Sunday, May 9, 2010

On The Spot

I try really hard to make this blog something all kinds of people will like to read. I want it to be informative for people with varying interests. I want to avoid alienating people by talking a lot about my personal politics, religion or other controversial subjects (although sometimes my opinions leak out on Twitter, where I was recently unfollowed and removed from a list after commenting on something in the political arena. C'est la vie!). This week, however, I am going to get personal. Way more personal than politics or even religion. This week, I am going to tell you about my waxing.

One of my closest friends, Sarah, used to live on 12th Street. We used to walk with the kids in the morning- I would make my way down 12th and pick her up. We would proceed down to Heights and walk the path or sometimes just meander up and down the streets seeing what was being torn down, renovated, built; commenting on color choices and large yards with no pools (foolishness, I tell you!)... There is a cute, beige bungalow near the corner of 12th and Heights that was on the market for a while and we watched and waited for someone to move in. Then one day we saw a sign for business hours go up in the window. It was going to be commercial but what? It was a few weeks until a sign for The Wax Spot was hanging from the porch.

Sarah has been living in Canada for over a year so it must be a good 3 years since the Wax Spot was opened by Angelica Cardosa, who has been an aesthetician specializing in waxing for over 6 years. As usual, I was excited to have another service close to home. For many years I have been driving to the Village for waxing but the drive was getting tiresome and it became harder to rationalize the trip with a limited window of time while someone else had my kids. You would think I would have gone to The Wax Spot right away, but I am a creature of habit in some regards and rather than change where I was going, I just stopped going as regularly and forced my husband to accept my legs in their rather Chewbacca like state.

Then a couple weeks ago, a friend from out in the 'burbs emailed to ask me if I knew anything about the place since I lived so close by. I was almost a little embarrassed to tell her I hadn't been there but I had heard good things about Angelica from when she worked in River Oaks. I decided with my vacation pending that I would make an appointment.

Even though they don't technically open until 10, Angelica was willing to let me make a 9 am appointment. This was definitely getting the experience off on the right foot, I thought. When I got to the little bungalow, it was very much what I hoped: a house whose original floorplan was being used to accommodate a business. It hadn't been gutted to be a commercial property. Angelica just moved in as it was. The front has a small reception desk and some casual seating, warm colors and a lot of sunlight.

Angelica's previous place of business was a typical commercial space. She was working for another woman who was "irresponsible" and one day just stopped taking clients in their shared space. Angelica was left there in this sterile office space and as soon as she could, she decided the time was right to strike out on her own and find somewhere that represented what she wanted her business to be. She wanted a house for the character and also for the abundance of natural light that helps with the work she does.

The front room is bright and welcoming with a very homey feel

When I arrived, Angelica was working the front desk. She told me that her sister, Christie, would actually be doing my waxing but she was running late so Angelica would get me started. She did the "light" work- eyebrows and lip. It was quick and painless. I was pleased with the fact that she was unhappy with the shape of my eyebrows. I am too, after so many years of cheap wax job at nail salons. She showed me where there were a couple hairs she was going to leave and what I should let grow in for optimal shape for my face. After we were done with those areas, I went back out front to wait.

And I waited. And waited. And waited. Christie was over an hour late to my appointment. About 30 minutes in, I started to get annoyed but I was leaving for vacation in 2 days and the leg/bikini situation had to be dealt with. It was certainly too late to get an appointment anywhere else I would feel comfortable taking my pants off. So, I continued to wait. Angelica's own appointment showed and I was left in the front to my own devices.

Christie finally showed and was very apologetic but I was annoyed and ready to get down to business. We went in to a second room, where I was given a paper cover and allowed some privacy to disrobe. I asked her "Undies on or off" and she told me it was my choice. I wasn't going Full Monty (told you this was getting personal) but I also hate sticky wax undies, so I got naked from the waist down and covered with the paper. There was a small tv at the foot of the bed and Dirty Jobs was looping on a DVD player. I think this is sheer genius- giving you something to take your mind off the torture you are enduring in the name of beauty. Christie came in and asked if I had ever had a bikini wax and what I wanted/expected. This was a courtesy I haven't experienced before in my many years of bikini waxing and I imagine it can make a difference if you are new to the game.

My friend, we'll call her C, from the burbs who had instigated this visit was a 1st timer when we she went to see Anglelica. I was curious about her experience at The Was Spot as a bikini wax virgin. She was happy to share her experience with me. One thing C said was that the 1st thing that impressed her was "what a cute little place [it was] and so easy to find." The easy location was important since C rarely comes in to town and is "forever getting lost even with GPS." She said she was greeted by Angelica when she walked in and was asked to fill out some requisite paper work "not unlike going to the doctor's office." C says she asked Angelica "half joking half not, that if I cried, would I be the first?" She told her there has been a tear or two "but never full on crying." The fact that no one had been driven to hysterical tears helped C relax a little and she was ready to give it a go.

Bright, clean rooms are warm and comfortable. Each waxing room has a small tv with DVDs that serve as needed distractions for clients.

Angelica walked C into a bright room "with a chair similar to what you would find in a dentist's office only cover in velvet and paper protector." C had a great experience, saying "I was a little nervous at first, but [Angelica] put me right at ease with her friendly personality. She let me know when to breathe in and when to exhale to help minimize the pain. The whole thing took about 30 minutes (Brazilian Wax).My husband loved it and I would recommend her to everyone. She gave me a 15% discount because it was my first time and she also told me if I found any stray hairs in the next 10 days she would clean it up for free and would take less than 10 minutes."

I was so glad to hear that C had a positive experience. I have been to a couple spas/salons that would make a 1st timer think bikini wax is only for suckers. Once Sister and I got started, I was happily having a similarly good experience. They use a great parafin wax for the bikini, which is so much less painful than traditional wax with muslin strips. They do use the muslin for legs, but it doesn't seem to matter as much there. Anyway, she was quick and thorough and I was out the door 30 minutes after we started, no longer a Wookie. She also did my underarms. I hadn't let the hair grow out the recommended time period so we went in knowing it might not take, but Sister was determined and got all the hair, plucking a few strays with tweezers so that I wouldn't have to worry about it while I was away.

When I went to pay, Angelica and Christie both apologized again for the delay. I was given the customary 15% discount for being a new customer, plus a couple of comped services for the inconvenience. I thought this was great customer service and could definitely tell that Angelica cares very much about the reputation of her business.

As I was checking out, I mentioned seeing a "For Sale" sign in the front yard. She said the landlord really wants to sell the property. She is unsure if she'll be able to stay since it is listed as a residential property. Her landlord is working with her on the lease until she finds a new location. She believes she'll end up in the right place and is certain it will be in the Heights. She wasn't familiar with this neighborhood but several of her long term clients told her to look up here when she getting ready to leave the commercial property in River Oaks. She says the more she drove around and explored the Heights, the more she was certain this is where she wanted to set up shop. Angelica hopes to expand the business and she feels this is a great neighborhood for that. She has been really welcomed by residents, word of mouth helping drive the business, and is even more certain that this is where she wants to stay.

Angelica also does make-up applications and lessons at no charge, hoping clients will just make a minimal purchase.

In the end, I had a great experience and I hope the sisters can find someplace that suits them in the Heights. I will love to have somewhere close and convenient that also does a good job. I don't hold the tardiness against them. It was just one visit and my friend's positive experience helps me believe that was a one off. I hope to get to see them again since summer is in full swing, at the bungalow on 12th or on whatever spot they land.

Angelica and Christie


  1. I went to cosmetology school with Angelica. She is extremely talented and has the greatest personality!

  2. I went there at 8 months pregnant (for my first time) and she could not have been nicer! Love this place and hope she stays in the heights!!!