the nail files: simple sparkles

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I've had a crazy busy week, this week, so that meant I needed a simple mani (as I really don't like having naked nails--oh the horror! haha!). This one took no time at all and I love how it turned out.

To start, I did two coats of Shelly. When that was dry, I used Erin for the tips by carefully starting at one side and then dragging the brush to the other side. I did this twice, to get a solid, straight-ish line. While that was drying, I applied the three loose pieces of holo diamonds. One coat of Glisten and Glow's HK Girl Top Coat sealed everything together.

I love how fresh and simple this mani is, but the contrast of the light grey and light teal give it a bit of an edge. And, of course, the holo diamonds are freaking gorgeous with their sparkle-factor (thanks again, Beth!). 

What are you rocking this week? Link up and show off! Also, we've got one week left in Sparkle month, so if you've been thinking about joining in on the fun, get your mani ready for next Friday!

Have an awesome weekend!


pretty flower pics from the garden

When The Remix was cutting the grass a little while ago, he asked me if I'd seen the flowers growing in the backyard.

"Oh yeah," I said. "They're peonies."

"Yeah. I know," he replied. "But have you seen them this year? They're huge! And I think there are more than before."

Intrigued, I stopped painting my nails and ventured into our backyard. When we got to the back garden, I couldn't believe how right he was! Not only were they bigger, but there were a whole lot more of them. Last year, all we had were small-ish, light pink peonies, but this year, there were also dark pink and white peonies, along with a flower that is definitely not a peony, but still super pretty. I'm not a gardener, but I'm pretty sure it's called a Fluffy Fluff-Fluff (probably not, haha!). 

I got my little gardening shears (pink, of course) and cut all the big blossoms I could find. By the end of my shear-fest, I needed two vases to hold them all. And because they were so freaking gorgeous, I took a whole whack of pictures.

Here are some (because, you know, sometimes it's just nice to look at pretty things. You're welcome. Haha!):


the nail files: sparkly sea creatures

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While scrolling through my IG feed, looking for some sparkle inspiration, I came across a mani done by Alice from One Nail To Rule Them All and totally fell in love.

But since this is Sparkle Month, I tweaked her design just a bit, to include some glitter. Also, I kind of liked that with my minimalist mermaid mani last week, another "under the sea" kind of mani means I'm almost doing a theme within a theme. Obviously, it was too awesome an idea to resist. Haha!

Here's what I used:

And the mani!

For the base:

This was my first time using a saran wrap technique and I LOVED IT! After two coats, the blues totally blended together to create a nice "watery" look.

I started with one coat of Snowcone, waited about ten minutes, and then added generous dots of Snowcone, Skinny Dip, and White Tips, in a random pattern. With a crinkled ball of saran wrap, I dabbed all the colour together, making sure to use different sides of the saran wrap ball.

I waited another five minutes and then added a coat of Glisten and Glow's HK Girl Top Coat.

For the octopus:

I used a very thin striping brush and outlined the head of the octopus. Then I decided where the tentacles would go and made thin lines to make sure they were even. I wasn't too worried about having the tentacles line up completely, but I tried to space the surrounding tentacles evenly, on my ring and pointer fingers. I thickened each tentacle, added the curls at the end, added a thin line of Harmonious Mess, for contrast, and waited for it to dry.

Back on my middle nail, I filled in the octopus head and tentacles, continuing the same thin line of Harmonious Mess.

When all the polish was dry, I used the same thin nail art brush to pick out purple hex glitter from Can't Be Tamed and added them along the bottom of each tentacle. The final touch were the octopus eyes, but I put them up too high and had to add the smiley face because otherwise, it looked kind of weird. Haha!

The starfish:

I used the same thin brush as I used for the octopus (cleaned, of course, haha) and outlined the starfishes. Then I filled them in and while Mayhem Mentality was still wet, blended Key Lime Twist into the middle. When that had dried, I picked out gold hex glitter from Sashay My Way.

A final coat of Glisten and Glow's HK Girl Top Coat sealed everything together.

Whew! Definitely a high-effort mani, but one that I'm so happy I did because it's so much fun!

What were you rocking this week? Link up and show off!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!


the time I became a duck defender

It’s our second summer in our new house and it’s safe to say that we’re still totally loving it. There’s a fantastic view over the field across from us, a delightful cross-breeze that keeps the air fresh and cool, and a pond that’s lovely, but hell-bent on giving us a run for our money. Ha!

Between the mink, muskrats, and random enormous birds, our fish population has been cut in half, but the fact that we got baby ducks this year basically evened all that out. We've had ducks before, but no babies and let me tell you, baby duck cuteness is pretty much unparalleled.

The little family lives in our neighbour’s pond, but use ours as a place to hang. The first day they came, I just about died and since then, I've taken approximately 1598 pictures of them. Because I seriously don’t know if I’ve seen anything more adorable. 

But one day, something awful happened.

The mama and her ducklings were swimming around, minding their own business...

...when another female duck and a mallard flew into the pond. I thought everything would be okay, because we've had more than one duck on our pond at a time, but then I heard a loud burst of quacking and when I looked out of my window, the mallard had driven the mama out of the pond, pushed her up against our fence, and was attacking her. The ducklings were huddled together in the middle of the pond, freaking the freak out, while the other female couldn’t have cared less and was still eating.

Naturally, I lost my damn mind and ran outside to help the mama. Running around the pond to where the ducks were, the mallard flew away while the mama went back into the pond. Thoroughly confused, I came back inside and Googled what the hell was wrong with the mallard.

And that’s when I learned a horrible truth: ducks are dicks.

According to every website on the internet (I know because I checked as many as I could find, hoping that the information was wrong), mallards routinely attack single females until they’re worn down enough to be mated with. In other words, mallards are duck rapists, although the science community refers to it as "forced copulation." And the single females most likely to be attacked are ones with ducklings. Even worse, often times there are multiple mallards attacking a single female.

One exceptionally horrific account came from a man who’d videoed an attack. As in he stood there, saw what was happening, and RECORDED IT FOR FUTURE WATCHING. To make matters worse, on his horrible video, he said that he didn’t intervene because “it was nature and what could he do anyway?”

Well I am of a different opinion than that stupid asshat, and because I want our pond to be a "forced copulation"-free zone, I started Single Duck Mama Watch, which first began as me running outside every time I’d hear the mallard land. 

Jennifer Lawrence The Hunger Games animated GIF

At first, he'd fly away when I got within a few feet of him, but after the first few running attacks, he’d fly into the pond instead of flying away, so I had to up my game.

That led to Single Duck Mama Watch: Level Two, which involved our airsoft rifle. 

Now, to be clear, this is an airsoft rifle that shoots (biodegradable) pellets. At most, they sting. So when the mallard would start trying to go after the mama, I’d shoot him. I guess it’s important to say that our rifle isn’t that great and the aim is way off, but after a few hits, he’d fly away. However, as rape-y as this guy was, he wasn’t dumb and soon realized that the pellets didn’t actually hurt him, so he'd just scoot away until he was annoyed enough to leave. It took a lot of pellets, though, so I had to go back to the drawing board, temporarily reverting to the mildly more effective Level One. 

I wasn't sure what else I could do, and was pretty upset about it, but then I remembered that we had small clay rocks in one of our gardens and Single Duck Mama Watch: Level Three was born.

Larger than the pellets, and jaggedy, I figured that they’d work pretty well. And being that I have pretty good hand-eye-coordination, I was confident that I could throw more accurately than the rifle fired. And even if I missed him, they'd make a splash and hopefully scare him off.

Well, it turned out that he wasn't too bothered by the splash, and proved to be quite the agile swimmer, so it took a couple of days for me to finally make contact with him. But when I did, he couldn’t have gotten out of the pond fast enough. And since then, whenever I go outside, he flies away immediately. 

Suck it, duck dick!

It's been a few weeks since there's been an attack and the single duck mama and her flock have come back almost every day. I know it sounds a little Dr. Doolittle-ish, but there's a part of me that believes she knows that I've got her back. Or wings. Whatever. The point is, it's been awesome to see the little ducklings grow up without worrying about their mama.

The got big so fast!

So rest easy, Single Duck Mamas of the world, Jennie is here for you.

*restocks pile of rocks, just to be safe*


the nail files: minimalist mermaid

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It's week two of Sparkle Month, and I have to admit, it was a tricky one for me. I love sparkles like, a lot, but for some reason, it was nail fail after nail fail for me. Isn't that just the worst? Anyway, I persevered and ended up with a more delicate kind of sparkle than I usually do, but the good news is that it wasn't a hot mess. And thank goodness for that. Haha!

I started with two coats of Vanna and after that dried, I got started on the sparkle.

Using the nail polish bottle's brush, I wiped it a few times on the rim of the bottle to get a really thin coat, and then dabbed Oscar onto three quarters of each nail. Because there wasn't much polish, I was able to move on right away to Carly, where I used the same technique of wiping off excess polish before adding blue sparkles on top of the gold.

To finish, I used Harper to create a teal tip to each nail, but tried to blend it down some, so the line wasn't perfectly straight. The extra, larger glitter pieces in Harper really make the tips shine in natural light.

Vanna is such a wonderful, warm, creamy colour and although the formula is a bit on the thicker side, once I figured out that both coats require a floating application (meaning the brush doesn't actually touch your nail, therefore having the polish float with its coverage), it went on nicely. The thin coats of glitter dried almost instantaneously and the combo of the blue and gold micro-glitter is dainty and pretty while still having some punch.

While rocking this mani, I found myself getting distracted by all the pretty, and from my experience, that's the mark of an awesome mani. So although it took a looooooooooooong time to finally get it right, it was worth it. I think. Haha!

What are you rocking this week? Did you have a nail fail of your own? Are you a sparkly sparkle-fest? Link up and show off your pretties, guys! :D


book review (with a tribute mani!): the vintage guide to love and romance

THE VINTAGE GUIDE TO LOVE AND ROMANCE is Kirsty Greenwood's second novel and I'm delighted to report that she's just as awesome a writer as I remembered. And because I loved THE VINTAGE GUIDE so much, I included a tribute mani with my review.

The synopsis, from Goodreads:

Jessica Beam is a girl who knows how to party. Only lately she's been forgetting to turn up for work on time. Or in clean clothes. Down on her luck, out of a job and homeless, Jess seeks the help of her long-lost grandmother.

Things aren't going well for Matilda Beam, either. Her 1950s Good Woman guide books are out of print, her mortgage repayments are staggering and her granddaughter wears neon Wonderbras!

When a lifeline from a London publisher arrives, the pair have an opportunity to secure the roof over their heads – by invigorating the Good Woman guides and transforming modern, rebellious Jess into a demure vintage lady.

The true test of their make-over will be to capture the heart of notorious London playboy Leo Frost and prove that Matilda’s guides still work. It's going to take commitment, nerves of steel and one seriously pointy bra to pull this off...

The idea of taking old-school dating tips and applying them to modern day romance is a situation ripe with comedy, and Ms. Greenwood harvests every opportunity like a seasoned apple farmer. Or a pear farmer, I guess, considering Jess’ love for pear cider. Ha! In any event, this book is a perfect example of what I love about commercial women’s fiction, because there's a real journey of self-discovery, served with a heaping side of hilarity. 

Jess is an interesting gal, who follows the expected character arc of starting out as a hot mess and ending up (somewhat) getting it together. How it all goes down, though, is truly original. Jess is the kind of character people want to like, even when she makes it difficult. Writing in first person can be tricky, because if a reader doesn't engage with the voice right away, the plot can fall flat, but that doesn't even almost happen in THE VINTAGE GUIDE. Despite Jess' self-centred nature, Ms. Greenwood injected just enough heart to create a sympathetic character who makes you want to scream: OH DEAR GOD JESS PLEASE DON'T DO THAT, whilst also wanting to do a shot with her at the bar and then give her a hug. Ha!

And then there was Chapter Three.

Oh em gee, guys, Chapter Three.

I laughed so hard that I actually thought I'd pass out. I won't spoil it for you, but there's a scene that involves something called the "Quiet Zone" on a train and, not surprisingly, it's not a place where Jess should be. Ever. (Or me, for that matter, haha!)

Post hilarious-train-ride, the plot really gets started, because it's when Jess moves in with her estranged grandmother, Matilda, who wrote books about the proper way to attract a man in the 1950s. Shockingly, none of her tips include getting smashed at a cocktail party and making out in public. So, suffice it to say, they have some conflict. But with their livelihoods on the line, Jess and Matilda have to find a way to work it out. 

Yes, romance is an important component to THE VINTAGE GUIDE, and it drives the plot forward, but it's Jess and Matilda who steal the show (which, in my opinion, is how it should be done). 

I could go on and on in this review about how awesome THE VINTAGE GUIDE is, but I can only say "it's freaking amazeballs" so many times before you'd get bored. So if you love books that will have you snorting with laughter and possibly happy crying in the end, then you need to pick up THE VINTAGE GUIDE TO LOVE AND ROMANCE. And afterwards, if you haven’t already, you should also get a copy of Ms. Greenwood's first novel, YOURS TRULY. Kirsty Greenwood is an incredible writer, guys and gals, and as far as I’m concerned, her work is a shining example of what commercial women's fiction should be. And really, there isn't anything more to say than that. 

*drops mic*


the nail files: sparkly summer treats

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It's the first week of Show Me Your Summer Sparkles! YAY FOR SPARKLES!

There was a family BBQ last weekend, and although it poured rain for the entire time, I wanted to do a festive mani. And since July's nail files theme is sparkle-prettiness, I figured I may as well add some glitter. (Haha! Like I needed a reason to include a little glitter.) 

To start, I did two coats of UV Meant to Be, and let it dry completely. Then, I added the clouds, using a medium-sized dotting tool and White Tips. While that was drying, I used a thin nail art brush to get started on the ice cream cone. I started with the cone, and then used the white Stripe Rite for the ice cream. 

While that was drying, I used the same thin nail art brush to make the ice cream bar, with That's Shore Bright, and added the little stick beneath. Then it was back to the ice cream cone for another coat of white Stripe Rite and You Don't Know Jacques. I added another coat of That's Shore Bright to the bar and let them both dry.

For the ice cream cone's sparkle, I used one coat of The Outer Edge (which wasn't quite as sparkly as I'd hoped) and for the bar, one coat of Explosion of Fun. When that was dry, I outlined each design with black Stripe Rite, and then used Glisten and Glow's HK Girl quick dry topcoat to seal it all together.

If I hadn't decided to outline the ice cream cone and bar, this mani would've been a breeze. But with the outlining, it was kind of a nightmare. I have pretty steady hands, but those curved lines, guys. THEY WERE WERE SO FREAKING HARD. So if you're thinking this is a design you'd like to try, keep in mind that outlining may be for suckers. Haha!

Aside from that, I looooooove how it turned out. In fact, a week later, I'm still rocking them! That Glisten and Glow top coat is the best, nail peeps. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend that you do. It dries super fast and doesn't shrink the polish like some other top coats (*cough*SecheVite*cough*).

What were you rocking this week? Were you inspired by our theme of Summer Sparkles? Link up and show them off! (But don't worry, if you're not feeling the sparkles, you can still link up too!)

And for you Americans, I hope you have an amazing 4th of July!


the nail files: all the neon

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It's hard to believe, but we've come to the end of Neon Month.

Sad Crying animated GIF

In order to console myself, I decided to do a mani with as many neons as possible (hence the title of this post, haha!). It was a bit of a trial and error kind of mani but in the end, it worked out great!

 As usual, these colours didn't photograph well. The orange and pink are bananas-bright in real life. 

Originally, my plan was to do one of those vertical, rainbow gradients that are all the rage right now, so I started with two coats of White Tips. Then I did one layer of sponged-on colour. For some reason, though, it didn't even almost work out. I think it may have been because I didn't use a wide enough stripe of colour on the sponge, but in any event, it was not a pretty situation. So, instead of fighting with it, I switched gears and added two coats of each colour, applied with the bottle's brush, meeting in the middle.

When that was dry, I added one black line down the middle, with Black Stripe Rite (that I forgot to include in the polish picture...whoops!), followed by two white lines on either side, with White Stripe Rite (also missing from the picture, double-whoops! Haha!).

One coat of quick-dry top coat sealed everything together nicely.

 The colours in this picture are slightly more accurate, although the orange is still muted and the pink looks a little darker than in real life. Whomp, whomp. Haha!

Although I'm a little sad that the vertical, rainbow gradient didn't work out, I LOVE my modification. Sometimes, things don't pan out the way I envisioned, but when I figure out a way to save it without having to start from scratch, I legit feel like this...

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Haha! Oh Carleton.

So that brings us to the end of Neon Month. I'm so happy that you guys were digging it! How about for July, we do "Get Your Summer Sparkles On!"? As I'm a sparkle-addict, and there are lots of bright sparkles and shimmers out there that are just perfect for summer, I thought it'd be a pretty inclusive theme. Let me know if you're not feeling it, though, and we can pick something else!

Hope you have a great weekend, everyone! And don't forget to link up! :D