How To do gel nail polish and not damage your natural nails for beginners

This summer I really wanted to have trendy long nails. Got some pic inspo from Pinterest and headed to the nail salon super excited. I wanted almond shape and had a nail polish combo in mind too. I got poly gel extensions and omg… totally different from my expectations they looked ugly. I was so bummed! I can’t tell you how disappointed I was. They looked so FAKE. I haven’t had fake nails so I didn’t know what to ask for and tell the nail tech how to correct it. So I embraced the result and stuck with it for 2 weeks. I thought they will grow on me, but didn’t happen.

I know that some nail tech are good at mimicking that natural nail look but honestly every time I get my nails done I am regretting it afterwards. My gel polish would either peel off the first week or my nails would not be to my desired look. So that time I took a decision to grow out my own nails once I get those fakes off. I wanted natural looking long nails and in my mind my only option was to just get my natural nails grow out.

Ever since that growing phase started I got into gel nail polish. I like that it lasts longer and looks shiny and fresh until the end as opposed to regular nail polish that looses the shine and stars chipping way faster. But the main thing for me is that it makes the nails thicker ( I mean temporarily, only while you have it on. Not a long term fix)and provides that extra support for my natural long nails. It is what helped me grow them out. Because while I have it on, my nails are more break resistant and I don’t pick on them, which lets them grow. And even if it is a bit more damaging than regular nail polish I have mastered the technique by now and I keep the damage to a minimum so I can still have strong nails underneath the gel.

And here I will share my tips to do gel nail polish at home and it will be really helpful if you are a beginner. This is based on a lot of error and trial, techniques I picked up from professionals and a lot of research on google.

First thing is get a gel polish starter kit. Plenty of them on Amazon and very affordable. They come with all the necessary polish steps and a lamp. This way you don’t have to stress about what to get. Once you master the process you can go ahead and upgrade and buy individual polishes or base and top coat by your liking and needs. this one has a nice range of colors and a lot of other tools and goodies that you might get a use of in the future.

Gel nail polish is very different from regular nail polish. It requires some prepping of the nail and steps that you should not overlook.

After you do your basic mani steps and take care of your cuticles by pushing or cutting them, the first and crucial step is removing the shine off the nail. If you skip this step your polish will peel right off on the second or third day. I use a very fine buffing file and gently swipe it all over my nail. Making sure I get the part around the cuticle. This is usually the part where gel nail polishe starts to lift and then get caught in your hair or clothes and it gets super annoying and your manicure is going to its end.

Polishing file

STEP 2 use alcohol and a lint free wipes to remove any oily residue from the nails that can affect the longevity of your manicure.

Lint free wipes

STEP 3 use a nail primer (should be included in the kit). It gets your nail to the right pH level to prep it for the polish. You don’t need to cure after this step. Just wait for 1-2 min after application and move to step 4.

STEP 4 apply one coat of base and cure for 60-90 seconds. The curing time depends on the lamp you are using. Most of the lamps in those not professional starting kits are not really strong. So adjust the time of curing accordingly. Start with 60 seconds and add more if the polish hasn’t hardened.

If after you have cured it you feel you have a lot of sticky residue you can wipe the nail with alcohol and lint free wipe. You can repeat this process after each layer. Sometimes lint pieces get stuck on the sticky surface and it can ruin the appearance of the layers applied afterwards. I also recommend doing one hand at a time. Paint/cure / paint cure until finished and then move to the other hand.

STEP 5 apply a coat of desired polish color. I personally don’t like the look of really thick gel polish so I try to do thin layers. I place a dot a little bit over my cuticle and then spread the polish around. Trying to not go over the cuticle. I always get some polish over my skin and cuticle but I use a tiny brush dipped in nail polish remover to go around the cuticle area and clean the mess BEFORE I cure.

I always do at least 2 coats. Depending on the color and the desired result I may go over with a third one.

STEP 6 apply top coat and cure.

STEP 7 clean the sticky residue with alcohol and apply cuticle oil.

Repeat on the other hand.


My manicure usually lasts about 2-3 weeks. Most of the time I take it off after 2 and a half weeks before it even starts chipping because I don’t like the look of grown out nails.

Removal process is also very important so I don’t want to leave this out of the post. If you don’t do this right you can really cause damage to nails in the long run.

The best way I found is to use 100% Acetone! Even though pure acetone is believed to be damaging to the nails I feel that using milder nail polish removers can cause more damage. You won’t be able to remove it easily and you have to really scrape and pull the gel polish and this can really remove layers of your nail. And it can be painful as well. So by applying cotton rounds soaked in acetone and wrapping foil around each nail the gel gets really soft and easily slides right off the nail.

If you are concerned about the health of your nails. Leave them bare for a couple of days and use a nail strengthener in between your gel manicures. I love this one by OPI

Thanks for stopping by!

Here I experimented with some nail art
This are my natural nails with gel polish

Holiday 2021 Gift Guide for Her

It’s gift season again! If you are stuck with what to get your loved once this holiday season check my selection of items that could make a great gift. Some of them are on sale now so hurry up!

Le Creuset Pot

Ugg Classic Slippers

Revlon Hair Volumizer Brush

Jo Malone gift set

Knit Blanket

Warmer Coffee Mug

Dyson Air Wrap

Dyson Hair drier

YSL Perfume

YSL lipstick

Tom Ford Coffee Table Book

AD Coffee Table Book

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Glossier Serum Set

Thanks for stopping by ❤️

I hope my selection helps you!

Have a very happy holiday season,

Xoxo Ivelina

Sale Alert from Alo Yoga

I am so excited that this bundle from Alo Yoga is on sale right now. It’s everything you need for a pilates or yoga class. They named it the Ultima Home Studio Set but I better be seen with it. So cute and so many colors to choose from. I’ve been eyeing it for a while now and I would like to grab one for myself. But also with the holidays approaching this can make a great gift for the workout addict.

I am torn between the pink and the black set ,oh it’s so hard to pick one . Which one would you choose?

The Ultimate Home Workout Set –

And if yo spend $250+ on the website right now you can get the signature Alo yoga tote for free.

The ultimate workout set –

The ultimate workout set-

The ultimate workout set –
The ultimate workout set-
The ultimate workout set-
The ultimate workout set-

Best Self Tanners Review 2022! I have tested over 50

Are you ready to get bronzed before your summer vacay? Or just because you want to look and feel better. Whatever the reason I got a list of my favorite self tanners that never disappoint me.

A classic that will always be in my bathroom cabinet. Great for people that want a perfect glow but are not ready to get a very dark dramatic result. I have used it for quite some time and even though I have other favorites I tend to go back to this especially in the winter months when a very bronzed look will be a bit too unnatural. I also use it on my face and never get irritation, breakouts or clogged pores. Amazing color pay off. This is the only body self tanner that I trust for my face. And I also like the fact that it is not very dark. So whichever from the list below I have on my body. St Tropez classic bronzing mousse is on my face!

St Tropez Classic Mousse

This is by far my favorite one for deep, bronzed look. In my opinion it gives me the best color. Nothing can beat it. Very luxurious product and easy to apply and smells great.

St Tropez in Dark

When it comes to the face I sometimes use body self tanners oops… but if you have sensitive skin I would highly recommend one designed for the face. This serum from St Tropez combines a great color self tanner with some amazing skin benefits.

St Tropez Bronzing Serum

Bondi Sands has great quality self tanners on a very affordable price (compared to other self tanners in the same category). Great deep bronze color. If you want to look like you spend a week on the Caribbean this is your secret weapon. Smells like a tropical dessert and easy to work with.

Bondi Sands

Loving Tan is highly rated and there is a reason for it. A natural color pay off that never looks fake or orange. Gives just the right amount of bronziness and mimics the vacation look with a breeze. Very easy to apply. Great self tanner and beginner friendly.

Loving Tan Deluxe Mousse

My newest addition that ranked at my top is the St Tropez Classic in Lotion form. Same great color as the mousse but a different form. I love having options and this one has been on rotation lately. Gives me very nice color. Not overly dark but enough to see my inner golden goddess coming through 😉 When it comes to being tanned sometimes it’s more about how you feel. Tan gives me so much confidence!

St Tropez Classic Tan Lotion

And the last but surely not least is a gradual self tanner from , sorry, again, St Tropez. I just love and trust that brand when it comes to faux tan. They certainly know what they are doing. This gradual self tanner lotion is great for beginners or people that want to control the darkness of the final result. Builds a stunning color slowly. You can stop once you achieve the desired look or you can just skip a day and layer afterwards. I have tried it on my face with great results. I love this lotion in the winter. For warmer months I am more impatient and want a quicker results. But this product is a must have for me.

St Tropez Gradual Self Tan Lotion

If you guys are uninterested in this topic I have some videos on YouTube reviewing and applying some of those self tanners. Make sure to check them and don’t forget to SUBSCRIBE and support me there.

Thank you so much 🤍

Xoxo Iva

Loving Tan Deluxe Bronzing Mousse in Dark Review / Is it worth your money?

Who doesn’t want to be bronzed and glowy for the Summer? And some of us actually want to look like this whole year round. I don’t know what it is but a good tan is an instant confidence and mood booster for me.

And even though I found a couple of self tanners that I swear by ( St Tropez and Bondi Sands). (I have videos on YouTube and a blog post reviewing those), I can never stop exploring and testing new once.

I was really intrigued by Loving Tan as I have been seeing it on social media a lot. So I decided to give it a try and see if it is really the best self tanner out there as a lot of instagram models, influencers and bloggers claim. I have seen a lot of girls raving about it and rating it pretty high on the chart of faux tanners.

I picked up the Deluxe Bronzing Mousse in Dark, as first time using the product I was nervous to get the Ultra Dark. Anyway I am pretty pale at the moment and what I look for in a self tanner is a natural looking bronzed glow rather than a look of super dark, unnatural and fake color.

I always exfoliate prior to application and use a velvet mitt to apply. The product comes out really dark and warm colored foam, but looks very natural on the skin. Really easy to apply. Can get a tiny bit streaky while you rub it in but it is easy to blend the mistakes out after you go over them. The foam is a true foam texture. Fluffy and airy which I liked because I have used other self tanners with more liquidy foam and they really get messy and hard to apply.

Has nice , beach, vacation smell but highly scented. And after it starts developing a self tanner scent lingers for a while.

The guard color is not super dark so you need to pay attention where you apply. But I like that because some other self tanners that I have used have a really dark guard color and even though it allows you to see where you applied it looks very unnatural. So you have to really plan when you apply and make sure you stay home while it develops. Some other brands add a little bit extra green to their products to counteract the orange, but in my opinion, it doesn’t look that natural.

Loving Tan’s initial color pay off is realistic. Gives the appearance that you really laid down in the sun. Because that first sun kissed look that you get after spending the day at the beach is really warm, reddish , brown color. It makes you look youthful and flushed. This is what you get with the application of Loving Tan. I liked that I could apply it in the middle of the day, go out do my things without being afraid that I look like an alien.

It dries out pretty quick. If you choose to apply it during the day though be carful so you don’t get yourself wet, especially when you wash your hands or the dishes . Water might drip on your skin and it can mess up the look of your tan.

If you choose to wear tight, light clothes before it has fully developed it might transfer on them. But it washes out in the laundry.

I would recommend you to apply it in the evening so you can avoid any of the above mishaps.

The skin that reveals after you rinse out the guard color is natural, lightly bronzed and healthy looking . It is not as dark as I have seen on other people on YouTube or Instagram . But I love it!

Lasts about 6-7 days and it is very hard to tell how long exactly because it fades naturally and slowly, just gradually washes out with each shower. I was really impressed with the way it wears off. Did not have any weird patches around the wrist area or any other folds on the body like a lot other fake tans do when they start fading . After day 7 I like to use exfoliating mitt to remove whatever has left to ensure my skin is clean of any product left on it.

Overall a great self tanner that I will add to my favorites list.

  • Easy and mess free application
  • Nicely but highly scented and has a self tanner scent after it starts developing
  • Doesn’t take long to dry
  • Can transfer on sheets or lighter, tighter clothes but will easily wash out in the laundry
  • The tan that develops is healthy, bronzed and glowy looking
  • Lasts about 6-7 days

BUY it here:

Loving Tan Mousse

Exfoliating Gloves

Velvet Mitt

What I Want for Summer 2021

Here are a few affordable items that I am adding to my cart so I can be ready for summer!

All the items go really well together but can also be combined with so many other pieces and take you from the beach to dinner.

These bikinis from Amazon are such a high quality, so soft and stretchy and the cut is super sexy. If you are going to purchase them be aware that top and bottom are sold separately and they sell out quickly. They have great neutral colors that will look so good with tan. I am tempted to order more.

I know wool hat is not really for summer but this one just screams french classy to me and I don’t care I will be rocking it!

High quality white linen button down is essential for everyone, this doesn’t need much explanation.

Hair claws will replace my scrunchies this summer for sure.

I love those square toe flat sandals. I have been obsessed with the style for a while now but the ones I picked up last summer were high heels and I am glad I found those and can let my feet rest and still be trendy.

High quality canvas tote will go a long way! Great for the beach, overnight trips or as take it as a carry-on on the plane

Trendy pair of sunglasses that doesn’t break the bank gets me super excited. I can’t tell you how much I love this pair from Amazon.

White Linen Button Down H&M-

Bikini from Amazon –

Wool Hat H&M-

Square Toe Flat Sandals from Amazon-

Hair Claws-

Marc Jacobs Tote –


Affordable Things You Need to Buy for Spring 2021 HOME EDITION

With Spring around the corner I feel a desire to change my space a little bit and bring some freshness all around. In my last post I showed you items that I am adding to my closet for the warmer season but I also wanted to add something new to my house as well. I decided to play it safe and get items that have a clean and luxurious feel. All the items I picked are from H&M Home and are super affordable. I cannot express how much I am impressed with their quality and stylish look. Everything in their home collection looks way more expensive than it actually is, and the store is becoming one of my favorite places to shop for small decor items.


Salt & Pepper Stone Bowls

Storage Basket with Lid

Handmade Laundry Basket

Bedspread in Soft Muslin


Dish Bowl

Black Olive & Sage Candle

Linen Pillow

Affordable Things You Need to Buy for Spring 2021 FASHION EDITION

Recently I have been trying to resist the urge to buy everything that I see. Especially when it comes to fashion I have been more selective and buying thing that I can use and wear multiple times. With the new season approaching I have been wanting to update and refresh my look but still not overspend . Here are some cute and affordable items that I added to my cart to update my look for Spring . I feel like most of these items are very versatile and can be use throughout the other seasons as well but still add a little freshness for Spring.


A soft and warm pair of joggers is so trendy but yet super cozy and comfy. Great for travel or lounging around. The leggings I picked are so affordable but can compare to high end ones. They fit so well, lift your butt and tuck your tummy in. I like the unique color that is super fresh for spring but also kind of muted and neutral. The mini dress is great because it can be dressed up or down. Worn with high heels and denim jacket or with sneakers. I love sneakers and couldn’t resist adding a new pair to my collection. I picked a classic white Nike AF1 with a twist. So cute and trendy these sneakers will pair great with any of the other items plus pretty much anything else that I own.

Accessories are so important to add finishing touches to any outfit. And even if I don’t buy any new clothes adding trendy accessories can make such a drastic difference in an outfit and make it seem like a whole new one. I feel like bucket hats will be in for the months to come. Practical and super cute. This one from H&M is made of a high quality nylon that is easy to clean and comes in different sizes. New pair of sunglasses sounded really good to me since we are coming into sunny months. I picked this retro squared aviators, very unique and super affordable. They look really expensive and are of exceptional quality. And a pair of gold hoops to finish everything off and keep it classy and trendy. I spend a little more on them but I love jewelry and it is something that I like to splurge on because I feel like a good pair of gold hoops will go a long way. Plus in my opinion sometimes the cheap ones can have a weird gold color and look a bit trashy and we don’t want that 🙂

Bucket Hat :

Triple Hoop Huggies:

Retro Square Aviators:

Champion Classic Sweatpants:

Bodycon Mini dress from Amazon:

Yoga Pants from Amazon:

Nike AF 1 Sneakers:

Self Tanner Tips for Beginners

Faking the I-just-returned-from-tropical-paradise bronzed look, year round, has never been easier . With so many good self tanners to choose from you don’t need to bake yourself in the sun to get the look. The brands are definitely upping their game. But there is still a fine line from looking tan to looking like a carrot.

If you don’t want to cross the wrong path follow these easy steps to ensure you are always on your A-game every time you apply your fake tan at home.

Starting with one of the main things is choose your product carefully. My top ones are lotions, dry oils and foams. I try to stay away from sprays just because they tend to be really messy and I waste a lot of product with the application . The best and easiest to apply, especially for beginners are foams. It’s easy to control the application and the results I get are really good. The brands I like and trust are St Tropez, Bondi Sands (more affordable), I also like certain products from Banana Boat, L’Oreal always follows the trends but their products could be hit or miss, I feel like by being on trend they often discontinue their good products.

Another important thing that goes hand in hand with picking the right product is the application method. If you choose foam you need a good mitt. I would highly recommend velvet, soft and fluffy one that is lined inside and doesn’t allow the product to seep through and stain your hands. If you decide to go with a spray anyway ( do it either outside or put a towel on the floor if need to be inside and never turn the exhaust fan while doing it 🙂 you will thank me later), you can use a mitt to blend the color after you spray it on. But if you choose a lotion or dry oil DO NOT USE the mitt as it will absorb the product and make the application disastrous and it will result in uneven and patchy tan. Use your hands and wash them afterwards.

Before application always exfoliate and shave. I prefer using an exfoliating mitt or a brush. Some kind of a tool rather than a product. As a lot of the exfoliating products leave film afterwards. Same goes for the shaving , if you use a shaving cream or gel stick to something that doesn’t leave a residue. You want to have smooth and free of any products skin. The only places you should moisturize are the elbows, knees, the knuckles of your hands and around your feet. Or any skin that feels drier. Just so this way the tan won’t stick to it.

Then just apply the tan of your choice and wait for it to dry before you get dressed.

In order to extend the tan be gentle when you shower, stay away from harsh products and always moisturize your skin. With proper care. good fake tans can last about 5-6 days.


Deep/ Dark Results:

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in ULTRA DARK –

Bondi Sands Self Tanning Foam in DARK –

Self Tanning Mitt –

Medium to Dark Results:

St Tropez Classic Bronzing Mousse –

St. Tropez Self Tan Luxe Dry Oil-

St Tropez Gradual Face Cream –

Achieving a wash of color / Perfect for Fair skin and someone that is nervous to go really dark:

Banana Boat Self Tanner in Deep/ Dark –

St. Tropez Gradual Tan Tinted Body –

Watch my Youtube video for tips and tricks for beginners + Bondi Sands Ultra Dark Honest Review

Erewhon Kale & White Bean Salad copycat

On my last trips to LA I really wanted to go to Erewhon Market. It’s kind of funny because I usually want to visit trendy restaurants, hike and go to the beaches but this time I wanted to go to a grocery store. I have heard of this market in many YouTube videos and posts on Instagram and was curious to check it out myself. It was worth my time. A very different grocery shopping experience. Located in the middle of crazy busy surroundings but giving you a feeling like you are in a small neighborhood store. Very european vibe, like you are going across your building to grab your daily produce. But on the other hand gives you a VIP like experience with being greeted and guided from the parking lot. The set up inside the store is phenomenal. All the fruits and veggies are placed in kind of an old fashioned market, you won’t see any unnecessary plastic or sticky labels on the produce. Super green and organic look. Everything seems like hand selected and great quality, all the condiments , fruit jams, bread, everything seems like made from scratch with the best and cleanest ingredients. The packaging and containers are super cute. All those glass jars and bottles that you won’t want to throw out after you use up the product. Well at least me.

And then the salad bar and juice station . Everything I tried was super delicious and full of nutritious ingredients. You would see things like zucchini pasta, nut cheese, probiotic tonic , roasted root vegetables, gluten free, sugar free and dairy free desserts, nice cream. Things that sound super weird and you won’t find at your local chain grocery store.

Friendly and cozy atmosphere, that puts you at easy and away from the busy life outside. A grocery shopping trip that adds a sunshine to your day. If all the stores were like this grocery shopping would probably turn to my hobby haha.

When I got home I was really inspired to recreate one of the salads I ate.

It’s the Kale and White Bean salad with tahini dressing. Super easy, nutrient dense salad.


1 bunch of Kale

1 Avocado

1 Lemon

3/4 can White Beans

Baking & Spices

Salt & Black Pepper


3 tablespoons Tahini

1 teaspoon Mustard

1 tablespoon Maple Syrup

Nuts & Seeds

1/4 cup Hemp Seeds

1/3 cup Pumpkin Seeds

If you want to get the most of the benefits and the fullest in flavor I do recommend using organic ingredients.


Wash and clean the kale, remove any thick stems and chop.

In a small jar combine tahini, mustard, juice of the lemon, maple syrup, salt and pepper and shake it up good. If the dressing seems too thick add a spoon or two water.

In a large bowl gently toss the kale with the dressing. Add beans, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds and avocado cut into cubes.


I also featured this salad in my ” WHAT I EAT IN A DAY” video on YouTube

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