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Monday, 23 December 2019

Last Minute Christmas Stocking Stuffer Ideas Steamery Sephora Purdy's Chocolates Eataly

The clock is ticking down and I am sure we are all running around like headless chickens.  Here are some quick suggestions, if you are like me and have only just finished work and feel like a deer caught in the headlights at the very thought of braving the mall.
Everyone, and I do mean everyone, has been buzzing about Steamery.  Since when did people salivate over gadgets that look after one's clothes??  I suppose it is an offshoot of the whole idea of sustainability and looking after one's clothes so that they last longer.  You would never guess that this pink egg is actually a fabric shaver.

I got mine at Nordstrom.  If the man in your life balks at attacking his sweaters with a pink Pilo fabric shaver, Chapters carries them in black as well.  Steamery also offers a clothes steamer which is on my Wish List.
Gift packs filled with travel sized skincare goodies are a great option for the skincare and beauty maven in your life.  

I got this Ole Henriksen gift pack with travel sizes of Truth On The Glow cleansing cloths and C-Rush Brightening Gel Creme at Sephora
Yummy treats are always a hit at this time of year.  Who can say no to a box of Purdy's chocolates?

The best thing is that they come pre-wrapped which is such a brilliant time saver.
Speaking of food, I popped into the newly opened Eataly.  Yes, Eataly is now in Toronto! No need to go trekking to New York.

The place was an absolute madhouse but there is no doubt that you could put together an amazing hamper here with very little effort.

Feel free to add your suggestions in the comments!

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

My First Purchase with Thredup and Review

If you are a long time reader of LBH, you know I love digging through thrift and charity shops.  However, finding a good score in the shoe department has always been a bit of a fail for me.  Let's face it, do you really want to shove your feet into a pair of boots that have been...sweated in?? At the end of this summer, my sandals were completely thrashed.  I couldn't find anything that was both comfortable AND stylish during the end of summer sales and fit my budget.  As the weeks ticked by, summer slipped into fall then winter and summer sandals disappeared from the stores.  That's when I happened to check out Thredup.  It is an online consignment store based in the US.  The prices are so, so easy on the wallet.  My very first search yielded these J Crew sandals.

I was in shock because I had missed out on a pair of J Crew sandals (new) a year or so ago that were almost identical.  These are made of black suede.  The low 1 inch heels are wrapped in gold foil which you can just make out.  I took a gamble as I don't think black suede photographs very well.  Every bit of lint and dust was showing up on the Thredup photos.  However, the price was such a bargain and with the discount for signing up, it was lower still.  Shipping took about 10 days which I felt was reasonable as it was coming from the US. Items are initially shipped to a distribution center and a third party handles the shipping.  This process is probably what impacts the shipping time.  The sandals arrived in a plastic bag.  If you are in the US, don't make the mistake that I made and rip into the bag in a frenzy of excitement as soon as you receive it as you can reuse the bag for returns.  Unfortunately, because I am in Canada, returns aren't allowed.  I am not able to sell items on consignment either.
Thankfully, the sandals were a hit.  Even though they are described as used, they look like they have barely been worn.  The material content stickers were still affixed to the sole.  I have to say that Thredup is a fantastic resource if you want to shop sustainably, have a limited budget or like me, looking for something out of season.  There a lot of items that are new with tags and items are constantly coming and going.  They even ran a Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale!  Now, all I need is somewhere warm to head to in order to escape the doldrums of a long Canadian winter.
Have you ever shopped at Thredup?  What was your experience?

This is not a sponsored post.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Black Friday Wishlist: Schmidt Home Depot Cole Haan

A sudden life change gave me the opportunity to begin to arrange my home in a way that suited my new circumstances.  As always, Black Friday is a great time to replace those things that are worn out and need replacing to getting those coveted must-haves that have been sitting on one's wishlist forever. So herewith is my wishlist.
I was given a knife block set years ago as a Christmas gift.  To be honest, I have always hated it.  It took up a huge amount of counterspace.  The knives have begun rusting and I just don't use many of the knives.  I am sure we all have gifts that we don't like and simply tolerate because they were gifts.

I picked up this set of Schmidt knives this past weekend.  This small curated set is all I need.  I find I reach for the 6" chef's knife over and over again.  The Schmidt knives aren't top of the range but they aren't Dollar Store knives either.  They are wicked sharp and have a balanced feel in the hand.  The wood handles are gorgeous and will look better and better over time.  They are available in Canada at Crate and Barrel.
My unitized washer and dryer is slowly dying on me.  The last time I was at Home Depot, there were no sales at all.  Black Friday sales seem to start earlier and earlier each year so hopefully I will be able to pick up a replacement very soon.
via Home Depot
I am in love with Cole Haan right now.  I ordered this pair of winter boots and the timing of their arrival was perfect as within days of said arrival, Toronto experienced its first snowfall of the season.

They have shearling cuffs and as with all of Cole Haan's Zerogrand line, serious take-no-prisoners treads.  In the middle of a Canadian winters, the sidewalks become perilously slippery and boots that grip onto snow and ice are a must.  There is lots of room for thick socks and, remarkably, were comfortably straight out of the box, no breaking in required.

via Cole Haan
I am definitely going to drop by Cole Haan again and see what else captures my eye.
So what's on your wish list?

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Life Update: Suddenly Single and Life After Separation

This week's Weekly Roundup is more of a Life Update.  It's unusual for me to lift the curtain on my private life as whatever gets published on the Internet tends to live on forever.  But for the sake of authenticity, I do want to allow a bit of a sneak peak at what has been going on behind the scenes at LBH just to provide a bit of context.  This year has been tumultuous and stressful, even more so than last year.  Without warning, I became a Singleton again.  I didn't have much choice really as I discovered that my long term partner had been having a long term affair.  One plans for retirement, for a holiday and for buying a new car or appliance but never for a separation.  I ended up picking up extra hours at work wherever I could and for long stretches of time I was working 12 hour days.  Unfortunately, I couldn't keep that up anymore.  Years of being in a toxic relationship had taken its toll on my heart (really and truly!!).  I am so thankful that I live in a country that has public health care.  But now a lot of time gets taken up with visits to the doctor and the cardiology clinic.  On top of all that, after 2 years of negotiating, my workplace finally unionized!  The down side to that is that we had to wait over a month to get even a partial payment of wages while management came to grips with such novel concepts as direct deposit and biweekly pay.  I'll leave my thoughts on that for another post. What this meant was a tightening of the belt.  In the spirit of WWII's philosophy of Make Do and Mend,  anything that needed repair was mended instead of rushing out and buying a replacement.  The strap had ripped off one of my favourite tote bags so I took it to a local tailor to have it sewn on again.

Tintin and Snowy get to live again!  You can make out the extra stitches on the upper left side.  I love that my tote bag gets an extra lease on life and I am supporting a local small business.
I have always liked strolling the aisles of Dollarama (Canada's version of The Dollar Store).  You just never know what sort of deals may be lurking on the shelves.  While I was waiting to get paid, trips to Dollarama  pretty much became the order of the day.  I was very pleased to find Canadian healthy pet treats there.

Any pet owner will tell you that healthy, natural pet treats and food normally come at a premium price.  This pack of freeze dried chicken was only $2.50.  Now if only I can break the furkids' addiction to the junky stuff...
I was thrilled to find a couple bottles of my favourite hypoallergenic shampoo (which I have written about here).

Live Clean hair products go for over $9.00 at the drug store but it was only $4.00 at Dollarama.
I have to take my hat off to anyone who is able to maintain a heart healthy diet and live on a tight budget at the same time.  Recipes and tips would be greatly appreciated!
In the future, I hope to keep you updated on everything I have learned in terms of financial recovery, adjusting to life as a Singleton and reconnecting with myself after living for years in negativity and chaos.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Cole Haan Boots

I have been inspecting my Autumn/Winter Capsule Wardrobe and have known for some time that there were a number of gaps, namely a comfy but stylish pair of flat heeled ankle boots.  I love me a sexy pair of boots.  Is there any sound more tantalizing that the heel strike coming off a pair of killer boots?  The problem is that I am on my feet for hours every day and even the chunky stacked heels on my beloved J Crew ankle boots begin to feel uncomfortable at the 4 hour mark.  I was gutted when I came across Cole Haan's Harrington Slouch Boots last Winter only to find that they were completely sold out online.  When Cole Haan brought them back this Autumn, I didn't bother waiting for a sale but ripped off to the nearest Cole Haan store.

These ankle boots are Cole Haan's interpretation of the 80's slouch boot.  I loathe 80's fashion.  I am sure that to a millenial, 80's fashion is new and exciting but for me, it is a case of "been there, done that, don't need to do it again."  BUT, and this is a big but, I absolutely adore these boots.  They are that perfect blend of 80's redux with a modern twist. The ruching around the ankle means there is a lot of give so there is no painful breaking in of stiff leather. I love the fact that there are 2 zippers (!!), one on either side of the ankle.

The goldtone hardware adds subtle glamour.  The flat heel means I can wear them all day and don't have to worry about sore feet.  Amazingly, they were comfortable straight out of the box.  I was surprised that dustbags weren't included.  I was told that Cole Haan got rid of dustbags as a cost cutting measure.  Considering that Cole Haan footware isn't dirt cheap, I was a tad disappointed.  Over all though, I am in love with my new ankle boots.  The 80's never looked so good.

Monday, 16 September 2019

August Monthly Favourites New Kitchen Faucet, Bareminerals Complexion Rescue, Ask For Task

August is done and dusted, school is back in session and Fall is here.  This Summer was emotionally and physically hard on me.  I thought 2018 was tough but 2019 has been a year of upheaval.    In order to shake off the glooms, I finally had the leaking kitchen faucet replaced.  After much searching, I ordered this beauty off Amazon:

Long time readers of this blog will know that I did a number of minor renos several years ago.  At the time, they were done under the advisement of a real estate agent.  Many of those renos have had to be replaced or redone as they did not stand the test of time.  The kitchen faucet was one of those renos.  I found that the curve of the faucet was too low and it sprouted multiple leaks.  I really wanted an industrial type faucet with a high arc.  After experiencing sticker shock at the big box hardware stores, I ordered the above faucet from good old Amazon.  The price was at least 50% lower than what I was seeing at the hardware store.  I love the fact that there are not one but 2 faucets which is handy if, like me, you have a double sink.  Each faucet has an on/off lever at the nozzle as well as one at the base.  Be warned, it is extremely powerful.  I think the brushed nickel finish and the industrial vibe works well with the industrial light fixture that I chose for the kitchen (which I wrote about here).  I booked a tasker off Ask for Task to install it for me.  I love Ask for Task.  No more stressing over trying to find a contractor to do repair work.  Booking a tasker is so easy and straightforward that I had to include it as a Monthly Favourite.  I can't even begin to describe the thrill of having a functional kitchen faucet again.  No more having to go to the bathroom to get water and no more emptying out a bucket under the sink!
Next up is Bareminerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Cream.

I usually get freckles and sunspots over the Summer but this CC cream with SPF 30 really helped to safeguard my face from UV damage.  I noticed that I didn't freckle up as much as I would have without any UV protection.  Of course, a CC cream will not offer as much protection as a stand alone dedicated sun protection cream but I love the fact that my makeup has a built in SPF which makes my morning makeup routine easy and efficient.  I know I have written about this product before but this really is a holy grail item for me that I have repurchased more than once.
With Fall sneaking its way in, I have been assessing my Fall/Winter capsule wardrobe.  There are some gaps that need filling.  I am looking forward to telling you about them!  I have had a capsule wardrobe for a while.  Do you have one?  Let me know if you have any suggestions for having a streamlined and edited wardrobe.

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 25 August 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Michael Kors Crossbody Bag and H & M Makeup Haul

Can you believe that the Labour Day long weekend is approaching?  Where did the Summer go?  The city is amok with students and their helicopter parents.  This Summer has been a roller coaster whirlwind for me with a lot of personal highs and lows.  Hopefully more peaceful days are ahead.  I just had some family members come in to town for a visit.  They were so kind as to give me my first Michael Kors bag.

I love the neutral tan that can transition effortlessly from Summer to Fall.  It is a very convenient crossbody with a strap that is a mix of gold chain and leather.
There aren't that many big summer sales left but I did score a nice H & M makeup haul.  It is H & M so their prices are already easy on the wallet but the sale prices will you have scooping up makeup by the handful.

I have always wanted to try invisible powder so one of these came home with me.  To date, I have been sceptical about invisible powder being truly invisible.  However, I can attest that applied with a light deft hand, you will not end up looking like Casper the Friendly Ghost.  I think I must have bought five tubes of the concealer.  I use it daily but there is only a tiny 2.2 ml in there which gets used up very, very quickly.  The $9.99 regular price may seem affordable but if you are having to replace it every couple of weeks, the cost can quickly mount.  However, at the sale price of $2.99, it gets the green light from me.

I am always on the hunt for pretty gifts that I can stockpile to give away.  This makeup palette has a great mix of matte and glittery shades that are perfect for Fall.  I haven't used a powder compact foundation in years but wanted to try out H & M's version ($5.99 on sale).  The gel nail polish in Bordeaux is a great Fall colour ($2.99 on sale).  
Can you believe that the next Weekly Roundup will be in September?

This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 11 August 2019

Personalizing Your Home With A Custom Canvas Print: Canvas Factory Review and Giveaway

In 2018, I lost my beloved furbaby, Peter.  His birthday is in August and if he had lived, he would be turning 13.  I really wanted to find some way to commemorate him so when Canvas Factory reached out to me, I was thrilled.  Canvas Factory is an online site where you can upload a favourite photo and have it transformed into a canvas print, ready to hang up in your home.  I took my time sifting through countless photos of Peter to choose the one that really captured the essence of his personality.  After I had made my choice, I went to Canvas Factory’s website.  Their website is incredibly user friendly and walks you through each step of creating your own custom canvas print.
  1. Size – You can choose your dimensions from a wide variety of shapes and sizes. I selected a 50 cm x 40 cm (20″ x 16″) print.
  2. Select Photo – I uploaded the photo I wanted to use to their site. I was able to adjust the photo to have the image where I wanted it on the canvas.
  3. Wrap Style – You can choose how the edge of the canvas border will look. You can have the image wrap around the edge of the border (Gallery Wrap), mirror the image (Mirror Wrap), or choose a colour that complements the image on the edges (Colour Wrap). I chose white on the edges as the main background colour of my photo is white.
  4. Effect – You are able to change the look of the image for your print. You also have the option to add text to make your print extra special. I chose not to add text as Peter is lying on a book with its spine facing outwards.  I felt that any more text would have made the print look too busy.
  5. Checkout – I made arrangements to have my canvas print shipped to my door. I also received my invoice via email that notified me that my canvas had been produced and had been shipped.  I received a final email to tell me that the print had been delivered.  Yay!
  6. Delivery- This took approximately 10 business days from the time I placed my order.

As I was waiting for my print to arrive, I was filled with excitement and oddly, trepidation.  Peter was a huge part of my life for years and his passing left an indescribable void of pain and loss.  I wanted to celebrate his life in a meaningful way.   I need not have worried.  The parcel arrived securely packaged in a sturdy cardboard box.  When I pulled out the print, I saw that it was shrink wrapped in plastic with cardboard corners.

I cannot describe the rush of happiness I felt, gazing upon my canvas print.  The quality is excellent.  I was worried that the photo would look grainy and out of focus when enlarged but the fine details of the photo are still present.  The texture of the canvas actually gives his fur a very lifelike quality.

I hung the print above a dresser that sits in a corner of my bedroom.  Now, every morning Peter's handsome face greets me as I get ready to start my day.
Having a photo that is special to you transformed into a canvas print is a wonderful way to add art to your home that is significant and personal.

Whether it is to capture a special event like a wedding or graduation, remember a significant time in your life or just to express your artistic talents, hanging up a canvas print is a marvelous way to personalize your home.

And now for the Giveaway!  Canvas Factory has generously offered a custom canvas print to a L’Heure Bleue At Home reader.  The winner of the giveaway will be given a special code so that they can redeem a 50 cm x 40 cm (20″ x 16″) print OR a 45 cm x 30 cm (18″ x 12″) print.
Make sure you are a subscriber and leave a comment telling me where in your home you would hang your Canvas Factory print.
The giveaway is only open to U.S. and Canadian residents and ends at 11:59 EDT on August 19, 2019.  Good luck!
Rules: Open to Canadian and US residents 18 +. You have 48 hours to reply by email once you are notified as the winner. If you don’t, we will draw another entry. Void where prohibited by law. Prize is non-transferable. No substitution or cash equivalent of prizes is permitted.  L’Heure Bleue At Home is not responsible for prize fulfillment and for the delivery/shipment of the prize(s) mentioned above.  One entry per person.  GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.

Christopher M was the winner in the Giveaway.  Keep reading for more fantastic Giveaways in the near future!
This is a sponsored post.
Linking up with DIY by Design and Between Naps on the Porch.

Sunday, 4 August 2019

July Monthly Favourites Kate Spade and Sodastream

Now that Summer is at its sweltering height, I am obsessed with cold drinks.  I received a Sodastream for Christmas.  At the time, I was slightly less than enchanted.  My first thought was "Oh no, another appliance!" I have done a complete 180 and I am obsessed with it.  There is nothing better than a cold fizzy drink in Summer.  What is even better is knowing that I don't have to keep running to the grocery stores because I have an endless supply at home.  As it was a gift, I don't know where it was purchased from but I know Bed Bath and Beyond has them.

We used to buy multiple bottles of fizzy water every week and switching to a Sodastream has saved us a significant amount.  As well, it helps the environment as well as we don't have to worry about recycling all those empty bottles.  You can buy all sorts of syrups to flavour the water but I prefer it plain.  I think I may have to buy a couple more spare bottles as I go through the single bottle that comes with the Sodastream quite quickly.
Next up is my gorgeous Kate Spade crossbody bag.  It was a gift from family.  I had requested a crossbody bag as my shoulders were not taking kindly to having a heavy weight constantly dangling off one side. I was beginning to list to one side like a drunken sailor. However, I wanted one that looked stylish as many crossbody bags tend to have a more casual vibe.  First of all, the packaging that it came in was so pretty.  It was ordered from the Kate Spade website and delivered to Canada.  Delivery time was approximately 2 weeks.

The tissue paper features the "spade" symbol in a repeating four leaf clover design.

I love my bag.  It isn't overly large which keeps me from overstuffing it.  I keep the essentials in it like my wallet and phone. There is one inner zipped side pocket.  The adjustable strap is excellent quality. Oftentimes, the crossbody strap that comes with a bag is just an afterthought but this one has pretty, matching goldtone hardware and the strap itself is made of sturdy woven nylon.

I was surprised that it didn't come with a dustbag as my Kate Spade satchel came with one.  Maybe nylon Kate Spade bags don't come with one?  Anyway, I love it.  It feels so comfortable to wear but still looks very stylish.

Do you have a Sodastream (or something equivalent)?  Have you tried any of the flavouring syrups?  If yes, which one is your favourite?
Make sure you are subscribed and keep your eyes on this space as there is an AMAZING GIVEAWAY coming up soon!
This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 28 July 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Harney & Sons Master Tea Blenders Haul

My personal life has taken a battering recently.  To cheer me up, my stepmother and father sent me the most lovely care package from Harney & Sons.  First of all, let me just say that the delivery was lightning fast. They have sent me care packages from Harney & Sons before (which I wrote about here) but delivery time for this one set a record.  I think it arrived the next day which is bonkers considering my parents live in Las Vegas and I am in Toronto, Canada.

What you see in the photo is just the top layer of goodies.   My parents must think I am losing my mind (which wouldn't be too far from the truth, let's be honest)  as the box was massive and filled to the brim.  Harney & Sons has an incredibly comprehensive selection of teas.  My stepmother adores this tea company and with good reason.  The "silken" tea sachets are of fine nylon.  Just putting these wonderful sachets into a cup or teapot is an uplifting experience.  Right now I am obsessing over the Japanese Sencha as I love to have a cup of this delicate green tea before my morning meditation practice.

Harney & Sons also carry a selection of delicious treats, perfect to have along with a cuppa.  Pictured above are Raspberry Jam Drop cookies from Unna Bakery.  I was also sent Tate's Bake Shop Chocolate Chip Cookies which are the best store bought chocolate chip cookies I have ever had, period.  I can't wait to try the Matcha Tea Shortbread cookies.

Of course, what would life be without Earl Grey tea and its heady scent of bergamot?  What I love is that if I am curious about a tea, I can get a small sampler size to see if I like it.  The round tin above contains 5 sachets.
I have turned my friends and my sister on to Harney & Sons and now they are fans as well.  I think they have a sale on right now so this is a good time to stock up.
Are you a tea connoisseur?  Do you have a favourite tea?

I will be hosting an AMAZING GIVEAWAY soon!  Make sure you are subscribed so that you can enter as soon as it goes live.
This is not a sponsored post.

Sunday, 21 July 2019

The Weekly Roundup: Shopping the Summer Sales at Ann Taylor

Toronto is sweltering under a heat wave at the moment.  There is no doubt that the last thing I want to do is spend time in a changing room.  But there are some wonderful deals to be had during the Summer Sales.  I picked up this gorgeous chambray skirt from Ann Taylor:

via Ann Taylor
I have been looking for the perfect denim skirt to replace my beloved skirt that had become a bit too worn.  This number nicely straddles the casualness of a denim skirt with the dressier feel of chambray.
What drew me to this skirt is the adjustable tie at the front.  It helps to disguise any issues that one may have in that area (ahem!).  The tie could be switched to the back if you wanted but I prefer it at the front.  It is a linen blend so there will be creasing.

Be warned that even after a light pressing, the wrinkles were still evident as you can see in the photo above.  I am okay with that as that is the nature of linen.  To be me, rumpled linen just goes hand in hand with Summer.
I also picked up this ponte top with eyelet sleeves:

via Ann Taylor

Even though the Ann Taylor website describes the colour of the top as "white" it is actually a cream in real life.The neckline, described as "square," is more of a cross between a deep boat neck and a square.  A boat neck doesn't really suit my face shape but I loved the sleeves so much that I bought it anyway.

It is quite fitted so you may want to size up if you don't like a top that is too clingy.
Have you been shopping the Summer Sales?  Found any good deals?

Monday, 10 June 2019

May Favourites Banana Republic Summer Sandals Hylamide Pore Control

Warm sunny weather has finally arrived in the Great White North.  It is such a relief to pack away the heavy cumbersome winter boots.  I picked up these gorgeous sandals from Banana Republic in the sale.

With a low one inch heel, I can walk comfortably for hours and those pom poms and tassels just make me smile.
Of course with the onset of warmer weather, Hylamide's Pore Control is a must for me.  Unlike a lot of other oil control lotions which clog my pores and cause breakouts,  Pore Control does exactly what it promises.  It helps decrease oil production so my makeup lasts a lot longer.  I find that a very thin layer works the best.  Any more than that will leave a white powdery residue on the skin.

That's it for May.  Short and sweet.

Friday, 17 May 2019

Game of Thrones Season 8 Episode 5 Review Spoiler Alert

***If you are not caught up with watching the latest episode of Game of Thrones, then please click away***

via HBO

Canada is heading into the Victoria Day long weekend.  How ironic that the very last episode of Game of Thrones airs this Sunday on a weekend dedicated towards one of Britain’s most venerated female monarchs.  At this point, I am not sure if I am going to watch the last episode on Sunday or wait a few days, nay, weeks, months or possibly years to watch it.  I came late to Game of Thrones.  In fact, I didn’t start watching until the show was several seasons in.  But once I started watching it, I was riveted.  I freely admit that the show had me with the scene of Jaime and Cersei getting hot and sweaty in the tower at Winterfell and then Jaime pushing Bran out of the window and I was lost when Ned Stark was beheaded.  Layer by multifaceted layer, thread over thread, Game of Thrones has been weaving a dense tapestry of a world that, at times seems so much more real than my actual life.  But after the Battle with the Night King, it fell apart for me.  Characters are now acting bizarrely out of character.  Plot twists and turns are glaringly awkward to the point of being inexplicable.   

I’ll start with the Jaime and Brienne storyline and work my way up the ever increasing pile of offenses.  There has always been an intriguing frisson of tension between these two from the very start à la Mulder and Scully.  And yet, when they finally consummate their relationship, the scene starts with Jaime exclaiming repeatedly, “It’s so hot in here” and clawing at his shirt like a gauche teenager embarking on his first tryst.  This is JAIME, son of House Lannister, who has spent years honing his bedroom skills with his willing twin sister.  Tyrion’s character fares no better.  He turns in Varys-arguably his best friend and the only other advisor left to Daenerys after the death of Jorah Mormont and Missandei, on the grounds of treason and then commits treason himself by setting Jaime free.  Finally, let’s turn to Daenerys.  I know, I know there is a camp of fans who will argue  that  turning her into a psychotic killer has been foreshadowed throughout Game of Thrones.  However, there have been plenty of times where she has acted nobly by freeing slaves or chaining her dragons after Drogon accidentally killed a young girl.  Many viewers have voiced their opinion that the writers David Benioff and D.B.Weiss have shown that they are nothing more than hacks when they ran out of original source material from which to extrapolate.  It is my opinion that  the writers made the cardinal sin of making their presence known in the story.  Any good story relies on that invisible fourth wall between the story being told and the audience.  But with characters acting out of character and illogical plot devices, it is impossible to immerse oneself fully in the story.  The effect is like being doused with a bucket of cold water.   Instead of shaking my head at the character and pleading, “Don’t DO that, you fool”, I'm left with shaking my fists at the writers  and shouting at the screen, “Why did you write that, you fool?”  When Ned Stark was beheaded in Season 1 (remember those early glory days of the show?), it made sense.  It was obvious that he had written his death warrant as soon as he admitted to Cersei that he knew that her children hadn't been sired by Robert Baratheon. The writers simply haven’t given Daenerys enough runway this season for her character to reach the point where they are forcibly pushing her.  Repeating over and over again in the last few episodes that  “The Gods flip a coin every time a Targeryan is born” is not adequate justification for her to morph into a Mad Queen.  The rushed plot devices speaks volumes of lazy writing.  At the end of every episode of Season 8, the writers give a short interview explaining their reasoning (in this case, lack of) behind the script.  They said that “Dany forgot about the Iron Fleet.” Wuh?  Drogon was badly injured by a Scorpion bolt when Dany attacked the Lannister-Tarly army.  There is no way she would have forgotten about the Iron Fleet or that the Lannisters and their allies had this weapon.  The only reason for this pathetic excuse of a plot device was to kill off Rhaegal and leave her with only one dragon.  As an aside, any of you who are pet parents and regard your pets as family members, you know the rage you would feel at the very thought of anyone deliberating harming your pet child.  There is a big difference between rage and grief and genetically inherited psychosis.  And on the matter of psychosis, likening the burning of King’s Landing to Adolf Hitler and thus ample evidence that she is a genocidal maniac is neither here nor there.  This is the world of Game of Thrones where it is completely normal for a great House to marry brother to sister.  No one mentioned madness when Arya murdered and baked Walder Frey’s sons into a pie and then fed it to him or when Sansa delivered Ramsay Bolton to his hungry hounds, acts which, one could argue, were many, many degrees more gruesome and psychotic.  What is important in storytelling is that there is a sense of internal logic that drives the storyline forward and that underpins the arc of a character.  One only has to compare the near pitch perfect redemptive arc of Theon Greyjoy to see how far short Dany’s character arc falls.  Season after season there has been this inexorable buildup to a monumental, apocalyptic clash between two formidable queens. Instead, in Episode 5 the much vaunted Lannister forces threw down their arms at the feet of the Northern army which seemed to symbolize the writers throwing their figural pens at the feet of the viewers.
I think the reason why I feel such a sense of betrayal is that I face a sea of moral turpitude almost every day at work.  The world of Game of Thrones, where characters are willing to put everything on the line for what they believe in such as the Blackfish refusing to surrender his home, or Dany losing a beloved Dragon to the Night King because it was a worthwhile sacrifice protect the living was a refreshing and much needed antidote to the ethical vagaries of the world that I and possibly many other viewers face every day.  Even when characters made foolish decisions, I understood because it fit their character.  From the intricate costumes to the even more intricate braids of Dany’s hair, Game of Thrones reminded us of what the small screen could be, where every detail, no matter how small, mattered.  It gave me the same rush as when I viewed the recent Impressionism exhibit at the Art Gallery of Ontario which ended recently. Looking at those glorious paintings, I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that each brushstroke mattered to the artist. Hence the sense of outrage, of feeling cheated and snubbed as each episode drops.   I don’t want a fairytale ending, that wouldn’t be Game of Thrones, but an ending that unfolds as organically and thoughtfully as it began.

There is a petition on change.org for HBO to redo Season 8.  The last time I checked, there were well over 800,000 signatures.  I for one will be signing it.  What are your thoughts?  I realize this is a heated topic at the moment so please keep this space respectful of everyone’s viewpoint.  

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Miracle Bamboo Comfort Bra Review

Another birthday done and dusted and as I march on in years, my body has changed.  My bras just didn't fit me anymore. In fact, I don't think I have ever had a bra that fit me well. I have broad shoulders but not much in front so the band would always cut into me and create those horrid mini muffin tops that made me look heftier than I really was whilst the cups would gape.  I was determined to rectify this situation but trawling disconsolately through the lingerie section of department stores was a surefire recipe for frustration.  I don't know about you but have you ever seen a 38 bra with a small cup size?  I haven't.  When I do find a 38, it inevitably comes with cups that are just way too big for me.  And the straps?  Don't get me started on the straps never mind the itchy, stiff, scratchy fabric.  I had resigned myself to spending the rest of my years wearing the same old stretched out ill fitting bras when, whilst wandering around Bed Bath and Beyond, I spotted this:

What?  BBB, one of my favourite places on Earth, sells bras?  I decided to take a chance and purchased one.  What a revelation!  It is true that once you find the right bra, you feel different...better about yourself.  It has front closure, which is a boon to someone with joint issues.  No more twisting myself into knots trying to do up the back.  It conforms to your shape and provides wire free support.  

The high sides smooths the sides thereby reducing any unsightly bulges.  There are removable pads which is convenient for those days you want a bit of extra va va voom or not.  Because it conforms to your shape, a wide variety of cup sizes and body shapes can fit one size.  For example, the back of the box says that a size large with a bust of 37-40 will fit a 32DD, 32DDD, 32QD, 34C, 34D, #4DD, 34DD, 36A, 36B, 36C, 38A.  It comes in L, XL, 2XL and 3XL.  As far as I can tell, it only comes in a nude beige which is fine by me.  It is like a cross between a conventional bra and a sports bra.  Now I know why babies feel so comforted when they are swaddled.  It does feel like I have a tensor bandage wrapped around my chest but this is in no way a bad thing.  This is the first time I have ever bought one of those "As Seen On TV" products as I always thought such things were a gimmick but I am so, so sold on this.  No, it isn't the sexiest piece of lingerie out there but, right now, comfort and fit trump all that.  Let me know your bra horror stories.  Surely I can't be the only one?

This is NOT a sponsored post.

Monday, 4 March 2019

February Favourites Too Faced Haul

Even though February is done and dusted, there was another heavy snowfall this past week and it looks like more is on the way.  I don't know about you but a new lippie or two always helps to chase away the winter doldrums.  I had been hoarding my last remaining Too Faced lipstick in Spice Spice Baby for what seemed like forever as they were no longer available for purchase on the Sephora Canada website.  When I saw they were on sale on the Too Faced website, I ordered two of them. 

The drought is finally over.  This lipstick is my all time favourite as it is such a lovely coral pink nude.  I ordered 2 of the Peach Frost Highlighters which are on clearance on the Sephora Canada website.  I think they won't be available in Canada for much longer.  So if you are interested, I would hurry and put in an order.  I read the reviews and many people complained that it just wasn't blingy enough.  I am of the age where disco glitter would look manic on me.  I prefer discretion over bling especially when it comes to work appropriate makeup so I decided to take a chance.

The highlighter is a cream to powder formula.  I love the Too Faced blush in the same range so I was curious about how a cream to powder formula would translate as a highlighter.  It is true that the sheen is very subtle and understated, possibly a touch too understated.  However, for the bargain price of $12 CAD (!!!), I can't really complain.
Now bring on Spring!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

The Minimalism Game #minsgame

Miracle of miracles, I finally did it!  I completed the Minimalism Game in the month of January.  Woot!  If you don't know what the Minimalism Game is, you declutter one thing on the first day of the month, 2 things on day two and so on.  By the end of the month, you will have decluttered 496 things.  It was conceived by The Minimalists.  I have attempted it so many times, only to admit defeat around day 12.   Truth be told, most of what I decluttered was paper clutter.  I think Marie Kondo said that she hates paper clutter the most because it is so boring and uninspiring.  Because it is so boring, it is quite easy (for me at least) to part with.  I struggled with depression for many months last year and just let the junk mail pile up.  I think the enormous pile of mail kept me going for at least 2 weeks.  I really wanted to start the new year on a more positive note and tackling the home was a step in the right direction.  Now, I am not a hardcore mininalist but I really appreciated having a system that gave me a road map for the entire month.  I actually continued into the first half of February because I was so thrilled that I was able stick it out for an entire month.  Continuing on in the vein of trying to declutter the home and be organized, I picked up this drawer organizer which I repurposed for coralling the makeup I use on the daily.


 I really believe in coralling bits and bobs.  All the disparate items placed in a single container help to reduce "visual noise" as they magically become one.  I really like this drawer organizer because it has expandable sides and it is small and compact.  You can find similar at Bed Bath and Beyond.
Not pictured above because I had it out is Urban Decay's Lightbeam Palette.

I am obsessed with this palette.  Pantone's colour for this year is Living Coral and the sunset hues of this slim curated palette is beautifully on trend.  Don't let the warm coral tones put you off.  They are the perfect office appropriate  eyeshadow for my warm skin tone.  I do find the glitter shadow "Golden Hour" to be gritty and chunky.  But I am past the age of wearing disco glitter on my lids so I don't mind.  It is similar to Urban Decay's iconic Naked Heat palette, in particular the Mini Naked Heat, just with a bit more pizzazz. I love a curated palette where I use almost all of the eyeshadows and not just one or two.  Plus the fact that it fits neatly into the container above is a massive bonus.
How are you doing with your 2019 goals?  Drop a comment and let me know.

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Weekly Roundup: J.Crew Store Closing Haul

I was sauntering through my local mall checking out the January sales as one does when I noticed that the shelves in the J.Crew store looked surprisingly bare.  I went inside thinking that the sale must be very, very good and what did I see?  Signs saying "70% off Everything" and women digging frenziedly through merchandise heaped on tables. Now 70% off for J.Crew is unheard of even for a Boxing Day or Black Friday sale.  I asked a harried looking employee if the store was closing and, sadly, it was.  To be honest, instead of leaping into action when faced with such unexpected opportunities, I tend to freeze like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights.  I prefer a much more leisurely approach to shopping where I get to browse, wander around for a bit and contemplate in a Zen-like manner whether I really want or need something.  Nonetheless, store closings mean the chance to score deals for things that normally would not be within reach.  I was in desperate need of work-appropriate clothing and I knew Monsieur was in need of new pants.  Here is what I scored:

Monsieur was ecstatic when I brought home two pairs of J.Crew`s classic 770 pants at 70% off.  Yes, he did specify he wanted a cranberry pair.  At these prices, it is a good time to experiment with offbeat colours.
via jcrew.com
This blouse came home with me as well.  I love the flattering neckline and the full sleeves.  At a certain point, women need sleeves!  Also, I have been on the lookout for a blouse that is a proper white, not cream, not ivory or any version of pale beige as these non-colours tend to wash me out.  Weirdly, it is quite difficult to find.
via jcrew.com

This dress came home with me too.  It would be perfect if it had sleeves but I knew I could pair it with a cardigan and, for the price, I couldn`t say no.  I love the cowl neckline and how it just seems to arrange itself into the right architectural folds.  An LBD is so versatile as it can be styled for work or after work in a snap.

via jcrew.com

I had given up on finding a pair of jeans that looked good on me years ago but I decided to take a chance on a pair of J.Crew`s iconic toothpick jeans in Classic Rinse (a dark wash).  Oh my, I have been living in these jeans for the last couple of days.  I may never go back to leggings again.  Now I am wishing that I had bought another pair.

Finally, I picked up this Timex watch which is actually a gift.  I wish I had been able to pick up more gifts but there was not much left by the time I found out about the store closing.  I felt really lucky to find the items that I did in the right size.
How did you make out in the January or Boxing Day sales? Have you heard of any other J.Crew stores closing down?

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