Beauty Wednesday: Nail Envy

OPI Nail Treatments Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener, OriginalI sometimes wish I could be one of those girls who had a perfect manicure all the time. For a very brief while I tried to be, namely right after I got engaged.  And you know what? Spending 30-60 minutes a week getting my nails done is not my idea of a good time.  I hate sitting across from a stranger trying to make small talk while she paints my nails, and I hate the way I invariably chip them about 10 minutes after leaving the nail salon (and I am definitely one of those people who has to remove chipped polish, STAT) — and ultimately I can think of a zillion better things to do with 30-60 minutes than go to a salon.

In addition to this hatred of the nail salon, I’m also not very good at painting my nails.  So my solution over the years — when I want to add a little somethin’ somethin’ to my nails without heading to the salon — has been this:  OPI’s Nail Envy.  I’ve actually used this product off and on since I was 15 or so, and just rediscovered it recently.  Don’t get me wrong: it’s just your basic clear polish.  But what I truly love about it is that it dries in about 2 minutes — and has ingredients that are actually meant to strengthen your nails.  It lasts for forever, and you’re actually encouraged to apply new coats right on top of the old for the “maximum” effect of the nail strengthener stuff.

OPI Nail Treatments Nail Envy Natural Nail Strengthener, Original is available at Drugstore.com for $15.50.

(L-2)

Comments

  1. I am a new fan of the gel/shellac manicure. It is a bit more expensive ($30/35 for a regular/french where I go), but it really lasts 3 weeks – the real trouble is not that it chips, but that your nails grow enough after a couple of weeks that the unpainted part of the nail starts to show at the bottom. With a french manicure, however, that’s not so noticeable.

    • I came here to say the same thing! The salon I go to has OPI Axxium, CND Shellac, IBD Gelac, and Nail Harmony’s Gelish. I’ve gotten at least one with each brand and have loved the results with each. And, with so many companies offering it now, there is a wide variety of colors available if you can find a salon that offers all of the different brands. (When I first started getting gel manicures, only OPI Axxium and CND Shellac were widely available.) It’s only $25 where I go and I agree; regrowth is the biggest problem for me.

    • Yes! I just got my first one almost two weeks ago and it still looks great (aside from the nail growth you mentioned). Plus it’s dry and hard the minute it’s done, so no worries about smudging / chipping immediately. My only concern is whether I need to go back to the nail salon to get it taken off — I don’t know if regular nail polish remover will work, and peeling seems too harsh.

    • a passion for fashion :

      this is my new obsession for nails. i’ve had about 4 now, with one regular mani in between and i simply cannot go back to a regular mani.

    • I’m a chronic nail picker and have been looking for ways to stop! This sounds like it could be just the thing. Do your nails need to be a certain length for this to work/not look ridiculous?

      • K: It looks the same as a regular manicure, except a bit shinier. So if your nails are long enough for a manicure, you’re good to go.

        • Spoken as someone who never gets a manicure but would like to try gel nails: How long do your nails have to be to get a manicure (and specifically, gel nails)?

          • That’s a matter of personal preference. So long as your nails aren’t so short they’re bloody, there’s no reason why you can’t get a manicure at any length.

    • I have a very bad nail biting problem. My nails are not bloody, but pretty close. Manicures keep me from biting my nails because I then use my teeth to chip away at the manicure. Not very healthy, I know! Would a gel manicure be impervious to my attempts to bite through/strip my nails? I’d like to find a solution that helps me get my nails in better shape!

  2. Anyone have weird rashes/bumps on your feet after a pedicure? Is it bacterial? Fungal? Viral? Is it only from the tubs that have the jacuzzi jets? This is a very clean spa that is part of a very clean and professional chain (Happy Nail in SoCal). Thoughts?

    • It may be an allergic reaction to something they put in the water or on your feet. I’ve never really heard of such a thing before. I’d try going to a different salon just to see if the same thing happens.

      My nails are really thin and soft. The only thing I find I can do with them is buff them, as any sort of polish/nail strengthener just seems to make them break or crack fairly far down into the nail bed.

    • Bacterial. They probably aren’t cleaning the tubs properly. Or maybe you’re having a reaction to the specific products they’re using. But fyi, a health dept official told me never to shave your legs the day you’re getting a pedi b/c you’re more likely to get an infection.

  3. Miss Priss :

    I have really thin, brittle nails and I use “Nail Magic” which really does seem to strengthen nails. It is usually only available at places like Sally Beauty. Nail Magic keeps your nails looking buffed but not polished and it doesn’t chip, it just fades a little.

  4. I have a four-sided buffing block that I keep handy. I buff my nails so they’re shiny and smooth, and then I paint them from time to time. I just paint on top of any chips; that seems to work for me.

    • LOVE the 4-sided buffing blocks! They’re great after you’ve shaped your nails with a harsher file. You can just sit there watching TV or talking to your SO and buff away :)

  5. I love OPI Nail Envy.
    My nails used to split into layers when I used nail polish regularly. I don’t have this problem anymore. I use it as undercoat or I use it without as clear nail polish.
    The only down side is that I now constantly have to shorten my nails because they grow like crazy. Ha, that’s a good complaint to have.

    Unrelated to nails but related to this blog:
    I caught myself having a clothes discussion with myself this morning.
    We had a client from an IT firm coming in and I usually dress up for clients. We are business casual but I pull out the skirt suit for these occasions. I wasn’t sure if he would be the geeky type who will be intimidated buy this type of dress code or if he is the guy who handles their government contracts, who is most likely not so easily impressed (for lack of a better word).
    What I’m trying to say is: I haven’t been reading Corporette for very long, but I certainly took a good sip of the kool aid. Hahahaha.

  6. karenpadi :

    LOCATION CHANGE FOR BAY AREA MEET-UP.

    I changed the location of the meet-up because Nola’s is apparently not open during the day on Saturday.

    New details:
    Where: Reposado in Palo Alto.
    When: September 24th at 1pm.

    Friends and significant others are invited. I will let parents make the judgment call re: children.

    My email: karenpadi at hotmail dot com.

  7. Diana Barry :

    Interesting poll possibilities here – how many people get regular manicures? How about pedicures? If not, what do you do for your nails?

    I get regular pedicures, but not manicures – I tend to chip the manicure right away and hate that. I do get manicures before events like weddings etc. But my toenails grow so slowly that I can get a pedi once every 3-4 weeks and it only looks funny for the last week or so.

    I just leave my fingernails bare if I don’t have a manicure – I cut them very short (old habit from piano playing!) and that’s it. I do paint my fingernails myself about once a month.

    • DC Kolchitongi :

      I went the opposite direction — now that I no longer play piano, I love to keep my nails long and impeccably manicured.

      I do my own maintenance, though. Regular filing, clear polish, and cuticle moisturizing is pretty much all it takes to make it look like you get them professionally done. When I got engaged and sent pictures of my ring around, people asked if I’d been tipped off and gotten a manicure ahead of time :)

    • I get regular pedicures in the spring/summer months. In the fall/winter, no one sees my toes, so I save the money and skip them.

      My fingernails are bare 90% of the time, but I will get the occasional manicure. I’m a nail picker (been trying to quit FOREVER but it’s an unconscious habit, so I’ve had no luck). I’ve pretty much resigned myself to not-cute fingernails, sadly.

    • Pedicures regularly year round (roughly monthly). Otherwise they get too long and break from running.

      Manicures myself because I am very picky about the shape. No polish. No time to maintain chips.

    • Weekly at-home manicure (trim/file/buff/cuticles) and pedicure (trim/file/buff/cuticles/pumice). No polish (daily martial arts = polish lasts only until my next workout, as mats and shinpads eat polish for breakfast).

    • Anonymous :

      I leave em bare, file at home.

    • Pedicures bi-weekly from about March to November. In the winter months, I just do it myself with a pale polish. As for manicures, they are wasted money and time for me. My nails absolutely will not hold polish. I think it is because they are so soft and flexible. I’ve tried every product I can find, from high to low, to harden them. No go. They are also very thin and very ridged. Ever So Attractive. (sarcasm). I recently found a quick fix for times when I really want attractive nails – the $4.99 stick-on ones from the drug store. They now come in a perfectly natural version – natural color, even with little “moons” where your natural ones are at the base – which I further naturalize by filing them fairly short. I won’t leave them on for more than a couple of days though the package says you can leave them for seven days.

    • Anonylawyer :

      I do my own nails. I paint my toe nails and fingernails every week, usually with dark colors – reds, pinks, purples. I use the Orly Rubberized base coat, then apply 2 coats of polish (usually OPI or China Glaze) immediately followed by one coat of OPI No Chips top coat. I then add 1 more coat of colored nail polish mid-week (Wednesday) to keep things looking fresh (by Wednesday, I get a bit of tip wear, no chipping). I can make it through the week without noticeable chipping.

    • I can’t keep nail polish on for more than a day or so, so I never bother with manicures. I don’t really bother with pedicures, either. I keep my nails short and clean and that’s it really.

    • I’ve not really seen the appeal of a mani (given the cost), and I’ve never even had a pedi. I shorten my nails every week (Sunday night, while watching TV; my husband even teases me about it, I’m so particular about making sure it gets done then) and file them then. I paint every now and then, but mostly find it’s too much trouble to maintain and worry about chips and such. For example, I’m sporting a bright red this week, which I thought about taking off last night, but then decided that I could get another day out of them, only to find that today, they look chipped and ragged- and I have a bar association dinner tonight! :(

      I keep my toenails polished all of the time, but I usually wear the same polish on my toes for several weeks, with the occasional touch up.

    • LinLondon :

      I do my own nails several times a week. Usually while watching sports, the dichotomy pleases me :) I loooooooove the short, dark look, so I’m actually looking forward to fall. And my work place is casual enough that I can wear whatever colors I want.

      Usually use Revlon base & top and OPI polish.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m really bad at doing my own nails, can’t get the shape right and I never have the patience to bother with cuticles. (Not a former pianist but a former lab scientist whose hands were continually beat up beyond any attempts to repair.) I’m also not really into spending a lot of time getting a manicure but am wondering whether I should try a “sport manicure”, or whatever salons do which is generally aimed at men, i.e., grooming not involving polish.

      On the one hand – so to speak – it doesn’t seem worth the money; on the other, it just isn’t getting done properly now….

    • Seasonal pedicures (May-August/September – I just got my last one last night, sigh).

      I’ve heard that it’s good to give them a “break” from all the attention, (namely the polish) from podiatrists… and in DC the open toe look is pretty much done away with by mid/late September anyways.

      As for manicures… I don’t have the patience. I wish I did. Fortunately I was blessed with my grandmother’s hands and nails, so they look just lovely all by themselves (by which I mean, I clip and file them regularly).

    • Turtle Wexler :

      I get a mani about every 10 days and a pedi about every month. I love this indulgence and will keep it up as long as I live in the area, I think. I hate doing my own nails and can’t get it to look good no matter what – but every time I go to the salon I come out relaxed with my hands looking fabulous. Usually I can keep from nicking my polish (better than when I do it on my own, at least) and it’s a great girl date. My salon is cheap, too – $12 for hands, $28 for both – and I gladly sacrifice a few lunches out to keep up this habit. To each her own!

  8. mani/pedi survey :

    1) Where you do you live, and how much is a standard manicure in your area? What about a pedicure?

    2) How much do you tip the nail technicians afterward?

    My answers:
    NYC, $10-$12 for a manicure, $15-25 for pedicure
    I tip $3-4 for the mani and $4-5 for the pedi.

    • Always a NYer :

      I live in upstate NY, Saratoga County. I get regular manicures at the hair salon I go to every three weeks. They are $15 and I usually leave a $3-4 tip. I’ll get a pedicure every 6-8 weeks. I go to the Aveda Spa because they are uber clean and have the only footbaths I trust my bare feet in. It’s $45 and I’ll leave a $10 tip.

      When my nails are polish free, I regularly file and buff my nails in addition to clipping my cuticles.

    • Southern California, not LA.

      Pedicures are $24 at Happy Nail, a local chain with about 20 salons. I tip $5.

      No idea about manicures.

    • 1.. DC, $27 pedi, $14 mani, or $39 mani/pedi (some places charge more – $30 for pedi, $16 for mani. This is a rip off.)

      2. $10 if it took less than an hour, $15-20 if it took more (not counting drying time). I always go to the same place and would probably tip less if I wasn’t “friends” with the lady.

    • In Brooklyn, manis are $6-8 and pedis $10-12. I tip $2-3 and $3-4, respectively.

    • Anonymous :

      I’m so disgusted at stories I hear about people getting infections from salons that I go to a sterile, green (no bad chemicals) salon. Mani $18, pedi, $28. I could get a mani/pedi for $25 nearby if I wanted, but I like my salon.

    • NYC. $25 for both mani/pedi. I tip about 5-8, depending on how it turns out.

      In reference to the above question about frequency, I usually go every 2 weeks or so during sandal season; I usually get both b/c my salon charges the same for both as it does for just a pedicure. As soon as the manicure chips though, I take off the polish and stick to bare nails or clear that I do myself. In the winter, I only go for special occasions and give my feet a break the rest of the time.

    • D.C. $28 for a mani and pedi at a local place. I usually leave $33.

    • TXAttyJen :

      Dallas – $25-35 for gel manicure/$35-45 for pedicure (with paraffin)
      I tip $20 for mani and $20 for pedi (but they also fit me in whenever I call & need to jump the line)

    • I am so jealous of all you New Yorkers! St. Louis we pay $20 for a manicure and $35 for a pedi!

  9. Gift Advice :

    Ladies, I need advice or recommendations on two different gifts. I need to purchase both within the next few days, but am having some issues coming up with good ideas.

    Gift #1 – a (belated) baby gift for one of my close friends. I am hoping for something particularly thoughtful / sweet /sentimental or something that someone having their first baby might not think to register for. Suggestions?

    Gift #2 – a board game for a vacation home. I’m planning on taking a board game as a hostess gift to the friends were staying with over Labor Day weekend at their mountain house. Any recs on particularly fun, if not slightly out of the ordinary, board games?

    • AnonInfinity :

      For gift #2 — My favorite game ever is Taboo. That’s a fun one, especially with lots of people. If you want something a little quieter, Settlers of Catan is great. It changes every time you play because you construct the board anew each time (not sure if that makes sense), so it always stays interesting.

    • found a peanut :

      my board game rec is apples & oranges.

    • Anonymous :

      Gift # 2 – Uno Attack. It gets better the more alcohol you consume.

    • Always a NYer :

      Gift #1 – My mom would always get someone a baby’s first Christmas ornament. A non-holiday/religious option would be a baby’s first tracking book. Maybe an album or scrapbook with embellishments (stickers, paper).

      Gift #2 – I love Taboo, it’s fun and interactive. There’s another one I played at my cousin’s house last year, something to do with dirty minds or the like? Anyone know the game I’m talking about?

    • For #2 – Bananagrams! Very fun. Like a twist on Scrabble (and I find that people who are bored by Scrabble enjoy Bananagrams).

      • SF Bay Associate :

        The inventors (a family!) were interviewed on NPR recently. They sounded like really nice people, and are enjoying an astounding amount of success with this game that the family invented one day.

    • #2 Bohnanza is a great game, and can accomodate a large range of players (nominally 2-7, but probably better with 4-7). Every turn you draw and trade cards – the trading makes it a pretty social game.

      • 1-personalized growth chart to hang in the baby’s room. I bought one for each of my kids and I always thought they would make a great gift. Google “personalized growth chart” and you should find some options.

      • L from Oz :

        I thought I was the only person who played Bohnanza! (And thanks – you’ve answered my question of whether it’s available in English – we play in a different language, but I’ve been wanting a set I can play with some non-local-language speaking friends.)

    • I am not really a fan of word-related games at all (I am just bad at them). I love Ticket to Ride and Power Grid. Power Grid gets brutally competitive, but it is a little bit time consuming to set up/learn.

    • Are you looking for more of a strategy game or a social game? I like both, but in different contexts. Ticket to Ride and Scrabble are very good strategy games, but are very different from, say, Taboo. I’ve never played Apples to Oranges (which I think is similar to Apples to Apples) but supect it’s a more social game.

    • Diana Barry :

      For babies, I have been getting them a sleep sack from Halo (get the size that baby would be in the winter) because you use it every day and it is not something that people think to get.
      Hanna Andersson usually has a new design for these every season
      http://www.hannaandersson.com/style.asp?from=SC|6|2|156|309|9||&simg=37774_W14

    • for baby gifts, I like a personalized library – I pick out books I liked to read to my own kids but there are services that do a great job assorting this.\

      For board games, I like Cranium a lot

    • #1 – two ideas: a lands end tote bag (medium) with the baby’s name embroidered – I got one of these as a gift for my son and use it daily to day care. or a baby birth keepsake block with the name, birthday, etc – I don’t think this is one I got, but it’s very similar.
      http://www.blissliving.com/personalized-baby-birth-keepsake-wooden-block.html

    • R in Boston :

      For gift #1, how about a mobile for over the crib? Then it is something that will be pretty, keep the baby quiet at night, and do all the good brain function things babies are supposed to get from mobiles. I also really like the library idea someone else posted.

      For #2, if it’s mostly a group of adults, what about the New Yorker Caption Game? Definitely for teens and up, not for little kids, but also out of the ordinary.

    • a passion for fashion :

      apples to apples for the board game. its awesome, and im not a game fan.

      for the baby gift, it depends on the person you are giving the gift to. I personally am not very sentimental, so stuff like that for my kids didnt get used. And as a mother of two, i can say the best gifts are those that get used. Becuase you dont know what they may or may not have, a good gift would be clothes, for some age down the road, that is season appropriate. (i.e., if the baby was born last month, buy some six month clothes for the winter, or some 12 month clothes for next summer. Or better yet, buy a few things that are age appropriate for various seasons)

    • My new favorite baby gift when I want to do something nicer is an engraved silver cake knife that the parents/child can use to cut the child’s birthday cakes each year. You know, a long serrated knife like you use to cut the cake at weddings (not the wedge-shaped pie server)? I get it engraved on the blade with the baby’s full name and date of birth. A family member gave us one for each of our daughters and they get a kick out of pulling them out each year at the family birthday celebration.

    • Chrononauts! It’s technically a card game, not a board game, but you get to be a time traveler. It’s really, really fun for young and old, and it’s very clever and new.

    • #1 Red Envelope has a lot of cute and unique baby things.
      #2 Apples to Apples if it’s for larger groups. Trivial pursuit is great for smaller groups.

    • spacegeek :

      I get Patemm pads for people. Not affiliated, but discovered when I had my children that the kids DO NOT stay on those tiny rectangular diaper changing pads but wiggle all over!!And that can be gross!!! LOL So I like Patemm because they are round yet fold up into the same size as the usual diaper pad. Google Patemm changing pad. The smaller ones are fine. I get these for every new baby/parent!

    • PT lawyer :

      Q #1 – completely NOT sentimental, but very useful: the book Baby 411. Its a lifesaver and my go-to item for baby presents. And seriously, the parents will love you waaay more for this than some monogrammed whatsit.

      Q#2 – I like those fancy-schmancy wooden “game boxes” that has checkers, chess, parcheesi, etc. all in one. This was my husband’s gift to his best man when we got married, and Best Man says he uses it regularly (with his kids).

    • SV in House :

      I hope you will see this late reply, but my kids LOVED having the I See Me books read to them as they got older and it is a sweet gift. My son got the “My Very Own Name” (http://www.iseeme.com/my-very-own-name-personalized-book.html) version and my daughter got the fairy tale one (http://www.iseeme.com/my-very-own-fairy-tale-personalized-book.html).

  10. S in Chicago :

    Someone pinch me. I fear I’m not living in 2011.

    http://blogs.villagevoice.com/runninscared/2011/08/jc_penneys_too.php

    J.C. Penney has agreed to pull a girls’ T-shirt for sale on its website that said, “I’m too pretty to do homework so my brother has to do it for me.” The accompanying product description didn’t help matters, either: “Who has time for homework when there’s a new Justin Bieber album out? She’ll love this tee that’s just as cute and sassy as she is.” The shirt quickly became a viral sensation, with people tweeting in disgust and signing an online petition for the shirt to be removed from shelves. J.C. Penney said in a statement Wednesday that the shirt “does not send an appropriate message,” and that they would immediately stop selling it immediately.

  11. Okay, we’ve talked about this before, but this seems like the perfect thread to revisit this topic: I am a terrible, terrible cuticle picker. I’ve done this since kindergarten and it’s just gotten worse and worse. I am currently using lots of Burts Bees cuticle cream, which helps, but not enough. I just keep going lower and lower down the nailbed/finger and it sucks.

    It’s obviously a tough habit to break–I’m on anti-anxiety meds and they don’t help at all.

    Anyone had ANY luck? I literally do this all day long–I don’t know how to undo a habit that I do thousands of times a day. Help!

    • Anonymous :

      I actually keep a pair of cuticle scissors on me at all times. That way I can cut off any loose cuticles immediately = nothing left to pick.
      Also, I’m much more disciplined about it when I have a manicure that I don’t want to ruin.

    • @ batgirl – I finally cured myself of this after discovering dimethicone as a lotion ingredient that cures my snaggly cuticles. I have had thorny cuticles forever and nothing else got rid of them. When a relative was in a nursing home I discovered “Medline Remedy with olivamine Dimethicone Skin Protectant”. I could only find it online, but it has 5.0% dimethicone worked miracles. No ragged cuticles, nothing to pick! Good luck!

    • tough habit to break, but I find first of all having my nails manicured really does discourage me from this, as does frequent and relentless moisturizer applications. Once I have a rough spot, it’s over, so keeping things smooth is the key.

    • I don’t know if you ever nibble, but an evil-tasting cream will help with that. Plain anti-biotic cream tastes vile.

    • I’m bad about biting mine when they hang off, so I try to keep a clipper on hand all the time, because I can tell myself that clipping works much better than biting (which it does).

      Only problem is that I can’t find a clipper with a straight edge anymore- the curved ones don’t work as well for getting the whole hanging part off. Maybe I should switch to cuticle scissors?

    • Having had the OPI gel manicure for almost two weeks now (see above comment) I’ve reduced my major cuticle-picking habit by about 75%. This benefit alone is enough reason for me to keep getting the manicures.

    • This was me. I was a TERRIBLE cuticle/nail picker until the beginning of this summer when I made it my mission to stop. Actually, I was inspired by a corporette post about bad habits in the office. I now have absolutely beautiful nails! My remedy – giving yourself bi-weekly/weekly manicures (trimming/filing, cuticle cream, cuticle trimming, and polish).

      At the beginning (when I started this mission), I would give myself a manicure, keep it nice for 1-2 days, and then pick off the polish for 1-2 days. Therefore, instead of picking my cuticles and nails, I would just pick at the polish. Gross, I know, but it really, really helped. After the polish was off, I would immediately re-do my nails. This is a little bit time consuming, but it was so worth it for me. Eventually, I stopped picking off the polish and kicked the “picking” habit altogether.

      It probably took me about 2 months to stop, but this really worked for me. Now, giving myself weekly manicures does the trick for maintenance.

      A good idea is to use neutral or light pink polishes – when you start picking at the polish, it won’t look as bad as, say, picking off red. I would recommend OPI Samoan Sand, Tickle-My Francy, or Bubble Bath.

      Also, since we’re talking about nails, anyone doing an at-home manicure MUST get Seche Vite Fast Trying Top Coat. It seriously dries your nails in about 2 minutes with no chips! Seriously, it’s the best ever.

      Once you get the hang of giving yourself a manicure, it will take about 15-20 minutes and it makes all the difference.

      • Did you read the Seche Vite disclosure, that the product may cause infertility? If that’s not a concern for you, then by all means…

        • Yes I have…Apparently the disclosure is based on the fact that California (where the product is manufactured) has very strict product disclosure laws regarding certain chemicals. It is a nail polish product after all…many (most) contain dangerous chemicals. My mom is an OB/GYN and would let me know if something was actually dangerous, so I think I’ll take my chances.

        • spacegeek :

          Yes exactly. Some women refrain from coloring their hair or using nail products while pregnant. IMO, this falls in exactly that category.

          But I second Seche Vite for changing my nail habits–I now do all my own manicures and change my color as often as I feel like it because I can get it to dry so fast and resume normal activities!

  12. Just FYI: Nail Envy is only $7 with shipping on Amazon.

  13. Lois Frankel, author of NGDGTCO :

    PSA: she is the keynote speaker at:

    Jackson Lewis’ Women’s Employment Law Conference
    September 22-23, 2011 – The Huntley Hotel – Santa Monica, CA

    www DOT jacksonlewis DOT com

    And no, I don’t work for Jackson Lewis.

  14. Highly recommend buffing, which is very easy to do yourself with a 3 or 4-sided buffer. As you get older your nails can get ridge-y, which I’ve read if left unattended can lead to splitting, ugh. Mild abrasive to sand down the surface, milder still to smooth out, mildest of all to leave a high shine.

    Also, for me, short nails. Long ones, with so much keyboarding, the nail beds jolt a lot and get sore. And I have really hard nails and stab myself if I let them get long :/

  15. med school student help :

    Ladies, I don’t know what to do. I’m at my wit’s end. My younger sister is in medical school, just starting her fourth year. She’s an overachieving gal like anyone else reading this blog and she’s stuck. She is MAJORLY depressed and she refuses to do anything of the work she’s supposed to, doesn’t study, isn’t applying for residency programs and just basically stares at the wall, blinking, every day, for hours on end. She shows up to the hospital when she has to and drinks water and eats fruit. Sometimes she’ll consume boiled vegetables. That’s it.

    She doesn’t want to see a therapist or a doctor about her obvious depression or looming anxiety (re: all the deadlines and life decisions she needs to make) because she doesn’t want it to go on her record, that she has “mental problems”. She was never the happiest or most pleasant person to be around but she had her good moments (we knew not to disturb her while she’s studying) and we liked her prickly personality. She rages and yells and withdraws completely from the family, not talking to anyone for days. I’m trying to be supportive, as is everyone else in the family, but we don’t know what to do anymore, she twists everything we say or do into a personal attack. She says she doesn’t have the drive to be a physician anymore and it all doesn’t matter anyway.

    Please help, any advice would be appreciated. I’m just so confused and I don’t know how to help. She used to be the girl who was going to cure the world and now she’s just someone else. I feel like locking her in a room with a therapist or something but I have a feeling that’s illegal. Help!

    • Have you talked to someone at the school? The Dean for students at my law school was wonderful and involved with getting people the help they needed.

    • The school or the hospital may have an Ombuds-person, who is supposed to be confidential. That might be a place to start.

      • anon in manhattan :

        Try to find out if confidentiality is genuinely honored.

        • med school student help :

          I haven’t checked with the school but I just may. I feel like it’s such an invasion of privacy for me to check this out but it’s probably better for me to be asking questions than for her to be asking. Med school is filled with such “tough types”, apparently people tear you to shreds if you display your human side.

    • lostintranslation :

      I think it’s important to remember that depression affects people in different ways, and that there are always a multitude of factors that determine what exactly is going to help people get better. As a teen, I had major situational anxiety from a series of botched moves that left me completely friendless. While the background and depression were obvious, I really dragged my parents through the coals for years, and used my “condition” a justification to behave like a total manipulative, immature, narcissistic, and generally horrible person. I’ve spent the last few years retraining myself, and this is some stuff I picked up along the way (though it’s obviously only personal experience).

      – Therapy isn’t for everyone. I hated it, and my own turnaround didn’t coincide with any kind of therapy, nor did I learn anything (techniques, etc.) that helped me later on. I wholeheartedly support anyone going to therapy who feels like they benefit from it, but if traditional talk therapy isn’t what she wants, I wouldn’t pressure her into the concept too much at this stage.

      – If she is verbally attacking you or being accusatory, you can set some firm boundaries. “I know you know I love you, and I don’t appreciate you treating me like this. I’m here *the* second you need to talk, but I’m giving you distance as long as you choose to treat me like this.” My sweet mother pandered to every single one of my tantrums, and it exhausted her and did not help me get better more quickly.

      – Don’t be scared that not dramatically intervening sends her the message that you don’t love her enough. If you’re posting a message here for her, you clearly do. Despite all of my awful behavior, I never doubted parental/sibling love (sounds cheesy, but true). Love doesn’t necessarily mean constant intervention, and distance doesn’t have to mean you don’t care.

      My own younger brother is currently also going through a really difficult time with real medical problems (ADD/depression) coupled with unreasonable behavior. At the beginning, despite my own experiences, I thought true love was to help him *every single* step of the way. He resented me and blew up constantly. Now we operate on the kind of boundaries I talked about above. He calls if he feels ready to talk, which really sadly isn’t often at all. But I know see all kinds of evidence that he’s getting better (started attending classes again, chased and got a promotion from his minimum wage job), that I’m hopeful, and I guess I’ll try to see what we can do for our relationship when he gets through it all.

      Sorry for the sappy advice or if it sounds really off the wall. Corporette is a great sounding board, so I just wanted to give you some alternative perspectives you might not have considered. Hugs to both you and your sister and do whatever is right for both of you!!

      • med school student help :

        Thank you for this thoughtful response. It is extremely frustrating. I feel completely limited with respect to what *I* can do to help her, especially if she doesn’t want to do anything about the situation. Maybe setting boundaries (especially with my behavior, since that’s all that I can really control) will help.

    • and so anon :

      Are you sure that seeing a doctor would go on her record? It sounds as if she might be willing to speak to someone, but is concerned about the consequences. I can’t say her concern is silly.

      Could some sessions be arranged privately and paid out of pocket (not through insurance), or are there forms that ask doctors if they’ve had counseling?

      Have you gone on any med student blogs?

      I feel sorry for you, it sounds as if she’s self-destructing. At the same time, in all frankness, it’s concerning that someone about to earn a medical degree could be in such denial.

      • Anonymous :

        Some states definitely ask if you’ve ever gone to see a therapist/psychiatrist as part of the character and fitness forms. It might be a good idea to call the state licensing board confidentially and ask what they really look for with that question. It may be that going to a therapist is absolutely fine if it’s for run-of-the-mill med school oriented depression.

        My mom told me she was absolutely insufferable in med school, pretty much doing the same thing as your sister. She’d call home regularly in tears saying she was ready to quit and hated it. I am pretty sure my grandmother had to set some firm boundaries with her to get her back on track to finish.

        • med school student help :

          It never occurred to me to check out med student blogs (duh). It’s general knowledge that med school is pretty much hell on earth and that med students are known to get depressed, etc, but while all of that is recognized, actually addressing this problem and supporting these students is not a priority. Being a badass medical prodigy is.

          This fear of being “found out” is so sad. Doctors are people, too. WTH society?!?!?!?

    • Been There :

      Please remember to take care of yourself. Having been in your situation myself, I know the toll that a sibling’s severe depression can take. You’re doing the best you can, and I hope you remind yourself of that several times a day.

    • I know there are a lot of serious issues here, but if she is only eating fruits and boiled vegetables, it sounds like she might have an eating disorder (common in conjunction with anxiety). Having had one myself (of the steamed vegetables, steamed chicken, nonfat plain yogurt only variety), it is INCREDIBLY hard to get anything done when you haven’t consumed enough calories in a day.

      • I was thinking there was a possibility she has IBS. I know my flareups are the worst when I am stressed and eating anything but ultra bland food makes it that much worse. Her situation isn’t exactly one that is flexible in terms of giving her ample opportunity to go to the bathroom or stay home if her symptoms get too bad.

        • med school student help :

          She doesn’t have IBS but when she begins her intense studying/notalkingtopeople moods, she forgets to eat so she can only tolerate simple foods afterwards – plain rice, veggies, fruit. When she has a week or two off, then she’ll have meat and fats. I’m very sure her lack of nutrition isn’t really helping the situation.

    • I self-destructed in college. The hardest part about getting out of it was accepting that life did have the potential to be better. It’s very easy to see only the problems and inevitable disappointments and difficulties of life, rather than the balance of the good with the bad.

      My symptoms were your sister’s symptoms, right down to staring at the wall, blinking.

      I kept some areas of my life intact. I went to my internship and was extremely capable and energetic there, but I think that was because it was sort of a different world for me. On the other hand, I more or less stopped going to class. My professors all knew something was wrong and were willing to work with me to help me get through the semester semi-successfully, but I was too disengaged to take them up on it. I did awesome on the LSAT, but then never even started applications to law school. It was too hard and abstract…I didn’t know if I would even make it to graduation. I also didn’t eat—not because of an eating disorder, but it was just too incredibly pointless to go through the trouble of procuring food for myself. My body was physically exhausted from the psychological stress (and maybe the lack of food), which contributed to the feeling that I would never return to being a high-functioning, ambitious person.

      I saw a psychologist for a while, but it didn’t really have an effect for me. Medication was what worked, and it was miraculous. The first thing I tried did nothing, but I finally switched to another, and suddenly I had energy again.

      Anyway, I basically just want to say that she can get better, and back to her high-achieving self, but right now she doesn’t believe that and thinks you’re being stupid and naïve for being so optimistic. I didn’t have a lot of contact with my family while I was depressed, but mostly because I didn’t feel like calling them to talk about all the nothing I’d done lately. I couldn’t really do chit-chat, and they couldn’t really help. BUT, it is nice for your sister to know you’re there if she does want to talk.

      If your sister’s dead-set against a therapist, then maybe she could figure out a way to get a prescription for antidepressants, maybe from a family doctor or something? Since she’s a med student, it seems like maybe she could do that safely. Or maybe there’s a counselor at a church she could see, that wouldn’t have to be something reported on forms that ask if you’ve seen a psychologist or psychiatrist?

      Definitely encourage her to talk to her school and professors about it, but be aware that it’s impossible to make a plan for getting back on track when you know it’s not going to work. I didn’t want to make promises because I knew I wouldn’t hold up my end of the bargain, and so I tried to avoid people altogether, especially the ones trying to help. Does she have any sort of mentor that she would trust on advice about how seeing a therapist would impact her career? In depressive terms, she’s ruining her career anyway at this point, so she may as well see a therapist.

      • med school student help :

        Thank you so much for sharing this. What you’ve described sounds almost exactly like my sister. I will try to mention speaking to her doctor about medication the next time she allows us to speak to her.

        It’s also insanely difficult to convince a med student to see a doctor. They won’t go! They think they know everything there is to know because they studied it out of books and dealt with a patient or two undergoing similar symptoms – dealing with that ego and depression at the same time is like beating at a rock with a toothpick.

    • med school student help :

      Thank you all so much for your kind and thoughtful responses. I have a lot of thinking to do and just knowing that many of you have dealt with this in yourself or other family members makes me feel some kind of hope. I just want to *do* something, to fix things for my little sister but you all are reminding me to be patient, so I’ll try. Thank you again.

  16. lefty lawyer :

    Jackson Lewis specializes in union busting and defending employers against discrimination claims by their employees.

    • Anonymous :

      It takes two to tango, that’s the deal. Can’t be a plaintiff without a defendant.

    • also a lefty :

      I used to represent unions, and a huge part of the job was representing the unions as defendants against their own employees (e.g. administrative staff) who sued the unions as employers, for sex and race discrimination, etc. It certainly cured my of some of my knee-jerkiness.
      Also, as a defense attorney for local governments, I hope that other lefties understand just how many bullsh*t lawsuits are brought that are just a waste of taxpayer resources.
      I can’t say anything about Jackson Lewis in particular—maybe they really only do cases I’d find abhorrent— but if you think “defending employers against discrimination claims by their employees,” which is NOT THE SAME as defending the practice of discrimination, you are akin to all those righties who scream about tort reform and “trial attorneys.”
      In short— find a smaller brush. Generalizing is dangerous

  17. anon in manhattan :

    I almost never wear nail polish; in addition to the maintenance, I feel as if my nails are being smothered. Occasionally, I buff them.

  18. anon in manhattan :

    I haven’t worn nail polish in years; in addition to the burden and expense of the maintenance, I feel as if my nails are being smothered. Occasionally, I buff them. When I think of the chemicals that are on women’s nails it grosses me out. The French manicure, in which an illusion of cleanliness is painted onto the nails freaks me out. Nail art? Forget it.

    I like to look well groomed, but I believe in being as low maintenance as I can manage. It seems to me that not nearly enough women push back when these beauty “necessities” are foisted on them.

    • Seattleite :

      Foisted? As a completely autonomous adult woman, I get to choose whether to buy those products. At some stages of my life I have, at others I haven’t. Each time the decision was wholly mine. I don’t *think* there’s been a rash of tying-women-down-and-forcibly-painting-their-nails, but perhaps I just am living under a rock.

      • Also a Seattlite :

        Then there are a lot of us under your rock. My, is it roomy under here. Anyway, I solve the “gross chemicals” problem by using green and nontoxic products. Because I like stuff on my nails.

    • Accountress :

      I think it’s more the “professional” colors that are foisted on women- and that’s why I keep my nails nice and long and bright-bordering-on-obnoxious. I’ve never gotten any dirty looks for having Mickey Mouse-colored nails (black, white, red, and yellow alternating nails)- if anything, it gives people an idea of my personality and creativity: I’m youngish, I’m impossibly cheerful, and I find joy in odd places.

      In conclusion, I actively seek out awesome nail polish- it’s the cheapest way (besides discreet funky headbands) that I can make my my outfit something that I will never see someone else in.

    • lawtalkinggirl :

      I never wear fingernail polish either. My fingernails need to breathe. Once I got a manicure for a wedding and my fingers felt like they were being slowly suffocated. It was an icky feeling.

  19. Anonymous :

    Shellac is a solution for all of my mani problems. I love that it’s dry as soon as it’s done, and I can be as active as I want without worrying about it chipping. In fact, my routine lately has been to get my nails done on Sunday mornings and go to my tennis lesson Sunday afternoon. I always get light colors though so it doesn’t look as strange when it grows out. And yes, it’s a pain to take off yourself, but it’s worth it to me :)

  20. PT lawyer :

    I never had good nails (peeling, splitting, short, etc) until I started taking vitamins (prenatal, but whatever), even with Nail Envy. Even the best polish won’t help if the nails themselves are not healthy. Vitamins!

    • Anonabus (allergies) :

      I’ve taken every type of vitamin that is supposed to help, plus a multi and my protein shake mix is supposed to help. They are paper thin.

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