Tulipalooza

Bit of a throwback there for the Gen X near-olds of Ottawa, Ontario. Show of hands if you, too, spent a weekend in May 1990-something lolling about Major’s Hill Park, ostensibly there to admire the thousands of rainbow-hued tulips that were, and continue to be, the main draw of the Canadian Tulip Festival, but actually there to flirt with cute boys (and girls) at the all-ages alternative rock show. I met my second boyfriend in just that fashion, in line for the Pepsi Taste Challenge, which was beside the Much Music Video Dance booth, just in case I haven’t aged myself enough with these references. It won’t shock you to learn that that weekend also involved hacky sacks, neon pink comb-in hair gel, and many appearances of local musical weirdo-heroes, Furnaceface.

But I digress. This post is actually about the tulipalooza that I hosted in my garden this past spring, a throwback in itself given that tulip season has LONG since passed.

And that season was, to put it poetically, a beautiful nightmare. It started in the fall of 2020 when I purchased nine or 10 different varieties of heirloom bulbs from Breck’s Bulbs (zero complaints there; the bulbs I bought were in beautiful shape, white, fresh and plump.) In anticipation of the bastard rodents that would surely make merry with my tender tulips, Mr. Finger Candy made eight cages out of zip ties and chicken wire to lock the bulbs in before I planted them in the ground. I then planted a couple dozen, foolishly unprotected, in the pie-shaped bed at the front of the house. I had been inside maybe 15 minutes before I looked out the window and saw that arsehole squirrels had made off with at least three. Mr. Finger Candy leapt to the rescue once again, this time pinning an entire sheet of chicken wire directly on top of the soil.

Winter came and went, and in the spring my fledgling tulips began to fledge. I was so excited to look outside and see their tender green shoots just beginning to poke through the loamy gloom! And then the rodents returned, kneecapping my efforts – and the growth of my flowers – at every. single. turn. It also snowed in the middle of April, necessitating a frosty jaunt out to the beds in my flip flops to rescue the more advanced blooms.

I spent the majority of my spring vacillating between wild gardening highs and crushing rodent lows (not to suggest that I ever actually physically harmed the thieving little jerks, unless you count dosing my flower beds with Da Bomb hot sauce-infused water, a neat little trick that only occasionally proved successful.)

Highs? This absolutely stunning bouquet of inky purple Queen of the Night tulips, ruffled Black Parrots and bubblegum pink Fancy Frills I pulled from the front bed at the very end of the season. How such gorgeous specimens dodged the Wrath of Rodent, I’ll never know, but I loved having this cut bouquet in our home for the two weeks that it remained pert and bright and upright.

I also loved this sunset-hued bouquet of early bloomers I clipped during that aforementioned springtime snowstorm. These gorgeous, plush blossoms are Coral Pride and Pink Pride tulips mixed in with some yellow and white tulips that just randomly sprang up in the yard (I call that gardening by squirrel, or let the tulips lay where they may.)

Another high? This unique blossom, a Showgirl tulip. I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a blue flower before (okay, purple-grey) let alone grown one.

The cool tones of this beautiful tulip matched nothing else in the garden, which certainly didn’t matter to the squirrels, who seemed to find these particular flowers extra delicious. But when I was able to actually bring one or two inside, I just wound up hodge podgeing them together with whatever else was in bloom, making for some interesting arrangements.

Lows? Oh, pretty much any time I looked outside and saw a wilted pile of leaves, or worse, a tall, green stem with a nipped-off blossom just laying in the dirt beside it. My mom said, with a note of concerned pride in her voice, “Well, you’re a real gardener now!” when I called her one morning, wracked with sobs and blubbering about my decimated tulips. Apparently heartbreak is just part of the gardening deal? I *might* even have been sort of understanding if the rodents actually ate the tulips, or derived some sort of sustenance from them. Canadian winters are hard; I suppose I can’t fault the little guys for falling on the first fresh greenery they’ve seen in months. But to just nip off the head and then leave it there, fully intact, the plant now utterly destroyed, is unconscionable. I could wring their little rodent necks.

Instead, I began dosing my beds with ground cinnamon, ground cayenne pepper and hot sauce-infused water. Capsaicin, the active component in chili peppers, is also usually the first active ingredient in critter ridder preparations, none of which seem to work very well, and all of which are quite expensive. So I bought a bunch of ground cayenne pepper at the bulk store and sprinkled it around my tulips. It worked as an invisible barrier more often than not, as did the hot sauce treatment, but I still suffered losses to squirrels who are apparently impervious to the pain of a 2 million scoville-rated hot sauce. As for the cinnamon, I was thinking anything that burns. Have you ever inhaled a bunch of ground cinnamon (or worse, done the cinnamon challenge)? It hurts and smells incredible all at the same time. I was just looking for the squirrel version of that. Is this also a sign that I’m becoming a “real” gardener, that I don’t want to hurt the rodents that thoughtlessly thrashed my garden, but I do want them to pay?

It’s been a learning process, that’s for sure, and one that I’m in the process of repeating right this very moment (get those bulb orders in now!) Heartbreak and tears notwithstanding. Only next time I’ll be approaching the whole endeavor with a bit more gardening wisdom – and A LOT more physical barriers.

Springin’ Sprinkles

If I have learned anything over the last year and a bit of pandemic life – and that is highly debatable; in most respects, I actually feel like I’m regressing – it’s that our existence is fragile, and we could all use a hell of a lot more sprinkles. I’m talking here about metaphorical sprinkles – those sparkly, too-fleeting moments of hope and joy and love and understanding – but also the real kind, the ones composed of corn syrup and cellulose gum and palm oil, and a certain childlike glee in having your foodstuffs adorned with the same.

It was with that thought in mind – “Want pretty sprinkles for sweet foods!” – that I placed an order for a beautiful mess of items from Sprinkle Pop, a candy maker I found through the always dangerous platform of Instagram (dangerous in that I can always find some completely random new area of interest to occupy my time and money. Bespoke sprinkles – *snort* – is just the latest.)

Sprinkle Pop’s surprisingly tasty adornments – flavoured jimmies, metallic spheres, glittery dragees, and colourful mixes loaded with tiny, hand-piped extras – come in three sizes, eight ounce jars, four ounce jars, and two ounce sample packs. The sample packs give you about a quarter cup of sprinkles, which in my (newly acquired) experience will decorate about three dozen cupcakes, or two sprinkled-spackled cakes. Here’s the Robin’s Egg sprinkle mix (perhaps my favourite) sitting prettily atop some cupcakes I recently made (chocolate with salted caramel buttercream icing, in case you feel like driving yourself mad with desire, and yes, they were totally delicious!)

I chose six sample packs, three perfect for the just-passed Easter season (from left to right, Hangin’ With My Peeps, a mix of pastel jimmies and tiny royal icing Peeps; Egg Hunt, another springy rainbow mix studded with hand-piped bunnies and carrots; and Robin’s Egg, with its sweet, speckled eggs) and three just-because-they’re-pretties (from left to right, Royal Plume, a fun mix of bright, peacock-inspired hues; Love You a Latte, a soft, Valentine’s Day-appropriate blend of coffee-flavoured jimmies; and Leprechaun Loot, which is clearly going to have to wait until next year to properly exercise its lucky charms.)

Then because I have plans for them, I bought two mixes in the slightly larger four ounce size, Dark Unicorn, a sugar’corn-studded blend of blacks and brights and neons, and Strawberry Shortcake, which is delightfully self-explanatory.

I even managed to derive some nail art inspiration from Egg Hunt!

Neat! Important, necessary, critical to my existence? Definitely not. But a sweet diversion in a world that could use a lot more sprinkles, and a fun thing in my life.

Sprinkle Pop Tie Dye

I’d love to say these cool, tie dye-patterned nails were an intentional thing, but like all delightful creations, they began in a very different place from which they wound up. I was going for another fluid art look, this time in a bouquet of spring pastels, so inspired by some springin’ sprinkles I recently purchased from Sprinkle Pop (more on the fab world of bespoke sprinkles next post.)

But I jumped the gun and didn’t let my little self-made nail decals dry thoroughly, so when I topped my finished mani with a requisite coat of Seche Vite, it smudged up into this still-pretty tie dye concoction that reminds me of Hypercolor shirts from the ’90s (a type of tie dye, I suppose, if watery pastels mixed with sweat is your bag. Yikes, the ’90s were a rough time, sartorially speaking!)

Ice Cream Hunt

I’ll keep this short, because I’m pissy at the utterly counter-intuitive nightmare that WordPress’ block editor has become (shouldn’t have to Google a “how-to” on every. single. action I try to carry out) but Mr. Finger Candy and I found this fun, new-to-us ice cream shop in Carp, Ontario called Carp Custom Creamery, and their heavenly, undoubtedly totally calorie-free confections are ah-mazing. So amazing, a recent jaunt out to the wee Town of Carp for a much-coveted tub of Easter Egg Hunt inspired some fun, thematically-appropriate nails for the long weekend.

Carp Custom Creamery sold over 1,000 litres of Easter Egg Hunt this season, and its run is now finished for the year, but I can assure you that they have many, many more tempting treats, including ice cream cakes, waffle cone tacos, hand-spun milkshakes and so many delicious flavours of ice cream, it’ll make your head spin. My husband and I found this place one bitterly cold February day when it seemed totally reasonable to be standing out in -17 degree temps, holding a cup of Pop Tarts ice cream aloft (I’d do it again in a frozen heartbeat!)

Depending on whatever miserable – but necessary, sigh – public health-related lockdown measures are in place on any given day (also feeling pissy about Ontario’s ever flip-flopping, wholly ineffective approach to the pandemic) you can roll on up to Carp Custom Creamery for cups and cones, shakes and tacos, or grab a few pints for home. On our last trip, we sampled the super popular Coffee Break (if you’ve ever had an affogato – espresso poured over rich vanilla ice cream – this creamy, caffeinated confection tastes exactly like that), Peanut Butter & Jelly (tasted exactly as you’d expect) and Nerd (black cherry ice cream studded with tart Nerds candy; it was SO unexpectedly delicious, and just look at that gorgeous grape colour! I sense another manicure coming on!)

Okay, feeling less cruddy now. I guess ice cream has a way of doing that. 🙂 Anyhow, TL;DR;JD (too long; didn’t read; just drooled) get thee to Carp Custom Creamery – you won’t regret it.

Feeling Fluid

The ingenuity of the nail polish world never ceases to amaze me. Just when you think you’ve seen every variation of a nail lacquer – truly, how different can those 50 mint green polishes be from one another?! – something new comes along, opening up a whole new world of nail art possibilities.

Shocker to no one who’s been following this sorry excuse for a nail blog over the past year, but there’s been a certifiable dearth of actual nail art embedded in the actual ones and zeros contained therein.  The long and the short of it is, I’ve had zero interest in fiddling with my nails.  And when I have, it’s been gardening season – and at that time of year, they are anything but tidy little finger canvasses! 

Then I ran across this trendy fluid art polish I purchased last year, Baroness X’s Nacre, and I decided to treat myself to a pretty new manicure.  We shall not speak of my first attempt, which I chalked up to a lack of practice over the last, oh, eight or nine months.  But my second attempt went swimmingly, and I’m so pleased with the results! 

Here’s how fluid art polishes work.  Containing a higher than usual percentage of oil, fluid art polishes interact with more traditional, water-based lacquers in exactly the way you would expect oil and water to combine – breaking apart into delicate lace, puddly little cells and swoopy streaks.  I created the manicure shown here by dabbing three polishes – hot pink, orchid purple and plain old white – out onto a small silicone mat, one on top of the other.  I immediately topped the tri-coloured polish pile with a generous blob of Nacre, before pinching the mat between my fingers, smooshing the four polishes together. 

You will not think that this will do a dang thing – and it didn’t work for me the first time I tried it – but when you pull the mat apart, you’ll see the polishes spread out and split up into lacy cells, right before your very eyes.  It was really so cool – effects polishes, when they behave, can produce the neatest looks.  And Nacre is a great choice for experimentation, as it doesn’t have the most colour presence beyond that lovely mother of pearl shimmer.

After creating six or seven of these little cellular strips (I was just doing my one hand) I let them dry for an hour or so.  Then when it came time to actually do my nails, I treated them exactly like nail decals, carefully cutting each delicate strip into a shape roughly the size of my nail bed, and then “sticking” it in place atop a single light layer of clear base coat.  I then cleaned up the raggedy bits by my cuticles with a detail brush dipped in acetone, before topping with Seche Vite, as always.  Et voila, a rather stunning and spring-y fluid art manicure, and a small, encouraging step back into the nail art world. 🙂

A Year in Review

No need to add to the chorus of “thank-your-lord-of-choice 2020 is over” exhalations of exasperation; this post is going to be about the good things that came into my life last year, the positive behaviours I somehow picked up, and the happy memories I made in the process.

Not to lay too much responsibility at the doorstep of our actual doorstep, but like most good things in our lives, they begin and end with our house.  We actually moved in just before Christmas 2019, so 2020 was all about finding our footing as new homeowners.  Mostly, we were unbelievably grateful – every single day, audibly, no doubt involving a number of colourful epithets – that we were not trying to pandemic-in-place in our old condominium.  Had this camel’s back not been broken by the proverbial straw some months earlier, I have no doubt that COVIDing-in-a-condo would have been the thing to finally do it.

Instead, we settled in, grateful – there’s that word again – for our little fortress against the unknown.  We couldn’t control what was happening outside our door, but we could tend our little kingdom, and its surrounding community, as best we could, and just try to stay safe.  At its very core, I think that’s all that’s been asked of us all along – just take care of yourself and your neighbours.  I’m not sure how that message got quite so twisted up.

Mask Up!

Okay, brief political interlude aside (NOT a positive thing in my life in 2020; against my better judgement, and very much to my mental detriment, I became a hardcore doomscroller) our house is rad, we love living here, and we had a great year as first time homeowners.

My lovely, gigantic kitchen gave me plenty of space to spread my culinary wings, whether it was countless Hello Fresh meals – an absolute treat and sanity-saver during the very earliest days of the pandemic – or from-the-garden rhubarb jam, or pumpkin spice cinnamon buns, or many, many, many dozens of scones – a friend’s daughter paid me the greatest culinary compliment I’ve ever received when she commented that they were topped with icing worthy of Santa’s cookies – or even both Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, a first for me.

Sweet Treats

And in the early summer we purchased a gas barbecue, one of those “When I have my own house one day!” items I’ve been dreaming about over the last 17 years of apartment life.  Oh, the delicious, smoky fun we had this summer!  Mostly a lot of vegetarian, carby things (penne in a smoked vodka tomato cream sauce, white pizza, and alfredo-thyme farfalle studded with smoky, blackened corn) because Mr. Finger Candy is a vegetarian and I love carbs, but it saw its fair share of bacon-wrapped tenderloins and smoked chicken as well.  The very best food discovery I made this year is that dry mesquite wood chips loaded into a tinder box and set beneath your grill will impart a smoky flavour to your food that is virtually indistinguishable from bacon.  Spread the word, vegetarians!

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes (and Your BBQ’d Pizza)

Because our house has rather a lot of yard (and one super adorable shed) this is the year I discovered I *might* be a green-thumb in the making.  My grandfather, one of those “Let me graft this pineapple onto a cherry tree and see what happens” types, would be so proud!  It’s serious enough that for Christmas this year, my parents gifted me with seed-starters and hydroponic lights to hang above my workbench.  No joke, I am but 7,567 loose nails and a mock road signing proclaiming “Brain surgery while you wait” away from turning into my Poppy, and I’m completely delighted. 🙂  I took such great pleasure from gardening and yard work last year – nothing felt so good as taking a hot, sudsy shower after a long day of pruning, mulching, replanting, de-crittering and/or rock wall-building.

Shed Life

Not to say everything in the great outdoors has been going totally swimmingly.  In the spring I planted and replanted (and then replanted and planted again) a promising collection of berries, tomatoes and peppers, before just giving up and giving them over to the many, many rodents, birds and outright pests that populate our back yard.  The squirrels made off with my heirloom tulip bulbs, even after I “dressed” the front beds with about five pounds of powdered cayenne pepper.  My peonies kicked the bucket.  I forgot to tie up our cedars for the winter, necessitating a 4 am, first-snowfall-of-the-season jaunt to the backyard in my jammies and boots to strap them down.  And in the early fall, one of the squirrels I liked to alternately coddle with vast quantities of nuts AND bitch about mercilessly, expired on my front lawn.  I buried him in the garden whilst softly singing Jeff Buckley’s version of Hallelujah.  When the garbage collectors came by, I was slumped over my shovel sobbing like some sort of heroine out of a gothic novel.

In Bloom

Carrying out funereal rites for the rodents aside, both Mr. Finger Candy and I have derived great joy from the vast assortment of critters that swing by our backyard to partake of the endless nut buffet.  We don’t have cable TV any more, we just have a back window!  Friendly black squirrels, sassy grey squirrels, twitchy red squirrels, fearless chipmunks (Mr. Finger Candy claims they are my disciples and I am their queen), bossy blue jays, shouty crows, gentle doves, rambunctious raccoons (had to evict three of them from our shed in the summer), pudgy skunks, relentless woodpeckers, regal cardinals, flocking finches, and one adorable extortionist cat we nicknamed Mewington.

Little Rodentia

Speaking of cats – and the very best thing to happen to us in 2020 – having a home allowed us to once again open our doors (and hearts) to a couple of deserving feline friends.  Just before Christmas, when our souls were feeling a bit battered from the weight of everything, the opportunity to foster a bonded pair of rescue kitties floated across my Facebook news feed.  As I stared at the photos of their sweet, clearly frightened faces, I knew if I so much as showed the post to my husband, they’d be with us within the week.  So I sent him the link, and they were. 🙂  Fluffy, the big, floofy boy, and Beans, the tiny tabby girl, have been with us for about a month now, and we love them so much, some sort of medieval weaponry will most assuredly be needed in order to get us to part with them.  Seriously, I’ll cut you off at the knees and then feed the bits to the cats if you try to take them from us.  What can I say, my love is violent. 😉

Les Chats

The holidays were weird as heck this past year, with both Halloween and Christmas happening in the shadow of ever-tightening provincial lockdowns.  But in an odd sort of way, they were more enjoyable than in recent years past – probably something to do with that unknowable human quality of simply trying.  Trick-or-treating was heavily discouraged at Halloween, but we geared up just in case, laying out a socially distanced spread of bagged candy for the 20 or so kids who did stop by.

This is Halloween

At both Halloween and Christmas, we went heavy on the holiday decorations, turning our house first into a fog-shrouded, jaunty haunt, and then into a peppermint striped winter wonderland.  And guess who finally got her pink Christmas tree?!

Making Christmas

Making Pinkmas

And for both the spooking season and the holly jolly holidays, Mr. Finger Candy really got in touch with his inner Clark Griswold, adorning the exterior of our home with many hundreds of programmable twinkle lights.

Let There Be Light

When purchasing Christmas gifts this year – and indeed, this was the overriding ethos for nearly all of my purchases in 2020 – I really tried to keep it local.  And in doing so, I discovered (or re-discovered) some really terrific vendors and creators, like Heart & Home Soaps, which is owned by a woman I’ve known since elementary school, Doughbaby Doughnuts, which is *right* around the corner, and The Girl With the Most Cake, who supplied my wedding shower cake many marital moons ago.  And at the very height of the pandemic (the one way back in the spring, since we’re now up to multiple waves) my husband arranged to have some favourite photos of our late kitties Porky and Weegie transferred onto canvas by printers VistaPrint.  We also ordered in a lot of takeout from local restaurants, including Meatings BBQ, the Lone Star Cafe, Biagio’s and Karara Indian.  Having made only one Amazon purchase last year (unicorn pen calligraphy sets don’t grow on local trees!) we felt pretty great about how we chose to exercise our purchasing power in 2020.

Shop Local

Other things that felt pretty great in a year of decided un-greatness?  The three-hour, wee small hours of the morning message chat I had with my high school best friend.  We’re all old and shit, with kids and cats and ugh, responsibilities, but it felt like we were 18 again, falling asleep on the phone with each other as we planned our going-out outfits for that coming weekend. 🙂  I loved the socially distanced backyard visits I had with my other high school best friend in the summer and fall – nothing felt so much like the very essence of 2020 as sitting in the late summer twilight with Uber’d Starbucks lattes, catching up on our lives.  Zoom chats with even more high school friends were fun excuses to catch up, drink virtually and wear ALL of the makeup that I had not worn the rest of the year.  We also spent a bit of time getting to know our neighbours, including a lovely summer evening enjoying socially distanced drinks with the folks next door.  And while I didn’t do very much nail art this year – funny, for what is ostensibly a nail art blog – I did get my creative craft on in other ways, jumping back into the world of calligraphy and lettering, assembling a couple of miniature shadowbox lanterns for my parents, and making a felt wreath inspired by The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Getting Crafty With It

Without a doubt, there is much of last year (and some of this new year) I could have done without.  If ever there were a moment to Rip Van Winkle an entire year, no?  But it clearly wasn’t all a total loss, something I periodically need to remind myself of – there is enjoyment to be found in the awful, so long as you’re willing to acknowledge that it can exist.

Nail Polish for Hanukkah

Thinking here, of course, of the Daveed Diggs’ jam he recently released on Disney+ for Hanukkah 2020, Puppy for Hanukkah (and if we did celebrate Hanukkah, like so many of our neighbours do, we’d apparently be way out of step with this year’s most desired gift, because we just got a cat! More details about him than you’d really ever require in another post shortly.) 😉

But nail polish for Hanukkah can definitely be a thing, particularly when it’s a beautiful, rich blue that makes your fingernails look like they’re glowing from within.

This is Kathleen & Co.’s Superionic, another polish I grabbed from Polish Pickup back in who-knows-when.  It was just a few months ago, but with the way time has been moving this year, it could have been February.  Or yesterday.

So pretty, right?  And plush; one of those polishes that feels like you’re applying flowing silk to your nails.  And that colour?  *chef’s kiss*  What a stunner!  Perfect for any of the eight celebratory nights.

Halloween Hangover

But in a good way, not in a “I ate too many mini Snickers and now I have to go off and hibernate for the next three weeks” kind of way. Although I did eat A LOT of mini chocolate bars this weekend, and given the time change, a nap sounds pretty good right about now…

In all weird actuality, we wound up having a very nice Halloween, COVID mandates notwithstanding.  Trick-or-treating wasn’t banned in my city outright, just discouraged – that should really be the City of Ottawa’s motto: “It’s Not Banned, Simply Discouraged!” – and so we stayed close to home, stocking up on what seemed like a reasonable amount of candy should any trick-or-treaters actually grace our Jack-o-Lantern-adorned doorstep.

And they did!  We had 22 kids and one highly amused delivery driver pop by, much to our delight.  We had a nice little socially distanced setup going, with pre-wrapped bags of candy laid out on the front steps, Haunted Mansion music blasting through the open windows, and a gentle, low-lying fog drifting through the garden, courtesy of Mr. Finger Candy’s intense new love of the fog machine (the phrase, “This might be the best thing we’ve ever bought!” was uttered more than once.)

We even threw together a couple of last minute costumes, transforming ourselves into a maid and butler of the Haunted Mansion.

And I went real big with my eye makeup look, simply because when else in 2020 have I had a time or place to wear six different shades of blue, green and purple eyeshadow?

In the days leading up to Halloween (okay, so for the entire month of October) we also put out a lot of Halloween decorations, really got in touch with our inner Clark Griswolds!

So it’s little wonder our house saw a bit of action, given that we were seemingly the only gig in (this) town.  I overheard a few kids that had already passed by grumble, “Oh man, I wish we could go to that house again” and I nearly chased them down the street with armfuls of Sour Patch Kids before I remembered that now – and always! – luring children to your house with candy is generally frowned upon.  There’s entire fairy tales written about it! 😉

Near-forays into Hansel and Gretel-dom aside, however, we had a really excellent Halloween.  And did you know it was our wedding anniversary?  Of course you did, I never shut up about it!  It was our 16th, and our first as homeowners.  It definitely wasn’t the usual kind of anniversary celebration we like to enjoy – that would involve a week-and-a-half-long trip to Disney – but given the circumstances of 2020, we’ll gladly take it.  Nothing wrong with throwing together a couple of very last minute costumes and spending the night crouched over a fog machine drinking Swedish Fish-o-ritas (actually, they were orange creamsicle margaritas – Screamsicles – with a chocolate salt rim from the Lone Star in Ottawa, and not only were they very festive, but they were also incredibly delicious.  Hmm, they might have been the reason we got that food delivery – tacos! – once the trick-or-treaters cleared out.)

All in all, I’m super pleased with how our first homebound Halloween went, and I’m hearing similar things from friends and family.  I think the general circumstances of this year – shitty ones, not to put too fine a point on it – have forced a lot of us to think outside the box on events like holidays, and in a lot of unique respects, we seem to be all the better for it.  Friends with kids have reported that they took part in local scavenger hunts, neighbourhood candy drives, costumed movie nights and other cautious, but no less creative, approaches to the Halloween season, and everyone seems to have had an unusually great time.  Going forward, I really hope the city takes note of the ways people are trying to responsibly and safely move forward with “living with” COVID, and maybe cuts us all a little slack.  Most of us are really trying.  Without a doubt, though, THIS is the Halloween these kids will always remember.  I know I certainly will.  Hope you had a good one, too, friends.

Beat the Heat

Wow, is there ever zero heat to be beat around Eastern Ontario come this time of year. It’s currently two measly degrees above zero, on its way down to minus 6. Yesterday it snowed. Why do we live here again?! Ah yes, because Canada is wonderful. But that wonderfulness also comes with about six months of shit weather from coast to coast, and the fleeting heat rarely factors!

Know what else doesn’t factor? I thought this gorgeous, colour-changing polish, Heather’s Hues’ Beat the Heat, was a thermal polish, meaning it would change from a vibrant neon orange to a cool, deep plum depending on the temperature of my hands and fingers. Think of it as mood polish.

So when I sat down to test out Beat the Heat for the first time, I was pleased with the consistency and application – so smooth in three light coats – but disappointed in the thermal effect, as it was completely non-existent. “Drat, looks like I got a bummer,” I thought as I went outside to take pictures of my decidedly non-colour-changing manicure.

Then I stepped into the sun, and to my amazement, Beat the Heat came alive, morphing quickly from a lush, neon pumpkin, to a warm, coral-y pink, and finally on to a rich, plummy purple. So pretty! And clearly totally unexpected.

Lesson learned here? Open your eyes and definitely DO judge a book by its cover – stamped right on the bottom of the bottle was the word “Solar.” Duh. 😉

I nabbed Beat the Heat during Polish Pickup‘s September release. They typically feature at least one Heather’s Hues polish per monthly release, and they’ve got another one coming up at the beginning of November. So if you like Beat the Heat – and I certainly do; for a polish that morphs through this many colours, it’s incredibly flattering – you may want to check out one of their other offerings.

Smurf Genome

Wuh oh, now we’re into the chromosomal make-up of a Smurf, and apparently they glow in the dark! Can’t say I remember that from the Smurfs’ adventures with Gargamel and Azrael (“adventures” being the most politically correct way of saying their entire lives were devoted to not being genocidally wiped out by a bi-polar, misshapen baldy and his raggedy cat.)

But I digress!  This is Polish Molish’s Smurf Genome, another lacquer I nabbed during Polish Pickup‘s September release.  And it would seem that much like the polish I highlighted yesterday – Nailed It’s magnetic Neural Network – and then the one the day before that – Different Dimension’s likewise magnetic It’s Electrifying – Smurf Genome is what I call a gimmick polish, or something beyond the standard, be it magnetic, thermal (one of those coming in a day or two), fluid art (ditto) or glow-in-the-dark.

And boy howdy, do these Smurfs ever glow in the dark!  The glow power, if you will, in this polish is STRONG – just the kickback off your phone screen will be enough to fire up your falanges. 😉  And the polish au naturel is darn pretty too, featuring a vibrant, blue jelly base positively stuffed with red hex and iridescent shard glitter.  Beautiful, and a fun polish to add to my collection.