Friday, November 12, 2010

Use your munchies for good

Hey dudes and dudettes, check out this cool initiative of Cadbury's:

Every time you have a Caramilk or Diary Milk bar, Maynards candy, Dentyne, Stride or Trident gum, and Halls, you can help send a bike to a kid in Africa!

Simply enter the UPC code at the The Bicycle Factory website, and watch that code transform into a virtual bike part. 100 bike parts equals a complete bicycle, to be sent to Ghana, where it will help a child get to and from school! They need our help to reach their 5000-bicycle target!

How neat is that! And YES, I am hereby giving you permission to go buy and consume lotsa chocolate and candy. It's for a good cause! And you only have until November 14th to do it, so get on it already!

Sugary kisses,

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Monday, August 23, 2010

Product Review: Dentaburst

Dudes, have I ever been on the run! I spent a large portion of the summer either travelling, or frantically trying to finish up work before travelling some more. All that dashing about has made me realize just how much I adore these:

DentaBursts! They are these hilarious little finger-gloves that you slip onto your index finger, with which you can then mime brushing your teeth. The nubbly fabric helps remove plaque, and the whole thing's coated in a light minty powder to help freshen up that kisser. Post-lunch meetings, redeye flights, impromptu sleepovers... whatever your occasion, DentaBursts have got you (or at least your mouth) covered.

These handy things come pre-packaged each in their own credit-card sized pouch, and slip discreetly into the smallest of pockets or clutches. Sure, it's no replacement for actually brushing your teeth, but believe me, when you are the only one to step off that overnight bus-ride with clean-feeling teeth, you won't mind one bit.

You can find DentaBursts at Target or RiteAid (will update when I find a Candian source), and they come in both Mint and Cinnamon. Keep 'em in your desk, your purse, your car... you never know when you might need one!

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Friday, May 21, 2010

Moving Tips (aka: In which I sound like I work for Glad)

I hate moving. I mean, I really, really HATE moving. As you savvy readers may have sussed, I have a lot of crap. A lot of beauty product crap, to be sure, but my hoarding tendancies don't stop there. Books, cookware, barware, clothes, shoes... I just have a lot of stuff. So you can imagine that packing up all my crap just to schlupp it somewhere else and unpack it again is definitely on my list of least-favourite-things-to-do.

Incredibly, for someone who hates moving, I've moved an average of once a year for the past 5 years. They (the wise folks??) say that there are lessons to be had amidst adversity, so I thought I'd pass on some of the little tricks I've learned during my myriad of moves that have made life just a little bit easier.

1. Plastic wrap is your friend.
Most of us have those little cutlery organizers. A smaller subset of us have trays and mini-cubbies full of makeup. What is the point of taking out the contents of these containers to pack them up in boxes, only to have to unpack them again hours later? THERE IS NO POINT. Instead, just wrap up those suckers in plastic wrap, as though you were shrinkwrapping the damn thing. Then, chuck the whole thing in a cardboard box. When you get to your new place, just cut through the plastic, and... TADA! Your cutlery/makeup/art brushes/extensive button collection is all ready to go into its new home. Cutlery is one of those things you'll need right away after a move, and it's just such a relief to have it all ready to go, instead of sorting through a shoebox of knives and spoons.

2. Garbage bags may seem ghetto, but they are actually ghetto fabulous.
You have a lot of clothes, yes? Much of it on hangers? Along the same lines as the last tip, why take all your jackets and blouses and dresses off their hangers, only to have to re-hang them all at your new place? Instead, gather 6-10 hangers (depending on the bulk) with the clothes on them, and use masking tape to tape all the 'stems' (the straight bit just under the hook) of the hangers together.  Once that's done, just slip a garbage bag over the bundle, poking a hole at the bottom of the bag so that the hanger can go through. Basically you are fashioning yourself a big dry-cleaning bag. Tie up the ends of the bag (at the bottom of the clothes, so that nothing falls out), and you're good to go. The bagged bundles take up much less space than boxes, and once you're at your new place, all you need to do is tear away the bags and tape, and your closet is up and running. Obviously, this isn't the best idea for cross-country moves, but if your stuff will only be spending like an hour in a moving truck, this trick will do just fine.

3. Giant ziploc bags are both comical and efficient.
Have you guys seen these things? You can find them at WalMart or sometimes Canadian Tire. They are amay-to-the-zing. Exactly as advertised, these are huge-ass ziploc bags. But instead of Chex Mix or whatever, you put your neatly-folded up clothes into them. Each bag will hold about a drawer's full of clothes (depending on the size of your drawers, of course). First and foremost, gimungous bags are funny, and if you're going to make your friends help you schlepp your shit across town, you should at least also make them laugh. Secondly, unlike big bulky boxes, clear bags mean you'll see what's in each bag more quickly, without labelling. They also fit a lot better/easier into whatever nooks and crannies you find in your moving truck. And finally, once you've settled into your new place, the huge ziplocs double as laundry bags too. Genius.

4. Regular-sized ziploc bags are less hilarious, but still efficient. Like the Germans.
So, you guys know to store the nuts and bolts and screws from your dismantled furniture in a small ziploc, and to tape that bag to part of the furniture, right? Of course you do. What is it, amature hour here?

5. Mark very very clearly the box that contains the corkscrew / bottle opener.
Trust me, you may well find yourself casually hurling your umpteenth box marked "Kitchen Misc." at the wall after you've spent 30 mins searching for these objects. This also applies to a lesser degree to the shower curtain and toilet paper.

6. Throw money at the problem if you can. 
Having moved both with the help of my wonderful long-suffering friends and by hiring movers, I can tell you that the latter is like 8-bajillion times better (p < .01).  Seriously, I don't know how I can ever go back. But, if you can't, or don't want to drop the cash, be sure to cultivate as many friendships as possible with people who are easily swayed by promises of food and alcohol. (See also: making friends in grad school.)

No matter what, moving sucks. But, with these tips, hopefully your move can go a bit smoother than it might have. At the very least, you should be able to crack into that bottle of wine earlier. (Yes, I realize you haven't unpacked the box with your stemware yet. Why are you looking at me like this is a problem? Wine bottles are just like big beer bottles, after all!)

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Michael Kors would throw a slushie at that.

So! The return of Glee happened. Is it any surprise that I am a huge Gleek? I think not. And of course, my fave character is Kurt.

I mean, just look at this boy. Perfection.

But during the half-season 'premier', this happened:

Um, what is this shapeless monstrosity? Is he hiding a neck-brace under there? Have the writers decided to take Kurt in an geriatric-fending-off-pneumonia direction?

Fortunately, Glee's costume designer Lou Eyrich explains:
"It's a turtleneck scarf by Michael Kors. I think we got it at Barney's. [...] It's such a delicious piece, but it wasn't worn right. I wasn't on set that day, so it was worn wrong. It was wrapped twice, but it's supposed to wrap once and then the ends hang down in front."

Whew! I can only imagine the professionalism and focus Chris Colfer had to muster to endure the entire scene accessorized like that.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Product Review: The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum

Hi folks! After a week of blessedly balmy spring-like weather, we're getting hit with some chilly, depressing winds today. But this cold snap DID remind me that I wanted to talk about my new skin-saviour, The Body Shop's Vitamin E Serum. (See? I told you there was a reason I kept harping on about Body Shop sales!)

Normally I'm not much for serums. I mean, I love them and all their luxe goodness, but I don't tend to see them as a necessary part of a skincare routine. Well that all changed when my skin started flipping out for no reason last month. Red splotches, irritation, dryness... and don't even get me started on how difficult it was to put on SPF in the morning (yeeowtch!). I was baffled... I hadn't changed anything, wasn't trying new makeup, my makeup brushes were clean... and yet there I was. I even started breaking out a bit (which rarely happens anymore). I switched up my moisturizers... stopped using silica powder... I even bought a new "sensitive-skin" night cream, but nothing worked.

Then I remembered that I had tried TBS' Vit. E serum a while back (when my skin was normal), and how soft and supple it made my face. So I dashed out in a hurry to buy another bottle, and God, it's like a cool drink of water. Within days (like, overnight, really), it soothed the red splotches and irritation, and started to take care of the dry flakes. I still need to use moisturizer over it (the new one I bought from Nivea seems to be working well), but now I can bear to wear sunscreen again. Plus, my skin's stopped breaking out, which is a big relief.

For $20 CAD, this baby's a bargain. (Of course, it's even better when there's a sale!) The airless pump is sanitary, and a tube lasts about 2 months for me with daily and nightly use. It sinks in fast, with a light, clean, slightly floral scent that I like. This isn't your fancy-ass, peptide-collagen-transfolipid-speed-of-light kind of serum. But for adding a soothing boost of moisture to your skin, you can't ask for much more!

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Quickie PSA: Body Shop 1/2 off and a good cause

Okay, I know it sounds like I'm just constantly telling you about Body Shop sales. Like I'm getting daily PR emails from them or something. But truly, I happened to stumble upon this great deal today (plus, I don't even have a contact at TBS!).

Buy a paper bag for $5, and get 50% off on everything you purchase that can fit in the bag (sets excluded)! What a deal. I stocked up on some skincare items and a Nut butter (because, obvs). Plus, $2 from every bag sold goes towards helping stop sex trafficking of children and youths.

Incidentally, they have a skin care promo on right now, where if you buy 2 items, you get the 3rd free. Not sure if the 2 promos can be combined -- I did buy 2 skin care items, but I didn't see the deal until after I got home, and the sales person didn't mention anything at the till. But it's worth asking!

Hop to it! This deal is only good for TODAY, March 13th!

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Monday, March 08, 2010

Product Review: Dove Bar

aka: In which Dove totally saves the heck out of my skin.

You guys ever go through a time when nothing seems to go right? Those things that you thought were so steadfast and reliable fail you, and when you try to fix it, everything just seems to screw up more?

Well I have. Just recently, in fact. Of course, I am talking about my skin here. For weeks (months?) I'd been battling these weird dry itchy patches on my torso. (Hot image, I know). They recur from time to time, for no discernible reason. It might be mild eczema, or just the frustratingly vague "contact dermatitis". I don't know, it's never bothered me enough to go get it diagnosed. I don't know what triggers it... it usually appears on my neck or torso, and it can happen during any season. I haven't changed my skincare routine or even laundry detergent recently. But when these patches flare up, they're super irritating, never mind the gross scaly appearance and feel. Ugh!

Anyway. Because these incidents don't seem to be tied to any changes in my skincare routine, I never bothered changing my showergel to try stop the irritation. I mean, I'd used the same stuff for months without problem, so why should I switch? Luckily for me, the kind folks at Dove decided to send me a Dove Bar to try out.

An unassuming looking little thing, right? In the age of fancy body washes which promise to exfoliate, and moisturize, and turn back the hands of time, and make your skin glow like Jennifer Garner's (as if!), it's easy to forget about the plain ol' "beauty bar". But maybe it's time we gave it another look!

Dove's big claim is that the Dove Bar doesn't leave the filmy soap scum on your skin that regular soap does. Well, as someone who doesn't typically use regular soap, I didn't think this was a big deal. But maybe "soap scum" is code for "irritating weirdness", because ever since I've started using the Dove Bar, my annoyingly itchy skin has started to fade! I've been ultra lazy lately, and haven't been moisturizing much. But despite this, my skin is feeling remarkably normal, and those itchy patches seem to have gone into remission. Could Dove Bar be the secret weapon against irritated skin?

Okay folks, let's be good critical thinkers here. It *could* be the case that the skin irritation would have stopped on its own, and that the Dove Bar had nothing to do with it. After all, in the past, the patches do eventually disappear on their own. On the other hand, I've been using fancy moisturizers and healing oils on the dry patches, and no permanent relief happened until I started using Dove. And, the Classic bar I've been using isn't even the Sensitive Skin (fragrance-free) one, which would presumably be even more soothing for problem areas.

Personally, if the shoe ain't broke, I'm not going to fix it. That is to say, the Dove Bar is going to be my "gentle" cleanser of choice now unless some other problem crops up. Sure, it's not fancy or incredibly indulgent, but it works. I'd even be willing to use it on my face in a pinch, which is something I would have hesitated to do with my old body washes. (Incidentally, bar soap doesn't count as a "liquid" during air travel, which makes it a great choice for the travel toilettries kit.)

And bonus? It's really affordable, and the bar makes my bathroom smell nice even when I'm not using it. So yeah, that's pretty much a no-brainer for me. Good for the wallet, and for the skin!

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