Austin, Texas is known as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It’s also the home of the University of Texas Longhorns. When I went to Austin last fall, my primary mission was to see three days of amazing music at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But I was happily surprised to run into a product of the University of Texas as well. Embellish Nails & Boutique was conceived by UT business school students Lisa McQueen and Wendy Pursch. The idea was to open a salon that fit somewhere in between “the high prices of day spas and the questionable cleanliness of neighborhood salons.” So after a few years in the business world, the two pampering-loving ladies set out to create something that fit all the criteria of what they would want in a nail salon.

And those criteria included a fun and stylish atmosphere where cleanliness and sanitation are not forgotten — think pink walls, chandeliers, comfy chairs and couches, your favorite chick flick playing on widescreen TV, and a retail boutique to rival the best gift shop in town. I instantly fell in love with the retail boutique, which offered everything from cards, candles, purses, T-shirts, and jewelry to soaps, lotions, and of course, nail polish and other beauty items.

The salon is a great mix of vintage and modern, creating a truly cozy feeling. I can see why the salon does a big business in bridal parties and other fun soirees. The 1,400-sq.-ft. salon has four big overstuffed chairs for pedicures, and a cool vintage pink couch that can accommodate two more. There is also a nail bar for manicures, and a private room for waxing services and facials. As new business owners both Wendy and Lisa spend countless hours at the salon making sure every last detail is being attended to.[PAGEBREAK]

Embellish is located in a newly developed, high-end shopping center known as the Triangle in Central Austin, close to the university. A lot of young professionals live and work in the area, helping the salon maintain its clientele of women in their late 20s to mid-30s.

And little did I know I was in the midst of a celebrity. My nail tech Taneil Gage had just been named Best Manicurist in Austin Monthly’s Best of Beauty issue. Unfortunately, I wasn’t planning on getting a manicure, but I can attest, my pedicure was worthy of a “Best of…”award itself. My only regret: I went to the salon before standing on my feet for three straight days of live music. Next time I’ll know to book my service for after the show.

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