Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Naked Nails Update

I'd like to thank those of you who commented on my Valentine's post about my precious furbaby, Holden, and my post in PAA on Facebook. Your kind words of sympathy and your personal stories about your own furbaby losses really did help me feel as though I wasn't alone.

Holden ended up passing away in his sleep on Thursday afternoon (EST) and I found out that night at about 11 pm (my time). We didn't get to Skype one last time so I could take in his adorable face for the last time, but it is a blessing that I no longer had to feel guilty that I wouldn't be there to hold him at the vet's office. All in all, he went in his own way on his own time. I've been handling it 1,000 times better than I ever imagined I would because I'm focusing on all of the wonderful memories and just how incredibly blessed I was to be his human. 

Thank you for your kind words from the bottom of my heart. On to the post...

I figured I'd include an updated photo on how my nails are doing being naked all day, (almost) every day...

I've been keeping them pretty short because of the flaking of the free edge. I also still have some of that uneven coloration on the free edge (some parts are solid, others are pretty clear). It's less obvious when the free edge is this short. I feel as though the yellow discoloration has grown out quite a bit, which is great.

I have also been religiously moisturizing my cuticles at least 2-3 times a day since the hiatus. for most of the last month I've been starting with the Develop 10 Cuticle Oil Conditioner and then going over it with the Lemony Flutter. I bought the D10 oil at Sally's about a year ago. I haven't really felt like it was benefiting me any and trying to apply it using this large bottle was just messy. Yesterday I purchased the p2 One Drop Fitness Oil and the Apricot Nail Care Pen. I appreciate the ease of application with the pen, but the oil seems a bit thin. The Fitness Oil, on the other hand, is a pump and one drop goes a long way. It's thicker, but still absorbs pretty well. I've been using the pen on my left hand and the pump on my right hand to see what difference each makes, but I finish both off with the Lemony Flutter. According to LoodieLoodieLoodie, it's wise to following an oil with a wax because the wax sort of traps the oil in.

Many people rave about Lemony Flutter, but I personally don't enjoy the smell or texture and I don't notice that it helps much. I only have 3 more days of naked nails left, but I may keep it going until all of the yellowing is gone. We will see. I'm itching to paint them, so I may not have the will power. Ha, ha. :)

Fastnacht 2013

One of the most interesting parts of living in Germany is experiencing Fastnacht. It goes by a couple other names depending on what region you're in, but in Mainz, it's Fastnacht. Because my husband didn't grow up in Germany, it's been difficult for me to get an exact explanation as to what Fastnacht celebrates. It's also confusing because the meaning behind the celebration has changed over time. Mainz is over 2,000 years old, so this isn't surprising. Currently, from my American observations, it's an excuse for people to dress up (like Americans do for Halloween), party for a week (like Mardi Gras) with lots of food and drink, have lots of parades (like Thanksgiving), and it coincides with Ash Wednesday. 

Last year we went to the largest Fastnacht parade in Germany and only managed to stay for 2 hours or the parade itself. We arrived early to get a good spot on the parade route. It was too cold and after 2 hours of floats and marching bands, we called it a day. The parade in Mainz lasts for several hours (I think about 5 or 6).

Because of how miserable it was to be out in such extreme cold around all of the drunk high school teenagers, this year we decided it'd be more fun to go to a masquerade ball in a neighboring town. My husband, mother-in-law, and myself were going to dress up as characters from the tv show NCIS, but my husband and I dropped the ball on getting outfits together. On the morning of the ball two weekends ago, my mother-in-law's outfit to be Abby, the Gothic forensic scientist, hadn't arrived, so we decided to scrap the idea of NCIS and used costumes they already had. My husband and I went as hippies and my mother-in-law's outfit ended up arriving later that afternoon. I wore jeans, a necklace, and headband I already had with the tie-dye shirt my mother-in-law loaned me. I also drew a peace sign with eye liner on my cheek while my husband wore a tie-dye shirt, faux leather fringed vest, sunglasses, and an afro.

We drank a lot of beer and danced to a lot of American pop songs, as well as traditional Fastnacht songs. All in all, it was a great night.

In honor of the event, I broke my hiatus (again, however, chronologically, this was the first time I broke it), to use these awesome tie-dye nail foils I received as part of my birthday club presents. 

Nail foils are really fun and can be super gorgeous. The big drawback is that they don't really last longer than an evening. If you're familiar with foils, then you know that they don't response well to topcoats, especially fast drying ones. I used my regular SV on these because I knew I'd be in a dark hall for the ball and they'd only be on for the night. 

Do you have any experience with nail foils? What are your tips for using them?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Saddest Valentine's Day

I didn't do any clean up with these nails. Honestly, I'm too depressed to care. My sister called me this afternoon to tell me that my precious dog is going to be put down tomorrow. Unless the vet has some hail Mary medicine that can cure his many symptoms, I will have to say goodbye from overseas. There are no words for how broken my heart is today and will be for the foreseeable future.

His name is Holden and he has been the absolute light of my life for the last 12 years. It will be unbearable to say goodbye and to visit my parents in 6 months without him greeting me.

Many people think it's torture for pets to be dressed up, but Holden always gets excited when he sees his dragon costume. :)

My little torpedo a few years ago after a particularly heavy snow.

He would go with me disc golfing, to game nights at friends' houses, we'd go on walks all the time. I taught him to walk next to me off the leash, as well as the normal tricks (sit, stay, beg, shake, etc.). He is so bright and loving.

I broke my hiatus to do the only thing that I could distract myself with: painting nails in honor of my Love and Valentine's day. Holden has always been my favorite Valentine.

Please send any good vibes you can spare my way. I hate that I won't be the last face he sees, but I keep sending him my thoughts and hope that I've given him the best life I can. I will miss you every day of the rest of my life, Holden. Thank you for all of your unconditional love and the laughs over the years.

Monday, February 4, 2013

White Stamping Polish Comparison

Even though I can't paint my actual nails, I thought I'd take the time to do a stamping test with the white polishes I own. Apparently I have 11! Who knew?!
If you haven't heard of practicing stamping on these flat-backed glass beads, they are really helpful. The ones I have are roughly 1 inch in diameter and I bought a bag of them at the Dollar Tree. I only bought 3 with me to Germany, so the rest are patiently awaiting my return to the US.

I painted a black rectangle and then used a silver glitter striper to mark off 4 quadrants. Using my most reliable Essence plate (4 full-nail animal print designs and a set of paw prints), my XL stamper and an old customer loyalty card for this comparison. I did a 2 coat base of OPI black (a mini from the 2011 Halloween collection), 1 layer of China Glaze Fast Forward topcoat, the stamping, and then another layer of topcoat.
Here are the 3 test beads together with flash.

In this photo, starting in the upper left and going around clockwise, I used Essence Stampy polish, OPI mini white from the 2011 Halloween set, China Glaze White on White, and Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in Whirlwind White. The black polish streaked through the Essence stamp a bit, but I would still declare it the overall winner, followed pretty closely by the Whirlwind White.

On the second bead, from the upper left going clockwise, I used MNY (Maybelline New York) French Manicure, Sally Hansen Maximum Growth Plus in Pure White Tip, Flormar M103, and Milani High Speed Fast Dry White on the Spot. For this test, I would say the Milani is the front runner  followed by the Sally Hansen. The Flormar did the worst. 

On the final bead, in the same order, I used Sinful Colors Snow Me White, Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear White On, and Sally Hansen Barely there Naturel White (part of a french tip kit). The Sinful Colors is a smidge better than the SH White on, but the Barely There was really barely there.


Overall, I would declare the Essence Stampy Polish the overall winner, with the Sinful Colors, Milani, and SH Insta-Dri tied for second. I'm sure this information isn't ground breaking if you're already deep into the world of stamping, but it was nice for me to spend an evening playing with polish even though I'm still on my hiatus. :)

In your experience, what is your best white polish for stamping?