Miami — I travel a lot for work, but rarely does it involve anything outside of the nail industry. In February I went to Miami for a magazine publishing conference — just as I urge you all to get out there and continue your education, I need to do the same for my career. For you, it’s a business class, sanitation seminar, or learning new nail techniques. For me, it’s trends in magazine publishing (with a pretty strong push for online components these days). The conference was great, but I couldn’t visit a new town without popping in to get my nails done somewhere.

I found SugarBubble on Daily Candy Miami ( Open for just over a year, it’s a quaint little nail salon in Miami Shores, a neighborhood about 10 minutes outside of bustling South Beach. As soon as I stepped in, it truly felt like a neighborhood salon.

Light blue walls, natural bamboo elements, and a crystal chandelier give off a fresh feeling in this cute shabby chic salon. There are four manicure tables and a long bench with three pedicure tubs. The salon was pretty full but it didn’t detract from the serene, spa-like atmosphere of the space. It smelled of lemongrass and soft music played in the background. (I was feeling a little under the weather and they offered up a nice tray with tea, honey, and lemon for me to sip on during my service.) It’s stylish, yet casual at the same time.

Owner Leni Benitez is a nurse by trade and puts a large emphasis on sanitation at SugarBubble. What first attracted me to the salon was the website ( On the home page, it states, “We worry about the germs so you can relax.” Spa director Kim Capo showed me the pedicure log they keep at the front desk, and the basins are custom-built without whirlpools. The salon also uses an autoclave to sterilize all metal implements.

But cleanliness isn’t the only thing this little salon has going for it; it also has some great signature services, including a Coconut Milk Pedicure, a Napa Pedicure, and a Natural Herb Pedicure. But as soon as I saw the Milk & Honey Pedicure, I knew that was the one for me. I guessed it was based on Cuccio Naturalé’s Milk & Honey Body Butter, which I love, and I was right. It was a decadent service for a great price. My nail tech Marie Navarro was so friendly and really knowledgeable about the industry, and I felt right at home at this little oasis of a salon. I could definitely see myself making it a regular stop if I lived in the neighborhood.

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