Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Product Review - Shellac Manicure

So I decided to try out the Shellac Manicure, partly because I had a Groupon and got it for half price!  Now, for those of you who don’t know, the Shellac manicure consists of a base coat, colour coat and top coat that goes on like polish but wears like a gel.  It boasts 14 day wear with a mirror finish, and no chips or smudges and no drying time.  I should note that shellac does cost more than a regular manicure, check with your favourite salon or spa for availability and pricing.  Also, some places charge extra for removal and some include it in the price of the manicure. 

So I went to the salon to check it out.  According to the Shellac website it is available in 24 different colours, but I guess that varies by salon because the one I went to didn’t have that many.  I chose a nice dark red.  So she started with the usual cuticle work and filing and then moved on to the polish.  If you’re using a new salon or have a new manicurist I would suggest checking the nail shape and everything before she starts with the colour, I wasn’t thrilled with the shape of a couple of my nails but by the time I noticed it, the colour was already done.  Anyway, it’s a pretty standard base coat, 2 coats of colour, and top coat application, except that between each coat you place your hand under a UV light which cures the polish.  So the application does take a little longer than a traditional mani, but it is totally dry when you’re finished.  Which means, no asking your manicurist to fish your keys out of your purse for you, and if you get the Shellac pedi, you can put your shoes right back on, so no wearing flip flops in the snow.

Day 1 - super shiny finish and amazing looking colour
So first off I noticed the finish is super-shiny, when they say mirror finish, they are not kidding.  Unfortunately, as I was leaving I noticed that one side of my right thumb nail seemed kind of bumpy like there were air bubble in it, and that polish peeled off later that day.  Not cool.  On the upside, I called the salon and explained the situation and they told me to come in and the manicurist removed the polish on that nail and totally redid it at no charge, so it’s all good.  The removal process is pretty easy, they have special wraps that have a pad that gets soaked in acetone and gets placed on the nail, and then the whole thing is wrapped around your finger.  This limits the contact of the acetone on your skin which is good.  They take the wraps off after a few minutes and most of the polish comes off too, then they scrap off the bits that are left behind and you’re good to go.

Day 8 - small chip on 1 finger that you can't even see in this picture

So after about a week a noticed a fairly small chip on my left index finger, nothing too serious and all the other nails were still in perfect shape.  The nail that was chipped happened to crack a couple days later (the nail cracked not the polish) so instead of waiting to get it caught on something and have it tear off, it cut it.  I even filed it to round out the corners and it didn’t ruin the finish!  I was absolutely sure that cutting and filing my nail was going to destroy the manicure but it totally didn’t.   I also did many other things that definitely would have ruined a traditional manicure but didn’t have any effect on my shellac finish. 

So now it’s been over 2 weeks and the finish is still looking pretty great.  I have noticed some cracks in the last couple of days which I believe are cracks in the polish and not in the nails.  Also, my nails grow pretty fast so after 16 days the re-growth is getting pretty outrageous.  I would recommend that you ask your manicurist to get as close to the cuticle as possible so the growth isn’t as obvious, also it might not show as much with a lighter colour. 

Day 16 - finish still looks great but the re-growth is really showing
I definitely liked the Shellac Treatment and I think it lived up to its promises.  Would I get it all the time, no…I figure putting my hands under UV lights can’t be super great for my skin.  I’ve also noticed a little more nail breakage than usual but if that’s because of the treatment or just because my nails tend to break more when they get long, I can’t really say.  I would definitely recommend this product if you have a big event coming up and you want your nails looking perfect, especially if you don’t have time to get them done the day of your event.  Say you had a wedding or something, with this treatment you could get your nails done days in advance and not have to worry about chipping, smudging or peeling.  So overall I really liked the Shellac manicure especially for special occasions or events.  I personally wouldn’t get it all the time, but if you’re a person who gets a weekly manicure, you would save time and money getting a shellac mani every two weeks instead of a traditional mani every week.  So if anyone else out there has tried the Shellac product, let me know what you thought in the comments.

Thursday, 18 August 2011


I’ve been thinking lately that I would like to cook more, and not just cook but cook with really nice, fresh, and delicious ingredients.  I’ve been having a lot of those days where I just don’t feel like cooking after a long day at work.  On those days my go to meals might be frozen pizza, or mac and cheese, or chicken wings and fries…delicious yes, but fresh and nutritious? Not so much.  I also really like to cook when I have the time and the motivation, which isn’t often these days.  But last week I did get the motivation to cook, I was feeling really tired and run down one day and decided that a nice home cooked meal with fresh ingredients was exactly what I needed.  I went to the store and picked up various fruits and veggies and a salmon fillet and made the yummiest dinner.  I made pan fried salmon with sautéed zucchini and mushrooms with garlic, and a spinach salad on the side topped with orange pieces, strawberries, sliced avocado, goat milk cheese and olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dressing.  It was delicious and exactly what I needed.  It looked so good, and I’m such a dork I even took a picture so everyone can be jealous of my awesome dinner.  Beats the crap out of the leftover Kraft Dinner I just ate!

Delicious and Nutritious - Can't beat that!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

My first Nia class

So I recently decided to check out a Nia class.  If you’re thinking “what the heck is Nia, I’ve never even heard of it before”, that’s ok I had no idea what it was a few weeks ago.  I was reading one of my fav blogs and one of the commenters mentioned that she was a Nia teacher, and since I’m a bit of a geek I googled it to find out what it is.  So, Nia has been around since the 80’s and is a low impact aerobics that combines movements from dance, martial arts and the healing arts and is done barefoot.  I always loved dance when I was a kid but I haven’t done it in years, so it was pretty easy to decide that Nia was something I needed to check out.

So I found a wellness centre in my city that offers Nia, and they let you take your first class for free, so I did.  Before class started the teacher told me a little about Nia and stressed that it was important to stay in your body and feel the pleasure of movement and emphasized that she was just there as a guide and to not worry too much about the steps but doing what feels good to my body.  She stressed that nothing should hurt, everything should feel good and to keep the movements small to begin with.  It was a lot of fun!  The teacher was really energetic and fun throughout the class, and the other students are really nice.  The moves are pretty basic and there is a lot of repetition, so I think even if you’re not a dancer or even particularly coordinated, it wouldn’t be too difficult to pick up.  And when they say that Nia is for every body, they mean it.  There were dancers there of every size shape and age.  And Nia can be danced in a way that’s right for you, if you’re athletic, or not, you can tailor the movements so they are comfortable for you.  There’s also a lot of freedom in the moves, there’s no wrong way to dance in Nia.

You may feel a little uncoordinated the first couple of classes, but I assure you that Nia is a fun, booty shaking good time, and you will work up a good sweat and get a great workout doing it.  So if you’re bored with your current routine and want to try something new, or if you danced when you were younger but want to stay away from strict choreography type classes, I highly recommend Nia.

For more info or to find a class near you click here.