First of all, you should know that this is big for me. Part of my training as an esthetician was to learn how to do a spa manicure. It was the worst. Being hunched over someone else’s nails, meticulously completing a service I didn’t have the time or inclination to do for myself was maddening. On a personal level, manicures don’t usually happen either. I don’t have time to let my nails dry and I work with my hands frequently. That, combined with the fact that I have to shelve any perfectionist tendencies when it’s time for my left hand to do the painting means that it’s usually more stressful than relaxing to keep them up. It would be a fairly low overhead service to offer at The Jade Room, but the whole point of starting your own business is not to hate your job, right?
Second, this isn’t a sponsored post. As of writing this, my friend has no idea I’ve been writing this.
Third thing you should know is that the fact that I even know someone who does nails and mixes her own line of polish is complete happenstance and was totally wasted on me initially. I met the owner/operator of FirecrackerLacquer when we worked at the same tech company together. A lot of the people at that job were…not my favorite….so, to meet someone as kickass, hands-on, don’t take no shit, as Kendahl was rare and wonderful.
Kendahl is obsessed with nails. She can make her polish do things that only exist in the sparkly world of Pinterest and her Instagram is full of pictures of glossy, buffed-out, glittery-perfect talons. I’m sure there are people out there who do nails smoother or more creatively or whatever (my nail judgement criteria is pretty basic), but Kendahl is my polish oracle of choice and I respect her for owning that and mastering her craft.
So when a mutual friend from that job, Connie, bought me a bottle of “Your Mom Thought I Was Big Enough” as a Christmas gift it was a sign that I needed to hop back on the nail band-wagon. Since starting lash extensions, I stopped doing my nails entirely because I have to use pure acetone to periodically clean the glue from my tweezers — not the best thing if you like to keep your nails nicely polished.
Anyway, a couple weeks ago, I decided to try my new polish. For Kendahl. For Connie. It would have been rude not to, plus I needed a little “me” time; an excuse to say, “Wash your own damn dishes, my nails are drying! IDGAFfffffuuuuuuuu………….ck.”
The base color (Berlin There, Done That – a kind of greyish light taupe) was from my somewhat impressive collection of OPI. I get them for cheaper than normal at CosmoProf, and I never run out of my favorite colors (not using them and all) so it’s retail therapy I can justify. I tried to wait for it to dry a little before putting on my new FirecrackerLacquer because 4 layers of polish (1 base, 2 color, 1 top coat) seems to take even longer to dry than splitting it up a little. I knew it was time to just slap Kendahl’s on after I firmly smooshed my fingerprint into the middle finger of my left hand.
So much for perfection. Again.
FirecrackerLacquer was a thicker consistency than I thought it would be. I was nervous at the polish glob size I needed to smooth it over the entire nail. “Welp, I’m not doing anything for the rest of the day,” I thought…but then it got a little bit magic.
After revisiting the messed up nail to see how well the top coat had helped the texture, it was as if my clumsy fingers had never been there! While I stared agog at the mistake that seemed to have magically been erased, I noticed that the thickness of my once-bloated nail blobs had already sunken significantly. I tried touching one: IT WAS ALREADY TO THE TACKY POINT OF DRYING! At this point, I didn’t want to mess up a good thing, so I waited another 10 minutes or so before touching it again. It was totally dry. I teared up a little.
It might seem like a stupid, tiny thing to anyone else and maybe it is, but to me, this wasn’t just about my nails looking pretty…
For years, I’ve looked at other people’s shiny manicures with envy. I don’t have the expendable income to go to a professional right now, and I don’t have time to burn to do my own nails regularly. After my first year as a business owner and taking stock of what I did or didn’t do, what I want to do, my strengths and, more importantly, my weaknesses, I was feeling nearly paralyzed with all of the work I needed to do to make a fresh start. I’ve been desperately needing a win lately.
To get my nails looking pretty with less effort than I’d needed in the past made me feel all at once like the possibility of having it all was a palpable thing. I have been riding the idea of that possibility ever since. Sometimes that feeling is all you need to push yourself a little harder, to get more done, to be more of yourself for yourself. I ended up doing a lot of stuff that day, and since then.
In short, it was fucking inspiring.
So, this year, I’m going to at least attempt to do my nails once a week on Sundays. If it doesn’t last that long, that’s okay. If I’m really busy sometimes and can’t get it done, there are lots of weeks in a year. If I’m scheduled to administer a bare-knuckled acetone bath on Monday morning, so be it, but I’m going to do this for myself because I like it, because it feels more like a possibility right now, and because Kendahl is a magical creature not from this world who made a really great product she cares about and I’m getting more ASAP!
If you’re interested in getting some FirecrackerLacquer for yourself, check out the store on Etsy. You can also feel free to like her page on Facebook for special offers, updates about new colors, and really cool nail art ideas!