V Spa: Back to the Basics

I’ve been experimenting with gel manicures lately as many of you know. Post gel mani, my nails weren’t in the greatest of shape. This is partly my fault because I decided to remove the gel polish on my own (warning: DO NOT attempt to dismantle a gel mani at home) which wasn’t the best idea. 

After my experience with a couple of gel manicures, I can say that I am steering clear of them for a while. Although it was great to not have my nail polish chip and to actually have it looking good for about two whole weeks (aaaamazing!), I don’t think it’s the mani for me on a regular basis. I’ll save it for special occasions or vacation. Admittedly, my nails weren’t in great shape before the gel mani but it definitely didn’t help. So today I decided to go back to the basics and get a good ol’ fashioned manicure. 

I tried V Spa on Franklin Ave for my no-frills mani. They took me immediately (even though the salon was somewhat busy for a Thursday morning) and every tool they used was either out-of-the-package new or sanitized, which is awesome. I was treated to a great mini shoulder/upper back massage during the mani, which I love. Too often nail salons forget this little perk. The massage was a teeny bit painful at times, but maybe that’s a good thing. I’m sure there were a few knots back there (tension much?) anyway. The cute animal ring holders on the manicure tables were a fun touch.  

My manicurist, Tess, was very nice and seemed well informed. I told her about the current condition of my nails (chipping, peeling, overall weakness) and she recommended a specific nail hardener for me and advised me against using any colored polish today. 

The hardener was only an additional $1 and I went sans color. Tess told me to monitor my nails’ condition over the next few days to see if things are improving. So I don’t have a fun summer color on my fingers today, but I’m happy that they look clean and healthy.  

I will go back to V Spa again for a mani and maybe sample some other services. Have you been to V Spa? What did you think?

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A Long Lasting Mani? It Does Exist!

A friend recently had some great looking nails and when I complimented her on them, she told me she had gotten the manicure nearly two weeks ago. I almost spit out my iced latte right then and there. Had I heard wrong? Could a long lasting mani really exist?

After a little coercing, she let me in on her secret… a GEL manicure. Gel? She said it usually lasts her two weeks! As someone who long ago gave up getting color on her nails during a manicure because it chips within a day or two {it’s true… I only get clear nail polish- to the dismay of the nail tech who always seems disappointed}, that was all I needed to hear! 

I asked Yuri at Nail Boutique on Franklin Ave about the gel mani and she confirmed that it usually lasts ten days to two weeks. I figured it would take an extra long time to administer {I’m not very patient with these things} but she said that it took about the same amount of time as a regular mani. Sign me up!

I chose my color from a selection of plastic nail samples, not the regular line-up of bottles on the wall. Then we began. It was pretty much like a regular manicure. The gel nail polish and the LED light {no harmful UV rays here} were the only things that differed from the norm. But, and here’s the best part… there was no waiting for my nails to dry post-manicure. As soon as the tech was done, they were dry! And I mean dry as in I-could-rummage-through-my-bag-for-my-keys-dry immediately after. This was such a pleasure because I almost always smudge my mani right before or right after leaving the salon. Not anymore!

As always, I received a great shoulder and back massage during the mani- which is a nice little treat. And the salon was clean as a whistle. I really appreciate smaller shops rather than chains. So next time your nails need a little sprucing, try a gel mani. I’m already five days in and without a nick or chip in sight, I’m feeling pretty positive about this mani’s staying power!

PERK ALERT: Nail Boutique will provide a 10% discount to all new customers when you mention Inside Garden City.

I also sneaked in a pedi and a little waxing while I was there. 

Always neat. 
Clean as a whistle.  

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GC Hotel’s Red Door Spa Awaits

While I don’t often have a lot of time to pamper myself, I do enjoy it when I can sneak it in. However, I’ve often felt that finding the right place for the right pampering is easier said than done. I’ve been to a number of places in the past and found their pricey services left something to be desired. Last week, I hit the new Red Door Spa in the Garden City Hotel for some self-indulging.

The new location just opened in December and it’s quite beautiful and zen. If you arrive early, don’t sweat it since the lounge area is absolutely perfect- comfy leather seating, flowers, candles. It’s more like you’re in a chic apartment that just happens to have the perfect mood lighting. After I sipped my tea and relaxed for a few, I headed to the mini oxygen facial, lip facial and blowout that were awaiting me.

First I met with Morgan- a very knowledgable and pleasant aesthetician. She was completely professional and has eight years of experience under her belt. She explained what she was going to do and made sure I was okay with each step. 

Morgan first cleaned my face and removed the day’s makeup.  She then exfoliated my skin with a revitalizing enzyme to help with cell turnover. It contained papaya which aids in exfoliation and smelled delish. She next focused on my pores with extractions (sorry if I’m giving TMI but I think this is a necessary part of any good facial). Morgan then added steam to soften and open up my skin and also make the products more effective.

The oxygen part of the facial was toward the end and helped hydrate my skin and reduce redness. The oxygen contains seaweed which is known for containing the most vitamins for skin nourishment and green tea for calming. The results of the oxygen treatment last 2-3 days which is why many people choose an oxygen facial before a big event. Plus, it has the added benefit of helping your makeup go on more smoothly- always a good thing. Keep in mind that you can schedule an oxygen mini facial, as I did, or just get a blast of oxygen as a quick pick me up for the skin. An oxygen treatment can also be added to any facial at Red Door and the best part- there’s no redness from it or downtime at all!

Overall, my facial was fantastic. My skin was glowing and I felt completely rejuvenated as I headed to Justine for my blowout. Justine was, again, very professional and gave me the best scalp massage I’ve ever received. I got a great blowout too- not too straight and with a little flip at the ends. It had a good amount of body rather than blowouts I’ve had in the past that left my hair completely flat.

Before I left, I saw Linda for a quick makeup re-application. After having just had a facial, I was happy to see that I could easily wear makeup right after like nothing ever happened. Linda educated me as she worked. She taught me of the importance of under eye concealer in her own routine and how it’s one of her can’t-do-without products. I learned some good tips from Linda and purchased a few products after my time with her, although there was NO pressure to do so, which I liked.

I will definitely be back to Red Door’s newest location. The staff was very professional and they all knew their stuff. Also, 2-3 days later, I still received a few compliments on my skin! I encourage you to take advantage of this new, beautiful facility right at our doorstep. Visit the Red Door Spa’s website for more information on their services and to book an appointment. You can also call them at 516-747-7474. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own and I never, evrrrr promote something I’m not 100% behind.

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Richen Up and You’ll be Golden {Salon Imperiale}

As the iced-coffee-drinking weather slowly turns into pumpkin-spiced-latte-sipping weather, it’s natural to want to change up your look a bit (along with your drink) into something more fall-esque.

Look no further for fabulous fall hair color in GC than Salon Imperiale, a local fave in nabe. Their incredible hair design and color specialists will get your locks in shape for flannel + leather boot season. Whether you have blonde, red, or brown hair, can’t every shade benefit from a little warming up for the cooler months?

I think the September chill is a reminder to get rid of that salty summer blonde. Gino of Salon Imperiale suggests trying some low lites for fall. Toning your hair by adding beautiful shades of carmel and honeybeige will give it more depth and dimension- sounds just about right for autumn, doesn’t it?

And if you’re a commitment-phobe like me, you can still dive head first into the autumn shades with no roots or regrowth to worry about. Gino promises that Goldwell’s Colorance gives hair shine, depth and richness with no visible dye line or roots because it gradually rinses out. How easy is that?

Now, Salon Imperiale is offering 10% off hair color when you mention Inside Garden City. Once again, a local business owner steps up and offers savings to our readers! 

Like it or not (I choose not), summer is over. So take advantage of this offer ladies to richen up your color… and you’ll be golden ; ) 

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The Nail Boutique- 10% off for Inside GC Readers!

End of summer always seems like a good time to treat your feet to something special. Flip flops, heeled strappy sandals, walking barefoot… these all take a toll on our feet (at least that’s the rationale I use). So I stopped into The Nail Boutique on Franklin Ave the other day for a quick pedi while I had the time (rare) and I wanted to share my wonderful experience!

Instead of the normal pedicure which I usually opt for, I tried an aromatherapy pedicure and it was great! I didn’t know what to expect, having never had one before but my senses were in for a total treat when the aromatic essential oils went in. It was as if an aura of relaxation was created for my feet- more so than from the typical pedi. Of course the comfy spa pedicure chairs didn’t hurt either as my lumbar area received a nice massage. 

I went with a bright, summer-y polish color. I figured I may as well try to hold onto summer just a little bit longer before settling into those fall hues.  

Post pedi, I was treated to a nice little shoulder and upper back massage by the very friendly and professional owner, Yumi, while my toes dried. She has the magic touch as she treats her customers to a little acupressure. Ahhhhhh. A very nice perk which a lot of salons are skimping on. 

As another treat, Yumi is offering a 10% discount off of any services (which includes waxing!) to all Inside Garden City readers- and remember they see men and women there. Just mention that you read this article on Inside Garden City and you’ll get the discount. We love to see this type of generosity from our local business owners! 

Next time you want to treat someone to an unexpected pleasure, give them an aromatherapy pedicure as a gift or just stop in and get one for yourself!

Nail Boutique is located at 729 Franklin Ave, between Seventh St and Stewart Ave. 516-739-0099. Open every day except Sunday. 

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The Nail Boutique

Last weekend, I stumbled into the Nail Boutique at 729 Franklin Ave, Garden City. I like trying different nail salons (and there are a lot of nail spots in and near Garden City), so I decided to give it a try. I know most of you probably have a preferred nail salon, but I encourage you to explore the various options in and around Garden City. After all, isn’t that what Inside Garden City is all about? 

I was immediately greeted with a smile by the new owner/manager, Yumi. She recently bought and renovated the Nail Boutique. Yumi is very friendly. I had a lovely time chatting with her. She makes you feel comfortable and welcome. She even helped me pick out my polish color. As far as the rest of the staff- they were very pleasant as well. The salon was busy- a good sign for sure- but not so busy that you feel like you’re a nuisance for disrupting their schedule when you walk in (I know you know what I’m talking about!).  Here’s a look at some of the nail and waxing services they provide:

I was very impressed with the tool cleanliness at the Nail Boutique (which isn’t always the case). Each package of nail supplies was in a sealed pouch. The tools were completely sanitized- quite a necessity but not always done at every nail salon. Tsk tsk.

During the manicure, I got a shoulder and back massage (another thing a lot of nail salons skimp on these days). I don’t know if it’s just me, but sometimes I feel infinitely better and more relaxed after even just a 30 second neck massage. While I sat with my  hands under the dryer, I was treated to another shoulder massage- short but sweet. On Mondays and Tuesdays, you can grab a deal steal- mani and pedi for just $24. 

Overall, I found the Nail Boutique to be a sanitary and quality spot to get my nails done. I will be back for sure. My mani was flawless and the polish is still doing well, even on day four post-mani (and I wash my hands A LOT). But don’t take my word for it. Check it out for yourself and let us know what you think.

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Dad’s Day at the Salon

Our Mother’s Day post involved spending the day at the track (Belmont) and our Father’s Day post involves a salon. Sound a little backward? Well, doesn’t everyone like a little pampering now and then?

If you’re having trouble figuring out what to get your father or husband for Father’s Day, you could settle on a {boring} pair of socks or a {…yawn…} new tie. Or you can try something different this year. Salon Imperiale is offering 10% off gift certificates for men!

Why not arrange some pampering for dad? Has he been looking a little scruffy these days? Not taking care of himself? Set him up with a mens haircut at Salon Imperiale on Franklin Ave. There he can receive a nice shampoo and conditioning followed by a quality haircut of his choice. Or perhaps he can use some new everyday products. If Dad wants to feel a bit more refreshed than usual, Salon Imperiale also offers coloring for men. They use a subtle protein vegetable color (no dyes here) without peroxide that gradually washes out in about 6 weeks. 

This 10% off gift certificates is Salon Imperiale’s special promotion in honor of fathers and won’t extend past Father’s Day. Mention Inside Garden City when you get there or when you call: 516-747-1027. They may not admit it, but men like to feel good about themselves too!

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Summer Shape Up- MDW Waits for No One

Since the weather is finally warm and sunny (for the most part), it’s time to seriously get fit for summer, if you haven’t been doing so already. Below are some tips for you- some obvious, some less-so. Remember, MDW (Memorial Day weekend) waits for no one.

1. Join a gym! We are fairly lucky in GC. There’s a plethora of high quality gyms right in our own backyard. Some of the bigger names are Healthtrax, NYSC, LA Fitness, Xsport and CrossFit and there’s also a number of smaller studios such as The Personal Training Studio, The Physical Fitness Center and Studio Strength- just to name a few.

2. Go to said gym. Womp womp, I know. But this is one thing that cannot be outsourced. You actually need to go. And exercise. Hey- at least most gyms are now set up so can actually watch TV while and exercising!

3. Just get outside and run or walk a few days a week. It’s not magic. You have to get out and move. Even if you work out regularly, an extra walk/run just a couple of times per week can be enough to get you out of a rut or over your plateau. If you’re a nature lover, head to the Garden City bird sanctuary.  If you’re a window shopper,  head to 7th Street. The only thing I wouldn’t recommend is pulling a Bill Clinton and running to the local McDonalds (unless of course you’re running for office and want to secure a few more votes from “mainstream” America).

4. Get a trainer. Just joining a gym isn’t enough for some of us. You might find it more effective if you have someone to hold you accountable. Plus, you won’t get stuck in a workout rut. And hopefully you find one who’s fun to be around which makes going to the gym a social as well as a physical outlet.

5. Plan your meals and grocery shop in advance. I love http://www.cookinglight.com and http://www.extremelyfit.com for healthy, delicious recipes. Try making your week’s menu on a Saturday or Sunday so healthy meals are ready for the week. For an easier way out, swing by Food For Thought on Seventh Street and pick up a couple of meal’s worth of food. If you’re lucky, their amaaaazing carrot cake will be available that day.

6. Get a spray tan or try a self tanner. It may sound silly, but a little bit of bronze on your skin puts a little pep in your step. You may feel a little more ready to start wearing those tanks and short sleeve shirts with a little added color. Xsport actually offers this service in the gym, so you can grab a tan after your workout. Neutrogena MicroMist Tanning Sunless Spray will give you color just a few hours after spraying it on. So no long wait for color to build-up. Beach Bum Tanning and Airbrush Salon has locations in Greenvale and East Meadow. It’s a lot healthier for your skin than going for a fake & bake or laying out in your backyard.

7. Try a juice cleanse (this is not for everyone) or just go a few days with an emphasis on the veggies, fruits and lots of water. A summer shape-up isn’t instantaneous but it’s possible with a little forethought!

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Get Blown Out: Salon Imperiale

Hey ladies- did you know GC has it’s own “blow dry bar”? Look no further for a fabulous blowout! I have found an excellent spot. Salon Imperiale at 668 Franklin Ave. When I arrived at the salon, Gino, the owner, was there. He greeted me and took my jacket. The friendly staff was very welcoming. There were clients coming in and out- a true sign of a good business.

My stylist, Nicole, did a great job of not getting water in my ears (a pet peeve!) and the water was a good temperature. Once my shampoo and conditioner was finished, I was offered a beverage. Yes, as a matter of fact, I will. Nicole asked me what I had in mind for my blowout. We discussed the details- bangs, the direction of my part, a wave at the bottom…  I asked her for something simple- just a casual blowout. I love that she probed and discussed my options. She really paid attention to the small details.

Nicole didn’t use any other hot tools aside from a blow dryer, which is great because the other tools can really damage hair. She also gave me some great tips on adding a little bit of volume at the top because the first day of a blowout (for me) can look a little flat. I learned how to properly and subtly tease at the crown so the hair will fall well. She even noticed a wayward curl above my ear that needed some extra attention and told me how to “train” it. Once again, her attention to detail was appreciated. We went light on the post-style products since I wanted the blowout to last a number of days. And it has.

So how did the blowout turn out? I was impressed but I’ll let you decide:

All blown out and ready to go!

I will definitely be back to this salon- GC’s own blow-dry bar if you will. And the even better news- right now you’ll receive a $30 blowout! Mention Inside Garden City when you call to book ; )

You can also purchase a blowout as a gift certificate. Mother’s Day is right around the corner…

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NYC Delight

Spring has officially sprung! When the temperatures are more mild, I venture into NYC pretty often for my city-fix.

This Spring, why don’t you take advantage of Garden City’s close proximity to NYC and treat yourself to one of the city’s best kept secrets: Daniel. Hair.

Those two words sum it up. They’re all you need to know to find Daniel, NYC’s hidden gem. He runs a one-man hair nirvana of sorts and has a very loyal following. He has his own space and works autonomously, from start to finish. I should mention that he is no-frills. Hate to disappoint, but there won’t be any cappuccino served while you’re there. No mineral water with lemons. No massages, no manis or pedis. No pushing products. He does without all of the pomp and circumstance and I appreciate that. I just care about the talent and he is it. He is All. About. The Hair.

In the past, after every haircut, I usually haaated the way it looked and went home immediately to wash and style it myself. But with Daniel, I always love it right off the bat.

So ladies (and gentlemen), if you’ve thought about brightening things up this spring and want to change your hair color, he’s your guy. If you’re unhappy with your last coloring, he can do the rehab. I myself have never colored yet, so I can’t rave about his coloring skills from personal experience but I know friends who say it’s fab. And if you’re just thinking about freshening things up with a new cut, he’s the one.

It doesn’t hurt that Daniel (who is one of the nicest people I know) regularly works on Broadway shows. Occasionally, he’ll provide you with a bit of Hollywood-star gossip. That’s always fun. Like the time when Jack Bauer begged him for a haircut. But I’ll let him tell you that story…

You may wonder why I’m sharing this secret with you. Plus, it’s not “Inside Garden City.” Frankly, it’s simply because when I know a good thing, I like to share it, even if it seems geographically incompatible. I know I may be shooting myself in the foot by making it more difficult to get an appointment for myself, but that’s okay. I’ll deal. If you think it’s too far of a schlep… think again.

If you want an appointment, don’t call the salon’s receptionist. There isn’t one. Simply search http://www.schedulicity.com for Daniel. Hair.

You’re welcome ; )