FrankenDots

Dots 1

Because the colours I used in this manicure are quite Frankenstein-y, no?  Also because the topcoat I used (name withheld to protect the cruddy) dragged most of the polish off the dots, giving these nails a very undone sort of look.  It really doesn’t help that by adding the matte topcoat (name also withheld to protect the likewise cruddy) it caused the polish at the very edges of my nails to pucker.  Or maybe it does help – I’m sure Frankenstein’s skin was not unblemished.  Now there was a man in desperate need of a rejuvenating skin mask.

Anyhow, happy early Halloween!  Let’s celebrate with these nails, because they’re kind of a (pretty) nightmare.

Dots 2

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Fallish Polish

Fallish Polish Collage

Hello there, friends, just kicking off the work week with a handful of autumn-appropriate polishes, holos tout and perfect for all of your Fall manicure needs.  Let’s take a closer peek at these leafy-looking lovelies, shall we?

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It’s the incredibly rare tree whose leaves turn this devastatingly sexy shade of candy apple red – possibly a sumac, they’re utterly gorgeous at this time of year.  This is Different Dimension‘s Naughty, a beautiful Christmas polish that I think does double duty as a classic Fall hue (possibly even triple duty if you factor in Valentine’s Day!)

Next up, we have one of my favourite polishes, period, no matter the time of year, KB Shimmer‘s perfectly pumpkiny Rust No One.  The holo effect with this one is quite pronounced, and I love that bright purple flash running up the center of the bottle – it makes Rust No One look like about three differently hued polishes all at once.

In third place, we have the only yellow holo I own, which of course means it always shows up in round-up posts, even though I’m really not that fond of it because while it’s quite beautiful in the sun, it looks like metallic urine in lower lighting conditions, which is rather unfortunate, and wow, that was one heck of a run-on sentence.  Oh, sorry, this is Enchanted Polish‘s House of the Rising Sun. 😉

Next up we have another one of my favourite polishes, Enchanted Polish’s Lost Boy.  This megawatt super stainer (for all that’s good and not dyed lurid, neon yellow, use this polish with two, even three layers of base coat) doesn’t look like very many leaves at this time of year (they’ve really lost this kind of vivid, fresh green) but there’s still a few clinging to their hues of brighter, sunnier days.

Second from last we have KB Shimmer’s Men Are From Mars-ala, a rich, reddish brown holo that looks like so many wonderful things in the Fall – crunchy leaves, scrumptious baked goods, the final inch of a delicious pumpkin spice latte.  It also looks like the entirety of 1990s beauty in a bottle (brown, kids, there was SO. MUCH. BROWN.)

Finally, we have yet another KB Shimmer polish, brownie-hued Oh My Ganache!  Mmm, brownies…also the raggedy edges of crispy, crunchy leaves.

Flashy ‘n’ Foggy

Futterwacken 2

Today started off Indian Summer foggy and ended Victorian London bleak.  That’s what happens when the temperature plummets 30 degrees in the span of a few hours and you live on the edge of a river.  Or at least I swear there’s usually a river back there somewhere. 😉

Foggy 2

Foggy 1

After staring into the mist (just not, you know, THE Mist) for hours on end, I thought I’d perk myself up with an ultra flashy manicure, but even this lacquer, Glam Polish’s The Best Futterwacken in All of Witzend (just rolls off the tongue, don’t it?) proved to be no match for all the glum.  Shame, because this polish is essentially a Rockette costume ground up and stuffed into a bottle.  That sounded more attractive in my head.

Futterwacken 1

Here’s hoping those grey skies are gonna clear up in time for the weekend; it would be nice to actually get out and enjoy the leaves while they’re at their autumn peak.  Definitely not foggy on that.

Literary Inspiration: Christine

Christine Collage

I’m a huge Stephen King fan (Pet Sematary is my favourite novel, although I think I like his shorts best) but I haven’t read many of his earliest works – Carrie, Cujo, Firestarter, and until very recently, Christine.  Never been much of a car person, so I think I was a little frightened off by the subject matter.

But continuing to play along with my friends’ reading challenge, and with the theme of a library find or a gifted book calling out to me (indeed, Christine is a book I gifted to myself out of my condo’s library!) I thought it was time to pull Christine out of the garage and really see what she could do out on the open road.

Christine 1

Without giving too much away regarding the plot of this 35-year-old novel, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t strictly geared towards gearheads.  The events of the novel actually surround 17-year-old Arnie Cunningham.  Arnie’s smart, bright and funny, a hard worker and a great student, but he’s also tragically unpopular and run over roughshod by every single person in his life – his teachers, his overbearing mother and father, even his everydude best friend, Dennis.  That all changes the day he meets Christine, a rundown hunk of Plymouth junk rusting to death on a nasty old man’s lawn.  Arnie HAS to have her, won’t actually listen to a word of Dennis’s reasonable counsel regarding her poor condition, her vile, greedy owner or the total shit fit his parents are sure to have if he attempts to bring her home.  But bring her home he does, wildly overpaying for the red and white, 1958 Fury that will come to tear his tidy suburban life – as well as a good number of people! – to bits.

Thirty-five-year-old spoilers or no, we all know by now what Christine does – she’s the murder car!  I think it’s one of those terms that just might be part of the pop culture lexicon by now.  Even the back of the book jacket hammers home the elegantly horrific nightmare fuel that “Christine is no lady.  She is Stephen King’s ultimate, blackly evil vehicle of horror.”

Christine 4

But Christine is about so much more than a homicidal car.  I think it’s really a story about growing up, whether you’re an unpopular 17-year-old dork, that dork’s parents or the wretched old bastard who sold the dork a murder car.  It’s a quest for independence, a love story, a tale of obsession.  I liked it, even if I think King whiffed the ending.  Good to know that literary quirk of his started early. 😉

If you’ve been following along with this Literary Inspiration series, you know I like to do a manicure to accompany whatever book I’ve recently finished reading.  Here I was inspired by Petunia, a hot pink sanitation truck (her name is spelled out in giant gothic letters across her potbellied side) who gives Christine a run for her money.  That’ll do, Petunia. 🙂

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Poison Apple Cauldron

Poison Apple Cauldron 3

I got this nifty refillable popcorn bucket at the Magic Kingdom some weeks back, and like my Gaston ears, it was one of those things that people would just shout their appreciation for from distances both great and small (nearly wrote that as “smell,” which is quite apt, as that Disney popcorn scent – real and/or enhanced – is utterly intoxicating.)  One morning a woman with an incredible Scottish accent demanded to know where I got my “fabu-losh buh-KIT” and I decided right then and there that whatever it cost ($15 filled with popcorn, with unlimited $2 refills) it was worth it just to hear her awesome pronunciation of “bucket.” 🙂  There’s also a small battery inside that powers cool burbling light effects in the lid, like you’re brewing up some wonderously witchy creation and not just 1,800 calories in snack food.

Poison Apple Cauldron Me

Poison Apple Cauldron 4

This fun new parkin’ accessory was calling out for a bit of matching nail art, so I obliged.  I think the skull on my thumb is terrible and I had a real mis-fire with some topcoat that smudged up quite a bit more than usual, but overall, I like the Nickelodeon-type sludgy slime.  Like the popcorn that goes into the bucket most of all, but simply carrying the thing around, and wearing it on my nails, is pretty fun, too.

Poison Apple Cauldron Collage

Poison Apple Cauldron 2

Vengeance Will Be Mine!

Londontown Collage

And beautifully manicured nails will also be mine, thanks to a quartet of gorgeous lakur polishes from Londontown that arrived on my doorstep just in time for those first frosty Fall evenings.  I love these lakur polishes – they apply well, dry quickly and wear like the dickens, to say nothing of that megawatt, gel-like shine.  It’s the rare lacquer (and lakur) that handles nail art applications just as well as it does everyday wear.  And as always, these polishes are vegan-friendly and five (actually nine) free.

Londontown very kindly sent me these polishes – hues from Back With a Vengeance, their Fall 2018 collection – for my perusal and use, and so let’s do just that then, shall we?

Londontown Collage 1

First up, we have the showstopper of the Back With a Vengeance Collection, indigo blue creme Iconic.  I adore this colour; it’s so rich, vibrant and lush.  Also the exact hue of Dory the blue tang from the Finding Nemo movies. 😉  For this manicure I used two light coats of Iconic, though I probably could have gotten away with one.  It’s also worth noting that all four polishes brushed on smoothly, self-leveled nicely and stayed put – you don’t realize how important a feature that is in a nail polish until you’ve tried to clean up polish-saturated cuticles with a teeny little detail brush.  So three cheers for a polish that knows its place – on your nails and not your skin!

Iconic Collage

Londontown does pale purples very well, and grey-tinged Jane Austen is no exception.  By all rights, this creme polish should make you look like a cadaver, but somehow, it’s flattering, and so, so delicate.  I can almost picture Elizabeth Bennet wearing a devastatingly cleavage-y dress in this exact hue (rolling her eyes whilst being forced into an afternoon of needlepoint and pianoforte, but of course!)  For this manicure I used three coats of Jane Austen and, like all of the swatches shown here, I forwent the topcoat – no need when the base polish is this shiny and well behaved.

Austen Collage

Next up we have the lone shimmer of the bunch, metallic Kissed by Rose Gold.  I really like these kinds of shimmers, the ones that look almost textured and a bit furry, but I think the name here might be a tad off – this polish is less rose gold and more rose platinum; as against my ultra pale skin tone, it definitely reads more silver than gold.  Here I’ve shown three light coats of Kissed by Rose Gold.

Rose Gold Collage

Saving the best for last, we have cherry red Vendetta!  This deep, almost blood red crimson creme is outstanding – a solid two-coater, and another one that really knew its place (vital when you’re dealing with stainy reds, which come to think of it, Vendetta was not.  Neither was Iconic, and typically nothing stains like a dark blue.  Huh.)  I just love a wickedly vampy red, and Vendetta is one of the better ones.

Vendetta Collage

I’ve been so impressed with Londontown’s products, and here’s another handful of great polishes to join their already quite extensive lakur line – looking forward to seeing what they come out with next. 🙂  If you’d like to check out these polishes for yourself – heck, Londontown’s entire line of lacquers – you can find them here.  Happy polishing!

Literary Inspiration: The Night Circus

The Night Circus Collage 1

Have you ever fallen in love with a book?  Just found yourself utterly entranced by the world it creates?  I think this happens all the time, can actually remember my father some 20 years ago telling me, in rapturous tones reminiscent of a little girl divulging her first crush, about this book series he had just started reading about a boy wizard at a magical boarding school.  My mom is going through something similar at the moment with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe books; when she talks about them, I can see that she’s been positively enchanted.  As was I the first time I read my favourite book, Jeffrey Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides.  I remember reading that blisteringly tragic final paragraph and then just sitting back in my chair, a melancholy smile playing at the edges of my lips, as I contemplated that weird ache in my chest that felt as though it was caught somewhere between heartbreak and hope.

Which is precisely how I felt when I finished Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, an elegantly languid tale of love, loss and the beauty of the unexplained as set against a mysterious after-hours circus.  This was the most beautiful book I think I’ve ever read, and it actually hurt a bit when the gorgeous tale of les Cirques du Reves and its creators, performers and devoted Reveurs drew to a close.  At the risk of sounding like a book jacket blurb, I would absolutely run away to join this circus.

On the subject of the story itself, a tale of two magicians whose chess game-like maneuvers play out over decades, sweeping the circus and its inhabitants into their increasingly dangerous orbit, I’m somewhat neutral.  It’s a love story, and a deeply satisfying one at that, but for me, this novel is all about the elegant, gothic carnival Morgenstern creates with her Night Circus.  This is an all black and white world, stark light-and-dark simplicity against which to highlight the incredible magical feats showcased within.  The only colours you’ll find in les Cirques du Reves are the blood red accessories the circus’s travelling fandom wear as a kind of identification, and on opening night, the rainbow-tipped flames in the hulking courtyard cauldron.

If a book could be said to be set designed, then this one has been, to within an inch of its life, and I adore it – I love the more is more is more approach!  It’s truly the most evocative novel I think I’ve ever read – I could picture every painted checkerboard floor, every striped canvas tent, every sumptuous midnight dinner menu, every impossibly beautiful feat of the unexplained.  And all the credit in the world to Morgenstern for this; she certainly has that Rowlingian flair for world-building.  That The Night Circus is her debut novel (the theme in my friends’ reading challenge for which I chose this book in the first place) is incredible; she’s a very gifted writer.  And not for nothing, because I’m exactly the kind of person who notices these kinds of things, but this was a beautifully edited book.  I can’t tell you how irked I get when I’m pulled out of a great story by some sloppy little editing error.  I get so peevish about it, I’ll actually grab a highlighter and aggressively circle it!  It’s a real delight to see someone (or someones) take the time and care to get it right the first time.

Because I’ve tasked myself with doing a manicure for each book I read for my friends’ reading challenge, I had to come up with one for The Night Circus.  But I couldn’t possibly have limited myself to just one design, not with so much great inspiration right there on the page…so I did five.  Actually six, but the sixth was whonkus and not quite what I had intended, so five it is!  Here I’ve done manicures inspired by Herr Thiessen’s dreamy courtyard clock, the entrance tunnel of stars, the spiral and checkerboard patterns painted on the ground and – my favourite – Celia’s wishing tree.

The Clock

The Night Circus 2

The Entrance

The Night Circus 5

The Grounds

The Night Circus 7

The Wishing Tree

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And then for good measure, because one does want a hint of colour, even in the midst of a black-and-white circus, I created a design inspired by the wrought iron cauldron in the centre of the courtyard.  The cauldron, a centrepiece of the circus in more ways than one, typically burns with stark white flames, but on the circus’s opening night, archers lit the flames with arrows tipped in a rainbow’s worth of rich colours.

The Cauldron

The Night Circus 8

Gosh, I loved this book; it was so pretty.  Big recommendation if you like a sweeping, slow burn of a love story and uncommonly evocative settings.  This one may require another read-through, and soon. 🙂