it's all about the EXPERIENCE

It had been a loooooong time since my last manicure. While I enjoy the look of pleasantly painted nails, the upkeep is a bit time consuming (and costly). But being that my cuticles were overtaking my nails, I sheepishly headed to the salon to get my nails done. And it was great. I even decided to splurge on getting "gel nails" (guaranteed to last 2 weeks) instead of just normal polish (which I usually mess up on my way out the salon door).

I was in luuuuuuuuurve with my nails. So shiny. So sparkly. And no matter HOW many times I banged my fingernails on something (what can I say, I'm a total KLUTZ), the polish stayed perfectly in place. It was all kinds of awesome, and I smiled each time I looked down at my hands.

Fast forward 2 weeks...

My nails have grown out and the gel needs to come off. The person who had done my nails in the first place was kind enough to tell me HOW to remove them myself. So, being a DIY kinda person (and always happy to save a couple bucks), I gave it a go. Acetone? check. Cotton balls? check. Foil? check. Should be simple, right?


Soak the cotton in acetone, place on finger and wrap with foil. Let sit 10 minutes or so. I am not a patient person (to put it mildly). I don't think I quite made it through ten minutes without the foils falling off.

removing gel nails at home

I decided to take a different approach: dump some acetone into a makeshift finger bowl and rest my nails in there directly.

After that, the polish should start to peel off. Use foil to scratch the surface and peel, if necessary. I scrubbed, I scratched, I used the little file attached to my nail clippers for crying out loud.

I spent an hour repeating this process, finally giving up at midnight. My nails were still lumpy and had spotted color, but I just couldn't take the process anymore. I was stiff from perching on the couch, afraid to move too much lest I spill the acetone. I had a headache from smelling the acetone the entire time. And my poor puppy, waiting for bellyrubs or other similar affection, had been neglected since my hands had been otherwise occupied.

I was tired. And frustrated. And I finally gave up for the night, my nails looking like THIS:

um... not so pretty, but I was at my wit's end. The next morning, I couldn't stop touching my bumpy, lumpy nails. Such a small thing, but they made me feel hideous. I balled my hands up into fists to hide the nails... even from myself. I was just thankful I got through the morning without having to shake hands with anyone.

And I decided to give in. Because even though I'm a very capable woman, and could have spent the time fixing what I'd started... sometimes it's worth it to PAY to get something done, even if you can do it yourself.  Because it's all about the experience... NOT just the end result.

I headed to a local nail salon and was taken care of immediately. Gel nail polish removed, nails cleaned up, hand massage given, and nails given a fresh coat of paint. I spent less than $20 for one hour of pampered goodness. And it was worth every penny. I walked out of there feeling shiny and new.

Life likes to beat me over the head with these lessons sometimes. I always try to impart the importance of the EXPERIENCE on others, but sometimes I forget to take my own advice. Because, in the end, it's not about having shiny nails... it's about how I FEEL with them that way.

And so, here's what I learned: even though I'm a very capable person, and am uber-proud that I CAN do most things myself (and save $$ along the way), it doesn't necessarily mean that I HAVE to. Sometimes it's okay to let go of the reins a little bit. And it can be totally WORTH IT to pay the professionals to handle what they're good at. Because no matter what it is, it's not just about the outcome... it's also about the experience along the way.