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

 

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Fall Fun Series II: My Apple is By Far the Most Crumblest

Apple Nails

This post will be a bit on the shorter side on account of the fact that during last year’s Fall Fun Series, I completely blew myself out on apple scents.  Caramel apple, toffee apple, green apple, crab apple – if it was flavoured or scented comme une pomme, I (over)enjoyed it.  As such, I have very few apple-scented products to share with you, even during this heady autumnal time.  More on them in a second.  But I DO have some very cute apple nail art to show you this morning, a simple, lightly sponged manicure inspired by an array of autumn’s awesome agriculture.

But as for bushels of bath and beauty and baskets brimming with wax?  Hmm, not so much.  That’s probably for the best – put a year or so between harvests. 🙂  But I still enjoy a lovely apple scent from time to time – one of my favourite candles, Bath & Body Works’ Pink Apple Punch, is very pomme-dominant.  But like everything, best enjoyed in moderation.  So, what crispy sweet goodies will be scenting my life this Fall?

Fall Goodies Pick

Rosegirls’ Mini Melters in Macintosh Swizzle Sticks (these three remaining chunks are over two years old; it’s a testament to the strength of apple scents that this wax is still quite potent.  I like blending this scent with Mango Sorbet and Marshmallow Smoothie for a lively, sweet and creamy fragrance.)

Luscious handmade soaps in Fruit Fool (blue/green) and Poisoned Apple (green/red) from Dreaming Tree Soapworks.  Fruit Fool smells like a freshly baked apple-blueberry pie, and Poisoned Apple smells like sharp, caramel-coated crab apples.  I’ll have a bit more to say on the subject of these soaps a little later on (spoiler alert: they’re awesome!) but in short, like the ellipses said, they’re awesome.  That’s why I now own enough soap to take me and mine well into the year 2019.

The Lost Boys wax clamshell from Super Tarts.  It’s The Lost Boys, and we all know how I feel about The Lost Boys.  I actually talk about it so much, my friend Jaybird had NO choice but to call off my dogs (Nanook and Thorn, of course) with this sweet waxy gift.  Basically, this wax could be scented like cat poo and Victorian London sewer sludge and I’d still want it.  But thankfully it smells MUCH better – like sweet pomegranate, spiced apple cider and toasted marshmallow (on a tangential note, if I were making a Lost Boys-inspired wax, I’d blend salty sea air and spilled bong water notes.  Guaranteed that’s what David & Crew smell like.  Grandpa, too.)

Fragrance oil rollerball from Solstice Scents in Corvin’s Apple Fest.  Juicy sweet and lightly spiced, this fragrance will make a lovely bridging scent between the crisp and cozy days of autumn and the frosty holiday months.

The Bathing Garden’s wax bundt in Nights at the Circus.  A friend-approved favourite, Nights at the Circus is a sweet and spicy pumpkin-apple scent that reminds me of the smell of the craft barn at your local farmer’s market – it even has that slightly woody note to it, like barn planks still damp from the morning’s mist.

Glazed caramel apple wax tarts from The Bathing Garden in Vintage Circus (red) and Victorian Midway (purple.)  Both scents feature a base of Winter Candy Apple, a popular holiday scent from Bath & Body Works – I particularly like the cinnamon note of Vintage Circus.  It smells like Red Hots!

Literary Inspiration: Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book

Ben and Jerry's Collage

I’ll concede straight off the top that my choice of this little cookbook, Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book, is an odd one in satisfaction of the seventh prompt in my friend Julie’s reading challenge.  The task was to tackle a book from which you learn something (you know, other than that you’ve really outgrown chick lit.)  I immediately thought about this bitty little cookbook that my parents gave me when I was maybe nine or 10 years old.  Which, for those keeping score at home, means I’ve had this book – a bargain bin find of less than $1.50 in 1987 on account of the small notch in the upper right-hand corner of the cover – for 31 years. This book has seen things, man. Specifically, it’s seen a LOT of action – this is the cookbook from which my much-beloved chocolate chip cookies are birthed (your standard chocolate chip cookie recipe, but there’s just something to them that makes people lose their minds a bit when they’re in their presence.  I can’t share the recipe with you, because then I’d have to kill you.)

But all great things aside, it’s an odd choice in that The Story of Ben & Jerry’s that kicks off the book – a very entertaining, informative read about the duo’s early years – is just 17 pages long, and the rest is recipes.  Easy-to-follow recipes that produce delicious results, as I can attest across about a dozen different ice creams and desserts, but recipes all the same.  Also, it’s a book I’ve had in my life forever, and when I started this reading challenge, one of the stipulations I made was that all of the books I chose were going to be from my to-be-read pile, and I have absolutely enjoyed this cookbook – both the recipes and the cute, witty little story that kicks off the book – time and time again.  So I may have to revisit the seventh prompt in this reading challenge with a slightly beefier, newer read (Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson is on my hit list.)

Ben and Jerry's Book with Nails

But this book is such a charming little treat, I couldn’t let the opportunity pass to do another inspired-by manicure.

Ben and Jerry's Nails

And there’s also much to be learned from this book, with its rags-to-slightly-ritzier-rags origin story, really fantastic recipes (I’ll never understand the voodoo that those chocolate chip cookies hoodoo, but wow, do people love the results) and adorable illustrations.  I have always loved the graphic design of this book, with its bubbly lettering, hand-drawn characters and bright colour palette.  It’s so. darn. cute.

Ben and Jerry's Pages Collage

Definite problem, though, particularly when you’re trying to watch your diet: reading Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream & Dessert Book WILL make you ravenously hungry for creamy sweets, in the way that reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory will make you want to immediately eat a chocolate bar or watching Pulp Fiction will make you want to devour whatever the hell a Big Kahuna burger is (surely not just me.)  But a small pittance to pay for such a cute and entertaining read. 🙂

Banana Split

Banana Split with Cherry Fingers

Hey look, it’s that banana split water marble I’ve been promising all summer long, extra sprinkles, cherry on top.  And wonder of wonders, it kind of turned out this time – there’s definitely more banana to these sundaes than my last frozen pink lemonade attempt. Anyhow, grab a spoon, dig in and all that other yummy stuff!

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? 🙂 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. 😉

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. 🙂

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 – clocking 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.

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!)

I Carried a Watermelon

I Carried a Watermelon Bottle

Little Dirty Dancing humour for you there on this Victoria Day long weekend.  Which would normally signal the start of summer – hot and hazy temps, fireworks and lots of watermelon – except it’s about 10 degrees above zero today and gloomier than a Tim Burton film.

So I thought I’d liven things up a bit with this watermelon mani featuring one of my favourite polishes, KB Shimmer’s Belle of the Mall.  I’ve rhapsodized about this polish on more than a couple of occasions, and with its lively mix of silver holographic glitter in a fruit punch-hued base, it makes a more than adequate stand-in for summer’s juiciest and most ubiquitous fruit.

Odd little blank spot in my life: I have never consumed an electric (or shall we say alcohol-enhanced) watermelon.  Can anyone tell me if I’m missing out here?  I feel like maybe the time for such conspicuous consumption is beyond my advancing age and liver, but I could *perhaps* be convinced otherwise. 😉

I Carried a Watermelon Fingers