and the winner is...

My apologies for the delayed announcement, but the winner of a paperback copy of The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster is...

The Lemoncholy Life Of Annie Aster

Woot woot!! Congrats, Daniela! I'll be sending you an email today!

And thanks to all who entered! :D


the nail files: the final linkup *wipes tear*

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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! Yay for nails!**


Oh em to the gee, guys. It's the end of an era.


Okay, so maybe "era," is a stretch, being that the nail files hasn't been around that long, but still, it's been such a big part of my blogging life that I miss it already. I had a great time going through my pictures from way back in 2012 and I love that it's easy to see how much better I've gotten, both at doing nail art and taking photos of said nail art. Yay for proper nail art tools and a light box. Haha!

Here are a few collages of what I consider my best manis from 2012 to now.

*cue Greenday's Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)*

Ah, the first year. I became a Julep Maven and got my very first set of dotting tools. Oh the fun I had trying to make symmetrical dots! (Read: I cleaned out the white wine section of the liquor store, haha!) Towards the end of the year, I got on Pinterest, which opened up an entirely new world of nail inspiration. I learned so much from step-by-step tutorials!

The highlight of 2013 was getting a feature on Ellen's IG. I did the centre mani for her website (it's a mani of those two adorable little girls from England: Sophia Grace and Rosie) and it's been the Nail Art cover photo on the site, ever since. Definitely one of the cooler nail-related things that've happened to me. For obvious reasons. Ha! This was also the year I added nail art brushes to my nail art arsenal, along with vinyl decals and striping tape. I did two nail art video tutorials this year as well, and because they took so darn long to edit and upload, they were also my last. ;)

For Christmas of 2013, my baby brother bought me a light box, and it made all the difference for 2014's pictures. I also upgraded my lens that year, and I think the photos show a remarkable improvement. This was also the year that I bought rhinestones and studs to up my game. Haha! Gotta love the mega-shine that comes from a rhinestone! Nail care also became a priority in 2014, so it marked the end of my dry-ass skin and cuticles. Ha! In addition to all that, I went to my first Julep Maven Meet-up, in Toronto, and it was super awesome to meet Jane Park and try out new polishes. Yay for sneak previews!

With my polish collection larger than ever, 2015 has been the most diverse year, in terms of colour selection. Because, you know, four years in, I pretty much have every colour ever made. Haha! I started getting lots of inspiration from mega-talented nail artists on Instagram, and tried my hand at far more intricate designs. Some of these manis took forever, but they were pretty freaking awesome and therefore worth the time investment. Except, of course, when they failed. Because yes, even four years after I started, I still have #nailfails all the time. *deep sigh* Haha!

So there you have it. We've reached the end of the very last nail files post. Thank you so much for stopping by, leaving a comment, and/or linking up over the last few years. Without you, the nail files wouldn't have gone on for as long as it has and I've loved seeing your pretties each and every week!! And a special shout-out goes to Kimberly, who's been linking up since the very beginning. #nailfileshighfive

Stay sparkly, people!

And don't forget to link up your last nail files post! :D


book review (with tribute mani!): the lemoncholy life of annie aster

I can’t believe that I’m writing this review. Mostly because when you see someone work their tail off and the payoff finally arrives, it can feel like a dream. Enter, THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER by Scott Wilbanks, my marvelously talented critique partner. 

Side Note: In addition to a review, it should come as no surprise that I did a tribute mani, because not only am I so darn proud of Scott that I considered making a sandwich board sign to wear around town advertising his release, but the cover of his debut novel is too pretty for life. 


The synopsis, from Goodreads:
Annabelle Aster doesn’t bow to convention—not even that of space and time—which makes the 1890s Kansas wheat field that has appeared in her modern-day San Francisco garden easy to accept. Even more peculiar is Elsbeth, the truculent schoolmarm who sends Annie letters through the mysterious brass mailbox perched on the picket fence that now divides their two worlds.
Annie and Elsbeth’s search for an explanation to the hiccup in the universe linking their homes leads to an unsettling discovery—and potential disaster for both of them. Together they must solve the mystery of what connects them before one of them is convicted of a murder that has yet to happen…and yet somehow already did.
From writing my own manuscripts and reviewing books, I learned early on that some authors are writers, while others are storytellers. And after reading the first page of Scott’s work, it was clear that he is the latter. His creation of a world that’s partly based in San Francisco during the mid-nineties and simultaneously in Kansas, a century earlier, flows seamlessly. As a literally-minded gal, I can get lost easily in complex plot, so adding a time-travel element could have been the kiss of death regarding my ability to fall into the story, but that doesn’t even almost happen with THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE. I was sucked in from the very beginning and rode the cresting wave of tension right to the very end. 

Like most things that are extraordinary, in order to truly enjoy THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE, you must invest in the process and give yourself over to the rhythmic beat of the prose. Scott's not just a storyteller, you see, he's a "proser," meaning that the way Scott delivers his story is just as important as the story itself. Okay, so "proser" may not actually be a word, but you know what I mean. Haha! Don’t shy away from the effort, though. It’s more than worth it. 

Because yes, his characters are truly original; layered, flawed, deeply feeling characters who immediately feel like real people. And yes, the plot is like driving through a mountain range—extreme highs and lows, sometimes on the same page. But the part that really sets Scott apart is his ability to see beneath the surface and bring that depth to life. It’s the unusual, often ignored aspects of the real world that Scott is a master of revealing, and he does so in his own, beautifully-crafted way. Add that to his extensive vocabulary which produces the most perfect words for any situation, and you’ve got a tale that is unlike anything you’ve read before. 

So if you can carve out a chunk of time to acquaint yourself with THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER, you’ll be privy to a tale about the triumph of the human spirit and friendship, with a healthy dollop of mystery, just in case you needed another reason to pick up a copy. Because, you know, murder makes every story better. Ha! 

And because I want everybody in the entire world to read THE LEMONCHOLY LIFE OF ANNIE ASTER, I’m giving away a copy! This is an international giveaway, as long as it’s understood it may take a while to arrive, depending on where the winner lives. The rafflecopter will be live for the next week, so good luck!