28.3.14

the nail files: peas in a pod

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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!**

***

Funny story: this mani was a total accident. Isn't that so fun when that happens (mostly because the majority of the time, accident manis are a hot mess)? Of course it is! Haha!!

What I used:

The mani!


To start, I did two coats of Paper Mache. Once that was dry, I used Aquadelic and a medium length brush to make the stems. Then, with the small dotting tool, I did three dots with Celtic Sun somewhere along the top of the stem, followed by two dots with You Don't Know Jacques! on the bottom of the stem, on the opposite side as the peas. Because the dotting tool is so small, I was able to make small blue flowers with five dots, and then, because it still needed some oomph, I picked out a few pieces of the holographic glitter from Techno and put them randomly on each nail.

I think that the yellow really POPs with this mani, and I love the general colour scheme. Of course, now that I've had time to think about it, I could have made the brown dots into ants but c'est la vie. Haha!


Have an awesome weekend, everyone! And don't forget to link up your post with the pretties you rocked this week!






Book Club Friday: True Vines


It's been a very long time since I've trolled NetGalley. With my revisions and ever-expanding TBR pile, I just didn't have the time. But since my revisions are winding down (read: sent out to readers for feedback) I finally had some time to peruse. One of the (many) books I requested was True Vines. And let me tell you, it was unbelievable. 


Like, un-be-liev-a-ble. Yes, all five syllables need to be accentuated when talking about True Vines because that's just how good it was. I started on Wednesday night, stayed up WAY too late, and then finished Thursday morning. And now I'm positing a review because there was no way I could wait until next week. Usually, it takes me a while to write a review, but I found myself drafting it in my head the SECOND I finished. Well, after I wiped the tears from my cheeks and blew my nose, that is. 

Instead of writing my own summary, I'll defer to the one on Goodreads, because A LOT happens and the existing summary…well…sums it up, nicely. Haha!

When the Italian countryside simply won't leave your heart...

After the sudden death of her Italian winemaker husband, Meryl Michelli flees to her small hometown in Pennsylvania, looking to slam the door on heartache and trudge forward. But it's never that simple, especially when old family ties have been strained by years of geographic and emotional distance. 

A chance encounter with a childhood friend brings back a betrayal she could never put to rest, and readjusting to life in the States in upper mid-life wears her thin in ways she never could have imagined. Just when Meryl feels she can't go on, Providence steps in and gives her permission to completely fall apart. Only then can she finally manage to grieve both her magnanimous, flawed Francesco and the unforgettable country she left behind.

True Vines traverses the manicured rows of northern Italy's majestic wine country and the winding path of Pennsylvania's Delaware River as Meryl seeks to reconcile her past and her present. Several people on each side of the Atlantic guide her as she relives her own stories: a spirited sister-in-law, a petulant physician, a strong-willed landlady, a good-guy boss, a determined mother-in-law, an amazing flood survivor, a Senegalese English student, a young co-worker. Each recollection and encounter deepens Meryl's insight into how to make peace with her new reality.

Saying goodbye to one existence allows Meryl to swing the door open to another as she weaves a new, uniquely beautiful tapestry that transports her to exactly the place in this short, sacred life she is meant to be.

Guys, I don't even know where to start with my review because I loved the book so freaking much. To the point that Meryl Michelli now has a place in my heart as one of my all-time favourite characters. She was undeniably sympathetic, totally messed up in certain areas, and walked the line between strong and vulnerable like a seasoned pro. I was drawn into Meryl's world so completely, and so utterly, that I was devastated when the books' many strings were tied up so neatly at the end because I hoped there would be room for a sequel. To say it another way, if I were Christopher Walken, instead of demanding more cow bell, I'd be demanding MORE MERYL. Haha!

Aside from an incredible main character, True Vines has a lot more going on: love, laughter, heartbreak, loss, redemption, deceit, triumph, and puppies--yes, PUPPIES. And the emotional growth of the characters, guys. THE EMOTIONAL GROWTH! Being a writer of women's fiction, myself, I was astounded with how much Diana Strinati Baur was able to accomplish.  Not just with Meryl, but with EVERYONE. Because the level of craft, guys. OH THE LEVEL OF CRAFT! 

*sighs happily*

At times, there were huge sections of internal narrative but instead of checking-out, I found myself leaning closer to the screen so I could devour every word. Not once did I skim. Not once! And that's saying something because I find internal narrative to be kind of boring when it goes on for a couple of pages. But that SO did not happen with True Vines. The narrative was gripping, raw, and completely engaging. And then, in the end, everything comes together in ways that I never could have imagined. Good ways! Bad ways! Ways that I may not have agreed with but approved of anyway! I laughed, cried, and wanted to hug my iPad when it was done. The writing swept me away for an entire five hours and I enjoyed every single second. If I could give True Vines more than five stars, I would. 

And if the enchanting prose, incredible main character, and emotionally dense plot wasn't enough to entice you, half the book takes place in Italy. On a vineyard, no less (hence the name). So, yeah, this book is pretty much the best thing ever and it will come as no surprise to you that True Vines gets my MUST READ rating. 

Go and get it, people. GO AND GET IT NOW!

Thanks to Heather for hosting!

25.3.14

baby jamie vs. a super big puddle


This past Saturday, something awesome happened: my baby brother decided to participate in our ski club's Puddle Jump!

For those who don't know, a Puddle Jump is when you go down a hill really fast and then try to make it across a puddle on either a pair of skis or a snowboard. Naturally, this is a spring-time kind of event. And although the previous day was freezing, we had a few glorious hours of sun on Saturday afternoon, so the Puddle Jump was a go! Yay!

I made a little video to commemorate the event because it was so great!

Because of copyright issues, there's no music, so just sing a song in your head while you watch, okay? Haha! There is volume in the video clips, though! Also, you're probably going to want to watch it in full-screen mode. So enlarge, away!



21.3.14

the nail files: because bailey told me to do it

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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's been a while since I've done nail art. Not glitter tips, or gradients, but straight up nail art. So, it was excellent timing when Bailey tweeted me with a look from the amazing nailasaurus





CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, BAILEY.


*bangs gong*


What I used:

The mani!
Outside, no flash.

I started with two coats of Margritte's Masterpiece and Lilou. When that was totally dry, I got out my weirdly-long striping brush. It's so long, in fact, that it needs its own case because it doesn't fit in with the rest of my brushes--an outcast, if you will. Ha! However, it's THE brush you want to use for lines like this. I swear that once you get the hang of it, it works really well at getting a straight line. So, uh, get one, okay? Also, ignore that REALLY jagged line in the middle of my thumb. I didn't notice its badness until right now. *headdesk*

Okay, so after it was totally dry, I used the Outcast Brush to make a bunch of stripes with Turned Up Turquoise. Isn't it funny how the colour looks different on the blue and yellow? Crazy! Anyway, you're going to want to paint right down to your cuticle to get a "square" looking base. If you stop before your cuticle, you'll get curved bottoms to your lines, which doesn't have the same vibe, ya know? I used the same technique with Paper Mache and Sparkle and Snowflake. And finished it all off by cleaning my cuticles with a much shorter brush and some acetone. 

I have to say that the nailasaurus is the total bomb-dot-com when it comes to nail inspiration. Thanks so much to Bailey for this challenge! (Even though I'm pretty sure that she was just being nice and it wasn't actually a challenge. I'm not competitive, I swear. Okay, okay, maybe I'm a little competitive. Haha!)

Hope you all have an awesome weekend! Spring is here (apparently) so get outside and enjoy!! VITAMIN D FOR EVERYONE! And, as usual, be sure to link up and show off your pretties!







19.3.14

Author Interview with Suzy G

Hello, hello!! Happy Hump Day, everyone! 


Only two days until Friday. TWO DAYS! We can make it. I KNOW WE CAN.

And speaking of Friday, last Friday, I posted my review of Tragic Tales of Strange Girls, Volume One, and today, I've got a little author interview to share with you! YAY FOR AUTHOR INTERVIEWS. You're gonna love it, guys. I swear. Suzy G is awesome sauce!

SuzyG
Picture from Suzy G's website
Raise your hand if you're shocked that this gal wrote some über creepy short stories. 
*looks around*
 *finds no raised hands* 
Yeah...that's what I thought. Ha!

Okay, time for the interview to begin!

*bangs gong*

1. Short stories are a very specific beast. And by that, I mean they’re mega hard to write. Or, at least, they’re mega hard for me to write because you need to do a WHOLE LOT in a very small space, so I’m curious as to how you got into writing short stories. Have you always written them? If not, what led you down the short story path?

I grew up reading short stories by Stephen King and Ray Bradbury. I love short stories. You get in, you get punched in the feelers, you get out. There’s no room for a whole lot of filler. The short story is a natural feeling length for me. Everything in the story--the voice, the conflict, the prose--is concentrated and heightened. I love trying to make it all fit. There is a special beauty in brevity.

2. I’ve described Tragic Tales as “creep-tastic,” because the stories are creepily fantastic (and hybrid words are awesome). On social media, I’ve never gotten the impression that you’re a creepy kind of gal. I mean, you’ve got partially pink hair! Where does all your creepy inspiration come from?

When I was young I adored spending time with my uncle and aunt at their house in the woods. My uncle, in particular, loved scary movies. We watched them all the time. My uncle and aunt also had these EPIC Halloween parties every year, complete with spook houses and haunted hay rides. I learned pretty early on that there was this kind of fun thrill associated with being scared. (I’m too lazy to get an adrenaline rush any other way.)

Some people mistakenly think that because I write scary things, I must be rock-solid and scared by nothing. On the contrary: SO MANY THINGS SCARE ME. There is a power in taking scary things and dissecting them, examining them. I also find it fascinating to read about and write about how people react in the face of fear. Fight, flight, shut down, accept--there are all kinds of responses and degrees of those responses. (Spoiler: I react awfully to fear and pressure. You do not want me on your apocalypse team.)

3. I’ll admit that I’m a scardy-cat and there were two stories, in particular, that gave me the prolonged heebie-jeebies. Did writing any of the stories keep you up at night?

No. My mind is a tangled ball of anxiety all the time. My imagination is always constructing some sort of terrible scenario that will probably happen AT ANY MOMENT. By the time I really think about things and get them down on paper in story form, that scenario is no longer scary to me.

4. Although there is a very consistent theme in Tragic Tales (the theme being tragedy), did you always have that specific theme in mind? And what made you choose these particular stories for Volume One?

It wasn’t intentional, but at some point I realized that I’d amassed quite a few stories with a couple things in common: they were written from a young girl’s POV and they ended rather unhappily. Again, that seems to be a natural feeling thing for me when I sit down to write. I know what it is to be a young girl in seemingly hopeless situations, feeling pretty powerless. Sometimes writing can exorcise all kinds of demons. Horror, for me, is pretty cathartic.

5. Quick! Zombies are attacking your house! You only have five minutes to grab what you can. What do you take?

Aside from people? Because I’d take my family. We each have “Go Bags”-- backpacks with 72hours worth of food, water, and survival stuff. My zombie weapons of choice would be a claw hammer and good old-fashioned denial. Also, I’m one of those sentimental people who would grab pictures. And not just the digital ones on my phone. I’m pretty sure there will eventually be an EMP that will knock out all things electrical-- then people will wish they had actual paper photographs! …

Wow. What was I saying about always imagining worst case scenarios?

***

See, guys? I told you that Suzy G was awesome! And I guess she's not as creepy in real life as you may have thought, based on my review. Phew! *wipes brow* Haha! And the fact that Suzy's zombie weapons of choice would be "a claw hammer and good old-fashioned denial," makes me love her even more. 

So go buy her collection of short stories RIGHT NOW! Look, I'll even make it easy for you. Just click on the cover to get linked to Amazon!


And if you want to have more Suzy G in you life (because, you know, why wouldn't you?) here's list of where you can stalk hang with her.


Thanks so much to Suzy G for stopping by! :)


14.3.14

Book Club Friday: Tragic Tales of Strange Girls, Volume One



I’ve always been fascinated with scary things. Or, more accurately, how people can find entertainment value in scary things. To be fair, as a child, I tried to get into mildly scary literature, like Goosebumps and Fear Street, but no matter how hard I tried, they were still books that I’d have to read at noon, while bathed in bright sunlight, and sitting with my back against a wall. And don’t even get me started on how long it took me to watch The Sixth Sense. Okay, fine. It took me two tries, as I had to leave the theatre the first time, due to my chicken-ness. Also, I once had a nightmare after reading the back of a movie in Blockbuster. Did I mention I was 20 at the time?

Moving on.




So because I'm such a scardy-cat, why am I reviewing a collection of horror short stories? Well, the short answer is that I was tricked.

You see, the author, Suzy G, is a Twitter pal. For the last couple of years, we’ve chatted about writing-related things, Elaine’s fly dance moves, and, of course, nail polish (or, to be more accurate, Suzy’s lack of fun nail polish). So when I saw that Suzy had released a collection of short stories on Amazon, I rushed right over and bought them. Sure, there was a creepy-ish cover, and the title didn’t exactly say Triumphant Tales of Unicorn Kisses, but Suzy was FUNNY on Twitter, so I dove right on into the first tale, eager to read what Suzy had written.

It was within that first page that I suspected something was amiss. Then, things quickly took a turn into Terrifying Town. I knew that I should put it down—that my overactive imagination wouldn’t be able to handle the eeriness, but stupid Suzy G and her stupid engaging writing held me captive. Not only that, but the second I was finished the first tale, my finger involuntarily flipped to the first page of the next story, like it was possessed. Like it wasn’t even my finger. My eyes betrayed me as well, as they simply refused to stop reading. It was all just so creepy—so vivid and strange—that I had to keep going. And then, just when I’d forgotten that I was supposed to be scared because I was so invested in what was going to happen next, the story would end!

Realizing tonight is the Vanderpump Rules finale.

It was so mean of Suzy G to write short stories, guys—SO MEAN! The characters were layered and dynamic and the plots/premises were so creepily unexpected that it left me feeling all stabby when I reached the end of each tale. It was like getting one scoop of Lucky Charms and then having the rest of the bowl taken away. Which I guess is good, considering they’re short stories but GAH! How was she able to get me so invested in so few pages!? It shouldn’t be possible, people. Seriously. I’m a writer, so you can trust me when I say that it’s just plain unfair how much talent Suzy G has.

So here’s the deal: you need to read Tragic Tales of Strange Girls, Volume One. If you love scary things, you’ll think it’s the most creep-tastic collection of short stories you’ve ever read. If you don’t like scary things, you’ll still think it’s the best creep-tastic collection of short stories you’ve ever read. Basically, if you like reading at all, you need to read Tragic Tales of Strange Girls, Volume One.

But, uh, when you do, you’ll probably want to sleep with the light on. And with a bat within arm’s reach. Also, a few cloves of garlic under your pillow probably wouldn’t hurt. You know, just to be safe. You’ve been warned.

And to learn more about the awesomeness that is Suzy G, make sure to check out the author interview I'll be posting on Wednesday, next week! YAY for getting to know the authors behind amazing books!

 Thanks to Heather for hosting!



the nail files: springing forward (despite all evidence to the contrary)

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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!**

***

With the stupid, never-ending, snow-dumping, blind-rage-producing winter we've had that is still showing NO signs of leaving, I thought it was incredibly inappropriate that we still had to spring forward last weekend. I mean, how mean is that?! SPRING forward? To what? More snow? Ice storms? White-outs?

*grumbles and mutters and dreams of warmer, coat-free times*

Anyway, after I threw what will hopefully be my last weather-inspired-mini-tantrum, I decided that I'd start faking it until spring decides to grace us with her presence. So, I went to my polish rack to peruse only the brightest and cheeriest colours.

Here's what I decided to use:

Zoomed in:
Outside, no flash

Two coats of Monaco on all fingers except pointer, which has two coats of Too Yacht To Handle. Then, I did two coats of magic cake over top, followed by two coats of top coat because the larger, pink hex bits have spiky sides. 

Monaco came in the March Julep box and it's the prettiest, brightest royal blue of all time. I just LOVE how the neon bits from magic cake really POP out against it. Nicely done, Julep!

*tips fedora*

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


7.3.14

the nail files: all that glitters isn't gold…it's silver, too!


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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!**

***

My favourite hex glitter of all-time is Julep's Paris. The moment I first laid eyes on it, I was all I DON'T EVEN CARE WHAT THAT COSTS I MUST HAVE IT AND I MUST HAVE IT NOW. Luckily, it was part of everyone's Maven box of the month. Since then, I've bought another bottle and I'm seriously thinking about getting a third, just in case they stop making it. 

And then, just when I thought that it wasn't possible to get better than Paris, China Glaze came out with some new staple colours and they have a hex glitter named Techno, which is EXACTLY the same as Paris, only silver. 


I did a mani with both, so you can see just how pretty these two glitters are.


And here they are in a mani:


Two coats of Susie as a base, followed by two coats of both Paris and Techno (with the brushes that came with the bottle)

Close up!

GAH I JUST LOVE THEM BOTH SO MUCH!! IT'S TOO MUCH PRETTY TO HANDLE!

So if you're in the market for an awesome hex glitter, look no farther than Paris and Techno! HEX GLITTER FOR EVERYONE! Haha!!

Have an awesome weekend! And don't forget to link up and make the rounds to see what everyone's rocking!