You asked – here it is, how to do gel nails at home and on a budget! I’ll do the official blog post and update this once it’s been 10-14 days, but so far, I’ve had no issues with the products.

Last week, I asked you what you would do – 1) Get Them Professionally Done or 2) Paint Your Own Nails. Stuck at 50/50 for a good chunk of the day, 247 of you finally pulled through to win with painting my own nailsYAY! 

After combing through my messages with recommendations and researching product reviews, this is what I ended up with.

How To Do Gel Nails At Home // The Products

  • Gel Machine // It had GREAT reviews, was recommended by a couple of you. I wanted a light that was affordable, a full light that had only an opening where you inserted your hand (not an opening at both ends as it doesn’t cure the nails as well. It is UV Light, but comes with a set of UV protecting gloves. I loved that there was a timer to turn the light on and off, too. Plus it was on sale and under $30 + there was a coupon, so I snagged it for $20!
  • Gel Polish Set // Awesome reviews, recommend. Plus, this is a set of SIX mini polishes, which is even better, because I KNOW I would not be able to go through a whole bottle and now I have six different color options for under $20! These come with different color set options, I went with the Nude Grays.
  • Gel Base Coat & Top Coat // I already have the Gelish Brand of these, but evidently didn’t use them fast enough, so the Top Coat got all gross. I snagged these for under $8 (mini versions). They didn’t smell bad, they worked really well, and they say it makes your color last for 2+ weeks. We shall see!
  • Cotton Balls or Cotton Rounds // I have a zillion of these at home, either works, but make sure you don’t get cheap ones. You’ll be using them to soak off your gel too. 
  • Soak Off Gel Polish Remover // This is a great option and has good reviews. You don’t have to scrap off a lot as noted in reviews and it smells like Coconut – win, win! 
  • Rubbing Alcohol // I used this after curing my top coat to wipe off any sticky residue. 

How To Do Gel Nails At Home // The Process

  1. Clip and File Nails. 
  2. Push Back Cuticles. 
  3. Clean with Acetone/Wash Hands – no soap.
  4. Thin Layer of Base/Foundation Coat – This step is super important, be sure to get your whole nail + Cure – time may vary depending on what machine you have. I say at least 60 seconds minimum, but usually stay under for 90 seconds.
  5. Thin Layer of Color + Cure
  6. 2nd Layer of Color + Cure
  7. Top Coat + Cure
  8. Wipe with Rubbing Alcohol

That’s It! Took me about 30 minutes and I did each hand separately.

How To Do Gel Nails At Home // The Cost

I ended up spending about $50, since I did have some of these products already at home. But $50 on products that should last at least 1 year… that’s less than $4.17/mth and I usually do my nails every 2.5 weeks so that’s $2.xx per mani. Not bad.

I’ll keep ya lovelies updated! 

xo, L

 

 

Universal Thread ReviewAnyone else excited about the NEW Universal Thread Clothing line that made it’s way to Target this week? This girl is!šŸ™‹  Mainly because this line was totally inspired by some of my favorite Madewell items, but at a more affordable price. I was super excited to try on the items and did an Instagram Stories Try-On for you all, but wanted to link the items here for quick shopping purposes + do a mini Universal Thread Review. I did not try everything on in their line, but picked out a few items I was interested in. Not all stores carry the entire Universal Thread line, so be sure to look online too!

For Reference:

I am 4’10”. I wear a Small in Tops and 25/26 in Bottoms. I do like to size up for an oversized look.

Universal Thread Review
Top (left) // Top (right) // Jeans

Women’s Striped Short Sleeve Button Down Shirt

I semi-regret not getting this one. I was hesitant because it was a little tight and I should have sized up to a medium, because I think I would have loved it. The small was just a little too snug and the material was more sheer, so I definitely would wear a bralette or tank underneath. I may go back to grab a medium, because it’s really cute!

Women’s Ruffle Sleeve T-Shirt

I really wanted to love this shirt because it looks great on the hanger, but I wasn’t a fan of the sleeves. The sleeves were like a regular t-shirt with a ruffle hem midway up, which wasn’t flattering to me. The ruffle look this season has me swooning and I wanted to add this one to my wardrobe. I may go back and try the striped one I linked below, but for now, I skipped this one. I sized up to a medium in this one because I prefer my tops to be a little loose, but I wasn’t sold.

Universal Thread ReviewTop // Jeans

Women’s Tie Front Striped Long Sleeve Button Down Shirt

Okay, this is definitely going to be a spring trend this year! I absolutely LOVE this shirt. When I first tried it on I liked it and decided to purchase it. I wore it today and it was so comfy. I think I am going to go back and grab it in a couple other colors, plus it was under $20! You can wear it tied in the front or you can keep it untied, but I am loving the cute front tie this year. 

 

Universal Thread ReviewCardigan (in Pink) // Top // Jeans

Women’s Open Layering Cardigan

This was probably one of my favorite items. The material was good quality, it fit very well, and I love the pink as a transition piece into spring. I’m wearing a small and it fits true to size.

Women’s High-Rise Released Hem Skinny Jeans

I really wanted to love these jeans. I tried them on with all of the tops above, but because of my height, they just didn’t work for me. They bunched a little at the knees on me. In store they only had Regular lengths, but I know online you can purchase them in Short, which I may do, but I’m also eyeing the Madewell Drop Hem ones that these are inspired by. I am all about a pair of good quality, flattering, long-lasting jeans, and those Madewell ones may have my heart, but I still go back to these as an alternative option!

 
I’ve linked some of the line above, let me know what you think of Universal Thread and if you’ll be picking up some of these cute items!
 
Universal Thread Review

Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!

If you remember in my last post, Valentine’s Day is all about the food for us! Whether we go out or eat in – which is about 50/50 each week depending on how we are feeling. This year we decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day early and teamed up with Whole Foods to bring you the perfect Valentine’s Dinner you can make at home for under $60!

Now, you know we shop at Whole Foods pretty often (usually 2-3x a month) in addition to some of other favorites (Trader Joe’s, Target, Costco), but we almost ALWAYS get our meat at Whole Foods. It’s just the TOP of the line and still affordable.

Shopping List

  • 2ct Filet Mignon
  • 1/2 lb Shrimp
  • Handful of Asparagus
  • 2ct Yukon Potatoes
  • Gorgonzola Cheese
  • 4 Garlic Cloves
  • Tablespoon of Chopped Onions*
  • Butter*
  • 1ct Lemon
  • Seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder*
  • Red Wine Reduction
    • Ferrari Carano Wine* or any red wine on hand
    • Balsamic Glaze*
    • Honey*
  • Mini Cheesecake
  • Strawberries

*Items we already had on hand and not included in the the cost. Quantity/Weight may also vary your cost. We chose LARGE filets. Our total cost was just under $60. We also snagged a dozen roses for $20.99 (Huge sale for 2 Dozen starting 2/7 for $24.99).

Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!

How to Make the Perfect Valentine’s Dinner At Home

Note – Most of our prep is “to taste” and we wanted to keep this as simple as possible for those that do and don’t cook often.

Dinner

  • Asparagus + Potatoes // Preheat oven to 400 degreesWash the asparagus, trim the bottoms, spread them out on half of a cookie sheet (we put foil on top for minimal mess when cooking), cut up the potatoes, place them on the other half of the cookie sheet, season to taste (we use salt, pepper, garlic powder, fresh garlic, and a squeeze of lemon, sometimes we add thyme). Bake in the oven for 25 min. Be sure to cook these BEFORE the meat and seafood because the meat only takes 6 min and seafood only 5 min. 
  • Filet // You have to get a great sear on both sides and the best way to do that is to heat the pan on high but before it burns, turn down the heat to a medium-high and add meat with a tablespoon of butter with some fresh rosemary. We usually will add another tablespoon of butter depending on the thickness of the meat. Give it 3 min per side, basting it every minute with the butter. Once there is a beautiful sear, put the pan with the steak directly in the 400 degree oven. Depending on how you want your steak prepared is how long you leave it in the oven for example, we like it medium-rare so no longer then 4 minutes in the oven. Once the internal temperature of the steak is 120 degrees, set it aside to rest. Don’t throw away anything in the pan yet – keep it for the reduction! 
  • Shrimp // Shrimp is one of the easiest dishes to cook and it adds tremendous value to the plate. To start, heat a pan with olive oil and butter while peeling the shrimp.We add a little fresh garlic to the pan for flavor. Place shrimp in the pan and season with salt and pepper to taste. It really only takes about two-three minutes each side to cook the shrimp. You know its done when it is a beautiful pink color. 
  • Red Wine Balsamic Reduction // This is Optional, but tastes OH SO GOOD! Take the drippings from the steak pan and mix them with about 1/4 cup of red wine. Reduce the wine down and add balsamic with a little honey for sweetness. Once the sauce has reduced by about a third, it is ready to serve! Make sure to taste it prior to turning the burner off just in case the wine needs more time. 

This year we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day early created the perfect Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!

Dessert

The most hassle-free BEAUTIFUL dessert option! And – it is delicious!

  • Strawberries // Wash and cut a small handful of strawberries (no stems), throw in a processor (We used our Magic Bullet) with a splash of water, some honey & sugar until pureed. Pour in a squeeze bottle, like this, and create a design on your plate! We just zig-zagged the middle section.
  • Cheesecake // Place your cheesecake directly in the middle and top with a freshly slice strawberry!

This year we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day early created the perfect Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!

This is one of our FAVORITE meals to date that we have made. We am a sucker for a good Surf and Turf and this dinner did not disappoint! What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? Are you ready to make the perfect Valentine’s Dinner at home for yourself, some gal pals, or a loved one?

This year we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day early created the perfect Valentine's Dinner that you can make at home for under $60!

This post is sponsored by Whole Foods Reno. As always, all opinions are our own and 100% honest. We will never share anything we do not love.Thank you for supporting the brands that make Change With Us possible! xo

*Change With Us uses affiliate links. Refer to our disclaimer for more info.*

 

Valentine's Day Gift IdeasWe do things a little differently around here for Valentine’s Day. Huge gifts aren’t our thing, so we opt for a nice dinner (either out or at home) and often just get something small for one another. If you’ve procrastinated on getting a little somethin’ somethin’ for your love then look no further – we’ve got a Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him & Her.

Pssst…. these are items we already love or they are in our shopping carts! We only share items that we LOVE or that we think our readers will LOVE. xo

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Under $100

Him –

// Kit loves these Nike’s. He is obsessed with them and wears them almost every day. He says they are super comfy! They also just came out with the new version of them as well.

// LOVE these watches. They are great for golfers or those that don’t care for the bulky look. Kit has a bunch of them. This one is on his wish list and it’s on sale right now for over 50% off!

// Tried and true cologne! This is my favorite and I love when Kit wears it! He’s been wearing this for years!

Her –

// My favorite perfume! I’ve been wearing this for about 3 years and I love it. I have allergies to a lot of scented items and this is the one perfume that hasn’t bothered me too much!

// Currently in my cart. This Gold Plated Bar Necklace is gorgeous!

// These flat mules are *heart eyes* all around! Perfect for that Spring Transition.

 

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas Under $50

Him –

// Those watches? Yeah, found another on sale for under $50! This one is a classic and Kit has a similar one.

// Joggers for men are totally in right now (yay!) + Kit has been eyeing this pair and this pair! They come in tan, black, and grey!

// Sock guy? Yeah – we own way too many, but these ones are perfect for Valentine’s Day! The patterns are perfect to wear afterwards too!

// Macbook Pro Guy? This super sleek, yet classic carrying case is awesome!

Her – 

// I’ve been eyeing these sunnies and they are on sale for $21 right now! These tortoise ones are just my style, too.

// The perfect dupe for the Free People Bralette and Nordstrom Bralette that everyone raves over. Fits TTS (true to size) and highly recommended!

// I just snagged these cute shoes and shared them on my Instagram stories! I love them and they come in 3 different colors. Also, these slip-on loafers are the perfect transition to spring!

// One of my all time favorite lip combos that looks great on everyone!

 

Gifts to SHARE

While I am all about getting your man (or woman) something special, I also love gifts that we just happen to buy for the both of us. Whether it’s for our relationship or for our home.

// This journal is so cute and I love that you can document your relationship!

// Personalization for the cooks! Love these aprons so much and that you can personalize them! Perfect for the kitchen (obviously), but also a cute in-home photoshoot? Yup – I like that idea!

// This letter board is perfect for “I love you” messages all year long!

Find something you like or want for Valentine’s Day but don’t see it on this list? Send me a message and I’ll add it and you can just send this blog post to your love bug and not have to worry about getting the *hint hint* to him/her!

xo, L

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

A few of weeks ago, we were invited to try Centro Bar & Kitchen’s NEW menu! We had just gotten back from a weekend full of no-tech, so I was so excited to pick up my camera to get some shots of the new food and drinks! Let me tell you, it was amazing!

Check out the new menu (PS – I realize this is probably hard to fully read, but I really just love the look of the photo and Kit’s wedding band, so you can check out the clearer menu here):

Hibiscus Pisco Sour

Centro started us off with this Hibiscus Pisco Sour, which was pretty yummy! I am a very slow drinker though, and didn’t love how the flower petals started getting in my straw/in my mouth, but if you are a quick drinker, it is really good! Plus, the little details that Centro takes for the topping of the drink are amazing!

Hamachi + Ahi Poke

The first dish they brought out was the Hamachi + let me tell you, I do not like raw fish (with the exception of Ebi and Ahi – do those count?). However, I am always up for trying something new and this hamachi was so fresh and delicious, I could have eaten 10 more! Thanks for being partners with Sierra Gold Seafood – best fish here!

The second dish was the Ahi Poke and I was in HEAVEN. Seriously, I could eat this all day, every day. It was so fresh and the flavor palette was on point. Centro – ya got me, you stole my heart with this Ahi!

 

Kale Salad + Scallops

The next dish prepared was a Kale Salad. If you like Kale, this salad is for you! I am not a blueberry person nor do I like Blue Cheese, but oh.my.gosh – this combination was divine! I skipped the blueberries, but that whipped blue cheese with the grapes, almonds, and kale was so freaking good!

Okay, if you know me you know I love scallops – enter the next dish…YES YES YES! Scallops + jalapeƱos? Count me in. The scallop was amazing and so were the jalapeƱos! I’m not a huge fan of the corn and fennel, but I could dig it when paired with the scallop.

El Tamarindo

Hello tequila! If you love tamarindo infused bozal mezcal, tequila, lemon, grapefruit, and tamarindo syrup, this drink is for you! Let me tell you, they don’t skip you on the tequila here!

Pork Belly + Lamb Chops

Let me ask you, would you eat apples with your pork? Yeah, me either – then enter the Pork Belly dish from Centro. Why oh why do you have to taste so good? And why do apples complete this dish? Have the answers, yet? Because I don’t. The chef is so darn good.

Move on to the Lamb Chop. Anything with Ricotta Cheese or cheese in general, an Italian’s DREAM! This lamb chop melted in my mouth and the pairing with ricotta, cous-cous, and tomato – yep, we have a winner.

  

Vieux CarrƩ + Donut Holes

Alright whiskey & cognac lovers – here’s a drink for you, yeah you, you sly, sly husband of mine. This is the perfect drink to pair with ITSELF. Drink it alone, drink two, drink three, drink it with some grub, just drink it. Kit loves this drink, I’m on the lighter side of alcohol in terms of taste, so he was happy to drink two!

Now let’s get to the finale. The donut holes. The berry compote. If you know me – I LOATHE donuts – the smell, the taste – not my jam. But these donut holes had more of a funnel cake tendency. They were yummy! I skipped the berry compote – hello blackberry allergy, but Kit said it was such a good combination!

Thank you again, Centro for having us! The new menu is rad and we cannot wait to see what the future holds for you, us, and our local Reno community. 

Check out some behind-the-scenes from Instagram Stories during the new menu preview where we got to meet some local celebrities (like Edible RenoTahoe’s Amanda & Jackie and City of Sparks folks – not pictured because everyone’s enjoying the food!) There’s nothing like great food and good company!

xo, L + K