Friday, May 12, 2017

Finding 'Me Time': Visiting TRU Salon + Spa in Branchburg

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a simple gal.  I consider myself 'hair challenged' and so it's sometimes always in a ponytail (this is my signature look).  I never even blow dry my hair.  I just let it air dry and then I use a flat iron on it.  I wait until the last possible minute to book my hair appointments (which means my roots look like a dark highway through my head), and I have not had a manicure since my wedding day in 2005.  So when the general manager at TRU Salon and Spa, contacted me about their business, I was excited (and scared- I am so not a salon regular!).  She asked if I'd like to visit them and share my experiences with my readers (that's you!).  So I'm going to tell you what it was like for me to give the salon experience a chance, and to visit a local New Jersey business that I truly enjoyed.  I'm also going to tell you why I think 'Me Time' is so important, and how you can find some of your own.


Find Some Time for Yourself

I think, as moms, we give so much of ourselves to others- be it our children, our husbands, our families, our schools, our jobs- that there is so little time left for ourselves.  And gosh, maybe we've even lost ourselves somewhere in there along the way.  I will be honest in telling you that I am the worst offender.  I never leave a moment for myself and I don't think taking care of myself at the salon is any true priority.   I know a lot of moms agree with me. Many don't want to spend the money on themselves or take time away from their families to take care of themselves. Joanne from RealityMomBlog made me chuckle when she said, 'I feel bad spending so much money on my hair and my nails.  When it gets to the point where I look really rag-a-muffinish, I go to the salon for the sake of all those who actually have to look at me.'  Ha ha! So true in my case, too.

But why do we do this to ourselves?  My friend Jennifer had some wise words of wisdom as a mom:  'As soon as I had my first child I gave up all of my favorite things- hair, nails, clothes, makeup.  I wanted to spend every dime on making my kids look cute...But looking back now I have some regret.  My kids have everything.  They are fine.  I have to keep living as well.  Moms need to not forget that.  We need to find a way to keep our true identity throughout motherhood.  Lately now that my kids are older, I'm starting to feel like Jennifer again, not just Mom.  And it literally feels good!  And the kids love seeing me happy.  So to those new moms out there, keep making your appointments!'  So maybe the salon isn't the first place all moms will run to when they want a moment of peace, but it is actually a good place to start, because looking good outside does really help you feel good on the inside, too.

Finding TRU Salon and Spa

TRU Salon and Spa has two locations- one in Warren and one in Branchburg. I visited the Branchburg location, which is right on Rt. 28, across from Raritan Valley College.  It has been there for almost eleven years (the Warren location has been there since 2012).  Many of my mom friends don't like taking time away from their families to get a manicure or have their hair done. Jasmine from HappiestMama says she likes to schedule her pedicures at a shopping center so her husband can go off with the kids for a little while.  TRU in Branchburg is in a great location because it is sandwiched between a Starbucks and Frozen Falls (one of our favorite self-serve frozen yogurt places).  If you feel guilty about leaving your kids to visit the salon, you could actually bring the whole family along on this one.  Daddy can take the kids over to Frozen Falls while you get your manicure. OR take it a step further and visit the planetarium at RVCC afterwards for a kid show and some full family time.  It's a win-win!

TRU Salon and Spa in Branchburg
Frozen Falls in Branchburg=YUM

What to Expect at TRU Salon and Spa

I received a friendly greeting as soon as I walked into TRU.  I don't usually care too much about what the salons have on display to buy (I told you I'm hair challenged), but they had a lot of unique products on the shelves (I picked up a bottle of Surf Infusion by Bumble and Bumble that actually looked like sea waves inside). There were jewelry items and scarves and lots of other things to look at while you waited.  I didn't wait long- not even five minutes, I don't think, so that was a relief.  But that also meant I didn't get to shop much.  Ha!


Here's another honest mom moment for you.  Sometimes I avoid going to the salon because I feel like a slob when I go in there.  Seriously!  The people who work there always look so put together and I come in wearing my ponytail and jean shorts.  I know I'm not alone in this.  Heather, a mom friend of mine, said, "I have to say I don't feel all that comfortable in a salon in general.  All these women are so pretty and dolled up and I feel rather plain and frumpy in comparison.  I'm definitely not a fashionista and just don't fit in well in that sort of environment."  We are our own worst critics.  I think Heather is beautiful (and certainly not frumpy!), but I totally know what she's saying.  But honestly, TRU was a comfortable place. Some salons are over the top fancy and you do feel like a hot mess going in there, but I didn't feel that way here.


My Experience at TRU 

The general manager, offered me a basic manicure and a blowout (wash and blow dry), so my first stop was visiting with Sam, a colorist at TRU who sat with me first and asked what I wanted ('Something nicer than this!' I joked to her).  I also really liked that she asked me a lot about my hair and how I take care of it.  What shampoo I used, if I ever blow it dry myself, how I like it to be styled.  She had suggestions when I asked her about different shampoos I could use, and she didn't try to push any products on me. Everything was super clean and inviting.  It wasn't overly crowded or loud and each stylist seemed to be taking time with each client.


And this is going to sound totally silly, but TRU had really comfortable sinks.  Sometimes it's awkward to sit with your head tipped backwards into a sink, but I felt really comfortable in theirs.  The girl who washed my hair was super nice (and I forget her name but I think it was Kate?) and I was grateful that she talked to me and didn't spill water down my back or anything like that.  I am horrible because I totally forgot to tip her, even though I had the money in my pocket.  I am so sorry! 

The center of the salon area was their coloring station, and I thought it was neat that they had a flat screen TV there for you to watch if you were waiting for your hair to be done. I did not take any pictures of this section, though, because there were women getting their color done there and if you've ever had your hair colored then you know you wouldn't want anyone taking your photo and putting it on the internet while your head was full of foils or color.

Before and After Hair

I don't have a before picture of myself, and I wish I had taken one.  But you can get the general idea of me from Exhibit A here:

Isn't that a fab outfit and great hair?  Can you see the scrunchie?  This is me at Field Day.  Thanks, Jen R. for the pic!

And here's the after.  Goodbye, scrunchie!  I love how Sam did my hair and she even asked if she could part it differently.

Hi there, Jersey Momma!

Manicures

As I've said before, I have not had a manicure since 2005.  I am fortunate to have very healthy nails and I don't do much to them.  They tend to grown very long and then I just file them poorly, like this:


And again, here's one of those moments where I thought 'Manicures are never worth it for me.' But as Melissa was doing my nails they looked so awesome!  I loved how nice they were coming out and I didn't feel awkward at all (which I thought I would, kind of like a 'hurry up' feeling).  My friend Leigh Ann summed it up pretty well when she said, 'Time for yourself is important.  The kids and your husband should see you feeling your best so if that means a good haircut, nails, the gym, etc., you can take a little time.  Do it during nap time or preschool.  Swapping free time with a friend is a great way to squeeze it in if you don't want to be away from the peeps too long.  If Mom feels good, then everyone wins.'

The After shot!  I chose pink.

I worried a little about how I was going to get home with wet nails (how do women do this?) but they had dryers to put my hands under that worked really well.  At this point I should mention that I splurged to buy the hand scrub they used on me.  All I had to do was wipe it around my hands and rinse it off and my hands felt so soft!  So I gladly purchased it at $15, which I thought was a bargain because it's a fairly large jar, you only needed a tiny bit for your hands, and you can also use it on your feet and body, too.

Cuccio Naturale Milk and Honey Sea Salt Scrub

At the time I visited, TRU was remodeling the manicuring room.  Their goal was to create a 'fresh new area with more retail space.' Even though I experienced my manicure before their planned renovation, I still found it to be clean and comfortable, with plenty of polish colors to choose from.

Incidentally, I had just seen a special on Dr. Oz about cleanliness in nail salons.  You'll be happy to know that TRU sterilizes all of their nail implements with a sterilizing solution and then again in ultrasonic and UV sterilizing units.  Dr. Oz would be proud!

The back area of TRU was a massage and spa treatment area.  They are a full-service salon so you can get everything from waxing, make-up and massage to hair color, cut, style, etc.

Pricing at TRU Salon

The cost of salon visits was a big concern for my mom friends.  Many of them don't want to spend the money on themselves.  And I am guilty of that, too.  I'd rather buy my son a toy than spend the money on a haircut for myself!  Isn't that sad?  I mean, happy and sad, I guess.  But here are a few things I really appreciated about TRU, and I'm not just saying this.  They gave me a little menu which contained the majority of their services and pricing.  I have been to salons where the prices seem kind of nebulous. They're not really posted or they have a 'varying' price or 'see your stylist,' since the price varies by hair length.  I liked that everything was mapped out for me in TRU's Menu.  That menu is also available online, so if you don't want to call for pricing or you're embarrassed to ask, you can check it out in advance.

Price and Service Menu from TRU Salon and Spa

Another cool option at TRU is their Guest Rewards Program.  Every time you visit their salon you earn points, and you can use those points towards product purchases in the store.  You also earn points for referring customers, pre-booking, and purchasing products.  It's nice to feel valued as a customer, and know that the business appreciates you and wants you to come back.

'Me Time' Tips and Suggestions

If you're like me and you struggle to find a moment for yourself (or you feel guilty about taking a moment for yourself at all), here are some tips and suggestions from other moms that might help.

-My mom friend Andi suggests (as do many moms) to schedule the appointment every four weeks, no matter what.  Do it while you're at the salon so you don't wind up forgetting or putting it off (or letting a dark highway form on your roots).  Andi says the salon time is a must for her.  She can even catch up on gossip magazines, her guilty pleasure (this is true, too, I never get to read some of these magazines except at the salon!).  Sitting in the salon gives us a chance to decompress and do that one thing that we might not allow ourselves time for, like just drinking an iced coffee or reading a book, or playing a game on your phone.

-My mom friends Christine and Cher love scheduling 'Mommy AND Me' time with their daughters, sitting side by side for manicures or pedicures so that they can take care of themselves and enjoy time with their girls at the same time.  My friend Justine even convinced her son to go with her for a pedicure once!

-Courtney from Mom Upside Down (who is also a Jersey mom!) gives herself a 'vacation day.'  She said, 'As a SAHM, I deserve a vacation day, too.  I use this day to get my hair done, run personal errands, etc.  I hire a babysitter for the day and schedule it while the big kids are at school.  This way I really get a vacation/personal day!'

-Not everyone needs salon time for their Me Time, but I suggest it because I know moms sometimes tend to put their own appearance at the bottom of a priority list.  So do what makes you feel good!

And many thanks to all of my friends on Facebook and elsewhere for the input they offered and allowing me to quote them!

Finding TRU Salon and Spa

If you would like to visit TRU Salon and Spa, you can check out their website or Facebook page for more information.  They have salons in Branchburg and Warren.  Sam did my hair and Melissa did my nails.  I highly recommend both of them!

Doesn't this Jersey Momma look happy?

2 comments:

  1. Finally, a picture of you :) Gorgeous! This is a wonderful review. I wish I lived closer so I could go too!

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    1. You are too kind, Rebecca!! Thank you!! If you ever come out this way, I'll take you for a visit!

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