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I’ve been painting my nails for over thirty years–ever since my mom gave me my first bottle of BOPO. God bless the ’80s, right? Then came the ’90s and my foray into adding stripes: pink with blue, red with purple (the Red Hatters weren’t around back then so it was legal for a pre-teen to wear this color combination), stick-on jewels, or whatever I could get away with.


You can still buy BOPO! Check out their updated look here.

As a pianist, I’ve always had short nails. But in the late ’90s my teacher required naked nails on her twin grands. Being her intern and living at the studio at least two days a week, I endured a colorless year. More noteworthy, I survived.

That experience probably fed my lust for color. In the following years, I painted often. Mom taught me at a young age to paint my dominant hand first, and while no technician, I can give myself a darn good manicure. I read articles on how to make a manicure last, and by 2010 I had mastered the art of a 10-day home manicure.

As an aside, I distinctly remember one of Mom’s friends stating that she’d never seen an empty bottle of nail polish. The stuff either dries up or we lose interest in that particular shade. It’s true! I’ve invested twenty years of research into this fascinating topic. But I digress.

Now, for all of my obsession with my nails, the hands themselves have never been well cared for. Six months of the year they suffer cuticle tears, painfully dry skin, and just plain ugliness. I keep a pair of dish gloves by my kitchen sink, but I was born in a hurry and there’s just not always time to apply gloves before whipping the kitchen back into shape after each meal. Or snack. Or cup of coffee.

Enter Renew by Melaleuca. As you can see, this hand lotion is good to the last drop.


When my kiddo arrived two years ago, I found painting my nails nearly impossible. One never knows when an infant will need to be picked up, fed, danced, or even how long they’ll stay asleep once if they actually do drift into Dreamland. Goodbye, color. During this time the friend I mentioned here got married and I gave Jamberry Nails a try. However, I think I applied them incorrectly, because I started peeling them off before the ceremony ended.

Right before my kiddo’s arrival, Mom and I went in together on a gel nail kit. I found this to be somewhat of a compromise. Giving myself a gel manicure takes more time, but once it’s done you can resume normal life. The trick is getting the stuff off. So far, I haven’t had much success with any of the suggested removal methods: soaking in acetone, wrapping them in foil, filing the polish off, you name it. So I’ve reverted to my childhood: while watching TV, I pick at my nails until I’ve chipped off all or most of the color. This works for me since my nails are about 1/16 of an inch thick and can survive this level of abuse. It doesn’t work for my man because somehow the chips of color end up in the popcorn.

gel nails

This past summer my neighbor introduced me to OPI’s Liquid Sand polish. It seemed like a dream come true–the perfect “mom polish.” Since this polish dries fast and rough (it’s supposed to be sand, after all), no one will ever know the difference if I happen to change a diaper before the polish dried and scuff one—or all—of my nails. They were rough to start with. And touch ups are quick and simple. Oh, and if you choose a light color, you can get at least 10 days out of one manicure.


Yes, I’m a little obsessive about my nails (you wouldn’t know it at the moment), but aren’t most women? For some, it’s the shape. For me, it’s the color. Either way, it’s ok. We all deserve a little pampering.

At least, that’s what my mom taught me. Who am I to argue?