Posted on Apr 27th 2016
Early 2016, Fair Maiden hosted a contest. The concept was to submit entries in the spirit of Mother's Day about a wonderful mother in your life. The mother could be anyone to you, friend, sister, aunt...or mother. As the entries came in during the month of February, we knew we were going to have some difficult decisions to make. Every single email that came in was so incredibly touching, it almost didn't feel fair to only choose two. Eventually we narrowed down the entries to two incredible women. These women inspired the two polishes we are bringing you this coming Friday, 'Hearts Together' and 'Ruby Begonia.'
Our first Mother's Day entry comes from Melissa Crocker and honors her good friend, Valerie Manke. I found this dedication especially touching and relate-able not only because of the inspirational woman Valerie is as a mother, but it also reminded me of the special friendships so many of us have come to find, united by polish.
Melissa writes, "I met Valerie Manke through a polish fan group a few years ago. This polish brand did a surprise release of a shade that was new to the public, but I had won it through a group contest. I bought a bottle to help one of my friends get it. They were all set, but I took notice of Valerie through conversations in the group. She was sad to have missed it, as it was her daughter’s favourite colour, but she was very upbeat and positive about it, while others were a bit less graceful. It turned out she had missed the polish because of the poor wifi service at the hospital where her young son was having heart surgery. I immediately knew my bottle had to go to her. I reached out to her through PM, and we began a friendship.
It was one of those friendships where it just sparks out of nowhere, and you can’t remember a time before you had that friend. She was such a brave and positive person. Her son had this terrifying illness, but she really embraced the good things in life. She was grateful for family and friends, particularly her two children, and she took joy from the little things, like a sparkly little bottle of magic. A few months into the friendship, I lost my beloved cat to kidney failure, and she was so sweet and supportive. It struck me that her son’s life was threatened every day by something she couldn’t control, yet she never made me feel that my loss was any less devastating because it was a cat.
Valerie is a passionate, loving and strong woman. I have always had so much respect for the way she makes the best of her situation, and approaches life with love and a positive spirit. She still takes such joy and comfort from any polish that references the heart, as her son’s heart has played such a role in her life for years now. It would be so special to honour her with a special Fair Maiden to celebrate her love for her children on mother’s day."
Melissa chose to create an emerald green holo polish with pink microflakes. Valerie's son's favorite color is green and her daughters favorite color is pink. The name, 'Hearts Together,' is symbolic of many aspects of Valerie's life - her children, and her friendship with Melissa.
Our second Mother's Day entry comes from Amanda Bartlett. Amanda's writing about her aunt brought me to tears. She shared a very personal and emotional story about her Aunt Judie, and it should be no surprise to anyone that this woman was chosen to be honored.
Amanda writes, " My nomination is for a mom “who didn’t have to be”. When I was a freshman in HS, living in the Philippines, I was completely lost. My family moved from place to place and now I was in another country where I didn’t fit in at all. That summer I packed up everything I had and decided I would find a way to move back to the States. Enter my Aunt Judie. She was someone I distantly knew- I hadn’t spent enough time with her to be close one way or the other. Then one day she reached out to me and asked me to come stay with them. I can’t overstate this - my entire life would be different had it not been for that moment. I was in tears, she was in tears. She was taking me in not as a distant family member, but now as a daughter. I know you’re probably thinking – but she’s an AUNT. But she’s not. Before her, I never knew what it was like to have a maternal force in your life. The type of motherly love that brings you a cup of hot chocolate when your sad. She was the one who helped me through every heartbreak, cheered me on from the sidelines, parented me when it wasn’t easy (and goodness knows, it wasn’t!) and even bought me my first car. She gave me stability in a very unstable life. When we moved after my sophomore year of high school she drove me two towns over to make sure I wouldn’t have to change schools – she figured I had enough of that in my lifetime. I watched her fight breast cancer – the same cancer that took her mother and her grandmother- with such amazing strength and grace. When she wasn’t fighting cancer and taking names, she was helping out at the hospital gift shop, making sure every woman who walked in there would be treated like a woman not a disease. Because that’s who she is. Give her a knee surgery and she will show you a bedazzled cane. Give her breast cancer and she will make some fantastic jewelry and a beautiful headscarf. When my sister’s in-laws came to visit from Germany they couldn’t speak a word of English but still gravitated to her. Somehow her laughter and warmth made them feel like they were best friends. Not surprisingly, five years ago when I married the love of my life, it was her, the same person who showed me by example what a good marriage should look like, who hosted my wedding (my uncle walked me down the aisle). My Aunt has gone through heartbreak (she lost her son when he was young) but still leaves on imprint on everyone she meets. And did I mention she also has fantastic nails?! She is definitely worthy of this nomination and I am lucky to have her in my life."
Amanda sent us some inspiration photos of her aunts home, her husband's shirt that matched everything in her aunts home, and a vacation picture. There seemed to be a rather obvious theme of a Marsala red. We spiced up this polish by giving it a duochrome finish, shifting from reddish to gold, with a red-gold-violet shimmer throughout. Amanda decided to give this beauty the name of 'Ruby Begonia,' the name her aunt gave to her beloved car that "she drove for.ever."
Hearts Together and Ruby Begonia will be available Friday, April 29th at 7:00 PM, CST