Sometimes I forget that not everyone follows me all over the web. I have a few blogs, a personal facebook page, as well as a page for Nailed It!, a twitter account, and heaven knows how many other accounts on websites I've long forgotten. Remembering what I've posted where, and who might have seen it, is just a little too much for me. So when people come into the salon and ask what it looked like before we renovated, I scramble trying to remember where I've posted pictures that they might have access to.
It would all be so much simpler if I could send them to a blog, one made just for the salon, don't ya think?
So a little background to begin with, our building is located in historic West Racine and as such, is an old building with a lot of history and character; and a lot of challenges. When I first visited it, I could see the potential in the space, but it was so far from the vision I had for my salon that I wasn't sure if it would ever morph into that picture in my head. I liked the space, I just wasn't sure if I loved it. Then, as the weeks of construction turned into months, I realized that not only did I not love the place, some days I despised every square foot of it. It was a long, grueling process fraught with respiratory infections from the construction dust, aching limbs, and the occasional bleeding appendage.
Now that it's finished though, I love my salon! More so because I put so much of myself into it. Literally. The subfloor is stained with my tears, and I think small bits of my flesh are still clinging to a few of the drywall screws. Yet knowing that I am now a part of the history of West Racine is just an amazing thing, and I'm so proud to be where I am, and to have accomplished what we have.
So having said that, on with the pictures...
Here you can see the front of the building as it was when we moved in. In the past, the shop was a hair braiding studio, a florists, and a nail salon on at least one other occasion (possibly more).
Here is the building as it looks today. The white paint gives it a fresher feel, and the black and white is more reminiscent of a traditional Tudor facade.
The building sat empty for a couple of years before we moved in, and as a result had some water damage that needed to be dealt with. The area of the salon that is now the sink and dispense counter was one of the worst areas in our suite. Below is how it looked when we moved in.
The entire wall needed to be taken down, which worked in our favor because the plumbing also needed to be addressed, and we needed to add GFCI outlets.
After the work was done inside of the wall, new drywall was put up, and cabinets were built into the area.
Here is how it looks today. Clean, beautiful, and bright!
If you ever stopped into the building when it was still a hair braiding studio, you know that what is now one big room, used to be two small rooms. The front portion of the space, with large south facing windows, let in all kinds of beautiful sunlight from outside. The back room, however, was dark and dismal. Barely any light managed to penetrate back there, and I knew from the start that we needed to fix that.
The wall had to go...
Now the space is open and bright, and the sun lights up the entire room during the day.
The front end of the salon was in good shape, and was a cheery space, but the décor needed a serious update.
The country cottage look had to go, so the wainscoting came down, the walls were painted a fresh white, and the window trim was updated with black paint.
Today this is my favorite place in the salon. Even on a dreary day it's bright and cheerful. I love to sit at my manicure table to do nails and create art samples. It's impossible to feel melancholy in such a vibrant space!
One of the most comfortable places in the salon is the pedicure area, but you wouldn't have known it a year ago. You see, the place where people now sit back and relax to get their feet cared for used to be a closet.
In the interest of having more useable space on the salon floor, we tore it out. It wasn't difficult, there wasn't very much holding it in there to begin with.
Now the crawl-space above, along with a single support pillar, create an intimate space for a luxurious pedicure.
It's not all about the space though. In building the salon, and trying to give it a retro ambiance, we scoured antique shops and garage sales for items we could use to decorate the space. One of the most difficult, but also one of the best, projects were the chairs my sister found...
I was looking for chairs that would feel at home in a 50's diner, but despite many weeks of searching, I couldn't find anything appropriate that I could also afford. Until my sister found these at a rummage sale.
I was dubious, to say the least. After all, this was a semi upscale salon I was trying to build, and that chair up there, that's not upscale.
She convinced me to try recovering them though, and after two days of heating and stretching vinyl, and stapling so many staples that my hand was so badly bruised I couldn't move my thumb for a week, this is what we came up with.
They're not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but they're mine, and I love them.
So that's the story of how Nailed It! came to be, and how we turned a dreary little space into a vibrant little salon. I love it, and I hope you stop in sometime so you can see it and love it too! Until then...
The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
It's hard to believe, looking at the picture of my left hand over there, but I bite my nails. Not just my nails either, as I've told you before, but all of the skin surrounding them as well. On a bad day, I can bite my nail down to a bloody stump in a matter of minutes, and then tear my eponychium to shreds until I'm faint from the blood loss. I'm such a bad nail biter, that I don't even realize I'm doing it until I've mangled a finger or two. I'm so bad, in fact, that I don't think I'll ever be an ex-biter, the best I can do is manage my habit, and take measures to prevent it.
So how did someone like me get nails like that? Well, it was actually pretty easy with a little help from nail enhancements. So easy that I believe anyone can do it if they're willing to try.
First off, you need to find a good nail tech; if you can find one who's worked with biters before, that's a big plus. You'll need someone who will do a complete consultation with you to figure out what will work best with your habit. They should ask questions about what triggers you to bite or pick, if you've ever been able to stop for a short time, as well as ask questions about your nails themselves. Are they brittle, flakey, bendy? These are things your tech will need to know in order to tailor a rehabilitation program that suits you. So obviously the NSS at the mall isn't going to cut it.
My recommendation for most biters is to start off with a Liquid and Powder acrylic overlay. I'll extend the nail a little bit with tips or forms if my client wishes, but extending them too much on a person who's not used to having long nails just isn't a good idea. The reason is because when a client isn't used to long nails they don't know how to manage long nails, and the extensions will be subject to accidental breaking, which can further damage the natural nail. I also prefer Liquid and Powder acrylic over UV Gel acrylic because it's more durable than Gel. Gel overlays are just too brittle to stand up to the beating a recovering biter is going to give them. I want a product that can withstand an occasional chomp from absent minded teeth, so Liquid and Powder is my choice for this circumstance.
Now, overlays aren't only for the ladies out there. I can do a very natural looking overlay on a male biter too, and no one will ever know he's wearing an enhancement. So male or female, there's absolutely no excuse to stop your nail biting habit if you want to!
Once a biter has successfully worn overlays for a few months, and the natural nail has grown out to the desired length underneath, I'll start talking to the client about maintenance. Some biters will need to continue wearing overlays, though they can be thinned down over time as the habit breaks its mental hold. Some people can graduate to a gel polish at this point, and perhaps eventually a regular nail polish if that's what they desire. It's important to keep seeing your nail tech for regular check-ups even after you've graduated though, to ensure your nails stay healthy, and tooth-mark free.
Because I bite skin along with nails, I'm the type of person who needs to keep overlays on my nails to prevent me from being able to reach that skin with my teeth. I'm ok with that, overlays prevent the nail breakage that my very active lifestyle leads to. They're also more comfortable for my clients, as my sharp nails tend to pinch them when I'm holding their fingers if I'm not wearing overlays. You may find that like me, you want to keep your overlays on, or perhaps you'll be counting the days until you can be free of them. Either way, you'll have a lot more options once you've gotten into the habit of not gnawing on your nails.
So, knowing that I've worn enhancements regularly for the last few years, and worn them consistently for the last six months, I want to show you something. Click on the picture of my nails up at the top of the page to bring up the larger version.
My nails are a little dry in the picture because I had just soaked my overlays off before I took it, and the acetone leaves them a little flakey looking. Do you know what you're not seeing though? You're not seeing Rings of Fire, like you can see in the picture to the right here. What are Rings of Fire? Well, they're damage to the nail plate caused by a manicurist cutting into it with a file during a fill, leaving a crescent shaped channel in your nail that turns an angry shade of red.
Many people believe that only electronic files can cause this type of damage; that is false. Aggressive, improper filing with a hand file can also cause this or very similar damage. Some people believe that any use of an electronic file causes damage to the nail plate; this is also false. Proper use of an electronic file will cause no harm to your natural nails. Case in point. I use an electronic file on my own nails as well as my client's nails, and as you can see in the full sized picture above, my nails are as healthy as they were when my matrix formed them.
It is very important to avoid a nail tech who causes damage to the nail plate! Why? Well first off, it shows poor technique, improper use of tools, and puts the client (you) at risk for injury and infection. However, for a biter, it's doubly bad. Thinning out the natural nail in any way is going to make it more prone to breaking when the overlays finally come off. Broken nails are like heroin to a recovering biter, any rough spots are fair game to the teeth, and you're not going to be able to resist the temptation. So if you start seeing red rings under your overlays after your fills, it's time to have a frank discussion with your manicurist and perhaps look into finding a new one.
So now you know everything you need to know about breaking the habit. Throw away the cyan pepper and 'No Bite' and stop in at Nailed It! or a quality salon in your area to see how we can help you. You'll love being able to show off your beautiful hands!
As I sit at home recovering from the flu with a child who has the flu, on a day when I'm supposed to be working at the salon, I find myself thinking that I should clarify my hours of operation, and explain why you should probably make a reservation if you'd like to get your nails done.
So, here's the deal.
Yes, we do take walk-ins; I won't turn you away when you don't have a reservation, as long as I have the time to do the service you're requesting. However, those walk-in opportunities are becoming few and far between as the popularity of the salon grows. If you prefer not to book a service in advance, I recommend you arrive at the salon at 10am, as that's the only slot that's consistently available. Additionally, I have no available Saturday slots for the next month, and Friday's are nearly booked solid as well, so walk-in availability on those days is dicey at best.
So why should you reserve an appointment? Well, there are a lot of reasons!
First of all, not to toot my own horn or anything, but my services are amazing. Our longer service times allow you to savor your pampering. Watch a movie, read a book or magazine, sit and chat, or relax quietly. Furthermore, we have a wide array of beverages at the salon for you to enjoy, and often some treats from the local bakeries as well. It's up to you how you spend your time at Nailed It, but you'll never feel rushed or pushed out the door. I also use some of the best quality, professional products on the market; add in my years of experience, dedication to furthering my education, and passion for the industry, and you're going to love your nails when you leave. It is guaranteed!
Secondly, when you reserve a time for your services, you guarantee that you'll have my undivided attention. You won't have to wait to be seen, and you won't be turned away because I'm with another client or have one coming soon. I don't double book, nor do I smoosh my clients together so tight that I'm chronically behind. Your time with me is yours and yours alone. While you're at Nailed It you are the most important person in the universe to me, and your satisfaction is paramount.
Finally, when you reserve your appointment you guarantee that I'll actually be there... I've been a work-at-home mom for the last twenty years, and I am first and foremost a mother and wife. Closing the salon to take care of a sick child doesn't always make good business sense, but I brought these people into the world so it's my responsibility to make sure I release them into society happy and well adjusted. If I need to close the salon on a day you have a service reserved, I will do everything in my power to reschedule your service as soon as possible to a time that's convenient to you, even if I need to open early or stay late. You will always be notified in advance, and will never make a wasted trip only to be greeted by a locked door.
Also, in that same vein, I like my family, and want to be with them. Nearly all of the services I offer take at least an hour, and most of them take more, so even though I'm technically open until 7pm, if I don't have an appointment scheduled, and no one has come into the salon by 6pm for a walk-in service, I clean up and go home to be with my family. I'm perfectly willing, even eager, to stay open later than my posted business hours if you reserve a service, but I'd prefer not to wait, hoping in vain that someone will walk through my door, when I could be spending that time with my family.
So, as you can see, it's much easier to take the time to reserve a service in advance at Nailed It!. A simple phone call and a minute of your time is all it takes to reserve your spot, and eliminate the inconvenience of making a wasted trip. Trust me, it's worth it!
Soon, when I have the resources to bring in more nail technicians, Nailed It! will be more walk-in friendly. Even then though, it will always be in your best interest to ensure you're guaranteed service when you walk through our door.