Techno Fashionista: DIY, At-Home gel manicure kits – worth the investment

Six weeks ago I ordered an “at home” gel manicure kit from one of my favorite online flash sale sites.  I am a do-it-yourselfer, so this was right up my ally.  When my new Red Carpet Manicure Gel Polish Pro Kit arrived in the mail, I was totally excited.   As a huge fan of gel manicures and pedicures, I frequently dole out $70 – $80 per visit for the beautiful, glossy gel effect that lasts 2-3 weeks without chipping like regular polish.   When I saw the Red Carpet Pro Kit listed on GiltGroup.com, I thought, “why not try it”.  It will pay for itself in 2-3 uses.

Carla Franklin - Gel Manicure set

The kit was really easy to use came with a classic red polish.  I purchased additional colors and fell in love with a Coral color that accentuated my brown skin so well.  Just like the salon, I exposed my nails to the UV light dome between coats, which allowed the gel to dry instantly.  The top coat sealed the color in and gave my nails a great glossy/wet look that lasted 2.5 week.

Carla Franklin - Gel nails

I highly recommend at home, DIY gel manicure kits.  They are easy, cost effective and fun. Red Carpet Manicure sells great starter kits, but I’m sure there are other great brands also.  Additional gel colors can be purchased at Ulta.com or Target.com for roughly the same price as regular polish.

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Techno Fashionista: A pink swing skirt to brighten up the work day

It was so much fun to wear this ensemble to the office last week.  Colorful skirts and dresses always provide a feminine flare and a great alternative to the drab and boring work dark suit (black, grey, navy blue…take your pick…boring!).  I coordinated a hot pink skirt by “Wow Couture” with a black “BCBG” top, adorned with a beaded accent.  A pair of black peep toe shoes by Nine West, rounded out my outfit.  Ladies, don’t be afraid of color in the office. Bright hues are a great way to liven up your work day!!!!

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 1

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 2

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 3

Carla Franklin - Hot pink 4

Happy birthday Whitney – One of America’s greatest singers ever….

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Whitney Houston young - Carla Franklin Whitney Houston adult - Carla Franklin

Whitney Elizabeth Houston was born August 9, 1963 in Newark, New Jersey.  This beautiful song bird entered the music scene in the 80s and took the world by storm.  I remember being in awe of her as a child.  Whitney’s voice and beauty were both remarkable.  Her untimely death last February was tragic, but her legacy and music will live on.  Happy birthday Whitney…you are still loved and dearly missed.

Urban Art Scene – An evening stroll through in the Meatpacking district

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New York is full of gritty, hard realities.  Life in New York is softened by the art scene…but I don’t just mean art hanging in museums.  The patient observer, who takes time to stop and note the constant presence of street art and graffiti that color every surface in the city of Gotham, will witness amazing beauty in every nook and crevice of the city.  I took these shots in the Meatpacking district of Manhattan, after a typical evening dinner with friends.  This bold and unassuming art is so integrated into backdrop of the area that most New Yorkers overlook it.

Never Stop – The Brand New Heavies

One of my favorite #OldSchool #AcidJazz tunes is Never stop.   Ms. N’Dea Davenport took The Brand New Heavies to new heights of success as the band’s lead singer and helped make this song a hit.  I’m so happy to see that she’s collaborating with the band again.

Urban Gourmet: Fiddleheads & Ramps from the farmers market

Having easy access to fresh, locally grown vegetables through various farmers markets around the city is one of the best things about living in New York City.  Fiddleheads and Ramps are in season and pair well with fingerling potatoes and fresh, free range eggs for an amazing weekend brunch.   I made Fiddleheads today as a bunch sidedish, and will be eating them at least once a week until they are out of season (in a few weeks). Below is my simple and easy recipe for sautéed Fiddleheads.

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Carla’s Farm fresh Sautéed Fiddleheads

Ingredients:

1/4lbs of Fiddleheads
4 cups of Water
3 Tbs of organic Butter
3 medium Shallot bulbs, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/8 tbsp of smoked sea salt
1/4 tbsp of freshly ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Remove any brown/yellow skin clinging to the Fiddleheads, then rinse thoroughly;
  2. Heat water in a small pot. Boil Fiddleheads in water for 3-5 mins.  Remove from water and drain on a paper towel;
  3. Melt butter in a frying pan over a medium flame;
  4. Add the 3 chopped Shallots and 4 minced garlic cloves to the pan.  Sauté for 3 mins, or until shallots turn transparent;
  5. Turn the flame up a bit, and add cleaned Fiddleheads to the pan;
  6. Sauté for 5-10 mins, until Fiddleheads turn dark green and frond start to get a bit crispy;
  7. Remove mixture from heat and drain on paper towel;
  8. Sprinkle with smoked sea salt and fresh pepper.
  9. Serve has a side dish

Friday Flashback: Run DMC and Aerosmith

#BackInTheDay, in the 1980s, before #autotune made the voices of the untalented tolerable…when MTV actually played music videos…and guys walked around with boom boxes that played tape cassettes  (a relic from the 80s)…and girls coiffed their hair into gravity defying sculptures…and Dynasty and Dallas rules the TV airwaves , the music was so much better.  This collaboration by Run DMC and Aerosmith is one of the BEST in the past 30 years.  This song united hip-hop heads, and hard rockers.  I miss good music.

Office style: Red & Leopard

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I love mixing patterns and styles. Red goes so well with leopard print.  My dress is by Catherine Malandrino and the pumps are Steve Madden.  This look shows how seamlessly pricier designer styles can be mixed with mid-priced labels.

Techno Fashionista: Houndstooth swing dress in the office

Houndstooth fashion - Carla Franklin
Houndstooth and boots- Carla Franklin

Certain classic patterns never go out of style. Houndstooth is one of these patterns. I coupled this Houndstooth dress that I picked up at a vintage boutique in Tribeca with a cute pair of knee-high boots by Charles David. I accented the a patent leather belt. Fun look for the office.