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    Doxy Die Cast Wand Massager review, photos | The wand that changed my mind

    *sponsored by LuxuryVibrators.ca

    The product: Doxy Die Cast Wand Massager

    Today’s a good day. I just got back from a super relaxing weekend in the mountains, it smells nice and fresh outside, and the Doxy Die Cast is a thing that exists in my life.

    I know what you’re thinking. But Rae! You hate massage wands!

    Well… I thought I did. And then I met the Die Cast.

    What makes the Doxy Die Cast irreplaceable (to me)

    Up until I tried the Die Cast, I hated most wands. I can’t stand the Magic Wand; I actively hate the Sola Sync; and I only abide by the Lovehoney x Tokidoki Unicorn Massage Wand because, well, it’s a unicorn. (Its horn makes it feel more like a traditional vibrator than a wand.)

    But the Die Cast is incredible. It’s rumblier than the lighter massage wands I’ve tried, and the super-smooth silicone head feels comforting, not grating. The vibrations are overwhelming, but the double weighted head of this toy dampens them so that they don’t hurt or feel numbing – which wands often do, for me.

    The magic of the Doxy Die Cast is twofold. Firstly, it’s a goddamn work of art. It’s made from a die cast aluminum & titanium alloy, with a medical-grade silicone head. It has squishy, LED-backlit buttons (hold the power button to turn it on with a pulsation mode) and a 12-foot cord. It feels just as luxurious as it looks, too – you could easily club someone to death with this flawlessly smooth handle. Die casting is an expensive process (hence the $285 CAD price tag on the Die Cast, which is updated significantly from the Doxy Original Wand), but it delivers.

    I learned from retailers at Woodhull that the white Die Cast does poorly online, but flies off the shelves in person. I can see why: the white finish looks flat in stock photos, but is dazzling in real life. It’s full of multidimensional purple reflects that glow slightly green at a flat angle. Take a close look at the photo below – you should be able to just barely see that beautiful green and purple glow.

    Look at that glitter!

    Secondly, the Doxy motor is at its best in the Die Cast. I love intense vibes, but I’ve never made it to max with this wand. The lowest setting on the Die Cast feels significantly more intense than the highest setting on the We-Vibe Tango, so you’re really in for a powerful (but noisy) experience when you use it.

    With a bullet vibe, it takes me anywhere from 12-50 minutes to orgasm, with an average around 25 minutes. With the Doxy, I can do it in five. 

    I didn’t even know my body was capable of getting off in under ten minutes. And while the orgasm isn’t as full-bodied as it would be if I took my time to build up to it, it makes me feel (for lack of a better word) normal. 

    I have a lot of anxieties wrapped up around sex, and I love sex toys with the intensity that I do because they make orgasming easier for my disabled body. But while I know that it’s totally normal for orgasms to their time to come, taking that up to an hour makes me feel awful. I get tired from carrying that much tension in my body for that long, and crabby because my body won’t do what I want it to.

    Owning a sex toy that helps me come on my terms is incredibly empowering, and that’s why the Die Cast feels so irreplaceable to me.

    The Doxy Die Cast carrying case

    The Doxy caveat

    I was expecting to hate the Doxy Die Cast. Not just because I thought I hated massage wands, but because I haven’t had the best experiences with Doxy, either. Don’t get me wrong: the people behind the brand are amazing, as are the products. But their toys frequently arrive faulty. 

    My first Doxy experience involved an un-fixed motor, which slid vibrations from the handle to the head, and back again. My second was this very product, which Doxy had to replace because it came with a spinning head that I couldn’t fix.

    I asked my followers in a Twitter poll if they owned a Doxy product, and more than half of respondents who own a Doxy said that their Doxy has had problems. The problems included sticking buttons, stuck caps, spinning caps, and more. And Doxy has been great in each and every instance, providing hacks and replacement products free of charge, but… That shouldn’t be necessary.

    If you’re paying almost $300 for a vibrator, your experience should be perfect. Your product (or your gift) shouldn’t arrive faulty. Even if the company is great about fixing problems, which Doxy is, the faulty products shouldn’t be going out in the first place. 

    The Doxy Die Cast verdict?

    Get it. Get three! Get as many as you can possibly afford. (Which is probably not that many, because man, these are EXPENSIVE.) Just do yourself (and me) a favour if you’ll be buying it as a Christmas gift, and plug your Die Cast in when it arrives – before you put it under the tree.

    The Doxy Die Cast is a massage wand, but it’s the best damn massage wand I have ever tried. It’s not very discreet or travel-friendly when compared to many smaller, rechargeable vibrators, but I will happily exchange all that for this beautiful, beautiful motor and heavy, rumbly head.

    Note: The Doxy Die Cast is “compatible with all standard large massage wand attachments.” Doxy also makes a Doxy Original Massage Wand, which features the same motor and shape – but a different casing. My wonderful blogging friends Hey Epiphora and Dangerous Lilly have excellent comparisons of the two!

    Availability: $285 CAD at LuxuryVibrators.ca, who I am forever grateful to for introducing me to the Die Cast. LuxuryVibrators.ca is a Canadian-owned business, and they stock only body-safe products.

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    Henkaa Sakura Maxi Convertible Dress review, photos


    Shot by the absolutely amazing Chelsey Belec. (Find her at @chelbel for bookings!)

    The product: Henkaa Sakura Maxi Convertible Dress in Mauve Taupe

    Back in August, I posted about one of my favourite finds of the year: a super cool convertible dress/top/skirt from Henkaa. I’m still loving the Henkaa Blume, but what has my heart right now is the Henkaa Sakura Maxi in the relatively new Mauve Taupe.

    (I mean, Mauve Taupe was brand new when I first tried it on, but then I did my thing and took forever to get this post up, so… yeah. I was so ready for it, too! But then I re-shot the images three times, and now we’re here!)

    The Sakura is to fall what the Blume was to summer, and if you thought the Blume was convertible… you’re going to lose your mind over the Sakura. (I did.) It comes in two lengths, midi and maxi, and just an absolute rainbow of colours.

    This dress can be worn in 60+ different ways, and it’s really easy to tie. I have it styled two different ways in this post, with a third coming up in the winter.

    Wearing: KISS Blooming Lashes in Lily, Inglot eyeshadows, and Burberry Lip Colour Contour Pen in Fair

    What the Henkaa Sakura Maxi is great for

    Um… everything?

    The Henkaa Sakura Maxi is perfect as a wedding dress. It’s amazing as a bridesmaids dress. And it’s gorgeous as a maternity dress. It’s great for fancy dinners and evening parties, and it can be styled with an assortment of wonderfully sparkly embellishments and overlays.

    Basically, the Sakura is killer for any event in which there’ll be a professional photographer. But it’s not so great for casual get-togethers, so I really don’t understand why I’m so in love with it. (Like any good blogger, I never go to fancy things, and I rarely leave the house.)

    The versatility of the Sakura’s design means that it can be worn again and again, or purchased full-length for a wedding and then cut to a midi length afterwards. It comes in two sizes to fit sizes 0-24, and it’s wrinkle-resistant and made in Canada.

    However: Henkaa’s Lenaa fabric can be quite sheer. I could see my nude bra clearly underneath the Pure Ivory Sakura, and without the bra, my nipples went full deer-in-the-headlights. Many of its styles won’t cover up bra straps, so depending on your build, it may not be the most forgiving dress. (Its generous folds make it very lengthening, though!)

    Like the Blume, the Sakura will fit people who fall in the middle of the size spectrum the best, but it’s great for any height.

    The verdict on the Henkaa Sakura Maxi?

    I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I need to own the Henkaa Sakura Maxi Convertible Dress in Pure Ivory. Despite its sheerness, the only thing still up in the air is whether that’s going to be for theNotice or for my far-off wedding day – but it’s going to happen.

    That’s how much I love this dress.

    I am endlessly fascinated by convertible dresses, and the Henkaa Sakura is an absolute vision in both mauve and white. If you dress up a lot for work (my friend Bri attends a lot of weddings, for instance) or you need an event dress that you’d like to be able to wear again, start your search here!

    Availability: $168 CAD at Henkaa.

    H/t again to Chelsey for making me look far cooler than I actually am.

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    Deciem The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7%, Squalane reviews, photos

    The products: Deciem The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and 100% Plant-Derived Squalane

    When my skincare stash needs a bit of freshening up, there’s one brand that I always know I can turn to: The Ordinary. Their products are everything that I look for in a brand. Not only are they affordable and Canadian, but they’re also often (but not always!) silicone-free, or even pure oils and emollients. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution and 100% Plant-Derived Squalane are my two most recent additions from Deciem, and you guys.

    These knock it out of the park. I have yet to figure out what “it” is, but in this case, “it” is probably something along the lines of “my expectations.”

    Deciem The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution review, photos

    The Ordinary’s 7% glycolic acid is my very first proper acid, if you’ll believe that. I’ve used acids before, of course, but not as part of a proper skincare regimen – just in the form of KP treatments, or occasional masks or peels. (I just re-bought that Paula’s Choice Retexturizing Foam last month!)

    This is the first acid that I’ve ever had the patience to use for more than a few days, and it was well worth it. The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8.70 CAD/USD) is super-gentle, but both my partner and I began seeing results within a week. It offers a mild exfoliation on a nightly basis, and contains a Tasmanian Pepperberry derivative to “reduce irritation associated with acid use.”

    The derivative works. Even with my sensitive skin, I can use The Ordinary’s 7% glycolic acid nightly as needed with no signs of irritation. It makes my skin look fresher and more poreless, and helps cut down on breakouts and dry patches.

    I directed my partner to start using this acid nightly along his hairline when he complained to me about breakouts, and his results were even better than mine. His hairline breakouts, which he’s had for the past decade (seriously, what do people do before they meet their pocket beauty bloggers? Struggle?) disappeared completely after about two weeks of use. He’s also a big fan of The Ordinary’s Niacinamide & Zinc, so if you have breakout-prone, oily skin, these are two products that I would definitely recommend!

    Of course, as with any AHA, I recommend applying this toner at night and wearing at least an SPF 30 moisturizer during the day. Not only will that help minimize sun damage, but it’ll help you compensate for this toner’s only weakness: a mild stickiness after application.

    Deciem The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane review, photos

    After all of my raving about The Ordinary’s glycolic toner, you might be expecting the rest of this review to sort of… flop off.

    Not so!

    I used The Ordinary’s glycolic toner for a couple of months before trying anything else from the brand, but when the mercury dropped, I reached for my bottle of The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane ($7.90 CAD/USD). I don’t love it quite as much as the toner, but to be fair, acids are showy. A great hydrator, while awesome, is not. 

    I enjoyed using The Ordinary’s 100% Rose Hip Seed Oil last winter, but as with many oils, I didn’t wholly love it. It was still a little greasy, and it smelled just awful – nutty and oily, right from the first drop.

    The Ordinary’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane, however: that’s some good stuff. It’s ECOCERT approved, scent-free, and oil-free. (That being said, squalane still stains something awful. I recommend handling it like a rich, greasy oil.) For those of you who aren’t skincare junkies, here’s a little crash course.

    Squalane is a stable hydrocarbon that we used to get from hydrogenating the squalene found in shark liver oil. It’s found naturally (and plentifully) in human skin cells, but of course, some of us don’t make enough on our own! A good squalane like this one will leave your skin feeling like naturally well-hydrated skin, and now that humans have figured how to derive it from olive oil and sugarcane, we no longer need to kill 3000 sharks to produce a single ton of squalane.

    In other words? Plant-derived squalane is the real deal. It delivers hydration without that dry-but-greasy film, won’t oxidize in the bottle, and (this stuff, at least) is earth- and animal-friendly.

    The verdict on The Ordinary Glycolic Acid Toning Solution & Squalane?

    Whenever I try a new product from The Ordinary, I’m left kicking myself for not trying it earlier. These products are a great example as to why.

    The Ordinary’s 7% Glycolic Acid Toning Solution is a cheap, gentle way to try a daily acid without upsetting sensitive skin. It’s great for people with acne, textural issues, or oily skin, and it works well to slough off dry patches. I use it nightly as needed, and then let my skin rest until I feel like another pick-me-up is in order.

    The brand’s 100% Plant-Derived Squalane is equally fantastic as an affordable way to try some top-notch, scent-free squalane. It’s a lovely hydrator, but remember to use it sparingly. It disrupts makeup the same way that sebum would, and using too much can result in decreased wear time on things like eyeliner and foundation!

    These products are silicone-free, nut-free, oil-free, vegan, and like all Deciem products, cruelty-free.

    Availability:Deciem.com. Also stocked at Beautylish, Cult Beauty, Beauty Bay, and more.

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    How to put on an easy viewing party for two (in under 5 minutes!)

    *sponsored by Two Oceans

    When it comes to deciding whether or not I’m down to watch something in a group, my thought process usually goes a little something like this:

    >> Is it offensive or marginalizing?

    >> No? Okay, cool. Are you gonna be mad at me if I talk the whole time?

    >> Still no? Perfect. Can I eat during it?

    >> Yes? DONE. Hand me those snacks and turn on the show.

    This week, the show in question is The Bachelor Canada, where yet another white guy named Chris is searching for the love of his life.

    What’s going on right now on The Bachelor Canada

    My favourite Chris is and will always be Chris Evans, who seems like a genuinely good dude who just wants to tell dogs they’re good boys and make his mother proud. The Chris on The Bachelor seems okay too (and has a stellar head of hair slash face-of-beard), but he probably hasn’t ever saved an entire city in a movie or anything.

    I thought I’d be in this game for Lisa, the kooky professional mermaid & squirrel rescuer, but I’ve developed a massive crush on Brittany M. instead. I have literally no idea why the other contestants seem to hate her, but girl, if you don’t come out of this with a ring on your finger, you know where to find me.

    Current expectations for this season of The Bachelor CA: probably not going to end up as a beautiful poly love fest; definitely not going to end up with an equal-age match.

    How to put together an easy viewing party (in under 5 minutes)

    The only things you really need for an easy viewing party for two are 1) wine and 2) snacks. I’m rarely prepared for anything in my life, so I tend to drink my TV wine the way any terrible adult does: over ice.

    I know it’s bad form to ice your whites, but is there any better pairing for a guilty pleasure reality TV show than a citrusy Sauvignon Blanc on ice?

    On the side, I’ll do an easy snack – fresh veggies from the farmer’s market, at least one pre-packaged snack with chocolate, and crackers with cream cheese. (The crackers are low-fat so the cream cheese can be full-fat. Because… that’s how eating healthy works*?) Or, if I’ve successfully made it out of the house that day, I’ll do a little plate of mini cupcakes from my favourite Edmonton cake shop.

    I’m betting that Lisa leaves The Bachelor this week, but I guess I’ll have to watch the show to find out for sure!

    What are your go-to snacks for a night in front of the TV? 

    *Don’t tell me if it isn’t. I don’t want to know.

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    Lise Watier fall 2017 review, makeup look, and photos

    A little while back, a longtime reader asked me to review the new Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême in Maple Velours ($26 CAD) from the Lise Watier fall collection. My interest was immediately piqued: Maple is a unique burgundy shade that you don’t often see in eye products, much less cream-based eye products.

    I set out to put together a makeup look with Maple. What I found, however, was that it’s best used on my colouring as a base. The warm, red undertones give depth to neutral and cool eyeshadows, which the Lise Watier Fall 2017 and Lise Watier x ELLE Fall 2017 Weekender collections have in spades.

    Highlights of the Lise Watier Fall 2017 makeup collection

    I was late to the party for this fall collection, but if you can still get your hands on these products… Here’s what I recommend (and don’t.)

    The Weekender Eyeshadow Palette is stellar, with gorgeous rose gold & marble packaging. (I could go without the teal, but that’s just because I’m a curmudgeon and I’m over teal right now.) The Weekender Waterproof Eyeliner is also really interesting – it’s dark and intense. Good burgundy liners are hard to come by, so I’d definitely recommend snapping it up now if it caught your eye.

    I’ve never been crazy about the Lise Watier Ombre Velours Suprême formula, so unless you’re hunting for a burgundy eyeshadow base, I’d skip Tan, Maple, and Nuage Velours. (Yes, even though I based this whole look around Maple!)

    The Ombre Velours eyeshadows are blendable and sheer, but creamy formulas like these tend to decrease wear time for me. Nuage Velours is a cool base, though – it’s an icy blue-white that’s the polar opposite of the warming Maple.

    I would also pass on the Havana Trio Glow palette and the burnt orange Weekender lipstick, but I really like the nude Rouge Gourmands. The packaging is beautiful and chic, and the sheer lipsticks are easy to wear. You only really need one of these sexy beige tubes, though – not all three!

    Products used in this fall makeup look

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