Hay There!

Hay There 1

This polish, a China Glaze Halloween release of a few years’ back by the name of Rest in Pieces, always reminds me of straw or hay or dried cornstalks; very appropriate for this time of year.

This manicure in particular – Rest in Pieces here over Essie’s cafe au lait creme, Cocktails & Coconuts – reminds me of one of my favourite episodes of Trading Spaces.  Show of hands if you remember Trading Spaces.  I used to watch it every day in university, sometimes multiple times a day if TLC was running a marathon.  I seriously hated 95 percent of everything the designers did, and I lived for Hilde ruining someone’s mudroom by turning it into a circus-themed wine grotto.

Hay There 2

One of my favourite episodes, though, was the time Hilde and two stunned-into-silence neighbours redecorated a lesbian couple’s livingroom as the inside of an unfinished barn, complete with chicken coop mesh, rough-hewn, terra cotta-hued parging (missed opportunity here to go with a salmon-coloured base polish, darn it!) and random, only-partially-embedded hunks of straw.  Yes, actual straw!  That these two women had three children under five seemed to have completely slipped Hilde’s mind – or rather, she didn’t seem to give a crap that this was a totally inappropriate space for anyone to inhabit, let alone a rambunctious trio of curious young kids.  I remember the neighbours tasked with “bettering” their space were absolutely mortified, had in fact begged Hilde not to move ahead with some of her more asinine ideas (the straw), but the designer clearly had other plans.

I also remember that of the two ladies, one was politely horrified, her eyes wide and surprised and vaguely terrified as she glanced around at the ruin of her livingroom.  And the other was just flat out PISSED.  Livid, actually, and I didn’t blame her one iota – her livingroom had undergone a radical hatchet job.  Then, as if to underscore her furious point, one of the kids ambled over to the scratchy, pointy, dangerous wall and picked off a small handful of straw.  Ha!  Except not ha, because I felt terrible for that family, AND their neighbours, whose relationship was surely damaged by this entire reality TV incident.  Hilde remained oblivious to the end.

Hay There 3

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Bubble Bubble, Suds and (Some) Trouble

Main Soap Photo

Continuing my unfortunate streak of items I wish I had exercised a bit more caution in purchasing, here’s the back half of my large Rhinestone Housewife order, this time a quartet of spooky suds from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  I noted in a post last month that I had had some trouble with the colourfastness of one of those bars of soap; it was a dark chocolate brown, and in combination with the soap’s plush, but slightly oily, composition, it had the rather gross tendency to leave fatty-looking bits of brown sludge behind on everything it touched.  To the point where I tossed the bar a few days after writing that post.  And not without some regret either, because I really love these olive oil-infused soaps in use; they’re incredibly lush and leave my skin feeling super soft and moisturized.

Soaps in Coffin

Some of these spooky soaps regrettably suffer from the same problem as that chocolate (brown) bar, particularly Monster Mash (a perky fruit punch fragrance) and The Pumpkin King (a spicy squash.)  Using Monster Mash is particularly distressing, as it suds-up into a bloody sort of pink that kind of makes shower time feel like Carrie-on-stage-at-the-prom time.  Which is both seasonally and thematically appropriate, but maybe not the greatest, cleanest-feeling way to start the day.

Soaps in a Row

Ah, but they’re pretty, and they all smell so lovely.  One of the things I do really love about these soaps is the way they really hold on to their scents; they remain strong and true week after week.  Which means if I can get over the kinda gross factor, I’ve got months and months to enjoy Monster Mash and The Pumpkin King, as well as Fruit Fool (far left), a scrumptious apple-blueberry scent, and Poisoned Apple (far right), a zippy, caramel (crab)apple fragrance.

Soaps in the Sun

So I’m well, well covered in the soap department.  Now I just have to turn around this bad shopping juju that has plagued seemingly every retail transaction I’ve made in the past two months.  This, however, delighted the crap out of me (and my husband, who was likewise impressed) – this American Psycho-worthy business card from The Rhinestone Housewife.  We seriously Patrick Bateman’d all over this thing – look at the card stock!  That sucker must be a quarter of an inch thick!  And yes, we really are that easily amused. 🙂

Card

Leafly

Leafly Fingers

Here’s a pretty, autumn-appropriate polish to add a bit of subtle sparkle to your seasonal soirees, ILNP’s chromatic flakie, The Road to Awe (as in “Oooo!” not “Awww!”)  Despite being released two or three years ago, this polish is still available on ILNP’s site, a testament to its beauty and popularity – it’s just a gorgeous polish.  And a fantastic pick for the Fall, too, with its colour-shifting chromatic flakies in a range of plummy purples, bronzey oranges and leafy yellows (here over a basic black creme, always the best base on which to show off any of these kind of chromatic polishes; classic bedfellows, if you will.)  I also love the smattering of hyacinth blue flakes – they’re the perfect hit of neon to liven up The Road to Awe’s crunchy, glittery “leaves.”  Perfect and perfectly pretty.

Leafly Bottle 2

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?!)

 

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. 🙂

Sudsy Fandom Fun

Fall Fandom Closeup

Or a Hobbit sandwich on Harry Potter bread. 😉

Here’s a cute trio of fandom-minded soaps from Dreaming Tree Soapworks inspired by the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies and books.  I nabbed these luscious, olive oil-infused soaps from The Rhinestone Housewife, who deal in Dreaming Tree Soapworks’ large collection of beautifully made, gorgeously themed soaps.  I picked up quite a few selections from their Halloween release; I’ll share those with you as we get a little closer to the haunting season.  But of the remainder, I just knew I had to try the fabulously foodie trio of LOTR’s Hobbiton Banana Bread paired with Harry Potter’s Butterbeer and Cauldron Cakes.

Of the three, I’ve only had a chance to try Cauldron Cakes.  On its site, The Rhinestone Housewife describes Cauldron Cakes as smelling like “Devils Food chocolate glazed cakes stuffed with buttercream toasted marshmallow filling.”  Which, holy lord, sounds just frickin’ amazing; can I get some right now?!  After using my bar of Cauldron Cakes for about a week or so now, I can’t say whether it smells like all those delicious things – I mainly get a rich, true chocolate scent, which is really quite scrumptious and pleasing; I ain’t gonna kick it out of the bath.

Fall Fandom Soaps

However, Cauldron Cakes – the dark brown bar – contains unrefined cocoa butter.  I’m going to assume that because the ingredient list does not include any sort of dye, the chocolate brown colour and gorgeous, true-to-life chocolate scent are coming from the unrefined cocoa butter.  And so I think because of its natural ingredients, Cauldron Cakes is not colourfast (if a bar of soap could be said to be such a thing.)  As such, its rich brown hue “runs” when wet; it suds up into a pale mocha hue and leaves rusty-looking water droplets all over your soap dish, counters and towels.  And like all bars of soap, it leaves bits of itself behind in the dish in between every use.  Gummy soap build-up is kind of gross; I submit it’s extra gross when your soap sheds oily shards of brown gunge with every pass, even if that gunge smells like sharp, slightly boozy chocolate.  It just looks like a wet log of poo sitting there in my soap dish, for real.  NOW I’m kicking it out of the bath.

I really hope the other two don’t succumb to Cauldron Cakes’ problem of too-much-hue, although neither Hobbiton Banana Bread (a slightly spiced and lightly fruity bakery blend) nor Butterbeer (fizzy cream soda) contain much pigment, so we shall see.  Fingers crossed, because they both smell so lovely, and overall, I just adore the consistency and formula of Dreaming Tree’s soaps; my skin feels so lovely and moisturized, without the need for additional lotion, and they suds up so satisfyingly.  I just wish those suds weren’t the colour of (wait for it, Jessica!) cat poo.

Fall Fandom Pumpkin

Turn on the Northern Lights!

Northern Lights Sun Collage

It recently occurred to me that I haven’t done a swatch post in quite some time.  That’s because for the most part, I’ve suspended my informal nail polish procurement program (also known as me sitting in front of online stocklists at two in the morning going, “Ooh, that looks nice!”)  Things had just reached the point where I had no more room to store these things.  But more than that, it seemed like there was nothing new under the sun, and did I really need ANOTHER holographic, purple-to-teal multi-chrome?  TL;DR: I haven’t bought – or swatched – a new polish in a very long time.

But I am now, with this lovely, lustrous lacquer, OPI’s Infinite Shine 2 in Turn on the Northern Lights! Northern Lights is a beautiful, beautiful polish – a thick, gel-based purple polish shot through with fuchsia-to-green micro shimmer.  This polish positively glows in the sun, but in a subdued sort of way – Northern Lights is no disco ball, although I think its gorgeous, jewel-toned purple hues are perfect for a disco Fall. 😉

Northern Lights Bottle Sun

If Turn on the Northern Lights! is part of any sort of gel system, I have no idea.  I know, I know, bad, bad nail blogger, get your facts straight!  But I applied this polish as you would any other – three coats and one layer of a quick dry topcoat – and it produced one of the longest lasting and most beautiful manicures I’ve had the pleasure of wearing in ages (I remove my manis indecently fast, in part because they begin to chip and show wear quickly.)  But these Northern Lights shone brightly, through three days of wear and two trips down to the highly chlorinated pool!  Impressive.

Like all shimmer-laden polishes, Turn on the Northern Lights! does its best work in the sun, although it also looks beautiful in the shade, where you can really see the little bit of chartreuse pixie dust running along the bottom edge of the bottle.  I wish this effect was more pronounced on the nail (or pronounced at all; I saw no trace of the green shimmer in this polish, not even along the very edges of my nails) but I love the glowing, plum-to-purple effect enough that that’s but a tiny nit to pick.

Northern Lights Bottle Shade