My Canadian Roots

My Canadian Roots

Here on the final evening of the Canada Day long weekend, I wanted to do a manicure inspired by Canadian manufacturer Roots, designers of one of my favourite items of clothing of all time, my pink Roots Athletics sweatshirt.  Considering there was not a Canadian kid alive in the mid-1980s who didn’t have one of these sweatshirts (including yours truly!) there are no photos of me in my beloved baby pink, mint green and white pullover, because we didn’t run around with cameras all jacked up in our faces at all hours of the day.  So I have no “adorable” throwback photos to share with you, just my nostalgic memories of an iconic Canadian trend (really, everyone had a Roots sweatshirt; they came in an assortment of bright rainbow hues – my best friend’s was a gorgeous indigo blue – and some people had one in every colour.  And they were not exactly inexpensive either.  Not bad for a sweatshirt bearing the silhouette of a chunka-butt beaver.) 😉

Advertisements

Muffin – and Teenage Boy – Madness

Muffin Madness 2

A breathtakingly stupid story from my youth forms the basis for these scrumptious-looking nails that pay homage to the mighty manicured muffin!

So it was round about the end of high school when a friend fell in temporary infatuation with a cute boy from another school we used to pal around with (I defy you to call it anything other than temporary when the boy in question wears an upside down bookkeeper’s visor unironically.)  There was a big party coming up, and it was pretty well expected that it would be during this soiree that they would declare their feelings for one another in all manner of debauched Hughesian awkwardness.

But because teenagers are generally giant tools, the very first thing they did upon arriving at the party was to furiously ignore one another, my friend seeking solace in some girl talk, with Upside Down Visor doing likewise.  With another girl.  And a whole lot of public groping.  Real party killer, that.  Also the end of any flirtation between my friend and Teenage Dirtbag.

Anyhow, some time later my friend and Upside Down Visor once again found themselves at the same party, and she asked him what had happened that night – it hadn’t been her imagination, right, there was maybe something there between them?  Why the stupid freeze-out?

Oh no, he confirmed, there was definitely something there; he actually liked her a lot.  But here was the deal – and then he launched into THE dumbest explanation of the romantic-existential dilemma I have EVER heard.  Seriously, this happened nearly 20 years ago and I still admire the balls-out stupidity of this guy.  Allow me to throw it to straight dialogue:

Upside Down Visor (UDV): Okay, so it’s like this.  What’s your favourite food?

My Friend (Friend): Muffins.

UDV: What kind do you like best?

Friend: Chocolate chip.

UDV: And after chocolate chip?

Friend: Blueberry.

UDV: Okay, so let’s say you go to the bakery and there’s two kinds of muffins there, chocolate chip and blueberry.  You want the chocolate chip muffin the most, but it’s been, like, sitting out for days and it’s gone all crusty and stale and it has this weird mold starting to grow on top.  But then beside it there’s the blueberry muffin, and it’s all warm from the oven and tender and buttery and ready to be eaten………like, seriously, which would you pick?!

Friend: You’re an idiot.

And scene.

And so here we have chocolate chip and blueberry muffin nail art.  I like both interpretations equally, but in the immortal words of UDV, like, seriously, which would you pick?!  Such decisions. 😉

Muffin Madness 1

Lifestyles of the Rich and the Sudsy

Soap Collage

Some weekends back my mom and I went out for one of our doughnut ‘n’ decorating dates, which involves a trip to a favourite local doughnut joint (Suzy Q’s in Ottawa, Ontario) followed by a bit of retail therapy at a favourite home decor shop across the street (Marie Antoionette’s.)  I’ve spoken about both before – and actually, hang on a tick, I’ve vlogged about both before as well!  I actually vlogged this doughnut date, much to my mother’s eternal embarrassment/amusement.  Here, ch-check (it out for) yourself, if you’d like:

Anyhow, it was during this Saturday morning shopping excursion that my mom, as is her sweet custom, asked me if I’d like a little treat from Marie Antoinette.  The answer to that question is always a delighted YESand I quickly snapped up a beautiful bar of soap from Juniper Tree, a soap supply company out of Berkeley, California.  I’ve actually purchased three or four bars of Juniper Tree’s gorgeously detailed glycerin soaps in the past, and all from Marie Antoinette, who display them on tantalizingly tiered trays like precious little petit fours.  This beautiful bar, with its crown of dried flowers, is in a fresh and sweet scent called Tiki Taffy.

But I clearly spaced on how much these little bars of soapy goodness actually cost, because there was a moment of sticker shock when the cashier read out our total.  “Sorry, how much was the bar of soap?” my mother casually asked in a not-remotely-casual tone of voice.  And when the answer came back as a shade over $10, we had a good, guffawing laugh (once we were outside, we’re not complete animals.)  My mom was positively in stitches over the thought that this one wee bar of soap cost more than her entire suds “budget” for the year.  What can I say, her daughter’s got tastes in high places.  This is really all her fault, wretched enabler. 😉

But seeing as I was now in possession of a very expensive bar of “company soap,” I thought I should do something impressive to best display its elevated status among the other suds-stuffs in my collection.  And that’s how I found myself carrying out a lifestyle photo shoot with a bar of soap, a bottle of Prosecco and my thoroughly annoyed cat at three in the afternoon on a Wednesday in the middle of May.  As you do.  Or as I assume wealthy people do, because what else would a $10 bar of soap be up to other than…

Soap 3

…drinking sparkling stuff out of fluted champagne glasses?  Or…

Soap 5

…hunting big, deeply disinterested game?  Or my personal favourite…

Soap 6

…perusing yacht listings.  I’ll take the $74 mil guy at the top – he comes with a villa!  Mr. Finger Candy, grab my cheque book, we got a yacht to buy!  Quick question: Do you think they accept Canadian Tire money?

Really, though, I was just feeling exceedingly goofy.  This bar of Tiki Taffy will go into a soap dish and I will use it with relish.  Until the next trip to Marie Antoinette’s when we’re amusingly sticker-shocked anew!

Frozen Bubbles

Frozen Bubbles

As in Polish Me Silly’s fun Mr. Bubble glitter bomb over top of my frozen, lacquered fingertips.  ‘Cause it never stops snowing.  As I may have mentioned once or twice or 20 times over the past two days.  Fur real, though, it’s the middle of MARCH.  Time to wrap this up for the year, Earth!  Besides, there’s only so much time left before we all switch over to griping about the heat and humidity (also a thing in my in-a-valley city.)

Heh, that reminds me of a cute interaction I had with a reader years ago.  I had mentioned in a post at the time that my city sits in a valley, as in the Ottawa Valley.  If you’ve been to Ottawa, you know it has its lovely qualities, but it’s also a major (bureaucratic) city, with all the attendant ugliness that goes along with that descriptor – old, crap, perpetually breaking infrastructure (sinkholes!), sprawling, high density suburbs (vinyl!) and a death trap of a 400 series highway that cuts through the entire city like a gaping, infected wound (but tell us how you really feel, Sandra.)  Anyhow, this reader, who I believe hailed from the Philippines, left a sweet comment on my post to the effect of “You live in a valley?!  How wonderful, it must be so beautiful and magical!”  It was adorable, and I laughed for about five solid minutes afterwards at the thought of this girl thinking that I lived in freakin’ Fern Gully.  I tried to be as gentle as possible as I explained that no, Ottawa was your pretty typical metropolitan mess, and how its valley-ness manifested itself was mostly in poor weather conditions that would settle into the divot and then not move off for the next 10 days.  That’s kind of what we’re in right now – a snow cycle that’s trapped down here “in the Valley.”  No place like home, eh? 😉

A Very Disney Christmas

Four Park Collage

Right, so let’s get to the oft-asked question straightaway: Is Disney World busy at Christmas?

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!  *Gasp, wheeze, struggle for breath* Is Disney World busy at Christmas?!

So yeah, this would be the part of the answer where I lob back a number of saucy replies involving the business that bears do in the woods or the activities of a one-legged man at an ass-kicking competition.

In other (less sarcastic ) words, YES, Disney World is busy at Christmas.  All four parks were busier than I have ever seen them over 11 visits and 40 years of existence.  And on Christmas Day in particular when the Magic Kingdom hit capacity for just the second time in Disney history, the kind of busy that regrettably pulls you right out of the magic as you question the efficacy of any emergency procedure that will involve the evacuation of 70,000 people.

However!  Mr. Finger Candy and I – particularly in light of our back-to-back trips in 2017 – kind of consider ourselves pros at this whole Disney business, and we viewed our adventure as a challenge or a task or a mission to be completed, and completed well!  So we were organized and motivated and driven.  Also willing to adapt, modify our plans as needed and just go with the flow, bro.

Magic Kingdom Castle Collage

“Park or Perish!” may seem like a pretty lousy rallying call for a vacation, but I assure you, we had a fantabulous time, in large part because we were up for just about anything.  Which led to all sorts of fun shenanigans that I will share with you in more exhaustive detail a little later, such as this awesome meet-and-greet with Buzz Lightyear in which he congratulated us on our top scores on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.

035

Or this incredible retro meal we enjoyed (so much!) at the 50s Prime Time Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Prime Time 1

Or hugs from this hairy dude.

Chewie 1

For that matter, hugs from this hairy dude as well, who graciously received us in his study after our late (10 pm!) Christmas Day dinner at Be Our Guest.

Dinner with the Beast

Or this amazing moment, which I have already decided is going to be next year’s Christmas card.  “Merry Christmas, Force-choke a husband!”

Christmas Card

We had a blast, crowd levels notwithstanding (in fact, in some cases we had an amazing time not in spite of the crowds, but because of them.)  And I like to think that was our “reward” for our laid back, yet organized, approach to Disneying through the holidays – an actual good time to be had at the Happiest Place on Earth.  Revolutionary, I know!  But it can be done, and I’m looking forward to sharing all the fun with you over the coming days.  Please do stop by for a visit; there’s plenty more Star Wars and meet-and-greets and deeply unattractive on-ride photos to come!

Merry Manatees

Merry Manatees

Know what this is, friends?  A Sandra Lewrey original, and an early Christmas gift for my mom.  You’d never know I’m nearly 41 years old with art skills like these!

No surprise that “real” is not exactly my thing (you need look no further than my nail art designs for abundant evidence of that) but these manatees look like they were drawn by a four-year-old!  Which is appropriate, because I’m kind of feeling like a four-year-old.  Because tomorrow morning my husband and I are once again leaving on a jet plane for all places Disney World, straight through Christmas and a little bit beyond.

And I’m feeling only-child wretched about it.  Unbelievably excited, of course – oh my cats, we’re going to Disney for Christmas!!! – but also sad.  Have, in fact, here on the eve of our flights, been crying for the better part of the evening.  Before you (somewhat rightfully) declare me an epic wuss puss, allow me to say that I’m very close to my parents, and this will be the first Christmas in 40 years that we will not be together.  I’m trying to be mature about it, but I actually like hanging out with my parents, and as much fun as I KNOW Mr. Finger Candy and I going to have, I also know I’m going to miss them terribly.  Hence all the tears.  I’ve actually gone the full ham and we’re watching The Christmas Toy, a Jim Henson production of the late ’80s about an unlikely friendship between a stuffed tiger toy and a catnip mouse that makes me SOB from start to finish.

The quasi-joke among our family this holiday season is that my husband and I are ABANDONING them, AT CHRISTMAS.  Which we are.  Might as well own up to it!  So I made this painting for my mom of two manatees abandoning their family for the holidays.  I’m the one with the bow. 🙂

Happiest of Christmases, friends.  I will try to update this blog over the next week, but I’ve never blogged on the road before, and I’ve no idea what to expect.  Also, you know I’ll be back at you with a complete rundown of the entire experience, in exhaustive detail!  You’ll be begging me to stop telling you about the Star Wars fireworks and projection show at Hollywood Studios already.  But until then, the merriest of merrys to you and yours, and warmest of wishes for a wonderful holiday.

Disney World Blitz: Parklife Part V

When we last left off, I was breaking promises left, right and centre regarding the eventual end to this epic tale of my two-day anniversary blitz trip to Walt Disney World.  If you’re at all interested in catching up on the first four installments, in which I blab on endlessly about our resort, food, rides and Gaston’s Tavern, you can find those here, here, here and here.

But last we actually left off, we were discussing Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, and how a late night run proved that maybe our stomachs just ain’t what they used to be.  More on that in a bit.

PhilharPooh

But earlier on, following our not-so-nauseous afternoon run of Big Thunder, we swang it across to Fantasyland and hit up two sweeties, Mickey’s PhilharMagic, a cool 4D musical, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.  Pooh is an absolutely adorable attraction, a classic Disney dark ride, but holy cats, what an uncomfortable ride!  You get into these honey pot carts that bob from side to side when the rain, rain, rain comes down, down, down in rushing, rising rivulets, and also sproing up and down when you go bouncing with Tigger, and I never stop feeling like I’m about to just slide off the seat, straight onto the floor.  Pooh could stand a bit of grip tape.

Tomorrowland Speedway

“I don’t know what to do with my hands.”  Mr. Finger Candy versus the Tomorrowland Speedway, these gas-guzzling little go-carts on rails.  Thankfully, unlike Ricky Bobby, he kept his clothes on and didn’t dash about the track in his underpants screaming that he was on fire.  Or at least he didn’t on this particular trip.

People Mover Collage

The People Mover!  Also known as the Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover, a magnet-powered Walt original.  I semi-joke that you know you’ve gotten old(er) when you consider the People Mover a pretty great time.  I don’t know, 10 seated minutes of amazing views, great breezes, cool park trivia, bit of air conditioning – that’s 40-year-old pay dirt right there.

AstroCarousel

An insincere thumbs-up for Astro Orbiter (eh, you go up, you go down, you go fast – it’s fine, but not worth the 25-minute lineup) and yours truly pretending to be that nagging cow Sarah from the Carousel of Progress (an entire rotating stage show filled with animatronic nightmare fuel, and a song that’s somehow more of an ear worm than It’s a Small World.  Everybody sing it with me now, “‘Cause it’s a great! big! beautiful tomorrow!  Shining at the end of every day!”)

Buzz Lightyear

In the midst of all this Tomorrowland fun we took a break to dash back to Liberty Square for another run through the Haunted Mansion, before doubling back to the future for target practice on Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin.  Buzz is a hoot, one of those shoot-the-target rides (also an excellent candidate for a FastPass, because its lineup is long, cramped and boring.)  A super nice cast member (again, there is really no other variety) snapped this photo of us just outside the ride.

018

Ah, but inside, actually on the ride, the attraction snapped this photo of us mid-action.  I call this one “The Gamer and the Goof.”  This is admittedly not the best photo of either one of us, but this is what happens when you put a hardcore gamer on a shoot-the-target ride – intense concentration and laser-like focus.  Or at least until your wife suddenly shouts, “This is where they take your picture, SMILE!” and you try to pretend like you’re not SEVERELY committed to ridding the scourge of Evil Emperor Zurg from the galaxy.  All the same, he got something like 400,000 points his first run out and I got, oh, 9,600.

After conquering Buzz (or just sitting there making “Pew! Pew!” noises) we thought, “Hey, there’s an hour until the projection light show at Cinderella’s Castle.  Let’s hop over to Pirates of the Caribbean for one final boat ride of the day.”  Which would have made for some pretty tremendous timing had the ride not broken down, leaving us in semi-darkness for the next 40 minutes.

Pirates Collage

I say semi, because after 20 or so minutes of the pirates yo-ho, yo-ho-ing in their normal fashion, they turned the sound off, brought the lights up and then began resetting the pumps that push the boats along the tracks.  It was very cool to see how much the water line dropped when the pumps were turned off – probably a good three inches.  And the water’s only about two and a half feet deep to begin with!  At one point I thought we were going to be evac’d off the ride; wondered how that was going to happen when we were all out floating in little boats.  And through it all the pirates continued their revelry, albeit now in static silence.  Being temporarily stuck on a ride may sound like a nightmare to you, but I loved this unexpected peek behind the Disney magic; it was practically its own attraction!

Following our misadventure in Adventure Land, which did indeed cause us to miss the projection light show, we hightailed it over to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train to take advantage of the substantially decreased wait times during late night Extra Magic Hours (another perk that comes with Disney resort life – extra in-park, on-ride hours either before or after regular park open or close.  Which is how you sometimes find yourself stumbling out of the Magic Kingdom at one in the morning!)

545

We snapped this photo in front of the Dwarfs the following morning when we realized we had forgotten to take one the night before.  Two somewhat unenthused thumbs up for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, another super zippy roller coaster (this time with individually rocking seats) themed to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It was fun, but nothing I’d wait in line any longer than 20 minutes to enjoy (which we did, while we watched the fireworks that now seem to be launched from about six different spots in the park, making for a very fulsome, awesome experience, no matter where you’re standing.)

488

After exiting the Mine Train, we jaunted on down to Space Mountain.  Why not keep the roller coaster love flowing?  Oh, because Space Mountain has never not been an exceedingly rough ride, and one in the pitch dark, no less.  I was joking the other day that I don’t always enjoy putting up my Christmas tree every year because we have history, and my dad is the same way with Space Mountain – there’s a dark past there I think neither one wishes to acknowledge!  My parents were – and are, even as they approach their 70s – super game for any and all theme park fun…so long as it doesn’t involve a roller coaster.  Even then, my dad will still go on the zoomers like Big Thunder (but only after thoroughly checking to ensure that the ride absolutely, positively does not go upside down.)  But Space Mountain has always been off the menu; she’s just too rough.

And after suffering through our own rough ride on Space Mountain, I’m not sure she’s on the menu for US any more either.  Oof, I felt quite unwell as I exited the ride – barely spared a glance at the fun (and so appropriate) mock ad for SPF 3500 sunscreen bearing my screaming, on-ride likeness on some nearby screens (this is also why we have no photo of this attraction!)  Mr. Finger Candy actually fared much worse, getting hit with a double dose of first motion sickness and then panic sickness when he thought he had lost his very expensive prescription sunglasses somewhere in the bowels of the ride.  A couple of seconds of frantic casting-about in the bottom of his cart thankfully turned up the missing glasses, much to everyone’s relief, but the anxiety-ridden damage was done.

So what better time to ride one more roller coaster of the evening?  And preferably one as far away as possible.  So to the very back corner of the park for one last ride on Big Thunder!  Which is the ride I spoke of before that just completely did us in.  I’m a real arms-up kind of roller coaster enthusiast – I love that feeling of gravity pulling you out of your seat.  It’s normally a very fun way to enjoy a roller coaster, but not this evening.  Should have just enjoyed the stars and the scenery!  We were both listing sideways as we made our way toward the front of the park.

Castle at Night

But not listing so much that we didn’t stop by the Haunted Mansion for one last close-er-out ride of the night.  Which was also maybe a mistake?  You know you’ve overdone it when even a Doom Buggy’s slow, stately funeral march through the Mansion is setting you off.  And that, my friends, is what you call theme park overload!

Which is what you might be feeling at this point in the tale, which…DRUMROLL, PLEASE!…is finally at an end.  What a fun time!  Such a fantastic experience, one I hope to recreate very soon. 🙂  And to everyone who was kind enough to like and comment on these posts with their own fun Disney experiences, thank you for coming by and sharing *your* Disney world with me.  May we meet up in the parks someday!