My not-so-nail-biting experience

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A proud card-carrying member of the Vietnamese-American population, I admit there’s one thing that kind of shames my race. Ah yes, it’s the ubiquitous Vietnamese nail salons. Yes, the same sweat-shop like “salons” where the lovely methanol and acetone fumes pervade the entire room. Personally, I have nothing against them (other than the fact my Anglo friends seem to think I moonlight at the one in the strip mall next to the Publix in Imperial Point). I even think one of my aunts works at a nail salon (ah, well, I guess that shouldn’t surprise many of you).

Ironically, I can’t say I’ve ever been to one of these salons. Something about wanting to distance myself from my nail-file toting brethren. I don’t know.

So it was a welcomed surprise when my friend Nikol Johnson asked me to try out her brand-new couture mani/pedi lounge inside her studio, Fresh Beauty Studio. (I got to know Nikol better after spending time with her on a photo shoot for two of our magazines, Gold Coast and Boca Life magazines.) In her words, Nikol wanted to create this lounge because she felt Fort Lauderdale could use something at a price point “in between the Asian nail salons and the expensive hotel spas.” And thank goodness she did.


After visiting the lounge this past Saturday and getting the Paris Apartment manicure and pedicure, I could see this place really taking off and being something the working girl really could go to for fantastic service at a great rate. Here are some notes:

  • awesome price point… my Paris Apartment mani/pedi combo came out to $50 (the signature pedicure at bliss spa at the W Hotel is alone $65)
  • great girly atmosphere… the brown and pink decor really adds a fun, feminine vibe that’s not too overly girlified
  • service with a smile… the staff made sure my coffee was hot and that there was enough creams in it (yes, I take coffee with my cream)
  • no acrylic nails
  • they are uber-hygenic… they keep a file of you so that every tool they use is not accidentally used on another client
Long story short, I think Nikol’s done a fabulous job of keep a couture feel at an affordable rate. After all, every girl wants to feel beautiful and look good, but not all of us can afford it at the bliss spa rate!
P.S. Somewhere my aunt is reading this and smiling. 🙂
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