Enchanted Pandora Polish

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Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida is in-credible, an absolute marvel of set design, technology, engineering, horticulture, lighting and sound (and foooooooood; oh my gosh, our lunch at Satu’li Canteen, a choose your own adventure bowl-type affair, was one of the best meals of our recent Halloween trip and I’m SO looking forward to going back again.)  And this is coming from a person who’s on the record multiple times – and here in this blog, no less! – as absolutely loathing the Avatar…franchise of movies?  Are there really going to be multiples?  Please don’t let there be multiples.

Only let there be more of them if they inform and somehow better the overall aesthetic of the Avatar land within the Animal Kingdom.  And I don’t even know how that would be possible, because as Imagineered (the Disney word for that voodoo their engineers hoodoo) the place is utterly spectacular, particularly after dark when the bio-luminescent plants turn a stroll through the pathways of Pandora into a hippy, trippy rave.  When the sun goes down, I love drifting here, there and everywhere, just getting lost in the weird walkways of Pandora.

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I was also inspired – some months on, true, but inspiration doesn’t always strike immediately 😉 – to round up a handful of seldom-used Enchanted Polish lacquers that remind me of the vibrant neon hues of Pandora’s lush alien landscape – colour-shifting ultraviolet, electric turquoise and deeeeeeeeep sea green, with a tiny dash of purple-tinged Na’vi blue.

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Also it was a big excuse to use a bunch of polishes I somehow always forget I actually own – the perils of keeping your stuff tucked away where it cannot get dusty and damaged, true, but also can’t be seen and is easily forgotten.

First we have Enchanted’s colour-shifting multi-chrome, Magical Mystery Tour.  Like the Pandoran inspiration for this manicure, this polish is incredible, morphing from a vibrant aqua, to a regal indigo, and finally, to a plush orchid purple.  This polish could practically be called “Pandora in a Bottle” (Pandora’s Bottle?)

magical mystery tour collage

Magical Mystery Tour is the biggest chameleon of this lacquered bunch, particularly in shaded lighting conditions where the linear colour shift is the most pronounced.

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Next up we have Entwined, another colour-shifter, although this time with both a slight holographic tinge, and a light dusting of holo micro-glitter.  Entwined is another one where what you see is definitely not all that you get; this polish morphs from a rich, plummy wine, to a queasy sort of purple shot through with iridescent green shimmer.  Here’s an alien colour if ever there was one – so fitting that much of Pandora’s flora blossoms in this unique purple hue.

entwined collage

In the penultimate Pandoran position we have the unimaginatively named March 2017, which bears the distinction of being the only polish in two years of mystery purchases that I would have purchased had it been offered a la carte.  What a unique stunner, and nearly the exact shade of the Na’vi (look how respectful I’ve gotten – I no longer refer to them solely as the 11-foot-tall blue kitty people!)

march 2017 collage

Finally, we have Neptune, the turquoise-to-evergreen-to-navy blue twin of Entwined (En-twinned, perhaps?)  This polish reminds me of the unnaturally hued waterways of Pandora (many of which contain bizarre little critters, if you look closely enough.  But don’t look too closely, because they’ve got tentacles!

neptune collage

Even if you’re not a fan of Avatar (and truly, I cannot stress enough how much I really dislike that movie) I think you will still fall utterly in love with the place, and I’d implore you to experience the alien world of Pandora at least once.  It’s a genuine marvel, and you never know what sort of odd inspirations the beauty of the place will spark in you.

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The Blanket

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The universe works in odd ways sometimes.  So the last few days I’ve been tending to the deeply unpleasant task of disposing of my recently departed kitty’s few remaining earthly possessions.  After her passing last month, we boxed up and packed away many of her things – most of her toys, which still smell like a savage combination of cat breath and nip – while tossing many others (didn’t feel the need to hold on to the litter box; wasn’t too sorry to see that one go.)  But a number of items remained, mostly “our” things that she wantonly appropriated for herself, including a plush, pale turquoise blanket that she loved to nest in and knead.

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The blanket’s been not-so MIA in the second bedroom for about a month now while I work up the nerve to confront all of the things in our house that do nothing but remind me of her.  Turns out that’s a crap ton of stuff, because she ruled our home with a fuzzy paw, and we let her.  This entire grieving process has actually been made so much worse by the realization that just about every aspect of our lives revolved around her, including the actual setup of our house.

Anyhow, I haven’t thought about the pale turquoise squashy blanket in a while – or rather, I’ve been trying very hard not to think about it.  But the other day, wanting to do some simple nail art, but at a total loss for what to do, I just grabbed the first polish I saw and thought, “I’m doing a gradient with you.”  That polish turned out to be Polished For Day’s iridescent aquamarine Willow, and once I had it sponged onto my nails, well, wouldn’t you know it, but it really reminded me of that blanket.

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Which was the deciding factor in biting the bullet, doing the brave, unpleasant thing and pulling the blanket out of the second bedroom.  It – and we – can’t stay in hiding from this forever.  Healing starts with washing the blanket and re-incorporating it into our lives.  Heh, that sounds like the title of a self-published self-help book on Amazon – “Healing Begins with Washing the Blanket.”  Or the mantra of the cult I plan on founding.  We’ll wear pale turquoise blankets wrapped around our shoulders and no shoes, because Weegie couldn’t wear them and she thought they sucked.  We’ll also always sport fantastic manicures.

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See, sense of humour beginning to right itself; the Healing Blanket has worked its magic already. 🙂

Disney Colour Trends

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Last year, most likely noticing that a good deal of their Mouse merch sales were waltzing straight out the front gates and over to Etsy, Disney really began upping their merchandising game, releasing special, limited edition items in THE Disney colour of the moment.  In 2018 Disney declared there to be four must-have colours, rose gold, Millennial pink, iridescent blue and, right at the very end of the year, Potion Purple.  I’ve no idea how these colours are chosen, but I think I know why, and it has everything to do with social media.  And money!  I mean, it’s always ultimately money, right?  But increasingly – distressingly, I’d say – Disney is becoming a place built for Instagrammers, with sets and backdrops and IG-dedicated walls (“Meet me at the Purple Wall!”) dotting all four parks and resorts.  Loading up the shops with exclusive, Instagrammable merchandise in the must-have colour of the moment just makes good financial sense, as does repeating the entire process four times a year once the latest and greatest colour is no longer trendy.  Sneaky, Disney, very sneaky.

I actually didn’t buy any merchandise last year in any of the four “approved” Disney hues.  I love rose gold – it’s such a flattering shade – but while it was popular, it was nearly impossible to get your hands on anything in this rosy hue.  And I positively adore the grape-hued shade of Potion Purple – I think I would look quite lovely in a pair of sparkly, sequined Potion Purple ears – but it was only released on Christmas Day, and will most likely be tragically out of fashion by the time I’m in-park next.  By then the hot new colour will be, I don’t know, lime green.  It’d kind of be awesome if they were just like, “Yeah, this is the year we’re making rust orange happen.  Pantone ain’t got nothin’ on us.”

And Disney ain’t got nothin’ on me, because I’ve got all four of these colour trends at – and on! – my fingertips right now in one last nod to the big Disney trends of 2018, and best of all, I didn’t have to empty my wallet to get the look.

Iridescent Blue

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This icy, colour-shifting blue-purple (I refuse to say “blurple” – aw, damnit!) is so pretty; it reminds me of Bachelor’s Buttons.  Here I kept things simple with three coats of Mentality’s jellychrome polish in iridescent Gala.

Rose Gold

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I think the basic, be-bow’d Minnie ears were my favourite rose gold item – they were very chunky and extra super sparkly.  Here I topped KB Shimmer’s ballet pink holographic micro-glitter, Turning Pointe, with Essie’s chunky rose glitter in A Cut Above.

Millennial Pink

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Also known as baby bubblegum pink.  For this manicure I used an old textured polish, Nicole by OPI’s Rock the Look, that has a lot more life to it than the actual Millennial pink items I saw – it was a curiously flat shade.

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Finally, we have the new kid on the block, Potion Purple, here shown as three coats of another older polish of mine, Enchanted Polish’s chromatic Octopus’s Garden.

Tumbling Into Iridescence

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Look what Santa Finger Candy left under the tree this year for a girl who is either exceptionally dehydrated, or in desperate daily need of trenta-sized black tea lemonades (if it’s the summer and it’s really hot, then quite possibly the latter; I have always found Arnold Palmers (iced tea and lemonade) muy delicioso.)

Bless you, Starbucks, and your beautiful excess!  This tumbler (with reusable straw) holds about four cups of liquid, and aside from taking it down to the gym with me, I kind of don’t have any clue what I’m going to do with it!  Sadly, both my financial and caloric budgets will not allow for daily trenta anything, but I think it’s going to make a gorgeous, holographic chalice for half of my daily intake of water.  Now, that I can afford!

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And as always, I thought this one was definitely in need of a matching (Mickey) mani; all the better to hold it up in various lighting conditions and take photos. 😉

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Well, That Was a Year

2018 Collage

If you follow this blog with any sort of regularity (and thank you for that, by the way, that’s very kind of you!) you know my 2018 is ending on a real down note.  At the beginning of the month we rather unexpectedly had to have our absolutely adored kitty, Weegie, put down.  The fallout from that was that Mr. Finger Candy and I just sort of drifted through the Christmas season, present in body, but nearly totally absent in soul.  For someone who never shuts up, I’ve had a hard time articulating why this particular death has hit me so hard.  I’ve lost quite a few beloved pets over my lifetime, and even more adored people, and yet this is the one that’s broken me.  I suppose this is what some well-meaning dumbass would optimistically term a formative event, and I’d begrudgingly have to agree – I certainly don’t feel like the same person I was at the beginning of the month, a change not necessarily for the positive.

But there’s no better time than the start of a new year to hit the reset button, and I’m looking forward to trying, trying again in 2019.  Because even without the heartbreaking events of the last month, 2018 was a wild roller coaster of big ups and bigger downs.  Sometimes actual roller coasters, even!  It just didn’t feel like the most cohesive of years, and I flubbed quite a few personal goals.

But supposedly we learn from our mistakes and all that good stuff, so I thought it might be helpful to look back over the hills and valleys of 2018 and take note of the things that worked, the things that didn’t, and hopefully find a path through 2019 that’s a lot less fraught with grief than 2018’s.  To a better year for all of us.

The Good

I started off the year on a positive note, promising myself that I’d limit my wax and beauty purchases to a small handful of orders from favourite vendors.  My discretionary spending was quite out of control, and my scented wax stores were fit to bursting.  So I put myself on a casual low buy, which though no real direction on my part morphed into a regimented no buy; there were a few months there where our financial behaviour could best be deemed as stupidly tightfisted.  But there just didn’t seem to be anything I wanted to buy, and besides, saving money felt better than buying stuff, which was kind of the point of reining in my spending in the first place, no?  Anyhow, this one was a proper New Years resolution, the kind you make with every intention of breaking, but somehow, I held fast.  Now, with three lovely, highly anticipated orders in my hot little hands (and hot little warmers) I’m set for another year of waiting and watching and planning and melting. 🙂

2018 Wax Collage

2018 is also the year I taught myself a video editing program, upped my photography and video game and started our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!  Amusingly enough, I can lay all three of these newly acquired skills at the tender little furry paws of our cat, Weegie.  There was a time (oh, just the last four or so years) when our sweet baby beast would NOT abide by either her fur mama or papa sleeping for any longer than it took for her soft food dish to run dry (roughly every hour and 45 minutes.)  So I’d find myself awake at all inhospitable hours of the very early morning, with precious little to do.

Then one morning as I sat there just staring at the sky, literally trying to will the sun into cresting the horizon, I suddenly thought about all of the photos and video I had shot of our Disney vacations, and wondered what more I could do with them (other than drive you lovely readers bonkers, that is.) 😉  And so that morning I downloaded a little iPhone-based editing program called iMovie and edited together my first project (a collection of photos of Weegie looking unbelievably saucy, of course, backed by Tom Jones’ What’s New Pussycat?)  Since then I’ve produced 27 videos for Park or Perish!, and some of them aren’t even all that bad!  I particularly like sound editing – it’s incredibly satisfying when two tonally disparate clips finally snap into place (nearly) seamlessly.  This is a major milestone for me; as I’ve mentioned a time or 20, I am unbelievably tech-unfriendly.  That I could even find the program in the App Store in the first place was something of a miracle.  Here’s the most recent video I posted, a fun round-up of our adventures at Disney this past year.  I hope you enjoy watching it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Speaking of Disney vacations and saving money (now there’s a couple of antithetical concepts) we were able to enjoy two of the former this year precisely because we prioritized the heck out of the latter. We eased up a bit on our “Disney or death!” approach to discretionary income as the year wore on, but generally, if we had two cents to scrape together, we’d throw them into the vacation pot.  It was through this kind of financial nit-pickery that we were able to take two Disney vacations in 2018, both fully (and reassuringly) paid off before we had even stepped foot in a park.  We also became Disney annual passholders this year, because it made the most financial sense given the extent of our plans.  Every little bit helps, and I was incredibly proud of us for hitting this Disney financial goal.

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And speaking of those two vacations, they were wonderful; some of the best moments of my year were had at Disney World.  It’s just where we go to cut loose, explore and have an awesome (frequently margarita-enabled) good time.  We are so fortunate to be able to enjoy such incredible vacations – some people can’t swing a single lifetime trip to Disney, let alone two in one year (actually four in 365 days, but who’s counting besides ourselves and every single one of our friends who has jokingly enquired as to whether we plan on just moving into Cinderella Castle full time (dare to dream!)

Character Collage

Just about my favourite moment of the year was spending Halloween, our 14th wedding anniversary, bombing around the Magic Kingdom rock star cosplaying as two different video versions of Tyler Joseph, the lead singer of twenty one pilots (the October release of Trench was another neon yellow bright spot in an otherwise pretty gloomy year.)  I can’t speak for Mr. Finger Candy (who was the recipient of most of the delighted compliments, including a number of longing and appreciative glances from one very interested lady and a couple of even more interested dudes) but I loved playing rock star for the day, even with that black gunk smeared about my neck and hands (black stage makeup, by the way, and no, it wasn’t difficult to take off at the end of the night.  Messy?  Yes!  Sooty black water droplets allllll over the bathroom.  But not difficult.)  Also, my man looked hella hot in his meggings and shorts combo, and no, I’m not remotely joking.

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The Bad

Losing our beloved cat.  Taking her to the vet one snowy Monday morning, knowing in my already breaking heart that we wouldn’t be bringing her home again.  Holding her paw until the very end.  Lots of uncontrollable sobbing.  That was my December.  I don’t wish to ever experience another one like it (oh, that we could control such things!)  But isn’t she adorable?  Gosh, at one point she was a complete LARD; look at that tummy!  That’s some serious Weege the Hutt action right there.

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Losing Weegie also brought into sharp focus the good relationships in our lives – the people who have been there for us at this awful time, in supportive ways big, small and occasionally virtual – and those that are no longer worth our precious, middle aged time.  It was really its own special kind of compounding heartbreak to realize that with some people, we just didn’t rank, not even in the midst of our grief.

On the other, infinitely more positive hand, this event clarified the truly excellent relationships we do have in our lives, people we are so profoundly grateful to call our friends.  They are such fantastic humans, a realization ultimately worth so much more than the one about the social boobs.  I actually feel sort of hashtag-blessed. 😉

But getting back to the crap, after making incredible strides towards improving my health in 2017, I backslid in 2018 HARD, maintaining my diet and exercise regimen for most of the year before apparently just giving up altogether in the last three months and gaining 25 pounds.  I apparently like to eat my stress and grief.  And everyone else’s as well.  I aim to jump back aboard the treadmill express in the new year, and overhaul our diets while I’m at it.  Please stop the rich holiday food, I want to get off!

And this blog?  My beloved Finger Candy, which turned five impressive years old this year with nary a whisper of fanfare?  I have no idea what this blog is even about any more; I’m not even sure if nail art is my preferred focus.  I’m in a state of blogging flux; I hope to find some solid ground soon.

Okay, that’s it, 2018 – you’re drunk, go home.  Don’t let the door hit you on the arse on the way out.  And cheers to 2019 as it makes its hopefully spectacular way in.  Happy New Years, friends.

Literary Inspiration: Small Spaces

Small Spaces Collage

My blogging buddy Jay of The Scented Library sent me this spooktacular young adult read just before Halloween.  And what a fitting find it was, too, neatly checking off all of the things I love in a book – whimsi-gothic cover art reminiscent of a Tim Burton movie poster, supernatural shenanigans afoot, an above-the-title pull quote from R.L. Stine!  But showing just how well she actually knows me (see, friends, you need never have met a person face-to-face for them to just get you) Jay acknowledged that while very cool, a recommendation from Stine carried ever so slightly less cachet than one from MY favourite young adult author of choice, Christopher Pike (difficult, as I’ve heard he’s a grumpy old sod who resolutely refuses to play the publicity game.)  Also, this last-last minute entry towards Jay and Julie’s 2018 reading challenge satisfies the theme of a book with purple cover art, which I was then inspired to turn into what I think is a rather lovely, evocative manicure.  So really just the most perfect gift – with thanks again, friend. 🙂

Yes, yes, but what of the novel itself?  Geez, patient puss, I was just about to get to that. 😉  Without giving away too much of the plot, Small Spaces, by author Katherine Arden, is a fog-shrouded, atmospheric little supernatural thriller, more taut novella than novel, which I think is to its great advantage.  Small Spaces clips along at a nice pace; I had it finished up within three or four sessions, and I was loathe to put it down once the action really began.

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Creepy, unsettling and shiveringly, delightfully scary, Small Spaces tells the story of 11-year-old Olivia “Ollie” Adler, an outcast by choice following the death of her mother the year prior.  On a field trip to a local farm, Ollie wanders away from her classmates and has an unsettling run-in with an employee – he intones that there is great danger coming, but suggests that if she hides, and confines herself to small spaces, she just might survive the threat.

And that’s pretty much all I can tell you without giving all of the rest of the story away, because the book plays it so straight, truly what you read is what you get.  There are some surprisingly delightful moments in Small Spaces, but it’s a simple book, with a straightforward narrative that it wears on its earnest, young adult sleeve.  I really, really enjoyed it; it was a nice little diversion from the usual, and proper spooky, too.  A fine read for a cold and gloomy day.

Scarecrows – this nail art is supposed to depict scarecrows standing in a mist-laden field.  And I can’t say anything more about it than that, except I think this manicure turned out really rather well; holographic polishes, especially when they are sponged on like they have been for this gradient manicure, always have a bit of a heathered grey tinge to them, perfect for fog-shrouded books AND nails.

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Literary Inspiration: Blue Shoes and Happiness

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Sneaking a last minute reading challenge book and matching manicure in under the 2018 wire here with Blue Shoes and Happiness, an entry in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series of books by Alexander McCall Smith.

This gentle, deeply inoffensive little book about Precious Ramotswe, a lifelong resident of Botswana and proud founder of the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, came as a recommendation from my mom, who could see, after the dense, multi-layered insanity that was Too Big to Fail, that I was in need of something with a softer touch.

Please don’t tell my mom, who adores this book series, but I…*lowers voice, glances about *…didn’t love Blue Shoes and Happiness.  Nothing happened!  There were some lovely descriptions of Botswana, and what the land means to Mma Ramotswe, a traditionally built (her words) rancher’s daughter besotted with her nation, but otherwise, it felt a bit soft, a bit simple.  Oh dear lord, PLEASE don’t let my mom see this; she will crap a brick if she sees I’ve besmirched her beloved books!

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I think part of my problem might be that I was thrown in the deep end of the No. 1 puddle; Blue Shoes and Happiness isn’t the first (or even the fifth) entry in the series.  Compounding this feeling of being wildly out of step with Mma Ramotswe’s world is the fact that events started in a previous book find closure in Blue Shoes and Happiness, whereas other events started in Blue Shoes and Happiness are left to be resolved in some later book.  The assumption here is that you will continue reading the next entry in the series to see how X situation is resolved, but you know what they say about assumptions.

The titular shoes in this case, and the inspiration for these simple nails, actually belong to Mma Ramotswe’s assistant in the No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency, Mma Makutsi.  Mma Makutsi, proud graduate of the Botswana Secretarial Collage (with a 97 percent average, as she’s more than delighted to tell every single person she meets) has a weakness for beautiful shoes, something of a problem when you walk to work (itself housed in the back of an auto repair shop) on hard pan dirt roads.  But Mma Makutsi falls hard for a wildly impractical pair of too-small sky blue shoes with lipstick red linings.  Buy them, she must!  So she does, and they’re too small, and she hobbles about for a bit looking like her feet have grown two blue satin-covered sausages, and Mma Ramotswe gently tells her she’s being a fool, which by that point, owing to a weird back-up of blood rising from her feet, she heartily agrees with, and we all go home happy, having learned a positive lesson of some sort, though I’ve no idea what that lesson might be.  It was pretty silly and SO not my usual, but I tried to read it with an open mind, for my mom.

Pretty much the only thing Mmas Ramotswe and Makutsi can agree on is that donuts are yummy; much to Precious Ramotswe’s traditionally built consternation, they are as much a presence in the detective agency as the dim bulb apprentices who drift by from her husband’s auto repair shop out front.  So for the Mmas, a wee donut on my thumb.  And for my mama, my very best shot at this book.

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