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    Bijoux Indiscrets Maze Chokers, Magnifique Chain review, photos | A trio of temptation

    Happy 2018, dear reader! How’s your year going so far? Mine’s picking up steam quickly: I started with the flu (hence the sudden almost-two-week hiatus) while freezing half to death in -30˚C weather, but now I’m sitting cozily at home in a balmy, snowy, -1 degree city with a not-insubstantial part of the Bijoux Indiscrets Maze collection lying out in front of me to start the year.

    Bijoux Indiscrets was one of my favourite brands of 2017. I’ve already shown the Bijoux Indiscrets Maze Tassel Choker in Brown ($35 USD/$45 CAD) and Maze Wide Choker in Brown ($45 USD) in this Tobi LBD post, but I wanted to share a few snaps of the products themselves, too.

    See you Monday with more of my 2017 faves!

    The Bijoux Indiscrets Maze chokers

    The Bijoux Indiscrets Maze chokers (although let’s call ’em what they are: fashion collars) are cute as heck, but they do have one flaw: they’re made for fashion, not heavy play. A single firm tug on either choker will snap its connecting ring, and any oils or lube residue on your hands will stain the (very believable-looking) brown vegan leather.

    But… They’re super cute. And $35 for a choker this unique is a good price – which is one of the many reasons why I love Bijoux Indiscrets so much. Their products can be a little pricier in small, sex-positive boutiques, but on the whole, they’re very affordable for kinky gear. 

    There’s a little more on these chokers in this post, but my verdict? Buy them, but do it because they’re cute, not because you want to use them in the bedroom.

    Availability: $35 USD & up at Bijoux Indiscrets. Select styles available at Blush Lingerie.

    The Bijoux Indiscrets Magnifique collection

    I also shot the Bijoux Indiscrets Magnifique Metallic Chain Shoulders & Back Jewelry in Gold ($40 USD), and I love/hated it.

    On one hand: it’s a really unique product, which Bijoux is great at. And it’s reversible, so it’s kind of like a 2-in-1. AND it comes in both gold and silver, so it doesn’t matter what your colour palette is. AND ON TOP OF THAT, it’s nickel-free, making it safe for many people with allergies.

    Bijoux Indiscrets Magnifique Metallic Chain Shoulders & Back Jewelry in Gold. Worn with: Victoria’s Secret bralette (similar/similar/plus size), Lens Republica/Solotica Natural Colors Contact Lenses in Mel/Honey ($94.99 USD; seen also here), and Maybelline Matte Ink Lipcolor in 40 Believer. Other makeup listed here.

    However. Despite all that, it’s not a product you should wear if you’re a perfectionist, like I am. I spend half my time worrying about which strands are out of place, or which have twisted, or which aren’t on quite right… It’s a nightmare. It’s definitely one of the most unique pieces I own; I just trend towards things that are easier to wear, like these collars.

    I like this chain against bare skin, but I love it most layered over a black dress or top.

    Availability: $40 USD at Bijoux Indiscrets.

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    LUSH Merry and Bright set review, photos | Last-minute holiday gifting

    If you haven’t purchased all your holiday gifts yet this year… It may be too late for you, cosmically. But in all practical aspects, LUSH has you covered! Their gift sets are super easy to give, and kits like the LUSH Merry and Bright set come pre-wrapped.

    I really like the Merry and Bright gift set because it’s a little outside of the norm for the brand. There are no bath bombs, fizzies, or melts in the entire set! (And okay, so maybe I’m a little bummed about that, but I still have bath bombs from Halloween to use up. 2017 has been a great year for baths and I!)

    The gels and conditioners in LUSH Merry and Bright

    Instead of bath bombs, the Lush Merry and Bright set ($85.95 CAD) contains mostly shower gels and body conditioners. It’s a shower set, not a bath set – which I think makes Lush a little more accessible for all of the bath-haters out there.

    (I know you’re out there. I, too, was a member of your ranks not so long ago.)

    The set includes Lush’s classic Rose Jam and Bubbly shower gels (100 ml each). They’re perfect for travelling, but honestly? I prefer them for just regular use. The 100 ml containers are easy to pick up with my arthritic hands, and they’ll be used up before I get bored of the scent.

    Bubbly is a new-to-me shower gel, and I really like it! It’s fruity and orangey, with a nice, almost jello-like gel texture.

    The Lush Merry and Bright set contains not one, not two, but three body conditioners, too.I really like Lush’s body conditioners for lazy days, because I don’t have to moisturize when I get out of the shower. Ro’s Argan is the brand’s standby; a fruity, rose-scented in-shower body conditioner that you apply after you soap and rinse off, and Christingle is a cooling, minty confection.

    Buck’s Fizz is another orangey scent, with enough gold shimmer to just sparingly stick around after you dry off. This is more or less a dead ringer of Bubbly for me, and the two smell a lot like my Lush Celebrate from 2015. (Which, somehow, still hasn’t gone bad, or run out.)

    The rest of the rest

    There’s one small body lotion in this set: Once Upon a Time, a lightly green-tinted, apple-scented lotion. Everything else is just sort of a miscellany of items, from a cola-flavoured lip scrub (Santa Baby) to a rough Salt and Peppermint Bark body exfoliator.

    The set finishes with Candy Cane, a minty, skin-softening roulade. If you haven’t tried a roulade before, I’d recommend poking one sometime – they’re really weird. I think I like them? But their squishy, sticky texture is definitely unique.

    This is going to be my last post before Christmas, so if I don’t see you until after then: happy holidays, dear reader. It’s been quite the year!

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    The Bachelor Canada Season 3: The Finale!

    *sponsored by Two Oceans

    It’s that time again: the final rose ceremony. This is the first time I’ve ever tuned into The Bachelor, and I have to admit… I’m getting kind of into this whole “viewing party” thing. Quite possibly more than I’m into the show itself.

    (What? I love a good, planned party!)

    Season 3 of The Bachelor Canada ends tonight, and I have a couple ideas for Two Oceans themed viewings of the show. It’s all about Lyndsey and Mikaela, so why not drink to it? I love the idea of setting up your viewing party with two sides, split wedding-style: glasses of red wine on one side for Mikaela, and glasses of white wine on the other, for Lyndsey.

    For Mikaela, Two Oceans’ powerhouse red is their Two Oceans Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot, but I’m going to nudge you in a slightly drier direction, to the brand’s shiraz. It’s touch to find a cheap shiraz, but this one gets very palatable ratings on Vivino. (Y’all, did you know you can install an app on your phone and it’ll tell you things about wines if you take pictures of their labels? This totally shook my entire worldview.)

    For Lyndsey, you have more options. My pick is the Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc. I prefer it iced, but for a viewing party, I’d totally leave a bottle of chilled Two Oceans Moscato on hand, too. I like my wine to taste like wine, but for some reason, I’m one of very few of my friends who does!

    Who are you rooting for in the final episode of The Bachelor Canada Season 3? 

    P.S. Yes, I’m still bummed that Brittany is gone. But girl? You go for walking out!

    P.P.S. And with all that… I’m going to leave you with my favourite part of The Bachelor. Here’s a super cute blooper reel of humans being cute.

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    Esqido Starlet, Radiance, Miss Dolly comparisons, Shu Uemura Fresh Nudes review: The perfect “nothing” lid look

    I’ve been rocking deeper lid looks this winter (with a burgundy or red lip, for the most part), but I go a little gold when the holidays come around. With a sparkly lid and a set of lashes–the Esqido Starlet Mink Lashes are my current fave–I can get my entire look together in under 15 minutes.

    Here are some of my favourite products of the season to get this sparkly, easy makeup look.

    Fluttery volume: Esqido Starlet, Radiance, & Miss Dolly False Mink Eyelashes

    What really makes this look is a set of false lashes. I’ve always been on the fence about Esqido, but I’m back on the “yes!” side of the fence… For the time being.

    Like other mink lashes, Esqido Mink Lashes can be stiff and heavy. But my last few sets of Esqido lashes were from 2015, and the lash styles available today just make them a can’t-miss. Some styles have been updated, too; my original Miss Dolly lashes look almost nothing like the Miss Dolly lashes of today (far right in photos). The new lashes are longer, with a more regular pattern.

    Esqido Starlet, Radiance, Miss Dolly false lashes. Shu Uemura shu:palette Fresh Nudes eyeshadows.

    What really changed my opinion on Esqido, however, was the Esqido Starlet Mink False Lashes ($29 USD) (far left). I don’t think they were around when I tried out the brand initially, but they’re so good. The lashes are voluminous but very short, with a 3/5 volume rating on the box and 4-10mm mink lashes. They’re incredible for day wear, and really make my eyes look awake without looking like false eyelashes. They actually look a little bit like really well-done lash extensions, at a fraction of the price.

    The Starlet lashes are almost my dream lash. I’d love a Starlet 2.0 with just a fraction more volume or length – like, 2mm more, with 10% more volume.

    For those of you who also have monolids: in order to make the Esqido lashes comfortable to wear on my eyes, I trim about 6mm off the outer corners and 5mm off the inner corners. It makes each lash a lot shorter, and prevents the stiff band from poking you in the eye every time you blink.

    Pair with Ardell Duo lash glue, which cures dry, unlike the super sticky (and otherwise lovely) Esqido Companion Eyelash Glue.

    L-R: Esqido Starlet, Radiance, Miss Dolly false lashes

    I’ve also been enjoying the Esqido Radiance Mink False Lashes ($29 USD). They’re similar to the Starlet lashes in length and volume, but the criss-crossed pattern makes them a little more obvious. (They’re a 3/5 volume on the box and have 5-10mm lashes.) I think they look rather pretty and fluttery, but they’re more sparse.

    Basically, the Esqido Starlet lash looks more dramatic when you look down; the Radiance lash looks more dramatic when you look up. And I’m alllll about that downcast lid look.

    (L) 2015 Esqido Miss Dolly lashes and packaging, trimmed; (R) 2017 Esqido Miss Dolly lashes and packaging, untrimmed

    My new vs. old Esqido Miss Dolly lashes

    I couldn’t say all that without showing you, so here’s a comparison between my new (2017) and old (2015) Esqido Miss Dolly lashes. 

    I like my false lashes short and full, so I’m not crazy about the update. The old lashes were about as far as I could go with “falseness;” the new ones are too much for me.

    Shu Uemura Fresh Nudes Eyeshadow Palette

    The nothing eye: Shu Uemura shu:palette Fresh Nudes

    Finally… Let’s talk about that lid look. I know you can’t see a lot of it in these photos, but it made the perfect backdrop for these lashes.

    The Shu Uemura shu:palette Fresh Nudes ($110 USD/$135 CAD) is a super-fresh update on the brand’s original shu:palette. I like it, but I don’t love it. (That being said, if you want to make me part with it, you will have to tear it from my cold, dead hands.)

    The Fresh Nudes palette is lighter and warmer than the original. Each eyeshadow pan is good, but only one was truly great: a buttery, shimmery orange, fourth from the right on the bottom row. A lot of these shades felt like repeats to me, and the mattes were a little chalky.

    I loved the original shu:palette so much when it launched and still love it to this day. It’s so creamy and versatile, and each shade is distinct. The Fresh Nudes palette, however, just doesn’t speak to me in the same way. It’s not as broad, versatile, or pigmented. 

    Is it pretty? That’s for damn sure. And is it everything you’d need for a nude eyeshadow look? Totally, on fair to medium skin. But I had to swatch these eyeshadows 3-6 times to get each swatch dense enough. These eyeshadows just aren’t as creamy or blendable as the eyeshadows in the original shu:palette.

    shu:palette fresh nudes review, swatches: top row, indirect sunlight over primer

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    Fresh Holiday Picture Perfect Mask Set, Bodycare Besties review, photos

    The products: Fresh Holiday 2017 Picture Perfect Mask Set and Bodycare Besties

    One of the best parts about holiday beauty collections (aside from the abundance of glitter) is the number of sets that come out. I’m pretty sure the word of the moment is “droves:” that is, they come out in them. The brand does quite a few sets each year, but here are two Fresh holiday sets that are paraben- and silicone-free. 

    (Their Fresh Sugar lip sets are another of my favourites. Here are 2013 and 2015‘s!)

    Fresh Picture Perfect Mask Set ($60 CAD/$50 USD)

    The Fresh Picture Perfect Mask Set contains three 30 ml silicone-free masks in colouring book packaging. They’re a trio of products to suit all skin types, including sensitive and dehydrated.

    Fresh’s Umbrian Clay Purifying Mask is a great spot treatment/acne mask that can be used daily as a deep cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin. I use this slightly green-tinted mask mostly in the t-zone, as it dries on the skin to remove impurities. The brand’s Rose Face Mask is a lot simpler; it’s a hydrating gel mask with rosewater and rose petals. It’s almost identical to The Body Shop’s British Rose Fresh Plumping Mask, with less fragrance and a slightly thinner texture. (Honestly, I prefer The Body Shop’s.)

    Finally, the kombucha-rich Fresh Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask is made to hydrate, soften, and smooth. It has an odd texture – velvety and matte; almost like there should be silicones in there, but there aren’t. It leaves my skin tingling and fresh.

    I think this Fresh holiday set feels a little pricey for what you get, but it’s a great way to try all three of these – they work out to $20 CAD each in the set, but they’re usually $30 each for 3o ml.

    Get it for: The multi-masker.

    Fresh Bodycare Besties Set ($50 CAD/$38 USD)

    The Fresh Bodycare Besties Set is another great gift idea. Body care is always easier to buy for someone else, and it makes a better host gift in my opinion. It’s a little more “treat yourself!” and a little less “you look tired!” 

    Bodycare Besties features Fresh’s classic Brown Sugar Body Polish, a thin, sugar-and-oil body scrub that’s both exfoliating and hydrating. It also contains two small tubes of Fresh Hesperides Grapefruit Body Lotion and Bath & Shower Gel, which both smell deliciously of refreshing grapefruit. I love a good sugar body polish (the oil bases always leave my skin feeling so smooth and hydrated), but the Hesperides body lotion takes the cake for me in this set.

    (My mom, a grapefruit fanatic who is insanely hard to buy for, perked up when she saw these. But I’m loathe to part with these travel-sized tubes … And I know she’s still working through the Bliss Grapefruit & Aloe Body Butter that I gave her, which makes me feel a lot less bad about it.)

    (I’m kinda hoping she’ll just forget these exist if I never bring them up again.)

    Get it for: The grapefruit lover!

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