Hello!  Sorry I've been MIA for a few days - I had a jam-packed busy weekend. But it was also such a GOOD weekend! I got to see my nephew play soccer, and we bid on items at the silent auction at our church (have no idea how much our donations ended up going for), and I hung out with one of my best friends and then watched her get married.  And a lot of our friends were in town for the wedding, too. Oh, and my speech? It went really well! My toast at the wedding, on the other hand, was a bit of a disaster, but oh well. I have lots of pictures from the weekend that I'm trying to get uploaded and organized so I can share them soon.  But first, let me tell you about the title of this post. Friday, I left work a few minutes early and headed to the Nail Bar to treat myself to a mani and pedi (had to look good for the wedding!).  My pedicure was the same as always, although I will say that I finally strayed from my normal hot pink shade and got a deep purple-y color to go with my bridesmaid dress. I've never felt like I can ever pull off the dark colors that are hot right now, but now my toes actually look sorta trendy!

Moving on.  After my toes, I moved to the bar to get my manicure.  I may have been brave with the color on my toes, but I stuck with my normal neutral shade for my fingers. (I also didn't want a bright color on my hands for all the wedding pictures.)  As I was sitting there, I overheard one of the girls working telling another person about the Shellac nail polish they had just gotten in.  My ears immediately perked up because I'd already read about this stuff online and had been wanting to try it. Of course, when I read about it I assumed it'd be months before it made its way south, but they already had some. And just in time for my mani. Score!

And then the girl working said they only had 5 colors in. Crap.  I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best while she went to go get the five colors and lucky me, one of the them was a neutral shade! Double score!

So, long story short, I got in line to get Shellac-ed and it was/is awesome! Unlike gel or acrylic tips, there is no drilling or filing of your nails with this stuff. It goes on like regular polish except between each coat, you put your hands under a UV light to "cure" the polish. There are four layers - the base, two coats of the color, and then a top coat.  And after you "cure" your top layer, it's dry! You don't have to wait at all, so you don't get any smudges or dents. (I usually smudge mine before I'm even in the car.) And - the very best part - it's supposed to last a minimum of 14 days, but can last up to three weeks.

Here's a picture I took today (Tuesday), four days since I got the manicure.  (Look at the polish, not my ugly hand and cuticles.)

I know it's kinda hard to tell since I have a neutral color, but there are no chips in that picture.  And trust me, I have been rough on my nails over the past four days.  And they're still shiny too.  Awesome, right?

So far, I'm pretty impressed with this Shellac manicure but for a complete review, here's my breakdown of pros and cons:

Pros --lasts 2 - 3 weeks --no drilling, buffing, or filing --no dry time --no odor --feels thin like regular polish, not thick like acrylic nails --can be painted over with regular polish, can use non-acetone polish remover to take the regular polish off and your Shellac manicure still looks good

Cons --more expensive (at my salon, regular manicure = $16, shellac = $35, but came with a glass of wine) --limited color options (although I think new colors are on the horizon) --application time takes a tad longer because of the curing between coats

Not Sure Yet --removal - At the salon, they can fill in around your cuticles for a fresh new manicure. I was told I could also soak them at home in acetone for 10 minutes and it should come off. I also read that Shellac has Remover Wraps that you wrap around your nail for 10 minutes and then it flakes off. This would keep you from having your fingers in acetone for so long.  I guess we'll see how it goes when the time comes for me to take it off.

I think it's safe for all of you to go ahead and get Shellac-ed, but if you want to wait and see how my removal goes and how my nails look afterwards, I'll keep you updated.