11.12.17

npc holiday comp - it's a major award!


Well friends, it's that time of year again. Snow is falling, trees are filled with glittering lights, and Nail Polish Canada is hosting their annual holiday nail art competition! Woot!!

It could be argued that I had too much fun with this year's mani, because it's a design that's close to my heart. I've been obsessed with A Christmas Story for as long as I can remember--you'll shoot your eye out, kid!--and I've paid tribute to the movie in a multitude of ways.

Like when I dressed as a leg lamp for Halloween a few years ago.




Or when I gave an actual leg lamp to my brother which we have stolen borrowed while he stores some of his belongings at our house.




So naturally, it's only fair that I include a mani. And also a video, because my nerdiness can't be stopped. (Warning: I was unable to not laugh while filming and after trying many takes, I was near delirium. This is the best one. Haha! And, uh, just pretend you can't see my arm at the bottom. Video editing isn't even almost my bag. 🙈😂)




And here's proper pic! I frickin' LOVE how it turned out!!




Truth be told, this isn't the first leg lamp mani I've painted. Three years ago, I also used the leg lamp as inspiration and in the spirit of showing progress, here they are side-by-side.




Nail art has been one of the more unexpected sources of happiness in my life and to see these two designs together gives me the biggest smile because YAY FOR IMPROVING! I just love how nail art gets my creative juices flowing and when things turn out like I'd envisioned, it's a marvellous feeling. Plus, I almost always have cute nails now so it's a hobby that keeps on giving. Haha!


So if you got a giggle out of my video and pics, I'd really appreciate your vote! The prize is BANANAS this year--one could even say it's a major award 😂--and it'd be the best thing ever to win! 




Thank you so much and Happy Holidays!!

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For this mani, I used

OPI - Rollin' In Cashmere, You Are So Outta Lime, and Samoan Sand

FingerPaints - Black Expressionism, Paper Mâché, and Figure of Art

Julep - Valerie

ORLY - Luxe

China Glaze - Don't Be A Snow-Flake

Glisten and Glow - topcoat

So Nailicious brushes - warrior, needle, and slayer



7.12.17

review and cover mani: caraval

I’ve had a great time the last few weeks, burning through my TBR in hopes of reaching my Goodreads goal. I find it all too easy to watch television or get caught up in social media and it’s been awesome to buckle down with a book instead of losing myself in technology. Plus, all the fantasy I’ve been devouring has given me the most insane dreams, where I’ve tasted magical worlds and joined new literary pals on the most epic of adventures. And the latest on that list of literary pals is the cast and crew of CARAVAL, which gave me a particularly marvellous dream because I read it in one day. Woot!



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The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

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Unreliable narrators are my favourite and in CARAVAL, unreliableness was in full force. The moment Scarlett attempted to navigate the magical island that Caraval called home, she had no idea what was going on. Like, literally no idea. But that’s the point, I soon learned, because Caraval is designed to make you mistrust your instincts, as well as your senses and everybody you met. Sounds fun, right? (Of course it does!) So while Scarlett wasn't unreliable in the traditional sense, airs of untrustworthiness abounded.


Jacket design by Erin Fitzsimmons and Rav Shappell. 
Jacket photograph ©️ Shutterstock.


I think it’s safe to say that the sections of the book set during Caraval are the parts I remember the strongest. The descriptive, enchanting, vivid prose lured me closer to the page after Scarlett arrived, and I loved that each element was treated with the same care and consideration. It didn’t take long for me to fall into Legend's world I never wanted to leave because Garber is unnaturally gifted with the ability to set the scene. I drank the Kool-Aid and it was frickin' divine, folks. Kind of like ambrosia but with glitter. Delicious, delicious glitter. 




And while Scarlett was much more hesitant to join in the fun—or madness, depending on your point of view—than I would’ve been, I didn’t grow up under the thumb of an abusive father, having seen nothing of the world. In that sense, Scarlett’s fear made total sense, and I sympathized with her overwhelming sense of self-doubt as she frantically tried to find her sister. It was sort of like Scarlett was a freshman in college, experiencing life for the first time on her own, but also with her sister’s life relying on her making straight A’s on a first-week exam. Again, sounds fun, right? (Err...for everyone except Scarlett and Tella, anyway.)



So if you’re looking for true escapist fiction, where your eyes greedily suck up every lush and striking image, whether it be a twinkling gown made of the softest velvet, a deadly game of cat and mouse, or a trying to decipher what’s true or an illusion, then CARAVAL is the book for you!





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For this mani, I used:

FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mâché

OPI – A Good Man-Darin Is Hard To Find, Big Apple Red, and matte topcoat

Glisten and Glow – Silver Streak and topcoat

So Nailicious brushes – needle and slayer




30.11.17

review and cover mani: this darkness mine

You know when you finish a book and then question your whole life? Because you can’t quite believe what happened so your brain is left whirling like the rainbow beach ball of death on a mac, forever spinning due to WTF overload? Well let me introduce you to THIS DARKNESS MINE, by Mindy McGinnis. Haha!

(Warning, I’m fired up in this review, folks, which means that f-bombs are a-droppin'.)




The back jacket, from Goodreads:

Sasha Stone knows her place—first-chair clarinet, top of her class, and at the side of her oxford-wearing boyfriend. She’s worked her entire life to ensure that her path to Oberlin Conservatory as a star musician is perfectly paved.

But suddenly there’s a fork in the road, in the shape of Isaac Harver. Her body shifts toward him when he walks by, her skin misses his touch even though she’s never known it, and she relishes the smell of him—smoke, beer, and trouble—all the things she’s avoided to get where she is. Even worse, every time he’s near Sasha, her heart stops, literally. Why does he know her so well—too well—and she doesn’t know him at all?

Sasha discovers that her by-the-book life began by ending another’s: the twin sister she absorbed in the womb. But that doesn’t explain the gaps of missing time in her practice schedule or the memories she has of things she certainly never did with Isaac. As Sasha loses her much-cherished control, her life—and heart—become more entangled with Isaac. Armed with the knowledge that her heart might not be hers alone, Sasha must decide what she’s willing to do—and who she’s willing to hurt—to take it back.

Edgar Award–winning author Mindy McGinnis delivers a dark and gripping psychological thriller about a girl at war with herself, and what it really means to be good or bad.
 

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I’ve made it a mission to read all of Mindy McGinnis’ books because of my intense love for THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES. I just adore how McGinnis writes without censorship in a blunt, sharp, and still compassionate way. Some truths are harder to tell than others and I’m all for hearing them without the usual sorts of filters. Especially when they’re told by dynamic characters within a stone-cold twisted plot.


Jacket photograph by Greta Tuckute. 
Jacket design by Erin Fitzsimmons.


While this book isn’t a traditional YA contemporary where we follow a protagonist as she learns about herself and the sort of person she wants to be, it kind of is. Or maybe not? I’m still not entirely sure, but that’s a good thing. Haha! Sasha is a very prickly character and from other reviews I’ve read, there’s been mention of her unlikability—that Sasha isn’t a character who’s sympathetic. And you know what? Those reviews are right, but instead of complaining, I’m rejoicing!

It’s about time we get unlikable female characters, isn’t it? Where’s the fun in reading the same thing over and over again? I, for one, am tired of female characters who only fall to the dark side because (a) they didn’t mean to or (b) were pressured into it but it’s okay because deep inside they didn’t really want to. This may come as a shock, but girls/women are just as capable of doing bad things and I love reading about unapologetic characters that give zero fucks. In fact, I’m fascinated by them and in the case of Sasha Stone, I’d follow her anywhere. Because her struggle to become who she is means she has to face the idea of embracing every part of herself, no matter how dark those parts may be (whether they're from the twin she absorbed or not--I'll never tell!). 




From the first page, Sasha commanded my full and unadulterated attention. Think Amy from GONE GIRL but for real (because it seems like every book is compared to GG when most are nothing like it at all). That intense fierceness is another example of McGinnis’ talent to tell the truth—the ugly side that other authors either choose to ignore or don’t have the skill to get right. This is the sort of fiction that makes me want to be a better writer. So yeah, THIS DARKNESS MINE may not be for everyone but it should be because it's fresh as hell.

And then the end happened omg the end. That’s all I can say about that.

If you love unpredictable, almost feral characters whose path to self-awareness is anything but conventional, then you need to read THIS DARKNESS MINE!



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For this mani, I used:

OPI – Samoan Sand, Bubble Bath, Deluce de Leche, Strawberry Margarita, You Are So Outta Lime and matte topcoat

China Glaze – My Way or the Highway

FingerPaints – Paper Mâché and Black Expressionism

Mitty Burns – Daisy 1.0, Minty 0, Candy 00, and Pro Clean Angular brushes