Transparent Liquid Container with Pump | Born Pretty Store In-Depth Review


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Items provided for review.

I came across this cute pump container on the Born Pretty Store website one day and was keen to try it for my nail polish remover. Currently, I pour it into a little bowl but the liquid quickly evaporates and I waste a lot of expensive product (hello! Zoya Remover Plus). This bottle looked like it would solve my dilemma and keep a good amount of liquid for easy access without having to constantly refill it!


2-fullbottle_edited-1There are no size specifications on the website but I assume it holds at least two fluid ounces.  The flip lid securely fits over the push-down pump inside so even if the container falls, liquid does not spill. The one feature I appreciate the most is the straw attached to the pump. It reaches the bottom of the bottle so I do not waste product! The entire top screws on and off easily at refill time.


1-zoyabottle_edited-1A full pump releases enough liquid to saturate a cotton swap while four or five pumps wet a cotton ball. It is definitely quicker to soak the cotton ball directly from the remover bottle.



3-foodcoloring_edited-1This container costs $3.00 which makes it a steal. I sometimes notice cheap imitations come with broken springs and unmovable pumps. Even though this pump is a little stiff it is not unusable. I easily use it one-handed which is great while I paint my nails. It is also a lot more convinient to move than my 25 ounce bottle of remover.

Any liquid works so it is not exclusive to nail polish/art. I switch out the nail polish remover with rubbing alcohol, hydrogen peroxide or water to fit my needs.


You can check out the item here and don’t forget to use my 10% off code if you place an order!

10% off code

Shimmer and Shine Double Stamping | Nail Art


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I never got the hang of double stamping. The images never came out quite right. I cannonballed right in without thinking, tried two different patterns and never nailed the landing.

Today, I took a step back and tried something simpler. It took a little practice but I finally decided on the best look. I used the same pattern but simply positioned the second stamp higher than the first. And, while this is nothing special I think it is a huge accomplishment for me!

I hope you like it!

Metallic Double Stamping Nail Art | The Rite of AgingBase: Pahlish La Royale

Stamping: Pueen Cosmetics plate PUEEN45 (Love Elements collection), Zoya GoldieSeverine


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

Birthday Stamping Decals! | Nail Art

My 25th birthday was less than ideal. Three days before it Saachi collapsed from a tumor pressing against her lungs. She was still in the hospital and because everyone was worried about her they forgot my day! My father remembered but he was the only one.

I’ve never been one for birthdays. My mom made a big to do over them. Dad and I were content with a few “happy birthdays” and a family dinner but anything afterwards we found unnecessary. And even though I was not one to make a big deal it would be nice if someone remembered…


My 26th birthday was amazing! I got “Happy Birthday’s” from all my social media outlets, my family texted and called and I even got presents! We rarely exchange gifts (even for major holidays) so I was completely taken aback. I taught a morning class so I was done with work at 9am and I took the best nap. ever.

My dad cooked my favorite dinner and bought me a cake!

We buy the same cake for every occasion (birthdays, pets birthdays, any sort of celebration). It is a simple strawberry cake from Fresh Fields (edit: Whole Foods). There are three layers of plain sponge separated by strawberries and fresh cream topped with whipped cream and almond slices. Mmmm!

And, because I was in such a good mood I painted my nails to mirror my happiness. I topped them with glitter and metallics and stars!


1-stamping decalBase: Zoya Charlotte

Glitter: KBShimmer Sand in My Stocking

Stamping: Pueen Cosmetics plate PUEEN44, Konad Stamping Black, Serum No.5 Fallen, Zoya GoldieSeverine


Orencia – Month Seven | Rheumatoid Arthritis & Nail Art


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I have been on Orencia Abatacept for seven months. This is around the time we see the effects plateau. I took Orencia three times previously, both in subcutaneous and interveneous forms and each time I saw a dip in its effectiveness.

Orencia always works better than the other biologic medications. I feel less fatigued, painful and swollen. I also do not have any reactions to it which is a huge bonus.

And, even though this medication works best, the effects only last a couple of weeks. When I feel well, I wake up early and only need a short nap during the day but as the Orencia wears off I sleep later in the mornings and pass out for hours at a time during the afternoons. Sleeping is the best. I love napping but if I look back on the past five years I realize I spent more than half of it not awake! That’s a lot of time wasted…

When I go in for my infusion I am down for the count for a couple of days. I am not necessarily lethargic or painful, just a little out of it. Once the following week rolls around I snap back to attention, I have a bounce in my step and I feel “better”.

As the Orencia builds up in my system I do not think I will feel “better” immediately after each infusion but I shouldn’t feel worse. I still crave sleep and feel a noticeable dip in energy toward 3 or 4 pm. I am not sure if this is normal for seven months into this medication.

I sometimes feel like climbing after work but more often than not I just feel tired. The farther I have to drive (for work) the less likely I can do anything afterwards. I am usually too exhausted to even do my nails!


Regardless of my grievances, I prefer Orencia more than the other biologics but I wish it worked even better. But, I guess, beggars can’t be choosers!

Below, is the nail art I made for this month’s Orencia post. I hope you like it!

1-orenciadotsBase: Milani Power Periwinkle (old formula)

Dots: Zoya Crystal (un-matte), China Glaze UV Meant to Be, Pop Beauty Pacific Hoot, Glitter Gal Australia Bluemerang, Milani Blue Print (new formula)

Matte Top Coat: Essie Matte About You


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

Splodge and Squish | Nail Art


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Some items provided for review.

Oh Winter Storm Jonas, how you have flared my rheumatoid arthritis. I am going to be all over the RA-friendly nail art techniques because of the aftermath (read: shoveling ourselves out of our houses) of the freak blizzard we had on the East Coast. As of now, we are still stranded on our street and just finished shoveling our driveways. Tomorrow we tackle the walkway to the mailbox!

One of the most RA-friendly nail art techniques is plastic bag marbling in which I place dots of polish on my nail then squish it around with a plastic baggie. I saw stamper-made marbling all over Instagram recently and gave it a go. It was interesting and fun but I liked the former technique better. When I used the stamper, the polish applied sheer and it took three “attempts” to build up the opacity; once it dried on the stamper I had to start the process all over again. Placing the polish directly to the nail was quicker, easier and just way more convenient.

Regardless, I will continue to play around with the stamper and see if I can come to enjoy it more!

Please check out my video tutorial for this look! I also demonstrate how to use the new design foils from the Born Pretty Store.


Bases: SinfulColors Whiteboard, Wet n Wild Black Creme

Details: Milani Vivid Violet, China Glaze UV Meant to Be, Picture Polish Serenity, Formula X Nails Platinum Prime

Foils: Born Pretty Store ($1.42/roll here)


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

10% off code

Yellow Chevrons | Nail Art & Review

Some products provided for review.

I rarely make chevron nail art because I just don’t feel particularly inspired by them. However, I decided to give them a try because maybe I just needed to use them more and to fall in love.

The Born Pretty Store chevrons are pretty good. Though, I wish they were stickier and thicker. They were difficult to maneuver on the nail just because they were so small but otherwise performed as typical nail stickers. 

I hope you like the look I created!


1-chevronsBases: butter London Scuppered, Zoya Pippa

Gold Glitter: SinfulColors All About You

Chevron Stickers: Born Pretty Store ($1.59/roll here)


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.

10% off code

Reflections – 2015 A Year in Review | Lifestyle

I do not make a habit of reflecting on previous years at the beginning of a new one. I do not think reaching into the past and re-living memories brings solstice and comfort. If anything, it only brings pain and reminders of emotional baggage I would rather forget. I am not a sentimental person so I do not hold on to the good memories either. I remember them, yes, but good memories are more likely to hold me back than bad ones. Why? Because I may hold every future event to the standards of previous ones and not fully appreciate moments.

Yet, I digress…


I reflected on this past year because 2015 was different from any other. It was the worst year of my life. This is not say I have not experienced worse but only that this was a consistently down year with very few up points. I am happy to see it come to an end and look forward t0 the new year in a way I never did before.

January started out cold and snowy. Schools were let out and snow days piled up. For the most part I did not worry that my classes were postponed. I did mind, financially, because in January alone I had to buy a new battery and tires for the car and a new heating system for the house. I did not get paid for the classes until I taught them. The make-up lessons were in March so I lost out on quite a bit of money in the short term.

I had gone with much less and made it through unscathed, but at the end of January Saachi collapsed because of a 14cm tumor pressing up against her lungs. For seven weeks I cared for her as the cancer spread quickly through her body. I rushed her to emergency and carted her to chemotherapy. My RA symptoms increased rapidly due to the extra stress and typical winter weather. I was no longer a functional human being. I was in pain and I was angry my dog was dying.

Everyone was so worried about Saachi my birthday slipped by unnoticed. I was never big on birthdays. I was perfectly content with an occasional “Happy Birthday” said in passing but 2015 marked my 25th and nobody cared. My father remembered but he barely touched on it before conversations turned to Saachi.

Spirits already low, I watched Saachi’s body fail her. My father was still abroad so I, alone, took care of her. After bouncing back from multiple tumor ruptures, her body disintegrated. She could no longer deal with the pain but her mind remained as fit as ever. This eased our guilt when we decided to euthanize. She walked into the clinic, on her own, with her tail held high. The cancer and pain had not spread so far that she did not recognize us.

At this point, my finances really caught up to me. I had spent more than a good amount on Saachi’s wellbeing (something I will never regret) and ended up in major debt. I had to ask my father to help me pay off credit cards and car payments. This is something I had not done since high school so this stretched my emotional strain further.

The stress of that seven weeks and the pain of losing my first pet shot my immune system and wiped away any progress with the RA. My doctor forced me to switch to a different biologic medication so we forgot about the Orencia and tried Actemra.

We saw improvement during the first month but by the second I was no longer able-bodied. I only managed work and even that was difficult. And, for the first time, I needed assistance to walk. I intermittently need the aid of a cane or walker. I could not switch back to the Orencia because it took time for biologics to build up in the system and I had to wait at least three months. For all we knew, this was just the dip between the Orencia tapering out of my system and the Actemra building up in it.

This disastrous transition occurred during the lovely spring and summer months and I spent all of it indoors. I could not enjoy my favorite time of the year so I became even more recluse than ever. Nobody noticed. Not only was my birth inconsequential, so was my existence. I did not hear from anyone for months. For all anyone knew, I did not exist and they didn’t care.

I was back on the Orencia, summer camps were over, and the fall semester started. A week before my classes were to begin I found out most of them had low enrollment and I lost more than half of them. I lost 75% of the money I thought I’d make. I was in no physical position to work another job so I twiddled my thumbs until a new batch of classes started. Even with the initial loss, I still came through the semester with a full schedule but September was fiscally devastating.

I had nothing to take my mind off this financial setback. I gave up climbing because the two times I went, earlier in the year, left me with bad flares that lasted over a week (read: walker). I could deal with the flares, but I was not in a stable enough mental state to see how far my ability fell. I used to be a fantastic rock-climber but now I struggled to complete introduction climbs for people who had never climbed before. Climbing became emotionally exhausting and I could not bring myself to continue with it.

This brought its own set of anxieties. I was forced to give up my hobby of over 12+ years. How could I deal with that? Rock-climbing was not only a hobby but part of my identity. I didn’t know who I was without it.

I focused my energies on nail art, a pastime I turned to when my RA repressed all other activities, but then my camera broke and I struggled to post content I was proud of. I wanted to start a beauty YouTube channel but that was also on the back burner. I put aside money to buy a new camera.

With enough saved up, pay over time features and other little savings tricks here and there I was all set to buy the camera when Affie’s jaw finally became infected. We struggled with her teeth and gums since she was a puppy. The infection ate away her jaw bone (already weak from a previous fracture) and I paid for oral surgery to remove her teeth. I also do not regret this decision. Had I not done the surgery, her jaw would most certainly re-fractured, she would succumb to heart and stomach disease and potentially a whole other set of health issues. At the age of 10, I did not want to take any chances with her health.

Affie came out of her surgery healthy and happy and a little gummy and December started out well. The best month out of the entire year. I was nearly out of debt, we would have a full house for Christmas and the weather was mild.

Just as my winter break began I cracked a rib due to RA-related osteoporosis. I could not lift anything and I could not sleep laying down. I was down for the count over the holidays.

I finally realized vet school was not a viable option. If I couldn’t lift a 40 pound bag of cat litter how was I to finish four years of physically intensive vet school? I was thrust into an existential dilemma. What was I going to do with my life?

I never once wavered in thinking that I was going to vet school. I never had any reason to. Well, here it was, proof that vet school might be impossible for someone with an uncontrolled autoimmune.


That was 2015. Some good things happened but nothing fantastic enough to break through the wall that cropped up around my life. Even if it had that potential, something awful quickly followed, pushing those few instances of happiness back into the depths.

This is 2016. I am out of debt, my medications are working and I am much happier. I cannot say this mood will last but as of now 2015 is a distant memory.


Hi, my name is Monica and I have RA.


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