Battle of the Nail Wraps

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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.
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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.
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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?

Yogging…

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I’d like to dedicate today’s entry to running – and by “running,” I mean short bursts of jogging (or yogging… It might be a soft “j”) followed by longer lulls of speed walking. I’m not trying to kid anyone. I am not a runner… but I want to be. That should count for something.

I love the idea of running – getting out in nature and away from the distractions of work, relationships, etc. Letting your legs create some distance between you and your stresses. However, what running is for people like me who aren’t born natural athletes, is something totally different. It’s exhausting. It hurts. It’s really not all that enjoyable of an experience.

One of my goals for 2013 was to run a 5K (again, using the term “running” loosely). I signed up for Color Me Rad months ago, and I have to admit, I’m terrified by it. Not because I can’t make it 3.11 miles, but because I don’t want to drag my team of thin, fit people down. The first step, to me, is training.

I started on Easter by running at Lake Hefner. When I hit the halfway point, I couldn’t believe how far I had come. The buildings where I left my car looked itty bitty… Then I realized that I had no choice to get all the way back over there. I was alone. No one was going to carry me or pick me up. It was just me and my legs.

af2ea5aa9a4411e2a8b922000a1f8ac2_7You know what? I made it. My legs and I were fine, albeit a little sore. I finished in 43:30. It’s not an impressive time, but I did it, which proved one thing to me – I could do it. The first run was a measuring stick… a place to start. And when it comes to exercise, the most important thing is usually the toughest – starting.

Since then, I’ve completed two more 5K trial runs (in the same week even! Whoa!) – Here are the pictures to prove it:
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For those of you paying attention, you’ll notice my last run was both my fastest and longest. Yeah, okay. It was my fastest by :32 seconds, but it was still faster and I earned those :32. Don’t rain on my parade, haters. I’ll eventually cut 13 minutes off and be running at a decent pace. Just you wait.

All that to say, for you wanna-be runners like me, here are a few tips I’ve found in my three test runs:

1. Location, location, location!
I have yet to run in the same place twice. Part of “the dream” of being a runner for me is seeing new things – that’s a little pointless if you’re running at the same location every time. I did a simple Google search and found several locations in my area that are prime running spots. Plus, each place offers different course lengths, elevations and overall experience.
One last bonus that no one considers, you don’t know your way around. So when you hit that point when you think “Screw this, I’m going back to my car,” you have no idea if turning around or going forward is the fastest way back. Chances are once you figure it out, you’re probably pretty close to achieving your goal anyway. (I’m not kidding. This definitely happened on my second run and, to a lesser degree, my third.)

2. Everything is better with a soundtrack.
I know I keep talking about nature and escaping things, but I cannot run without music. As nice as the sound of birds and such is, hearing my feet hit the pavement just reminds me of how much work I’m really doing. Just as running is a distraction from stress, music is a distraction from running.
Another valuable tip – switch up your music. I have a “Work It Out” playlist, but my first run was set to a random shuffle; the second was two songs on repeat; the third was Sufjan Stevens The Age of Adz album. Each offered me what I needed to push through.

3. Chew on that.
Have problems getting parched during a run, but you don’t want to lug around a water bottle? Chew some gum. It helps. Scouts honor.

4. Excuses, expluses. 
Life is busy. As a girl with 4 jobs, trust me, I get it. There are usually a million reasons why you can’t exercise… and sometimes they are actually legitimate. The key though is that if you look for it, there are a few days here and there that there is no good reason not to go for a run. Take advantage of those times! It’s spring – there is going to be some nice weather and a few evenings that you have no obligations for a few hours – at least long enough to run, then shower and get ready to go about your business. Do it then. You’ll feel better after you push past that initial urge to be lazy.

5. Never give up, never surrender!
I admit that 43 minutes to jog 3 miles isn’t good, but that’s not really the point for me. Yes, I want to get faster, but at the end of each run the thing I’ve been most proud of is that I did it. I made the choice to get out and be active instead of sitting on the couch. Even if it took me an hour and a half to get through it, I still would’ve made a choice to be healthier. In the long run (pun intended), that is the most important thing.

My Mighty Return


Pardon my three month hiatus. With a full schedule and a broken laptop, my blog time has dwindled to nothing.

When I wrote last I was beginning my 90 Day Challenge – three months later and I’m still in the middle of things. You see, “90 days” actually means 90 sessions… I’m not sure if I’ve hit that yet, but it doesn’t really matter. Carey has committed to stick with me until I reach my goal – 17% body fat. If you’re like me, you have no idea what that really means, but I’m told 25% is average. We have yet to do a second weigh in or BMI test, so I can’t even really tell you where I am as far as progress is concerned, but Carey will be reviewing my fit test next week. I’ve got my fingers crossed that the results will be good.

All I can tell you for sure is that I am light years from where I began. Three months and I feel like a completely different person, like when you look at your high school pictures and think, “Man, that was a lifetime ago!” While the things I was struggling with when I walked into her office still peek their ugly heads up on occasion, they mostly stay away these days. I’m far more confident, happy and optimistic than I’ve been in years.

I know my body is improving, but that’s not where these things stem from. As cliche as it sounds, the old “looks don’t matter” thing is mostly true. I won’t deny that looks can get you places in life, but the things you can achieve through looks are temporary and superficial. You’ll never find peace until you can accept who you are – the good and the bad. That’s what I’m coming to realize through this process. No matter how beat down you are, there is good in you. When you see the bad things, take steps to change them. It won’t happen overnight, but that’s okay. Any step forward, no matter how minor, is not moving back. Rejoice in your little victories. Find friends who truly love you. Demand respect that you deserve.

I won’t sit here and tell you I’ve got it figured out. I still have people point out things I still need to work on or behaviors that need to change, but I’m getting there. I’m moving forward.

Enough with that business…
Training is tough. I mostly go in the mornings and if you know me, you know how much I despise mornings. Still, I make my way across town to the gym about three times a week. Carey takes sick pleasure in watching me sweat. I think it’s a trainer thing. Still, she’s been fantastic at pushing me, providing me with supplements and nutritional knowledge and making sure I’m growing mentally and spiritually. I cannot thank her enough for this opportunity. We’re reaching the point where I’ll start being filmed as part of the story that Carey is writing on me. Let’s hope the camera doesn’t really add ten pounds!

I see changes in my body, not just in the way it looks, but the way it feels. And honestly, things haven’t been picture perfect. I’ve “fallen off the wagon.” Not following the program that Carey has laid out for me – eating poorly, not doing my cardio, not tracking my food – but with seven months left for me to hit the goal that I set for myself long before Carey was in the picture, it’s time to get serious. While it’s nice to have someone pushing you, they can’t do the work for you. In the long run, you’ve got to do it for yourself. I’ve hit the point that I have to ask, “How badly do you want this?” And I want it.
I want it bad.