On the Road: Salon Bella Mana Nail Spa, Plymouth, Mass.

Going to Salon Bella Mana Nail Spa is a lot like going to visit a friend.

<p>Salon Bella Mana Nail Spa's atmosphere is intimate and homey.</p>

When NAILS asked me if I would write this page, I knew exactly who to call: Michele Cowan at Salon Bella Mana Nail Spa. Michele and I met about four years ago at a gel class. We hit it off right away and have been friends ever since. Michele is a real artist with both acrylics and gels and I knew she was just the tech/artist I wanted to do my nails.

Salon Bella Mana Nail Spa’s atmosphere is intimate and homey. Going there is a lot like going to visit a friend. As soon as I walked in I felt relaxed and welcomed. The decor is warm and inviting with soft lighting to put you right into that zone where your worries just melt away. There are three main rooms: the reception area, the manicure room, and the pedicure room. There is also a back area with a curtained breakroom, a supply room, and two big sparkling clean, bathrooms. (I mention the size of the bathrooms because mine is tiny!)

Barbara MacKenzie, one of the three owners, her son Aiden, Michele, and I were the only ones in the spa and it was a real treat to be able to talk shop uninhibitedly — from how lucky we are to be doing what we love for a living, to how irritating certain types of clients can be! We shared our worries about what this new economy is going to do to business and our determination to make things work.

It turns out that we also share what some would call a fanatical penchant for cleaning. Barbara was doing some cleaning while Michele was working on my nails and I loved watching her work. She didn’t miss a crack, corner, or crevice. Michele’s work area is also squeaky clean and totally organized but not at all “sterile” feeling. The cleanliness of the whole spa just makes it that much more relaxing.

<p>Longtime friend Michele Cowan does my nails.</p>

What a treat to watch Michele work on my nails. She had so many pretty sparkly things for me to choose from, it was hard to narrow it down. There was mylar, glitter, sea shells, rock star confetti, and colored powders galore! What an experience for a girl who spends her days in a natural nail spa. I finally settled on two shades of pink sparkle and Michele got down to business.

<p>These great nails are quite a change from my usual natural nail manicures.</p>

What a treat! My nails are gorgeous, and I’ve realized she’s not all that far away from me. This could easily become a regular habit. After all, I refer clients to her all the time. Now they can get a preview of her work on my very own hands! Thank you NAILS. What a lovely day it was getting to be a client and watch a great tech at work.

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