Monday, January 19, 2015

The Nail School Chronicle: Week 7

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Nail Technology at Georiga Career Institute

Hello Loves.  It's that time again:  Another edition of The Nail School Chronicle.  I don't know that I've mentioned it before, but if you missed pass editions, I have them all listed under the "Nail School Chronicle" link on my top menu bar.

Anyway, yet again, I didn't get to attend a full week of class.  I'm getting so irritated!  I set my goals to get in there, knock this out in the allotted 6 months, and move on with my new career.  As it stands right now, I'm almost 2 weeks behind on hours and asking myself if my children will ever stay well.  I know, I's cold and flu season and I have young kids.  Par for the course, right?  It still feels like the Devil is riding my back.  They say that any time you try to make a positive change in your life, the Devil will try to knock you down.  He's definitely trying.  Thankfully, I'm 1000 times more stubborn than he is.  But I have to admit it is weighing on me pretty hard right now.  I'm also falling behind on blogging.  I have close to a hundred photos I need to pin to my Pinterest boards and my swatch galleries are all behind too.  I promise, I'll work on getting those updated this week.

Ok, so my little has bronchitis.  Both do, actually, but the little one has it the worst.  They've been home all week coughing and carrying on.  Since I'm the one without a steady income right now, sick kids usually fall under my responsibilities.  But, I do have an awesome husband who knows how much this means to me, so he stayed home with the kids Monday so I wouldn't miss Theory and again Tuesday so I could participate in the mock nail art competition.  That means I actually have something to show you this week.  Yea!

First things first, I used my Nail Trainer style hand this week.  Whoa.  This thing is awesome.  I can't get over how much it resembles a real hand.  The joints allow movements that the silicone hand just can't replicate.  Working with it was a dream!  But...everything has a negative.  The nail plates on this thing are HUGE.  If I have to do nails on a giant, I'm all set.  lol  Want to see what I managed to do on the hand?  There's a learning curve, so I definitely lost a little speed while adjusting.  The index, Middle and Pinkie nails are sculpted acrylic.  The ring nail is just a nail trainer nail with glitter and a stamp.  I was showing a classmate how to work with loose glitter without it going everywhere.
Nail Trainer Hand

Moving on...Tuesday was the Mock Nail Art Competition.  It started at 12:30, so we were told to practice our nail art for the morning session.  At this point, we still had no clue what the challenge would include, so it was a little pointless.  The instructions were to get in the nail art frame of mind.  I'm ALWAYS in the nail art frame of mind.  lol  The good news is she allowed me to bring my own stuff, so I had plenty of fun things to play with.  The down side is I almost broke my back trying to lug it all into the school.  I mean, how do you even begin to prepare for a competition when you know nothing about the perimeters?  Easy, you bring everything but the kitchen sink.  I packed my toolbox with my Gelish 18G lamp (the Mack Daddy of all LED gel lamps, in my opinion), gel polishes from Akzentz, Bundle Monster, IBD, Madam Glam, Revel Nail and Couture, studs, crystals, about 30 different ArstyFartsy Crafts glitters, half of my stamping plates, my Mundo de Unas stamping polish, and a bunch of odds and ends that *might* come in handy.  I played with some of it during the first part of class.  Allow me to break out a few of the nails above with the details of what I used.

First up, the Index nail.  This one is sculpted acrylic with BMC The New LBD from the Red Carpet Metallic Collection as the base color.  I then added Madam Glam Dream Diamond on one side and freehanded a few flower petals with Akzentz Gel Play in White.  I didn't finish the acrylic on this one completely so that I could see how many flaws the gel polish would cover.  As you can see by the dip half way down the nail, it wasn't as forgiving as I had hoped.  Lesson learned.  :)
Metallic Blue and Glitter Nail Art

The middle nail is my favorite.  I started with a pink and white acrylic sculpt using OPI Absolute in Makeover Pink and Perfect White.  I then polished the tip with Madam Glam Glittery Berry and added a black accent line with Akzentz Gel Play in Black.  Finally, a few meticulously placed swirls with Gel Play Black form a sweet heart shape on the tip.  I filed the surface of this nail a bit more than the first but still left it a little lumpy.  The gel polish hid the majority of the lumps this time.  Whoo Hoo!  lol
Pink French with Black details

The pinky nail is another pink and white acrylic sculpt with OPI Absolute in Makeover Pink and Perfect White.  I polished the tip with RevelNail Supernova and then scrubbed a white holographic additive called Freezure over Supernova.  Freezure is a custom creation from a lovely friend.  (Thanks, Angela!).  I finished with an angular smile line of Akzentz Gel Play White and some SS5 crystals.
Glittery French with Crystals

Ready to hear more about the competition?  At 12:30, we were told to set up and were given a bag full of "stuff".  Inside the bag of goodies, there was also a folded sheet of paper with the name and short bio of an iconic actress.  We had to use at least a few things out of the bag to create a manicure inspired by the actress.  We had 10 minutes to review the contents of the bag before starting the prep phase on our model.

I know you're dying to know what was in the bag.  I was so rushed that I didn't think to snap a picture, but I can list it for you.  The bag contained:
No biggie...I can work with that.  Or so I thought.  Then I opened my slip of paper and realized this would be harder than I thought!  My actress was Natalie Wood.  I confess, I had no clue who she was.  Go ahead, shame me for that.  Other contestants got names like Tina Turner and Audrey Hepburn.  I soooo could have worked with those.  But I got Natalie Wood and spent the majority of my 10 minutes on Google trying to find inspiration.  I settled on her role in Gypsy as a "high class stripper" (according to Google, so take that description with a grain of salt...but I had to go with it).  I can work with stripper.  Or so I thought.  (Are you picking up on the trend yet?)

Moving on...after the 10 minutes for brain storming, we were given 10 minutes for prep.  Now, this was a one hand competition, so there wasn't much prep to do.  Especially since I had just removed the old acrylic from my model's hand and prepped while I was at it.  I had an idea in my head, supplies out, and was ready to start in 4 minutes.  Or so I thought...

After the 10 minute prep, we were given 25 minutes to complete a half set of nails with nail art.  We were given the choice between tips with overlay or sculpts.  The assignment was actually tips, but I much prefer the "more difficult" method of sculpting.  I don't know, it's just easier for me.  So off I go, slapping clear acrylic on forms and praying I don't run out of time.  By the way, my model has the tiniest nails ever.  It was a huge difference between her nails and my giant nail trainer hand that I worked with all morning.  I usually do a three ball method, but I was rocking along on her baby nails with two balls. 

The design in my head was epic.  I had planned to do a shimmery nude base, feather inlay on one nail, glitter fade on the others, a few of these chunky glitters from the bag and of course crystals.  You know my typical work, so you can imagine how epic it would have been.  A show stopper for sure.  These are those glitters.
CinaPro Dazzling Shapes Mini Kit

Yeah, no.  It didn't happen.  At 20 minutes, I had just finished a rough shaping of the acrylic.  And when I say rough, I mean rough.  I'm actually embarrassed to show you the final design.  There's no way that my beloved gel polish could cover some of the dips and chunks in the nails.  I know I'm a perfectionist, but these are bad.  Really bad.  I mean, give me a break, right?  I've only been at this for 7 weeks and I've missed two weeks worth of class if you add it all up.  5 weeks is not long enough to perfect acrylic application to the point of applying it in 10 minutes (leaving 15 for art). 

So I'm sitting there doing the math in my head.  If I just polished the nails and didn't do any art at all, I'm looking at a minimum of three coats and 2 minutes under the lamp (1 1/2 if I used regular gel polish top coat instead of no wipe).  I can't do three coats of polish in 3 minutes.  And I certainly can't do a feather inlay in that amount of time.  Yikes!  Even the quick dry challenge on Nail It was longer than this and they didn't have to apply the nails!  Time to rethink that design.  What could I pull off in 3 minutes?  Nada.  At the 25 minute mark, none of us had made it much past the basic acrylic application.  Whew.  She added 10 more minutes to the clock.

Ok, so new plan.  A 2 coat base of my new love Madam Glam Glittery Bronze.  Nude shimmer.  Check.  I then scrubbed some Freezure into the tacky layer for a little more glitz.  Glitzy nude.  Check.  I still had some major dips to deal with, but most of it smoothed out ok.  Crap...I still need actual art and to use SOMETHING from that bag of goodies.  So I grab a few stars from the CinaPro kit and start throwing them into the top coat before I cured it.  Needed something more.  Crystals.  Ok, that works.  I'm hearing the tic tock in my head at this point.  I now know how the main character in Edgar Allen Poe's the Tell-Tale Heart felt.  Ding.  Timer goes off as she has 25 seconds left on the final cure.  Done.  Not pleased, but done.

And this is where I scream "well crap" in my head.  Or maybe I said it out loud.  I'm not really sure.  Three of the 5 competitors were no where near done.  She added 10 more minutes to the clock.  Seriously?  There was absolutely nothing else I could do to these nails.  So I hung my head and called accepted defeat.  Ready to see my 35 minute entry into the competition that would be judged by the students in the other departments?  Yikes!
Nail Art Inspired by Natalie Wood

Nail Art Inspired by Natalie Wood

Sigh.  Ok, so only one of my competitors was also finished at the 35 minute mark.  She too decided to sculpt instead of using tips.  Maybe there's something to this sculpting thing.  So we sat there waiting for the next bell to ding.  At 45 minutes, several of the competitors were still working on their designs.  And I'm cursing under my breath.  Seriously, had I known I would get even more time, I would have done something more like my original plan.  How do you compete with artists who took more time than you did?  Not going to lie, I was feeling pretty irritated at that point.  So much so that I forgot to take pictures of the other entries.  Definitely kicking myself for that.

When it was all said and done and the judging was finished, this was the result.

Mock Nail Art Competition 1st Place

Yep, my hot mess entry won first place.  Y'all, I'm still shaking my head just looking at the pictures.  I'm not going to lie - I almost didn't share them with you.  If this was something I put together on my own hand, it would NEVER make it onto this blog.  I'm just not proud of it at all.  Now, I'm not saying that to imply that the other competitors submitted worse designs.  Quite the opposite.  There were some very lovely entries.  Why did mine win?  There is a very simple answer for that.  I took the judges into consideration - fellow students.  I went with a design that is wearable.  My classmates went with truer competition style designs.  Protruding features, 3D designs, that sort of thing.  With real judges from the industry, I would have lost for sure.  But students tend to judge based on what they would wear themselves.  So I won.  I should also mention that even those who took more time felt rushed and were not happy with their final entries.  I guess none of us were quite ready for competition style stress.

What did I win?  "Bragging rights" and that blue ribbon.  Nah, no bragging here.  I'll file this one away so I don't have to look at it again.  But hey, my model Darlene liked them so much she had me do the other hand to match.  So at least there was one positive.  Don't get me wrong, I love the colors.  The stars and crystals placement is meh.  It just looks extremely sloppy to me.  No worries, though.  I'll be ready for the next one.  ;)

Funny story about that ribbon, though.  My oldest little asked if it was mine.  When I told him yes, he asked if I got it for being good and cleaning up at school.  Awwww.  He's so freaking sweet.  To be so young and innocent again...

That's all for today.  Be sure to check back Wed to see the totally awesome, rocking mani I'm sporting at the moment.  I teased it on instagram Friday evening.  My nails have lights in them!  lol


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  1. You're a great story teller, I loved reading this post! I have those same glitters from back when I tried to do my own sculpted acrylics at home. I now just use them for occasional accents.

  2. That competition sounds like IT was the hot mess! Talk about disorganized... Doesn't sound like any thought was put into it. And YIKES on having to haul all your stuff around, good grief.
    I like the base that you did. Yeah, I don't care for the embellishments either. Hahahah, they look thrown on! (Ya gotta laugh about some things!)
    Hope the kiddos get better quick. You really need a break!

    1. That's exactly what happened. They were completely thrown on. lol The competition was definitely disorganized, but she made her point. There is a beauty show coming up with a nail competition and several of us were thinking about entering just for the experience. We learned quickly that we aren't ready.

  3. So sorry to hear about your kids still being sick. I am sending well wishes to them & you. Though I'm sure you're happy you won, it still stinks when something doesn't come out the way you wanted it too.

  4. I've had 2 weeks with someone sick, too. Getting a little cabin fever. :) Watch out for pneumonia as the winter wears on, too! I'm glad you got to do this, even if it was crazy!

  5. How're you getting on using forms with the nail trainer? I gave up on mine cos I could never get them to fit right.

    1. I have to tear them at the back to get them to fit, but it works ok. My biggest issue is blended tips. The tips I have don't fit well and I really hate to order the custom ones.

  6. Aww, your son's comment was the sweetest. I hope they are both better soon!

  7. That sounds like a really silly competition. I get that you learned about the pressures of a time-limited contest, but if you'd known you'd have 45 minutes up front, you'd have been able to plan a lot better.

  8. Hi I have never posted a comment to anyone on any site ever.. So hey congrads your story got me to do something new :) lol. So my reason since your little ones have had ear infections before, a really helpful all natural pain reliever is made by a Similasan ear relief. It is a homeopathic, since I read your post and saw you have tried aromatherapy, you might like this, the pain reliever is chamomile. Im 31 years old and have been using since I was 17 when my ears hurt, I still go to the dr and get them checked, but this helps the pain. Congrads on nail school, I'm debating on starting myself. Been a vet tech for 15 years, needless to say its not what it was and looking for a change. Hope your husband gets better soon, keep helping making each other better. Good luck in all


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