Snow Much Fun?

Snow Much Fun 1

Eh, I’m not sure how much fun a snowstorm is at this time of year.  Even us loony (Loonie?) Canadians are tired of the wet, tired of the ice, tired of the slush (and where I live, it frequently snows straight through to about the middle of April.)  Ugh, why do I live here again?  Oh right, because Canada is awesome. 🙂

And so is this nail polish, KB Shimmer’s optimistically titled Snow Much Fun!  I typically drag this lacquer out around this time of year, if only to remind myself that snow really is beautiful, and ONE DAY it will eventually stop.  Right?!  Oh my word, PLEASE let it stop!

Snow Much Fun 2

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Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons

Closing out this Canada Day long weekend with a nod to Tim Hortons, the beloved Canadian coffee and donut chain.

So if Canada has, as I assert, a bit of a national drinking problem (most of our holidays devolve into some sort of excuse to get blisteringly drunk whilst lakeside) Tim Hortons is the caffeine and starch purveyor that puts hangovers in their place the morning-after.  I don’t love Timmies, as it’s affectionately called, as much as many of my fellow countrymen and women, although I have warm memories of my dad and I making late night Tim’s runs when I was attending university and he’d shuttle me to and from class. I’d get this powder-based “espresso” concoction that was nothing but pure, ear-splitting sweetness and watery milk; my gateway coffee drug. 😉  They also serve these little donut holes called Timbits – they’re essentially legalized Canadian crack. Perfect for putting some much-needed spring in your step the Tuesday after the long weekend, so chow down and, as always, drink up, Canada.

Canada 150 Ale

Canada Day One-Fiddy

Canada is celebrating its 150th year of Confederation this Saturday (also known as its sesquincentennial anniversary; rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?) so I thought it would be fitting to create a manicure honouring a beloved (?) Canadian beer, the Labatt 50.

For any non-Canuck readers out there, 50 Ale, a product of the Labatt Brewing Company, is pretty much on par with Budweiser or PBR (as in it’s yellow, wet, carbonated, contains hops and will get you seriously screwed up on the cheap if you drink about a dozen of them.  And I never have, partly because I’m an old fuddy duddy who turns up her nose at wildly inappropriate alcohol consumption, but also because 50 is nigh undrinkable. I think I’d sooner down a Schlitz.)

“But wait!” you may be saying.  “I thought you Canadians hailed from the land of fantastic beer.  Isn’t every second building in your city a microbrewery now?”  And the answer to all of those questions would be YES (I actually know someone who rents farmland on which to grow his specially-cultivated hops.)  A big old YES…50’s just perhaps not one of those beers.  Then again, we also have LXD (Labatt Extra Dry), Molson Dry (*shudder*) and a high octane, out-of-production animal by the name of Molson XXX, which is the first alcohol I ever drank.  It tasted like cardboard and nightmares.

But 50 will always hold a special place in my heart, and presumably also in the hearts of many, many Canadians across this great country.  It’s the beer of university house parties, homecoming weekends, moves and cottage weekends, and one epic night of karaoke at the Duke of Somerset.  So I can think of no better way to usher in Canada’s 150th than by raising a sudsy pint to the beer that’s been here for the big moments, the little moments, and all those other moments in between that we just call Canadian life. To the next 150!

FingerCandy.ca, eh?

FC.ca Full

This post has been edited for clarity.  As in when I wrote it, I could not have been less clear.  So let’s try this one more time!

These nails – which I am super proud of, by the way; that lettering was not easy, and drawing maple leafs has never been my forte – honour my recent acquisition of the FingerCandy.ca domain name.  As it stands right now, this blog, which I publish via WordPress, is somewhat encumbered by its lengthy URL (FingerCandy.wordpress.com.) Moving to a .ca address simply makes Finger Candy easier to find during web searches, all by removing that bulky “wordpress” identifier.

So what is required of you, my dear readers?  Follow/unfollow?  Re-up your subscription? Clear your cookies and, um, cache your browser something-or-other? Actually, there’s no action required of you at all – type “FingerCandy.ca” into a browser and you’ll automatically be re-routed to the FingerCandy.wordpress.com page, same as it always was.  Or if you’re super wedded to typing “wordpress” into the URL, you can stick with that, too – both addresses take you to the exact same site, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.  And if you’ve been kind enough to subscribe to my blog or follow it via the WordPress platform, nothing will change there either – you’ll still be subscribed and you’ll still receive notifications (you *can* turn those off, by the way, in the event you’re feeling inundated.)

So basically nothing has changed, eh?  Just the way we Canadians like it. 🙂

FC.ca Fingers

Tulip Fest

Tulip Fest Angle

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a thing that happens in my fair hometown of Ottawa, Ontario every May, a grand, sprawling celebration of, among other things, the 100,000 tulip bulbs the Dutch royal family gifted to Canada in 1945 as thanks for sheltering a princess and her daughters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.  The great-great-great-great-great-great-to-whatever-infinity grand-flowers of those original tulips have blossomed every spring here in the Nation’s Capital (or not; sometimes we still get snow at this time of year) since 1953.  As a kid I’d go every couple of years with my parents or perhaps on a school trip, but I haven’t been since high school, when the festival was overflowing with awesome alternative music acts (Tulipalooza was the jam) and a ludicrous number of opportunities to meet cute, grungy boys (once again, thank you Tulipalooza!)

The Canadian Tulip Fest actually just wrapped up its 2017 season, so the artists, the musicians and the Big Lemon have all left the building, but the tulips – over a million spread out in vast beds across the city – are still here, and doing really quite well in our deeply unpredictable spring weather.  So I thought I’d do some nails to commemorate the commemoration of the tulips that commemorate the very special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands.  Phew!

And this has been your Canadian nail art history moment.  Please join me next time when I recount how my family is related to Laura Secord, a war heroine who actually has nothing to do with the chocolate empire that bears her name.  But for now, the tulips!

Tulip Fest Front

Fall Fun Series: Waxing and Waning in Canada

wax-collage-for-ffs

Today’s prompt in the Fall Fun Series is, deliciously, really no prompt at all – nothing set in stone, simply an open-ended call for any old thing you’d like to gab about.  But seeing as the majority of the participants in the Fall Fun Series are wax bloggers (with the occasional diversion into beauty, decorating and personal care) I thought I’d keep things firmly in the wax wheelhouse and talk about my mostly pretty positive experiences as a Canadian (or international) waxie.

First, reconcile yourself to the fact that most vendors will not ship to you.  For those not familiar with the wax world, there’s two types of vendors, commercial (Yankee Candle, Bath and Body Works, the ScentSationals line sold at Walmart) and indie (Rosegirls, Candles From the Keeping Room, numerous Etsy sellers.)  Simply by virtue of being larger business entities, the Yankees and ScentSationals of the world are able to move their products at fairly reasonable and consistent shipping rates, whereas the indies (many of which are part-time, home-based endeavors) are held hostage to the ever-changing vagaries of the postal (and courier) system. International shipping rates already tend to be appallingly high; I can’t blame these small business owners for steering clear of that nonsense.  Others will ship to Canada, but they’ll charge you exorbitant rates to do so.

Unfortunately, that means there’s a number of highly sought-after indie vendors that are simply off the radar for us Canucks (and no, the stupidity of Canada being considered an international country to the United States when we share the same damn continent is not the least bit lost on me!)

But there’s also a few favourite indie vendors I’ve had lots of success with – they all have extensive scent lists, creative branding and quality products, they provide across-the-board great customer service and, best of all, they all ship to Canada, and at not-too ridiculous prices either!  Here are a few of the indie vendors I’d recommend to any Canuck looking to expand their wax collection.

K’s Kreations

new-ks-picture

Based out of southern Indiana, K’s Kreations is the first indie vendor I ever placed an order with.  Owner Kathy Newman Turza offers her holy-wow-is-it-ever-going-to-end scent list in a number of different forms (traditional candles, wax tarts, rainbow brittle) and even offers an all-the-time custom blending option that I can’t help but think no one knows about, because if they did, the place would be swamped and you’d never be able to get an order in (oops…)  In the year or so that I’ve been a K’s customer, I’ve placed two custom orders, including one for this stupendous blend of Mango Sorbet and Raspberry Zinger that I dubbed Mango SnoBall because I forgot that Zingers and SnoBalls, while sharing a manufacturer (Hostess) and an exterior colour palette (white frosting, pink coconut) are not the same animal.  No matter, this blend is WONDERFUL.  I’m beyond pleased and shall be back for more (next time with the proper nomenclature!)

new-mango-snoball-collage

Unlike many wax vendors, who operate on an announced-event kind of schedule, K’s Kreations is open all the time, and Kathy’s turnaround time (the time between ordering and shipping) is typically only a few days. International customers are asked to contact K’s before placing an order, mostly in an effort to minimize or streamline those often outrageous shipping costs.  Kathy also provides some pretty outstanding customer service – one time a single tart was checked off on my shipping manifest, but absent from the mailed package. I contacted Kathy just to let her know, not really expecting any sort of action, and within about two and a half minutes she had written me an apology e-mail and credited my PayPal account for the lone missing item.  Just a tiny little thing that’s indicative of stellar business values.  If you’re interested in checking out K’s Kreations for yourself, you can find their website here.

Rosegirls

rosegirls-stack

I understand that Rosegirls, a very well regarded wax vendor out of Wisconsin, used to be some of the hardest wax to get your hands on – blink-and-you’ll-miss-them flash openings, bogged-down customs lists and long turnaround times were a barrier for most to Rosegirls’ rich, artfully composed blends.  I certainly did not fare very well my first (and only) custom opening.  Then a year or so ago owner Jenny Oaks overhauled the business model, shelving the things that were eating up too much time (the customs list) while streamlining others (monthly samplers, pre-orders and Mini Melters.)  Now it’s almost criminal how easy it is to get your mitts on some Rosegirls wax; it’s why nearly three-quarters of my wax collection comes direct from Oshkosh, WI!

Well, that and the fact that their wax is really quite terrific, with a signature sort of creaminess to even non-creamy blends that sets them well apart from other vendors.  I’d say that rich, multi-layered bakery blends are the thing Rosegirls is best known for, although they offer a wealth of gorgeous, super unique blends in all sorts of scent profiles, from earthy, to fresh, to floral.  And while I love Rosegirls’ adorable little blended chunks, I’m really quite partial to their Mini Melters, single scents you can melt as one or blend as you see fit.  Like, say, in this no-way-that-worked combo (oh, but it did) of Pomegranate, Mango Sorbet, Lemon Poppyseed Cake, Swizzle Sticks and two colours of Cotton Candy Frosting.

party-in-my-cotton-candy-bungalow

The one pain to dealing with Rosegirls is their wax is available almost exclusively via pre-order, which means you pay now but only receive your items two to eight weeks down the road. I really don’t mind waiting, particularly if it means I don’t have to engage in any silly online retail antics, but I also like the convenience of, say, K’s ready-to-ship model. Rosegirls announces the times for their monthly pre-orders and other openings via their super active Facebook page; if you’re interested in their terrific wax, you can find a link to that page here.

Sassy Girl Aroma

sassy-stack

Sassy Girl is a vendor I’ve only purchased from a handful of times, but I’m super impressed with their quality, complex scent blends and within-the-week turnaround times. Like Rosegirls, Sassy’s wax is available in little blended chunks, as well as about six bajillion other forms (medallions, loafs, sheet cakes and shapes, to name just a few.) Sassy’s wax is a bit harder than, say, Rosegirls in terms of actual composition, although in my experience, that makes for a super long-lasting and incredibly strong product.  My favourite Sassy scent is Blueberry Meringue Cinnamon Crunch Torte, an ungodly sounding combo that is pure, this-shouldn’t-work deliciousness – blueberry bakery, not too sweet, dusted with cinnamon and lemon zest. Yum.

Like K’s, Sassy Girl Aroma operates on an open nearly all the time, ready to ship model, with restocks approximately every three weeks.  If you’d like to check out Sassy’s extensive catalog of products, you can find them here.

I’m sure there are other indie vendors out there that ship to Canada, or might ship to Canada if you were to ask nicely enough (you’d be surprised; some of these small business owners have been tremendously accommodating) but these are the ones who have earned my business, and who I will return to time and again (or until I run out of storage space, which could be quite soon!)

There are also a couple of vendors that do ship to Canada that I declined to discuss here, as their shipping costs are just too prohibitively high (like, $50 US – so about $75 Canadian – to ship two pounds of wax.  As IF.) So an incomplete list.  But a good start for any Canadian waxie looking for a bit of guidance on working your way around the Canuck-friendly wax world.  I hope some of this information helps. 🙂

Fall Fun Series: The Beginning

20111106-fall Fun

Good afternoon, friends!  Heading into this beautiful early Fall weekend with something a little different.  For the next couple of months, I’ll be participating in a bi-weekly blogger round-up with a bunch of other fun folks as we explore our various Fall favourites and traditions.  Not to fret if you’re here purely for the nail art; there will still be LOTS of that, as I’m also participating this month in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge.  But!  Aside from a seemingly never-ending series of Stranger Things manicures, I’ll also be joining in with some other bloggers every Monday and Friday as we gab about our favourite Fall decorating tips, smelly things, yummy things, leafy things, spooky things and everything in between.  I hope you’ll swing by and join us, should the Fall spirit move you.

Amanda at Thrifty Polished
Ashley at The Bohemian Sassenach
Jessica at The Meltdown Blog
Julie at The Redolent Mermaid
Lauren at LoloLovesScents
Lindsey at Little Bit of Lindsey
Liz at Furianne
Stephanie at Imperfectly Painted
Sunnee at Our Sunny Life

Some of these bloggers have been in and out of each other’s lives for years now, while others – like me! – are brand new interlopers. 😉  As such, Julie, the planning mastermind behind this series, has designated the first day’s post as a getting to know you, getting to know all about you tag (or at least getting to know all about your Fall traditions, likes and dislikes and just what is up with football already.)  Happy reading, and I’ll see you on Monday with more leafy fun.

1. What is your favourite thing about the Fall?

That oddly melancholy sense of opposing forces hard at work – new beginnings (school, jobs, hobbies, relationships) butting heads with final farewells (changing leaves, falling temperatures, things settling down for a long winter’s rest.)

2. Do you get Fall colours where you live?

Tons!  Like these seen here in shots snapped off my balcony (you would never know it from these photos from three different days and two different years, but I don’t actually live in the midst of a tornado. Fall in Ontario tends to be quite blustery and rainy.)

Leaf Collage

3. Favourite Fall scent (wax, or anything)?

The slightly sooty, almost cooked scent of lit Jack-o-Lanterns.

4. Favourite Fall food or drink?

I used to think it was Starbucks’ ubiquitous pumpkin spice latte, but in recent years I’ve discovered that I actually don’t care for them very much.  So sweet!  Plus they make my teeth feel all furry. So I’ll say a crisp Macintosh apple, straight from the farmer’s market.

5. Football…yay or nay?

Nay.  I’m not a sports fan of any description, however.

6. Do you rake, jump in or burn piles of leaves?

I live in a condo apartment where those sorts of things are taken care of for me, but I would if I could!  And when I was a kid living in a 100-year-old farmhouse surrounded by tall maples, I did all the time!

7. Haunted house or corn maze?

Haunted house.  Specifically, THE Haunted Mansion in Disney World, Orlando.

8. Have you ever gone on a hayride?

Yes, at least every few years at Saunders Farm, a hobby farm in Munster, Ontario that goes all-in on Halloween every Fall.  The farm, a huge seasonal operation that employs tons of local kids, features two haunted houses, two or three different stage productions, a bunch of corn and hedge mazes and the haunted hayride, an occasionally quite scary and super fun ride through the supernaturally-charged Munster woods. Bumping along in the back of a wooden flatbed trailer with 20 other nervously giggling people, my mitten’d hands clamped down on an apple cider to keep it from flying out the back of the truck, while teenagers in scary masks lunge at the sides of the vehicle, setting off a flurry of shrieks, is one of my favourite Fall activities.

9. Cider or hot chocolate?

Cider.  Mulling spices are the best.

10. Carve a pumpkin or eat pumpkin pie?

Pie me.

11. Do you dress up for Halloween?

I haven’t in years.  This year I may play around with a bit of theatrical makeup, but I haven’t gone the full costume in well over a decade.

12. Candy corn…yay or nay?

Candy corn is the devil’s glucose-ridden pocket candy.  I just loathe it.

13. Favourite Halloween movie?

No word of a lie – and I can’t believe I’m admitting this to anyone other than my best friends, who are likewise incredulous – but Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows.  Judge me all you want, but it’s awesome/terrible and I love it!

14. Scariest movie?

The Descent.  If you are even marginally claustrophobic, this movie will send you into a complete panic.

15. Halloween or Thanksgiving?

Why can’t we have Halloween with Thanksgiving food?  Too much of a good thing all at once?  I will ultimately say Halloween, though, because October 31st is my wedding anniversary.

16. Do you watch the Macy’s Parade?

Despite being Canadian, I certainly could, although I never have.

17. Apple pie or pumpkin pie?

Always apple pie, but only my mom’s.  I’m incredibly pie-ist that way.  Otherwise, I’m Team Pumpkin.

18. White or dark meat?

White.  And a Tofurkey for my husband.  While wearing this hat.

Turkey Hat

19. Jellied or real cranberry sauce?

I actually prefer lingonberry sauce, but jellied cranberry sauce (with the rings) is a staple of any good holiday dinner table.

20. Will you host or travel for Thanksgiving this year?

Yeah, travel about six blocks to my parents’!  My mom is a great cook and she always does Thanksgiving up right.