Tough and Tender

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For those days when you want your pretty, glittery nails to sport their very own brass knuckles.  Except on your nails instead of your fingers and silver-plated, here a couple of favourite spiky nail charms from Daily Charme atop Glam Polish’s Six Impossible Things.

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KB Kitties

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With a little help from some water vinyl nail art stickers from Daily Charme.  More on those in a second.

But first, the polishes!  Which would be KB Shimmer’s soft, coral-y pink, Blush Money, topped with KB’s leopard print glitter, Spot Sign.  Blush Money, a peachy-pink holo sprinkled with gold shimmer, is a real chameleon, shifting from a bright coral-rose in the shade to a warm, glowy peach in the sun.  I think both in the bottle and as against my very pale skin it looks like Nars’ venerable Orgasm blush.  And Spot Sign, as always, is awesome – a leopard print mani in just a few swipes of the brush – but temperamental. The little C-shaped leopard glitters want to stick together and they really do snag on everything, so Spot Sign will require your patience, and about two layers of topcoat.

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So the nail art stickers?  Bit of a learning curve with these guys.  Having never used water vinyls before (really, I’m not much for nail art accessories of any description) I didn’t know what to expect, and the instructions on the back of the package were somehow both overly simplistic AND needlessly complicated.  And that really did these vinyls a great disservice, because in the end, they turned out to be fantastically easy to apply. They’ve also worn beautifully and didn’t smudge all to heck and back when I topped them with topcoat.  That’s nail artist pay dirt right there!

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The instructions for these cute kitty nail stickers called for an assortment of cutting and soaking and buffing and then, somewhat alarmingly, the back-to-back use of both water and a blow dryer.  Sounds dangerous! Also made very little sense to me, which is why I was initially left with the impression that these stickers were total garbage.

But they weren’t!  Far from it, actually.  I just needed to spend a bit of time tinkering about with these very versatile vinyls.  Basically, it went a bit like this:

  1. Peel the protective film off the sheet of stickers.  The printed designs will be on one side, and a simple, lightweight piece of adhesive paper will be on the other.
  2. Taking a pair of sharp manicure scissors, cut out the design or designs you’d like to use, including the adhesive backing.  Don’t feel confined to taking one design – here the cute black kitties – at a time; if there’s two designs side by side on the sheet that you just love, then cut them out together!  Also, you don’t need to cut in extremely close to the design, as the backing on these vinyls is translucent and the edges disappear entirely once topcoated.
  3. Taking a small bowl of room temperature water and working one at a time, drop your tiny speck of paper into the water.  You’ll immediately see the adhesive backing take on water, and then after another 10 or so seconds, the vinyl design will separate from the paper.
  4. Reach out and touch the tip of your finger to the vinyl – it’ll cling to it a lot like a contact lens.  Then apply the vinyl to your (painted and dried, but now slightly damp) nails by simply touching your finger to your nails.  The sticker will now cling to your nails, and if your nails are wet enough (dunk them in the water you used to soak the vinyls and blow off the excess) you’ll have a bit of play to push your sticker around until you’ve found the perfect place for your design.
  5. Top with a layer of high gloss topcoat and marvel at the streak-free finish.  I really can’t oversell that point enough – many a mani has been ruined or at least severely compromised by streaky black detail paint!  That these kitties came out so crisply is something of a nail art miracle to me!

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Meltology!

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Like mixology, except instead of various alcohol combinations, it’s scented wax and…yeah, okay, that might be a bit laboured.  But what else would you call futzing about with dozens of scent possibilities to create (or re-create) favourite blends?  Blendology? Now, that just sounds stupid. 😉

Not stupid?  These terrifically yummy blends I created using indie vendor Rosegirls’ Mini Melters, single scents (also sometimes house-blended combinations) you can combine in whatever fashion you see fit.  Smell fit?  No, no, definitely see fit.

Mini Melters are a product that’s really only now offered a few times a year (announced via Rosegirls‘ quite active Facebook page) and so if you do manage to catch an opening, stock up on a few favourite scents – they’re lovely and convenient to melt on their own (simply toss into a burner, no messy cutting required) and so much fun to combine in infinitely delicious-smelling variations.  Variations such as…

Coffee Shop Favourites, a tart and spicy blend of Cranberry Marmalade, Orange Danish and Lemon Poppyseed.  All of the bright scents of a coffee shop pastry case, minus the people taking up space at tables with their laptops while they work on their “screenplays.”

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Monster Berry Crunch Donuts, a ludicrously yummy combination that Mr. Finger Candy created featuring Berry Creme Brulee (it smells like raspberry Bubbalicious!), Vanilla Crunch Donuts and Monster Cookie.

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Cotton Candy Fluff Puffs, a recreation of what is surely already an existing Rosegirls scent, a sweet and creamy blend of Cotton Candy Frosting, Monster Cookie and Marshmallow Smoothie (Rosegirls refers to their Monster Cookie-and-Marshmallow Smoothie blend as “Fluff Puffs.”  Basically you can Fluff Puff virtually anything and it will be fantastic.  Also sort of naughty-sounding?  Yeah, I’ll fluff yer puff, heheheh.  See, dirty!)

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Sweet Raspberry Lemonade, a mouthwatering, Lemonheads-like blend of Raspberry Sauce, Swizzle Sticks and Sweet Lemon Confection.  I find I don’t much care for any vendor’s lemonade scent (they all tickle my nose; just me?)  Here the combination of Sweet Lemon Confection and even sweeter, vanilla glaze-type Swizzle Sticks makes a far less irritating alternative!

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If you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more Mini Melter mixology missives in the near future – I’ve been having a blast creating custom scents for whatever the day brings my way, and I’d love to share my cool blending discoveries.  I also now have, like, 8,657 photos of melting wax.  Is that weird?  Yeah, pretty sure it’s weird!  Well, so be the weirdness – at least it smells fantastic in here!

Center Stage

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These ballet slipper nails – three traditional pink, one the shade of sultry, heathen independence! – are for one of my oldest and dearest friends, who is one of my oldest and dearest friends precisely because she shares my love of ultra cheesy ’90s ballet movie, Center Stage.  There are, of course, other reasons we’ve been in each other’s lives going on 25 years now (oh. my. lord.) but mostly it’s just Center Stage.  Jodie Sawyer’s shitty turnout and desperation cookies are the glue that holds our friendship together. 😉

Also the completely awesome mini ballet that closes out the film, wherein Jodie, who has spent the movie embroiled in a love triangle with her sexy rebel teacher and a cute classmate, throws off the shackles of spurned and unrequited love and JUST DANCES THE SHIT OUT OF IT!  And somehow pulls off an ON STAGE quick change, going from a pink tights-and-pastels costume to a sparkly red number, complete with blood red lips, elaborately knotted hair ribbons and the devil’s toe shoes, in the span of about 10 seconds. Dance movie magic at its finest!

Ice Cold Chilly Peppers

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Because it never stops snowing!  At this point I’m pretty sure my toque (that would be a knit cap to the rest of the world) has just fused with my head.  I probably say this every year, but this winter has seemed quite unrelenting.  It has snowed at least every few days – sometimes a little, sometimes a blizzard – since the end of October.  Ugh.

And so I’m attempting to pull myself out of the winter doldrums with some fun nail art, like this icy and spicy combo that pairs KB Shimmer’s red hot creme, Chilly Pepper, with an icy blue holo for a muy caliente mani, perfect for warming up those frosty fingers (and toes.)

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Ballistics and Sparkling Red Slippers: A Mini Lush Review

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Combating a dreary start to the week with a couple of cheer-inducing bathtime goodies from Lush, Sparkling Red Slippers bubble bar and a Never Mind the Ballistics bath bomb. Released as part of Lush’s 2016 holiday collection, I think both were brand new creations this season, at least for North American consumers.

For this super sunny bath, I crumbled up half of a Sparkling Red Slipper, a mica-dusted bubble bar the exact same shape and colour as one of Dorothy’s iconic ruby pumps, and ran it under the tap until I had a fluffy mound of bubbles.  If you like to spice up your bath with coloured bubbles and water, but you’re looking for something a little softer than Lush’s usual high intensity palette of neon pinks and blues, I’d suggest a Sparkling Red Slipper bubble bar – my bathwater was a beautiful, plush rose red, and scented like a bouquet of slightly peppery carnations.  Very nice!

Then, being quite careful not to drop my phone into the carnation-scented water, I lowered a Never Mind the Ballistics bath bomb into the cloud of bubbles and watched as it erupted into a delightful mess of banana split-hued bends and twirls.  And then I took pictures of it!

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I quite helpfully took no note whatsoever of Never Mind the Ballistics’ scent, but I do remember giving the simple yellow orb (partially dipped in a hot pink, bath melt-type shell) a curious sniff and thinking that it wasn’t unpleasant, and vaguely reminiscent of tart, powdery candies.

Aw, dude, I *heart* you, too!  So nice when your bath products show you a little love in return. 😉

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Your Face is Good, I’m a Soos!

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I think my love of animated Disney television show Gravity Falls has been pretty well documented on this blog, both in my choice of nail art and then just everyday life, where I aim to watch at least one half-hour episode every couple of days (cartoons and chicken fingers for lunch – it’s not just for toddlers!) But when it comes to my nail art at least, I’ve always focused on Mabel, one half of the Mystery Twins duo of 12-year-old Dipper and Mabel Pines. Mabel’s the easy choice – her naturally exuberant personality and flair for knit-based fashion means there’s a near endless wellspring of adorable designs and fun little nail art touches just waiting to be tapped.

And so instead of another Mabel mani, I thought I’d finally do a manicure inspired by my actual favourite character, handyman, journeyman and all around good guy, Soos (Jesus Alzamirano Ramírez to his snoopy abuelita and the Department of Motor Vehicles.)  22-year-old Soos is an unlikely hero.  He’s shaped like a gumdrop, he wears cargo shorts without irony, he sports, in his words, a “sorta mustache,” he lives at home with his grandma and he’s the handyman at a junky curiosity shop by the name of the Mystery Shack run by Dipper and Mabel’s con artist Great Uncle Stan.  Absolutely none of that looks good on paper.

But Soos is also, in Wendy’s words, a “sweet guy with a steady job and a pickup truck.”  He loves his abuelita, who raised him from birth after his mom went MIA and his dad stopped visiting.  Moreover, he loves Stan, who’s not just his employer, but a gruff kind of mentor and father figure as well.  Handy with a socket wrench and a loofah (hey, Stan’s back is not going to exfoliate itself) Soos is willing to do anything for the Pines Family, and he adores the kids (who return his love by fighting in a futuristic gladiatorial battle for the chance to turn back time on Soos’ lonely childhood.  Soos uses the wish instead to fix up Mabel and Dipper’s war wounds, explaining that they fought monsters through time for him, when his own father couldn’t be bothered with him at all.  It’s SO sweet, and I tear up every time I watch it.  He also wishes for a slice of infinity pizza.)  He’s basically just a super sweet, really affable dood, and I really loved painting on his tiny, patchy ‘stache.  Team Soos!