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Sunday, 19 March 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Indeed Laboratories Fillume Moisturiser Review

I ran out of my beloved Ole Henriksen Sheer Transformation Moisturizer and instead of running out and restocking, I decided to shake things up a bit and try out Indeed Laboratories' Fillume Volumising Moisturiser.  It was on sale at Shoppers, it is manufactured in Ontario (win win!) and I was really curious about its packaging.  Indeed Laboratories is best known for their star product, Nanoblur, nicknamed the Selfie cream for its ability to get you photoready but they have a few other products in their arsenal such as Fillume, which are worth considering.

Much like the Abnormal Beauty Company, Indeed Laboratories' raison d'etre is to "eliminate all marketing hype and costs from skin care and instead deliver real results as cost-effectively as possible."  Another striking feature of Fillume is that it is packaged in an airtight jar.  I know moisturizers packaged in a jar are a real bugbear with skincare mavens as it is unhygienic and the constant exposure to air destabilizes the ingredients.  So how does the Fillume jar work?  One presses down on the top and the moisturizer squirts out the dispenser in the middle.  The only other moisturizer that I can recall that comes in an airtight jar is Drunk Elephant's Lala Retro Whipped Cream but its price tag will give you sticker shock and make you stagger back like a....drunk elephant.

I must say there is something oddly satisfying about pressing down on what amounts to a giant button and having an exact pea sized amount magically appear in the middle.  As with everything, portion control is key and it is comforting to have the guesswork taken out of trying to dispense the recommended amount onto one's fingers.
The moisturizer hasn't broken me out and performs adequately for a cold, harsh Canadian winter that is dragging on for far too long.  It contains sesamin, a paraben free extract from sesame seeds that supposedly minimizes the appearance of fine lines and restores "volume" to the face.  The only grievance I have with it is the fragrance or lack of it.  My first whiff of it produced a gut reaction of intense dislike.  It took me a couple days of grimly slathering it on to my face before I figured it out.  Its slightly medicinal smell reminds me of the generic lotion dispensed in doctors' offices and in hospitals.  In fact, it reminds me of Phisoderm, that decades old cleanser that I was forced to use to combat my unruly teenage complexion.  We all know that scent can be incredibly evocative and reminders of my youthful self obsessing over hormonal eruptions is not a good thing.  Luckily, the scent does disperse eventually.  I intend on soldiering on until I have finished it in an effort to recoup what I spent on it but I don't think that playing "Whack-A-Mole" with the top can compensate for the resurgence of youthful memories so it's unlikely that I will be repurchasing it.  I will say though that if you don't care about the scent and have sensitive skin, you might want to give it a go.  After all, there is something to be said for supporting companies that are offering skincare products with targeted ingredients at a reasonable price.

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Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Frugal Tips: Getting Creative With Accessories

Because of ongoing health issues, the easiest type of tops for me to wear these days are ones that button up in front.  Tops that I have to pull over my head are difficult for me, at best.  Trawling the shops, the only button up tops I found were preppy, masculine shirts.  The last time I channeled the prepster look was when I was a student which was many moons ago and it's a look that I am not particularly keen on revisiting. Give me a few frills, a few lovely details to help lift my mood!  When did the traditional button up blouse fall out of fashion?  Am I so far behind the times?  When I wasn't finding racks of traditional button down shirts, I was instead finding a strange, modern variant of it, the "popover shirt".  The name is a Halloween joke as it is a pullover top masquerading as a shirt.  A shirt to me has buttons going all the way down the front and mysteriously doesn't stop a third of the way.  Another fashion trend at the moment are large statement necklaces that are almost collar-like.  This is another trend that I have not gotten on board with as they don't suit my face shape.  Longer necklaces work better on me but I didn't have any on hand.  Time to get creative!  Lately, I have been obsessing over this vintage glass Christmas ornament.  I love it so much that I didn't want to pack it away when Christmas was over and left it out.

I threaded a long cord onto the ornament-now-pendant.  The heart is seasonless and isn't specific to Christmas.  I love the fact that the clear colour works with everything I have on and makes a statement in a discreet subtle way.

I have been wearing it almost daily for the last couple of weeks now and the other day Monsieur asked me, "What is that you are wearing around your neck?"  Hah!  Do you ever have those moments?  If you have any frugal fashion tips, please let me know!

Sunday, 5 March 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush and Tarteist Lip Paint

My all time favourite blush, Too Faced Love Flush,  fell on the floor and what was left was reduced to crumbs.

As you can see,  there wasn't much left anyway as I had been diligent about using it up so I wasn't terribly sad when it fell on the floor.  There is an indescribable satisfaction in using something up and avoiding excess and wastage.
Luckily for me, I had just gotten my mitts a couple of days previously on a new Tarte blush in the shade "Paaarty" (yes, it is spelled with three "A's") and a lip paint in "Birthday Suit."  Both are a pinky brown nude shade.  The Tarte blush is supposed to last 12 hours as opposed to Too Faced's 16 hours.  Has anyone compared the longevity of the two?

I do like the fact that my new Tarte blush and lip paint are in travel sizes.  I have been binge watching documentaries on tiny homes and my growing fascination with miniaturizing things has spilled over into makeup.  I would love to have a magical box for making mini's of everything!  No more having to worry about decluttering and trying to cram as much as possible into closets and cupboards already bursting at the seams.  But that is a story for another day.

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Wednesday, 1 March 2017

LBH February Favourites: Nordic Noir

When one spends most of one's time housebound as a semi-invalid, you would think that anything to do with unicorns, rainbows, birds tweeting in the sunshine and a lovely maiden (that would be me) flitting through a meadow wearing vintage linen and lace would be in heavy rotation at Chez L'Heure Bleue At Home.  Noooo, you would be wrong.  Currently, I am obsessed with hunting down Nordic Noir on Netflix Canada.  I need storylines with plenty of plot twists that grab my pain addled mind and won't let go.  I don't even mind the subtitles as they force me to pay attention.  And the scenery!  Who can deny the sullen beauty of the perpetually overcast skies and windswept landscapes? Here then are my top three Nordic Noir favourites.

Image Source via Wikipedia

"The Bridge" is a Swedish-Danish co-production and centers around the Øresund Bridge which links Malmö
and Copenhagen.  There is something imminently refreshing about watching actors who don't look like they just stepped out of an Abercrombie & Fitch catalogue.  There is something even more refreshing about the main character, Saga Noren, who lacks any sort of social filter whatsoever yet, if I were trapped somewhere surrounded by raging psychopaths, I would want her watching my back.

Image Source via IMDb
"Nobel" is a Norwegian television series that depicts the political and economic machinations driving Norway's involvement in Afghanistan.  I found the portrayal of the military involvement of a Scandinavian country, a nation incredibly removed from Afghanistan and its plight, incredibly engrossing due in part to the fact that the story and characters are presented without the usual rabid chest thumping and xenophobia.

Image Source via IMDb
"Trapped" is an Icelandic production.  Yes, you read that right, Iceland!  And you know what, Iceland has got Nordic Noir down to a fine art.  And why not, all that snow and ice can't help but seep into the national psyche.  The storyline takes place over an approximate 10 day period yet I felt like the story unfolded over  six months as every twist and turn, every red herring is thoroughly investigated.
And there you have it, my top Nordic Noir picks.  If you have unearthed any others, please let me know!

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Sunday, 26 February 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Korean Matcha Tea Wagon Wheels

I thought of calling this post "Weird Snacks" but 1) there is only one snack that we (actually only Monsieur) is currently obsessing over, 2) I couldn't figure out whether Korean Matcha Tea Wagon Wheels qualifies as a snack, dessert or both and 3) really, is a Matcha Tea Wagon Wheel all that weird?

Granted, when dealing with a host of health problems, we should, of course, NOT be stuffing ourselves with packaged goodies but then again, if one spends the majority of one's time flat on one's back staring at the ceiling, the temptation to do so is very, very real.
And there is no doubting the amusement factor of trying out something that is labelled in a language that one can't read, there is only a picture and a single English word to give one a hint as to the contents.

The amusement factor is doubled at the attempt to take a snack cake that is embedded in Western culture and then inject some Asian healthiness into its edible petroleum byproduct depths.  Voilà, Match Tea Wagon Wheels!  And you know what?  It's not half bad.  The mild leafy taste of the Matcha Tea is a nice counterpoint to the sweetness of the chocolate coating and the artificiality of the marshmallow center.  Any recommendations of interesting, yummy sweets?  I'm game so let me know!

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Wednesday, 22 February 2017

The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% and Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% Review

I was very naughty last summer.  The CC cream with SPF 30 that I had been using had run out and, instead of getting a replacement, I thought I would slum it and just use a bit of concealer with a daily moisturizer that had SPF 15.  Big mistake.  An SPF 15 might be all right for periodic exposure to winter sun but is woefully insufficient as protection against the glare of an angry summer sun.  The result was that by the end of the year, I had a face covered in freckles and sunspots.  Wah!  Vitamin C has a proven track record at tackling uneven skin tone but the prices of quality Vitamin C serums, meaning ones with a high percentage and a stable formulation, will give you a heart attack right on the (sun)spot.  I had been hearing a lot of buzz about The Ordinary, a skincare line by The Abnormal Beauty Company with targeted ingredients and a price point that will make you salivate but all the buzz seemed to be coming out of the UK.  So, naturally, I assumed that they were a UK brand.  I was so sad and resigned myself to making reluctant friends with my sunspots.  It was quite by chance that I discovered the line is manufactured in Canada and that a freestanding store had opened, quite literally, down the street from my home!

You can bet that I made tracks there so fast that I left smoke trails behind me.  I picked up the Vitamin C Suspension 23% with HA Spheres 2% and the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10%.  And the price you ask?  The Vitamin C was an astoundingly low $5.80 CAD and the Azelaic Acid $7.90 CAD.  At this point, I really do have to give props to them for coming out with a skincare line that is so easy on the wallet.  In all seriousness, even those on very, very tight budgets want and need to feel good about their skin.  Whether you are a poor student battling pimples from too many late nights cramming for exams and scarfing chocolate bars or a middleaged woman on a fixed income dealing with menopausal skin that has decided to undergo its own midlife crisis, I think that an affordable skincare range that delivers is such a blessing.  In a weird way, their philosophy of "clinical formulations with integrity" is the skincare equivalent of Everlane in terms of transparency and delivering a product without a lot of marketing faff.  A word of warning, you do need to have a chemistry degree or a pretty good understanding of how the ingredients work alone and in combination to navigate their line.  I read over their website very carefully before going in to the store which helped a lot although the website can make you think you have stumbled across the syllabus of a Chemistry 101 class and cause even more confusion and angst.  The store is a reflection of the line with its exposed brick walls and simple industrial shelving.  If you are one of those skincare mavens that loves lots of pampering with chandeliers, satin, ribbons and over the top, vague promises, then this might not be the place for you. But if you are a cosmesceutical junkie, then you will take to The Abnormal Beauty Company like a duck to water.

I have been using both lotions for 2 months now with the Vitamin C on my face and the Azelaic Acid on my hands and feet.  The packaging of the Vitamin C warns that a slight tingling sensation can be expected but, unless I really slap it on, I don't feel anything.  It could be my skin has acclimatized to vitamin acids after years of prescription strength Vitamin A but I stopped Vitamin A years ago because I couldn't stand the constant peeling and flaking anymore.  I think my skin just reacts better with Vitamin C.  Within 3 days, I noticed my skintone was so much brighter.  I still have the freckles but I do think it helps to fade a tan.  I wear bareMinerals Complexion Rescue tinted cream with SPF30 during the day as I do think it is important to use a high SPF whilst tackling sun damage.  I tried the Vitamin C under the tinted moisturizer but the moisturizer balled like mad so I switched to using the Vitamin C at night.  I was told by the store clerk that the Azelaic Acid is slower at tackling uneven skin tone.  The tan lines on the tops of my feet caused by wearing sandals all summer did fade away but I wasn't sure if it was because I wear boots all winter or because of the Azelaic Acid.  I tried the Azelaic Acid under the tinted moisturizer in the daytime but it caused balling as well.  All in all, I am really impressed and went back to buy a second tube of Vitamin C.  I am really curious to try the Lactic Acid as I have never tried an acid peel before and I have heard that lactic acid is very mild and a good introduction into the genre. I am even tempted to give their retinoid offerings a go. Have you tried anything from The Ordinary?  If so, what are your impressions?

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Sunday, 19 February 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: La Vie En Rose Flannel Pyjamas and Clif Energy Bars

You know you have turned the corner into adulthood when all you want for Christmas are practical things that add value to your life.  Top of my list were pj's that I could button up the front.  Now that pulling sleep tees or any kind of tee over my head has become a monumental task, I became obsessed with finding comfy pj's that I could actually put on without assistance.  Forget sexy lingerie.  However, a casual stroll through the local mall before Christmas quickly devolved into an obsessive, panicked trek as all I could find were miles and miles of...sexy lingerie. Is this what designers think women want to wear in the middle of a Canadian winter?  In despair, I tasked Monsieur with my Christmas list which consisted of one thing and one thing only, pj's that buttoned up the front.

And this is what I got on Christmas Day.  I include them in this week's Weekly Roundup because I have been living in them for the last month and a half.  Monsieur thinks they are incredibly cute and loves the bright red.  He scored them at La Vie En Rose.  He said that there wasn't a great deal of choice as the other pj's had cartoon like designs printed all over them and the red one was the least offensive.  I wouldn't have cared if they had giant smiley faces all over as I was so pleased to have something I could put on without assistance.  Would you like to see a post on what to wear when faced with a physical challenge?  It would just focus on challenges faced with the upper body and would, obviously, be from my perspective and what solutions I have come up with.  Let me know in the comments!
Another thing I have been obsessed with are Clif Energy Bars.  There was a point when even lifting my arm to fork food into my mouth was an arduous painful endeavor.  By the time dinner was over, I felt like I had run a marathon and would topple into bed afterwards, exhausted and dispirited.  You know you have hit a low point when eating, one of the most primal of pleasures in life, no longer interests or captivates.  Then I stumbled on Clif Energy Bars.

I have never been a fan of granola bars (or the newly styled energy bars).  By the time I got to the middle of the box, I would be bored senseless with the compressed horse feed masquerading as human food.  But these Clif bars! I am especially fond of the white chocolate and macadamia nut one. Densely soft and squidgy but still satisfyingly chewy, it has that perfect balance between salty and sweet.  It is definitely an energy bar.  One evening, caught up in the late night munchies, I downed a bar and was so jacked up that I was unable to sleep for hours.  Hmmm, I think I am going to go munch on one now.

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