What’s 7 Free and Why You Should Be Using Non-Toxic Nail Polishes.

Do you ever find yourself decoding beauty ingredient labels? Many brands claim their products are safe and natural but are still filled with many chemicals. When you think about getting a manicure and pedicure you envision a relaxing experience, but instead, the chemicals in your nail polish could be giving you long-term health problems.  The Environmental Protection Agency classifies nail polish as a hazardous household waste 

Familiarize Yourself With The Toxins:

Formaldehyde: Keeps the nail polish from breaking when it dries, can cause allergic reactions. It is a commonly used chemical to preserve dead things like humans and animals. It is a known human carcinogen, a factor directly involved in causing cancer that can cause ear, nose, throat, and skin irritations.

Dibutyl Phthalate: Another plasticizer that adds elasticity and extends the lifespan of the polish that has been linked to cancer.  This toxin was added to the California Proposition 65 list of suspected teratogens, which are agents that cause malformations of an embryo.

Toluene: Which is used as a solvent to ensure a smooth and blended formula, is also added to gasoline to produce benzene. You can be exposed to this toxin by breathing it in or getting it on your skin, causing irritation.A possible reproductive and developmental toxin that causes headaches, dizziness, and fatigue. It can cause liver, kidney and brain damage, as well as damage to a developing fetus. 

Formaldehyde Resin: Which is a derivative of Formaldehyde, mainly used in the production of coatings and adhesives. which add flexibility and gives the polish staying power, can cause skin inflammation and s a skin allergen known to cause dermatitis.

Camphor:  Which prevents polish from cracking or chipping right away. In large enough doses, it can potentially cause nausea, respiratory distress and even seizures. This is a scented substance derived from the wood of the camphor tree, and acts as a cover on your nails, depriving them of nutrients and causing yellow staining on your nails.

Triphenyl Phosphate (TPHP) is a chemical used in plastics to improve flexibility and as a flame retardant. A handful of animal studies and in vitro studies have suggested that it could be anendocrine disrupter which affects your hormones – in particular, it could potentially affect reproductive health and lipid metabolism.

Xylene is irritating to the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract. It can cause systemic toxicity by ingestion or inhalation. The most common route of exposure is via inhalation. Symptoms of xylene poisoning include CNS effects (hea ventricular arrythmias, acute pulmonary edema, respiratory depression, nausea, vomiting, and reversible hepatic impairment.

Your nails are made of keratin, a protein made of dead cells. If nail polish is being placed on dead cells what’s the big deal? Your nails are actually quite absorbent, especially when exposed to a combination of solvents and chemicals that are found in nail polish. Let’s not forget about the absorption through your cuticles and surrounding skin, that are potentially getting into your bodily systems. There is no way to have a chemical free nail polish but you can find safer alternatives. When shopping for nail polish try your best to stay away from at least the toxic trio-toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate if you cant find a 7 free product.


Crunchy French Toast

Crunchy French Toast

Your new favorite french toast recipe! Crunchy french toast with that addictive extra crunch your entire family will love. This will definitely be a repeated recipe in your household.

10 minPrep Time

10 minTotal Time


Recipe Image
Save RecipeSave Recipe


  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 8 cups cornflakes, crushed
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 12 slices Texas toast, sliced diagonally into triangles
  • Syrup, whipped cream, and fruit, for serving
  • "!Vanilla Bean Glaze"
  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract


  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix confectioners' sugar, water and vanilla in medium bowl until smooth.
  3. If necessary, stir in 1 to 3 additional teaspoons water until glaze is of desired consistency.
  4. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla until well blended.
  5. Slowly whisk in baking powder until smooth.
  6. Add cornflakes to a second shallow bowl and place next to the batter.
  7. Heat 1 inch oil in a heavy skillet to 325 degrees.
  8. Working with 1 or 2 bread slices at a time, dip bread in batter and allow any excess to drip off and back in to the bowl.
  9. Roll generously in cornflake crumbs. Immediately fry in oil until golden brown, about 1 minute per side.
  10. Drain on paper towels/ wire rack and transfer to a baking sheet in oven to keep warm.
  11. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
  12. Top with powdered sugar and serve warm with maple syrup, and whipped cream

Holy Nails! A New, Non-Toxic Nail Salon In The North Center Neighborhood

Keep the pampering and ditch the toxins at Lincoln Squares’s newest non-toxic nail salon. You can smell the flowers the moment you walk in and not the harmful chemicals. If you have been searching for the perfect organic and non-toxic nail salon… Look no further! Holy Nails is your match made in heaven located in the heart of North Center offering luxurious nail treatments that are as good for the environment as they are for your fingers and toes.Choosing organic nail salons is a great way to enjoy your mani-pedi without the toxins and chemicals found in mainstream salons. Holy Nails is a  nail salon that provides non-toxic polishes that are “7-Free” and carry Zoya, Ella Mila, Essie, and OPI.. 7-Free products do not contain: Formaldehyde, Toluene, DiButyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin, Camphor, TPHP, Xylene. All products used for pedicures are organic and disposable tools are used for each customer.

Being from Miami, a very humid climate then moving to California, a dry climate caused my skin to go thru many changes.In addition to the repeated exposure to chemicals and irritants resulted in my diagnosis of dermatitis. Due to my skin conditions, I have to be mindful of the products I use on my skin.  I have tried multiple nail treatments and through trial and error, I have found that not every treatment agrees with my skin. Acrylics are a rite of passage for many women but for me, they are a no go. I am allergic to acrylics, which cause swelling, redness, and itchiness to my hands and around my nail beds. After finding this out from my nail technician I was determined to find a non-toxic natural alternative to start my nail journey of growing my natural nails out after all the damage I had put them thru.

I found Holy Nails online on Yelp and I was excited to give them a call after viewing all the wonderful reviews on their page. I explained my situation and the goal I was trying to achieve and Veronica told me to come right in.I arrived at her beautifully decorated, flower-filled chic salon coated in a tiffany blue. She immediately recognized my voice from calling earlier and explained all the products offered in her salon and what makes them so amazing. Veronica stands behind the products she offers with you in mind. Everything she carries in the salon is natural and healthy for you, and use disposable products that are thrown our after each customers services are finished.

I felt pampered from the moment I walked in; I was offered water, tea, wine free of charge. Veronica and her staff were extremely kind and attentive, and will make sure your visit is nothing short of amazing! if you are getting a pedicure you have the option of green tea or lavender for your foot soak, scrub, and lotion.I chose Ella + Mila  Pretty In Pink for my pedicure and a dipping powder for my manicure. Dipping powder is strong like an acrylic and glossy like a gel without all the harmful chemicals. Dipping powder is natural, healthy, odor free, and uses no UV light, acrylic liquid or powder. Your nails will look and feel natural, leaving no damage to your natural nails lasting up to 14 days.

 I absolutely loved my experience at Holy Nails, it was an experience like no other. It is very rare I leave a nail salon getting exactly what I wanted.  This is my new go-to spot for my mani and pedi’s and should be yours too. Now, women don’t have to make unhealthy choices for a stylish, lasting mani and pedi.  Let Holy Nails,  soothe, smooth, and beautify your tired finger and toes.

Important Tips For Your Visit:

Hours: Monday-Friday 10am-8pm, Saturday 9:30am-7:30pm, Sunday-Closed

Address: 4146 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago, IL, 60618

Phone: (773) 327-4705

Parking: There is free and metered parking available on Lincoln Ave

Kid-Friendly: Yes, Holy Nails is kid-friendly and offers service for your little princesses as well.  You will find yourself very tempted with their fully stocked snack bar fit for kids and adults of all ages.

Ravenwood’s Hidden Gem

This past week my son David and I had a play date with one of his classmates from school. His mother and I were deciding on a place to take the kids and she suggested the Present Place. If you know me I love exploring new places and trying new things! David was so excited to play with one of his best buddies Otto and just run around and be themselves in a kid friendly environment while escaping the winter cold.

David could not wait to kick his shoes off and explore all that Present Place had to offer. Such a inviting, beautiful, and relaxed space filled with a great variety of toys to spark the imagination.  I personally loved the couches surrounding the perimeter of the room and the open loft style layout of the room was making it very easy to keep a watchful eye without disrupting their independence.  


Present Place is a space that promotes independent play without over stimulating the child. Majority of the toys are wood, or non-battery operated toys, and you can also find some of the toys in the play space available for purchase . There are an assortment of healthy snacks available for purchase and free coffee, tea and wifi for parents. The kitchen is fully equipped with high chairs and its okay to bring outside food as long as its nut free.



Present Place is tucked away inside a loft building on the corner of Waveland and Ravenswood Extensive Wooden Kitchen


Present Place Toy and Gift Shop 

Changing Table conveniently located in the play space stocked with changing pads, diaper disposal bags, and  wipes

Awesome Indoor Jungle Gym


Tips for your visit

Location: 3701 N. Ravenswood Ave., #247-248, Chicago, IL.

Present Place is located in an loft building on the corner of Ravenswood and Waveland Avenue and you must use buzzer #248 to gain entry into the building. Stroller parking is available on the first floor, just make sure you are not blocking any mailboxes before you head to the 2nd floor.

Parking: Free parking is available along Ravenswood and Waveland Avenues.

Hours: Closed Monday. Tuesday-Friday, 9:30am-5:30pm, Saturday & Sunday, 9:30am-12:30pm. 

Waiver: A signed waiver must be completed prior to entry. Save time by signing the waiver here online

Admission: $12 per child, $10 per first sibling (6+ months or older; babies under 6 months are free with paid sibling), and $5 per additional sibling. Admission includes same day reentry. 

Shoe-free Policy: Present place is a socks only facility. Socks MUST be worn by everyone, and if needed they are available for purchase.There are plenty of cubbies available to store your personal belongings

Nut-Free Facility: Feel free to bring your child’s lunch and snacks but please DO NOT bring any items that contain peanuts. If you forgot to bring a snack there are also an assortment of healthy snacks available for purchase. The eating area includes high chairs for your little ones and even a refrigerator, microwave, and sink all available to use.