Polish Day Spa

1420 NW Pettygrove St.   Portland, OR 97209   503.327.8328    Mon – Sat 10-7, Sun 11-6


My good friend Jenna found this nail salon/day spa for us to try when they were advertising a 15 minutes reflexology special for $10 on a sign outside. I laugh now at the memory of our visit because I had Jason, who applied the perfect moderate pressure, while I could hear Jenna next to me saying ouch, should that be painful? I was literally laughing out loud at her complaints, when she told him to go over there and do that to Thanh’s feet. When he did, I screamed out loud and said Jason is not rubbing that hard! You’ve gotta set your boundaries.

My problem with nail salons in the last two years is that they’re all predominantly Vietnamese in the community where I live, and I hear how they talk. They think I look Thai or something other than Vietnamese. And they’re bothered that I don’t speak back in Vietnamese. Well I grew up in Arkansas, so I didn’t have a bunch of Vietnamese people to talk to. When the owner Livia told me that she was Chinese, I was so happy. I told her my woes with the nail salons, and how I was considering finding an American salon. She laughed and said ,”I’m not American honey.” That’s okay, you’re perfect for me.

I live a fearless and self-indulgent life. When I was 19 years old, I suffered my first serious heartbreak. I had fallen head over heels in love a year before with a guy named Paul, who proposed marriage to me. All I really remember is our break up, me spending two weeks at home with my parents, lots of crying, no eating, and them telling me they never wanted to see me that way again. Also the realization that I wouldn’t get to visit the Clintons at The White House with his family.

The following year, my brother was diagnosed with cancer. He was my roommate and best friend. He had moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and called me to tell me happy birthday on my twenty first birthday. At the end of that month, Thien’s best friend called to tell me that he had collapsed and was in the hospital at Vanderbilt. A week after his twenty fifth birthday, he died. I was once again depressed and found it hard to leave the couch. As soon as my other older brother left for work each morning, I closed all the curtains and watched repurposed episodes of My So Called Life and dreamed of having my own Jared Leto. Who knew how true that dream would become. I also had my own Heath Ledger, and Kurt Cobain too. Torn, talented individuals on the cusp of greatness and self destruction.

But one day my brother’s best friend came home to our apartment, opened all the curtains, and told me that my ass was too good to be on the couch all the time. That kind of stuck with me for many years. I’ve hardly spent any time on a couch since. I’ve thought a lot about what it would be like to be told you’re dying at the age of 24. I’ve lost friends overnight who never knew they wouldn’t wake up the next day. At those funerals, several of us looked at each other as if it could have been any of us.

So I live life to the fullest. And I treat myself to manicures and reflexology. You should do the same. Find yourself a happy place, and treat yourself to happiness often. Polish Day Spa is a great place to make that happen. Not only is Livia the owner a talented manicurist, she is a joy to talk to. My favorite was when I told her how long I’ve been with my husband. She said, “So you met him when you were ten?” Ha. I love her. (It doesn’t take much to win me over..)

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