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    MIYU Beauty Essence giveaway | theNotice’s 10th blogiversary!

    *sponsored post

    theNotice’s 10th blogiversary giveaways continue today, and I couldn’t be more excited to share this feature. I have a special place in my heart for MIYU Beauty, and to be able to give away these these travel-sized MIYU Beauty Essence sprays makes me glow right down to my core.

    MIYU was one of the first brands that I met with in person while working on theNotice, and it’s not an exaggeration when I say that I genuinely adore the ethos and #girlbosses behind this brand. Founder Connie Tai and PR maven Linda Nguyen are the embodiment of the platonic power couple. They’re gorgeous, driven, and wholly genuine.

    Basically? These beauty babes are the kind of best friends that you only read about in books, but they’re the real thing.

    On top of all that, Connie and Linda have always had faith in my work – even when I haven’t. (Any of my fellow creatives will know just how special that is to find.)

    When I recommend MIYU to my friends and family, I’m not just recommending a great product. I’m recommending something made with love by people who I love, and that feels so much more meaningful to me than saying “hey, the new palette that everyone and their dog is talking about really is great!”

    What makes the MIYU Beauty Essence formulas special?

    The MIYU Beauty Essence concept is a really cool one: it’s a hybridization of a facial mist and a serum. It’s easier to apply than a serum, and more nourishing than your standard mist.

    The MIYU Beauty Essence formula comes in two variations: De-Stress Mi, for irritated and inflamed skin, and Hydrate Mi, for dull and ageing skin. The mists can be layered or interchanged, especially if you have no skin concerns. Both formulas are free of synthetic fragrances, alcohol-, paraben-, and silicone-free, and Leaping Bunny cruelty-free.

    MIYU’s De-Stress Mi Beauty Essence ($24 USD) is a “healing serum mist.” It’s great if you have a high-stress life, or if you live in the city. The De-Stress Mi formula features peppermint, ginger, Chinese liquorice, and honeysuckle extracts to detoxify skin and “deflate” any inflammation. It’s hydrating, too, though – both Beauty Essences contain sodium hyaluronate (which can carry up to 1000x its weight in water) and MIYU’s signature blend of green tea, white peonies, and pearl powder.

    I use my De-Stress Mi when I’ve had a tough week, but my MIYU formula is the Hydrate Mi Beauty Essence ($24 USD). (Coincidentally, it’s also my favourite of their two beauty teas.)The Hydrate Mi formula is perfect for travel and for dry climates. Wild pansy extract helps boost skin hydration levels (by as much as 20% in 28 days), and goji berries and mangosteen extract are both powerful anti-oxidants.

    Hydrate Mi is designed to hydrate, revitalize, and protect against free radicals – so, basically, it’s made to keep me fresh while I’m young and young when I’m old. 

    Win your own set of travel-sized MIYU Beauty Essence mists

    When I told MIYU that I was running special giveaway posts for my 10th blogiversary, they knew what product they wanted to give away immediately. The MIYU Beauty Essence duo photographed here features brand new packaging, and it is gorgeous. (Fun fact: these were the first two bottles of this packaging to go out to anyone, including Connie herself!)

    MIYU’s new look is chic beyond words, with delicate white and gold detailing on frosted bottles. The gold misters on each bottle finish off the look perfectly, and nothing about these mists feels “travel-sized” – they’re luxurious through and through.

    theNotice’s 10th blogiversary giveaway – MIYU Beauty

    This giveaway will be open for two weeks (closing on September 31st at 11:59 PM MST), and is open to anyone in the US or Canada who is over the age of majority. You can enter using the form above, and if you’re really determined to win, there’s also an option for daily entries. Good luck!!

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    Womanizer Pro 40 + Sliquid H2O giveaway with Peepshow Toys | theNotice’s 10th blogiversary!

    *sponsored by Peepshow Toys

    When I started theNotice, I was a high school student who loved writing and had a little extra free time. I didn’t own a single sex toy, I barely wore makeup, and the Womanizer Pro 40 didn’t even exist.

    Now, ten years later, I’m basically that same person …  But there’s one big difference. Though I’m still a student at the U of A, I now have the privilege of writing pretty much full-time. I am forever baffled by how many funny, complex, wonderful people actually choose to read my shit, and to stick around for a decade?! You guys blow me away.

    As my way of saying “thanks for reading,” I have a couple giveaways going up this month of my favourite products from the past 10 years. Whether you’re an OG reader or you’re brand new to theNotice, consider this the first of many ways that I’ll be saying “thank you” this month!

    Enter to win the Womanizer Pro 40

    I adore my Womanizer Pro 40, and I am beyond excited to get to share one with a reader for my 10th blogiversary. It’s one of my all-time favourite toys, and I can’t go without it anymore. It delivers reliable, quick, intense orgasms, and its mechanics and battery life are just so. Darn. Good.

    I’ve taken my Pro 40 to five different cities since getting it this spring, and it’s held up like a champ through each one. So if you’re over the age of majority in your place of residence and you have a mailing address in Canada, the US, the UK, or Australia, then this giveaway is for you! It’ll be open for two weeks, and you can get extra entries every day. 

    One lucky winner will be getting my high-endurance “dream team” kit: a Womanizer Pro 40 and a bottle of Sliquid H2O lube, courtesy of Peepshow Toys. Good luck, and to the winner: enjoy!

    theNotice’s 10th blogiversary giveaway – Peepshow Toys

    PS: You DO NOT have to use your full name to enter this giveaway. Feel free to use a pseudonym if you’d like to protect your anonymity – Peepshow Toys ship discreetly, and I will never share your information with a 3rd party unless expressly agreed upon in writing. (In other words, unless it’s to get your prize to your mailbox!)

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    Miraj Hammam by Caudalie facial review: Resveratrol Lift + NUFACE

    The service: Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Facial with NuFACE

    One of my favourite spots in Toronto is the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie, a luxurious spa tucked away in the Shangri-La Hotel in downtown Toronto. It ticks everything off on my list: it’s spacious, easy to get to, and very consistent. I stopped in during my Toronto trip this summer for my first Caudalie facial.

    The spa’s design takes inspiration from Paris, Istanbul, and Marrakech, and features lots of dark wood and copper accents. It’s currently undergoing renovations to expand its change rooms and Alhambra Lounge, but most of the Caudalie services are still available. From what I experienced, the renos are really unobtrusive and quite quiet.

    The Caudalie facial experience

    The most all-encompassing way that I can convey to you how wholly good this facial was is to tell you this: I don’t remember all of it. I walked into my Caudalie facial caffeinated, stressed, and a little tense. I walked out fully energized and fresh off a light, restful doze.

    The Caudalie Caudalie Resveratrol Lift Facial ($175 CAD) is a 60 minute experience that uses techniques to lift, tone, and firm the skin. I’m still young, so the effects aren’t prominent on my skin – but my skin still LOVED the facial.

    Travelling really takes the glow out of my skin, so I noticed a big difference before and after this facial. Everything used in it was silicone-free, and my skin drank up the products. The Caudalie Gentle Buffing Cream ($42 CAD/$35 USD) was one of my favourite parts. My skin looked noticeably smoother and more radiant after the scrub, but it was really gentle.

    Another little detail that I noticed during my Caudalie facial is that the signature Caudalie Beauty Elixir ($22 CAD to $49 USD) is used to mist the skin. It’s a small detail, but I loved it – it made the facial feel really Caudalie. My aesthetician performed a soothing massage of my hands, arms, shoulders, and feet while my mask was on, which added to the feeling of luxury.

    My Resveratrol facial finished with a NuFACE Lifting Treatment add-on ($65 CAD for 15 min), which uses a microcurrent to contour the facial muscles and stimulate collagen and elastin production. A “lifted” effect is achieved similarly to a very low-level TENS treatment, but on such a small scale that I didn’t feel anything but the NuFACE touching my skin.

    The lobby/relaxation room of the Miraj Hammam Spa

    The Miraj Hammam by Caudalie amenities

    The services at the Caudalie spa are fantastic, but what makes the experience so special is the spa itself. Its decor is unique, and the atmosphere at the spa is so relaxed and cozy. You can’t help but feel like every minute there is precious, you know?

    I loved the spa’s original dark, wooded Alhambra relaxation suite, and I can’t wait to see the updated room. It’s my favourite part of the Caudalie spa: there’s always spicy Moroccan mint chai tea (or an unsweetened rooibos alternative), and each treatment ends with a single piece of baklava.

    My post-facial, makeup-free, filter-free glow + that baklava and chai

    I talked about Caudalie’s baklava at length in my Caudalie Hammam & Gommage and Deep Tissue Massage post in 2015, and it’s just as good as I remember. It’s the best baklava I’ve ever eaten in my life, and I kid you not, my foodie heart would 100% book a facial here just for the baklava. It’s THAT good, and it’s exclusive to the spa.

    The rest of the spa’s amenities are great, too. There are showers to wash up after your treatment if needed, and the change rooms come equipped with Caudalie essentials, including body mists and moisturizers. You’re always supplied with a bathrobe and big, fluffy towels, and a small cupboard stocks anything you might have forgotten, like a q-tips or a razor.

    I’m a sucker for a good spa, and despite the high price tag, I’m already looking forward to my next visit to the Miraj Hammam Spa by Caudalie. There’s no use fronting: I know that I’ll be back.

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    Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive review, photos

    The product: Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive Silicone-Free Replenishing Shampoo, Replenishing Conditioner, and Transforming Leave-in Conditioner

    It can be tough to stick to a silicone-free skincare regimen, but it’s even harder to go totally silicone-free in your haircare. The really good stuff (like my fave Matrix Biolage R.A.W. line) can run you a pretty penny – which is why I’m always on the lookout for good silicone-free products from the drugstore, like the Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive range.

    Don’t let the Whole Blends name fool you, though: this line isn’t all-natural. The olive oil products are the only Whole Blend products that are silicone-free, including the other shampoos.

    Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive Shampoo & Conditioner

    The Whole Blends Legendary Olive collection is formulated with virgin olive oil and olive leaf extract. It’s silicone-free and designed to deeply hydrate dry, sensitized hair, and it’s made to be great for fine hair like my own.

    For drugstore products, I think that these are great. They leave my hair really smooth and nourished, if a bit flatter than I’d like. The shampoo suds up easily, and the conditioner is easy to rinse out. The basic bottles are easy to hold, too – I actually reach for these over my Kérastase when I’m tired, because while they aren’t quite as nice on my hair, at least they don’t have twist-off lids.

    (I hate twist-off lids. Why would you do this to us? Do you want us to get shower water in our products??)

    The Whole Blends price point is just right, too: each bottle is $5.99 CAD for 370 ml (pictured here) or $8.99 CAD for 650 ml.

    Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive Leave-In Conditioner

    As much as I liked the Legendary Olive shampoo and conditioner, the leave-in falls kind of flat for me. It’s generously portioned ($8.99 CAD for 300 ml), but it just … Doesn’t really serve a purpose.

    Like, okay. The shampoo and conditioner are great, but they leave my hair SO smooth and flat. Adding in the leave-in conditioner makes no difference for my hair – I actually find I like my hair a lot more if I follow up with a mousse or texture spray through the roots instead of another smoothing product.

    If you have a lot of frizz, the Whole Blends leave-in conditioner might be more helpful for you, but on the whole? I say skip it – the conditioner is plenty hydrating.

    The Garnier Whole Blends verdict?

    I love finding good products at a great price point, and these definitely make the cut. The silicone-free Garnier Whole Blends Legendary Olive line is easy to find and easy to use, and while there’s nothing stunning about them, I don’t always need my hair products to be stunning. Sometimes they just gotta get the job done, you know?

    Availability: $5.99 CAD & up at drugstores and mass-market retailers across Canada, or at Amazon.ca with free shipping over $35!

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    Henkaa Blume convertible dress review & lookbook | The dress that’s a shirt (and a skirt)

    The product: Henkaa Blume Midi Convertible Dress

    Henkaa is a Canadian company founded by an Asian-Canadian woman, and it’s focused on empowering women through fashion. Its core products are convertible dresses like the Blume, which change and adapt with you. If you’re hooked into the Canadian wedding scene, you might recognize the brand. Their Sakura dress is a go-to for brides and bridesmaids, and it’s customizable in over 60 styles!

    I had the privilege of checking out Henkaa’s showroom while I was in Toronto this summer, and I brought home two beautiful multi-way pieces. My Blume has seen a lot of wear since then – it came out three or four times a week while I was away.

    Henkaa Blume – Elizabeth style with a cropped tee

    The concept behind the Henkaa Blume convertible dress

    Henkaa’s dresses are made in North America from Lenaa™ fabric, a polyester-spandex blend with a tight, silky knit. It’s the perfect travelling fabric: it has a professional, satiny finish, and it’s incredibly wrinkle-resistant.

    My favourite thing about the Henkaa brand is that their dresses designed to be size-inclusive. The Blume is offered in four size ranges, from the XS/S that I’m wearing to a 3X/4X that’ll comfortably fit up to a US size 24. They’re photographed on both straight-size and plus-size models, so you don’t have to imagine what each piece might look like on someone with your body type.

    Henkaa Blume – Elizabeth style on the Toronto waterfront

    How versatile is the Henkaa Blume really?

    So. Heckin’. Versatile.

    My aesthetic is half androgynous lesbian, half “pieces of clothing that look like they’re multiple pieces of clothing,” so multi-way dresses are right up my alley. I’ve waited a long time to try a truly multi-way dress, and the Henkaa Blume does NOT disappoint.

    Henkaa promises that the Blume will turn into at least 17 styles, including dresses, skirts, shirts, and maternity wear. It’s offered in 24 colours, but I got mine in Night Black, because I’m basic like that.

    Henkaa Blume – Maddie Style with cutoffs and heeled boots

    To finish up this post, I thought I’d go over a few of my favourite Blume styles. I’ve photographed the Elizabeth and Maddie styles for this post, but they’re not all I’ve been wearing!

    I really love the Blume’s Bella skirt style, and I tend to wear the Eliza when I’m going out at night. The Maddie is great for an all-day outing, because its sleeves pull easily into the Madison at night.

    My one caveat about this dress is that the band sometimes slips down if I’m wearing it in the Elizabeth style (aka the dress in this post). While the extended section keeps the look going, I do end up flashing a good deal of size boob if I wear it braless. I’ve tried circumventing the problem with a heavy application of fashion tape, but the weight of the fabric is just too much for the tape.

    It’s not a functional issue (because let’s be honest, I’m all about that sideboob), but it’s something to be aware of before you buy!

    Henkaa Blume – Maddie Style

    The verdict on the Henkaa Blume Midi Convertible Dress?

    The Blume is $108 CAD, and I think it’s thoroughly worth it. That money is going straight to supporting a female-led business, and in exchange, you’re getting a durable, sweatshop-free item of clothing. (Or 17 items of clothing, depending on how you look at it.)

    I love the versatility of Henkaa’s products, and they’re really well-made, too. The Blume Maddie style is my perfect slightly risqué, not-too-girly top, and it functions like a good half-closet in one single item.

    Availability: $108 CAD at Henkaa. Use code BACK2COOL at Henkaa.com this August for 10% off your order

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