5 Easy tips for your DIY manicures

Of course we love to have you come into the spa for a relaxing mani/pedi, but we know that sometimes in a pinch you need to do it yourself.   There can also be something really meditative and relaxing about taking time to tend to your nails at home.

CND Offly Fast Home Shellac Removal Kits

CND Offly Fast Home Shellac Removal Kits

5. You CAN safely remove Shellac at home, it just takes longer since you will be doing one hand at a time.  As long as you are patient and follow recommended instructions, you should be fine.  As soon as next week, we’ll even have DIY Shellac Removal Kits.  The video linked to this post and the removal kits are intended for CND brand Shellac which comes off easier than other gel-polish brands, but you can research safe removal methods for other brands.  We used to advise only getting professional removal (which is still the ideal) but we have too many clients who pick their polish off at home and damage their nails so we might as well make sure you know the best ways to remove it safely!

4. Shellac doesn’t have to mean 2 weeks of the same color! You can use a regular polish like Zoya or Vinylux over the top of Shellac to add designs or just a quick change of color, the remove it quickly with a gentle remover and swipe nail with alcohol to bring shine back.  A quick swipe of gentle remover won’t take off the Shellac and this is a fun way to add a bit of art to your nails or paint a darker color over a light shellac shade or a shimmery sheer polish to add sparkle over a cream color Shellac.

I used Vinylux over the top of Shellac to create accent nails to wear for a day (I didn't use Vinylux top coat), and removed with Zoya remover and wiped with alcohol to restore shine.

I used Vinylux over the top of Shellac to create accent nails to wear for a day (I didn’t use Vinylux top coat), and removed with Zoya remover and wiped with alcohol to restore shine.

3. Love Zoya’s colors (especially the Pixies, glittery, and shimmery options) but the drying speed and long wear of Vinylux?  Layer them!  We like using similar shades and applying a layer of Vinylux as a base coat, topped with 1-2 layers of Zoya for color, and a layer of Vinylux top coat for quick drying.  It is also fun to use a darker shade of Vinylux as a base and top it with a shimmery sheer Zoya shade to change up the look.

Ideas for pairing Vinylux and Zoya for the best of both worlds.

Ideas for pairing Vinylux and Zoya for the best of both worlds.

2. Add flair to your nails with a metallic sharpie!  Even wobbly hands can do dots, hearts, stripes, or fun french tips with Sharpies (regular metallic Sharpies, not paint pens).  Apply to dry polish or a gel polish (see #5) then top with a base coat.  Full instructions and ideas here.

1. Whatever you do,  cuticle oil is a must! I hate bundling and am terrible at wearing my gloves in the dry winter air so my hands and cuticles are fried!  I snapped a before pic, applied CND Solar Oil, waited 10 minutes and it pretty much worked wonders.  Solar Oil is designed to penetrate through the tiny tunnels in CND Shellac so it will continue to hydrate your nails and cuticles while you wear Shellac to help it last longer and so your nails stay healthy underneath the polish!  Keep it on your night stand for a quick bedtime application.

My hands before and after Solar Oil.

My hands before and after Solar Oil. My nails are 1 week out from my last Shellac manicure and I’ve been really hard on them since!

Stop in to check out our selection of CND and Zoya brand polishes, or if you are more the type to let a pro pamper your nails, book your manicure or pedicure online!

Get to know Dawn Knutson, LMT!

EastVillageSpaDawnDawn Knutson has been a part of the East Village Spa team since 2011, seeing clients around her busy schedule as a mother to 3 great boys.  Dawn is a great fit for clients looking for a very relaxing and nurturing style of massage.  We are excited for you to get to know her better.  You an schedule an appointment with Dawn by clicking here!

 

How long have you been working in this field?

I have been a Licensed Massage Therapist for 15 years

Why did you go into this line of work?

My dad has always had headaches as long as I can remember, and always had me massage his neck while growing up.  After traveling for a while and not knowing my next step, my Dad checked out some massage schools, without me knowing, and he told me I had an interview with a massage school.  The next day I went to the interview and my gut told me to go with it.  I hadn’t even had a massage before starting school!

What is your favorite service to give?

60 and 80 minute EV Signature Massages and pregnancy massage.

What is your favorite service to receive?

Two Feet Deep and 75 minute Wellness Massages, plus the EV Signature Facial

What is your favorite spa retail product?

Our bath salts and Zoya nail polish.  I also love the Derma E Microdermabrasion scrub.

How do you get involved in your community?

I volunteer weekly at my children’s elementary school and am also on the PTA.

What are your favorite ways to reduce stress?

Get a massage every other week and take a bath with Kneipp bath salts.

What are your favorite suggestions or tips for clients?

Relaxing is a huge takeaway for guests.  Working out, taking a bath, stretching…these will all help your body feel better longer!

Do you have a special talent or unique hobby?

I like to hoop dance

Why should clients visit YOU?

I feel that I give my clients my entire attention. I listen to your needs and like to tailor my massage to fit with what you are seeking for your end result from your session. I like connecting with people and feel that I can help make a difference in helping others to relax.

 

 

Please believe us when we say…

Many of us have been practicing massage, esthetics, or nail care for a LONG time, but we were all clients before we were practitioners and we know how easy it is to ignore the advice of a pro.  I polled our team to get their feedback on the top 15 things they wished clients knew (or rather, they wished clients would believe their esthetician, LMT, or nail tech about!)

15. If you are indecisive about nail polish colors, bring an article of clothing you want help matching for a special event or come with at least a basic idea of the color family (i.e. red, blue, pink) and whether you want cream or sparkle.  Your nail tech has seen how all of the colors look with lots of different skin types so if you are torn between a few shades, defer to her for the color that will look best and get you the most compliments!  If you arrive a few minutes early, ask the receptionist if you can walk back to the nail room for extra browsing time!

14.  Sometimes the most effective massages aren’t the ones with the heaviest pressure.  Lighter touch might do wonders for tension and services like Cranio Sacral Therapy are incredibly gentle but effective.

13. Shellac is a name brand gel polish from CND, but like most people call all kinds of tissues “Kleenx” even if they are a store brand or “Puffs” brand,some places just call all gel polishes “Shellac.”  Real Shellac can remove gently in under 10 minutes with no damage to the nail, but if what you are wearing is an off-brand, it might take our nail techs longer which will cut into your other service times.  Please be understanding with our nail techs if they have to adjust your service  due to longer removal process of non-Shellac gel polishes.

12. While we love that people think we’re just naturally gifted, our professions do require quite a bit of education and continuing education.  Many of our employees have over 1,000 hours of industry training, some over 2000 hours!   All of our licensed employees are required to attend regular continuing education (which is awesome because our classes are so cool!)

11. Men visit the spa and not just for massage!  Guys need skin care and facial treatments even more than women because of how irritating shaving can be on the skin.  Did you know that lots of pro football players regularly get manicures and distance runners often get pedicures to keep their toenails healthy so they can survive the abuse of training?

10. You will enjoy your service more if you arrive 5-10 minutes early to relax and shake off the day’s stresses so you can start your service in a place of relaxation.  Arriving late sets the wrong tone, means it takes you longer to get “in the zone” and means a shorter session.  If you just can’t seem to make it on time, book 15 minutes later.

9. Real change takes time.  While our LMTs, Estheticians, and nail techs are experienced and well educated in their specialties, it usually takes more than one visit to help you achieve your goals.  If you have had pain from your posture at work for years, it will take more than one massage for relief.  If you have been a nail biter working to grow your nails, a series of manicures can do wonders.  Working to see big improvements with your skin?  It will take more than one facial.  While one spa visit is great for an occasional indulgence, for real change, doing the recommended home care and visiting on a regular schedule will really improve the health of your skin or nails or decrease your pain.

8. We really do book up, especially for evenings and Saturdays.  Our happiest clients are those who set aside a regular time for sessions and book standing weekly, bi-weekly, monthly, or quarterly services so they have something to look forward to and aren’t stressed when they can’t get in last minute.  It is easier to give us a day’s notice to cancel than to get in at a popular time on a day’s notice.

7. Everyone’s skin needs change regularly, especially with seasons which is why monthly facials are good.  Plus it is really nice to come regularly for a deeper cleanse with steam and extractions.

6. It is totally fine not to chat during your services!  You’ll get to a deeper state of relaxation and your therapist can focus more on his or her work for a more effective session.  If you snore, even better!  We consider that our highest compliment!

5. If your nails are dry or brittle, your hands are frequently in water or you have a job requiring lots of hand washing, or you don’t regularly moisturize nails with cuticle oil, your polish (including CND Shellac) will chip sooner.  Really, cuticle oil and starting with healthy nails will make a huge difference in how long your polish lasts.

4. Don’t plan a big night out drinking before (or after) your massage.  Trust us, it is very hard to relax with a hangover and massage will not help.  If you have a massage on the books and plan to go drinking afterward, you might feel extra crummy the next day.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

3. All bodies are awesome.  Trust us, we see pre-teens, great-great-grandmas, people with severe injuries, people undergoing cancer therapies, pregnant women, people of all heights and weights and we are not judging our clients on their bodies.  Your therapist is not focusing on your weight or your body hair, or blemishes.  He or she is focusing on how to help you feel great in the body you have and it is a really, really wonderful job.

2. Yes, our significant others are lucky (because we are awesome people) but no, they don’t get massage all the time.  In most cases, they have to schedule appointments like everyone else.  And often, they see our co-workers who are focused more on their therapy needs and not whether or not the dishes got done at home. 😉

1. Having regular massage will assist in strengthening the immune system by lowering stress levels and helping to keep stress in the body to a minimum.   And, considering that stress is a huge risk factor for many major life-threatening diseases, reducing stress can save your life!

Get to Know Cassandra Lacina-Griffin!

Cassandra_lacina_griffin_blogCassandra Lacina-Griffin has been a wonderful part of the East Village Spa team since mid-2013.  She came to the spa from a resort spa in Tama when she moved to Des Moines to get married.  Cassandra provides skin care, manicures, pedicures, and some waxing services to our guests at the spa and is a wealth of information about our products.

What are your licenses and how long have you been working in this industry?

I have been licensed for over 9 years as an esthetician and nail technician.

What made you decide to pursue a career in skin and nail care?

I have been interested in skin care and products since my teens.  I’ve always had a love for makeup!  I also enjoyed the relaxing environment that a spa provides for clients and me.

What are your favorite services to give and receive?

I love to give facials and also receive them!  I enjoy getting massages as well.

What is your favorite product at the spa?

Derma E’s Very Clear Cleanser is amazing for acne prone skin.

How do you get involved in your community?

I volunteer every Monday morning at Animal Lifeline.  I love helping out and giving the dogs the attention they need and love.

How do you reduce stress?

I do a combination of spending time with my 2 rescue dogs and 2 rescue cats, I try to do some yoga, take a bath, and read.

What is your best skincare advice for clients?

Always wash your face at night and wear sunscreen!

What is your favorite inspirational quote or book?

One of my favorite books is Making Faces by Kevyan Aucoin and I like the quote: “When anxious, uneasy, and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused,” By Rainer Maria Rilke.

What might clients not know about you?

I graduated from Wartburg College with a degree in Communication Studies and an emphasis in Theater.  While at Wartburg, I designed the makeup and hair for the theater.  I enjoy baking and I like to paint, although I don’t make much time for it.  Many already know this, but I love to visit Hawaii!

(Note from Cassie: When we see one of Cassandra’s Tupperware in the break room, it is a good day because it means she has brought us baked goods!)

Why should clients visit YOU?

I aim to provide the most relaxation during my services as well as great skin care tips.

7 Fun Valentine’s Day Ideas (that are not couple’s massages!)

For the second year in a row, we’re sharing our favorite Valentine’s Day gift and activity ideas that are not couple’s massages!  We have 3 couple’s massage rooms and all of them have been booked since mid January for Couple’s Massage because Valentine’s Day falls on a Saturday this year.  You aren’t out of luck though, Des Moines offers lots of great date spots and we offer lots of great gifts for an at-home spa day!

vintage valentine

1. Spa day at home

Draw a bath and soak in one of our Kneipp bath salts or liquid baths.  We recommend a blend of the Pure Bliss and the Almond Soft Skin for a bath that will make your mood and your skin feel beautiful.  Pick up one of our Kneipp or Farmhouse Fresh Massage Oils and trade massages.  All of our massage oils are 15% off during February!  Finally, at the end of your spa day at home, surprise your sweetie with a gift card to visit East Village Spa for the services of their choice.

2. Lunch at Trellis and a romantic stroll through the Botanical Center Gardens

It is cold and snowy white outside right now but warm and colorful in the lush gardens inside the Des Moines Botanical Center.  Grab a romantic lunch and sip from the great wine and beer selection at Trellis inside the Botanical Center and stroll hand-in-hand while you look at the beautiful gardens.

3. Get your heart racing!

Join Fleet Feet, our neighbors across the street, for their Saturday Morning Social Run at 8 am on Saturday, February 14th.  Single?  Who knows, you might just meet your soul (or sole…get it?) mate!  No registration needed, Fleet Feet hosts lots of free, fun social runs!

The annual Red Flannel Run is also on Valentine’s Day this year, starting and ending at the NEW Wellmark YMCA.  Registration is still open!

4. Book her a blow out hairstyle at Blo and enjoy Hoq’s Valentine’s Day menu.

Visit our neighbors across the street at Blo for a blow-out hairstyle (I recommend getting the scalp massage upgrade!) and then take her to show it off over an Iowa farm-to-table dinner at Hoq.  As of 2/4/15 Hoq still had openings after 8:30 pm for Valentine’s Day and had openings for their same prix fixe Valentine’s Menu on Friday 2/13.  Blo had a few openings both Friday and Saturday.  Reservations required for both!

Check out Hoq’s menu and contact info here, and book your Blo appointment online here.

5. Dinner at home

Purchase all the ingredients for a delicious dinner at home including spices and oils from our East Village Neighbors Allspice and add a fun surprise by including a special gift from Kitchen Collage that can be used to make the dish.  Need recipe inspiration?  Two of our favorite cooking blogs are Budget Bytes (easy, delicious and you can use the savings to buy higher quality spices!) and Iowa Girl Eats.

6. Movie and drinks

Fleur Cinema is a great place to catch a flick and if you bring your ticket stubs to neighboring Mezzodi’s, you get two for one drinks and the perfect opportunity to discuss the movie you just saw!

7. A perfect pair: Fruit Fantasia Tea from Gong Fu and something pretty from Amour

Amour in the East Village has lots of lovely underpinnings, jammies, and robes in a beautiful and inviting shop.  Heather, the owner, and her team are great at making recommendations and helping even the most timid of gift-givers feel comfortable shopping for their sweeties.  They also recommend Gong Fu Tea’s Fruit Fantasia blend as an aphrodisiac.  With a rosy hue and sweet tart fruit flavor, it certainly is delicious!