Succulents, Not Succulent

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Well, trust me to take this floral manicure, which I did in service of the theme of succulents for a nail art challenge I’m doing on Instagram, and turn it into a discussion on Brooklyn 9-9.  Actually, I suspect I could turn just about any subject into a commentary on one of my favourite TV shows, I think about it just that often!

Anyhow, there’s this character named Charles Boyle, who’s played by Joe Lo Truglio, who you may remember as the creepy/skeezy/gross guy from any number of Judd Apatow movies (thinking of his character in Superbad here.)  I was definitely not a fan before seeing his work in Brooklyn 9-9, but as beige pants-loving, foodie cop Charles Boyle, he’s an utter delight.  No one loves fermenting mason jars of unidentifiable foodstuffs in their desk drawers more than Charles. 🙂

But Charles’s taste in food runs quite contrary to his ultra beige, Mervins-clad demeanor – Charles likes it weird, Charles likes it gross, and Charles probably likes it best if he kills it himself (he once fought off a rampaging turkey that had penned the squad into a bathroom with naught but a handily repurposed straightening iron.)  He also likes to discuss his foodie pursuits in THE most repulsive manner possible, always using the most descriptively disgusting language he can find – words like “moist” and “mouthfeel” and in one particularly nasty bit, the phrase “Oh, lucky you, you got the toenail!”  Long story short, don’t ask Charles Boyle to bring anything to the potluck, because it’ll definitely be offal.  Or worse.  And with its toenails still on!

At one point, another character submitted a list of words Charles was forbidden from uttering, and “succulent” was right at the top.  I get it, it conjures up the same sort of images in my mind as when I hear the word “moist” (which is apparently one of the most reviled words in the English language, didya know?)  To my mind, it suggests lush, almost juicy dampness.  Which, when I see it all written out like that, IS rather disgusting!

So it’s a real shame that succulents, the plant, have gotten swept up in the wellspring of negativity towards their name, because they’re so, so beautiful – such charming little plants with their heathered rainbow hues.  So I put them on my nails.  Hey, beats the heck out of trying to recreate one of Charles’s culinary nightmares!  You’re welcome. 😉

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Nailed It!

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There is a show on television – you may have seen it, but I haven’t – called Nailed It! wherein hopeless home bakers seek redemption and cash through a reality TV-style baking competition.  It’s hosted by Nicole Byer, who I DO know from Brooklyn 99 as delightful car thief Doug Judy’s baby sister, Trudy Judy (“baby” nothin’ – Trudy Judy takes care of her own business, you simple little barn animal!)  Anyhow, I always see the show’s title and think it’s actually some sort of nail art competition, which definitely falls on the not-so-edible side of things (though apparently so too do most of the baked goods produced by the contestants, hey-oh!)

I’m not sure there’s much of an audience for a show about both baking and nail art, but if there were, this manicure, which was inspired by a gorgeous cake I saw on Instagram, would certainly land me a spot on at least, like, the first two episodes. 😉

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LOVE these nails, gigantic, unwieldy golden charms and all.  If I had any complaints, it would be that the roses are not quite red enough (how very “Off with their heads!” does THAT sound?) and the gold not quite yellow enough.  I used a frosted, almost icy-looking gold here, whereas the original cake used a lush marigold yellow that I far prefer.  Just in general, these nails read far more “edgy tea set” than bitchin’ Queen of Hearts cake, but I love them all the same.

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Clueless About Plaid

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I did this manicure for the prompt of Back to School in a nail art challenge I’m following along with over on Instagram.  Come by and see me sometime – park_or_perish is my handle.

Having dabbled in Cher Horowitz’s fashion sensibilities for much of the mid-90s, particularly on the first day of grade 13 – come on, all those little velveteen dresses and stacked Steve Madden loafers were AWESOME! – Back to School to me always means Back to Clueless, a place – or is it a state of mind? – I’m never actually particularly far from anyways.  And what’s better than Cher’s yellow plaid outfit she chooses – or is it her computer that chooses? – to make her big entrance at school?  Ooh, Snickers. 😉

Sweet Insta-Inspiration

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Kicking off this sunny summer Monday with the fabulously frosted layer cake manicure I did this weekend, inspired by a recent online rabbit hole I fell into of over-the-top cake decorating accounts on Instagram.  I can bake fairly well (however, pie crust as delicious as my mother’s will forever elude me) but I can’t decorate for shit – just ask the TURQUOISE, hideously malformed, liquid fondant-covered abominations I once optimistically called tea cakes, or the batches upon batches of Christmas cookies I gave up on flooding and just started adding gargantuan green frosted genitalia to.  Happened just about every year like clockwork until I FINALLY figured out that I’m utter crap at the decorating side of baking, and I should just stop.

But I can admire other bakery artists’ incredible work, like manvscakes, COCHOBAKE and brittanymaycakes, whose sweet, striped creations – heavy on the vibrant hues and whimsical, outlandish toppers – were the inspiration for these nails.  I love the more-is-more-is-more approach to the bakery arts, especially all of the brights at play in these fun cakes, a technique (you know, over-the-topness) that transfers pretty darn well to the lacquered arts. 😉  Hoping for sweet weeks for all of you, friends, filled with as much inspiration and colour as these cakes and these nails.

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Pests Be Pestin’

“Sandra,” you are most likely not thinking, “it has been an eternity since you’ve yammered in our faces about Disney.  Why so taciturn?”  Or something to that effect. 😉 Well, that’s because I’ve moved the majority of my Disney blindness over to both Instagram (find me at park_or_perish, or click on the IG link in my sidebar) and YouTube.

I’m particularly proud of our little YouTube channel, Park or Perish!, because I am notoriously tech-unfriendly.  I have accidentally destroyed more expensive electronics than my parents definitely would have preferred (on our wedding day, my dad pulled Mr. Finger Candy aside and, in his usual droll manner, said, “Well, she’s “yours” now.  But you do know she destroys electronics, right?”) and in university an emergency infusion of McDonalds was the only thing that held off a complete breakdown during the Online Editing Session From Hell, 1999 edition.  Holy crap I’m old.  Anyhow, I’m bad with tech.  Basically, if it deals with “stuff,” I will find a way of accidentally trashing that stuff and, I dunno, stapling it to myself or something.  I’m really kind of an incredible klutz for someone who took dance lessons for 20 years.

But I digress.  As always.  What I was trying to say is for someone so inept at the “business” side of blogging, and just generally anything having to do with tech, I’m super proud of myself for learning a little video editing program so I could launch our YouTube channel.  I’ve pulled off some not totally unfortunate edits, and I love to edit sound – it’s nitpicky work, but so satisfying when your timing finally snugs into place seamlessly.  YouTube also represents its very own particular little publishing quagmire; it took me more than a couple of test runs to work out the bugs.  None of this stuff comes naturally to me, so I’m really quite pleased that I’ve been able to jump in with both feet regardless.

So that’s where the Disney has scampered off to – it went off to seek adventure in the great wide somewhere known as Instagram and YouTube!  I made this video this weekend, and I thought I’d share it with you.  It’s all about the Disney nevers you know we’ll probably never actually respect; Disney has a particular knack for dulling one’s sense and reason, or at least our sense and reason.  I hope you’ll check it out, and thanks so much for being a great virtual neighbour!

Gone Mental: A Few Words on Mentality Nail Polish

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If you were messing around any nail polish-related blogs or vlogs this past weekend, you may have seen the indie polish brand Mentality Nail Polish mentioned once or twice or 20,000 times. Customers have reported that after using Mentality polishes sold between April and June of this year, particularly those of the neon variety, they’ve experienced symptoms ranging from the relatively benign (general sensitivity, burning, itching, discolouration) to the absolutely horrific (nails lifting off the nail bed. It seriously looks like something out of one of the Saw movies.)

For a comprehensive rundown of what is quickly becoming a rather sordid affair, I’d direct you to The Mercurial Magpie‘s accounting of the reported issues and Mentality’s interesting (?) response. But as I understand it, the Cliffs Notes go a little something like this: A few months back, some Mentality polish users began experiencing negative side effects after using certain polishes. Mentality acknowledged that some customers were experiencing “sensitivity” to the polishes, and offered to send out replacements for the faulty products. A handful of bloggers and Instagrammers then took to their respective social media platforms to visually show the nail polish community the extent of the damage to their nails (see above, re: Saw.) A number of swatchers, many of whom worked with Mentality for years and years, then publicly distanced themselves from the company, and people like me, who own quite a few Mentality polishes (none produced during the time in question, and none of the neons either) began looking at them with a lot of distrust. The nail polish community as a whole began demanding answers, and then refunds.

That’s when one of the owners of Mentality, a man by the name of Danny Dannels, entered the fray, adding fuel to the Instagram fire (the platform on which it burns the brightest) by denying those refunds on the grounds of “haters be hatin’.” He alleges that this entire affair is the making of a group of vengeful bloggers who are bullying his company into the ground, and as far as he’s concerned, the status is quo.  In an odd sort of screed, he also noted that he’s an artist, a fighter, a scholar and an athlete, and the world needs his nail polish.  Rant-of-the-day thus issued, Mentality then put the affected polishes on sale for 50% off. Which is…so ballsy! Also idiotic, self-serving, disrespectful and, most importantly, dangerous.

So this is where I get off the Mentality train, a colourful caboose I have to date most enjoyed riding, on the grounds that I am simply too old for this shit. This issue is serious and has far-reaching repercussions beyond its negative impact on the indie nail polish community. There are major health and safety concerns at play here, and it’s worrying to see them treated as an afterthought in the midst of all the social media squabbling. To that end, Mentality’s response has been petulant, juvenile and – again – DANGEROUS. And of all the shit I’m too old for, Petulant Amateur Danger Hour is riiiiggghhhht up there.

So although my Mentality polishes have not turned my nails into something out of a horror movie (I have 10 glazes and four Jellychromes I purchased right after Christmas, and they are 14 of my very favourite polishes) AND I will continue using them until the bottles run dry, I won’t be replacing them and I won’t be talking up Mentality on this blog any more either. Life is an endless series of problems and obstacles, but it’s how we deal with those problems and obstacles that define us. And if I’m judging Mentality on how they’re dealing with this particular problem, they’re failing miserably, and I’m really past the point in my life where I’m interested in supporting miserable failures. End of my screed. 😉

Knitwit

Knitwit HandI’m participating in a nail art challenge over on Instagram (@sandra_fingercandy, if you’d like to come by; it’s mainly the nail art you see here, just with fewer meandering, prose-y bits, and more cats) and the first week’s challenge theme is a pattern, sub-theme coral. I have this corally-pink holographic polish I’m not 100 percent sold on, Glam Polish’s New Girl in Town, which I thought would be perfect for this manicure, as I always overcompensate when I’m not totally fond of a polish by using it so often, I eventually just cave and fall in love. And so here I paired a base of New Girl in Town with some simple little free-handed hash marks in a co-ordinating orange holo, KB Shimmer’s Rust No One, for a monochromatic, but still sparkly, knit-type look. Super easy and very pretty – see, coming around on that polish already. 🙂Knitwit Fingers Shade