Well, so much for getting back to a more regular blogging schedule! Retirement has been way busier than I ever anticipated, even after we got past the family reunion preparation and hosting. Now that I don't have to sit in front of a computer five days a week, there are some days I don't even boot up my laptop. Mr. K and I have been working on getting the house ready to list for sale, which has taken up a lot of time, but I took a break from all that and spent more time offline traveling to Florida to visit Julie of Turtlechick's Nails 'n' Tales (currently on hiatus), one of my best "friends I haven't met in person yet"—though now I have met her in person, which was the whole point of the trip. Those of you who follow me on Instagram (@thekarend) got some glimpses into my travels along the way, and now I'm finally managing to take the time to sit down and do a proper trip report.
I set off with my rainbow bear buddy and bare nails. The car was packed with way more stuff than I'd need for a week long journey, including more nail polish than most salons have.
My first night on the road I did a mani with some of the no-light gel polishes that every brand seems to have come out with this year. Because it was very late at night, I didn't take the time to setup my lightbox (not that my lightbox takes much time to setup, but I am very lazy sometimes). The lineup: Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Flashionista (a gift from my mom), China Glaze EverGlaze My Slate of Mind, FingerPaints Great Graphite, and Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Top Coat (I have so many topcoats already I wasn't about to buy a special one just for every different brand's no light gels).
Over a base of Salon Sciences Starting Over After Artificals, I did three coats of the Sally Hansen on my index finger, two coats of the China Glaze on my middle and ring fingers, and two coats of the FingerPaints on my pinky and thumb (this one was nearly a one coater). I topped them all with the Sally Hansen topcoat. These polishes have a different smell than the regular ones from these brands; not objectionable, just different. The Sally Hansen topcoat seemed to get along just as well with the other brands colors as it did with its own. It dried to the touch fairly quickly, which pleased me since I wasn't sure that would be the case. The layers did stay ding-able for longer than I'm used to with the quick dry toppers I usually use.
The Sally Hansen has a beautiful lilac/pink flash in the bottle that I spent the rest of the time I wore this mani trying to capture on the nail. It showed up fine to the naked eye, but both my point and shoot and my phone were not able to see it.
I did setup my lightbox a couple nights later. The tipwear after two days didn't seem any better or worse than I get with regular polishes.
I did a fresh mani the night before Julie and I were meeting up. (Our other south Florida online nail buddy was sadly not able to join us as planned.) For a base, I used the Quimica Alemana Esmalte Endurecedor de Uñas, which Julie sent to me way back in 2012 (see this post for more on that) and which I've been rationing ever since. I topped that with Salon Sciences Instant Artificials, then added the colors. Index was Pure Ice Honey Dew (which I'd bought on the drive down), middle and ring got Funky Fingers Check Meowt, and pinky and thumb were Sephora Formula X Whirlpool. The cremes were two coats; the shimmer three. Top coat was Diamond Dry.
This color combination makes a lot more sense when viewed with the shirt I'd chosen for the meetup (the square pendant is one I got from Julie's storenvy store when it was open).
Julie came to pick me up at my hotel, and it was like we already knew each other, because of course we did, what with hanging out on the same nail board for years and emailing and messaging and such. She took me to a couple very nice nail supplies and we also hit a Sally Beauty which had slightly different stock than mine here in Michigan. Between the three stores, I blew my polish budget for the next couple/few months but it was so worth it. We stopped for lunch at a Cuban restaurant and finally remembered to take a nail shot.
After a quick stop at Walgreens, it was time for me to meet famous cats Bruce and Neil, as well as their canine companions. Mr. Neil was perfectly happy to let me hold him and coo over how tiny and fluffy he is. Mr. Bruce let me pet him a little, then sniffed up my arm into my face, and hissed at me. I had been judged and found wanting, apparently. I loved seeing their personalities!
Bruce glares at me from a safe distance:
Neil is done with me at this point and ready to go back to the nap I interrupted with my arrival:
We then adjourned to my hotel room, which had a desk accessible from both sides that was perfect for playing with polish. Julie had brought over a bunch of her stamping stuff, and within just a few minutes, she had me stamping better than I'd ever managed before. Detailed plates with tiny lines? No worries! Apparently all I needed all this time was a squishier stamper.
The above designs were all done with Julie's stamping polishes, but the squishy works just fine with Wet 'n' Wild black creme, too.
She generously gave me not only two squishy stampers but also bottles of the Bissu Stardust polishes I'd gone crazy for when she posted swatches. These aren't just neons, they're textured glittery neons!
I wasted no time Skittling the Stardust colors onto my nails. Top to bottom: Delicia de Mango, Amarillo Tucan, Copa Cabana, and Verde Brasil. All were two coats.
Since I was a stamping fool by this point, I stamped on the Stardust with Wet 'n' Wild black and Born Pretty plate BP-65. I also topcoated this to see what that would do; I think I like the Stardust better textured rather than shiny.
At the end of the night, after a dinner break at a Columbian restaurant that felt like we'd actually traveled outside of the US, I tried one of my purchases, a Tratamiento Curativo de Uñas I'd picked up at Walgreens.
I was very interested to read that this product, applied to the nails, can "...increase their resistance to the weaknesses that cause humidity". I can't say I've ever tried that sort of treatment before; maybe it's the secret to healing my nails for once and for all. (I sort of hope not, as I will probably never see this again.)
All to soon it was time to head back north. Rainbow bear and I stopped at the beach for a bit on the way home.
It was a great trip, and I had such a good time! Big thanks to Julie for being a wonderful hostess and tour guide. I only wish I could have snuck a few more polishes into Julie's stash while I was there.