28.2.14

the nail files: girls just wanna have fun (tips)

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**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!**

***

It was brought to my attention last week by a fellow nail enthusiast that my negative space mani was kind of 80s-esque. And, well, as soon as I finished the mani for this week, I realized that it, too, is kind of 80s-esque. So…uh…what the heck is going on with me? Someone get me to a theme party, stat! Haha! Anyhoo, this mani ended up, like, way cool. So I'm psyched to share it!

Polish used:

Zoomed in:

For the base, I did three coats of Oxygen. Yes, three coats. It's just one of those polishes. Le sigh. After a coat of quick dry polish (I'm currently obsessed with Glisten and Glow's H K Girl) because, you know, I needed to do three coats of Oxygen, I used curved French manicure stickers for the tips. Then, I did two coats of Margritte's Masterpiece and Warhol Wannabe. When that was about dry, I peeled off the stickers and finished with another coat of top coat.

Zoomed out:

Yay for fun tips!! Fun tips are the best! ESPECIALLY when the working day is done. Or, in this case, the working week. YAY FOR FRIDAY!!

 I think that Cyndi would totally approve, don't you? Haha!


Hope everyone has a tubular weekend!

Book Club Friday: She Has Your Eyes


I've been lucky enough to have been included in Elisa Lorello's book tour for She Has Your Eyes, which means that I was given a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review. Obviously, all of my reviews are honest, but I thought I'd just confirm that for you, anyway. Haha!

Now that that's out of the way, onto the review!

*bangs gong*

While writing my review of She Has Your Eyes, I realized that if you haven’t read Faking It or Ordinary World, just about anything I say could be spoiler-y. So, in hopes of NOT ruining anything for you, I’m going to tread lightly because…well…you need to start this series from the beginning. 

You’re welcome. Haha!

So, in order to write a review without…err…writing a review, I'll focus on why you not only need to read She Has Your Eyes, but everything that Elisa Lorello has written. To sum her work up in five words, they would be: undeniable talent for character development. So that's what I'll be talking about in my review.




The heartfelt sequel to Kindle bestsellers Faking It and Ordinary World will have readers in stitches and in tears, all over again.

Andi and David have settled happily into Andi’s Northampton home, but David wants more. He wants them to get married. Their discussion is put on hold when Wylie, a fifteen-year-old girl, shows up in their backyard, bearing news that takes David’s mind off the future and sends it spiraling into the past.

Reeling from David’s news, Andi receives a startling announcement of her own, one that leads to a relationship with her estranged mother. As Andi and her mother get closer and Wylie weaves her way into their lives, Andi finds solace in an old comfort: her ex-fiancé.

With the past threatening to eclipse their future, the timing for a wedding is all wrong. But if Andi knows anything about timing, it’s that there’s no time to waste.
As you can see, the main characters in She Has Your Eyes are still Andi and David (Dev in Faking It) and they are two of the most interesting characters I’ve had the fortune to stumble across. Especially Andi. I rarely love books where I don’t want to hang out with the MCs, but Andi breaks that mold. Heck, she blows that mold to smithereens.

You see, Andi doesn’t think the way that I do. Like, at all. And she goes through A LOT in this series. From extraordinary emotional growth in Faking It, to learning how to live after an unimaginable loss in Ordinary World, and then navigating what it means to be a truly supportive partner to David (and other friends/family) in She Has Your Eyes. I think that the contrast between Andi’s vulnerability and her natural inclination to look at the world from an ego-centric point of view are what make her such an interesting character to follow. There were times I was positively angry with her behaviour in She Has Your Eyes, but instead of disengaging from the story, I found myself rooting for her. Not in a “hope she wins,” way, but more of “please tell me she gets out of her own way because she NEEDS TO GET OUT OF HER OWN WAY” kind of a deal. And boy oh boy, is Andi proficient in getting in her own way in She Has Your Eyes. *headdesk* Ha!

And that's what I mean when I say that Elisa Lorello has an undeniable talent for character development because it's WAY easier to write an easy-to-love character than one who challenges readers, which is one of the reasons that I'll be a Literary Lorello Lover forever. Because she's that good at character development, guys. For reals.

But you can't have a book full of challenging characters or readers would riot (haha), which is where David comes into play. Handsome, caring, ridiculously-patient and saint-like David who is a wonderful counterpart to Andi. Andi seriously puts him through the ringer in She Has Your Eyes but David remains committed, even when I would have packed my bags and purchased a one-way flight to less-drama-ville. But David sees past Andi’s somewhat prickly vibe when she’s put in uncomfortable situations and checks her when she needs it. Plus, he asserts himself more in She Has Your Eyes, which makes him even more attractive and since he’s super hot to begin with, that was a nice little bonus. So thanks for that, Elisa. Haha!

I will admit that I didn’t feel the same level of emotional intensity in She Has Your Eyes, but I think that’s because I could barely function wept through the majority of Ordinary World. That’s not to say that She Has Your Eyes isn’t emotionally intense, because it is at times, but for whatever reason, the stakes weren’t quite as high for me. I still absolutely enjoyed it, though!  

So look, if you haven’t read Faking It and Ordinary World, you’ll probably still like She Has Your Eyes, because everything you NEED to know is summed up in the first few chapters but I’d caution you because you won’t know the entire multi-layered and deliciously complicated history. Especially considering what Andi went through in Ordinary World. So basically, what I’m saying is that you’re going to want to download all of them and then start from the very beginning. Trust me, you won’t regret it. But, uh, have some tissues handy, okay? Haha!

And because Elisa is extra awesome, not only did she write a fantastic guest post on Wednesday about the importance of music in She Has Your Eyes, but she’s also generously offered to give away a copy of She Has Your Eyes to a lucky reader! YAY! Enter below for your chance to win! The rafflecopter widget will be open for the next eleven-ish days.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

26.2.14

Guest Post and Giveaway with Elisa Lorello

Hello, Awesome Readers! Today, I have a little treat for you: a guest post by the incredibly talented Elisa Lorello! For those who don't know, I'm a bit of an Elisa Lorello super-fan, having read all of her books, and was tickled (neon) pink to be invited to participate in Elisa's blog tour for her new novel (the third of the Andi/Dev/David series), She Has Your Eyes



The heartfelt sequel to Kindle bestsellers Faking It and Ordinary World will have readers in stitches and in tears, all over again.

Andi and David have settled happily into Andi’s Northampton home, but David wants more. He wants them to get married. Their discussion is put on hold when Wylie, a fifteen-year-old girl, shows up in their backyard, bearing news that takes David’s mind off the future and sends it spiraling into the past.

Reeling from David’s news, Andi receives a startling announcement of her own, one that leads to a relationship with her estranged mother. As Andi and her mother get closer and Wylie weaves her way into their lives, Andi finds solace in an old comfort: her ex-fiancé.

With the past threatening to eclipse their future, the timing for a wedding is all wrong. But if Andi knows anything about timing, it’s that there’s no time to waste.

I LOVED Faking It and Ordinary World, so I was super psyched to get an early read. I'll be posting my review on Friday (mild spoiler alert: I loved it!) and today, Elisa's written a guest post about how music plays a part (haha) in She Has Your Eyes. So without further adieu, I'll turn things over to Elisa! :) 

Just look how cute she is in her DD shirt! Gah! I just love her so much!

Behind the Scenes: Two Books Strike A Chord with Each Other
She Has Your Eyes is by no means autobiographical, but one scene really hit home with me, and it’s when Andi’s mother asks her to sing.

Some of you may know that I recently released Friends of Mine: Thirty Years in the Life of a Duran Duran Fan, a memoir about my longtime fandom of the eighties pop band, and the role growing up in a musical family played in it. Early on, I believed I didn’t have the talent my siblings had, and I’d desperately wished for it. It wasn’t until fairly recently, within the last five years or so, that I realized I may have been wrong about that—perhaps I didn’t have their talent, but I have musical ability.

I spent 2013 working on both Friends of Mine and She Has Your Eyes, switching between projects, so maybe it’s no surprise that Andi found her voice too, so to speak. Andi’s singing wasn’t something I’d consciously set out to write about, but that’s what I love about writing fiction—the happy accidents, I call them—when I’m able to integrate something I’ve witnessed or experienced into a new context, and give it a new (and sometimes more poignant) meaning. Perhaps I’d never believed in myself as a musician, but my parents and siblings had never questioned it. That realization changed how I saw myself as a musician (or, at the very least, how I saw my musical ability). Perhaps I’d wanted to give Andi that same gift, and it would mean even more coming from the mother who had given Andi so little validation throughout her life.

I’d included the first verse of lyrics to the Beatles song “Two of Us” in the original draft, but had to omit them because obtaining permission to print them in the novel would’ve cost too much money (something I’d learned while writing Friends of Mine). I wish we could have, though. It made the scene even more emotional (which is really saying something considering how much I tear up when I read the final version). I hope you’ll look them up, perhaps jot them down in the margins.

So, is Andi a singer now? Will she pursue music like her two brothers did? Who knows? As for me, I was honored to perform with my siblings at a very special event for my mother in August 2013 (Duran Duran Appreciation Day, coincidentally. Yes, such a day exists. Couldn’t have been better scripted.) It was the first time all seven of us performed together in public. I even sang harmonies. I sang again three months later with three of my siblings at a similar event, again at the request of my mom. Life imitating art, or art imitating life? Perhaps neither. Regardless, it’s a sweet note to end on.


Add She Has Your Eyes to your Goodreads shelf! Follow along with the She Has Your Eyes Tour via Fictionella! Connect with Elisa Lorello at elisalorello.com!

And because Elisa is extra, mega, awesome, she's agreed to offer a giveaway for a copy of She Has Your Eyes! How amazing is that? (Hint: the answer is very!) The giveaway will be open for two weeks. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thanks so much to Elisa for writing such a great post! I like to think that I'm somewhat musically inclined, if only in the shower, but she's the real deal, people! YAY FOR MUSIC! And remember to stop by on Friday to read my review! 


21.2.14

the nail files: turning a negative into a positive

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**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've started following some nail gurus on Instagram and, a little while ago, @misspopnails was at a fashion show, where she'd given the models super cool manis, using a triangle of negative space. 


At first, I was like, Why on earth would she do that? It's so strange. But the longer I looked at the pictures, the more I was intrigued by the concept. So, here's my rip-off @misspopnails-inspired runway mani!

Polish used:

Zoomed in shot:

How it went down:

I started with two coats of Payton on the solid fingers. Then, with two pieces of striping tape, I made a triangle in the middle of my middle and ring finger nail. One side of the tape got two coats of Payton and the other side got two coats of after school boy blazer. I peeled off the tape, let it dry for about 15 minutes, and then did a coat of top coat, going diagonally, along the colour line to minimize bleeding (which still happened, but it was mostly the striping tape's fault *shakes fist*).


Zoomed out shot:
Special shout-out to my pal AllieBee for leaving her rings at my house and, therefore, making it possible for them to be in this picture. Haha!

So now that I've given the whole negative space thing a go, I can say, quite confidentially, that I looooooooooooooooooooove it! It's such a cool look! Like stained glass! On your fingers! Haha!

Hope you all have an awesomely fun weekend! And don't forget to link up and make the rounds to see what other nail polish enthusiasts are rocking this week!


14.2.14

the nail files: a couple of valentine's day manis (get it? haha, i'm hilarious)

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**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!**

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It's Friday, guys. FRIDAY!

And not just that, but it's the Friday of a long weekend up here!!



This year, I had a rough go at deciding how to paint my nails for Valentine's Day. So, because I couldn't quite decide, I've got two manis to show you, which works out well because they're a couple of manis and V-Day is all about the couples (Yes, I'm beating this joke by using it here and in my title but it's still funny to me, so I'm not sorry. ha!).

The First V-Day Mani

Polish used:

Zoomed in shot:

How to:
I started with two coats of Step Right Up as the base. Then, with dotting tool 3 (see below), I used Dance Baby and Creative Fantasy for the hearts. And because no mani is complete without just a little sparkle, I used dotting tool 2 and Sparkle and Snowflake for the small dots, randomly placed around the hearts. 

My dotting tools come in five different sizes, so I thought it would be helpful to display them all so you can get a better idea instead of my usual "small dotting tool" description. Do you like that I've added this detail?

Zoomed out shot:


The Sequel V-Day Mani

Polish used:

Zoomed in shot:

How to:
I started with two coats of Misty Haze. Then, with dotting tools, 5, 3, and 2, I made different sized hearts with Dance Baby, Tart-y for the Party, and Gossip Over Gimlets. For my pointer finger, I did two coats of Inner Sparkle.



Zoomed out shot:

So there you have it: my couple of V-Day manis! :)

And because getting a long weekend isn't enough to make this week extra awesome in and of itself, I've been nominated for The Notorious Nails category of The Best of Blog Awards over at My So-Called Chaos! Someone has to nominate you, so THANK YOU TO WHOEVER YOU ARE! I LOVE YOU VERY MUCH!  THIS IS ALL VERY EXCITING!

My So-Called Chaos Best of Blog Awards
Please click on the above (super cute) button and vote for me! :)

And don't forget to link up and show off your pretty nails. Especially if they're Valentine's Day nails as themed manis are the ultimate best! YAY FOR THEMES!







7.2.14

the nail files: i've got 99 problems but a lack of glitter ain't one

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**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!**

***

Hello lovlies! I hope that you all had a great week and will have an even better weekend! How's that for some Friday optimism? Haha!

(And yes, there was a small issue yesterday, where this posted accidentally. I finally got around to changing my time zone after our move and, for some reason, it posted my already-scheduled post for Friday. #technologyishardguys)

Here's what I used for this week's mani:



And here's what I did:


Two coats of Queen B (which has skyrocketed to the top of my favourite blurples as I can't seem to stop using it, haha) on each finger except my middle, which has two coats of Gossip Over Gimlets. Then, with a flat nail art brush, I applied three (yes, three) half coats to all the Queen-y nails three two full coats over Gossip. Finishing with a coat of quick dry top coat (because I was going for an "all the glitter" kind of mani this week, ha!)

The glitter of this mani, guys. THE SHINE! It's one of those manis that is literally blinding if you're in direct sunlight. In this picture, my middle finger looks about one tenth of the glitter strength in real life. Honestly, there's probably a chance that I'd blind an astronaut, if the angle was right. Haha!

And here's a little hint if you ever want to wear three coats of hex glitter: Make sure that you have a bamboo stick for taking it off! Otherwise, you'll be scrubbing with a soaked nail polish pad foreeeeeeeever.

Looking forward to seeing what pretty nails everyone is rocking this week!





Book Club Friday: Great-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells

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Here’s the deal: According to the reviews on Goodreads, you either love or hate Great-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells. And, as I'm sure you've already guessed (because I'm reviewing it) I'm firmly in the LOVE category and can't wait to tell you all about it!

 So let's get started! Yay!

 Great-Aunt Sophia's Lessons for Bombshells

Grace Cavanaugh is the kind of woman I thought I wanted to be when I was a teen. Namely, a woman pursing a doctorate in Women’s Studies who firmly believes that physical beauty only leads to misery. Now, I’m actually not sure we’re on the same page there, but the doctorate in Women’s Studies is certainly similar to me. Grace is gritty, hard to like (at first), but she genuinely believes in her studies and firmly stands by the lens through which she views the world. She spends WAY too much time overanalyzing EVERYTHING and, at best, I’d say that she’s oversensitive. Now, that’s not to say that a little sensitivity to patriarchy is a bad thing, but when it CONSUMES you and you see it EVERYWHERE, then you’re never going to be able to enjoy anything. Again, this is something I can sympathize with, even though I was never quite as intense as Grace.

Anyway, Grace decides that she’ll research her Great-Aunt Sophia, a former B-movie star/bombshell because she is now eighty-five and in need of help after a major surgery. And, because this is fiction, firecracker Great-Aunt Sophia convinces Grace to let her transform her from “frumpy feminist into a femme fatale.” Add a super hot and kind of douchy man named Declan and a slightly strange but still attractive doctor named Andrew, and you’ve got one heck of a great read.

So is Great-Aunt Sophia’s Lessons for Bombshells a predictable romance? Yes and no, but that’s besides the point because the journey to the end was incredibly entertaining. Many of the reviewers had issues with the plot being “ugly girl suddenly gets pretty and men fall at her feet” but I think that they may have overlooked the genuineness in Grace’s character. I truly felt that she believed in her position that beauty only leads to misery and I really enjoyed watching her grow and accept that she may have misjudged a few things. Also, she's the kind of gal that supremely awkwardly-embarassing things happen to, which were some of the novel's more hilarious highlights. 

This is a heartwarming, funny, and fairly deep romance that I’m very happy I read, which is why I’m giving it my MUST READ recommendation!


Happy Friday, everyone! And thanks to Heather and Katie for hosting!


5.2.14

barb's country kitchen: the best french toast we've ever had

A couple of Sundays ago, The Remix and I were up freakishly early (*eyeballs Pickle*) and after we satisfied Pickle's insane demand for love and attention at six in the morning put on pants, we decided to take advantage of everyone else still being asleep and go out for breakfast. But when we got onto Highway 10, on our way to Orangeville (a town about fifteen minutes south of us) we saw a pair of snow plows ahead, which meant that our driving time would double. 

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE that the plows are out all of the time because our weather has been intense but holy crap on a cracker, guys, they move sooooooooo slooooooooowly. It's the kind of slowness that fills you with irrational angry thoughts like:

"How dare these plows move so slowly! I'm going to write our MP about this madness!"

which quickly escalates to...

"Ram them with the car, babe. RAM THEM GOOD!"

and peaks with…

 "OHMYGODIAMSOHUNGRYANDWEARENEVERGOINGOTGETTHEREEVEREVEREVER!"

Side Note: This is usually when The Remix turns on the radio in hopes of finding a song that will distract me. Haha!

Anyway, after five minutes of life passing us by driving, we noticed that the OPEN sign was on at a little place called Barb's Country Kitchen. 

Usually, when we pass by the unassuming restaurant, the parking lot looks like this and because I can't be around too many people, we've never had a chance to check it out. But because it was so early, the parking lot was empty. YAY!

So, one swift, 90-degree hairpin turn and a few steps later, we were sitting on cute red leather chairs and perusing a menu that had The Remix salivating. 

Barb's Country Kitchen's tagline is "All day breakie done right" and since breakfast is The Remix's favourite meal, he was ridiculously excited to see what they had to offer. After changing our minds about a million times because everything looked amazing, I noticed that the menu had a little box that said "Everything's Homemade." Since I had been eyeing the french toast, when Angelo, the delightful owner and New York native came over to us, I asked him if, in fact, everything was homemade. Specifically, the bread. And, lo and behold, he said that it was! It wasn't made in-house, mind you, but who the heck cares as long as it's homemade, amiright? And since homemade bread is pretty much the greatest thing you can ever eat, I jumped all over the Cinnamon Raisin French Toast while The Remix opted for the Hungry Man French Toast (which came with a bunch of other stuff). Then, just for good measure, I added a side of hash browns because…well…why wouldn't I want tiny bits of deep fried potato to go with my french toast? Ha!

Now, I ask you. Have you ever seen french toast that looks so delicious? I wish that the internet had smell-o-vision because the scent was positively drool-worthy.


Aside from two pieces of standard french toast, there's three eggs, two pieces of bacon, two sausages, and hash browns.

I believe that, after our food arrived, The Remix and I spoke about eight words to each other, which mostly consisted of different versions of "Holy crap. This is amazing." I don't quite know what their secret is, but both my french toast and The Remix's was crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy on the inside. Now, when I make french toast, it's kind of crispy, but these babies had crunch, guys. It was incredible!

I ate two of the three pieces I was served and felt positively stuffed. The slices are generously thick and must absorb about an egg each because usually, I can shove quite a bit more in my face. Ha! The cinnamon flavour complimented the sweetness from the syrup and there were just enough raisins to get the taste without being overly-raisiny (which is obviously a culinary term…not really. Ha!). 

Aside from the french toast, the hash browns were also delicious and had a bit of spice for good measure. The Remix ate just about everything on his plate, which surprised me because he isn't the biggest fan of sausage, but that's just a testament to how good it all was!

Throughout our meal, Angelo came over a few times to make sure that everything was okay and there really isn't anything better than speaking with someone who's passionate about what they do. Within a few seconds, it was clear to us that Angelo is the real deal--a man who believes in what he's doing and is happy to do the work required to make his business a success. In fact, he even offers free delivery for orders over $15 and let me tell you, people, NOBODY in our area offers that, so kudos to him for setting himself apart with that service. 

Also, one of the french toast options was with banana bread (yes, you read that right) so double kudos to Angelo for thinking up that one. I mean, how ridiculously fantastic is that idea? Hint: the answer is VERY!

The price for our breakfast was perfectly reasonable and we took home the massive amount of leftover hash browns, which made for an excellent snack later in the day.

So basically, what I'm saying is that if you're driving on Highway 10, north of Orangeville, and you see this sign…


STOP DRIVING AND PULL OVER FOR THE GREATEST FRENCH TOAST BREAKFAST OF YOUR LIFE!

I promise that you won't be disappointed. 

Oh, and you better wear your fat pants cause you're going to need the stretch. Haha!

Here's all the info you'll need to find Barb's Country Kitchen!

Address: 634041 Highway 10, Mono, ON

Phone Number: 519-938-8282

Hours of Operation:
 Monday - Saturday: 6:30am - 3:00pm
Sunday: 7:00am - 3:00pm
Delivery (daily) 8:00am - 3:00pm

Also, just for the record, I decided to write this review after having such a great first experience. I wasn't compensated in any way. Not that I could be bought anyway, because I'm far too classy for that (ha) but I thought I'd make it clear, just the same.