Shellac, I’ll be back!

I’ve always been into the pedicure thing, especially during the summer, but ever since I started my new job, I’ve been getting quite a few manicures. Let’s just say that most of my colleagues are very nicely manicured, and since I’m dealing with clients more in my new role, I want to “look” the part. The problem is, most manicures only look fresh for a couple of days. After three days, the polish starts to peel and my nails just start looking drab. My mom recommended Shellac to me last year but I never really had the desire to spend more on my nails. It’s quite a difference – depending on the salon (I usually go to the Asian ones), a regular manicure costs $15 whereas Shellac costs $35.

I recently decided to take the plunge. My nail place offers a fairly large selection of colours (maybe 25?), I usually go for OPI Bubble Bath so luckily found a similar colour available with Shellac. The process is a little long but the results last a long time. Beyond the regular grooming/trimming/filing, nail polish application is quickly followed by drying time under a UV light. The polish/UV cycle is repeated three times, at which point your nails are dry! So a slightly longer nail application process, but once you’re done, you’re ready to go. No further drying required.

On my first trial, the Shellac polish peeled off of one nail; I think that is unusual. I went in to repair the one nail, but the minimum charge was fairly substantial (as was my nail growth) that it made sense just to re-do all of my nails.

One beef I have is that the removal process is rough on your nails. They douse a cotton ball in nail polish remover, wrap your nail in foil so that it can soak, then after a few minutes they literally scrape the polish off with a metal instrument. I highly doubt that this is healthy for your nails! In fact, the whole thing isn’t healthy – how does your nail breathe under this thick armour? I guess that’s the point…

According to Wikipedia, Shellac is a “resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in the forests of India and Thailand”. It acts like a primer, sealer, varnish. Interesting…good enough for furniture and your nails!

All in all, Shellac is well worth it. My Shellac nails are going on over a week and they still look great. Extremely minimal wearing on the nail tips. The only thing is, I will certainly give my nails a break to breathe and grow naturally, so Shellac won’t be a constant thing. But I’ll definitely be back for more!

The Brow House – groom them eyebrows…

When it comes to eyebrow grooming, I’m not entirely fussy…but I do make a point of trying to make sure they are in decent shape. However, after “cheaping” it out for years by going to Trade Secrets, I decided it was time to visit the experts. I was starting to feel that my eyebrows were thinning out – I don’t think this is due to age…simply consistently poorly done eyebrow waxing! Plus, I have realized that eyebrows can have a huge impact on your look; usually they are an after-thought.

I’m not sure how I heard about The Brow House, but I thought it was worth checking out. It is located in Leslieville at 1256 Queen St East, just east of Leslie St. This eyebrow shaping spa is a small but cozy contemporary space, decked out in red and white. There are three salon stools in the room, along with a small seating area. No private rooms or consultations here.

The Brow House team asked me to fill out a short questionnaire, asking what my regular eyebrow care was and what I was hoping to get out of my consultation. When I met with my eyebrow designer, Vanessa – who was totally outgoing and always made sure I was comfortable – she then asked me more questions: i.e. was there a specific “style” of eyebrow I liked? Then she went in for the close-up to analyse my eyebrows – eek! She advised that the shape of my brows was not 100% suited to my round face, and she also noted the specific direction my eyebrows hair grow. So over the next few visits, she will “design” them to a shape that will be most flattering. Time will tell! She used a combo of waxing and tweezing for me, with a bit of brow powder to fill them in.

An initial consultation at The Brow House costs $25, but I ended up going for a deal – 5 visits for $100. Twice as much as I was used to spend before, but I think well worth the higher-quality, detailed attention to an often ignore part of our body! The Brow House offers a few different services i.e. Lash perm (apparently curls and also lengthens, and lasts two months? Vanessa showed me a picture and it’s unbelievable), lash or brow colour. They do waxing, tweezing, makeup, grooming for men…I don’t believe they do threading though. For now, I’m going to stick with the brow design. That’s all my conservative self (and my wallet) can handle!

Definitely check The Brow House out (click here for their website). They seem to be extremely busy from 5 pm onwards (after work), so you will will have to book ahead. Don’t risk doing a drop-in. Closed Sunday/Monday.



Marriott Desert Springs Spa – Divine!

I was recently in Palm Springs, CA – a beautiful oasis nestled in the middle of the desert and mountain ranges. I have been extremely fortunate to have family who really enjoy visiting Palm Springs, so I’ve been quite a few times. No visit would be complete without an afternoon at The Spa at JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort. 74855 Country Club Drive, Palm Desert, CA. The spa was recently renovated, and is absolutely fabulous! Who does not love the spa?



Photos are from the spa’s website. Sorry they are small – I didn’t take any pictures when I was there as I was focusing on relaxing! 



* The salt water spa pool & outdoor hot tub overlooks the golf course (beautiful view)

* Aromatherapy Hammam room

* State-of-the-art showers with 6 heads

* 4000 sq ft. gym with all the equipment you need. Plus, each cardio machine has it’s own TV! Amazing…

*Spa bistro (love their smoothies)

* Women’s only relaxation room (with a ton of awesome gossip magazines)

* I love their facials

* Towels galore

* Locker rooms are very, very clean. Staff are constantly making sure the amenities are top notch.



* $$ for their services (60 min facial = $140 USD)


They do have a steam room, sauna and whirlpool (women’s only). I would assume they offer the same in the men’s locker room.

Summary: if you ever find yourself in Palm Springs, the Marriott Desert Springs Spa is a must!