Making My Own Lord of Misrule Bath Bomb at LUSH Eaton Centre

Posted on October 18, 2015 under Events, Reviews

I am now in the busy, difficult, stressful part of the semester. If this is any indication as to my state of mind, the other day I drank an entire mug of hot water before realizing that I had forgotten to put the teabag in. Fourth year is no joke!

Between an endless stream of assignments, a massive stack of reading, and the impending doom of grad school applications, Canadian Thanksgiving in Toronto was a nice break – even though I worked for three out of the four days I was home. The one day that I wasn’t working, I had the opportunity to attend the LUSH Eaton Centre grand reopening with my best friend Cheyne.

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We arrived early and, since I had been in the first hundred to RSVP, we each got a free gift. We got to choose between a shower gel and the Comforter Hand and Body Lotion, and we both went with the body lotion. LUSH describes it as smelling of blackcurrant and cypress, but to me it’s just straight up bubblegum. That is definitely not a scent I want all over my body, but I’m sure it will make one of my friends very happy.

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There were also lots of little vegan treats on offer. I did not manage to snap a picture of the mini donut I had before stuffing it down my gullet, but it was just as yummy as this vanilla cupcake. Definitely a nice touch!

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The physical space of the new Eaton Centre store is great. The old store was tiny, and though this one isn’t huge, it’s absolutely an upgrade. They’ve made the most out of the space.

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Now is probably the time to note that I am not a huge LUSH fan. Their skincare is not my thing. I know it works for others, but it’s not for me. However, their bath and body products are pretty hard to resist, between the scents, packaging, and punny names. I also always love LUSH store spaces – they do such a great job of displaying all their products and decorating the inside of the stores.

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They’re gearing up for Christmas already (one of the employees said Christmas starts in August for them)! LUSH Christmas packaging and products are always gorgeous. Maybe Santa will be kind to me this year…

The main event of the day was a chance for everyone to create their own Lord of Misrule bath bomb, which was what lured me to LUSH in the first place. The promise of a successful DIY project, supervised by professionals, was too much to resist!

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LUSH bath bomb-maker extraordinaire Alison demonstrated the process, which is surprisingly simple when everything’s been premixed for you. As you can see from the photo, I was a bit far back, which made it slightly difficult to see what was going on in detail. That’s really my one criticism of the event; the bath bomb-making part was slightly disorganized, with people pushing to the front for their turn. Those in the back would have had an almost impossible time of seeing the demonstration.

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Making this little guy involved filling up one half of the mold with the green mixture, then pressing the purple core of the bath bomb into it, packing more of the green around it, and securing the other half of the mold on top of everything. Alison advised that we let our bath bombs sit for 5-6 hours so that they would solidify properly; I left mine for nearly a week as I didn’t have a chance to use it before then.

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Here is my freed Lord of Misrule bath bomb. Not bad! It has a few slight imperfections (that crack going around the centre being the main one), but I think for my first try it was a success.

Of course, you guys probably don’t just want to look at pretty pictures of the bath bomb sitting on my window sill. You want to see what magic my creation is capable of.

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No surprises here considering it was a green bath bomb with a purple centre! It looked like that for awhile as the bomb fizzed and died. The final product?

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Yeah, I was basically bathing in a tub of wine. Which is pretty badass, and which I approve of.

I am very grateful to the LUSH website for providing a description of the scent of the Lord of Misrule bath bomb for me, as I am hopeless at such endeavours. According to the official source, it “brings mischievous revelry to the tub with a spicy herbal blend of patchouli and black pepper oil”. Personally, my description was “It smells like LUSH”, and my roommate Katie’s was “Floral with a bit of licorice.” Clearly neither of us know what the hell we’re talking about. I liked the scent, for what it’s worth.

I had a really nice time at the LUSH Eaton Centre grand reopening – it was a fun event and they were super generous with the freebies (and food). While I personally don’t care for the body lotion, the bath bomb was awesome, and I really enjoyed the process of making it. I don’t think I’ll turn into a LUSH devotee anytime soon, but I will certainly be picking up another bath bomb – though this one will be made my someone else.

As a guest of LUSH Eaton Centre, I received the products featured in this post free of charge. This post is not sponsored and all opinions remain my own.

Beating the bleach blues with L’Oréal and Ice Cream

Posted on October 02, 2015 under Reviews

I have lost track of how many times I have bleached my hair. Perhaps a quantitative description isn’t vivid enough, anyway; I think it’s more effective if I tell you that the last time I tried washing my hair without conditioner, I physically could not get a comb more than an inch and a half through it.

In addition to conditioner, a good purple shampoo is a necessity in my hair care arsenal. Gone are the days when I could slather any shampoo and conditioner onto my head and be reasonably pleased with the results. I am no longer so low maintenance that I will use hotel products, whatever my host has at their house, something hastily purchased at the airport, etc. No. I must bring decanted versions of my shampoo and conditioner with me wherever I travel, lest my hair stage a protest at its abuse and leave my head forever.

(Who, me? Dramatic?)

I declared back at the end of April that I was very happy with my John Frieda Go Blonder, and I do still enjoy the line. However, when I went to Pharmaprix to replace it, they were out of it! After having a momentary internal freak-out, I decided to try out L’Oréal EverPure Blonde Brass Banisher, which was on sale.

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After using it for about a month now, I have formed a pretty solid opinion on it. Firstly, it’s definitely not as effective as the John Frieda at removing brassiness. I have a tiny bit of brassiness from the last time I bleached my roots, and it hasn’t done a huge amount to combat that. However, it has maintained my hair’s tone, which in general is good enough for me. (It’s rare that I have brassiness since I am pretty diligent with the toner – this is anomalous.)

That said, I much prefer L’Oréal EverPure’s texture to the John Frieda! It’s thicker and feels almost sticky, which doesn’t sound that appealing, but I find it lathers quite nicely. It smells like lavender, as opposed to the slight lemon of John Frieda. I don’t hugely prefer one over the other, but lavender is a bit more relaxing to my mind. Finally, the L’Oreal keeps my hair feeling clean for way longer! By day two using John Frieda, my hair always needs a blast of dry shampoo. But day two with L’Oreal it still feels and looks shiny, soft, and decidedly non-greasy.

I also like the price on this one. When it’s not on sale, it costs $10.99 for 250mL, or $0.044 per mL. (That’s $1.29 for each of its 8.5 fl oz.) 250mL bottles of shampoo usually last me about 6 weeks, and eleven bucks every 6 weeks does not break the bank.

Shockingly, I have also done away with my L’Oréal deep conditioner, after the fourth tub. Don’t get me wrong – I still think it’s great stuff. I’ve just discovered something even better.

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Enter the Ice Cream Dry-T Mask, which we got a limited quantity of at work in August. I immediately hopped online to research it, was met with rave reviews, and put a tub aside for myself. And holy crap is it good. If the L’Oréal was moisturizing, I don’t know how the hell to describe this stuff. Like magic. My hair has never felt healthier in my entire life – and this is after nearly two years of mercilessly subjecting it to 30-volume developer. “Silky” and “soft” do not even do my hair justice. I seriously touch it every day and think about how amazing it feels. A bonus is that the 500mL/16.9 fl oz tub goes for $9.99, putting it at $0.020 per mL/$0.59 per fl oz. Way better value than the L’Oreal mask, which was $0.026 per mL/$0.75 per fl oz.

There are only two potential downsides to this product in my books. First, it smells like bananas, which I know is not everyone’s cup of tea. It doesn’t bother me, but it also doesn’t particularly entice me. (It’s also available in a Tutti-Frutti scent, but I can’t imagine that would be any less obtrusive.) Second, Ice Cream’s availability is limited. It is carried only by select Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix locations in Canada. Luckily, my local Pharmaprix does carry Ice Cream, but it’s annoying to know that one of my favourite products isn’t super readily-available.

Between the L’Oréal shampoo and the Ice Cream mask, my hair has been in amazing condition lately. I tend to be pretty loyal with hair products, so I don’t see this combination changing anytime soon. But who knows – it’s not like I wouldn’t be thrilled if even more magical products fell from the sky.

Review: Glam My Mani Nail Vinyls

Posted on September 27, 2015 under Reviews

This post features press samples. I was not compensated for writing this post and all thoughts and opinions remain my own.

I like to have painted nails (they’ve barely had a day to breathe since 2010), but I’m not one for nail art. It’s simply too finicky for me – not to mention the fact that my fine motor skills are barely good enough to paint my nails a solid colour without getting polish everywhere.

Enter nail vinyls, which, as I’m sure most of us are aware, are essentially templates for patterns and designs. I was sent two sets of nail vinyls from Glam My Mani: Wavy Lines and Lightning Bolts. I was curious to see if the vinyls would yield pleasant results for a nail art novice like myself.

I decided to try the Wavy Lines first, and only on my thumbs, just to see if they would work. I went for a purple and robin’s egg blue manicure, using Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear in Violet Voltage and Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint in Sugar Apple. I followed the instructions on the Glam My Mani website perfectly to cut down on user error.

First, I put down two coats of Violet Voltage and finished it off with my favourite top coat. (The Glam My Mani website recommends a fast dry top coat, but I only had Sally Hansen Miracle Gel on hand.) Then I applied the Wavy Lines vinyls on both thumbs. At first I applied them after waiting two hours, but the polish still hadn’t dried completely and I ended up pulling up some of it when I peeled the vinyl off. Lesson learned! I waited a full 24 hours to ensure complete dryness before attempting this step again.

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I made sure to press the edges into my nails as directed, then applied a coat of Sugar Apple. I removed the vinyls immediately using a pair of tweezers. After letting them dry, I applied my top coat again.

Here’s the final product:

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Not bad, right? The lines are really clean and the manicure looks a lot more complicated than it actually was!

Next, I decided to try the Lighting Bolts vinyls. In my laziness I decided I didn’t want to have to wait for the first coat to dry fully, so I thought I’d try a negative space manicure – and this time on all ten fingernails. I used the Beauty UK Nail Varnish in Black. Here’s how it turned out:

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I found these ones a bit more difficult to peel up evenly due to the shape, and as a result the integrity of the design suffered slightly on some nails. However, I still think the overall effect is quite attractive, even with my lazy negative space trick.

The vinyls themselves are great quality – thick and durable, able to withstand being peeled up and repositioned multiple times. They adhere well to the nails but come up with minimal resistance. They’re also really good value – the sets vary in size from 50 to 270 stickers for $6.95 CAD, so they’ll last through many, many manicures.

Overall, I was impressed with the Glam My Mani nail vinyls. Granted, I don’t have any other nail vinyls to compare them to, but my first foray into nail art was pretty successful thanks to these stickers. The Wavy Lines are definitely easier to work with than the Lightning Bolts, but they’re beginner-friendly, well-made products that I would recommend to anyone who wants to experiment with nail art but doesn’t feel that they’re skilled (or possessing a million hours to fiddle with nail brushes).

These vinyls were sent to me through NailPolishCanada.com, a website which I have ordered from in the past and which I would absolutely recommend to any Canadians interested in purchasing any of the Glam My Mani nail vinyls.