Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh boooo! Hissssss! Also the Oscars

Aarrgh, I suck. I promise fun things, and then get caught up in the metric craploads of marking I have to do before tomorrow. Marking sucks! And then Wednesday is my super awesome fancy event. That does not suck.

Ok, so there's no time for the promised-post today, but quickly quickly:

I bought shoes! Nine West, on sale! Woo!

I bought a dress! TWO dresses, actually. I have a thing where, to the glee of retailers everywhere, I can never make up my mind, and just buy everything (within reason) so I don't have to make a decision. I still need to decide which dress to wear, but at least I can do that in the pressure-free environment of my own home. Plus I can swish around and twirl and feel all glam without the salespeople thinking I'm delusional.

Speaking of swishy dresses, I caught a glimpse of the Oscars last night. How gorgeous was Reese? Beyonce (during her performance), Queen Helen, and J-Lo (from the neck up only) also looked amazing.

And of course, Nicole Kidman's dress was a work of art. Her ever-smooth face is starting to freak me out just a little though.

Mrs. Forest Whitaker was glowing in yellow; her makeup was ridiculously pretty, although I am undecided about the flowers on her dress. [EDIT: Now that I've actually looked at it, I am on the hate-boat. I only saw her sitting at the ceremony, so I didn't see the GIANT VINES crawling up her backside. Maybe if it was much smaller, and MUCH more delicate. Maybe. At least her front is lovely!] I continue to be baffled by Anne Hathaway's large chest-bow. I always love seeing Emily Blunt anywhere, because it usually means that the delicious Michael Buble will be in tow. Tammy-Lynn Michaels gets my vote for cutest supporting significant other, she was so damn happy for Melissa Ethridge! Plus, she was on Popular, which means she is awesome forever.

Finally, hurray for my girl-crush! I love her to bits and pieces:

Alright, it's back to marking for me. Any thoughts on all the Oscars shenanigans? Did anyone else get the happy feelies when Scorsese won for The Departed? (Btw, I haven't seen Little Miss Sunshine, but I'm pretty sure Marky Mark got jipped out of an Oscar.)

Oh, and in case you're behind on everything like I am, here are some awesome posts from around the blogosphere last week. Nothing like some good blog reading to kick start your Monday, afternoon...

Ageless in Los Angeles tells us: Don't Accuse Kate Winslet of Dieting! and presents us with the ultimate question: How far would you go to wear your Jimmy Choo Shoes?

Clinique's Spring Collection is in Fresh Bloom at Beautiful Makeup Search.

Beauty Hatchery looks at some new beauty products that are actually good for you.

Teri from Beautiful Makeup Search is now blogging over at Pretty by Nature. Check out this amazing natural and organic beauty blog.

Spa Blah Blah is Stealing Time with Earth Therapeutics.

Elke reviews the new Scuba body line at The Beauty Newsletter.

Indieperfume gives us the scoop on Ice Maiden - Winter Beauty and Galbanum & Labdanum.

Labels: ,

Friday, February 23, 2007

I'm 1!

Hurray! Today is my Blogiversary! That's right, on this day last year, through a delicate combination of inspiration, boredom, and cold medication, the idea of Brain Spam was conceived. How time has flown!

Since this is such a momentous occasion, I thought I'd allow the rare privilege of a Brain Spam media exclusive interview. But not now. Right now, I need to go shopping. For SHOES. Stay tuned!


Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Product Review: ... Drixoral?

Hiya guys and gals. Today's review is a bit of an odd one. It's about DRUGS. Well, cold medication, at least. It may be somewhat illicit or illegal or what have you for a self-professed mostly-beauty blog to review a drug, but what the hey. Now I can say that I wrote an illicit drug review and feel all badass. (Most, if not all, truly hardcore people write reviews on blogs. Snoop Dogg does it. What, you didn't know?)

ANYway, what with us all being right smack dab in the middle of cold-and-flu season, this is a timely review. Because I gave my nice boyfriend my cold while he was taking care of my sick ass over the weekend. And because the best concealer in the world can't cover up runny noses and hacking coughs. But Drixoral can!

I've got Roommie to thank for this one. She gave me one of these to take last year when I got hit with a bad cold, and I haven't looked back since. One of these babies will clear up stuffy noses & sinuses, and calm sneezing and coughs. For 12 hours! Which means you no longer have to carry bottles of meds around with you wherever you go!

There's not much more review-y things to say. These work, and they work for a long time. They're on the pricey side... ~$13 CAD for 20 pills. But you shouldn't have to finish a pack of these in one run, since you'll only have to take 2 a day, max.

Now on to the important disclaimers. The magic ingredients in these are Pseudoephedrine (a decongestant), and Dexbrompheniramine (an antihistamine). Now, I AM NOT A DOCTOR! YOU SHOULD TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE TAKING ANY NEW DRUG! And if you have hypertension, or are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (or "MAOIs", which are in certain types of antidepressants amongst other things), you definitely need to talk to your doctor before taking anything with the word "ephedrine" in it, pseudo- or otherwise. If you are pregnant, or taking other prescription drugs, or have chronic conditions, or acute conditions, or think you might be chronically or acutely pregnant, or... hell, just talk to your doctor.

But assuming you're ok to take this medication, it'll get you in working order in no time! So if you're terribly unethical like me, you can use your "pre-Drixoral voice" to call in to work in the morning, take one of these, and feel much much better on your "sick day" than anyone could imagine!

PS: There are conflicting names for this product. The box I have is silver with a green bar ("New Look!"), and says "Drixoral Cold & Sinus". In the States, it looks like you guys have "Cold & Flu" version pictured, as well as a green and white box ("Drixoral Allgery/Sinus"). I think they all have the same 2 key ingredients.


Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Product Review: Cover Girl Volume Exact Mascara

Okay, this is probably semi-old news for most of you, but I figured I should post about it anyway. I finally got my hands on some Volume Exact mascara! And as predicted, it's a winner!

If you've tried and liked Lash Exact, you'll probably love Volume Exact. It's got a similar brush and formula in that it defines lashes really well, and prevents clumping. However, Volume Exact definitely gives more oomph, and a bit more length as well. We're not talking an outrageous, "falsies" look here, but it is a very attractive, full & feathery effect.

Also great is that Volume Exact has kept the long-wearing factor of LashExact ... while still not waterproof, it lasts through a normal day no problem. I do notice a bit more flaking than Lash Exact if I've slept in it (I do it in the name of science people! Not drunken & uncoordinated laziness, as many might imagine), but for your typical work day or night out, it's not a concern at all.

As for ease of application, if you've never used the spindly-plastic brushes before, it'll take a bit of getting used to. Otherwise, it's a snap. There is a teeeeny bit of clumping sometimes, but it's easily fixable with a couple light strokes of the mascara wand... I've never had to reach for a lash comb. So, while the effect is not quite as dramatic as Rimmel's Magnif'eyes*, it's also a heck of a lot quicker to apply.

So yeah, continued kudos for the Cover Girl mascara people. Big loud BOOOOS to the Cover Girl ad people who put "Andrea, Canada's Next Top Model" in a TruBlend lipstick print ad that I saw in a Chatelaine** at the dentist's today. Why can't they make her look pretty, dammit???

* By the way, Magnif'eyes has been in Canada & the US for some time now. They changed the name to "Eye Magnifier" for some reason. I guess they figured that the oh-so-clever pun wouldn't travel well across the pond? Whatevs, as far as I can tell, it's the exact same product.

** A Canadian women's mag, possibly similar to Redbook. They have nice recipes in there.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 19, 2007

Product Review: Clairol Nice'n Easy ColorSeal Conditioning Gloss

Happy Post-Valentine's haze folks! Hope you spent the occasion thinking about the people you love and who love you. Or at least used it as an excuse to wear an unabashedly red lip that day, if you're of the "pssshaw to Hallmark Holidays" mindset.

As for me... I had a presentation that I finished preparing mere seconds before my presetation time. I took a record 9 minutes to get out of the house. It's unheard of. And then I saw a most excellent play put on by some law students (they can be funny! And use words of 2-or-less syllables! It's true!). And then got slammed with a wicked bad cough/cold. Boo. The Boy did make the most bestest roast chicken EVER (you could literally cut it with a fork!), the leftovers from which we made the most bestest chicken soup EVER, so it wasn't all a bust.

Oh, but friends, I have exciting news! I entered The Boy in a draw (um... 64 times) for something awesome and HE WON!!!! This means that we get to go to a fancy dinner event in a few weeks, and dress all fancy and rub elbows with fancy people and all sorts of other fancy things, I'm sure. PLUS, they give you a wardrobe budget, which means I get to go shopping for a fancy dress and maybe even some SHOES! Egads. This was a pretty good Valentine's present, I must say.*

Hey, speaking of fancy shindigs, you know what all those A-listers seem to have in common? Impossibly, ridiculously, insultingly shiny hair. And thanks to a new product from Clairol, I can share in the glory too!

Clairol's new Nice'n Easy ColorSeal Conditioning Gloss isn't availalbe in stores until March (so, possibly even later for us Canadians) but I had the chance to try it out. And lemme tell ya: I AM HOOKED.

You know the incredible conditioners that come in home-colouring kits? And how people (e.g., me) always whine "How come they don't sell the conditioner separately?" Well, now they DO sell it separately; in fact, it's even better than the ones in the hair colour boxes.

The ColourSeal Conditioning Gloss is "... an intensive weekly conditioning treatment specially designed for color-treated hair. It helps keep haircolor looking healthy, long-lasting and shiny for up to six weeks." Which is exactly what it does!

You put a dollop of this in your hair after shampooing, and immediately, you can feel the difference. It is all silky smooth glory, and I haven't even gotten out of the shower yet. Plus, this thick conditioner spreads through hair very well, so you don't need a lot. I have shoulder-length hair that is just ridiculous in amount, and I only needed toonie-sized blob to work through it all.

And after I was done drying and styling? Shine, shine, shine! I've never seen my hair this shiny from a conditioner before... not from Pantene's, or Aussi's, or Pureology's, or Biosilk's (which is godawful, actually). Here are some comments I got from friends and random passers-by on my awesomely shiny hair after using the ColorSeal Gloss:

Immediately after styling: "Wow, your hair really IS ridiculously shiny!"

One day & one tossy-turny night after use:"Hey, your hair feels really really soft today..."

After 3 uses:"OMG! Lucy Liu!! You're freakin' Lucy Liu!! What was it like to make out with Josh Harnett??? Does he smell as good as he looks?"

Okay, so that last one didn't atually happen, but a girl can dream, right? I am willing to put myself out there and say that this product might even help you land a date of Josh-like hunkiness, if that date happens to be very much attracted to soft shiny hair. (Which, now that I think about it, sounds rather creepy. But to each her own.)

Now, this product is marketed towards people who colour their hair, but don't let that put you off. The Gloss worked equally well on the coloured and natural parts of my hair -- it doesn't add any tint, just loads of shine, which will make parched highlights and colour look healthier and give your shade depth and shimmer.

The scent of this isn't bad either... if you like pina coladas (and the hubba-liciously ernest rock-star stylings of Rupert Holmes [watch the volume!]**), then you will LOVE the smell of this. I'm not a fan of the coconut myself, but there's enough fruitiness in this to make it light, sweet, and pleasant, without being cloying.

One tube will last you 6 once-a-week treatments, and I am already hoarding the last bit of the tube so that I can use it for the upcoming fancy gala. Oh Clairol, Clairol, Clairol, I truly think you have struck gold with this. Next time I'm in the States, I may blow my entire import exemption on boxes of this conditioner. Fellow Canadians less insane than I can just go look on eBay for this, or wait with baited breath for it's arrival here. Rest assured that as soon as I spot it in stores, I will tell it from the mountain!

* Some of you might accuse me of entering this contest just so I could partake in the shopping money. To you people, I say: "You have spent far too much time around me for your own good."

** Seriously, how great is this video? I especially love the bored-looking girls in the audience "admiring" his air guitar. I could watch this stuff for ages.***

*** Incidentally, this is approximately how long it's been since I've last posted. I'm sorry internets! I will try to be better, I promise! Thanks for sticking around & being patient!

Labels: , ,

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Product Review: Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion

Oh hello there! How are you? Do you have a fork handy? If so, you need to please stick it in me...

... because I am DONE! This thesis business is OVER! I feel I should muster up more enthusiasm for the occasion, but mostly I am just so very grateful that I'm finished. Because the time spent in your office should not be measured in magnitudes of consecutive days, you know?

It's odd... while I was in my Insane Thesis Fury Mode, I noticed that my skin was really dry. Really really dry. Like flaking-off dry. At first, I thought maybe I had literally become allergic to work. But, as it turns out, other people (who evidently spend a lot more time at work than I do) experienced this too -- our building ventilation just seems to suck every last drop of moisture (and, I'd argue, our souls) out of us. So it's a really good thing that I had a bottle of Skin MD Natural Shielding Lotion on hand. My parched-feeling, incessantly-typing, pitiful hand.

Skin MD Natural claims to be different from traditional moisturizers. According to their website, whereas traditional lotions and creams merely lubricate the surface of the skin, this shielding lotion bonds with the skin's outer layer, enhancing the skin's own protective abilities. There is a lot of information on that site, with various testimonials from both regular folks and doctors. There's even a study on there demonstrating Skin MD Natural's effectiveness at creating a moisture barrier.* I'm not qualified (read: not smart enough) to be able to assess the technical claims, but I CAN share with you how this stuff worked for me.

Alright, I'm going to be candid. Did this lotion change my life? Did choirs of angels beam down upon me lovingly, gently fanning me with their cherubian wings? Did I suddently speak in tongues upon application? No.

Did my skin feel softer and more hydrated? YES!

Roomie, Cowgirl Warrior (who lives near the bone-dry Rocky Mountains), and I have all tried Skin MD Natural, and incredibly, we all had the same reaction when we first rubbed the lotion into our hands:

"Woah...". (It's even more fun if you imagine it in a Keanu Reeves circa Bill & Ted days voice)

Skin MD Natural made all our hands feel super silky and smooth. But best of all, it did so without a heavy or greasy feeling. The lotion is light and fluid -- go easy when squeezing it out of the bottle, or you'll end up with way too much, like I did. You'll only need a little bit. It also sinks in fast, which means that keyboards, pens, and siginficant others don't get all lotion-y. This also means that your "Hand Lotion Breaks" at work (the miniature equivalent of a Mental Health Day) can be much shorter, but no one else needs to know that.

As I said, I'm not sure about all that "bonding" science speak, but I did notice that this lotion seems to settle INTO the skin, as opposed to sitting on top of it. I find this especially helpful for the flakey type of dry skin... thicker moisturizers like Cocoa Butter will sort of glaze the skin, while this stuff feels like it's putting moisture in between the flakes, if that makes any sense.

The lotion is listed as unscented, but for some reason, I detect a very light, pleasant almond scent to it. The smell is fleeting anyway. I am fortunate that I don't struggle with eczema or psoriasis or even sensitive skin, but with aloe as a main ingredient, this lotion shoul be soothing to any problem areas. (If you're interested, they have a complete list of ingredients and explanations of their functions on the website -- how many companies will do that?!?!)

A light, non-greasy, moisturizer that leaves skin feeling like silk? I'd say this one's a winner. But don't take my word for it, try it out for yourself! With their 100% moneyback guarantee (it even includes shipping costs!), you really have nothing to lose. Except for that scaley winter skin, that is!

[UPDATE: Another friend tried this today... Her exact words were: "Wow, that is some hand lotion!" Couldn't have said it better myself!]

* Unfortunately, it doesn't look like they compared the lotion to some other lotion -- they just used untreated skin as a baseline. I can't say for sure, as there's only a summary of results posted.

Labels: , , ,