NAIL ART: stick a feather in it!

apologies — i fell behind on my nail posts (been traveling for work). this is a design i had from a few weeks ago.

  • LOCATION: STUDIO L, 247 W 38th Street, Ste 1603; (646) 499-5357
  • Nail Stylist: Manami (naturally)

when i first saw what could be done with feathers at Studio L, i just knew i had to try it on a design soon!

 ←hotness, no?


  • Manami recommended laying a color down as a base, so the feathers would show more prominently, i decided to change up the base colors a bit to mix it between a peach / light grey / dark grey
  • lay down a clear layer of Calgel, then while sticky, position the full feather tip across the nail
  • once in place, cure under the UV, place another layer of clear Calgel over, cure again, then cut off excess. ultimately you can file off the extra excess until it’s perfect!
  • afterwards, Manami added a few accents of glitter to the feathered fingers to bring it out!

i think this is one of my all-time favorite designs i’ve done. the feathers looked so sophisticated, but it still had personality!


Return to Nail Art: reviving the White Matte Marbled nail design

it’s been nearly 2 years since i last got a crazy nail design.  unheard of, considering i’d gotten a new design every two weeks for a full year straight. but my recent trip to Japan has re-ignited my need for the nail art.

i noticed all the super-polished women rocked beautiful calgel designs, even if it was just a simple gradation! even at the mass drug stores, they had a full section dedicated to nail art:

i chose Studio L for my triumphant return to nail art — mostly because i know & trust the skills of Manami, the owner.  i know she can always execute any crazy idea i have — very rare when you’re trying to be creative with your nail art!

despite flipping through all the Nail Venus & Nail Max magazines in the salon, i had my heart set on a white-ish design in anticipation of Spring, so i revived an older design i had done a couple years ago: my marbled white design.


  • calgel base
  • PEARL calgel color in a reverse french shape
  • took White Matte calgel color to create marbled effect

  • add rhinestones, gold micro-beads & turquoise as needed around accent nails.:)
final effect:


247 West 38th Street (between 7th & 8th Ave), 16th Floor

(646) 499-5357,

Meet the new Nail Art Studio in town! – introducing Studio L!

the nail art craze isn’t going anywhere. i should know…i used to be an addict for a solid year (in my younger days).

in the early years of nail art in NYC, there were two very formidable places: Sakura & Marie Nails. but, as all things do — the city & the scene have both evolved. now there are a bevy of places & players from which to choose.

since i didn’t know any of the technicians at Sakura anymore, and you have to book weeks in advance to get something at Marie Nails, I asked my friend & Nail Art Junkie Keri Blair for suggestions….and so i booked an appointment at Studio L.

Studio L is a small nail art salon, tucked away on the 16th floor of a commercial building in the garment district.  it’s owned by Manami, who happened to be one of my all-time favorite nail stylists from the Sakura glory days. she is one of the most talented as far as flat art design, creativity and technical skill.

Studio L is relatively small: they only have 4 mani stations and two pedicure stations. but it’s nice that it’s not a storefront — you’re removed from the hustle & bustle of the street.  they are equipped with all the latest nail art magazines, as well as a bevy of shades — including NEON ones!

my first visit was this past Sunday — post to follow.  but here’s their info (and some nail art designs to tie you over):


247 West 38th Street (between 7th & 8th Ave), 16th Floor

(646) 499-5357,

Simple Glitter Gradation (and 2 other Calgel discoveries!)

In preparation for my album cover photo shoot, I had to be strategic about my nails.  But because the direction of the shoot was so ornate & edgy, I wanted to keep my nails rather simple this time around (rather than go over the top with too much).
So I decided on a simple Glitter Gradation at Marie Nails.  I asked Sayo to mix a combination of #31 & #32 glitters.

She mixed it with Clear Calgel, but instead of making a more liquid consistency, she made it very pasty & chunky/”dry”.

When I asked her why, she said it was so that she could have more control over the glitter coverage, so that it would be really saturated at the tip of the nail, and she could thin it out towards the middle.  (interesting)
For a rather “simple” design, I had TWO very interesting discoveries:

1)  SUPER Clear Calgel.  “Wait — what is this?” you may ask yourself….apparently exactly what it says it is!  Sayo used it as my “top coat” of clear.  The result was extra shininess!

2) A Permashine Gelacquer Top Coat:  Instead of the usual nail polish top coat, Sayo whipped out this new bottle.  She explained it was a gel topcoat that added more protection.  This was applied after my “Super Clear” Calgel.
The result?  SUPER shininess all around!

Total price:  $40

NY SOHO store
155 prince street
New York NY 10012
(Between West Broadway and Thompson Street)

Marbled White Matte Nail Design, @ Marie Nails NYC

Saturday, I ventured back down to Marie Nails for the 2nd time.  Some quick observations from my last visit:

  • Despite the fact that Marie Nails didn’t have Biogel available for a base, my nails held up pretty well.
  • I only had slight lifting on one nail (my thumb)

As far as design, I didn’t know what I wanted, but I knew I wanted white.  It’s hard for me to commit to a color on my nails, so for winter it’s usually black…but maybe for summer, it’ll be white!  I thought “maybe I’ll go simple this time” (yeah right!).
I remembered this design from my last visit.  It was one of Sayo’s original creations:

So we went with it!
But first we had to remove my old set. **Reminder: Removal is FREE at Marie Nails, provided you got them done there.  Before wrapping my nails in the Calaway foils, Sayo used this machine to file the top layer of the nails off first:
Afterwards, she put 1 layer of clear Calgel as a base, followed by a “Pearl” Calgel:
Then she pulled out the “Ice” Calgel and the Matte White Calgel.  She applied the Ice first, in order to provide a more stark contrast for the Matte White:

Then, came the fun part!   Sayo basically “blobbed” a few spots of Matte White Calgel on the nail…then proceeded to “swirl” them with her brush:

COOL, right?!
Then we added the Turquoise stones, mini gold beads and gems on the ring fingers & thumbs.

We decided against doing gold glitter outline, and just keep it simple.  Here’s the final look:

Couldn’t be happier! It was exactly what I wanted: white, clean, simple…but not really!
Here’s the most incredible thing:  TOTAL TIME = 1½ hours. That’s for everything: removal, new set AND design.
COST:  $55 for the Calgel & design + $14 for the rhinestones & acoutrements = $69 TOTAL.
I have been meaning to go back to Sakura to visit my girls there, but I’m really happy with the fact that it is cheaper (I mean, removal is FREE), and also THRILLED with the fact that Sayo is lightning fast.  Time is the most valuable commodity of all, and if I can get in & out in only 1½ hours…then that is Visa Card Priceless.

Marie Nails NYC – Soho
155 Prince Street (between W. Broadway & Thompson)


[May the Nail gods forgive me for my lateness.]
Lani was amazing enough to send me her nail pics weeks ago, but because of the madness of Fashion Week and work, I didn’t get around to posting it until now.  But I promise you, it’s worth the wait!!
Lani and her friend Irene went to Sakura prepared. They visited Kinokuniya (a bookstore that carries Japanese mags galore) and peeped some designs from Nail Venus Mag prior to their appointment, so they already knew what they wanted.
(Irene & Lani)
What I love about these designs is that they took inspiration from the Nail Venus mags, flipped it, and made it their own!!


  • “Irene had beautiful, long natural nails going in, so she did white, silver, black and silver glitter tips on all fingers except her ring fingers.

  • “On those she had a white Calgel base, with the white, silver, black & silver glitter design over the whole nail. Plus some rhinestones thrown on there for extra sparklies! Her artist was Carmen, and she did amazing, intricate work – and it took almost 3 hours!”


“I used a design that had pink Calgel base with black hearts painted on the ring and thumb fingers, and a rhinestone at the base of the all the other nails.”

  • “I decided to change it up and make my index, middle and pinkie fingers black Calgel with the rhinestone at the base. My artist (whose name I sadly can’t remember) found it was easier to work with tiny black holograms instead of trying to paint the hearts by hand, so that’s what we did! We ended up with 3 layers of a peachy pink Calgel on the thumb and ring finger (#64 I think) with two little black hologram hearts. The rest of the fingers had 3 layers of black Calgel, with the large rhinestones at the bottoms of them.”

Both your nails look SO fly!!!  Thank you so much for sharing your designs and inspirations!!!

Sakura – UES
1709 Second Ave
New York, NY 10128
(212) 722-1334