2015 Nail Game Strong

Happy New Year! Ready for 2015! New goals & inspirations.

My client of about 2.5 yrs now (and now one of my good friends) has always done the same nail design since coming to see me for the first time in Hawaii. She always did the iridescent silver glitter gradation. A few times, we used gold, or this past Christmas we used some red, but silver glitter was her favorite & regular. But today…our first new set of the year, she decided to change up her nail M.O. and do something different.
She chose a very chic design with simple colors & clean lines.

It had been a while for me to actually do some nail art, and it was so much fun! I love the design on her– more importantly, she loves it!

Her usual “mermaid glitter” is just going to have to take a vacay for now.

Natural nail gel overlay: CalGel #46 & #04


The line down the middle going up from the tip of the triangle at the base of the nail gives the illusion of lengthened nails.

I am so excited we got to try something new. It’s not too crazy of a design; simple, but not boring. Very chic!

If you’re a creature of habit– especially with nail designs, why not change it up a bit and welcome 2015 with fresh nails!

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


P.S. If you’re in need of amazing mermaid jewelry to accompany your modish claws, check out her shop: Misha Hawaii on Etsy.
Instagram: mishahawaii
You’ll love it! ♡


☆To view a collection of my work over the past few years check out #sbaeknails on Instagram


Sister Act

It’s been a really long while since my last post. I’m so sorry. It’s been a crazy end of the month, as in sure it has been for everyone.

Anyway, today, I had the pleasure of doing two nail sets back-to-back, for two very gorgeous & special sisters!

One of my besties is back from SF to visit again, and today I did her nails and her not-so-little-anymore little sister’s nails also. Last time she came, I did the Dripping Hearts design.
Today…well…she was slightly more ADD. But it turned out super fun and really cool!

Her sister planned it out more and had an underlying color scheme: blue, gold, black & white. Mega edgy yet glitzy.

I had so much fun with these girls. And it’s great when I have so much freedom with the art.

They both gave me a quick sketch of what they were thinking and then we worked around it. Making some changes along the way, too.

20121226-225058.jpg Top: Baby sis // Bottom: Big sis

Little Sis: Trump Gel & CalGel. Designs done with acrylic paint. Drips, holograms, glitter, stripes, & cheetah/leopard print!!

Big Sis: Trump Gel & CalGel. Coral, red, white, black, glitter, hologram, cross, polka dots, stripes, & cheetah/leopard.

Thank you for coming in, ladies!! I had tons of fun!!

I will do my best to be better about posting again. Thanks for being patient.
Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


Holiday Nails: Part II

“Jingle bells, jingle bells…”

Aaaaaannddd…I’m back with part 2 of the holiday nails post; a continuation of “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” post.
In this blog post, I’ll show the holiday nail designs done so far for this year.

20121123-220031.jpg Snow Leopard! A natural nail gel overlay using Trump Gel . White (M001) gradation with all over clear Eriko glitter (001), & brown leopard print. Print drawn with acrylic paint.

20121124-215205.jpgPedicure done w/ Trump Gel. One side dark green (M109)& gold glitter, the other dark red (M409)& gold glitter. A 3D Santa hat on one big toe, and 3D wreath on the other.

20121124-212009.jpg A natural nail overlay done using, again, Trump Gel. A subtle pearly//shimmery white (P001)gradation with a red (mix M402 & P001) ribbon & gold glitter trim design. I drew the red lines freehand with gel.

20121124-212218.jpg Gel nails. Simple gold glitter gradation w/ red & silver star holograms. Matching toes below.

20121124-212342.jpg Pedi was done with regular polish. We did a gold glitter gradation to match the hands. Also added red & silver star holograms.

20121124-212506.jpgAhhhh…one of my proudest works of art. This client, Ms. P, works at the zoo and always let’s me be creative. She just sits there and waits for the results. We used to always have an animal theme going, but since it is the holiday season, I decided to just draw different holiday characters and symbols on each nail. The base is a natural nail gel overlay done using Trump Gel. White (M001)& blue (M711)color gradation w/ clear Eriko (001) glitter all over. Each of the designs were hand drawn using acrylic paint, and I used some star and circular holograms to add a blingy touch to them.

20121124-212513.jpg Top (L-R): “JOY,” gingerbread man & candy cane, wreath w/ holograms, and bells & present w/ few holograms. Bottom (L-R): Christmas tree w/holograms, Rudolph w/ hologram to make a dimensional nose, snowman w/ snowflake & snow, and mistletoe.

20121124-214627.jpg Mrs. Claus & Mr. Claus!!

Aaaaannnnnddddd…finally…my own holiday nails:



20121124-215557.jpg My claws are finally growing again! Yay! Baby claws done using Trump Gel & CalGel. Left hand is red plaid with a ring finger bedazzled. Right hand is green plaid with a gold glitter ring finger w/a bow charm. The base on both hands are a tan/nude color (M802) deep French. I used CalGel red (CG18) & white (CG01) and Trump Gel green (M715) to draw the lines for the plaid. I used Eriko white small holograms to line the deep French.

Well, that’s all the holiday nails I’ve done so far. I can’t wait to get more holiday requests! Channel your inner artist and welcome the holiday with creative designs of your own. Feel free to let me know if you would like to see how I did any of these designs. I am trying to work on some “how-to” posts, but am still in the process of thinking of subject matter.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…”

“It’s beginning to look a lot like Christ-maaaaas~”

I have already been getting several holiday nail requests, since the gel nails last for such a long time. 95% of my clients wear gel nails, and they have been coming in to me since the beginning of the month to get their holiday nails started. As mentioned in the previous post, gel nails can last for 4-6 weeks without fills, and if filled, even longer. Therefore, I have done some designs that are all-out-Christmas for clients who plan to wear it for the rest of the year, and some simpler designs for those who plan to fill.

I only did a few holiday designs last year, and so I am excited that I have been getting more original holiday design requests this year. I am pumped to do even more than designs as it becomes closer to Christmas!

One thing I love about holiday designs is the many different options you have. It seems repetitive because its the same color schemes: white, blue, red, green, silver, and gold. And everyone wants snowflakes, stars, and poinsettias. However, when you think about it, you CAN get creative. The options are endless: Starry night, winter wonderland, Santa & the Northpole, glamour & glitz, argyle, plaid, holiday present, Disney Christmas, Hanukkah, and the list goes on. Have a go with your holiday nail designs! Don’t limit yourself to the usual suspects– think outside the box and get creative.

Here are some holiday nails from last year:

20121123-204302.jpg This pedicure is a simple gradation done with polish. Glitzy red glitter.

20121123-204439.jpg (Sorry it’s so blurry). Some Christmas-y 3D pieces I made with acrylic powder.

20121123-204541.jpg This one is actually a fill done over a natural nail overlay. She had a pinkish colored glitter gradation originally, and I added some goldfish glitter, and some red and gold holograms to make it more holiday. I used CalGel for this gel nailset.

20121123-205049.jpg This one is also a fill over a natural nail gel overlay done using CalGel. She wanted to go “super Christmas” with her nails. This one was done 2.5 weeks before Christmas. This is one of my favorites. It is so glitzy and festive.

20121123-205716.jpg A holiday pedicure done using polish. Dark red color with silver glitter over, and some snowflake stickers.


20121123-210017.jpg A natural nail gel overlay using CalGel. This design is very sentimental for me. I “inherited” this client, Ms. C, from my mentor & her former nail tech. In fact, her first nail tech was my nail academy teacher. I was so honored to be her new technician, since they are both amazing technicians and superior artists. This was my very first nailset with Ms. C. She never has an idea in mind, and she does not bring any designs, nor pick one out of the salon’s design books, and I am lucky if she gives me a hint on what color schemes she wants. I found this design idea from one of the iPhone nail apps, called Girls Pic. I did a simple glitter gradation, then I hand painted the design and used silver ab holograms to accent the design. Mrs. C is a very inspiring woman. 86– going on 87 and she is still so full of life. She always gives me life advice, and she is always dressed impeccably, from her hair to nails, clothes to accessories. Wonderful woman and client. She always challenges me as a nailist to creative original designs.

Stayed tuned for part 2 of this blog: This year’s designs. Coming soon.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


Fill Me Up!

Client N came to me at the salon 4 weeks ago. It was her first time coming to the salon, and it was her first time ever trying the gel enhancements. She was very excited and very open-minded.

Ms. N is such a cheerful and sweet client, I love working on her.

Her first time, she stuck with colors she is familiar with: blues, grays, blacks, and whites. We did a baby blue diagonal color gradation with blue, white, silver, and clear iridescent star holograms for her hand.
For her feet, we used a periwinkle color by China Glaze, with cobalt blue holograms designed as flowers. (I forgot to take a picture of her feet. Sorry).

20121112-052803.jpg A natural nail gel overlay using Trump Gel. It is a diagonal color gradation with star holograms. (Done 4 weeks ago).

On Sunday, exactly 4 weeks later, Ms. N came back to see me to do a fill color change, and also to have a pedicure. She picked her pedicure design out a Japanese magazine. It was posted as a design for fingernails, so I had to tweak the design a little bit to accommodate it for her feet.

20121112-140517.jpg Pedicure done using polish. Pink, blue, & black polishes. Silver glitter polish line. Silver iridescent holograms.

So, this time, Ms. N decided to do a fill and change her design to the tweed design I posted before. We just changed out the gold holograms for the iridescent silver holograms to match her pedicure. We didn’t remove the blue gradation nails, we just covered that design with this pink and grey tweed nails. Ms. N totally stepped out of her norm and comfort zone to try out this nail design. She has never done pink nails before, she said to me. I am so honored that she remembered and loved my tweed nails from the time she first came in, and requested the same design for her fill.

20121113-010531.jpg Gel nail fill and design change done using pink & grey Trump Gel. Black, grey, & white acrylic paints were used to draw the tweed design. Holograms are Eriko brand. (Done on Sunday 11/11/12).

Ms. N will be back again in about 4 weeks to have another fill done. I am excited to see what she picks next! I know it will be a darker color or glitter, though. Because fills can’t go lighter in color; only darker. I will keep you guys posted on Ms. N’s nail adventures in about 4 weeks. Stay tuned!

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


Sponge Craze

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, Texture & Prints, textured nails are currently in. Though I love the tweed and plaid, I have been really obsessed with sponging. It’s a great alternative to marble and is effortlessly cool. Not to mention, it is fairly easy to achieve. All you need is a good textured sponge, and the right amount of paint.

I recently decided to cut all my nails down short and start from scratch. I had ripped 3 nails, so I decided to start over. My claws are now short, so I decided to do them all black and sponged on pink & grey on my left hand; and sponged green & grey on my right hand.

20121027-034111.jpg Natural nail gel overlay with CalGel (color #04). I used Eriko glitter & holograms for the gold nails, and I also used gold studs. The pink, grey, & green sponging is done using acrylic paint.

I just had the pleasure of meeting a new client the other day. She and I have very similar personalities in terms of independence, strength, and boldness. We also shared similar taste in nail designs. She is edgy and cool, and though she might like girly designs, seems to have a hard time pulling it off.
She came in the other night and decided to use neutral colors: black, white, and gold. We did natural nail gel overlays for both her pedicure and her manicure.

20121027-035451.jpg I used Trump Gel (M001 & M901), black & white acrylic paint for the sponging. We used some gold Eriko glitter and holograms, and we used square and round gold studs. We got a bit more funky with the toes.

20121027-035810.jpg We used the same color gel for her hands, but instead of the half black/half white nail, we decided to do only a couple black nails and the rest white. Since gel enhancements last for a while, we decided to go with a deep French instead of the whole nail one color, so the new growth won’t be too noticeable. On her right hand ring finger, I made a cross using square gold studs. And on the right hand pointer finger, I placed 3 stones to build 3D stones (grey & clear).

I had so much fun working on this gel pedicure and gel manicure new sets! This look is so perfect for the season coming forth. Plus it’s edgy, cool, and chic.
Try out your sponging with all sorts of color combos for a fun and effortlessly cool look.

Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!


Nude glitter exists…I swear.

Before becoming a nailist (aka nail tech) I worked in retail for 10 years; 8 of which were in management positions. Over time, I worked at some premier luxury stores. Although each store had its own dress code, rarely did I encounter any with strict guidelines for nails (thank the maker!). If they did have a rule about nails, they were usually overlooked and often disregarded. Even corporate management didn’t scold us. In fact, once I was complimented by a district manager on my nail game. At that time, I was studying for my first round of LSATs, and told her jokingly that if law school didn’t pan out, I was going to become a nail tech. And what do you know! Instead of turning in my law school apps, I enrolled in nail school the very next year.

But since becoming a nailist, I have encounter more and more clients who are experiencing very strict dress code at the workplace– especially in regards to their nails. Some clients who used to “get away” with breaking or bending the rules are now unable to because companies are enforcing their dress code more. Most of these clients hold positions in retail or hotel industry. Where premiere luxury stores and lower rated hotels rarely had strict nail dress code or enforcements, they do now. So, obviously, high end luxury retail and hotels are doing the same.

It used to be that only professional career fields like medical and legal, or office jobs and food industry had conservative nails. But I always thought here in America, especially in Hawaii, people were much more laid back in terms of professionalism and attire.
In Asia, most schools K-12 or jobs do NOT allow any nail polish or enhancements. But in America, French manicures, nude tones, or even classic red polishes– as long as the nails were a decent length– have often times been viewed as acceptable nail dress code.

So why, all of a sudden, has there been a shift in strictness in nail dress code and/or the enforcement of it?

  • Is it the increase of large corporate companies; creating a need for uniformity?
  • Is it because the world of nail art has been taken to a whole different level of creativity and intensity?
  • Is it due to the growing numbers of luxury retail stores who believe associates cannot out-shine the clients?
  • Could it be the rise of demanding and rigid competition between hotel appearance and service?
  • Whatever the reason, strict and heavily enforced nail dress codes have become a serious heartache and hindrance on all nail art lovers.

    Buuuuutttttt…we often try to bend or break the rules somehow anyway. We try to add a little here, or cover our enhancements with some boring polish, or reason with our employers on why expression of nail art should be allowed (within reason).

    I always thought nails done looked better than naked nails that are unkept. It looks cleaner to have polished or gel nails versus naked nails that show more dirt & imperfections. You care for your nails more when they are done, not when they are naked. And working in retail, having a unique nail set always was a great ice breaker between my client and me. And when they like your nail design, they trust your taste, and consequently, they tend to take your opinion and buy more products from you. But, what do I know…I’m biased, right?

    With all that being said…I have done a natural nail overlay gel nail set for one of my good friends. She needed “nude” nails. But we discovered her new job has a fairly strict dress code. I guess we will find out soon enough how much they enforce it.

    We did a pink-beige color, the ring fingers are “nude glitter”, and skinny little glitter heart outline on the thumbs. Ok, to us, the glitter we chose is totally nude. This glitter is “nude,” I swear. It’s like a champagne. Champagne is pretty much a nude…right? So, logically speaking (can you tell I have been studying for the LSAT too much), champagne gold glitter is nude.

    It’s a design I really like. Simple and sweet.

    Check it out, what do you guys think? Let me know. Her mother & husband disagrees with us. But, what do they know?

    20120930-043438.jpg Natural nail overlay using CalGel (mixed #46, #19, & #01). Glitter comes in a tower of 6 from Claire’s .

    Thanks for visiting and remember to keep you claws modish!


    Breaking up with polish

    We love when our polishes last long, or the longevity of the gel enhancements and gel polishes, but after a while, it’s just time to break up with our polishes. Out with the old, and in with the new! But like real relationships, some polishes and enhancements can be really stubborn and unwilling to part with you in conventional ways. This post is dedicated to nail enhancement and stubborn polish removals. Don’t waste any more time or money, and learn how to quickly break up with your polishes.

    One of the greatest things about glitter and hologram polishes is they stay on! One of the bad things about glitter polishes? They stay on! Glitter just never seems to want to come off. I’m sure many of us have gone through swabs and swabs of cotton and bottles of polish remover just to remove our beloved glitter polishes. Well, never fear! I’ll share with you my tips and tricks for removing the most stubborn polishes.

    Things you will need:

  • 100% pure acetone
  • Cotton
  • Nitrile gloves (if you don’t want to ruin your gel nails or polish on hands)
  • **You can purchase all of these items from your local drugstore.


    href=”https://modishclaws.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/20120926-050110.jpg”>20120926-050110.jpg You want to scrub the polish of gently, even though your instincts might tell you to scrub harder. If you scrub gently, it will come off faster. If any of the cotton pieces evaporate and get dry, just peel them off and soak it again with more acetone.

    Now, for another type of removal…
    Gel polishes and gel nail enhancements are becoming more and more popular. But, how the heck do we remove them?! Just like acrylic nail enhancements, you can’t just use regular polisher remover to take them off. And, you should NEVER, EVER peel your enhancements off!!! But, the procedure is very simple and easy to do. Doing the removal yourself can save you some money, than having them taken off at a salon.

    Things your will need:

  • 100% pure acetone
  • Cotton
  • Squares / rectangular pieces of foil
  • 100 grit (a very coarse) file
  • Buffer block
  • (If you are re-applying an enhancement or polish) Nail brush
  • **All items can be purchased at your local drugstore.





    I know these “how-to” demos weren’t exciting has a “how-to” on nail art, but safe removal of nail enhancements and polishes are very important. You can seriously damage a nail but removing products the wrong way.

    Electric drills can cause over filing and can cause permanent damage to your natural nail. Peeling off nail enhancements will peel of layers of your natural nail and can seriously damage, weaken, and thin out your nails.

    Not only should you be careful when doing removals yourself, but also if you are getting enhancements removed at a salon. Many discount salons don’t have lice send technicians who are properly trained, and will do things quickly and brash. They are not always doing what’s best for you or your nail– so be careful!

    I hope this post was helpful and educational! I have a video demo coming up later on. So stay tuned!

    Thanks for visiting, and remember to keep your claws modish!

    Xoxo, Stacia

    Bling On!

    The season for glitter, sequin, and all things blingy is just starting to come through. Buuuuttt…unlike fashion, blinged out nails are always in. Always.

    Whether it is a trip to Vegas, a birthday celebration, a wedding, or just because…well…you love bling, glitzy, shiny, and sparkly nails are the perfect accessory.

    Personally, I love all things shiny. Whether it be stones, sequin, glitter, or holograms, I just need to have it. Glitz is my addiction. Pair that with my obsession with nails, and I might as well be a serious junkie. So, when I meet clients who love shiny things as much as I do, I get beyond excited.

    Stones and– especially charms, can tend to become a challenge as far as getting them to stay on. It can be an even more difficult task when you are using regular polish instead of soft or hard gel. Here are my tips and methods for applying and keeping stones and charms on using polish and glue:

    1. Apply top coat over the second coat of polish. You can use base coat if you have multiple stones to place and want to move them around. Base coat seems to slide the stones or holograms with more ease then top coat.
    2. Place your stones/charms/holograms where you like. Once you are sure of placement, press down firmly.
    3. Apply a coat of nail glue over of and around the edges of the deco piece.
    4. Let dry and apply top coat. If you are worried, apply a second coat of glue to give yourself a peace of mind.
    5. If you really want to upkeep and ensure that your bling stays intact, apply top coat once a week.

    When dealing with gels, your bling tends to have a longer lifespan. However, it can be tricky, because the application of gels can change the shape and look of the stone. Here are some tips for applying your bling using gels:

    1. Apply a thin light coat of clear gel and place your stone/holo/charm.
    2. Make sure you are completely certain of the placement and positioning, then cure.
    3. Dab around the object(s) with clear gel and make sure you fill any spaces/cover any sharp edges of the charm, then cure.
    4. Apply a thin coat of gel over the deco, and cure.
    ** Some larger or slippery charms may be better applied with acrylic. Apply a layer of acrylic over the gel, place the charm, then cure. Steps 3-4.

    My client was going to Las Vegas to celebrate her “Dirty Thirty”! She just wanted glitzy, unique, funky nails. Her birthday suit was a lacey black romper & gold accessories. So we incorporated lace and gold in her nail design to compliment her outfit. This is a natural nail overlay using Trump Gel, and glitter was Eriko. Stones are Swarovski.

    This is another natural nail overlay. The soft gel brand is CalGel, glitters were Eriko. Swarovski stones.

    Again, another natural nail overlay using CalGel (mixed #46 & #51), color gradation with clear Eriko glitter (#001) all over. This design is one of my favorites. It is subtle, but the accents with the stones and bullions give it some oomph. Stones are acrylic stones.

    This was done with just polish and glue. I love the color scheme and the way they shine. Most of the stones are acrylic stones. Some are Swarovski.

    This is a foot gel design. It is CalGel with Purnelle glitter. The flower on the big toes are charms, and the smaller ones, I made using holograms.

    This client is one of my favorites. She is the sweetest person ever. She told me that she always felt her toes and fingers were “beastly.” But after doing this very first design for her, she could not stop smiling, and came back to tell me she bought bunch of new open toes and had so many compliments on her toes! She wasn’t so self conscious anymore. This was done using polish and glue. The crystals are all Swarovski.

    Natural nail overlay with CalGel. Glitters came in a tower of like six colors from Claire’s. Stones are all acrylic; I bought them in a pack from Walmart. These are my nails.

    My client wanted a “cool summer” look. Natural nail overlay using Trump Gel. Color gradation with Purnell glitter all over. I’m sorry, I can’t remember the color numbers. The stones are Swarovski.

    Another natural nail overlay. Trump Gel Actually, this is a 2-week fill. The original design is all10 fingers with the black “heart” design. she came in for a fill and wanted to juste pump up the design a bit. We through some Eriko holograms on it.

    This is a tip & sculpture gel extension overlay using CalGel #05 & #04. For the sculpture, I used Bio Sculpture Gel. Deep French with acrylic stones, and charms from Korea. This is a girl who just loves the bling. She asked me to “go all out.”

    Which style is most you? How much bling is for you?
    Whatever it may be, keep in mind that it’s always in season for glitzy nails.
    Bling on!

    Thanks for visiting. Hope you enjoyed it. And remember, don’t forget to keep your claws modish!




    Hi, all!

    I know there are so many nail blogs out there, but I love nails (and my job) so much, I wanted to start this blog to share my designs, products, and all things nails with other nail enthusiasts.

    I hope this blog will motivate, encourage, & inspire those interested in the art of nails. I know how much fun I have admiring other “nailists” and their works. You can never stop learning if you want to improve your skills.

    Stay tuned! More nail photos to follow.

    Keep those claws modish!


    My current nail design…yes, these are my natural nails. I used CalGel. I mixed orange & red.
    I got the idea on a cool nail app called “Girls Pic”; available for both Apple & Andriod.
    Me at work. If you’re in Hawaii (Oahu), the salon is called Pure Nails . We are a small salon located within Don Quixote on Kaheka. So you can shop before or after your nail service!