The Underdogs

Underdogs Collage

Here’s a couple of polishes I forgot I even owned (renos, man – you’ll misplace every single thing you ever owned, and then spend the next three months trying to hunt it all down again) Dance Legend’s Sun Still Sleeps from their Candy Flakes collection, and Layla’s unfortunately-named CE52.  Both of these polishes are OLD – at least four years – but relatively unused (because I keep forgetting I own them) so they’re still in excellent condition.  I can’t even remember where I bought these (think I got the Layla one from Nail Polish Canada, and I know the Dance Legend one was an import, because DL is a Russian brand.)  I’m sorry, I’m becoming a really crap nail blogger in my advancing years – too many polishes that all vaguely look the same!

Like these two!  The only thing that separates these two polishes, aside from the companies that produce them, is one is blue and one is purple.  Otherwise, they’re both jelly bases (that’s what gives them that squishy sort of look, even when topped with a matte topcoat) loaded with red-to-green iridescent flakes.

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That red/green combination is a popular one in the world of nail polish, because when it’s paired with darker shades, like this blue and this purple, it creates these incredible linear rainbows that run alongside the bottle, and the edges of your nails.  It’s such a pretty look.

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But a MESSY look.  After taking this polish off, I remembered why I don’t use these flakie-type polishes very often – because when you do take them off, the acetone will strip off the colour immediately, leaving you with nothing but flakes, all of which will be resolutely stuck to your nails.  So get ready to put some elbow grease into it, because these polishes do not remove easily.

If you’re in love with either of these long-in-the-tooth, probably discontinued polishes, you can recreate this exact look with a blue and purple polish of your choice, topped with an iridescent flakie topper.  Just about every manufacturer has at least one of these fun, colour-changing “effects” polishes, even the drugstore brands, so there’s lots of choice out there.  Enjoy!

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That’s S’more Like It

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Here’s another one of those super fun tri-thermal polishes from KB Shimmer, this time That’s S’more Like It, a brown-to-red-to-berry-to-pink colour-changer shot through with golden shimmer (and yes, I realize that’s more than three hues, but that’s just what these polishes do – the three “base” colours are just a jumping off point for half a dozen or more different looks depending on the temperature of your hands.)

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Like its collection mate, Best Buds, That’s S’more Like It changes from one colour to another, and then one more colour beyond that, in hot and cold temperatures.  With Best Buds, a blue-to-purple-to-mint green colour-shifter, I found the polish most often showed on my nails as the warm-leaning mint green, with streaks of just-starting-to-cool-off plum.

But That’s S’more Like It was alllll over the place, in the very best kind of way.  For those of you who polish seasonally, this is a nice seasons-bridger, with That’s S’more Like It showing on my hands as everything from an almost frosty bubblegum pink, to blushing peach, to strawberry, to fiery cinnamon hearts (oh cripes, I’m getting hungry here!)  My nails were also a tiny bit longer when I swatched That’s S’more Like It than when I swatched Best Buds, so I really got a lot of that edge-of-the-nail, French mani-type action with this one.

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Right after completing this manicure last week, I fell sick.  Just a cold, but it pretty well took me out for the week.  But one thing it did not take out was this mani – a week and a half on, it was still wearing like iron, with virtually no chips, dings or pulls.  Very impressive!

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As always, I purchased this KB Shimmer polish through Harlow & Co.  For a little while there they were out of stock – of these tri-thermals, and just about everything else as well – but everything is back in stock now, so go get you some.  This is a good one. 🙂

Technicolour Swirls

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Well, isn’t this always just the way – sit down with a bunch of polishes and absolutely no firm idea in your mind of what you might like to do with them, and out the other side pops one of the best manicures you’ve done in ages.  Must be a Friend of Murphy kind of situation (as in Murphy’s Law.  I always call annoying, vaguely ironic happenstances (if you’re using the Alanis definition) that don’t fall under the banner of Murphy’s Law “Friends of Murphy.”  I suppose they could also be relatives.  This is very clearly a Maeve Murphy situation as it applies to nail art.  You know, dear old Aunt Maeve with the manicures.)

I think this post may have gotten away from me a bit.

Anyhow, I really did just sit down with a pile of holographic polishes and no real idea of what to do with them, and an hour later this is what emerged.  I don’t often do much colour blending in my manicures, as I find nail lacquer a really difficult medium to paint in – it wants to dry out so quickly, I often don’t have time for proper puttering and painting.  But I gave it a whirl today, and I love the results.

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Also makes for a very pretty wax paper palette.  Just in case you’ve ever wondered, by the way, what kind of palette I use for my polishes, I use whatever’s handiest.  For the longest time I used the front or back of old DVD cases.  It was fun painting blobs of polish over top of Ben Affleck’s face.  But these days I use a tiny square of wax paper, a system that’s working out just fine.  Less waste, mostly, but also the polish seems to dry out not quite so quickly on wax paper as opposed to plastic, which is a definite improvement in my books.  What a glimpse behind the magic! 😉

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Best Buds

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Here’s a wicked fun and versatile polish for those of you looking for something a lot a bit different, KB Shimmer’s blue-to-plum-to-green tri-thermal, Best Buds.  How neat is this?!  And perfect for the upcoming Halloween season.

I nabbed mine from Harlow & Co., and you can, too, but best of luck choosing a hue (or three hues) from the tri-thermal collection, because they’re all lovely (and they all might unfortunately be out of stock at the moment, too – between writing this yesterday and going to the site today, they have completely sold out of KB’s tri-thermal collection.  Harlow restocks their KB polishes frequently, though, so despair not.)  But I loved the way Best Buds would morph from an inky purple, to a blackened plum, to a gorgeous, clear mint green, sometimes all at the same time.  It’s very witch’s brew, or that every-Slurpee-flavour-in-one-cup kind of thing!

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As per their name, thermal polishes work by reacting to your body temperature.  To invoke another ’80s concept outside of Slurpees (bet you anything their stock rose just based on the many, many mentions in the most recent season of Stranger Things, no?) they’re the mood ring of polishes.  So if you tend to run a bit hot, as I do, whatever polish you choose will show on your hands most often as that warmer colour, in this case the shimmery mint green.  But if you’re a member of the Cold Hands Club, then it will most often display as the blackened purple.  And if you’re somewhere in between, or simply running in and out of the heat and air conditioning a lot, it will be all over the place – little green here, smudge of purple over there, and a sweet plummy streak running straight down the middle.

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Or you can just cut out Mother Nature altogether and grab yourself a glass of cold water, a glass of hot water, and simply have fun, like I did in this little video I posted to my YouTube channel, Park or Perish!  P or P! (the exclamation point is very Panic at the Disco, who I once saw in concert when they still had the exclamation point in their name) is normally the home of our Disney adventures, but just this once I thought it would be fun to bring my Finger Candy over into the world of moving pictures.  Enjoy!

Love and Loss

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Nine months ago Mr. Finger Candy and I quite unexpectedly lost our beloved cat, Weegie, to cancer.  Or old age.  Or some bullshit combination of the two.  It just blew in like a hurricane, laid our trailer park asunder.  Plastic lawn flamingos and tiny gnomes everywhere.

We are childless, or child-free, depending on how you’d like to look at it, and ludicrously devoted to our pets, to a fault (find me another couple who would willingly trade off sleep so one person could be awake with the cat at all times.  Yeah, I thought so.)

So on that horrible Monday morning nine months ago, when I woke with a terrible knot in my stomach two full hours beyond the time Weegie normally would have screamed me into consciousness, only to find her listless, confused and barely able to move from her bed, my life – our lives – changed.  And not for the better.

We took her to the vet, who confirmed that her everything had failed, and when we left an hour and a half later, she wasn’t with us.  We had no options – our girl had just run out of time, in truly spectacular fashion – but I still hold firm to my belief that it’s the worst thing I’ve ever done.  And if I’m being truly honest with myself, I hate myself for having done it.  I probably always will.

In the aftermath, we just fell apart.  And I’m not entirely sure we ever put ourselves back together.  There’s something broken inside me, some vital part of who I was nine months ago that disappeared the moment I walked out those veterinary doors.  I wonder if it will ever return.

Despite the fact that she was the light of our lives, a delightfully LOUD, silly and obstructionist little monster (she was remarkably adept at blackmail for a cat) I’ve had a hard time talking about her many fine qualities, and the seemingly infinitesimal ways she managed to enrich and enrage our lives simultaneously.

But I was reminded earlier today that 13 years ago this morning, Mr. Finger Candy and I catnapped Weegie from an overpriced coffee shop whilst playing hooky from work.  It’s a funny story, one that started with me getting assaulted by a bossy kitty in a parking lot, and ended with me racing against a deadline in an enclosed room with a very curious, temporarily quarantined cat and her horror show of a litter box, so I’m going to tell it.

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Weegie’s origin story begins with Mr. Finger Candy and I blowing off work for the day.  Yay for being productive adults!  But it was a brutally hot August day, and a useless Wednesday Hump Day at that, and by the time we stopped for overpriced iced coffees on our way to work, neither one of us was in much of a mood to bring the bacon.

As I turned off the busy, four-lane road into the Second Cup parking lot, a small, striped brown cat emerged from a cluster of bushes by the drive-thru lane and trotted across the lot towards our car.  “Oh, no no no no no, kitty, stay back, it’s too dangerous!” I groaned, but by the time I opened my door, there she was, furiously sniffing everything, already setting sail on her curiosity voyage.

We somehow managed to cross the parking lot with her pasted to our sides, finally depositing her safely on the store’s patio, where she immediately ambled off to hit up – unsuccessfully – an older couple trying to enjoy their morning coffee.  While Mr. Finger Candy went inside to place our order, I stayed outside with her, fretfully glaring at the traffic streaming by mere feet away.

Ten minutes or so passed, and with no sign of Mr. Finger Candy or our drinks, I went inside to find him animatedly talking to the staff.  “Oh, hey,” he said casually, handing off a whipped cream-topped brew that I was ready to inject straight into my veins.  “They want to know if we’re going to take the cat.”

“Excuse me,” I blubbered.  “Take the cat?”  “Yeah, the cat outside!” piped up the barista, jerking her thumb towards the glass door, where at that very moment a man trying to enter was being accosted by the little striped cat.  “She’s been here for weeks and we’ve been feeding her, but she’s freaking out the customers and she won’t go away.  She seems to like you two.  D’you want her?”

“HELLS, YEAH!” was what I was really thinking.  She was clearly malnourished, totally starved for attention, and trying to survive at the side of a busy commercial thoroughfare with no front claws.  It was a no-brainer.  But then a little further down from that, I was thinking about the cat we already had, Porky, and how supremely pissed she would be if we brought home another animal, to say nothing of the safety or disease concerns associated with taking in a stray.  And so we left without the little cat, slowly, and with many dissatisfied looks back at the parking lot.

At that time, Mr. Finger Candy’s office was another 15 minutes down the road, and for the first 10 minutes of that drive, neither one of us said a word, lost in our own thoughts.  I think my husband was the first one to break the silence with a deep breath and a definitive, “I think we should go back and get that cat.”  And since I didn’t need to be asked twice, that’s precisely what we did (though first we stopped in at my husband’s office, where he literally went in and said he was taking a personal day so we could rescue a cat from the side of the road.  They were totally fine with it, and I think they appreciated his honesty.  We certainly appreciated their understanding.)

We drove back to the Second Cup, confident that when we pulled into the lot, she would be gone, taken by another couple to her forever home.  But there she was, thankfully still on the patio, now stationed directly beneath a large gentleman trying to enjoy his morning scone.  As we got out of the car, she came across the parking lot towards us like an old friend (albeit an old friend who gets up on their back legs to dance around for your whipped cream-topped beverages) and in that instant, it was decided – WE would be her forever home.

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So we went inside and asked the staff if their offer (?) still stood.  “YES, PLEASE take her,” said the barista, glancing at the door, where at that very moment the little striped cat who would become Weegie was stretched out, fluffy tummy pressed against the glass panels.

In later years, I often wondered what Weegie thought about her catnapping.  It must have been an odd thing indeed to suddenly be snatched up and transplanted to an entirely new locale.  But the Weege really seemed to roll with it, crawling up into our car’s sunny back window to enjoy the ride to her new home.

As I mentioned, we already had a cat, a saucy, sometimes hauty girl named Porky that I had adopted in 2001.  When Weegie arrived on the scene, Porky was already 17 years old, totally set in her ways, and completely disinterested in taking on a young, spastic roommate (we came to discover that Weegie was about three years old when we liberated her from the Second Cup.)  I just remember walking through the front door, Weegie perched in Mr. Finger Candy’s arms, and having Porky pull up short at the sight of this interloper, fixing me with an icy green stare that said, unequivocally, “WHAT have you fuckers done now?”

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As Weegie’s health status was undetermined, the original plan was to sequester her in one of the bedrooms until we could have her examined by a vet.  But when we put her down to take off our shoes, she charged into the apartment, laying waste to everything delicious and even moderately tempting in her path while we ran after her shouting, “Oh, no no no no no no, kitty, that’s not yours!  Let us get you your own bowl!”  The three of us could do nothing but sit back and watch in total awe as she laid waste to half a large bowl of crunchies and about two cups of cold water, before savaging a catnip banana and then falling asleep with her face pressed into the carpet for the next four hours.  It was some very impressive and dedicated slothdom.

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That evening, we moved the new cat (then literally called New Cat or Noob; the Weegie moniker wouldn’t come for some weeks) to the second bedroom, along with her new litter box.  Porky sat outside the door, furious (a state that would continue for about a month; she was PISSED, justifiably, although we more than compensated her for her troubles.  Improbably, you might say, she was somehow more spoiled than Weegie.)

At the time, I worked from home as a transcriptionist, and unfortunately, the day’s cat-centric activities had put me way behind schedule.  It looked as though I was going to be up all night, typing my brains out in the second bedroom with our new cat in order to meet deadline.

Or that was the plan before Weegie, once-empty tummy now filled with delicious food and more than a couple of evening treats, began sprinting to her litter box, just behind me and off to my right, at a rate of about once every 85 seconds.  It didn’t take long for my sweet new kitty to totally smoke me out of the room, and Mr. Finger Candy still jokes to this day about the anguished wail of “It smells like poo down here!” I let loose as I fled, gasping, from the room.  We were glad to realize – and you’ll be glad to know as well, because that was kind of a gross tale – that this was the result of a Second Cup diet consisting almost entirely of 35% whipping cream, and thankfully quite temporary.

Going forward, we didn’t see too much trouble from the Weege.  She was actually a fairly easy cat to fur-parent (my mom is reading this and dying inside; hi Mom!)  One or two bummy teeth aside, her health was never an issue.  Until it was the only issue.  But she had no big health concerns, save her tendency to pack on the pudge.  She wasn’t a biter, a scratcher, a lunger or a slasher, although she did have an annoying tendency to dash out into the hall nearly every time we opened the front door.  She wasn’t a picky eater – if anything, we had to encourage her to look more closely at her food to determine if it was even food in the first place.  She was a real equal opportunity feline foodie.  Friendly and easygoing, she had her favourite people, and she treated them accordingly.  She just had a nice, chummy disposition.  It was easy to like, or maybe even love, the Weege.

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And we loved her, so, so much.  We were better people for having had her in our lives.  Miss you, little Weege.

Regal-ize It

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It has been an absolute donkey’s age since I’ve purchased a treat for myself (been lean this spring and summer as we recover from all this reno business) and even longer since that treat was nail polish.  I think the last new shades I purchased were these Polished For Days lovelies in April of 2018.

But in the aftermath of the renos, I binned a ton of cruddy, dried-out old polishes, some duds I never quite found a use for, but also a few discontinued favourites that simply couldn’t be salvaged.  The kind of glitter-intensive polishes I favour don’t hold up very well to the rigors of time and use (and BOY, have I used the heck out of those polishes!)  I was sad to see them go, but excited to re-organize my polish collection in this sweet little rolling cart my mom nabbed from IKEA.

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Anyhow, it was time to call in some reinforcements on a couple of fallen comrades (been watching Stranger Things much?), so I placed an order with Kitchener company Harlow & Co. for a trio of KB Shimmer polishes, including this indigo blue stunner, Regal-ize It.

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Pretty, isn’t she?  This polish is Finger Candy catnip, from the lush jelly base, to the rich violet hue, to the smattering of golden holographic glitter that glimmers within its squishy, jewel-toned depths.  Brings out in the romantic in me, too. 😉  I also just like KB Shimmer polishes.  They’re of really great quality (I tossed just one KB in The Great De-Polishing, and that’s because it was five years old and a dried-out quarter full) and they’re always trying something just a little bit different.  Which includes an update to their branding and packaging.

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Regal-ize it is just lovely, and a lot more subtle than I was expecting from a golden glitter-studded purple jelly polish.  A bit of a chameleon, too, changing from a clear, indigo blue to a velvety purple depending on the lighting conditions and the time of day.  So more bang for your buck, and another winner from KB for me. 🙂  Looking forward to sharing the other two with you soon.

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Llama Love

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When I was a kid, I lived in a small, rural town.  Actually, “town” is too grand a word for North Gower, Ontario in the 1980s.  Today, with its subdivisions and farmers markets and actual, sit-down restaurants, North Gower is a bona fide village, but in the ’80s when I was a kid, it was a main street with a few shops and a pizza joint, perched on the steps of which you could always find these two old dudes who were collectively known as The Delmers.  I loved growing up there, but bustling metropolis, it was – and still is – not.

Anyhow, the next small, rural town over – a slightly bigger place that had a longer main street, more shops and fewer Delmers – there was a family with a gigantic pet llama that actually lived right on Main Street, and they’d let him out in the front yard to just wander about and scare the crap out of anyone passing on the sidewalk, because suddenly, you know, LLAMA!!!  Small town country life – it’s weird, don’t know what to tell you. 😉

These are fuzzy pink sprinkled llama nails.  Why sprinkles?  Why not sprinkles?!  Isn’t everything better with sprinkles?  A sentiment that’s also a bit weird, and hey look, I still don’t know what to tell you!  Sometimes you’re just in the mood to sport a candy pink llama mani, I guess.

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