Friday, December 10, 2010

Success ... Sort Of ...

In my last post I mentioned I was going to try and duplicate making my own LUSH shower jellies and bubble bars. Well, I was at least successful with one of those - the bubble bars. Unfortunately I wasn't as successful with the shower jelly.

LUSH shower jellies are made using carrageen which is a vegan product. After doing some research, I found that although carrageen is available (and expensive), it's not readily available. An alternative to carrageen is Irish moss which is more readily available and once I was able to pick up some Irish moss, I tried my hand at making my own shower jelly with it.

Well ... it didn't work. I'm not sure if I didn't use enough Irish moss, but after refrigerating for over 12 hours, I had a soupy mess rather than jelly (the soupy mess did give me lots of bubble though!). Another downfall of using Irish moss is that it is a type of algae and it can have a bit of an odor. It actually turned my "jelly" a lovely brownish color and smelled really bad ... YUCK!!

After doing more research, I've discovered others have duplicated these shower jellies using plain gelatin ... so I'm going to give it another try!

The bubble bars were a little easier to make with most of the ingredients easy to find. I made two varieties of these, one which happened to have brown spots appear after a few days. I ended up posting on a soap making forum and they "guessed" it was the oil I used in conjunction with the fragrance. The other batch turned out perfectly.

... off to try the gelatin

** UPDATE: Well unfortunately the gelatin really didn't work any better than the carrageen ... maybe I didn't add enough gelatin?? ... back to the drawing board

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I Need a Support Group!!!

OK, I admit it ... I am a bath and body product junkie (is there a support group for that??) ...

My favorite scented body products are of course from Bath and Body Works (which I admittedly have too many of), plus I have a new favorite that I picked up as a birthday gift to myself last month - Laura Mercier's Creme Brulee Body Souffle (this smells sooooooo yummy ... who knew I liked smelling like dessert!!).

One of the coolest bath/shower products out there (I think it is anyway), is Lush's Shower Jellies ... unfortunately as most of you know, Lush's products can be a bit pricey. So, I started a quest to see if I could duplicate these shower jellies for myself.

... I am happy to say I have found a recipe (and the appropriate ingredients) to try and make my own ... so as soon as the "special" ingredient which makes these into jelly arrives in the mail, I am going to try my recipe.

Another of Lush's products that I am absolutely in love with are the Lush Bubble Bars ... unfortunately these too are pricey so I am in search for a homemade recipe for these as well ... hmmm I love a challenge!!

I'll report back in a while and let you know how I make out! Wish me luck!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Bath and Body Works is EVIL

I tried to stay away from B&BW for awhile, I really did. But they know just how to suck you back into buying their products! Props to their marketing department for that.

I have been shopping there for a couple years now, and will likely continue to for a long time. I've sampled pretty widely from their line, but especially love the lotions, which I use as fragrances. Saying that, I have found the fragrances to be hit or miss, but the ones I love I really, really love. And I am very picky about scents.

Some favorites: Black Amethyst, Midnight Pomegranate, Orange Sapphire and PS I Love You, I also love their whole Aromatherapy line. (I'm sure the future I'll be adding more to the list)

On the downside, some of their fruity scents are very artificial smelling (Country Apple and Sun Ripened Raspberry come to mind) while others are too musky (Winter Candy Apple, Moonlight Path).

B&BW are masters of upselling as well ... it's very hard to stay on budget once you walk in the door ("why buy one bottle of lotion, when you can buy two and get a third free?").

Ah, well. I love this place. Their stuff makes great gifts, and besides, it makes me happy to smell good :)

The Ultimate Make-up Sponge?

Do you want to have that perfect, flawless face? Do you want your makeup to go into your skin effortlessly? Do you actually want your makeup to look like your skin? Well, problem solved! The BeautyBlender is a must have if you want that flawless, perfect skin finish.

What is it? It’s a sponge, but not just any sponge. It’s the latest makeup secret. When you use your fingers (or the infamous triangle sponge or a foundation brush), you can get streaks and that makeup look we all hate. By using the BeautyBlender, your makeup will actually look like your skin.

This sponge is made to have no edges and is latex free, non-allergenic, and odor free. You can actually use this same sponge to apply your concealer, foundation, tinted moisturizer, pressed powder, bronzer, and even blush.

How do you use it? The key is to dampen the sponge first and bounce your product across your face. By doing this, whatever you are applying will actually get into your skin, actually improving your tone and texture so you can have that flawless finish. Look at the shape. The pointed side is used for all those hard to reach places like around your nose, under your eyes, and where your eyes and nose meet. This side is also great to cover blemishes. The rounder part is used for your larger areas like your cheeks, forehead, and chin.

How do you clean it? It is suggested to cleanse it after every use in order to remove excess product and bacteria. There is a cleanser specifically for the BeautyBlender called the BeautyCleanser but some people use either Baby Shampoo or Anti-bacterial soap.

Is it really the ultimate make-up sponge? I can't live without these! Nothing applies foundation better than these pink bouncy cuties. They are very long lasting as well (might sound gross but I have been using the same one for about a year - don't ridicule me, I wash it really well with anti bacterial soap and have never broken out). If anything it isn't as vibrant as it was when I first bought it, but it still does it's job. It's easy to get under the eyes, around the nose brows and hairline with this sponge. Flawless natural finish every time. It helps your makeup look like perfect skin. I will definitely repurchase (I already bought backups for travel).

Saturday, October 30, 2010

SEUHW ... the videos

In follow-up to my "SEUHW ... A Recap" blog, I thought I'd post a few videos of the event that I found on Youtube ... I not sure why it didn't occur to me to take any videos??? oh well ...

The Zombie Walk ...

Event Highlights

Joey Fatone singing karaoke.... (yes that Joey Fatone from 'N Sync)

G. Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter at the VIP Party ...

G. Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter jamming by the pool ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

We're Back ... and We're Hooked!!

... well we're back to reality after an awesome vacation in Orlando.

The first part of our vacation was spent with good friends at Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend which you can read all about here. Following SEUHW, we moved over to Disney. Previously when visiting WDW, we've stayed at Disney's Pop Century Resort (and also off-site), but because this year we received a coveted 40% pin code, we decided to take the opportunity to stay at one of Disney's Deluxe Resorts we both liked - Disney's Polynesian Resort. As mentioned previously, because we were able to snag such a great discount, we decided to go for it and booked Club/Concierge Level with a Theme Park View.

We were up fairly early the morning of our departure from the Wyndham and SEUHW, and arrived at Disney around 10:30 am. (by the way - you can click on most of the pictures in this blog for a bigger picture)

After arriving at the Polynesian, we headed to the Hawaii building where the CL/Concierge check-in was located. Unfortunately our room wasn't yet ready, so Bell Services stored our luggage and we headed upstairs to check out the King Kamehameha Club Concierge Lounge.

For those not familiar with Concierge/CL at the Disney Deluxe Resorts, benefits for guests staying in these accommodations include personalized front desk services, turndown service, exclusive access to the Club Level Concierge lounges, refreshments throughout the day and personalized itinerary planning for dining, childcare arrangements, recreational activities, tours, transportation plus any other needs the guest may have.

The King Kamehameha Club Concierge Lounge at the Poly offers a variety of food and beverage served throughout the day.

Kakahiaka (morning service) 7:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. offering muffins and pastries, tropical fruit, cereal, milk, orange juice, pineapple guava juice, ice tea, coffee drinks and hot chocolate from coffee machines, glass bottles of water, and toasters are available. Yogurt available as well as other items by request. Just ask at the counter.

Auinala (afternoon service) 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. offering fruit juice, bottled water, soda, ice tea, cookies, tropical fruit, gummy worms and m&m’s for the kids.

Ahiahi (evening service) 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. offering different themes each day.

Aumoe (late evening service) 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. offering wine and cheese as well as cordials and desserts. Beer is also available by request.

Every evening they also serve a wonderful tropical alcoholic beverage, the Ku’ulei Special (we just call it Hawaiian Punch). If you are so inclined to whip up a batch at home, the wonderful CMs in the lounge gave me a copy of the recipe - just ask and I shall share (we're seriously thinking of making a batch or two of this for May-Hem).

After spending some time in the lounge, we decided to head on over to Epcot to take in some of the Food and Wine Festival as unfortunately our room still wasn't ready. We had just gotten on the monorail on our way to transfer to the Epcot monorail at the TTC when I received a text message from Disney indicating our room was ready, so back to the Polynesian we went.

When we reserved our room, we had requested the top floor of our building (3rd floor) as all rooms on that level had balconies whereas the second floor only had a sliding glass door and the first floor was a walk out patio. Luckily our request was granted and the room we received was 3511.

... there was even a phone in the bathroom

... and of course the view from our room

What can I say ... Concierge/CL level at the Poly was magnificent - you really can't beat waking up to a view of the Magic Kingdom every day!!

We caught the fireworks twice from our balcony as well as the Electrical Water Pagent. Food and drink offerings in the lounge were most delicious. .. and yes we are hooked - I'm on the lookout for AP rates for our May stay already!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

SEUHW ... a recap

We arrived in Orlando on Wednesday (Oct 8) and after grabbing our rental car, headed to the Wyndham Orlando Resort which would be our home for the next five days. Wednesday evening was still quiet as most of the people attending had not yet arrived. A couple of our good friends were already there, which gave us an awesome opportunity to spend some quality time with them before the big show.

We had originally thought of heading to Universal for the day on Thursday, however, after getting up early for our flight on Wednesday, and a late night Wednesday night, we decided to just sleep in and take it easy. We did head out to do a bit of shopping, and once we arrived back at the hotel, things started to pick up as more and more people started arriving ... and we again enjoyed an awesome evening of good conversation with great friends at the pool bar.

Friday evening was the official start to the convention, and after spending a quiet afternoon at the hotel, we headed over to Uno's to grab a bite to eat with our friends before the Zombie Walk started.

We didn't actually participate in the Zombie Walk (mostly because it seemed to be taking forever to start), but after taking a few pics of the various zombies and protesters, we headed back over to the hotel to get ready for an evening of debauchery.

Lee had decided to try and get most of his items signed on Friday night when it was less busy, so after helping friends get their table set up for the evening, off we went to get his autographs. Once the convention wrapped up for the evening, we again all congregated by the pool bar for more fun and great tunes by an awesome Kiss tribute band from Fort Lauderdale, FL.

Also that evening, our friend Tony (who goes by the name Rev because he hates the name Tony) introduced me to a wonderful concoction by the name of Cherry Jack Rum. It's really a pity we can't get this rum in Canada as it has become my new favorite beverage!!

After getting to bed much too late the previous evening yet again, we finally emerged from our hotel room around noon on Saturday and headed back over to the convention. On our way over, we ran into Rev again, who this time had donned his awesome Zombie Wolverine costume.

Lee continued his quest for more autographs and once he was finished, we headed into the vendor room where Lee did some shopping. I do have to say that there seemed to be even more vendors than last year and the selection was most awesome.

As the VIP party was this evening, we decided we should probably eat something before heading to the party so rambled across the street to Checkers to grab a quick bite to eat before getting ready for the party. After filling our tummies, we moseyed back to our room, prettied ourselves for the party and were on our way. As we made our way to the VIP party, we ran into Rev once again, who just happened to bring me a travel jug full of Cherry Jack and Coke (yes he is awesome!!)

When we saw the line for the party, we were shocked to say the least. There had to be well over 200 people in line. WTF???

Once inside, we mingled about with the other VIPs waiting for the celebrities to show up. As in previous years there was a raffle for a bunch of prizes and each VIP got 5 raffle tickets so we entered our tickets into the various prizes we would like to win. Also as in previous years, we went home empty handed, although our friend Rev, was the happy recipient of a custom made Zombie Petey Doll which he planned to take with him all over the country and photograph him like the Roaming Gnome.

The VIP party was pretty much as expected. A few celebs mingling around, stopping occasionally to take pics with the VIPs. At this year's party, there was a custom made cake, made especially for the VIP party. The cake was awesome and the cake cutting was really cool. Robert Englund put on the Freddy glove, did a few one liners, and plunged it in, then proceeded to lick the frosting off the blades!!

Now came time for the entertainment portion of the party (other than the crappy karaoke) - G. Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter took the stage and rocked the house!!!

Shortly after everyone started leaving and making their way out to the pool bar again, where G. Tom Mac and Brooke McCarter continued their jam session.

After getting to bed much too late, once again, we headed to the hotel restaurant late Sunday morning (or maybe it was afternoon already, I can't really remember) to grab something to eat before making one last pass through the convention and to say our good-byes as we were off to Halloween Horror Nights that evening.

Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend (or Screamfest as most of us still call it) was most impressive as usual and we thoroughly enjoyed spending quality time with our Screamfest/Spooky peeps. Kudos to Petey and Gina for hosting another awesome event!! It was the perfect way to start our vacation and are very much looking forward to doing it all again in May at the May-Hem show!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


So yesterday I was out and about and stopped by Victoria's Secret in West Ed Mall ... I wasn't planning on buying anything, but happened to come across, what the sales associate called, the most comfortable of all bras. Of course, me being the skeptic, thought to myself, "Yeah right, no bra is "comfortable" and began to question the sales associate what made it the "most comfortable". This new incredible bra is apparently seamless with no metal, there are no adjustable straps (the straps are self adjusting to the individual) and the under wire is double padded.

OK, so far you've got my attention ...

The perky sales assistant proceeded to show me one of the three types of incredible bras available - and the first thing I noticed was the band on this bra was wider than a normal bra ... The fabric is a wonderful stretchy silky nylon/spandex. OK, another plus.

Then of course were the colors ... WOW ... they had blues, pinks, purple, black, leopard print, and even a conservative white.

Seeing the interest on my face, the now even perkier sales associate asked if I'd like to try one on. hmmm ... OK why not ... so off I go to the fitting room. Now, I've been wearing bras for many years now, but the incredible bra was truly one of the most comfortable bras I've ever worn. The fabric was so soft, if just felt nice to wear and it fit really well. I was hooked!!

I headed back out to the store floor (of course after putting my old bra and t-shirt back on), and promptly picked up 2 of the incredible bras to take home. As I was selecting my purchases, another shopper came up and commented to the sales associate that she was there earlier in the week and purchased one of the incredible bras ... after wearing it for one day, she decided that she was throwing out all her old bras, and she was back to pick up a couple more.

I've been wearing my incredible bra all day and I do have to say that this is a most comfortable bra. The self-adjusting straps are awesome - there is no need for any tightening or constant adjusting of straps. My only real concern was the under wire, however, because it is "double-wrapped", there wasn't any pinching or digging at all (the main reason I hate under wire bras). The real test will come when we head down to Florida in a little under a week ... if it's as comfortable in the hot Florida heat/humidity as it was today, I think I may be heading back to Victoria's Secret to pick up a few more myself!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stila One Step Correct

According to the Stila website, Stila's One Step Correct is a "primer, color corrector, brightener and anti-aging skincare serum that does it all with the help of Stila's Youth Revival Bio-Available Mineral Complex".

It's supposed to instantly make imperfections disappear, reduce fine lines, wrinkles, pores and pigmentation plus hydrate, control oil and improve skin texture.

The product contains 3 color-correcting brighteners:
- green, which instantly neutralizes redness and conceals blemishes;
- lavender, which counteracts sallow undertones for a vibrant, energized look
- peach, which brightens, illuminates and helps diminish the appearance of sun spots

The product itself is a gorgeous swirl of green, lavender and peach correctors suspended in a clear primer/moisturizer, and the overall look is enough for me to want to own the One Step Corrector. According to Stila, the weightless, creamy formula, blends imperceptibly into skin, won't clog pores or settle into fine lines. Stila professes that this is a multi-purpose product which combines moisturizer, skin corrector and foundation primer all in one.

I'll admit, the product is very intriguing and I am a sucker for inventive products. From a color theory perspective, I'm not sure how this works. Each color separately does a specific job, but when used all together, how does it work? I'm assuming that the colors are subtle enough to add what your skin needs and ignore what it doesn't. So, over the next couple of weeks, I'll give it a whirl and let you know what I think!

Monday, September 13, 2010

22 Days

... 22 days until our annual pilgrimage to Florida ... and we both can't wait!

Florida is one of our most favorite vacation destinations for many reasons. Florida is blessed with a very hospitable semi-tropical climate almost year-round. Unfortunately it is also subject to the threat of tropical storms and hurricanes during the late summer and fall (usually when we go!! LOL). Luckily, we've only ever encountered one hurricane in all the years we've been heading down (hurricane Wilma in 2005) - and during that encounter, we managed to fly home the day before the hurricane hit.

Besides the great weather, Florida has some great attractions and beaches (both Gulf coast and Atlantic coast), amusement parks (Disney, Universal, Seaworld, Busch Gardens), and then there's the Florida Keys. There's just so much to see and do in Florida and it's all within driving distance!

We head down to Florida twice a year (in May and October) and Orlando has really become our home away from home. We've got more friends in Florida than we do here at home, and yes, eventually we'd like to retire there (YAY no more snow!!) ... but that is some years off yet.

Back to our October trip ... we usually head down the same time each October (early to mid October) and start off the vacation with Spooky Empire's Ultimate Horror Weekend. Spooky has become a staple in our October vacation - as much as Disney and Universal - and we've met some great friends there, who are basically extended family. We very much look forward to kicking off our vacation by spending the weekend with them all! Once Spooky is over, we pack up our belongings and head over to our Disney resort for the 2nd part of our vacation, where we visit the parks (Universal and Disney), we take in Halloween Horror Nights every year, as well as Disney's Food and Wine Festival, and of course Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party (yes we're just big kids).

As I mentioned in a previous blog, this year we're splurging and staying at Disney's Polynesian Resort instead of our regular Pop Century Resort. I honestly don't know if we'll miss Pop Century or will be spoiled by the Poly and never want to go back to Pop. One good thing about staying at the Poly is it is a monorail resort, therefore when heading to the Wine and Food Festival at Epcot, we both can partake in "drinking around the world" without having to worry about one of us driving. The Poly is also just a short boat ride/monorail ride to the Magic Kingdom which means not having to park at the Transportation and Ticket Center and taking the monorail or ferry over to MK (which usually adds about 20 minutes to your travel time) ... so I can clearly see the pros to us staying at the Poly.

Even though we are staying at a Disney resort (and thus have free Disney transportation to any of the parks, Downtown Disney, etc), we do rent a car. Mostly for the convenience of not having to wait for Disney buses, plus we do like to see and do other things in the Orlando area. This year I booked our October rental in early April when I booked our rental for our May trip. I'm so glad I did because car rental prices for our dates are outrageous ($218/week for a mid-size rental). That is the highest we've ever seen in our many years of traveling to Orlando in either May or October!!

With only 22 days left, we're getting our items ready to take to Spooky (posters, etc for signing). The suitcases are out ready for packing (the cat seems to like snoozing in them/on them) and I keep checking our flights for last minute changes and car rental for a better rate (this is something I do until usually the day before we leave). Our tickets for HHN have been purchased and have been put in a safe place, along with our daytime tour (Unmasking the Horror) ticket. I'll be paying off our Disney hotel in the next few days (so we don't have that expense while we're at Disney) and I'll start freshening up our warm weather clothes for the trip.

... I'm sure 22 days will go by very quickly ...

Hugging Is Good For You Try It And See!

It's been said that life’s essentials are: air, food, water, Hugging, clothing and shelter, and experts say that “four hugs a day keep the doctor away”.

Hugging is natural, organic, without pesticides and having no preservatives — 100% wholesome. It’s healthy because it helps the body’s immune system, reduces stress and has no unpleasant side effects. Hugging is a miracle drug!

Adults love to hug babies and do so often. Adults love to hug adults too, but seldom do. A hug is a hug, and people must stop thinking about hugging as a means to an end. Hugging is a loving end in itself.

Hugging is practically perfect, because it has no moveable parts, no batteries to wear out, needs no checkups, and has low energy consumption and high-energy yield. It’s inflation proof, non-fattening, requires no monthly repayments, no insurance, it’s theft proof, non taxable, non polluting and fully refundable.

Hugs are free. Maybe that’s why so many people take them for granted. If hugs were costly, people would probably knock themselves out to make money to buy hugs.

But even though hugs are free, hugs are not worth anything if they are not used, and a hug not used is lost forever.

Experts will tell you that they approve of hugging because it is therapeutic, calming and has a pleasant effect. What they mean is … it feels good.

Here is a recipe for a perfect Hug:

Two people
A touch of love
Four arms
A pinch of humour
Two hearts
A sprinkle of glee

Extend arms and wrap them around each other. Clear your minds, take a good look at each other. Then pull yourselves together and mix well. Serves two.

Come on … have a hug; hug your partner, hug your friend, hug your pets and hug your Teddy and remember…

Sometimes you need a hug when your feeling down, it can even take away a frown.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Our Annual October Pilgrimage to Florida

Every year in October, hubby and I head down to Orlando for our annual anniversary trip. In previous years, we've stayed at Disney's Pop Century Resort (and also off-site), but because this year we received a coveted 40% pin code, we decided to take the opportunity to stay at one of Disney's Deluxe Resorts we both liked - Disney's Polynesian Resort.

We're both very excited to be staying at the Poly. This deluxe resort (the highest class of accommodations at Disney) is known for it’s awesome South Pacific/tropical theme and great location, which is right next to the Magic Kingdom.

Another great thing is the Polynesian also sits directly on the monorail line, which will be great for taking in the annual Food and Wine Festival at Epcot.

Because we were able to snag such a great discount, we decided to go for it and booked Club/Concierge Level with a Theme Park View (hey, if you're gonna do it, might as well do it well!!) - which made us even more excited for our trip. We're looking forward to taking advantage of the access to the exclusive King Kamehameha Club Concierge Lounge but most of all being able to sit on our balcony (or on the beach) and watch the fireworks from the Magic Kingdom!

I promise, as soon as we're back and I have a minute, I'll post an update/review on our club level stay at the Poly ... but until then, we have 37 days until we actually leave ...

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tim Hortons Ice Cappuccino

... or more commonly known as an "ice cap" ... and I'm hopelessly addicted.

An ice cap is a summertime drink made from coffee, thick cream and ice ... while I don't know the exact number, I think each one has about a million calories!!

The ice cap is a menace ... and it is, no doubt, designed to be as addictive as crack cocaine. I'm sure that somebody in the chemistry department at Tim Hortons worked long and hard to boost the ice cap ingredients with fats and sugars, and all manner of goop to make you drool.

When you look at the goop coming out of the machine, it is really disgusting when you think about it ... but it's good ... really good.

Ice caps come in five delicious flavours - French Vanilla, Butter Caramel, Hazelnut, Mint and seasonal varieties (such as their newest flavour Mocha). I always just order the regular Iced Cap with chocolate milk. It's very refreshing and always tastes great (seriously I have never had one not taste great) ... they are very affordable (about $2 to $3 depending on the size you order.

My mission - I must find a copy cat recipe which will allow me to make these at home!!!

Note : Tim Horton's nutritional literature says a 10 oz Ice Cap has 250 calories. You can get one made with milk for 150 calories.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bath Product Review - H2O+ Sea Marine Triple Butter Sugar Scrub

I received this in a swap on ...

~ very thick
~ spreads easily
~ scent isn't overpowering
~ contains lots of good things

~ much too expensive for a simple sugar scrub
~ somewhat hard to scoop out of the container without getting a lot of water in the jar

Overall, I liked this scrub - it leaves your skin moisturized and soft - no need for a lotion afterwards. Unfortunately this scrub isn't bad, nor is it great. It's just an ordinary sugar scrub that's a tad overpriced. I think I'll try making my own rather than repurchasing.