It’s the Most Horrific Time of the Year

Freddy

I really love thinking about Halloween, but the actual follow through… not so much. It’s a holiday tailored for skinny ladies, sluts, and/or creative people. I do not fall into any of these categories. For years, I got away with just wearing whatever I felt like, then splattering it with homemade blood. But how long can you really get away with calling yourself a zombie (fill in the blank)?

In 2012 I finally moved away from the blood and bought my first real costume ever – sexy Freddy Kruger… which on me was more like the world’s friendliest, not-at-all-sexy Freddy Kruger. (See above.) It was quick and easy, fairly comfortable, and virtually stress free. Plus I found the costume on clearance, so it only set me back about $20. Oh, and I got to be Freddy Freakin’ Kruger – my favorite horror icon. 2012 was an all around Halloween win.
2013, meh. I threw on some black and my friend loaned me his ginormous butterfly wings.

With 2014’s party just a couple weeks away, the search is on once again for a suitable costume. It should also be noted that my annual Halloween party is thrown by one of the most artistically gifted people I’ve ever met and he hand makes his costumes every year. So no pressure.

Here are a few options I’m considering:

Chucky

This costume is far too slutty for me, but with some changes, I could definitely make this work. Overalls, a striped shirt, red shoes, a wig, and an axe. Not too difficult. Plus I could do some stellar makeup and use blood splatter without being a zombie. I really like blood splatter.

Wednesday Addams

Nothing too creative here, but with a few alterations to a black dress I already own, I could be Wednesday – a character that I absolutely love. The question is, do I possess the skills to alter my black dress? 50/50 chance. Actually, 30/70 probably. I doubt it. But maybe I could enlist some help.

Daenerys 

Is this going to happen? No. Do I want to happen? Heck yes! Who wouldn’t want to be the Mother of Dragons? Unfortunately buying it is out of my price range and making it is too difficult/costly. But look how comfortable it would be!

Jem

I look at this costume every year because Jem is my childhood hero. It’s just SO pink! And while that was cool with childhood Rachael, adult Rachael isn’t too keen on dressing head to toe in hot pink. Still, one day I will pull the trigger on this because Jem is awesome.Remember that in 2016 when they release that abomination of a movie.

Orange is the New Black Inmate

Easiest, most comfortable costume ever. It seems like a cop out though. I’d also have to decide if I’m Morello or Alex… or more realistic for my figure, Big Boo. Life is full of hard decisions.

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Battle of the Nail Wraps

wrap cover

If you’re a female who has a Facebook profile, there’s a good chance that at least six of your friends have added you to a Jamberry group that you wish you could leave, but would feel guilty when the host noticed you bolted.

Nail wraps are all the rage these days. It’s the new Scentsy… or Living Oils… or (fill in the name of any “lose weight fast” product here). So what’s the big deal?
Well, I tried four of the biggest nail wrap names on the market and I will now divulge all the wisdom I have compounded on the newest beauty fad.

First up, Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects.

Salon Effects

Sorry, I took this picture before I knew I was going to write a blog about nail wraps, so it’s a bit craptacular.

I actually had these stashed under my sink. A friend sent them to me before they were a fad, but I didn’t “get it,” so they’ve been down there for months. When searching for a new color, I pulled them out and gave them a shot and was really impressed. When I opened the package, they actually smelled like nail polish. I didn’t expect that. I just assumed they were basically stickers. And I guess they are, but they’re stickers made of real nail polish. I only did a couple fingers and opted to paint the rest.

Ease of application/removal: A
The strips were sturdy and easy to apply with no extra tools needed. It was also quite easy to peel them off and reposition them as needed before I pushed them down completely. Removal was a snap – I just used nail polish remover as voila! Done in a flash. The adhesive was a bit sticky when removing, but came off my fingers with a little extra rubbing.

Price: B
Like I said, this set was free for me, but I looked at the local Walgreens and these ran right around $11. Not too bad.

Durability: A+
I don’t think I kept them on for a full two weeks, but I did wear them for over a week and moved an office full of furniture and boxes. Not even one chip. Impressive!

Selection: A
I haven’t taken a ton of time to peruse, but there was a pretty decent selection at Walgreens and it looks like an even wider selection online. While all the options may not be readily available to you, there are a lot of options out there.

Second, Jamberry Nails.
photo 2
I finally cracked and requested a sample from one of my many friends who are on the Jamberry sales wagon. The sample is just one strip, so my options were a bit limited. The first things I noticed as I took it out of the envelope was that 1.) it did not look like it did in the picture and 2.) it was not made from real nail polish. The colors weren’t as vivid and the design was not as crisp as I anticipated. And it was, in fact, just a thick sticker you apply to your nail.

Ease of application/removal: C
Although it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to apply a Jamberry wrap, it seems more complicated than it needs to be. You have to actually heat these wraps with a blow dryer to activate the adhesive. After you’ve heated it, you smooth it on… except the wrap is so thick that this is a more difficult task than it would seem. No matter how much I heated and rubbed, I still had a wrinkle on my nail. Not good for someone like me who can’t help but pick at any rough patch on my nails. Also not good for me – their were gaps on the side of the wrap, which gave me another thing to pick at. On the bright side, removal was awesomely simple. Just heat it up and pull it off. I wish removing all polish was that easy.

Price: C
Most Jamberry wraps are $15, which isn’t terrible, but is enough that I start thinking about how I could have a manicure for the same price or close to it.
Durability: A-

Evidently I am pretty easy on my nails. Even regular polish will take over a week to chip with my normal wear and tear, so Jamberry wraps aren’t really deigned for someone like me. Like I said, these things are thick, so I have a feeling that if you are rough on your nails and could resist picking at them, they would most definitely last the full two weeks. However, I couldn’t resist picking at them, so they got an A-.

Selection: A+
There are a ton of designs for Jamberry nails. It’ll take you an hour to dig through all of them. Then another hour to decide on which one you want. Major props on that, JB.

Third, Incoco.
photo 3
I had never heard of Incoco until I read through some old entries on my friend’s girlfriend’s beauty blog, Skinny Jeans and Sippy Cups. Her pictures looked great and she recommend Incoco, plus they’re fairly cheap, so I took the plunge and bought a full set. (Two, actually. One was on clearance for $4.00.)

Ease of application/removal: B
When I opened the package, I got the same nail polish smell that I gotten from the Sally Hansen’s strips. Big fan of that. Not because of the smell itself, but because I don’t want to wear nail stickers, I want to wear nail polish. The main thing I noticed when applying the Incoco strips is that they’re incredibly flimsy. That’s great as far as them getting a good fit on the nail, but sucks when it comes to application because they tear super easily. You also have err on the smaller side because if the wrap is on your skin and you attempt to trim it, you’ll probably tear it. I lost one wrap to a tear and barely salvaged another one. Oh, and they’re difficult to reposition. It can be done, but again, you might tear it. However, after I got them on, I was happy with how they looked and felt.  Unfortunately it took me about 45 minutes to do all ten fingers. Removal is no biggie – just use some polish remover and some elbow grease.

Price: A
When I said they we’re “fairly cheap,” I mean they’re $9.00. I’m all about anything in the single digits.

Durability: A
I’ve only had them on for a few days, but so far so good. Those days have included light moving, working, bathing, and exercise and they look brand new. I don’t forsee wear and tear becoming a problem. Once they’re on, they’re sturdy.

Selection: C
Compared to the two other brands, Incoco is pretty limited. I say that, but they have 160 designs and that doesn’t include the tips or the “nail colors”. Maybe the designs I liked are limited. Matter of fact, I don’t love any of them. It took ages to decide what to get and I’m still not crazy happy with my choice.

Lastly, Kiss Nail Dress.
Kiss Nail Dress - Comic
These decals were a complete impulse buy. I absolutely did not need them, nor did I really have money to buy things that weren’t on my shopping list… but look at that design! I’ve been looking for a comic book/pop art wrap and this is the only one I’ve been able to find. I had to do it.

Ease of application/removal: A-
My grade on this is slightly misleading. Application was very easy, but I found it difficult to get them on without creases. Removal was WAY too easy. Frustratingly so, actually.

Price: C
It looks like these run around $8.00 online, which means I got duped. I think I begrudgingly paid $12 at Walgreens.

Durability: F-
To be fair to Kiss, these are very upfront on the box – “Lasts up to a week. Goes on in minutes and peels off in seconds without remover.” If you’re looking for durability, “a week” and “peels off” are keywords to avoid. In the end, I think mine lasted about three days before the sides began peeling (with a topcoat on) which my OCD cannot handle, so they had to be promptly removed. It was a very sad day.

Selection: A
Kiss has a number of designs to choose from and honestly, I like their options more than any other brand in this list. Unfortunately the durability is so terrible, I can’t see myself purchasing any of them.

So, if you’re asking my humble opinion on which nail wraps are the best, I’d have to go with Sally Hansen’s Salon Effects. A couple more dollars than Incoco, but much less prone to tearing. Nice and thin, easy to apply and reposition, and plenty of design options that you can just run to the store and pick up with no waiting and no shipping charges.

What are your thoughts on nail wraps? Is there another brand that I should try? What has worked the best for you?

The Paper Anniversary

Today (…or maybe it was last Sunday like I wrote in my previous entry. I have different dates written down everywhere.) marks my one-year weight loss anniversary.

My total weight loss to date is 62.3 lbs. Leaving me with only 35.4 lbs. to lose by my 30th birthday – June 30, 2013.
(Yep, I’m giving myself plenty of time. It seemed like a reasonable goal when I started with 98 lbs. to lose.)
I’ve gone down 2-3 pant and shirt sizes. I wish I would’ve kept track of my inches, but I never could seem to get the tape in the right places for it to be accurate. Here’s the best visual I have for you:

Any person that’s lost a reasonable amount of weight will tell you that it’s life changing, and it is. Everything you’ve heard is true – you feel physically better and have more energy, your health problem decrease and your confidence grows.

What a general audience doesn’t hear about is the small victories, that honestly, if you’re not overweight, you won’t understand.
– Your hips not catching on the arms of chairs.
– Being able to take a decent photo without making it an aerial shot.
– Crossing your legs without feeling like it a strength exercise keeping one over the other.
– A defined clavicle. (Okay, this may only be a big deal to me, but I love it.)

My biggest accomplishment thus far is fitting into my formal from my senior year (2001) to watch my friend, Jessi, dance at a charity event.

If you’ve followed my journey at all or even just scroll through the posts on this blog, you’ll see that I’ve used various methods to lose the weight from juicing to HCG to the Insanity workout program and have had varied results.
Here’s the deal guys, one diet may work for you that doesn’t work for someone else. Some people love to exercise; for others it’s easier to watch what they eat. Every person’s body works differently – only you know what works best for you. It’s a trial and error process, so don’t be discouraged. We’ve all been there. If you’re determined to do it, you can.

The two biggest tips I have for you are these: educate yourself and surround yourself with encouraging people.
It confuses me when people make an effort to “eat better” when they don’t research any of the foods they put in their body. Just because you’re ordering a salad does not necessarily mean you’re eating healthy. Learn about foods. Research  exercise programs before starting them to make sure you’re doing what’s most effective to reach your goal. If you choose to take a supplement or medication, make sure you know the risks and that your body will not react badly to them. Whatever it is, be knowledgeable.
I cannot over-stress the importance of a support system. I already wrote an entry on it, so I won’t linger, but for those who want the cliff notes, there’s is absolutely no way I could’ve done this without the people in my life telling me daily (literally) that I could do it. If you don’t have anyone like that around you, contact me. I’m an excellent cheerleader.

One thing I never expected from this experience is people I love coming to me and telling me that I’m an inspiration to them. Until now, I don’t know that I’d ever inspired anyone to do anything.
The bitter truth of it is that a year ago, I hated what I had let myself become. I hated looking in the mirror and I very literally had a meltdown, sobbing in the bathroom when forced to take pictures for one of my jobs. (The before picture at the top of the page was taken that day, actually.) What I’m saying is that I get it. I really do. You may think, “Even before you were still smaller than me,” but it’s all about mentality. And, my friends, I was about as depressed as you can get.
Honestly, it’s not all peaches and cream, but you can do it. You’ll mess up. You’ll get discouraged. It’ll suck some days… but it’s so worth it.
Your health is worth it. The people you love are worth it. Your happiness is worth it.
Do it.