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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Decluttering and Clear Surfaces

As I continue to stoically and steadfastly declutter and organize my home, one thing I have discovered that really helps to keep me motivated is to have at least one clear surface in the home.  The above is what I see when I walk through the door.  For some reason, seeing that surface with nothing on it except what is necessary puts me in a good mood.  Even if every other surface in the home is covered in junk, knowing that I have managed to keep one surface clear keeps me motivated to continue on my decluttering journey.  Baby steps, people, baby steps.  If you are struggling to maintain some sort of order amidst the chaos in your home, try keeping at least one surface clear.  Let me know if this tip is working for you!

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Sunday, 23 April 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Harvest Snaps, J Crew Eyelet Shirt, Ole Henricksen

Ahhhh, Spring is coming in strong!  Somehow, the warmer weather puts me in mind of eating mindfully.  It is difficult to move past the Easter chocolate extravaganza and snacking has always been my downfall.  Luckily, I discovered these Harvest Snaps and have been obsessed ever since.

They are baked, low salt, whole pea pods and remind me of the green pea version of corn puffs.  Somehow, I expected them to be crispy and crunchy but they are feather-like in weight and texture.  They come in lots of other flavours like Wasabi Ranch and you can even get Lentil Snaps in Tomato Basil.  The problem is that I could easily finish an entire bag in one sitting as they are so light and airy which rather defeats the purpose of healthy snacking.
The advent of warmer weather has meant that I have been feeling very hot and smothered in my winter tops. I picked up this J Crew eyelet shirt this past week.  I have tried being thrifty by checking out the thrift stores but it isn't as easy for me these days to engage in multiple trips hunting for the right top that will suit my needs.  When I saw this shirt, the last one in my size at my local J Crew, I figured it was meant to be.

via J Crew

It buttons up the front which means I can put it on without too much struggle, is loose fitting so disguises the omnipresent muffin top and the slightly billowing sleeves take care of the batwings. 
And lastly, Sephora had an Insider Sale this past Friday.  Did you get anything?  More to the point, did you dare set foot into a store?  It was pandemonium at my local Sephora.  I was quite sad when I finished off my Ole Henricksen skincare kit and was very pleased to see he had brought out another small kit.

I am kicking myself that I didn't pick up more but my brain tends to freeze when confronted with hordes of manic shoppers.
Are you enjoying warm weather, wherever you are?

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Sunday, 16 April 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Shopping At Marshalls, Roots Tote Bag

Happy Easter!  Spring has finally sprung and the weekend has been wonderfully sunny.  Can you believe that just a short while ago we had a day of constant snowfall?  The warmer weather reminded me that I was in dire need of a new pair of sandals.  My current pair are completely thrashed.  I don't have a lot of luck thrifting shoes.  They are either a poor fit or don't fulfill my needs (hello blisters!).  I tried and tried and then finally realized that I was just going in circles wasting time, energy and transportation costs.  And in the meantime, my poor feet were suffering.  Instead of living a simpler life, I was complicating it and generating a lot of stress and frustration. So, I decided to drop into Marshalls for the first time.  It is a US based offprice department store, quite similar to Winners.  I wonder if they are sister companies as the price stickers are almost identical.  Usually, I avoid such places as the miles of jumbled up racks and I find having to dig for a fashion bargain to be quite offputting  But this time, it was a quick and easy experience. If I go in with a specific shopping list and stick to it, then it is painless and enjoyable.  Strange how I don't mind hunting the racks at a thrift store but dislike the experience in a retail setting.  I suppose that, when I do shop retail, and yes, in my book, an offprice department store still counts as retail, then I want it to be a proper retail experience.  My trip was a success as I scored this pair of sandals.  

They have a comfy shock absorbing rubber sole but the gold and silver beads on the stretchy elastic band give them a bit of bing and lift them up from old lady walking shoe territory.  And you know what?  I felt such a feeling of gratitude and appreciation when I brought home this one pair of sandals that I really needed.  And that to me, is the essence of intentional spending.
Speaking of thrifting attempts,  here is one attempt that paid off in spades.  I scored a preloved Roots tote bag this past week.  If you grew up in Canada, you may recall when monogrammed Roots bags were all the rage.  Oh, how I wanted one!  But I was a poor university student at the time and could only lust from afar.  Imagine my delight when I spotted this vintage beauty.

Look at that shell pink "C"!  It was meant to be.  It has lots of interior side pockets (I do love a pocket) and is the size, not too cumbersome nor too impractically small.   
So bring on Spring!  I am ready.

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Thursday, 13 April 2017

Being Emotionally Ready For Decluttering

I have tried many, many methods of decluttering espoused by various "experts". Discarding one item a day, playing my version of the minimizing game where you discard one item on the first day, then two on the second day and so on.  And while they all have their merits,  a lot of these organizing and decluttering experts assume that, by the time you discover their method(s), you are ready to jump right into decluttering and that, once done, you never have to do it again.  They don't really cover the emotional springboard required before the whirlwind of decluttering commences.  Based on my own experience,  I have found that I have to be emotionally ready to do it.  Declutter my childhood teddy bear?  No way!  To be honest, I have gotten rid of a couple things that I regret parting with.  At the time, I felt like I "had" to get rid of it as it was taking up space and wasn't being used.  But I loved it and thought it lovely.  I think I fell into the trap of playing a numbers game and worried that, if I didn't constantly declutter, I was being a bad declutterer and that, at any minute, the declutter/minimalism police was going to show up at my door.  Afterwards, I felt a simmering resentment inside of me and, for a long time, thought about what I had discarded (hoarders, stop reading if this is causing you palpitations!).  No, I wasn't prostrate with grief and lived to tell the tale but, looking back, I know now that the only person I am accountable to in my decluttering efforts is myself (and to some degree, the people I live with).  If I want to keep my childhood teddy bear, I will!  And placing it in a tree in a forest, as some suggest, or placing a bag over its head doesn't really alleviate the sadness if you feel you are being forced to do it.  In fact, if you do have a strong emotional attachment to something, being forced to do something you don't want to do, can make you cling on even more.  So, I think that before starting your decluttering efforts, ask yourself if you are truly ready?
Once you have completed your decluttering campaign, you may think that you never have to do it again.  Wrong!  Unless you are a hardcore minimalist, life changes and you change.  One day, you might look at that thing that you looked at a million times and thought you could never part with and suddenly decide that its usefulness is over and you are ready to part with it.  And that's fine.  You haven't failed.  Our homes should move and flow with our lives and be a true reflection of it.  
Are you in the midst of Spring Cleaning?  Any suggestions to make the process easier?

Monday, 10 April 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Straw Brushes and Under Cabinet Wire Drawers

In my neverending quest to streamline my life, I have converted to using a stainless steel travel mug and straw.  To be honest, I bought the mug because I just wanted the straw.  I think I switched over after I saw a video about a giant sea turtle that had a plastic straw stuck up one nostril.  The poor thing kept sneezing.  For some reason, the sneezing, which sounded just like a baby with a bad cold, and the giant dinner plate eyes really got to me.  I have been very good about taking my stainless steel paraphernalia with me wherever I go even though it is heavy and cumbersome.

The only problem that remained was "How to clean the straw?"  Gone are the days when I would sip on a plastic straw and then blindly throw it in the trash, not worrying about cleanup.  Thankfully, I got my hands on the world's longest and thinnest brush.  You can get similar brushes here.
Also, in my neverending quest to organize and streamline, I think I am seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in taming the horror that is the cabinet under the kitchen sink.  I finally realized that a lot of the problem lay in the fact that there are no shelves or drawers in there so everything gets thrown on top of each other.  Some sort of elevation was needed so I put in a set of wire mesh drawers.

image source via Amazon.ca

The cleaners get stacked up top.  I love the fact that the drawers slide forward allowing for ease and efficiency of movement and more importantly, no drilling or hammering required!  If you have any organizing tips, please share!

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Thursday, 6 April 2017

LBH Frugal Life Hacks 1.0: Coralling Clutter, Repurposing Containers and Dollar Store Finds

When my health took a nosedive, it was months of struggle before I admitted to myself that I had to take stock of my home and my life and start changing things that weren't working for me anymore.  I think that, as a whole, we often become numb to those little things that annoy and aggravate us.  For example, the clutter and mess under the kitchen sink was a continuing source of embarassment for me.  I have been very good about taking reusable tote bags with me wherever I go so the amount of plastic bags entering my home has been greatly reduced but there was a time when a vortex of grocery plastic bags  would explode forth whenever the cabinet door was opened.  Various cleaners would be tossed on top which would fall down below the heap, never to be found again.  I couldn't rummage around like I used to and had to think of thrifty ways to arrange the morass to allow for ease and efficiency of movement.

Enter Command Strips to the rescue!  I found a caddy at Dollarama (Canada's version of the Dollar Store) which was meant for holding soap on a shower wall, took off the two suction cups on the back and stuck on a Command Strip.  The caddy holds a roll of garbage bags and twist ties and is affixed to the back side of the door.  I love Command Strips as you can MacGyver so many things with them.  The caddy was only about a dollar so is an extremely affordable organizing solution.  Elevating organizational tools helps to relieve clutter and ensures easy access for me.
Another Dollarama find was a car socket charger.  What did we do in the days before a GPS in our smartphone?  However, I have found that using the GPS drains the battery very quickly.  Name brand car chargers can be quite pricey and I can't tell you how many I have bought that just stopped working.  So, I was very pleased to find this little gadget that actually works.  It was only $4.00.  I have my smartphone charging the entire time that I am using the GPS so the battery is never drained when I arrive at my destination.  Just remember to unplug it when the car is not running otherwise it could drain your car battery.

Easter is around the corner and maybe you will be lucky enough to be given a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates.  After you have gobbled down the contents, it is really easy to remove the label and you will be left with a clear box that can be repurposed many different ways.

As you see, I have filled it with cotton swabs, balls and pads. It makes a lovely, minimal Muji style toiletries container for no added cost.  I have reused spray bottles that once held all-purpose cleaners for my homemade vinegar and water cleaner and am always on the lookout for containers that can be repurposed.  A caveat to this is to use your common sense.  If the container once held a toxic or caustic substance then I would be wary about reusing it.  Do you repurpose containers?  Do you have any frugal tips to share?

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Sunday, 2 April 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: March Favourites Trainspotting T2, ELF Brushes, PNY Power Pack

Haha, see what I did?  I am folding a Monthly Favourite into a Weekly Roundup!  Yes, I am a badass that way which leads me neatly into my first fave, Trainspotting 2 or T2.

Image Source via imdb.com

All I can say is, "Thank God, it's not shite."  I have included it in the March Favourites because it opened in Canada the weekend of March 17.  I was celebrating a birthday that weekend and it seemed fateful  to see T2.  I remember watching the first "Trainspotting" and being completely and utterly gobsmacked by the giddy hedonism, the sheer ferocity of it all.  Living in my quiet, conservative lakeside town,  I wanted to be part of the wave of Cool Britannia that was cresting over the world so very, very desperately.  20 years on and I, like Renton, Sick Boy and Spud, and probably a lot of other Gen X'ers, am feeling left behind and squeezed out by the Millennials.  Weirdly, this movie affirmed my growing feelings of ennui and discontent.  Bring on the Gen X'ers!  We've still got something to say.
Next fave and on a completely different note are e.l.f brushes.  I had been struggling with crappy makeup brushes (the freebies that come in gwp sets) for what felt like an ice age.  They were prickly, shed like a Himalayan cat and made even the best blush look patchy.  Thank goodness for e.l.f brushes.  They are wonderfully soft, no shedding yet and best of all, the price point just can't be beat.  I paid around $3.99 CAD each at Rexall Pharmacy.

Last fave is the PNY Power Pack.  

via amazon.ca

This little gadget has already saved me numerous times.  It is surprisingly lightweight but most of all, what I like about it is that it has built in cables, one for an iphone and one for a smartphone.  No more dangling cables that inevitably get lost.  And that's it for this month!

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Sunday, 26 March 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Ole Henricksen 3 Little Wonders, Mariage Freres Tea

Time for another Weekly Roundup!  In my ongoing decluttering efforts (when will it ever end??), I decided to sort through my tea collection.  Even though I only drink one type of tea on the regular, I am gifted all sorts of tea which end up languishing in a designated cupboard in the kitchen.  I unearthed a very interesting box which I had completely forgotten about.

Mariage Freres Jasmine Mandarin tea! I opened it up, expecting the usual paper sachets and what did I see?

Oh my, cuteness overload.  If ever tea could be described as cute, wee or pretty then the above sight fits all those descriptives.  They look like a little pile of plump dumplings all ready for their hot water bath.  And their delicate scent is beyond divine.

I have been really missing my Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation Moisturizer this week.  I don't know about you but those few moments every day that I allocate to skincare are moments that I really look forward to.  I can slow down, turn off my mind and just relax.  And yes, I know that marketing hype and packaging is all just smoke and mirrors but I am a weak human.  By chance, I found out that I had accumulated enough points with Sephora to get the Ole Henricksen 3 Little Wonders travel or introductory set.  The set consists of 7 days worth of Truth Serum, Sheer Transformation Perfecting Moisturizer, Invigorating Transformation Gel and Find Your Balance Oil Control Cleanser.  Admittedly, in the past,  I have avoided products with high concentrations of acids as I found them overly drying.  But, in my desire to get my hands on the moisturizer, I was willing to try out the cleanser and gel, both of which contain AHA's (glycolic and lactic acids).  I do like the fact that the box clearly outlines the steps involved in the 7 day regimen, breaking it down into an am and pm routine.  I am about half way through and my face hasn't fallen off my head yet.  Do you have a skincare regimen?  Or, like me, have you just woken up to the fact that youth is no longer your ally and you had better take action right sharpish?  

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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.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Happy Valentine's Day: Valentine's Day Makeup and Francois Nars Eye Paint


Happy Valentine's Day!  I hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day.  I know this day gets a bad rap as being gimmicky and commercial.  Perhaps we should start a movement to rename it Hyyge Day?  Have you heard of "Hyyge"?  It has been sweeping the internet.  A day dedicated to being comfy and cozy and living slowly and intentionally sounds good to me!  
I picked up Nars Eye Paint in Iskandar recently.  It had been sold out at my local Sephora for months.  The Eye Paint line consists of mainly metallic and shimmer finishes and Iskandar, a dark gold, was the only one that was constantly sold out.  I had really wanted it for New Year's Eve as I thought it would add a lovely touch of glamour.  So, when I saw a couple of pots appear on the shelf just in time for Valentine's Day, I swooped one up.  I have had to give up my beloved ink eyeliner as it requires a steady hand, not a hand shaking from pain.  I have been on the lookout for something that would be easier to apply and be longlasting so that even when I am ugly crying, I know that my makeup looks fabulous. Ha! I had tested it out on my hand prior to purchasing it and I can say that once it goes on, it stays on even, amazingly, through a hot shower.

I had read various reviews on the Eye Paint and most of the few negative reviews center around complaints of fallout and that it feels quite "chunky."  I did notice in testing the various shades, that Iskandar seems creamier and easier to apply than the other colours.  Perhaps the formula is slightly different to the others?  I can say that I have not experienced any fallout at all.  I use an ELF small angled brush and am able to apply it very easily.  It is almost like foiled eyeshadow.  A word of warning however, it will show every single wrinkle and crease in your eyelids so I would not recommend plastering this stuff right up to your eyebrows (unless that is the look that you are going for).  Used as a gel eyeliner, in discreet amounts, it draws light to your eye.  Iskandar reads as a subtle antique gold and for me, is entirely appropriate as a modern twist on an every day neutral or to add that touch of soft, romantic glamour to your makeup.  Have you tried Nars Eye Paint in any of the other shades?  I am really keen to try out Ubangi which is a dark metallic navy.
Talk to you soon!  Now go and give a loved one, whether that loved one is of the two or four legged variety, a hug!

This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Too Faced Love Flush I Will Always Love You Dupe And Milani Luminoso Baked Blush

If you have been reading along, you will know that I bought Too Faced's Love Flush blush in "I Will Always Love You" (which is a warm, apricot hue) a while ago.  I have been using it religiously ever since as, these days, I am constantly worrying if I have a wan/horrified/dispirited look to my face and so feel the need to compensate with a bit of colour in my cheeks.

I did try to avoid the bunnies for as long as possible but had to give in eventually.  As I do with Easter chocolate bunnies, I started, quite guiltily and apologetically, with the ears by brushing the ear tips very, very gently.  It was weirdly satisfying to hit pan and then some as it is always nice to know that one has wrung every cent out of an expensive product and done one's best to use up every last crumb.  After all, how often does a woman ever use up an entire eyeshadow?  I love this blush exceedingly, however, there is no doubt that it is rather pricey.  The search was on to find an acceptable dupe before my beloved Too Faced had completely run out.  I had heard many good things about Milani's Baked Blush in Luminoso and so when it went on sale for 20% off, I decided to give it a whirl.

It has a little brush that stores in a mirrored compartment underneath although I prefer to use a full sized blush brush.  There is a slight shimmer compared to the Too Faced blush which is completely matte.  And it is ever so slightly more pink whereas the Too Faced blush is more apricot hued.

I have to say that I really, really like the Milani blush!  The slight shimmer gives you that glowy, lit from within  look that is so on trend at the moment.  It wears well compared to Too Faced's 16 hour promise.  The one thing that concerned me about the Too Faced blush was the "overspray" which I thought was a bit wasteful considering the cost.  There is a bit of a mess with the Milani blush as well but considering how affordable it is, I don't mind it all.  This brings me to the price.  With the taxes and the 20% off sale, it came to well under $8.00 CDN which is a bargain.  Even though you get 3.5 grams with the Milani compared to Too Faced's 6.0 grams, it is still an absolute steal.  I have just noticed that my beloved Too Faced lipstick in "Spice Spice Baby" is running out so am wondering whether I should attempt to find a dupe for it as well seeing as this experiment was, in my books, so successful?  If you have a dupe for that please let me know! 

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

LBH January Favourites: Ole Henriksen, bareMinerals, First Aid Beauty, Tarte

Time for another monthly favourites!  I still can't believe that January is done and dusted and I am staring down the barrel towards Valentine's Day.  I visited Sephora on Boxing Day, a place I have never visited on Boxing Day as I didn't think it was a place for finding screaming deals.  However, this time I was pleasantly surprised.

These box sets were $15 each which I thought was a great deal.  The Tarte blush is a full size and the Ole Henricksen Sheer Transformation Creme is 1 fl.oz.  I am in love with the Sheer Transformation Creme.  It has hardly any scent and absorbs quickly and easily.  It doesn't break me out and my skin feels moisturized and hydrated for hours which is no mean feat as I am in the middle of a Canadian winter.  I know the fact that it comes in a pot is an issue in terms of hygiene and keeping the ingredients stable.  However, I figured it was a small enough size that I would probably use it up before these issues became relevant.  I have been applying it twice a day for a month and have about a week's worth left at the bottom.  The wipes have a lovely citrus scent and I have decided to set them aside for when I am travelling.

The only reason why I got the First AidBeauty set was because it came with a deluxe sample size of Ultra RepairHydrating Serum which I was really keen to try.  I have been using it on my eyes and it has been doing a good job at keeping the incipient crepey-ness (is that even a word?) at bay.
I picked up a travel sized bareMineralsComplexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream mainly because the Sephora nearest to my home is constantly, annoyingly sold out of Vanilla 02.  I didn't mind as I thought buying a travel sized tube would be a good way of trying the product without investing in the full size.  Happily, I am obsessed with it.  I used to use Clinique's CC Cream but I have always had issues with Clinique's colour range.  I really wanted something that had a high SPF and didn't require a lot of faffing around to apply, especially as these days, my arms are akin to penguin flippers in terms of usefulness.  Because it is a gel cream, the consistency is wonderfully light and fluffy, smooths on like a dream and absorbs into the skin instead of just sitting on top of it.  It is satisfyingly moisturizing but if you have dry patches, it will cling to them so you will need extra moisturizer or primer.  The coverage is sheer to medium.  Basically, I end up with skin that still looks like skin, just better.

When Sephora finally got a couple of tubes in of Vanilla, I snatched one up even though I hadn't finished the travel size tube yet.  That just goes to show you how obsessed I am with it.  
Did you visit Sephora on Boxing Day?  I am a convert and will definitely be checking out Sephora next Boxing Day!

This is not a sponsored post.  Affiliate links may be added at a later date.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

LBH Weekly Roundup: Teeny Tiny Mini 5 Day Decluttering Challenge

Happy New Year!  Yes, I know it is almost the end of January but January isn't over yet so I think I can still wish everyone a Happy New Year?!  This is a different Weekly Roundup than usual.  My health took a turn for the worse and my days are spent in constant, 24/7 pain management.  Housekeeping, never a thrill in the first place, became an onerous, long drawn out process.  Monsieur, bless him, has really stepped up to the plate and is like a man on fire.   He has admitted in the past that he was oblivous to clutter and mess but now demonstrates a heretofore unknown discipline and rigour when it comes to keeping the home tidy and organized.  I still wanted to contribute and help as much as I was able and realized that it was imperative that a bit of decluttering needed to happen just to keep the home manageable.  Now I have tried various methods in the past but doing a 30 day decluttering challenge or even a 10 day challenge has always intimidated me.  If you don't know what a 30 day challenge is, on the first day you declutter one item, the second day 2 items and so on and so forth.  It tends to get more difficult around the 15 day mark (at least it does for me).  So I thought I would start with just a teeny tiny challenge, a 5 day challenge. Here is what I decluttered.

A couple of t shirts as I have great difficulty these days in pulling tops over my head, an unused baking sheet and a decorative plate.

I was really shocked at the amount of expired vitamins and supplements lurking in the kitchen cabinets.  What a waste of money!

Two pumpkin scented candles and a couple of pairs of holey socks.

This last one, an old unopened jar of Giorgio body cream made me do a double take.  If you take a close look, you will see that the liquid has completely separated away from the semi-solids.  

It is like the body care equivalent of not so freshly churned butter with a hard waxy lump floating in a sea of rancid oil.  Ewww!! Imagine slathering this stuff over your body.
So, at the end of 5 days, I had decluttered 15 items.  And when I say decluttered, I mean donated and recycled where possible.  It wasn't hard or intimidating at all.  And that is the point, to make it so easy that you can't help but gain a "win" and the confidence to keep going.  I might try another 5 day mini challenge or even do a series of them.  Please comment below if you would like to join in or have any tips on decluttering!

Linking up with Share Your Cup.

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