Hello Loves. It's time for another Nail School Chronicle update. This past week has definitely had its ups and downs.
So how was my first week as a Senior on the floor working with clients? Interesting with a side of sad news (details on that later in this post). My first assignment was a student from the cosmetology department. She asked for an acrylic overlay. Easy enough. So I get my supplies and get started. One hand in, I realize that while she said overlay, she actually wanted a set of pink and white sculpts. Oh boy. So I change gears, file the overlay thin and start on a full set of pink and whites. No big deal. I can handle it. Then she tells me she has a test in an hour. Yikes! No stress, right? So when I finish, she tells me she wants them polished. That kind of defeats the purpose of pink and whites, but ok. I'll go with it. Oh, and did I mention she graduated this week, so I was basically doing her graduation nails? Of course, I find this out after having to switch gears twice. Gah! Lesson learned: ask more questions BEFORE I start. I'm not super pleased with how they turned out, but they aren't too bad and she is happy with them. The polish is the lacquer version of Daisy Sapphire Stone. I also learned that getting clients to pose their hands is difficult - especially when you need them tight for a square crop. lol
I had a few other clients throughout the week, but I forgot to get pictures of the finished manicures. I know, major blogging fail. So, what did I do? One spa pedicure, two basic pedicures, one Shellac mani (the client's first ever gel polish experience and she loved it), one basic mani, and one set of white tips with an acrylic overlay. Everything went smoothly for the most part. I dropped my first bottle of polish during one of the pedicures. Oops. It didn't break, but polish went everywhere and there wasn't enough left in the bottle to finish. I had to start over with a new color. Thankfully, the client has been coming to school for 18 years and was very understanding.
I finished the week with a Mommy Daughter appointment with an old friend. It was super nice to catch up. I did remember to get photos of these. Let's start with the daughter. She's 9 years old and full of energy. Whoa! It was definitely an experience to do a mini-mani on a little girl who wouldn't sit still. We ended up using Dance Legend 172 for the base. Its a silver to purple thermal and she was thrilled. She also wanted crystals and pink and red flowers. The crystals were easy, but the flowers...yeah...not my best work. It's nearly impossible to paint little petals on a moving target. lol
Her mom's nails were much easier for me. She wanted gel nails and I decided to go with sculpts. I used my Akzentz Pro-formance gels. I've used these a few times on myself and love them! They come in several levels of viscosity ranging from sculpting gel that doesn't level at all to enhancement gel that levels beautifully. I find using a combo works best for me. Once I finished, she decided she wanted a design on the tips. No problem! I had my Cici&Sisi plates in my car, so I ran out and grabbed them and then stamped the tips with this cute heart design from Cici&Sisi 05 with Maybelline Bold Gold. I think they turned out great. The shape could be a little better refined, but my stupid forms kept popping open in the lamp. Note to self - get better forms.
That pretty much sums up my week. I promise I'll do better about getting pictures next week. Now for the sad news:
The following is the hardest thing I've had to write to date. I don't usually share the deeper personal stuff here. This is my escape from life, so other than complaining about a sick kid here and there, I try to keep it light. This, unfortunately, is not light. At least not for me. Long story short, I'm facing the very difficult realization that The Nail School Chronicle may never be complete. Unless a miracle happens, I will have to drop out of school soon. Too many hard hits have left us without the ability for me to continue to be out of work while seeking my license. I haven't shared the full story before now, but you deserve to know why this series will soon come to a premature close.
2014 was the hardest year of my life. The company where I worked for over 10 years underwent a major restructure and my position was eliminated. I was offered a different position and took it, but it didn't work out. I was devastated. I fully expected to retire from that company. We took a MAJOR financial hit.
We considered our options for a few weeks. I had been talking about trying to get my license for a long time, so we decided to make that a reality. It wouldn't be easy. The closest school that offers Nail Technology courses requires a 3 hour daily commute. I couldn't do it and work too. Keith works his tail off, but he doesn't make enough to support us on his own. So we made the difficult decision to tap our savings and cash out my meager 401k. We would be cutting it close, but if we held our breath, cut back our expenses, and Keith picked up extra hours at work we would have just enough to money to float us until I graduate. Every cloud has a silver lining, and this was mine. As you know, I was beyond excited.
Then things started falling apart. The kids caught every virus that came within 100 yards of them. Over the course of two months, we dealt with fevers, colds, ear infections, bronchitis, stomach viruses, and the flu. The kids have been to the doctor every week since I started school. The pharmacist can set his watch by our visits. Medical expenses knocked a hole in our budget. Keith's wreck was the straw that broke the camel's back. With 9 broken ribs, he couldn't pick up those extra hours. He's getting better, but he's still on light duty and under a physician's care. So we now have a hole in our budget with no way to fill it. I have been looking for a part time job, but my hours are limited thanks to school and the kids. Of course, we're seeking lost wages from the insurance company, but there's no chance of a settlement until much later this year.
So where does this leave me? With a choice that isn't a choice at all. When faced with a decision between finishing school and keeping our house, there's only one answer. Unless we can come up with the money to cover our mortgage and utilities for the next 4-5 months, I have to drop out of school and go back to work. My family comes before my dreams.
I don't even know what to say. I feel like I have failed you as well as myself. We chased every lead we could find. We applied for loans only to be declined due to lack of income. We have exhausted my financial aid options. Since the house is only in Keith's name, the mortgage company won't work with us based on my lost wages. We've sold everything there is to sell to get us this far. I'm planning a major destash of everything I purchased myself in an attempt to get a few more weeks in before I have to drop out (details on that soon). The closer I can get to graduation, the greater the chance I can return and finish later. But honestly, even that looks pretty grim right now.
I'm trying to keep my cool, but I'm honestly falling apart. There is no doubt in my mind that I have the talent needed to be great in this industry. If I could just get past this 6 month course, the opportunities are limitless. I had planned to get my license, work in the industry for a few years, then go back and get my instructor's license. Now, I don't know if any of that will happen. The odds are stacked against us. It sucks so bad to be so close to obtaining my dreams yet have them so far out of reach. Its absolutely crushing.
So what happens now? I honestly don't know. I'm going to ride this crazy train as far as it will go. I might have to drop out at the end of this week. Or I might be able to squeak out a few more weeks. We have applied for a loan against Keith's settlement, but the maximum they will loan (if we even get the max) will only buy me a few more months. The future is uncertain.
I've started a Go Fund Me account. That in itself is extremely difficult for me. I was raised that you make your own way in the world and never ask for help. But after talking to a few friends, readers, and other bloggers, I decided to create the account and share the link. To quote one of my friends/readers, "You have given so much to your readers through your blog. What right do you have to deny them the chance to give back if they want to help?" I admit, it hurts my pride. My goal with Manic Talons is to share my knowledge, swatches and art with the world and nothing more. But I can't argue with her logic and this is not a time for pride. Who knows, maybe someone reading this has the ability to sponsor the next female Tom Bachik. (Humility is best served with a heafty dose of humor, right?)
I know I sound pretty calm, but in all honesty, I'm feeling sad, defeated, and...well...angry to see this dream slipping away. But I'm also proud of how far I've come, even if I can't go all the way. Either way, miracle or not, license or not, career change or not, Manic Talons will go on. I started as a DIYer and will continue as one if I can't get my license. This blog is the only escape and creative outlet I have right now so its not going anywhere. And for now, the Nail School Chronicle will continue...until it doesn't. I promise I won't go deep and depressing on you again. I just needed to get it off my chest. ~Michelle *This post uses Amazon Affiliate Links. Purchases through these links generate commissions that help fund this site.