Shh, Listen!…Do You Smell That?

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Hello, friends!  First, a quick “Where the Eff You Been?” update.  So, we sold our condo apartment, we purchased a single family home, and now we’re neck-deep in a Really Big Move!  You know, little life things that can totally be summarized in a single sentence. 😉  I promise I’ll have so much more to say when we take possession of our new home next month – might even get back to that nail art thing if I can stop breaking my nails – but for right now, I’m laser focused on putting our condo lives to bed.  Onward, upward and outward, as it were.

But yeah, my life involves a lot of packing these days.  SO. MUCH. PACKING.  Why and how do we have so much media?  I’ve packed up about two dozen boxes, all of them filled to the shoulder-separating brim with books, cookbooks, RPG manuals and game guides, to say nothing of the DVDs, the CDs, the video games and the special editions (that embossed velveteen box containing artwork by My Chemical Romance and The Black Parade album ain’t gonna pack itself.)

So it totally makes sense that, having already packed up my wax stores, I’d add to my moving burden by placing my first ever order with Vintage Chic Scents, a pop culture-minded vendor I’ve wanted to shop with forever, but for that pesky little thing that they really only just recently started offering shipping to Canada – a welcome policy change I took happy advantage of with this order of delicious-smelling goodies I purchased just a bit before Halloween (hence all the Halloweenie-type scents, although you’d be forgiven for thinking that that’s just business as usual around here; I can get a bit weird about October 31st.) 😉  Let’s take a look at what I nabbed, shall we?

First up, the money shot!  What adorable little shapes!  The ice scream scoops are of course my favourites, but those chunky unicorns might be running a close second.

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The themed collection on offer for Halloween was R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps.  I was never a fan of the series (never been a Stein stan – Pike for Life, yo – and it also came along just as I was transitioning from YA novels to more adult books) but I like the scents from which they’re inspired very much.  Also, three cheers for the horror comic font on the labels – it’s the perfect cute and creepy touch.

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Starting at the top, we have a little baggie of The Horror at Camp Jellyjam, a light, mild combination of Strawberry Jam, Campfire Marshmallow and Birthday Cake.  I was expecting a big bang from this blend, because all three of those scent notes tend to be STRONG, but the only horror here is how wussy this scent is.  Shame, as I was expecting it to be major – hence the larger (if not large) bag.

Heading clockwise, we next have a plump little ghostie in Night of the Living Dummy, a Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew scent.  I purchased this for Mr. Finger Candy on a whim, as he loves coffee in all its many and varied iterations, and it’s GOOD.  Night of the Living Dummy smells exactly like a steaming Pumpkin Spice Latte – bracing espresso, touch of cream, nose-tingling pumpkin pie spices.  Delightful!  I wish I had more of this and less of The Horror at Camp Jellyjam.

Continuing on, we have a sparkly leaf in Calling All Creeps, another coffee blend described as “Sweet Vanilla Maple Custard with a cup of Hot Coffee.”  Solid.  Not quite the slam dunk of Night of the Living Dummy, but super as a more traditional, drip coffee-type of scent.

Down at the bottom we have an ice cream scoop in my preferred pick of the Goosebumps collection, Say Cheese and Die!, a “Hamburger cookies” scent – Peppermint Patty, Vanilla Wafer, Shredded Coconut and Red Frosting.  This is a crowd-pleasing peppermint that smells like the very best bits of After Eights and the candy coating on mint Tic Tacs.  I wish I had a very large sack of the stuff. 🙂

Finally, we’ve got a strong contender for Best of the Entire Order, another shimmer-dusted leaf in A Night at Tower Terror, a scrumptious fall-to-winter blend of Apple Clove Butter and Campfire Marshmallow that I really hope my friend Julie picked up, because it is SO her jam.  Mmm, this is delicious – juicy and lightly spiced, like pot of cider simmering away on the stove.  I think this is the first scent I’m going to melt in our new home.

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Next up, we have…the rest!  This is a mix of old scents, new scents, Halloween scents and just-whatever-the-heck scents.  A nice mixed bag.

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Starting at the far left, we have the sample that was included in my order, a glittery scent shot in Regan’s Exorcism, a sweet Cranberry Apple Cider blend.  Not bad, beats pea soup. 😉

To the right of Regan we have an ice cream scoop in Sweet Caramel Jackie O, a classic VCS blend described as “Rich vanilla bean cake topped with sweet caramel and whipped marshmallows.”  Ooh, this is decadent!  Rich, buttery and caramel-y, but somehow not cloying.  Scrumptious!

Next up we have another scoop in Purple Haze, a blast of berry bakery containing Jelly Glazed Donuts, Gooey Marshmallows and Zucchini Bread.  Lots of folks shy away from zucchini bread scents because they can err unpleasantly bready (or corn chippy, to many noses) but this one is sweet quick bread goodness, zero snack foods.  Yuh-um!

To the right of one music-inspired scent we have another, this time Strawberry Fields Forever, a sweet berry confection of Strawberries and Cream Zucchini Bread.  Smells like a strawberry turnover drizzled with vanilla glaze, and I mean that in the best way possible.  As in the way that wants a strawberry turnover RIGHT NOW!

Down from the strawberry pink unicorn, we have another member of the VCS scoops troop, this time Drew’s Favourite Scary Movie, an awesome Scream-and-Firestarter-inspired scent featuring Candy Corn, Cotton Candy, Sugar Cookies, Buttercream Frosting and Firestarter Embers.  Smells like a delicious bag of mixed Halloween candies left beside the campfire.  Can’t wait to melt it while working on some nails to go along with Stephen King’s Firestarter, which I read back in the summer.

Beside Drew we have another chunky ghostie, this time in Wendy Torrance, a Shining-inspired Apple Butter Zucchini Bread scent.  I like this apple butter scent ever so slightly less than A Night at Tower Terror, which smells like hot apple juice spiked with delight. 😉  Wendy Torrance is a more traditional baked apple goods scent – nice, but nothing too groundbreaking.

Finally, we have the colourful outlier of this order, a cake-hued unicorn in Pugsley, which is Fruit Loops (not Froot Loops?) Birthday Cake topped with Gooey Marshmallows.  This was another pick for Mr. Finger Candy, who flips his lid over crunchy cereal scents.  I’m fine with them, although Pugsley is a better-than-usual specimen – no lemon cleaner here, just yummy, Saturday morning breakfast goodness.

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So there we have it, what’s going to be scenting my new home in the (hopefully better, less FRAUGHT) new year.  Until then, I promise to keep in touch, friends, and not flake off on you too hard.  Thanks for sticking around; you’s good people. 🙂

Disney Girl Challenge: Yzma

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Let’s kick this week off right, friends, with a manicure inspired by Yzma, the bad gal of Disney’s animated movie The Emperor’s New Groove, and a woman described by just about everyone who meets her as “scary beyond all reason.”  If only she could shake that pesky llama problem!  And that lever problem.  And that Kronk problem.

On paper, Yzma’s got the baddie goods.  As senior adviser to disinterested d-bag Emperor Kuzko – SO senior; Yzma’s age is never revealed, but her ’30s-style garb, nightly de-aging skin regimen and ultra pinched demeanor would suggest a woman in her late 70s – Yzma has all the power and precious little oversight.  But after an attempt to overthrow the teenage fun times emperor goes sideways (turns out the kid’s not so disinterested after all, though he’s still very much a d-bag) Yzma’s thrown out on her pointy ass.  With the help of her young, hot and devoted – but easily distracted – man servant, Kronk, Yzma then concocts a plan to poison the emperor and claim the throne for herself.

Except…you get what you pay for, and Yzma’s been cheaping out HARD.  Kronk is a sweet guy, a real go-with-the-flow type, and a total wiz in the kitchen (spinach puffs are his specialty) but Yzma treats him like crap, and you can’t help but think he’s not putting in his best effort under such working conditions.  Because every single one of their schemes goes badly, including Kuzko’s attempted poisoning, which results not in the emperor’s death, but in his being turned into a llama instead.  Yup, a llama.  Llama jokes abound in this thing; get on board or perish!

The rest of the movie concerns Kuzko’s attempts to end his state of enforced llama-ness, and Yzma’s attempts to just plain old end him, and it’s hilarious.  The Emperor’s New Groove is one of those Disney gems that flew way, way under the radar when it was released in 2000, and I can’t help but think that if people knew about its slapsticky, almost Monty Python-esque sense of humour, they’d be more receptive to its charms.  It’s a total goof of an animated film, but not necessarily a children’s film.  The humour here is actually quite sophisticated – fart jokes need not apply.  And with the voice talents of David Spade, John Goodman, Eartha Kitt (Yzma herself) and Patrick Warburton all doing their considerable things, it’s immensely charming.  It’s a comedy of errors.  With llamas!  Big recommendation on this one.

I usually do my character manicures with the character’s face on my thumb, but this mani went about as well as one of Yzma and Kronk’s plans, which is to say not at all.  I redid my thumb three times before finally settling on this all-finger design.  Let’s just say Yzma’s cadaver-esque snub nose and spiderweb lashes do not lend themselves particularly well to lacquered interpretation.  But her penchant for feathered and flared purple certainly does.  Wouldn’t be a Disney villain if she weren’t garbed in some shade of aubergine, I suppose. 😉

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Rose Gold Minnie

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It’s a holiday long weekend here in Canada (it has an official, civic name, but for all intents and purposes, it might as well be called the Because It’s the Middle of the Summer and You Need a Day Off Day) so I’m up early finishing off an event in a game I play on my phone called Disney Emoji Blitz.  It’s your pretty standard match-3 puzzler, but themed to cute little emojified Disney characters (you have never seen anything as cute in your life as Heimlich from A Bug’s Life all squished up into a wee little emoji.)  You collect and level up the characters as you play, and there’s periodic themed events where you can win new characters and collectibles.  This long weekend I’m playing for Figment the Imagination Dragon, and I’m feeling pretty good about my chances given that I only just recently did some Figment nails.  That has to be a lucky sign!

Last weekend’s event was the big show for me, though, with a rare Rose Gold Minnie on offer.  Rose gold has been a persistently popular colour with Disney, showing up on everything from sparkly Minnie ears and apparel, to housewares and accessories.  Makes sense that it’s now making an appearance in Disney’s games, with this sweet Rose Gold Minnie making her way to me last weekend (twice, actually, in a super rare twist of good luck, and gratis, as well – I’ve been saving up my earned in-game currency for just such an event, pun intended.)  I was as happy as if I had actually done something involving a useful skill!  And then I put my happiness on my nails. 🙂

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Needs More Unicorn

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My interpretation of Lisa Frank styles, extra heavy on the neon rainbow animal prints, which I’d just like to proudly point out were totally free-handed.  That’s why I’m not sure if I’ve got a tiger print here or a zebra one.  What I am sure of is that I’m ultra super proud of these nails, even if to truly be Lisa Frank-inspired, they need a heck of a lot more unicorn.  Funnily enough, I DO have a unicorn nail charm, but it’s gigantic – my bitty little nails can’t handle her girth, and besides, I didn’t want to cover up all this neon animal print goodness. 🙂

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Arizona Shrimp Horny

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That’s a line from one of my favourite TV shows, The Good Place, about Kristen Bell’s character, self-described Arizona trashbag Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who REALLY loves her shrimp.  And maybe even in the biblical sense, according to dimwitted friend Jason Mendoza, an act I would really not put beyond her – Eleanor’s a delightful pervert who’s constantly, improbably horny for everyone and everything, and I’m sure that includes her beloved shrampies.

But all this talk of shrimp, in service of this manicure I did after getting the “Arizona shrimp horny” line stuck in my head for days, made me realize that there are a lot of references to shrimp in my favourite movies and TV shows, and they all make me laugh uproariously.  Brooklyn 99’s Jake is dismayed when he discovers that cruise ship latrines empty into the ocean – “But that’s where my shrimp live!”  Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s Anya loves to talk up the all-shrimp (or no-shrimp) worlds that populate other dimensions.  The Birdcage’s Agador (Agador Spartacus?) protests when another character whisks away the seafood chowder he’s prepared, calling after them in a singsongy Puerto Rican accent, “But you forgot da tshrimps!”  Raising Hope’s Jimmy horrifies his family after returning home from his grocery store job reeking of disemboweled decapods (“Oh my god, what is that smell?!”  “The poop of 50,000 shrimps.”)  And let’s not forget about The Muppets’ Pepe the Prawn, who always seems to be on the unfortunate end of one of Miss Piggy’s schemes to make Kermit jealous (I laugh for days at the bit in the movie with Jason Segal and Amy Adams where Kermit walks in on Piggy and Pepe, in costume, practicing the lift from the end of Dirty Dancing.  He’s in a tiny little leather jacket, and desperately trying to fend off Piggy’s without-warning attempts at launching herself up and over him while “I’ve Had the Time of My Life” warbles in the background.  Mr. Finger Candy and I practically giggled ourselves into fits contemplating this wee shrimp version of Johnny Castle (we’ve dubbed him Prawny Castle, because how could we not?)

Turns out there’s a lot of references to shrimp in my favourite pop culture, and now here the little buggers are adorning my nails.  Think I might have as big a problem as Eleanor? 😉

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Fangirl

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Well, would you look at that – actual nail art on this nail art blog!  And all it took to drag me out of my self-inflicted hiatus (in the sense that I was the one that accidentally ripped off all of my nails whilst crowbar-ing approximately 800 square feet of hardwood flooring out of our apartment) was my weird old lady musical crush on that Yungblud kid I haven’t been able to shut up about recently.  Dude’s got a very particular kind of English rocker yob style (your usual black and studded, but also lots of gold chains, pink socks and gigantic, improbably vertical AND horizontal hair) and I love it.  So here it is on my nails.  Feels good to be back. 🙂

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The Umbrella Academy

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LOVED IT – zero surprise there.  As a one-time disciple of the Church of My Chemical Romance, I’m required to love anything that comes from the mind of Gerard Way, MCR’s enigmatic front man and co-writer of The Umbrella Academy comics from which this charmingly weird Netflix series was derived.  (As a huge aside, yes, before twenty one pilots there was My Chemical Romance – and before both of them, and still, always, there is Green Day – and oh my, did I have it bad for their whole goth dork theatre geek screamo thing.  I joke about the Church of MCR, but I had the next best thing to a bona fide religious experience at one of their shows, one of those top 10 moments of my life sort of deals.)

So I was probably predisposed to love The Umbrella Academy, which is a beautifully filmed and acted distillation of MCR’s entire musical catalog, vibe and aesthetic.  You’ve really got it all here, from repeated references to the hardships of war, to the prep school uniforms worn by the kids of the Umbrella Academy, to the Victorian-by-way-of-the-1950s office wear sported by the employees of the Commission.  There’s also Wes Anderson-level awkward family dynamics, an opening montage scored to the Phantom of the Opera (dope), a lot of commentary on the ethics of medicating children, multiple dance scenes, and a caffeine-jonesing 58-year-old man in a 13-year-old’s body who’s in love with a mannequin torso named Dolores.  Oh! also a robot nanny and a monkey butler.  For real.

If I didn’t lose you with Dolores, Grace or Pogo up there, there’s really so, so much to recommend this gorgeous show; don’t let its on-paper weirdness freak you out, if only so you don’t sidestep the ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE soundtrack, which features lots of Gerard Way tunes, of course (covers of Happy Together and Hazy Shade of Winter), rock classics of the 60s, 70s and 80s (see above re: the Turtles and Simon and Garfunkel songs, as well as appearances from the Kinks, the Doors, Heart, Nina Simone, Queen and the freakin’ Bay City Rollers!) and two brutal fight scenes scored to They Might be Giant’s Istanbul (not Constantinople) and Lesley Gore’s Sunshine and Lollipops.  It’s also filmed in Toronto, and boy, does it look it – I can pick out specific intersections, one right down the street from a friend’s old apartment.

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Here’s the basic setup for the show: In 1986 46 women the world over, none of whom were pregnant when the day began, give birth.  An eccentric billionaire by the name of Reginald Hargreeves comes along and buys – let’s not mince words – seven of the children, all of whom bear superpowers ranging from incredible strength, to teleportation, to the ability to speak to the dead.  Assigning each child a number, but no actual names, Hargreeves begins to mold the kids into a crime-fighting unit by the name of The Umbrella Academy.  But Hargreeves is a distant, exacting and cruel father figure, and Nos. 1 to 7 – eventually christened Luther, Diego, Allison, Klaus, Five, Ben and Vanya by their robot “mother” – all bear a not-so-healthy resentment towards the miserable old bastard, though the siblings all care deeply – if not awkwardly – for one another.

One day, many, many years after the children have fled the nest and scattered to any corner of the globe not occupied by their father (one went as far as the moon, for pity’s sake) the old man kicks it, and this weird, fractured family reunites to finally put their demons to rest.  Except time travelling assassins and one-eyed bandits and the apocalypse.  As you do.

It’s awesome, please watch it.  Really, get thee to Netflix post haste, friends.  And I hope you like this manicure as well, inspired by The Umbrella Academy’s graphics, and the umbrella tattoo each member of the Academy has inked on their inner wrists.

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