book review: the one that got away

As an avid reader of women’s fiction, I’ve really been looking forward to Bethany Chase’s debut novel, THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY (which is available as of today!!). So, when my preorder came in early, I dove right into the first chapter only to emerge hours later, still wearing my fleece zebra robe, stomach growling, because I hadn’t had breakfast and it was coming on eleven o’clock. Naturally, that meant I had to review it. Because books that can keep my attention like that, while making me laugh and cry deserve some attention.

In fact, I loved it so much, I had to match my nails to the stunning cover (as that's what I do when I love something: tribute nail art. Not weird at all, right? Haha!)

But this post isn't about nails. So let's get on with the review, shall we?

*bangs gong*

Synopsis, from Goodreads:

Sarina Mahler thinks she has her life all nailed down: a growing architecture practice in Austin, Texas, and an any-day-now proposal from her loving boyfriend, Noah. She’s well on her way to having the family she’s hoped for since her mother’s death ten years ago. But with Noah on a temporary assignment abroad and retired Olympic swimmer — and former flame — Eamon Roy back in town asking her to renovate his new fixer-upper, Sarina’s life takes an unexpected turn.

Eamon proves to be Sarina’s dream client, someone who instinctively trusts every one of her choices — and Sarina is reminded of all the reasons she was first drawn to him back in the day. Suddenly her carefully planned future with Noah seems a little less than perfect. And when tragedy strikes, Sarina is left reeling. With her world completely upended, she is forced to question what she truly wants in life — and in love.

Full of both humor and heartbreak, The One That Got Away is the story of one woman’s discovery that, sometimes, life is what happens when you leave the blueprints behind.


There were a whack of things I loved about THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, so it's hard for me to know where to start. By the end of page one, I knew Sarina Mahler was the kind of woman I’d totally hang with on a Saturday night, drinking Lone Star beer (which, from what I gathered in THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, is the beer of choice in Austin, Texas). She certainly wasn't the hottest of messes, but she still made mistakes--took the easier, safer choices, even at great personal expense. That's why she was so endearing. Her missteps were real and honest, based on fear. That deep-seeded self-preservation kind of fear that's incredibly difficult to overcome. I cried no less than three separate times, so make sure you’ve got some tissues handy. Cause you’ll probably need them. You’ve been warned. Haha! 

But amongst the heartache, Sarina was funny. Like, really funny. Her whole crew was, actually. And speaking of the secondary characters, they were just as real as Sarina—an incredible feat to accomplish. Her love interests, Noah and Eamon, each had their merits and I suspect they'll probably appeal to a wide range of readers. (I won’t spoil it to tell you whose T-shirt I’d wear, when and if they are made available. Haha!)

Above the fantastic characters and swift pacing though, the writing stood out most of all.

The writing, guys.

There were so many memorable lines that if I were to quote them all, we’d be here all freaking day. And throughout the entire book, the prose remained accessible, smart and rich. If I were to compare this book to a celebrity, I'd pick Prince Harry. Sure, he doesn’t take himself too seriously, but he's articulate, accepts his responsibilities, and seen enough bad in the world to keep it real. (Yes, now that I’ve worked that comparison for a few sentences, I feel very confident calling THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, “The Prince Harry of Women’s Fiction.” I’m sure he’ll be thrilled. Haha!)

At its core, I’d say that this book takes the familiar path that I’ve come to expect from women’s fiction, but the scenery along the way is entirely original. So if you’re into fun, witty fiction with a soul, you should probably pick up THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY, which you can do here and here. Then, I’d recommend that you mosey on over to Bethany’s social media accounts, because, like Sarina, she’s got a killer sense of humour, as well as style.


the nail files: easter-y mani

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Can you believe it's almost Easter? Holy moly, is this year going quickly. Now if only it would stop freaking snowing...


Anyway, with Easter around the corner, I wanted to try a non-nail-art-but-still-festive mani. Mostly because I was a bit lazy, this week. Err...I mean, busy. Haha!

Indoor light. Weirdly, the pink glitter bits looks more red here.

To start, I did two coats of Paper Mache, Boho Blues, and Highlight of my Summer. When that was dry, I used a flat nail art brush to scoop up glitter bits from I'm a Go Glitter, clustering around the base of my nail. Then, I picked out the smaller, bright pink pieces, and placed them randomly on the rest of each feature nail.

I think the glitter looks a little bit like flowers, which make this mani both spring-y AND Easter-y. #nailedit

Outdoor light. Please forgive my blurry pointer finger. I don't know what happened there. Haha!

I have to say that I was pretty surprised with how Boho Blues went on. The first coat was sooooo thin, and super streaky. I was positive that it would need three coats, which drives me absolutely batty. But, I was delighted to see that after a second coat, it was totally opaque! I'm not saying it's magic, but it's pretty darn close because every other streaky polish I have requires three coats. So if you picked up Boho Blues from the Road Trip collection, don't freak out the first time you use it. I promise that you'll only need two coats.

You're welcome. Haha!

What did your nails look like, this week? Do you have some Easter nail art going on? Link up and show off! :)


the nail files: ORLY sugar high

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Last week, I finally got my butt to a Sally's, and because I'm the luckiest gal in the world, there were still a few bottles left from ORLY's latest release: Sugar High. As I'm a fan of pretty pinks and sweet neons, I picked up Cake Pop and Key Lime Twist (which at first looks an awful lot like China Glaze's Celtic Sun, but trust me, it's not).

 Indoor light.

This mani was pretty easy, with two coats of Cake Pop and Key Lime Twist to start. When that was totally, and I mean totally dry, I applied french tip stickers, and then did two quick coats of Key Lime Twist. Before the tips could dry, I carefully removed the stickers.

I added the oval rhinestone, and then let everything dry for about ten minutes, finishing with a coat of quick-dry top coat.

Outdoor light.

The day after I did this mani, The Remix and I went out for supper, which is when I realized that I'd inadvertently matched my nails to my favourite Kate Spade bag. I guess I like what I like, eh? Haha!

I don't know if ORLY changed their formula for the Sugar High collection, but I got incredible wear out of this mani. On day seven, yes DAY SEVEN, I got my first chip. Even the rhinestones managed to stick around (with the help of proper rhinestone "glue"). So if you're into pastel pinks or awesome neons, you may want to pick up a bottle or two before ORLY's Sugar High collection sells out. The colours went on really smoothly, and seemed to last forever. Yay for long-lasting polishes! Haha!

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

Hope you have an awesome weekend!


the nail files: st. patrick's day plaids

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Woot woot! It's Friday! YAY FRIDAY!!

Since St. Patrick's Day is right around the corner, I figured I'd better get on a theme mani. A few weeks ago, I tried my hand at plaid, and figured this was a good a time as any to give it another go.

The polish:

The tools:

Indoor light.

Gradient: I used the makeup sponge technique, using Paper Mache and Mackenzie. Click here to watch the tutorial I did, a while back.

Plaid: When the base coat of Paper Mache was dry (two coats), I got out the narrow, flat brush and used Mackenzie to make the off-centre cross. When that was dry, I used the gold Stripe Rite to make the thin line. I let that dry for a while, and then used a long striping brush, along with Payton, for the final off-centre cross, in the lower portion of my nail. 

Argyll: When the base coat of Paper Mache was dry (also two coats), I used Payton and the same long striping brush to make an "X" from the bottom corner, to the top. I switched to the narrow, flat brush to fill in the upper and lower triangles. The nail art brushes don't hold polish as well as brushes that come with bottles, so I did two coats for better coverage. When that was dry, I used a large dotting tool to make hearts, using the corners of the triangles as boundaries. After I'd done all four hearts, I used the dotting tool to blend them together, hiding the spots where they didn't quite connect. Then, I got out the gold Stripe Rite to create the accent lines. I thought the clover needed more definition, so I used the long striping brush and a little bit of Mackenzie to add petal lines. 

Outdoor light.

I'm getting better at straight, freehand lines, so I'm happy to report that practice makes perfect. Or, almost perfect, as there's still some wavering. Haha! Still, it's a definite improvement. And using a narrower flat brush for the plaid worked really well. For the size of my nails, this is the width I'll use in the future. I love having plaid and argyll in the same mani, and the gradient nails make for a nice background, without being boring. All in all, I think this mani's pretty cute! 

Are you rocking St. Patrick's Day nails? Link up and show off what you've been wearing! And don't forget to have the best weekend ever! :)


twitter's dancing man

Warning: this post may make your heart swell up to ten times its size, causing an intense release of projectile tears of happiness.

It’s been about a thousand years four months since I’ve posting anything other than nails and book reviews, but when I read about Twitter’s Dancing Man, I knew that I had to. After I finished sobbing into the arm of my couch and then rehydrating, that is. Articles are popping up everywhere, but for those who haven’t heard, a few days ago, a very kind soul named Cassandra, noticed a post on 4chan that ridiculed a man for dancing (at a concert!!!). 

Unfortunately,  these kinds of mean-spirited posts are all over the place. I've seen 'em. And let's keep it real; you have to. But instead of frowning, silently condemning the awful-ness of the post, Cassandra decided to do something different: she tweeted out the 4chan photo, asking if anyone knew him, with the hashtag #finddancingman. Because everyone should be able to dance.

And then, Twitter blew up in the most marvelous way possible. In less than one day—twenty-four-hours!—not only was the Dancing Man found, but the original number of 1,727 women grew to 2,000! 

Even better? Some amazing music artists stepped up, saying they’ll play for free! I'm talking about Moby and Pharrell, with other offers still coming in! Plus, they shared their own words of love, kindness, and respect for a man who’s probably been on the receiving end of maliciousness for quite some time. It’s proof that there are so many wonderful people in the world--ones who have no problem reaching out to a total stranger, to show them that they matter.

Since yesterday, the GoFundMe page has almost doubled its original goal of raising funds for the party, and to fly Sean from London, UK, to LA. The majority of the donations were under $100, which means that an incredible amount of people have rallied to give Sean an amazing time. And basically, the whole thing pretty much makes me do this:


But then I woke up this morning and saw that Cassandra's intentions are now under attack. So much so, that she's stepped away from her group--the group that originally offered to throw Sean's dance party. 

Again, she's being attacked for doing something amazing


So yeah. If there wasn't reason enough to pass this story along before, now there's even MORE of a reason. Because love should always trump hate, guys. Always. Let's keep this story positive and not allow trolls to change the tune. Also, maybe you could pop over to Twitter and shoot Cassandra a message? I feel very confident that if we all band together, we can make more noise than the haters. 

Dance on, Sean (and everybody else)!

 me in the club


the nail files: pretty peonies

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Despite Punxsutawney Phil proudly declaring we'd have an early Spring, there has yet to be a day where it's been above freezing. Also? There's still snow, like, everywhere. Mass amounts of snow, actually. And I'm over it, guys. 

Over. It.

So, in an attempt to feel more spring-like, I'm decided to do a mani with my favourite spring flower: the peony. 

I used an angled nail art brush to dab on either Michelle or Carla for the flowers. When that was dry, I used white Rite Stripe or Shelly for the petals, starting on the outside, and working inwards. Then, I fished out bits of hex glitter from one of my all-time favourites, Paris, for the centres. The last step was adding some random dots around the flowers, with Erin.

But even though I let this nail art dry forever, my middle finger STILL smudged, which made me feel a lot like this:

Coincidentally, this is also how I feel when I look outside. Haha!

I don't know why my middle finger smudged, because it has the exact same combination of polishes I used on my other nails, but it happened. And it sucked. Badly. 

Ughhhhhhhh. Smudged nail art really is the pits.

Even though my middle finger was ruined didn't turn out great, I still really dig this mani. I thought it'd be fun to do just the one finger differently, and I love how it looks. With the right colours, I think this design could totally be vintage wallpaper-y, but even as it stands, I think it's super pretty. 

What were you rocking this week? 


guest post on easy galaxy nails!

Hey guys and gals! Today, I'm over on Amy's Fashion Blog, sharing a super easy way to get a "galaxy nail" look with a fraction of the effort. 


Cool, right? And I swear, it's super easy.

So if you want to know how to get this look, head on over to Amy's Fashion Blog


the nail files: chrome 'n cashmere

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This week was a fun one for me, albeit slightly unproductive on the writing front. But we all need a break sometimes, right? That said, within the madness, I found time to do my nails. Because, of course. Haha!

For base coats, I did two coats of Paper Mache, Rollin' in Cashmere, and Gilded Chrome. When that was dry, I got a large dotting tool and added three dots of Gilded Chrome to my pointer finger. 

I'm sad to say that this will be my last mani with Gilded Chrome, as the sparkles have all clumped together to such a degree that it was a nightmare to apply. I added some thinner, which made it sort of better, but I think it's time to just accept the demise of this beautiful, sparkly polish. Should we have a moment of silence and bow our heads? Haha!

Hope you all have an awesome weekend, and here's hoping for a productive next week. Or, at least somewhat productive. Overachiever, I am not. Haha!


the nail files: cold days call for hot pink!

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I've been seeing pops of bright, springtime colours lately and although there's still massive amounts of snow outside, I decided to join in on the fun.

Related: Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease let it be over soon. Haha!

What I used:

The mani!

Each finger got two coats of either Oxygen or I Vant to be A-Lone Star and then, when dry, I added a hot pink triangle along the base of my nail, finishing off the look with a hot pink round stud.

Yup, this was a super easy and simple mani, but man, does that hot pink ever make it cute!

Sometimes, studs really are the easiest way to add some pizazz. If, for no other reason, the studs are automatically symmetrical. Haha!

Hope you all have an awesome weekend! And don't forget to link up and show off your pretties!


the nail files: vday glitter gradient

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A couple of weeks ago, I saw a picture of a glitter gradient...and nearly died because it was so pretty. (If you know me at all, you know that this is an honest statement. Haha!) I'd seen comments on a few Pinterest posts, saying that it's possible to get great glitter coverage in two coats, if you use a sponge. Well, those two things came together for this mani, as I decided to try the technique for my very first glitter gradient.


See how pretty?!?! I can hardly stand it!!

*sighs happily*

And best of all, it really wasn't that hard! Just like the comments suggested, I did two coats of glitter, applied with a sponge, and got full coverage. FULL COVERAGE, people. Whyyyyyy haven't I used a sponge to apply glitter before?!? # whinyrhetoricalquestion

To prove it to you, I took pictures as I went. Not that I thought you'd call me a liar, but it's good to cover my bases. Haha!

As you can see from the step-by-step, it literally took two coats. And it'd be even easier if you aren't allergic to latex, because then you could use that nifty stuff that's been all the rage, as of late. But, if you're allergic, like me, then plain old scotch tape works well. I'd recommend doing two swipes of each glitter on the sponge before applying.

Here's a pic in non-direct light, inside. which really  shows the depth of the gradient.

 This pic was taken inside my light box, with studio lights on either side.

I honestly can't get over how pretty this mani is. No matter what the light, it really shines. And in direct sunlight, I practically have to wear sunglasses. As many pictures as I took, though, none of them really captured the shine, which is saying something because I took about a million. Haha!

The rest of the mani was easy-peasy, with two thin coats of Push and Shove (overtop the special base coat), and two coats of Black Expressionism. To round it out, I added three gemstones, in the same colours I used for the gradient (silver/white, light pink, and dark pink).

Even though there aren't any hearts on this mani, I think it's absolute a Vday mani. I mean, sparkles, pinks, and gemstones scream Valentine's-Day-y, don't they? (Say yes, please.  Haha!)

I had a lot of fun playing around with a few different Vday nail styles, but this was absolutely my favourite.

So what are your plans for Love Day? My favourite Vday memory is from when some friends and I arranged a Vday pub crawl for singles called: Looking for love in all the wrong places. Haha! Man, were those super fun. Whatever you end up doing, I hope you have an awesome time! And don't forget to link up! :)