Tag Archives: dressing up

New Experience #3: Get Fake Fingernails, Polish & Nail Art

When I was little, I used to fantasize about the day when I’d be all grown up, and could wear bright fingernail polish and pretty make-up and teeter around on high heels all day, every day.

Yesterday, New Experience #3 brought my daydream to life: spur of the moment, I made an appointment for 4 pm for an application of fake fingernails, with polish AND nail art. No going halves-ies with this project!

I think my flashback to FloJo last week awakened my inner nail diva. I just had to get my nails done yesterday, end of story!

the requisite "before" shot

I do like to wear nail polish. I have had a couple of professional manicures in the past, but rely on just painting my own nails. The problem is that I never let them dry long enough, so I usually have smudges within minutes and chips by day’s end.

I didn’t have to travel far for my appointment: right across the street, in the mall, is this nail salon:

the shop's name pretty much says it all!

I walk by here every single day when I do my grocery run. I just popped in on my way to work Monday morning and booked my 4 pm appointment.

I had no idea what to expect in terms of process, how long the nails would last, how I’d ever get ’em off…I sat down with Lee, my nail technician (and shop owner??) and asked a few questions. I was going to go with the Full Set Acrylic Nails, but Lee recommended the UV Gel Nails. Fine, they were almost the same price, and she’s the expert. Happily, Lee did not mind at all if I photo’d the entire experience!

[Sidenote: I’ll just say here that you would not choose this salon for their customer service, ambiance or friendliness; there was also a language/communication challenge in that Lee is of Asian origin, and her heavily accented English necessitated that I say “pardon” after everything she said or asked…to the point that I felt quite embarrassed. So the usual chichat that I enjoy at Gina’s or at The Waters was not present today. No biggie, overall – Lee did a great job on my nails, and I was satisfied with the level of cleanliness. She certainly demonstrated that she has had a lot of practice with nails!]

OK! Back to the process. Watch and learn…

prepping my nails...

a trim (good, as they won't be getting that done til the fakies come off!)

fake! fake, fake, fake, FAKE!

initial fitting and gluing...

clipping the daggers down...but i asked lee to keep them pretty long - hey, i'm 110% in to this experience!!!

application of what smelled like formaldehyde (the purple liquid) and looked like sugar (the white powder)

buff - yes, she WAS moving that purple buffer at lightening speed!

Tangent: this University Girl kept me quite entertained – she talked non-stop on her cell while getting a mani-pedi. She was so stressed out that she needed to get her nails done…

oops! caught red-handed snapping her photo - how embarrassing!

look at those!!! now on to the REAL fun part!

Lee sent me over to choose a colour:

too much choice! they all looked pretty!

I came back with a lovely pink. But then I had to choose my nail art:

oh gosh, harder to choose than the polish colour!

Lee then said some designs would take longer than others. I picked one pattern. She said, “long.” So I chose another one. She said, “longer.” I went for a third…”longer still.” At this point, I felt like that Seinfeld where Kramer is pretending to be a movie theatre answer phone and George thinks Kramer is an automated voice: “Why don’t you just TELL me which nail art to choose??,” popped into my head! Also, I could tell that Lee wanted a different colour. Which is how ended up with this:

awesome! love it!

#42 it is!

The nail art portion of the appt was the biggest surprise – I guess I was surmising that the flowers were decals??? No!!! It’s all hand-painted on!…

artistry for nails, truly...

And we’re done!

lee even offered to take this photo!

a genuinely satisfied - let's make that VERY HAPPY! - customer!

Total cost: $53  + $5 tip. Plus, I likely will have to go back in four weeks to have them professionally removed…if I understood (eesh!) Lee’s instructions, in about six weeks they will have grown out enough that I could chip away/remove them myself…but I’m thinking they’ll look pretty awful by then…we shall see!

My opinion: I’m TOTALLY HAPPY AND THRILLED with the final look! For a first-in-a-lifetime experience, no way was I going to go muted or low-key. I love the colour, love the nail art design. I need some more time with my new digit-additions to decide if I will do this again or not, but so far, much fun is being had!

B’s comments: I anticipated that B would dislike the nails…surprisingly, he really liked them! He didn’t think they look too ugly or tacky – wow! He DID say he thought I would have gotten orange polish and a palm tree motif (won’t he look when that’s what I come home with before Aruba! Now, there’s an idea…)

I was interested to see how my nails would perform last evening:

the nails drink a decaf coffee!

the nails send emails!

the nails make b's lunch for today!

the nails wrap a baby present!

the nails knit!

the nails pan-sear tofu!

I’m definitely going through a learning curve! Now I totally understand why divas on TV or in movies pass on doing chores because “I just had my nails done.” I watched what I was doing to make sure I wouldn’t damage my beauties! That being said, I am impressed already with how much better fake nails + professional colour stand up than the DIY home method.

I’m sure that in a few days, two inch claws my nails will feel much more natural.

OK! Going to stop typing as the clackety-clack is starting to drive me bonkers!

Congratulations, Class of 2010!

Last eve was the celebratory graduation banquet for B’s college students. Last year, I had just started blogging when we attended our first banquet.

Just like last year, we snapped a couple of photos before we left. It’s not every day we get out our spiffy duds!

mom's shoes (!) again; aran cardigan that i made (philosopher's wool & pattern)

b looks a little intense/stressed! MC duties on his mind?!

that's better!...although "natural lighting" is not very forgiving on laugh lines!

In September, B was promoted to Program Co-Ordinator; as such, he was MC for the night’s festivities:

b in action!

To back up for a second, today was a really snowy Saturday in southern Ontario. The banquet location was located in a hicktown hamlet 20 minutes from our place. Happily, B drove and our Toyota Tundra capably handled the snowy roads!

the roads were better by late aft than earlier in the day!

The banquets remind me very much of a wedding reception. Exhibit A:

black and white colour theme, with red touches

 Exhibit B:

table assignments - we were priviledged to be at Table #1!

 Exhibit C:

graduation cakes!

cake decoration...

Will I be able to create such masterpieces after my course?!

…And Exhibit D: live music! The students found this duo at one of their favourite pubs (from our own ‘hood, actually!)

cover tunes covered laudably pre-dinner and during our meal

Before dinner, I enjoyed chatting with Sherry, wife of Firefighter Scott, a part-time course instructor.

we easily found many subjects to talk about: work, family, fitness - plus we discovered mutual connections/six degrees of separation!

I love meeting people so don’t mind the schmoozing that these events necessitate!

our table! L-R: Cindy and Mac, Wayne and Pauline...

(pauline) doug, dennis, b...

b and i rounded out the table group!

As MC, B did an awesome job. He kept things moving along, linking speeches, presentations, awards, and thank you’s with minimal “filler chat.” The students expressed heartfelt thanks for the time and energy and passion that B brings to his leadership role with their 18-month college program. Proud of you, B!

It was really heartwarming to see all the family members present, too. Parents, grandparents, wives, girlfriends, young siblings…one fellow had 1.5 tables of family in attendance!

The students were so thoughtful, and kindly presented us with tokens of appreciation:

i received a beautiful rose, b a personalized, engraved trophy

During the banquet, I especially loved meeting and visiting with the (former) students. B often talks about “so and so” when we debrief about our day, at home. It was a pleasure to put names and faces together (I refrained from making any comments along the lines of “Oh! So YOU’RE the one!…”).

Hearty congratulations to each one of these graduates!

group photo time!

It was a real priviledge to be included in this graduation celebration!

The next class graduates in May…that class is comprised 100% of male students, and they have done a TON of fundraising for their upcoming banquet. Can’t wait!


It’s going to be an early bedtime tonight! I’ve had three later-than-usual (all for fun occasions) nights in a row, now, and worked three days in a row at the store, too. Can I stay awake long enough for a li’l Jersey time??!

Boo To You!!!

Happy Hallowe’en Night!

We are just in from a walk around the ‘hood to check out Hallowe’en decs and see hyped up on sugar cute costumed kids screaming around the sidewalks. This Hallowe’en eve walk has been our tradition since we moved to the condo casa. I sorely miss giving out candy. If anyone with a house wants to adopt me next year, I’ll gladly give out candy for you…and I’ll even BMOC! (bring my own candy). So, being sans maison,  the next best thing is checking out the action at street level.

The thing is, it’s about zero (celsuis) degrees out there tonight! Brrrr! We are evidently not acclimatized as of yet: we’ve both been FREEZING all day! So we bundled up for tonight’s outing:

that'd be two layers of pants and my winter coat. and a hat. and double mitts.

Lest you think I’m a winter wuss (well, I am, kinda), here’s B:

that's some puffy coat action going on!

I always feel bad for the little trick-or-treaters when it’s so hideously cold on Hallowe’en. I remember how disappointing it was to have to either cover your costume with a winter coat or wear bulky and uncomfortable layers underneath. This type of weather calls for a GHOST costume or maybe a BOX costume – you’d never see layers under those get-ups! (But they’re not really great substitutes if you have your heart set on being SPIDERMAN or a PRINCESS!

I think I drove B a little nuts because I kept stopping to snap photos. It was worth it, though! Saw some houses that definitely were in the Hallowe’en spirit! Here’s the best of the best:

Best Twinkle Light Award:

lighted walkway leading to the doorway!

Best Window Covering:


Best Pumpkins-on-the-Front-Porch Display:

fall-ish + Hallowe'en-ish!

Best Cobweb Distribution:

perfect amount! not too much, not too little!

Best Use of a Tree for Ghoul-ish Purposes:


Best Giant Spider:

cute in a spooky kind of way!

Best Cute-Not-Scary Award:

quite welcoming!

Best Front Door Decorating Award:

nice banner!

And lastly, the Best Costume Award for Hallowe’en 2010:

rock it, elvis!

This is my friend, Steve, from the store. He’s running the Las Vegas Marathon as Elvis, in this costume (it’s super cool: made of technical material, it’s designed for runners!). All he needs is blue suede shoes instead of those Nike’s and he’ll be 100% set!

wonder if he'll run and sing?!!

Well, that’s a wrap for our Hallowe’en. I’m off for a shower to thaw out, then we’ll conclude the eve with a PVR’d viewing of Gleethis week’s episode is a take-off on Rocky Horror Picture Show – great way to end the 31st of October, if you ask me!

A Wedding Reception/Step Back in Time

Have you ever attended an event that felt more like a dream than reality? That was my experience last night when I was a guest at the wedding reception of a childhood friend.

the happy couple!

A bit of background: back in the ’70’s when we lived on Hudson Crescent, our neighbours were the M’s: Mr., Mrs, Joanne (my best friend) and Wanda (playmate to my brother). Joanne and I met when I was two and she was three. As the story goes, the day the M’s moved in, little Joanne rang our doorbell and asked if my parents “had a little girl here that she could play with.” And thus our delightful friendship was born.

Our parents all got along super-well, too, and over the years we enjoyed many family times all together: trips to Sauble Beach, New Years Eve sleepovers, Super Bowl suppers, etc. Mrs M was like a second mother to me and Joanne was the closest thing to a sister. We spent so many happy hours playing with dolly-dolls, paper dolls, Barbie dolls, playing outside, inside, at my house, her house – you get the picture.

The summer I finished Grade 6, the M’s moved about 30 minutes outside of town to a lovely rural property. Our families continued to see each other on a regular basis well into our high school years. Then, for a number of years, we all lost touch. Happily, within the past five years or so, my parents have reconnected with Mr and Mrs M, and now have each other over for dinner several times per year.

Wanda has lived overseas for seven years now and recently got married to Nick. To celebrate with Canadian family and friends, Mr and Mrs M hosted a post-wedding reception at their country home last night. Our entire family was invited: my parents; my brother and SIL Ana, Little E and Baby C; yours truly and B. (Unfortunately there would be no B in attendance as he is now on Grand Hike #2 of the summer, somewhere in the depths – or rather heights! – of Colorado).

Somehow, the years have flown by! It’s been about 10 years since I last saw Joanne, 15 years (our wedding) since I’ve seen Wanda and I don’t know how long since I’ve seen Mr and Mrs M – this would be a grand reunion tonight!

my "going glam" efforts!

The stars were aligned weatherwise as it was a perfect summer eve! Clear, calm and cool weather conditions prevailed. Just wonderful since the reception was out-of-doors!

affable young J. - Joanne's 11 year old son - was a polite and friendly director of car parking, gift bearer, and mosquito swatter!Mrs M is the family gardener and has transformed the gigantic back yard into an amazing oasis of greens and flowers

view of the outdoor tent and seating...

It truly was a surreal experience to see my childhood family friends again, and to have my own family be there, too. In certain respects, it felt like there had been no passage of time whatsoever – Mrs M and Joanne still laugh the same way they did forever ago, Mr M has held on to his distinctive Dutch accent…and then in other ways, it felt like another lifetime ago – with Little E and Baby C around, my worlds were colliding! It was really wonderful to be able to reconnect with the M’s, meet Nick, and celebrate with the newlyweds.

 And now for the people pictures! (ETA: sorry, but I somehow messed up my photo-insertions, so apologies for the hodge-podge look to the album, below!)

dapper nick and splendiforous wanda


with the friend who has known me the longest of my life, Joanne…

…and joined by Mrs M…
(clothing commentary: i loved the feel of my florida-find neiman marcus bargain dress; joanne’s ruby-red gown? found for $5 in a vintage store!)
…with my forever-fabulous SIL ana…
Bro, me, the beautiful bride…
All in all, it was a wonderful evening of celebration. I so enjoyed catching up with the M’s and seeing them meet Ana, Little E and Baby C…just such a happy evening.
And the best part? Since I am FULLY PLANNING TO FINALLY JOIN FACEBOOK within the next couple weeks, I do hope to stay connected with both Joanne and Wanda!
Stay tuned this week! I plan to introduce a new weekly feature tomorrow, and also do my final Florida-related post – finally!

This Week: The Friday Photo = Saturday Snapshots!

I’m just back from spending a delightful two days in Toronto with Ana, E and C. With The Bro off doing some field work, it was another opportunity for the four girls to be together.

Part I

Our first Friday photos are from Thursday. At Beechwood Zehrs this week, I happened upon a Bunny House kit. (Think Christmas Gingerbread House but with an Easter theme). Awesome! Had no idea they had come up with such a creature. The kit kept E and me quite amused for a good hour.

a casa in progress...

please note the line of bunnies leading to the front door...

And Aunti with the finished product!…

Aunti with the Bunny House, as shot by Photographer E (not bad for age 3, eh?!)

 Part II

Our second set of photos is indeed from Friday. Out and about in the lovely  return-to-winter, cold (but sunny, I must say) morning weather, I glanced at the window of one of my favourite shops, and my heart skipped a beat when I spied THIS:

the one on the left

HAVE YOU EVER SEEN ANYTHING SO DIVINE IN YOUR ENTIRE LIFE??!!! As soon as the shop opened at 11, I was there. The congenial shop keeper shared that the dress is from Barcelona. Cool! Who doesn’t need a European Label in their closet?! Normally, I am not a dress girl – 99% of the time it’s tights and sweats, as you well know. But it was soooo love at first sight for me n this dress. But I decided to wait and get Ana’s and E’s opinions – can’t we girlz always use a second (and third) opinion, pre-purchase?! So we went back in the afternoon, I got the thumbs up, and the dress came home with me.

A few close ups – sorry no modeling as I haven’t showered yet today (TMI, I so know, sorry!) – that I simply must share:

the full view...

adore the flippy mini-skirt hem...

embroidered detailing at the high waist...

love the paper bag - it's a keeper, even if paper!

IS THIS NOT A KIKI DRESS OR WHAT, I ASK OF YOU???!! I will be searching for just the right occasion to bop out in my Barcelona Dress. (Yes, I name my clothes).

COLOUR was definitely the theme for this Thursday and Friday!

Mr and Mrs Dress Up

When I was little, I dreamed of the day when I would be old enough to wear spiky high heels, thick make-up and designer dresses all day long. Well! The reality is that my favourite fashion labels are Sugoi, Lululemon and Nike. Daily make-up routine is blusher, eye liner and a dab of mascara. Spiky high heels? I currently do not even OWN a pair of high heels.

This proved to be a bit of a dilemma when we were invited to attend the Graduation Banquet for the 2008-2009 Conestoga College Pre-Service Firefighter Program. The Banquet was held this past Saturday evening and was a semi-formal affair. Brad was all set; we brushed off Old Faithful, his go-to suit for all events requiring such level of dress. I decided upon my handknit mohair dress. I last wore it to Chris and Ana’s wedding in October 2005; luckily, knit dresses are classic in style!

photo opp pre-banquet

Shoes? Mummy to the rescue! I gratefully borrowed her brand new pair of patent heels that she generously and kindly offered to lend. These gorgeous lovelies deserve a close-up:


Now on to the Banquet…The organizing committee is to be commended for the fantastic banquet they orchestrated. Several times throughout the evening, the comment was made that this was the best banquet in years. Certainly, great attention to detail was evident in the decorating, seating assignments, catering selection, and organization.

When we arrived at the venue, the Romanian Cultural Centre in Kitchener, first year students greeted us, gave us our table assignment and escorted us into the main hall.

Since this was my first Conestoga College-related social, I appreciated the chance to meet Brad’s colleagues and some of the firefighter instructors who help out with the program.

Craig (centre), his wife Anna (L), Brad (R)

I was really impressed with the number of family members who attended to support their son/daughter/grandchild/spouse etc. Over 200 guests were in attendance, the highest number yet for a graduating class’ banquet.

Brad (L) with Class President Marty Long (R)

Full Circle: Brian Ertel, friend from years ago, now is an instructor, too

Following cocktails and mingling, we enjoyed a three course buffet of salads/apps, hot dishes, and desserts. Thank you plaques were presented to area fire departments which support the program, and awards were handed out to deserving students. We were very touched with our thank you gift of gorgeous flowers:


All in all, it was a lovely evening out. The next banquet will be held in January 2011, but after that we will have one to attend every three months as the Pre-Service Program continues to grow and new classes are added. It’s an honour to be included on the Guest List as the students celebrate the end of their studies and anticipate joining the fire service. (I think I will likely invest in my own pair of heels…) 🙂