Nail Adventures: Chillin’

I feel like it’s been forever since I had the time to do a Nail Adventure! My nails have been pretty wretched lately, actually. Part of it was me doing some cleaning at work and dropping a sign.

Instead of letting the sign fall on the floor, I caught it.

Which broke three nails to the meat. It wasn’t pretty. I had to bandage up for a couple of days.

Now, they’re starting to grow back nicely, but for safety’s sake I’ve been keeping them short, and to let them breathe, I’ve kept them largely unpolished.

Yesterday, since I decided to do my usual writing outside instead of in my house, I decided to do a quick manicure. It’s in a pale shade (!!!!) because it gives the illusion of longer nails and it hides nicks pretty well (this would be why you see so many celebs with pale, neutral nails). So, what did I do?

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So, the pale coral is OPI’s Chillin Like A Villain and the glitter is Julep’s Paris.

You knew there had to be glitter somewhere, right? Because this is me we’re talking about. :)

I’d had the OPI color in my box for a while and never used it because pale and neutral, which we all know I tend to be allergic to. But I got a tan while I was out doing the AIDS walk last week (it went awesome and I was OMG TIRED but I did it!), and I noticed how lovely the color looked against my skin. So I went for it.

And yes, I can admit I like it. The simple sparkle (which is over bare nails) just gives it enough oomph for me to not feel like it’s boring. Very classic glam.

I would caution that this color is also pretty sheer. Had I more time I would have done a third coat to get it as opaque as I prefer (that’s two coats above.

All in all, a success!  :)

Nail Adventures

Tales From Retail: Holiday Edition

Yesterday was Memorial Day. The unofficial first day of summer for us Americans. A day filled with cookouts, beer, friends, and family.

I, like quite a few other folks that work retail, had to work. Because Memorial Day sales and whatnot.

Anyway.

Before I begin, let me first say thank you to the servicewomen and men out there that keep us safe, and I send peace to the families that have lost loved ones.

So. Yesterday.

Listen, I don’t know what it is about holidays that turn some shoppers into entitled snots, but I swear, anytime it’s a major holiday folks tend to get really snippy.

I’m helping a customer, right? She’s looking for correcting concealer (these are the concealers that come in orange, yellow, or green; most often used for correcting skin concerns), so I’m showing her a concealer palette we carry. Now, it’s clear that the person I’m speaking to is a customer, as I’m handing her product and explaining the best way to apply it when I hear a crash on my counter.

I look over, as does my customer.

Here stands a woman with giant sunglasses on and one too many lip injections tossing items on my counter.

“Hi, ma’am. Can I help you?”

“Yeah. You ring up here, right?”

I look. My customer looks.

“Well, it might be a moment, as I’m helping someone right this second–”

“But there’s a register here. You ring up, so get to it.”

I blink. What in the actual…

“I do ring, but I am currently with a customer, who was here before you were. We do have other open registers with no line, and if you don’t wish to carry your items, we have baskets to your immediate right. But I cannot ring you up right this second. If you want me to help you, you’ll have to wait a moment. I’m sorry.”

She looks at me. I look back like…

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She sneers (or tried to sneer, cause the Botox wouldn’t let her frown), snatches her things and takes off to the other register. That was less that 5 steps away. With NO LINE. *side eye emoji*

My customer: “Did she not see me standing here?”

Me: “I know, right?! What in the world…”

“Honey, I work retail too. I get it. But listen. I’m going to take this concealer, so…can I get rung up here?”

At which point we look at each other and dissolve into laughter.

And yes, I rung her up there. :)

Just a little something to make you smile on the first day back at work. Happy Tuesday!

Stories

Want To Help Me Do Something Great?

Then I’d love it if y’all would donate to my fundraising campaign for the AIDS Walk!

It’s taking place in NYC on May 17th. I’ll be walking a 5K (!!!!!) to help support multiple organizations that help people affected by AIDS all over the world.

I’ll be walking with a team, and we’re looking to raise $1000. We’re at $450 now, and my personal goal is $300. Think how far that money could go!

Want to help? Click here for my personal fundraising page, and leave a donation. Signal boosting would also be a huge help–feel free to share this post (and that link) on all of your social media.

Thanks so much for any help you’re able to give. Here are two happy dogs who are excited too:

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Positivity

Tales From Retail: Anatomy

Picture it: NYC, 2011. I’m going about my duties at work, when I’m approached by the (very confused and flustered) assistant manager. He has a woman with him, and she’s carrying two boxes with her. I can tell by how he’s looking around he needs ME to help him sort this out, and I immediately get nervous.

I step from around the corner to see how I can be of service.

“Yes, um, this young lady needs some council on this, and she doesn’t want to speak to the pharmacist about it.”

I’m confused by this, until I see the two boxes she’s carrying: the Today Sponge, and the Instead cup. Ok then, I think. The pharmacist is a guy, so she wanted a woman’s opinion. No problem, I can oblige.

“Sure, I got it. How can I help you, ma’am?”

“So, I am seeing a handsome man tonight, and we want to get into…activities. {I snickered. Couldn’t help it.} How do I use these things? I am on my menstrual.”

Hmm. Having never used either of the items she was holding, I did a quick read of the box.

“Well, the sponge here you wet it, lather it, stick it in there, and leave it for up to 48 hours, and the cup you put in there and leave it for up to 12 hours. You’ll have to take it out, dump it, rinse it, and put it back in periodically.”

Her: *blank stare* “So, I just put everything in there? I can do that.”

Me: *headshake* “No, you can’t put both of them in there. It’s either or, and unfortunately, you can’t use the Today sponge when you’re menstruating.”

Her: “But I need both.”

Me: “Ma’am, please forgive my bluntness, but how much room do you think is in there? If you put both in, there won’t be enough room for activities.”

We look at each other.

Her: “And you’re certain about this?”

I nod.

I see her face drop. Aww. I felt bad, so I decided to offer her an alternative.

“I’d do the Instead cup and have him use a condom. That’s gonna be your best bet.”

“Well, I hate condoms, but if that’s the best option…Do you have a favorite?”

“I have some suggestions. Let’s have a look.”

And I went and helped her pick out some condoms so she could enjoy her evening with her handsome man.

If this isn’t a PSA for proper sexual education and anatomy, I don’t know what is. But I hope her evening had a happy ending! :D

Stories

Tales From Retail: Still Got It

Picture it, April 30th, early evening.

I’m in GNC getting some protein powder for my smoothies (trying to get healthy, don’t ya know), and one of the two salespeople ask if I need help.

So, you know that customer you ask if they need help and they say no and wander aimlessly until your coworker asks if they need help and they say yes and you get annoyed?

I was that customer. *hangs head in shame* I wasn’t trying to be, but I needed unflavored protein powder and couldn’t find it where I thought it should be.

Anyway.

So, the guy asks if I need help and I finally admit I do, so he takes me to the protein powder I want.

Me: “Let me get the smaller bag. I need to make sure I’m going to stick to this before I commit to a larger container.”

Him: “That seems wise. This will help make breakfast easier; just make sure you have a good workout plan too.”

Me: “Oh, I do. Today’s my birthday, and I’m trying to get my life together.”

Him: “Oh, I know that balance. Trying to do both work and school can be rough.”

When he says school I realize he thinks I’m around his age. He’s got a baby face, so I just have to ask.

“School? How old are you, hon?”

Him: “20.”

I had to stifle a laugh. That’s precious. When I was 20 I was pulling all nighters writing papers and trying to figure out where I was gonna get my liquor for the weekend. You aren’t concerned about getting your life together. You’ve just discovered you have one.

“Aww, hon. I’ve got 10 years on you. Enjoy this part of getting your life together. It’s the fun part!”

“You’re 30? You honestly don’t look it!”

“That’s super sweet of you.”

And I got my protein powder and my vitamins and headed home to eat my slice of German chocolate cake.

Heh. Still got it. :)

Stories

Blog Stuff: Let’s Talk Photography

I mentioned on Twitter the other day that I was working on some photos, and that I would be putting up pictures that were taken with my phone and with my Nikon.

I was then asked if I could tell the difference between the pictures, and which was better.

Honestly? Both are awesome. I got my Nikon to do YouTube with (I know, I promise I’m working on some videos for y’all!) but I use my Samsung (Galaxy 4, soon to be upgraded to a 6) for a lot of my pics too. I think that the key to using either is all about learning your functions and using light to your best advantage.

The second part of a good picture is editing, if that’s your thing. Some pics I edit for color and clarity, and sometimes I just let it be what it is. I’ll talk about what I use to edit my pictures with in a moment. First up, let’s talk about cameras.

So, here are two pictures. Which is my camera, and which is my phone?

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Option A

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Option B

Anyone? If you’re having a hard time, that’s my point. I’ll tell y’all which was what at the end. :)

It’s all about setting and lighting. You can take digital quality pics on a camera phone if you work it properly. Don’t get me wrong, there are some pics I adore my Nikon for. For example:

Gorgeous view, right?

Man…

My phone can take pictures NEARLY as crisp, but not this crisp. Maybe when I upgrade, that could change. But this Nikon is everything, and when I do my outfit posts I prefer it.

Since I don’t have a tall tripod (yet), using the Nikon for everything is difficult. Hard to take good pictures one handed. Here’s where the phone comes in. For the majority of my nail posts I’m using my phone for the pics, because I can control it with one hand. To make them look super good, I change the mode of the camera. This is best illustrated with selfies.

So, on my Samsung, I have a mode called “Beauty Face.” If you like to Photoshop your selfies a bit before you post them, this mode handles that for you, and all you have to do is pose and snap. Example:

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My eye bags are WAY more pronounced in reality…

See? I look all glowy and smooth, and let’s be real. I had no sleep the night before and no water, so I wanted the extra boost. Fly picture in no time.

And to answer which pic above was taken on my phone? It was this one:

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Taken with the Rich HDR setting on my phone.

Surprised? See, told you quality pics were possible! The makeup pic was my Nikon.

Now, let’s talk editing. I don’t use Photoshop because I didn’t want to pay all that money for it. I do have something quite similar that’s awesome and free: GIMP. Now, I’m still learning how to work it, so if you’re tech challenged, it may not be for you. I will say there are many tutorials out there if you want to learn more (and I’m taking full advantage of what’s available.) For quick editing (as in, click and fix, or some cropping) I use Picasa (also free.) This is easier, and you can do color and shadow tweaking as you need.

If you’re on the go, and can only edit things on your lunch break (me), then there’s Afterlight. It’s a dollar, and you can do everything that you can do in Picasa (shadows, highlights, temperature, etc.) plus some preset filters (like stuff you’d find on Instagram) right on your phone (available for Apple and Android.) I have it on my iPad, so I put my pics on there and do editing when I have time. Afterlight is just awesome. Want proof? Here’s the before and after of one of my shots. These shots were done on my Galaxy:

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Before..

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After.

So, I wanted everything brighter, with an emphasis on the bracelet. I increased the temperature (it warms up the colors in your photo) and increased the shadows. Since I used a circle light (aimed over my hand), it looks like I put a spotlight on the bracelet. Pretty cool, huh?

Whew! This is a lot, right? I’m still a novice, so I’m still figuring stuff out as I go along. Most of this was trial and error and playing with settings and thinking I broke something. But you can’t be scared of that–I didn’t know how good my phone camera was until I started looking through the different modes on there. Same with the Nikon: there’s preset functions, but play with the settings till you find something good! That’s really best way to find out what your tech toys can do.

Hope this helps anyone looking to get some good pics for their blogs!

Blog Stuff

Tales From Retail: Why I Stick Around

I know I tend to make y’all laugh and shake your head at my stories every week. And I bet a question sits in the back of your heads:

“Why does Char even stay?”

Well, for one: paycheck. Eating and having an apartment is a good thing. But that’s not the sole reason or I’d probably be fired by now.

For every horrid customer, I have at least 20 nice ones. It’s just that the bad customers do things so egregious I can’t help but share them with y’all. So, to help balance out the foolery (and kick off my birthday week), let me share a story of a really sweet customer I had.

Picture it, NYC 2012. The rush hour is starting to calm down and I’m cleaning up and restocking products, and this lovely woman walks up to me to ask for mascara advice.

I’m giving her some suggestions, but I notice she looks really sad. Even though it isn’t my business, I still ask: “Is everything ok?”

Her: “No. I just got some troubling news, and I figured spending money would fix it. Well, not really, but I needed a distraction? I don’t know.”

I understand the idea of shopping it away. In the end, it really only brings credit card debt, but sometimes it helps you feel better for just a while. So, I went and got her a basket, and we did some shopping.

We went over great skincare, all of the eyeshadow, let me get you some brushes, all types of stuff. We’re just tossing things in the cart and chatting about everything and nothing. I see her mood start to improve.

Sidebar: more often than not, when you work retail, you get to be people’s counselor. You get to listen to their relationship issues, and they want some help with the solutions. I never mind that part so much because I’ll talk your ear off if you let me.

So, once we’ve filled the cart with all type of stuff (including the mascara she came for) I take her to the register, dump everything on the counter, and say “Ok, what are we keeping?”

She’s stunned. “You wouldn’t be upset if I put some of this back?”

Me: “Nope. Sometimes you just have fun throwing it in the cart. I know you wanted the mascara. What else did you want to get?”

Her: “All of it. Ring it up. Doesn’t matter what it costs; I got the husband’s card today!”

She whips out her Black AmEx.

Well, damn.

“Are you sure? Because, really–”

“Seriously! You’ve been so kind to me, and I love all the things you helped me pick out. I’ll take all of it!”

Y’all, that was a $500 purchase.

And she gave me a huge hug before she left and emailed my boss how well I did.

*warm fuzzies*

See, this is why I do what I do. Even though the hours are long, and it can be tiring, and some customers make me want to high five them in the forehead, when I get customers like this–ones who are kind, who are happy with my help and are happy to be helped–it makes the headache worth it. It really does. A woman who had tears in her eyes when she came in left with a smile on her face, and even had she left with nothing I would have felt like I’d done my job.

:D Happy Monday!

Stories