A Very Merry Mani

Foodie Tree Collage 3

Hoo baby, we’re in the holiday soup now – it’s the final weekend before the Christmas holidays, and the festive is about to go. off.  Like most folks, I’ve got a lot of social engagements over the coming days, and time has gone all whackeroo.  I swear it was the beginning of the month just last week (it has been, as Counting Crows might say, a very long December.)

I’m actually feeling pretty neutral about the holidays; relaxed to a fault, even.  Save a few stocking stuffery-type things, Mr. Finger Candy and I have no gifts for one another.  It’s kind of a bummer not having pretty presents wrapped up under the tree, but not remotely a bummer when you consider that instead of jewelry or video games or a new coffee maker (shame that, as we kind of need one) we’re gifting ourselves with another trip to Disney World in February of the new year.

Last weekend we hosted my husband’s family for our annual Christmas get-together, and then tonight my mom and dad are hosting another family event that is sure to leave us all desperately wishing for Santa to bring us pants with elasticized waistbands, because my mom does not know the meaning of the word “moderation” when it comes to a holiday meal; if you don’t stagger from the house (with leftovers!) offhandedly contemplating a wee pit stop at the emergency room, she has apparently failed as a mother. 😉

Christmas Breakfast Table

Then this weekend we’ll be dropping in on our friends’ holiday open house, where we always have a nice time catching up with folks we haven’t seen in years.  And speaking of, I’ll be capping off the Christmas social season with an evening in the company of some ladies I’ve known since high school (and in a couple of cases, beyond.)  We try to get together every Christmas, for brunch, or drinks at the pub, or this crazy random party we attend every year that brings out our very best-worst impulses to overindulge and spaz out on the dance floor to the Beasties and the Wu.  Okay, so I actually really love that part. 😉

So we’ve got lots of fun stuff coming up this week, and I’m sure that will pull me out of this neutral zone of disinterest that I’ve been occupying since the beginning of the month.  And I really hope it does, because so far the only thing about the holidays I’ve actually been able to fully get behind is our Christmas tree – I think this year’s edition is perhaps the nicest one I’ve ever decorated.  I’m so glad I put it up early so the Weege could have a chance to loaf beneath its twinkling lights; she loved the Christmas tree.

Foodie Tree 26

I’ve spoken about my tree before – it’s 15 artificial years old this Christmas, and we have history.  As in I have been electrocuted twice whilst lighting it, plus all of the bottom branches are broken, so a full quarter of the tree is held up by, well, itself.  And one year I really super overdid it on the twinkle lights (2,100 of them; how proud Clark Griswold would have been) and nearly suffered a nervous breakdown for my efforts.  These days I stick to a much more manageable 600 or so.

And with the exception of maybe a dozen or so ornaments, every decoration on this tree is of something edible – fast food, candy, baked goods and other sweets.  It’s such a beautiful tree, and every year it proves to be just about my favourite thing about the holidays.

Foodie Tree Collage 1

I purchased a great load of these ornaments over 15 years ago at a 75% off sale at a local Christmas shop, but we’ve amassed far more since as gifts (nearly every one of those Starbucks ornaments) and random retail finds.  My favourites include a glittery glass t-bone, The Christmas Pickle, and that wee rasher of bacon dangling tantalizingly over the photo of our cat, Weegie.  New additions this year include some squashy – yes, squashy! – cupcake and donut ornaments, the cool pewter ornament we got at the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam dessert party at Disney, and two small photo tributes to our dearly missed kitties, Weegie and Porky.

Foodie Tree Collage 2

And because it’s just what I do (or it’s what I did – I really have no idea what this blog is about any more) I whipped up a glittery Christmas mani inspired by my tree, nail charm ornaments and all.  It’s a whole lot of high maintenance look, but then again, so is the tree!  Here I paired those little charms (from Daily Charme, all) with KB Shimmer’s Get Clover It.  Very merry, indeed. 🙂

Foodie Tree 2

Foodie Tree 3

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Food and Wine Time!

Food and Wine Collage

We went to Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival this year, and it was incredible – a food lover’s paradise of signature Disney dishes and lovingly crafted cocktails.  I had no patience for Epcot when I was a kid, and even when we attended the Food and Wine Festival on our honeymoon 14 years ago, we didn’t care much beyond snickering at the little boy who queried his father as they walked by the Canada booth, nearly hidden for the cloud of salmon-scented smoke belching from its sides, “Dad, is that REALLY what Canada smells like?”

But in the 14 years since then Canada has refined its offerings, and we’ve grown a little, too, right into the kind of people who love a food and alcohol festival that offers grownup fun in a gorgeous setting.  Epcot is beautiful and packed full of unique cultural and educational opportunities; you just have to be willing to look beyond the rides to see how much more there truly is.

Food and Wine 14 - Goodies

But this time we came ready to boogie, and we sampled so many scrumptious, decadent, amazing things!  That is also coincidentally the reason why my next post is going to be all about how I’ve really lost sight of my diet and exercise goals whilst living part-time in the vast fishbowl that is Disney.  You can sort of justify eating this way when you’re walking 12-plus miles a day, but in the really real world, the one where you sit on your butt for 12-plus miles a day, you cannot.  I’ve found it hard – have been finding it hard, actually, since our Labour Day trip back at the end of August – to drop the indulgent dietary habits I’ve picked up down Disney World way, and I’m feeling rather displeased with myself for it.  I exercised such discipline in the first year of my “Get your crap together” regime, and one or two blips aside, I felt wonderful, in body and mind, for well over a year and a half.

But since then, it’s been a struggle, and crash weight loss while at Disney aside (you kind of can’t help but lose weight when you’re walking that much every day, bit of shrimp scampi dip notwithstanding) I’ve not been paying much attention to my diet, I’ve hardly been exercising and I think it all sucks.  I want to do better.

But first I’d like you to watch this long-ish video I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, detailing our experience at our first Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  So pull up a chair, grab a wee glass of your preferred poison (a Bloody Mary if you’re watching this in the AM; you know it’s what we’d do!) and enjoy watching two people shove food into their faces in 90 degree heat!  We overeat for your entertainment and delight!  And then we try to rein it in for OUR betterment and delight.

You Can’t Stay in Neverland Forever

Couples Collage

Though we certainly gave it our very best shot with our just-just concluded 11-day vacation at the most expensivest place on earth!  I’m sorry, I mean the happiest place on earth, Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  It also may be the hottest place on earth; save for maybe just 12 approaching-cool hours, every day topped 90 degrees with full, bright sun and sticky humidity.  As always, we had a wonderful time, and we’ve arrived home with bookings for our next trip already in place, so clearly we’re those nuts that embrace the insanity that is wildly overpaying for a vacation in the devil’s sweaty armpit.  No sense denying that!  But this vacation also came with some first-time challenges on the accommodations side of things that made coming home that much sweeter – shelter from the Disney storm.  I’ve been glad to return to non-Disney life, as tempting as it is to just blow off adulthood altogether and live forever in the Haunted Mansion.

The objective of this trip, because we are Type A Disney nerds who do things like plan out mini challenges within an already packed vacation schedule, was to bridge the Halloween and Christmas holidays with two special event parties, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party on Halloween, and then Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party one week later on the final night of our trip.  In between we’d enjoy a lot of great meals at favourite restaurants, celebrate our 14th wedding anniversary, attend our first fireworks dessert party, don our first ever couples costumes, lay waste to Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, meet lots of fun characters, take a pile of goofy (and sometimes Goofy) photos, ride the Mansion half a dozen times, complete Mr. Finger Candy’s first and second decks of Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards, and hopefully enjoy a fun and relaxing stay at another great Disney resort.

And, you know, with the exception of but one of those things (our underwhelming, ultimately truncated stay at Pop Century is a blog post for another day) we tackled everything on that list, and have arrived home victorious!  Also utterly exhausted, and in possession of about 3,000 photos and videos that need to be organized into posts to share with our friends and family, and of course anyone else who might like to join in on our Disney vacation fun.  Come on over to the dark side, we have Poison Apple Cupcakes!

Poison Apple Cupcake

Over the coming days I’ll be sure to drive you bonkers with the recounted details of our trip in a slightly more organized fashion (brace yourselves for the all-food post, because we truly ate ALL the food!) but for now I’d like to leave you with a video I made for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, of our evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios enjoying the Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam holiday dessert party and fireworks show!  Spoiler alert: We get Girl Drink Drunk (that’s a Kids in the Hall joke about the potency of ultra stainy, rum-based cocktails, of which we both now have a great deal of experience!)

Fall Fun Fridays: Autumn Dreamer

Another Mansion Collage

Today’s prompt in the blogging series I’m doing with my friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid is to discuss how we’d  put together our perfect Fall event or vacation.  For our dreamer purposes, the real fun in this hypothetical planning process comes from the fact that we are unencumbered by any real world concerns – money (or a lack thereof), professional and personal schedules, ANY of the usual obligations.  So please do check out both Jay and Julie’s blogs to see what sort of autumn shenanigans they’d get up to completely off the chain!

As for me, come on, you know it all begins and ends with Disney’s Haunted Mansion!  A wedding – hmm, a Halloween vow renewal for two Disney nerds coming up on their 14th? –  the actual ceremony of which takes place in the lobby, in front of the fireplace, beneath the changing portrait of Master Gracey.  Afterwards, guests (and did I mention I have a team of makeup artists and costumers on hand to garb our guests in the finest of the Mansion’s moldering fashions?) will pass through the Stretching Room before boarding Doom Buggies draped in swags of jet black roses.  Upon reaching the diningroom reception, guests will disembark (please don’t ask me how they’re going to climb down, particularly encumbered by dusty, gothic fashions; this is my crazy, impractical dream!) and enjoy a sumptuous feast of, well, this (this being a strip loin steak topped with balsamic shallot butter on a bed of four cheese pancetta and arugula pasta from Mama Melrose’s in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.)

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And for my husband and our other vegetarian guests, there will be a plant-based option that tastes EXACTLY like a steak.  Actually, come to think of it, if that were an option, the entire meal would be veggie.  I ultimately kind of hope that if such a thing actually existed, the entire world would be veggie, but I digress.  No one will drop even a crumb of food down their fronts, and everyone will remain on the responsible, pleasant side of intoxication.  Because there be margaritas a-plenty!

Tequila!

After dessert (my mom’s homemade apple pie, 13 tiers of it and miraculously calorie-free) my new-old husband will waltz me around the dance floor, weaving in and out among the ghosts, to the strains of twenty one pilots, who are there because we’re personal friends and I can just call them up like that.  Josh will NOT be wearing a shirt with sleeves.

This actually reminds me of the ever-so-hopeful exploratory phone call Mr. Finger Candy placed to Disney event services when we were planning our wedding nearly 14 years ago.  He had asked me at one point shortly after we got engaged what my dream wedding looked like, and I gave him pretty well all of the details I laid out above (minus the twenty one pilots stuff, although then – and now – I’d also accept Green Day.  Mike Dirnt’s got nice arms for a bassist.)  So one day he rang them up and asked real casual-like how much it would cost to actually rent out the Mansion, or a portion thereof, for a private event.

Later on that evening we both nearly laughed ourselves into asthma attacks as he recounted the very pleasant and also very delusional Disney rep who quoted him a figure just north of 50K, including a whole host of guarantees we had to make regarding room, food and alcohol sales.  And that was for a two or three-hour event, at best, held in the dead of night after park close, and without any access to the actual ride itself.  I suppose if you had REAL money, you could close the entire ride down just for yourself (hell, close the entire park down just for yourself) but for us regular plebs “just” looking to shut down a small portion of a beloved ride in the most popular theme park in the world (!!) we were looking at a solid $75,000 investment.

So it might have taken 13 years to get there, but I’m feeling really quite positive about our decision last year, on our Halloween anniversary, to ride the Haunted Mansion 13 times in one day.  It’s the most fun we’ve ever had on our anniversary, a total bucket list item, and it didn’t cost us 75 grand!

Grim Grinning Ghosts

Finally, just to keep it wax-relevant, here’s a bit of the Melting Duck’s Foolish Mortal, a Haunted Mansion-inspired blend I picked up some weeks back.  It smells like peppermint-vanilla gum, herbal and a little bit tingly, and the shapes and colours are perfection!  Love everything about this ghostly lovely.

Foolish Mortals Collage

(Finger) Food for (Blogging) Thought

5th Anniversary Collage

So many ellipses!  But that’s this blog, isn’t it, thoughts within thoughts within thoughts?  With the occasional bit of nail art.  You know, when I’m not yakking on about Disney or The Lost Boys. 😉

This blog recently celebrated its fifth anniversary!  In celebration, I went through just a little over 1,500 published posts and pulled a large assortment of food-related manicures – the candy (and cocktails, and baked goods, and turkey legs) of Finger Candy.

Some things I learned from this forensic examination of my blog?  I REALLY like painting my nails to look like food; 152 chow-related manis bear out that assertion.  Also, while I’m very fond of and actually prefer the free-handed approach to nail art, I have leaned on my food-shaped nail charms time and time again, particularly the multi-coloured lollipop charms.  They were a great investment.  Also-also, the further back you go in my blogging timeline, the dodgier my nail art becomes.  In those early days I just had no idea how to compose or properly light a photo, or even how to hold my hand!  It’s not a problem if I just hold it upside down, right?

Below you’ll find a number of collages I created highlighting many – but not all – of the food-related manicures I’ve done over five years of blogging, divided by theme.  Or in this case, divided by grocery department.  I hope you enjoy this look into a huge, happy part of my life!  And if you’d like to take a closer peek at any of these posts, please just click on the “Food and Candy Designs” tag on the right-hand side of the page.  Now someone break out the cake to celebrate this thing so I can eat it…and then paint it on my nails. 😉  To another five years!

Finger Candy

5th Anniversary Candy Collage

Baked Goods

5th Anniversary Baked Goods Collage

Fresh and Fruity (and Veggie-y)

5th Anniversary Fruit and Veg Collage

Drinky Drinky

5th Anniversary Beverage Collage

Savoury Snacks

5th Anniversary Savoury Collage

Icy Sweets

5th Anniversary Icy Sweets Collage

Be Our Guest!

Be Our Guest Collage

Oh, we WILL, and in just a little under a week’s time, too!  Guesting at the Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, that is, one of our favourite spots to dine on Disney property.  We love it so much (actually, Mr. Finger Candy is, somehow, the real Beauty and the Beast nut in this household) I made this little video all about our experiences there for our YouTube channel, Park or Perish!  So as Lumiere might say, I invite you to relax and pull up a chair as the diningroom and I proudly present…your dinner!  And also your breakfast, as many times as we possibly can.  Happy watching, and bon appetit!

Cupcakes by the Ocean

Cupcakes by the Ocean 1

Well, that’s a terrible pun based off a not-so-great song (Cake by the Ocean by DNCE) that was nonetheless a total ear worm, which is how I wound up doing these nails yesterday when I was in a funky bad mood and could think of nothing better to cheer myself up than some nail art and a bit of bad punnage.  So mission accomplished?  Because I’m feeling much better today, and these nails are pretty funny, and maybe even just plain old pretty. 🙂

Cupcakes by the Ocean 2