Winter is coming!

And not soon enough if you ask me (or Jon Snow).  Thoroughly disappointed in my garden this year – after all my hard work with the cover crop, using hay as a mulch/cover, fighting off the slugs, etc, just ugh. All for a handful of tomatoes, one spaghetti squash and well, enough cucumbers for 2 half batches of pickles so that’s a positive.  I’m currently babying my 8 or so corn stalks to possibly bear me one, JUST ONE, ear of corn.  Couldn’t resist having the DH grab the last brussel sprout and baby broccoli plants at the local home store, those are going to have to go in a container though I think.

As un-fruitful as the garden has been, it is apparently very hospitable to my “Charlottes” (aka sewing machine spiders or Argiope).  For the past few years we have had one or two pop up in mid August around the pool and in the garden and they are so cool to watch!  And huge, holy moly I’ve never seen a spider that big.  We named them both Charlotte – Pool Charlotte and Garden Charlotte – and they do their thing and then disappear, and an offspring appears again the following summer.  Well, THIS summer we have had EIGHT Charlottes!!  As of this morning I counted 7 though so someone moved out, but the rest are all hanging out in large webs strung between the shrubs, or the cucumber trellis or between the fence and the asparagus.   Strangely only two of them are really big right now, the rest are sort of medium size so will be interesting to see how big they all get and if there are any egg sacs leftbehind for the winter.  These are the two biggest(about 3″ top to bottom) they are outside the garden area:

frontsideyard_charlottes

This sneaky one made this web overnight from the fence to the asparagus ferns, I almost walked right into going to water the corn (it’s only about 3 feet off the ground):

garden_charlotte

Okay so back to my disappointment garden –  my brain started turning and hatched the garden re-do project, woo! I’ve decided to tear out the existing boxes (4 years old), take down the fence and create a whole new garden with smaller and deeper boxes.  Of course new soil too which (already crossing my fingers) will be beneficial for next years plants.  Only dilemma is moving my asparagus – next spring will be year 4, I hate to dig them up as I keep reading they don’t do as well when transplanted but they can’t stay where they are!  My strawberry plants were going into their 3rd year, I haven’t researched how well they do with transplanting so may just start over with those in a dedicated box (or one of the neato strawberry planters that I see all over Pinterest).  Off to the drawing table!

Sometimes you just need a little sparkle

I used to have my nails done in acrylics for years and years, sometimes french tipped other times a daring dark or blinding bright color.  I had the same nail tech for all those years who I loved, and second in sadness only to leaving my longtime hairstylist behind was leaving my nail tech behind when I moved South.  And while I finally found a new hair stylist to love I just never found a new nail tech.  And so I’d grown out of that phase a little and embraced my natural nails (after taking 6 months to heal from the years of acrylics 😮 )

Every once in awhile I get the urge to have my girly acrylics though, especially the french tips.  I tried the drugstore diy kits…and those were a pretty big fail for me. My right hand never looked anything close to acceptable (I’m right handed) and I could never get that ridge between fake tip and natural nail to be smooth.  I’d always end up peeling them off after maybe 2 days because I couldn’t stand the imperfections.

Recently I tried an at-home gel system, bought the LED lamp and all.  I was super impressed with the Sally Hansen 3 step gel – easy to apply and with the lamp it’s totally dry within minutes, bonus! (as you can read about here I’m not known to sit patiently for long).    I picked out “Purple Prisms” -which on the box looks like a lavender base with sparkles – in reality it’s a clear polish with sparkles. I actually put a coat of Sinful Colors “Tempest” (a pretty lavender and a gift from my Mom) on first, then the prisms, then the top coat. Came out really pretty and it stayed on for days and days, almost a whole week. (side note, the Sinful Colors line is really durable – my “Tempest” pedicure lasted 3 weeks!)

Earlier this week I got an inkling to have some french tipped nails and I  happened to have some french tips in my manicure bag from the earlier failed diy attempts…so I get the bright idea to try the gel over the tips since it’s self-leveling.  Not super crazy about the sparkles over french tips (I AM in my late 40’s afterall)

kisstipswithshgell

but my bright idea worked! No ridge, yay!

selfleveling

I managed to snap 2 of the tips off within 24 hours – my natural nails aren’t very long right now, would work better with more natural nail to glue the tip to – but I know now I can pull this off for special occasion fancy manicures.  Or when my week just needs that bit of sparkle.