manicures. I'm one of those people who is fascinated by nail designs but find that they also border on gauche and tacky. I tried them and discovered they were easy to use but didn't last any longer than my regular polish and also didn't allow me to use my protective layer of nail hardener, which I am rarely without. Add in their limited variety of colors and designs and I'm sad to say I'm not a big fan.

However, something about THESE butter LONDON 'Black Wallpaper' Nail Skins, which I discovered while holiday shopping online last month, made me want them immediately.

Perhaps, it was the unfulfilled little goth/steampunk/rebel in me that jumped at the lovely black decals or maybe it was the murmuring of a Frida Kahlo/Georgia O'Keeffe mother muse reminding me to be a Senorita with flowers in her hair on her nails. Whatever it was, I purchased them and repressed the urge not to buy them in bulk hence they sell out.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Problem with Hurricanes & Standards of Beauty

While the city shuts down and the rain pounds upon the hardened but delicately sensitive beautiful souls of the city, I find myself bored and lost in my head.
The campesino takes off his hat—
As a sign of respect
toward the fury of the wind
And says:
Don't worry about the noise
Don't worry about the water
Don't worry about the wind—
If you are going out
beware of mangoes
And all such beautiful
sweet things. * From Problems with Hurricanes by Victor Hernández Cruz
What little beautiful sweet projectiles should we be wary of - I wonder...

While I brave the storm alone, I browsed upon this New York Magazine article: “I Didn’t Think of Myself As Good-Looking at All” about "Richard Avedon’s muse and the first non-­Caucasian model to grace the pages of a major fashion magazine," China Machado, and it made me recall a recent conversation I had with my best friend while shopping on conceptions and standards of beauty, our features, and our own personal perceptions of beauty.

The title caught my eye right away and seeing this extraordinary woman's profile made me reflect on how powerfully alluring it is to claim and accept one's differences.


Growing up, I have often been conflicted by my features. I don't know anyone (female: biracial or not) who hasn't been. For me, it's been about having very striking/strong features (large eyes, full hair and lips, prominent nose and cheekbones) while being small and fair, dealing with the duplicitous of being both light and dark, small but big - basically not fitting in and the duality of being perceived as "exotic."

I've had a love/hate affair with my nose. My mother has near "perfect," flawless features, and most of the women in my family are beautiful effortlessly. Many people often tell me there is absolutely nothing wrong with my nose and often, I agree but sometimes I wish I had a ski slope or button nose and rarely, like photos of myself in profile, which at other times, makes me angry at how much of the beauty standards and norms for women today are both unrealistic and lacking genuine diversity, irregardless of how that affects all women everywhere.

While riding in a NYC cab on Thursday, my bestie observed that I may not have a "small" nose but the one I have fits me and if I ever changed it, I would be something worse than unattractive, I would be ordinary. I listened, of course  and contemplated the idea with a sense of doubt that I was perhaps being kindly placated, (as only a true best friend can do skillfully) but it wasn't till I read this article and looked at the pictures of China Machado that the "extraordinary" element of what she was saying resonated.

There is something about claiming your own particular beauty, of not being beautiful in a standard way, that can make you, even more striking.


I try as much as possible to find the upside and beauty in things, to see the divine in the every day, and even on a tempestuous weekend like this one, it's important to note how rare and extraordinary the spectacle of nature is and how very much WE are all a part of it - beautiful, powerful, and glorious just like a huracán.

Stay safe, everyone

and

may your journey always bring you home.


* This post is dedicated to my best friend Z, on the occasion of her birthday (you have to be pretty badass to get the gods to stir the winds and make the ocean surge for you) and every other extraordinary woman who's ever felt anything less than beautiful



Sunday, February 22, 2009

Stuff I'm Totally Sweating

Excuse me while I indulge in a lighthearted product review:

Every Sunday (usually on Sundays) after the day is done, dinner has been cooked and eaten and I'm getting ready for the week ahead, I usually take some time and do my nails. I always get compliments on my manicure and most people assume I get professional manicures but I don't. I don't spend a very long time on my nails either, just a quick filing to keep them square and a couple of coats of hardener and polish while I watch a little TV. So when I spotted the new collection of Sally Hansen: Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Colors at Rite Aid I knew it was a product I had to try.

I have always had a box full of nail polishes at home because I like to experiment and try new colors. Luckily, I have long, slender, pale fingers that show off a variety of colors easily.

I'll never forget the time my grandmother who had toiled hard all of her life looked at my fingers and exclaimed "you have beautiful hands, like a teacher." When I asked my mom what that meant exactly, she explained and told me to make sure my hands always stayed that way. Anyhow, right before our recent getaway to the Dominican Republic I bought two of the Sally Hansen: Insta-Dri Fast Dry Nail Colors and fell in love right away.

The colors are bright and modern, the polishes go on sleek and shiny, lending the illusion of length to your nails and while the brush is shaped thickly and clunkily square the polish lives up to its name and dries instantly. I've been snapping up some of them every time I see them at the local stores because they aren't available everywhere and you know how cosmetic companies are notorious for discontinuing great products. I hope that doesn't happen here - great nail polishes don't come along everyday.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Stuff I'm Totally Sweating

Chris Brogan had a great post, The Kinds of Products I Want to Touch in 2009, about reviewing products and what he wants to review on his blog this year. I thought it was a great blog post because it speaks to his needs and those looking for some good reviews and blog buzz.

I thought I'd do something similar to Chris and also http://www.luxlotus.com/ Windowlicker, which is genius, basically I'm posting stuff I've spotted, would love to try or own and think very highly off.

- Funkeyboard (keyboard stickers). I love the idea of giving my keyboard a more personalized look, but I just hope these stickers don't peel off at the edges. Via ChipChick



- biOrb - I've wanted a small one for my workspace since they debutted and now they have a new line called the biOrb Life Collection, with a sleeker design. Although I think the baby biOrb is perfect at 4 gallons and also the most affordable.





- Luxury Soaps from Gilchristsoames.com. I've always loved fancy soaps and after using one a Gilchrist & Soames Chamomile Exfoliating signature soap during a hotel trip, I was hooked. The soap smells absolutely splendid and the light, clean smell remains on your skin long after you have showered but because of the natural exfoliating elements of the soap, you feel clean and not like you been covered in lotion like some other soaps.



At first, I thought the soap was made from green tea or tea tree oil because of that clean feeling it left on my skin but I was delighted to find it was made from chamomile instead. One really cool factor is that the soap contains small pieces of (what I believe is) dried pieces of chamomile leaves that actually resembles chopped nuts and once you begin using the soap they stand out and exfoliate while being visuallly appealing as well as olfactionary pleasing too.



Of course, they cost more than you might regularly pay for soaps but with brand name, perfumey (and lotiony) soaps costing more and more these days these soaps have got the competitors beat with visually interesting soaps, natural products and the great sensations of clean, soft skin.
 
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