The Upside Down

The Upside Down

Great news from Netflix today that the much-beloved and gabbed-about Stranger Things will be coming back for a second season!  This is tremendous news for your friendly, totally obsessed neighbourhood nail blogger. I’m so pleased by this bounty of Stranger Things things, I’ve wanted to hug myself, all day long.  But really, I just want to find out what Steve’s hair got up to over its summer vacation, and whether it met up with Mr. Clarke’s mustache at all to, I dunno, have coffee and maybe discuss styling tips.  Team Steve’s Hair (and the dude who runs Steve’s hair; you may know him as Steve.)

So in celebration of this momentous announcement, here are some more Stranger Things-themed nails, this time a manicure inspired by the show’s dark, dank and kind of mucus-covered alt dimension, The Upside Down.

And if you’re wondering where my middle finger nail vanished to, that’s easy – the Demogorgon got it.  Damn slippery Demogorgon – gotta keep your eye on that one, mostly because he doesn’t have any!

This is Gonna Be a Circus!

Gonna Be a Circus Fingers

That’s one of my favourite lines from Angel, the spin-off television series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an incredulous observation made by Lindsay, the sometimes evil, sometimes one-handed lawyer, in assessing Team Angel’s chances in the finalest of the final battles (Spoiler: He’s totally right!  A dragon-slaying, demon-decapitating, double door-kicking circus, and my favourite episode of the entire show.)

It’s also the theme of this end-of-summer, carnival-themed manicure AND my thoughts on how the month of September is going to play out, as I’m participating in two different blogging challenges/round-ups, with lots of fun – but time-intensive and potentially insanity-making – activities at hand and ON my hands.

On the nail side of things, I’ll once again be taking part in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. This will be my third year participating in the challenge; it’s always a lot of fun seeing what the other participants come up with.  If you’re interested in joining in on the reindeer games, you can play along, too – the 31 Day Challenge is super informal, and you can push yourself as much or as little as you’d like.  The daily themes don’t change from year to year (day one is always the colour red, for instance) but the graphics certainly do! Here’s this year’s (pretty) guide to playing along at home:


Then on the slightly more off-topic side of things, I’ll also be participating in a kind of Fall blogging round-up with a bunch of cool folks whose blogs range in topic from nails and beauty, to bath and beauty products and perfumes, to scented wax and cute craftables. That starts on Thursday the 1st – more details to come!

Nautical Nails

Nautical Nails

Every year I leave my beach and nautical-themed nails until the very end of the summer. That’s an odd little quirk, isn’t it?  I think that’s because beaches and I just aren’t sympatico – I somehow managed to get a sunburn – indoors! – the other day while wearing a freshly-applied coat of SPF 60, and I’m downright scared of pretty well everything lurking out beyond the surf.  But chubby little whales and anchors?  That I can do, even if it’s coming a bit late in the season. 🙂

La Patisserie

La Patisserie Front

Just a few end-of-summer treats to sweeten up this hot and humid Saturday night.

Actually, pastries of any variety (but for the 3D Fimo kind I’ve used here) don’t tend to fare very well in the humidity.  I went to a wedding once in a very beautiful – but un-air conditioned – venue in the very dog days of summer, and the cake slid apart in the middle of dinner.  Being in frosting-covered pieces didn’t diminish its taste one iota, but knowing how much wedding cakes cost – A LOT – and knowing how much planning and effort goes into creating one – also A LOT – it was a bit of a shame.  But a delicious shame, like all the very best ones. 😉

La Patisserie Side

The Flea and the Acrobat

The Flea and the Acrobat

Can we talk about Stranger Things’ science teacher, Mr. Clarke?  He’s the best!  In a show filled to the brim with wonderful characters, he’s a real stand-out.  I love how the boys treat him like a fabulous moustached proto-Google. Don’t got the answers?  Mr. Clarke’s got the answers! Even if it’s 10 pm on a Saturday and you’re interrupting his special lady-and-a-horror-movie time with your pesky questions about how to build an on-the-fly deprivation tank. Now, THAT’S an educator.

These nails, which were actually much harder and more time-consuming than I had anticipated, depict Mr. Clarke’s simple-but-effective paper plate explanation of inter-dimensional travel.  Simply put, we humans (the acrobat) live in a dimension (the tightrope) that has set physical rules, among them that we can only move forwards and backwards along the rope.  But right beside us there’s a flea (the monster that stalks Stranger Things’ characters from its nightmare dimension, The Upside Down) and that flea can also move forwards and backwards along the rope, just like us.  But the flea can also move sideways, along the edge of the rope, and it can even go under the rope (“The Upside Down” the boys murmur in awed tones.)  Awesome Mr. Clarke, literally droppin’ science like a madman.  I reiterate – he’s the best!

For my next set of Stranger Things nails, I plan on doing a manicure inspired by Steve’s tremendous hair.  I’m joking – or am I? 😉

Day for (Desert) Night (Sky)

Desert Night Sky Bottle 1

The name of this pretty Enchanted polish is Desert Night Sky, but I’m Canadian, which means that starting this past Saturday with the nation-wide broadcast of beloved band The Tragically Hip’s final live performance, they are literally all I can think about, talk about, listen to.  So in my Hip-addled brain, it becomes Day for Desert Night Sky, a play on the title of their 1994 album Day for Night.

Lead singer Gord Downie, a man many view as Canada’s unofficial wandering troubadour, is dying. Glioblastoma, or in simpler terms, a fucking brain tumour.  In the wake of his diagnosis, the band, childhood friends who grew up in the same hometown as my husband, decided to head out on one last coast-to-coast tour, to say goodbye to the country that has supported it – fiercely, some may say greedily – for the last 33 years.

Our national broadcaster, the CBC, aired The Hip’s final show in Kingston, Ontario this past Saturday, and if it seemed to you, wherever you are in the world, that there was a sense of time standing still emanating from the Great White North, you’d be correct.  Die hard fan, unrepentant hater, casual listener, we all watched together as the band said its goodbyes to us, and we to it.  I watched all three hours of that incredible concert – crying through Fiddler’s Green, running out of the room during a particularly rough Bobcaygeon, trying to will Gord, through the impotent power of my thoughts alone, to finish Grace, Too amidst his anguished tears – and I wouldn’t even call myself a fan.  It was the very essence of Canadiana, a pure moment of undisputed national pride, the likes of which I don’t think we’ll ever see again.  The CBC estimates that over 11 and a half million people watched the un-edited, un-censored, advertisement-free show on Saturday night, or roughly one-third of the country.

So this polish has become Day for Desert Night Sky, the artwork of which is framed in the exact same dusky navy blue as this polish.  It’s also the same deep, denim blue of the Canadian tuxedo (jeans-on-jeans) worn by our prime minister, Justin Trudeau, when he attended the show on Saturday night. Coincidence?  Perhaps.  I suppose I’d be more likely to find Hip memories crawling out of all the dusty recesses of my mind this weekend than any other (like the time a horny young man in a bar hauled me out onto the dance floor to dry hump my leg to twangy historical number Nautical Disaster.  I tried to politely disengage, but he was as persistent as a schnauzer who’s scarfed down a pack of boner pills.  So I “pepper sprayed” him in the face with my knowledge of Downie’s esoteric lyrics, screaming “DID YOU KNOW THIS SONG IS ABOUT THE SINKING OF A GERMAN BATTLESHIP IN THE 1940s?!?  OVER 2,000 MEN DIED!!!” directly into his ear.  Guess who backed off in a hurry?  In addressing the rapturous audience one final time last Saturday, Gord Downie said, “Thank you. Thank you for that.”  Well, thank you, Gord, for that.)

Desert Night Sky Bottle 2

Go Ask Alice

Alice Bottle Sun

Getting back into the swatching swing of things (following a wicked run-in between my left hand ring finger nail and, of all the stupid things, my vegetable peeler) with this lovely lacquer, Picture Polish’s beautifully blue Alice.

I already own a handful of Picture Polish’s superb scattered holos, and Alice is a fantastic addition to the collection. Looking very much like one of my all time favourite blue cremes, OPI’s No Room for the Blues, but formulated like one of Picture Polish’s rock solid holo-creme hybrids (of which Electric Dream is another favourite), Alice is perfection in a little square bottle. It applied beautifully, wore well and removed nicely, its tiny bits of raggedy holo glitter wiping off quickly and cleanly. And what of that beautiful sky blue colour? It’s simply divine! And not for nothing, because presentation is vastly underrated, but the graphic design on Alice’s bottle is darn adorable. Well worth heading down the rabbit hole for.

Picture Polish’s lacquers are available via a number of international stocklists, although I purchased Alice – and all of my Picture Polish polishes, actually – through Nail Polish Canada.

Alice Fingers Sun

Twilight Bubbles: A Mini Lush Review

Twilight Collage Again

In yesterday’s bath-themed post I called this Twilight bath bomb from Lush Cosmetics the best one I’ve tried yet, a statement I continue to stand by today.  Twenty-four hours later my skin remains super soft and smooth, to say nothing of the herbal lavender scent that continues to sweetly perfume the air.  A lovely bath time treat. And an adorable one as well!  How cute is this little star-embossed guy?  Can’t go wrong with glittery pink galaxies.

Twilight Bath Bomb

Inside, the Twilight bath bomb is a beautiful mess of turquoise and purple, the overall bath art effect mimicking the sky at sundown.  So pretty, and I can’t deny how much fun it is to swirl the dissolving bomb around, creating all sorts of fun shapes and colours, like a fabulous, beauty-oriented bath toy.

Bonus: Twilight is not as highly pigmented as some of Lush’s other bath bombs.  This doesn’t diminish the effect in the least – I love the cotton candy-hued bubbles – but it DOES mean that Twilight won’t (temporarily) dye your tub (or skin) neon turquoise, a nice touch indeed.

Twilight Collage

The MOST fun to be had with a bath bomb, though – and particularly this one, with its ultra fluffy candy floss hues – is to smush the nearly-dissolved bomb in your hand once it’s cracked open.  It sounds odd, but it’s a particularly delightful sensation, and a bit of a naughty one at that – hastening a bath bomb’s demise seems like something you shouldn’t do, right, given its already pretty limited lifespan?  Nope, just me?  Alrighty then.

Smushed Twilight Collage

The Twilight bath bomb is part of Lush’s regular assortment of bath time goodies – no limited edition nonsense here.  Retailing for $6.55, it’s at the lower end of the bath bomb price scale, another nice touch, as $12 bombs aren’t always in the offering.  Lush, of course, has online and physical outposts all over the world, although I purchased mine here in Canada through  Happy soaking!

Herbal Refreshment

Lavender Bath

Not that kind of herbal refreshment (although I can’t even type the phrase without hearing Brittany Murphy’s Tai, of Clueless, New Yawk-drawling, “I could really use some sorta ‘erbal refreshment” to her new pals Cher and Dionne.)  I’m talking about the beauty variety, like the loaded-with-lavender bath I recently enjoyed. Lavender is one of those fragrances most commonly associated with relaxation; you’ll find it in all sorts of naturopathic sleep aids like teas and eye masks and bubble baths.  Its buds also taste pretty darn terrific baked into ultra buttery shortbread, believe it or not (and rendered down with simple syrup and added to lemonade as well.)

But that’s dried lavender (and in the case of the shortbread and the lemonade, cooking lavender – that’s very important!) which to me always errs towards the powdery – granny’s unmentionables drawer.  My preferred lavender is fresh and green and uplifting; very much an herbal refreshment.

I used a bunch of fun products for this lushly lavender bath, including a couple of items from Lush itself, a Twilight bath bomb and a bit of a French Kiss bubble bar.  A third of this lavender-sprinkled bubble bar tinged my bathwater the loveliest shade of plummy purple and produced an absolute mountain of fluffy, super moisturizing bubbles.  Plus it’s as cute as a wee little button!

French Kiss Bubble Bar

Entertainment and additional moisturization was provided by a Twilight bath bomb, a lavender-scented bath ballistic embossed with tiny stars.  I’ll have a bit more to say – and show – on the subject tomorrow when I take a closer look at the Twilight bath bomb (including some pretty cool bath art) but this little guy is stupendous; the best Lush bath bomb I’ve used to date.  You can’t ask for much more than a sweet scent, a super cool – and long-lasting – effect and tons of skin softening goodness.

Twilight Bath Bomb

And if you’ve ever wondered what the inside of one of these things looks like…well, kind of like that egg husk that Hopper touches in The Upside Down in Stranger Things.  But turquoise!

Alien Twilight Egg

And because I scoff in the face of overkill, I melted a wax tart from Ten Digit Creations in one of my favourite scents, Lavender Poundcake, a fresh, herbal lavender kissed with the very barest hint of buttery bakery, and gave myself a wee spritz with my Demeter Lavender cologne.  Overkill?  I say no-verkill!  And the perfect finishing touch to a really nice bath that did exactly what baths are supposed to do – leave you feeling refreshed and relaxed and smelling pretty darn awesome.