Wake Up and Smell the Stupidity

Wax Collage

Also the scented wax coffee blends, but more on those in a second.

In my end-of-the-month spending assessment for March, I indicated that I hadn’t yet worked up the nerve to address the spend-a-thon I enthusiastically undertook in 2017 in any real detail.  Frankly, I was scared.  It’s difficult to confront hard and unflattering financial truths, isn’t it?  But Mr. Finger Candy and I recently made some smarter-than-usual financial decisions, and they have paid off in our ability to hopefully very soon book a second, interim Disney vacation between now and our bought-and-paid-for trip at the end of the year.  We’re even looking into becoming annual passholders.  This would have been completely incomprehensible this time last year for a wealth of reasons, including our actual wealth – hard to go on lots of fun Disney vacations when every cent you’ve got (and plenty of those you haven’t) goes into wax or nail polish or streamable media or video games.

So I took the plunge, and the total as represented through my PayPal account alone was startling – over $5,000 Canadian.  Feel free to let your jaw rest there on the floor for a bit – mine certainly took a while to rejoin the rest of my wide open mouth.  Distressingly enough, that $5,000 doesn’t even represent the purchases I made on a credit card, or the almost vulgar amount of shipping and customs fees I paid out of pocket.  Those alone could total in the thousands.

So yes, this was a hugely unflattering look into last year’s apparent total abdication of financial responsibility, a state we’re only now emerging from thanks to a lot of “sacrifice” and daily diligence.  But it was also a necessary peek behind the curtain, where of course there was a wizard furiously pulling the levers, a nasty little gremlin in dinky short pants who encouraged us to replace life with things.  Turns out, neither one of us was particularly enjoying the gremlin’s not-so-sage counsel, which is the moment we decided to really turn things around.

I love my nail polish and my scented wax and Mr. Finger Candy loves his Apple purchases and his GTA DLC, but I think life experiences, as well as the comforting assurance that your finances are not a total clusterbiff, are more important to us now.  God, getting old can be such a drag, suddenly you’ve got to be all responsible and shit. 😉

As always, some of that responsibility is manifested in the mantra of “Don’t buy more; just use what you’ve got.”  I’ve been following this sage advice for a while now, picking up books that have been sitting on the shelf for years, watching movies that have been sitting on the shelf for even longer and melting through my formerly extensive collection of scented wax.  At the beginning of all of this, I estimated that I probably had enough wax on hand to keep me going for eight or nine months.  Nine months may have been a bit of a reach, but eight is looking doable.  I very much hope the end coincides with a really fantastic Rosegirls sale, or a SMT customs opening.  My Mini Melter cupboard is beginning to run bare (not an actual cupboard; I didn’t go that hog wild!)

And the cupboard is running bare because I have been going nuts on the Mini Melter blends, conjuring up all sorts of fun creations in an effort to not deplete any one scent category completely.  Which didn’t stop me from going further nutso on the coffee blends this month – apparently I was really feelin’ the java!  Here are some of the more successful scent blends I came up with, in case you too feel like getting experimental with your scented caffeine.

Absolute Coffee/Marshmallow Smoothie/Monster Cookie/Raspberry Sauce

Wax 3.1

Starting with a tried and true favourite, we have the pleasant bitterness of Absolute Coffee as set against warm brown sugar cookies, fluffy marshmallow cream and tangy, ultra fruity raspberry drizzle.  Egads, this is a yummy blend!  You’ll note that save for one bakery-heavy combination, everything I’ve highlighted here is a fruit-and-coffee combo.  Very strange, as I generally loathe flavoured coffee, particularly the ones that are supposed to smell like fruit (my husband used to love the stuff; I still kept him.) 😉

Blackberry/Vanilla Hazelnut Latte

Wax 2.1

This juicy, fruity treat is equally delicious when paired with scrumptious Marshmallow Smoothie, but I’m down to my last three pieces of my Precious, so I must conserve.  But this blend doesn’t suffer from a lack of creaminess; there’s plenty of that provided by the rich Vanilla Hazelnut Latte, which holds its own nicely against the super juicy Blackberry.

Royal Sugar Cookie/Snickerdoodle Latte/Waffle Cone

Wax 4.1

Next up we have what is probably my least favourite of the four blends, and that’s because I’ve never been fond of Snickerdoodle Latte, the scent that forms the coffee base of this sweet bakery treat.  To me, it’s always smelled very sweet, very powdery and very phony – like Swiss Miss instant coffee mix.  It fared a little better paired alongside buttery Royal Sugar Cookie and toasty, sugary Waffle Cone, but it’ll never be a favourite.

Absolute Coffee/Apple Clove Butter/Marshmallow Smoothie/Monster Cookie

Wax 1.1

Finally, saving perhaps the very best for last, we have what should be an incongruous mix of bracingly strong coffee, warm and creamy bakery and spiced apples?  Sounds abhorrent, smells positively delicious, like a warm, cakey apple fritter.  It’s the closest thing to a total dupe of a favourite Sniff My Tarts custom – very fortunate, as I’m running low on that gem as well.  Fruit and coffee – seriously, who knew?!

Next month/this month?  More of the same financial goodness and cents sensibility, only this time accompanied by slightly fewer coffee-based blends – I’m in danger of running out!  Perhaps an “Anything but Marshmallow” (and Coffee!) challenge would stretch my blending legs, hmm? 🙂

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Attack of the Pumpkin Spice Latte

Pumpkin Spice Fingers Sun Super Closeup

Full confession: I used to be a proud member of the Pumpkin Spice Tribe.  Just pumpkin spice ALL the things, particularly the Starbucks lattes, which I drank by the venti boatful. Then after taking an assessment of my health and finances (and finding the results pretty dim) I pulled back considerably on my PSL obsession, to the point where I hardly ventured into a Starbucks at all.  I’m now back on neutral territory with Fall’s most ubiquitous hot beverage, in part because I now treat them as precisely that – a much-enjoyed treat. And for that my waistline, wallet and teeth have all thanked me greatly (I always say this, but Pumpkin Spice Lattes really prompt the tooth-furries, no?)

So my love of pumpkin spice as a flavour may come and go, but it will always be a wonderful inspiration for nail art, particularly when you have two beautiful holographic polishes just THE precise shades of a delicious, late autumn PSL (KB Shimmer’s Rust No One, left, and Oh My Ganache, right.)  Bonus points if you have a sweet little coffee cup charm with which to seal the deal (or the lid.)

Pumpkin Spice Polish Collage

But all is not totally lost on the edible pumpkin spice front.  I’m still pretty powerless to resist its autumnal charms, so if something comes in a pumpkin spice flavour and it doesn’t sound totally disgusting, I’m probably going to try it (perhaps take that one with a grain of salt; I am, after all, one of maybe only seven people in the world who actually liked Trident’s espresso-flavoured gum.)  And hey, look – here’s a few pumpkiny goodies now!

Pumpkin Spice Products Collage

Starting in the top left-hand corner, we have Starbucks’ instant PSL pouches.  I’m no great coffee snob, but this was just terrible.  I tossed my nearly full cup after just a few sips.  Watery – somehow, even when made with milk – and with a distinct burnt taste, this tasted nothing like a Pumpkin Spice Latte or even its non-union equivalent, the Punkin’ Spice Lah-tay.  Seriously, if your obsession has reached the point that you need something like these instant pouches to get you through the bleak, latte-less hours of the wee, wee morning, you need help.  I’m here for you.

To the right of the pumpkin poison we have pumpkin spice-enhanced 1% milk from Natrel.  This ultra light, not-too-sweet creamer is actually pretty delicious, and a nice little pumpkin spice booster for coffee, smoothies, baking or just plain old drinking.  Very nice.

Finally, along the bottom we have a half-enjoyed package of Voortman’s pumpkin spice wafer cookies.  And the package is half-done because these?  Are AWESOME.  Lightly spiced pumpkin cream sandwiched between crispy, light-as-air vanilla wafers?  Hell, YES.  And did I mention that three cookies are just 150 calories?  So a fairly reasonable little snack to satisfy that sweet pumpkin spice craving we all seem to succumb to at this time of year.

One more time for the nails because they’re kind of dope, this time in the shade.

Pumpkin Spice Fingers Shade

 

Ombre Latte

Ombre Latte

I’d like to pretend that the diminishing gradient-within-a-gradient thing I’ve got going on here was on purpose (my pinkie represents a freshly-layered ombre latte, whereas my index finger is said latte after a few minutes’ rest?) but it was not.  It’s always such a pain when the coolest effects come about completely unintentionally!

This manicure reminds me of this nitro-brewed concoction Mr. Finger Candy ordered at a Starbucks Reserve the other day (AKA Super Pretentious Starbucks with Rough Hewn, Wood Grain bars and a Wine List.)  It had a creamy, gently churning top layer that looked just like the head on a pint of Guinness (also a husband favourite; my man likes his coffee and his beer hella STRONG.)  It was pretty cool – he said the cold brew technique really brought out those notes in the coffee (citrus, caramel, etc.) that none of us can normally detect – but perhaps nothing that needs to be repeated on a daily basis (she says now; wait until the day he’s lugging home canisters of combustible gases so we can nitro our coffee from the comfort of our very own (pre-explosion) kitchen!)

Mocha Madness

cafe-mocha-bottle

Hmm, New Years resolution for 2017: Stop drinking so damn much coffee!  Because I really do consume a great quantity of caffeine, and that’s not the best thing for a person (or their wallet, if they’re buying out, or their teeth, or their sleeping habits, or the environment, or just their general health.  Wait, tell me again why we slug the stuff back as though it were the very essence of life?  Oh right, because it’s bloody, bitterly fabulous! And because there’s a Starbucks on every third street corner, and what else will go there if not another Starbucks?)

Since this has turned into a bit of a diatribe on coffee, I should note that I’ll probably have an easier time than others kicking the caffeine habit, as I’m one of those annoying types that can turn my addiction on and off at will.  Years ago when I went to PEI for three weeks with my mom, who has never consumed a single ounce of coffee in her entire life, I abstained as well.  Aggravatingly enough, I didn’t suffer any withdrawal symptoms, although re-entry was a bit of a bitch – I had three dee-licious cups of strawberry black tea with our final New Glasgow meal, and I was so wired, I probably could have pushed the car back to Charlottetown.

But there’s still a handful of hours left in 2016, and I’m spending them blogging, nibbling on holiday chocolate, messing about with the Sims (4, and I kind of hate it, but gripes for another time and place) and nursing two – count ’em, TWO! – iced coffees from a favourite local shop.  I’m also wearing both coffee and chocolate on my nails, in the form of two more lovely gifts from my husband, coffee cup nail charms from Daily Charme over KB Shimmer’s espresso-hued brown holo, Oh My Ganache.  Mad for this mocha, indeed.

best-cafe-mocha-fingers