August Band of Bloggers

Band of Bloggers Photo

Pop quiz, hotshot: How well do you know your favourite Band of Bloggerette? Sure, we’re all reasonably up to date on each other’s interests, hobbies and the pretty, glittery things that make our hearts go pitter pat, but when it comes to the vitally important markers of a person’s character – favourite band, desert island scent, fight stance in the zombie apocalypse – how well do we truly know our virtual neighbours? ūüôā Let’s delve into 10 deeply random questions and find out, shall we?

1. No really, zombie apocalypse survival strategy: Fight or flight?

I always enjoy the assumption that in the event of such an unlikely scenario playing out, we all instantly turn into master marksman crack shots with nothing but pure ice water running through our veins.  I think the most likely course of action, in a world in which zombies are up and lumbering about, would be to tuck myself into the very furthest corner of a closet and just quietly go insane.  Then my cat will eat me.

2. You’ve been a bad, bad kitty and you have just one final meal coming your way. What’s on your plate?

My mom will be delighted to know that just about everything on my final meal menu is one of her delicious creations. ¬†To start, bruschetta with heirloom tomatoes and lots of garlic. ¬†Bit of Romano cheese on top. ¬†Starter flute of Kir Royale. ¬†Obscenely garlicky Caesar salad, made with raw egg yolks. ¬†Spaghettini Amatraciana (tomatoes, bacon, white wine, more garlic) with a side of fried chicken. ¬†Another Kir Royale. ¬†Big slice of mom’s apple pie, maybe two. ¬†Coffee, strong, black and sugared. ¬†Goin’ out in simple, delicious style with this one.

3. Aside from wax (or nail polish, or crafting supplies, or beauty products) what item do you have major multiples of?

Life in a condominium apartment presents certain storage challenges, the main challenge being there is none.  So cleaning house, in the literal and figurative senses, has been a casual ongoing project of mine for some years now.  As such, I have very few multiples of anything.  But at one point three or so years ago, I had five nearly identical, horizontally-striped, A-line t-shirt dresses hanging in my closet.  So comfortable!  I use the pilled, stretched-out guys today as swim cover-ups.

4. You’ve just won the lottery. Before best friends you didn’t even know you had begin to show up on your doorstep, what’s the first thing you buy without even thinking twice?

That gigantic Disney vacation I’m always going on about, just with a completely blind eye to money. ¬†As in it will be no object. ¬†First class plane tickets so we don’t get tased and thrown off our flight. ¬†The best rooms in the most top-of-the-line resorts. ¬†Reservations at Club 33, Disney’s not-so-secret supper club. ¬†A night’s stay in Cinderella’s castle suite. ¬†Fifty grand to close down the Haunted Mansion for three hours so we can ride it 13 times in a row solo. ¬†And a couple of bucks to throw at Gaston after he massages my aching shoulders. ¬†Gotta put those muscles – every last inch of them covered with hair – to good use. ūüėČ

5. Biggest celebrity crush? This can be anybody – an actress, a musician, a fictional character from a favourite movie, book or television show, or maybe even an historical figure.

I tend to like ’em dirty and deranged – Edward Norton as Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, Keith Flint of The Prodigy and, most recently, Jon Hamm in Baby Driver. ¬†But at the moment, quite contrary to my usual crush type, it’s Keegan-Michael Key. ¬†I just think he’s so handsome. ¬†Great eyes, kind, open face. ¬†Very little trace of the dirtbag. ¬†I feel like Buffy dating Riley – something’s just a bit off, and it might be the absence of scuzzbucket.

6. Flats or heels? Or are you running barefoot through life like some sort of hippie?

Flats these days (especially when they’re as cute as the adorable ice cream slip-ons below.) ¬†But a decade or so ago, heels all the time, and none of this wedge platform malarkey either – bona fide stilettos, and the more impractical, the better. ¬†I have this one pair of Ralph Lauren sandals that are naught but two flimsy bands of satin wrapped around a razor thin heel. ¬†They retailed for $475 15 or so years ago, but I nabbed them at an outlet for $25! ¬†That wearing them for any longer than half an hour is akin to your feet being whipped by a thousand angry Lilliputians is besides the point – they’re devastatingly sexy (if you can walk in them, and I can) and whadda deal. ūüôā

7. Whether it was created through a customs order or simple pick-and-mix blending at home, what’s the greatest scent blend you’ve ever stumbled upon?

Based off a Rosegirls’ scent they made last year, perhaps the year before, I created a stupendous custom blend with Sniff My Tarts that was – and is, although my stores are running low – one of the best darn smelling things to ever grace my nose – Mango Sorbet, Coconut Cream Pie and Vanilla Waffle Cone. ¬†It’s tart and juicy, with hints of crispy sugar cone and unidentifiably delicious creamy things, and I still can’t get over how well my decorated sheet cake turned out, both in terms of scent and aesthetics. ¬†Lovely.

8. It’s snack time! ¬†Are you reaching for the sweet or the salty?

Salty, always salty. ¬†Preferably salty, deep fried and starch-based. ¬†And I wonder why I have a weight problem (no, actually, I don’t wonder; I think this makes it pretty clear!)

9. What’s a personal style moment you’d never care to re-live?

I think I’ve always looked darn cute, no matter the style-of-the-moment. ¬†In grade 9 I even managed to rock ankle-zip jeans and a pink Northern Reflections sweatshirt with an embroidered LOON on the front. ¬†Or maybe I just thought I was rocking it? ¬†But I went through a bit of an unfortunate punk lite period after university that suited me in sensibility, if not style. ¬†Because there was very little of the latter, just a weird affinity for armfuls of cheap, studded leather cuffs and Emily the Strange hoodies (I shouldn’t knock the hoodie; I wore my cat ear’d (and paw’d) Emily the Strange zip-up on my first date with Mr. Finger Candy.) ¬†My hair also stuck straight up (and out) in an odd, product-enabled kind of spiky faux-hawk that made me look like a mad scientist who’s been electrocuted by her own creation.

10. You are going to live in a biodome beneath the sea for the next three years and have been allotted space for just ONE book (tiny dome!)  What cherished book will keep you entertained for the next 1095 days?

Under the Dome by Stephen King.  A very on-the-nose choice, I realize, but also a favourite novel, and a gigantic beast of one, at that Рclocking in at a massive 1072 pages, it represents the best value for your bitty biodome buck.

If you’d like to play along at home, please feel free to answer these questions in the comment section below, and we hope you’ll visit these Band of Blogger blogs and help support the blogger community!

Amanda at Thrifty Polished

Deb at It’s Always Something

Jaybird at The Candle Enthusiast

Jessica at The Meltdown Blog

Julie at The Redolent Mermaid

Lauren at LoloLovesScents

Liz at Furianne

Sandra – me! – at Finger Candy

If you are a blogger and would like to join the Band of Bloggers for our monthly posts, please contact us.

Sweet Carnival Treats

Circus Header with Banner

I sadly can’t remember the last time I was at a carnival or a fair or an exhibition. Probably the last time the actual Exhibition was in town, a travelling carnival (complete with jerky carnies of questionable sobriety) that made the Canadian rounds every summer until I was well into my 20s. ¬†I loved going to the Ex so much; would actually go multiple times over its two-week run with my parents or my friends – ’twas no better place to people-watch, boy-hunt and play out your very dramatic teenage life than the dusty, sweaty and dirty Exhibition.

When I close my eyes, I can still see the flashing neon lights of the Zipper and the Pirate Ship and the godforsaken Tilt-a-Whirl bathing Lansdowne Park with their jaunty artificial glow. ¬†I can smell back bacon on a bun, perogies, miniature powdered donuts and candy apples. ¬†I can picture the trashcan beside the Himalaya where I nearly threw up in front of a boy I liked very much after we challenged each other to what was in retrospect an ill-advised pre-Himalaya milk-chugging competition (nobody won that day.) ¬†These memories are so potent, I can almost hear local punk act Furnaceface (opening for¬†Bryan Adams, yo) drifting (probably more like blaring) over the long-since-gentrified Lansdowne Park stands (it’s actually still a football stadium, now home to the Ottawa Redblacks, but these days it’s surrounded by far more genteel – and infinitely more boring – fare (Whole Foods, a splashy movie theatre and some chain restaurants that won’t be there in two years’ time.) ¬†*Sigh*…might as well just give in to the Grumpy Old Lady within and admit that I miss the Exhibition of my youth. It was dirty, but it was¬†our¬†dirt (to paraphrase The Goonies, “It’s our grime! ¬†It’s our grime down here!”)

Okay, time to step off the nostalgia bus and focus on the real task at hand here, eyeing-up this fun assortment of carnival-themed wax, snacks and bath and beauty items. ¬†As always when putting together one of these themed posts, I’m amazed at the sheer number and variety of items I was able to pull together from just ’round the apartment. Why do I own so much circus and carnival-themed stuff when I haven’t been to either in over a decade? ¬†Who the heck knows! ¬†But it’s fun and pretty, and I had a blast putting together this little still life photo shoot. ¬†MUCH easier working with cotton candy and sugar scrubs than trying to stuff babies dressed like begonias into flower pots, trust. ūüėČ

Circus Lights Photo 1

First, a bit of carnival-themed wax, including clamshells in The Bathing Garden‘s unexpectedly delightful¬†Clowning Around and¬†Poppet’s Coaster Ride, and in the little cup, a few thematically-appropriate scents, Rosegirls‘¬†Cotton Candy Frosting and Waffle Cone and The Bathing Garden’s¬†Tunnel of Love.

Both Clowning Around and Poppet’s Coaster Ride were favourites from an order I placed with The Bathing Garden earlier this year, and unexpected ones at that, on account of the popcorn note in Clowning Around and the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride – the latter tends to give me headaches and the former is nearly always totally yucky. ¬†But the popcorn note in Clowning Around is completely inoffensive, adding a pleasant, almost grassy tinge to its tri-layered blend of sweet cotton candy, even sweeter candy apples and fragrant kettle corn. ¬†And wonder of wonders, the lemon note in Poppet’s Coaster Ride, a dee-licious combination of raspberry cake bites, peach jam and luscious lemon curd, did not give me a headache! ¬†Praise the fragrance gods! ¬†And so I snapped up one of each scent in both the wax and scrub formats. ¬†The sugar scrubs are loooonnnnng gone, having fulfilled their intended purpose in life, but they were too pretty to not share alongside these shots of their stupendously gorgeous clamshell companions.

Circus TBG Wax and Scrub Collage

By now you will have noticed that as ringmistress of this particular blogging circus, I’m focusing on the more pleasantly-scented side of the carnival circuit. ¬†As in the cotton candy and the frozen custard and the caramel apples, and not so much the sweat and the outhouse and the chip grease (and the dust and the pig-on-a-bun and the cheap body spray.) ¬†If that’s your thing, though, Demeter probably has a scent for you!

Circus Lights Photo 2

And if you’ll now direct your attention to the centre ring, ladies and gentlemen, you’ll find a fun assortment of carnival-themed bath and body care, including¬†a festive fragrance from Solstice Scents (Foxcroft Fairgrounds, a beguiling blend of cotton candy, taffy, funnel cakes, crisp Fall air and wood smoke), a candy floss-scented bath bomb from The Goat Milk Soap Store, an¬†Experimenter bath bomb from Lush, and a bottle of one of my favourite indie nail polishes, Candy Lacquer‘s¬†Carnival Games.

Okay, okay, so with its funky old man smell, I’ll concede that The Experimenter is not exactly carnival-inspired. ¬†At least no carnival I ever wish to attend! ¬†But the mad burst of rainbow-hued bubbles it gives off reminds me of the garish, ultra vibrant neon lights of the attractions blinking feverishly in the sultry summer nights.

Circus Experimenter Bath Bomb Photo

And Carnival Games is the gold standard in mega chunky glitter bombs, a bonkers assortment of every shape possible in every colour imaginable. ¬†Bright and whimsical, just like its namesake (though definitely not rigged, and certainly not a waste of money.) ūüėČ

CG Bottle

Finally, we have a mixed bag of carnival-inspired goodies from The Bathing Garden – a bundt-shaped wax tart in Nights at the Circus, a scrumptious pumpkin-apple blend, lotion in¬†Candy Carousel, another “scents of the midway” fragrance, whipped soap in¬†Fried Candy Donut, a favourite of Mr. Finger Candy, dipped candy apple-shaped wax tarts in¬†Victorian Midway (left) and¬†Vintage Circus¬†(right), two blends based off one of my mother’s favourite fragrances, Bath and Body Works’ Winter Candy Apple, another long-since-used sugar scrub in Fried Candy Donut, and a tiny, perfectly-shaped donut wax tart in – once more, with feeling! – Fried Candy Donut.

Circus Lights Photo 3

And with that, dear audience, it’s time to draw this carnival to a close – dismantle the Zipper, pack away the flammable prizes, turn off the cotton candy…blowers? ¬†Sure, we’ll go with blowers. ¬†See you out there in the circus of life, friends. ūüôā

Canada 150 Ale

Canada Day One-Fiddy

Canada is celebrating its 150th year of Confederation this Saturday (also known as its sesquincentennial anniversary; rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?) so I thought it would be fitting to create a manicure honouring a beloved (?) Canadian beer, the Labatt 50.

For any non-Canuck readers out there, 50 Ale, a product of the Labatt Brewing Company, is pretty much on par with Budweiser or PBR (as in it’s yellow, wet, carbonated, contains hops and will get you seriously screwed up on the cheap if you drink about a dozen of them. ¬†And I never have, partly because I’m an old fuddy duddy who turns up her nose at wildly inappropriate alcohol consumption, but also because 50 is nigh undrinkable. I think I’d sooner down a Schlitz.)

“But wait!” you may be saying. ¬†“I thought you Canadians hailed from the land of fantastic beer. ¬†Isn’t every second building in your city a microbrewery now?” ¬†And the answer to all of those questions would be YES (I actually know someone who rents farmland on which to grow his specially-cultivated hops.) ¬†A big old YES…50’s just perhaps not one of those beers. ¬†Then again, we also have LXD (Labatt Extra Dry), Molson Dry (*shudder*) and a high octane, out-of-production animal by the name of Molson XXX, which is the first alcohol I ever drank. ¬†It tasted like cardboard and nightmares.

But 50 will always hold a special place in my heart, and presumably also in the hearts of many, many Canadians across this great country. ¬†It’s the beer of university house parties, homecoming weekends, moves and cottage weekends, and one epic night of karaoke at the Duke of Somerset. ¬†So I can think of no better way to usher in Canada’s 150th than by raising a sudsy pint to the beer that’s been here for the big moments, the little moments, and all those other moments in between that we just call Canadian life. To the next 150!

Tulip Fest

Tulip Fest Angle

The Canadian Tulip Festival is a thing that happens in my fair hometown of Ottawa, Ontario every May, a grand, sprawling celebration of, among other things, the 100,000 tulip bulbs the Dutch royal family gifted to Canada in 1945 as thanks for sheltering a princess and her daughters during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. ¬†The great-great-great-great-great-great-to-whatever-infinity grand-flowers of those original tulips have blossomed every spring here in the Nation’s Capital (or not; sometimes we still get snow at this time of year) since 1953. ¬†As a kid I’d go every couple of years with my parents or perhaps on a school trip, but I haven’t been since high school, when the festival was overflowing with awesome alternative music acts (Tulipalooza was the jam) and a ludicrous number of opportunities to meet cute, grungy boys (once again, thank you Tulipalooza!)

The Canadian Tulip Fest actually just wrapped up its 2017 season, so the artists, the musicians and the Big Lemon have all left the building, but the tulips – over¬†a million spread out in vast beds across the city – are still here, and doing really quite well in our deeply unpredictable spring weather. ¬†So I thought I’d do some nails to commemorate the commemoration of the tulips that commemorate the very special relationship between Canada and the Netherlands. ¬†Phew!

And this has been your Canadian nail art history moment.  Please join me next time when I recount how my family is related to Laura Secord, a war heroine who actually has nothing to do with the chocolate empire that bears her name.  But for now, the tulips!

Tulip Fest Front

The Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe

Zaphods Fingers

On a Friday night 20 or so years ago, there was probably only one place you’d find me, on the dance floor of Zaphod Beeblebrox, the coolest bar in the universe. ¬†Located in the very un-cool city of Ottawa, Ontario, Zaphod’s was a small, oddly-shaped, black-lit sanctuary of Brit pop, industrial, electronica and alternative rock, with potent signature drinks (the glowing green Pangalactic Gargleblaster was a particular delicious favourite) and nightly showings of Aliens. ¬†Some of the best moments of my life happened in that bar – it broke my young(er) heart when it closed a couple of weeks ago after 26 years of killer Friday nights.

To thank Zaphods for all my best weekends, I thought I’d paint this glow-in-the-dark galaxy manicure that mimics the black-lit stars and galaxies that dotted the walls of my favourite Nightclub at the Edge of the Universe. ¬†Rest well, Zaphod’s – so long, and thanks for all the fish.

Zaphods Collage

Do You Suppose This is His Way of Telling Me I Smell?

Demeter Birthday Pic

Simply curious, as my husband gifted me with a metric butt ton (actual measurement, “butt ton”) of delicious Demeter fragrances for my birthday, and you just don’t do that unless a) someone really stinks (“This smells so great! ¬†Wear all of it at once, immediately”) or b) you know your spouse really well, as mine did when he correctly surmised that I’d love to receive such a bounty of beautiful birthday blends (also an affection for alliteration.) ūüėČ

So what terrifically odd combination of fragrances did my husband put together for his beloved on her 40th? Let’s take a peek, shall we?

Starting with the header photo, this apparently represents my birthday breakfast, a thing I actually didn’t have because I was fasting in anticipation of a blow-out Italian dinner later that evening. ¬†But the thinking here is that I’d wake up and snarf down a plate of birthday cake-flavoured cinnamon toast topped with vanilla ice cream and maple syrup. With a tomato on the side (which I wholly approve of; all that sugar needs a bit of tart and fresh to balance it out.)

Speaking from a dietary perspective, that’s kind of horrifying! ¬†But these fragrances are not – lovely single scents, all. ¬†I particularly like Cinnamon Toast, which smells like cinnamon hearts, and, super surprisingly, Tomato, which on initial application smells exactly like a ripe, sun-warmed tomato. ¬†It’s a unique smell that conjures up nice memories of my grandfather futzing over his heavily laden tomato plants out in the garden.

Demeter Zombie Collage

Next up we have the zombie fragrances, which, upon spritzing and sniffing, we decided I will never, ever wear because they smell like dirt and rot and probably skunk pheromones. ¬†I love the theming behind these Zombie for Him, Her and Dog fragrances (what, the cats just fend for themselves?) but wowza, do they stink. ¬†I suspect that Demeter’s Dirt fragrance, an otherwise pretty acceptable fresh earth kind of scent, is the base for all three of these colognes, with hits of dead flowers (for Her), decaying leaves (for Him) and something that’s erring awfully close to urine (for the Dog.) ¬†I adore them, they are so weird, but these will probably remain collectibles only. ¬†Also, you will pry my Snowmint Mallow from my cold, dead, zombiefied hands before I trade it in for something more apocalypse-appropriate.

Demeter Kitten Fur Pic

Leaving the best for last, we have my cat Weegie looking disillusioned (so basically a day ending in Y) beside a bottle of Kitten Fur! ¬†Which smells a bit like very mild laundry detergent. ¬†I don’t think Weegie’s tummy fur smells like soap (you get the best, most accurate results – also probably hissed and swatted at – by sniffing a cat’s tummy) but I suppose if any creature in this house is going to smell like laundry, it’s going to be the one that spends 22 hours a day lounging around on freshly washed linens.

All in all, a lovely, thoughtful gift full of fun surprises and some very unique finds. ¬†Well done, sweetie. ūüôā

Lightning Crashes

Lightning Crashes

Fun fact: The song Lightning Crashes by the band Live is my least favourite song of all time. And by that I mean I f*cking LOATHE it. ¬†No song should ever, EVER, contain the word “placenta,” especially if that word is sung all lustily by a slithery, rat-tailed proto-bro. ¬†Not that I have any particular feelings on the matter! ¬†Although my husband likes to tease me about my Lightning Crashes reaction time when we’re listening to music in the car – unlike the song, it does NOT suck, and it takes me maybe 1/100th of a second to shriek and snap off the radio in disgust.

I’m not disgusted by these nails, though, because they turned out really well! ¬†I particularly like the sponged-on, ozoney bits. ūüôā