Thursday, September 13, 2012

DIY French Mani-Pedi

Last night I got home safely from Colorado, and I've been getting settled back into the old homestead (and anxiously awaiting the return of my husband from his trip tonight).  I didn't have the opportunity to blog yesterday.  I had a long, LONG day of flying--two legs, from Colorado Springs to Atlanta and then from Atlanta to Boston.  I don't like the whole flying thing much anyway; but add in an extreme case of tear-inducing separation anxiety, brought on by having to say goodbye to those adorable little twin granddaughters with whom I'd been spending the past two weeks, and it was a sort of rough day.  It's heartbreaking to have most of the people you love so much living so far away, and right now that seems to be the story of my life.

But fiddle-dee-dee, I'll think about that tomorrow.  And instead of dwelling on sad things, I'm going to tell you about the mani-pedi I gave myself a few nights ago after the babies had gone to bed.

I have never in my life had a professional manicure.  I have, in fact, rarely worn nail polish on either my fingers or my toes.  I wore a color called "Pearl" for my wedding (get it?  Pearl?) so that I would have pretty bride's hands, but I applied it myself--and I'm sure it was not the smoothest job in the world.

I have had two professional pedicures now, though.  I had my first one, at 53 years old, during a girls-day-out with my daughter-in-law when my husband and I were visiting with her and our son--and those grandbabies--over the long Thanksgiving weekend in 2011.  I had been told many times how enjoyable it was to get a pedicure, but I never believed it.  All I could think was, "I don't want anyone messing with my big ol' size 9 feet!  I'm going to gross them out!"  That first pedicure really changed my mind, though.  My daughter-in-law and I went to a wonderful place with a spa-like atmosphere, and I left there feeling like a pampered queen.  I also left there with the prettiest toes I'd ever had, painted expertly in a nice Christmasy shade of red.

When I had my second pedicure, I was again with my daughter-in-law.  We were in Upstate NY for the wedding of one of my nieces this August, and the bride and her bridesmaids went over to the nail salon to get mani-pedi's the day before the wedding.  The two of us decided that it would be a nice decadent treat to make a little trip to the salon, too.  For some reason, though, the pedicurists who worked on our feet were a tad grumpy.  They seemed annoyed with us for forgetting to bring over the jars of polish we'd chosen before we got settled into our massage chairs.  They weren't particularly gentle with our tootsies.  It didn't seem like they were particularly enjoying their job that day (although why would anyone enjoy messing around with a stranger's feet?  I know I wouldn't!).  My toenails got painted a lovely gold, a color I'd chosen because it reminded me of Notre Dame's famous Golden Dome, but it wasn't as relaxing a pedi treament as the previous one.  (Regardless, I left a generous tip; I blame the tendency I have to do this on being an ex-waitress.)

Well, my lovely golden toes didn't really hold up.  Within hours of our return from the nail salon, I dropped a high chair tray on the middle toe of my right foot and chipped the newly applied polish.  (I also sliced the tip of the toe almost completely off, but that's neither here nor there.)  Within no time, the nail of the big toe on that same foot was chipped, too--I have no idea how.  "Forget it," I thought.  "I can't keep spending big bucks on pedicures.  I'll just have to figure out how to do one myself."

So before I left for Colorado, I bought a little kit at the drugstore called "Naileen French Tip 2 Go" for a whopping $4.99 (which is a good bit cheaper than the salon version of a French pedicure) and packed it to take along on my trip.

I did my toenails first and thought they came out looking fairly nice, if you didn't look at them TOO closely.  First step: I applied the fast-drying white paint to the nail tips with the applicator "pen."  Second step: I brushed on a few top coats of clear polish.  And voila!  It seemed like a piece of cake, so I decided I'd give myself a French manicure aussi.  I did my left hand and all went very smoothly.  Then I realized that in order to do the fingernails on my right hand, I was going to have to paint the white tips on with my left hand.  I am right-handed and not the least bit ambidextrous.  Uh oh.  "Oh, NOW I see why people get manicures at salons," I thought.  "It's all beginning to make sense to me!"

I persevered, though, "erasing" my numerous mistakes with nail polish remover until I had somewhat smooth and even-looking painted white tips (emphasis on "somewhat"), and then I added the clear polish with a shaky hand.  My left hand looks better than my right, but overall I think I was able to achieve a passable imitation of a French manicure and pedicure.  And it was all DIY, costing about as much as the tip I left the grouchy pedicurist in NY--with enough supplies left over in my "2 Go" kit to give myself at least two more at-home spa treatments.

Here's the final product of my poor man's French mani-pedi (I refuse to show you my right hand):
Oo-la-la--ca c'est magnifique, non?

Here's the two-step DIY kit that I used, in case you'd like to try your hand at this yourself:
Ha ha!  Try your hand!  Did you notice what I did there?

[Sigh.]  All this talk about nail salons and pedicures and such makes me a little sad [sniff], because it reminds me of my daughter-in-law, my nail salon buddy...and it was tough saying goodbye to her yesterday, too!


  1. Looks beautiful! DIY spa treatments are so much fun. I loved reading about your sweet tradition with your daughter-in-law....I'm also finding that there's a very special bond between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law :)

    1. I know, it's absolutely wonderful when your son marries a girl who becomes your friend! And I made it sound like now that I've mastered the cheap DIY pedicure, I wouldn't be making any more trips to the salon...but I'd definitely go again with my daughter-in-law.