Flowers with Gems

I can’t believe we have just over a month left until In-Depth Night!  I feel like I’ve learned so much, and yet I still want to learn so much more.  Since my last post, I have had two meetings with my mentor.  During these sessions, we have continued to try out new nail art styles and have been polishing up on some old ones as well.  As nail art can often be a trial and error process, through these past few months, Sandi and I have gone through a variety of different concepts and alternatives with our designs.


Pink/Purple/Blue Ombre

Two weeks ago, Sandi and I spent quite a bit of time working on ombre nail art.  I learned that the concept behind creating an ombre nail is actually quite simple.  We started by taping the area around the nail to prevent mess, then picked out three different polish colours, painted the base of the nail with the middle colour, painted a line of each colour onto a makeup sponge, before finally dabbing the sponge onto the nail.  After using this technique, we also came up with some different alternatives for various steps in the process.  For example, when I practiced ombre at home, I realized that certain colour combinations (ie. red, orange, and yellow) should begin with a base coat of the lightest polish, instead of the middle polish.  In terms of preparation, Sandi talked to me about the option to use a latex nail polish barrier around the nails instead of tape to prevent mess from the sponge.  However, we quickly decided against this option as the product is quite expensive, and latex allergies could be a concern for In-Depth Night.  Lastly, during our most recent meeting, Sandi showed me a way to blend colours before transferring them onto the sponge and later, the nail.  In this technique, a line of each colour gets painted onto a glass surface, such as a tile, and a toothpick is used to lightly blend the colours into eachother.  The sponge is then used to pick up the colour before again, dabbing it onto the nail.  I noticed that while this technique is useful to create a more unified blend (which is good for when you want a smooth transition between very different colours), it is more time consuming.  I can definitely see myself using this technique at home, but it might not be the most practical choice for In-Depth Night.


Dragged Flowers

Another new skill we have started working on is dragged flowers.  Although we have previously spent time on a rose pattern, I wanted to learn a minimalistic flower design as well.  The design starts out with 5  dots placed in the shape of circle.  While the paint is still wet, a toothpick is used to drag a bit of each dot to the centre of the circle, creating a petal appearance.  Then, a different coloured dot or a gem can be used in the centre of the flower.  In my designs, I decided to add a couple additional dots to the nail to create a French tip effect.  In past posts, I have mentioned that an alternative to using nail polish is to use acrylic paint for nail art.  Sandi had brought up this alternative because often, nail polish is not opaque enough for designs to stand out.  Therefore, we’ve stuck to using paint for patterns in the past few sessions.  However, we noticed that this design actually turned out better with a polish.  Because this design includes dragging, the more watery and easy-to-be-manipulated polish is more effective.  It really helps to bring each petal to a point and also allows some of your base colour to show through.

Some of the smaller (but just as important) alternatives Sandi and I have thought about are as follows:

  • Popcorn
    • Add some yellow to the kernels to help distinguish the design as popcorn (as opposed to clouds)
    • Paint 1/3 of the nail red with white stripes to look like a popcorn box
  • Cherries
    • To easily create stems, mix the green paint with a little bit of water.  This will help the line “glide” when painting
  • Ombre
    • Use ombre colours as the basis of a design, for example, the base of a watermelon
    • Put design (like a flower) on top of the ombre
  • Dragged Flowers
    •  Place the flower near an edge, so that the design goes off the nail
    • Use two colours
      • Create a second dot flower within the first.  Then, when you drag the polish to a point, the colours will blend
      • Use a tiny brush to add small strokes of different colours to the inside of the flower



Ombre with Dragged Flowers

Before my next session, I will continue to practice the designs I have learned so far and will play around with the alternatives for each.  Sandi has also asked me to come up with my 100% final list of designs I’d  like to work on before In-Depth Night.  While I had some decided for our last couple meetings, not everything was set in stone.  Now, I actually have to face the difficult decision of narrowing down my learning to a dozen, or less, designs.  I definitely understand why this is a good idea, but it will be hard for me have to set my focus to only a couple things, when there’s still so much out there to learn.
After this, my time will be spent strictly practicing all of the final designs for In-Depth Night.  I will need to work on my technique, my speed, and my organization of people for when they come to my station.  I’ll also need to figure out the most effective way to set up my learning centre, especially as it is going to be very hands on and I’ll need a lot of supplies spread out.  I’m really looking forward to In-Depth Night this year and am super excited to demonstrate all of the cool skills I’ve learned.  If you’re doing a stage performance and have time during the learning centres, be sure to head on over to my station to get a neat nail art demonstration!


SIX HATS! SIX HATS! SIX HATS!  (Excitement because in my opinion, this is the most interesting chapter in How To Have A Beautiful Mind.)

For this week’s In-Depth post, our job was to record a discussion from a meeting with our mentor and transcribe it along with annotations of how we used the six hats in conversation.  In preparation for my meeting with Sandi, I cleared up some space on my phone and charged it all up so I knew that everything would work out perfectly.  Well let me tell you, even though you think you’re all good and prepared, technology will still choose to fail on you at the worst times.  While I got a good chunk of our lesson recorded, my phone decided to shut down (not even lock, it completely shut off) at some point during the lesson portion.  This didn’t bother me to much, as I knew I had the most important topics recorded.  Fast forward to this week when I was getting ready to transcribe our conversation and attempted to play back our recording; do you want to know what happened?  It didn’t play!  Although my phone still lists the recording in my library, it refuses to play back.  Even worse, later when I tried to sync the recording onto my laptop, the recording didn’t show up in my iTunes library at all.

I am beyond frustrated about this technical difficulty as I have been looking forward to doing this post for a while.  My solution for this problem is to write about my meeting with my mentor in a more paraphrased form, as I have every week.  Even though I won’t have any direct quotes, I will still talk about how we used the six hats in different parts of discussion.  While this isn’t exactly what this post is supposed to look like, I think it will still be sufficient in sharing my experiences of the past few weeks.


Black & Gold Art for the Spring Music Concert

I had prepared for my last meeting with Sandi by downloading a bunch of nail art pictures off my camera and onto my phone.  I wanted to show her all of the work I have been doing at home over the past few weeks as a starting point for our day’s session.  I thought that if we took a look at my work so far, it could help us determine what would be best to work on for the day.  Before looking at my photos, I put on the blue hat and explained to Sandi what I hoped would happen as we looked through my progress.  I let her know that we should both be wearing our black hats while looking at the photos as I would really appreciate hearing her critical feedback.  The largest weakness that the black hat noticed was line quality.  Through a short discussion about the use of line, we both ended up wearing red hats saying that it might be better to limit the use of straight line in my designs on in depth night.  Going back to our black hats, Sandi noticed that early on, my dot-based designs were not the greatest (these were when I was often dragging the dotting tool, as mentioned in my previous post).  Fortunately, she did note that my dots were improving over time and it is just a matter of practice until I get them to 100%.

The next thing we talked about, as per Sandi’s suggestion in an email, was my plan for in-depth night.  She suggested that we determine what my medium focus will be for the event, so we can work on that more frequently.  Here, I had to put my red hat back on to discuss my feelings on what we have been working on so far.  Right off the bat, I let Sandi know that I would like to spend more time on hand painting nail art as that was the image I had in mind when I started off in-depth.  As neat as stamping is, it wasn’t really what I pictured myself doing and would rather not spend as much time experimenting with it any longer.  I let her know that I was really enjoying the hand painted designs we have worked on and would like to continue with that.  However, I also mentioned that I would still like to spend a couple more sessions trying out the things we have yet to thoroughly go over, such as striping tape and ombre, just so I can get a feel of the skills before deciding if they are a “yes” or a “no”.


Roses on Sandi


Cherries on Sandi

For the rest of the day, we were mainly wearing our white hats due to all of the teaching and information being shared.  Sandi taught me how to do two brand new hand painted designs — roses and cherries.  I absolutely love these two designs and am so thankful she taught them to me.  I have been practicing the two of them at home quite often and plan to offer them during in-depth night.  We also spent some time on different sized dotting practice by creating eyes, followed by creating stripes using a nail art brush, trying marble nail art, and using striping tape.  


Popcorn Nails

During the different lessons, a variety of other coloured hats got thrown into discussion.  The green hat was used by both myself and Sandi during a few different instances.  She used this hat by showing me how to use acrylic paint as an alternative to nail polish for when we were working on designs.  The paint ended up working much better than polish because its ability to be more opaque makes the small details pop.  Meanwhile, I temporarily put on my green hat when practicing roses.  While painting, I noticed that the basic design for roses looked similar to pieces of popcorn.  I mentioned this to Sandi and we have began to consider doing a popcorn-style design in future.  A final time we used this hat was when we tried marble art for the first time.  Through different types of experimental trials, we ended up concluding that the best way to create a marble design is to begin with a dry base of your selected colour, followed by a wet mix of the two you are swirling.  Coming to this conclusion only happened because the two of us came up with different, creative alternatives to try and then saw what worked best.


Marble Nails

The yellow hat was used while I was, again, practicing roses.  Just like with dots, I made the observation that the great thing about roses is that they don’t need to be “perfect” or all the same size.  It is the uniqueness of the pattern that makes it interesting.  This is a big plus as doing a design with some leeway for in-depth night lessens the nerves.  Finally, when working with striping tape, the red hat was brought back out by both myself and Sandi as the two of us shared a similar negative opinion on the medium.  While guaranteed to create straight lines, striping tape is just plain finicky.  The tape is so thin and flimsy that it is very difficult to stick on the nail and then cut down to the right size.  In addition, Sandi mentioned that it doesn’t last very long on the nail and it is quite expensive to buy.  None of these things seemed very enjoyable to me, nor did it really go along with the hand painting theme we talked about earlier.  Therefore, striping tape is officially out.


St. Patrick’s Day Colours


St. Patrick’s Day Designs

Since this extremely productive meeting, I have been spending a lot of time practicing the new skills I learned. Learning all of these things right before spring break was also a big help because I actually had a reasonable amount of time to play around with my nails.  Some of the designs I worked on, as you can see in the photos scattered throughout this post, are almost exactly like the designs I did during my meeting with Sandi.  Others, like these St. Patrick’s Day sets, have different patterns, but use the same techniques that I have been working on already.  In conclusion, I feel like I have been making really good progress on my project, especially in the past few weeks.  I am excited to spend some time in the next couple months narrowing down and perfecting my designs before an awesome in-depth night!


In the time between my last In-Depth post and my most recent meeting with my mentor, I made lots of new progress.  Right after my first meeting with Sandi, I set out to do my initial supplies gathering.  Using a combination of scrounging around my house and going to beauty supply stores, I have been able to get my hands on most of the basic supplies I’ll need for my nail art endeavors.  In the weeks between our two meetings, I spent some time trying out the dotting tools that she suggested I purchase.  The only prior experience I had with dotters was the 15-or-so minutes that we used to experiment with them during our session previously.  Therefore, my work at home was…interesting.  On my right hand (blue and gold), I did some of the basic dot-based designs that Sandi and I had discussed.  These styles being polka dots, flowers, and hearts.  I thought these styles would be a breeze, even when I was using my non-dominant hand.  I was wrong about that.  Although using a dotter for nail art seems quite simple, and definitely makes everything look more crisp and round than a brush does, it still takes some getting used to.  After finishing my not-so-simple “simple designs”, I moved on to painting my left hand.  I thought that if the dotter is so amazing, then maybe I’d be able to do better designs with it as well.  Wrong again!  I tried to do a Harry Potter set of nails (black and white), and while they didn’t turn out horrible, they took much longer than something of that quality probably should have.  After I finished, I realized that while dotters are a great tool for certain patterns, they may not be the universal design makers.

In preparation for my next meeting with Sandi, I did the homework she assigned me, which was looking for different nail art inspiration and designs.  Prior to my meeting, I emailed Sandi some of the designs which I found interesting, including a mosaic, an ombre butterfly, and some cherry blossoms.

At my next meeting with Sandi, I definitely felt a lot more comfortable than I did the first time around, making it easier for me to ask questions and for clarification.  The topics of the meeting were still quite introductory as I still need lots of practice with the basics.  The meeting began with Sandi giving me a finalized list of the supplies I should look into (including the places I could buy them).  I found it very thoughtful that she too is thinking about my project outside of our meeting hours.  It’s nice to have a mentor who is as dedicated as I am.  After this, we picked up where we left off last meeting with stamping and dotting.  Sandi and I both realized that my biggest obstacle with nail art is my speed, or lack thereof.  When doing stamps, the paint dries quite quickly meaning that the artist needs to move fast.  Because I am not confident in my technique yet, I tend to move quite slowly, resulting in the stamp transfer not being the best.  A similar dilemma happens with dotting.  When I place the dotter on the nail, I tend to linger.  Subconsciously, I think that this will make sure the dot is clear, but in reality, it makes the dot more smudged.  Sandi explained to me that it seemed that I was almost trying to paint with the dotter, instead of actually  dotting with a quick motion.  I thought about the experience I had with my Harry Potter nails from the weekend before because at the time, I was purposely trying to paint with my dotter.  I asked Sandi “When do you know when to use a dotter versus when to use a nail art brush?”  She told me that dotters are used for exactly what they sound like, dots!  Patterns or images that contain dots should be the only reason why you would use a dotter.  Anything else where you are dragging paint, such as lines, would need a brush.  The mini-lesson made sense to me and confirmed the previous thoughts I had about the topic as well.  Unfortunately, I still wasn’t feeling 100% about my dotting abilities.  I then clarified with Sandi the motion of dotting by putting it in my own words and reiterating my understanding back to her.  For those reading who are interested in using the tool, the most concise way that I can put dotting is that it is a quick up and down motion.  The concept is so simple, that I often feel there should be more to getting a perfect circle.  However, keeping things simple is what dotting is all about.

After spending some more time on stamping and dotting, Sandi and I moved onto a set of new skills.  Firstly, we went over adding gems to designs.  Gems are such an easy way to add an extra accent and complexity to nails,  without having to spend more time designing.  Adding gems is quite a simple process, it just takes practice picking up the tiny stones and attaching them to the nail.  After a couple of tries though, I felt pretty good about gems.  After this, we moved onto some of the techniques used in the sample designs I sent Sandi.  We did some more dotting based on a cherry blossom design before moving on to trying out ombre.  Like stamping and dotting, the trick with ombre is to move fast and with confidence.  Once again, I don’t describe myself as either.  The other tricky thing with ombre is creating a good colour combination that easily fades from one colour to the next.  As neither Sandi nor myself have tons of experience with ombre or creating the best colour combinations, this process was quite experimental.  Although the end result I created wasn’t the nicest looking, I think I at least have a good idea of how ombre is applied.  I just need to get better at actually applying it.  The last new thing Sandi and I talked about was a nail hack she saw online.  One of the designs that I sent to her was a plaid print.  Even though Sandi had never tried this before, she wanted to see if it was possible for us to create a plaid nail sticker.  The reason being that the look would be easier and more crisp-looking than hand painting would be.  Because this technique was such a first for the both of us, the end result wasn’t much of anything.  However, I really liked going through this experience because in a way, it showed me that Sandi is human too.  Even though she’s my mentor and an expert in the field, knowing that she’s still learning and willing to try out new things along side me, makes me feel like I can relate to her even more.

Throughout our meeting (and as you can probably tell through this post), a common theme kept arising – SPEED!  Not only did Sandi keep reiterating how speed is important in terms of technique, but she also mentioned how in the big picture, speed is going to be important as well.  Based on this repetition, I could tell that speed is a big value and skill in Sandi’s mind, and I can see why.  Clients can be impatient, they have things to do.  As the artist, you need to be accommodating of that.  Both myself and Sandi know that this will be especially true for my future “clients” on In-Depth Night.  Throughout our past two sessions, Sandi has kept my learning centre in the front of her mind.  I know that she wants my station to be productive and successful, which is why she is continuously reiterating the value of speed.  In order to achieve success on In-Depth Night, she knows that I will need to be very efficient with my demonstrations at my learning centre.  We have already had a couple discussions about the best way to go about doing this (ie. setting up a couple clients at once and going through them like a production line).  However, we still have a couple months to figure out the final logistics.

Before our meeting ended, I had a couple final questions for Sandi.  The first thing being “Where are places I can look for inspiration?”  I wanted to ask this because when I was looking for initial nail art examples, I was pretty much stuck on Google Images.  I was curious to know where she gets her ideas.  She told me that she loves using Pinterest and suggested I get an account.  That way I could look up inspiration myself, as well as follow her nail art board where she pins her inspiration.  Over the weekend I made my account, and I already have a bunch of new ideas I would like to try out.  She also pointed me to a couple Instagram accounts she follows such as TheNailBoss (quite advanced, uses acrylic not polish, still a good idea to look through) and NailsByJema (fun designs, uses variety of techniques including stamps, stencils, and hand painting).  The last thing I asked Sandi about before I left was “What do I need to work on for next time?”  Her main suggestion was to just keep practicing.  The key points she told me to focus on was using the dotting tool as well as using the paint brush to draw smooth lines.  I wrote both of these things down while we set up our next meeting, before leaving her house with a smile on my face from all the new things I learned.

Since then, I have begun my practice with dotting and lines, as per Sandi’s suggestion.  I also tried out some gem application of my own.  With the dotting specifically, I already feel a huge improvement compared to my last dotting attempt.  You can find these photos below.  As the reader, if you have any feedback on my nail art or have any cool ideas of things I can do in the future, please let me know, I would really appreciate it!

Photo:      Photo:


*Note: This post will discuss some of Ms. Mulder’s topics from both post #2 and #3.  From post #2: agreement, disagreement, opinions.  From post #3: share a story, support a point.*

I finally met with my mentor!!!  The days leading up to my first meeting were simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking.  Of course I was excited to get a real “start” on my in-depth, but meeting a new person always makes me anxious.  Especially if that person is a complete stranger who I’ll need to spend over an hour with.  On Saturday morning, with my eyes still half-shut, my mom and I drove down to New West to meet with my mentor, Sandi, for the first time.  If I wasn’t so tired from the Talent Show the night before, my stress levels would have been unbearable.  We arrived to Sandi’s place quite early, so we drove around a bit before I actually had the will-power to approach the door.  (Hey, did you know that New West has a very nice 7-Eleven?  They have a full hot dog toppings bar and everything!)

About five minutes before our scheduled start time, my legs were shaking as I walked up to the door to knock.  However, when the door opened to a pleasant smile, I quickly relaxed.  Sandi made me feel super comfortable as soon as she said hello.  When we went into her house, she led me to the space where she does her clients’ nails.  Prior to our meeting, Sandi pulled out some supplies that she thought may be helpful for our lesson.  We started off the meeting with me explaining the In-Depth project in more detail.  I talked about what the project includes, why I was interested in nail art, and my hopes for the end product.  During this discussion, I chose to include some personal stories about my In-Depth project last year.  I thought that by including these experiences I would not only make the discussion more interesting (as De Bono talks about), but it would also help to clarify what In-Depth is all about.  After explaining the project, I think Sandi had a much better idea of what I want to achieve by the end of five months.  I can already tell that we both have the same vision of the future as she very clearly kept this in mind throughout the rest of the lesson.  For example, she continuously brought up ideas for my In-Depth night station during our discussions.

The first big topics we went through on Saturday were nail supplies and clean up.  Sandi started by showing me her nail station set up.  She keeps all of her must-haves (polish remover, cotton swabs, and basic tools like clippers) on the table, while everything else is stored in cupboards or on shelves nearby.  When I asked her which of the tools I’ll need to get right away, she suggested I stock up on the following:

  • Good base & top coats
  • Clippers
  • Nail file
  • Something to push back cuticles (She suggested either getting a metal tool or orange wood sticks.  Based on prior research, I have decided to go ahead with using the orange wood sticks as they are safer on the nail.)
  • Makeup brushes & sponges
  • 99% alcohol
  • Dotter
Image result for nail tools

Image via Nail It Mag

We also discussed the other supplies that I will experiment with during our sessions together such as glitter, paint, and stamps.

During this time, we also talked about sanitation as it is very important, but often not talked about.  To support this point, I mentioned to Sandi that often when I go to salons, I get concerned about their cleaning practices.  After sharing this feeling, she told me that when she has new clients, she always explains her sanitary procedures to them.  She said that this makes them feel much more comfortable and suggested that I also explain my cleaning procedures during In-Depth night when I do my demonstrations.  We went through a couple different cleaning products that she uses, but for the purposes of my project, we agreed that 99% alcohol may be the most practical choice.

After going through some more cleaning procedures, we moved onto discussions about nail art.  We talked about more nail art supplies and what everything is used for.  When I saw how steady Sandi’s hands were with all the materials, I asked her what technique she uses to keep her hands so stable.  She showed me that she anchors her hand with her pinky to keep it from shaking.  I am definitely going to try this technique the next time I practice on myself.

We also took a look online at a few different nail designs and how different types of polish are more practical for different designs.  One video we watched together showed an artist cutting acrylic paint off of his clients nails to get straight lines.  Sandi explained to me that certain patterns, like stripes, may be more achievable using certain polishes.  When I asked her to clarify if it was possible to get straight lines any other ways, she told me that hand drawing, using tape, and using stripers are all options, but the results may not be the best. Instead, she suggested that I use nail stamps for stripes.  This wasn’t the most thrilling answer for me as my goal is to learn nail art by hand, not only using a stamp.  However, I did not want to disagree with Sandi because her point was valid.  I honestly think she’s right that stamps are probably my best bet in getting straight lines, it’s just that I want to learn to go above that.  Like De Bono suggested, I didn’t want to disagree for the sake of it.  Instead, I listened to Sandi and understood where she was coming from in this suggestion.  Lucky for me, Sandi later vocalized that just because stamps will be the easiest choice, we don’t need to forget about everything else.  She let me know that in the coming weeks we can work on creating stripes using various methods.

To end off our meeting, Sandi let me play around with stamps and dotters on her nails.  She showed me how to create simple designs using the dotters and the proper technique to use for stamps.  Before I left, we scheduled our next meeting and Sandi gave me homework to start supply shopping as well as look up some nail designs that I would like to try out in the coming weeks.

As you can tell, a lot happened during our first meeting and I am very happy with how everything went.  To end off my blog post this week, I have included some photos of the nail art I tried out prior to my first meeting with my mentor.  These pictures will serve as a “baseline” of sorts that I can look back on at the end of In-Depth this year.




**Note: Ms. Mulder’s questions for post #2 will be answered in post #3.  In this post, I will discuss my progress so far (including why these questions are unable to be answered).

The process of finding and securing a mentor has proved itself to be far more challenging for In-Depth 2017.  Last year, my search for a mentor was fairly simple; I took a one minute walk from the TALONS room down to the hairdressing room, asked the question, and ta-da!  I had a mentor.  This year, not so much.

As mentioned my intro post, I knew that finding a mentor would be a little more difficult as I am specifically looking to learn about nail art.  Not all salons offer nail art or have someone who specializes in the field, so waltzing into a salon and getting a mentor would not be probable.  Therefore, I had to turn to other sources.

Some designs by Tyna’s Spa, the first person I contacted

The first person who I contacted runs a spa at her home in Port Coquitlam.  She uses Facebook as her main platform to advertise and regularly posts pictures of the work she does.  The nail art photos she posts on her page are a perfect match to what I want to achieve by the end of in-depth.  When I got in contact with her, she told me that while she wished she could help, she was unable to commit.  Between all of her clients, running the spa alone, and taking care of her son, it would be difficult to be a full-time mentor.  I fully understood why she could not mentor me and thanked her for her time.

The next person who I spoke to was through my mom and her hairdresser.  My mom got in contact with her hairdresser as she remembered that there was an esthetician who worked in the salon.  Initially, the hairdresser told us that unfortunately, the esthetician no longer worked there and that we’d have to keep looking.  A few days later though, she called my mom back and gave her a phone number for a nail artist she knew.  I called this person and we spoke very briefly before she had to go to her mom’s for dinner.  In our quick conversation, she expressed interest in the project and told me to call her back at a later time.  I was beyond excited to have a mentor!  However, when I called her back and explained the project in more detail, she realized that she wouldn’t be the right fit for the project.  She told me that while she can do some nail art, it isn’t her expertise.  Because her clients are mainly of an older generation, she never had the need to learn any nail art.  When needed, she’ll look up a tutorial on YouTube to figure out a design, but she isn’t necessarily an expert in the area.  She also wasn’t sure if she could commit at this point due to the fact that she recently got in a car accident and her mobility and skills are limited.  Once again, I understood, but was back at the beginning.

At this point, our second in-depth post was coming up and I had to talk to Ms. Mulder about the fact that I wouldn’t be able to complete the “Beautiful Mind” questions.  While we were speaking, she suggested that I ask around the class to see if anybody had any connections.  Specifically, she told me to talk to Madison as she has an interest in makeup and is doing special effects makeup for her in-depth project this year.  Not to mention, her nails are ALWAYS on point.  I approached her in class and she told me that her step-mom’s best friend runs her own nail business and is someone who strongly believes in nail techniques being done by hand.  During the Macbeth cultural

Me, excited about having a mentor

event that night, Madison told me that she texted her step-mom who said that she thought her friend would love to be my mentor and sent us the contact information.  Just recently, I contacted her with all of the project details, just praying that she would say yes.

She did!!

Of course, we still need to figure everything out such as when she can get the criminal record check back to me and when we’ll be meeting, but at this point, I’m just super happy to have a mentor secured.

In terms of other progress made, the English research essay was quite helpful in giving me a basis on nail care.  The point of my essay was to determine what the most important, yet often underestimated, nail care techniques are.  After doing my research, I realized that I do not follow most of these steps in my every day nail care routine and this is something I need to work on.  The good thing about doing the research essay is that now, I don’t need to spend as much time on the nail care topic with my mentor, so we can get into the nail art a little faster.

To end of my post this week, I want to share with you some of the key things I learned about nail care.  The following are just some of the tips that we should all be following:

  • Treat your starting surface (nails, fingers, and hands) delicately
    • Wear gloves to keep hands from getting wet or dirty when washing dishes, cleaning, gardening, etc.
    • Short, strong nails are better than long, breaking nails
    • Moisturize!!!
  • Properly care for your cuticles
    • Never cut your cuticles
      • If you do, they’ll be more prone to breakage and infection
    • Try to leave cuticles completely natural, but if needed, push back with an orange wood stick
  • Analyze your products
    • Check polish ingredients
      • Big things to watch out for: Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Toluene
    • Use non-acetone remover



Remember when Winter Break used to be full of relaxation?  Where you could actually go outside and play in the snow without the constant voice in the back of your head screaming “in-depth, In-DePtH, IN-DEPTH”?  Yeah, I don’t either.

Unlike eminent, where I had a plan of what I wanted to do for grade ten as I was taking down my grade nine learning centre, I have been completely stumped on in-depth.  Tons of ideas were flying in and out of my mind, but I just couldn’t settle on one.  After in-depth being so successful last year, and this year being the last time I get to do this project, there’s definitely a lot of pressure!

2013 Photo of my Nails from the PNE

Over Winter Break, I finally decided to settle on something.  For my 2017 in-depth project, I’ve decided to pursue nail art!  The main reason I chose to do nail art is because it’s been something I have wanted to do for a very long time.  I have always loved painting my nails, but could never do anything more.  I remember that for the longest time, one of my favourite things about going to the PNE was going into the Marketplace to visit the Nail Pen booth.  I never actually bought the nail pens, but I did pretend to be deeply interested in purchasing them so that the artists would paint more designs on my nails.

Another reason I wanted to do nail art is because I can’t actually imagine myself trying it outside of in-depth.  Things like journalism, song writing, and poetry are all things that interest me and would be cool for in-depth.  However, I can actually picture myself doing these things on my own in the future.  For example, I plan on taking journalism and pursuing it as a serious career.  Nail art on the other hand, not so much.  By doing something like nail art for in-depth, I’m forcing myself into an interest that I wouldn’t focus on otherwise.

The final reason I chose to take on nail art is because it somewhat links to my in-depth project last year.  Last year for in-depth, I created a hair tutorial website.  Click here to check it out (and please follow me, I’m so close to 20k).  The two definitely relate as they are both in the category of beauty projects, as well as they are skills very applicable to my life.  Also while doing in-depth last year,  I learned teaching skills when creating the step-by-step hair tutorials.  These teaching skills will be valuable when I present my nail art on in-depth night, which I will get to a little later in this post.

Now that I have explained why I want to do nail art, I should probably explain what exactly I’m doing with it.  The main end goal for in-depth this year is to learn 10 different nail designs that I can confidently execute on both myself and others.  My hope is to learn a variety of designs from simple, to professional, to fun.

The following are design ideas I would love to learn (via cutepolish):


In addition to the designs themselves, I want to learn nail-related skills such as basic nail care techniques, how to use nail art tools, and how to get a clean polish and design.   I also want to continue working on my people and communication skills with my mentor this year.

Speaking of mentors, I don’t actually have one yet.  What’s difficult about finding a mentor this year is that I very specifically want to work on nail art.  Not all salons offer nail art, let alone have people who who specialize in it.  I have started my search and have sent out my first request just recently, but am waiting to hear back.  Hopefully, it will all work out.

To finish off this post, I briefly want to discuss what I have in mind for my learning centre as it ties in with how I plan to demonstrate my final skills.  On In-Depth Night this year, I am going to set up a station to do peoples’ nails.  This learning centre will show off the skills I have learned throughout the project.  Like I mentioned earlier, this sort of ties in with my in-depth project last year as I hope to explain the design as I paint them out.  The teaching and tutorial skills learned  previously will be super helpful during my demonstrations.

That pretty much wraps up my first in-depth post of 2017!  Even though I’ve done in-depth once before, I’m basically starting something new all over again, so it’s just as intimidating.  But that also makes it just as exciting!

It’s Coming: In Depth 2016

April 29th, 2016

We’ve got just a month and one more day: In-Depth night’s not that far away!

Sock Curls

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been just about five months of working on my in-depth project and looking ahead, in-depth night is just around the corner!  Every week I have continued sticking to my goal of posting a new tutorial to I’m Hair For You.  I find that each week, even if I’m busier than usual, it continues to become easier to get my tutorial together.  I feel like the process has become part of my routine.  Friday night: draft tutorial notes,  Saturday morning: take pictures, Sunday afternoon: download photos, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

My mentor, Mrs. McCullough, and I continue to meet on a regular basis.  Lately, we have not found the need to meet weekly as I am now more independent in my postings (she doesn’t need to look them over as often) and I’ve really gotten into the swing of the website.  When we do meet, we generally continue to talk about how the site is working, setting up student tutorials, and now learning centres.

Rough Plan of Learning Centre

On that note, I have spent the last little while thinking about what I want my learning centre to look like.  From the beginning of the project, I knew that on in-depth night, I wanted to be able to do various live demonstrations of hairstyles for those interested.   I would like to have pictures of all my completed hairstyles posted up behind me either on a wall, poster board, or tri-fold.  Separate from this, I also plan to have the final images from the three student tutorials.  Over to the side will be a computer or laptop set up to show my website.  This way, people can see the typed up step-by-step tutorials and the video tutorials by the hairdressing students.  Finally, I hope to have a friend of mine present to be my model for the night.  That way , when someone asks me how to execute one of the hairstyles shown (this is why I have printed images), I will have a real person to demonstrate on.  I was also considering asking to borrow a mannequin from the hairdressing room to have if an attendee would also like to attempt the hairstyle while I demonstrate it.

French Braided Bun: After

French Braided Bun: Before

To conclude this blog post, I would like to show a comparison of where I was before the project, to now (near the conclusion of the project).  You may recall that when introducing my in-depth, I mentioned that I put together two hair tutorials over the summer just for fun.  One of the styles I did in the summer was the French Braided Bun.  Well, last week I did this hairstyle again, but this time it was for I’m Hair For You.  When looking at the images side by side, from my baseline to where I am now, I can see so much improvement and that makes me insanely proud of the progress I’ve made during this adventure.

The Student Tutorial: In Depth 2016

March 28th, 2016

**There are now four tutorials on my site.  Click here to check them out**

In terms of blog post updates, I last left off with my first tutorial being online and preparing for my first student tutorial.  The student tutorial process was a brand new learning opportunity for me and ended up being more challenging than I thought.  Due to spring break quickly sneaking up on me, meeting up with the students to prepare the tutorial turned out to be quite a rushed process and less enjoyable than I had hoped.  We got the tutorial done, of course, but I would have liked to spend more time preparing the video (possibly doing a practice and figuring out the best angles).  I also wish I had more time to get to know this month’s students better.  This is because communication is still a big goal in my project and I want to expand on that with the student tutorials.  The good news is that I now understand that getting together with other students is easier said than done and I also have much more time to prepare for the next student feature.  Click here to see the first student tutorial with Rosa and Alyssa.

Mrs. McCullough and I still continue to meet on a weekly basis to talk about the project.  Now that the my website is fully up and running, we look over the latest tutorial and do stars and wishes each week.  Mrs. McCullough has said that my written instructions have been very good as they are concise like we discussed.  Her recent feedback has actually been on the topic of photos.  She suggested that in future I begin using gel when taking the photos to smooth out flyaway hair as she finds it quite distracting to look at.  I definitely agreed with her statement and she provided me with gel to use in the next tutorials.

In my last post, I also discussed the topic of making the most out of our short meetings.  I have continued to give updates on my progress while the both of us get our lunches ready before getting straight into the discussion as soon as we’re settled.  Because we have improved in using our time, we are generally able to end our meetings earlier and get some time to talk about topics apart from the project.  I think this improves our relationship as I am continuing to find myself even more comfortable with Mrs. McCullough and our interactions are feeling more “natural”.

Welcome To “I’m Hair For You”: In Depth 2016

March 4th, 2016

**Click to check out I’m Hair For You’s first tutorial; the All Around Twist!**

I’m not going to pretend that I’m not surprised about the fact that I’ve stayed super on track for in-depth so far.  Each week I have accomplished the goals I have set, keeping everything on track for today’s official site lauch.  Now my site has more than just the “about” pages that I completed last week, but also my first tutorial!

2016-02-28 001 013Putting together my first post ended up going quite smoothly.  On Friday, I began a rough draft of my tutorial to recognize which steps in the hairstyle were most important so I could know what to take pictures of.  For quality photos, I decided to take them on Saturday as soon as the sun came out.  On both Saturday and Sunday I put together my tutorial and set it to automatically post today.  Though this was very ahead of schedule, I wanted to prepare my first tutorial early to get comfortable with the formatting of the website as I have never used it to blog before.  For the next few weeks, I definitely want to continue early preparation until I get a real feeling for how the site works.

Working with my mentor has been going very well.  Each meeting, I feel that I am getting more and more comfortable with Mrs. McCullough.  At our very first meeting, we agreed that being open was important in our interactions; however, I sometimes found this difficult to execute.  In our most recent  recent meetings though, I have felt a major change as I can now easily share my opinions with her, and she does the same in return.  This has definitely been my greatest improvement and is the number one thing that is working well.

I have found that my most difficult challenge with working with my mentor is “getting into” each meeting.  Everything feels quite slow in the first five to ten minutes of our meetings and though we do get work done, it feels quite awkward and not as productive as I would like.  The two of us found that the best time for us to meet was at lunch time–we’re both at the school, in the hairdressing room (which has lots of resources) and  already in “teaching/learning mode”.  As great as this is, lunchtime is short and we have to make the most out of every minute.  When I get down to the classroom, it takes some time for the two of us to get settled; she’s heating up her lunch, I’m grabbing mine (and also struggling to open my Thermos), as well as I need to take out and prepare the notes I have for each meeting.  Luckily, we both understand how crucial this time is and have been trying to have discussion anyway.  Last week, I tried to use this time as a moment for updates.  This is because although updates are important, it isn’t something that requires tons of conversation and engagement, it’s more just an activity of speaking and listening.  Once the two of us got settled, we sat down at her desk and got into the big topics of discussion.  I found that this worked out very well and I think this is how I will continue going about making the best of this challenge

In terms of what’s next, it is now mainly a continuation of the website (seeing that all of the preparation is complete) and trying to stay on track.  The next big thing in the project is working on the student tutorials.  Because of March Break, there is very little time to meet with a student so I definitely need to work on this as soon as possible (next week).

A Meeting With My Mentor: In-Depth 2016

February 14th, 2016

*This week’s blog post will be going over the topics that were to be covered in both post #2 (How did your mentor gain their experience?  What was that experience like for them?) and post #3 (What went well in your mentor session?  What relationship challenges did you face?  What logical challenges affected your communication?)*

After weeks of frantic emails, searches, and interrogation of other teachers, I have finally been able to get in contact with and have my first meeting with my official mentor, Mrs. McCullough!  Just last Wednesday was her first day teaching at the school so I took it upon myself to go down to her classroom to explain my project and ask if she would be a willing mentor.  I am so happy to say that she said yes!  We decided to meet again at lunch in her classroom on Friday to start the adventure.

Our meeting started out with me explaining the project to her again, this time with more detail.  I used what I wrote in my learning contract as a basis to our discussion—explaining goals, possible challenges, and my hopes for an end result.  We talked about in-depth night and I explained how I want to do live tutorials on the night of.  She helped me set the idea in stone by saying that being more interactive and hands-on for the night will be much more appealing than just showing overused digital media.

I tried my best to stay on track during our conversation by following the outline of my learning contract; however, I could tell that I sometimes rambled on too much or jumped around.  Because I noticed this, I wanted to check with Mrs. McCullough to see if she was following.  She was very honest and open—she was confused.  She explained her understanding of my project back to me, and from there we went over any bits that were not matching up.

After this, Mrs. McCullough confirmed that she would help me out and be my mentor, but she needed me to do something in return.  She told me that I always need to be real and open with her.  If I have something to say, I need to say it without beating around the bush.  I think this is an important part of our relationship because not only will it make our meetings progress efficiently, but it also means that the both of us can be honest with each other when we communicate.  She also asked that for each meeting, I come prepared with a list of topics to discuss and work on.  Instead of just getting into each meeting, I will need to go over our topics of the day to keep us on track.

When she told me this, I realized that what she’s asking me to do will fit straight in with my goals.  I expressed this realization to her and we talked about how being direct is going to be very important for my site as it will help with making things clean and easy-to-follow.  We also discussed how this will positively affect my goal of personal skills in our mentor/mentee relationship.

During this meeting, we also took the time to briefly discuss my general plans for the site, student features (which I have decided to have all as tutorials), looked at a hair tutorial book for reference, planned a regular meeting time, and a common method of communication.

Before we ended, I noticed that I talked a lot about myself for the day.  As she is my mentor, I thought that it would important for me to get to know more about Mrs. McCullough’s during our first meeting.  I asked her about her background of how she got into hairdressing and to where she is today.  She told me that ever since she was young, doing hair was always a part of her.  It was a passion that she didn’t need to think twice about.  Her starting point was doing her doll’s hair as a girl.  I could strongly relate to this part of her story as doing my doll’s hair was where my interest began as well.  From there, her passion for hair only grew stronger.  She went through many different professions but hair was still the biggest part of her.  One of her career areas that she shared with me was being a social worker.  As a social worker, she got to meet a lot of different people with different struggles and she had the ability to use hair one of the ways to help them.  She went on to say that though some don’t see it right away, hair is something that can affect anyone.  With her experience as a social worker, teacher, and hairdresser she has seen the ways that hair can impact people.  How having a good hair day can boost someone’s confidence to new levels.  As a hairdresser this is something she’s had to understand and it’s only given her more advantage to help others.

Overall, our first meeting went very well.  Now that our personal introductions are over, we can soon begin to work with ideas for the site and student tutorials.  Next week, one of the key things I want to get done is learning more about Gleneagle’s Hairdressing Program.  This way, I can get the “About Gleneagle Hairdressing” page finished on my site.  Speaking of which, I also completed the introduction pages for both the site and myself on I’m Hair For You.

To end off my post this week, I want to leave a note for my future self who may be reading this in the years to come.  I would like to remember how proud of myself I was for taking the initiative to find, speak, and meet with Mrs. McCullough.  Going to speak with a teacher that I had no background of was a little nerve-wracking.  Especially, with everything I needed to cover.  However, I did what needed to be done, I survived, and I ended the day feeling both proud and accomplished.  Those two feelings are the best.