Hammy Thanksgiving

ham-jubilee-bottle

Happy Thanksgiving, Canadian friends!  As has become my holiday tradition, here is a festive manicure featuring my favourite – and most successful – homemade polish, Hawaiian Ham (so named after those alarming, 1950s-style ham casseroles topped with pineapple rings and maraschino cherries.)  I made up a bottle for some American friends recently, substituting the yellow, pineapple-y glitter for a red-tinged bronze, and renamed this shade Canadian Bacon. 😉

But speaking of rings on the Thanksgiving dinner table, here’s a fun, older mani of mine in which I honoured that most Canadian of festive foodstuffs, the uncut – very important, that – ringed log of cranberry sauce.  Just shoot it straight out of the can and onto a fussy little garnish dish!  The polish I used here was KB Shimmer’s Leaf of Faith; I think it looks like extra chunky cranberry jelly.  Hope you all have a delicious one!

Canned Cranberry Sauce, with Rings!

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Blue Curacao

Blue Curaco nails

I joked yesterday that after doing two back-to-back manis inspired by alcoholic drinks (Tuesday’s frozen strawberry daiquiri nail art and Wednesday’s cherry-garnished Manhattan mani) it was clearly cocktail hour here at Finger Candy HQ.  Now that I’ve done another – these citrusy blue curacao nails – I’m just running with it.  Cocktails are a surprisingly fantastic inspiration for nail art; there’s actually quite a bit to draw from there.  For these nails I layered blue and turquoise jelly polishes one atop the other, and then added a sweet, fruity garnish.

Wanna hear a story about blue curacao?  Growing up as a teenager in Ottawa, Ontario, THE thing to do once you turned 18 (or earlier if you had the borrowed ID of an older friend or sibling) was nip across the river to Hull, Quebec to take advantage of their lower legal drinking age.  And THE place to do that was The Strip, a three or four-block stretch of bars and restaurants and dance clubs and resto-pubs that was pretty well overrun with drunk and horny teenagers every Friday and Saturday night.  With my birthday coming toward the end of the school year, I was one of the last of my friends to make the journey across the bridge.  Also because I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to go; The Strip had some very nice establishments – Chez Henri looked like a Victorian castle, and Campus was a hole, albeit a hole with fantastic music – but it also had a (deserved) reputation for being rough, a $2.50 cocktail-fueled debauchfest that spilled out into the streets every weekend, bringing with it fights and altercations and just generally crap behaviour.  But I suspect that’s just what happens when you get a whole bunch of drunk and horny teenagers together in one place.

So I had my reservations.  As did my parents, who never, ever prevented me from joining in on the reindeer games, although they did have some concerns.  And so one day after school a trusted friend swung by my house to talk to my folks and put their minds at ease – “No, Mrs. Lewrey, it’s really not as bad as everyone says.  We’ll be safe and we’ll look out for her; we always look out for each other” – we really did, good cab-taking girls that we were – “I swear I’ve never even seen a bar tussle.”  Which was good enough for my parents, and so off we went that very weekend to the Land of Midori melon ball shooters.

No word of a lie, guys, I had taken maybe three steps into a dive called Ozone, struck dumb by the sight of an entire dance floor of sweating bodies embarrassing themselves to the Macarena, when a bottle of blue curacao arced gracefully above my head, crashing to the tequila-soaked floorboards and igniting a 30 second fistfight between a number of the flailing group dancers.  Then it was over and *I* was suddenly embarrassing myself to the Macarena, and certainly not for the last time…although that bar fight was also the first and last time I saw one of those.  Also the first fight my friend had ever encountered – she really hadn’t fibbed to my folks; it was just a stupid coincidence.  This is also the first time I’m sharing this story publicly, so this should come as a fun surprise for my mom should she be reading this (hi, Mom!  Aren’t we glad I turned out more or less okay?!)

 

I’ll Take (a) Manhattan

Manhattan Front

It’s apparently round-the-clock cocktail hour here at Finger Candy, between yesterday’s fruity strawberry daiquiri nails and today’s bracingly brown Manhattan mani.  My grandmother’s drink was a Manhattan – a double Manhattan, actually (once again, Grandma, get down with your bad self!)  Me?  Well, after a young adulthood steeped in wine coolers and across-the-bridge brew, I don’t actually drink very much any more.  Alcohol just doesn’t seem to agree with my old lady constitution (never did – a graph depicting my response to alcohol is pretty much a straight up and down line; I’ve been known to go from “WOOOOOOO, LET’S GO TO THE BAR!!!” to sprawled out and unconscious in about five minutes flat.)

But there’s something quite alluring about a Manhattan, with a perfect little cherry gleaming out of its clear, brown depths.  To get that perfect Manhattan colour, I used a favourite – unfortunately also out-of-production – polish from Nfu Oh, the quite unimaginatively named JS39.  I have used this polish in SO many foodie manicures – it makes the perfect lacquered stand-in for caramel sauce, pumpkin spice anything and coffee.  Also nylons, but that’s not quite applicable in this situation.  Anyhow, drink up – plenty more where this came from (although maybe not; that beautiful bottle is distressingly low, and I’ve no idea where to find another.)  Boo to that, but yay to this mani – with its little martini glass and pair of cherries, it’s quite charm-ing. 🙂

Manhattan Bottle

Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri

Uh, yes, please!  Heaven knows the weather has been more daiquiri than hot toddy around here lately, but as long as the snow wishes to remain a holdout, I shan’t complain. So let’s order up a couple of them frosted (and straight-up) frozen delights and see this extended summer out in style. 🙂

Attack of the Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Fingers Sun Super Closeup

Full confession: I used to be a proud member of the Pumpkin Spice Tribe.  Just pumpkin spice ALL the things, particularly the Starbucks lattes, which I drank by the venti boatful. Then after taking an assessment of my health and finances (and finding the results pretty dim) I pulled back considerably on my PSL obsession, to the point where I hardly ventured into a Starbucks at all.  I’m now back on neutral territory with Fall’s most ubiquitous hot beverage, in part because I now treat them as precisely that – a much-enjoyed treat. And for that my waistline, wallet and teeth have all thanked me greatly (I always say this, but Pumpkin Spice Lattes really prompt the tooth-furries, no?)

So my love of pumpkin spice as a flavour may come and go, but it will always be a wonderful inspiration for nail art, particularly when you have two beautiful holographic polishes just THE precise shades of a delicious, late autumn PSL (KB Shimmer’s Rust No One, left, and Oh My Ganache, right.)  Bonus points if you have a sweet little coffee cup charm with which to seal the deal (or the lid.)

Pumpkin Spice Polish Collage

But all is not totally lost on the edible pumpkin spice front.  I’m still pretty powerless to resist its autumnal charms, so if something comes in a pumpkin spice flavour and it doesn’t sound totally disgusting, I’m probably going to try it (perhaps take that one with a grain of salt; I am, after all, one of maybe only seven people in the world who actually liked Trident’s espresso-flavoured gum.)  And hey, look – here’s a few pumpkiny goodies now!

Pumpkin Spice Products Collage

Starting in the top left-hand corner, we have Starbucks’ instant PSL pouches.  I’m no great coffee snob, but this was just terrible.  I tossed my nearly full cup after just a few sips.  Watery – somehow, even when made with milk – and with a distinct burnt taste, this tasted nothing like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or even its non-union equivalent, the Punkin’ Spice Lah-tay.  Seriously, if your obsession has reached the point that you need something like these instant pouches to get you through the bleak, latte-less hours of the wee, wee morning, you need help.  I’m here for you.

To the right of the pumpkin poison we have pumpkin spice-enhanced 1% milk from Natrel.  This ultra light, not-too-sweet creamer is actually pretty delicious, and a nice little pumpkin spice booster for coffee, smoothies, baking or just plain old drinking.  Very nice.

Finally, along the bottom we have a half-enjoyed package of Voortman’s pumpkin spice wafer cookies.  And the package is half-done because these?  Are AWESOME.  Lightly spiced pumpkin cream sandwiched between crispy, light-as-air vanilla wafers?  Hell, YES.  And did I mention that three cookies are just 150 calories?  So a fairly reasonable little snack to satisfy that sweet pumpkin spice craving we all seem to succumb to at this time of year.

One more time for the nails because they’re kind of dope, this time in the shade.

Pumpkin Spice Fingers Shade

 

Fall Fun Series II: My Apple is By Far the Most Crumblest

Apple Nails

This post will be a bit on the shorter side on account of the fact that during last year’s Fall Fun Series, I completely blew myself out on apple scents.  Caramel apple, toffee apple, green apple, crab apple – if it was flavoured or scented comme une pomme, I (over)enjoyed it.  As such, I have very few apple-scented products to share with you, even during this heady autumnal time.  More on them in a second.  But I DO have some very cute apple nail art to show you this morning, a simple, lightly sponged manicure inspired by an array of autumn’s awesome agriculture.

But as for bushels of bath and beauty and baskets brimming with wax?  Hmm, not so much.  That’s probably for the best – put a year or so between harvests. 🙂  But I still enjoy a lovely apple scent from time to time – one of my favourite candles, Bath & Body Works’ Pink Apple Punch, is very pomme-dominant.  But like everything, best enjoyed in moderation.  So, what crispy sweet goodies will be scenting my life this Fall?

Fall Goodies Pick

Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Macintosh Swizzle Sticks (these three remaining chunks are over two years old; it’s a testament to the strength of apple scents that this wax is still quite potent.  I like blending this scent with Mango Sorbet and Marshmallow Smoothie for a lively, sweet and creamy fragrance.)

Luscious handmade soaps in Fruit Fool (blue/green) and Poisoned Apple (green/red) from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  Fruit Fool smells like a freshly baked apple-blueberry pie, and Poisoned Apple smells like sharp, caramel-coated crab apples.  I’ll have a bit more to say on the subject of these soaps a little later on (spoiler alert: they’re awesome!) but in short, like the ellipses said, they’re awesome.  That’s why I now own enough soap to take me and mine well into the year 2019.

The Lost Boys wax clamshell from Super Tarts.  It’s The Lost Boys, and we all know how I feel about The Lost Boys.  I actually talk about it so much, my friend Jaybird had NO choice but to call off my dogs (Nanook and Thorn, of course) with this sweet waxy gift.  Basically, this wax could be scented like cat poo and Victorian London sewer sludge and I’d still want it.  But thankfully it smells MUCH better – like sweet pomegranate, spiced apple cider and toasted marshmallow (on a tangential note, if I were making a Lost Boys-inspired wax, I’d blend salty sea air and spilled bong water notes.  Guaranteed that’s what David & Crew smell like.  Grandpa, too.)

Fragrance oil rollerball from Solstice Scents in Corvin’s Apple Fest.  Juicy sweet and lightly spiced, this fragrance will make a lovely bridging scent between the crisp and cozy days of autumn and the frosty holiday months.

The Bathing Garden’s wax bundt in Nights at the Circus.  A friend-approved favourite, Nights at the Circus is a sweet and spicy pumpkin-apple scent that reminds me of the smell of the craft barn at your local farmer’s market – it even has that slightly woody note to it, like barn planks still damp from the morning’s mist.

Glazed caramel apple wax tarts from The Bathing Garden in Vintage Circus (red) and Victorian Midway (purple.)  Both scents feature a base of Winter Candy Apple, a popular holiday scent from Bath & Body Works – I particularly like the cinnamon note of Vintage Circus.  It smells like Red Hots!

Literary Inspiration: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

Ben and Jerry's Collage

I’ll concede straight off the top that my choice of this little cookbook, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book, is an odd one in satisfaction of the seventh prompt in my friend Julie’s reading challenge.  The task was to tackle a book from which you learn something (you know, other than that you’ve really outgrown chick lit.)  I immediately thought about this bitty little cookbook that my parents gave me when I was maybe nine or 10 years old.  Which, for those keeping score at home, means I’ve had this book – a bargain bin find of less than $1.50 in 1987 on account of the small notch in the upper right-hand corner of the cover – for 31 years. This book has seen things, man. Specifically, it’s seen a LOT of action – this is the cookbook from which my much-beloved chocolate chip cookies are birthed (your standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, but there’s just something to them that makes people lose their minds a bit when they’re in their presence.  I can’t share the recipe with you, because then I’d have to kill you.)

But all great things aside, it’s an odd choice in that The Story of Ben & Jerry’s that kicks off the book – a very entertaining, informative read about the duo’s early years – is just 17 pages long, and the rest is recipes.  Easy-to-follow recipes that produce delicious results, as I can attest across about a dozen different ice creams and desserts, but recipes all the same.  Also, it’s a book I’ve had in my life forever, and when I started this reading challenge, one of the stipulations I made was that all of the books I chose were going to be from my to-be-read pile, and I have absolutely enjoyed this cookbook – both the recipes and the cute, witty little story that kicks off the book – time and time again.  So I may have to revisit the seventh prompt in this reading challenge with a slightly beefier, newer read (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson is on my hit list.)

Ben and Jerry's Book with Nails

But this book is such a charming little treat, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to do another inspired-by manicure.

Ben and Jerry's Nails

And there’s also much to be learned from this book, with its rags-to-slightly-ritzier-rags origin story, really fantastic recipes (I’ll never understand the voodoo that those chocolate chip cookies hoodoo, but wow, do people love the results) and adorable illustrations.  I have always loved the graphic design of this book, with its bubbly lettering, hand-drawn characters and bright colour palette.  It’s so. darn. cute.

Ben and Jerry's Pages Collage

Definite problem, though, particularly when you’re trying to watch your diet: reading Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book WILL make you ravenously hungry for creamy sweets, in the way that reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will make you want to immediately eat a chocolate bar or watching Pulp Fiction will make you want to devour whatever the hell a Big Kahuna burger is (surely not just me.)  But a small pittance to pay for such a cute and entertaining read. 🙂