Six (super sexy) scents to consider for the season | The Gift Guide

Monday, December 15, 2014

I know, I know: perfume is a hard thing to gift. It’s hard to select one from the hundreds, it’s hard to choose the right scent family and bottle size, and it’s hard to get it right. 

That said, here are six scents that I absolutely love for the winter. (Confession: I actually started this post last year and forgot about it, but I’m still loving all six of these this year!) Whether you’re indulging in a little holiday gift for yourself or you’re choosing something for the androgynous-leaning femme in your life… I hope you love these as much as I do.

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-Serge Lutens Chergui ($135) - If I had to pick an all-time favourite perfume, this would be it. It’s the perfect blend of dry, warm, smokey, and sweet, and wears just beautifully in the winter chill. (Plus, it’s like catnip for M — but don’t tell him I told you; I’m not sure he knows yet.)

-Prada L’Eau Ambrée ($56) - L’Eau Ambrée has been discontinued and is getting harder and harder to find, but it’s one of the cornerstones of my fragrance collection – so snap it up now, if you can. It’s simple a wisp of silvery smoke in the night, simple but not boring, and it is my longest-standing perfume love. Full review here.

-Tom Ford Black Orchid ($75) – This is definitely the most feminine of the bunch, but it’s far more outrageous and brash than it is girly. Expect a loud perfume, but a well-blended one — it carries none of the astringent or sticky-sweet notes most “loud” mainstream perfumes. Read my full review here.

-Osmia Organics Cedar Smoke ($75) – I really wanted to include an all-natural perfume in these picks, and Osmia’s Cedar Smoke had to be it. Not quite as sharp or as strong as Juniper Fire, it smells wonderfully natural and woody.

-Illume Woodfire ($10 and up) - This one’s not a perfume, but it’s definitely a scentWoodfire may be my favourite candle scent ever (so far), and is an amazing steal for $10. It smells like wood burning in an outdoor fire pit, and even my mini sized tin has enough throw to fill my whole room within minutes. (Also, Illume makes matching matches!)

-Bottega Veneta ($103, on sale at Nordstrom) - Read my full review here! This one has lots of bergamot and patchouli, and it leaves behind the most divine tendril of leather

What scents are on your wishlist this year?

An easy holiday makeup look & giveaway with Marcelle’s new Trio+ eyeshadows

Friday, December 12, 2014

Marcelle Trio+ makeup look and giveaway - Smokey Chestnut, Chocolate Vanille

As I was writing my Marcelle Trio+ Eyeshadow review, it occurred to me that (seeing as Marcelle is one of my favourite brands) it might be nice to put together a little Marcelle makeup look and giveaway for you guys. So, today, I have a really light, simple makeup look to share with you — and a giveaway with three party-ready products, so you can put together your own Marcelle makeup look.

(Also, I’m pretty sure this is only like, my second makeup look of 2014, so — well, sorry. Oops.)

Marcelle giveaway Trio+ Golden Glow CC Double Precision Liner

Marcelle Trio+ Chocolat Vanille makeup look, Double Precision liner

Marcelle Chocolat Vanille Trio+, Double Precision liner (I used both ends), and Fiberwig mascara

I’m wearing Chocolat Vanille here, but the giveaway features the Eye Shadow Trio+ ($15.95) in Smoky Chestnut, Marcelle’s Golden Glow CC Cream ($29.95; paraben-free but not ‘cone-free) and their Double Precision Liquid Eyeliner Pen ($14.95) — which, oh my god, you have to try this. Seriously, even if you don’t want the Trio+ or CC cream, it’s totally worth entering the giveaway just for the liner. It makes its 12hr+ wear claims look easy.

Seriously. You need this liner. (And it’s on sale for a measly $8.97 CAD on their website right now, so you have no reason not to buy it! And stock up, dude. Definitely stock up.)

Enter the giveaway

Marcelle Trio+ liner giveaway

The giveaway goodies!

This giveaway is open internationally, and it runs until December 21st at 11:59PM — I figured I’d add on the weekend since this is going up so late in the day. Good luck!

PS: Congratulations to Lika D and Brittnie C, who won last week’s Neutrogena Rapid Repair giveaways. I will be emailing the two of you tonight!

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Je Joue Uma G-Spot Vibrator review, photos, comparison | An eco-friendly, body-friendly way to get off

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Je Joue Uma vibrator review

The product: Je Joue Uma G-Spot Vibrator

This February, I introduced you guys to one of my favourite gadgets ever made: the Je Joue MiMi Soft. So, today (you know, before the Christmas shipping deadlines), I thought I’d show you a little bit more from the line.

Je Joue is one of my all-time favourite tech brands–when you create a motor that rumbly, you get to be classed as a tech brand rather than a toy brand–and the Uma is no less well-made or well-packaged than the rest of the line. If your partner is still grasping at straws to try and find out what to get you this holiday season, send ‘em this review and tell them to get you something from Je Joue. (You’re welcome.)

Also, yes, I did just learn how to code that in for this post.

Je Joue Uma G-Spot Vibrator review

The specs

Like the Je Joue MiMi Soft that I reviewed in February, Uma is 100% waterproof, silicone, and rechargeable (via two little magnetic charging points on the end, which also serve as insanely stiff +/- controls). It’s fully submersible for and features five vibration levels and six independently-controlled patterns.

Why you want… SILICONE - non-porous and completely stable, silicone toys won’t leech chemicals into your body (or trap bacteria beneath the surface). WATERPROOF - safe to use in the bath, and easy to soap up and clean thoroughly after every use. RECHARGEABLE – no additional costs over time (basic AAA batteries are $12 for four!), and they help keep used-up batteries out of landfills.

Gently curved, the Uma measures in at 7″ long and 1.25″ at its widest, and comes in four colours: purple, light lilac, fuchsia, and the matte black pictured here. If you look at it from the end, it looks a little bit like an adorably confused sloth.

Sloth Uma

Je Joue Uma review comparison - lelo, we-vibe

I really love Je Joue’s silicone, which has a velvety matte finish and doesn’t pick up too much lint — it definitely screams luxury, and is safe to use with both water-based and natural oil-based lubricants (I recommend Sliquid Sassy and Yes Organics, respectively). But unlike some other luxury brands, you really do get what you pay for with Je Joue: their silicone is flawlessly seam-free, and their battery holds a charge well over time.

Je Joue interchageable charger

The experience

Uma comes inside of a sturdy, discreet set of boxes, and features the usual ruh-ruh-ruh-ruh-ruh Je Joue motor – which, yes, is just as strong, deep, and rumbly internally as it is externally. It’s gently curved and narrower in the centre, which never catches on the pubic bone (ouch) and gives a degree of maneuverability that I think most will appreciate. I mean, except for those who prefer extremely pinpoint g-spot pressure, though really, do those people even exist.

(I’m just kidding; those people do exist, and they should opt for the G-Kii instead.)

Je Jou Uma curve

Side view of the Je Joue Uma

The Uma is extremely lightweight despite its impressive motor (which is slightly quieter here than in the MiMi), and my only complaint is that I would have liked to see it with a Soft option: Je Joue has proven that they’re able to add a very realistic texture without dampening their vibrations, and I think the Uma could have been a must-have with that soft, bouncy finish.

Uma’s length makes it easy to use internally with either a rocking or a thrusting motion, but I’d say skip it if you want to use it externally more than, like, 20% of the time – that length makes it awkward to use close-up.

Je Joue review - Uma internal vibrator

The verdict?

When it comes to sex toys, “your mileage may vary” is a term that can’t be taken seriously enough — but things like aesthetics and quality are still irrefutable. I personally prefer Je Joue’s MiMi Soft ($95) to the Uma, but I know some of you skipped the MiMi last year because you wanted an internal/external toy. For a mix of both worlds, Uma is great, and an easy toy to buy online: there’s no secondary arm to poke you in weird places, the curve isn’t so severe as to be uncomfortable, and Je Joue’s silicone is so smooth that there are literally no seams to be felt.

For a discreet, rechargeable internal vibrator with a kickass motor, Uma is an awesome toy to have on hand… but without Je Joue’s Soft finish, it’s just a nice-to-have, not a must-have. You definitely need at least one of the two, though, so choose as you will!

Availability: $109 USD at SheVibe (US) / $110 CAD at Come As You Are (Canada) / £74.99 at Lovehoney (UK) with free delivery within the country at each. Special thanks to the ever-wonderful SheVibe for sending this in for review!

Remember to buy before the end of this week for delivery by the 25th.

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L’Occitane Mer & Mitstral review, photos: the perfect gift for him (or her!)

Friday, December 5, 2014

L'Occitane Mer & Mistral Eau de Toilette review photos

The product: L’Occitane Mer & Mistral Eau de Toilette (La Collection de Grasse)

So, it’s a pretty well-known fact that I’m obsessed with the L’Occitane La Collection de Grasse – but did you know that there’s a unisex scent in the line, too? And, as a cologne lover, I am all over it.

L'Occitane Mer & Mistral review

Behind the scent: I usually like my unisex scents a little more masculine (you know: woods, amber, pepper), and this one certainly isn’t — but it’s still a complete stunner. More department store than, say, Vanille & Narcisse, Mer et Mistral is a proper sparkling aquatic: it smells shimmery and extremely fresh, with bright citrus notes paired with pine and sea salt. 

The name “Mer et Mistral” means sea and wind — specifically, the extremely fast, turbulent winds in southern France blowing north into the Mediterranean Gulf of Lion. The mistral wind controls the climate of Grasse and plays a huge part in Provençal culture, dictating everything from how bell towers are built (open iron frameworks, so the wind can pass through) to the direction that homes face (south, with their backs to the wind).

L'Occitane Mer & Mistral photos review EdT

The notes & wear: A little [too] sharp at first spritz, Mer & Mistral features top notes of lemon and mandarin, heart notes of pine, cypress, and rosemary, and base notes of cedar, white amber, and musk.

The top notes fade pretty quickly, and 20 minutes later, the scent really settles in — it gets a lot more pine-y and less sparkling close to the skin, but retains its aquatic nature in the sillage. The herby accords really come out to play not long after, and the scent just transformsOnce you get past the run-of-the-mill opening, the rosemary makes this scent almost… aquatic-foody. Which sounds super gross, I know, but think of it more like this: lemon balm and pine, herbs in a mortar and pestle, and a cabin next to a rough sea.

L'Occitane Mer & Mistral unisex fragrance review photos

The bottle: While the scent of Mer & Mistral is wonderfully bright and complex, the bottle is even better. With a blue lacquered base, this glass bottle takes on a mesmerizing, watery look — the blue comes and goes depending on what angle you look at it from, like the sea as it’s pushed and pulled by the wind.

L'Occitane Mer & Mistral packaging review bottle

The verdict?

I like things that match. I just… do. I like the visual coherency, and I like rotating between fragrances that have a similar thread that weaves through all of them.

If you’re a lover of La Collection de Grasse, do yourself a favour this season and get your guy (or girl) a bottle of Mer & Mistral. Not only will it look beautiful on the dresser next to your collection, but L’Occitane’s in-house perfumer Karine Dubreuil will make sure the two of you smell great next to each other, too.

Availability: $75 CAD at L’Occitane boutiques and online.

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Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle & Tone Repair: theNotice’s Month of Giving begins!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair giveaway

Happy December, readers! This month, I have a very special surprise for you: a solid month of giveaways, starting with the very dermatological-looking Neutrogena Rapid Repair line. Today, we’re giving away TWO prizes: a Rapid Tone Repair duo and a Rapid Wrinkle Repair trio.

I’ve been pretty much stockpiling Neutrogena Rapid Repair all year, but I haven’t been able to try any of it since I’m allergic to silicones. So, instead, I’m giving two lucky readers the chance to do it for me! The method of entries for this giveaway are the same as usual, but I’m also offering a big bonus entry (10 pts) for anyone who’s up for sharing their Neutrogena before/after results. It’s definitely not mandatory, but we’d love to see those selfies!

(Am I the only one who hates the world “selfie” with a passion?)

The Rapid Wrinkle Repair trio ($90 CAD value)

Neutrogena giveaway wrinkle repair night serum eye

Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle Repair range is formulated with “Accelerated Retinol SA” (the fastest-working retinol the brand offers), and promises results in just one week. Each product is designed to help minimize the irritation that often comes with using products containing retinol, and also contains hyaluronic acid and a glucose complex to help moisturize the skin while making the retinol even more effective.

PS: Make sure to pair these products with a daytime moisturizer that contains sunscreen, like the Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Day SPF 30.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Rapid Tone Repair duo ($60 CAD value)

Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair serum moisturizer giveaway

For those of you who struggle more with tone than wrinkles (like I do), the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair line contains both Accelerated Retinol SA and Vitamin C. With a very high concentration of active ingredients, this duo promises results in just one week, too – and again, it should be paired with an SPF 30 moisturizer during the day (even in the winter)!

The Rapid Tone Repair products fight wrinkles just as well as their Rapid Wrinkle counterparts, but also help diminish the look of dark spots. Go for the Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector Serum if you spent too much unprotected time in the sun as a kid.

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