August Band of Bloggers

Band of Bloggers Photo

Pop quiz, hotshot: How well do you know your favourite Band of Bloggerette? Sure, we’re all reasonably up to date on each other’s interests, hobbies and the pretty, glittery things that make our hearts go pitter pat, but when it comes to the vitally important markers of a person’s character – favourite band, desert island scent, fight stance in the zombie apocalypse – how well do we truly know our virtual neighbours? ūüôā Let’s delve into 10 deeply random questions and find out, shall we?

1. No really, zombie apocalypse survival strategy: Fight or flight?

I always enjoy the assumption that in the event of such an unlikely scenario playing out, we all instantly turn into master marksman crack shots with nothing but pure ice water running through our veins.  I think the most likely course of action, in a world in which zombies are up and lumbering about, would be to tuck myself into the very furthest corner of a closet and just quietly go insane.  Then my cat will eat me.

2. You’ve been a bad, bad kitty and you have just one final meal coming your way. What’s on your plate?

My mom will be delighted to know that just about everything on my final meal menu is one of her delicious creations. ¬†To start, bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and lots of garlic. ¬†Bit of Romano cheese on top. ¬†Starter flute of Kir Royale. ¬†Obscenely garlicky Caesar salad, made with raw egg yolks. ¬†Spaghettini Amatraciana (tomatoes, bacon, white wine, more garlic) with a side of fried chicken. ¬†Another Kir Royale. ¬†Big slice of mom’s apple pie, maybe two. ¬†Coffee, strong, black and sugared. ¬†Goin’ out in simple, delicious style with this one.

3. Aside from wax (or nail polish, or crafting supplies, or beauty products) what item do you have major multiples of?

Life in a condominium apartment presents certain storage challenges, the main challenge being there is none.  So cleaning house, in the literal and figurative senses, has been a casual ongoing project of mine for some years now.  As such, I have very few multiples of anything.  But at one point three or so years ago, I had five nearly identical, horizontally-striped, A-line t-shirt dresses hanging in my closet.  So comfortable!  I use the pilled, stretched-out guys today as swim cover-ups.

4. You’ve just won the lottery. Before best friends you didn’t even know you had begin to show up on your doorstep, what’s the first thing you buy without even thinking twice?

That gigantic Disney vacation I’m always going on about, just with a completely blind eye to money. ¬†As in it will be no object. ¬†First class plane tickets so we don’t get tased and thrown off our flight. ¬†The best rooms in the most top-of-the-line resorts. ¬†Reservations at Club 33, Disney’s not-so-secret supper club. ¬†A night’s stay in Cinderella’s castle suite. ¬†Fifty grand to close down the Haunted Mansion for three hours so we can ride it 13 times in a row solo. ¬†And a couple of bucks to throw at Gaston after he massages my aching shoulders. ¬†Gotta put those muscles – every last inch of them covered with hair – to good use. ūüėČ

5. Biggest celebrity crush? This can be anybody – an actress, a musician, a fictional character from a favourite movie, book or television show, or maybe even an historical figure.

I tend to like ’em dirty and deranged – Edward Norton as Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, Keith Flint of The Prodigy and, most recently, Jon Hamm in Baby Driver. ¬†But at the moment, quite contrary to my usual crush type, it’s Keegan-Michael Key. ¬†I just think he’s so handsome. ¬†Great eyes, kind, open face. ¬†Very little trace of the dirtbag. ¬†I feel like Buffy dating Riley – something’s just a bit off, and it might be the absence of scuzzbucket.

6. Flats or heels? Or are you running barefoot through life like some sort of hippie?

Flats these days (especially when they’re as cute as the adorable ice cream slip-ons below.) ¬†But a decade or so ago, heels all the time, and none of this wedge platform malarkey either – bona fide stilettos, and the more impractical, the better. ¬†I have this one pair of Ralph Lauren sandals that are naught but two flimsy bands of satin wrapped around a razor thin heel. ¬†They retailed for $475 15 or so years ago, but I nabbed them at an outlet for $25! ¬†That wearing them for any longer than half an hour is akin to your feet being whipped by a thousand angry Lilliputians is besides the point – they’re devastatingly sexy (if you can walk in them, and I can) and whadda deal. ūüôā

7. Whether it was created through a customs order or simple pick-and-mix blending at home, what’s the greatest scent blend you’ve ever stumbled upon?

Based off a Rosegirls’ scent they made last year, perhaps the year before, I created a stupendous custom blend with Sniff My Tarts that was – and is, although my stores are running low – one of the best darn smelling things to ever grace my nose – Mango Sorbet, Coconut Cream Pie and Vanilla Waffle Cone. ¬†It’s tart and juicy, with hints of crispy sugar cone and unidentifiably delicious creamy things, and I still can’t get over how well my decorated sheet cake turned out, both in terms of scent and aesthetics. ¬†Lovely.

8. It’s snack time! ¬†Are you reaching for the sweet or the salty?

Salty, always salty. ¬†Preferably salty, deep fried and starch-based. ¬†And I wonder why I have a weight problem (no, actually, I don’t wonder; I think this makes it pretty clear!)

9. What’s a personal style moment you’d never care to re-live?

I think I’ve always looked darn cute, no matter the style-of-the-moment. ¬†In grade 9 I even managed to rock ankle-zip jeans and a pink Northern Reflections sweatshirt with an embroidered LOON on the front. ¬†Or maybe I just thought I was rocking it? ¬†But I went through a bit of an unfortunate punk lite period after university that suited me in sensibility, if not style. ¬†Because there was very little of the latter, just a weird affinity for armfuls of cheap, studded leather cuffs and Emily the Strange hoodies (I shouldn’t knock the hoodie; I wore my cat ear’d (and paw’d) Emily the Strange zip-up on my first date with Mr. Finger Candy.) ¬†My hair also stuck straight up (and out) in an odd, product-enabled kind of spiky faux-hawk that made me look like a mad scientist who’s been electrocuted by her own creation.

10. You are going to live in a biodome beneath the sea for the next three years and have been allotted space for just ONE book (tiny dome!)  What cherished book will keep you entertained for the next 1095 days?

Under the Dome by Stephen King.  A very on-the-nose choice, I realize, but also a favourite novel, and a gigantic beast of one, at that Рclocking in at a massive 1072 pages, it represents the best value for your bitty biodome buck.

If you’d like to play along at home, please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below, and we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

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July Band of Bloggers

BOB 2nd photo

As mid-summer approaches, my mind drifts to vacation times, getaways or mini excursions out and about.  One-tank trips.  Parks to explore.

Do you take a summer vacation or do small getaways?  What do you have planned?  If not, what would be your ideal vacation or retreat?  What are your favourite local haunts?  Give us some places to hang out!

No real summer plans this year (or any year; I don’t do summer very well) save just getting through the dang thing.

But!  My dream vacation?  The mere idea of which gets me up nearly every day at the butt crack of dawn to trawl the pool or pound the pavement in the hopes of whittling my arse down to a Doom Buggy-acceptable size?  The dream that is so potent, it practically comes with its own smell?

Disney. ¬†Disney World, actually, classic Orlando styles (don’t get me started on the incongruities of someone who wilts like a pansy in the heat vacationing in central Florida.) ¬†I used to go just about every year with my parents when I was a kid, and indeed, it’s where Mr. Finger Candy and I enjoyed two weeks of blissful – if humid – honeymooning, but we haven’t been in years.

Time to rectify that in a major way. ¬†And we can start with something I have ALWAYS wanted to do, but which my parents – bless their otherwise terrifically indulgent souls – could never quite manage, 13 straight trips through my favourite place on Planet Earth, the Haunted Mansion. ¬†I’m trying not to hype it up too much, or denigrate all of the other very, very important moments that have occurred in my life (graduating university, getting married, owning a home) but I think it’s going to be the very best day of my life. ūüėČ

And not like they weren’t a lot of work or anything, but I’ll be sporting these nails when I do eventually get there, my second go at recreating the Mansion’s iconic Damask wallpaper, complete with eerily shifting eyes.

Haunted Mansion Fingers

I am not going to lie…as summer starts revving up…I am catching myself daydreaming not only about vacation, but also fall scents. ¬†I am sure it may be too early for some and others melt fall scents year round, but I must ask…where are you planning to order your fall smell goods from? ¬†It can be vendor wax, candles, bath and body or perfumes. ¬†Just spill!

Save a pending Sniff My Tarts custom order, 3/4 of which is mint-based (so more winter there) I have no outstanding orders. ¬†But I’ve always wanted to get in on The Bathing Garden’s gore-geous collection of Halloween-themed bath and body care. ¬†I’ve been so impressed with my two orders thus far, and I can’t wait to see what beautifully creepy little items they come up with for the upcoming haunting season.

Please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below.

And we hope you’ll visit these Band of Bloggers blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

Motivation Manicure: A Dieting Story

Motivation Manicure Fingers

Or “How to Persevere with Your Long-Term Health and Dietary Goals When Your Motivation is Beginning to Wane.” ¬†Except that is WAY too long a title, so Moti-Mani it is!

Regular readers and casual dropper-byers alike may remember that I’m now four months into a rather major overhaul of my family’s general health and wellness. ¬†As in we possessed neither of those things, and I was inching dangerously close to a pit that had nothing at the bottom but razor sharp rocks. ¬†Also diabetes, stroke and heart attack, but I thought the pointy rock thing was apt.

So I hitched up my pants (hahahahahahaha, there was no hitching, silly! ¬†I couldn’t even get my pants BUTTONED) and decided to do the only thing I hadn’t yet tried – make a real, concerted effort to save my own bloody life.

Nearly four months in, I’m pleased to report that I’ve shed a little over 40 pounds and four dress sizes. ¬†Better yet, I now sleep through the evening (or at least as long as my cat will allow.) ¬†I don’t get winded walking up a flight of stairs. ¬†I no longer wake feeling like a UFC match took place in my stomach during the night. ¬†My skin is bright and (mostly) clear. ¬†I have lots of energy. ¬†I no longer sweat while eating. ¬†Or breathing.

And while those are all FABULOUS side effects of a healthier approach to diet, exercise and general wellness, remembering to appreciate those seemingly minor gains for the major motivational milestones they actually are is a trap all of us fall into at one time or another.  We have a tendency Рin all aspects of life, really Рto dismiss the mundane inanities of everyday life in favour of THE BIG SHOW.  We live for those big moments, and that includes the things we feel passionately about, the things that motivate us.

How that tends to manifest itself in the dieter’s mind is a fixation on a major, end-of-diet treat (an expensive vacation, a crossed-off item on the bucket list, a five-star tour of France where you do nothing but eat cheese for 10 straight days, I don’t know your life!)

For me, that major treat is a ludicrously expensive, long and splashy trip to Disney World, one of my favourite places on Earth, and a spot I’ve been avoiding since gaining ALL the weight. ¬†I think about that still-very-nebulous vacation every day as I’m thumping away on the treadmill, imagining that each on-the-spot step is actually me hauling nimble ass towards the Haunted Mansion for the first of the day’s 13 straight rides. ¬†It’s wonderful motivation, an achievable big dream I can¬†almost reach out and touch. ¬†It also sort of has a smell (popcorn, Dole Whip, propane and chlorinated It’s a Small World water, in case you were wondering.)

And that’s what this manicure is, the nail art representation of a beautiful dream that I’m taking much-needed steps towards making a reality every single day (me standing on the Hub grass of the Magic Kingdom waiting for one of the evening’s innumerable fireworks bonanzas as the sun sets in a pastel sky behind Cinderella’s castle, but of course.)

Motivation Manicure Bottle

But plans of dream vacations will only take you so far, as being so far off in the distance themselves, they can begin to feel unattainable – gigantic dreams turned pipe dream. With a long, hard slog ahead and no clear horizon in sight, it’s just far too easy to give up altogether, particularly after suffering a (completely normal and unavoidable) setback.

So I’m choosing instead to also celebrate those little, in-the-middle victories – the increased energy, the improved mood, the sleep-filled nights. ¬†Because it’s good to always keep your eye on the big prize, but it’s also worth checking in every now and then with the smaller successes as well. ¬†They’re the real motivators, and the real reason to continue doing just what I’m doing – because it feels good, and because¬†I feel good. Nothing more complicated than that. ūüôā

Metamorphosis: A Mini Lush Review

Metamorphosis Collage

This bath bomb totally looks like the Death Star, right? ¬†Actually, wait, before any big time Star Wars fans start nerding at me about the placement of the exhaust port amidst all of those little concave notches, I’ll amend my statement to say this bath bomb totally looks like Spaceship Earth, right?! ¬†For those who don’t speak Disney-ese, that’s the name of the attraction that resides within the giant geodesic dome at the front gates of Epcot. The ride is basically a journey through the history of human communications – a very, very slow journey. ¬†It also features some of the most disturbingly lifelike – and just plain disturbing – animatronics in any Disney park (and there really are so very many to choose from.) ¬†But it’s essentially 20 minutes of darkened, seated, gently moving air conditioning, which means there will always be a place for it in Florida.

Anyhow, with its little speckled dimples, I think this Metamorphosis bath bomb from Lush looks like Spaceship Earth. ¬†The ride is sometimes affectionately referred to as The Big Ball of Boring, which is also apt when describing this bath bomb – cool outward appearances aside, this one didn’t have much zing. ¬†Again. This is kind of becoming a trend with my bath bombs, and a highly regrettable one at that – I don’t like it when the insides don’t match up with the super cool outsides.

Metamorphosis Pic

While I didn’t love the scent of Metamorphosis, fans of the Lord of Misrule line (a black pepper, vanilla and patchouli fragrance) will find its spicy scent quite pleasant. ¬†And while I also didn’t love that this bath bomb puttered out in a little under a minute – again – I did appreciate the deeply unusual colour combination, an odd assortment of charcoal grey, mustard yellow, baby pink and, right at the very end, a tiny puff of grass green.

At the moment the Metamorphosis bath bomb is an online-only purchase.  It retails for $8.95 Canadian.

Your Face is Good, I’m a Soos!

soos

I think my love of animated Disney television show Gravity Falls has been pretty well documented on this blog, both in my choice of nail art and then just everyday life, where I aim to watch at least one half-hour episode every couple of days (cartoons and chicken fingers for lunch – it’s not just for toddlers!) But when it comes to my nail art at least, I’ve always focused on Mabel, one half of the Mystery Twins duo of 12-year-old Dipper and Mabel Pines. Mabel’s the easy choice – her naturally exuberant personality and flair for knit-based fashion means there’s a near endless wellspring of adorable designs and fun little nail art touches just waiting to be tapped.

And so instead of another Mabel mani, I thought I’d finally do a manicure inspired by my actual favourite character, handyman, journeyman and all around good guy, Soos (Jesus Alzamirano¬†Ram√≠rez to his snoopy abuelita and the Department of Motor Vehicles.) ¬†22-year-old Soos is an unlikely hero. ¬†He’s shaped like a gumdrop, he wears cargo shorts without irony, he sports, in his words, a “sorta mustache,” he lives at home with his grandma and he’s the handyman at a junky curiosity shop by the name of the Mystery Shack run by Dipper and Mabel’s con artist Great Uncle Stan. ¬†Absolutely none of that looks good on paper.

But Soos is also, in Wendy’s words, a “sweet guy with a steady job and a pickup truck.” ¬†He loves his abuelita, who raised him from birth after his mom went MIA and his dad stopped visiting. ¬†Moreover, he loves Stan, who’s not just his employer, but a gruff kind of mentor and father figure as well. ¬†Handy with a socket wrench and a loofah (hey, Stan’s back is not going to exfoliate itself) Soos is willing to do anything for the Pines Family, and he adores the kids (who return his love by fighting in a futuristic gladiatorial battle for the chance to turn back time on Soos’ lonely childhood. ¬†Soos uses the wish instead to fix up Mabel and Dipper’s war wounds, explaining that they fought monsters through time for him, when his own father couldn’t be bothered with him at all. ¬†It’s SO sweet, and I tear up every time I watch it. ¬†He also wishes for a slice of infinity pizza.) ¬†He’s basically just a super sweet, really affable dood, and I really loved painting on his tiny, patchy ‘stache. ¬†Team Soos!

Mabel Manis!

mabels-manis-collage

Mabel Pines, spunky animated darling of Disney’s Gravity Falls, is kind of my hero. ¬†Aside from her enviable collection of colourful turtleneck sweaters (12 of which I recreated here in these three manicures) she’s kind and loyal, friendly and thoughtful, but also highly excitable and prone to happiness-induced spaz attacks (when she learns that Soos, the sweet-but-dopey handyman who works at her uncle’s curiosity shop, has successfully set up a date with an actual woman, she goes positively apoplectic with joy and just starts destroying everything within sight.) ¬†She’s also completely devoted to her pet pig, Waddles, rules at mini golf, prefers the company of her dorky twin brother, Dipper, and even dorkier friends to that of most other people, is not the least bit phased by all of the supernatural goings on in Gravity Falls and firmly believes that her summer vacation will bring her her first epic romance (gnomes, mermen, puppeteers and bouffantly coiffed tent revival shysters need not apply, but a tortured teen vampire type would be ideal.) ¬†I actually suspect that Mabel might be living all of our best lives. ¬†She definitely has the best wardrobe, with tons more turtlenecks to come!

Disney Girl Challenge: Madame Leota (31DC2016)

madame-leota-hand

For non-Disneyphiles, Madame Leota is the spirit of a deceased clairvoyant who lives in the Haunted Mansion.¬† She’s remarkably chatty, dramatically intoning all sorts of wisdom from beyond the corporeal realm, although she don’t get around much – Madame Leota is naught but a head in a crystal ball. ¬†Which made these nails for day 29’s theme of the supernatural in the 31 Day Nail Art Challenge sort of difficult; how do you create a design around a character who’s really a supernatural paperweight resting on a fringed, velvet tablecloth? ¬†Well, you start by painting an adorable, smirking Madame Leota on your thumb, as she’s not much for smiling. ¬†Then you add her velvet-flocked tablecloth (one does want a hint of colour, after all) and the musical instruments that dance across the walls of her seance room.

Once when I was a kid the ride stopped for about 10 minutes right in front of Madame Leota’s crystal ball, and I started conjuring up all sorts of delightful fantasies about how my parents and I – and just the three of us – would be forced to live out the remainder of our days in the Haunted Mansion. ¬†I was, of course, totally okay with that plan – it was like my greatest dream was actually coming true! ¬†No doubt my parents, who had been sitting there for 10 long, dark minutes listening to Madame Leota drone on and on about “regions beyond” were less enamored. ¬†So it’s just as well that the ride started back up again and we moved on (only to disembark, and then immediately line up for another go-round; my parents let me be a weird kid sometimes.)