Friday, August 20, 2010

Back-to-school Bags

Don't shoot the messenger!
Just one week (+3 days) of August to go...before you know it, it's back to school. Who's pumped for fall fashion?!

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Hey y'all! I joined a gym yesterday and thought I'd share some tips...because you know, I'm so BUFF (kidding..that would be me hunched over in the right hand corner above):

Before signing any contracts...

1. Ask for a free day pass so you can check out the facilities on your own without any pressure.

2. Confirm the perks that are included vs. extras (for example: towels, lockers, classes, etc).

3. Ask what the busiest times are and see if this will fit around your schedule - generally speaking the best time to go to a gym is in the early morning and late afternoon. 

4. Make sure there is an "opt-out" option. There are sometimes unforeseeable circumstances that come up, leaving you with an expensive gym membership that you can't use or can't afford. 

5. Clarify and confirm what the term of the contract is (most are 12 months), and ask if there is automatic renewal or if it's month to month after the term is up. You don't want to be stuck with a gym membership for 2 years without knowing it. 

6. Some people hate to ask, but it's worth trying: ask for free stuff! I got a gym bag out of my deal.

What to bring to the gym (besides the obvious like workout gear and a change of clean clothes)...
  • A lock for your locker
  • Flip-flops for the shower
  • Ear-buds for the tv/music
  • Water bottle
Extra tips...
Consider signing up for some one-on-one training sessions! It might sound like a scam at first, but the personal trainer will get you familiarized with the equipment and get you started with a great workout routine. Trust me, 30 minutes on the elliptical is not the best use of your time or membership. ***EDIT: I signed up for 3 training sessions with a personal trainer, which was actually 4 sessions as one of the 3 is an hour long sales pitch (should have seen that coming). So, word to the wise: Only agree to the personal training sessions if you're SURE you want to continue training with that person, OR if you know how to keep your ground and not be upsold into more expensive training sessions.   

Also don't be afraid to talk to other members and ask questions.

I'm so excited to start working out again! My last gym membership ended over a year ago, and since then I'd been doing workout dvds and free weights in my living room. Well, the charm of that wore off fast and I realized it was time to find a gym. I did some research and determined that Goodlife Fitness was my best bet (it's close to work and home, I can get access to all clubs around Canada, and the membership fee is reasonable for me). I was not happy with the last gym I got stuck with (Christine's Fitness) and learned A LOT from that experience. Above all, I've learned never to rush things or feel pressure to sign anything especially if you're not sure of the expenses involved. As with anything in life, the best thing you can do for yourself is clarify and ask questions - if you're made to feel stupid or like you're wasting the person's time, then move on. Customer service is key! And YOU are the customer!

K so who else sees this as an opportunity to drop billz at Lululemon?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Review: Maybelline The Falsies Volum' Express


I love the Maybelline Volum' Express family, so I assumed this recent addition would be a winner. Unfortunately, I think it falls short of the other mascaras in the Maybelline line. The formula is far too wet and the brush is too flimsy to create the sort of dramatic volume that the name implies. If false lashes gave a spidery and clumpy look then the name would be accurate. 

The brush has the right idea, in that it's small and dense - perfect for building volume - but there is a weird flexible elbow in the wand that makes it too bendy for really getting into the lashes. The weak brush also means that brushing through the lashes with a separate comb is pretty much necessary because of the clumping. The major failing point to this mascara is how wet the formula is. I can tell that this mascara, like a fine wine, would be much better with age. But then it becomes a question of hygiene which defeats the purpose of buying a new mascara... and why bother when there are dozens of better mascaras on the market?

On the other hand, some reviews on Makeupalley claim this is the best mascara they've ever tried. Like I've said in the past, mascara seems to be a personal choice, like hair products. So try it out if you're interested, but be prepared for a slick, somewhat difficult mascara.

A 'for sure' mascara in this family is Maybelline Volum' Express Turbo Boost - it's a beaut.

My Make up Routine

This will keep you on the edge of your seat...MY EVERY DAY MAKEUP ROUTINE!(..screen cap says it all)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Follow up to: Clean v.s. Green

After mulling over the video from yesterday's post, I couldn't shake the feeling that I wasn't hearing the other side of the story - if any. I always recommend Paula Begoun and her excellent books and website as a huge resource of un-biased information on cosmetics and skin care products, so I decided to look to her website and see if she had any comments on the topic. Turns out she absolutely has an opinion and guess what, it's excellent news for our wallets. She says:

Because The Story of Cosmetics video is so shockingly biased, what you don’t know is that the assertions of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics are routinely discredited by the independent scientific community. No one is dying or getting sick from using cosmetics and the environment is not falling apart. Rather, we now have safer and more effective skin care, better makeup, impressive shampoos and styling products, and more remarkable hair dyes than ever before. There is not a shred of evidence proving otherwise.

Bottom line: The information in the video sponsored by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is either misleading or 100% false. Much of what’s stated is not based on solid science, and only loosely (and we mean really loosely) based on facts. The truth is that there are some cosmetic ingredients to be concerned about; however, those ingredients are prohibited by regulatory groups worldwide, or the studies concerning their risks don’t relate to how they are used in cosmetic products.

After watching the "Story of Cosmetics" yesterday, I can admit that I was (immediately) swayed because in the drugstore I went over to the "Organic" section to find a face wash (just ran out of my favorite Clean & Clear Makeup Dissolving Cleanser). Even though, ever since being an avid follower of Paula's books and websites, I knew that "Organic" isn't necessarily the best route to go for me personally due to my sensitive skin. Ignoring the voice in my head telling me to stick to what worked for me and go back to Clean & Clear, I picked up Avalon's Vitamin C Cleanser. Well, after the burning sensation around my eyes subsided last night after washing my face with what essentially smells like Mr. Clean Orange Scent, I decided to look to Paula's review of it and see what she had to say (by the by, the bottle says nothing about not using the product near the eyes). Paula's review says that due to the orange extract and other ingredients, it is an incredibly aggravating solution for the skin and especially the eyes - so steer clear. Done and done.

This isn't to say that I think that everyone should buy into Proctor & Gamble, use aerosol spray deodorant and Elle-Net hairspray ExtraMegaFirm Hold, but I do think there is a middle ground between totally "green" and quality "every-day" brands - it's just a matter of doing some research and figuring out what works for you. Hopefully some of my past blog posts, and future ones, can help you decipher this for yourself. Also, I highly recommend subscribing to Paula Begoun's website where you will find an encyclopedia's worth of information on anything and everything you would want to know on cosmetics and skin care (she also has a free blog you should check out). Somewhat related, please check out Goss Makeup Artist on YouTube, who is a pro and always provides succinct, un-biased reviews and information on makeup and is a fan of Paula's approach as well (he's easy on the eyes too!). 

Here is the critique of "The Cosmetics Story", please watch it to get a broader understanding of the issue of clean v.s. green:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Clean v.s. Green

I've been reading and hearing a lot about "safe/clean cosmetics and personal care products" over the years, as I'm sure you have too, and in keeping with my more recent goal of getting healthier I think it's time I do some research and figure out what safe products I should be using and which toxic ones I should get rid of.

As noted in the video, some scientists and doctors say that the level of chemicals in everyday products is so minute that there would be no significant health effects in a person's lifetime. However, I'm personally not convinced that these scientists and doctors take into account the fact that the average person uses multiple products every day - so logically, wouldn't these compound the effects of toxicity? Not to mention all of the chemicals and pesticides we ingest on a daily basis too.

This video has inspired me to figure out what's right for me and make some changes, so I'll let you know what I research and maybe you'll be inspired to make some changes too. 

In the mean time, try not to feel overwhelmed and throw out all of your makeup and personal care products in a fit of panic! Check out this amazing blog for lots of great ideas and articles on the topic:

I'm thinking about picking up the book today! EDIT: I did not buy this.

As a follow up: Please read this