Where have I been lately? Not blogging, that’s for sure. I’ve transitioned to using Instagram for mani photos. It’s easier for posting a single photo without a lot of publishing effort.
Look for me on Instagram under the user name Smapte.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been one year since I kicked the nail biting habit.
I bit my nails for decades and decided last January that it was time to stop. So I did. I didn’t use any gimmicks, no soap under the nails or bitter apple or anything like that. I just decided to recognize it for what it is: a compulsive behavior.
The challenge wasn’t really to stop biting my nails. It was to understand why I was biting and redirect the urge to something less harmful. I recognized that biting was a response to stress, and that I actually felt a decrease in stress when I would let myself bite. It’s a dopamine thing. And my brain loves dopamine. I respond to behavior-reward systems with great goopy gobs of sweet sweet dopamine. It makes me a prime candidate for addictive behavior (one of the reasons I’m a teetotaler) and things like nail biting.
The ideal way to deal with it would be to eliminate the stress, right? Remove the trigger. Oh haha that’s rich. Full time job and 4-year-old-twins? Stress isn’t going anywhere. So that’s going to have to be a separate path of self improvement. But I recognized that I could at least divert the biting behavior.
I will always be a nail biter. My brain will always retain a recollection of the stress release I experience when gnawing on my fingers. I will always have the capacity to start again. But I can divert the behavior and not give myself the opportunity to start again. One bite opens the door, so not even one bite is okay.
I’ve always loved nail polish but when I graduated from college and went into the professional world I decided painted bitten nails didn’t cut it. So last year I decided to reclaim my love and instead of eliminating nail polish I would eliminate the biting. The fear of looking unprofessional was a good motivator. I didn’t want to go to work with gnawed blue nails.
Additionally I set up a reward criteria. As long as I didn’t bite my nails, I could buy any nail polish I wanted, regardless of cost. Basically I gave myself an open door to polish. No more hemming and hawing over a $3 drugstore polish. I considered it an investment to give myself an unlimited budget.
Turns out that sort of backfired on me. In one year I went from 5 nail polishes to more than 325 polishes. I had to buy a Helmer to hold them all. But I’ve made my peace with that since I paid for many of them with the money I made off of crocheting and I never busted the budget.
So it’s one year later and I feel like I’ve done pretty damn well. I’m still caring for them and keeping them pretty, still using diversion to deal with stress. When I have the urge to bite I press my nails into the palm of my hand to make little indentations. Or I run the pad of my thumb across the free edge of my nails to give myself a non-harmful tactile release.
And here’s hoping that in January 2014 I’m writing a 2-year-clean post.
Picked up Essie’s Bobbing for Baubles from the 2011 winter collection this weekend and had to try it out. Apologies for the mobile update but it’s the only way I’m able to keep up with blogging these days.
The formula is absolutely outstanding. Nearly a perfect one-coater. I stamped with Essie’s Blue Rhapsody from this summer’s Mirror Metallic collection and discovered that it’s nearly the perfect stamping polish. Crisp and clean and opaque.
One year ago I owned 5 nail polishes and bit my nails down to stubs. Today I have over 300 polishes and a Helmer that’s bursting at the seams. Go big or go home.
I resisted the Helmer but it’s clear now that it was necessary. My blue drawer is at capacity and I’m going to have to invade other drawers to make room for this week’s nail mail. What’s a girl to do?
Two coats of Essie’s Butler Please, stamped with Essie’s No More Film. Two of my favorite blue cremes. Butler Please dries with a slightly satin finish rather than a full gloss, and the formula is a little less self-leveling than I prefer, but it all works itself out with a bit of topcoat. No More Film is a great stamping polish, I should add.
Two coats of China Glaze’s Cast a Spell with one coat of Northern Lights holographic top coat for just a bit more sparkle.
When I read about the OPI Liquid Sand polishes from the Mariah Carey collection I thought it sounded like the opposite of my tastes. I like matte in creme colors, but I’m not a fan of matte glitter. The Liquid Sand collection is a weird mix between matter micro-glitter and shiny regular glitter. It’s slightly textured, which is also sort of something I don’t like. I like shiny and glossy.
I ended up buying the 4-pack of minis just so I could try them out. And yowza, I love it! I ended up going out less than a week later to buy a full sized bottle of Stay the Night, the black and red liquid sand polish. It’s indescribable, and frankly photos don’t really do it justice. It’s really amazing. It ranks up in my top 10 polishes, seriously. It makes it on my list of polishes I would take with me to a desert island.
So I finished NaNoWriMo and decided to do it again in December. It ate up my blogging time so I’m way behind. And I’m way too intimidated to try to do a blog entry for everything I did, so here is a bunch of photospam. On the plus side, I did 84,000 words on an original piece in December. So I feel pretty good about that. On to the nails.
I made the possibly unwise decision to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for the uninitiated). That means I’m spending every night in November typing furiously with the goal of hitting 50k words by the end of the month.
This has seriously affected my nail polish time. Sometimes I use it as bait, by telling myself that hitting my nightly word count goal is mandatory before I can paint my nails. Mostly, though, I’m skipping it and just trying to squeeze a few extra days out of each mani.
I have two sets of photos to edit and upload and post, but I have to do another 2,000 words tonight. It might be a few days before I can get to it.
In short, I am alive and I have lots of new nail polishes to try, but I have to write the world’s worst novel first. December 1st is coming.
I’ve been missing out. I keep passing up the OPI Designer Series because I tell myself they’re too expensive. A regular OPI is $8, and an OPI DS is $12. That’s a 50% increase in price for what? Some sparkles? BAH!
It’s silly, though, because I’ve handed over $14 for Illamasqua or BUTTER London, and more for other specialty polishes. So why this ridiculous policy about the DS collection? I’ve been irrational, people. Irrational. Especially now that I’ve finally bought one and seen what I’ve been missing.
This is Extravagance, a deep berry tone that’s riddled with breathtaking scattered holo particles. I don’t know what’s in this formula, but it’s nothing short of magic. It catches light like nothing I’ve ever seen before. If you were in a pitch black room, inside a sensory deprivation chamber, inside a bunker, suspended in an underground cave at the center of the earth, this polish would still sparkle with fire. LITERALLY.
It’s so amazing that I want to shout angrily at my hands. ”SHUT UP, HANDS! HOW DARE YOU SPARKLE LIKE THAT!” Needless to say it has jumped to the top of my list of most favorite polishes.
Even in soft incandescent light it shimmers like fire. The scattered holo is amazing, and I say this as as a linear holo snob.
It wears like a champ, too. I painted my nails on Saturday and as of Tuesday afternoon I’m only just beginning to show some tip wear. And that includes lots of house cleaning and child bathing and all that good stuff that usually destroys manis.