Saint Patrick's Day Nails

    Good morning, Dear Reader!

    I didn't change my nails at all last week, so I didn't have any pictures to show you, but now I do.  I took off the French and changed to a St. Patrick's Day manicure, but had it not been for a little mishap, I think I'd have left the French alone for another week - it really held up well.  Here's the old one right before I removed it, on the eighth day of wear.

    French Manicure Day 8
    French Manicure on Day 8

    See?  I think I could have gotten another week out of it with no troubles, but as I mentioned, there had been a mishap.  There have been just a few times through the years where I became so monumentally uncoordinated for one second that I set a chain of events in motion that resulted in a "What just happened?" as I assessed the damage when it was done, and the most recent of those was last week.  I had a break I've been growing out for a while on a nail on my right hand - I'd glued it and sealed it with gel, and it had stayed for a few weeks with no problem, then I had my moment.  I picked up a bottle of conditioner with my right hand, a bottle which requires a bit of force to dispense the product, and I somehow let the bottle slip a bit and it flew to the other side of the shower, breaking the repaired nail and clearing two shelves of stuff on its way.  The break was about halfway through,and I just taped it with masking tape until I felt like fixing it, which turned out to be a few days later after I broke it all the way off.  Since I'm on job interview alert, that really won't fly, so I fixed it.

    I started with removing the French.  I'd mentioned glitter seemed hard to remove - I spent an hour and twenty minutes taking this off, with the last five being spent buffing off unremoved bits.  I used plastic (super cheapo sandwich bags) held with rubber bands to remove after that was successful last time, and that again was a lot easier to do and on my skin.  I just took out ten baggies, ten pieces of felt, and ten rubber bands, wet each piece of felt with acetone and dropped it in a baggy production line style, then put all ten on, and took was less than five minutes.  I waited twenty minutes after applying the last of the acetone until I checked the first applied and cleared off all the gel I could from each nail.  Not a lot came off, so I put fresh pieces of acetone soaked felt in the baggies and repeated the process.  This time more came off, but not enough, so I reapplied remover and waited another ten minutes.  I was then able to remove almost all of the remaining gel, and I was so sick of working on my nails that I just buffed off the rest.  I'm just grateful the local video store had Jackass 3 available to watch while I did this, or else I might have gone into a little fit of rage at the agonizing removal.  I'm also grateful that Johnny Knoxville is a teeny bit older than I am so I can pretend there's anything age appropriate about watching Jackass 3.

    At this stage, I was an hour and twenty minutes into this and still had to do a repair and the new manicure, so I was getting drained.  For the repair, I decided to take a shot at my first sculptured gel tip, with extent of my prior experience with sculptured tips being a repair (singular) in the '90's using that Lee nail repair kit.  I'll admit I spent about the first ten minutes trying to figure out which part of the nail form went under the nail tip, trying to get the gel applied to it, then starting over.  I eventually managed to make the tip, which looks fine from the top of my hand, but I now completely understand why so many salons do acrylic, seal it with gel, and call it gel - using all gel was hard.  The gel kind of slowly settles, so it kept getting under the part where the form hit my nail.  It didn't move far, just about 1 mm, but all I had was clear builder gel for this so it looks kind of like those prehistoric mosquitoes encased in amber - it's kind of creepy to look at from the underside.  Anyhow, I finally finished that and did my Saint Patrick's Day manicure.

    I'd decided to do green tips and some kind of accent nail, but hadn't settled on all the details.  Since by now, all I wanted in the entire universe was to be finished, I went with what I thought I could do on the first try and did green tips, and Irish flag accent nail, and I just left the rest clear.  I don't think I have ever seen my nails so white as they are now - previously, I could buff and whiten them, but they promptly picked up new stains as soon as I put on polish.  Since polish hasn't been on them in a while, they've stayed nice and white, so I seized the opportunity to wear clear.

    Saint Patricks Day Nails
    My Saint Patrick's Day Nails

    Sorry about the icky skin - my poor cuticles had just finished suffering through that removal, and are still at the tail end of healing from the cuts I got on them from using foil for removal.  This close up, and for about an hour after I finished the mani, I was displeased with it because I just ran out of steam when it came to getting the three colors for the flag perfect and the finishing buffing, so I did kind of a half-assed job on both.  However, this shade of green is really nice, and from a normal distance in person, my accent nail really gives the impression of the flag, so I accomplished what I set out to even though the picture's not one of my best.  For interview preparedness, I can put a neutral nail polish over it if I need to.

    As for the fake tip, I'm really happy with it and it was completely worth the hassle - it feels just like the nail it's filling in for, even for typing.  I'd planned to just re-glue and seal the break until I broke the whole tip off, but once it was broken my choices were a massive chop (I've been growing the break out from about halfway down the nail bed, and it's just past the tip now) or a tip.  Chopping was low on the list since I just did a big chop, and I absolutely detest plastic tips (it's the same objection as to acrylic only more so - there's almost no feeling with a tip on), so taking a shot at the gel tip was my best choice.  Since it's made of soak off gel, I'll have to redo it each time I change the gel (a realization which almost made me cry when I finally finished this arduous process), but the fact is that I'm really bad at making a sculptured tip, so I don't have any business making one out of regular gel until I can make a good one.  I figure this will give me a few practice tries until I know what I'm doing, then I'll be able to use big kid gel and it'll stay on.

    I'm still at the early stage of the learning curve for using soak off gel, which is making everything about using it far more painful than it will eventually be, but I just love the stuff, even with the occasional nightmarish removal.  Now that I'm seeing some of the benefits as far as staining, I'm a bigger fan than ever.

    That's what I have tell you about this morning, Dear Reader.  Until next time, love and nail polish to you!  

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