Summer Swatches

Summer Polish Collage

The craft stores may already have their Halloween decor on clearance, but I think there’s still lots of time left on this summer thing.  And for once, I can’t say that’s a bad thing – unlike previous years, I haven’t had a terrible problem with the heat.  And while I’d say that a major contributing factor has been the wetter-than-usual (and therefore cooler-than-usual) summer we have been “enjoying” in eastern Ontario this year, I think the lack of profuse sweating may actually be due to my rather profound weight loss – about 50 pounds since the end of February!  Also probably the hour-long swims I enjoy four or five times a week – a crack of dawn swim in my building’s indoor pool seems to bring my core temperature down to something approaching normal for the remainder of the humid day.  Totally awesome side benefit to this weight loss business; I highly recommend.

I also recommend this collection of sweet summer polishes that will see you through the final sultry days of the season in polished perfection.  Drawing from a wide array of indie vendors – Polish Me Silly, KB Shimmer and Painted Polish among them – there’s a nod to every great and vibrant thing about the summer, from gorgeous oceanic hues to drippy cherry popsicles.

WatermelonSquidding Me

First up we have Whimsical Idea by Pam’s Wacky Watermelon (here over Pure Ice’s lime green, Wild Thing) and Different Dimension’s You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me.  I’ve used Wacky Watermelon in a few different manicures over the years, but Squidding Me is one I rarely pull out of my box of magic nail tricks.  And I really have no idea why, because it’s a gorgeous one – smooth jelly finish, and that flamingo pink hue shot through with purple shimmer?  Lush and vibrant, yet tremendously flattering, even for us pale, pale lasses (although I’ve no doubt it would look stupendous-er on those with darker skin tones.  Which is literally everyone else in the world.)

Lost MarblesSprinkle On

Taking a nod from the boardwalk, we have the two lacquers I always think of as my “bubblegum ice cream” polishes, Polish Me Silly’s pink I Lost My Marbles and Dollish Polish’s custardy yellow Get Your Sprinkle On! Get Your Sprinkle On! has always been a favourite – I think it looks like french vanilla ice cream topped with rainbow jimmies.

Whispering WavesMermaid

You’ve Gotta Be Squidding Me makes another appearance in this manicure as a fun, flamingo-hued base on which to layer another Whimsy, this time turquoise glitter Mermaid, alongside A England’s lush aqua holo, Whispering Waves.  This mani makes me smile – it’s very South Beach.  Somewhere in Sarasota there’s a granny rocking a velour tracksuit in these exact colours. 😉

Jello ShotChasing Rainbows

The white polish in this manicure, Painted Polish’s Chasing Rainbows, reminds me of colourful shells washing up on a white sand beach, while the pink polish, ILNP’s Jello Shot, reminds me of melted cherry popsicles. Also its namesake, the deadly, deadly jello shot (*shuddering in remembrance of hangovers past.*)

Citrus SmoothieBelle of the Mall

Finally, we have another manicure featuring a favourite polish, KB Shimmer’s coral pink glitter, Belle of the Mall, and Candy Lacquer’s Citrus Smoothie (once again over Pure Ice’s Wild Thing), a mad mix of citrus-hued glitters that remind me of sweet fruit salad.  Belle of the Mall is such a great polish; awesome consistency and the coolest Hawaiian Punch hue.  It’s summer in a bottle, just like all of these polishes!)

DIY Jack and Sally

Jack and Sally Bottle Collage

I thought rather suddenly to myself late last night, “I think I’ll make some nail polish.” That’s a thing people do, right, just randomly decide to make their own nail polish at 11 p.m. on a Friday?  I hope so, because that’s certainly what *I* was doing at that late hour, and it seemed pretty normal to me!

And here are the results of my midnight hour machinations, two Nightmare Before Christmas-inspired glitter bombs in the colours of skeleton and ragdoll paramours Jack and Sally.

Of the two, Sally is the far more successful polish in terms of stability and ease of application – these photos show two brushed/dabbed-on coats, and I didn’t have to fish about for the larger heart-shaped glitters one bit. Plus I think the glitter mix in Sally – inspired by her patchwork dress, asphyxiated-looking countenance and poker straight red hair – is just perfection, an unusual combination of bronze, turquoise, rose, purple, red and black hexes dotted with tiny satin hearts.  I layered this lovely new creation here over Enchanted Polish’s mystery lacquer for July 2015, a dusty grey-blue holo that looks like Sally’s…skin?  Does she have skin or fabric?  Hmm, best not linger on that question too long!

Sally Fingers 1

And then there was the vernis terrible, Jack, an infuriatingly unsuccessful venture into the less-is-more approach to do-it-yourself nail polish.  I think the inspiration for this guy is pretty clear – Jack’s black and white pinstripes, with a smattering of the Christmas bric-a-brac whose secrets Jack longs to crack.  You’d just never know that hidden amid the depths of that simple black and white glitter polish is actually quite a lot of bric-a-brac – glittery snowflakes, colourful baubles, candy canes, snowmen and even a few good sized Christmas trees.  The lightweight black and white glitter – made up of a mix of two identically-sized satin matte glitters – simultaneously covers up AND provides little to no support for the larger shapes, which sank to the bottom resolutely, and there they be.  I had to embark on a major fishing expedition to snag these very few glitters.  There was also far, far too much base in this polish – it rained down onto my work area in huge, glittery blobs, even after I had repeatedly wiped off the brush on the rim of the bottle. Jack is languishing at the bottom of my garbage can right now, so annoyed was I with his insolence. 😉  Here I layered Jack over another Enchanted mystery lacquer, this time May 2017, a dark and stormy blue that looks like the skies above both Christmas and Halloween Towns.

Jack Fingers 1

Where the Sand Meets the Sky

MayJune 2017 Collage

With this duo of angry thunderhead and sparkling sand-hued lacquers, Enchanted Polish seems to be going back to nature with its mystery releases for May and June 2017. Thankfully, the au natural look suits them well; much as I love my not-of-a-colour-found-in-nature glitter bombs, there’s something soothingly refined about less artificially-hued shades.  I also can’t overstate the importance of finding a beautiful, unique polish you can wear to work, cocktail night and your grandparents’ anniversary dinner.

I’ve complained a bit in the past about how Enchanted’s mystery polishes don’t always correlate to the months in which they’re released.  Sure, you’ve got the requisite fir-green polish for December and red for February. But you’ve also got a shade best described as “holographic dishwater” for July and an inexplicable – if pretty! – primary blue for May. Back in 2015, the inspiration for these polishes seemed to be all over the place.

But this year’s crop of mystery polishes has so far been an absolute delight.  Inspired by some of Enchanted’s retro best-sellers, the polishes have also corresponded nicely to their month of release, particularly these two stunners, stormy May and sandy June. Let’s take a closer look at both, shall we?

May 2017 Collage

May 2017 reads a tad more blue in these photos than it does in real life, where it’s the same dark and dusky hue as loaded thunderhead clouds above a sandy beach.  The holo in this polish is not hugely pronounced, but no mind, this is one of those ones I actually prefer in the shade – lower lighting brings out its fine silver shimmer. These photos show two coats, and as always, it applied like a dream about smooth, streak-free things.  Never doubt Enchanted’s formulation – it’s across-the-board rock solid.

June 2017 Collage

At the halfway mark of the year we have June 2017, a beautiful sandy holo shot through with fine red shimmer. I think this polish looks like that sand I talked about beneath the thunderheads of May 2017, although it also looks like tanned skin after a day spent out in the sun – bronzed and slightly flushed.  This is another polish that is lovely in the sun, but positively gorgeous in the shade, where you can really see that shimmery pink glow.  An immensely flattering three-coater that’s workplace (and churchplace) appropriate.  A surprise favourite that will undoubtedly see a lot of nail art action.

Holo Package Shot

And because Enchanted’s stunning holographic boxes make my paper product-loving heart sing, or at least begin spouting impromptu slam poetry, I’ve included a shot of one of those, too.  I particularly like the way it appears as though the blue/green haze of the holo rainbow is climbing up the side of the castle in this photograph – let’s give it up for some decent iPhone photography, yes? 😉  Total fluke, I assure you!

Bummer time: Short of finding these mystery releases on, say, Ebay or via some other re-seller, May and June 2017 are one-and-done polishes.  But there’s still six months left in the year, so six more opportunities to nab fantastic polishes like these.  So if you’re interested, sign up for Enchanted’s newsletter here to stay up to date on all new releases.

The Long Weekend

Long Weekend Nails 2

Gotta give it up for you Americans, you really know how to stretch a long weekend.  I appreciate the whole “Well, the holiday falls on a weekday; looks like the rest of the week is a wash!” approach to civic holidays. These red, white and blue nails (really pink, white and blue on account of the colour-bleed that occurred with my red glitter polish) are for those lucky Yanks celebrating their second weekend of the 4th.

The nit-picky details, for the curious, are a basic white creme topped with two festive glitters, Sally Hansen’s Complete Salon Manicure in Over the Rainblue and Strawberry Shields (the bleedy one that regrettably stained my pristine white creme polish a watery, red-shirt-in-a-load-of-whites pink.  Not an issue, though – I think nearly everything benefits from a touch of pink, including the old red, white and blue.)  I then added a couple of white bow charms from I truly can’t remember as the final finishing touch (helpful, I know, sorry!) Happy continued 4th, friends!

Long Weekend Nails 1

Tutorial Time!

Marbled Dots Pic

This colourful marbled mani I did some weeks ago was so insanely easy, pretty and popular, it seemed a shame not to share my method.  Really, though, there’s nothing more complicated here than a simple dotticure sexed up by – wait for this revelation – dipping your dotting tool into TWO different polishes at once.  Sounds naughty, looks stupendous – like accidental, intricate marbling you actually intended to create!  And if you’ve ever tried to marble anything in nail art, then you know it’s a relentless pain in the arse, so any simplification is more than welcome.

First, begin by rounding up your tools.  For this manicure, I used just three lacquers, Enchanted Polish’s orchid pink Dope Jam, golden yellow House of the Rising Sun and dusty blue September 2015.  Marbled together, these polishes create cool new blended colours – blue and yellow makes green, yellow and pink produces orange, and pink and blue makes purple.  So no need to bust out your entire polish collection for this dotticure; just pink, yellow and blue will get the rainbow job done nicely.

Marbled Dots Bottle Collage

For this manicure, I used a small dotting tool I’ve had forever and these polish palette rings from Daily Charme I was gifted last Christmas.  I particularly like the paw print ring, which is why I’m sporting it in these tutorial pics.  It fits securely, but not snugly, and is well balanced so it doesn’t slide to either side of your finger mid-mani.

Polish Rings Collage

So having assembled your little arsenal, let’s get down to the criminally easy step-by-step.

Marbled Dots Tutorial Collage

Step 1: Paint your nails to opacity with a basic white creme.

Step 2: Once dry, slip on a polish palette ring and fill the tiny divots with your three chosen lacquers.  Should you not possess jewelry that doubles as a beauty tool, simply dot your polish out onto whatever surface you typically use as a palette.

Step 3: Take your dotting tool and dip it into one polish (say, the pink) and then another (this time the blue.)

Step 4: Dot onto your nails.  Two or three dots per nail should do it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the yellow and blue polishes.

Step 6: Repeat steps 3 and 4 with the pink and yellow polishes.

Step 7: Fill in any blank spots or gaps that are irking you for a more cohesive design.

Step 8: Once dry, top with a high gloss, quick dry top coat such as Seche Vite.  Then stand out in the sun and admire all your maybe-not-so-hard work!

Marbled Dots Sunshine

The Secret Bathing Garden: A Haul Post

TBG Main Photo

Or not-so-secret, as here it is, in all its deliciously-scented glory. 🙂

So it would appear that my previous protestations that I am not a beauty product person were weak efforts made in total vain, because you guys, look at all the pretty beauty products!  I bought so much!  Not one demonstrable ounce of willpower on display, not a one.  Birthday mad money very well spent.

This is the part where I’m supposed to scold myself for glorifying capitalism and mindless retail expenditures. Except it wasn’t mindless!  For that you’ll have to check out this fun story of the time I narcotics-shopped my way into a $200 bounty of shimmery unicorn makeup. 😉

But regardless of where you stand on the “My, that was a silly purchase” spectrum, I think we can all agree that these Bathing Garden items, a lovely treat facilitated by one of my sweet online friends, are absolutely beautiful and well-deserving of a SHOWING OF THE STUFF.  So let’s show it!

TBG Scrubs Collage

First up, we have four lovely sugar scrubs in, from left to right, Sugared Pie Crust, Tea Party with Alice, Fried Candy Donut and Parisian Strawberry Fields.  Shannon, the mistress of all things Bathing Garden, makes the most gorgeous scrubs – they’re finely textured, beautifully scented and not too oily, perfect for everyday use.  I tore through the two scrubs I purchased some months ago with great haste – not too surprising given that I used them (and continue to use them) to buff my tired tootsies every day as a nice little post-workout treat.  I’m really the sweetest smelling, most well-exfoliated lass in the land. 🙂  These 8 oz. scrubs were $9.00 US each.

TBG Pie Time

Next up, I spy with my little eye something that is…pie!  Regrettably non-edible, but that may be a blessing in disguise when you’re trying to stick to a healthy eating plan, and also when the items in question smell as delicious as this bundle of Sugared Pie Crust sweets.  Not to get all rapturous on you or anything, but these items – the sugar scrub we saw before, a light lotion, a wax clamshell and that adorable little lattice-topped pie slice – smell like sex on stilts.  Sugared Pie Crust, you incredible bakery beast, where have you been all my life?!

Here’s the part where I killjoy all over your piqued interest by noting that this scent is no longer available. Offered as part of The Bathing Garden’s monthly featured scent bundle, Sugared Pie Crust was a bit of a one-and-done (or a one-and-done…for now; these popular scents tend to make annual reappearances.)  The items in each bundle vary slightly from month to month (May’s featured the most adorable little popsicle-shaped wax tarts and a lush whipped soap) but this particular assortment of goodies retailed for $18.50.

TBG Tea Collage

Then following pie time comes tea time – a playing card-shaped wax tart and a tri-layered sugar scrub in Tea Party with Alice, a honeyed tea, clotted cream and strawberry jam fragrance.  Both items are beautiful (even the scrub, with its sadly melted rosebud embellishment) but I’m quite undecided on the scent.  To my nose, the honeyed cream and tea layers combine to create something unpleasantly sour and astringent – it’s an odd combination somewhat redeemed by the rich strawberry jam scent.  The sugar scrub, which we saw above with its yummy sisters, was $9.00, and the gorgeous tri-layered tart, sprinkled with beautiful eye-catching embellishments, was $3.00.

And since no Bathing Garden order would be complete without at least a few clamshells, I picked up some of those.  Plus, you know, nine or 10 others. 😉  These clamshells were $3.75 each.

TBG Clamshells 1 LabelBare Collage

Representing Team Brown, we have Fried Candy Donut, a favourite wildberry donut scent, Eat Me, a complex, beguiling blend of what I swear is chocolate and wood shavings, and that glorious Sugared Pie Crust fragrance, on whose many delicious-smelling qualities I have already expounded.

TBG Clamshells 2 LabelBare Collage

From the recently-retired Spring Collection, we have Sweet Green, a bracingly strong blend of mint, clover and other grassy things, Pomegranate Lime Sweet Tarte, a delightfully yummy fragrance that smells exactly like all four of those descriptors, and Spring Fling, a mild blend of citrus and cupcakes.

TBG Clamshells 3 LabelBare Collage

Next, we have three delicious new favourites, Cheshire Cat, a fun and fruity combination of lemon, raspberry and vanilla, Happy Un-Birthday, a not-so-basic blend of yellow cake topped with mounds of cotton candy icing, and Parisian Strawberry Fields, a super fresh and sweet-tart blend of strawberries and mangoes. Fantastic, all!

TBG Clamshells 4 LabelBare Collage

Finally, we have my three favourite clamshells of this order, both in terms of fragrance and aesthetics, Clowning Around, an I-shouldn’t-like-this blend of popcorn, candy apples and cotton candy, Knave of Hearts, a candy sweet blend of fresh strawberries and brown sugar coconut cake, and Caterpillar Mischief, a sweet and creamy combination of mild coconut cream and apricot. Mushroom-induced fissure notwithstanding, just look at this gorgeous tart!  It’s stupendously beautiful, even a tiny wee bit roughed-up. Tiny wax works of art.

Caterpillar Mischief

Finally-finally, we come to my favourite part of any Bathing Garden order, the free samples and fun little extras.  I suspect I am not alone in my outright awe of Shannon’s generosity, which is second to none – at least one full size item of her choice comes with any order over $90.00, and that’s in addition to the many, many, many sample size items that routinely come with each order as delightful little enablers. 😉

As this order was a little bit mine and a little bit my friend’s, we split the freebies roughly 50/50.  There were, however, a number of scents that simply didn’t speak to me – that happens when 3/4 of the scents you like have the word “cookie” somewhere in their name.  So I left those in the possession of my friend, who I know will sniff and suss out their hidden depths and glories far better than I.  So this bounty, which includes one of the full size sugar scrubs we saw before, represents just my half of the extras, and then just a fraction of those (wow, seriously, so many unintentional fractions in that last paragraph!)

TBG Freebies

Generously-provided freebies, clockwise from left to right, include a full size sugar scrub in Parisian Strawberry Fields, a small tri-layered bundt in Cheshire Cat, a sample size sugar scrub in Knave of Hearts (ooh, this one is so delicious in a scrub, and that red velvet hue is to die for!), a small blue and purple bundt in Summer Twilight, a calming berry-lavender blend, a small green rosette in Summer Melon and Mint, a nose-tinglingly yummy combination of watery melons and mint, a large yellow coin in Bee Smitten, a light, honeyed floral, a small yellow rosette in Happy Un-Birthday, a small pink star in Guava Berry Gelato, a popular blend of creamy vanillas and sweet berries, a large pink coin in Sweet Madi, which regrettably smells a bit like plastic disposable diapers (which is pretty rank, but I suppose you can’t win ’em all) and a small blue rosette in Mid-Summer Song, which smells like a memory from my past that I can’t quite put my finger on right now, but which will undoubtedly come to me in the dead of night or some other thoroughly inconvenient moment.

So there we have it, another lovely Bathing Garden order that more than tickles my fancy – it also exfoliates, moisturizes and leaves my fancy smelling just divine, thank you! Secret no more. 😉

Frostbite

Frostbite 1

We’re sailing in uncharted (frozen) waters here, friends, as these nails represent the first time in over 1,500 manicures (whaaa?) that I’ve not fully painted my nails to opacity, opting instead to go The Full Nail Monty!  Or The Partial Nail Monty, as there’s some edge-of-the-nail accessorizing at work here in the form of Sally Hansen’s very frosty-looking Gem Crush in Showgirl Chic.  Simple and elegant frozen fabulousness.

Frostbite 2