Treat yoself – Part 1

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I love Donna. Once I took a quiz on Buzzfeed to find out what character I’d be on Parks and Rec. I got Donna.

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Sorry for the gif explosion. It’s a millenial thing ^_^y

Anyways, I wanna talk about my favourite way to pamper myself.

CiCi was my long-time nail lady. I went to her all through uni and she was the first salon-type person I clicked with. I had a hairdresser for nine years that my mom always made me go to. I never liked him though because he smelled like smoke and Old Spice and the stuff he liked wasn’t stuff I liked. I eventually stopped seeing him when he threw shade at one of my family members. But CiCi wasn’t like that at all.

For me, I have a very special friend who’d do my nails any time I asked her because she enjoys it so much. She’d do ’em for free too because she’s not licensed and still considers herself learning her trade. But I go to the salon for the experience. There’s nothing better to me than getting off a long day of work and going to a place that relaxes me and gets me out of “work mode”. I’m not someone that talks all the time but I do enjoy talking to my technician. I don’t go to a nail spa for people to listen about the trivial parts of my life. I know some people do and it’s what they want out of their experience so there’s no ill from me on that. For me, I enjoy exchanging culture and having a good (quiet) laugh with the technicians.

The atmosphere is the most important thing to me when I go. This might be a little racist but it stems from all of my inferences from Asian culture: Asians are very keen on atmosphere, I’ve noticed. I know that’s a generalisation but it’s not a mean one. I think it’s commendable to be aware of something so indirect. Some are better at maintaining a happy atmosphere than others. I think that applies to anyone too. I know I’m not good at maintaining a happy atmosphere at all. I let whatever emotion is inside of a person to take the stage because I think it’s important to let negativity out. Sometimes, it’s a very healthy thing and a great way to build rapport but other times, I don’t know how to get out of a conversation or change the subject undetected.

But the technicians I go back to again and again are the ones that leave me with a happy atmosphere. I generally go for ones that are quiet and gentle but we still talk intermittently. It’s easy-going for the both of us. I also seek out technicians that really know what they’re doing. I know almost every technician is going to do the best job they can to retain the customer. So I’m not worried about them doing a good job.

One of my few horror stories was when I tried out a new, popular nail spa after graduating from uni (and departing from CiCi ʕ ಡ ﹏ ಡ ʔ). On the door, it said they were looking for more help and to apply within. It was 2 o’clock on a Tuesday and it was packed. They were short-staffed and never before had I felt like a walking dollar sign quite like I did then. They didn’t list their prices online nor did they give me a menu to peruse what I wanted. I always get gel (we can talk about that later) which is more pricey than normal lacquer. They soaked my hands in alcohol for forty-five minutes when I knew CiCi would’ve put them in cotton balls. My hands tingled and went numb at about twenty minutes. It was so noisy in there so I could barely hear the girl who worked on my pedicure. I don’t mind that people converse or that they speak loudly (most of the time) but it was just really awkward for me. I couldn’t ever relax like I like to.

Finally, the manicurist shows up and apologises for the wait. He turned out to be the owner and I knew he was trying to be a good salesman. He gave a good manicure and all but I wish he knew more about gel. I understand that it’s new (relatively) and a lot of technicians don’t know how to properly to apply it or remove it. I hope that technicians that get their license from 2015 on are taught how to work with it. Same for NexGen. I can’t believe his policy was to soak my nails for that long. He didn’t have me go wash my nails after he was done with the real grooming (clipping, pushing back cuticles, etc) and he had me under the light for 180 seconds for each coat which might be too long. CiCi did 60 but my new nail lady does 120 so they won’t peel after a week. He’d leave me alone at certain points mid-manicure to go help someone or watch someone. I know it’s because he’s the owner but I don’t like being abandoned ;_; I know it’s because they were busy but I guarantee you, I tip better than most people because I know how dependent they are on tips. I tip in cash so 3% of the tip isn’t taken away. Treat me like a queen, thanks. Finally, when I got to the register, I was shocked. When I was with CiCi, when I would get a mani+pedi, it was $50. This place charged me $67. Yeah, they massaged me for a long time but I don’t care about a massage on my legs or arms. Yes, it feels good but really, a longer massage isn’t worth nearly $20 to me. So I didn’t go back there. I might if I want to get a pedi with my mom since she likes that place but I found someone I really liked.

My new lady is Tiffany who is gentle and quiet, just like CiCi is. I’ll always miss CiCi but Tiffany knows a lot about gel that even I didn’t know. When working with gel, it’s really important to know what you’re doing because poor treatment leads to bad nails. That’s why so many people complain about gel. They’ve had bad experiences with it, partly due to ill-informed technicians and possibly partly due to the natural strength of their nails. I personally have fabulously strong nails. Even Tiffany commented so as she clipped a nail away because she had to clip it twice for it to break off. So I get gel every time. I can’t recommend it for everyone because I have heard people’s nails will get ridges from the gel, just like with acrylics. I’d rather recommend experimenting with what works best for you. Lacquer is the tried-and-true but it chips very easily. I would never recommend acrylics because I’ve seen what it’s done to my grandmother’s hands and my mother’s hands. But NexGen is something I’d be interested in trying if I didn’t like gel so much. If you are interested in gel because it doesn’t chip, it protects your nails far superiorly to lacquer, and it lasts for three weeks, but you’re afraid of ridges: Tiffany said a multivitamin is what makes nails strong. I’ve heard such a thing before but I thought it was only vitamins that were meant for hair and nail growth. I would only get a gel after you’ve built up some strength if yours are already brittle.

I know this all feels like a stream of consciousness. I won’t lie that it was but I’d argue I’m pretty good at organising ideas. I discussed what’s important to me when I get my nails done and I transitioned to why I get gel with the help of an anecdote. I’d like to go back now to another important factor for me when I go to the nail salon.

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These were my Sailor Venus nails       (*´ー`)

I’ve mentioned before that being gentle is a requirement. Being gentle means you’re not hurting me and it adds to the happy atmosphere that I like so much. Where Tiffany works, on my most recent visit, I got a mani+pedi and I requested she do both jobs. I know a lot of city salons will have two technicians on one person because it’s faster. I used to accept that policy if I would arrive an hour before they close or if I liked the salon but hadn’t quite yet found the person I liked. However, I don’t know how they’ll split my tip at the end of the day and I’d rather just have my tip go to one person so there’s no confusion. Anyways, the owner of my new salon would come by ever so often to check on us. After about twenty minutes of keeping my nails in cotton balls while Tiffany cleaned up my toes, the owner came over and scraped the gel off. At first, I thought it was a good thing since you don’t want alcohol on for too long but omg, this lady was so aggressive! She scraped so hard that I could feel my cuticles being pushed deep into my skin. So a bit later something bad happened. Tiffany is a really experienced technician: she’s been doing it for at least ten years, she told me, and I believe her and you would too if you saw her work. But because the owner had scraped my cuticles back so much, Tiffany couldn’t see where to clip and she accidentally nicked my skin. It hurt but I wasn’t upset about it because I knew it wasn’t Tiffany’s fault. Later, the owner assigned Tiffany to a walk-in when Tiffany was finishing up my manicure. I guess the owner didn’t want the walk-ins to wait too long so Tiffany started rushing but she also had to use the restroom so she told me she’d be right back. I understood since she wouldn’t have a break between clients. So, the owner came up to me, while Tiffany was gone, with two hot towels and scrubbed me so hard that it actually scalded my skin. Those towels are supposed to be relaxing and to just be wrapped around your arm but she was treating me like I was a mannequin or something. Don’t forget I’m human, ok? D: It hurt so bad I actually checked where she rubbed and it wasn’t a pink but a deep red @_@’. Tiffany hadn’t finished the top coat on one of my hands so the owner hastily ran another coat on and told me to put it under the light. So I did. Then, she rushed off and forgot to put the oil on. I didn’t get any massage on my hands like I’ve had at previous visits but like I said, legs/arms massages aren’t a big deal for me. When I got home, my nails looked like two different colours. The one the owner finished looked dull and the texture was sticky. The other one that Tiffany finished was of a beautiful excellence (✿ ♥‿♥)

I actually felt so bad about it that I went in the next day. I wouldn’t have ever done that unless the situation was extreme. I try to not be troublesome for service workers, whether it’s retail, restaurants, or a nail salon. I showed the receptionist the work and she asked me if I had two different colours put on. (Um, why tf would I do something like that? Why would anyone do something like that? Then again, it could’ve been an accident from her point of view) I told her no and she buffed the dull hand and put on a new top coat. They match now, thank goodness ;_;

I’m writing this post because of that experience with the aggressive owner. I’ll still go back there because I like the environment. They play classical music and it’s relatively quiet so it’s peaceful for me. And of course, Tiffany is unbelievably amazing (๑♡⌓♡๑) I should also write when Tiffany and I were talking about Vietnamese cashews, the owner came by with a bag of them and let me have some. I thought that was extremely nice since they’re hard to come by in the US. I don’t think the owner realises she’s aggressive and I want to tell Tiffany what happened wasn’t her fault and lightly suggest to her that the owner should be more gentle with customers. Honestly, I think the owner thinks she’s working very hard by putting so much pressure with the hot towels and scraping the gel off so roughly. Aggression shouldn’t replace accuracy. I hope she learns that some day.

I think everyone should get their nails done, even guys, because it shows you care about your hygiene. That’s the reason why I do ’em. Manicured nails are professional and they can also be a great way to display my fun personality. Of course, I know my opinion on that is a bit extreme with suggesting everyone do their nails. But it comes more from the fact that I love the experience so much, I would love for other people to have experiences like mine. I hope you enjoyed my long-winded discussion about nail technicians and I’m sorry if you can’t empathise and you feel like you just wasted your time reading this post. For those that feel their time was just wasted, I’m a Taurus and I love to pamper myself. Deal with it ^_^y

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