November 21, 2013

Dermablend Long Wear Makeup Remover Review

I was kindly gifted this Dermablend Makeup Remover by Nail Polish Canada to check out and share. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, but I chose this particular product to review because I think skincare is incredibly important and "beauty gurus" online vastly misinform their readers on what it means to invest in good skincare ("It smells sooo good."/"the packaging is really cute!"/"It feels really soft!" are not, in my opinion, a solid groundwork to buy a product on). So below you can find my review of the Makeup Remover. I'm actually really pleased, especially with the ingredients, so I gave a quick rundown of the ingredients at the bottom of the page. Let me know what you think! 

Packaging is simple and practical. Easy to bring along with you for travel and at 150mL (5.0fl oz), will definitely last a while!

I decided to test it with several products I use on the daily. On my left hand: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation | MAC Lipstick | Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liner | Lancôme Lipstick | Sephora Matte Waterproof Liner | Benefit They're Real! Mascara | NARS Eyeshadow

All I did was shake the container a bit (it sounded a bit sloshy, so this was just a precaution), and applied it directly onto my hand. I rubbed it in for a minute and then wiped it off with a cotton pad. The above is the result. I'm actually quite pleased. At first it looked as though the Benefit mascara wasn't going to come off in the first go (it never does, does it?) My biggest complaint about waterproof mascara is that it takes forever to remove, which is a pain after a long day. This came off in one swipe! It left a bit of an oily residue which you should rinse off with water or a toner of your choice (might I recommend MAC's Lightful Softening Lotion!)

But for me, one of the most important part in any skincare product is the ingredients, so let's have a look at some of the top ingredients in this makeup remover!

Isohexadecane - a branch of patroleum. If you've ever tried to remove your makeup with Vaseline and liked the feel then you will love this makeup remover. Even if you don't, have no fear. This is much lighter than Vaseline but has all of the same benefits. Isohexadecane rates as non-hazardous and non-comedogenic, which means that this is a great option for those prone to acne breakouts. It's also great to help soften your skin and help keep it hydrated!

Glycerin - one of the best skincare ingredients to find in  your products. This acts as a humectant and is an extremely hygroscopic ingredient, meaning it pulls in moisture from other sources, which is great considering some of the other listed ingredients, and especially so if you're looking to use a moisturizer to finish up your skincare routine. Glycerin also acts as a great protector for your skin and is non-toxic.

Other ingredients: cyclopentasiloxane (skin conditioning agent, like silicone), sodium acrylates copolymer (binding agent), caprylic triglyceride (skin conditioning agent, emolient, derived from coconut oil and glycerin so it's great for repairing dehydrated skin and also prevents irritation and breakouts), caprylyl glycol (good skin conditioning agent), et cetera.

Overall a really great makeup remover for those with sensitive, mixed or dry skin. You can find it available at Nail Polish Canada, which offers free shipping on all their Dermablend products. I haven't had a chance to try out the others, but I've read great reviews so far, so I'm tempted. $25 for such a great makeup remover, I honestly can't go wrong. 
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April 22, 2013

Laura Mercier Crème Compact & Make Up For Ever ProFinish Reviews


Wrist: Top Laura Mercier Crème Compact | Bottom MUFE ProFinish
Left Laura Mercier Crème Compact | Right MUFE ProFinish

I figured I would do a quick review for you guys of a product that just hasn't done it for me, and alongside it a great alternative for those of you seeking a lightweight product to even out your skin for the spring. Both of these products are available at Sephora, and I urge you to try them both to find what works best for you, because what doesn't work for me might not necessarily be so bad on your skin!

Anyway, to hop onto the review, the product that was a bit of a womp-womp was the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Crème Compact. There are much better tinted moisturizers, much better compacts, and much better formulas out there - some of them even at half the price - making this product something I'd rather leave at home.

I was gifted this from Laura Mercier to try out, and I've tried it a couple of times to no avail, which is quite a disappointment, because the ingredients are delicious! It contains broad-spectrum SPF protection, which is the #1 thing you want to look for to prevent premature signs of aging (If you want to see a dramatic photograph of just how damaging the sun can be to your skin, check this link out). The formula is also fragrance-free, not tested on animals, and offered in a wide variety of shades, just like with their liquid tinted moisturizers.

The fun stops there, however, as the rest of the product is a bit of a letdown. Price-wise at $45US (And a whopping $55 Canadian!) it is heavily overpriced for .26oz/7.5g of product. The packaging is extremely bulky and quite cheapy for something so small. If you compare it to the original tinted moisturizer by Laura Mercier (Also priced at $55CAD for 1.5oz), you're getting much less product! And it's in a compact where you stick your fingers in - yuck! I've never been a fan of sponges, however this compact comes with a medium-quality sponge for you to apply the product with, however it really just does not look good on the skin, no matter how I swing it. I have this compact in the porcelain shade, and it's just too yellow-tinted for my skin. I think the biggest letdown of this product is that it just doesn't look natural or "nourishing" (as LM claims) on the skin. Oily skin? Skin looks dewy-borderline-oily. Dry skin? It brings out the unflattering flakiness of your face. I especially would not recommend this for combination or dry skin, as I really can't emphasize enough the ick factor of how this made my skin look on a dry-skin winter day.

As an alternative however, I offer you all the Make Up For Ever Pro Finish Multi-Use Powder Foundation. Offered in 25 different tones, this is definitely a better option than the Laura Mercier Crème Compact. Price-wise, it is offered at $42CAD. The packaging is much sturdier, carrying 10g of product - not much, but you can definitely make it last, especially since - as the multi-use name would suggest - you can wet it! Finally, a foundation you can wet that won't become all dumpy after usage! You can apply it wet for a satin finish (with a sponge or chunky brush), or dry for a matte finish (with a kabuki brush). The product definitely does oxidize, and if you're used to using the MUFE HD foundation, you may not find yourself matching the same tint number, so do make sure you get yourself swatch-tested before taking one of these puppies home. Overall however, I find that this is a great, silky alternative that lets your skin breathe and looks more skin-like than the crème compact - on my face, anyway.

There are definitely plenty of other options out there for foundations and tinted moisturizers for all of your beautiful skin-types, but here are my reviews of two products that did and did not satisfy my skincare needs. If you folks are interested in any other reviews or recommendations, please do let me know! It'd be my pleasure to review specific products for you, or alternatively to suggest some of my favourites! xo Read more...

April 18, 2013

Spring Favourites 2013


Some of my recent favourites for spring including jewelry, cosmetics and books.

Mint green nail lacquer from American Apparel | Caudalie Divine Oil

Jo Malone Vitamin E Hand Cream | Philosophy Just Release Me Makeup Remover | YSL No. 27 Rose Paris | Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Nectar

Alexander McQueen skull bracelet (Gift from my mum!) | Key to the Future necklace | Grandmother's pearl necklace | Caudalie & AA products

American Apparel Nail Varnish in Office
And finally, some new reads for the spring/summertime, including Sex at Dawn by Christopher Ryan, who has an excellent podcast episode on Sex Nerd Sandra that you should all definitely check out.

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, business executive of Facebook, The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene, Fist of the Spider Woman curated by Amber Dawn, Venus in Furs by Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, which I have already read last summer, but had to grab a copy of for my own personal library. And lastly A History of Mistresses by Elizabeth Abbott.

Things have been winding down at a pretty quick pace! A few weeks ago, some friends and I attended PAX East 2013 in Boston, where I cosplayed as Dark Valkyrie Diana from League of Legends. You can see our gallery of the event here. It was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life, which is why I'm proud to say we will be attending PAX Prime 2013 this August! If all goes as planned, I will cosplay again from League of Legends for the event in Seattle, and then we will be flying out to Santa Monica to check the place out! We definitely want to check out the Riot Games headquarters. It's my partner's dream to work there, so I think it will make for an exciting trip!

What will you all be up to this summer? I need to get to making a summer to-do list, as I do every year. Strangely, the only thing I don't end up doing year after year is make YouTube videos. What's say we tackle that one this summer for real?

Also, if you're interested, my work will be exhibited this May 18-22 at the Chromatic Festival in Montreal. I'll be posting more information as it becomes available to me, but prints will be sold, wine will be had, and stories will be shared! xo
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April 14, 2013

A Beginner's Guide to BDSM


In the past year, BDSM went from being a fetish that went under the radar from the mainstream public to being spread across magazines, TV specials and even Saturday brunch tables. Thanks to Fifty Shades of Grey and all of the media that followed, BDSM has become fairly mainstream and accepted.

WIth that said, exploring BDSM has become easier than ever due to acceptance and widespread knowledge of the lifestyle. Did you read any books with a taste of BDSM and find that the idea of it turned you on? Or have you always secretly wished to be dominated a little? Maybe you always wish your partner pulled your hair a little harder or smack your butt a few more times? If any of the above are true, maybe it's time for you to explore a little of your own BDSM!

I've designed a basic beginner's guide for those of you who have been thinking about it, but weren't sure of how to go about acting upon it. Check out the below and then see what kind of fun you can get into!

BDSM stands for bondage & discipline, dominance & submissions, sadism & masochism and requires two consenting partners, oftentimes having one as the dominant and one as the submissive.

Strong communication is imperative for this kind of relationship and must be maintained from beginning to the end, otherwise someone could get hurt. So your first step into BDSM is to sit your partner down and talk to them outside of the bedroom. Let them know that you're interesting in implementing some of this kind of play into your sexual routine. Be sure to come with some research of what BDSM is and isn't and let them know why you're interested in exploring this side of your sexuality.

If your partner is on board, great! - You will both have to talk about what you are and aren't comfortable with. How far do the two of you want to go? Does the idea of a power dichotomy turn you both on? Who will be the sub and who will be the dom? Is the dom comfortable with what that requires? Et cetera. Everything has to be discussed. If you don't feel comfortable discussing it, you won't feel comfortable doing it. You will have to pick a safe word once everything else has been sussed out. A safe word is a word the sub can use to express that they are reaching a physical, mental or moral boundary. This will let the dom know that they need to back off. Check out this guide on how not to pick a safe word if you need a little more help.

It's then time to begin once you feel comfortable with your boundaries and your safe word.

The dom will want to assert their power over the sub. They can do this by tying the sub's hands together and demanding certain acts from them. They can also try blindfolding the sub and force them to take whatever the dom wants to do to them. Be sure the dom checks in every once an awhile with the sub since this is the first time. You don't want to push things too far, so keep things light and fun with the air of dominance. Diving in full force can be scary for a sub who has never been submissive before. The loss of control is something to be learned and honed, not pushed upon.

Using household items as props is a fun way to get into the role without coming off intimidating. Try using ties or scarves as ways to blindfold or tie the sub. Use things like ice and candle wax to tease and "torture" the sub. These items won't cost you anything and will be familiar to both of you.

You can kick things up a notch once you feel like you've gotten a decent grip on what BDSM can be like. Consider incorporating props, outfits and names to really get into the act. The dom should come up with a name that they insist on being called. Master or Mistress is pretty standard, but any name revolving around superiority work too, like Goddess, Daddy, etc. The dom should also have a few consensual derogatory names for the sub (Keep in mind that that it's important to stay away from trigger words for your sub). Keeping and enforcing these names can help both of you take on your persona. You can also consider dressing the part. The dom can insist upon a certain style of dress for playtime or can pick an outfit each time, whatever works, but the sub has no say in what they wear, whether it be an elaborate costume or nothing at all. Finally, you can pair your playtime with more intense toys as you begin to explore more and more. Leather tends to be a favorite among the BDSM community, so use leather in your outfits, in a belt used to whip or bind the sub, or even an actual leather whip. The dom can also get various sex toys like vibrators, be wa balls, cock rings or anal toys to use on the sub. Need some ideas? Check out the awesome adult toys at Adam and Eve. I've purchased some bed straps and vibes from them before, and they're fantastic! Try to push things a little farter each time. Amp up the role, amp the play and the control more and more.

From there on, the world is your oyster. Continue to do research if you find that you're both still digging it once you've turned up the intensity and even consider finding more people like you that you can learn from and grow with.

BDSM is a really great way to learn your limits, explore your sexuality and grow closer to your partner. Just be sure to have fun and put safety above all else.


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December 4, 2012

Centipede Bracelet





Oxidized silver centipede bracelet with constellation armor
Black Friday shirt (UO) & earrings (F21)

I haven't been updating here too often - life has been incredibly busy and filled with little blessings! I'll try to spend more time here after finals (next week!), but for now, here's something I've been up to. This is a commission for someone's partner that I made.

I do jewelrysmithing projects and take custom orders. If you're interested, please e-mail me at sofia.ajram@gmail.com ! Read more...

October 23, 2012

Anthropologie & Book Haul

Chronostasis pendant I made in my jewelrysmithing course last semester. Pumpkin Soufflé candle from Anthropologie! Smells like home and happiness! Bit of a book haul. I can never get enough of books, only that I can't read any of them right now because my courses are really cracking down on assignments. Above: Women Who Run with Wolves | Cunt: A Declaration of Independence | A History of Mistresses | Reinventing Eve Botanicals Sticker & label booklet from Anthropologie.
Apologies for the delay in posting! Life's been good, and I don't have many images to post about. Maybe, soon. Garage sale, maybe, soon. Then I can organize my world and post some photos for you all! But for now, a quick haul. We recently had the pleasure of Topshop, Anthropologie, and Agent Provocateur opening in Montreal! I feel like I don't need to shop outside my own city anymore! Not that I can afford any of these stores, but they're gorgeous to visit, especially the new Anthropologie on De La Montagne by Holts. Check it out if you haven't already, it's quite a dream! Read more...

September 25, 2012

Moss Terrarium & Puces Pop 2012


From D, Puces Pop this Saturday.
From M, vintage S&M book.

If you want to know how to make your own DIY terrarium, let me know and I can create a post for it! Still considering doing some YouTube videos now that I have a proper background... hmm.
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September 24, 2012

Home Office Inspiration Design


So I had my office repainted last week & after three days I realized that the white I had chosen is some wonky off-white blue colour and I'm considering repainting. White. I'm terrible with wall-colours if I can't even get white down properly.

Anyway, here's a little home-office inspiration in the meantime. I've been hauling out a lot of junk - I'm not much of a hoarder for random crap but I am pretty sentimental about memories I've accumulated, including ticket stubs, old photos and the likes, so I have boxes full of memories all over the place. It's time to organize it and get rid of the rest. Garage sale sometime soon before the cold weather creeps in. I also made 2 terrariums, which I'll take photos of tomorrow! Read more...

September 15, 2012

Amsterdam Photo Post

So last month, my mum and I were able to visit Amsterdam and Berlin as our yearly trip. Amsterdam is such a gorgeous city with so much to do! Here's a couple of photos from my eye. Sculpture from Rembrandt's house & one of Amsterdam's many canals. Rembrandt's house. Rembrandt's house. Teenage indulgence. Abraxas. Smoking up at Abraxas. I try to always hit up sex/erotica museums and planetariums when I travel. Inside Amsterdam's Sex Museum. Inside Amsterdam's Sex Museum, a short segment on Marilyn Monroe posing nude. Inside Amsterdam's Sex Museum, wall full of ass-cheeks that fart on you as you walk by. Brilliant when you see other tourists taking a walk down the stairs. Zoinks! Sex Museum entrance. Inside Amsterdam's Sex Museum, a segment on the history of the Red Light District. At the main square. Most amazing food I had on the trip - will be writing a whole blogpost on this soon! Dutch painting in our hotel. Infamous canals. Souveniers: Cosmic Wonder ring | Joint | Acne envelope | Sharpener Scenery & inside Droog

Hope you all enjoyed. I don't write much about travels because they're my personal experiences, but I'm always willing to share photographs.
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September 14, 2012

Berlin & Amsterdam Haul

Hey kittens! Here's a quick haul upload of some of the things I picked up on my trip to Berlin & Amsterdam this summer. Muji Airport Pouch | Muji Travel Pill Case | Pencil Sharpener Marshall Minor FX Earphones (White) Schiesser Undergarments They came in the most beautiful box! Muji Toothbrush (Green) Cosmic Wonder Ring (Engraved "Embrace of the Sun" into the band) Cosmic Wonder & diamond ring Diamond ring Post with photos of my actual trip in Amsterdam coming up soon!
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