Month: March 2015

Looking under the bed.

Today, I’m not talking about nails. I’m talking about something real for everyone and not just the nail industry.

Sure, everyone posts about life on their status’ on facebook.  They tweet who they’re hanging with. They instagram their supper.   But how often do we see the REAL deal?

Life isn’t always pretty.   Recently I said something to a friend who had faced some challenges, it was  “Sometimes, we just need to be reminded that we DO have that inner strength. Sometimes we lose it under the bed or somewhere silly like that. Or just need a ‘rest’ and need someone else to shoulder the load for a bit. As long as we find it again in the end, all is good“.

We all have moments or long periods like that. Where we forget who we are and how strong we are. Sometimes we get so lost under a pile of obligations and responsibilities and sundry that we don’t know which way is up.  We become caught up in the maelstrom that is life, and the stress of it threatens to strangle us with stress and negativity.

There are those that handle it really well and seem to barely take a pause. Others might be sighted having a great struggle with it.  Regardless, it happens to all of us at one time or another, in one form or another.

I’ve been watching the show “Lost” on Netflix with my kids lately.  The character Jack had this trick with handling the suffocating panic that could paralyze you.  He said:

Well, fear’s sort of an odd thing. When I was in residency my first solo procedure was a spinal surgery on a sixteen year old kid, a girl. And at the end, after thirteen hours, I was closing her up and I, I accidentally ripped her dural sac, shredded the base of the spine where all the nerves come together, membrane as thin as tissue. And so it ripped open and the nerves just spilled out of her like angel hair pasta, spinal fluid flowing out of her and I… and the terror was just so crazy. So real. And I knew I had to deal with it. So I just made a choice. I’d let the fear in, let it take over, let it do its thing, but only for five seconds, that’s all I was going to give it. So I started to count: one, two, three, four, five. Then it was gone. I went back to work, sewed her up and she was fine.”

Stress can be a sort of fear. Leaving you at a loss to decide what to do and which direction to go.   You can try to ignore it, but it’s there affecting everything you do. OR you can do as Jack did above and give it a limit. Give yourself permission to feel it but only for a limited time. Then buckle down and “git’er done” as they say.

I don’t pretend to have studied psychology. I don’t pretend to know the answers, but I’m thinking perhaps that sometimes on occasion; one ought to listen to that inner voice.  Listen to the instinct and do as it dictates and if it’s telling you to take a break and step back and learn to breathe again; maybe you should?  Use that count of five (which in your case might not be exactly five seconds, it might mean more time) to learn to breathe again and calmly figure out your next step.

It’s easier to tackle things when your mind is clear and you’re feeling calm.  When you’ve taken that breather.   You don’t have to be a superhero all the time. It’s OK to be human.

When I gave my friend that little tidbit of ‘Victoria wisdom’, I’m not sure who I was talking to more. Her, or me.

We’re all the same you and I. We have our strong moments, and then we have moments where we need to lean on someone.  I am not shy to admit that I lean on my husband.  Sometimes he doesn’t even know I’m leaning on him because I don’t say a word. Sometimes the only thing I need is to know that he is right there to lean on if I need him and that’s enough. I’m also not shy to tell you that I’ve been leaning on him a LOT these past couple of years.   The move from my hometown to this new province and a new life was HUGE.  Closing my business to start over again, also HUGE.  I took on several new responsibilities in my career.  So many changes and challenges in so little time. There are moments that it’s so overwhelming. He’s always there, though.  Always my pillar.

Sometimes I lean on friends and it’s something as simple as a 2 minute venting session and then I’m done and they have absolutely no idea how much that 2 minutes of their time of just listening to me rant like a nutter is just the thing to kick-start me back into my old self.   Sometimes, I need a couple of days of just running on autopilot and leaving things on back-burners until I feel myself again.

So take your count of five when you need it.  Some call it a pity party.  I don’t think that’s what it is though. I do honestly believe that there is a big difference between a pity-party and a ‘count of five’ or a ‘timeout’ or ‘a break’. Whatever you want to call it, stop for a moment and just breathe.  If you have to, lean on someone.

In the meantime, I’m going to keep this handy light my galpal provided for looking under the bed in future.

Image from unknown source

Image from unknown source

Staying healthy is in everyone’s best interest

Those that know me are aware I have a curious mind.   They also know that I want to be the best that I can be and that when time and budget permits, I pursue further education as it pertains to the industry.

While I’m part of an amazing industry, there are two things that get my blood pumping.

Nail Art is one of them.  I love to play and let creative juices flow, and discover what new tricks I can do with products and tools.  I love colors and how they play together and contrast. Textures and dimension. I love it all.  I’m not the greatest  at it, but I have eyes in my head. I know beauty when I see it, and I strive forward reaching to achieve the same skill level as my mentors.

Standards is my other passion. Specifically “Raising Industry Standards”. (feel free to be a contributing member of the CATANSS group on Facebook if you want to raise standards too)  The Nail Industry is largely unregulated in most parts of the world. Where it is regulated, the reins aren’t very tight and a lot of DIY’s (Do It Yourselfers) and NSS (Non Standard Salons) still slip through the cracks endangering the public.  While regulations & existing standards do ‘help’ somewhat; in many cases they are outdated and insufficient to thoroughly protect consumers and nail techs alike.

Why are standards important? It’s not that complicated.  Let me count the ways.

  1. Protecting public health & safety
  2. Protecting Nail Techs’ health & safety

So many think ‘ahhhh no big deal, manis & pedis aren’t dangerous’

No, they don’t have to be. If a tech is trained and not using illegal products, not efiling your nail plate and etc etc…  You should be safe, right?


More to keep consumers AND nail techs safe.  You only have to search youtube for ‘dangerous salons’ to find out how frightening the reality is.

What do you & I need protection from? How about microbes? Microbes brought into the salon that could make me very ill so that I couldn’t raise my children?  Microbes that I might pass along and share with another client and then SHE becomes ill and can’t raise HER children.


Now I have your attention.

So while believing steadfastly in raising standards and in maintaining the highest standards possible for my clients, that led me to following industry expert Athena Elliot (recently featured on Dr.Oz for salon safety) on Facebook.  Athena is not only an industry expert, but she is co-founder of Safe Salon Rating App and hostess/creator of Nail Talk Radio, AND pioneer of the MNT.   She is also my beloved Femtor (Female Mentor), Nail-sister and genuine FRIEND.  So I could yap on and on for hours why I love this woman to death but I’ll try to stick to the point. She inspires me and we are like-minded with regards to this industry.  So I’m following her lead and am now enrolled in Medinails ANT & MNT courses to raise standards in MY OWN SALON and to better educate myself for the needs of my clients.  I am practicing what I preach.  

While I already go above and beyond the standards required by the Eastern Ontario Health Unit; in my humble opinion, it’s NOT ENOUGH.   As I mentioned earlier, Canada is largely unregulated with only 2 provinces licensed. Ontario is NOT one of them.  So regardless what my neighbors are doing, I’m going to do MY UTMOST BEST to deliver the UTMOST BEST for my clients.  That means seeking additional education outside of my country and employing higher standards as required where standards DO exist.

So be prepared for some changes. They’re coming.  After all, staying healthy is in EVERYONE’S best interest.