The Gift of Friendship

Gift From Jay

My awesome online buddy Jay of The Candle Enthusiast recently sent me this amazing, incredibly thoughtful gift, and I hardly know what to say – it’s almost as though every item was tailor-made for yours truly, or at the very least, carefully, carefully chosen.  You’d swear we actually know each other in the Really Real World! 😉  Jay would say I’m easy to shop for because I wear my pop culture obsessions right on my sleeve (sometimes more like tattooed across my forehead) but the sentiment remains – regardless of how very easy it is to decipher my likes, this is an outstanding gift, so wonderful and thoughtful.  Thanks again, Jay!

So in addition to a number of custom-blended wax melts, which predictably got smashed all to crap and back again at the hands of the postal service’s ever-so-loving touch, my package included a clamshell of Dapper Dachshunds’ scented wax in Uncle AC, a blend of smoky tobacco leaves, cherry wood, honey and vanilla.  I’ve been railing on for ages now about my fruitless search for a tobacco fragrance that reminds me of the pouches of cherry tobacco my grandfather used to keep rolled up in his breast cardigan pocket, and this is it, this is it, this is totally it!  I’m never going to be able to melt it; looks like this guy will be a “for nostalgic sniffing purposes only” kind of fragrance.

Another hit on the wax front were these Stranger Things-inspired waffle wax tarts from Bonjour Wax Co.  They smell like the phoniest of the phony syrups on any given IHOP table, but I adore them, and Stranger Things as well (might have loved season 2 just a bit more than season 1, if that’s even possible.)

Eggos

In addition to an adorable little Sally plush (which I’ve hung from a light switch in the diningroom, home to all my weird stuff) Jay also included some charming little kitty erasers, which I’ve been huffing because do you know the last time I smelled a rubber novelty eraser?!, and this absolutely stupendous Handbook for the Recently Diseased Deceased enamel pin.  I am SOOOO smitten; have been eyeing the prop Handbooks on Etsy for years now, but this is so much better because I can wear it!  I have already pinned it to the lapel of my winter coat.

Handbook

And finally, we have the find of all finds, Gravity Falls-inspired teas!  From Adagio Teas, these Gravitea (heh) Falls blends draw their inspiration from shooting star Mabel (top) and brooding emo goth dork Robbie (bottom.)  In addition to smelling just fantastic (particularly Robbie’s Blackberry Berry Blues) these teas are impeccably themed – Mabel’s rosehip-based blend contains candy sprinkles, a delightful little nod to Mabel Juice, an ultra high octane beverage of Mabel’s own devising that contains a handful of dinosaur figurines and which Grunkle Stan describes as tasting as though “coffee and nightmares had a baby.”  And Robbie’s dark fruit blend contains tiny, shriveled up berries, surely a nod to his shriveled up berry of a heart.  I just love them!  Love it all!  Thank you so much for this wonderful present, Jay!

Gravity Falls Teas

Advertisements

Fall Fun Series II: Movies, Manis and Melts

Movies and Melts Collage

Spooky movies (or television shows, or books, or what-entertainment-have-you) are the name of this weekend’s FFS game (games, too, if there are any that are autumn appropriate.)  Supernaturally-tinged things have always been *my* thing, so I have quite a few schlocky favourites I like to pull out around this time of year.  Turns out I also have a number of matching manis (with a major emphasis on the Beetlejuice side of things) AND some complimentary wax melts as well.  This is far from an exhaustive list of favoured frightening films, and there are an absolute ton of one-off television shows I love that bring the delightful Halloween spooks (Roseanne’s Halloween episodes were brilliant, as were Buffy’s, AND Brooklyn 9-9.)  But these are clearly the ones that have captured my nostalgia-lovin’ heart.  Don’t know what to tell you, I likes what I likes. 🙂

Beetlejuice Wax and Manis Collage

I probably shouldn’t have included Beetlejuice on this list; that’s an all-the-time watch around these parts, no seasonal designations necessary.  Here I’ve paired five very striped manis with Super Tarts’ Beetlejuice, who apparently smells like apple butter, oatmeal cookies with icing and buttermilk pancakes.  I would have thought mold and moss, but I’ll take these fruity pancakes over that rank-sounding combo any day.

Blair Witch Wax and Mani Collage

I have mentioned before that my favourite movie to watch at this time of year is Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows.  It is SO bad!  But Jeffrey Donovan. 🙂  Actually, I love this makes-no-sense-on-any-level sequel so much, I bought this hideous-sounding (and kind of hideous-smelling) Blair Witch wax tart, a blend of Leaves, lemon, marshmallow cream and “a hint of salted caramel.”  None of those scent notes are particularly compatible, but then again, nothing in the movie works in tandem either.  Except Jeffrey Donovan’s farm rat hotness – it’s clear, a focusing point for my attention.  And eyes.  Or would that be his foine naked arse there at the end of the movie? … (sorry, got a little carried away there…)

TWD Wax and Manis Collage

I keep thinking that one of these days I’ll simply will myself into liking The Walking Dead through pure osmosis, but that remains to be the case.  It’s just a terrible, terrible show.  And this is coming from the person who freely admits to loving Death Note.  So until that day arrives, I’ll just content myself with a number of walker-centric manis, as well as this Zombie Brains wax tart from Super Tarts.  I like the design of this clamshell; it looks like that snot green, TWD-inspired polish on the far right, Look at the Flowers, Lizzie.  Don’t love the smell, though – this key lime, pomegranate and cotton candy blend is hella powdery and provokes mini sneezing fits.  And that simply won’t do when you’re sprinting through the Atlanta woods with a pack of walkers hot on your heels (oh, who am I kidding, this is The Walking Dead; they can’t get above more than a leisurely stroll.  That’s why everyone keeps dying and why they haven’t made it beyond Virginia in seven seasons.)

Addam's Family Wax and Mani Collage

The Addam’s Family is so cute.  I love how hot Gomez and Morticia are for each other, like they’re always just on the verge of throwing down right in front of Lurch and Cousin It.  I’m actually sort of surprised they only have three children – you know they’re boning down allllll over that creepy old house.  Here I’ve paired Addam’s Family, another Super Tart blend of salted caramel, pie crust and pumpkin cupcakes, with Glam Polish’s indigo-to-purple matte micro-glimmer, Wednesday.

The Lost Boys Wax and Mani Collage

Better than Beetlejuice.  Better than The Goonies.  Better than Death Note, ha!  The Lost Boys is legion and I won’t hear a single word against it.  I’ve also joked in the past that I think Super Tarts missed the mark on this scent blend.  As yummy as it is, no way in Santa Carla hell would David and his crew smell like pomegranate, apple cider and toasted marshmallows.  More like salty sea air, spilled bong water and general boy funk.

Friday the 13th Wax and Mani Collage

Speaking of the undead, here’s everybody’s favourite masked movie killer, Jason Voorhees.  Well, I suppose all those horny, machete-d camp counselors aren’t so fond of him.  I used to sit down every Fall and marathon all bajillion of the Friday the 13th movies until one day, I realized I didn’t actually like them very much.  The mid-to-late ’80s sequels in particular (V, Jason X, Jason Takes Manhattan) are atrocious.  But I will always have a soft spot in my heart for 1986’s Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives, in which Jason is bested by an outboard motor.  It’s easily the worst of all of them!  This wax blend – another clamshell from Super Tarts – is quite nice, though, a pleasant, mild combination of apricot, buttercream, ice cream scoop bread and a slash of red berry currant.

Gravity Falls Mani Collage

And while I have no wax inspired by Gravity Falls, I’d be remiss – remiss, I tell you! – in leaving it off this list; the residents of Gravity Falls are so into Halloween, they create a mid-point holiday by the name of Summerween to satisfy their never-ending need for creeps.  They carve Jack-o-Melons, visit obnoxious Summerween Superstores and get haunted – or is that hunted? – by the Summerween Trickster, a malevolent meanie made entirely of discarded “loser candy.”  It’s kind of the cutest. 🙂

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 Ramírez 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!

Finger Candy’s Guide to the Good Gifts

once-again

Happy holidays, friends!  By now, most folks have set out the menorah or decorated the tree or hung the stockings with care.  Now all that’s left is the gut-wrenching panic of erroneously thinking that you’re behind on absolutely everything and there’s still so much to buy and you can’t find that one special gift and HOLY SHIT, WHERE’S THE TYLENOL?!

So allow me to ease your seasonal shopping malaise just a bit with these sweet holiday gift suggestions, perfect for all of the good boys and girls on your list (or at least the ones who like scented wax, fun beauty items and this blogger’s second favourite show of 2016.)

For the nail artist or lacquer aficionado, these gorgeous multi-chromes from Polish Me Silly were the best polish purchase I’ve made in years.  Featuring a buttery smooth finish, tough-as-nails (ha) durability and vibrant, colour-shifting hues, these polishes are perfect for everyday wear and nail art alike.  I’ve certainly made great use of them time and time again, and I’ll definitely be adding more to my collection in 2017.

polish-me-silly-collage

Holiday shipping nonsense being what it is, customers outside of the United States may be out of luck in terms of receiving these by Christmas.  I wouldn’t chance it here in Canada. But there are a ton of indie and commercial brands out there that offer polishes with a similar colour-shifting effect (ILNP, KB Shimmer, Girly Bits Cosmetics, Color Club, China Glaze, Sally Hansen and Zoya, to name a few) and they’d be more than adequate stand-ins.

For the wax newbie, this ScentSationals warmer and wax starter kit, available at your local Walmart.  This pretty bulb warmer, an early Christmas present to myself, comes with four wax clamshells in yummy, seasonally-appropriate scents, and retails for just a hair under $30 Canadian.  A great deal for the person just beginning to dip their toe into the waxy waters.

scentsationals-burner-collage

For the eternal 12-year-old, or people with actual 12-year-olds, Gravity Falls, an animated Disney series chronicling the summer twins Mabel and Dipper Pines spend with their great-uncle Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon.  Don’t let the Disney label fool you – Gravity Falls is sweet without being saccharine, sly without being smarmy and full of so much weird heart, you’ll want to claim the Pines family as your own. Featuring the vocal talents of Jason Ritter, Kristen Schaal, Linda Cardellini, Will Forte, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Coolidge, J.K. Simmons, Nick Offerman, Nathan Fillion, Patton Oswalt and so, so many others, the show’s a wall-to-wall delight of Buffy-style supernatural hijinks, conspiracy theory-type mysteries and bonkers family togetherness.  My second favourite television show behind Stranger Things, and you all know how I feel about Stranger Things (“Yes, we KNOW,” said everyone who followed along on Sandra’s Endless Summer of Stranger Things.)

gravity-falls-collage

For the bathing beauty, an assortment of colourful bath bombs from Lush Cosmetics. Here I’ve shown five selections from Lush’s holiday collection, from left to right, Luxury Lush Pud, Shoot for the Stars, Northern Lights, Mistletoe and Never Mind the Ballistics. Silly names, gorgeous colours and sweet scents – your bath-lover will be in bubbly Lush heaven.

bath-bomb-collage

For the foodie, these jars of sea salt.  At $6 Canadian a bottle (once again at Walmart) they feature great design and super quality at a fraction of traditional “fancy salt” prices.  You can pour the larger pieces of salt into a grinder and use them that way, although I prefer to dump them out into my marble mortar and then grind them up with the pestle, easy peasy.

salts

Finally, for the gracious holiday host or hostess, a Christmas Pickle.  A quirky custom of unknown origin (Germanic?  American?  Macedonian malcontent in his bedroom?), the gift of a Christmas Pickle ornament guarantees the recipient a year free from garlic-related heartburn.

006

Okay, so I made that part up. 😉  The actual tradition involves parents secreting a pickle away in the depths of the tree after the kids have gone to bed.  Then on Christmas morning, the child who finds the pickle first gets an extra little treat.  Annnddddd now that I’m writing all of this out, I’m struck by how pervy and unfair this whole Christmas Pickle deal really is.  I mean, I like a good game of Find the Pickle as much as the next person, but why the inequality, pickle gods?

It’s also worth noting that despite being quite clearly tied to Christmas, I think of the Christmas Pickle as a kind of non-denominational holiday good luck charm suited to any and every person, regardless of religious affiliation, or lack of same.  Besides, who doesn’t want to hide an ornamental pickle somewhere in their house?  No one I want to know, that’s for sure!

I hope you all find something on this list that tickles your fancy, or the fancy of someone on your list (uh oh, there we go with that pervy thing again!)  Happy (stress-free) shopping to you all.

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: Mabel Pines

Mabel Pines Hand

A few years ago I spent a number of months suffering from insomnia, night terrors and, in one extra startling incident, my first (and so far only) episode of sleepwalking. It was an odd year. And although there were a number of early morning hours where I sat in the dark, wide awake, contemplating creating a hotter, sexier, more imaginary version of myself to go out into the world and reclaim my manhood through random acts of anarchy (that’s how that movie went, right?) I mostly just watched a lot of television, stared at a lot of blogs and listened to a lot of music by myself in the dark.

One of the TV shows I found myself watching one bleary-eyed Saturday morning ’round about the cartooning hour was Gravity Falls, a not-quite-Disney-ish Disney cartoon about twin siblings, Mabel and Dipper Pines, and the summer they spend in Gravity Falls, Oregon with their weirdo Uncle Stan. Stan runs an oddities shop/museum called the Mystery Shack, which is quite fitting, as Gravity Falls, site of many a supernatural happening, is most likely haunted, and the weird things need a central spot on which to congregate. Call it the Gravity Falls Hell Mouth.

I did an Adventure Time manicure last week in which I said I have a hard time getting on board with the show because it makes me feel kind of dumb, like I’m not cool enough to get the joke. Gravity Falls, perhaps being a Disney property, but most likely just because its humour doesn’t skew that way, does not suffer from that problem – it’s FUNNY, with just a touch of that manic, winking cartoon humour most reminiscent of Animaniacs or SpongeBob.

And a huge part of the show’s charm is Mabel, a super upbeat, cute animal-and-boy crazy 12-year-old with a fondness for printed turtleneck sweaters. I think Mabel’s awesome – she’s convinced her summer in Gravity Falls will bring her her first epic romance, and when she’s not thinking about boys or making plans for Summerween, which is exactly what you think it is, she’s reenacting Tarantino-esque tableaus with her pet pig, Waddles, and wearing an endless assortment of adorable, multi-coloured turtlenecks. Here I’ve shown four of her cutest sweaters, but there have got to be at least another 20 back in the Mystery Shack’s closet – girlfriend has a seriously enviable wardrobe for a 12-year-old.

Mabel Pines Fingers