Monday, December 31, 2012

Top 10 Nail Polishes of 2012

Wasn't 2012 a great year for polishes? Creating a top 10 list was a bit of a challenge, but after thoughtful consideration, I present you with my favorite polishes of 2012. The polishes I selected are truly favorites, meaning colors I wore over and over, and are not necessarily the most unique or "game changing" polishes of 2012. Simply put, these are the ones I just adore wearing :)

10. Zoya Toni

All of the creams in Zoya's fall Designer collection are equally amazing and could share this spot on the list, but Toni was the one color in particular I reached for over and over again last fall.

9. Sephora X Chaotic

Black & white "glitter" polish is nothing new, but Chaotic is my first! Not only does it look random and fun, the formula of Chaotic is great. Full review to come.

shown over China Glaze For Audrey

8. Cirque Fascination Street

In 2012, Cirque burst onto the indie nail polish scene with the blurple holo Fascination Street leading the way and grabbing the attention of nail polish lovers everywhere, including mine. I can't wait to see what Annie will create in 2013!

7. Color Club & Birchbox Insta-This

Creamy, vivid blue? Yes, please! There are a few like it out there (Nails Inc Baker St, YSL Bleu Majorelle), but this is the one I picked up in 2012. And I LOVE it!

6. Essie Olé Caliente

Olé Caliente was right on trend with Pantone's color of the year Tangerine Tango, but trends aside, I just love wearing this color on my nails. The formula is great and I wore this polish many times last summer, and will surely be wearing it for summers to come.

5. Zoya Logan

While the holos Aurora, Storm, and Blaze were all the talk of Zoya's Ornate holiday collection (and were very close to making this list), I actually fell in love with the magical mermaid-y Logan.

4. Color Club Blue Heaven

Not only is Blue Heaven a super intense holo, but the formula is perfect. I hope that Color Club has more holo polishes in store for 2013!

3. Cirque XX

This color-shifting glitter top coat is made up of a magical assortment of shapes and sizes. If you only get one polish from the Objet D'Art collection, make it XX.

2. butter LONDON Jack the Lad

Well what do you know! There are two green polishes on my Top 10 list, and I'm not even a die-hard green nail polish fan :) But Jack the Lad is so complex and spectacular... and the way the shimmer dazzles on the nail... LOVE!

1. OPI Every Month is Oktoberfest

The mysteriously wonderful polish Every Month is Oktoberfest is the one polish of 2012 I wanted to put back on the minute I took it off. Is it the most interesting? No. The most unique? No. But I wore it over and over, on my fingers and my toes, and just love the way it looks. If ever stranded on a desert island, this is one polish I'd want to have with me. This is my kind of polish ;)

Here are some polishes that just missed the top 10 (in no order). Also amazing polishes... see how hard this was? See these and even more 2012 favorites over on my Pinterest board!

Cirque Au - full review
Cirque Planet Caravan - full review
Butter Toff - full review
GAP Gold Rush - full review
Zoya AuroraStorm, and Blaze (how could I pick just one?) - full review

I can't wait to see what 2013 brings us for nail polish! Just for fun... here are my 2011 favorites :)

What were your favorite nail polishes of 2012? How many of my picks made your list?

Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Wrap Up: Manicures Inspired By NYC Holiday Windows 2012

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of New York City's most fabulous holiday windows again this year on Gotham Polish. This holiday season flew by entirely too fast! I had visions of sugar plums creating many more manicures this year, but sadly there was not even enough time to see all the beautiful windows in the city.

I really enjoyed using the windows as inspiration for manicures and was motivated to challenge the limits of my nail art abilities (and learned that it may be time for some proper tools). Here's a look back at the manicures inspired by the 2012 holiday windows.

Inspired By: Bloomingdale's Holiday Windows 2012

This year the Bloomingdale's windows were inspired by the new movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away. I designed this gradient dot manicure based on the colors in an underwater fantasy scene. [Full post]

Inspired By: Barneys Holiday Windows 2012

I chose the Electric Holiday logo for inspiration and dreamed up an ambitious (for me) neon glowing "electric" tips manicure. I really love how French tips look over a glitter gradient! [Full post]

Inspired By: Louis Vuitton Holiday Windows 2012

To recreate the geometric starburst design from Louis Vuitton's windows, I needed to conquer one of my not-so-favorite nail art techniques: a tape mani. Using all Zoya polishes, I was determined and patient (waiting for your nails to dry completely is key) and ultimately quite pleased with the results. [Full post]

Inspired By: Lord & Taylor Holiday Windows 2012

The silhouette of a clock face against the dusky blue sky was the inspiration for this look. Again I attempted a manicure that tested my abilities: freehand nail art. Thank you everyone who gave me a recommendation for proper nail art brushes! [Full post]

Do you have a favorite window or manicure this year?

Want more? Here is a look back at my 2011 holiday window manicures!

Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Inspired By: Lord & Taylor Holiday Windows 2012

The windows of Lord & Taylor are packed full of detailed miniatures depicting different holiday scenes. There is so much to look at in each window!

This scene may look familiar to fellow New Yorkers - it's the Central Park Zoo! There were even seals leaping out of the water :)


The window I chose as inspiration depicts a fabulous party inside an apartment that may have been inspired by the clock tower penthouse apartment in Brooklyn.

Try as I did to find another (aka easier to create) inspiration, I could not get the the silhouette image of the clock against the dusky blue sky out of my head. Once again I attempted a manicure that is way beyond my abilities and attempted freehand nail art.

blue: Cirque Tibetan Nights | black: Wet & Wild Black Creme

Hey that's not too bad! I admit that I do not have any real nail art brushes. I have a set of what are essentially children's paint brushes - the kind you get at any big-box craft store - that comes in a plastic bag and one of the brushes is a sponge on a stick. I picked the smallest one and hoped for the best. Let me know if you have a recommendation for nail art brushes :)

PS - Isn't Tibetan Nights the perfect dusk sky blue color? The glitter even looks like the stars. I bought this beauty at one of the markets Cirque was at and highly recommend it. LOVE it!

See more pictures of Lord & Taylor's holiday windows...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Multichrome Magic: GlitterDaze "Nightfall in New York City"

I know, it's blurry... but I took this out a car window!

Just released this week, GlitterDaze's latest collection Sunset in the City captures the magnificent range of colors displayed by the setting sun in a bottle of multichrome polish. Five polishes in the collection cross the continent: there's Afterglow in Aspen, Dusky in Dallas, Nightfall in New York City, Sundown in Seattle, and Twilight in Tucson. As a New Yorker, I'm pleased to share with you Nightfall in New York City!

Here's a bottle shot - doesn't it look just like a sunset? Without the smog, of course ;)


Here is one coat of Nightfall in New York City over Wet & Wild Black Creme. While in the bottle this polish looks pink and orange, on the nail the strongest colors are the blue and purple tones. How wonderfully deceiving! The formula is easy to apply, it dries quickly, and is richly pigmented.

With two coats, finish appears less speckled and more solid.


Under water - see the bubbles?

Because the pink and orange tones were strongest in the bottle, I was curious to see how Nightfall in New York City would look over red. Worn over Cult Nails Annalicious, the blue isn't quite a intense as it was over black. The orange in Nightfall in New York City turns Annalicious (reviewed here) into more of a melony-pink.

Nightfall in New York City is a lovely and intriguing multichrome polish. The formula is easy to work with and the multichrome pigment has the ability to transform your base color to a new color that may surprise you!

GlitterDaze polishes are 5-free (no toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP),formaldehyde resin OR animal testing) and can be purchase online at and from Mei Mei's Signatures. The Sunset in the City polishes retail for $11.50/14 mL and $6.25/7 mL. Keep up with the latest from GlitterDaze on Facebook.

Here are a couple more NYC sunset photos from my collection:



Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cirque and Arms & Armory "Alter Ego" Collaboration

New York, NY (November 2012) - Just in time for the Holidays, New York-based artisans, Arms and Armory and Cirque, team up to release a unique project called Alter Ego, a special edition ring and nail polish duo.  This set will be released December 3, 2012 and can be purchased through the Arms and Armory and Cirque websites.

With the advent of style blogs that feature everything from vintage finds to carefully selected “Arm Parties” and “What’s in My Bag” photos, its no surprise that fashion and beauty go hand-in-hand. By fusing the latest trends in these industries, Arms and Armory and Cirque developed an idea that would bring back a 1990s cult trend. Alter Ego is a collaboration that features an art deco-inspired ring, designed by Arms and Armory, and a cosmic black nail lacquer, handmade by Cirque. The gunmetal-plated ring has an adjustable band that can fit a range of sizes and boasts a black enamel triangle in the center. It is paired with an untraditional black polish that displays a bold prismatic flame when exposed to direct lighting. (source)

"Black holo" are the two words that will instantly grab the attention of any nail polish lover, and for good reason. These special gems are highly sought after and are best seen in person! Annie wanted to create a truly dark black holo and she did it magnificently with Alter Ego. There is something intriguingly paradoxical about rainbow holo particles shining through a dark black polish.

The formula was on the thin side but still very dark in one coat and easy to control. I used (2) coats to get an intense black finish and cover some thinner spots. Alter Ego dries almost matte so I added a coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.

The holo is revealed much better under my halogen lamp:

Photo with flash - not so flattering of my fingers. They look like a deer in headlights. But, I wanted to show you the holo with the flash :)

The Alter Ego ring by Arms & Armory is an excellent shade of pewter with the angles that give it an art deco feel like the Chrysler Building. The back is open so you can easily adjust it to fit your finger - I've been switching wearing it on my first and middle fingers. This ring complements the polish so well - I only wish the black triangle in the center was holo like the polish :) The lighting below is diffused and while you can't see the holo in the polish, you can see how dark black it is.

The Alter Ego set retails for $42.00 and can be found at: and Check out Cirque and Arms & Armory on Facebook for the latest info on where they can be found around the city.

About Cirque
Creator, Annie Pham, sought to develop nail polish colors that transcend those of conventional brands. By experimenting with unique pigments and raw materials, a distinctive handcrafted product was born. Cirque products are 3-free, which means it does not contain the toxic trio of toluene, formaldehyde and dibutyl phthalate. They are also scented with lavender and clary sage essential oils to lend hands a subtle scent as the polish dries. For more information about Cirque, please contact:

About Arms and Armory
Arms and Armory is a New York-based art collective specializing in hand crafted jewelry. Inspired by old mythology, science history and magic, Arms and Armory blends the ideas of the future with styles of the past to create beautiful works of wearable art.

Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Weekend Shopping: Cult Nails and Cirque at NYC Holiday Markets!

It's a great weekend to be a nail polish lover in NYC! Both Cult Nails and Cirque are being sold at holiday markets in the city through Sunday. This is your chance to pick up polishes without paying shipping charges or wondering "will I get my order in time for Christmas?"

Refinery29 Tinseltown Bazaar

201 Mulberry Street, Manhattan | December 14 - 16, noon - 6PM (open until 7PM on Saturday)

Cult Nails will be featured in a special Glossy Box available at this shopping extravaganza. Other vendors include Rebecca Minkoff and Beacon's Closet. Read more about this event and keep up with Cult Nails on Facebook.

HOLIDAY! at International Playground 

13 Stanton Street (between Bowery and Chrystie), Manhattan | December 13 - 16

Events are happening every night this weekend at this LES shop and Cirque polishes will be available for purchase. On Sunday the 16th, you can get a Cirque manicure by manicurist Jessica Tong. Other vendors include local jewelry and clothing designers.

There are so many holiday markets and pop-up shops this year! Have you been to any? Do you have any to recommend?

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hester Holiday Market: Cirque, Arms & Armory, and more!

Earlier this month, Cirque and NYC jeweler Arms & Armory were at the Hester Holiday Market (on Mott St, not actually on Hester St) and I just had to stop by! Located in an old school, there were vendors selling unique jewelry, clothing, and food in various rooms on three floors.

The Cirque and Arms & Armory table was busy while we were there - this is kind of an awkward photo, but it was hard to grab a good photo with all the shoppers around :)

I was super excited to see the Alter Ego collaboration - the set is made up of a black holo polish by Cirque and a ring by Arms and Armory!

Annie was wearing both the polish and the ring. The black holo is so dark! This set retails for $42.00 and can be purchased through at

Here is a closer picture of Arms and Armory's jewelry. Their inspiration is old mythology, science, history, and magic.

The Hester Holiday Market is located at 233 Mott St and will be open from December 15th - December 23rd. While Cirque is not scheduled to be there for the upcoming dates, you can check out lots of great vendors and find unique gifts. Read more:

Check out Cirque's Facebook page for the latest on where Annie and her polishes will be!

See more pictures from the market...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Nail Polish with Real Diamond Dust by étoile! Winter in Central Park Collection

In case you thought it wasn't possible to find a more exquisite nail polish ingredient than real gold, think again. New York City based nail polish company étoile infuses it's polishes with real diamond dust:
We love little luxuries. Oh, you know – the ones that make you sparkle on the inside and out. They can instantly transform the dullest of days and can make a special occasion even more fabulous. They’re your cozy cashmere scarf, that gold glitter clutch you nabbed on sale, and the bouquet of perfectly pink peonies that you bought for yourself just because. For étoile founder Erin Farber, that little luxury is nail polish. Having lived in Europe for several years, she noticed that women tended to get fewer manicures than in her hometown of New York; but when they did, they treated them as something truly special – to be savored and never rushed. (source)
Could there be anything more indulgent and fabulous to adorn your nails with than diamond dust? Please do leave your favorite Arrested Development diamond cream quotes in the comments :) In addition to diamonds and being a NYC-based brand, I love the elegant simplicity of the bottle design and the diamond image.

Three polishes make up the Winter in Central Park collection: Asscher, a dazzling sheer creamy white, Frosted Berry, a vivid glistening magenta, and Reservoir, a shimmering grey-blue.


Asscher is the sheerest polish in the collection but also the most "blingy". The color is milky white. Coverage is excellent - though sheer, you could wear just one coat and look shimmering and polished. Oh, and the name? "Asscher" refers to a cut of diamond - how fitting! I wore (3) coats below.

Frosted Berry

Frosted Berry is an intensely pigmented berry pink-magenta. My photograph captured the red hues strongly, but in real life you would see more of the purple hues. I was able to adjust the color in the first picture of this post to better show the purple. Frosted Berry applied like a dream over butter LONDON Nail Foundation Flawless Basecoat and is almost a (1) coater (I wore 2). This polish really glistens and the diamond dust shimmer doesn't get buried beneath the color. I wore Frosted Berry for (4) days with an acceptable amount of tip wear. The swatch below was actually taken at the end of day (2). While accurate, I wish this polish's name was more "New York".


Reservoir is a grey-blue shade with a glistening finish. I love the inspiration behind this polish - the Central Park Reservoir is this same hue of desaturated blue in the winter months. The application was great and I used (2) coats.

You can see the shimmer in these bottle shots. While it doesn't transfer to the nail quite as intensely, you can better see how the diamond dust adds a glistening effect.

The Winter in Central Park collection is a great winter selection of polishes and I adore the New York theme. With the diamond dust touch, wearing étoile polishes sure makes my nails feel elegant.

Priced at $18, étoile polishes are high-end but the formula is wonderful and Frosted Berry wore very well for me. If you're looking for a special occasion polish (like a wedding), an étoile polish would be a great pick. The color selection is very girly and the pale pinks would make the perfect gift for bridesmaids.

étoile polishes retail for $18, are formaldehyde, toluene, and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) free, and made in the USA. Shop online:

Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Read my disclosure policy here.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Inspired By: Louis Vuitton Holiday Windows 2012

By holiday window standards, the Louis Vuitton displays this year are simple. A giant geometric starburst of color draws your eyes to the main event: a fabulous Louis Vuitton bag.

Here is the window I choose for inspiration - that bag - !!! The starburst design, however, meant that I would need to conquer one of my not-so-favorite nail art techniques: a tape mani.

Here's a closer picture of that amazing glittery polka dot bag:

I have attempted a few tape manicures in the past and while far from perfect, I still posted them on Gotham Polish. This time I was determined to do it right and post a tape manicure I could be proud of!

YAY!!! What do you think? The tape manicure wasn't too tricky and looks so awesome. It was actually less painful than I remembered and I would even consider doing another sometime :) These holiday window manicures are really testing my abilities!

For tape manicure instructions, I consulted the expert: Nailside. I added the Bundle Monster rhinestones carefully with tweezers over a coat of Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat.

Product(s) in this post were provided for review. Post contains affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.