Literary Inspiration: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened

Let's Pretend Collage

The fifth prompt in my friend Julie’s reading challenge was to tackle a book in your to-be-read pile that you’ve overlooked time and time again.  For me, that’s Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir), a hilarious collection of sweetly horrifying true life tales from blogger Jenny Lawson.  My best friend gave me this book years ago, after assuring me that I’d find more than a little in common with Lawson’s various embarrassments, and probably also piss myself from laughter.  And so taking her recommendation to great heart, I promptly stuck the book on the shelf beneath four other things and then totally forgot about it.  Slick.

But some gentle nudging in the form of this reading challenge encouraged me to release this forgotten gem from bookshelf purgatory, and I’m glad I did, because Let’s Pretend This Never Happened was hella funny. Lawson gets a lot of mileage out of a very unique childhood, one that mirrored a lot of moments in my own rural upbringing, only writ extra large and super bloody.  Seriously, there are SO many stories involving taxidermized animals and her crazy Viking father’s penchant for traumatizing his daughters with pelt-centric pranks.  It takes a special kind of writer to wring the humour and humanity out of a dead dog story, and yet Lawson manages it.  I tittered throughout and was sad when I finished the final chapter.  Thankfully, my friend gifted me with Lawson’s follow-up book, which is also currently languishing on my shelf, though not for much longer.

This manicure is inspired by the inside cover art of Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, a 1950s-style collection of hand-drawn pigs, foxes and raccoons in various states of repose (if by “repose” you mean setting up a lighting rig.)  They’re probably stuffed.  Everything in this book seems to come back to taxidermy in one fashion or another!

Let's Pretend Nails

I employed a bit of animal fakery in this mani myself, eschewing my normal free-handed approach for an attempt at stamping (key word here being “attempt,” because lordy, do I suuuuuuccccck at stamping.)  I used MoYou London’s Enchanted stamping plate #14, which features a charming assortment of twee little animal designs, including a sweet pug design I stamped onto my index finger in honour of Lawson’s dearly – and somehow hilariously – departed pug, Barnaby Jones Pickles.  In solid black as against an ivory creme, OPI’s My Vampire is Buff, I think the overall effect looks a bit like faded print on a slightly yellowed page of your favourite, much loved book.  So pretty much perfect inspiration. 🙂

Let's Pretend Stamping Plate

Shattered Dreams

Shattered Dreams Main Photo

Oof, these busted bath and beauty items are giving me nuthin’ but shattered dreams (shattered dreams!) – unfortunate victims of a sudden drop and a short stop, both. 😦 And yes, I know being crushed all to bits impacts the functioning of this Luxury Lush Pud bath bomb and Unicorn Horn bubble bar not a whit, but for blogging purposes, I always prefer to have these things looking their finest.

But shattered or not, I can’t say really say my dreams with regard to these items were all that grand – I’ve been a bit off Lush as of late.  Or perhaps I was never actually “on” Lush to begin with – I’ve never really cottoned to their scent blends or company aesthetic. Then a string of expensive, dudderiffic bath bombs kind of sealed the deal on my whole informal Lush embargo, at least until I’ve used up the few items I already have in storage.

Which is where this Luxury Lush Pud and Unicorn Horn come in – might as well use up that which is busted all to crap, as no saying I know of goes.  Anyhow, my Pud wasn’t too badly damaged in its swan dive off the counter, so it performed nicely, throwing off first pastel – and then ultra vibrant – swirls of pink, turquoise and yellow bubbles.

Shattered Dreams Pud

And the Unicorn Horn, jaundiced devil that he is (there’s seriously so much yellow in that Horn), provided mounds of creamy, lavender-scented bubbles beneath which to sink.  A very relaxing and daintily-hued bath, broken bits or not.

Shattered Dreams Bath Art

Sweet Carnival Treats

Circus Header with Banner

I sadly can’t remember the last time I was at a carnival or a fair or an exhibition. Probably the last time the actual Exhibition was in town, a travelling carnival (complete with jerky carnies of questionable sobriety) that made the Canadian rounds every summer until I was well into my 20s.  I loved going to the Ex so much; would actually go multiple times over its two-week run with my parents or my friends – ’twas no better place to people-watch, boy-hunt and play out your very dramatic teenage life than the dusty, sweaty and dirty Exhibition.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the flashing neon lights of the Zipper and the Pirate Ship and the godforsaken Tilt-a-Whirl bathing Lansdowne Park with their jaunty artificial glow.  I can smell back bacon on a bun, perogies, miniature powdered donuts and candy apples.  I can picture the trashcan beside the Himalaya where I nearly threw up in front of a boy I liked very much after we challenged each other to what was in retrospect an ill-advised pre-Himalaya milk-chugging competition (nobody won that day.)  These memories are so potent, I can almost hear local punk act Furnaceface (opening for Bryan Adams, yo) drifting (probably more like blaring) over the long-since-gentrified Lansdowne Park stands (it’s actually still a football stadium, now home to the Ottawa Redblacks, but these days it’s surrounded by far more genteel – and infinitely more boring – fare (Whole Foods, a splashy movie theatre and some chain restaurants that won’t be there in two years’ time.)  *Sigh*…might as well just give in to the Grumpy Old Lady within and admit that I miss the Exhibition of my youth. It was dirty, but it was our dirt (to paraphrase The Goonies, “It’s our grime!  It’s our grime down here!”)

Okay, time to step off the nostalgia bus and focus on the real task at hand here, eyeing-up this fun assortment of carnival-themed wax, snacks and bath and beauty items.  As always when putting together one of these themed posts, I’m amazed at the sheer number and variety of items I was able to pull together from just ’round the apartment. Why do I own so much circus and carnival-themed stuff when I haven’t been to either in over a decade?  Who the heck knows!  But it’s fun and pretty, and I had a blast putting together this little still life photo shoot.  MUCH easier working with cotton candy and sugar scrubs than trying to stuff babies dressed like begonias into flower pots, trust. 😉

Circus Lights Photo 1

First, a bit of carnival-themed wax, including clamshells in The Bathing Garden‘s unexpectedly delightful Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride, and in the little cup, a few thematically-appropriate scents, Rosegirls‘ Cotton Candy Frosting and Waffle Cone and The Bathing Garden’s Tunnel of Love.

Both Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride were favourites from an order I placed with The Bathing Garden earlier this year, and unexpected ones at that, on account of the popcorn note in Clowning Around and the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride – the latter tends to give me headaches and the former is nearly always totally yucky.  But the popcorn note in Clowning Around is completely inoffensive, adding a pleasant, almost grassy tinge to its tri-layered blend of sweet cotton candy, even sweeter candy apples and fragrant kettle corn.  And wonder of wonders, the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride, a dee-licious combination of raspberry cake bites, peach jam and luscious lemon curd, did not give me a headache!  Praise the fragrance gods!  And so I snapped up one of each scent in both the wax and scrub formats.  The sugar scrubs are loooonnnnng gone, having fulfilled their intended purpose in life, but they were too pretty to not share alongside these shots of their stupendously gorgeous clamshell companions.

Circus TBG Wax and Scrub Collage

By now you will have noticed that as ringmistress of this particular blogging circus, I’m focusing on the more pleasantly-scented side of the carnival circuit.  As in the cotton candy and the frozen custard and the caramel apples, and not so much the sweat and the outhouse and the chip grease (and the dust and the pig-on-a-bun and the cheap body spray.)  If that’s your thing, though, Demeter probably has a scent for you!

Circus Lights Photo 2

And if you’ll now direct your attention to the centre ring, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll find a fun assortment of carnival-themed bath and body care, including a festive fragrance from Solstice Scents (Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a beguiling blend of cotton candy, taffy, funnel cakes, crisp Fall air and wood smoke), a candy floss-scented bath bomb from The Goat Milk Soap Store, an Experimenter bath bomb from Lush, and a bottle of one of my favourite indie nail polishes, Candy Lacquer‘s Carnival Games.

Okay, okay, so with its funky old man smell, I’ll concede that The Experimenter is not exactly carnival-inspired.  At least no carnival I ever wish to attend!  But the mad burst of rainbow-hued bubbles it gives off reminds me of the garish, ultra vibrant neon lights of the attractions blinking feverishly in the sultry summer nights.

Circus Experimenter Bath Bomb Photo

And Carnival Games is the gold standard in mega chunky glitter bombs, a bonkers assortment of every shape possible in every colour imaginable.  Bright and whimsical, just like its namesake (though definitely not rigged, and certainly not a waste of money.) 😉

CG Bottle

Finally, we have a mixed bag of carnival-inspired goodies from The Bathing Garden – a bundt-shaped wax tart in Nights at the Circus, a scrumptious pumpkin-apple blend, lotion in Candy Carousel, another “scents of the midway” fragrance, whipped soap in Fried Candy Donut, a favourite of Mr. Finger Candy, dipped candy apple-shaped wax tarts in Victorian Midway (left) and Vintage Circus (right), two blends based off one of my mother’s favourite fragrances, Bath and Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple, another long-since-used sugar scrub in Fried Candy Donut, and a tiny, perfectly-shaped donut wax tart in – once more, with feeling! – Fried Candy Donut.

Circus Lights Photo 3

And with that, dear audience, it’s time to draw this carnival to a close – dismantle the Zipper, pack away the flammable prizes, turn off the cotton candy…blowers?  Sure, we’ll go with blowers.  See you out there in the circus of life, friends. 🙂

Measured Meows

Kitten Measurement Collage

Bahahahahahaha!  There’s no such thing!  Fellow cat lovers, I don’t know about your fickle felines, but when my cat starts going off, it’s about the furthest thing from measured as you can get.  We’re talking meows (also mews, rrawows and merows) that break the sound barrier.  It’s kind of insanity-making!

These cats at least seem to be taking a more measured response to life.  I purchased this adorable little set of ceramic measuring cups from ModCloth years ago, but I see these best-seller kitties are still available on their website.  I’ve actually never used them for their intended purpose, as I figure the first time I do I’ll snap somebody’s tail off on the edge of the sugar canister, but they’ve been a cute decorative item, lined up (or stacked and leaning) on my kitchen window.

And so in keeping with the decorative spirit of these measuring cups, I decorated my nails with some matching kitties.  Cute!

Kitten Measurement Awkward

Blast From the Past

Blast From the Past Fingers

The 1960s called – somewhere, a family, dreaming of a future that looks like the Jetsons, is missing the pattern from its Formica kitchen table AND linoleum.  Thank goodness I found it here on my nails, in only THE most fetching and trendy shades of the decade, avocado and harvest gold (my grandparents had appliances in both, actually!)

Where the Sand Meets the Sky

MayJune 2017 Collage

With this duo of angry thunderhead and sparkling sand-hued lacquers, Enchanted Polish seems to be going back to nature with its mystery releases for May and June 2017. Thankfully, the au natural look suits them well; much as I love my not-of-a-colour-found-in-nature glitter bombs, there’s something soothingly refined about less artificially-hued shades.  I also can’t overstate the importance of finding a beautiful, unique polish you can wear to work, cocktail night and your grandparents’ anniversary dinner.

I’ve complained a bit in the past about how Enchanted’s mystery polishes don’t always correlate to the months in which they’re released.  Sure, you’ve got the requisite fir-green polish for December and red for February. But you’ve also got a shade best described as “holographic dishwater” for July and an inexplicable – if pretty! – primary blue for May. Back in 2015, the inspiration for these polishes seemed to be all over the place.

But this year’s crop of mystery polishes has so far been an absolute delight.  Inspired by some of Enchanted’s retro best-sellers, the polishes have also corresponded nicely to their month of release, particularly these two stunners, stormy May and sandy June. Let’s take a closer look at both, shall we?

May 2017 Collage

May 2017 reads a tad more blue in these photos than it does in real life, where it’s the same dark and dusky hue as loaded thunderhead clouds above a sandy beach.  The holo in this polish is not hugely pronounced, but no mind, this is one of those ones I actually prefer in the shade – lower lighting brings out its fine silver shimmer. These photos show two coats, and as always, it applied like a dream about smooth, streak-free things.  Never doubt Enchanted’s formulation – it’s across-the-board rock solid.

June 2017 Collage

At the halfway mark of the year we have June 2017, a beautiful sandy holo shot through with fine red shimmer. I think this polish looks like that sand I talked about beneath the thunderheads of May 2017, although it also looks like tanned skin after a day spent out in the sun – bronzed and slightly flushed.  This is another polish that is lovely in the sun, but positively gorgeous in the shade, where you can really see that shimmery pink glow.  An immensely flattering three-coater that’s workplace (and churchplace) appropriate.  A surprise favourite that will undoubtedly see a lot of nail art action.

Holo Package Shot

And because Enchanted’s stunning holographic boxes make my paper product-loving heart sing, or at least begin spouting impromptu slam poetry, I’ve included a shot of one of those, too.  I particularly like the way it appears as though the blue/green haze of the holo rainbow is climbing up the side of the castle in this photograph – let’s give it up for some decent iPhone photography, yes? 😉  Total fluke, I assure you!

Bummer time: Short of finding these mystery releases on, say, Ebay or via some other re-seller, May and June 2017 are one-and-done polishes.  But there’s still six months left in the year, so six more opportunities to nab fantastic polishes like these.  So if you’re interested, sign up for Enchanted’s newsletter here to stay up to date on all new releases.

The Long Weekend

Long Weekend Nails 2

Gotta give it up for you Americans, you really know how to stretch a long weekend.  I appreciate the whole “Well, the holiday falls on a weekday; looks like the rest of the week is a wash!” approach to civic holidays. These red, white and blue nails (really pink, white and blue on account of the colour-bleed that occurred with my red glitter polish) are for those lucky Yanks celebrating their second weekend of the 4th.

The nit-picky details, for the curious, are a basic white creme topped with two festive glitters, Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Over the Rainblue and Strawberry Shields (the bleedy one that regrettably stained my pristine white creme polish a watery, red-shirt-in-a-load-of-whites pink.  Not an issue, though – I think nearly everything benefits from a touch of pink, including the old red, white and blue.)  I then added a couple of white bow charms from I truly can’t remember as the final finishing touch (helpful, I know, sorry!) Happy continued 4th, friends!

Long Weekend Nails 1