Rose Gold Minnie

Rose Gold Minnie Collage

It’s a holiday long weekend here in Canada (it has an official, civic name, but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be called the Because It’s the Middle of the Summer and You Need a Day Off Day) so I’m up early finishing off an event in a game I play on my phone called Disney Emoji Blitz.  It’s your pretty standard match-3 puzzler, but themed to cute little emojified Disney characters (you have never seen anything as cute in your life as Heimlich from A Bug’s Life all squished up into a wee little emoji.)  You collect and level up the characters as you play, and there’s periodic themed events where you can win new characters and collectibles.  This long weekend I’m playing for Figment the Imagination Dragon, and I’m feeling pretty good about my chances given that I only just recently did some Figment nails.  That has to be a lucky sign!

Last weekend’s event was the big show for me, though, with a rare Rose Gold Minnie on offer.  Rose gold has been a persistently popular colour with Disney, showing up on everything from sparkly Minnie ears and apparel, to housewares and accessories.  Makes sense that it’s now making an appearance in Disney’s games, with this sweet Rose Gold Minnie making her way to me last weekend (twice, actually, in a super rare twist of good luck, and gratis, as well – I’ve been saving up my earned in-game currency for just such an event, pun intended.)  I was as happy as if I had actually done something involving a useful skill!  And then I put my happiness on my nails. 🙂

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Needs More Unicorn

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My interpretation of Lisa Frank styles, extra heavy on the neon rainbow animal prints, which I’d just like to proudly point out were totally free-handed.  That’s why I’m not sure if I’ve got a tiger print here or a zebra one.  What I am sure of is that I’m ultra super proud of these nails, even if to truly be Lisa Frank-inspired, they need a heck of a lot more unicorn.  Funnily enough, I DO have a unicorn nail charm, but it’s gigantic – my bitty little nails can’t handle her girth, and besides, I didn’t want to cover up all this neon animal print goodness. 🙂

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Stranger Manis: Steve and Robin

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Hey look, it’s everybody’s favourite new pairing of the Stranger Things Universe, co-workers and co-conspirators Steve and Robin!  These two were an utter delight this season, whether it was slangin’ ice cream or busting Russian skulls, and I hope we see more of their adventures next season (with or without the other half of the Scoops Troop, who will be getting their own manis soon so we can round off this unlikely quartet.)

All of the nautical stripes on Steve and Robin’s Scoops Ahoy uniforms were a righteous pain in the butt to paint – Streak City.  But their ice cream parlour duds – particularly those best feature-destroying sailor hats – are the cutest things ever, and I HAD to give them the manicured treatment.

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So I think season 3 proves that Steve Harrington is, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the BEST THING EVER, right?  So fantastic, I’ve actually stopped referring to him as Steve’s Hair or the Guy Who Runs Steve’s Hair, and now simply call him Steve.  You know it’s love when I stop making jokes. 😉  Except…it shames me to no end to note that it was only a couple of weeks ago that I finally put it together that Steve’s last name is Harrington, as in a TON of HAIR.  How did I not put that together before now?  Steve’s evolved into such a great character, although I’ll always have a soft spot for douchey season 1 Steve – he really reminded me of a boy I was quite spun for in high school.

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And Robin is such an amazing new addition to the cast!  She’s smart and funny and thoughtful and brave, and she’s played with so much charm by Maya Hawke, who is Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman’s daughter, and wow, does she ever sound like her mom, and now that I’ve told you this little bit of trivia, it’s all you’ll ever hear.  Close your eyes and you can almost hear Robin describing the finer plot points of cancelled-after-the-pilot TV series, Fox Force Five (“Fox, because we were a bunch of foxes, Force, because we were a force to be reckoned with, and Five, because there were one, two, three, four, five of us,” and yes, that was a Pulp Fiction reference.  I’m very old.)

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As I mentioned in my last Stranger Manis post, I have a lot more nail art coming that has been inspired by season 3, which itself is an endless font of incredible set design and neon-tinged ’80s nostalgia.  It seems practically tailor made for this kind of fan art, so I’ll be happy to oblige. 😉

Stranger Manis: Scoops Ahoy!

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AHOY, FRIENDS!  Please join me today as we set sail on an ocean of flavour.  My name is Sandra and I’ll be your captain on this delicious journey.  Can I interest you in a USS Butterscotch?

Actually, I am quite interested in a USS Butterscotch, and thanks to a fun collaboration between Baskin-Robbins (31 Flavors for you American peeps) and Netflix, I could pop on down the road and have one (you know, once the store opens in, oh, six or so hours.  Little early for ice cream right now.)  I have tried the Upside Down sundae, though.  Mr. Finger Candy and I shared one some weeks back, before the third season of Stranger Things had even dropped, and it was delicious, but as deadly as its namesake.  One little inverted cup of pecan-studded chocolate ice cream (the nuts, whipped cream and cherry were on the bottom, with the caramel sauce and ice cream layered on top of that; cute) nearly did us both in.  I can’t imagine the pain I’d be in if I actually set sail aboard Scoops Ahoy’s signature dish, the USS Butterscotch.

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I really love that Stranger Things is now enough of a part of the cultural lexicon that these kind of cross-promotional collaborations are downright commonplace – Stranger Things is EVERYWHERE this month.  I won’t complain (okay, I’ll only moderately complain about the awkward – and frequent – New Coke mentions in the third season.  They were shoehorned in all over the place, and a huge, climactic action sequence comes to a literal screeching halt while one character expounds on the goodness of New Coke.  It’s pretty painful.)

Stranger Sundaes Collage

But overall, I’m just totally in love with Stranger Things season 3, particularly the Scoops Troop and the nautical-themed ice cream parlour that serves as their place of employment and base of Russian spy-busting operations.  MANY more Stranger manis to come, please stay tuned.

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It’s a Full-On Monet!

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Actual conversation I had with myself regarding this manicure at its completion:

“Huh, this is pretty.  Looks a bit dotted and hazy in that Monet sort of way.  *snort* – Maybe a fake Monet sort of way.  Faux Monet.  Ohmihgod, FAUXNET!”  Then I nearly upended the coffee table trying to dash out of the room and write this bit of inspired humour down. 😉

But no, actually, with all respect to Miss Cher Horowitz, I don’t think this manicure is a full-on Monet – contrary to her definition, I think it looks good both up close and at a distance.

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As with nearly all good things, this look was achieved in a purely accidental manner.  I was actually going for a smoosh mani here.  That’s a super easy nail art technique where you dab a few polishes onto a bit of crinkled up plastic wrap and then dab it onto your nails.  It gives you this mottled sort of look that apparently, depending on the polishes you use, makes your nails look like mini Impressionist paintings.  I actually did a manicure some weeks ago using this technique, just in much bolder colours.  It was very pop art.

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And that’s the great thing about this dead easy nail art technique – all you have to do is switch up the polishes and you have an entirely new look.  I love this very The Artist’s Garden-inspired (okay, okay, accidentally inspired) bit of nail art; it’s a very pretty look to wear into the end of another warm summer week.

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Literary Inspiration: Furiously Happy

Furious Collage

With apologies to the friend who gave me this book, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things by Jenny Lawson, I hated it.  Just loathed every page, every anecdote, every mea culpa and every non-sequitur about horribly misshapen, taxidermized rodents.  And there were quite a few of them, often expressed as quarter page-long footnotes.  Furiously Happy was tonally bizarre and as all over the place as Lawson professes her mental health to be.  Instead of making me happy, it just made me furious (as evidenced by the front cover amendment I made at the end of one particularly enraging chapter, an egregious act I’m only mildly pissed at myself for having carried out – you DO NOT abuse books in such a fashion.  Unless the book in question is beginning to mess with YOUR mental health.)

Known around the interwebs as The Bloggess, Lawson’s writing is often compared to the works of David Sedaris, and is bolstered by such high profile literary talent as Neil Gaiman, Augusten Burroughs and Christopher Moore (should have been a tip-off; I dislike all three of those authors.)  She’s an engaging writer with an easy, meandering style.  She’s also legitimately funny, with a scattered sense of cat-centric humour that edges on the dark and inappropriate, and I like that.  But I did not like this book.

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Two years ago I read Lawson’s first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir, a somewhat fictionalized account of her life, which depending on how and when you looked at it, could either be deemed charmingly quirky or grounds for about five child endangerment lawsuits.  I suspect that after reading multiple tales of how her father – described as a gregarious Viking of a man with a penchant for taxidermy – traumatized Lawson and her sister with dead squirrels stuffed into popcorn boxes, or her own haphazard attempts to dispose of the family pug’s carrion-nipped corpse, the concern trolls came out in force, probably questioning how her unusual upbringing – and, by extension, the one she was giving to her own young daughter – could in any way be deemed “okay,” or even entertaining literary fodder.

So when it came to Furiously Happy, I can imagine that the overriding editor’s note was to explain that while humorous, and embellished in certain instances, these anecdotes are rooted in the larger issue of the author’s poor mental health.  That Lawson didn’t just bail out on her kid’s recital because she’s a flake that got distracted by a dead animal – you would not believe the number of times this happens – but because she’s MENTALLY ILL.

Which, alarming number of taxidermy stories aside, you’d never know, until Lawson begins shouting it in your face every second page.  The world’s a weird place, and I think most of us are just bumbling through as best we can, beset on all sides by varying degrees of anxiety and depression.  That’s the unfortunate downside to the gift of life – having to live through the thing.  But the situations that Lawson describes as being so very damaging to her existence – and they are, if she’s being in any way truthful – are the things nearly all of us confront every single day.  The social anxiety that keeps us trapped in our homes, the depression that keeps us confined to our beds, the heartbreak we think we couldn’t possibly live through.

If there is an overriding thesis to Furiously Happy, it’s that everyone deals with poor or flagging mental health in different ways, and what works for some people – what apparently works for Lawson is getting so angry at her rebellious mind, she comes right back around the other side to “furiously happy” – does not work for all people.  Getting right with your own head takes time and effort, and nobody’s process is the same.

But not all people have endlessly patient and understanding families, husbands on important business conference calls who allow you to barge into the guest bedroom so you can shriek about feral swans, or publishers willing to finance a trip to Australia where the very best thing you can think to do is behave like an infuriating American tourist in a plushy kangaroo costume (seriously.)  Not all people have children who understand why you bailed on their recital because there’s too many other people there.  Not all people have access to a rotating cadre of therapists, or the necessary funds to even seek out mental health care.  Not all people are bestselling authors who CANNOT shut up about how wacky their lives are because MENTALLY ILL.  I started out the book feeling deeply sympathetic toward Lawson’s condition – as my boys in TOP say in the song Migraine, “Sometimes to stay alive, you’ve gotta kill your mind” – and by the end…well, you can see what I did to the cover.  It was just one vignette after another, all amounting to “I did something wacky/bizarre/borderline certifiable that led to me hurting myself and/or the people around me, but I cannot help myself, I AM MENTALLY ILL.  Isn’t that funny?!”

THAT person is not sympathetic.  But the other side of Lawson’s condition is self-harm and suicidal ideation, and that person IS sympathetic.  No one wants to hear of a person so worn down by life and all its attendant maladies that they just want to check out.  It’s why there’s a justifiable stigma around suicide.  It’s the place most of us just don’t want to go.

And Lawson doesn’t want to go there either.  If anything is clear from Furiously Happy, it’s that she’s a fighter, and for the sake of her family, her friends and her community of readers, she’s going to continue fighting.  I respect that; there’s no other way but forward, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds.  But the real insights on mental health in this book are so buried beneath its stupid, infuriating veneer of forced wackiness, you can hardly find them.  It’s really asking too much of your readers to guffaw at the inconsequential fight over clothes you had with your husband in one chapter, and then react in sympathetic horror to your bloody self-harm in another.  The tonal and emotional shift is just too great.  I hope Lawson continues the good fight, but I don’t ever need to read another thing she’s written.

I read this book in service of my friends’ reading challenge for the theme of “Yellow/Gold is the color of novelty, so read a yellow novel.”  Consider it read, and now nail art-ed as well, a matte-and-glittery design – and quite yellow, indeed – inspired by the book jacket cover art.

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Can’t Talk, Stranger Things

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Here’s another Stranger Things-inspired mani to add to…oh wow, six other manicures I’ve done in honour of my favourite television show.  You’re living under a rock if you don’t know that season 3 of the hit Netflix show just dropped, which is really where I should be if I want to avoid spoilers.  So not only can I NOT talk, because I am busy watching season 3 – just two episodes in; I really want to parcel them out this season instead of just gulping them back – but I literally CANNOT talk, because I can’t talk to anyone until I’ve finished watching it and/or they’ve also watched it so we can (not) talk about it together.

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This super simple, striping tape-enabled mani reminds me of Stranger Things’ opening credit graphics, which are NOT simple – that’s why I did this inspired-by manicure instead of attempting to do the title lettering.  No way was that one going to turn out on my tiny nails!

For this manicure, I used a base coat of Different Dimension’s cherry red holo, Naughty, under a bit of artfully arranged striping tape and two coats of Lilypad Lacquer’s black holo, Rainbows in Space.  This is one of those manicures that I actually prefer in the shade, but you can’t deny that bonkers holo effect out in the sun, even if technically, it’s nothing the Upside Down ever sees.

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