My favorite things: San Francisco Soap Company Sugared Citrus lotion

Admit it. When you stay in hotels and find tiny bottles of lotion in the bathrooms, you take them with you when you leave. More often than not, they’re watery and useless and don’t smell like anything, but they’re at least something to throw into your purse for emergencies.

A year ago, I stayed in a hotel somewhere in Iowa for a band trip. I don’t remember anything about the hotel but this: The complimentary lotion was the best I’ve ever smelled. Not only did I grab my bottle on the way out, but I asked a friend in another room to snag me his, too. I’d never heard of the brand, San Francisco Soap Company. The scent is called Sugared Citrus, but I don’t know how to describe what it actually smells like; “citrus” always means “orange” in my brain, but it doesn’t smell like an orange. It’s strong, but too good to get tired of it. I kept one bottle in my purse for a year, one in my backpack, and they were well loved.

When Christmas rolled around this year and my family started asking me what I wanted, I remembered this lotion and thought it was time for an upgrade. I didn’t know where you could find the lotion in a store, but it wasn’t hard to find the San Francisco Soap Company website on Google, and on Christmas morning I had a nice box of Sugared Citrus under the tree.

I haven’t used the body butter or the shower gel yet — don’t want to use everything at once! — but the lotion is great. It’s a lot thicker than the version I got from the hotel sample, perfect for super-dry winter skin, but the scent is just the same, just as wonderful. If you’re looking for a great new scented lotion but don’t want to wear the same Bath and Body Works scent as everyone else, I highly recommend Sugared Citrus. Cheers.

New favorite beauty item: Sally Hansen Crackle nail polish

I’ll be honest with you: I’m not really a nail polish person. I like having my nails done, but I’m not good at it myself. In grade school, I thought it was cool to paint each nail a different color; in high school, the no-nail-polish rule of competitive marching band got me out of the habit of painting my nails. I still mostly don’t bother because I chip them all the time, anyway. On the rare occasion I do paint my nails, they come out sloppy.

When OPI debuted its “Shatter” nail polish, I was confused. “You paint it on… and then it splits apart? How does that even work?” I was also intrigued by the possibility of a polish that worked to look cool all on its own, no skilled application required. I’ve been on the hunt for months for “Shatter” or one of the many similar polishes it inspired, and I finally managed to get one Friday: Sally Hanson’s “Crackle” in “Ink Splatter,” the basic black ($7 at Walgreens).

Okay, fine, the main reason I wanted this polish was that my school colors are black and gold, and I wanted to have black and gold nails. I’m a huge school spirit nerd. What better opportunity to give this stuff a try than during a football weekend? I grabbed my Crackle and my gold nail polish (Sinful Colors “This Is It,” $2 at Walgreens) and went to work.

After consulting with an old College Fashion article, I applied two coats of gold, waited long enough for them to dry completely, and carefully painted the Crackle on top. The result? Awesome!

Like I said, I had no idea how this stuff actually worked, and it blew my mind. You paint on a layer of Crackle, covering the whole nail, and it just pulls together and cracks up before your eyes! I loved that it doesn’t matter how sloppily you apply it, because it’s going to shrivel up anyway. If you think you have a “bald patch” somewhere, you can just dab on some more. If you think one area didn’t crack as much as it should, you can wipe the polish off with a tissue and try again. Even after painting all of my nails and redoing one finger three times, the whole process only took about 15 minutes. So perfect.

I was grateful for two tips College Fashion gave: use a very, very thin coat of Crackle, and finish with a top coat. Using less polish allowed it to crack more, and the top coat made the Crackle, which was pretty dull on its own, shine (I took the photo before I added the top coat; the final result was much prettier. Sorry!).

I had balked a little bit at spending $7 on polish, but I’m so glad I did! For now, I have perfect game day nails, but I’m already dreaming up more possibilities — Crackle comes in several other colors. Black and orange for Halloween! Red and blue for the Fourth of July! Red and green for Christmas! What happens if you combine two different shades of Crackle? I can’t wait to find out. Cheers!