Handbook for the Recently Diseased

handbook 1

Deceased.”

Hey, so check out this awesome Christmas gift I got from Mr. Finger Candy!  As the little (removable) sticker in the top right-hand corner states, this is a set of note cards and other stationary-type items (oh, how I love paper products!) housed in a box designed to look like the battered Handbook for the Recently Deceased from my favourite movie, Beetlejuice.

handbook collage 1

Inside there’s a mess of Beetlejuice-themed goodies, including cards, envelopes, stickers and a cute little notebook with an MC Escher-esque Sandworm on the cover swallowing its own tail.  Careful, buddy – I’ve got it on good authority that you’re 100 percent non-natural polymer clay, so you might want to take smaller bites.

handbook collage 3

And because this is me, I just had to do some inspired-by, matching nail art.  I’m not sure how successful I was at capturing the very retro design on the cover of the Handbook; things got quite muddled once I added the matte topcoat.  It *did* lend the manicure that sort of undone, shaggy appearance that cloth-bound books begin to take on after a millennium or so of sitting about, but it’s not a look I deliberately set out to create – just one of those random moments of nail art kismet.

handbook collage 2

I’m so delighted with this present!  I actually wasn’t expecting anything this Christmas, because my husband and I decided pretty early on in the season that we’d instead put our earmarked funds towards another trip to Disney in the new year.  But if he’s not as big a Beetlejuice nerd as I am (he’s not) then he’s definitely just your garden variety nerd (he is) because I think this awesome gift speaks to him as well – who wouldn’t want this sitting all nonchalantly on an end table?!  My man knows me – us – so well. 🙂

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Disney Girl Challenge: Oh Look, Another Glorious Morning

Hocus Pocus Collage 2

…Makes me sick!  As Winifred Sanderson of Hocus Pocus might say, here represented in tiny lacquered form alongside her witchy sisters, toady Mary and nitwit Sarah.

I am a late, late convert to the Cult of Hocus Pocus, much to the chagrin of a number of friends (hi, Jessica!) who swore up and down that I’d absolutely adore it.  Except the first time I really sat down and attempted to watch it early last Fall, I couldn’t; it was goofy, shrill and shrieky in a way that just doesn’t ring my chimes.

Then we went to Disney World to celebrate our Halloween anniversary, and that’s where we both fell in love with Hocus Pocus.  At this time of year ’round the parks, particularly the Magic Kingdom, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the reach of this movie.  Disney has leaned into their also-also ran Halloween hit (the first being The Nightmare Before Christmas) in a big, big way, creating an entire stage show – the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular – around Winnie, Mary and Sarah Sanderson, complete with a raucous, audience-“hypnotizing” version of I’ve Put a Spell on You.  It probably doesn’t need to be said that there’s also an absolute ton of merchandise available.

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The thing that nabbed us, though, was a 24-hour Hocus Pocus marathon that ran on Halloween itself.  It was one of those things we just sort of absorbed via exhausted osmosis – too tired to even reach a hand over to change the channel on the remote, we lay there, collapsed on our beds, and gave ourselves over to the Sandersons.  Compounding our confusion somewhat was the fact that over that weekend, we were seldom in our room, out pounding the theme park pavement from dusk till dawn instead.  So we’d return to our resort room just in time to catch wildly out-of-order snippets of fake cops, dead man’s chungs, flattened cats, the chocolate-covered finger of a man named Clark and mortal busboys.  Having never seen the movie from start to finish, it was a complete mindf**k, like wandering into somebody else’s Hocus Pocus-tinged acid trip.  It was really so much more engaging – if not utterly confusing – that way!

And so after that, Hocus Pocus just became one of “those movies” – a film you love more because of the events that happened around it, and less because of the actual movie itself (which, over many repeated viewings – linear ones, too! – has really endeared itself to me.)  On our most recent Labour Day trip, the “too exhausted to change the channel” pick was Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard (a nearly necessary bit of gratuitous violence and snarky Justin Long to balance out the relentlessly saccharine sweetness of a day spent at the Magic Kingdom; I love the place, but Disney truly has precious little edge.)  Pretty sure we’ve watched it a dozen times since returning home, because it conjures up sweet, pleasantly exhausted memories of our great trip.

Hocus Pocus Collage 3

Just like Hocus Pocus!  You guys already know that when I really like something, I put it on my nails, and the Sandersons have proven to be no exception.  I’ve also added these manicures to my casual, year-to-year Disney Girl Challenge, wherein I attempt to do a manicure for every Disney character bearing two X chromosomes.  In hindsight, I probably should have added Dani and Allison to the list, but I thought I’d start with the main draws.  Besides, do the Sandersons look like reasonable women who like to share?  No, not particularly!  But I’m sharing, because I’m not a witch…or am I? 😉

Fall Fun Fridays: Dropping the Blogging Ball

Leaf Collage

Good morning, friends!  If you’ve followed along with my last couple of posts, you know I started off the week with a power outage, and am now ending it with a cold.  In between I sneezed a lot, and re-bought the entire contents of my refrigerator.  Every part of my body aches today, but my heart aches the most for Ottawa’s small business owners and restaurateurs – anyone who deals in perishable goods, really – who lost tens of thousands of dollars in spoiled stock over the weekend.  Food waste makes me feel punchy; that we were all, to various degrees, subjected to this little (or not so little) indecency is just compounding my poor, sickly mood.  It’s been a weird week.

Today’s Fall Fun Friday prompt – that’s the little blogging collective I’m part of – was to discuss the books, movies and television programs you’re anticipating this Fall.  I’m pretty well ride-or-die for only one show, and that’s The Good Place, which premiered last night (no spoilers, please, it’s sitting on Apple TV waiting for one sneeze-free hour!)  Aside from that, I’m looking forward to Brooklyn 9-9’s move to NBC (their Halloween episodes are wonderful, and build off the previous seasons’ episodes, if you’re into that kind of tightly knit continuity, which I am.)  I’ve got one more episode of Castle Rock to tackle, if I can just get over the “WHAT IN SWEET, FROSTING-COVERED HELL IS GOING ON HERE?” of it all (what’s going on is I could stare at Bill Skarsgard’s cut glass cheekbones and giant, wounded eyes all. day. long, and yes, I’m totally that pervy old lady; my favourite headline about the guy is from a Mashable article titled “It’s not Bill Skarsgard’s fault that he looks like hot Satan,” heh.)

On the cinema side of things, I’m quite pumped for Wreck-It Ralph 2; Vanellope Von Schweetz is a mouthy little heroine of mine.  Hmm, that’s about it for movies, or at least new movies.  If we’re talking the things I watch every Fall and Halloween, we could be here for a while (The Nightmare Before Christmas, of course, Blair Witch 2: Book of Shadows, a weird new obsession with Hocus Pocus because I can’t get away from it at Disney.)

As for books, get back to me when I’ve finished Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin, a dense (in terms of writing and subject matter) examination of the collapse and subsequent bailout of the American banking industry in 2008.  I won’t be enjoying anything until I have that craven lot of greedy ghouls out of my head.  It’s been an incredibly frustrating and eye-opening read.

My blogging friends Jay of The Scented Library and Julie of The Redolent Mermaid are sure to have some great recommendations of their own, so I’d implore – implore! – you to pop on over and check out their autumn picks.

And now I’m going back to bed with a box of tissues.

All Tangled Up

All Tangled Up

This manicure started out life as an allover floral design in celebration of the first glorious days of May (5 Days in May, perhaps?  That’s a Blue Rodeo joke, and I don’t think I could possibly be more Canadian than I am right now.)  Anyhow, after I had pulled out an assortment of polishes in the exact same hues as Rapunzel’s dress in the animated movie Tangled, I decided to go with that instead.  I always think the scene where Rapunzel and Flynn Rider go to the lantern festival in the kingdom is very May Day in its depiction, so this fits.

And because it’s my blog and I’ll talk about Disney if I want to, here’s a photo of Mr. Finger Candy posing in front of the Tangled bathrooms (yes, bathrooms, and they are the loveliest lavatories on property) during our Halloween 2017 trip.  Turns out both he AND Vladamir enjoy collecting ceramic unicorns, who knew?!

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Aunt Bethany’s Jello Mold

Aunt Bethany's Jello Mold

“Aunt Bethany, does your cat by any chance like Jello?”  Behold, Aunt Bethany’s Festive Jello Mold nails, with extra cat crunchies!

Fun fact: For every bang-on and deeply unsettling impression of the Grudge ghost, the Mars Attacks aliens and Gollum that my husband can fire off with the greatest of ease, I can pull off a righteous Aunt Bethany from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.  It’s all in drawing out those long “W” sounds – “Clawrk, is Ruwsty stiwill in the Nayvey?” is a particular favourite. 🙂

I’ll also point out the smudged bit on my index finger, so created when I looked down and realized I had topcoated a cat fur into my manicure.  This has to be one of those life imitating art kind of moments (or art imitating life?  Or would it be life imitating art imitating life?  I think my brain just broke.)  In any event, I think Aunt Bethany would approve of the furry addition, even if I didn’t care for the blemish.  I suppose it really doesn’t matter, though, when you’re talking about a cat food-studded Jello salad!

Clueless About Dieting

Clueless About Dieting

Or would that actually be Clueless ON Dieting?  Because this manicure represents Cher Horowitz’s confession to her best friend Dionne that stress has her indulging in a very heifer-like diet (as if!) of “two bowls of Special K, three pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, five Peanut Butter M&Ms and, like, three pieces of licorice.”  Just missing the licorice, but then again, you can’t miss that which you don’t like in the first place, and I’ve never developed a taste for licorice.  I’m down with the rest of that stuff, though, just maybe not at the same time.  Maybe.  I don’t know, bacon and PB M&M popcorn cereal bars *could* be a thing, right?

Super Tarts

Super Tarts Order Full

Straight off the top, I’m of two minds about this rather large order of scented wax from Super Tarts, a pop culture-minded vendor out of the United States.  On the one hand, I’m delighted with the absolutely gigantic selection of themed scents, from The Walking Dead and Ghostbusters, to Harry Potter and the Ninja Turtles.  I had a total blast perusing their 26-page-strong product list in search of waxes, soaps and scrubs in scents inspired by Egon, Hagrid or CORAL!!!  Coincidentally, that’s also how I wound up placing a maybe-too-large order (okay, definitely too large) for my first time at Super Tarts bat – I was just dazzled by all that fun choice.  And any vendor that offers products themed to Beetlejuice and The Lost Boys is more than all right with me.

But on the other hand, this order arrived on my doorstep absolutely thrashed.  Shipping was obscene – I’m too ashamed to share the amount with you – and the packaging slight.  The clamshells, packed tightly together, had just a handful of packing peanuts tossed on top of them, which offered zero protection from the X-Men who vetted my package at customs (fairly certain Wolverine had a go at this poor box.)  When I opened the parcel, this is the sight that greeted me.  I spent half an hour picking tiny, shredded flakes of packing peanuts off my clamshells, and in some cases, from INSIDE my clamshells (never let it be said the postal system is not thorough(ly useless.)

Busted All to Crap

And while I recognize that postal snafus are outside of the purview of a vendor, there was an evident lack of care in the packaging of this box; over half of my clamshells arrived broken, gouged or otherwise.  Made me wonder precisely what that exorbitant shipping fee had bought me.

Super Tarts TWD Collage

And I was also dismayed to find that for the most part, that lack of care extended to the products themselves – most of the seams of my clamshells were smeared with bits of dried wax, the labels were wonky, and in a few distressing cases, the clamshells themselves seemed to be disintegrating beneath the wax.  It wasn’t much of a first impression.  In fact, it will most likely be my only impression; this was not a good enough retail experience to warrant a repeat visit (with absolutely no shade directed towards my friends who love Super Tarts and suggested I try them out; you don’t know until you try, and everybody’s experience is just a little bit different.)

Super Tarts Harry Potter Collage

But on the other-other hand (lot of hands here) – the one that’s attempting to make lemonade out of very expensive, very damaged lemons – I’ve been having a lot of fun melting through this wide assortment of scents.  There’s a little bit of everything here – Super Tarts touches on so many different fandoms – and so far I’ve really enjoyed their scented take on superheros, Harry Potter and favourite horror movies of my childhood.  Many of the unique scent blends are delightfully unexpected successes, and wonder of wonders, Super Tarts’ pumpkin is one that does NOT set my head a-thumpin’.  The delicate little overlays on top of some of the clamshells are also quite cute.  You know, the ones that aren’t smashed all to crap. 😦  I particularly like the horror movie blends – Day of the Dead, a non-cloying blend of pecan pie, creme brulee and waffle cone, and Psycho, an unexpectedly delicious blend of pumpkin bread, sour cream coffee cake and raspberries, are real standouts.

Super Tarts Scary Tarts Collage

Anyhow, focusing on the positives here and trying to learn from this lesson – as in, don’t go big until you know precisely what you’re dealing with.  Expect the postal service to savage your parcel.  And if a shipping fee seems too high, that’s because it is.  So maybe heed that sensible voice inside telling you to approach a first-time transaction with some degree of caution, yeah?  I stumble so that you may learn and all that good stuff.