Sunday, July 31, 2011

Paradoxal at the Nexus of the Universe

Nexus of the Universe

Like most episodes of Seinfeld, "The Maid" has some fantastic New York moments. It's the episode where Elaine gets a new phone number with a 646 area code (a big change from the traditional 212) and Kramer has a "long distance" relationship with a woman who lives downtown... in visiting her, Kramer finds himself lost on 1st and 1st, aka the "nexus of the universe". 1st and 1st is also somewhat of a paradox... or... a Paradoxal, if you will!

1st and 1st stores
Local businesses located at 1st and 1st have great names

If I'm asked my favorite polish, Chanel Paradoxal is usually the one I'll name (but we all know it's OK to have a few favorites!) This purple-grey shade applies like a dream and is long wearing - last year, I wore Paradoxal for a whole week on vacation and experienced a very small amount of wear. I love the pinky-purple shimmer that lights up in the sunlight, and how inside, this polish looks smoky and mysterious.

Chanel Paradoxal

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Essie Da Bush is in Da (Cactus) House

Essie Da Bush Cactus House

At the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, there are several large conservatories (they look like giant domes) that are climate controlled so that you can enjoy plants from different regions that normally wouldn't survive in NYC. The Desert Pavilion (AKA Cactus House) is full of really neat cacti and flowers that look nothing like that baby cactus in a flower pot on your coworker's desk.

There is nothing prickly about this polish - Essie Da Bush is a creamy green toned grey. I expected a dusty green polish along the lines of Essie Sew Psyched, and instead was stunned by how subtle the green is. This shade reminded me of some of the very pale succulents I saw in the cactus house.

Essie Da Bush

Shortly after moving to NYC, we decided to paint one wall in our apartment grey. Have you ever gone grey paint searching? It's really much hard than it seems! We stuck our swatches up on the wall and suddenly the colors we thought were very middle-of-the-road grey transformed into greens, blues, and purples. Da Bush reminds me of a paint swatch we picked up...in low light, the color is almost undetectable but then like a chameleon, the intensity of green shifts and is affected by surrounding colors.

Visit the Desert Pavilion at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden at 900 Washington Ave in Brooklyn.

Read on for more pictures from the cactus house!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Window Shopping for China Glaze at Valley

Gotham Polish NYC
Boyfriend: "I don't want to go in" Me: "So stay out here and take a picture"

Whoops, there I am.

Before the days Beauty 35 sold China Glaze *Please note that as of March 2012, Beauty 35 no longer carries China Glaze*, one could window shop at Valley NYC salon! I stopped by to see their selection, and sure enough, China Glaze polishes are lined up in the window to enjoy. While China Glaze polishes aren't for sale here (KO polishes can be purchased), you can get a manicure with your favorite shade. Valley also is known for fantastic nail art - just check out their nail art gallery for some inspiration!

Valley NYC is located at 198 Elizabeth Street, between Prince and Spring. To purchase China Glaze in NYC, head on over to Beauty 35.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

LOL in Central Park

China Glaze LOL Central Park

Happy Weekend! I hear it's going to be hot and sunny in NYC. Two of my favorite things to do on a sunny weekend is visit Central Park and wear a holo polish, like China Glaze LOL :)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Going Wild Layering with Ozotics, N'Fu Oh, and OPI

Dinosaur Ozotic

Even the neon pink dinosaur in the window of Aritzia in Soho thinks this is nuts. From bottom layer to top, here's what Ozotic 506, Ozotic 528, N'Fu Oh 51, and OPI I Lily Love You look like together.

Ozotic Layering


...and it looks really awesome with a matte topcoat.

Ozotic Layering matte

Have you created any crazy layering combinations lately?

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Let's Get Lost in Central Park

LOST

While Central Park is vast, well worn walkways and historic landmarks help visitors from getting too turned around. But there is one part of the park that both tourists and seasoned park explorers can become happily lost in - the Ramble.

Just north of the Bethesda Terrace, the 36 acre Ramble was designed for visitors to wander and enjoy trails around the lake and deep into the woods. The winding, rustic paths through the Ramble allow you to imagine a time before the city was developed. Exploring the Ramble reminds me of the Lost island... each time, I find something new. But it's really tricky to find the same place twice! Running over large glacial rocks is a stream we joke is the "source of the island's energy" :) I just hope there isn't a smoke monster!

Essence "Let's Get Lost" is a stunning creamy Caribbean sea blue that that applies opaque in only one coat. This polish is fantastic for the summer, and also is a great base color for many glittery or sheer top coats - NYX Maven and Sally Hansen DVD come to mind.

Essence Lets Get Lost

Any fans of the "LOST" series or Essence "Let's Get Lost" out there?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

There's a Zoya Haven in Soho

Haven Spa Zoya

Haven Spa on Mercer Street one of those places that's "so New York". An unassuming exterior discretely hides the exquisite and peaceful retreat awaiting beyond the wooden door - Haven Spa makes you feel privileged to know of it's existence.  In addition to luxurious spa treatments (are you here for the "Spoil Me" or the "Spoil Me Rotten" package today?), Haven Spa sells Zoya polishes!

Also hiding beneath an unassuming exterior is the neon-in-disguise Zoya Renee. I chose this color during the Twitter promotion two years ago because at the time I was building my collection and was looking for a "standard" high quality pink polish. Wow, did I get more of a pink than I expected!

Zoya Renee
Photographed in the light box

Zoya describes Renee as an "Ultra-bright red-toned medium neon pink creme. Bright and eye-catching, perfect for showing off a deep summer tan". Looking at the bottle, you wouldn't know that this color is a neon... in indoor lighting, Renee looks like a familiar warm pink. But the semi-matte finish, telling of neon polishes, was my first clue that there was more to Renee than meets the eye.

Zoya Renee 2
Photographed by my window, late afternoon

Sure enough, in low, natural light, the neon starts to kick in. Who knew? Renee transforms from pink to PINK! Renee is opaque in (2) coats and with a top coat, looks like super shiny plastic.

Zoya Renee 3
Photographed by my window, in the early evening

Zoya Renee is a great summer packs-a-punch-pink neon, AND it can be worn to work without eliciting the obligatory (and ever so original) "I need my sunglasses" or "That's where my highlighter went" comments.

Speaking of Zoya, who's excited for the Smoke & Mirrors collection? I'm looking forward to Yara and Neeka. Zoya... still waiting for an "Amy"...

Visit Haven Spa at 150 Mercer Street in Soho. Zoya polishes can be purchased at Haven Spa and online.
For a full list of spa and salon services at Haven Spa, check out their website: http://www.havensoho.com/

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Very Bloomingdale's Manicure

Bloomingdales floor

Ah, Bloomingdale's. It's both a New York City landmark and mecca of shopping. All the shoes, handbags, dresses, and makeup look like they were selected right from the runway and tempt you to take them home with you. I always feel like a fashion failure when I visit, because everyone there shopping is so... put together. Browsing the racks, there are always striking older women with dark sunglasses and Chanel purses, teenagers with Tory Burch flats, babies with Louis Vuitton diaper bags... you get the picture.

Of course there is nail polish to be found at Bloomingdales! Aisles of makeup counters - including Nars, Dior, Chanel, and MAC - are stocked with the latest collections.

Sure, we all know the "Brown Bag", but another Bloomingdale's icon is the black and white checkerboard floor. It's like the "Yellow Brick Road" of shopping. The Bloomingdale's floor is a perfect inspiration for a checkerboard manicure! This is my second attempt using tape to make a design (see the first one here) and wow does it take patience. I really don't have any special advice to offer on this technique and am still learning myself, so check out tape masters like Nail Side or Chloe's Nails.

Bloomingdales nails
Colors used: Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Hard as Wraps in White Tip and Sally Hansen X-treme Wear in Black Out

Visit Bloomingdales in New York City at 59th and Lexington Ave and at 504 Broadway in SoHo. You can also shop online at http://www.bloomingdales.com/.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Ozotics Have Immigrated Into My Life

Ozotic Ellis Island

For millions coming from overseas, between 1892 and 1954 Ellis Island was the gateway into the United States. These little polishes traveled all the way from Australia and arrived at my door in NYC – and it seems they stopped through Ellis Island for a tour!

The first time I laid eyes on Ozotic polishes I fell in love and was heartbroken simultaneously. That first swatch was of Ozotic 528 layered over 506. Practical Amy, however, decided these would be unobtainable but I would still enjoy all the lovely pictures fellow bloggers share.

How my boyfriend ended up picking out Ozotic 506 and 528 as birthday presents – EXACTLY the two colors I was lusting for - is a big mystery. I must have mentioned the brand once. But he went online, found the retailer Picture Polish, looked at some pictures and picked out the two he liked the best. Good picks, boyfriend!

Ozotic 506 defines the word duochrome multichrome. 506 looks turquoise or blue in direct light, then (depending on the angle of the light) transitions into a warm purple, then a glowing golden red. Below, 506 is layered over black.

Ozotic 506 turquoise

Ozotic 506 purple

Ozotic 528 is a multichrome glitter. The color progression is similar to 506 in the way that turquoise is the main color, followed by purple, then golden red. Each color is just a little more brilliant than its 506 counterpart. 528 looks great over 506 or over black, but I also recommend using it over a pinky-purple such as China Glaze Stella or Zoya Yasmeen.

Here is 528 layered over 506 - I wanted to make sure I captured the blue, the purple, the red, and every color in between!

Ozotic 528 1

Ozotic 528 2

Ozotic 528 3

Ozotic 528 4

Ozotic 528 5

Ozotic 528 6

I’m so happy these Ozotic polishes found their way into my collection. While I first resisted them because of the price, now that I have them, I would not have known what I was missing had these not been a gift J If you’re debating purchasing them over the price… I say they’re worth it!

Ozotic polishes can be purchased online at  Picture Polish. Shipping has been lowered to 8 Australian dollars (up to 2 polishes... shipping rates increase with more bottles), which is about $8.60 US.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Look inside the Statue of Liberty this 4th of July

Statue of Liberty 1

I hope you are having a wonderful 4th of July! To celebrate, I wanted to share with you pictures from my trip to the top of the Statue of Liberty in 2009.

The Statue of Liberty is an incredible icon of both New York City and of the United States. Given as a gift from France in 1886, Lady Liberty stands 305 feet tall in New York harbor and symbolizes freedom - she can be seen from lower Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and from the bridges! What a great gift :)

Statue of Liberty 2
Looking up at the Statue on Liberty Island

My 4th of July manicure isn't red, white, and blue... it was inspired by the Statue of Liberty!

Statue of Liberty Nails 2
Lady Liberty inspired nails

Reopening the crown to visitors on the 4th of July in 2009 was an exciting announcement, as it had been closed since September 11th, 2001 - almost eight years. Now a small number of visitors are allowed to the crown (only 240 per day) after passing through super high tech security screening.

Once you enter the Statue, you can see the complex structure holding up the copper exterior. The copper is only as thick as two pennies. To get to the top, you climb a long, steep and narrow spiral staircase! There are actually two staircases in the spiral - one for 'up' traffic and one for 'down'!

Statue of Liberty 7
It's a long climb to the top...

From the crown, you can better see the book which has "July 4, 1776" inscribed on it. In this picture I love how you can see the shadow of the crown's points across the book.

Statue of Liberty 6
Looking out of the crown

To create Statue of Liberty green nails, I put a matte top coat (Essie "Matte About You") over H&M "Dollar Green".

Statue of Liberty Nails

Climbing the Statue of Liberty is one the greatest experiences I've had in New York City. Sure, it's hard work and hot inside but seeing the magnitude of the structure and immersing yourself in the history and significance of the Statue of Liberty gave me a new appreciation for one of this country's greatest symbols :)

If you're thinking of climbing the Statue of Liberty, book early because the crown tickets sell out. Right now they are booking into October. Crown tickets sold out? You can still tour the inside of the pedestal and see the museum! But I'd also recommend getting those tickets before your trip just to be safe :)

Click to see even more pictures inside and around the Statue of Liberty!