31.12.14

pop the champagne mani


It's New Year's Eve! Woot woot! 


And the best way to usher in 2015?

Popping a few bottles while sporting a festive mani, of course.

(You saw that one coming, right? Haha!)


Hope you all have a super fun (and safe) New Year's Eve, and catch ya never, 2014! Haha!

(Also, sorry about completely forgetting the nail files last week. I swear it'll be up this week!!)



30.12.14

top 10 reads of 2014


I'm starting to see a lot of 2014 best-of lists, so I figured I'd comb through the books conveniently displayed on my (completed!) 2014 Goodreads Challenge page and put together my own. You know, because of peer pressure and all that. ;)

To build the anticipation, I'm starting at 10 and working towards one. OH THE TENSION. I can hardly stand it! Haha!


when beyonce’s album dropped

I've written formal reviews for some, but I've also summed them up in a few sentences because sometimes, you just want to get to the point. 



10. Yes Please

Yes Please

Super funny and heartfelt. Not what I was expecting. NOT like Bossypants, but Amy has some very insightful essays with powerful, loving messages. After reading this, I like her about a million percent more and since I was already a super fan, I'm basically one second away from friend-stalking her. 

Note: Amy, if you're reading this, totally don't take that literally. I'm just using it as an example of how much I loved your book! I'd never stalk you. That'd be crazy.

An additional note: Your new couch is super cute! 

*hires lawyer to avoid imminent restraining order*

9. Anatomy of a Misfit

Anatomy of a Misfit

Best YA of the year, as far as I'm concerned. I got pretty heavy into YA this year, for the first time ever, and although there are some fantastic reads out there, Anatomy of a Misfit has become my favourite. It was funny, snarky in the best way, but there's also a depth of emotion, almost like the book wears its heart on its sleeve. It's uncomfortable at times, but only because it took me back to the painful emotional onion that is teenaged estrogen, and considering that I was in high school almost twenty years ago, that's pretty impressive.


8. True Vines

True Vines

Women's Fiction at its finest--a true emotional journey, but True Vines stands out because it's done to perfection. The pace is quicker than most, which kept me very engaged, and the real raw-ness of the story leaps from every page. Probably not one you should read on a plane or in public, though, because it's a bit of a cry-fest in parts. You've been warned. Haha!


7. The Rosie Project

The Rosie Project

If Sheldon Cooper were to write a memoir about dating Amy Farrah Fowler, this is probably as close as you could get. Of course, you'd need to substitute Amy for a free-spirited woman named Rosie and Sheldon's role would be played by Don, a geneticist, but the social incompetence combined with intellectual brilliance rings true. The Rosie Project is delightful with its prose and the love story is heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time. 

6. The Humans

The Humans

This is a book that'll make you think, long after you've finished the last page. "An alien living among us" isn't a new tale, but Matt Haig's take is utterly original. It got a ton of buzz that's still going strong and that's because it's a universal story that secretly (and then overtly) presses a social agenda of basically being a good person and making the most of what life has to offer. Plus, it's funny, so there's that too.


5. A House in the Sky

A House in the Sky: A Memoir

Holy incredible story of survival. Haunting. Terrifying. Awe-inspiring. If you can get over how this memoir came to be, meaning that Amanda Lindhout chose to be in an unstable place during an unstable time, then prepare to be amazed with what the human spirit can accomplish. Also? You need to shut it because everyone makes mistakes and it's what a person does afterwards that really counts. A House in the Sky certainly isn't an easy read, but the good news is that you know the story ends well because, well, she wrote the book. Trust me, you'll be holding onto that fact desperately because it really gets grim. But those moments are where Amanda shines the brightest. Like to the point that you'll see spots. And in its essence, that's what this book is about--the strength of the human spirit.

4. That Night

That Night

I freaking love Chevy Stevens and she nailed it with That Night. It's a hot old mess of emotion and a thriller that kept me guessing until the end. There's a forbidden romance too, which gave it some extra spice. It certainly isn't creepy like other books Chevy Stevens has written, but it's the kind of book that you can immerse yourself in. Toni, one of the main characters, felt so real that I had to suppress the urge to start a crowd funding site so she could get some help investigating her sister's death. Don't start this one at bedtime, because you'll be awful cranky at work the next day while you try not to fall asleep at your desk.

3. The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, #1)

Incredible fantasy. Dark and foreboding, with a kickass heroine who takes no crap from anyone. She may have no idea how to run a kingdom but by golly, is she going to try. And I love me a heroine who's as fearless as she is determined. The world building is some of the best I've ever read, meaning I fell into it with little effort and for me, that's pretty rare. I can't freaking wait for the rest of this series.


2. First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)

I'm super late to this series but the good news is that means I can binge-read them all. Think I'm kidding? I literally just ordered three more in the series and will be stalking my mailbox starting tomorrow. This book is like a double masters class in How To Write Dialogue and The Line Between Bitchy and Snarky. I laughed out loud throughout the entire book and the steamy scenes are downright naughty. Oh, and it's a mystery/crime novel as well, so the pace is out-of-this-world, just like Charley Davidson, the Private-Investigator-slash-Grim-Reaper who I'm sure you'll fall for, just as hard as I did.


1. The Enchanted

The Enchanted

This book, guys. I can't even. It's haunting and beautiful and gruesome, all at the same time. The writing is phenomenal and the story so consuming, it will stay with you for a long time. Even though I wrote a formal review, I'm still not sure that it captures how incredibly different The Enchanted is. There's no real way to describe it other than to say it's completely unique and moving. It may not be for everyone, but it's a book I think everyone should read. 



So that's my list, what's on yours? Did you have a favourite book of the year? If so, please share! I love hearing about books I haven't read!


23.12.14

party penguin nails!


No, your eyes aren't deceiving you! I am, in fact, posting a picture of my nails on a Tuesday. Why? 

Because...


Inspired by the awesome One Nail To Rule Them All, I figured there was no better way to represent a winter birthday than a handful of party penguins. So, uh, that's what I did. Haha!




I'm not going to walk through the steps, because there were a million few, but I will say that if you've got some patience, a set of dotting tools, a narrow brush, and copious amounts of wine you'll be able to recreate this baby and have a set of party penguins all to yourself. Haha!

PARTY PENGUINS FOREVER! 

Or just today, whatevs. Haha!

And now, in the immortal words of Tre...

IT’S MY BIRTHDAY! BIRTHDAY GIFS ALL DAY!


19.12.14

the nail files: black and silver snowflakes


 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg

**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

***
Oh em gee, guys! This is the last nail files before Christmas!! YAY FOR THE HOLIDAYS!


Our final pre-actual-Christmas holiday party was with The Remix's company, in a fancy hotel, so I figured I do some simple, classy nails for the event.

Psych!

Haha! Remember psych? Psych was the best. 

Anyway, the outfit I wore consisted of a black sheath dress, silver sequin shrug, and a long, VERY sparkly necklace. I decided that I wanted my nails to have the same kind of vibe, so I went with a pretty monochromatic colour scheme of black and silver.

So I realized I'm actually missing a ton  few things in this picture (*headdesk*). Please use your imagination to also picture a medium dotting tool, silver sparkle Stripe Rite, black rhinestones, and some matte top coat. Ugh. Why is my brain so fried?! Haha!


Each finger got two coats of Cleopatra or Rebel, which I let dry completely. For my pointer finger, I added two coats of Kirby, and on my pinky, one coat of Kirby, almost hallway up the nail. 

Using tweezers, I picked out a larger rhinestone, dipped it in some quick-dry top coat, and then put it on my middle finger. I used the same technique for the smaller rhinestone.

For my thumb, I used a thin nail art brush and Rebel to draw on the snowflake, and a medium dotting tool for the dots. For some extra pizazz, I went over the snowflake with silver sparkle Stripe Rite.

For my ring finger, I used the same thin nail art brush and Cleopatra for the two smaller snowflakes, as well as the dots. Then I added two small black rhinestones to the middle of each snowflake, because more bling is always better. Haha!


Cleopatra has a really cool finish that got super shiny with top coat, which made me wonder what it would like with matte top coat, so I added it to the non-glitter portion of my pinky. If you look closely, my middle finger is the shiniest, with top coat, my thumb has no top coat and is a cool velvet-y kind of finish, and the pinky is matte. Talk about three separate looks! Nicely done on that one, Julep!

So yeah, I think this mani is super freaking cool. It borders on being too much but the monochromatic colour scheme reigns it in a bit. Okay, maybe it's still a bit too much but I don't really care. Haha! And unlike the silver studs from last week's mani, these gems lasted six whole days.

*looks at fingers on keyboard*

In fact, all eight of them (four per hand) are still very firmly placed. I don't know why they lasted so much longer, but it's made me want to use them more often, so look out, manis of 2015, because it's going to all rhinestones, all the time! Haha!

Hope you all have a very happy holiday!!!

12.12.14

the nail files: snowy silver balls


 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg

**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

***

Last weekend, we had a Christmas party to attend. Naturally, I was psyched to sport my holiday rose nails, but the morning of the party, I got a big ole chip on my thumb. Because, obviously.


Once I recovered from my rage, I realized that I had to whip up something quick and easy because I simply don't do chipped and/or naked nails. Like, ever.


Enter, the negative space mani. You know, because you don't have to put polish on your whole nail, which means the dry time is pretty fast. Yay for convenient trends! Haha!



I started with my standard coat of OPI Nail Envy (Matte) and once it was dry, I cut the make-up sponge in half, lengthwise. Then, I painted on a narrow stripe of Paper Mache onto the tip of the sponge and dabbed it onto the top third of each nail. After two coats, which dried super quickly (yay!), I used the same technique with The Outer Edge. On the final coat, I went a little lower, to make the tips uneven so they'd look like falling snow. 


The final step was all about the balls. I've had these guys for a while but haven't used them because they stick up way more than circular studs. But, they remind me of my Grandma's Rice Krispie squares, which she only makes around the holidays and tops with edible silver balls, so they were totally appropriate for this holiday mani. Of course, the downside is looking at them made me hungry but it was worth the sacrifice. Haha!

Placing them was the hardest part, because they're kind of big and need somewhere flat to lie. Having curved nail beds presented QUITE the challenge but I managed to get them as flat as possible, while also as centred as possible, before the quick dry top coat dried (which made me feel all boss-like and such, haha!).


As expected, the wear on the balls was pretty awful, which is probably because they stick up so far. I added two coats of top coat but by the next morning, most of the balls had dulled at their peaks. It was still a fun look, though, and considering the small time investment, I'm happy with the result.

If you're digging this mani but don't have any balls lying around (haha) then you could just substitute a dot of a silver polish for the same look. That would also mean you'd likely get a few days out of the mani too, which is always a good thing because I get that not everyone wants to paint their nails on a bi-daily basis. Haha!

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

5.12.14

the nail files: holiday rose tutorial


 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg

**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

***
Every once in a while, there's a mani that makes me think: How in the heck did I manage to do that?
This week's mani is one of those. Even choosing which photos to share was agony because I can't handle the prettiness! Haha!

It started when I was trying to think up a non-traditional holiday manicure while also wanting to use some of the new polishes I've gotten lately. Purple, white, black, and gold may not seem holiday-ish, at first, but I think that it works. Then again, I'm biased. ;)





This gold polish, guys. THIS GOLD POLISH. It has such a soft finish, making the name Rollin' In Cashmere even more appropriate. Be warned, though, that this polish streaks like a motha. After several failed attempts at even coverage with two coats, I learned that the brush needs a good amount of polish on it at all times. No 'finishing' strokes with this one, folks! It'll just create a big polish-less line on your nail. So load up that brush!

Because I love this mani so much, I decided to do a photo tutorial (mostly so I could remember how I did it. Haha!).


Step 1: Two coats of Paper Mache, totally dry.

Step 2: Add three big ole dots of Millie. (Don't freak if your dots aren't perfectly circular, because the edges will get covered up later.)

Step 3: With a thin nail art brush, make a u-shaped line in the centre with Tart-y For The Party, and then add a few more curved lines for petals.

Step 4: With Black Stripe Rite, add the stems and leaf outlines.

Step 5: With the same thin nail art brush as in Step 3, fill in the leaves with Rollin' in Cashmere, followed by De-Light.

One coat of top coat seals it all in.

Yay for fun, sparkly, untraditional holiday manicures! Haha!

And, for a small, non-nail-related plug, thanks to your votes in the semi-final rounds, I've somehow made it into the FINALS for Karen's World Blog Awards, for the Pee-In-Your-Pants Funny Blog!! With a name like that, how can I NOT want to win, right? So if you could, I'd really appreciate your vote (possibly for a second time)! Click here for a post that lists what I think are my most recent, funniest posts. If you agree that I'm hilarious (haha) then I'd LOVE if you'd vote for me!

Okay, so I'll love you even if you don't vote, but still, please do it. Haha!

And don't forget to link up your manis for this week! I'm excited for a month's worth of holiday manis! YAY FOR HOLIDAY MANIS!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone!



28.11.14

the nail files: diamonds are a girl's best friend


 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg

**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

***


I splurged on a Julep Diamond Mystery Box last month, specifically because I wanted to get my paws on the new diamond topper polishes, and boy oh boy, am I ever glad I did. Because not only did I get the two diamond toppers, but four other polishes, three beauty products, and two eyeshadow brushes!!

Amazingdealsayswhat?

Not able to decide between which one to try first, because how can one honestly choose between silver and gold, I used them both. Haha! I'm so greedy. ;)




For the base coats, I did two coats of Paper Mache, Rebel, and Felicity. When that was dry, I did one coat of Chantel and Sky. Having previous experience with finicky larger glitter pieces, I knew the diamonds wouldn't go on evenly, but there are little bits of glitter too, so the goal of the first coat was to make sure the smaller glitter got good coverage. I let the first coat dry for a while, and then picked out individual diamonds from the polish brush (with a nail art brush) and filled in the gaps. Two coats of quick-dry top coat covered the diamonds' edges, giving each nail a smooth finish. 


As you can see with this outdoor picture, when the sun hits the diamonds, it's like BLAMMO AWESOMEST SHINE OF LIFE. Haha! And although I love the gold glitter in Chantal, but I'm positively bananas about the holo glitter in Sky. Such a good idea instead of just plain silver!  

I don't know if you can still get the diamond top coats, but if you can, you should totally splurge. The diamond shapes are so fun, and they're just big enough to make a serious impact, while also being small enough to layer. Well done, Julep! This is one of your best!

What are you rocking this week? Hope you have an awesome weekend! And if you're in the States, Happy Thanksgiving (err, yesterday, haha)! 


27.11.14

I'm a semi-finalist for "Favorite Pee-In-Your-Pants Funny Blog"!!!

A couple of days ago, I got a tweet from Karen, stating that I was a 2014 Karen's World Blog Awards Semi-Finalist for "Favorite Pee-In-Your-Pants Funny Blog."


After I recovered from the insane amount of glee that comes from such a compliment, I figured I'd collect some of my favourite funny posts, so those who are perusing blogs before voting can get an idea of just how funny I am. Haha!

Side Note: There's a small chance my head's slightly larger than it was, pre-semi-finals-announcement. Good thing I don't need to wear a helmet. Haha!

So, without further ado, here are the posts!







*hands tissue so you can wipe your tears of laughter away*

(too presumptuous? Hahaha!)

So if you got a few chuckles out of these posts (and/or other posts you've read) I'd love if you could pop on over to Karen's blog before November 30th, and vote. There are quite a few categories, and in order to vote for me, you'll also have to vote for a blog in every other category. I'm aware that this is asking a lot, but PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE do it! I would positively adore confirmation that it's best to wear a pair of Depends before checking out my blog. Haha!

Thanks so much to whoever nominated me! And to all of you for voting!

I’m glad you guys liked the Mean Girls GIFs!


26.11.14

when nature attacks: how not to trap a mink

A few months ago (I’m waaaaay behind on blogging) we discovered that we had a mink living in our pond. After I wrote a post about it, I was informed that our mink may actually be a muskrat (thanks T-wrap and C-bread, my awesome Subway gals). Upon further inspection of the random sinkholes around the pond, we concluded that we did, in fact, have a muskrat. Mostly because mink don’t tunnel. That’s not to say that we didn't also have a mink, because the Remix spotted it trying to attack our bird feeder (why does bird seed attract all wildlife?) but in terms of what was living in the pond, it was a muskrat.

Armed with the knowledge that we had TWO rodent-esque squatters, we upped the ante and bought a bonus-sized container of sardines for the trap, and until we caught the mink, agreed that one of us would supervise the dogs during dusk and dawn. You know, because minks are dicks and attack smaller animals at dusk and dawn, including dogs with fairly bad survival skills (let’s not talk about the time that Pepi tried to lick a porcupine).

One morning, I was outside with the dogs, and popped inside for a second to boil water for more tea. We still hadn’t caught anything, but we hadn’t seen the muskrat or mink in a while, so I thought it would be okay. By the time I filled the kettle and walked back to the door, Pepi was waiting to come inside.

Pickle, however, was nowhere to be seen.

I called him a couple of times but there wasn’t so much as a rustle. Increasing my intensity, I called him again, walking around the deck. Still nothing. Beginning to panic, I got his favourite toy—a stuffed cheeseburger—and squeaked it, as Pickle ALWAYS comes running when he thinks you want to play.


But there was still nothing.

Now, in a full-blown meltdown, I proceeded to run around the property, barefoot because I couldn’t find any shoes, using my iPhone as a flashlight because it was still really early in the morning (yes, I’m up before dawn every day).

It was then that I heard a rattling. Not much, but enough to draw my attention to the left side of the pond, underneath the windmill. I sprinted over with my heart in my throat, terrified about what I’d find.

Then, I nearly wet my pants…

Please note the entirely appropriate, shamed look. 

I mean, seriously?

After taking a few pics (and possibly a little teasing) I let him out, but for the rest of the day, he stared at the can through the metal bars, whimpering oh-so-slightly and occasionally shaking with anticipation. Who knew sardines were so appealing?


At some point in the afternoon, I glanced outside and was surprised to not see Pickle staring at the trap. I figured that he’d finally given up on his Sardine Dreams, but then I noticed him rolling around on the ground, a few feet to the right.

If you have dogs, you know that rolling on something is code for: YAY! SOMETHING DEAD I CAN SMELL LIKE.

So, naturally, I ran outside to stop him. When I got there, the smell was pungent.

Why?

Because somehow, some way, Pickle had gotten the sardine can out of the trap, eaten the ENTIRE THING, and then rolled around in the juices because he couldn’t get enough. As you can imagine, he was pretty much the grossest smelling dog of life. But even two baths later, it was still funny. I mean, he got caught in a mink trap, learned from his mistakes, and then performed a miraculous Sardine Snatch without getting trapped. For a walnut-sized brain, it’s really quite impressive. When the Remix came home, I told him all about it and we had a great old laugh.

That is, until Pickle proceeded to have explosive bum problems for the next five days. I won’t go into any further detail (you’re welcome) but let’s just say that he’s lucky he still lives with us after The Week of Grossness and Rubber Gloves.

Judge Judy Finally Hears Case Involving Grindr (x)

In the meantime, we figured Pickle had ruined the first trap’s location, so we moved it to the other side of the pond. And, wouldn’t you know, a few days later, I was psyched to come outside, near dusk, to see something furry in the trap.

However, upon further inspection, I discovered that it was neither a mink nor a muskrat.

It was Pickle.

Again.

Fridays at 4PM 

Lesson Learned: When attempting to trap a rodent-esque creature, make sure you don’t have a Yorkie.


21.11.14

the nail files: snowy tips


 photo newbutton_zps284b4cd7.jpg

**Link up with us to show off your cute manis (either done by yourself or in a salon), nail polish purchases and/or recommendations, nail polish tips--whatever nail-related thing you'd like! And please use the button and/or link back to this blog. Thanks!**

***

So despite my countless prayers, winter has arrived early.



To make myself feel better about it, I decided to do a pretty, winter-y mani.

(Side Note: It didn't really work, but I totally get bonus points for trying. Haha!)


For the base, I did two coats of Man Hunt on all fingers, and let it dry completely. Then, it was gradient time. I used my standard technique of brushing the polish right onto a triangular makeup sponge, starting with a stripe of Black Expressionism at the bottom of the sponge, followed by a stripe of Man Hunt and then Paper Mache on top. The coverage was pretty good after one coat, but I did a second because I'm obsessive about blending. Haha!


When that was dry, I got a flat nail art brush and added a half-ish coat of The Outer Edge and then topped it all off with two coats of There's Snow One Like You, which I put on with a dotting tool because it's all chunky. Ha!


While outside freezing my face off to take a natural light picture, I was suddenly inspired by Lulubelle's nature-y nail pictures and...well...next thing I knew, I had taken about fifty outdoor pics in various spots around the yard. Haha!

These two are my faves from the bunch:




What did your nails look like this week? Link up to show them off! I hope everyone has an awesome weekend!