I use a NailTek file (from Ulta).
It's glass and comes in a mini for my purse
in addition to the larger size. It's a pretty fine grit, so not great for taking off length (although it will), but great for maintaining length which is basically what I try to do.
Be sure your nails are dry. Damp/wet nails damage easier when filing. Also, filing with clear base coat, at least, protects them. Some people prefer to file with a darker polish to get an even shape. I can't do it that way. I always seem to file them unevenly. Other people find this to be the best way. I file better with naked or clear polish.
Filing one direction takes some getting used to, I tend to drag down. Try angling the filing hand, rather than angling the file. I often file mine when I'm watching tv, so I'll lay my hand on my leg and then file perpendicular at a right angle. Or I hold my hand flat, palm facing away, fingers pointing toward the ceiling, and file straight across the top. Then file the corners. Check the back side (palm side frequently) for eveness.
When I have my nails the length and shape I want, I drag the tip across the file as if I were scratching it. It cleans the excess out from the edge. I don't file the top edge of the tip unless I have some ridging and then only very lightly and only with a buffing board. I like the Tropical Shine pink files ultra fine side. I find them at WalMart and Sally, as well as online.
For more filing tips, Loodie has several informative posts.
My very favorite polish remover is Zoya Remove. It is a bit spendy however, so I don't always use it. I do save the wonderful little pumper it comes in. I'll then use the Onyx remover at WalMart (the purple one). I refill the pumper with the Onyx and squirt about a half a teaspoon of glycerin in it. You can usually find the liquid glycerin at WalMart or other drug stores where they have the first aid supplies.
I use this same glycerin in straight acetone for cleanup. I keep two bottles of acetone. One that has glycerin in it for cleaning up my nails/cuticles and one without for cleaning my stamping plates.
With the Blue Cross, you can put a little in an empty, clean polish bottle and paint in on your cuticles. You can also squirt some into a foot bath so that the water looks milky and soak your feet about 10 minutes for super soft feet.
The Sally Hansen just squeezes directly onto your cuticle. After a couple of minutes, push your cuticle back gently and wash it off. As with any product, be sure to use as directed. You can use them too much! I use a remover once a month at most.
Base coats are something I rotate around. I have yet to find one that I love more than any other and think my nails cannot live without. Several have worked very well for me for a long time and then seemed to stop. I think this is normal behavior and have decided it is a good idea to rotate the ones that actually touch my nail.
That being said, the one I use every time is Salon Sciences Instant Artificials. It always goes on second at least. That's right, I use one or two base coats every time and this is always in the line up. I buy it at Sally Beauty Supply. I like it for providing an extra smooth surface for me to work on and protection against any staining. I read an interesting article about it here.
When I had really bad peeling nails, I used a small bottle of Nailtiques II Plus (note the Plus because there is a Nailtiques II as well). I found it at CVS. It seemed to work good and help get my nails back into decent shape. I knew it was probably protein based, so I wanted to move away from it. If I experience peeling, I will use this again in rotation.
I then went to Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler. I wanted something that would be moisturizing and help keep my nails healthy. It worked great and I still rotate to it frequently. If I want a really long lasting manicure, I do not use this one, but for most of my manicures, it is my favorite.
I still have a bottle of Sally Hansen Nail Quencher. I like it and wonder why it is no longer on the market. I'll use it from time to time as well. Especially if I am using and older polish.
Everything you want to know about base coats is on Loodie's blog.
I have a variety of Top Coats too. However, I use the same ones over and over for different reasons. I almost always use Nubar Diamont Seal and Shine after I polish with my main color. When I first discovered this product several years ago, I bought a big refill bottle and have been going through it ever since. So, I've had the same product for a very very long time. I understand it has gone through some changes since then. Hopefully, it is back to the great product that I have and love as my refill bottle is almost empty and I've bought a new bottle. (See blog post here... and here.)
If I am stamping, I will use Barielle Manicure Extender. This seems to work best with the Diamont and causes less smearing. I also like it if I am trying to extend the wear after a day or two on a mani.
For my pedis, I love Seche Vite. I think I started using it for my pedis just because I had a bottle. I liked it and it became a habit.
I've tried using Sally Hansen Diamond Flash for Holos or stamping. It seems to do okay, but does not seem to help dry the entire manicure like some of the others I use. So, I will not be repurchasing it.
The other top coat that I love and use is OPI Designer Series Top Coat. It is not a quick dry, but seems to help with those finicky holos which do dry fast, so quick dry is not that much of an issue.
The final category I think of is Lotions and Potions. I love several different ones. I use Lansinoh Lanilon on my cuticles every night. I've used Mango Mend, but this seems to work better.
When I'm removing polish, I use Vaseline to protect my cuticles from the acetone. Especially if I'm doing Glitter Removal. I particularly like the little pot this one comes in for storage in my nail polish area.
My favorite hand creme is Lavender No Crack Creme. It works great for me and it is not terribly expensive. It also lasts a long time. I depot it into the little pots you can buy in pairs at WalMart to carry in purse or to share with others. They also have an unscented version that I have not tried if Lavender is not your favorite.