13 December 2008

Product Lust: Molten Magic Heat Packs

Wow, where did the time go? Three weeks vanished in a blur of moving school and offices.

I thought I'd show you one of my favourite items that I keep beside the bed. Molten Magic Heat Packs are reusable exothermic heating pads that are safe to apply directly to skin and have been a treasure for me over the years. I bought a pair of the small ones ($8) at the Klondike Days Exposition two years ago, and last year I bought two more in the medium size ($10 each).

These pads work by encasing a metal activator disc and a sodium acetate solution in a high-grade vinyl pouch. The metal disc is "popped", and the metal reacts with the liquid solution, heating to 54 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit). This is very warm; almost too hot to stand against your skin, but not quite. The heating effect lasts for 20-30 minutes, and they are recharged by simmering in boiling water for 5-10 minutes.

The small packs are perfect as handwarmers in cold weather. All sizes of packs are great for theraputic use too. I use them at night when my back feels stiff, and they are perfect for placing on your tummy to deal with menstrual cramps.

I find that they recharge quickly, and I recommend buying them in pairs. That way, when you have used one and are charging it, you can use the other. I also use them while they are cooling down after I boil them, so I get double the heating effect.

They are available at local fairs, keep an eye out for them!

20 November 2008

MAC has just released an awesome set of metallic cosmetics in Metal Urge. And this weekend, you can order online with free shipping.

7 shades of Brushed Metal-X Eye Shadow:
  • Gilded Ash - dark charcoal grey with pearl
  • Gold Spice - metallic coppery gold
  • Forged Rose - Reddish copper with gold pearl
  • Verdigris - Dirty deep green with silver pearl
  • Metalblu - Navy blue with silver pearl
  • Pink Platinum - Light blue/pink with silver pearl
  • Material Gold - Pale peach/beige with gold pearl
3 shades of Pigments:
  • Cocomotion - Dirty gold with an olive undertone and a gold sparkle
  • Spiritualize - Yellow green with silver and gold pearl
  • Gold Mode - Tan gold
4 shades of Glitter:
  • Reflects Bronze - Rich sparkling gold
  • Reflects Blackened Red - Sparkling burgundy
  • Reflects Purple Duo - Rich sparkling purple
  • Reflects Very Pink - Sparkling fuschia pink
Liquidlast Eyeliner:
  • Dress Khaki - Khaki green with yellow pearl
  • Molten Sol - Rich gold with intense metallic
  • Powerplum - Deep plum with red pearl
  • Inskpill - Deep green with green pearl
  • Inky - Navy blue with low-level pearl
  • Visionaire - Clean baby pink
  • Classic Cream - White gold
Looks great, and I can't wait to buy a couple!

18 November 2008

Cleopatra Eyes

I'm home sick today with a beaut of a headcold. I tried to sleep as late as possible, and it's peppermint tea for the throat and Lipton's Chicken Noodle Soup for the tummy. For the soul, it's Days of Our Lives and Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in Cleopatra (1963).

I haven't watched DoOL in ears, and its just as cheesy-good as ever. Someone is a murderer, and someone else nearly married him, and someone is secretly very ill, and someone is pregnant, and so is someone else, but keeping it a secret from the father... It's comforting that even when the names change, the plots stay the same.

Cleopatra, a four-hour epic, was considered a box office flop because of the cost overruns, but it's a lavish slice of 1960s hubris. I love that the Egyptians are wearing fitted bullet-bra garments. And let's face it; any excuse to see Liz Taylor's remarkable cleavage is worth it. She's sexy, and totally covered up.

I grew up in the generation where Liz Taylor was either a lush or frail from an illness. But this movie reminds me that she was the queen of Hollywood, and at five-foot-two, no one could touch her.

It also reminds me that of the reason she married Richard Burton twice. He was a vital, handsome man back in the day. I always picture him from the interview he and Liz did with Barbara Walters in the 1970s, and it seemed to me that he was a drunkard and kind of sad. But once he truly was a lion among men.

It also makes me thing of the cat-eye makeup look, and how this movie had such an impact on the fashion of the era. It had such impact that it continues to be an iconic look that is adapted every decade. The eyeliner flair may change, and the colour or use of eye shadow differs, but it's always there in the fashion realm.

Admit it, you've rocked the cat-eye in your day!

15 November 2008

Teal Time

For some reason, I'm crazy for teal this year. I don't know why, but it's my favourite colour right now. I've been obsessed with finding the perfect shade of teal; not too blue and not too green. I found a mohair sweater that came close to perfection. I even found a ginormous leather satchel that was a lovely shade that evokes images of deep Caribbean waters.

Imagine how excited I was when my LouLou Magazine Special Edition arrived yesterday, I was stoked to see that some of the handbags for the fall in glorious shades of teal!

Longchamp has "Légende" ($900), a patent calfskin leather bag in "DuckBlue" with a large interior and two outer pockets. The bag has a patent leather handles and wrapped around the base, and shiny, crinkled leather for the main material. There are metal feet on the bottom, so the bag is more protected from dust and dirt. The main bag of the interior contains two zippered pockets and a leather key holder. The overall size is 18 x 13x 8 inches, so there's lots of room for all your goodies.

Coach has a beautiful handbag called "Amanda Satin Mini Satchel" ($298) in Brass/Teal. This a a smaller bag, only 11 x 5 x 4 inches, it has leather wrapped handles and a removable shouder strap. Inside, there's a zip pocket and an open pocket.

There you have it. Two very different shades of teal in different materials. Simply lovely!

11 November 2008

Remembrance Day: Wear a Poppy with Pride

If you haven't been wearing a poppy all week, please make sure to wear one today. I'm working on my second one, and I was checking for tips to keep the poppy from falling out. Most people I know go through about 3-5 poppies a year.

First, try weaving the poppy through the fabric several times rather than just once. This can help anchor the poppy. I've been told that bending the tip of the pin works. I was trying that this year, and it sort of works, but the pins keeps poking me. Another tip I've heard is to push an earring back or a pencil eraser into the end of the pin. The eraser works the best, and if you push it up far enough the poppy will hide it.

I hope you wear a poppy today (on the left side over your heart), and I hope you take 2 minutes at 11 A.M. to remember those who fought and gave their lives for our freedom.

The Canadian Legion distributes around 18 million poppies a year across the country.

Flanders Field

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

- John McCra, 1915

10 November 2008

Product Review: Carmex vs. Prairie Dawn Natural Lip Balm

Dammit! I'm hideous again! I have another cold sore!

As sufferers know, sometimes the little buggers come one after another. This one is on the other side of my mouth. I HATE when this happens. I only get cold sores on the left side of my mouth, and this monster tag along is bigger than that last one. I HATE when this happens.

So, since last time (less than a month ago!) I gave you information on cold sores and the treatment I like the best. This time, I'll discuss what to do with the rest of your lips.

Whenever you have a cold sore, it's tricky to keep the rest of your lips moist. You want to lick them because they feel misshapen and dry, so you end up drying them out even more. Wetting your lips and the cold sore dries it out and makes the sore more likely to crack and take longer to heal. So the important thing is to use a lip balm. I tend to choose between two kinds of balm: a balm that tastes bad or a balm that tastes good.

My choice for lip balm that tastes bad is Carmex. Introduced in 1937, it contains methol and phenol to disinfect and cocoa butter to moisturize the lips. Ounce for ounce, I find it works better at softening lips over every other lip balm. The active ingredients are camphor, menthol, phenol, and salicylic acid.

Carmex works well to keep the whole lip soft when the cold sore is healing and doesn't interfere with other treatments. It's not tested on animals, and it works really well to plump your lips while they heal. Best of all, it has no expiration date. I keep a jar marked "CS" just for when I have a cold sore, so I don't mix it up with other jars.

The taste is... well... camphor. It is available in other flavours (strawberry, mint and cherry), but I find that the mediciney taste is still noticeable. I don't mind it so much, but I wouldn't call it good tasting.

Now, for tasty lip balm that works well, I use Prairie Dawn Natural Lip Balm. Listen to this ingredient list:
  • Jojoba oil (Organic virgin cold pressed & unrefined from the Sonoran Desert in Arizona)
  • Virgin cold pressed castor seed oil
  • Alberta beeswax
  • Unrefined wheat germ oil
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Virgin unrefined coconut oil extracted from the milk of the coconut
  • Avocado oil
  • Pure essential oils

This lip balm comes in four flavours:
  • Sweet Orange
  • Lime
  • Peppermint
  • Black Licorice
Prairie Dawn is really delicious, and it's extra moisturizing. It feels silky and rich on your lips, and because it uses essential oils to flavour, the flavour is completely realistic. Lime tastes like lime, and licorice tastes like licorice. It leaves a nice sheen that isn't too glossy, but lasts for a long time.

So when your lips are really feeling yucky, treat them to something that makes them feel good and fixes them.

08 November 2008

Product Review: Canus Fresh Goat's Milk Soap

I love Canus Fresh Goat's Milk Soap. I admit to being very lazy when it comes to skincare. I only do the minimum when it comes to anything from the neck down.

Mostly, I just feel I shouldn't mess too much with the body's natural systems. It's silly to use a cleanser that strips moisture away only to add moisture back with a lotion that adds other things to your skin that you have to remove with cleanser to prevent clogging pores... it's a vicious cycle that's just silly.

Canus soap is safe for all skin types and is really moisturizing, so I use it in the shower to wash my whole body. This Canadian product is made with entirely natural essential oils for fragrances and doesn't test their products on animals, and the soap is biodegradable and phosphate-free, so I feel guilt-free about the suds going down the drain.

Canus started when a pair of entrepreneurs in Quebec, Canada teamed with a biochemist to create a line of skincare products. The line expanded, and now is marketed in Canada, the United States, France, Korea, Vietnam and Japan.

Goat's milk contains lactic acid (reputed to be a highly effective moisturizer), and caproic and capric fatty acids (which have moisturizing and antibacterial powers). It also contains vitamin A Retinol, caprylic acid (which promotes absorption of emolients and relaxes the skin's surface) and B-complex vitamins. Goat's milk has a pH similar to human skin, and contains natural emollients, vitamins and triglycerides that moisturize the skin.

Canus soap moisturizes using fresh goat's milk concentrate. Fresh milk isn't as easy to preserve as powdered goat's milk, but it does retain its curative properties better than powdered milk.

I find this bar soap and it is quite gentle. The soap is triple-milled, so the bar is hard and doesn't dissolve in the shower the way some soaps do. It lathers up nicely into a silky froth.

Canus has severals lines of products, from cleansers to moisturizers. Their products come in six varieties:

  • Original Formula - The first and signature products. All the beneficial properties of fresh goat’s milk combined with a subtle, fresh fragrance made from essential oils that is trademark Canus.
  • Fragrance-Free - This deliver all the virtues of our Original Formula collection, minus the fragrance. This makes them ideal for people with sensitive skin or odor allergies.
  • Shea Butter - Shea nuts grow in Africa. They look like small avocados. They contain approximately 50% fat. They are used in skincare products because of their nourishing moisturizing properties and skin softening powers. They help maintain the skin’s elasticity. The fragrance is both calming and refreshing.
  • Olive Oil and Wheat Protein - Olive oil is known for its skin softening properties. Wheat protein helps tone skin, restore the skin’s elasticity and also soften skin. The fragrance is equally charming and invigorating.
  • Orchid Oil - The orchid is Thailand’s national flower. People in Asia have been using orchid oil for centuries to help repair and protect skin. Orchid oil is recognized as an effective skin moisturizer and softener, and for its antioxidant properties too. The fragrance is exotic.
  • Marigold Oil - Marigold oil, also known as Calendula Oil is recognized as an excellent antioxidant. Used in skincare products, it is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties, making it popular with people suffering from itchy skin or skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, etc. The fragrance is fresh and tonifying.

07 November 2008

Product Lust: Givency Phenomen'Eyes Mascara

I'm somewhat frugal when it comes to cosmetics, but I spend more on products where I think it makes a bigger difference. I find that eye shadows, blushes, lipsticks, etc. are still decent in quality whether you pay $8 instead of $25. I spend money for high end foundations, concealers, etc. because the money goes into things like finer milled powders, nicer consistencies and better colour choices. I do tend to get excited by new products. You may not be able to build a better mousetrap, but surely you can make an eyelash curler than doesn't kink my lashes like a cat's tail that was stuck in a door? Still, I don't relish the idea of spending three times what I normally pay for products that get the job done. Having said that, I got excited when I saw the new Givency Phenomen'Eyes Mascara. I usually use pharmacy brands of mascara, so the $27 pricetag made my stomach drop. Then again, I hate using mascaras because they tend to be clumpy and spiky on my lashes. Maybe it's time I started spending more money on expensive mascaras to see the benefits.

The Phenomen'Eyes wand looks
trés cool with the spherical bulb and the soft-looking bristles. The idea of coating every lash is certainly appealing. I find that long mascara wands tend to catch the bulk of my lashes in the middle but almost none on the corners of my eyes. My lashes are long but sparse, so making them all pop is definitely what I'm looking for in a mascara.

This is one item that's going on my shopping list, and I can't wait to see if it works!

05 November 2008

Beauty Tips: Traveling Light

I visited my sister in the UK this spring for two weeks, and decided to travel super-light, as in no checked luggage. Air Canada, in their infinite wisdom, have allowed for two carry-on bags per person; one bag up to 21.5" long and one bag up to 17" long, plus your purse (up to 10" long-can you say wee?).

I brought the 21" wheeled carry-on that I usually take when I travel. It's old and I often think about replacing it, but it's quite lightweight and durable, and it can be crammed full of gear and still fit inside the airline carry-on measuring cage. Because I wanted to bring my laptop and do some writing, I bought a fantastic backpack from Targus (CityGear Chicago model # TCG650). This bad boy fit my 15" MacBook Pro, camera, my makeup bag, toiletry bag, a change of clothes, and a few other essentials. When I was in London, this bag came everywhere with me, hauled my laptop and snacks and a raincoat.

For clothing, I splurged and took extras:
  • 2 pairs of jeans (light silver-grey and dark blue)
  • tan cotton chinos
  • short dressy skirt
  • long cotton skirt
  • 2 tank tops with built-in shelf bras
  • 2 long-sleeved tee shirts
  • dressy vest
  • denim blazer
  • waterproof jacket
  • 3 pairs of undies
  • 1 convertible bra
  • 3 pairs socks
  • 1 pair stockings
  • leather clogs
  • Aerosole boat shoes

Since my goal was to go small, I decided to go light on makeup & beauty items. My sis told me to borrow her shampoo & conditioner. I took only minimal makeup and small, airline-approved tools. The Revlon Beauty-Tools-To-Go was awesome; it was easy to clear through airport security and the curler worked perfectly.

For makeup, I brought:
Physicians Formula Shimmer Strips Custom Eye Enhancing Shadow & Liner Cover Girl Volume Exact Waterproof Mascara
MAC Select Sheer Pressed Powder NC15
MAC Select Cover-Up Concealer NW15
Maybelline Wet Shine Lipcolor in Gem Crushed Merlot
MAC Lipglass Viva Glam VI SE
Quo brow/liner brush
Quo travel powder brush
Quo powder brush

Whadda Bahgain: MAC Little Darlings Holiday Collection

Free Shipping on MAC Little Darlings Holiday Collection when ordering online. Drool!

Issued as part of the Holiday Collection, these adorable sets come in an orange-red patent cylinder-shaped gift box with a lift-off lid. There are six sets available:
  • 5 Coral Lipglass and Lustreglass ($35.50) Underage, Ola Mango and Pink Grapefruit Lipglass, and Wonderstruck and Budding Lustreglass
  • 5 Pink Lipglass and Lustreglass ($35.50) Fleur Delight, Song and Dance, and Magnetique Lipglass, and Flashmode and Little Vi Lustreglass
  • 5 Neutral Lipglass and Lustreglass ($35.50) C-Thru, Mouthwatering, and Languish Lipglass, and Love Nectar and Beaux Lustreglass
  • 5 Warm Pigments and Glitter ($35.50) Gold Dusk, Gold Mode, Gold Stroke, Melon Pigments, and Reflects Antique Gold Glitter
  • 5 Cool Pigments and Glitter ($35.50) Frost, Quietly, Pinked Mauve, Teal Pigments, and Reflects Blackened Red Glitter
  • 5 Softsparkle Eye Pencils ($35.50) Peacocked, Mint and Olive, and Chocolight, and two Eye Pencils in Black Funk and Fab Orchid

I want the Cool Pigments and Glitter. I've been dying to buy these colours already!

Use offer code DARLINGS at checkout.

FotD: Grey Shimmer Face of the Day

My first Face of the Day! Not my best effort, but also really the way I show up for work - makeup under glasses. Honesty at its best. I did a black & grey shimmer eye palette.

Here's the look. Sorry the photo is blurry; it's sort of a "Dynasty" filter :)

Here's what I used:

For the eyes:
Physician's Formula Baked Collection in Smokes
Bourjois Paris Ombre A Paupieres in Rose Tentation
Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Eye Definer in Steel
Cover Girl Volume Exact Mascara in Black
Quo Crease Blender Brush
Quo Liner/Brow Brush
Quo Definer Shadow Brush
Avanti Powder Brush

For the cheeks:
Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc-Free Mineral Blush in Pink Glow

For the lips:
Maybelline Lip Indulgence in Plum Pastry
MAC LipGlass in Viva Glam VI SE

For the Face:
MAC Select Sheer/Pressed Powder in NC15
Estee Lauder Spotlight

30 October 2008

Product Lust: Charlescraft Spa Reflectives Floor Stand Mirror

Confession time: I don't have a makeup mirror. I never used one before, just a mirror and natural light from my windows. I even spent a few years waiting to get to work to put on makeup. It just seemed to make sense to put makeup on in the fluorescent lights where I worked.

Well, I'm finally breaking down and getting one. But my house is small, so I need to keep my furniture and use of counterspace to a minimum. I was looking for a wall mirror, when I found this:
Charlescraft Spa Reflectives Floor Stand Mirror ($180).

How frickin' cool is this? The good stuff:

  • Almost 173 cm (6 ft.) tall
  • Includes an electrical outlet
  • Hair dryer holder, glass tray and towel bar
  • 22 cm (11 in.) illuminated mirror is glare-free, fog-free and dual sided (one side is regular, one side is 7x magnification)
  • Satin nickel finish

I don't know if I want to shell out 180 bones for this, but it's tempting...

29 October 2008

Whadda Bahgain: Givenchy at Sephora.com

Two posts today to make up for not posting yesterday!

Wanting to try Phenomen'Eyes Mascara? Sephora.com has a great offer for Givenchy products that lets you try Phenomen'Eyes and Absolutely Irresistable Roll-On, and get a pouch packed with 4 other samples for $52. The fuschia pouch contains:
  • Phenomen'Eyes Mascara in Black
  • Absolutely Irresistable Roll-On fragrance
  • No Surgetics Wrinkle Reducer
  • Subli'mine Fluid Foundation
  • Continuous Color Radiance Lip Gloss
  • Verry Irresistible Givenchy Sensual
Enter promo code LOVELUXE at checkout.

Product Review: Boots No. 7 Restore & Renew Beauty Serum

I have loved the Boots No. 7 collection since they first hit Canada at Shoppers Drug Mart. I haven't tried the cosmetics yet, but the skincare products feel and look great.

have been using Boots No.7 Restore & Renew Beauty Serum ($25). When this was shown on a tv series in the UK (it's named Protect & Perfect there), they confirmed that it lived up to its claims to repair and prevent wrinkles and pigmentation. Sales increased 2000%; one sold every 1.3 seconds. Just like the Nintendo Wii, they'd arrive in the stores and immediately sell out. I had to give it a whirl, and I'm really glad I did.

The lotion comes in a simple tube which is pearl white just like the serum. When you dispense it onto a fingertip, it has this wonderful, rich consistency. It's highly emolient and soaks into the skin quickly, and it feels silky when you put it on. I originally bought it to use under my eyes (to battle the raccoon bags that live there - damned thin skin!), but I use it all over my eye area and as an emolient aid when a product is too thick. It blends with concealer very well, which helps keep it from being too visible on my thin under-eye skin.

The goodies in it are antioxidants and retinol, so I use it mainly at night and always-always use a sunblock if I'm wearing it during daylight hours. I wouldn't swear as to how much it helps reduce wrinkles, but I do find it plumps up fine lines a little and makes the skin very soft and supple.

The Boots website has a great feature called the Skin Wheel, and it's wicked! You drag the wheel to describe your skin condition, and the website kicks out a 'report' of the Boots products best suited to your skin. Great advertising feature if you're unfamiliar with the product lines. I always have trouble sorting out which line will work best for my skin and my needs. It's the whole denial thing: "I don't need to worry about anti-aging products!"

27 October 2008

Whadda Bahgain: Clinique at Sears

It's Clinique Bonus Time again! Sears is offering a gift with purchase from 25 October - 12 November 2008.

For those of you who want to try the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, this is a great way to try a sample. These are also perfect travel sizes.

If you spend $26.50 CAD (before taxes), you receive the following:

  • Different Lipstick in your choice of shade: Spiced Apple (Nudes) or Rose Aglow (Pinks)
  • Colour Surge Eye Shadow Duo in your choice of shade: Butter Pecan (Nudes) or Chocolate Kiss (Pinks)
  • Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser
  • Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion
  • Clinique mirror
  • High Impact Mascara in Black
  • Cosmetics bag

26 October 2008

Link Luv: Makeup Tutorial from Petrilude - "Frozen"

Well, after weeks of being told we're having sunny weather and that snow was far away, we've had a dusting of flakes this weekend. Once again, Canucks are thinking about how to make their costumes for Halloween cold-weather friendly.

This Halloween, Petrilude has been proving why he's my hero for the Youtube makeup tutorial. He has outdone himself and created a variety of incredible looks this year.
He's done a snow fantasy look called "Frozen" which seems to go well with our recent change in the weather.

Take a look at this tutorial. I love the snow details as a finishing touch!

His explanations are really clear, and his technique makes it look easy. I'm considering doing something like this for my costume. Even though I'm comfortable doing most makeup looks, I get nervous doing really elaborate looks. Still, he makes this look so easy that I feel that even I could do it.

What are you doing for Halloween this year?

25 October 2008

Sephora is carrying the limited-edition Smashbox palettes released in honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Young Survival Coalition, an international non-profit network of survivors and supporters dedicated to the issues unique to young women and the fight against breast cancer.

Get pretty for a good cause!!!

The Kit includes:

  • Pink Power Eye Palette in Celebrate (ivory sheen/ pink champagne shimmer/ olive shimmer)
  • Pink Power Lip Palette in Inspire (pink shimmer/ neutral pink shimmer/ pink beige shimmer)
  • 1 dual ended eyeshadow applicator and 1 lip brush

24 October 2008

Pink Bites: Oakley Ravishing & Enduring Sunglasses

I love glasses and sunnies, when they have good quality lenses. Oakley always has a lot of sweet colours and awesome looking, lightweight frames. They have released two special edition sunglasses to support the Young Survival Coalition’s mission of action, advocacy and awareness.

Oakley is donating US$20 from each sale of the special YSC breast cancer awareness edition sunglasses to the organization. The YSC’s core purpose is to improve the quality and quantity of life for all young women facing the challenges of breast cancer.

The special YSC breast cancer awareness edition Oakley Enduring™ and Oakley Ravishingsunglasses feature lush contours of lightweight O Matter® frame material that is accented with a pink ribbon design. The breast cancer awareness ribbon is also laser etched at the corner of the lens with Oakley’s pure Plutonite® lens material filtering out 100% of all UV rays.

Oakley’s High Definition Optics® takes clarity to the edge of a wide peripheral view with impact protection and is also available with Oakley authentic prescription lenses.

Enduring has a pearl white frame with pink temple sleeves and pink G20 wraparound lenses. The Unobtainium frame was designed for a woman's head, and the adjustable nosepad makes the fit even more comfortable.

Ravishing has a polished black frame with multicoloured print. The shape is a larger, Jackie-O style. The grey lens is perfect for medium to bright light.

Each pair of sunglasses comes with a specially designed pin, an eyewear case, plus a custom MICROCLEAR™ bag for lens cleaning and frame storage.

Oakley retails Ravishing for US$130 (CDN$155) and Enduring for US$160 (CDN$195). That is cheaper than the regular line sunglasses, and they donate $20 from the purchase to YSC.

23 October 2008

Easy, Now: De-Stressing Tips for Work and School

I've been really stressed at work for the last week or so. I've had additional duties at work assigned to me for an undetermined amount of time to assist another department. I'm still enrolled in two courses of night school, and my annual bout of SAD just kicked in, so I'm feeling pretty overloaded right now.

There are lots of things you can do to keep your stress from overpowering your life. I'm doing what I can to keep my mood up. Here are 10 of my tips:

1) Take daily vitamin supplements to keep my B-complex, C, D, magnesium, iron, calcium, zinc and potassium levels up. Deficiencies in these vitamins and minerals have strong links to depression.

2) Eat lunch away from the office at least three times a week. It doesn't mean eating out; I bring a sandwich or a salad. When I get bogged down in work, it's easy to feel chained to the desk. This gives me a chance to breathe and regroup.

3) Don't skip meals. This is one I struggle with because I tend to skip breakfast. Right now, I make sure I eat breakfast, whether it's a bowl of oatmeal or a breakfast bar.

4) Do stretches at work. I make a point of joining the office in the morning stretching sessions which are part of my company's health & wellness program. This allows me a chance to relax in case I was stressing out on the drive to work. It also gives me a chance to have a laugh with the people I work with, since these are light-hearted sessions.

5) If you have to vent, do it before you get home. Don't vent work-stress once you finish the drive from work. I try to say something good about my day once I get home, so I'm not focusing on the negative parts of my day.

6) Treat yourself once a week. When I can't afford something big like a spa treatment or a shopping spree, I give myself a pedicure or take a relaxation bath.

7) Stop for two minutes to laugh and smile. Smiling is proven as a weird biofeedback thing to improve your mood. An eight-hour work day has 480 minutes; laugh for two of them. I set an alarm, but I take two minutes in my busy workday to joke with a friend.

8) Use a massage tool. You don't need to be a pro. Throw it in a desk drawer and use it on your back or calf muscles while you're on the phone. I found a great body massager at Winners for $8 that is double-sided and feels great.

9) Make a list of the tasks you want to get done for the day, and mark them off when you are done. A five minute list lets me see my accomplishments for the day so I don't feel like I didn't getting anything done.

10) When you are feeling overloaded, talk to someone. Try to talk to your supervisor. You don't need to feel like you are whining if you say what parts are dragging you down, and it gives everyone a chance to evaluate the workload. If you can't talk to your supervisor, ask your HR department if your company has an employee assistance program. Companies put these in place to help, not to judge. I used my company EFAP program to get help with treatment for depression one winter when my SAD was out of control.

When it feels like the world is weighing on your shoulders, just remember to breathe. It's important to think about how things will change from day to day. Stress can produce results, so work through it, and try not to be negative to the people around you. Tomorrow is full of possibilities, and things can improve.

If you can't say something nice, say nothing. Negative attitudes at work are contagious. Apart from spreading the cranky around, you may cross the wrong person. As Sigourney Weaver's character said in Working Girl, "Today's junior prick is tomorrow's senior partner."

22 October 2008

Okay, dude... YUM.

I am a coffee junkies but need to moderate my intake. I don't seem to feel more alert from caffeine, but I do get giddy and talkreallyreallyfast when I have too much. My limit seems to be one cup of joe or one can of Dr. Pepper a day (BOO!). If I take more than that, well... it's just bad.

Lucky for me that the coffee houses have decaf when I need a warm, creamy buzz. That way, I'm getting a creamy sugar rush without the jitters! But it also makes me a little obsessive about the smell of coffee. Since I can't drink much of it, I love candles and bath products that remind me of it.

Philosophy The Coffee House ($30) is great for those of us who need a caffeine fix but need to show restraint. The scents are rich, and these really lather up nicely. The Egg Nog and the Cafe au Lait are really nice, but the Caramel Mocha Latte is to die for. The scent wraps itself around you like a fuzzy blanket, and you smell edible all day.

Too good!

21 October 2008

Product Review: Rimmel London Eye Twist

I saw a review of the Stila Convertible Eye Color. I wanted to try it out, but I usually order my Sephora products online for the Airmiles. Recently when I was at Shopper's Drug Mart, I found myself in the cosmetics aisle. I decided to try the Rimmel London version.

Rimmel London Eye Twist is a dual eye liner and cream eye shadow combo pen. It's supposed to be very blendable, and I love that the pen sort of looks like a Sharpie marker.

Well, colour me disappointed. I wore this in Two True, the green shades. I used MAC Paint Pots in Painterly as a base so that it wouldn't crease, which is a problem with my oily eyelids.

The good news was that the colour was quite pretty. The eye liner went on in a thick line, but it did blend beautifully. The bad news was that the eye shadow creased withing three hours, even with the Paint Pot under it. It isn't very pigmented at all, so the colour is quite pale.

Overall, I'm not impressed. I won't buy it again.

Pink Bites: HBC Points Donation

In support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Hbc will donate your points to CBCF in the month of October.

Shop at The Bay, Zellers or Home Outfitters to buy products that make donations to breast cancer research and awareness. Then, donate your points!

I want to buy the Think Pink Umbrella ($15). You can never have too many umbrellas!

And since I've always wanted an HBC point blanket, I'm thinking about the Hbc Signature Pink Caribou Throw ($150).

20 October 2008

Reversible Halloween Costumes: Wickedly Fun

I'm starting to think about Halloween costumes (late again this year), and I came across a few fun ones online. Because I can design and sew, I feel bad if I buy a costume instead of making something, especially when the quality of the costume is blech. When I was snooping around online though, I found a couple of multi-use costumes that I really like. They are reversible, so you could hit up two parties and have a different look for each!

I really like the Miss Hellenback; when you can't decide if you're going to be good or bad, you can be both! I's made from reversible stretch jersey, one side is white with a ruffle skirt and the other side is black with red flames. The costume includes removable clear shoulder straps, two pairs of gloves, devil horns and a tail, a halo, wings and a wand, and a "Miss Hellenback" name tag.

I like that it's available in sizes 2-20 (S-2XL). and it's sexy with bodice seams to show off your curves. It's short enough to be saucy, but long enough to retain a little modesty while you party your wings or tail off! Sometimes when you get a costume that extends to a plus size range, it's just increased in measurements without thought to how it will appear. The result can be pretty frumpy. The alternative is that the outfit is really sexy and skimpy, and when it is increased in size it accentuates all the wrong things.

Curves on a woman are sexy, but you need things to open in the right places, and make those curves look, well, curvy. These things often are cut in plus sizes so they look dumpy.

The other costume that caught my eye was Buggin Out. It's a reversible dress made from stretch jersey. One side is red with black polka dots and black and yellow stripes. It has clear shoulder straps and a tutu-style hem. With antennae headband and wings, it's an easy costume to put together.

Buggin Out is designed for sizes up to 0-14(XS-L), and it's short enough that you wouldn't want it any larger or it would ride up just walking around. The wings remind me of the kind we made as kids with Mom's old nylons and coat hangers. These ones are nicer though, with sparkly veins across them and a nice harness.

Time is running out, so I have to pick soon if I'm ordering online. Have you picked a costume for Halloween?

19 October 2008

Product Review: Avon Line 'n Design Eye Duo

I'm extremely lazy when it comes to makeup, so I like products that do double duty. I like the Avon Line 'n Design Eye Duo because it acts as a creamy shadow base and matching eyeliner in one compact unit.

The colours are nice, with a hint of shimmer. I have Nectar Glisten and Shimmering Sand. It's tricky to use a creamy shadow as a base at first because they are a little hard to control, but blending patiently really works. The good news is that it doesn't smear as badly as some products I've tried.

I found this was really useful when I went to visit my sister in London this spring. It was one of the things that helped keep my luggage size down.

What multi-purpose makeup products do you like to use?

Pink Bites: Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook-Pink Plaid

My favourite cookbook of all-time is the Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook. Everyone knows it as the red plaid cookbook, so named for the slammin' red plaid tablecloth-style cover. I learned to cook using this book under my Mom's instruction, so I naturally bought a copy for myself when I moved out on my own.

They released a new version now called the
pink plaid in support of breast cancer. In support of the fight against breast cancer, Meredith Books will make a minimum $250,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

It still has the basic cooking essentials for every aspiring chef: equivalencies tables, table settings, use of utensils and simple foundation recipes. It also has 64-page section devoted to living with breast cancer.
I was thinking about buying a new one to get the newer chapters on low-fat cooking, 20-minute meals and slowcooker meals.

I'd held off before because it seemed silly to buy a book I already owned, but I felt completely justified because my purchase add to the $250,000 contribution to
The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. The recipes are a mixture of the originals and new versions.

18 October 2008

RIP: James E Reilly

Okay, it's time for me to come out of the closet. I am a lifelong watcher of Days of Our Lives who has tenuously broken my addiction for the last three years. It's a daily struggle not to set the PVR to Salem, and to avoid the web updates (adding links to this post without peeking was hard!). I can't say its been three years completely free of DOOL, but I try to avoid it every day.

I was saddened to learn of the passing of James E Reilly. The former Head Writer created some of my favourite moments of Salem history, including the ridiculously fun possession of Dr. Marlena Evans Brady and my favourite couple, Jack & Jen.

Reilly even wrote Passions, which was the craziest soap since Dark Shadows. That was some funny daytime TV. This was the piece de resistance, when the best writer on NBC decided, 'sure, let's have a talking mannequin and an orangutan love story.' Awesome!

The best kiss to his work that I've read has been done by the Fug Girls at Go Fug Yourself. Read and enjoy. We'll miss you, James!

17 October 2008

Product Lust: Maybelline Go Currant Lipsticks

One of the standbys in my makeup case is the first dark lipstick I ever liked, Maybelline MoistureWhip lipstick in Go Currant. I'm not that crazy about MoistureWhip lipstick. I find it's very soft, but it fades pretty quickly.

Go currant is a deep, rich red. It's not too bright, and just blue enough for my skin tone to give a rose to my cheeks and always make my teeth appear a little whiter.

Still, I was bummed when they stopped selling MoistureWhip. Luckily, Maybelline carried the colour into the Moisture Extreme line. When my latest tube runs out, I'll have to give it a whirl.

Love my Go Currant colour! Maybelline, pretty please with cream and sugar on top, no matter what lines you introduce or kill off, never-ever-ever discontinue this colour!

16 October 2008

Product Review: Nature's Essence Cold Sore Relief

I'm hideous!

I had a cold sore pop up on Thanksgiving Monday on my lower lip. I only get one or two cold sores a year, either on my right lower lip or midway up my right upper lip. The stupid things drive me nuts because I already have a bad habit of chewing my lips when they are chapped

Cold sores make me lick and chew my lips even more, which leads to the scab getting white, puffy and irritated. Next thing you know, the scab comes off and then the healing takes that much longer, which means that much longer before I can wear pretty lip gloss and lipstick again!

I've been trying not to think about it all week, but I thought I'd share my treatments with you since I've been fixing these little suckers for 20+ years.

Okay, first I'll give you the ugly medical facts and statistics, courtesy of coldsores.ca:
  • Cold sores are a cluster of blisters on or around your lips and mouth, and (rarely) on or inside the nose, chin and cheeks. They often appear at the corners of the mouth. They are caused by the herpes simplex virus (mouth virus is HSV-1, genital is HSV-2). You can spread infections to other areas of your body (eyes, fingers, genitals).
  • 30-60% of children under 10 years old get infected with HSV-1, usually from family members. By age 50, 80-90% of us are infected.
  • Some people never show symptoms.
  • Often you are infected as a child; some children experience symptoms in their throat.
  • Once you are infected, it never leaves you.
  • When dormant, it hides in your central nervous system. When it activates, it erupts from the nerves in the skin.
  • Breakouts are often preceded by prodromal symptoms: tingling, itching, redness or burning.
  • Stress, sun exposure, menstruation or fever can cause an outbreak.
  • You can transmit the virus when you don't have an outbreak (asymptomatic shedding).
  • Cold sores usually reappear in the same location.

My Mom has always told me to try prescription medication for them, but since they're kind of mild, I usually just use over-the-counter medications to treat the cold sore and a lip moisturizer I dispose of when I heal. I have tried nearly every cold sore treatment on the market since I was a teenager, whether it was a liquid or a gel. I've also tried the home remedies: lemon juice and salt paste was the best tasting, but didn't work better than anything else.

My favourite cold sore treatment is Nature's Essence Cold Sore Relief, and it rocks hard. This little 4ml potion is made from essential oils including Tea Tree, Geranium, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Chamomile and Lavender. These essential oils combine anti-viral, analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Most importantly, it keeps the cold sore moist without being too wet. This is really important because if the sore gets too wet, it gets mushy; but if it dries out, it tends to crack, which also takes longer to heal.

As soon as I feel that familiar tingling, I apply Nature's Essence like mad on the first day (several times an hour), and it keeps the site from filling with liquid into a big blister. This is the first treatment I've ever used that consistently keeps the blister from popping up. Every day after, I keep using it to heal the sore fast and keep it moist enough to avoid cracking.

I'm still not brave enough to take pictures of myself for this blog, but on Wednesday a girl at work did a double-take when I told her I had a cold sore. She hadn't noticed it was there. I'm already at the healing stage, and the inflammation is almost gone.

14 October 2008

Product Review: Bourjois Paris Ombre à Paupières

I was in London this spring, visiting my sister. We stopped at a Boots pharmacy during one of the only rainy spells. Since I'd packed lightly, including makeup, I hit the cosmetics aisle to see what was different about makeup in the UK compared to Canada.

It was no surprise that the big boys were all present (Maybelline, L'Oreal, Revlon), and Rimmel London was there, along with Boots brands. But the other large display I saw was Bourjois Paris, and this intrigued me. There are about four Bourjois Paris items available at the Sephora website, but I'd only seen one or two items there and not an entire product line. Sis had bought me a cellphone charm lip gloss as a stocking stuffer last year for Xmas which was a hit, so I decided to take a closer look.

There were all sorts of products lined up, all with cute packaging. I decided to try the Ombre à Paupières
, a wet/dry baked mineral eyeshadow (in the UK, they just call it Little Round Pot Eyeshadow). After humming and hawing over colours for about ten minutes (my little sis is sooo patient!), I decided to go with the Rose Tentation, a clear pink with larger gold shimmer. I thought it would match my makeup I'd already brought, but be the pink shadow I was missing. I brought it home and tested it out immediately.

The pot is quite large, and the makeup is baked until it's very hard. I haven't used water on it, but it applies almost like a pot that has already been wetted. The pot is very grainy to the hard and touch, but it goes on smoothly; I don't feel any graininess from the shimmer on my lids. I find that my brush picks it up well, but you have to work it onto the brush.

It's a shame that website really doesn't show how pretty these shadows are, and doesn't show all the cases, because the cases are the actual colour of the shadow inside. The shadows really change with the angle of the light, and it's very sheer colour that builds up slowly. Overall I'm loving it!

Unfortunately, it looks like Sephora is discontinuing the product from their shelves because what they do carry is now on clearance. I really love this line, so I'll have to source them online, or bribe Sis to bring some with her. I'd like to try a few more colours, but I can't choose which: they all look so good! My favourites so far:

  • Bleu Myosotis (silvery blue with finer shimmer)
  • Prune Intense (purple with gold)
  • Rose Peau (pale shimmery pink with finer shimmer than Rose Tentation)
  • Marron Glace (shimmering dark brown)
  • Noir Cobalt (blue black)
  • Rose Perle (iridescent pink)
  • Turquoise Ensoleille (golden turqoise)

13 October 2008

Product Lust: Urban Decay Urban Ammo Eye Palette

There is definitely a palette of colours I want to try. Urban Decay Urban Ammo Eye Palette (Sephora, $34) has a beautiful range of colours. I like Last Call, an irridescent plummy-purple, and Smog, a deep coppery-bronze.

These are their best-selling colours and they look good. You could use this palette to produce a simple dark smoky eye or a lovely rainbow palette.

12 October 2008

Product Lust: MAC Dame Edna Collection

Shut the front door! MAC is releasing a collection 26 December 2008 inspired by my favourite TV talkshow diva, Dame Edna Everage. Yeah Boxing Day!

I looked at the colours, and they look pretty fun.
Corals are not usually my thing, but I might give these a whirl as a compromise for the current orange trend. The blues and purples look fun, and the purple nail polish is called Varicose Violet; sign me up!

Lipstick (LE) - $14.00USD
Kanga-rouge – Creamy dark blue red (amplified creme)
Gladiola – Matte mid-tone blue pink (matte)

Coral polyp – Creamy mid-tone coral (amplified creme)

Lipglass (LE) $14.00USD

Hot Frost – Sheer mid-tone blue pink with multi-dimensional pearlized pigments (frost)
Splendid – Frosty pale pinky coral (frost)
Possum Nose Pink – Sheer bright coral with multi-dimensional pearlized pigments (frost)

Eye Shadow Trio (LE) - $32.50USD
Royal Tour Eye Trio
Royal Tour – Mid-tone cool lilac (satin)
Dame’s Desire – Frosty mid-tone reddish purple (frost)
Climate Blue – Dark blue violet with pink pearlized pigments (velvet) (Repromote from Cool Heat)

Wisteria Eye Trio
Fineshine - Frosty true-silver (lustre) (Repromote from Lustrevision)
Wisteria – Frosty robin’s egg blue (velvet)
Divine Night – Frosty charcoal with silver pearlized pigments (velvet)

Highlight Powder (LE) - $26.00USD
What a Dame! – Pale orangey pink
Spectacle – Pale soft pink

Nail Lacquer (LE) $11.00USD
Asiatique – Creamy classic red (creme) (Repromote from Ornamentalism)
Varicose Violet – Frost mid-tone pinkish purple (frost)

Images courtesy of bunnybunnybunny at specktra.net Color collection courtesy of Specktra.net

11 October 2008

Teardrop Contact Lenses

Do you ever worry that you'll cry and smear your eye makeup? Nobody wants a raccoon face, right? Well, Dutch designer Eric Klarenbeek has created a contact lens with jewels hanging off them to look like tears running down your cheek.

Okay, I'm taking a firm stance on this and stating that I think this is one of the dumbest ideas I've ever heard. I was an optician for five years (opticians are those friendly folks that help you select your glasses and learn to put on contact lenses), so I get nervous putting eyeliner on my waterline. But this!... Gimme a break!

If you look at this and don't see the potential problems you can get, I think you're nuts. If nothing else, this is just begging for a beauty case of conjunctivitis (pinkeye). Of course bacteria is going to ride up that little medical wire and plop down on your eye. But just picture all the other problems that will happen with this. The designer says that his design is constantly being refined and that they are perfectly safe, but all I'm seeing is something tickling your cheek and irritating you ev-ery ti-me you mo-ve your he-ad. Folks, think twice about this. If you need to look this permanently emo, just pull out a nosehair or two and you'll see the tears.

10 October 2008

Whadda Bahgain: Pizza Pizza

During the month of October, Pizza Pizza is offering a coupon for a free slice of pizza. If you like Pizza Pizza, gimme a hell-YEAH!

Whadda Bahgain: MAC Coupon

MAC online buyers can get free shipping from 10-12 October 2008.
Offer Code: 3DAY

09 October 2008

Whadda Bahgain: Maybelline Great Lash

It's not my thing, but there are a lot of girls who swear by Maybelline Great Lash Mascara as the only mascara they use. For those who love it, this link will give you a permanent coupon for $2 off discount.

If you love Great Lash, save the link and reuse it.

Pink Bites: One A Day Women's Make Up Call

If you're like me, even if you try to eat healthy, you fall into the trap that "I'm not doing enough" and take vitamins. I do because I don't always eat as healthy as I want to, so I take vitamin and herbal supplements. My mom's advice was always to take a multivitamin because usually the balance of vitamins is good and it's more of a no-brainer.

One of the multivitamins I've gone back to over and over again is One A Day. The balance of vitamins is good, I trust the quality of the products and I like that they add other things to the mixture for specific needs, like men's formulas and supplements for people over 50.

In honour of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, One A Day is doing a lot. First, they are donating $200,000 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. The Breast Cancer Research Foundation's mission is to achieve prevention and a cure for breast cancer in our lifetime. To learn more click here: www.bcrfcure.org.

Also, how would you like to get a phone call from a celebrity? One A Day Wake Up Call lets you send a call from Ellen Degeneres to someone you love reminding them about their breast health. To test this out, I sent a message to myself through email (you can also send it to a phone number). This was a very cute message from Ellen, funny without being too glib, and was a strong, yet positive, message about women's breast health.

I think this is a great way to remind your friends and family about their own health. Send a phone message to someone you love and remind them to take their health seriously.

08 October 2008

Pink Bites: Sony Pink Shopping Affair

Sony is da bomb, baby! I love their electronics, and have ever since my dad bought me my first Walkman that folded shut the same size as a cassette tape case.

Sony Style is proud to present
The Pink Shopping Affair to fight breast cancer.

Beginning on October 1st until the 31st, proceeds from every pink purchase made on sonystyle.ca will support Breast Cancer research in Canada. As a token of our appreciation we will send you a Pink Ribbon Keychain with every pink purchase you make.

Some of the donations are quite decent in size:

Shop Sony Pink to find the cure!