Blood Hound

Blood Hound Bottle

I’ve had my eye on this holographic lacquer, Cupcake Polish’s Blood Hound, for ages now, so when Harlow & Co. recently restocked it, as well as a number of other Cupcake Polish goodies, I jumped at the chance to finally snag a bottle.  From browsing the photos on the website alone, I became positively smitten with Blood Hound’s blackened plum holo shot through with intense blue shimmer.

Slight problem: The Blood Hound I received looks only vaguely like the polish displayed on the website.  That electric blue shimmer?  It’s actually copper.  When this polish hits the sun, the blues in its holo are more prominent than the other colours in the rainbow spectrum, true, but that’s not quite the same thing as that almost electric, lit-from-within look.

Blood Hound Collage

Make no mistake, this is a beautiful polish, and it has a super one-coat formulation as well.  The darkened plum colour is lovely – vampy and deep, with lots of gorgeous glowing shimmer.  And that holo effect is just bananas.  As a first-time Cupcake customer, I’m very pleased with the polish itself, even if the Blood Hound I received was not quite what I was expecting.  But this is really a function of colour alignment across computer monitors, an area that is leaps and bounds better than it used to be, but still has its weak spots. Blues, purples and turquoises in particular often look like anything other than what they actually are, so I’m not surprised I had some problems with this polish.  Buyer beware and all that good stuff, but Blood Hound is just gorgeous regardless, and I ain’t kicking it out of bed.

Blood Hound Fingers 1

Miss Argentina

Miss Argentina Hand

Coming at you this gloomy Sunday afternoon with another manicure inspired by the movie Beetlejuice, this time a super bright and graphic design honouring Miss Argentina, the droll, turquoise-skinned receptionist who mans the check-in desk in the Waiting Room of the Dead.  The totally inappropriate joke (for any time but the 1980s, apparently) is that Miss Argentina, still garbed in her hot pink competition gown and sash and bearing two nasty-looking slashes on her wrists, is doomed to an eternity of bureaucratic civil service on account of what she terms her “little accident” – seems in the Beetlejuice world, if you check out early by your own hand, you’re condemning yourself to an afterlife of mind-numbingly stupid government work.  It’s all pretty crass, but that was the 1980s for you.

Crassness aside, I love Miss Argentina – she’s overworked and profoundly bored, but also sassy and so. completely. over. it.  And for a former beauty queen, it’s also important to note that she’s gorgeous. Turquoise and hot pink?  That’s one of my favourite colour combinations!  Here, check this out – this is Molly Tinkerpuff (and her cat, Stray) a Sim I created back in 2013 and modeled after Miss Argentina.

Screenshot-45

But let’s talk about this mani for a quick second.  I love it.  Like, loveity-love-love it.  I’m sort of gobsmacked at how well it actually turned out, particularly the scroll work and the lettering in Miss Argentina’s sash.  I also love how crisp and precise the outlining work is – it lends the whole thing a very comic book/tattoo kind of vibe.  Neat!

Miss Argentina Fingers

Rosegirls

RG Hand

Hot on the heels of my Wax On, Wax Off post of the other day, I decided to do a full-on Rosegirls manicure, a sure sign that something has worked its way into my heart – nothing says love like immortalizing it on your nails.  Rosegirls has a very cute little logo, and those colourful little wax chunks were just calling out for the nail art treatment.  I could not say no. 🙂

Say My Name Three Times

Say My Name

Or “Say my name, say my name (say my name)” in the musical parlance of Destiny’s Child.  Because you just know they’re playing a horrible Muzak version of a Beyonce song in the Waiting Room of the Dead.  On repeat.  It’s actually just a playlist of one.

In case none of that made sense, here is a Beetlejuice-inspired manicure.  He wears a lot of black and white stripes and has green hair.  Anything that’s not striped is purple. And in order to get him to appear (and disappear) you have to say his name three times.  Why? Not a clue.  But I went with the lame Beyonce joke, because how could I not?

Wax On, Wax Off

Best RG Collage

And now for something a little different!  Last year, as I was cruising around the “pretty, glittery, rainbow-coloured things” accounts on Instagram, I ran across an entire sub-culture of men and women (a lot of men, actually) who live and breathe for scented wax. Feel free to go on making that “Whhhuuuhhh?” face; that was pretty much my first reaction, too. So, like, candles? ‘Cause some people be crazy about their candles.  Well, sort of.  Candles without the wick or jar – chunks or shaped tarts of scented wax that you burn in an electric or tealight warmer heated from beneath.  When the wax melts, it releases its scent.  When it no longer smells, you change it out for something new (more on that in a bit.)  It’s a great way to try out all sorts of fun scents without committing to what nowadays are some VERY expensive glass jar candles with dodgy performance records.  And with your little puddle of scented wax, you don’t have to worry about gungy soot, drowning wicks, exploding jars and the inherent danger that comes along with anything involving fire (this obviously doesn’t apply if you melt your wax in a burner lit by a tealight, but my basic point stands.)

Strawberry Jam

You can find all sorts of delicious-smelling wax at mass market stores like Walmart, Target, Canadian Tire and even Home Depot, but I really find this to be one of those retail zones where the more rarefied and “small batch” the product, the better the quality. That’s where the above-mentioned “waxies” come in, a devoted group of small business boosters whose quest for gorgeous (and gorgeously-scented) home fragrance powers an entire indie industry of wax…artisans?  I certainly think there’s a great deal of artistry involved here, from beautiful fragrance blending to top notch branding and presentation.

Bodacious Bowser

The wax I’m showcasing in this post is from a vendor by the name of Rosegirls.  Rosegirls operates a website, which you can find here, but be somewhat forewarned – with the exception of one consistent product line that you can purchase any old time you’d like, items are only made available during time sensitive sale events announced on Rosegirls’ Facebook group page.  The RG group is a closed one, but so long as you ask nicely and aren’t a tool about it, they’ll accept you.  I understand that in the last year or so the whole timed event/flash opening rigamarole seemingly endemic to the industry has died down a bit, and I think that’s for the best. And while a part of me likes the whole “Surprise!” element to your standard retail transaction (indeed, my second order with Rosegirls was a giant mystery box filled with I-had-no-idea), another part just wishes these vendors would operate an always-open online storefront with products in stock and ready to ship, no Facebook stalking, no stress.

Rosegirls’ main product line are these adorable little multi-coloured wax chunks.  Certain popular blends come up time and time again, but for the most part, the little chunks (available in all sorts of formats and sizes, from six-piece brown bakery bags to little two-piece samplers and even whole pies) come in an ever-changing variety of scent combinations, leaning heavily toward the fruity/bakery end of the scent spectrum. Some of my favourites from the photo below include Pomegranate Watermelon Birthday Cake, Blue Cotton Candy and Satsuma, and Peppermint Marshmallow Coconut.

RG Sampler Stand

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Sandra, that sounds absolutely godawful,” rest assured that I once did, too. I’ve always taken a rather simple approach to both home and personal fragrance, favouring singular scents to fancy, complicated blends, and I was initially somewhat intimidated by the vast assortment of scent notes Rosegirls seems to pack into each wax chunk. But someone at Rosegirls HQ has some serious olfactory skills, because for the most part, the multi-layered blends work beautifully. I never would have thought that peppermint, marshmallow and coconut could be compatible scent notes – rather delighted that I’ve been proven wrong on that one, and so many others.

Rosegirls also operates a small storefront in its home city of Oshkosh, Wisconsin. It’s through this shop that they offer their wax in a number of unique formats, from chunk muffins and tarts, to piped, heart-shaped cookies and tiny ice cream scoops (my favourite!) But the holy grail of Rosegirls wax seems to be these adorable little strawberries, here scented like rich, tart and sugary strawberry jam. I came by my extra special Rosegirls goodies by purchasing a mystery box online that I knew would be filled with shop items (I die for those little ice cream scoops; the presentation is just too great.)

RG Bakery

Rosegirls also has an offshoot business that deals only in scoopable wax, semi-solid scented wax that you scoop out of jars and burn in a warmer like you would any other type of wax. I received two scoopables in my mystery order, including this pretty green guy, Watergate Cake, which smells like 1950s-style ambrosia salad.

RG scoopable collage

To enjoy this bounty of scented goodness, simply lop off a chunk of a larger chunk and place it in an electric or tealight warmer. I typically use about a half ounce of wax at a time, although I’ve never measured precisely. Then turn on the power or light the candle and enjoy the sweet scent of, say, cherry almond coconut cake with strawberry glaze, just without the calories, guilt or mess.

Star of Wonder

The wax will eventually lose its scent. This time varies wildly from vendor to vendor, scent to scent (light scents like marshmallow or whipped cream flame out much faster than tart berries and rich bakeries, for instance), although anything in the four-to-who knows range tends to be my performance average. Other factors like the airflow in your house will affect scent coverage, as will the wattage of your burner – it’s basically a fantastically scented crapshoot. Also, unlike candles, wax melts won’t ever deplete. The only way to tell when they’ve had enough is when they cease smelling. But when you want to swap out your wax for something new, simply turn off your burner and allow the wax to cool and harden up. Then pop the warming plate or the entire burner into the freezer. After five or so minutes the wax will pop right out and you can move on with more freshly scented things (if fresh scents are indeed your thing; me, I’m Team Bakery Blend.)

And so there we have it, bits and bobs of my recent wax haul, a fun purchase that’s already provided hours of sniffing good fun and enjoyment – and here’s to many more!

RG Big K Collage

Waking the Dead

Flakie Bottle

Like most everything in life, the nail polish world sees its fair share of trends. Textured polishes were all the rage four or so years ago, followed by magnetic polishes and then thermals.  A novelty by their very niche nature, most of these polishes enjoyed an initial honeymoon period in which they could do no wrong, followed by a downfall owing to total market saturation, plus the fact that all of them have rather limited functionality.  But some of these polishes managed to extend their 15 minutes of fame, including last year’s trendy pick, the mighty, mighty flakie.  I adore my handful of flakie polishes, particularly the chromatic type. I love the way the slightly raggedy bits of colour-shifting flakes nestle smoothly into the base polish, while still looking a little bit “undone.”  And unlike their iridescent counterparts, which I’m not so fond of, chromatic flakies remove with the ease of a creme polish, a very nice touch indeed.

2016 has yet to reveal its big trend, so until then, I’m jumping back a year to a polish that I’m so glad was more than just a flash in the pan, Polish Me Silly’s Stop Flaking on Me, here over Girly Bits’ zombie green creme, Dead Man’s Toe.  One of the things I really love about chromatic flakies, and Stop Flaking on Me in particular, is the softness of the finish. These polishes always highlight and compliment the base they’ve been layered over, perking up even somber ones like this camo green one, without obscuring the original look of either polish.  Very cool.

Flakie Fingers

Snow, Snow Everywhere

Snow Fingers 2

And not a plow to be found.  Actually, that’s not true.  I think my city handled its recent record-breaking dump of 50 centimeters of snow quite well.  Who’s not handling the snow so well is me, simply because, as I mentioned in my previous post, I’m caring for a friend’s home while they’re on vacation, and that includes their double-wide monstrosity of a driveway.  I’ve been by three times over the past 24 hours for hour-long shoveling binges – any longer and I lose all feeling in my forearms.  There’s still at least half the driveway to be shoveled out before this weekend, when it will warm up just enough to begin freezing rain.  This winter sucks.

But if you’re stuck shoveling your way out of thigh-deep snow (seriously, at one point as I was swimming my way up to my friend’s front door, I thought about how uncomfortably close the snow was coming to MY northern climes, if you catch my drift) you should absolutely have a fly, seasonally appropriate manicure like this one, featuring KB Shimmer’s Snow Much Fun.  I love these kind of polishes because they get the thematic job done without the need to break out a bunch of intensive nail art supplies.  Not that I could have done that in the first place – everything below my elbows ACHES, and I don’t think I could hold a detail brush steady enough to eek out any kind of design.  I reiterate: This winter sucks!