The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe

Zaphods Fingers

On a Friday night 20 or so years ago, there was probably only one place you’d find me, on the dance floor of Zaphod Beeblebrox, the coolest bar in the universe.  Located in the very un-cool city of Ottawa, Ontario, Zaphod’s was a small, oddly-shaped, black-lit sanctuary of Brit pop, industrial, electronica and alternative rock, with potent signature drinks (the glowing green Pangalactic Gargleblaster was a particular delicious favourite) and nightly showings of Aliens.  Some of the best moments of my life happened in that bar – it broke my young(er) heart when it closed a couple of weeks ago after 26 years of killer Friday nights.

To thank Zaphods for all my best weekends, I thought I’d paint this glow-in-the-dark galaxy manicure that mimics the black-lit stars and galaxies that dotted the walls of my favourite Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe.  Rest well, Zaphod’s – so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Zaphods Collage

Literary Inspiration: The Guardians

Guardians Fingers

The fourth prompt in my pal Julie’s reading challenge was to tackle a book that was a gift or loaner.  It just so happens I was gifted with a number of books this past Christmas, so I was all set in that department.  My choice?  The Guardians, a novel by Canadian novelist Andrew Pyper.

The Guardians is a mystery – also a haunted house story – so without giving away too much of the plot, it’s about a group of friends who return to the small Ontario town they grew up in following the death of a childhood friend and teammate.  So Guardians as in the hockey team the boys play on, and also, as it turns out, guardians of dark, disturbing secrets – your pretty traditional Stephen King-ish fare as told through the lens of small town Ontario life (as opposed to Maine, Maine, always Maine.)  It was well written and flowed nicely (I did have the dubious benefit of being ridiculously ill when I read it, so I had an entire day to devote to nothing but its reading) but the ending completely fell off the table.  I felt like my cat when she tracks a fluttery thing off the side of the television – I kept flipping through the final two or three blank pages, apparently trying to will a more definitive ending.

These nails represent the lettering on the Guardians’ jerseys.  The book doesn’t actually stipulate the Guardians’ colours, so I went with my high school’s combo of purple and gold (which I realize is far more football than hockey, but I really wanted to use a purple polish today, the end!)

The Guardians Book

I Carried a Watermelon

I Carried a Watermelon Bottle

Little Dirty Dancing humour for you there on this Victoria Day long weekend.  Which would normally signal the start of summer – hot and hazy temps, fireworks and lots of watermelon – except it’s about 10 degrees above zero today and gloomier than a Tim Burton film.

So I thought I’d liven things up a bit with this watermelon mani featuring one of my favourite polishes, KB Shimmer’s Belle of the Mall.  I’ve rhapsodized about this polish on more than a couple of occasions, and with its lively mix of silver holographic glitter in a fruit punch-hued base, it makes a more than adequate stand-in for summer’s juiciest and most ubiquitous fruit.

Odd little blank spot in my life: I have never consumed an electric (or shall we say alcohol-enhanced) watermelon.  Can anyone tell me if I’m missing out here?  I feel like maybe the time for such conspicuous consumption is beyond my advancing age and liver, but I could *perhaps* be convinced otherwise. 😉

I Carried a Watermelon Fingers

Hello Cuteness!

Hello Cuteness

Classic Hello Kitty nails, featuring a couple of the Kitty-themed gifts I received from my husband this Christmas (there’s delightfully always a few!) – a much-coveted nail art tutorial book to provide the inspiration, and actual Hello Kitty polishes to colour in Kitty’s world.  Tangential, but for reals, my husband is the master of Hello Kitty Christmas gifts; I even have some not-a-joke HK jewelry that completely rocks my polka dotted socks.

The book, one of those hard-to-get-your-hands-on items by Masako Kojima, is chock full of fun and very doable Hello Kitty (and Friends) designs.

HK Book

The detailed and easy-to-follow tutorials that accompany every manicure are clear and well laid out; I’d say based on the results of this manicure, the first I encountered in the book, its approach to instruction is very successful.  But I would, because these are my nails, I did this manicure and I think it turned out so well!  So not super unbiased or anything. 😉  This cute little book also includes a sheet of over 125 nail stickers tucked inside the front cover, for all your Kitty and My Melody and Chococat needs.  Love that saucy black cat.

HK Book Pages

And then just to kill it with the over, I did this manicure using four of the five mini polishes included in the Hello Kitty (by OPI) nail polish set I also received this Christmas. Oh, AND, I painted these nails using the double-ended detail brush/dotting tool that came with the polish set!  So basically a total Hello Kitty overload. Just the way Sanrio and nature intended!

OPI Kitty Collage

I See Your True (Water)colours

Brilliant Blaze Collage

These Incoco nail strips in Brilliant Burst, a “Hey, I didn’t know I had these!” find, look just like a delicate, pastel watercolour.  It’s a very pretty look for what’s shaping up to be a warm Victoria Day long weekend.

But nail strips are a funny animal – a product I was really super into when I first started dabbling about in this nail art business.  Incoco’s nail appliques were a particular favourite – criminally easy to apply, made from real nail polish and available in an absolute ton of fun shades and finishes.  But as I started getting handier with a detail brush, I began phasing out the nail strips.  Why buy that which I can probably create better myself?

But for newbies, hesitant amateurs or anyone else who just doesn’t want to spend two hours on a single nail art design?  You can’t beat ’em.  Nail strips are available from all sorts of companies, but I really like Incoco’s – the quality is excellent (they adhere to your nails very well without pulling up too much at the edges) and the design choices are thoughtful and current without being needlessly trendy.  If you’re interested in a truly no-fuss, set-it-and-forget-it mani, I’d try Incoco’s fun offerings – and you can find them here. 🙂

Brilliant Blaze Angled

Do You Suppose This is His Way of Telling Me I Smell?

Demeter Birthday Pic

Simply curious, as my husband gifted me with a metric butt ton (actual measurement, “butt ton”) of delicious Demeter fragrances for my birthday, and you just don’t do that unless a) someone really stinks (“This smells so great!  Wear all of it at once, immediately”) or b) you know your spouse really well, as mine did when he correctly surmised that I’d love to receive such a bounty of beautiful birthday blends (also an affection for alliteration.) 😉

So what terrifically odd combination of fragrances did my husband put together for his beloved on her 40th? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Starting with the header photo, this apparently represents my birthday breakfast, a thing I actually didn’t have because I was fasting in anticipation of a blow-out Italian dinner later that evening.  But the thinking here is that I’d wake up and snarf down a plate of birthday cake-flavoured cinnamon toast topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. With a tomato on the side (which I wholly approve of; all that sugar needs a bit of tart and fresh to balance it out.)

Speaking from a dietary perspective, that’s kind of horrifying!  But these fragrances are not – lovely single scents, all.  I particularly like Cinnamon Toast, which smells like cinnamon hearts, and, super surprisingly, Tomato, which on initial application smells exactly like a ripe, sun-warmed tomato.  It’s a unique smell that conjures up nice memories of my grandfather futzing over his heavily laden tomato plants out in the garden.

Demeter Zombie Collage

Next up we have the zombie fragrances, which, upon spritzing and sniffing, we decided I will never, ever wear because they smell like dirt and rot and probably skunk pheromones.  I love the theming behind these Zombie for Him, Her and Dog fragrances (what, the cats just fend for themselves?) but wowza, do they stink.  I suspect that Demeter’s Dirt fragrance, an otherwise pretty acceptable fresh earth kind of scent, is the base for all three of these colognes, with hits of dead flowers (for Her), decaying leaves (for Him) and something that’s erring awfully close to urine (for the Dog.)  I adore them, they are so weird, but these will probably remain collectibles only.  Also, you will pry my Snowmint Mallow from my cold, dead, zombiefied hands before I trade it in for something more apocalypse-appropriate.

Demeter Kitten Fur Pic

Leaving the best for last, we have my cat Weegie looking disillusioned (so basically a day ending in Y) beside a bottle of Kitten Fur!  Which smells a bit like very mild laundry detergent.  I don’t think Weegie’s tummy fur smells like soap (you get the best, most accurate results – also probably hissed and swatted at – by sniffing a cat’s tummy) but I suppose if any creature in this house is going to smell like laundry, it’s going to be the one that spends 22 hours a day lounging around on freshly washed linens.

All in all, a lovely, thoughtful gift full of fun surprises and some very unique finds.  Well done, sweetie. 🙂

Mega Magpie

Shiny Things Bottle

As in I’m hoping you will make like one and be thoroughly dazzled by the shiny, sparkly things – here Color Club’s mad rainbow-throwing holo wonder, Crystal Baller – so you won’t notice how hopelessly lopsided these chevrons really are.  Yee-ikes!  I don’t know what to tell you, geometry has never been my strong suit, not even in nail art. 😉

Shiny Things Fingers