Monday, June 5, 2017

Karen's First Polish Convention

If you've seen my Instagram over the last couple of days, you know I've been in Toronto for the inaugural Indie Expo Canada (IEC). Ever since Pam of Girly Bits fame announced the idea, I wanted to go. I like indie polish (well, all polish really, as you know), and I like Pam, and I like Toronto, so I bought a VIP ticket when they went on sale even though at that point I wasn't sure I'd be able to make the trip from Idaho. Obviously, it turned out that I was able to, making this weekend a feature of another long road trip.

I left home the Monday before Memorial Day, drove to my mother-in-law's house in Illinois over three days, then spent about a week in the Land of Lincoln, including a craft conference over the holiday weekend. The night before I was to depart for Canada, I did my nails, choosing a shade from the small selection of polishes I'd brought with me. Finger Paints DIY Diva is a summery orchid with blue shimmer, very pretty and very well coordinated with the outfits I planned to wear at IEC. Unfortunately the polish in the bottle I got was thick and goopy, so I had to thin it despite it being a recent purchase and never used before. It also really didn't get along with the first topcoat I tried on it, wrinkling up to the point that I had to take it all off and start over (a smarter and/or less stubborn person might have decided to switch to another color at this point). It did better with the second topcoat I tried (Diamond Dry) but still wasn't leveled as well as I'd like, so I added a layer of Sally Hansen Diamond Flash the next morning, and still wasn't happy, so put China Glaze Fairy Dust over the top the morning after that, my first full day in Canada. Here's a shot in natural light (in my car, which is where I added the Fairy Dust):

And here's the proof that my manicures don't always work out: attempt number one with the incompatible topcoat (in weird light at my MIL's house):

My IEC experience started with a polish making workshop on Saturday morning. Actually, it started a bit before that when Melanie and I took turns trying to get the pay station in the parking ramp to take our money. It didn't like her card, then it didn't like my card, then it did deign to take her other card, and I found enough change in the plastic bag of Canadian cash that Mr. Karen gave me to cover the fee. Then we were both able to go upstairs and take our places in the conference room for three hours of fun with suspension base and colorant and shimmer and glitter and flakies and such.

I had some inkling what we'd be doing, since I was fortunate to have done the workshop at Pam's studio a few years back, so I came in with the idea to make a polish inspired by the woods that surround me in Idaho, and pretty much managed to make that vision a reality with Lost in the Forest, a green jelly glitter topper that was my first creation at the workshop.

I couldn't wait to use it, so I put a coat of Lost in the Forest over my existing mani, even though I wouldn't usually put green over orchid. It didn't look too bad.

My second polish was inspired by a pen that Melissa loaned me that morning.

I had to try that one, too, but limited myself to an accent nail of the newly named Flair Purple.

After I finished my second polish, there was still a fair bit of time left, so I decided to use the leftovers in my mixing cup to make a bonus color, adding random stuff as I walked around the room looking at what other ladies were doing. Thus Bonus Flakes was born. There were leftovers from this, too, but no more time to keep creating.

After polish making, I had lunch with mrsrexy, then we returned to the hotel for afternoon seminars on blogging and marketing, after which we strolled around the city for a bit and continued to catch up with each other.

I ended the day back at my hotel tired and happy.

I wasn't too tired to do a new manicure for the main event on Sunday. I used Essence When Tomorrow Comes (taupe creme) and Chrome Paradise (charcoal duochrome shimmer) as a base for Bonus Flakes.

Sunday I donned my nail polish print skirt and headed downtown. I allowed myself plenty of time to deal with the effects of a freeway closure between my hotel and the host hotel, so was feeling pretty good when I pulled into the parking garage ahead of schedule. That feeling went away quickly when I realized I'd left my Canadian cash back in my room; fortunately the garage was attended so I could pay with my card that way. Digging around in my purse, I later found the coins I'd intentionally gotten the night before to pay for parking, but that wasn't going to buy any polish. Ah well, that's why we have Paypal and credit cards.

Check-in went smoothly and soon I was sitting in a comfy chair going through the pretties in the VIP bag. Jj happened to sit down nearby and we ended up chatting for a while and even did an impromptu swap of one shade of Fiendish Fancies for another since we each liked the color the other got better than the one in our own bag. Then we lined up to get into the ballroom and it was off the races. I hadn't done any planning as far as making a wish list or even studying the layout, so I just wandered from table to table in no particular pattern, picking up things that looked most interesting and putting many of them down again because my retirement budget is a thing. A thing that I stretched rather a bit as the day went on. Maybe I'll do a haul post at some point; that might be frightening (or impressive, depending on your perspective).

In addition to the shopping, there were tutorial sessions. I signed up for two: Advanced Stamping with mrsrexy (I decided since I'd graduated from the turtlechick school of stamping, I could be advanced) and Nail Art with Candace and Katherine. They packed a lot into these short sessions, and I learned some things you may see show up here on the blog before long. There was also a panel discussion in there somewhere, but I didn't see much of that as I needed to step out and have a snack lest my blood sugar do bad things. I unfortunately can't blame blood sugar on the two most embarrassing parts of my day: knocking over a cup of water during the nail art tutorial (not just into my lap but into that of the woman next to me) and flashing my underwear for an unknown number of attendees when I failed to notice my skirt getting caught up under my tote bag when I bent over to look at polish. Ooops.

All in all, it was a fun time and I hope I can return for future IECs. Perhaps by then I can figure out how to have more energy so I can go out and socialize at night instead of crashing in my room. Or perhaps I'll learn how to drink espresso. Time will tell.


  1. Great post, Karen! As always, it was lovely to see you and catch up!

  2. Sounds like an amazing time. I so wished I could have been there. You NEED to do a haul post!!! We need to see the pretties! I absolutely love your creations too.

  3. That sounds really awesome!!
    And I would love to see a haul post :D

  4. Here's another vote for a haul post. I'm already kind of jealous about all the fun you had but I'm pretty sure I can turn completely green with envy ;)

  5. It sounds like you had a great time there. It must have been fun making your very own polish.

  6. What a great event, I'm jealous that there are such opportunities overseas (although you had to cross a border!). I love Bonus Flakes BTW!!


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