Picnic Pests

Picnic PestsSee, this is why you don’t invite ants to the picnic – they show up uninvited and take all of the leftovers without asking. Inconsiderate bug-gers.

There are a number of ants-at-the-picnic nail art designs out there, but I took inspiration from the work of an Instagram blogger whose post I can of course no longer find. That person used little fimo cane fruits in place of simply painting them on the ants’ backs. It’s a great, inventive use of standard nail art materials that perfectly fits the picnic theme, and so I stole it, tweaked it a bit and made it my own. Now somebody call the exterminator – we’ve got some unwelcome dinner guests to evict.

Grass Clippings

Panacea BottleThis polish is totally lawn in a bottle, right?! I purchased this shimmer-flecked holo, Cirque’s Panacea, after admiring a number of swatches that showed it as a bright, citrusy, rainbow-throwing beauty. But when I got my bottle, the colour seemed far too golden to be flattering against my pink paleness, and the holo effect was virtually non-existent. More like bummer in a bottle.

Fortunately, though, Panacea is one of those polishes that’s a bit of a Monet, as the great Cher Horowitz might remark – at a distance it’s all right, but up close it’s a big old mess. I can’t explain the kind of beauty-dampening effect that takes place with this polish when it’s in the bottle, but paint on a few coats and give it a bit of space to play in the sun, and suddenly it’s a gorgeous grass green holo packed with light-reflecting golden shimmer. Now that’s the Panacea I love, and yet another lesson in not judging a book by its cover.Panacea FullPanacea Lights

400th Post Retrospective

400th PostIn about a month this blog will be celebrating its first year of existence. At the same time I’ll be marking a personal milestone, pouring one out for myself in celebration of one year of close-to-daily writing, blogging and nail art pursuits. I danced recreationally for close to 20 years, half of that time with the same company, so I understand what it means to stick with something for the long haul. But I’m still sort of amazed and, quite frankly, impressed when I contemplate the 400 some-odd manis I’ve done over the past 365 days, to say nothing of the written words that have flowed there from. Where did I find the inspiration to do that many manicures? Or more accurately, where did I find the time to paint my nails that many times? And how could I possibly have had that much to say about nail art?

While providing no real answers to those questions, this post, my 400th, bears out my obsessive/casual approach to writing, blogging and nail art and how the three have come together to form a most enjoyable pursuit that’s just structured enough to keep me engaged and on task, while still allowing me the freedom to float around in more creative spheres. I’m lucky enough to have found that perfect mix of “I should do this” and “I want to do this” that has brought me to this 400th post, so maybe I shouldn’t question it so much and just go with the (nail polish) flow? Sounds like a non-plan. Here’s to the next 400!

For these festive nails celebrating my blog’s quadricentennial post, I topped two coats of Cirque’s marigold-hued Chyrsopoeia with one coat of Nails Inc.’s Graffiti in Old Street.

Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me

Don't Let the Sun Go Down On MeAs the final weekend of summer kicks off, I thought it would be fun to cram in all the vacation, leisure and beach-inspired manicures I’ve been putting off for the past two months. I think I was so shocked by the fact that summer actually happened, I forgot to tackle all those seasonal manicures I was dreaming about back when we were buried under eight feet of dirty spring snow.

So as the first entry in my weekend of summer mani appreciation, I thought I’d try my hand at a silhouetted beach scene against a backdrop of a pretty gradient sunset. I like how the totally out-of-scale kitty is contemplatively staring into the holo-hued sun (probably wondering why it’s the same size as the palm tree beside it. Perhaps it’s time to lay off the crunchies, mega-kitty.)

If At First You Don’t Succeed

Matte Lullaby…try it four more times! That’s what I call determination in making a nail polish work, friends.

A bit of back story. I bought the glitter polish I used in this matte gradient manicure, Cirque’s Lullaby, after lusting after it for the better part of a year. I never purchased it because I questioned how much utility I’d get out of such a pale polish. And as it turns out, my fears were indeed nearly entirely founded, because swatching Lullaby has been something of a satin pastel nightmare.

First I tried it over white. So pretty and delicate in real life, uncaptureable on camera. The problem with standard white as a base (actually, not so standard; for this mani I used one coat of Lullaby over a blue-on-white gradient using a couple of Model’s Own scented polishes, although you’d never know it) is the polish’s little white stars get lost against the background. And with its satin finish glitter, Lullaby tends to almost sink into the base polish, the soft glitter colours blending into one another.White Lullaby

Then I tried it over holographic pink. That was also a big ol’ negative, as the pink blindingly outshone the glitter, and Lullaby once again seemingly merged with its background polish.Pink Lullaby

Then, thinking that this was absolutely the last time I was going to be swatching this polish, I tried it over a pale, ethereal lilac. That effort was so positively ugly and useless, I didn’t even bother taking a photo. Finally, as a last ditch effort, I thought that maybe the problem was the polishes I was choosing were too pale and the top coat too shiny, and so I tried one coat of Lullaby over a watery blue-on-violet gradient, topping the whole thing off with a light-dulling top coat, Essie’s Matte About You. The result was my best effort involving Lullaby, with a just dark and smooth enough background to really let the glitter shine. A bit of a laboured effort for one polish that unfortunately didn’t quite live up to the myth I had created for it in my head, as pretty as it looks bubbling along on my nails. 😦Matte Lullaby Full

Holiday Road

Holiday Road 1My favourite National Lampoon’s Vacation movie is Christmas Vacation, but I have fond memories of watching the Griswold family navigate their giant, wood-panelled station wagon across the California desert in the original movie on their way to vacation hotspot Walley World, which is, regrettably for the Griswolds – spoiler alert! – closed. Clark has a not-too-surprising breakdown and storms the gates of the theme park, taking a random maintenance worker hostage and pressing him into not-totally-unwilling action in getting the dormant rides up and running. The family is very nearly arrested (when are they not?), and there’s a fantastic scene somewhere in there where Clark and his son, Rusty, run in delirious slo-mo towards the gates of the park as Chariots of Fire plays in the background. In the end they all learn the value of love and family and return to Chicago with surprisingly few criminal convictions.

I always thought the cherry on the crap sundae was the colour of the Griswold family station wagon, which Clark describes as “Electric Pea” (“Electric Pee” would also be quite apt.) That’s the first thought I had upon swiping on a few coats of this new green Cirque polish, Panacea, which looks every bit like the detailing work on the Griswold family boat. For these nails, I attempted to capture some of the highlights of the Electric Peamobile, including its decorative wooden side panels and square, no nonsense profile. You’ve got the right nails now, so jump on in and hit that Holiday Road! Just remember to check the Walley World schedule before you leave.Holiday Road 2

Holo Haul

Holo HaulThis every-nail-for-itself manicure is the result of absent-mindedly playing around with a trio of new, soon-to-be-swatched Cirque polishes atop an equally new Enchanted Polish holo. I have no idea what the design is or even what I had intended it to be, but it reflects the light so prettily, it gets to stay (even if my striping tape game could use a little work.)


Sweet Weege BottleMy philosophy when it comes to a nail polish I’d like to own but do not because it simply doesn’t exist is to break out my polish crafting supplies and make my own. Do it yourself nail polish is a real show stopper of a gift (“Wait, you made this yourself?”) and not the least bit difficult, although the initial outlay for supplies can be a tough financial and logistical nut to crack. Like most crafty-type pursuits, you’ll need project-specific items such as polish bottles, solvent-resistant glitter, suspension base and the like, and none of that stuff comes easily or inexpensively (although once you’re all set up, the only consumables you’ll have to regularly replace are the bottles and base, and even then only if you’re cranking out multiple bottles a day.) I purchased my solvent-resistant glitter from a variety of Etsy retailers (solvent-resistant is key; regular old crafting glitter will bleed and melt when mixed with suspension base), while the cosmetic dyes I use come from a company by the name of Vanti805. The suspension base, bottles, ball bearings, etc. all come from a Canadian company I’ve had nothing but great experiences with by the name of Voyageur Soap & Candle Company, although you can also find a wealth of indie polish makers on Etsy that offer those items alongside their own creations.

And that’s the short, not-too-detailed story of how I came to consider myself a bit of a nail polish crafter, and more specifically the story of how this glitter topper, Sweet Weege, came into existence. I had actually been admiring some indie wares on a now-defunct company’s website when I noticed that they did not ship to Canada. That was a bit of a bummer until I realized that I was more than capable of making my own version of the polish I had my eye on, and so I did! Then it was just a hop, skip and five or so hours of picking errant glitter off my clothes, arms and hands before I had this Not-a-Designer Imposter-type creation I named after one of my cats, because why not? They’re great company when I’m deep in the throes of detail-oriented crafting, and they look so freaking adorable in those little masks (I kid – suspension base smells like hot death, and when I’m crafting, they’re usually a respectful, but still watchful, distance away. Besides, do you know how difficult it is to get glitter out of a long-haired’s coat? DIFFICULT.)

Here I’ve shown one brushed/dabbed on coat of Sweet Weege over top of Essie’s warm grey Chinchilly.Sweet Weege Full


Time to Pretend Bottle SunSo it would appear that after a year of being kind of wilfully blasé and absolutely in-denial about my burgeoning nail polish procurement issue (as in I *might* have a wee problem), I have become one of those nail polish people. Because when I got this bit of nail mail, Enchanted Polish’s Time to Pretend, a thank you to myself for a recent spate of extra hard work, I spent about five minutes inspecting and admiring everything from the cute little box it came in (I love their logo; that castle looks straight-up evil) to its mesmerizing rainbow holo and oil slick-type multichrome. Seriously, count out five minutes – that’s a long time to be contemplating the finer points of shimmer ratio to glitter penetration. Long time to be contemplating anything, actually!Time to Pretend Bottle Shade

But as always, I come down on the side of enjoying life’s little luxuries, no matter how inane or silly they may seem. This will come as a surprise to no one, but life is hard, and often feels like an endless round of stock car racing where half the participants are unlicensed goats. Any reprieve from the crazy, any little thing that makes you smile, even for just a handful of rainbow-contemplating moments, can’t be an irredeemable waste of time and happiness.Time to Pretend Full SunTime to Pretend Fingers Sun