Category Archives: product review

Annabelle/Marcelle Beauty Premiere

Last Thursday was pretty awesome, I got to check out the spring 2012 launch of the new Annabelle & Marcelle products.

Even though they’re an entry-level brand, I still like these products. They give great value for what you pay and they also don’t cost an arm and a leg! I also like that they’re Canadian.

It was definitely a fun night for me. Working from home now I am dying to get out of the house, and also to get dressed up. This event was a great opportunity for me to do both, and showcase one of the new crystal pieces from With Heart.

Wearing the Crystal Lariat necklace from withheartshop.com
Smile!

I met some other cool beauty & lifestyle bloggers and also got a chance to chat with Isabel from Groupe Marcelle who is SO CUTE in person!

Shout outs to Bee and Jordana!

Bee & I in the lipgloss line up

I think the coolest part of the night was the design your own lipgloss bar that Annabelle brought in.

Stocked with pigments, lab tech and assistant, everyone there was able to select their own pigments and have their very own custom shade of Big Show lipgloss (coming Spring 2012) created right in front of them!

You can see my 4 pigment selections on the slip & corresponding sample!
Lab tech adding my chosen pigments

 

Mixing!
Filling the tubes
Voila! My custom shade!

 

After creating my lipgloss, I browsed the new products (A BB Cream and cool new mascara were my faves!) sampled some nibbles and helped myself to the tray of freebies going around. What an awesome idea! They had a server going around with a tray filled with lipsticks, shadows, liners and more and we were all able to select what we wanted to take home with us. My friends are going to be thrilled!

Upon leaving we were also given a lovely gift bag filled with more samples. I am really enjoying the Hydra-C 24H Energizing Hydrating Gel and the Soothing Cleansing Water  (it removes my makeup, doesn’t need rinsing and doesn’t irritate my eyes!).

At the end of the night I had a pretty good haul:

Awww yeah!

 

The only thing I wish I could have gotten my hands on? The new BB Cream. It sounds awesome!

Thanks for a great night, Groupe Marcelle!

The only thing that Rogers delivers consistently is bad service

I spent half my morning on the phone with customer retention at Rogers this morning dealing with another of their fuckups.

When I say the only thing they deliver consistently is bad service, I mean it!

Billing me for twice the amount I owe for almost a year on my cell phone bills, jacking the price up on internet while the performance suffers and then extending my contracts without my knowledge. The funny part is that all of this happens when they’re trying to appease me because I keep trying to leave!

The real icing on the cake today is that I called in to upgrade (I know, I know. I only did it for work and as soon as my contract is over Teksavvy is getting my business) my internet plan to find out that my contract had been mysteriously extended without my consent or knowledge. After sorting that bullshit out for half an hour I finally get to the part where I upgrade my internet.

Oh wait, what’s that? I need a new modem, and it’s going to cost me $7 to rent one now?? Fuck.

I agreed to it because I really need the internet, and the person makes a work order for me to pick up my new modem tonight at my local store. Everything is dandy, right?

HELL NO.

I leave work early so I can get to the damn store because I don’t know what time they close at. Yes, I called ahead but apparently answering phones or even having voicemail at a phone company is not something Rogers believes in.

So I haul my ass out there, wait in line for 20 minutes only to get to the bitch-ass dude at the front who is playing on his cell and barely greets me. I tell him I’m there for the modem that was ordered for me this morning, present my work order like a good little peon and he tells me…

“WE DON’T HAVE ANY OF THOSE”

And proceeds to give me shit attitude when I start to get upset. It wasn’t easy to get there and stand around for ages waiting to pick something up. I was also without internet (and so were my paying guests) while I hauled the old modem in for the switch. Not cool.

And the attitude I got was just amazing. The two working there looked like they hated their jobs and were taking it out on the customers. The guy treats me like an idiot because I’m incredulous that they don’t have any of the promised modems. He tells me it doesn’t matter that I have a work order and that I was told there would be one ready for me and makes it seem like its my fault that I didn’t call ahead.

I told that punk I DID call ahead and no one bothered to answer the 3 times I did. He just shrugged. Un-fucking-believable.

I just left at that point before I made a scene.

The best part?

I called Rogers immediately to complain and sat on hold for SEVENTEEN MINUTES. And never even got through.

Who the hell is in charge of their quality control? Their distribution? Their customer service?

I want to hear from these people and have something done about my account. This is just sick. How can they expect to keep me, or others like Krystal as customers with all this idiocy??

The Benefits of Freecycling!

I’m not sure how many of you are already familiar with the Freecycle organization, but I thought I’d post this to show that it works!

From their website:

The Freecycle Network™ is made up of 4,949 groups with 8,506,854 members around the world. It’s a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It’s all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers (them’s good people). Membership is free.

It’s a really awesome idea and it works! I’ve been freecycling for years, both getting rid of stuff and finding stuff. A lot of it is in decent condition, and I like to think that it’s a bit less sketchy than the craigslist free ad section.

Today I totally scored and got the following:

That’s 41 mason jars for me to use for canning this year! What an awesome deal! All I had to do was pick them up. I posted an ad yesterday and someone answered it right away. Today I picked the jars up and saved about $42 by doing so.

Saving money, saving the environment… works for me!

Check out the link above to find your local Freecycle group and sign up. It’s definitely worth a gander.

I’m so excited about these jars, I can’t wait to put them to use with all the preserving I’m going to do with my friends this year! I think I should consider keeping a tally of how many jars I fill this time around, it’s starting to get legendary!

Om Nom Nom

I’m a little late to the game with this post, but for good reason! Considering the cold rainy weather we’ve been having, it didn’t seem appropriate to talk about summertime frozen treats like this Nestle Mini Drumstick I’m about to devour.

The classic - double chocolate with nuts!

But with that 2-day heatwave (in which I nearly perished) this week, the time seemed right.

A few weeks ago Nestle sent me a couple of boxes of these adorable little mini Drumsticks. They’re like the big ones we all know from our childhood, except itty bitty!

After finishing off 2 boxes of these things I think I can comment on a few of their features.

Things I like:

  • They are so cute and little and adorable! You just want to eat them up! (Which I suppose is the point!)
  • They are portion-controlled so you don’t have to feel guilty afterwards
  • They are small enough for little kids and aren’t as hard to eat as their larger brethren

Things I don’t like:

  • They are a little too cute and tiny. You may find yourself easily mowing down on 3 of them if you’re not careful
  • They tend to melt a lot faster than the normal ones
  • I feel guilty producing so much garbage from the packaging
  • The quality/taste is a little lacking compared to the big ones

Ultimately I think they’re a decent entry into the portable ice-cream section of the grocery store, and I think they’d be great for an event like a birthday party or something. Or ya know, just ‘cuz. I definitely enjoyed my boxes.

What summer treat are you most looking forward to?

Long Weekend Wrap-up

 

Just so you don’t think I’m all about the negative stuff (see my last post), this weekend I also had two instances of excellent service.

1. The Outer Layer

This is one of my favourite shops and is one of my inspirations for my own business I’m launching (more details soon!). The place is jam-packed with just plain old awesome stuff. I can get bacon band-aids there, spiffy water bottles, hard-to-find boutique skin care lines, funny greeting cards and all kinds of awesome. I used to work in the area and would go there almost every day at lunch to shop & look around (Hi, Jett!).

I stopped in this weekend while out with a gal pal and met some of their new sales staff. Maggie was really great and helped me pick out a new business card case. She didn’t pressure me to buy anything and actually spoke to me like a person rather than just a “customer”. I felt like I had a great shopping experience and I’m glad it lived up to my past experiences with the store. It’s all about consistency!

You can follow The Outer Layer on Twitter @theouterlayer or visit their site here.

2. Starbucks @ Yonge & Shuter St.

On my way home from seeing Bridesmaids with some friends I popped in for a latte. The gal there was totally pleasant and explained the differences between a couple of drinks to me. I ended up ordering one and she gave it to me for free! She said that “it was an experiment” for me, so no charge. Totally awesome. I thought I was just getting a free flavour shot, not the whole drink!

A very nice end to the weekend. There is still hope that good service exists out there!

 

Have you had any great or horrible service lately?

Review: Snakes & Lattes Cafe, Toronto

I have a new favourite cafe where there is rarely a seat, the service is slow and the coffee mediocre.

 

BUT THEY HAVE BOARD GAMES. THOUSANDS OF THEM.

I love the concept of Snakes and Lattes, a board game cafe located just west of Bathurst station on Bloor St. In Toronto.

A $5 cover charge gets you in for an unlimited amount of time to play as many of their board games as you like. The place is crammed with tables, which are in turn crammed with folks of all stripes playing board game after board game.

A staff of young (and cute!) men man the cafe, serving up sandwiches, coffees, booze and sweet treats. They are all knowledgeable on board games and can help you find one, make recommendations and even play a couple of rounds with you! All in their official job description 😉

My friends and I have been there twice now, within that many weeks. We love the atmosphere, the eye candy and the wide selection of board games!

Both times we have spent hours there, sipping our lattes and enjoying a variety of games. The staff were helpful, recommending a new game for us, then even playing a few rounds so we could get the hang of it. Very nice indeed!

The hours of operation are pretty great, too. From 11am-2am every day gives you lots of timing options. And you’ll need them.

One of the downsides to S&L is that it’s a little too popular. It’s hard to get in, with wait times exceeding an hour on occasion. The place is also packed, making it noisy, squished and negatively affecting the service. This plays out in a couple of ways: poor coffee and food quality, slow service and in some cases, dirty dishes/cutlery (the dishwasher just can’t keep up!).

But once you’re in there and playing, you hardly notice any of that!

 

S&L is still relatively new, so I hope that they will continue to iron out the kinks in their shop. I would love to see them expand into another location, and also offer some better pricing options such as a loyalty card with discounts or free admission, or waiving the cover charge if you purchase a certain amount at the cafe.

All in all I think it’s a great place, and will definitely be back! Keep your eyes peeled for the chick having a little too much fun playing Mad Gab, Monopoly or You Might Be A Redneck If…!

Product Review: Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste + Advice

I haven’t received any new or noteworthy products lately, so I’m reviewing an oldie, but a goodie!

Crest Pro-Health Toothpaste (in any variation)

Now, in my books, any toothpaste is a good toothpaste. Years of working at a dental office and being curious have taught me loads about dental care and health and how frickin’ easy it is to keep your mouth healthy.

It’s actually the brushing and rinsing action that does the bulk of the cleaning when you do your teeth, but having a nice toothpaste helps by adding fluoride, facilitating the cleaning action and helping to protect your teeth against sensitivity and other nasties (that’s the unscientific explanation, yo).

This particular toothpaste has a slew of benefits (which are all available in other products too, fyi) but what I really like about it is the grit that is included in the paste.

It’s kind of weird and gross at first… it feels a lot like the polishing paste dentists use on you at your visit. But it sure does get your teeth clean! And I was surprised to find that even after regular use, the grit did not further irritate my sensitive teeth. In fact my sensitivity has decreased since using it.

The reason I have decided to continue purchasing this particular toothpaste is because of the results it gave me (when combined with regular dental care).

For my last two dental appointments, the hygienists said they had nothing to do. Meaning that there was almost no plaque build-up on my teeth and that everything was hunky-dory. The dentist agreed, and asked me what I had been doing.

“I just brush and floss regularly!” I said.

This speaks volumes in favour of this toothpaste. It was the only thing that had changed in my routine and suddenly I was seeing amazing results.

Here’s a recap of the benefits I experienced:

  • Really nice, clean feeling after brushing
  • Reduced plaque build-up (which meant no cavities or gingivitis)
  • Reduced tooth sensitivity
  • Whiter teeth
  • Dentist charging me $200 for a tooth-cleaning I didn’t need oh whoops, I guess that’s not a benefit!
  • Knowing that including this in my regular routine will allow me to increase the time between dentist visits (only do this with blessings from your dentist, everyone needs a different level of care)

Ginger’s Dental Advice

I’m not a dental professional, but here are some uber-simple things that you can do to keep your mouth healthy, and why you should do those things.

Brush in the morning AND at night

Everyone knows it’s good to brush in the morning to get rid of dragon’s breath. But did you know it’s almost more important to brush at night?

At night, your mouth turns into a pit of despair filled with acids and bacteria that are up to no good. If you sleep with your mouth open, these acids and bacteria dry out and stick to your teeth like glue which can cause cavities, inflammation (gingivitis) and more.

If you clean your mouth out before bed you’re not giving the nasties a chance to accumulate and sit around your teeth for as long. You’ll still wake up with rank breath, but hopefully one less cavity or soft spot.

Mouthwashes give a little extra oompf but are optional

That covers it…

Floss regularly, too

No matter how awesome your toothbrush is, nor how vigorously you swish that mouthwash, you’re not going to dislodge the ick from the nooks and crannies of your teeth.

This is where flossing comes in. By flossing regularly, you’re able to clean between the teeth and below the gum line (where grossness likes to lurk the most!) and scrape out the garbage that hangs out there. And maybe dislodge that popcorn seed shell that’s been stuck in your molar since last Friday.

“Oh Ginger!” you whine, “It hurts when I floss and my gums bleed! I don’t wanna…” To this I say: Suck it up, buttercup. Your teeth and gums hurt and bleed because you’re not flossing! Deal with it for a few days and the swelling will go down and it will become easier to floss. Trust me, I started out the same way.

The dentist always used to tell me I needed to floss more, but I just sort of shrugged it off. But once I started it I noticed what a difference it really made! I had no idea that such a small step could not only improve my dental health so much, but also save me money!

Benefits of Good Dental Health

I think you all vaguely know that having healthy teeth is good. But WHY is it so important?

Health!

Duh. Less cavities, less tooth sensitivity, blah blah blah. But did you know that the human mouth is dirtier than a dog’s? And did you know that the teeth are the only hard bodily substance (aka BONES) that stick outside of your flesh? This means they have a direct route into the body from the outside world. If you don’t take care of your mouth you are asking for health troubles.

Poor dental health can lead to all kinds of diseases including cancers and periodontal disease. It’s not just about losing your teeth anymore–you can lose your life.

Looks

It pays to take care of your teeth. Fresher breath, naturally white teeth, no signs of decay. Tell me you don’t look for that when you go to kiss someone! Disgusting teeth are a huge turnoff for me.

Money

By performing everyday maintenance of your teeth (brushing & flossing) you can prevent SO MUCH damage!

Here are some observations from when I worked at a dental office.

People would come in and be flabbergasted by the amount of additional work they would need to get done (after not coming in for 5 years or more!) and would wonder why they have such high dental bills for all this work.

I’ll tell you why.

I don’t care if you don’t have the money or are afraid of the dentist. You’re probably afraid because its always painful and costs a lot, yeah? Well it’s because you don’t take care of your teeth! If you just brushed and flossed regularly, going to the dentist would be a hell of a lot cheaper and comfortable! Buying floss, a brush and toothpaste costs less than $10 and is something everyone can afford.

If you have a good dental regimen, you don’t have to worry about getting root canals, crowns, extreme scaling, additional fluoride or polishing treatments. Your cleaning appointments can be scaled back so you don’t come in as often.

Crowns cost upwards of $1000, and root canals are pricey, too. No one wants to get them done, but they don’t bother taking preventative measures either. Personal beef of mine.

It’s so easy to avoid painful and expensive dental treatments, my friends.

Just take care of your mouth!

 

I have some crazy memories from the dental office… we would have file photos of some really awful teeth (nightmares, really) and every time I skipped brushing one of those scary images would flash through my head.

So anyway, brush, floss and see your dentist regularly! Or you may end up with a mouth like this:

This is actually meth mouth, but shows you what can happen! This person was at risk for cancer