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Atlanta Speedo Santa Run

Fun run will benefit children and harden nipples

IMG 20151212 151338
Photo credit: CL Photo Archives
Atlanta Speedo Santa Run 2015

Photo credit:
Over the holidays of 2010, Shawn Whitman’s partner Jeffrey Keesee coerced him into gallivanting up North Highland Avenue in a speedo for 1.5 miles. Despite the chilly weather and revealing bathing suit bottom, Whitman had a blast. He and Keesee have attended the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run annually since. This year, they joined its board.

The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run (ASSR) doesn’t just disrupt traffic with nipping harriers for the sake of flamboyance. It draws attention to the event’s purpose: to raise $100,000 for a charity that benefits children and teenagers. The ASSR board selects a different beneficiary each year. They solicit applications in late winter, narrow the finalists to three and conduct site visits to determine the recipient. “We focus on local charities that would be hugely impacted by a $100,000 gift,” Whitman says. Instead of merely receiving a check, the chosen donee is equally involved in fundraising and event promotion. Plus, the organization usually provides volunteers to help with day-of logistics like check-in.

Instead of receiving the proverbial race t-shirt, participants must raise at least $250. Whitman already has exceeded that number six times over. “Encouraging people to donate was easier than I initially thought it would be,” he says. Seriously — only a scrooge would rebuff a fundraiser involving half-naked joggers and the betterment of disadvantaged youth.

This year’s charity is CHRIS 180, a nonprofit that supports children, young adults and families who have experienced trauma. Its resources include counseling, safe housing, adoption services, and training on child abuse prevention and LGBTQ awareness. As part of the application process, candidates specify how they plan to use the gift. CHRIS 180 intends to put the money toward covering teenagers’ basic needs like MARTA cards and food so they can stay in school. “It’s one less thing for these kids to worry about,” Whitman says.

<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="584984a535ab4641795aa6c6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_display" style="display:inline;"><a class="dynavar" onclick="javascript:toggle_dynamic_var("{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="584984a535ab4641795aa6c6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}");" title="Click to edit dynamic variable: {[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="584984a535ab4641795aa6c6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}">No value assigned<span id="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="584984a535ab4641795aa6c6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}_edit" style="display:none;"><input class="input-sm" name="dyn_{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="584984a535ab4641795aa6c6" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}" type="text" value="No value assigned" />The run also includes a costume contest in four categories: best female, male, couple and group. In addition to donning teeny skivvies, participants adorn their bodies with holiday accessories such as reindeer antlers, Santa hats and strings of lights. Whitman and Keesee religiously base their couples costume on a theme and hand knit complementary scarves. The Christmas after adopting a dog, the neck warmer mimicked dalmatian spots. Inspired by the renovation of their Virginia-Highland home another year, the duo dressed as lumberjacks complete with black and white checked stoles. They always produce six scarves — two for themselves and four for winners of a drawing comprising friends and family who give $30 or more.

This year, Whitman expects more than 100 runners to streak through the street, from Manuel’s Tavern to Yeah! Burger and back. The run’s high-trafficked route and non-competitive nature will encourage engagement with curious or taken-aback passersby. “Drivers honk and wave,” Whitman says. “That’s what this is about: spotlighting a charity that does amazing work.”

Atlanta Santa Speedo Run. $25 for runners, free for spectators. 2 p.m., Sat., Dec. 10. Manuel’s Tavern, 602 N. Highland Ave. N.E.




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  string(5400) "At first glance, Puff & Petals looks much like a beauty salon. From its opaque pink exterior covered in rosebuds and strings of pearls, curious passersby could enter expecting the stringent smell of nail polish or recently flat ironed hair. Instead, the aroma of a low country boil drifts from the kitchen to the door and sets the establishment's identity straight: This is Edgewood Avenue's newest bar, lounge and restaurant, and it's just as much about the experience as it is about the food.

R&B singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist K. Michelle, née Kimberly Michelle Pate, has topped Billboard charts and frequently starred on "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta". Her newest title, restaurateur, came when she opened Puff & Petals in May.

While the lounge's decorative scheme might sound visually overwhelming, K pulls it off with subtle taste. Chandeliers hang above and sheer pink curtains dangle between pink vinyl booths and white countertops. The salt at each table is pink. Framed playful quotes cover the back wall, like "She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten" and "Never chase anything but drinks and dreams." To the right of the narrow space sits the bar, set against a backdrop of artificial pastel orange, green and pink roses and hydrangeas. "The whole theme is really girly," K says. "I just wanted Puff & Petals to be a place where women can feel safe and comfortable and have great drinks."



A mannequin with a bedazzled mons pubis will catch the attention of anyone who heads back toward the restroom. The figure holds a baby doll in each hand and, according to one bartender, represents K's wish to conceive twins, which she has publicly discussed on her reality TV show, "K. Michelle: My Life." But, as the last of ten "house rules" printed on the back of the menu instructs: "Do not ask us every five mins 'When is K. Michelle coming??' You know she has checks to cash!"

The bar carries bottles of Southern Peach, which K developed in collaboration with Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails, but the house cocktails are some of the most creatively presented in the city. The Green Light ($9) — a mix of vodka, Combier, fresh lemon and lime, and a splash of champagne — comes out in a lightbulb that doubles as a glass and is illuminated from beneath. "I encourage everyone to take it like a shot," lead bartender Antonio Hill says. Deviating from the traditional Sex on the Beach, the Cigar on the Beach ($14) consists of Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch along with citrus, cranberry and pineapple juices. Smoke swirls between dry ice cubes and the stereotypical cocktail umbrella, but the cup sits inside another cup containing sand, a miniature beach towel, a shell and a plastic palm tree.



The food pays homage to K's Memphis upbringing. After hosting a cook-off of sorts, she hired chef Nilka Hendricks to lead the kitchen. Hendricks hails from Long Island, New York, but dominated the Southern dishes K challenged the competitors to make, likely winning the artist over with her twist on the sloppy joe, which K grew up eating in her grandmother's kitchen and required as a Puff & Petals menu staple. Chef Hendricks' version, called Smothered & Covered ($8), spills over a Hawaiian roll per K's request, exceptionally saucy and sweet.

One tapas standout is the Crab-Tini ($14), which consists of lump, claw and backfin meat medallions that are baked instead of fried. The accompanying remoulade sauce contains kalamata olives among other atypical ingredients that contribute to its pungency. The Southern Charm entree ($15) is advertised as shrimp and grits but actually contains polenta made super creamy with gouda, asiago and cheddar cheeses. "I have to trick people because if the description said 'polenta,' people wouldn't order it," Hendricks says. Chunks of andouille sausage dot the bowl and pack some heat.



The potato chips that appear as a side to the fish and chips ($14) surprisingly overshadow the flash-fried salmon nuggets. Shrugging, Hendricks claims simply to slice the potatoes with a mandoline and fry them in canola oil.

Patrons who save room for sweets will chuckle at the dessert selection, labeled "Happy Ending." K's Southern Peach Fun Cake ($8) rests on an oversized wooden spoon; part funnel cake, part cobbler, the treat features peaches steeped in Jack Daniel's, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and thick whipped cream. Dessert cocktails include Adult Chocolate Milk ($10) with vodka and Baileys or the Honeycomb ($10) with Jack Honey, nutmeg and cream.


Within the next month, Hendricks says more menu options will debut, such as strawberry chicken and waffles and a banana pudding cheesecake. Plus, a recreational oxygen bar is slated to open on the second floor as soon as August. "We're going to offer the hookah experience with individualized oxygen tanks," K says. "They are healthier and organic."

Until then, Puff & Petals guests can enjoy the $7 tapas menu, which is available on Tuesdays, as well as $5 Puff Shots of fruit-flavored vodka on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Puff & Petals' similarity to a spa doesn't stop at its pinkwashed facade, located at the corner of Edgewood and William Holmes; much like a fresh manicure or hair cut, the place leaves guests feeling good. "I like food more than sex," K says. And that Green Light cocktail yields one hell of a buzz."
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  string(7668) "At first glance, Puff & Petals looks much like a beauty salon. From its opaque pink exterior covered in rosebuds and strings of pearls, curious passersby could enter expecting the stringent smell of nail polish or recently flat ironed hair. Instead, the aroma of a low country boil drifts from the kitchen to the door and sets the establishment's identity straight: This is Edgewood Avenue's newest bar, lounge and restaurant, and it's just as much about the experience as it is about the food.

R&B singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist K. Michelle, née Kimberly Michelle Pate, has topped Billboard charts and frequently starred on "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta". Her newest title, restaurateur, came when she opened Puff & Petals in May.

While the lounge's decorative scheme might sound visually overwhelming, K pulls it off with subtle taste. Chandeliers hang above and sheer pink curtains dangle between pink vinyl booths and white countertops. The salt at each table is pink. Framed playful quotes cover the back wall, like "She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten" and "Never chase anything but drinks and dreams." To the right of the narrow space sits the bar, set against a backdrop of artificial pastel orange, green and pink roses and hydrangeas. "The whole theme is really girly," K says. "I just wanted Puff & Petals to be a place where women can feel safe and comfortable and have great drinks."

{HTML()}ENDLESS SUMMER: The Cigar on the Beach cocktailENDLESS SUMMER: The Cigar on the Beach cocktailJoeff Davis{HTML}

A mannequin with a bedazzled mons pubis will catch the attention of anyone who heads back toward the restroom. The figure holds a baby doll in each hand and, according to one bartender, represents [http://www.vh1.com/news/297362/bonus-clip-k-michelle-would-like-to-genetically-modify-the-twin-girls-she-has-not-yet-conceived/|K's wish to conceive twins], which she has publicly discussed on her reality TV show, "K. Michelle: My Life." But, as the last of ten "house rules" printed on the back of the menu instructs: "Do not ask us every five mins 'When is K. Michelle coming??' You know she has checks to cash!"

The bar carries bottles of Southern Peach, which K developed in collaboration with Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails, but the house cocktails are some of the most creatively presented in the city. The Green Light ($9) — a mix of vodka, Combier, fresh lemon and lime, and a splash of champagne — comes out in a lightbulb that doubles as a glass and is illuminated from beneath. "I encourage everyone to take it like a shot," lead bartender Antonio Hill says. Deviating from the traditional Sex on the Beach, the Cigar on the Beach ($14) consists of Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch along with citrus, cranberry and pineapple juices. Smoke swirls between dry ice cubes and the stereotypical cocktail umbrella, but the cup sits inside another cup containing sand, a miniature beach towel, a shell and a plastic palm tree.

{HTML()}SOUTHERN CHARM: Puff & Petals' take on shrimp and gritsSOUTHERN CHARM: Puff & Petals' take on shrimp and gritsJoeff Davis{HTML}

The food pays homage to K's Memphis upbringing. After hosting a cook-off of sorts, she hired chef Nilka Hendricks to lead the kitchen. Hendricks hails from Long Island, New York, but dominated the Southern dishes K challenged the competitors to make, likely winning the artist over with her twist on the sloppy joe, which K grew up eating in her grandmother's kitchen and required as a Puff & Petals menu staple. Chef Hendricks' version, called Smothered & Covered ($8), spills over a Hawaiian roll per K's request, exceptionally saucy and sweet.

One tapas standout is the Crab-Tini ($14), which consists of lump, claw and backfin meat medallions that are baked instead of fried. The accompanying remoulade sauce contains kalamata olives among other atypical ingredients that contribute to its pungency. The Southern Charm entree ($15) is advertised as shrimp and grits but actually contains polenta made super creamy with gouda, asiago and cheddar cheeses. "I have to trick people because if the description said 'polenta,' people wouldn't order it," Hendricks says. Chunks of andouille sausage dot the bowl and pack some heat.

{HTML()}ANIMAL FARM: Chef Hendricks' Smothered & Covered sloppy joe sliders come with a plastic cow and barn as a prop.ANIMAL FARM: Chef Hendricks' Smothered & Covered sloppy joe sliders come with a plastic cow and barn as a prop.Joeff Davis{HTML}

The potato chips that appear as a side to the fish and chips ($14) surprisingly overshadow the flash-fried salmon nuggets. Shrugging, Hendricks claims simply to slice the potatoes with a mandoline and fry them in canola oil.

Patrons who save room for sweets will chuckle at the dessert selection, labeled "Happy Ending." K's Southern Peach Fun Cake ($8) rests on an oversized wooden spoon; part funnel cake, part cobbler, the treat features peaches steeped in Jack Daniel's, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and thick whipped cream. Dessert cocktails include Adult Chocolate Milk ($10) with vodka and Baileys or the Honeycomb ($10) with Jack Honey, nutmeg and cream.
{HTML()}CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: K's Southern Peach Fun Cake with caramelized peaches comes in a giant spoon.CURIOUSER AND CURIOUSER: K's Southern Peach Fun Cake with caramelized peaches comes in a giant spoon.Joeff Davis{HTML}

Within the next month, Hendricks says more menu options will debut, such as strawberry chicken and waffles and a banana pudding cheesecake. Plus, a recreational oxygen bar is slated to open on the second floor as soon as August. "We're going to offer the hookah experience with individualized oxygen tanks," K says. "They are healthier and organic."

Until then, Puff & Petals guests can enjoy the $7 tapas menu, which is available on Tuesdays, as well as $5 Puff Shots of fruit-flavored vodka on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Puff & Petals' similarity to a spa doesn't stop at its pinkwashed facade, located at the corner of Edgewood and William Holmes; much like a fresh manicure or hair cut, the place leaves guests feeling good. "I like food more than sex," K says. And that Green Light cocktail yields one hell of a buzz."
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R&B singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist K. Michelle, née Kimberly Michelle Pate, has topped Billboard charts and frequently starred on "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta". Her newest title, restaurateur, came when she opened Puff & Petals in May.

While the lounge's decorative scheme might sound visually overwhelming, K pulls it off with subtle taste. Chandeliers hang above and sheer pink curtains dangle between pink vinyl booths and white countertops. The salt at each table is pink. Framed playful quotes cover the back wall, like "She who leaves a trail of glitter is never forgotten" and "Never chase anything but drinks and dreams." To the right of the narrow space sits the bar, set against a backdrop of artificial pastel orange, green and pink roses and hydrangeas. "The whole theme is really girly," K says. "I just wanted Puff & Petals to be a place where women can feel safe and comfortable and have great drinks."



A mannequin with a bedazzled mons pubis will catch the attention of anyone who heads back toward the restroom. The figure holds a baby doll in each hand and, according to one bartender, represents K's wish to conceive twins, which she has publicly discussed on her reality TV show, "K. Michelle: My Life." But, as the last of ten "house rules" printed on the back of the menu instructs: "Do not ask us every five mins 'When is K. Michelle coming??' You know she has checks to cash!"

The bar carries bottles of Southern Peach, which K developed in collaboration with Jack Daniel's Country Cocktails, but the house cocktails are some of the most creatively presented in the city. The Green Light ($9) — a mix of vodka, Combier, fresh lemon and lime, and a splash of champagne — comes out in a lightbulb that doubles as a glass and is illuminated from beneath. "I encourage everyone to take it like a shot," lead bartender Antonio Hill says. Deviating from the traditional Sex on the Beach, the Cigar on the Beach ($14) consists of Johnnie Walker Black Label scotch along with citrus, cranberry and pineapple juices. Smoke swirls between dry ice cubes and the stereotypical cocktail umbrella, but the cup sits inside another cup containing sand, a miniature beach towel, a shell and a plastic palm tree.



The food pays homage to K's Memphis upbringing. After hosting a cook-off of sorts, she hired chef Nilka Hendricks to lead the kitchen. Hendricks hails from Long Island, New York, but dominated the Southern dishes K challenged the competitors to make, likely winning the artist over with her twist on the sloppy joe, which K grew up eating in her grandmother's kitchen and required as a Puff & Petals menu staple. Chef Hendricks' version, called Smothered & Covered ($8), spills over a Hawaiian roll per K's request, exceptionally saucy and sweet.

One tapas standout is the Crab-Tini ($14), which consists of lump, claw and backfin meat medallions that are baked instead of fried. The accompanying remoulade sauce contains kalamata olives among other atypical ingredients that contribute to its pungency. The Southern Charm entree ($15) is advertised as shrimp and grits but actually contains polenta made super creamy with gouda, asiago and cheddar cheeses. "I have to trick people because if the description said 'polenta,' people wouldn't order it," Hendricks says. Chunks of andouille sausage dot the bowl and pack some heat.



The potato chips that appear as a side to the fish and chips ($14) surprisingly overshadow the flash-fried salmon nuggets. Shrugging, Hendricks claims simply to slice the potatoes with a mandoline and fry them in canola oil.

Patrons who save room for sweets will chuckle at the dessert selection, labeled "Happy Ending." K's Southern Peach Fun Cake ($8) rests on an oversized wooden spoon; part funnel cake, part cobbler, the treat features peaches steeped in Jack Daniel's, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and thick whipped cream. Dessert cocktails include Adult Chocolate Milk ($10) with vodka and Baileys or the Honeycomb ($10) with Jack Honey, nutmeg and cream.


Within the next month, Hendricks says more menu options will debut, such as strawberry chicken and waffles and a banana pudding cheesecake. Plus, a recreational oxygen bar is slated to open on the second floor as soon as August. "We're going to offer the hookah experience with individualized oxygen tanks," K says. "They are healthier and organic."

Until then, Puff & Petals guests can enjoy the $7 tapas menu, which is available on Tuesdays, as well as $5 Puff Shots of fruit-flavored vodka on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Puff & Petals' similarity to a spa doesn't stop at its pinkwashed facade, located at the corner of Edgewood and William Holmes; much like a fresh manicure or hair cut, the place leaves guests feeling good. "I like food more than sex," K says. And that Green Light cocktail yields one hell of a buzz.    Joeff Davis FLOWER POWER: The "cocktail garden" behind the bar at Puff and Petals        20866934         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/07/food_firstlook1_7_12b.595fd3596653b.png                  First Look: Puff & Petals "
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Friday July 7, 2017 03:58 pm EDT
R&B singer and reality TV star K. Michelle's new Edgewood Avenue lounge packs a pink and glittery punch | more...
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  string(8535) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%2258ac9c9638ab463b65d1537c%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%At his wife’s birthday party in 2013, Thomas Ford was so drunk and high on Molly that he accidentally shot himself in the throat. He spent 27 days in the hospital relearning how to walk and talk, and resolved to pursue a legitimate career. From there, he developed Bo’s Sauce, a barbecue sauce line that is available at three stores in the Pittsburgh community of southwest Atlanta. Ford started traveling around the city selling meat off two 10-foot grills. But despite the wake-up call, he wound up in jail two years later for driving with a suspended license. The next morning, a man from the Office of the Public Defender approached Ford’s cell and shared some materials on a free job training opportunity exclusively available to residents of certain ZIP codes. Pittsburgh (30310) fell on the list. Called Westside Works, the program is part of a $15 million commitment made by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to revitalize neighborhoods like Pittsburgh, Vine City and English Avenue, among others. Westside Works provides instruction in areas ranging from construction to culinary arts, nursing and information technology. Ford originally selected the cement truck driving track but pivoted to the program’s Culinary Academy after an advisement session conducted by Westside Works’ managing partner, Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation, helped him hone in on his true passion. In collaboration with Levy Restaurants, the Culinary Academy comprises eight grueling weeks that cover subjects like kitchen safety, knife skills, mother sauces, meat fabrication, food allergens, dietary restrictions and preparation for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination. The course takes place at the Georgia Dome and will relocate upon completion of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Juliet Peters, a former pastry chef and culinary instructor at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, New York, designed the curriculum from the ground up. “I really appreciate the foundation’s giving me free reign to develop the program,” she says. “My class prepares students to walk into a kitchen with a base of essential knowledge.” No value assignedPeters, whom her students and colleagues call Chef Juliet, baked soft skill development into the syllabus, as well. “I want you to be on time, which means showing up early in my class,” she says. Students must wear a uniform, carry a cut glove, properly set up their cutting boards and sanitation pockets, handle their knives safely while walking across the kitchen and respect their fellow classmates despite personality conflicts. “If I see an attitude developing, I will pair you with that person,” the chef says. “You have to show me that you can conduct yourself in a professional manner.” Many Westside Works students have little or no interviewing experience. Commencement serves as not only a celebration with family and friends but also as a career fair that allows graduates to interact with potential employers in a relaxed environment. The course’s final project requires the composition of a seasonal dish containing a protein, a vegetable and a starch to be presented at the ceremony. Ford’s dish consisted of fried chicken wings, endive sprinkled with salted peanuts and blue cheese and tomato concasse, which he describes as a tomato that has been boiled, bathed in ice and cut to “look like a flower.” Despite his success in the program and Chef Juliet’s high recommendation, Ford had difficulty securing a job because of the blemishes on his record. “I stole some things back in the day, and I got into it with the police,” he says, citing an aggravated assault charge. One of Westside Works’ points of pride is giving students with tainted histories a second chance. “I’ve been wielding an arsenal of employers who look to me as a steady mind with a pipeline of skilled, entry-level talent,” Chef Juliet says. “They believe in what we’re trying to accomplish.” No value assignedFord completed his training in May 2016 and landed a position as a prep cook at Downtown’s Twin Smokers BBQ in September. His eyes well up when he talks about Chef Juliet sticking her neck out on his behalf. “No matter what I do, her name is on the line,” he says. “I would never let her down.” Obstacles beyond criminal offenses prevent some Westside Works candidates from taking advantage of the program — namely literacy. Applicants must read and do math at a sixth grade level, but Frank Fernandez, the Blank Foundation’s vice president of community developments, notes that a staggering percentage of candidates do not meet that requirement. To mitigate the problem, Westside Works has partnered with Literacy Action, a local nonprofit that administers literacy training to people who otherwise qualify for the program. “It’s been a learning process not only to identify but also to remove those kinds of barriers,” Fernandez says. Because of the odds operating against so many Culinary Academy students, Chef Juliet focuses on building skills that will distinguish them from the rest of the pack, like making buttermilk and cheese from scratch. Over the course of Dietary Restriction Week, she addresses how to make a vegan dish on the fly as well as vegan and nut-free pestos, demonstrates blanching vegetables as a method of preservation and holds a veggie burger competition. The chef uses contests to get her students excited about seemingly boring topics. During the fall 2016 session, Atlanta Falcons players joined teams of two students for a dough-making duel. “Linebacker Philip Wheeler, my classmate and I made a calzone,” November graduate Brandi Smith says. No value assignedSmith participated in every extracurricular activity Chef Juliet offered, including tending eight garden beds every morning at the new stadium before class. Those beds, built by Westside Works Construction Ready students, have contributed more than 500 pounds of fruits and vegetables to the Culinary Academy. Chef Juliet also invited Smith to prepare food for the homeless to be served at the Atlanta Mission and to cater a private event at the Georgia Dome. “I think she was testing our ambition,” Smith says.For her final project, Smith presented a crawfish and crab beignet topped with ravigote sauce and served on a bed of crawfish and corn maque choux, a traditional southern Louisiana side consisting of braised corn, bell pepper and onion. Coincidentally, Ford spoke at Smith’s commencement ceremony, urging graduates not to give up if they don’t find a job right away. Smith, though, quickly received an offer as a dishwasher at Superica’s Buckhead location. Under the restaurant’s employment policy, everyone starts washing dishes and moves up based on a point system. “The chef told me that if I prove myself as a dishwasher,” Smith says, “she has a spot for me as a line cook.” Fernandez stresses that Westside Works’ ultimate goal is not to help Westside residents secure entry-level employment but to help them progress toward better jobs over time. “The foundation really focuses on creating a pathway toward greater sufficiency and financial stability,” he says. Both Ford and Smith have bigger dreams. Ford would like to gain experience at every restaurant that Legacy Restaurant Partners, the proprietor of Twin Smokers BBQ, owns, such as STATS, Der Biergarten and Glenn’s Kitchen. Smith’s hopes are threefold: to become a private chef, to teach cooking classes and to open a Cajun restaurant. No value assignedOf the Culinary Academy’s 68 total graduates, 63 currently are working in the field. Since its inception two and a half years ago, Westside Works has placed approximately 400 graduates across the various industry sectors it serves, according to Fernandez. “At this point, more than $8 million dollars in wages have been paid to Westside Works graduates,” he says. “That’s a good social and financial ROI from our perspective in terms of that money having economic activity attached to it and being reinvested in the communities these folks live in.” Ford is one of few people fortunate enough to enjoy his job so much that he shows up early and stays late. “Before, all I knew how to do was be a hustler,” he says. “I have a future now.”"
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Called [http://www.westsideworks.org/|Westside Works], the program is part of a $15 million commitment made by the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to revitalize neighborhoods like Pittsburgh, Vine City and English Avenue, among others. Westside Works provides instruction in areas ranging from construction to culinary arts, nursing and information technology. Ford originally selected the cement truck driving track but pivoted to the program’s Culinary Academy after an advisement session conducted by Westside Works’ managing partner, Integrity Transformations Community Development Corporation, helped him hone in on his true passion. In collaboration with Levy Restaurants, the Culinary Academy comprises eight grueling weeks that cover subjects like kitchen safety, knife skills, mother sauces, meat fabrication, food allergens, dietary restrictions and preparation for the ServSafe Food Protection Manager Certification Examination. The course takes place at the Georgia Dome and will relocate upon completion of the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Juliet Peters, a former pastry chef and culinary instructor at Suffolk Community College on Long Island, New York, designed the curriculum from the ground up. “I really appreciate the foundation’s giving me free reign to develop the program,” she says. “My class prepares students to walk into a kitchen with a base of essential knowledge.” %{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58ac9c966cdeeaf026d1537d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Peters, whom her students and colleagues call Chef Juliet, baked soft skill development into the syllabus, as well. “I want you to be on time, which means showing up early in my class,” she says. Students must wear a uniform, carry a cut glove, properly set up their cutting boards and sanitation pockets, handle their knives safely while walking across the kitchen and respect their fellow classmates despite personality conflicts. “If I see an attitude developing, I will pair you with that person,” the chef says. “You have to show me that you can conduct yourself in a professional manner.” Many Westside Works students have little or no interviewing experience. Commencement serves as not only a celebration with family and friends but also as a career fair that allows graduates to interact with potential employers in a relaxed environment. The course’s final project requires the composition of a seasonal dish containing a protein, a vegetable and a starch to be presented at the ceremony. Ford’s dish consisted of fried chicken wings, endive sprinkled with salted peanuts and blue cheese and tomato concasse, which he describes as a tomato that has been boiled, bathed in ice and cut to “look like a flower.” Despite his success in the program and Chef Juliet’s high recommendation, Ford had difficulty securing a job because of the blemishes on his record. “I stole some things back in the day, and I got into it with the police,” he says, citing an aggravated assault charge. One of Westside Works’ points of pride is giving students with tainted histories a second chance. “I’ve been wielding an arsenal of employers who look to me as a steady mind with a pipeline of skilled, entry-level talent,” Chef Juliet says. “They believe in what we’re trying to accomplish.” %{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="58ac9c9657ab46dd574b56ca" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Ford completed his training in May 2016 and landed a position as a prep cook at Downtown’s Twin Smokers BBQ in September. His eyes well up when he talks about Chef Juliet sticking her neck out on his behalf. “No matter what I do, her name is on the line,” he says. “I would never let her down.” Obstacles beyond criminal offenses prevent some Westside Works candidates from taking advantage of the program — namely literacy. Applicants must read and do math at a sixth grade level, but Frank Fernandez, the Blank Foundation’s vice president of community developments, notes that a staggering percentage of candidates do not meet that requirement. To mitigate the problem, Westside Works has partnered with Literacy Action, a local nonprofit that administers literacy training to people who otherwise qualify for the program. “It’s been a learning process not only to identify but also to remove those kinds of barriers,” Fernandez says. Because of the odds operating against so many Culinary Academy students, Chef Juliet focuses on building skills that will distinguish them from the rest of the pack, like making buttermilk and cheese from scratch. Over the course of Dietary Restriction Week, she addresses how to make a vegan dish on the fly as well as vegan and nut-free pestos, demonstrates blanching vegetables as a method of preservation and holds a veggie burger competition. 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Chef Juliet also invited Smith to prepare food for the homeless to be served at the Atlanta Mission and to cater a private event at the Georgia Dome. “I think she was testing our ambition,” Smith says.For her final project, Smith presented a crawfish and crab beignet topped with ravigote sauce and served on a bed of crawfish and corn maque choux, a traditional southern Louisiana side consisting of braised corn, bell pepper and onion. Coincidentally, Ford spoke at Smith’s commencement ceremony, urging graduates not to give up if they don’t find a job right away. Smith, though, quickly received an offer as a dishwasher at Superica’s Buckhead location. Under the restaurant’s employment policy, everyone starts washing dishes and moves up based on a point system. “The chef told me that if I prove myself as a dishwasher,” Smith says, “she has a spot for me as a line cook.” Fernandez stresses that Westside Works’ ultimate goal is not to help Westside residents secure entry-level employment but to help them progress toward better jobs over time. “The foundation really focuses on creating a pathway toward greater sufficiency and financial stability,” he says. Both Ford and Smith have bigger dreams. Ford would like to gain experience at every restaurant that Legacy Restaurant Partners, the proprietor of Twin Smokers BBQ, owns, such as STATS, Der Biergarten and Glenn’s Kitchen. 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  string(8926) "    Program offers residents in-depth culinary training - and for some, a second shot   2017-02-23T16:40:00+00:00 Westside Works teaches knife skills, life skills   Bobbin Wages  2017-02-23T16:40:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%2258ac9c9638ab463b65d1537c%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%At his wife’s birthday party in 2013, Thomas Ford was so drunk and high on Molly that he accidentally shot himself in the throat. He spent 27 days in the hospital relearning how to walk and talk, and resolved to pursue a legitimate career. From there, he developed Bo’s Sauce, a barbecue sauce line that is available at three stores in the Pittsburgh community of southwest Atlanta. Ford started traveling around the city selling meat off two 10-foot grills. But despite the wake-up call, he wound up in jail two years later for driving with a suspended license. 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Ford’s dish consisted of fried chicken wings, endive sprinkled with salted peanuts and blue cheese and tomato concasse, which he describes as a tomato that has been boiled, bathed in ice and cut to “look like a flower.” Despite his success in the program and Chef Juliet’s high recommendation, Ford had difficulty securing a job because of the blemishes on his record. “I stole some things back in the day, and I got into it with the police,” he says, citing an aggravated assault charge. One of Westside Works’ points of pride is giving students with tainted histories a second chance. “I’ve been wielding an arsenal of employers who look to me as a steady mind with a pipeline of skilled, entry-level talent,” Chef Juliet says. “They believe in what we’re trying to accomplish.” No value assignedFord completed his training in May 2016 and landed a position as a prep cook at Downtown’s Twin Smokers BBQ in September. 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Because of the odds operating against so many Culinary Academy students, Chef Juliet focuses on building skills that will distinguish them from the rest of the pack, like making buttermilk and cheese from scratch. Over the course of Dietary Restriction Week, she addresses how to make a vegan dish on the fly as well as vegan and nut-free pestos, demonstrates blanching vegetables as a method of preservation and holds a veggie burger competition. The chef uses contests to get her students excited about seemingly boring topics. During the fall 2016 session, Atlanta Falcons players joined teams of two students for a dough-making duel. “Linebacker Philip Wheeler, my classmate and I made a calzone,” November graduate Brandi Smith says. No value assignedSmith participated in every extracurricular activity Chef Juliet offered, including tending eight garden beds every morning at the new stadium before class. 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Under the restaurant’s employment policy, everyone starts washing dishes and moves up based on a point system. “The chef told me that if I prove myself as a dishwasher,” Smith says, “she has a spot for me as a line cook.” Fernandez stresses that Westside Works’ ultimate goal is not to help Westside residents secure entry-level employment but to help them progress toward better jobs over time. “The foundation really focuses on creating a pathway toward greater sufficiency and financial stability,” he says. Both Ford and Smith have bigger dreams. Ford would like to gain experience at every restaurant that Legacy Restaurant Partners, the proprietor of Twin Smokers BBQ, owns, such as STATS, Der Biergarten and Glenn’s Kitchen. Smith’s hopes are threefold: to become a private chef, to teach cooking classes and to open a Cajun restaurant. No value assignedOf the Culinary Academy’s 68 total graduates, 63 currently are working in the field. 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Article

Thursday February 23, 2017 11:40 am EST
Program offers residents in-depth culinary training - and for some, a second shot | more...
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“It’s not necessarily about me,” she says. “There’s a humbleness in the Latin community that’s not beneficial. We need to be louder.”"
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“It’s not necessarily about me,” she says. “There’s a humbleness in the Latin community that’s not beneficial. We need to be louder.”"
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“It’s not necessarily about me,” she says. “There’s a humbleness in the Latin community that’s not beneficial. We need to be louder.”             20848121         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2017/01/cover_Figueroa1_1_37.586d44aa9d485.png                  Josephine Figueroa: The advocate "
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Article

Thursday January 5, 2017 02:32 am EST
Filmmaker provides a space for artists to express their Latinidad | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(43) "Pop-up photo show will make you book a trip"
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  string(94) "F*ck It... I'm Out finds Atlanta photographers on the loose after 'shroom-induced camping trip"
  ["tracker_field_description_raw"]=>
  string(94) "F*ck It... I'm Out finds Atlanta photographers on the loose after 'shroom-induced camping trip"
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  string(3539) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22583c8bb335ab460f4b91a084%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Despite its name and the timing, the F*ck It... I’m Out photo exhibit is not about moving to Canada before Donald Trump’s inauguration. The pop-up show is an appeal to viewers to break whatever rut they are stuck in: a job, relationship, or — well — post-election malaise.

Fu*ck It... I’m Out will comprise shots from two local photographers’ travels: Adam Stephenson’s 140-day camping excursion out West as well as Edgar Lituma Soto’s international trips from the past year. Appropriately, Lituma Soto introduced Stephenson to sleeping under stars in the first place. After ingesting mushrooms during their camping weekend in Hiawassee, Georgia, Stephenson says the woods chanted at him to come closer and deeper. As cliche as it sounds, that moment was the catalyst for his trip. 

Fed up with his job at a design firm in Kennesaw and the soul-sucking commute, Stephenson sold his belongings and set out in his truck this past May. His favorite images in the show include mountaintop vistas from Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, a glacial lake found by hiking off-trail in the Inyo National Forest in California, and a reflection of the Grand Tetons in the Snake River in Wyoming. Stephenson says those pictures represent the three phases of his journey, along with his growth as a survivalist and photographer. He progressed from traipsing through bear country while wearing his backpack backwards in order to shield his heart and lungs to scaling waterfalls that could end in death with one misstep to chilling with moose and beavers like it was no big thing. “My last destination was the most beautiful place in the country,” he says. “The summer coming to an end hit me really hard.” 

No value assignedIn juxtaposition, Lituma Soto’s trips took place abroad. The motion graphics designer, painter, and illustrator prioritizes overseas travel and seeks freelance work that supports his lifestyle. All his pieces in the exhibit come with a story, such as Vinicunca, an eight-hour day hike up Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, Peru, at 15,000 feet in elevation. He stayed up partying the evening before and punctuated the evening with drunk food — despite having to load the tour bus at 3 a.m. While grappling with elevation sickness and a pounding head and heart, he managed to snag images of alpacas and multicolored rocks. “It looked like Mars,” Lituma Soto says. 

Lituma Soto also cherishes his time in Norway capturing the Northern Lights. “My friends and I took long exposure shots and jumped in the air screaming ‘Whoa!’ like 12-year-olds,” he says. “It was so corny, but we were pretty pumped.” 

Stephenson and Lituma Soto hope F*ck It... I’m Out will inspire attendees to either hop in their cars and explore the country or buy a plane ticket. Lituma Soto notes that only 36 percent of Americans hold valid passports. Stephenson admits he is part of that statistic. “Just buy the damn ticket,” Lituma Soto says. “Once you buy the ticket, you have to go.” 

Ironically, Lituma Soto has engaged in little domestic travel. “I didn’t think the United States was as beautiful as it is,” Stephenson says. “I walked away with a new appreciation.” 

Neither artist cares where attendees go — as long as they go.

F*ck It... I’m Out. Free. 6 p.m. Sat., Dec. 3. Studio 404, 634 N. Highland Ave. N.E."
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  string(3915) "%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="583c8bb335ab460f4b91a084" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Despite its name and the timing, the ''F*ck It... I’m Out'' photo exhibit is not about moving to Canada before Donald Trump’s inauguration. The pop-up show is an appeal to viewers to break whatever rut they are stuck in: a job, relationship, or — well — post-election malaise.

''Fu*ck It... I’m Out'' will comprise shots from two local photographers’ travels: [https://www.instagram.com/tiltandfade/|Adam Stephenson]’s 140-day camping excursion out West as well as [https://www.instagram.com/estoydespierto/|Edgar Lituma Soto’]s international trips from the past year. Appropriately, Lituma Soto introduced Stephenson to sleeping under stars in the first place. After ingesting mushrooms during their camping weekend in Hiawassee, Georgia, Stephenson says the woods chanted at him to come closer and deeper. As cliche as it sounds, that moment was the catalyst for his trip. 

Fed up with his job at a design firm in Kennesaw and the soul-sucking commute, Stephenson sold his belongings and set out in his truck this past May. His favorite images in the show include mountaintop vistas from Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, a glacial lake found by hiking off-trail in the Inyo National Forest in California, and a reflection of the Grand Tetons in the Snake River in Wyoming. Stephenson says those pictures represent the three phases of his journey, along with his growth as a survivalist and photographer. He progressed from traipsing through bear country while wearing his backpack backwards in order to shield his heart and lungs to scaling waterfalls that could end in death with one misstep to chilling with moose and beavers like it was no big thing. “My last destination was the most beautiful place in the country,” he says. “The summer coming to an end hit me really hard.” 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="583c8b8e39ab46252933e66c" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%In juxtaposition, Lituma Soto’s trips took place abroad. The motion graphics designer, painter, and illustrator prioritizes overseas travel and seeks freelance work that supports his lifestyle. All his pieces in the exhibit come with a story, such as Vinicunca, an eight-hour day hike up Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, Peru, at 15,000 feet in elevation. He stayed up partying the evening before and punctuated the evening with drunk food — despite having to load the tour bus at 3 a.m. While grappling with elevation sickness and a pounding head and heart, he managed to snag images of alpacas and multicolored rocks. “It looked like Mars,” Lituma Soto says. 

Lituma Soto also cherishes his time in Norway capturing the Northern Lights. “My friends and I took long exposure shots and jumped in the air screaming ‘Whoa!’ like 12-year-olds,” he says. “It was so corny, but we were pretty pumped.” 

Stephenson and Lituma Soto hope ''F*ck It... I’m Out'' will inspire attendees to either hop in their cars and explore the country or buy a plane ticket. Lituma Soto notes that [https://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2016/04/off-the-grid-why-americans-travel-domestic-instead-1.html|only 36 percent of Americans hold valid passports]. Stephenson admits he is part of that statistic. “Just buy the damn ticket,” Lituma Soto says. “Once you buy the ticket, you have to go.” 

Ironically, Lituma Soto has engaged in little domestic travel. “I didn’t think the United States was as beautiful as it is,” Stephenson says. “I walked away with a new appreciation.” 

Neither artist cares where attendees go — as long as they go.

[https://www.facebook.com/events/1103557929757807/|F*ck It... I’m Out]. ''Free. ''''6 p.m. Sat., Dec. 3. Studio 404, 634 N. Highland Ave. N.E.''"
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  string(3916) "    F*ck It... I'm Out finds Atlanta photographers on the loose after 'shroom-induced camping trip   2016-11-29T20:30:00+00:00 Pop-up photo show will make you book a trip   Bobbin Wages  2016-11-29T20:30:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22583c8bb335ab460f4b91a084%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Despite its name and the timing, the F*ck It... I’m Out photo exhibit is not about moving to Canada before Donald Trump’s inauguration. The pop-up show is an appeal to viewers to break whatever rut they are stuck in: a job, relationship, or — well — post-election malaise.

Fu*ck It... I’m Out will comprise shots from two local photographers’ travels: Adam Stephenson’s 140-day camping excursion out West as well as Edgar Lituma Soto’s international trips from the past year. Appropriately, Lituma Soto introduced Stephenson to sleeping under stars in the first place. After ingesting mushrooms during their camping weekend in Hiawassee, Georgia, Stephenson says the woods chanted at him to come closer and deeper. As cliche as it sounds, that moment was the catalyst for his trip. 

Fed up with his job at a design firm in Kennesaw and the soul-sucking commute, Stephenson sold his belongings and set out in his truck this past May. His favorite images in the show include mountaintop vistas from Big Bend National Park in southwest Texas, a glacial lake found by hiking off-trail in the Inyo National Forest in California, and a reflection of the Grand Tetons in the Snake River in Wyoming. Stephenson says those pictures represent the three phases of his journey, along with his growth as a survivalist and photographer. He progressed from traipsing through bear country while wearing his backpack backwards in order to shield his heart and lungs to scaling waterfalls that could end in death with one misstep to chilling with moose and beavers like it was no big thing. “My last destination was the most beautiful place in the country,” he says. “The summer coming to an end hit me really hard.” 

No value assignedIn juxtaposition, Lituma Soto’s trips took place abroad. The motion graphics designer, painter, and illustrator prioritizes overseas travel and seeks freelance work that supports his lifestyle. All his pieces in the exhibit come with a story, such as Vinicunca, an eight-hour day hike up Rainbow Mountain in Cusco, Peru, at 15,000 feet in elevation. He stayed up partying the evening before and punctuated the evening with drunk food — despite having to load the tour bus at 3 a.m. While grappling with elevation sickness and a pounding head and heart, he managed to snag images of alpacas and multicolored rocks. “It looked like Mars,” Lituma Soto says. 

Lituma Soto also cherishes his time in Norway capturing the Northern Lights. “My friends and I took long exposure shots and jumped in the air screaming ‘Whoa!’ like 12-year-olds,” he says. “It was so corny, but we were pretty pumped.” 

Stephenson and Lituma Soto hope F*ck It... I’m Out will inspire attendees to either hop in their cars and explore the country or buy a plane ticket. Lituma Soto notes that only 36 percent of Americans hold valid passports. Stephenson admits he is part of that statistic. “Just buy the damn ticket,” Lituma Soto says. “Once you buy the ticket, you have to go.” 

Ironically, Lituma Soto has engaged in little domestic travel. “I didn’t think the United States was as beautiful as it is,” Stephenson says. “I walked away with a new appreciation.” 

Neither artist cares where attendees go — as long as they go.

F*ck It... I’m Out. Free. 6 p.m. Sat., Dec. 3. Studio 404, 634 N. Highland Ave. N.E.             20845050         http://dev.creativeloafing.com/image/2016/11/DSC_6709.583c8baf09ab8.png                  Pop-up photo show will make you book a trip "
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Article

Tuesday November 29, 2016 03:30 pm EST
F*ck It... I'm Out finds Atlanta photographers on the loose after 'shroom-induced camping trip | more...
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  ["title"]=>
  string(17) "Put a bling on it"
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  string(110) "Atlanta is a key player in the nail art scene, and the women who wear it carry tiny canvases all over our city"
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  string(110) "Atlanta is a key player in the nail art scene, and the women who wear it carry tiny canvases all over our city"
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  string(9873) "%{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22582a093d38ab46152ae68afd%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Off Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta sits Maxwell Crossing, a modest brick-and-stone shopping strip housing a hair salon, chiropractic office, discount meat shop, and Poochiez Pawz Nail Studio, arguably the premier nail art destination in the city. Locals drive and out-of-towners fly for appointments with owner Tashina “Poochie” Green Robinson, Atlanta’s “godmother of nails.” Poochie’s work consists of anything from hand-painted designs to clusters of rhinestones, and from elaborate sculptures to her trademark polka dots: perfect circles that decrease in size until they fade into the nail. 

Nail art isn’t just for prisses who tote poodles in mini backpacks. Thanks to tastemakers like Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Zooey Deschanel along with social media sites that highlight celebrity trends, finger bling is more mainstream than ever. Atlanta has become a key player in the nail art industry over the past several years, and its enthusiasts hail from diverse ethnicities and professions. The canvases clients carry on their hands may be miniature, but they are crucial to the city’s sense of style. 

No value assignedNail art is as personal as fashion gets. “Your nails can be customized on a weekly basis and reflect however you’re feeling,” Myka Harris, proprietor of WAX Atlanta’s BUFF Nail Bar, says. “You can’t go into Bloomingdale’s and walk out with a shirt you just envisioned, but you can do that with your nails.” Alayna Hoang, owner of Nouvelle Nail Spa, has painted jack-o’-lanterns and spiderwebs for a Halloween enthusiast and a gestating baby’s name for an expectant mother. She sculpted a 3-D vagina on a local comedian’s middle finger, while a chain, Guy Fawkes mask, flag patterns, and solid gold paint adorned her remaining nails. 

In addition to fashion for fashion’s sake, nail art can express one’s stance on social issues, particularly in the LGBTQ community. For a customer attending this year’s Atlanta Pride Parade, Hoang painted “No H8” on one index finger as well as side-by-side female gender symbols. (Accent nails — one or two nails on each hand that intentionally stand out from the rest — actually originated in the gay community so women could signify their interest in the same sex.) 

Lawanda “ElleJay” Johnson, director of the nail care program at the International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy in Sandy Springs, blended translucent glitter reflecting different colors with 3-D flowers complemented by stones as part of a rainbow motif nail set. 

Johnson’s work also has promoted social movements. A breast cancer awareness nail set included pink ribbons, a hand-painted bird finger amongst the text “fuck,” and the word “cancer” behind the universal no sign. A Black Lives Matter piece contained a black, white, and gray gradient effect she achieved with a sponge beneath the slogan. Well before Allure magazine published an image of a Hillary Clinton supporter’s politically charged pointers last fall, Johnson imitated a watercolor background with neon yellow, pink, and blue Sharpie markers on an Obama-themed nail incorporating the President’s name. 

No value assignedNail art doesn’t have to be in-your-face. In fact, muted colors and patterns were nail art gateways for many BUFF patrons. “People weren’t receptive to it in general when we opened in 2012,” Harris says. 

Particularly in the ‘90s, nail art’s reputation as exclusively combining gnarly shapes and garish colors created the false impression that it was, as Harris puts it, “ghetto fabulous.” Society at large assumed nail art belonged solely to African-American culture despite its global roots. As early as 5,000 B.C., Egyptian women dyed their nails with henna. During the Ming dynasty, women used nail extensions to communicate their social status; only short-clawed commoners engaged in manual labor. Yet, the modern-day stereotype partially makes sense. Track and field star Flo-Jo famously donned glitzy talons at Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics, while hip-hop artist Missy Elliott popularized airbrushed and pierced nails during said decade. But when nail art hit the Louis Vuitton runway in 2007, its accessibility opened to everyone. “Once it was presented in another context, people thought, ‘That’s not so far away from me,’” Harris says. 

No value assignedSome early nail art adopters equate Caucasians’ sudden interest in finger bling with cultural appropriation. A Reddit thread ("white girls painting nails is stealing culture") broached the subject with mixed reactions. Harris thinks it’s a non-issue. “My clients are super diverse and don’t see nail art as being gentrified,” she says. “They are experiencing it right now as the rest of the world is.”

The only prejudice that seems to linger in Atlanta involves not who is wearing nail art but who is producing it. “People call and ask if this is a black nail salon,” Hoang says. “I don’t understand why that would matter.” Regardless, she is well aware of the more prevalent generalization that only Asian women administer manicures. “Just because a higher percentage of Asians does nails doesn’t mean other ethnicities aren’t equally capable,” Hoang says. “It depends on the individual.”

Beyond what ethnic group “owns” it, another annoying stigma surrounds nail art: Women become onyxologists (aka nail technicians) because they aren’t smart enough to pursue a “real job.” However, cosmetology programs involve expensive and time-consuming training just like other careers that unfairly may be held in higher regard. “A family member once asked me, ‘As intelligent as you are, why nails?’,” Johnson says. “That question really shook me.” 

No value assignedBecause of these negative misconceptions, people tend to want to pay as little as possible for manicures. “Stigmas lead us as society to price services the way we do,” Harris says. A modest nail set costs anywhere from $40-$60, but that consumes an hour and a half. Once the salon takes a cut and booth rental fees are tendered, the typical onyxlogist’s take-home pay is minimal. (NAILS magazine listed a nail tech’s average income at $630 per week in its latest industry report.) A New Year’s manicure offered at BUFF featured little Swarovski crystals and ran $135, but that was for a special occasion and geared toward clientele who could afford to splurge. “If we treated nail art as a valuable service, people could make a better living at it,” Harris says. 

In addition to completing the schooling necessary to obtain licensure, nail techs feed off of each other to stay on top of fads. From 2010 until her place of employment burned down in 2012, Johnson and her colleagues shared tips and inspiration at Tiny’s Nail Bar, a legendary tourist attraction owned by rapper T.I.’s wife. At Tiny’s, Johnson first experimented with the intricate paints she now is known for. In 2013, she joined the Poochiez Pawz team. 

Poochie insists nail techs have the power to shape trends, which makes sense per her Instagram account’s 166,000 followers. In 2012, she launched Poochiez Nails, a global product line including her own nail brushes, pigments, chrome powders, and press-on stickers called Quick Sticks. She releases each pattern in limited batches. “Once I sell out, I move on to the next look,” she says. The latest design, which hit the market earlier this month, contains icons from 100-dollar bills. 

No value assignedAlthough nail techs defer to Poochie for the hottest style or product, she is most passionate about the flawless foundation on which any nail set should stand. After all, the shiniest gem or raddest sticker can’t mask an inferior paint job. “I don’t like to see bumps and lumps,” she says. “It needs to look really smooth, and the art just adds that pop to it.” Poochie shares one tactic that enables perfect application of acrylic color: aiming the hand downward while brushing from the middle so as not to “look too wide or heavy on the sides.”  

People like Poochie keep Atlanta on the global nail art map by traveling to overseas industry meccas and bringing what they see to their own shops. She is in Hong Kong this week for Cosmoprof Asia, the beauty business’ leading trade show. Hoang not only has made a pilgrimage there but also is in the process of importing a special opaque gel from Tokyo that currently can’t be found in the U.S. Johnson visited New York City to take a class from respected artist Vanessa Nails.

No value assignedConversely, social media has transformed the trade with easy-to-access how-to videos. “When a client asks for a design and I’m not quite sure of the technique, I can YouTube it to see how others do it and try to perfect it,” Hoang says. With the prevalence of free online instruction and opportunities to DIY, the point of investing in a professional manicure could be questioned. Consider a hairdresser who reshapes limp tresses with the twitch of a scissor or delivers a wedding style a bride never could recreate on her own. It appears effortless but requires expertise. The same goes for Hoang’s mastery of the craft. Plus, nobody can argue that a salon manicure lasts a lot longer than one attempted at home.



At one time, fashion-conscious women felt pulled together as long as the following were well-kept: hair, skin, and brows. Any passionate onyxologist will contend nails also have crept into that picture. “Your outfit isn’t complete without nail art,” Poochie says. “That’s just it.” 

View a photo gallery of more Atlanta nail art. 
"
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  string(11579) "%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a093d38ab46152ae68afd" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Off Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta sits Maxwell Crossing, a modest brick-and-stone shopping strip housing a hair salon, chiropractic office, discount meat shop, and Poochiez Pawz Nail Studio, arguably the premier nail art destination in the city. Locals drive and out-of-towners fly for appointments with owner Tashina “Poochie” Green Robinson, Atlanta’s “godmother of nails.” Poochie’s work consists of anything from hand-painted designs to clusters of rhinestones, and from elaborate sculptures to her trademark polka dots: perfect circles that decrease in size until they fade into the nail. 

Nail art isn’t just for prisses who tote poodles in mini backpacks. Thanks to tastemakers like Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Zooey Deschanel along with social media sites that highlight celebrity trends, finger bling is more mainstream than ever. Atlanta has become a key player in the nail art industry over the past several years, and its enthusiasts hail from diverse ethnicities and professions. The canvases clients carry on their hands may be miniature, but they are crucial to the city’s sense of style. 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a14da57ab46d74cb8490e" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="320w" data-embed-align="right" contenteditable="false" ]}%Nail art is as personal as fashion gets. “Your nails can be customized on a weekly basis and reflect however you’re feeling,” Myka Harris, proprietor of [http://www.wax-atlanta.com/about-buff-nail-bar/|WAX Atlanta’s BUFF Nail Bar], says. “You can’t go into Bloomingdale’s and walk out with a shirt you just envisioned, but you can do that with your nails.” Alayna Hoang, owner of Nouvelle Nail Spa, has painted [https://www.instagram.com/p/BLADld3j3SG/?taken-by=nouvellenailspa|jack-o’-lanterns and spiderwebs ]for a Halloween enthusiast and [https://www.instagram.com/p/yK3jg3xzrT/?taken-by=nouvellenailspa|a gestating baby’s name] for an expectant mother. She sculpted [https://www.instagram.com/p/lVVD2exzjG/?taken-by=nouvellenailspa|a 3-D vagina] on a local comedian’s middle finger, while a chain, Guy Fawkes mask, flag patterns, and solid gold paint adorned her remaining nails. 

In addition to fashion for fashion’s sake, nail art can express one’s stance on social issues, particularly in the LGBTQ community. For a customer attending this year’s Atlanta Pride Parade, Hoang painted [https://www.instagram.com/p/BLKK-Yajxvl/?taken-by=nouvellenailspa|“No H8” on one index finger as well as side-by-side female gender symbols]. (Accent nails — one or two nails on each hand that intentionally stand out from the rest — actually originated in the gay community so women could signify their interest in the same sex.) 

Lawanda “ElleJay” Johnson, director of the nail care program at the [http://issnschoolspa.com/|International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy] in Sandy Springs, blended translucent glitter reflecting different colors with 3-D flowers complemented by stones as part of a [https://www.instagram.com/p/fd67I_Gvep/?taken-by=mizellejay|rainbow motif nail set]. 

Johnson’s work also has promoted social movements. A [https://www.instagram.com/p/tu-E6HGvXL/|breast cancer awareness nail set] included pink ribbons, a hand-painted bird finger amongst the text “fuck,” and the word “cancer” behind the universal no sign. A Black Lives Matter piece contained a black, white, and gray gradient effect she achieved with a sponge beneath the slogan. Well before Allure magazine published an image of a Hillary Clinton supporter’s [http://www.allure.com/story/hillary-clinton-nail-art|politically charged pointers] last fall, Johnson imitated a watercolor background with neon yellow, pink, and blue Sharpie markers on an Obama-themed nail incorporating the President’s name. 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a110e6cdeea4e0fb8496d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Nail art doesn’t have to be in-your-face. In fact, muted colors and patterns were nail art gateways for many BUFF patrons. “People weren’t receptive to it in general when we opened in 2012,” Harris says. 

Particularly in the ‘90s, nail art’s reputation as exclusively combining gnarly shapes and garish colors created the false impression that it was, as Harris puts it, “ghetto fabulous.” Society at large assumed nail art belonged solely to African-American culture despite its global roots. As early as 5,000 B.C., Egyptian women dyed their nails with henna. During the Ming dynasty, women used nail extensions to communicate their social status; only short-clawed commoners engaged in manual labor. Yet, the modern-day stereotype partially makes sense. Track and field star Flo-Jo famously donned glitzy talons at Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics, while hip-hop artist Missy Elliott popularized airbrushed and pierced nails during said decade. But when nail art hit the Louis Vuitton runway in 2007, its accessibility opened to everyone. “Once it was presented in another context, people thought, ‘That’s not so far away from me,’” Harris says. 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a11c438ab46d402b84914" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="320w" data-embed-align="right" contenteditable="false" ]}%Some early nail art adopters equate Caucasians’ sudden interest in finger bling with cultural appropriation. [https://www.reddit.com/r/TumblrInAction/comments/2wzzc3/white_girls_painting_nails_is_stealing_culture/|A Reddit thread ("white girls painting nails is stealing culture") broached the subject] with mixed reactions. Harris thinks it’s a non-issue. “My clients are super diverse and don’t see nail art as being gentrified,” she says. “They are experiencing it right now as the rest of the world is.”

The only prejudice that seems to linger in Atlanta involves not who is wearing nail art but who is producing it. “People call and ask if this is a black nail salon,” Hoang says. “I don’t understand why that would matter.” Regardless, she is well aware of the more prevalent generalization that only Asian women administer manicures. “Just because a higher percentage of Asians does nails doesn’t mean other ethnicities aren’t equally capable,” Hoang says. “It depends on the individual.”

Beyond what ethnic group “owns” it, another annoying stigma surrounds nail art: Women become onyxologists (aka nail technicians) because they aren’t smart enough to pursue a “real job.” However, cosmetology programs involve expensive and time-consuming training just like other careers that unfairly may be held in higher regard. “A family member once asked me, ‘As intelligent as you are, why nails?’,” Johnson says. “That question really shook me.” 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a0a0935ab463670b8491d" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="320w" data-embed-align="right" contenteditable="false" ]}%Because of these negative misconceptions, people tend to want to pay as little as possible for manicures. “Stigmas lead us as society to price services the way we do,” Harris says. A modest nail set costs anywhere from $40-$60, but that consumes an hour and a half. Once the salon takes a cut and booth rental fees are tendered, the typical onyxlogist’s take-home pay is minimal. (''NAILS'' magazine listed a nail tech’s average income at $630 per week in [http://files.nailsmag.com/Feature-Articles-in-PDF/NABB2015-16stats.pdf|its latest industry report].) A New Year’s manicure offered at BUFF featured [https://www.instagram.com/p/_pJP6tTTwS/?taken-by=buffnailbar|little Swarovski crystals] and ran $135, but that was for a special occasion and geared toward clientele who could afford to splurge. “If we treated [nail art] as a valuable service, people could make a better living at it,” Harris says. 

In addition to completing the schooling necessary to obtain licensure, nail techs feed off of each other to stay on top of fads. From 2010 until her place of employment burned down in 2012, Johnson and her colleagues shared tips and inspiration at Tiny’s Nail Bar, a legendary tourist attraction owned by rapper T.I.’s wife. At Tiny’s, Johnson first experimented with the intricate paints she now is known for. In 2013, she joined the Poochiez Pawz team. 

Poochie insists nail techs have the power to shape trends, which makes sense per her Instagram account’s 166,000 followers. In 2012, she launched [http://www.thenailartboutique.com/|Poochiez Nails], a global product line including her own nail brushes, pigments, chrome powders, and press-on stickers called Quick Sticks. She releases each pattern in limited batches. “Once I sell out, I move on to the next look,” she says. The latest design, which hit the market earlier this month, contains icons from 100-dollar bills. 

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582dfdb435ab46403c09e454" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Although nail techs defer to Poochie for the hottest style or product, she is most passionate about the flawless foundation on which any nail set should stand. After all, the shiniest gem or raddest sticker can’t mask an inferior paint job. “I don’t like to see bumps and lumps,” she says. “It needs to look really smooth, and the art just adds that pop to it.” Poochie shares one tactic that enables perfect application of acrylic color: aiming the hand downward while brushing from the middle so as not to “look too wide or heavy on the sides.”  

People like Poochie keep Atlanta on the global nail art map by traveling to overseas industry meccas and bringing what they see to their own shops. She is in Hong Kong this week for Cosmoprof Asia, the beauty business’ leading trade show. Hoang not only has made a pilgrimage there but also is in the process of importing a special opaque gel from Tokyo that currently can’t be found in the U.S. Johnson visited New York City to take a class from respected artist Vanessa Nails.

%{[ data-embed-type="image" data-embed-id="582a16ee57ab46325db84925" data-embed-element="span" data-embed-size="640w" contenteditable="false" ]}%Conversely, social media has transformed the trade with easy-to-access how-to videos. “When a client asks for a design and I’m not quite sure of the technique, I can YouTube it to see how others do it and try to perfect it,” Hoang says. With the prevalence of free online instruction and opportunities to DIY, the point of investing in a professional manicure could be questioned. Consider a hairdresser who reshapes limp tresses with the twitch of a scissor or delivers a wedding style a bride never could recreate on her own. It appears effortless but requires expertise. The same goes for Hoang’s mastery of the craft. Plus, nobody can argue that a salon manicure lasts a lot longer than one attempted at home.



At one time, fashion-conscious women felt pulled together as long as the following were well-kept: hair, skin, and brows. Any passionate onyxologist will contend nails also have crept into that picture. “Your outfit isn’t complete without nail art,” Poochie says. “That’s just it.” 

[http://www.clatl.com/news/media-gallery/20843932/photo-gallery-put-a-bling-on-it|''View a photo gallery of more Atlanta nail art. '']
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  string(10236) "    Atlanta is a key player in the nail art scene, and the women who wear it carry tiny canvases all over our city   2016-11-16T04:10:00+00:00 Put a bling on it   Bobbin Wages  2016-11-16T04:10:00+00:00  %{data-embed-type=%22image%22 data-embed-id=%22582a093d38ab46152ae68afd%22 data-embed-element=%22span%22 data-embed-size=%22640w%22 contenteditable=%22false%22}%Off Campbellton Road in southwest Atlanta sits Maxwell Crossing, a modest brick-and-stone shopping strip housing a hair salon, chiropractic office, discount meat shop, and Poochiez Pawz Nail Studio, arguably the premier nail art destination in the city. Locals drive and out-of-towners fly for appointments with owner Tashina “Poochie” Green Robinson, Atlanta’s “godmother of nails.” Poochie’s work consists of anything from hand-painted designs to clusters of rhinestones, and from elaborate sculptures to her trademark polka dots: perfect circles that decrease in size until they fade into the nail. 

Nail art isn’t just for prisses who tote poodles in mini backpacks. Thanks to tastemakers like Beyoncé, Selena Gomez, and Zooey Deschanel along with social media sites that highlight celebrity trends, finger bling is more mainstream than ever. Atlanta has become a key player in the nail art industry over the past several years, and its enthusiasts hail from diverse ethnicities and professions. The canvases clients carry on their hands may be miniature, but they are crucial to the city’s sense of style. 

No value assignedNail art is as personal as fashion gets. “Your nails can be customized on a weekly basis and reflect however you’re feeling,” Myka Harris, proprietor of WAX Atlanta’s BUFF Nail Bar, says. “You can’t go into Bloomingdale’s and walk out with a shirt you just envisioned, but you can do that with your nails.” Alayna Hoang, owner of Nouvelle Nail Spa, has painted jack-o’-lanterns and spiderwebs for a Halloween enthusiast and a gestating baby’s name for an expectant mother. She sculpted a 3-D vagina on a local comedian’s middle finger, while a chain, Guy Fawkes mask, flag patterns, and solid gold paint adorned her remaining nails. 

In addition to fashion for fashion’s sake, nail art can express one’s stance on social issues, particularly in the LGBTQ community. For a customer attending this year’s Atlanta Pride Parade, Hoang painted “No H8” on one index finger as well as side-by-side female gender symbols. (Accent nails — one or two nails on each hand that intentionally stand out from the rest — actually originated in the gay community so women could signify their interest in the same sex.) 

Lawanda “ElleJay” Johnson, director of the nail care program at the International School of Skin, Nailcare & Massage Therapy in Sandy Springs, blended translucent glitter reflecting different colors with 3-D flowers complemented by stones as part of a rainbow motif nail set. 

Johnson’s work also has promoted social movements. A breast cancer awareness nail set included pink ribbons, a hand-painted bird finger amongst the text “fuck,” and the word “cancer” behind the universal no sign. A Black Lives Matter piece contained a black, white, and gray gradient effect she achieved with a sponge beneath the slogan. Well before Allure magazine published an image of a Hillary Clinton supporter’s politically charged pointers last fall, Johnson imitated a watercolor background with neon yellow, pink, and blue Sharpie markers on an Obama-themed nail incorporating the President’s name. 

No value assignedNail art doesn’t have to be in-your-face. In fact, muted colors and patterns were nail art gateways for many BUFF patrons. “People weren’t receptive to it in general when we opened in 2012,” Harris says. 

Particularly in the ‘90s, nail art’s reputation as exclusively combining gnarly shapes and garish colors created the false impression that it was, as Harris puts it, “ghetto fabulous.” Society at large assumed nail art belonged solely to African-American culture despite its global roots. As early as 5,000 B.C., Egyptian women dyed their nails with henna. During the Ming dynasty, women used nail extensions to communicate their social status; only short-clawed commoners engaged in manual labor. Yet, the modern-day stereotype partially makes sense. Track and field star Flo-Jo famously donned glitzy talons at Atlanta’s 1996 Olympics, while hip-hop artist Missy Elliott popularized airbrushed and pierced nails during said decade. But when nail art hit the Louis Vuitton runway in 2007, its accessibility opened to everyone. “Once it was presented in another context, people thought, ‘That’s not so far away from me,’” Harris says. 

No value assignedSome early nail art adopters equate Caucasians’ sudden interest in finger bling with cultural appropriation. A Reddit thread ("white girls painting nails is stealing culture") broached the subject with mixed reactions. Harris thinks it’s a non-issue. “My clients are super diverse and don’t see nail art as being gentrified,” she says. “They are experiencing it right now as the rest of the world is.”

The only prejudice that seems to linger in Atlanta involves not who is wearing nail art but who is producing it. “People call and ask if this is a black nail salon,” Hoang says. “I don’t understand why that would matter.” Regardless, she is well aware of the more prevalent generalization that only Asian women administer manicures. “Just because a higher percentage of Asians does nails doesn’t mean other ethnicities aren’t equally capable,” Hoang says. “It depends on the individual.”

Beyond what ethnic group “owns” it, another annoying stigma surrounds nail art: Women become onyxologists (aka nail technicians) because they aren’t smart enough to pursue a “real job.” However, cosmetology programs involve expensive and time-consuming training just like other careers that unfairly may be held in higher regard. “A family member once asked me, ‘As intelligent as you are, why nails?’,” Johnson says. “That question really shook me.” 

No value assignedBecause of these negative misconceptions, people tend to want to pay as little as possible for manicures. “Stigmas lead us as society to price services the way we do,” Harris says. A modest nail set costs anywhere from $40-$60, but that consumes an hour and a half. Once the salon takes a cut and booth rental fees are tendered, the typical onyxlogist’s take-home pay is minimal. (NAILS magazine listed a nail tech’s average income at $630 per week in its latest industry report.) A New Year’s manicure offered at BUFF featured little Swarovski crystals and ran $135, but that was for a special occasion and geared toward clientele who could afford to splurge. “If we treated nail art as a valuable service, people could make a better living at it,” Harris says. 

In addition to completing the schooling necessary to obtain licensure, nail techs feed off of each other to stay on top of fads. From 2010 until her place of employment burned down in 2012, Johnson and her colleagues shared tips and inspiration at Tiny’s Nail Bar, a legendary tourist attraction owned by rapper T.I.’s wife. At Tiny’s, Johnson first experimented with the intricate paints she now is known for. In 2013, she joined the Poochiez Pawz team. 

Poochie insists nail techs have the power to shape trends, which makes sense per her Instagram account’s 166,000 followers. In 2012, she launched Poochiez Nails, a global product line including her own nail brushes, pigments, chrome powders, and press-on stickers called Quick Sticks. She releases each pattern in limited batches. “Once I sell out, I move on to the next look,” she says. The latest design, which hit the market earlier this month, contains icons from 100-dollar bills. 

No value assignedAlthough nail techs defer to Poochie for the hottest style or product, she is most passionate about the flawless foundation on which any nail set should stand. After all, the shiniest gem or raddest sticker can’t mask an inferior paint job. “I don’t like to see bumps and lumps,” she says. “It needs to look really smooth, and the art just adds that pop to it.” Poochie shares one tactic that enables perfect application of acrylic color: aiming the hand downward while brushing from the middle so as not to “look too wide or heavy on the sides.”  

People like Poochie keep Atlanta on the global nail art map by traveling to overseas industry meccas and bringing what they see to their own shops. She is in Hong Kong this week for Cosmoprof Asia, the beauty business’ leading trade show. Hoang not only has made a pilgrimage there but also is in the process of importing a special opaque gel from Tokyo that currently can’t be found in the U.S. Johnson visited New York City to take a class from respected artist Vanessa Nails.

No value assignedConversely, social media has transformed the trade with easy-to-access how-to videos. “When a client asks for a design and I’m not quite sure of the technique, I can YouTube it to see how others do it and try to perfect it,” Hoang says. With the prevalence of free online instruction and opportunities to DIY, the point of investing in a professional manicure could be questioned. Consider a hairdresser who reshapes limp tresses with the twitch of a scissor or delivers a wedding style a bride never could recreate on her own. It appears effortless but requires expertise. The same goes for Hoang’s mastery of the craft. Plus, nobody can argue that a salon manicure lasts a lot longer than one attempted at home.



At one time, fashion-conscious women felt pulled together as long as the following were well-kept: hair, skin, and brows. Any passionate onyxologist will contend nails also have crept into that picture. “Your outfit isn’t complete without nail art,” Poochie says. “That’s just it.” 

View a photo gallery of more Atlanta nail art. 
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Article

Tuesday November 15, 2016 11:10 pm EST
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