Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Review - Salon 109

When you go somewhere and get amazing service and you're really happy - like, ecstatic! - with the product, you just want to tell everyone. That's part of the beauty of capitalism, I guess. Well, today I left the nail salon feeling like screaming their praises from the top of the Erastus Corning Tower!

I've been applying for jobs since I came back from the Convent in December. I've gotten all of 2 interviews (including today's) from over 20 applications and resumes being sent out. The last interview I had was in January. So last week, I thought it would be nice to do something cool with my nails, so I went to Walgreens and got some new polish and some nails. The result was pretty sweet.

I applied them as pictured, and fell in love. They looked so good, and lots of people were complimenting me! I was so excited that, for once, I had trendy nails that I liked and felt comfortable with.

But alas. I got an interview on (Ash) Wednesday (2/18) in the early evening down in Albany. I looked down at my hands. Too much sparkle to look professional. *sigh* I had to get rid of them all too soon...

After noon Mass, I searched Yelp for a nail salon. The first one I called didn't have a nail tech, and so I kept on searching. I called Salon 109, just 3 blocks from where I was parked. They got me in right away, and I walked over to the adorable studio right on State Street. The studio was extremely clean, and I really liked how it was decorated. I was asked to wait for a moment, and just a few minutes later, Toni came over and took me back to the nail station. I picked out my colors and we started the process.

Toni was extremely thorough, making sure that my results were interview-appropriate, and that I liked what they looked like as well. We were faced with the challenge of the fake nails - keep, or remove. We had a number of options, but we decided that it was best to keep them on so as to not damage the nail underneath. She diligently filed them down to better match the length of my natural nails, and then painted over them, still keeping that odd-ball theme of one nail different from the others. The result is stunning. Not only are this style and color still trendy and chic, but they were totally appropriate for my interview (which went really well, if you were wondering).

Toni and I got to chatting. We talked about a range of things. I'm never really any good at striking up conversation with people I don't know well, but with Toni it was great. She was really personable, and just was really fun to talk to. I honestly feel like I got to know her today, and even left the salon having made a friend!

Overall, I couldn't be happier! The experience as a whole was fantastic! I remember getting in my car and thinking, how much did that cost? I forgot to make a mental note when I paid. And then I shook  my head and said, it doesn't matter because it was amazing! (If you're wondering, she charged me $23, which isn't bad at all!!) Toni was super nice, and made the whole experience easy (I'm a newbie at nail salons. Really.). When I asked her questions about nail stuff (that's about as technical as I can get), she gave me in-depth answers, and was really knowledgeable about her field. I also am really impressed by how dedicated she is to her customers. She helped me into my jacket so I wouldn't mess my nails, and she even pulled my keys out of my jacket pocket so I wouldn't mess my nails trying to do that either. She went the extra mile, and it's little things that truly make a difference. I'm so pleased with the whole experience, and that's why I just have to write a review.


Please visit their various social media, and give them a "like" and a "follow!"
Salon 109

I hope everyone had a blessed Ash Wednesday!!
Here's my #Ashtag!!


Sunday, February 8, 2015

Driving in the Winter

The weather lately has been begging for a blog post about driving in the snow. Apparently, even though we get snow every year,  people from around here don't have a clue how to drive in any amount of snow. A light dusting leads some to drive 30 on I-87. What baffles me the most is people from Vermont who have no idea how to drive in the Snow. Like, doesn't it snow all year round up there?! JK 

So out of my frustration, I wish to share some of my (mostly common sense) winter driving tips.

  • Winter roads can be slippery. Don't slam on the brakes. Ever. 
You won't stop as fast as you think you will, and you'll probably end up turned around the other way and in a snowbank. For normal stops (stop signs, traffic lights, and turns) ease onto the brake a number of car-lengths away.
  • If you start sliding, don't slam on the brake!
If you start drifting or fishtailing, don't slam on your brake (see previous tip). If you don't have ABS, "pump" your brake, using short rapid pushes onto the pedal, while straightening your steering wheel. Always steer in the direction you wish to go.
  • Don't accelerate too fast.
Similar to my first point, don't accelerate like you would in normal conditions. The roads are probably slushy or slippery and your wheels are likely to take a couple seconds to catch the pavement. If you push down on the accelerator too much at once, you're likely to start spinning, losing control of your direction as your car searches for stable ground.
  • Highway driving.
Highway driving can be difficult in a snow storm. Depending on how bad the highway's conditions are you will have to adapt your driving technique. When there is only a dusting and no ice, please try to drive at almost the normal speed. Going 30 when everyone else is safely going 65 is extremely dangerous. It's safer to keep with traffic if the road isn't bad.
If the roads are slippery and you must drive, this is the time to go slower. Depending on how heavily traveled the road is during the storm, certain parts of the lane(s) will be free from snow, giving you the opportunity to use the bare road for traction. Do it. Also, in between lanes is often a row of slush or slippery snow. Avoid changing lanes unless necessary, and when you do change lanes, let off your accelerator and do not brake. Glide through the slush slowly and gradually. No need to swerve, as that's how you'll start to spin and lose control.

  • Clear off your car.
No need to be a traveling snow bank. A simple tool called a snow brush can be purchased for less than $10 and is easily portable. Simply put it in your hand, and sweep it over your car to remove snow. Works like MAGIC!
Really though. It's dangerous to be driving with two feet of snow piled on your car. It's gonna fly off at some point, and probably will hit another car. If there's that much snow, a small brush might not work so well, but I've found that a snow shovel works wonders and is also easily obtainable.
Similarly, make sure you clean the snow off your headlights and taillights so that other drivers can see you!
  • Avoid stopping when possible.
It's a lot harder to get moving in the snow than it is to keep moving (Newton's 1st Law of Motion, anyone?). If you can avoid stopping (especially going uphill!), do so. If not, see the third tip.

Driving in the snow isn't that hard. It just takes some common sense and a little knowledge of physics. Please don't be an idiot driver.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Better By Morning Concert Review

Last night a friend and I braved the cold to hear Better By Morning play at The Hollow in Albany. I haven't heard this band play live before, although I heard their music online, so I was excited to go to the show. I certainly wasn't disappointed! Better By Morning opened for Genevieve, who is currently on tour over the East Coast.

The poster lied. It started at 9.

Although a lot of people probably came out to see Genevieve perform, everyone clearly enjoyed the music that Better By Morning pushed out the speakers. The venue was pretty packed, even for a Thursday night, and there was a wide demographic of attendees, from high school students to college students, to even middle-aged people (who weren't parents of the younger ones in attendance, I must add). All people there were enjoying it and were attentive to the music.

I've known Jake Brooks (lead singer) for a number of years, and was glad to hear that after the breakup of his previous band Vontus, a new band has emerged. The ultra talented song-writing duo of Jake Brooks and Johnny Gravitt (guitarist) have stayed together and continued to create music. Joining them are Kyle Squires (drums) and Ali Genevich (back up vocals). Another bassist filled in for Brad Paquet, as he is away at college in MA. One of the amazing things about this band is how they still come together for gigs and performances, and manage to collaborate, even though a couple of the musicians are away at various colleges.

Their music is categorized as "alternative rock," but as other critics have noted, it spans further than alt. Their original songs (featured on their EP "YOU SAY") were complimented by a mashup of current pop hits (including Ed Sheeran) at the performance last night, and they allow their custom feel to penetrate even their covers. One thing I really appreciate is how Better By Morning is focusing on their original songs, whereas the previous band Vontus only had a couple originals and mostly did covers.  I think their mashup was the perfect way to infuse something familiar and safe into the concert, while still giving it their own unique twist.

There was never a dull moment at this performance. The music was fantastic and the volume levels were just right. I've found that a lot of bands/artists play their music too loud, almost like they want to force it on you so you can't escape it. Because this was a club setting it was loud, but not overly so. Jake is a natural performer in that he gets the crowd energized by his own enthusiasm. You can tell he loves what he does and he loves the crowd just as much. He's often seen jumping as he plays the bass, or holding his hands up as he sings. Johnny's amazing guitar skills were put on display again that evening with solos that would send experienced guitarists into frenzy. It's amazing how talented he is, especially when you weigh in his age. The drums were fantastic as usual, and I was impressed by the quality of the backup singer. Her voice complimented Jake's perfectly, and her balance wasn't so much that would overpower his,but just enough to be heard.

The overall presence of the group was impressive, seeming far beyond their years. I hope to see - and hear! - more from them in the near future!

You may be wondering why I haven't commented further on Genevieve, and that is because, for personal reasons, we had to leave the performance as soon as Better By Morning was finished playing. I would have liked to have the opportunity to hear Genevieve perform, and hopefully next time she's in the area I'll be able to catch that.

Better By Morning is planning to release their new EP soon, so stay posted!

Check out their Facebook and Twitter.