About jduvall330

I'm thirty-something, married with three dogs. Photography is one of my main passions, but I also love crafting, cooking, traveling, reading, and exercising (sometimes). I like to try new things and I want to learn something new whenever possible. I'm going through a mini (and early) mid-life crisis and trying to find my purpose and path.

Rock Solids!

Young woman hand with multicoloured nails.

If you’re a Jamberry vet, chances are that you were drawn to all the possibilities of PRINTED DESIGNS! Because Jamberry wraps are printed, the options are endless. Polka dots, chevrons, and florals, oh my!

But have you checked out the Sparkling Solids collection yet? No? Well, now’s the time!

Listen, I can hear you through the monitor. “Why would I pick a solid color when I could just use nail polish?” Good question! Here’s why: Polish sucks. Sorry, but it does.

1) The oh-so-careful, but ultimately flawed paint job.

right hand

2) The loooooong dry time.

no time

And why do I always have to pee as soon as I’m done painting???

3) The chips (not the salty, delicious kind).


Okay, so maybe you’ve decided that polish really does suck, but you can just go to a salon right? Sure. You can drive there, pay $20 plus tip, and it still won’t survive through next week’s Game of Thrones episode. Want gels? Fork over even more money (though hopefully it will last a little longer) and risk nail bed damage.

There’s a better way. Once you’ve gotten accustomed to Jamberry’s quality and ease, it really is hard to go back to polish. Even if all you want is just a solid color.

Because solid isn’t boring! Jamberry users like to show off their pro-looking designs, but not everyone is into reptile scales or lace. And that’s OK! Go solid! Go bold! Go neutral! Go gothic! Jamberry has a ton of great solids in a variety of finishes and some even available in sparkle. It’s really never been easier to have the perfect, salon-esque nails right from home.

Here’s my latest Jamberry order – ALL SOLIDS! 20150516_125650

These are Daydream, Grapefruit, Athens, and Blue Jeans.


New to Jamberry? Check out some of my other posts on application techniques.

And as always, if you love Jamberry but don’t want to pay for it – host a party! You can earn lots of free and half price items and it can all be done over Facebook! No need to shower or set out hors d’oeuvres. Contact me or see my Jamberry website for more details.



I’m Back in Business!!!


Most stories have a short and a long version. I’ll tell mine both ways, starting with the short so, ya know, you can bail early if ya want.

I’m back in the Jamberry business! Last Fall I had to step away for reasons I’ll explain the the long version, but due to the overwhelming response I’ve had from my blog posts recently (seriously, HUGE thanks to everyone!) I’ve decided now is the right time to get back to it. I’m available for online parties if anyone is interested. I’ll also be adding new content to the blog, trying and testing ways to get the most out of our Jamberrys (Jamberries? What is the plural?)!

So what are some of your Jamberry and nail challenges? I’d love to hear from YOU and to start working on ways to solve some of these issues.

I’m going to start with one issue I’m facing right now: nail health. After months of neglect and anxiety-induced nail picking, my nails have never looked worse. If that weren’t enough, I got a gel manicure about a month ago that ended up damaging my nails pretty bad. Before I can go back to the beautiful prints and designs, I have to get my foundation right again. I’ll have a post up soon to let you know how it goes!

But speaking of beautiful prints and designs – I need to place my first order from the Spring/Summer 2015 catalog! I’m having a hard time narrowing down my choices. Help me out. What are you wearing and loving now? Leave a comment below! I’d love to see them 🙂



OK, now for the long version – you’ve been warned. If any of you read my “break” post, you’ll know that I was struggling with depression. It actually started the year before. I’ve had problems with it in the past so I recognized the symptoms pretty early on.

My husband and I debated the nature of my depression in a chicken-or-the-egg kind of way. Am I unhappy because I’m depressed, or depressed because I’m unhappy? I still don’t have an answer for that question, but somehow I do believe that depression can be triggered. I wanted to find out what my trigger was.

Because even after I sought help, both through medicine and therapy, I was still getting progressively worse. It got so bad that my employers suggested I take some time off. I was fortunate enough that they were understanding and wanted to help. So I took the time off. A whopping six months of it. To try to figure out why this was happening.

And here’s what I figured out. I had been working in the Government contracting industry for basically my entire career. It was an incredibly fortunate place to be. The pay was great, the benefits were great, and in my case, the people were great. What more could anyone ask for, right?

There was my problem right there. I considered myself so lucky that I didn’t realize, or wouldn’t let myself realize, that I didn’t like the job. All I could think was that there were so many people out there unemployed or underemployed who would kill to be in my position. Who am I to want more? It felt wrong.

But I did want more. And all my negative self talk couldn’t change that. Here’s how it would go in my head:

Me: “I wish I had a more creative job. This job is so boring.”

Dream-Crusher Me: “Tough. You have this job and any creative job won’t pay you nearly as much.”

Me: “Yeah, but isn’t job satisfaction a form of payment itself?”

Dream-Crusher Me: “Sure, but you can’t pay the bills with it.”

Me: “Ok, ok. But I do wish I could be back down South, be close to family.” (I’m from North Carolina).

Dream-Crusher Me: “No way, not happening. You live in Maryland because that’s where the Government work is. Leave Maryland, lose the work.”

Me: “Ugh, but I don’t even like the work.”

Dream-Crusher Me: “Who cares? Don’t you like the vacations? The shopping? Stop whining and suck it up.”

And so it would go. Round and round. Me wanting something more yet terrified to give up something good. I’ve often thought that if I truly hated my job, the decision would have been easy, but I didn’t. I just didn’t love it. And it turns out that loving what I do is a big part of me being able to be happy.

I finally decided that if I wanted to have a chance of getting out of the depression, I needed to allow myself the freedom to consider other options. THIS WAS HUGE. I didn’t need to take a different path, but I needed to let myself look. I needed to stop telling myself no or I can’t or it’s not possible. Everything is possible, but you should make them choices not inevitabilities.

I worked hard to search for the other paths. If I choose to do something different, what would I do? Just allowing myself to think that way was eye-opening, because I didn’t know!

After a LOT of thought and research (seriously, I’m condensing like 6 months of agonizing over this question for the sake of not turning this long story into an epic poem), I found web development. Like where you write code to build websites. I took classes, then I took a bootcamp of intense training. I worked on some freelance projects. I fell in love.

At the same time, I talked to my husband about the option of moving South. He’s from Maryland. We have great friends here. We own a charming little condo. We have plenty of reasons to stay put that have nothing to do with my job. But this was yet again one of those nagging things. I want to be back home. I want to be near family. Then he did something that shocked me. He agreed. “Ok, we’ll move,” he said. Just like that. Like it had always been just as simple as asking the question.

BECAUSE OF COURSE IT HAD. That was always my problem. I wouldn’t even ASK the question because I was so sure of the answer.

Then everything sort of fell in place in the strangest sort of way. I got laid off. To be fair, I hadn’t been a model employee recently and they knew I wanted to go in a different direction. Our company had acquired other companies while I was on my self-exploration journey and they had too many cooks in the kitchen. Someone had to go and I was the easy choice – the right choice.

So here I am. Unemployed, looking for web development work in Charlotte, NC. Our condo is going on the market this weekend and my husband is lining up interviews for himself. I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. It’s kind of crazy, but in the best possible way.

If I learned only one thing from all of this, it’s that you have to let yourself explore those scary thoughts. Pushing them down won’t make them go away. I did this to myself. No one was forcing me to stay, but it was easier to feel that way than to acknowledge that we all make our own choices. Now I’m making new choices and it’s the best, scariest, most exhilarating feeling ever.


wpid-20141201_100534.jpg“The world breaks everyone, and afterward, many are stronger at the broken places.”

– Ernest Hemingway






A hopeful quote spoken by someone who didn’t have much hope in the end.

I don’t know who reads this blog. My little analytics thingy says people do and that’s so awesome, because since I was little I dreamed of people reading things I wrote. Now the funny part is I’m not so sure I want anyone reading this.

I have to take a break. I’ve barely started this thing and I have to walk away.

I am depressed. I have been depressed for over a year now and had hoped that this blog would provide a form of distraction and relief. It did for a while, but the depression has worsened. It’s becoming harder and harder to maintain the upbeat and cheery feel I wanted the blog to have.

I am taking a break because I feel broken. I hope, as Mr. Hemingway suggests, that I will be stronger in these places somewhere in the future, but right now all the super glue in the world couldn’t hold me together.

So for now, I won’t be selling Jamberry or providing samples. If you have any questions, I’d still be happy to answer those. I won’t be crafting. I won’t be on social networks. I won’t be providing any weird life guidance, because really, who am I to talk? I wish I could be as awesome as the chick over at http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/ where I could describe my depression in a meaningful, yet humorous way, but I’m not. If you haven’t read her Adventures in Depression – Parts 1 & 2, go do it now.

One day, when I have something to say, I’ll come back. Until then, here’s my favorite graphic from Hyperbole and a Half that pretty much sums up everything in my life right now.

“Ohhhh…So you both have laayyerrssss…” (Jamberry-style)

LayeringIt is a fact that I quote Donkey from Shrek more than any other character from any other movie. I don’t know why I find his little nuggets of wisdom so applicable to my life, but quite frequently I find “that’s a nice boulder” is really the ONLY appropriate thing to say in a given situation.


Layers. Onions have layers, ogres have layers, parfaits have layers, and even Jamberry can have layers. Yes! You can layer your Jamberrys! And that’s just what we’re going to do.

Now I always layer my Jamberry wraps over a nail strengthener, but I suppose that lost ruinsdoesn’t quite count. In the same fashion, you can layer the wraps over a colored polish like this pic from the Jamberry website of Lost Ruins over Copper Penny (both Jamberry products).

On a sarcastic note, be sure to layer the clear or tinted wraps over colored polish – otherwise you won’t be able to see the polish. Whew…public service announcement complete.

But the really fun part is that you can layer Jams on Jams. I feel like that needs to be made into a jingle.

I have some tips for this, because you want to get the wraps sized just right so you don’t have any wonky areas where they don’t match up.

IMG_9944First, trim your base wraps down like you would for normal application, only don’t apply them yet and don’t remove them from the backing. Use them as templates and trace the edges on the backs of your tops wraps. When you’re trimming your top wraps, be sure to trim just inside the traced line.

IMG_9952It’s my opinion that you should do one nail at a time, both wraps. Let them kind of fuse together with all that combined heat.

The best part about Jams on Jams is that you can really get creative and have some fun. I would absolutely LOVE to see your works of nail art in the comments below!! Please let me know what you come up with 🙂




Jamberry Nail Art Studio

What is it and how do I use it?

First, the Nail Art Studio is a place where you can upload your own images to create your own one-of-a-kind nail wraps. Fun, right? But, how does it work?

On the Jamberry home page, click on the Get Started button in the Nail Art Studio section. WebBannerNASFrom there you’ll need to set up a customer account to be able to save your designs. Once you’re into the studio, click on “create” to get started. This is the fun part!

You can choose between several pre-loaded objects or patterns or you can upload your own.

*** Be warned *** Jamberry will not approve any licensed designs. So, no, you can’t upload a picture of Olaf’s face and put it on a wrap, but you can design snowman inspired wraps. Think of it as a challenge!

Here’s one I recently designed:

Tartan NAS Design

I was browsing through Pinterest and came across a beautiful tartan scarf and thought – I need that on my nails!!! So I searched for a plaid pattern that I could legally use and popped that baby into the design studio. I couldn’t decide between these two plaids so I went for them both.

And here they are in real life! How much fun is that?!



Just think of the possibilities – personal artwork, photography, favorite color combos, bridal party nails….

The cost is a little higher for these custom beauties. They are $18.75 per sheet with a one time $6.00 set up fee, but you can order up to 25 sheets. I’ve found it’s best to get a few friends on board and split up the cost a little. As much fun as regular Jamberrys are, the freedom to design your own is surprisingly addictive and fun!

Some tips:

– Be sure that the design covers the dotted outline of the wrap on the screen. Otherwise it won’t print properly.

– Pay attention to how the image is centered on all of the wraps. If you have an object centered on the largest wrap, and apply it to all the sizes, it may not appear centered on the smaller sizes. You can go in and change the positioning individually.

– Remember you can move objects forwards and backwards. For example: my sister is a Steelers fan (no hater comments) and she wanted black and yellow stripes. I selected the black stripes first and positioned them, but when I went to put the yellow on, they covered up the black stripes. No problem! Just click on the “Back” button to send the yellow behind the black.

What if I’m creatively challenged?

I’d be happy to design a custom wrap for you! Let me know what you’re thinking of and I’ll send you a proof for free. If you decide to purchase I can order for you and just invoice you for the cost.


How to Make a DIY Card Holder

DIY Card HolderHere’s how it goes for me:

I’m in the store and I pull out my freshly arranged wallet – so proud that I know just where everything is – and I select my chosen card and hand it over. Then as it is handed back and I am suddenly expected to sign something while being handed a bag of my newly purchased items, all while observing the pleasantries of polite customer interaction behavior, I stuff the card and the receipt back into my bag haphazardly, vowing to put it in it’s rightful place later. Two days later, my bag is a garbage dump of credit cards, customer loyalty cards, and receipts and I promise – never again.

But wallets just aren’t that practical to be honest. You have to unzip them and – well, I guess that’s it, but that’s inconvenient enough. My husband got this super cool little elastic wallet that holds just his cards, but for the hefty hipster price of $35, I decided I could make one for myself.

Here’s what I used:IMG_9915

– a bit of scrap fabric

– a piece of 3″ wide elastic that was about 5″ long

– scissors

– needle and thread

– sewing machine

I’m no expert here, so if anyone has suggestions on how to do this better, please say so in the comments!

First, I pressed my fabric in half inside out.







Then I sewed up the open end using my sewing machine.

Here’s where I may or may not have had a genius idea. I decided to sew the bit of elastic into the inside of the fabric.










After that I had to finagle (is that a word??) the elastic and fabric back right side out. That took awhile because I was desperately trying not to mess up my seams. But once I got that part done, I trimmed back the elastic just a bit to have room to fold the fabric in on itself to sew it up manually.








Once it was all sewed up it was done! I made two – one for my “use every day cards” and one for the ones that get pulled out less frequently. I’m so excited and hope that I’ll ACTUALLY use them instead of having drifting cards in my purse at all times.


IMG_9926Let me know if you have any tips or if you’ve ever made anything similar!



Online Holiday Party Anyone?

OK, so I promised I wouldn’t use my blog to advertise my Jamberry business, but well, I lied. I have come up with some really awesome holiday themes for online parties and would just love to test them out! Would any of my lovely readers be interested in being a hostess?

party themes2How cute are those themes?? For each party I’ll have custom graphics, and we’ll raffle off a prize package for your guests that consists of a re-heatable (and ultra cute) rice bag, 1/2 sheet of Jamberry wraps, a mini manicure set, and some application accessories.

HeaterAs a hostess you’ll get a free Jamberry mini heater just for having the party! Not to mention every party that hits $100 in sales receives a free wrap sheet. Rewards keep going up from there so you could earn lots of fun stuff for yourself – or gifts, whatever you want!






If you are interested (and you would be SO AWESOME if you were) fill out the form below to contact me and I’ll be in touch. Most online parties are done on Facebook and last between 30 to 45 minutes. Very little investment for a really good time. All you do is invite a few friends you think might like Jamberry and I’ll take care of the rest!

Thanks to all for considering!!!

Welcome Home Otto

I haven’t written really personal posts yet, but I’m about to get personal.


Yesterday we adopted an adorable baby blue Doberman boy that we named Otto. I am already so smitten with him it is ridiculous. I also immediately remember all those things you forget about having a puppy – like how they have to go outside every 30 minutes and how they will find that one tiny piece of plastic in the corner and think it’s a toy. Or basically how they think everything is a toy, like bath mats and Yorkies.

Otto wasn’t a spontaneous decision or a frivolous one.

Many of my friends don’t know this yet, but my Yorkie, Riley, has been diagnosed with prostate cancer and doesn’t have long to live. That is insanely hard to type out. He has been my little buddy for 8 years and I can’t imagine life without him. Anyone who has met him undoubtedly remembers him. wpid-img_1507.jpg

Mark and I will miss Riley intensely. That part can not be understated. But here’s where I’ll probably get some dissenters.

We decided to adopt another dog before Riley passes for a very intentional reason. Our Weimaraner, Elsie, is very attached to Riley. Weims have the tendency to attach quickly in general. I am very worried about her and her health when he suddenly goes away. You can’t exactly have a conversation with a dog about why her friend is gone.


At this point Riley is still behaving normally. The vets have him on medicines that are controlling his symptoms very well so it’s almost easy to forget he’s sick. That’s probably the hardest part because I frequently do forget he is sick.


Some may disagree, but we decided that it was best to introduce a new dog into the pack while things were still “normal” and they could acclimate. It won’t cause Riley stress at this point and Elsie can attach to the new dog well before Riley goes away.

And I’m not going to lie, I hope it will help ease my pain as well. No one can ever replace Riley, just as Riley never really replaced my old dog Champ, but you find new love in a new face. I hope my friends understand that during this difficult time.


With that said, welcome home Otto! We will love you with all our hearts. And Riley, you will never leave our hearts.

UPDATE: It’s now May 2015 and Riley is still with us. A couple of months ago we took him to the vet for a check up and got a huge surprise – the cancer diagnosis was wrong! It turns out he’d had an infection with symptoms that mimicked prostate cancer. The vet said that 98% of the time dogs come in with those symptoms, it’s cancer. This was just one of those rare things. He’s completely`healthy now! People have said, wow, that sucks! I completely disagree. I am so thankful for more time with my little buddy. And yes, now we have 3 dogs. 🙂

My Top 10 Jamberry Tips & Tricks (plus 3 bonus myths busted!)


Tips & Tricks TitleI started my Jamberry journey back in April 2014. In that time I’ve tried maybe every tip and trick I’ve run across online. As much as I LOVE the product, my nails haven’t always cooperated properly and I keep maintaining that I’m the problem.

So, here’s the quick and dirty list (in no particular order) with the explanations below. Please feel free to comment below with any questions or tips of your own!!! As always, go to my sample request page to get your free samples for some wraps to experiment with.

tips & tricks1) Don’t shower or bathe an hour after application. 

This is a big one and one I frequently forget to tell customers. Many people, completely understandably, follow up their mani with a nice soak in the tub. This is a no-no. At least for a little bit after application. The brand new wraps are still setting and the warm water will loosen the seal. So stay away from dishes, showers, and baths for as long as possible after you get your nails done.

2) Don’t use your nails as tools.

This is kind of a common sense tip, but if you’re using your nails to pry open a particularly stubborn blister package (not saying it was me, but it was), the tips of your wraps will suffer. Do yourself a favor and just grab some scissors.

3) Wash your hands with dish soap before application.

Washing with dish soap, like Dawn, will remove your hands’ natural oils that will try to repel the wraps. The Jamberry packaging recommends using alcohol wipes, but a quick wash with dish soap will work just as well.

4) ALWAYS cut down your wraps smaller than your nail beds.

I’ve said it once and I’ll continue to say it. Trim your wraps. Don’t be afraid, it’s surprisingly easy. The wraps absolutely will not stick to cuticles or skin so any overlap will cause peeling and bubbles, which will drive you crazy and make you pick at them until you eventually take them off. A really tiny trim with some small scissors will solve all that. If a little bit of natural nail shows through, I promise it won’t be noticeable. Your wraps will last longer and look better.

5) Don’t use cuticle oils or lotions within an hour of application.

This is kind of like taking a bath. Lotions and oils are great for your hands and nails, just not right after application. You need to let the wraps set fully before you introduce those elements.

6) File ends off in a downward motion (after they have cooled off a bit).

The Jamberry packaging clearly advises to file the edges of your wraps in a downward motion, but it doesn’t mention that you should give it a minute or two to cool first. I typically apply all of the wraps to one hand and then go back to file the edges down. If you file them right away, they could still be too warm and the movement might make them buckle.

7) Avoid touching the sticky backing with your fingers.

That sticky stuff is meant to stick and stick quickly. If you handle it too much, it will quickly lose it’s stick-to-it-ness. Instead, use an orange stick or tweezers to pull it off the sheet and hold it up to your heat source.

8) Don’t forget you can always use a nail strengthener under the wraps for weak or flexible nails.

My nails are naturally weak. I take a daily supplement of Biotin to try to combat that (and it is starting to work), but I also ALWAYS put a coat of nail strengthener on underneath my wraps. I feel like it actually helps my wraps last longer since my ends aren’t as flexible, and the wraps can’t move as much.

9) French tips: Long=less tip, Short=more tip

It’s almost counterintuitive, but when sizing for the French tips, the “long” size refers to the long nail bed, meaning the clear (or bottom if you’re getting one of the colored French tips) section. The “long” size has a shorter white portion. The “short” size is the exact opposite and the medium is, well, right in the middle. The catalog has a great fitting guide if you’re still unsure. Contact me and I’ll send one to you!

10) For easy removal, soak in coconut oil and run floss underneath.

Alright, I’m the worst at this. I get impatient and just pick them off. BUT, for a really easy and really gentle removal, coconut oil is the best (isn’t the answer for almost everything coconut oil???). A quick soak, like 3-5 minutes, and then gently run a piece of dental floss under the wrap and it’ll come right up with zero damage.


– You can absolutely take baths or get in a hot tub with the wraps on. I get asked this question all the time! The only problem is in the first hour after application but, after that you are good to go!

– These wraps are PERFECT for people in jobs that have to wash their hands frequently (education, health care, food industry). They actually hold up far better than polish and again, after that initial application, they hold up very well in water.

– No, they don’t feel like stickers on your nails. With the proper application they actually feel more like the gel manicures you get at the salon.


Any other questions out there that I didn’t address? Ask me in the comments section!