San Diego —  I love salons in houses — there’s just something so quaint and comfortable about them. So whenever I see a cottage or bungalow with a salon inside, I know I have to visit. I found Be Beauty by posting a message on the NAILS Facebook page ( that I was looking for a salon in San Diego. Nail tech Brian Garces messaged me back to come to the salon where he works. When I looked it up online and saw it was in a cute little 1920s-era bungalow, I was sold.


The beauty boutique, located in the Little Italy neighborhood on an adorable street with a row of cottage shops, consists of a retail boutique, a makeup application area, a facial room, and a nail room. Salon owners and estheticians Tara Manna and Juliana Rodrigues opened the salon a little over a year ago and the whole down-to-earth, artsy vibe of the neighborhood was really appealing to them. In fact, a psychic told Manna they were going to find a yellow house, two blocks from the ocean, and they would find it by accident. Sure enough, two days later, they stumbled upon the cottage shops (just a few blocks from the water) and the yellow building had a for rent sign up in the window. They knew it was fate. And with a lot of help from friends and family, they opened the salon.


The nail room has two manicure tables and two pedicure stations where clients can get natural nail services. Each month they offer a new signature service — when I was there it was a Lavender Milk Pedicure with a homemade brown sugar scrub. In addition to the two owner/estheticians, Be Beauty employs three nail techs.


Garces (who has only been a licensed nail tech since September 2009) is mad for Minx. He was inspired to go to nail school after seeing a Lady Gaga video where she was wearing some super cool nails. He found out later she was wearing Minx. Believe it or not, this was my first personal experience with the product and it was pretty cool to watch the application process on my toes. (Garces changes his own Minx styles out once a week and says wearing it himself is the best form of advertising he could do.) I enjoyed the salon’s specialty cocktail while Brian worked on my feet and explained excitedly just how much he loves the nail industry.


Be Beauty hosts Beauty Soirées in the salon and out in the garden area. In addition to beauty and nail services, guests can shop, mingle, and enjoy refreshments, local artists, and live music. I can see why clients feel comfortable here and sometimes stop in just to hang out and say hi. It really is a home away from home.

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