Tuesday, January 21, 2014

my secret to a badass mommy mani

Confession: I'm kind of obsessed with my fingernails. Not in an unhealthy way, but more like if they're unkempt I feel super ashamed and disheveled and find it hard to make eye contact with people. (That's normal, right?) And I NEVER leave the house with chipped polish. Ever. My nails don't necessarily HAVE to be painted - bare and buffed is just fine sometimes - but they must NEVER be chipped. I just can't handle it. It's my one OCD thing. Everybody has one. My nails are mine. Anyway, I always do them myself because A) I can't fathom shelling out X amount of dollars for a pro to do it, and B) ain't nobody got time for that. Not me, anyway. Plus, I like my nails short and my polish simple, so I really don't need a professional's help. Give me some clippers, a file and a bottle of Essie and I'm good. I got this.
But there is one area in which my amateur manis are lacking: longevity. Even with a base and top coat, I usually only get about five days out of my manicure. I just do too much with my hands every day. Laundry, dishes, opening boxes of diapers with my lady claws like a manic tigress because there's poop all over the living room, that kind of stuff. I'm hard on my nails. Polish just doesn't stand a chance. I've thought about trying one of those at-home gel manicure kits, but they're pretty pricey considering you can only use them a few times. So when I started seeing these "shellac hack" do-it-yourself gel manicures on Pinterest, I was intrigued. I checked a few of them out and actually wound up having great success with this one from Corinne at Mint Arrow. I did have to buy two new bottles of product, BUT I'll be able to use them over and over for a long time, unlike a kit with limited use.  
While I'm super pleased with the end result of that tutorial, I found I had to modify the process to fit my needs and lifestyle. For instance, there are six (six!) steps/coats in this method, and you're supposed to wait for each one to dry completely before applying the next. And then of course you have to perch on a toadstool or whatever while the whole shebang dries and sets. All in all we're talking an hour or so of your time, at least. That might be fine for some people but not for a lot of mommies. And definitely not for me, unless I get up in the middle of the night and creep down to my kitchen to paint my nails like some kind of weirdo. No thank you. But that's okay! There IS a way to do it that still results in a beautiful, LASTING manicure and doesn't take an hour straight to complete.
This is the method that works for ME, a crazy-busy mom of three, including an infant who likes to be snuggled tight and often. It produces a tough-as-nails (heh heh) mani that will outlast and outshine any other at-home job to help you feel at least a little more polished (heh heh) and put together. My God I love puns.
Sally Hansen Hard As Wraps (got mine at Target)
Gelous Nail Gel (got mine at Sally's)
Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (got mine at Sally's)
*Note: this is the most insanely fantastic top coat I've ever used. Period. And I do NOT get sponsored, thankyouverymuch!
1. Obviously trim and file your nails. Duh.
2. CLEAN YOUR NAILS! This is possibly the MOST important step, and I'm shocked at how many tutorials leave it out. It's not hard! Just swab them with nail polish remover or rubbing alcohol and let them dry before you begin painting. This gives the paint a clean canvas to adhere to. Otherwise your mani will just slide all over the natural oils on your nail bed. No bueno.
3. Apply polish in this order:

1 coat Hard As Wraps
1 coat Gelous
1 coat Polish (or two if it's very sheer, as mine was)
1 coat Gelous
1 coat Polish
1 coat Seche Vite

That's it.

But here's the super special secret that makes it work for busy mommies:
If you don't have time to do the whole mani at once, DON'T. Do as many coats as time allows, let 'em dry and go about your business chasing babies and being awesome. Then later, when you get another slice of time to yourself, SWAB YOUR NAILS WITH RUBBING ALCOHOL and pick back up with the next coat of polish. Yep! As long as you make sure those digits are free from schmear and oil, you can totally hit pause on the whole thing and start again later. And THAT'S what makes this shellac hack successful for busy madres. My secret is out!

4. When you're ready, you can remove your mani with regular old nail polish remover. It comes off as easily as any other polish. If you're lucky it'll peel off like stickers when you're ready - mine did!
*TIP: If your nails get a little dull after a few days, clean them and top 'em off with a fresh coat of Seche Vite. Since it dries so fast, it's a quickie touch-up and it'll get your mani gleaming again.
My nails.
Please pardon my cuticles - I ain't no beauty blogger.

This lasted and was SHINY for a solid ten days before a few fingers started to peel up around the edges a bit. I would post a pic of the tenth day, but I'm an idiot and started to peel the polish off while sitting on the couch with the kids reading bedtime stories. I'll remember next time and post a pic! 

Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

yep. those are my boobs.

So last week I got mastitis. If you've ever fed a mini-person from your chest melons, you know what that is. And if you haven't, it's an infection that occurs in your milk ducts. Gross, I know. Believe me. And it doesn't feel so hot, either. I had a wretched fever for like 36 hours and did utterly shameful things in search of relief. I took antibiotics, for one thing (vegans and tree huggers, ATTACK!), but I also tried a few homeopathic remedies, one of which was a time-honored, infamous old wive's cure calling for cabbage.

In your bra.

You put the cabbage in your bra, guys. You really do.
And I did.
And it felt... amazing. Refreshing, even. Seriously!

And it smelled... like cabbage. EYE smelled like cabbage. For several days. If last week had a tag line, it would be, "Who pooped?"  There were many double-baby diaper checks before the hubs finally accepted that the epic stink was, in fact, emanating from his wife's breasts. It was a real high point for us sexually, as you can imagine.

Ladies, lemme tell you: if you ever get the chance to pull wilted, body temperature vegetables out of your underpinnings, I highly recommend the experience. It just feels... sexy. Better yet, have you partner take 'em out.

Welcome to boner town! Population: YOU GUYS.

You're welcome.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

postpartum obsession

I feel like there's been a ton of public focus recently on the topic of "body after baby."  And since I'm currently living in one of those, I feel the need to weigh in (pun totally intended). First, a word on my body after baby:

You know when you offer to help someone carry a really big box or something, but they say it's not heavy, it's just awkward?  That's totally my body right now. I'm not heavy, I'm just... awkward. A little squishier in the middle than before. A nibble or two more meat on the thighs. Face a bit moonier. And super busty. But not like sexy busty. More like my jackets won't close, and if I wear a scarf it sticks out two feet in front of me. My breasts do not say, "Touch us, we're sensual."  They say, "Don't even look at us, we are angry and we will spit at you." And they mean it. The hubs is quite scared of them.

But so what. I had a baby. Several of them, actually. And I always go back to normal afterward, eventually. There's just an awkward phase there in the middle, between "with child" and "super poised and glamorous mom on the go," where things are just kind of... different. And that's okay. Thankfully, the only person judging my hip circumference is me, and who cares what I think.   

That's what I'm getting at here: nobody should care. It's none of anyone else's business. Why are we even talking about it?

I throw up in my mouth a little when I see celebrities' post-baby bodies publicly scrutinized. Because either they look absolutely perfect three weeks after giving birth, and everyone applauds them but also secretly hates them (and all I can think about is what they must have done to get their stomach back like that, and so I just feel bad for them), OR they still look like an Orca six months later, and the whole world is just disgusted, and people even fatter than them are all like, Ermahgerd, did you see so-and-so's big old ass on the cover of Star magazine? She's obviously lost all control of her life and is headed straight for rehab. They should take that baby from her. Can you pass me the Pringles?
The thing is, whether a woman looks like a million bucks or more like a packet of food stamps after giving birth, it's not really something she can control.  You get huge, then you get instantly ten to fifteen pounds smaller (cause that's not gonna do anything weird to your body), and then you get super fucking tired/ hormonal/ hungry/ stuck sitting on your couch all day breastfeeding. And either you're the kind of chick who can't wait to get back to the gym, and does as soon as possible, or you're the kind who secretly enjoys doing absolutely nothing but snuggling with your newborn 24/7 for three months. Both are fine. Your body will eventually go back to relative normality -- whether it takes one month or 27 -- and in the meantime, the only person who has to see you naked is your partner, who, believe me, is so hard up by the time you're able to have sex again that he does not give a flying arm flap what your body looks like. TRUST ME. I've been told this fact A LOT. By my husband. While I'm crying over my stretch marks. 

For that matter, a really awesome partner will tell you he finds your new body even more attractive than before, because it gave him his precious baby. Whether you choose to believe this load of crap is up to you, but I can tell you from experience: just go ahead and take the compliment. He means well, he's gentleman enough to lie to you, and he really, really wants to see you naked. Just do it. You're beautiful. And awkward and jiggly and probably hairy. WHO CARES.