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,

Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse: Day 2

day 2 of my 5-day Organic Avenue Love Deep Cleanse.  all juices, no solid foods.

mood:  cautious. it was a monday, so the first day i truly needed to be an active member of society. also, it was the first day of my 2-day conference on learning to “lead with presence”.  scary on more than one level.

activity level:  full day of a leadership conference + a yoga class at night.  i have to admit, there were moments during my yoga class where i was feeling light-headed.  maybe after 2 days of fewer calories, i didn’t have enough to push through a really challenging yoga class.

The Menu: total calorie count (minus the Coconut Mylk) = 715 calories.  i figure the max the Coconut Mylk could be is around 700…if so, we’re talking about 1400 calories.

  • CHLOROPHYLL SHOT (0 calories)
  • COCONUT WATER (86 calories)
  • PEAR JUICE (209 calories):  one of my favorite juices, probably because it’s so sweet and palatable.  but absolutely delicious.  apparently pear is a hypo-allergenic fruit that is high in fiber but less likely to produce adverse reactions
  • MASTER TONIC (108 calories): the very typical idea of a “cleanse” with the cayenne pepper.  not as sweet but very delicious nonetheless
  • VEGGIE VIBE (146 calories): my absolute favorite “good for you juice”. it doesn’t taste (or look) that green, and it’s quite delicious!
  • GREEN LOVE (166 calories):  my 2nd favorite “good for you juice”. while it’s definitely green, i think the lemon and parley cuts through it a little
  • COCONUT MYLK (Org Ave won’t really tell me how many calories are in this, which leads me to believe that it’s really high — also not listed on their website. very suspicious…):  it literally tastes like you’re eating a coconut. delicious!

the verdict:  by the end of day 2, i had a bit of a lull in energy — especially after the yoga class.  but was hoping that it was the worst of it!

Organic Avenue Love Deep: Day 1

Day 1 of a 5-Day Organic Avenue Love Deep.

baseline:  despite being vegan this past year+, i’ve definitely let some bad habits slip in: two fully-caffeinated sugary Starbucks drinks a day, tons of cooked stuff, candy galore and…oh hi, carbs!

mood:  apprehensive.  based on the above, i was expecting Day 1 to be painful: headaches, moodiness and major bitchiness.  oddly enough, none of it. which leads me to believe the worst is still to come. (yikes!)

activity level:  day 1 was a Sunday, so tried to keep it low key. went to a 90-minute Jivamukti yoga class before i started my cleanse, then lounged around the rest of the day watching bad-but-good movies (Miss Congeniality, Titanic, Twilight)…and also squeezed in a massage. anticipating the worst, i decided to take it easy.

the menu:  i specifically asked for there to be “more” calories, since i wanted to continue my daily workout regime during the cleanse.  today’s total calorie count: 1,054

the verdict: loved the flavor of every single juice today. in the past, i’ve had not-so-great times with some of the green soups, but thankfully, no green soups on this menu! energy levels are decent…but we’ll see what happens tomorrow when i have to go to work and be functioning member of society!

GRUB: Café Boulud – Chef’s Tasting Menu (September 2011)

GRUB 411:

  • CAFE BOULUD, 20 East 76th Street, NY NY 10021; (212) 772-2600
  • TYPE:  French, classic
  • PRICE:  $$$$$$
  • QUICKVIEW:  exquisite classic French cuisine, nestled in a quintessential Upper East Side scene.  After eating here, you know why Mr B gets all the props, but let’s just say you definitely get what you pay for.  (my wallet is feeling violated)
  • SEOULDIVA SAYS:  ♥♥♥♥♥ (but for $$$$$)


after owning and running a successful specialty food store in Westchester County, it’s no surprise that my parents are both huge foodies.  thus, selecting a restaurant for a special occasion dinner is never an easy feat. so i was stressing where to take them for their birthdays.

but one thing i’ve learned over the years — when in doubt, GO CLASSIC.

Daniel Boulud’s reputation precedes him – he is one of the most successful restauranteurs in NYC, and he has a reputation for excellence.  while his downtown burger joint was a questionable toe dipped in the casual water, i’d never eaten at any of his signature locations.

naturally, Momma & Poppa Park wanted to do the 7-course tasting menu. unfortunately, that meant the entire table had to do the tasting menu. when i told the waiter i didn’t eat meat, he said “is fish OK?”  (i reluctantly acquiesced).  then the waiter asked if anyone had any allergies — i told him i was allergic to dairy.  his panic was palpable.  LESSON LEARNED: it’s nearly impossible to be vegan at a French restaurant.  anyhoo…

  • the tasting menu came at a nice pace.  we were seated around 9:30pm and we were done around 11:30pm.
  • service was solid – attentive without being being a nuisance. plates were cleared as soon as we were done, but no hovering.
  • despite me being a special needs eater, they did their very best to accommodate me, which was very much appreciated
  • food presentation was impeccable and EVERY piece of meat was cooked to absolute perfection.
  • the plates were classic, but didn’t seem outdated – the flavors were clean and articulate.
  • the word of the day: MONEY.  everyone around us were clearly rolling in it, you needed to have a fair amount of it to eat there, and everything tasted exquisitely expensive.

overall, the dinner was a tremendous success.  the Parents Park were really impressed with the meal, which is not an easy accomplishment.  NO complaints!  but again – this is not a destination for the monetarily bashful. another lesson learned: you get what you pay for in life!

DISCLAIMER:  apologies for the semi-blurry photos…i forgot my real camera so had to shoot these with my phone!


AMUSE BOUCHE:  Risotto balls.  unfortunately i didn’t sample these lovely delicacies, but Momma & Poppa Park enjoyed them!

COURSE 1:  Oysters….needless to say, i didn’t eat this either.  but apparently it was delicious….(still wanted to share the photo!)

COURSE 2: Maine Peekytoe Crab, Grab Gelée, Cauliflower, Lemon, Chives.  this was an exquisite dish – there was a lovely thin layer of puff pastry wrapped around the tiny log of peekytoe crabmeat. it sat atop a bed of minced vegetables, served with puff balls and some creme fraiche.

COURSE 2 (alternative):  Hamachi Crudo, radish, avocado, tomato, basil.  Poppa Park ate this one…he said it was deliciously light and refreshing.

COURSE 3:  Corn and potato soup with pan de mie toast with popcorn.

COURSE 3 (alternative): Eckerton Farm Tomato Gazpacho, prosciutto grissini, avocado, english cucumber, basil. this was a remarkably refreshing, light gazpacho. what really did it for me was the basil oil that was drizzled on top. swoon.

COURSE 4:  Tortelloni with shaved parmesan and mushrooms.

COURSE 4 (Alternative):   Chanterelle Mushroom Risotto, black summer truffles. absolutely delicious – very much appreciated that they made this alternative for me. i would have inhaled an entire plate of it.  the risotto was creamy (not from dairy, naturally), but still delightfully al dente.

COURSE 5: Striped Bass en Paupiette, pommes purée, baby leeks, sauce meurettethe Parents Park had this one – it looked unbelievable, though.

COURSE 5 (alternative):  Roasted Eggplant Ravioli, smoked ricotta cheese, tomato sauce, garlic confit.  for my almost-vegan 5th course, they made a lovely eggplant ravioli. unfortunately they forgot that ricotta cheese is…well, dairy.  fortunately, i was able to scoop the dollops off to the side of the plate.

COURSE 6:  Cherry Glazed Duck Breast, pommes amandine, wilted arugula, cipollini onions, sauce au poivre.  this was a mini version of their regular menu item – my parents were bowled over at how beautiful and delicious the dish was.  the duck breast was cooked to perfection.  very pleased.

COURSE 6 (alternative): Poached Maine Halibut, poblano peppers, shiitake mushrooms cashews coconut-red curry broth.  for my last savory dish, i got a delicious red curry halibut. clearly, this falls under the more contemporary category of dishes, and to that, i say, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  i’m not a fan of watered-down anything.  as someone who personally loves a bold, rich-flavored curry, this didn’t cut it for me.  however, i will say the fish was PERFECTLY cooked.

COURSE 7:  Milk Chocolate Coffee Parfait, jivara mousse, feuilletine crisp, nougat ice cream.  by this point of the evening, i said “screw it” and just ate whatever they put in front of me (clearly any hopes of maintaining any type of vegan diet was completely foiled).  not really being a sweets person, this dessert was adequate.  if anything, it was too sweet, which was unexpected for a mousse parfait dish.

Dark Chocolate Mousse, pistachio crémeux, chocolate sablé, pistachio ice cream
.  this was an unexpected favorite at our table.  my mom & I (not normally huge chocolate freaks), adored this.  there was a delicious pistachio cakey-thingee underneath the sheet of chocolate…and the actual mousse was perfectly rich without being too decadent, and NOT TOO SWEET!

food pr0n: Fresh Figs with Black Summer Truffles and Truffle Cream (@PureFoodandWine)

there’s no question: figs are the sexiest looking edibles around. everything about it oozes culinary erotic: from the beautiful rich colors, to the subtle grain of the seeds, to the delicate flavors bursting in your mouth.

and who’s a sexy runner-up to figs? TRUFFLES, naturally. (i’m sure my homegirl @erinmccaffrey would agree)

what do you get when you pair these two bombshells together? FOOD PR0N!

take a look at this seasonal appetizer from my favorite restaurant in NYC: Pure Food & Wine — Fresh Figs with Black Summer Truffles and Truffle Cream

DESCRIPTION: Fresh Figs with Black Summer Truffles and Truffle Cream with red mustard and pea greens, chervil, and pink peppercorn

SEOULDIVA SAYS:  this dish is stunning. delicate, yet flavorful all at once.  the figs bring a lovely, unassuming sweetness, balanced by the light smoke from the beautiful truffle shavings.  both sit on top of this nut-cream sauce that adds a nice tang, with the sprouts to clean the palate.

be sure to visit the fine folks at Pure Food & Wine to try this unbelievable decadence before it’s gone from their menu!!

(thanks to @sarma for sending me the dish description!!)

Pure Food & Wine
54 Irving Place
NY NY 10003.
(212) 477-1010