Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Today is my last official day at NBU. I visited financial aid yesterday asked how many hours I had left. The fin aid lady smiled and said, "9 hours to go! Congratulations!" I felt a lump in my throat. I clock out at 9PM tonight and my hours are complete. I can hardly believe it. I’m reflecting, but refusing to get weepy-eyed.

I keep thinking back over the past 10 months and wondering where all the time has gone. It seems like just yesterday I sat in the lobby of NBU and marveled at what a sexy place it seemed to be - -everyone all in black, tattoos and piercings proudly accepted, fun music blaring. Now I’ve seen a little behind the curtain and understand a lot more about the beauty industry - - good and bad.

 I still love it.

 Last night I looked around at my classmates and thought about the amazing time we’ve had. Something reminded me of the HBO series Band of Brothers. Ok, so this is hardly a war - - even I realize that. But there is something magical about accomplishing what we’ve accomplished together. We’re all working  a day job, paying for class ourselves, managing relationships and families. It was apparent to me - - there’s  something special that develops when you trust someone to put peroxide chemicals on your eyelashes. You begin to break it down and talk about a family member’s cancer diagnosis, alcoholism, or a spouse's unfaithfulness. There’s something about the beautification process that’s way more significant than the actual “improvement” to the outside appearance.

I’ve heard people talk about how this industry gets in your blood. I get that now. Despite the long hours and the weekend work, I can’t imagine not working in it in some capacity. This brings me to my new beauty venture, which makes me smile. I call it TANtaleyes. Without going into too much detail here, I’ll give you the website –

I’m excited and I've been singing a line from the only song I know by Semisonic. “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Yeah...” –Closing Time (Circa 1999)

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

For your enjoyment - a few more pics from my beauty school memoirs that didn't make the cut to a blog... 

The first man wax in our class. It was only arms, but we were still excited.

Clearly I was excited about receiving my Smashbox Pro card. Not sure  I've even used it more than one or twice!

The night I broke my purple leopard print phone case. What's beauty school without some kind of animal print?

When the temp got below 60 degrees, we resorted to spa robes to keep warm. 

I meant to do a blog on these things - - the new Kiss lashes with application strings. I wasn't a fan, but I've already adopted my technique. If you've had trouble with applying lashes in the past - - you might want to try them. They are super cheap and at the drug store. 

One of my fave pics of school. My teacher had just had a Jessner's chemical peel. Her skin was coming off in sheets! 

My final state board exam kit. Complete with sheets, a tunic, paper towels, sanitizer, tweezers, mock wax, the list could go on and on.... 

Everything has to be labeled in the state board kit. 

The six "smaller" kits I have to use for state board to test out for things like, steaming someone's face, using a face vac, brushes, waxing eyebrows, etc. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


For the past 10 months I’ve had to keep track of EVERY service I’ve done at school.  Herding cats - - that’s what it’s been like.

Now it’s time for me to make sure all these services are accounted for on a ton of worksheets for the state board.  It basically proves that I’ve done the minimum requirements to test for my license.  

Yesterday I finally completed all of my worksheets. If I had the physical dexterity, I would have done back hand springs.  

According to my calculations, I’ve successfully completed the following:
  • 52 Massage Treatments
  • 39 Facials with Machines
  • 50 Facials without machines
  • 16 Back Treatments
  • 15 Standard Makeup Applications
  • 15 Corrective Makeup Applications
  • 21 Eye brow arches (I know this one is an understatement)
  • 31 Waxing/Hair Removal Sessions
  • 15 Lash and Brow Tints
  • 74 Sanitation Procedures
The state board doesn’t ask about the stuff we've enjoy the most (like microderm, lashes, and chemical peels). I guess they know we’re a lot more likely to practice applying false lashes than suffer through bikini waxes. 

So, I've finished 725 hours of my required 750, and I've made roughly $327 in tips in beauty school to date (of which I spent about $300 or so during my break for dinner... or Starbucks).

Now I’m busy running around getting all the “initials” I need to receive my paperwork to schedule my state board exams. I have just a few more services to finish out my week. Next Tuesday I will do a mock demonstration of my state board exam, and Wednesday the 6th is scheduled to be my final clock-out at Nashvegas Beauty U.

I’m gonna miss this beautifully insane place.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Like coffee? Me too. So does your skin.

I got this bag from a spa pantry... but you can use plain old Joe from the
grocery store... same thing!
Fresh coffee grounds in your body wash. It’s simple as that. Take your favorite body wash, open up the lid, and add a few teaspoons of fresh coffee grounds (I never have been good at moderation, so for me it ends up being about ½ cup). Shake it up and smooth it on during your next shower for an inexpensive treatment with lots of benefits. You can also add them to a body scrub or just have them in a small jar in the shower.

Here’s what you’ll get by bringing the cafĂ© to the bath:
  • It just smells great, especially first thing in the morning.
  • A great mechanical exfoliation to the skin (just rub the grounds on your skin the same way you would use a body scrub).
  • The topical benefits of caffeine on the skin. Here’s a little “good news/bad news” for this one. I’m sure you’ve seen those cellulite reducing lotions and creams at the drug store. Tempting, I know… especially with a coupon. Here’s the bad news - you’ll only see success with these creams if you use them daily, and even then, the “reduction in the appearance of cellulite” is temporary. That is, when you stop using the creams, the wobble will reconvene on your thighs. Sigh…. BUT…  here’s the good news - you can get your daily cellulite reducing caffeine fix from your coffee infused body wash, and not a pricey lotion (and it’s not an extra step in your bathing rituals to remember).
Adding a "little" coffee to my sugar scrub. 

  • Coffee doesn't "melt away" while you're exfoliating with it like salts and sugar scrubs. (The down side, you’ll probably see some of it on your shower floor when you’re done, and it will turn your body wash a bit of a brown color).
  • Antioxidants - I've talked about those enough... you know what they are!
FYI – Before writing this blog I decided to see if I could re-purpose the coffee grounds left over from my morning coffee. You can try it - - but honestly, it’s just not the same as fresh coffee grounds on the skin. It’s a little mushier and just not as good an exfoliation. Remember that the goal with exfoliation is to stimulate the skin and increase cellular turnover, so a little “abrasion” is a good thing!

Here’s a hint I’ve learned in school. When you’re using a scrub, try using it in the shower BEFORE you turn on the water. This is how professional  exfoliations are done by estheticians at the spa. Applying the product before you’re wet allows you to truly get a chance to “scrub” before the water washes your product away. Once you’ve scrubbed yourself down, turn on the water and wash away the product.

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,


Thursday, June 16, 2011


As I think about the short time I have left in beauty school (3 weeks), I can’t help but reflect on one of the best things about beauty school - - the clients. Most of them are the everyday gal - - just looking for a good cheap facial or microderm. Others, well… they were unique. In particular, I’d like to take the time to reflect on the ones we students have dubbed the “All Star Client Team”.

Some individuals just make it all worthwhile.They give us day-changing  challenges that make us want to throw our tweezers across the room. Some have made us laugh, while others just left us perplexed and confused. Either way, they were memorable. Isn’t that what we all want in the end anyway?

Like the old Bud Light “Real Men of Genius” commercials, here’s to you - - The All Star Client Team. May you forever live in beauty school infamy.
  • Pink Panty Man Wax – You came in for a leg wax, and wowed us with how unashamed you were to pull your tunic up and show us your hot pink panties. You were one of the first members of the All Star Team.
  • Text Message Queen – I was unable to ignore your ability to multi-task during your facial with  constant text messaging. Even during the massage portion, you managed to hold your phone above your head so that you did not miss responding to one critical message. Congrats, and welcome to the All Star Team.
  • Silent Chemical Peel Lady – You amazed me with your silence. Even when I asked you about your “tingle factor” between each layer of your chemical peel, you refused to answer. I was confused and challenged. Was this a good sign, or a bad sign? Should I continue? I took your silence as affirmation and applied all four layers and a booster to your peel. I have not seen you since. I hope your face is ok.
  • Wonder Woman – Thank you. Thank you. Thank you! Whenever I want to complain about how much laundry there is to fold at NBU, I think of you and I smile. You proudly exited the dressing room with the tunic around your neck like a cape and no pants. It was awesome. That’s all I can say.
  •  Ticklish Birthday Girl and Mom – Your mother gifted you with a back treatment for your 15th birthday. You were more ticklish than any person I’ve ever seen. You gifted the rest of NBU’s relaxed clients (and me) your contagious laughter every time I touched your back. Your mother wasn't happy, but it was one of my favorite services.
  • Ingrown Hair Trauma Lady – After your sister waxed the nape of your neck, most of the hair came back ingrown. You came in desperate. Even though it wasn’t on our menu of services, we used needlepoint tweezers and picked out every one of those suckers. We were not sure what to charge you. We ended up settling on a $5 brow wax fee. You got a deal and we got quite an experience. Thank you!
  • To all the clients over 55 – A special salute to you. You get services for 50% off the already super cheap beauty school prices. We LOVE you. You come in and let us do any services we want to you. You get a facial, a brown wax, lip wax, and a hand treatment and walk out spending less than $20. Ok. Maybe we really love you because you usually make up the difference of your discount to us in tips. Come again, please!  
  • 3x a Week Brow Wax Lady – You came, you waxed, you waxed again, and then… you waxed again. All in one week. Wow. When we had nothing left to wax, we just pretended. 

Honestly, these were just a few of the All Stars. There are just so many. In all sincerity, their quirks and fun have earned a special place in my heart and have made this experience all the richer.

I raise my bottle of Deer Park water to you today, All Star Client Team. May your quest for beauty never cease, and may your oddities and fearlessness continue on to bless the next beauty school drop-in!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I’ve been on the beauty school sidelines this week, which has afforded me the opportunity to do many things that I can’t typically fit into my schedule. First I’ll tell you about the sidelining situation then we’ll move on to my time-passers.  

THE SIDELINE - I did one of those stupid moves where you try to touch the center of your frozen pizza while it’s still in the oven to see if it’s done. As my hand exited the oven, I caught the underside of the top heating coil and…

I haven’t been able to stand anything other than cool water on it. And since very little treatments in esthetics involve cool water, I haven’t been able to do a facial all week. It’s been sad to see my classmates have to take several of my “regulars” (although I do admit it felt good when Ms. Tammy threw a very polite fit when I had to pass her signature facial treatment off to Becky).

In the meantime, I'm still attending school... I'm just draping facial beds and waxing (the two things I probably enjoy the least about esthetics, but I’m sure probably build the most “character”). J

The week has presented me with a few extras to pass the time.
  • Singing Will Smith’s “Summertime”. I can’t get the lyrics out of my head - - I even tried singing the entire last verse aloud and then doing a bow. Nothing seems to work.
  • Watching National Geographic’s special on “The Skin” (which I don’t really recommend unless you enjoy watching “scarification” rituals from third world countries).
  • Shopping for all my state board exam goodies - - I will definitely blog about this one. You won’t believe all the stuff I had to buy just to use to take my exam.
  • Learning about LASHDIP.  It’s the new craze for people that don’t want lash extensions, but would like to have a semi-permanent “AMP-UP” to their lashes. Check it out at  (to ruin the suspense… it’s a semi-permanent mascara that coats every single lash individually – very cool stuff.)
  • Cleaning the wax pots with acetone. (yeah. I saved the best for last.)

So, here is a look at my burn today - - yes, it looks nasty still. But I’m really hoping to be off the sidelines next week - - otherwise it might be another week of me, Will, and Jazzy Jeff:

“Adjust the base and let the alpine blast… pop in my cd and let me run a rhyme… and put your car on cruise and lay back cause this is summertime…”  (summa…summa… summa-time…)

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Behind the Scenes

Yeah. In case you were wondering, it is as glamorous as it looks - - lots of stainless steel, plastic containers,  and white sheets.

I recently went around NBU and took a few "behind the scenes" pics. If you've ever wondered what things look like behind all the warm ambience and sexiness of a spa, enjoy!

Now for a peek behind the curtain...

The oh-so-sexy tupperware tubs where we pull our sponges,
facial brushes, and other implements for client services.

The Back Bar - This is the term used for the area housing all the
products used on clients for facials, microderm, etc. This is usually where we disappear
to when we say, "I'll be right back..." (aka - I forgot something.)

The biggest container of Barbicide you've ever seen.
Pretty much everything we use on a client has to be washed
and then soaked in this solution for a minimum of 10 minutes. 

Pretty maids... all in a row. Few clients actually get to see the "clinic floor" in full lighting.
I made this pic after we had draped every bed on the clinic floor for a busy night. 

I couldn't resist. Beauty School LOVES some culture training. I think #2 is still my fave. 
FYI - Only 7 weeks of beauty school left for this drop-in!

Gettin' Beauty Schooled,

Friday, May 6, 2011

To California and Back with Shellac

I couldn’t decide this week. Would I write an update on Shellac? or my west coast adventure? I decided I’d figure out how to merge the two.

I spent the better part of the last two weeks in California. In fact, my hubby and I started out in the Napa Valley and drove our way down to LA. How’s that for testing out a manicure?

The purpose of our trip…  a little vacation and a little business (and a lot of “are you sure we’re on the right road?”)

This trip included what I consider to be one of the most significant trainings of my “beauty school” career.

Here’s the back story. I’ve been closet spray tanning people for months now.  After some initial training, I start digging into the theory of DHA (the stuff that makes you “tan”) - - how it works, how to optimize it, and the always important - how NOT to turn people orange (you've seen the Lindsay Lo pictures).  I attempted my first few sprays and I hit a reality.  This isn’t easy. Doing custom spray tanning takes A LOT of practice, and while it can provide the most impressive sunless tan you’ve ever laid eyes on - -  the truth is, your tan is only as good as the person applying it. Tanning becomes a masterpiece when you learn to use artistry techniques and can provide the really beautiful stuff - - body slimming, toning, muscle definition, etc.

I’ve found myself lying in bed contemplating the best way to blend wrist color out towards the hand. I have little sticky notes at my desk that ask incomplete thoughts like, “How to conceal stretch marks?” Then there’s body contouring. Someone needs to bring body contouring to the people!!

So, if you want to be an actor, you go to Hollywood, right? And if you want to train for the hottest tan this side of Brazil, I figured…  you go to California.

I got the opportunity to work with a CA spray tan artist. I was pretty impressed with her resume. She’s the official spray tan artist for the Miss. California Pageant, pro football cheerleading teams, celebrities, and even has a national body building contract. I’ll spare you the details, but the training was great.  

Since I got home, I’ve been spraying anyone I can get my Shellacked hands on (no…. I haven’t forgotten about your Shellac update). Last night, I actually offered to spray tan the check out girl at Kroger because she had such great cheek bones I wanted to contour. So, if you’re in the Nashville area and you want a tan like you’ve never had before, feel free to reach out to me – all body types, all skin types.

Ok –now for the Shellac update! I went a full two weeks WITHOUT a chip! On day 14, I saw my first one - - at the tip of pointer finger.
This chip was a long time coming... 14 days to be exact. 
A FULL TWO WEEKS! That was through lots of water, endless hand sanitizer, and lugging my bags around California. They were as shiny on the last day as the first. The only give away evidence that it wasn’t a new manicure was the fact that my nails grew in two weeks… and bright red did me no favors there. It was easy to see where the Shellac polish met the new growth.

The day after I got back, I marched right back into the salon to have my red Shellac removed (which set me back $15 and 10 minutes) and I decided to go French Manicure Shellac. I dare say this girl is addicted. 

FYI – If you want to save a few bucks, you can remove your Shellac at home! Just get a small bottle of 100% acetone at the beauty supply store and soak for about 7 minutes. You can take an orange stick (or a cuticle pusher) and push away the old Shellac. I recommend having it removed at the salon the first time to get the hang of it - - then DIY!

Gettin’ Beauty Schooled,