It’s difficult looking at Sparks’ photigraph still. I work at home and Sparks used to lye under my desk. She would put her head on my lap when she wanted attention and I would give her a luxurious head and neck rub.
If Sparks remained staring at me, I knew it was time for her afternoon walk. As gracefully as a dog could, she would help me put her into her purple harness and I would connect her leash.
Sparks was with us fourteen-years. I recall thinking a couple-of-years before she passed, that I would have to remember the moments when I rubbed her belly and she made happy sounds. I would need to think about how she cuddled into me with total trust and devotion. I would have to remember because one day she’d be gone.
It’s been awhile since Sparks left us and I haven’t had a dog to keep me company at home.
My husband drove us to the Humane Society, one Saturday. To his excitement, we found a one-year-old dog who looked a great deal like Sparks when she was a puppy.
“What about her?”my husband asked me and I laughed.
“She’s perfect,” I said and we adopted Dakota.
Thanks to Roger Shipp for hosting the Flash Fiction Challenge.
Below is a picture of my nails in their current awful condition. I have had gel nail polish three times in the last three months and the gel polish and process of removing the polish has ruined my nails. It is going to take along time for them to recover. I did some research on the best way I can bring my nails back to life so hopefully you can learn from my mistake. I know some lady’s get their nails done monthly with shellac or gel polish but the effects are brutal on your real nails and I had beautiful nails before gel polish. I would save gel or shellac polish for a special occasion.
1. If you do not want to pay $20.00 for a beauty salon to remove your gel shellac polish you can use acetone and either soak your nails in the acetone or soak cotton balls/rounds with the acetone and place them over your nails putting tinfoil over top the cotton balls/rounds. After twenty to thirty minutes, the shellac or gel polish should be easy for you to scrap off gently. It should come right off and be sticky. For me this method works for shellac but not gel nails. I soaked my Gel nails for fifty minutes altogether with the cotton balls and foils and the polish did not come off last time I had my nails done in December.
2. For Gel nails, the second option I researched and that was recommended to me by an esthetician, was to buff the nail polish off using a nail file. This takes along time and can be extremely hard on your nails especially if they are already super thin and cracking due to Gel polish. It also hurts your finger nails and I was trying to be gentle. If your nails are thin and peeling this method is not the way to go. I was able to remove most of the Gel polish, but underneath my nails were paper thin. In some places, they started to bleed underneath the nail. I left the Gel polish right at my tips because it was too painful to buff off and will grow out soon.
***If your nails are as bad as mine, it is worth it to go into the salon and get the Gel polish removed. They salon has a special drill/file and it does not remove extra layers of your nail that are already thin, as filing the polish off can make happen. If I had only went to the salon in the first place and paid $20.00 I would’ve had nails in a better condition. I paid $20.00 anyways for the nail strengthener I talk about later on. So consider this please.
3. If your nails are thin, cracked, and peeling cut them as short as you can, so they can grow back stronger. Use a cream that is good for your hands and nails to moisturuze and help strengthen your nails and keep your hands soft. I recommend Vaseline Healthy Hand and Nail cream which you can find at any drugstore.
4. Use cuticle oil to shine your nails when you have gel or shellac nails. This also helps to moisturuze your nails so they do not become cracked and peeling. Use it after you have removed your gel/shellac polish to keep your nails especially strong and your cuticles soft. I received this in a gift a few years ago but cuticle oil is available in drug stores and olive oil works well if it is all you have at home.
5. This next product, I read about from other people who found themselves in this nail situation. It is a Nail Strengthener by OPI, an excellent nail care brand. I ordered one from Nail Polish Canada. There were a few different OPI Nail Strengtheners to choose from and I bought the one for dry and brittle nails. The nail strengthener is from OPI’s Nail Envy line and costs about $20.00 Canadian for a bottle. The blogs I read, said to apply the strengthener to your nails at the beginning of the week. You can put a colour over it if you would like. Also, use it over top your coloured polish if you are applying a colour. Then mid-week, apply a coat of the nail strengthener again and also apply one last coat at the end of the week. Then start again the next week until your nails are strong. If you don’t want to invest in a strengthening polish at least put some kind of regular nail polish overtop as your nails grow more and will hold together better under a polish. Clear polish is fine and probably the best. But this Nail Envy works so well, it is worth ever penny.
6. If you need to remove nail polish, do not use regular or acetone nail polish remover on your nails in their damaged state. Instead, use a natural nail polish remover. I received a great one in my Luxebox a couple boxes ago. It is called Sun Coat: All Natural Nail Polish Remover Gel made from Corn and Soy. It is $7.99 online or can be found at London Drugs with other Sun Coat products. You apply the gel to your nail (with regular polish on) and allow it sit for thirty seconds to a minute on your nails. You may have to reapply a bit if you missed an edge or a section of polish. But generally, within a minute your polish comes right off with a cotton round and your nails aren’t further ruined by chemicals or damaged more. Sun Coat’s Nail Polish Remover does not sting when you put it on or smell at all. It is the perfect polish remover to use and start again with applying the nail polish OPI strengthener to keep your nails from looking like mine currently do.
If I can say one thing that is important it would be that if you are doing Gel or Shellac nails often, allow them to breathe for a couple weeks now and then. Also, pay the money and get the estheticisan to remove it with her special tool. It will save your nails. Inbetween, use the the OPI Nail strengthener on your nails.