Friday, 28 August 2015

Small Break

Good morning, dear readers!

I'm going to be taking a few days off from my blog, as I haven't been feeling well and need to recuperate.  It's been a pretty stressful week and I had a scary visual migraine the day before last, so I want to take it easy for the time being.

Wishing you well and I hope you have a great week! :D

-Ash
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Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Lush Cup O' Coffee Face and Body Scrub

Good morning, dear readers! :D

Today I have a review of Lush's Cup O' Coffee Face and Body Scrub.  This scrub was very kindly sent to me for review.



When Lush announced their massive Oxford Street store a while ago, many fans were super excited!  The only problem: it's in the UK.  So while they brought out a LOT of new products (I think a couple hundred??) most were only available at that one location.  Cup O' Coffee was one of those products, but it has since found its way into other locations, including North America.  From what I heard, more products will be making their way over, but slowly.




This mask doesn't require refrigeration, and so you can order it online as well as purchase it in-store.



Here is Lush's description:

"Wakes up tired complexions
If you're a sucker for the strong, dark, stimulating type, this coffee-filled mask is just the things to kick-start your day.  Wake up and invigorate the skin and mind with the rich, intoxicating aroma of freshly brewed coffee and sweet roasted cocoa extract.  Kaolin deeply cleanses impurities from the pores and ground coffee acts as a gentle scrub to buff away dryness and reveal the glowing skin beneath.  Smooth this one all over your body to feel soft, clean and wonderfully fragrant." - Lush.ca

This mask/scrub combo retails for $10.95 for 150g, and $19.95 for 325 g.

The mask has a thick, sticky formula and it scoops out and applies pretty easily.  The stickiness and thickness aid in keeping this mask onto the skin, where some other masks could drip off more easily.



Here is the ingredient list:
Coffee Infusion (Coffea Arabica), Water (Aqua), Talc, Kaolin, Agave Syrup (Agave Tequilana Leaf Extract), Glycerine, Fragrance, Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoidese), Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla Planifolia), Roasted Cocoa Extract (Theobroma Cacao), Coriander Seed Oil (Coriandrum sativum), Bentone (Hectorite), Caffeine Powder (Caffeine), *Coumarin, *Limonene, *Linalool.  *Occurs naturally in essential oils

For my face, I left the mask on for 5-10 minutes as instructed. I then exfoliated gently by wetting my fingers to moisten the mask more (this type of mask never dries in the time you have it on, so I made it more runny and workable) and rubbing slowly.  Rinsing it off took a bit of work because of all the coffee grounds, but it wasn't too bad (using a damp cloth would help too!).


(Please forgive the really puffy eyelids; I had a pretty terrible evening yesterday.  Also ignore the nose hairs that I just pointed out that are badly in need of a trim.)

Afterwards my skin felt softer and slightly fragranced.  The mask helped boost circulation and while there were a couple dry skin flakes afterwards that I didn't notice before and my skin was a teeeeeensy bit dry, it was loads better than other masks I've used that are deep cleansing.

Usually they dry the crap out of my skin and make it feel very tight, yet this did not.  While my skin was a bit drier after using it, it wasn't a significant amount.  There was absolutely no oiliness on my skin, and while I did wash my face before which would have removed oil, the feeling of my skin makes me think that it actually did some deeper oil removal than just the surface.

I then used this on my body and while I couldn't scrub as much as I would have liked (really scrubby scrubs can be a bit tough on my hands because I'm constantly scrubbing the same part over and over again) it did soften and didn't dry out my skin.  For a little while, the scubbing actually ended up numbing the skin on my palms and fingers a little bit.

Unfortunately it turned out that I actually didn't like the fragrance of Cup O' Coffee, although I was pretty sure I would.  You definitely smell coffee (and I love the smell of coffee!) and there is cocoa in there, but there is something else... some other ingredient that just doesn't quite agree with me.  I'm wondering if it is the coriander, as there are a few herbs that I can't tolerate as well.

After bathing I looked at my facial skin in the mirror again, and it turned out that the mask actually ended up irritating it a bit.  My skin has been a bit off lately with red bumps, and I probably shouldn't have used a scrub at this moment in time (as scrubs with grinded shells, beans, and stuff like that can cause micro-tears in the skin and while not everyone is concerned about it, I do have pretty sensitive and easily irritated skin and actually usually avoid really scrubby scrubs.  I know that might sound scary to some people, but it makes sense; anything that is sharp that you rub on your skin can do that, whether it is a grinded bean, shell, or a pumice stone).  However, the thickness of the mask does help to protect the skin from intense scrubbing, as it kind of "cushions" it and makes it feel less abrasive.  So if you are concerned about that, I would suggest gently rubbing it (not roughly!) while there is a lot of mask on your face, vs. rinsing most of it away and using just the coffee grinds.

While taking into consideration what I wrote if you have sensitive skin, don't let that put you off trying this because what does or doesn't work for me may work completely different on you.  If you are curious and want to give this a try but might be concerned about your own skin sensitivity, just pop into a Lush store and I bet they would be more than willing to give you a sample! :D

You're probably wondering then if someone like me has these skin problems, then why try out a super scrubby scrub mask?  Well, I adore Lush and had the opportunity to try this so I wanted to give it a go.  While it may not have worked for me as well as I hoped, everyone has different skin and you never know for sure how you will react until you try something (well, unless you had an allergy, then that's completely different!!).  Plus, I don't HAVE to scrub intensely when using this mask; it's perfectly acceptable to use it more of a mask than a scrub, and rinse it off without excess rubbing.

All in all the mask does remove excess oil, it doesn't dry out skin very much at all in the process like most clay masks will, it definitely scrubs and it will leave your skin fragranced for a decent while afterwards (which is a big bonus to those who love the scent!).  It does feel cool and refreshing on the face while it is on and that helps you relax yet can gently help wake you up in the morning.  While the fragrance may not be for me, others really like it and I can see it appealing to many people (and have seen other reviews where the reviewer loves the scent!).

I'm extremely thankful that I got to try out this product and I'm realllly looking forward to getting my hands on Rosy Cheeks next time I get to Lush.

I hope that you have a wonderful day! :D

-Ash
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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Demeter Fragrance Review - Mulled Cider

Good morning, dear readers!

Today I have another Demeter Fragrance review for you, and this one is for Mulled Cider.


(Image from DemeterFragrance.com)

From Demeter Fragrance:
"Autumn in a bottle, with notes of sweet apples, cinnamon, spices.......
Cider is a relative of wine, with almost as ancient a history. Cider was common in England back before the Christian era, where apple trees were worshipped as sacred.  Especially in New England, cider was an immensely popular drink with the pilgrims and was drunk at meals by everyone, including children. Even clergymen, while denouncing 'harder spirits', would drink cider as a matter of course."

I have been really looking forward to trying this one out!  I LOVE autumn, and apple cider brings back fond memories of my childhood.  I love the scent of cinnamon and apples, and having those together in a fragrance sounds wonderful.  I'm used to the non-alcoholic version of apple cider that sells in the fall, and that is the kind we would have with cinnamon sticks poking out.  I do like the alcoholic version as well that I buy in liquor stores, but I find it very different, and have never tried that mulled with any spices (although I probably should!).


Mulled Cider is one of my favourite Demeter fragrances.  The moment I smelled it, I really liked it!

As my sister and I were testing all sorts of fragrances that morning, I sprayed it higher up on my arm to avoid mixing the scents.  Then a perfectly round rash happened! :O


The other marks on my skin that look like mini rashes are actually scars.  But the rash was exactly where I sprayed the perfume, in the exact shape and size of the spray!  After a couple hours the rash went away and nothing else happened.

At first I was very disappointed, as this is one of my favourite scents from Demeter so far.  The initial burst of apple and then the drydown of cinnamon goodness is delightful!  While some people refer to it as being more reminiscent of apple cinnamon candles or a "Christmas cupboard", I can agree but I love that scent so it isn't a negative thing to me.  When it is on your skin the fresh apple dies down pretty fast and I did get a holiday cinnamon potpourri vibe from it, but I really like it!

So, desperate to not let this fragrance go to waste, I resorted to spraying it on my shirt instead of my skin.  It turns out this was a way better idea, because the apple in the fragrance lasts even longer this way, and by the end of the day my shirt was still very fragranced.  I would caution anyone trying this without testing it on a little bit of fabric first, as there could be staining (although I didn't notice any, I'm covering my butt here!).  Actually, the clothing staying power on this is so good that by the end of the day I was a little sick of smelling it so much! XD

All in all I'm extremely pleased with this Demeter choice!  While my skin is sensitive to it (I'm guessing it's the cinnamon part!), I have no other problems with it and as long as I don't put it directly on my skin, I'm good! :D  I think I will especially enjoy wearing this during the autumn and winter months.

Are you a fan of apple cider?  Whether it be the drink or the fragrance?

Take care and have a wonderful day!

-Ash

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Thursday, 20 August 2015

3 New Lush Face Masks!

Good afternoon, dear readers! :D

Something exciting for us Lush fans; they've brought three new face masks into their North American line up in the past little while.  Two are Fresh Face Masks and the other is similar to Mask of Magnaminty in that it doesn't require refrigeration (and so, can be ordered online)! :D

They are:

Rosy Cheeks Fresh Face Mask (60g for $12.95 Can)- to calm and cleanse

Rosy Cheeks
Image from Lush.ca

Cup O' Coffee (150g for $10.95 Can. or 325g for $19.95 Can.) - both a face and body mask for scrubbing

Cup O' Coffee
Image from Lush.ca

Don't Look At Me Fresh Face Mask (60g for $10.95 Can) - to cleanse and brighten

Don't Look At Me
Image from Lush.ca

Rosy Cheeks' ingredients look very awesome to me; calamine to help keep itchiness and redness at bay, glycerine to draw moisture into your skin to help offset dryness, clay to draw out dirt, rose petals and rose oil to tone and soothe...here's the full list:

Calamine Powder, Glycerine, Kaolin, Water (Aqua), Rose Clay (Kaolinite), Red Rose Petals (Rosa Centifolia), Fragrance, Rose Oil (Rosa damascena), *Benzyl Alcohol, Lilial, *Citronellol, *Geraniol.
*Occurs naturally in essential oils

Rosy Cheeks
Rosy Cheeks (Image from Lush.ca)

Cup O' Coffee's ingredients include kaolin, agave syrup, glycerine, fair trade vanilla absolute, caffeine powder, and some other interesting things:

Coffee Infusion (Coffea Arabica), Water (Aqua), Talc, Kaolin, Organic Agave Syrup (Agave Tequilana Leaf Extract), Glycerine, Fragrance, Vetivert Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides), Fair Trade Vanilla Absolute (Vanilla Planifolia), Roasted Cocoa Extract (Theobroma Cacao), Coriander Seed Oil (Coriandrum sativum), Bentone (Hectorite), Caffeine Powder (Caffeine), *Coumarin, *Limonene, *Linalool
*Occurs naturally in essential oils

Cup O' Coffee
Cup O' Coffee (Image from Lush.ca)

Don't Look At Me Fresh Face Mask's first ingredient is kaolin, and the second is fresh organic lemon juice.

Don't Look At Me
Don't Look At Me (Image from Lush.ca)

Because of the high concentration of lemon juice, I would caution those with sensitive skin to do a patch test (although I think sensitive skinned individuals should patch test anything new, I also understand how frustrating that can be and I rarely bother with it because I'm lazy and impatient).  When I used Lemony Flutter it was perfect on my skin, and Brazened Honey had some tingling (but nothing bad).

Several citrus juices/essential oils (lemon, lime, bergamot, and bitter orange are all ones that do this) make skin tissue much more sensitive to UV, so I would suggest using this mask in the evening, and applying a decent SPF on your skin if you are going to be exposed to UV.  :D

Here is the full list of ingredients:

Kaolin, Fresh Organic Lemon Juice (Citrus limonum), Glycerine, Rice Syrup (Oryza Sativa Syrup), Ground White Rice (Oryza Sativa Starch), Organic Silken Tofu, Murumuru Butter (Astrocaryum murumuru), Bentone (Hectorite), Rice Milk (Oryza Sativa), Water (Aqua), Fragrance, Grapefruit Oil (Citrus paradisi), Neroli Oil (Citrus Aurantium amara), *Limonene, *Geraniol, *Linalool, *Farnesol, Blue 1
*Occurs naturally in essential oils

I'm excited about these face masks and look forward to trying them!  While they are more expensive than the other Fresh Face Masks available until now, I believe is it due to the cost of the ingredients used.  Lush has some real winners in the face mask category (Brazened Honey will always be a favourite of mine!), so I bet these will be delightful and I will review them as soon as I can. :D

Have you tried any of these yet?

Have a lovely day!

-Ash



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Peter Thomas Roth 24K Gold Mask

Good morning, dear readers! :D

Today I have a review for Peter Thomas Roth's 24K Gold Mask (Pure Luxury Lift and Firm Mask).

Image from Sephora.com

I got a sample from Sephora a few month ago, and finally got around to using it!


Here are the ingredients:

GLYCERIN, WATER/AQUA/EAU, SODIUM HYALURONATE, CAFFEINE, OLIVINE EXTRACT, COLLOIDAL GOLD, PENTYLENE GLYCOL, CARBOMER, SODIUM HYDROXIDE, POTASSIUM SORBATE, SODIUM BENZOATE, SODIUM METABISULFITE, MICA, PHENOXYETHANOL, GOLD (CI 77480), IRON OXIDES (CI 77491), TITANIUM DIOXIDE (CI 77891).

The instructions say to layer enough on so that it isn't transparent.  However the sample size I had would not allow that for the full face, but honestly I think it was enough and I doubt if I globbed it on really thick I would get much more benefit from it than the amount I applied.  You are then supposed to keep it on the skin for 5-10 minutes.

(I'm looking suuu amuuuused here!  Yep, I suffer from resting bitch face!  That and googley photo face!)

I was sad that my camera didn't pick up as much glint off the gold as what was seen in person.  While not quite as extreme, I got that "Gooooldfinngaaaah!" song in my head for a little bit. XD

See?  It barely shows up here at all, but in person it looks pretty awesome!

I left mine on for longer than five minutes, I think around 7-8 or so.  I used a small soft yet scrubby cloth from The Face Shop to help remove it, and I think it would take quite a bit of rinsing if you were using just water and your fingers only as the mask doesn't dry.

After drying my skin, my skin looked rather dewy yet not oily.  My skin was softened, and it really made my skin look lovely!  It didn't dry my skin out, which is really nice as a lot of masks can do that.  By an hour or so later it was less dewy although it still looked nice.

The mask stung a little bit on my skin but I can't say whether that is because my skin has been more sensitive than normal lately, or if the product itself would do that to me either way.  It wasn't horrible pain or anything like that, it just stung enough to be noticeable.

As for firming up the skin, I can't really say that I noticed a difference.  I'm only 30 so the firmness of my skin is not quite an issue for me just yet.

I'd say that it definitely smooths the surface of the skin, but that would not include fine lines as I noticed no difference with mine.

I wish I had better before photos for this post.  I took some, but I've been using my phone camera as my other camera needs new batteries, and it doesn't work as nicely.  The after photos turned out okay as I took them in my bathroom, which yields better quality photos some of the time (maybe the lighting?).

So while my before photos didn't turn out, you can see in the after ones that my skin looks smooth and dewy.  If my skin has a bit more pinkness than normal in it, it's because I exercised about 30 minutes beforehand and my face tends to stay red for a while.




There are some red bumpies on my skin (and a stupid picked-at blemish on my chin) but I had a lot of those before using the mask, so while I can't be 100% in saying that the mask didn't cause any (as most products do that to me) as I didn't count them beforehand, they were probably all there before.
(Edit: hours later I still hadn't gotten any new bumps, and by then I usually would have if a product caused it.  Woo!) (Edit no.2: Okay so a few days later my skin erupted in tiny red bumps, so many of them!  As this is one of the only different things I used around that time, I'm starting to suspect that it may have been this :()

Is it worth $92.00 Can for a 5 oz jar?  Eeehhhhhhhhhh...While the results were definitely lovely, I don't know if it's worth that much (to me).  I've used other masks that yielded lovely results for much less, and one thing that I wish this mask did is plump up fine lines.  It's not really marketed to do that, but I could see myself being more inclined to purchase this if it had that benefit as well.  The dewiness it imparts isn't oily looking or sticky, so that's a bonus that I really like.  However it doesn't stay looking as dewy for the whole day.  I'd definitely suggest getting a sample and testing it for yourself to see how your results are.  I've seen some pretty mixed reviews on this, so like any other skincare item how it works on me isn't necessarily how it will work on you.  I think it's a bit pricey for me personally as I look for more plumping masks.

Have you tried this or any other Peter Thomas Roth masks before?

Have a lovely day! :D
-Ash

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Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sheet Mask Love!

Good morning, dear readers, I hope you are doing well! :D

By now I'm sure that most of you have heard of sheet masks; the skincare wonder that originated in Asia (I've read that it started in Korea) and has swept across continents to beauty bloggers and skincare lovers across the world.  But for those of you who haven't, I hope this post helps spread the sheet mask love!

My personal introduction came when a friend sent me a package in the mail a couple years ago and there were items like under-eye hydrogel patches in it.  I actually didn't use them, as I had no idea how to or what exactly they were used for, and there weren't any English instructions.  I'd never seen anything quite like it.

I'm sure that I've seen some big skincare brands like Shiseido having masks over the years, but I never paid much attention to them until recently.

When The Face Shop opened up some stores semi-local to me, my sister and I had to check them out.  There is a whole wall section designated to just sheet masks and hydrogel patches!!  Talk about glorious!



These single-serve masks provide boatloads of hydration, and boast other beneficial ingredients to help nourish and condition the skin.

When you have a sheet mask package, you tear open the top of it, remove the saturated mask, and place it on your face.

Sizes vary, as do shapes.  Some come split into two halves for a better fit, some have ear loops to help secure the mask, some even have an added patch for the neck area.

Afterwards, you can tip the sachet upside-down and squeeze out the remaining serum, and what I like to do is rub it onto my neck, chest, and then the backs of my hands.


The reason why these are so hydrating (besides the actual ingredients, of course!) is because of occlusion.  The extra essence and the mask fibers trap the moisture between the mask in your face, so it doesn't evaporate as fast and gets absorbed by your skin.  These can work wonders to re-hydrate the skin, which in turn can plump it up and make wrinkles and fine lines appear more diminished.

Masks vary with what they are supposed to address, such as aging, dark spots, healing, or just plain moisture.  How effective they are can vary, and unless used repeatedly the effects will generally be very short-term (usually a couple days maximum).

Masks can also be found for fingers, hands, and feet (which look like little booties and gloves!), and I would like to try those as well.

The biggest effects I get whenever I use face masks is an incredible boost in hydration, plumped up skin, and a more even skin tone with dewiness.  Almost all masks I've used do this, and I'm quite happy about that! :D  I can get redness on my face and they really help to make the whole face look more even in tone and just overall fantastic.

You can also use masks to scare people! :D  Someone will definitely do a double-take if they see you sporting one of these beauties:


(Reclining and relaxing whilst indulging in The Face Shop Aloe mask)

I do have sensitive skin, and sometimes I will get bumps from sheet masks, but nothing super serious.  Honestly, a couple little temporary red bumps the next day can be so worth it for me to spend up to 20 minutes feeling super relaxed and having otherwise great looking skin.  What I cannot do is use sheet masks more than one day in a row, because then my skin gets a bit overloaded and can get a lot of little bumps.  Not everyone has this reaction though, and as I said my skin is very sensitive and it is difficult for me to find any skincare product that wont cause at least a few bumps.  Seriously, almost EVERYTHING I use on my face will break me out in bumps, whether it is just a couple here or there or a bunch of them.  Even really inert things.  Sunscreens, moisturizers, serums, even toners can do it.

Some people use sheet masks once a week, some three times, some people use them every day!  I know that personally I cannot do that, but if it works for you and makes you happy (and you can afford it) then by all means have fun! :D  Of course I would caution to be aware of the type of ingredients in them, as some can cause irritation if used too frequently (I think ones that exfoliate could do that from what I've read somewhere).

Back to the mask goodness!

Sheet mask material can range from cotton and other plant fibers, to pure seaweed, and then hydrogel.  Hydrogel is super neat!  I've only used a hydrogel lip patch before but they are really interesting.  Here's an interesting article about hydrogel medical dressings.

(Hydrogel lip patch)

You can get spot patches as well, in various materials to apply to specific areas for targeted treatment, whether it be pimples, dry patches, under eye bags, the 11's,...

Two of the biggest draws for me to sheet masks is that they can give wonderful results, and they are SOOOO relaxing!!  I've never had a facial, but this is what I would expect it to feel like (minus any massaging, etc..).  You can cool the masks down in the fridge for an added refreshing experience and to help reduce puffiness, or you can keep them at room temperature and I find that as the sheet masks dry, a cooling sensation can be felt.  And from what I've seen of people who have had professional facials, it really makes your skin look like you just had one!  It can really make your face glow.

In the end I heartily suggest giving these a go if you have the opportunity to!  You can also patch test a bit of serum on your arm to check if you are sensitive to any ingredients or prone to breakouts (I should do that but I never seem to bother with it).


The price range of masks can be from around $1-2 to pretty expensive.  At Sephora you can get a 6-pack of sheet masks from Guerlain for $152.00 Can., so that equals $25+ per mask before taxes.  You can buy a single SK-II mask at Nordstrom for $23.35 or go for the 10-pack at $185.45 before taxes.  Their 10-pack Brightening Derm Revival Mask goes for $233.52 and ends up being just over $266 after taxes.  You can buy one(!) Cle de Peau Intensive Brightening Mask for $41.21+ tax!! Ayiyi!!

A lot of people can justify the expense as they treat it like a facial, and some facials can go for hundreds of dollars.  Personally I just can't afford it right now.  I mean if I saved up sure, and being able to buy a single mask vs. a whole box makes a world of a difference (especially if you've never tried the product before and don't know how you will react to it).  But $25+ for one mask when I could buy 10 for that price?  Hrmm.  I should never say never, because I like reviewing things, and I like fancy-schmany things... but still.  NO ASHLEY!!  Do not be distracted by the beautiful celebrities! Hrrrmph.

A couple favourites of mine are The Face Shop hyaluronic acid masks and their honey mask.  Sadly the stores that I go to tend to be out of these often and they don't restock as much.

Have you tried sheet masks?  What are some of your thoughts and favourite go-to's?

Have a loverly day!

-Ash

(P.S. please forgive the darker photos, my light box is out of commission for the moment.)
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Sunday, 16 August 2015

Wait, I'm 30 Now??

Good morning dear readers!

Wow, it's been a few weeks since my last post.  Just a warning; this one ended up being a looot longer than I originally intended!

I decided to change my blog up a bit, and that's why it looks a little different. :)

One of the big things that happened since I was here last, was that I turned the big 3-0!  While I do not think that I am old (definitely not!), I am now confronted with yep, I definitely will keep getting older and it is a strange feeling.



When I was a kid, then a teenager, I kind of felt like I would stay that way.  Well, not like OH I CAN'T AGE or anything quite like that (as my consecutive birthdays would easily disprove), but it's like that slight sense of invincibility you have when you are young and think that nothing bad can touch you; that "oh that will never happen to me" mentality.

And I am aging.

While I am not old (yet!) I will (hopefully!) get there, and that takes a bit for my brain to wrap around.  I don't feel like I'm 30.  On the other hand, my body is starting to age and it's starting to show up in more pronounced ways.

Sun damage in the past couple years have really increased the melanin in my face, and a smattering of freckles and dark spots now rest on my cheeks and nose (not to mention the hands, more showing up on my arms, shoulders, yadda yadda).  Fine crows feet and a tracing of indenting at my forehead.  Those "smoker" lines around the mouth that you think won't show up for another 30 years have announced their arrival.  A more sluggish metabolism, an inability to pull off lack of sleep as well as I did in my early 20's.  More grey hair I can't tell, since I dye it .  But places like my face, neck, chest and hands are really starting to show that yes, I'm 30 years old, and yes, I've smoked for almost 17 of those years and that bad habit is really (!) starting to reflect on my appearance.

I know there would be people out there thinking: "good grief, she's only thirty and she's making such a big deal out of minor things like this".  Yep, I am making a big deal out of it, because prevention is key, and if I start taking care of myself now it could make a huge difference in the future when I'm 45-50+.  Also, while not everyone does, I'm sure a lot of people have had similar reactions when they reached a new decade in their adult life and had their own respective "oh shit!" moments.  Even if later on your realized that your reaction may have been a bit melodramatic, it can still be a shock.

I know there are some very serious problems out there that this can't even compare to, and it is very vain and mostly just about vanity (although I do want to protect against skin cancers; I've taken enough chances with just smoking alone).  But I've also had my fair share of bad things happen (much worse than this) and seen much worse things that many people deal with on a daily basis, I still think it can be healthy to vent about things that frustrate you from time to time, even if they aren't the worst things ever.  While vanity is hugely involved, I often use my obsession with beauty products to distract me from my worse problems, and sometimes as a grounding experience when I am having really bad periods (like delusional episodes), even if it only lasts for a bit at a time.  Change can really freak me out, even if it's as small as a new freckle (nope, my brain doesn't function very normally nor as rationally as many people's brains do), and this is an attempt to slow that change.  Plus it gives me content for my blog!

So in short, yes I am definitely vain and have always worried about my appearance, but I still appreciate what blessings I have and understand that while at times physically and visually the symptoms of aging can be frustrating, aging isn't a luxury afforded to everyone and I'm incredibly lucky to be here.

You'd think the first think I would do would be to quit smoking! (That evil collagen destroying, life-shortening, expensive, wrinkle-forming smoking!) But I am stubborn, I will admit it, and while it is on my to-do list in the near future, I'm putting it off for a few reasons.  Are they amazing reasons?
No, not really.

Quitting smoking is hard, I'm a wuss, and I am relying on it more now than ever before even though it is really detrimental to my health and well-being.  I've been eating a lot less than I would like (dieting wooo), working out a lot more than ever before, and I use it to distract myself.  I use it to help give me 'pep', wake me up, fill the hungry void in my stomach (overly dramatic, I know!  But I really like food!) and I use it as a social tool ("hey, want to go out for a smoke?").  And yes, I am very, VERY addicted.

I've lost 30 lbs so far this year and I hope to lose another 25 more, and I know that I will probably gain a bit of weight after quitting smoking despite my best intentions and that scares me.  Losing weight can be a lot of work!  When I was younger I did it the unhealthy way, where I filled up on cigarette smoke, buckets of coffee, alcohol addiction and the occasional english muffin.  I definitely had an eating disorder, and it showed.

(YAY 30 lbs lighter!)

This time around I am actually eating FOOD but less of it (more than during my ED though), and exercising about 5 days a week.  I don't really drink alcohol anymore, I do drink a lot of tea but I'm not ingesting nearly as much caffeine as when I drank coffee 23 hours out of a day.  I have a slower metabolism and it's working against me.

I also use smoking as a stress reliever, as someone who has panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, bouts of bad paranoia and psychosis along with depression and other bad and annoying things (so all in all, I have a lot of stress).

Anyway!  I guess this post is turning into a bit of a resolution post, despite it being the 8th month in the year.  I don't want to quit smoking, but I do, and I have to.  I want to get closer to my goal weight first, and then it won't be as big of a deal if I gain back a couple pounds even though I will try very hard not to.  But I may end up ditching the ciggy's before I hit my goal, I don't know.  I picked up one of those Nicorette inhaler things, as that really helped me the last time I kicked the habit for 5 months.

Other than that, I am being diligent with sun protection, and have established a skin care routine that I've actually gotten off my butt to continue doing.  I love skin care!  I always have.  But I'm lazy, and after a few days of it I usually drift away to other things before coming back and half-heartedly working at keeping better care of my skin.  WELL NOT THIS TIME!!  DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN!


I'll update the blog as my product usage progresses so I can give more accurate reviews.  Although it will be a bit difficult, since I'm using several things at a time, so attributing changes to only one product will be a bit harder.  Some of the products I'm using I've used before, so I have a good idea of results I was getting with them before I added more things into my regimen.

However, I'm leaving that for another post, as I think this one is quite long enough!  If someone actually reads the entire thing that will be very impressive indeed. XD

Until next time!

-Ash


(All images copyright Quan Inc., Business Fish, taken from Facebook and Google because they are awesome and they accurately portray how I feel (minus the whole being a fish man)).

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Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Bellabe Facial Hair Remover from Nail Polish Canada

Good evening, dear readers! :D

Recently I was asked if I would like to review the Bellabe Facial Hair Remover from Nail Polish Canada.

I love reviewing things, and as I have do have longer hairs on my face than I would like (they may be mostly blonde, but I don't want a mustache! :(), I definitely said yes!

Normally I either shave, pluck, or get my sister to thread the hairs off.  I was curious to see how well the Bellabe would stand up to the other methods.

According to the website:
"The Bellabe Facial Remover uses a unique precision spring to remove unwanted coarse facial hairs or "peach fuzz" from the roots. Bellable works best on unsightly hair above the lip, on the chin, sideburns and cheeks. It can be used over and over again and is a much faster method of hair removal then plucking.
To use Bellabe, start by flexing the spring into an upside down “U” than apply to the face and gently roll the handles. No wax or creme is required as the coils of the spring will trap and remove the follicles and hairs. Bellabe is easy to use and practically painless."- nailpolishcanada.com
(Image from nailpolishcanada.com)
These retail for $15.00 Can., and come in 8 colour options:


(Image from Nail Polish Canada)

Here is the product after I first received it:

It comes in a really cute tube for storage!

It also came with a folded sheet of instructions.



So, as I had been growing out my facial hair for this review, I was quite excited to be without a mustache again.

It sometimes takes a few turns to get the wire to grip onto some hairs, but once it does, it's NOT letting go!!

This really does exactly what it will say it will do, except for the "practically painless" part.  While some areas were a little less sensitive than others, I'm not going to lie; this HURT!  At one point my eyes were watering and my nose got runny. But in all seriousness, I'm technically ripping hairs out of my face, so regardless of the method, it's going to hurt.  I didn't expect it to be pain-free, so I went into this with that in mind. 

It hurts just like tweezing hurts, or threading with thread.  But it is faster than those I find, as it covers more area and can pull out more hair faster.  It's also more effective than shaving, as the hair takes longer to grow back in and you aren't left with blunt hair edges.  Another bonus: you can't cut yourself with this, like you can do with razor blades (I may or may not have done this...).

The before and after:


And for those of you who want to see just how well it grips the hairs:

(Eeew!! XD)

This is an extremely effective product, and I give it two thumbs up for working as well as it does.  

In short: (to me!) it really hurts, but it really works. It does redden the skin for a while (as you can see on my "after" photo), so I would suggest doing this a while before going out anywhere.  I think I'll try this again after numbing my skin a bit with ice and see how that goes.  Also keep in mind that I have very low pain tolerance and very sensitive skin, so the pain and redness could vary greatly per person.

I'm very glad to have been able to try this!

Have you tried this method of facial hair removal before? (That is, if you have any facial hair that you want to remove)

Have a wonderful day! :D

-Ash
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Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Demeter Fragrance Review - Laundromat

Good evening, dear readers!

Today I have a review of Demeter Fragrance's Laundromat.


(Image from demeterfragrance.com)

According to demeterfragrance.com:

"This is simply the freshest, cleanest scent imaginable, just like clean clothes right out of the dryer. It is inevitably, the most comforting, comfortable scent in the Library. 

J.F. Cantrell noticed that personal washing machines were a luxury many of his neighbors could not afford. On April 18th, 1934, Mr. Cantrell opened the first Laundromat, in Fort Worth, Texas. At Demeter, we celebrate April 18th as the inspiration for the freshest, cleanest scent we know, our version of Laundromat cologne."



This smells lighly floral with a hint of fake lilac, with some soapyness.  I asked my sister what she smelled, and she said "grandma's house".  And it does smell like my grandma's house!  I know that isn't particularly helpful to my readers, but I got to give it to Demeter for bringing up scent memories.

I don't get "laundry" when I smell this, and when I think of soapiness in the scent, it's more decorative hand soaps (particularly ones I smelled in the 1990's) than laundry detergent.

Its a very mild scent that stays close to the skin, and the initial strength really dies down a lot faster than many of the Demeter fragrances I have tried.

It's hard to say what exactly you will be reminded of when you smell this, as how it turns out on me will not necessarily be how it turns out on you.  Not only that, but when you work with finding a fragrance for something like a laundromat, there are so many variables that can affect customer opinion.  The products that I've used in laundry and the products that I've smelled other people use could be vastly different than someone in another home or country.  So for all I know, this could smell exactly like a laundromat in the creators town.

I'm sure this will be a pleasing scent for many, and while it may not be something that I will wear often, I'm glad that to have been able to try it out.  It was a nice surprise having something to bring back more memories of my grandmother, as this did.

I hope you have a wonderful day, and I'll be back with more Demeter reviews soon!

-Ash
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