Paintbox: My New Favorite Nail Studio

photo: refinery29

photo: refinery29

My first exposure to Paintbox was through Instagram, where a friend of mine would post her bi-monthly manicures that were seriously drool-worthy. One look at their website, and you’ll understand why – they have a rotating lookbook of nail designs that change with the seasons. When I went to NYC for my bachelorette party a few weeks ago, I knew I had to book an appointment.

I made my gel design mani appointment with Elissa, since that’s who my friend always goes to. I spent days pouring over their “menu” and searching the #paintboxmani hashtag on Instagram until I finally settled on my “Gliteratti” manicure with a base of grey gel.

The entire process from start to finish was incredible. First of all, the inside of the studio is gorgeous, and upon arrival, my SIL Kate and I were immediately offered drinks – they had everything from coffee to champagne, and we opted for the latter (it was a celebratory weekend after all!)

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Elissa was by far the most thorough manicurist I have ever encountered. She spent a great deal of time shaping my nails and cleaning them up (which they totally needed.) It was really fun to see the design process in person, especially after all my time envying my friend’s instagram pictures.

The best part? They have a mani cam that is completely worthy of sharing across all social media platforms:

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The gel design option is totally worth the dolla bills because over a week and a half later, they are still perfectly in tact:

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So, NYC’ers, if you haven’t already stopped reading this post to make your Paintbox appointment, umm…what are you waiting for? Get on that.

I already made my second appointment for next month.

Now what design to get? Hmmm.

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getting my ‘fix on

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I signed up for Stitch Fix this past December, and my second box arrived yesterday. My first shipment was good, but there were a lot of basics – I was hoping for more interesting pieces. Luckily, this second one did not disappoint.

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I was so excited right away to see all the bright colors in the box – that chevron green and grey on top is a gorgeous cardigan – and everything was secured tightly with the dress’s belt.

Inside my second fix:

* green and grey cardigan

* printed keyhole tee (pictured below)

* belted shirt dress (pictured below)

* cream colored top with flowy sleeves

* black leggings

I liked everything so much that I had to pick and choose a little this time…although I’m contemplating keeping everything.

Here are my top favs:

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It’s hard to tell, but the stripe down the middle is threaded into tiny cutouts. I love yellow, and I can definitely see myself wearing this shirt all throughout the spring and summer.

My number one favorite item from this shipment though? This dress:

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Forget #TheDress, THIS dress is where it’s at. This is the kind of dress you can wear with sandals in the summer, or over tights and boots in the fall/spring. And – bonus – it’s completely soft.

Overall, I was skeptical to try Stitch Fix originally, mostly because I am usually really picky, but I am loving it! It’s fun to come home to that box, not knowing what will be inside. Even as grownups, surprises are still the best.

Have you ever tried Stitch Fix? Do you like it? Tell me!

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paris, je t’aime – a recap

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Although jet lag is beginning to set in, and I’m not really sure what time it is right now (my clock says 2pm, but is it really? Really? I’m distrusting of all clocks) – I feel like a Paris recap is just what I need to do. Partly to convince myself that it even really happened, because it already feels like a bit of a faraway dream.

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Friday

Our flight left Thursday night, so we arrived in Paris on Friday morning. We felt really proud of ourselves for navigating the metro with only a poorly designed map, and quickly figured out how to get from the CDG airport to the B line to the C line to our hotel, which was conveniently near the Eiffel Tower.

Our first day was spent taking as many pictures of the Eiffel Tower as possible, and I now fully identify with the annoying tourists who get in my way every time I am in midtown Manhattan. (That said, I think the Eiffel Tower is arguably more elegant and beautiful than a lit up Applebees billboard, but to each his own.)

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There are about three dozen more pictures like this, but I won’t bore you.

One of the first things that we had to do, of course, was find coffee. This wasn’t hard, considering there were literally cafes on every corner, not to mention all the street vendors.

It is so hard to come back to our American version of coffee after having the coffee in Paris. Nothing will ever taste as good, no matter what.

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My mouth is literally watering just looking at this. Cafe au lait ou cafe creme, why are you foreign to my land?! Le sigh.

In addition to finding coffee, we needed to find food. Which also wasn’t hard. Perhaps a street vendor alongside the Eiffel Tower is akin to a hot dog stand on 42nd St, but I’ve never had anything as perfect as a crepe avec confiture after a long day of traveling.

Saturday, Valentine’s Day

I feel the need to brag that my Valentine’s Day morning was spent standing alongside the Seine as C and I ate waffles with Nutella across from the Eiffel Tower.

Yes, Nutella is basically a food group over there in Paris.

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It is literally everywhere!

I also need to humble-brag about the fact that, aside from our airport trips, we walked everywhere. I tried to calculate how much we actually walked, and I think this is a low estimate, because I didn’t even include all the trips out to breakfast:

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So, with that in mind, we walked to The Louvre:

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Traveler Tip: Buy tickets in advance. We stood outside, in line, in the rain, for over an hour. Fail.

The Louvre was great, and it was awesome to see so many famous pieces of art and bits of history, but it was definitely overrun with tourists. It was almost impossible to even look at the Mona Lisa due to the crowd of tourists trying to take selfies with it.

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My favorite part of The Louvre was the Napoleon exhibit that contained different pieces of his apartment collections:

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After The Louvre, we walked back to our hotel (yes) through the gardens nearby, and took a detour to see the Arc de Triomphe.

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Our Valentine’s Day dinner was at an Italian restaurant called Villa Verde, not too far from our hotel. Literally, nothing we ate was bad. Everything was amazing. How is that possible?

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Sunday & Monday

Our last two days in Paris were spent walking around some more and eating. I mean, is there really any other way to do it?

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We visited Notre Dame…

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…the Pont des Arts… (yes we did put a lock of our own on there!)

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…perfect French bakeries…

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…and the Bastille.

Honestly, I wasn’t sure what to expect from our entire trip – I knew it would be amazing, and that I would love it, but I wasn’t prepared for how overwhelmingly beautiful this city would be. My friend Sarah told me that Paris is literally what you’d imagine it to be from pictures and movies, and she’s one hundred percent right.

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Paris, je t’aime.

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what’s in my bag: makeup edition

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I don’t know about you guys, but I love learning about what might be in someone’s makeup bag. The majority of my “must have”s were once items that I’d never heard of, but had read about on a blog or in a magazine. It’s posts like these, on other sites, that have informed a lot of my own makeup purchasing choices.

In general, I am addicted to black eyeliner – that’s always a mandatory essential. I’m not sure where that obsession originated for me, but it’s been my signature eye makeup look for at least a decade. This year, I’m trying to experiment with different lip colors and I’ve taken to embracing the “red lip classic” from time to time.

Here’s my current favs:

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1. Smashbox cream eyeliner palette – this is a secret weapon for the most foolproof cat eye ever. Even on those mornings when you’ve had too many cups of coffee. Pinky swear.

2. Nars blush in Orgasm – there’s no greater color than this. One does not exist.

3. Sephora’s Eyebrow Editor Brow Kit – considering 2015 is the year for getting your #eyebrowgamestrong, this little tool can help get you there. I’m obsessed with it – it remedies all the damage my over-zealous pluck-happy 15 year old self did.

4. Bare Escentuals Blending Brush – I haven’t used a different brand of face brush since I was 16. This is my tried and true favorite.

5. Buxum Lip Cream in Berry Blast – when I’m not experimenting with the red lip, this is my favorite. I like pairing a simple black eyeliner with a pop of lip color.

Runners up: 

Diorskin Nude BB Cream – insert heart-eyed emoji here.

Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara – no clumps, not ever.

Bare Minerals Eyeshadow in Heart – a perfect plum’ish color

Oh makeup…I could never get sick of thee.

Tell Me:

What are your makeup must haves? What’s currently in your makeup bag?

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#juno

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While everyone in NYC is whining about how they shut down the subways for nothing and they waited in those 3+ hour Trader Joe’s lines (lolz) all for a measly dusting (but still was like 8″ right?), over here in Boston, we’re basically on Mount Caradhras.

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I’m not really complaining though because we have two days off from work, still have all our power (umm knock wood), and Tuesdays are #PLL days.

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So far, it’s been a day of writing, baking, catching up on “Parenthood” (aka crying), and watching “Gilmore Girls” on netflix. All in all, a successful snow day working from home day.

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Juno is ready to get cozy with her hamburger phone, guys. She’s not going anywhere for a while. Where’s the wine?

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paris planning during a snowstorm

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I actually didn’t mind yesterday’s snowstorm. It was a good excuse to stay in comfy clothes all day and engage in a combination of productivity and laziness. I checked a few things off of my to-do list, and still had time to binge-watch Gilmore Girls. 

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Apparently, we’re supposed to get another blizzard this week. I’ve heard anywhere up to 20″. I’ve already mentally penned a “what I will do with my snow day(s)” list.

Doesn’t it seem that the media gets way too hyped up about snowstorms though? Like, not just to the point where they know it’s going to get attention from the public, but in a way that suggest that they themselves (individually) are really, really excited?

I mean, right?

Regardless, the snow was a perfect reason to drink several cups of coffee and start planning for Paris.

As someone who has never been to France before, it’s obligatory for me to do some of the “touristy” activities: The Louvre, Notre Dame, The Eiffel Tower, etc. Our hotel is in the 15th arrondissement, right near the Seine.

We booked our Valentine’s Day dinner at a restaurant called Villa Verdi, which boasts a view of the Eiffel Tower.

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Naturally, I also began to wonder “do they have cat cafes in Paris?” (of course they do.)

One of the things that’s hard about planning for a trip to a place I’ve never been is that I don’t know where to focus my research. Do we focus on location or affordability? Things that people say are “must do’s” or things that we find the most interesting? It’s hard to know where to look and equally hard to tell if there are things that are being missed.

Luckily, I found a couple of pretty great blogs that have been good resources so far:

My Parisian Life & Hip Paris are both awesome sites that have some pretty great ideas. I especially like that MPL has an entire section on vegetarian restaurants in Paris (since you know I’m not eating liver or duck or rabbit or whatever.)

Most importantly, I need to do some serious shopping in preparation for this trip. It’s only a few weeks away, and it’ll be here before we know it. O mon dieu!

Tell Me: 

How do you prepare for traveling to a new place?

What are your packing essentials when you go on vacation?

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