Friday, February 28, 2014

Tired of Nail Salons - Part II - Plus Some Other Stuff

So nearly 2 years ago I wrote a blog post about just being completely fed up with nail salons and crappy, inconsistent service so I'd decided to start doing my nails myself. A lot of people do, actually, as I've noticed searching through nail-related hashtags on Instagram. Not that Instagram represents a decent population sample, but I've seen dozens and dozens of photos of the results when people set out to do their own nails.

They're not all pretty... mine certainly haven't always been perfect and they're till far from perfect but I'm quite good at it just from combining my knowledge of other things -- I was a cake decorator, I've done a lot of artistic projects, I'm relatively patient, I've seen my nails done a million times (haha that counts, trust me)... plus, I didn't buy my products at a drug store. The product matters.

For about a year I used ibd gels and they worked well, but when we moved to Europe I thought I would investigate local brands that might be faster to get as I needed them. I came across Jolifin and they actually have a shop not far from me... well, not far if you measure the distance, but it's a pain to get there on a whim so I've only been once and it was a planned trip.

I LOVE THIS GEL! The quality is unlike any I've ever seen.... not that I've seen tons but when you find a high-quality product you definitely notice the difference. So I've been using a base gel followed by a fiberglass gel and a couple layers of a "cover gel" in either natural or natural glimmer... then I do my designs and finishing with a UV top coat. I've started using some of their colored and glitter gels and they're just gorgeous! The gel sets crystal clear - it seriously could be glass. The top coat sets without a sticky residue that needs to be wiped off. The nail art stickers and tattoos are fun.... and the cover gel is incredible! It leaves the nails looking beautiful, no matter how many times you fill and refill... it covers the lines or seams but comes in natural colors that you can match to your hands and natural nailbed colors.

Jolifin ships to the U.S. so I'll be able to continue using their products when I move back State-side, which is nice. I really cannot imagine any gel products comparing to the quality I see in this stuff.

Anyway, here are some pictures... and a link to their site for anyone interested www.german-dream-nails.com


I'm right-hand dominant so using my left hand to do the nails on my right hand was a challenge at first but it is possible to get quite good at it with a little effort. Instead of trying to manipulate the gel and files and all with my left hand, I practiced holding my left hand more stable or still and using my right hand to shape and decorate the nails by moving the fingers, hand, wrist, etc. while the left hand held the brush, file or decorations.







From left to right: cleaner, natural color cover gel (top) fiberglas gel (bottom), fiberglas gel in white (top), grundier-gel/base gel (bottom), primer, and UV top coat.


This set is one of my first tries with the Jolifin products... sorry, the pictures are not in order but I'm a bit too lazy to bother rearranging them so just use your imagination haha





The first time I used the Jolifin products...


Yeah... I've gotten so much better at shaping them, especially the right hand, so these look like total crap now..

I did these around Thanksgiving last year (2013)






Oh! I got this last summer, right after we moved to Germany. It was a little over 100 euros but worth every penny!








And it's suitable for bringing back to the States with me and just using an adapter so that makes it even more worth the money... (The gel nails in this picture, above, were done with ibd gel, before I gave the Jolifin gels a try. This was when we were still in a hotel haha, that's the hotel bedspread in the background)... 
From a few weeks ago, trying out a different french style..
Oh, did I mention I went to Stockholm? OMG it was so cold! But it was really awesome... 
No, thank YOU Swiss Air...
Sunrise at Gustav-Adolfs-Torg in Stockholm, the palace in the background, and Nick and I waiting for our tour bus... this was in mid-December 2013...
Swedish money (svenska kroner)... looks like way more than it is...

Mats Jonasson glass shop... spent a bit of money... then a bit more haha...
Apparently Bill Clinton is a fan of the shop as well, the manager was telling us how the former president stops by every time he's in Sweden. I'm not sure if that's a selling point or not, but I enjoyed the shop and the purchases...
Breakfast was so good! 


Goats... and a cow kept chasing them...

More breakfast from that trip...
And back to nails, apparently... these I did before the Stockholm trip so after Thanskgiving but before mid-December...

I started doing the red french and we were watching Doctor Who on TV at the time so I thought, "What the hell..." and gave it a try. I did the TARDIS out of gel only... it was nicer than the picture appears, I'll see if I can find a better picture.

Well, I couldn't find it so here are some other pictures... Nick started P90X3 after the holidays and to make the eating guide easier for keeping him involved I made these cards based on the lists in the books. I only used the foods I know he'll eat, because what's the point of adding an Asparagus card if he won't touch the stuff? The orange are the carbs, the yellow the fats, and the green cards are the proteins... I made two of each with the portion size (according to the P90X3 plan) on the back. Then... I cold-press laminated them, because I don't mess around hahaha







I select what I need from the three categories, combine however I like and POOF!
This is a shake with milk and ricotta from the proteins list, nut butter and coconut oil from the fats, and a banana from the carbs list. I needed more carbs, though, so I had a small oatmeal with this as well.

Oh! And check this out! The FIRST TIME I've bitten into an apple since before braces went on pre-surgery... Braces went on the first week of July 2010 and I had my first surgery Dec 11, 2011, then revision in March 2013. And it took me until January 2014 to actually have the courage to bite into an apple instead of cutting it up first.

And back to the P90X3 pictures haha -- sorry, my blog update appears to be a little unfocused... These are the values Nick and I each get for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks according to the P90X3 eating plan. I color-coded it to match the cards and printed it so it's neat.

And I color-coded my kitchen and refrigerator inventory too...

Nick got me Les Mills Combat for Christmas. I had wanted it for a while and it was about time for a new workout. I LOVE IT! I've just finished the first round (60 days, 9 weeks) and I'm about the start the second round. I could use the LM Combat eating guide but it's easier if we both eat the same way (easier for me, since I do the shopping and cooking) so I compromise....

I'm still a Beachbody Coach so if you're interested in this program or others, the link in the banner above takes you to my coach account, or you can go to tinyurl.com/smaggio 

A friend asked me if I'd make him cards like ours for the menu plan, and I said sure if he gets the P90X3 program from me -- I'm open to the possibility of making them for others if you're interested and not already assigned or with another Beachbody Coach. And if you're interested in Coaching for extra cash, I can give you the details -- but know that I'm not one of the "in your face" coaches -- if you want my help, I'll help, if you want to try on your own but want me to help you get started, I can do that too. I don't do it for the 6 or 7 figure incomes that my peers are after, I do it because I get a 25% discount on all purchases and I buy a lot from Beachbody so it makes sense. 

When Shakeology costs $120+ for a bag or box of single-serving packets, and I save 25% that brings the price down to about $90 which is far more reasonable -- instead of $4+ per serving I pay $3 per serving. Whatever the price is, Coaches save 25% so that's something to consider if you plan to buy more. And a Coach earns up to 25% commission, so, for example, I have 3 customers and each buys Shakeology once a month so I'm getting the $90 in commissions that offsets the cost of my own Shakeology. 
Anyway -- just food for thought!

And last, but certainly not least, look at these! I found all these old Living Language sets on eBay and they're in GREAT condition! They're records, of course, but that's not a problem. I was just so excited to have these classics -- I tweeted about it, with pictures, and a rep from Random House, publisher of Living Language products, contacted me for a sort of interview/highlight last week. I'll share that as soon as the interview/highlight is ready. 






Some boxes were a little worn, but the contents are all perfect -- and a few of the sets were still wrapped in their original plastic. I don't care about that, though. Things like these should be appreciated, not stored away where they're never used or seen. So I'm going through them as review -- it's great too, since I have trips coming up to Italy, France, and eventually to Russia, Spain, Portugal and possibly the Azores -- so it's not just a great find (for someone like me anyway haha) but a useful one at that!