Electric Circus

Electric CircusShow of well manicured hands if you were a Canadian teen in the ’90s who spent at least a portion of your weekends listlessly hate-watching cable channel Much Music’s Saturday night bump and grind-o-rama, Electric Circus. Actually, to be fair to the Circus – on which I was featured in about 1995 regrettably not as a dancer, but as a nabbed-off-the-street interviewer of of-the-moment R&B “sensation” Tony! Toni! Tone!, which really makes no sense because I was super into grunge and quite openly snobby about it – there was very little bumping and grinding. The dancers featured on Electric Circus every Saturday night in Much Music’s retrofitted and black-lit studios were well trained, intense and FOCUSED (very busy work is being a dancer up on one of the boxes, THE sign that you had made it in the ’90s club dance scene.) Even the kids who lined up every week to be chosen as one of the evening’s 50 or so regular, on-the-floor dancers brought their A game, and there wasn’t a whole lot of that gross thing that guys did in the ’90s where they just come up behind you on the dance floor, sock their crotch against your butt, bellow something completely inarticulate and Labatt Dry-scented directly into your eardrum before attempting some pelvic-a-licious dance maneuver, at which point you fake an aneurysm and you and your friend decamp to the bar two blocks down, which is actually just fine because you left your coats there earlier so as to avoid having to check them at the bar up the road, even though it’s -25 degrees out and you’re in your very tiniest, and tightest, baby tee, which isn’t actually yours, but you’ve worn it out so often, your best friend really ought to just give it to you out of the goodness of her heart, because it makes your boobs look really great. True story.) Ah yes, kids, improbably enough, it was a more innocent time!

Long tangent short: These nails, Dance Legend’s neon glitter topper, Rio #1, over OPI’s silver foil, My Signature is “DC”, remind me of the vibe and look of Electric Circus – lots and lots of neon and shiny, dancing stars.

Fruit Cocktail

Fruit CocktailWith extra cherries, of course! Part jelly sandwich, part pond manicure, these nails are so cute and yummy looking, they have me eyeing up that jar of fruit cocktail I bought for my husband but really might just eat myself. *Goes out to kitchen* *Comes back defeated* Unnnnnnntttiillllll I realized he ate it two days ago. Aw, darnity hell damn crap! Better add fruit cocktail to the shopping list, although not painting my nails like nummy foodstuffs might help, too. 😉

Pink Frosted Donut: A Then and Now Post

Pink Sprinkled DonutOne of my earliest nail art designs was Cirque’s rainbow-hued Kaleidoscope glitter topper over one coat of Nails Inc.’s Notting Hill Gate, a sheer, hot pink jelly polish (see below.) It made for a super cute mani, like those yummy-looking pink frosted donuts that only exist on The Simpsons, but my execution was ever so slightly off – the base polish was too sheer (oh, the horrors of visible nail lines!) and my nail care game was still pretty well non-existent (here’s a nail art truth for you, gang – taking care of your mini canvasses makes everything that comes after it about a million times easier. It’s very much like having a clean desk or a tidy workspace in that you can concentrate on your work because you’re not being distracted by all the mess heaped about your feet. Plus it just looks better!)

So with those lessons in mind, I decided to dip my fingers into the frosting once again and recreate that fun, sprinkled donut design, only this time with the benefit of hindsight and some appreciably improved skills. The end result? A manicure that’s really not so different from its predecessor in terms of design, but noticeably different in the important areas of execution and overall effect. Gone are the dreaded visible nail lines that came about as a result of using but one coat of the jelly polish (I actually don’t have a problem with them, but some lacqueristas RAGE when confronted with VNLs, as they’re sometimes called), the result of swapping out Notting Hill Gate for Fingers Paints’ Louvre This Pink, a sheer-ish, yet still opaque, raspberry creme that offers great coverage and frosting-like shine in two coats. Gone as well is the poor lighting and the inexplicably skewed framing, although those are issues I’d file under photography skills – not the best, but also getting encouragingly better – as opposed to nail art technique. Most importantly, though, this slightly updated manicure shows off the clean simplicity of tidy, nicely polished nails (even if those nails are sprinkled with an inch of rainbow glitter), a skill – yes, here in the nail art world it’s a skill – that has proven its worth time and time again.

One ought not judge a book by its cover, but in so many facets of life – nail art included – presentation is key. So try to keep your work clean, tidy up after yourself and look for those simple, easily achievable little ways you can update old manis to create new favourites that highlight your improved skills and breathe fresh life into designs whose only sins were being created at a time when your nail art game weren’t all that. To experience and progress – and those are sentiments I think we can all raise our pink-sprinkled donuts to.Jelly Donut

Turkey Dinner Re-Leaf

Leaf Me BeHappy Thanksgiving, fellow Canuks! True, the observable holiday is not actually until tomorrow, but most of the people I know have their meals tonight, a strategic manoeuvre that puts roughly 24 hours between that third piece of pumpkin pie and the first day of the work week. It’s important to plan ahead, you know. And take a big, long walk once you’ve regained feeling in your brain, a walk on which you might see some pretty fall leaves like these ones? For this seasonally festive manicure, I painted a few burnished, bronzed leaves over top of Incoco’s glittery gradient nail appliques in After Dark for a rich look perfect for post-turkey cool-downs. A simple and effective bit of nail art that works with the beautiful nail strips and doesn’t obliterate their fall-perfect design.

Zombie Kitty

Zombie KittyThese Hello Zombie nails are my entry in Nail Polish Canada’s annual Halloween Nail Art Challenge. I didn’t participate last year, having only just started dabbling in nail art some months prior and having not yet discovered the delightful, bank account-draining world of online polish stocklists. So it’s with excitement that I submit these zombiefied Hello Kitty nails that I think are so, so cute without being all gross and bloody (some of the Google images of Zombie Kitty are disturbing.) Just a hint of exposed organs – and one yummy-looking brain cupcake – for my Kitty. 😉

If you think my brains-obsessed Kitty is swell and you’d like to vote for her in the Nail Polish Canada contest, you can do so here. My entry is “Zombie Kitty/Finger Candy” – not that you’d be able to miss her cute little neon green mug! And thank you for thinking enough of my work to take the time to vote. It’s a lovely feeling indeed to know you care, you really, really care! But in all seriousness (in this most serious business of nail art) thank you.

How’s That For a Slice of Fried Gold?!: A Then and Now Post

Fried Gold

I’m one of those people who can watch the same 20 movies over and over (and over) again. Number of views of my core comfort movies, those flicks I turn to when I’m feeling bummy or just in need of something familiar, can easily be counted in triple digits. A number of my friends are the same way. A girlfriend of mine used to put Fight Club on in the background while she was cleaning or tending to busy work, which makes my Beetlejuice-and-a-bath look downright normal (I kid; there’s no TV in my bathroom. It seems like that set-up is just asking for trouble.) 😉

All that to say I’ve seen – or listened to, or simply absorbed through celluloid osmosis – Shaun of the Dead, a beloved movie and assuredly my favourite zombie flick, A LOT. So when I was looking for some zombie movie inspiration to satisfy a Halloween challenge I’m participating in on Instagram, I thought I’d turn to Shaun and the gang and their quirky adventures (“quirky adventures” being a charming euphemism for “being torn limb from limb…with British humour.”) That I did a very similar design last year (see below) is simply an added bonus, because I love going back over old manicures to see how much my technique has improved. Noting an appreciable difference in the quality of my nail art is a great motivator, and keeps me continually reaching and stretching beyond my comfort level (that being primarily cartoon pigs wearing hats.) But a person’s got to grow, even if their taste in movies never does. 🙂

Shaun of the Dead

Fizzy Pop

Fizzy PopThis textured gradient mani is meant to look like those little sugar-dusted gummy cola candies my friends and I used to buy from the 7-11 for a penny a piece (heavens, that was a very “old timer” kind of statement – what are these mysterious pennies and 7-11s the daffy old lady is nattering about?) and is indeed inspired by the brown base polish I used here, Models Own cola-scented Fizzy Cola. It’s a cute look, albeit a tad washed out, but regrettably not worth the hassle of working with Fizzy Cola.

I’ve commented before that I’m not a huge fan of crapping all over a polish or a polish maker just for the sake of being disagreeable – to each polish their own and all that jazz – but when my experience with a product is overwhelmingly negative, I feel like I ought to say something, if only to give people a heads-up as to what they may be running into. Call it a PSA – a Polish Service Announcement.

And what you’re running into here is maybe the poorest polish I’ve ever worked with. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve purchased very few dud polishes – just a handful – but this one really stands out, and not in a good way. Which is a shame, as my experience with the Models Own brand has been a good one (love their fruit-scented, pastel collection.) As you can see, the colour’s quite nice, a cool, mid-toned brown shot through with gold and silver shimmer. The scent’s pretty great, too, a smell I’d describe as being caught somewhere between cola and chocolate. But the consistency and ease of application? Those things that absolutely make or break a polish, no matter its pretty colour or scent? Terrible. Thick and almost lumpy (a giant, disgusting blob oozed off the brush and back into the bottle with an audible plop, putting me off all creamy foodstuffs for the next few days), it dried in visible ridges the second it hit my nails and left thin wisps of polish along the tips of my talons where the brush left the edge of my nails. It’s also completely unsuitable for nail art detail work, as it dries far too quickly for you to do anything other than marvel at its glue-like qualities.

As always, I like to point out that batch lots can find one dud bottle amongst 1,000 winners – there’s always that chance that you got the crap bottle – but over on Nail Polish Canada’s site there’s a review of Fizzy Cola that’s pretty much in lockstep with mine. I can’t say what the issue is with this particular polish, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be racking up the fans. Save your money on this one. And here’s to the second polish in the candy-scented Models Own collection I bought being nothing like this one!