Purple 1

That’s a big Buffy-ism – tacking a “Y” onto the end of any word, not to describe a thing, but the general state of a thing.  So this manicure, which looks like a purple gemstone caught somewhere between an amethyst and a tanzanite, definitely qualifies as an entry in the suffix chapter of Buff’s Good Guide to Grammar.  The little round studs up by my cuticles are natural seashell gems I picked up from Daily Charme.  They come in all sorts of colours and mimic the look of natural gemstones.  I liked these blue/purple stones best, so that’s why they came home with me!

I did these nails using exactly the same marbling technique as this manicure from the other day.  I just switched up the polishes, using three purple lacquers (a pale lilac creme, a chromatic periwinkle and a deep purple holo), highlighting the “fissures” with a glittery purple topper.  Aw man, I’m really going to have to do that tutorial now, as these are too easy to keep to myself, but also just a touch too hard to describe simply with words.  You know, in a grammar-y-type fashion. 😉  Keep a look out for that one in the coming days, should you be interested in how to create a super high impact, ultra low effort mani.

Purple 2

This is Gonna Be a Circus!

Gonna Be a Circus Fingers

That’s one of my favourite lines from Angel, the spin-off television series to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, an incredulous observation made by Lindsay, the sometimes evil, sometimes one-handed lawyer, in assessing Team Angel’s chances in the finalest of the final battles (Spoiler: He’s totally right!  A dragon-slaying, demon-decapitating, double door-kicking circus, and my favourite episode of the entire show.)

It’s also the theme of this end-of-summer, carnival-themed manicure AND my thoughts on how the month of September is going to play out, as I’m participating in two different blogging challenges/round-ups, with lots of fun – but time-intensive and potentially insanity-making – activities at hand and ON my hands.

On the nail side of things, I’ll once again be taking part in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge. This will be my third year participating in the challenge; it’s always a lot of fun seeing what the other participants come up with.  If you’re interested in joining in on the reindeer games, you can play along, too – the 31 Day Challenge is super informal, and you can push yourself as much or as little as you’d like.  The daily themes don’t change from year to year (day one is always the colour red, for instance) but the graphics certainly do! Here’s this year’s (pretty) guide to playing along at home:


Then on the slightly more off-topic side of things, I’ll also be participating in a kind of Fall blogging round-up with a bunch of cool folks whose blogs range in topic from nails and beauty, to bath and beauty products and perfumes, to scented wax and cute craftables. That starts on Thursday the 1st – more details to come!

Bored Now

Bored NowDespite the fact that it went off the air over 12 years ago, Buffy the Vampire Slayer remains one of my all time favourite television shows. I lived and breathed for all things Buffy a decade or so ago, and I’ve tried to maintain that fangirl spark with frequent rerun and marathon trips back to the vamp-infested town of Sunnydale. Although – *voice drops to a furtive whisper* – I don’t believe it has held up particularly well to the advancement of technology (nothing highlights Buffy’s sometimes Ed Wood-esque approach to set design and fight scene editing like a 50 inch television) or, in my case at least, the slow march of time. I’m just not the same person I was when Buffy first began airing 20 years ago, and the show’s black-and-white approach to the good and evil that lurks in the heart of man (and woman, and demon) can be juvenile and simplistic (seriously, Buffy, tell me ONE MORE TIME about how there are no grey areas and it’s your job to kill evil things…except the cute ones you’re boning.)

Woah, tangent! But to bring it around to a love fest again, one thing I’ve never grown tired of with Buffy is this little cluster of episodes in the third season that centre around an alternative Buffyverse where Sunnydale is a round-the-clock vampire playground, Buffy is a dispassionate rogue warrior and her two best friends, Xander and Willow, are murderous vampires. Those episodes introduce the alt world character of Evil Willow, who makes her way to present day (and place) Sunnydale in order to cause some mayhem in one of my favourite Buffy episodes, Doppelgangland. When Evil Willow and Good Willow (?) eventually meet up, it’s pretty spectacular. It turns out they share a few similarities (“And I think I’m kind of gay!”) but even more differences (dietary preferences, I’m thinking), although none so glaring as their individual taste in clothes. Evil Willow’s a real black leather jumpsuit kind of gal, whereas Good Willow (still having trouble with that whole “good” part given what goes down later on) is all about knit beanies, overalls and fuzzy pink sweaters festooned with embroidered daisies and butterflies.

So in honour of the two sides of Willow Rosenberg (or at least the two sides of her closet), here is a manicure inspired by her sartorial choices in Doppelgangland (and for the record, I like the furry pink sweater! It looks like a chenille bedspread my grandmother used to have. I can’t say the same for anything Evil Willow wears. That button-up leather catsuit looks binding. And sweaty!)

Got Them Chocolate Bunny Blues

Choco BunnyI suppose this lapin chocolat really does have a lot to worry about – note the panicked look in his blue and yellow candy eye – particularly at this time of year. I mean, he’s right; his options here are really quite limited. If he’s lucky, they’ll start with his ears. And if he’s not…to paraphrase a quote from Andrew in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they’ll eat him. Starting with his bottom.

Silver and Gold

Silver and Gold CollageWhen it comes to nail polish, I am not one for metallics. Pale to the point of near see-throughedness, metallics just don’t show against my skin tone very well, particularly those of the sallowing bronze and golden variety. By the by, that’s got to be a new record for me in terms of made-up words. Two in one sentence? You’d never know I have a university degree in journalism. I blame the television shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Simpsons for allowing me to think that proper English involves putting the suffix “-ey” on the end of things (“Woah, looks like somebody hit the tanning bed HARD; you’re so orangey!”) or that there can be no pop culture stone left unturned. It’s a disease, truly (actually, it’s so not; the etymology of language is fascinating, particularly that derived from popular culture, although I absolutely put my foot down at the thought that whale-fart-donut emojis are a step forward in the history of human communications. Some day archaeologists are going to dig up all our iDevices and have a bloody field day with the stupidity of our reconstructed SnapChats and re-Grams and Tweets.)

Having established that metallics are not my favourite, however, I still went out and bought these two fantastic polishes from Orly’s holiday Sparkle Collection, twinkly gold Bling and holo silver Mirrorball, because they are pure, holidayey (!) perfection. The way the light plays off the sparkles embedded in both reminds me of my mom’s Christmas dinner tables (I suppose they’d be called “tablescapes” now) when she’d set out tons of candles and turn the lights straight off, and we’d dine in an intimate little bubble lit with gently flickering candlelight.

Getting down to brass tacks on these gold and silver polishes, both were easy to apply with great opacity and tons of sparkly shimmer. I’ve seen a few reviews of Bling, a clear polish stuffed with gold holographic microglitter, where the bloggers suggested it’s too sheer to work as anything but a glitter topper, but I had zero problems getting it to full opacity in three light coats. Formula-wise, the eensy weensy glitter in Bling is super dense and dries to an ever so slightly textured finish, but you can always fix that with a coat of Seche Vite (which you should anyways, because it deepens the holo effect and draws out all those pretty golden rainbows.) Here’s Bling throwing sparkles all over the place outdoors in indirect light (pretty impressive given that the day was overcast) and under the shimmer-inducing pot lights in my kitchen.Bling Collage

And while I may have talked up Mirrorball the other day in this post, it bears repeating: It’s a stunning polish and the standout in Orly’s holiday collection, while still remaining appropriate for year-round use. Also, do you know how hard it is to find a great holo in an actual brick and mortar store like Sally Beauty Supply, where I picked up these beauties? Pretty darn hard! So get on that! Meanwhile, let’s take another twirl beneath the Mirrorball.Mirrorball Collage 2

Drusilla: A Then and Now Post

DrusillaLast year I did a set of bloody, bite-marked nails that weren’t half bad (see below), although I’ve often thought I could have done better. So when the theme of vampires came up in the Halloween nail art challenge I’m participating in over on Instagram, I decided to take another kick at the vampire-bitten can, combining elements of that first mani (ragged puncture wounds and drippy blood; check and check!) with a few nails inspired by one of my favourite television vampires, Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Both crazy and clairvoyant, Dru had the kind of personality really only a Mother could love (before becoming a vampire, she was a nun!) or maybe just Spike, her long-time paramour (like, 120 years long-time) and protector. I liked Drusilla and Spike in the early days of Buffy’s run when they were weird and punk and dangerous, although any time Dru would start yammering about how the stars had disappeared and Spike would drolly remind her that they had disappeared because they were indoors and she was staring at the ceiling was pure gold. I loved Dru’s personal style, too – lots of lacy, empire waisted baby doll dresses with puffy sleeves and her signature killin’ nails (RIP Ken-drah the Vampire Slayer), long, vampy, blood red talons tipped in stark white.

Here I combined my small-nailed version of Dru’s killer mani with a lace-trimmed thumb and two improved-upon nails from last year’s nails. I’m encouraged to see that my technique has gotten much better (tidier, cleaner and more precise, specifically), although I am the most pleased with the visible improvement in my nail care game. Well-tended nails provide a tidy base for your mani masterpieces, and elevate any nail art beyond just “painting your nails.” Bloody good work!Bite Me

Nudge, Nudge

Nudge, Nudge

Presenting this month’s challenge prompts for the Nail Art Ideas Linkup. There’s a few themes here I haven’t touched before (birds, diamonds and Easter, as I wasn’t in the nail art game this time last year), which mixes things up nicely. I’m especially looking forward to Easter, because it’s my belief you really can’t ever sport too many bunnies on your person at any one time (unless you’re Anya from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which case, you know, bunnies aren’t just cute like everybody supposes…they got them hoppy legs and twitchy little noses. And really, what IS with all the carrots, what do they need such good eyesight for anyway?)