Best Pregnancy-Friendly Nail Salons in NYC

3 nail salons to help you safely indulge during pregnancy.

Best Pregnancy-Friendly Nail Salons in NYC

Both times that I was pregnant, I avoided nail salons and nail polish at all costs. I was so nervous about any potential toxins or inhalation of chemicals that I decided to just forgo something that actually would have brought me a lot of joy and relaxation during such stressful, exhausting times. I wish I’d known more back then about how to get a healthy manicure and pedicure in New York City. There are all sorts of tips and tricks, not to mention specialty nail salons, that can help you feel good about the nail choices you’re making as your baby grows.

If you can swing it, there are three nail salons (one of which is a chainlet with multiple locations!) that we highly recommend for a pregnancy-safe, luxurious, healthy experience.

Van Court Studio

Van Court Studio is the ultimate in clean chic. The nail tech I had there literally has a master’s degree (okay, it’s in English Lit, not nail art, but still!), and all the techs are freelancers who also work on fashion shows and magazine shoots. Everyone who works there takes safety and health as seriously as they take luxury and pampering. The foot-soak tubs aren’t connected to plumbing so that all parts can be sterilized between customers. The vibe is downtown hip, with outlets to charge your phone at every station, and an incredible selection of 5+free polishes, all made by woman-owned companies. An intake questionnaire insures that your nail tech is tailoring the experience to the needs you didn’t even realize you had. Van Court’s manicures are waterless, a practice that is known to be healthier for your nails because they are most vulnerable when wet.

What you should know: Everything used at Van Court is safe for pregnant women. It has a fancy ventilation system, huge windows, in-house-made organic scrub, and only the safest products. Nail art is one of their specialties— check out Van Court’s awesome Instagram for inspiration!

Most requested nail color right now: Light Blue, like Deborah Lippmann’s My Boy Lollipop

Where to go: 90 Water Street, Fl 2

Sweet Lily Spa

Sweet Lily Spa understands that not all pregnant women want to use polish, so they offer Healing Hands -- a treatment that pampers and soothes, and is also perfect for new moms whose hands are feeling worn from the constant washing of having a newborn! Like Van Court, Sweet Lily is clean, safe, and tailored to your health. The vibe is different, though, with big, comfy upholstered chairs and couches, chandeliers and chintz— very country-house. They only use Zoya nail polishes, a fantastic safe brand with a huge range of color choices, and also have no UV dryers or quick dry sprays. A little boutique at the front of the Spa adds to the charm, and they also offer waxing services. Like Van Court, all tools are sterilized to the point of being surgical-grade. Check out their website for seasonal specials, like the Grapefruit+Vodka pedicure or stick to the perennial favorites, Honey Walnut or Lavender Cream.

What you should know: Sweet Lily has a no cellphones policy, which insures that you won’t be sitting next to someone talking loudly while getting pampered. It’s very relaxing! On my visit to Sweet Lily, I saw three generations of a family there together— a grandmother, new mom, and tiny baby. It’s the kind of place where new moms feel comfortable bringing their little ones, and it’s peaceful and quiet enough for the babies to nap right through!

Most requested nail colors now: anything purple, like Zoya’s Liv from this summer’s Sunset Collection

Where to go: 222 West Broadway


This chainlet from 8-free, Leaping Bunny-certified polish brand tenoverten has four locations in NYC, and one in Austin. Thoughtful and chic, they offer a huge selection of their own polishes , along with other brands like RGB (5-free) and the more mainstream Chanel and Essie lines. Their nail-art game is top-notch, and everything they use for their treatments is paraben free. Between the boutique where you can buy amazing, natural products, and the other services offered— nail art, makeup applications, sugaring, waxing, etc.— this is a one-stop wonder of a beauty haven, safe for mamas-to-be and chic, on-the-go women alike!

What you should know: tenoverten does parties and events. Can you say “baby shower”?!?

Most requested nail colors right now: the bright trio from the Limited Edition STRIIIKE x tenoverten

Where to go: midtown: 119 W 56th Street; soho: 132 W Houston Street; tribeca: 112 Reade Street, Second Floor

Image via Van Court.

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 outdoor toys your kids will want to play with beyond summer

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.


Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!


Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.


Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.


Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.


Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.


Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.


Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.


Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.


Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.


Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.


Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.


Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.


Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.


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10 photos to take on baby’s first day that you'll cherish forever

You'll obsess over these newborn baby pictures.

Bethany Menzel: Instagram + Blog

As you're preparing for baby's birth, we bet you're dreaming of all of the amazing photos you'll take of your precious new babe. As a professional photographer and mama, I have some tips for newborn photos you'll want to capture.

Here are the 10 photos you will want to take on baby's first day.

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