April Band of Bloggers

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It’s that time of year again!  As the warmer weather soothes stiff joints and brushes off the last vestiges of winter, homes beg for the same fresh start everyone promised themselves at the beginning of the year.  Clothes are donated, rooms are scrubbed, and yards are tended.  While the fauna leave their winter dens or return from long migrations, the world blooms with new growth in vibrant splashes of colour.

For April’s Band of Bloggers post, we will answer a few questions about Spring and the ever-loved Spring cleaning.  Feel free to join in and answer these questions in the comments below!

Do you decorate for Spring?

Save some specific Easter decorations that I pull out around the end of March, it’s ALWAYS Spring in my apartment – lots of raspberry red, robin’s egg blue and a pink I like to refer to as “Strawberry Fluff.”  This spattered egg wreath actually sits on a little decorative shelf above the second bedroom bed year-round.  My best friend once commented that I have the perfectly decorated single girl’s apartment – remarkable, as I live with a man, and a pretty messy one at that!

Wreath Pic

Are there any products you find yourself reaching for as the weather warms?  This can be anything; food, clothing, bath and body, wax, you name it!

I suppose like most people shrugging off the final frosty bits of winter, I start to lean towards fresh, fruity and floral scents for both my person and my home.  After finishing off a bottle of hand soap the other day, I reached into my extras drawer and pulled out two choices – some fruity berry thing, bursting with Springtime freshness, and a beautiful Bath & Body Works scent by the name of Winter White Woods, an unexpected favourite of mine that smells like a still copse of snow-laden birch trees.  Glancing outside, I saw that the actual birch trees surrounding my building were laden with snow themselves, so back into the drawer Winter White Woods went – perhaps best to put a bit of distance between winter and Winter, yes?

Do you participate in the Spring cleaning craze?

Living in a condo apartment building, I thankfully have very few Spring maintenance duties to attend to.  But before the summer spiders arrive and drive me back indoors, I sweep down the balconies, wash the windows and frames, maybe set out a few pots of pansies (which I haven’t in years; my dear, late kitty, Porky, LOVED to nibble on freshly potted pansies – would actually race me to the balcony door so she could rip off their little lion’s heads like the savage predator she was – and I haven’t had the heart to buy any since her passing.  Maybe this year.  Miss you, Pork Chop.)

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Don’t forget to visit these fellow participants in the Band of Bloggers and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

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.

Fall Fun Series: A Small Fall Haul

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Today’s installment of the Fall Fun Series called for a showing of our Fall decorations, but I can’t do that because a) I don’t have that many; my Fall decorating funds (and precious, precious storage) have already been allocated to my Halloween decorations, and b) my balcony, which is where I house my seasonal decorative items in covered storage, has been INUNDATED with terrifically large spiders (and their webs, and babies, too!) that I like to joke (?) are chilling at our place while on vacation from their jobs as extras in the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies – they are seriously that big.  For scale, here is a photo of my cat Weegie sunning herself in a corner window, oblivious to the eight-legged death dangling just above her head.  Also, just to terrify you even further, I’ll note that when she jumped up into the window, the spiders rappelled down from somewhere out of sight I don’t even want to think about, bouncing to a stop just above her head when I think they realized they were on one side of the glass and she was on the other.

spider-snack

So large, aggressive and super smart arachnids have overtaken my balcony; do you blame me for not wanting to go rustling about in those covered containers trying to find an old spiderweb-covered wreath I’ll only have out for a couple of weeks before it’s replaced with a Halloween one?  No!  Or at least I hope not.  Besides, I can’t blog about ANYTHING if I’ve screamed myself to death.

So instead of showing the decorations, I thought I’d do another showing of the scented wax, because – no joke – about three minutes after I hit the publish button on last week’s Fall wax post, a lovely box of goodies from Rosegirls showed up on my doorstep, positively brimming with Fall scents (plus a few winter holiday ones just for good measure, an odd little blank spot in my wax collection.)  And so I did what I always do when I get a bunch of wax that I’m not sure whether I want to sniff or stare at or maybe even eat and slapped it on a cake tray and took pictures of it to share with you!  Man, blogging is a weird animal sometimes.

So what are the most recent additions to my Fall wax stash that have necessitated the purchase of a bigger basket in which to house all the delicious-smelling stuff?  Additions like pie slices in:

Apple Puff Pumpkin Pie, a highly spiced apple blend with an interesting, not-quite-bread/not-quite muffin bakery note.
Apple Colada, a sweet, mild apple tinged with something slightly tropical.
Egg Nog Caramel Ice Cream; Tucking this sweet slice away for winter holiday use.

pie-slice-collage

And then an unexpected bounty of fantastic Fall scents in a variety of chunks, including:

Harvest Bake Sale Noel, a craft-store-in-the-Fall kind scent infused with Bath and Body Works’ musky (and insanely popular) Vanilla Bean Noel fragrance.
Spicy Apple and Peaches Ice Cream; My favourite scent out of the whole sampler – spicy, creamy, fruity and tart.
Toffee Apple Ice Cream, a creamy candied apple scent.
Peppermint Noel; Vanilla Bean Noel strikes again, this time tempering Rosegirls’ nose-burningly strong peppermint.  Another one I’ll be tucking away for the colder winter months.  Lord knows I’ve got enough of those ahead of me!

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Don’t Put Me On the Shelf

Shelf Nails

Well, this is a new level of random for me, a manicure inspired by the decorative rice bowls that sit on the top shelf of the left-side bookcase that flanks my television.  So specific! But accurate, as this manicure IS inspired by those rice bowls, which I purchased years ago from ModCloth, and the top shelf of the left-side bookcase is indeed where they usually reside, along with a number of other family memory-type knick knacks.

Livingroom Shelves

Here’s a better look at our entertainment/decorative set-up, virtually all of it hidden because wires and DVD cases make me ragey, but family photos and pictures of our dearly departed kitty, Porky, do not.  So in hindsight, between the nails and the sweet mementos, this is one shelf I would definitely not mind being put up(on.)

Livingroom

Take a Bough (OMD3)

Bough Hand

As we head into the second and a half week of the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge, I thought I’d take stock of how well I’ve fared thus far – namely, not super well! Or at least not super timely. I’ve been a day or two off the pace right from the very beginning, although the rather traumatic passing of my beloved old kitty, Porky, last week really brought things to a screeching halt. Terribly hard to motivate when you can’t stop crying.

But as the sexy as hell Jeff Goldblum once said (I’m allowed to talk about the death of my cat in one breath and the hotness of Jeff Goldblum in the other because he was her human celebrity crush; Victor Garber was the other) “Life finds a way.” And life is indeed finding a way as Mr. Finger Candy and I, and our other kitty, Weegie, attempt to navigate this new, Porky-less normal that has been thrust upon us. I won’t lie, though, friends – losing a pet just fucking sucks.

Returning to my nail art, though, has been its own form of therapy, and I’m glad to have the challenge holding the thematic reins, because creative thinking right now? Is barely happening. Of course, that doesn’t mean I can’t tinker with the themes a bit, bending them to my particular skill set and interpretation, much as I did with these basic boughs, which are my entry towards day 11’s theme of leaves in the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge. Because boughs bear leaves (what did I tell you about this higher thinking stuff, hmm?)

Bough Fingers

Gold Star, A for Effort (OMD3)

Gold Star HandI very recently – as in 43 hours and 50 minutes ago, not that I’m counting – lost one of my two cats to old age. Her name was Porky, she was 22, and she was my best friend and companion for 15 of those much-indulged years. As I commented on my “Airing of the deceased pet grief” memorial post on Facebook – and as regular readers of this blog are all too aware – I am rarely at a loss for words. Give me the barest outline of a theme and I’ll find a way to build a conversation around it. But I can’t find the words to express how much I cared about that grumpy and demanding little bundle of fur, not because I don’t know what to say, but because I simply can’t force the words past the tears. It’s been nearly two days since she left me, and I’m not sure I’ve stopped crying once, even in my sleep. She’s all I think about.

So it was with the great promise of relief – relief to be thinking about anything else except her final moments, relief to be doing anything else except crying – that I thought I’d turn back to the Oh Mon Dieu Nail Art Challenge I’ve been participating in and catch up on the three or so prompts that have passed me by while I’ve been crying. I thought something simple, like day four’s theme of black and gold, would be a great place to start, particularly when I remembered the pack of star-shaped nail vinyls I bought over the winter holidays and had yet to press into action. How much easier does it get than peel and stick and paint and rip? Even a grief-stricken basket case with hopelessly swollen eyes could manage that!

But I think we all know where this is going, right? Because this particular grief-stricken basket case with hopelessly swollen eyes could not get her nail vinyl mojo up and running, not even a little bit. Granted, this was the first time I was using nail vinyls, and I’m not exactly feeling on top of my A game in any way, but holy wow, were these vinyls, from a company called Nail Vinyls, a PAIN. For starters, the adhesive backing on the vinyls is incredibly strong and sticky. It’s imperative that you use a top coat like Seche Vite to harden up the surface of your nails before applying the vinyl, or else you’ll simply rip the polish straight off your nails. I’d also recommend using an opaque polish for all your vinyling needs; the gold micro glitter I used here, Orly’s Bling, was a touch too transparent and required multiple coats, which crept under the edges of the stars and muddled the overall design. In the final analysis, I ended up dabbing the gold polish onto my nails with a cosmetic sponge, which gave me more control and stopped that pesky bleeding edges business. Finally, after removing the vinyls – carefully, so carefully – I went over the little gold stars with a detail brush and a couple of extra coats of Bling to really enhance their sparkle.

I think nail vinyls might be one of those things you build up to – peel and stick and paint and rip they were NOT – but still, this manicure was a lot of work for something I had hoped wouldn’t tax my brain too much. Although on the flip side, fussing with temperamental nail vinyls for an hour and a half made me cease contemplating my grief for an hour and a half, and so I’m counting this one as a win.Gold Star Fingers

Ooh, Naughty!

EMF Do You CollageI’ve spent the past couple of days painting a livingroom’s worth of Ikea bookcases so they look like anything other than Ikea bookcases. Taking them from black MDF to whitewashed wood has been fussy, messy, painstaking work, and although I’ve yet to break a nail (cue that misfortune in five, four, three…) my nails look a FRIGHT. Even if I had managed to find a bit of time to work on some nail art, I’d still have to scrape about a half inch of white latex off my mitts first, and at this point, that’s simply a bridge too far! I can barely even motivate in the direction of the kitchen so I can make myself some dinner. I’ve been imploring the cats to fetch me chow and libations, but so far they ain’t biting (although they might if I keep nagging them!)

So it’s a wonderful thing indeed that I have a couple of these swatchy-type posts in reserve for just such a rainy painty day. Like yesterday’s post, this is another Dollish Polish lacquer, this time the hilariously named English Motherf*cker, Do You Speak It? from their somewhat recently released Pulp Fiction Collection. It bears quite the dirty name for such a ladylike-looking polish, which is of course precisely why I bought it! Unlike yesterday’s post, however, this polish is the total package – gorgeous sandy rose colour, fabulous, creamy consistency and a totally badass name. A solid winner, no question, and thankfully the polar opposite of yesterday’s Dollish disappointment. Lovely, lovely.

Kitten Belly!

Weeger Belly CollageFrom left to right: My cat, Weegie. Weegie’s belly. Nails inspired by Weegie’s belly.

She’s going to be pissed as all hell at me when she finds out I’ve put compromising photos of her tubby widdle skwishy belly on the Internet, although in the plus column, I used Just Add Milk in this manicure, a nude-brown jelly studded with brown glitters from Whimsical Ideas by Pam, and if anyone can get down with the milk…well, the answer to that is ALWAYS the Weege.I Love MewAnother 23