Clueless About Dieting

Clueless About Dieting

Or would that actually be Clueless ON Dieting?  Because this manicure represents Cher Horowitz’s confession to her best friend Dionne that stress has her indulging in a very heifer-like diet (as if!) of “two bowls of Special K, three pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, five Peanut Butter M&Ms and, like, three pieces of licorice.”  Just missing the licorice, but then again, you can’t miss that which you don’t like in the first place, and I’ve never developed a taste for licorice.  I’m down with the rest of that stuff, though, just maybe not at the same time.  Maybe.  I don’t know, bacon and PB M&M popcorn cereal bars *could* be a thing, right?

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The Good Tie

The Good Tie

Holy motherforking shirtballs, that is a nice tie!  Or that’s what I would be saying if this manicure was an actual men’s bow tie and not just the print of a fictional one worn by Ted Danson’s character, Michael, on The Good Place.  I cemented my love of The Good Place with this manicure inspired by one of fashion plate Tahani’s dresses.  Tahani possesses a vast and enviable wardrobe of colourful floral gowns; I could do a manicure a day for weeks and still not reach the end of her flouncy and floral.

And as it turns out, Michael, architect of The Good Place, is something of a clotheshorse as well – he wears more pastel than an Easter egg, and always caps off his outfits with a colourful printed bow tie.  In a recent episode I watched Michael is wearing a smart floral tie bearing this fetching print; I liked it so much, I thought I’d turn it into a manicure.  Now, how’s that about a bench? 😉

Literary Inspiration: The Stand

The Stand Collage

A couple months back, I was going through a bit of a low phase, one nearly entirely of my own making.  Every day I’d get up and, in the course of going about my otherwise pretty enjoyable routine, I’d jump online and then just completely mire myself in whatever horrible news was emanating from around the globe, with a particular emphasis on the trainwreck that is American politics.  I may be Canadian, but the chaos and casual cruelty that seemingly permeate every aspect of today’s American governance have cast a noxious pall across the world; we are all feeling it.

So when it came time to tackle the tenth prompt in my friend’s reading challenge, one which called for a choice from a favourite author that you’ve not yet read, I’m not surprised I gravitated towards Stephen King; he is my favourite author, yet I’ve probably only read about a third of his novels.  I’m a bit more surprised that I chose an absolutely gigantic tome that’s more like three books in one; 823 abridged pages of very, very tiny text.  And I was going to say I was the most surprised at my choice, King’s seminal text, The Stand (my husband called it King’s bible, a very apt comparison) but it fits both tonally and in terms of subject matter. That’s just the head space I was in when I rolled up on the tenth challenge prompt – major end-of-times bleakness.

For those not familiar with The Stand, here’s how bleak we get: 99 percent of humanity dies horribly in a flu epidemic that ravages the globe in a little under a month.  The book literally kicks off with about 300 pages of mucus-filled respiratory deaths.  You come to know a handful of characters (inexplicably immune, all) and then watch through their eyes as society quickly breaks down, teeters on the brink and then completely plummets off the edge.  Spread out across the four corners of the United States, we follow these characters as they watch their loved ones suffer and die, and then we watch THEM suffer (and sometimes die) as they attempt to make their way to Nebraska and then on to Colorado, drawn there by prophetic dreams of an old woman who offers salvation or hope or death, or maybe all three.

The Stand book and nails

And that’s just the first 400 or so pages.  After that, we get into a major battle between Good and Evil, and then we meet Randall Flagg, the other Man in Black, the Walkin’ Dude, the devil.  I mean, I guess he’s the devil?  Or at the very least a close confidante.  I just know that Flagg as a symbol of ultimate evil didn’t land for me.  He’s petulant and whiny and kind of lazy; a being of such tremendous power should not be as preoccupied with appearances as he (sound like anyone else we know?)  As Buffy might say, “Ooh, The Taunter – striking fear in the heart of no one.”  But then again, with the exception of Under the Dome’s absolutely horrific Jim Rennie, very few of King’s baddies have left a mark with me.  I think I was expecting more from his marquis villain.

This jacket cover photo, however?  It’s EVERYTHING.  The hair, the suit, the smoke – oh, it’s perfection!

The Stand book jacket

It’s a small moment in an otherwise gigantic novel, but there’s a little bit early on in the book that strikes at the heart of what The Stand is ultimately all about.  In Nebraska, 108-year-old Abigail Freemantle is setting out for her neighbour’s, a two days’ walking trip.  Abby’s not paying a social visit to her neighbour, though – that would require a host or hostess to greet her, and everyone is dead.  Abigail instead travels to her neighbour’s in search of chicken; on her last visit before the flu took everyone she knew, Abby had spied a few in the backyard.  Moving infinitesimally slow (because she is 108-ancient-years-old) but drawing from a long lifetime of experience, Abigail dispatches two of the chickens.

Mother Abigail, a deeply religious woman with a strong, but ill-defined connection to God, falls into the realm of that tired old literary trope of the “magical negro.”  I’ll give King a bit of a pass because The Stand was written in 1978.  The times and sensibilities, they change.  But I’m not giving myself a pass, because I fell for that aggravatingly regressive trope hook, line and sinker.  When Abigail slaughters the chickens, I ignorantly wondered what sort of magical concoction she needed their blood and bones for.  Then when she is walking back home and she and her bag of chicken are set upon by bloodthirsty weasels sent by Randall Flagg, I wondered what sort of ritual could be so important that she’d put her life in danger in such a way.

But I was wrong.  Instead of some chicken-based hoodoo, Abigail had simply sensed that she was about to have a number of drop-in visitors (the pilgrims who had been dreaming of her just as much as she had been dreaming of them) and the chickens were so that she could have a hot, home-cooked meal waiting for them when they arrived.  There was nothing more to it than connection and kindness through food.  I thought it was such a charming little moment – simple, goodhearted humanity as set against seemingly insurmountable odds.

The Stand nails

A friend recently commented that she remembered The Stand as ending on a bittersweet, slightly melancholy note, and that’s true.  But there’s also an undercurrent of malice, a sense that the mistakes of the past are ones we’re powerless to prevent from happening once again.  I read a lot of fear in the ending.  But then again, it wouldn’t be a discussion of a Stephen King novel if you’re not debating the ending as being either sweet or completely horrifying.

This nail art aims to capture the snow-covered peaks of Colorado.  Without giving too much away, the mountains factor in heavily.  As does the twinkling night sky; in a world gone dark, it takes on a new, watchful meaning.  Ultimately, I’m glad I decided to finally pick this one up; neglecting The Stand was a major blank spot in my Kingsian education, and I enjoyed coming at it from a forensic perspective – you can almost see the partial or nearly fully fleshed out ideas of many of his stories to come.  The King bible, indeed, and an excellent read.

Happy Birthday, Mickey!

Birthday Mickey

Well now, what’s this utter madness here – actual nail art on this nail blog and not some long-winded tale about my recent Disney vacation that has taken exponentially longer to spin out than it did to actually experience it?  😉  At the very least this Mickey mani is well within my all-Disney wheelhouse these days.

The main Mouse’s birthday was actually yesterday – 89 years young.  Doesn’t look a day over a well-plasticized 50, though.  Happy belated, Mickey!

Nightmare in My Diningroom

Nightmare Collage

With Halloween – and my 13th wedding anniversary! – fast approaching, I thought it was time to show you the anniversary present my husband and I gave to ourselves, from ourselves.  And as it turns out, ourselves has great taste in anniversary gifts!

Halloween 4

This is a fully functioning Nightmare Before Christmas cuckoo clock we purchased from The Bradford Exchange, an online collectibles dealer based out of Canada.  Bradford have a number of fantastic Nightmare Before Christmas collectibles, including a Christmas Town clock that has me seriously contemplating the utility of two chiming cuckoo clocks in an 850-square-foot space, but it’s this Halloween Town beauty that really captured my heart.  I love the dusky, heathered jewel tones of the clock (the grapey purples, the rusty oranges, the blackened turquoises) and despite my mother’s polite protestations (“Are you really sure you want this hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in your house can see it?”) I did indeed want it hanging in the diningroom where everyone who goes anywhere in my house can see it, because I love it!  Love the way Zero pops out of the little door at the top, love the vaguely rusty snippet of “This is Halloween” that cranks out at the top of every hour, love Boogie’s crew hanging off the acorns at the bottom.  It’s the perfect anniversary gift for our lucky 13th.

nbc-collage

Plus it also looks pretty darn fabulous with our Nightmare Before Christmas snow globe, a delightful wedding gift from friends that lives year-round on our sideboard, which you can see from this photo is totally crooked.  The sideboard, that is.  Or maybe the floor, or the chair rail molding, or, most likely, some horrid combination of all three.  It’s a Nightmare Before Leveling!

Halloween 1

The ceramic Jack-o-Lantern bags and spooky candelabras are strictly seasonal, although you can be forgiven for thinking otherwise, particularly when we’ve got paintings like these hanging on one wall year-round.  Mr. Finger Candy gave me these little wooden plaques one year as a birthday gift – they were painted by artist Kristin Tercek, although I think there’s a good deal of Burtonian inspiration at work here.  You can also add these paintings to the list of things my mom hates about our diningroom!  Oh man, she really hates them (said with a good natured, yet malevolent, sort of glee.)  I, of course, think they’re adorably messed up – my favourite is melancholy sushi girl.  I love her ebi bonnet.

Halloween 5

That also pretty well encompasses the totality of my Halloween decorating for this year, if you can call decorating just leaving out the things you already have (or have recently procured.)  I typically set up MY Halloween Town – once again, in the diningroom – but I had to put it in temporary storage that is not quite so accessible at the moment.  So in lieu of dealing with that insanity, I thought I’d go small and simple this year.

But I’ll always, always show off this manicure, because it remains one of the best ones I’ve ever done.  Everything works in this design; I’ve never done an update because there is nothing to update – it was perfect the first time around. 🙂

Nightmare Great Hand

Slime Rancher!

Slime Rancher 1

A blogger friend and I recently fell down a comment section hole with regards to the post-apocalyptic, pre-apocalyptic and intra-apocalyptic literature we’ve both been gravitating towards the last number of years, concluding at the end that we were just bloody tired of it all – tired of the dire and tired of the bleak.  It can’t all be zombies and geo-political crises and environmental disaster all the time, or at least it shouldn’t be.  Not if you’d like to stay reasonably sane in today’s geo-political atmosphere.

And that’s precisely what makes Slime Rancher, a sweet, colourful, gentle little game, so very, very special and unlike anything else on the games market today – it’s adorably innocent, and completely unconcerned with anything other than being cute and making its players contentedly happy.  And that’s the kind of media philosophy I think we could all stand to pay a bit more attention to these days – the simple pleasures of a thing designed just to bring you joy.  What a novel idea!

The Slime sitch plays out thusly: You are Beatrix LeBeau, first person Slime farmer on a planet far, far away.  As Beatrix, you explore the area around your ranch, collecting resources and rounding up free range Slimes, which are round, squashy, bouncy little balls of mischievous glee.  The Slime on my thumb here is a Pink Slime, the most common of the Slimes.  Slimes come in all shapes (Tabby Slimes!) and sizes (Giant Golden Gordos!) and need quite a bit of managing – each type has a structured diet, and some even come with musical preferences (Rock Slimes are, quite unsurprisingly, total metalheads.)  Slimes require fencing and feeding and all manner of other tending, and it’s all rather expensive.  And so financial consideration is provided by Plorts, little diamond-shaped trinkets the Slimes spit out (or at least I hope it’s spit!) which act as a kind of currency ’round the ranch.

Slime Rancher 2

My favourite thing about the game, besides tending my large pen of grey striped Tabby Slimes, is just heading out into the nighttime desert to stand beneath the gently twinkling night sky as a cluster of Pink Slimes bounce daffily about, emitting goofy “Woo hoo!” noises with every sproing and brroing (something I tried to capture with this manicure.)  With the gentle, cheerful music tinkling about merrily in the background, it’s more relaxing than staring at a computer screen should ever possibly be.  It’s just a ton of fun, with no shooting, no killing and no misery.  Armed with a kind of vacuum canister gun, you, Beatrix, suck up any Slimes that catch your eye and then deposit them safely back on your ranch.  And that’s the extent of the “weaponry,” delightfully enough.  And the worse you can do to the lone bad guys of the game, Tarr Slimes – giant black blobs shot through with rainbow veins who hypnotize other Slimes and subsume them – is suck them up with your vacuum gun and then shoot them out over the sea.  Even then, if it’s between the hours of sundown and sunup, the Tarr Slimes’ prime huntin’ hours, they’ll just come back, no harm, no foul.  It’s seriously such a gentle, sweet little game – I actually fear for it on the playground; the other video games will surely pick on its gentle naivete, won’t they?

Slime Rancher 3

Anyhow, if you’d like to check out a game that won’t have you contemplating either the end of times OR throwing your controller across the room in maximum difficulty frustration, I’d implore you to check out Slime Rancher.  It’s currently available on Steam for $21.99 Canadian, and it’s a real sweetheart – well worth the very reasonable price, and a ton of fun, woo hoo!

Fall Fun Series II: Movies, Manis and Melts

Movies and Melts Collage

Spooky movies (or television shows, or books, or what-entertainment-have-you) are the name of this weekend’s FFS game (games, too, if there are any that are autumn appropriate.)  Supernaturally-tinged things have always been *my* thing, so I have quite a few schlocky favourites I like to pull out around this time of year.  Turns out I also have a number of matching manis (with a major emphasis on the Beetlejuice side of things) AND some complimentary wax melts as well.  This is far from an exhaustive list of favoured frightening films, and there are an absolute ton of one-off television shows I love that bring the delightful Halloween spooks (Roseanne’s Halloween episodes were brilliant, as were Buffy’s, AND Brooklyn 9-9.)  But these are clearly the ones that have captured my nostalgia-lovin’ heart.  Don’t know what to tell you, I likes what I likes. 🙂

Beetlejuice Wax and Manis Collage

I probably shouldn’t have included Beetlejuice on this list; that’s an all-the-time watch around these parts, no seasonal designations necessary.  Here I’ve paired five very striped manis with Super Tarts’ Beetlejuice, who apparently smells like apple butter, oatmeal cookies with icing and buttermilk pancakes.  I would have thought mold and moss, but I’ll take these fruity pancakes over that rank-sounding combo any day.

Blair Witch Wax and Mani Collage

I have mentioned before that my favourite movie to watch at this time of year is Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows.  It is SO bad!  But Jeffrey Donovan. 🙂  Actually, I love this makes-no-sense-on-any-level sequel so much, I bought this hideous-sounding (and kind of hideous-smelling) Blair Witch wax tart, a blend of Leaves, lemon, marshmallow cream and “a hint of salted caramel.”  None of those scent notes are particularly compatible, but then again, nothing in the movie works in tandem either.  Except Jeffrey Donovan’s farm rat hotness – it’s clear, a focusing point for my attention.  And eyes.  Or would that be his foine naked arse there at the end of the movie? … (sorry, got a little carried away there…)

TWD Wax and Manis Collage

I keep thinking that one of these days I’ll simply will myself into liking The Walking Dead through pure osmosis, but that remains to be the case.  It’s just a terrible, terrible show.  And this is coming from the person who freely admits to loving Death Note.  So until that day arrives, I’ll just content myself with a number of walker-centric manis, as well as this Zombie Brains wax tart from Super Tarts.  I like the design of this clamshell; it looks like that snot green, TWD-inspired polish on the far right, Look at the Flowers, Lizzie.  Don’t love the smell, though – this key lime, pomegranate and cotton candy blend is hella powdery and provokes mini sneezing fits.  And that simply won’t do when you’re sprinting through the Atlanta woods with a pack of walkers hot on your heels (oh, who am I kidding, this is The Walking Dead; they can’t get above more than a leisurely stroll.  That’s why everyone keeps dying and why they haven’t made it beyond Virginia in seven seasons.)

Addam's Family Wax and Mani Collage

The Addam’s Family is so cute.  I love how hot Gomez and Morticia are for each other, like they’re always just on the verge of throwing down right in front of Lurch and Cousin It.  I’m actually sort of surprised they only have three children – you know they’re boning down allllll over that creepy old house.  Here I’ve paired Addam’s Family, another Super Tart blend of salted caramel, pie crust and pumpkin cupcakes, with Glam Polish’s indigo-to-purple matte micro-glimmer, Wednesday.

The Lost Boys Wax and Mani Collage

Better than Beetlejuice.  Better than The Goonies.  Better than Death Note, ha!  The Lost Boys is legion and I won’t hear a single word against it.  I’ve also joked in the past that I think Super Tarts missed the mark on this scent blend.  As yummy as it is, no way in Santa Carla hell would David and his crew smell like pomegranate, apple cider and toasted marshmallows.  More like salty sea air, spilled bong water and general boy funk.

Friday the 13th Wax and Mani Collage

Speaking of the undead, here’s everybody’s favourite masked movie killer, Jason Voorhees.  Well, I suppose all those horny, machete-d camp counselors aren’t so fond of him.  I used to sit down every Fall and marathon all bajillion of the Friday the 13th movies until one day, I realized I didn’t actually like them very much.  The mid-to-late ’80s sequels in particular (V, Jason X, Jason Takes Manhattan) are atrocious.  But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for 1986’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, in which Jason is bested by an outboard motor.  It’s easily the worst of all of them!  This wax blend – another clamshell from Super Tarts – is quite nice, though, a pleasant, mild combination of apricot, buttercream, ice cream scoop bread and a slash of red berry currant.

Gravity Falls Mani Collage

And while I have no wax inspired by Gravity Falls, I’d be remiss – remiss, I tell you! – in leaving it off this list; the residents of Gravity Falls are so into Halloween, they create a mid-point holiday by the name of Summerween to satisfy their never-ending need for creeps.  They carve Jack-o-Melons, visit obnoxious Summerween Superstores and get haunted – or is that hunted? – by the Summerween Trickster, a malevolent meanie made entirely of discarded “loser candy.”  It’s kind of the cutest. 🙂