Ever since one barefoot summer’s eve, as we played a neighbourhood game of kick-the-can when my cousin told me I have “troll feet,” I have been somewhat self-conscious of my hooves. I have dedicated a great deal of time and effort to disguising their monstrousness with cute socks, toe deforming foot wear (admittedly self-defeating but oh, so sexy!) and every variation of nail polish under the sun.
My fingers, on the other hand (see what I did there?) suffer from near constant neglect. I do love the glam look of a manicure, and only wish I could find something that would last at least throughout my dishwashing, bath–giving, bum-wiping, Lego piece prying day.
I had the opportunity to test drive a few “long-wearing” nail products, and it turns out there are some that can stand up to a mom’s day—and add a little sparkle to the toesies too!

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish


This nail polish is a revolution, and a revelation. Okay, my Baba who faced the Bolsheviks might think that’s a bit of an overstatement, but this is some wonderful stuff! The concept is the same as the new gel nail polishes out there, but uses the sun instead of a UV light to set. The latest is the Paradise Collection set, which has some really fun, bright colours.  Don’t tell my yoga instructor, but I spend more time than I ought to downward dogging on other peoples’ pedicures, and according to the stylish ladies I get bendy with,  the bright blue, yellow, green, orange, purple and pink are really hot for summer 2014. The two step process (colour and top coat) was as easy to put on as regular nail polish, and went on quite thick. I followed the directions by applying two coats of the colour coat before brushing on the top coat. I got five and a bit days out of the manicure, but by day six the polish was a bit chipped and I removed it because I had a dinner date with my husband and I didn’t want the waitress looking down on me for having a worn out manicure. I seriously thought that.

Anyway, petty insecurities aside, I was really impressed with this polish. After getting a manicure for mother’s day that didn’t even last until nightfall, I had pretty much decided not to use nail polish on my hands until my kids are teenagers or I am able to become a woman of leisure, but CND Vinylux polish has me rethinking this stance. It is available for a suggested retail price of $11.90 each for the colour coat and topcoat from select salons, Chatters, and Trade Secrets. Verdict: brought colour back to my manual digits.

Hollywood Nails



I also used this story as an excuse to purchase Hollywood Nails. If you are a connoisseur of infomercials, you may already be familiar with the promises of this “art system” that offers stencilled designs with “perfect placement, every time!” Well. The directions do warn that it may take some practice to get the results as pictured. You may be shocked to learn that something named after the classiest town in the world leaves a little to be desired. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t as easy as I had hoped (what is!?!) The results were mostly a smeary mess until about the seventh try, when I got something very closely resembling a butterfly. Verdict? I’ll keep trying.

Jamberry Nails
jamberry nails


I admit, I have a penchant for glittery shiny things. I secretly feel that the tastes of  my heart would fit in nicely in retirement communities in Florida. My dear Gran used to call these things “fancy” and I really love fancy things. I mostly try to keep this under control, but Jamberry Nails give a girl like me the option to get as fancy as all-get-out.  Different pattern on every nail? Sure ma’am, no problem! I have to say, in my defense, that doing something wild on your nails is a fairly subtle way of going crazy, fashion-wise. I mean it’s hardly zebra leggings with a cheetah blouse, right?

For the ladies whose tastes run towards the less outrageous, Jamberry has something too! Jamberry Nails have only been in Canada for a short time and are available online or through direct sale representatives for $17.99 a sheet, which gives you enough decals for two manicures and four pedicures. My lovely manicure was courtesy of Edmonton rep Jessica Botterill. In Calgary, look for Tara Dellezay. The nails are basically vinyl decals that are briefly heated under a hairdryer to activate the adhesive, then smoothed onto your nail. You then file off the surplus and voila, a salon-look manicure! It does take a bit of practice to perfect the technique, and the glittery ones tend to wrinkle and pucker which makes it a bit tougher, but the look is worth it, in my opinion. You can iron out the wrinkles by heating up a pair of metal tweezers and pressing it into the bubbled part. Mine lasted five days before the ends were noticeably chipped, but like I said, my hands are on a punishing schedule. The nails can last well over a week (several weeks for a pedicure) and are best removed by peeling off the decal after a soak in acetone or rubbing a liberal amount of oil into the nail once they have started to show wear. Verdict: Invite me to your Jamberry party.

Impress by Broadway Nails

courtesy Broadway Nails

courtesy Broadway Nails

I have this horribly embarrassing memory of I would guess about grade four, looking super Saskatoon chic for a  birthday party with my hot pink dragon talon Lee Press on nails. I loaded up my fork with icing and cake (this was before the dawn of cupcakes) and took a bite into something hard and pink…my missing index nail. Well I just wiped that sucker off and stuck it right back on with white glue held in place with scotch tape. And wore them to school on Monday.

This is thankfully not then. I have boobs now, and press on nails have come a long way. So much so that I would call them pretty and even sophisticated. Now, full disclosure, I don’t have a picture because I didn’t follow the directions (which is apparently important?) so my nails fell off while I was doing the laundry before I look a photo. But I have it on good authority that they do last a mother’s three days. And they look Ah-mazing. In fact I bought more and am planning to wear them tonight! They are available for around $10 at retailers like London Drugs, Target and Wal-Mart. Verdict: Not proven (it’s a real verdict in Scotland)

So I’m pretty jazzed to have discovered these pretty, long lasting  nail products. My hands have never looked more like those of a pampered starlet. And, troll feet be damned, I think I’ll be breaking out the flip flops this year!