Hocus Bowcus!

Hocus Bowcus

Keep your eye on this frighteningly fun Halloween mani or it’ll keep its eye – or eyes, plural – on you. 😉

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One Determined Kitty: A Dieting Story

HK Collage

A friend recently commented, quite sweetly, that she was inspired by the determination with which I’ve thrown myself into my weight loss and exercise goals (this on the heels of my admission that I had pre-gamed my Thanksgiving dinner by taking a big, long swim the morning-of.  And actually, the really nutso part of that story, which I did not share with my friend because it made me sound (rightfully) bonkers, was that the pool heater had been out for repairs for about a week at that point, and so the temperature of the water was *maybe* 30 degrees?  Above zero, that is.  By the time I got out an hour later, I had lost most of the feeling in my left foot.  Now, tell me, is that determination or just insanity?) 😉

Anyhow, her sentiment was so lovely and made me feel like a million bucks – moi, determined, inspiring?  Why, thank you!  But also in the back of my head I was sarcastically thinking, “Bull-SHIT!” because those are both adjectives not typically used to describe yours truly.  I am the person you come to when you want to discuss the costuming of cats or Tim Burton’s use of mid-century suburban architecture or exactly how much Nickelback sucks (lots!)  But determined, inspiring?  Surely only if we’re talking determined to sit on my butt for as long as possible, potentially inspiring YOU to get off yours.

But as you know, my life has undergone a bit of a sea change in the last year – gone are the days of epic sittin’-around, as well as chips-for-11-pm-dinner and butter as a garnish.  Those bad habits have been replaced with daily exercise and mostly sensible nutrition, and for it I’ve been rewarded, as of this post, with a 70-pound weight loss, as well as a whole host of other fantastic, no-BS health bonuses (as in they actually happen if you put in the effort) such as increased energy, brighter, clearer skin, and a general (and much-needed) improvement in mood and attitude.  And no humblebragging (just outright bragging!) but I suppose those really are things to find inspiring, because yes, they took a tremendous amount of determination to achieve.

But it’s been hard.  It’s been really, really hard.  So far I haven’t harped too much on the drawbacks of sensible nutrition and increased exercise (the former being boring and the latter being both boring AND painful) because to date, I’ve been enjoying the positives far more than the negatives.  But my weight loss efforts have plateaued recently, despite my better attempts to switch things up and course correct, and I’m finding treading water – sometimes literally, provided the pool is warm enough – to be a frustrating chore.  I know one day the scale will budge; until then, I’m choosing to concentrate on the positive tangibles – that I’m nearly down another dress size, that I don’t get immediately winded climbing any more than five steps at a time, that I might actually be developing something approaching defined biceps?  The mind, it boggles!  I can also now once again do the splits (right leg forward only, but I was always crap on my left) and lay flat on the floor with my legs out to either side in a forward split.  I’ve recently even begun adding a bit of cool-down ballet barre work to my routine – nothing works the old thighs like a mess of plies, tendus and arabesques.  Tap is also fantastic cardio, although your neighbours WILL look at you as though you’re bonkers if they walk into the gym to find you really, ahem, Puttin’ On the Ritz.

But no matter where the scale is steadfastly hovering, all of the above is made easier when I look cute and feel great – somewhat non-natural states when you’re getting all red-faced and sweaty on an elliptical machine at seven in the morning, true, but nice clothes do make a difference.  A massive difference when you realize you’re now swimming in one of your favourite pairs of leggings, and a slightly smaller – though no less important – difference when you catch a glimpse of your toned legs in your new camo workout pants and vacuously, yet proudly, think to yourself, “Damn, dat ass!”  And sometimes – oftentimes – that’s enough of a boost to put some steam in your treadmill steps for many, many more workouts and self-doubts to come.  Clothes make the person and all that.

HK Workout Wear 1

Although what does it say about a person when she willingly garbs her 40-year-old bod in licensed Hello Kitty wear?  That she sees herself getting stylishly svelte in Sanrio-sanctioned spandex?  Based on that last sentence, it might say she has a problem with alliteration, but otherwise, I see no wrong here.  Whatever tickles your fancy, and if your fancy is telling you to work out whilst covered in baby pink bows, who are you to deny it?  I clearly didn’t deny MY fancy, which is how I wound up with this stupendously cute Hello Kitty workout set from Torrid.  I buy all my workout clothes from Torrid – they’re a plus size retailer (an offshoot of Hot Topic, actually, hence all the goth-type branded merch and stacks of Manic Panic.)  I’ve had a ton of stylish success with Torrid’s gear – everything fits to standard measurements, the pieces are all well constructed and feature moisture-wicking materials and reinforced seams, and as a nice little bonus, everything is available in dozens of cool styles and patterns (strappy camo, racerback galaxy print, cut-out neons, as well as tons of not-so-basic black.)  It is workout wear manna for the chubby girl set, and as stated, it has made ALL the difference.  Because if I’ve got to walk in place for half an hour with nothing more to do than listen to Weird Al and stare at my own legs in the mirror as they shush back and forth, I might as well be looking at something adorable.

HK Bra Collage

And since I also spend quite a bit of time on the treadmill with my hands up around my phone as I delete what seems like endless reams of photos (dangerous little bit of multi-tasking there, deleting photos whilst nearly breaking out into a run) it also helps if my fhalanges are looking their finest.  For these very Kitty-esque nails, I topped Whimsical Ideas by Pam’s Tutu Sweet with two basic plastic bow charms that I outlined in black polish for a starkly framed, comic book-type of look.

HK Bow Nails

Now back to the gym, this time lookin’ Hello fine. 😉

Slime Rancher!

Slime Rancher 1

A blogger friend and I recently fell down a comment section hole with regards to the post-apocalyptic, pre-apocalyptic and intra-apocalyptic literature we’ve both been gravitating towards the last number of years, concluding at the end that we were just bloody tired of it all – tired of the dire and tired of the bleak.  It can’t all be zombies and geo-political crises and environmental disaster all the time, or at least it shouldn’t be.  Not if you’d like to stay reasonably sane in today’s geo-political atmosphere.

And that’s precisely what makes Slime Rancher, a sweet, colourful, gentle little game, so very, very special and unlike anything else on the games market today – it’s adorably innocent, and completely unconcerned with anything other than being cute and making its players contentedly happy.  And that’s the kind of media philosophy I think we could all stand to pay a bit more attention to these days – the simple pleasures of a thing designed just to bring you joy.  What a novel idea!

The Slime sitch plays out thusly: You are Beatrix LeBeau, first person Slime farmer on a planet far, far away.  As Beatrix, you explore the area around your ranch, collecting resources and rounding up free range Slimes, which are round, squashy, bouncy little balls of mischievous glee.  The Slime on my thumb here is a Pink Slime, the most common of the Slimes.  Slimes come in all shapes (Tabby Slimes!) and sizes (Giant Golden Gordos!) and need quite a bit of managing – each type has a structured diet, and some even come with musical preferences (Rock Slimes are, quite unsurprisingly, total metalheads.)  Slimes require fencing and feeding and all manner of other tending, and it’s all rather expensive.  And so financial consideration is provided by Plorts, little diamond-shaped trinkets the Slimes spit out (or at least I hope it’s spit!) which act as a kind of currency ’round the ranch.

Slime Rancher 2

My favourite thing about the game, besides tending my large pen of grey striped Tabby Slimes, is just heading out into the nighttime desert to stand beneath the gently twinkling night sky as a cluster of Pink Slimes bounce daffily about, emitting goofy “Woo hoo!” noises with every sproing and brroing (something I tried to capture with this manicure.)  With the gentle, cheerful music tinkling about merrily in the background, it’s more relaxing than staring at a computer screen should ever possibly be.  It’s just a ton of fun, with no shooting, no killing and no misery.  Armed with a kind of vacuum canister gun, you, Beatrix, suck up any Slimes that catch your eye and then deposit them safely back on your ranch.  And that’s the extent of the “weaponry,” delightfully enough.  And the worse you can do to the lone bad guys of the game, Tarr Slimes – giant black blobs shot through with rainbow veins who hypnotize other Slimes and subsume them – is suck them up with your vacuum gun and then shoot them out over the sea.  Even then, if it’s between the hours of sundown and sunup, the Tarr Slimes’ prime huntin’ hours, they’ll just come back, no harm, no foul.  It’s seriously such a gentle, sweet little game – I actually fear for it on the playground; the other video games will surely pick on its gentle naivete, won’t they?

Slime Rancher 3

Anyhow, if you’d like to check out a game that won’t have you contemplating either the end of times OR throwing your controller across the room in maximum difficulty frustration, I’d implore you to check out Slime Rancher.  It’s currently available on Steam for $21.99 Canadian, and it’s a real sweetheart – well worth the very reasonable price, and a ton of fun, woo hoo!

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. 🙂

Blue Curacao

Blue Curaco nails

I joked yesterday that after doing two back-to-back manis inspired by alcoholic drinks (Tuesday’s frozen strawberry daiquiri nail art and Wednesday’s cherry-garnished Manhattan mani) it was clearly cocktail hour here at Finger Candy HQ.  Now that I’ve done another – these citrusy blue curacao nails – I’m just running with it.  Cocktails are a surprisingly fantastic inspiration for nail art; there’s actually quite a bit to draw from there.  For these nails I layered blue and turquoise jelly polishes one atop the other, and then added a sweet, fruity garnish.

Wanna hear a story about blue curacao?  Growing up as a teenager in Ottawa, Ontario, THE thing to do once you turned 18 (or earlier if you had the borrowed ID of an older friend or sibling) was nip across the river to Hull, Quebec to take advantage of their lower legal drinking age.  And THE place to do that was The Strip, a three or four-block stretch of bars and restaurants and dance clubs and resto-pubs that was pretty well overrun with drunk and horny teenagers every Friday and Saturday night.  With my birthday coming toward the end of the school year, I was one of the last of my friends to make the journey across the bridge.  Also because I wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to go; The Strip had some very nice establishments – Chez Henri looked like a Victorian castle, and Campus was a hole, albeit a hole with fantastic music – but it also had a (deserved) reputation for being rough, a $2.50 cocktail-fueled debauchfest that spilled out into the streets every weekend, bringing with it fights and altercations and just generally crap behaviour.  But I suspect that’s just what happens when you get a whole bunch of drunk and horny teenagers together in one place.

So I had my reservations.  As did my parents, who never, ever prevented me from joining in on the reindeer games, although they did have some concerns.  And so one day after school a trusted friend swung by my house to talk to my folks and put their minds at ease – “No, Mrs. Lewrey, it’s really not as bad as everyone says.  We’ll be safe and we’ll look out for her; we always look out for each other” – we really did, good cab-taking girls that we were – “I swear I’ve never even seen a bar tussle.”  Which was good enough for my parents, and so off we went that very weekend to the Land of Midori melon ball shooters.

No word of a lie, guys, I had taken maybe three steps into a dive called Ozone, struck dumb by the sight of an entire dance floor of sweating bodies embarrassing themselves to the Macarena, when a bottle of blue curacao arced gracefully above my head, crashing to the tequila-soaked floorboards and igniting a 30 second fistfight between a number of the flailing group dancers.  Then it was over and *I* was suddenly embarrassing myself to the Macarena, and certainly not for the last time…although that bar fight was also the first and last time I saw one of those.  Also the first fight my friend had ever encountered – she really hadn’t fibbed to my folks; it was just a stupid coincidence.  This is also the first time I’m sharing this story publicly, so this should come as a fun surprise for my mom should she be reading this (hi, Mom!  Aren’t we glad I turned out more or less okay?!)

 

I’ll Take (a) Manhattan

Manhattan Front

It’s apparently round-the-clock cocktail hour here at Finger Candy, between yesterday’s fruity strawberry daiquiri nails and today’s bracingly brown Manhattan mani.  My grandmother’s drink was a Manhattan – a double Manhattan, actually (once again, Grandma, get down with your bad self!)  Me?  Well, after a young adulthood steeped in wine coolers and across-the-bridge brew, I don’t actually drink very much any more.  Alcohol just doesn’t seem to agree with my old lady constitution (never did – a graph depicting my response to alcohol is pretty much a straight up and down line; I’ve been known to go from “WOOOOOOO, LET’S GO TO THE BAR!!!” to sprawled out and unconscious in about five minutes flat.)

But there’s something quite alluring about a Manhattan, with a perfect little cherry gleaming out of its clear, brown depths.  To get that perfect Manhattan colour, I used a favourite – unfortunately also out-of-production – polish from Nfu Oh, the quite unimaginatively named JS39.  I have used this polish in SO many foodie manicures – it makes the perfect lacquered stand-in for caramel sauce, pumpkin spice anything and coffee.  Also nylons, but that’s not quite applicable in this situation.  Anyhow, drink up – plenty more where this came from (although maybe not; that beautiful bottle is distressingly low, and I’ve no idea where to find another.)  Boo to that, but yay to this mani – with its little martini glass and pair of cherries, it’s quite charm-ing. 🙂

Manhattan Bottle

Strawberry Daiquiri

Strawberry Daiquiri

Uh, yes, please!  Heaven knows the weather has been more daiquiri than hot toddy around here lately, but as long as the snow wishes to remain a holdout, I shan’t complain. So let’s order up a couple of them frosted (and straight-up) frozen delights and see this extended summer out in style. 🙂