Princess Mononoke Kodama Toy

I went to Magic Pony down at the Design Exchange for a Dunny trading party and immediately fell in love with the kodama plushie from the Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke!

Princess Mononoke Kodama Toy

(Here’s mine chilling out with a pina colada.)

So what are the kodama? They’re basically tree sprites who thrive off the life force of the forest guardian. In turn, the forest guardian depends on the health of the forest and protects the forest and everything in it.

It’s an official kodama plushie authorized by Studio Ghibli and I was actually very surprised to see that it’s so well made! There’s some weighted beads in the kodama’s torso to keep it steady since its head is so large, and the fabric is really, really soft.

I’m not sure if it’s a QA thing or not, but each kodama at Magic Pony had some slight imperfections in their heads and made them look a little more unique with a bit of personality. Of course, I picked up the one with the strangest looking head I could find! Gotta take the funky one, right?

Princess Mononoke Kodama Toy

As you can see, it’s only about 4″ tall but that just means it’s pocket sized and it can go anywhere it likes!

I also found out that it can be HIGHLY disturbing to some people since it kind of looks like it’s staring at you. I showed it to the Monsieur and he wouldn’t break eye contact with it because it kinda creeped him out. But that’s all part of the fun!

Verdict: 5/5! It’s such a perfect size, shape and fuzziness that it embodies the whimsical creepiness of the kodama to a tee.

If you want to pick one up in Toronto, head over to Magic Pony at the Design Exchange (234 Bay Street, close to Wellington) or click here to check it out on their website!

xoxo,

B.elle

Sleeping Habits (aka, Stress is Keeping Me Awake)

I haven’t been sleeping well lately.

I’ve got puffy bags under my eyes, I’m falling asleep at my desk and I feel like I may fall apart from all the mysterious aches I’m getting from restless sleep.

I don’t have any human kids to keep me up at night, but I do have 2 cats that are my fur-covered babies. One of them decided that he REALLY needed my affection at around 3am this morning, so that was fun. (Not really.)

But, I think the major sources of sleep deprivation are coffee and stress.

Work’s been kind of rough with the latest production batch and the new branding, and I find myself drinking 2-3 cups of coffee per day. I’m not used to that amount of stress and caffeine, so I’m going to bed anxious, tense and generally unable to calm myself down.

I’ve also recently started being intimate with the monsieur. This normally wouldn’t be a source of stress for most women, but my cycles are at least a week longer than the average and I usually can’t predict a hard date for when my period will start. So, being stressed out already, I quietly freak out in my mind at the mere possibility of being pregnant.

Usually, some sort of hard physical activity like a good parkour session does the trick to exhaust myself, but it’s not a really wise idea to be jumping on hard surfaces a few feet in the air when you’re not fully mentally aware. I like my bones and skin intact, you know?

Ugh, I’m in desperate need a vacation. Or a spa day. Either one is fine.

What do you do to really get your mind off of things?

xoxo,

B.elle

Limited Edition Chatelaine Topbox – Blogger Swap

I did another blogger swap with Chris over at The Other Side of the Box!

We decided to swap subscription boxes this time. She definitely knows her way around the beauty subscription boxes, so I wasn’t too surprised at what she got me!

Limited Edition Chatelaine Topbox

It’s the Limited Edition Chatelaine Topbox! It came with a 12-issue subscription to the Chatelaine magazine, but that won’t be showing up until July. I cost about $40 and, because it’s part of their Limited Edition line, it was available to non-subscribers as well.

It’s wrapped up so cutely! It actually reminds me a lot of how Petite Boite a Vie wraps their boxes.

Limited Edition Chatelaine Topbox

The box is PACKED! The weight should have tipped me off, but I haven’t really been paying attention to any of the email promos that I get, so it was a nice surprise to see so many full sized things in this box.

Let’s dig in, with no particular order!

Be Delectable’s Ultra Nourishing Hand Cream in Strawberry and Cream – $12 for 118mL (Full sized)

It actually smells like a strawberries and cream cake! It goes on really nicely and it take too long to be absorbed into the skin, either.

Aveda’s Smooth Infusion Style-Prep Smoother – $24 for 100mL ($9.60 for 40mL travel size sample)

My hair is naturally straight without ANY frizz at all unless it’s an ultra-humid day, so this one will probably go into a swap pile or I’ll give it away to a friend. It’s a really generous size and it smells pretty good if not a bit herbal.

Yves Rocher Grand Rouge Lipstick in Bordeaux – $19 for 3.7g (Full sized)

How elegant is that tube? I love the plated gold finish because it makes it seem so Chanel-y and I’m sure I’ll feel more classy than I really am when I put it on! 😉

It doesn’t look too bad on me either, but it’s so pigmented and it’s darker than what I usually wear for every day chores. It’s perfect for special events, though!

Sweet Pea Soap in Mango Papaya – $5.95 (Full size)

This soap is actually really light in scent, which I prefer, and it’s made with all natural ingredients. It doesn’t feel like it would leave a strange residue like some other bar soaps and it’s also earth-friendly! It really does smell like I could eat it, too.

Good thing it’s fruit season!

Ceramic Glaze in Blueberry Bubblegum (blue) and Honolulu Hibiscus (purple) – (Full size, exclusively at Shoppers Drug Mart)

This is a new brand that’s exclusive to Shoppers Drug Mart and it’s supposed to be packed full of pigment and long lasting wear. I really like this duo of colours since it’s so tropical and summery but it can do really well in the fall and spring as well!

Can’t wait to try it out!

Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Oil-Free Gel Cream – $32 for 125mL ($1.79 for 7mL sample)

For some reason, I’ve managed to stay under a rock about Kiehl’s until about last year but I’ve also never really had an inclination to try it. Still, it feels pretty moisturizing but I can’t tell yet if it actually reduces the appearance of oil on my skin. I try not to sweat and when I do, I don’t really care about it!

Be a Bombshell’s Eyeshadow Quad in Bora Bora – $16 for 4 colours, 4.8g total (Full size)

The colours are much richer and more intense than what you see in the picture. I couldn’t really get an accurate photo that day for some reason…

The shades sort of remind me of what the BH Cosmetics line was trying to do, but Be a Bombshell does it a lot better and a lot cheaper, too! The colours are really pigmented and the shades are vibrant and playful without looking too gaudy.

So Susan’s Intense Eye Shadow Palette – $29.96 for 4 colours, 8g total (Full size

I really like how the two palettes in this box are so different! I’d totally rock this palette when I want a more professional, classier look compared to the brighter, more energetic one from Be a Bombshell. This one’s also really pigmented and silky and also cruelty free!

(How did Chris know that I was starting to think of getting more eyeshadows? Psychic creepiness…)

Jewels & Aces’ Crystal Triangle Cuff – $28

Can I tell you how much I absolutely love this bracelet? It’s my new favourite accessory for all occasions! Their other pieces of jewelry are really gorgeous, too. Plus, they’re a Canadian company!

The Shopping Channel $50 Coupon

I haven’t really decided what to get from them, but I do know that they don’t have a minimum purchase order for this voucher! Oh-my-gawd, this is gonna be too much fun.

Verdict – 5/5! I really, REALLY like this box because there’s just so much variety, great value and it’s a perfectly balanced box that has familiar and new brands to try out! Plus, it comes with a magazine subscription for some extra reading!

Thank you so much, Chris! Don’t forget to check out her fabulous blog here!

Did you get a Limited Edition Chatelaine Topbox? Would you get one of Topbox’s LE boxes? (So many “box”-es in one sentence…)

xoxo,

B.elle

Impulse Lunch Break

Today was one of those days that took me from one end of the GTA to the other and back. I needed to take measurements, tackle traffic, talk to some partners, grab some samples, drop off samples and somehow squeeze in some lunch before making the hour-long trek on the 401.

(Side note: “Hour-long trek on the 401” kinda has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?)

After I took care of the samples, I checked my GPS to see where’s the nearest place for me to eat. It led me to a small plaza-esque area where there was a McDonald’s, Subway and a Wild Wings. Yay.

Right as I parked the car, I noticed a quaint little cafe that opened up to the parking lot called Bukamaranga Bean & Bagel Company. Curiously, it was almost empty at 1:30pm on a beautiful Friday afternoon, but it immediately brought back memories of the open-air cafe by the Woodbine Beaches.

I went by pure instinct and stepped in for some lunch. It looked clean enough!

And boy, was I ever surprised!

Smoked Salmon Lunch

A smoked salmon sandwich with tons of dill and garlic cream cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion, capers on whole wheat toast and a generous side of fresh caesar salad! With an amazingly delicious coffee, the total came up to $11.50 after tax!

A Big Mac combo at McDonald’s is almost $10 now anyway, so you can see why I’m always on the lookout for local, delicious cafes for lunch.

Bukamaranga Bean & Bagel Company

Address:
6465 Millcreek Drive,
Streetsville, ON, L5N 5R3

Phone: 905-812-8777

xoxo,

B.elle

Topbox – June 2014

Last week was crazy at work and this week is less so, but not as calm as I’d like! At least I got to go to a fancy gala event where there was really good food and discovered that Rockport’s heels are really comfortable for fancy nights.

It was so busy that it was kind of a surprise when I got home that my Topbox was waiting for me on the table! Of course, since I got home at around midnight, I had to wait until today.

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

Let’s see what’s in the June Topbox!

This looks like a pretty decent box! For once, the full sized versions of the products in the box are actually kind of affordable and they’re things I’d use pretty much every day or regularly, which is really nice to see. I’m not complaining about getting deluxe samples of high-end luxury brand cosmetics, but I just don’t use them as often.

China Glaze in Wait N’ Sea – $10-12 for 14mL, full sized

I think this makes the third nail polish that I’ve received from Topbox. But, this one’s from China Glaze and it used to be the most hyped up brand back in my high school days, so I’m looking forward to seeing how the brand is now.

I thought it looked kind of similar to the LA Splash nail polish that I got a few months ago, but it’s clearly a lot lighter! Perfect for the summer!

Topbox June 2014

La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios XL Lightweight Lotion SPF 60 (3mL sample = $0.84) – 100mL for $28 at London Drugs

This sample is TINY! I may just use it on my face tomorrow because there is absolutely NO way that 3mL of sunscreen can cover anything besides my face or one of my hands.

The little bit that I managed to squeeze out to try on the back of my hand is pretty thick at first, but went on like silk and it wasn’toily or filmy. There’s some hope for this sunscreen!

Vasanti Cosmetics’ BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator (20g = $5.67 sample) – 120g for $34

This is a nice sized sample for a face cleanser!

It’s actually pretty grainy but the particles are pretty fine compared to other microbeads in the market. I’m worried that the sheer amount of particles would be too aggressive in the long run, though.

On the plus side, it smells pretty!

Bioderma’s Atoderm Moisturising Stick – 4g for $6.95 Full Sized!

It smells like raspberries! It really does!

I don’t really like the way they have the mouth slanted inside because I tend to twist my lipsticks and chapsticks with one hand. When I do it with this, the whole thing twirls around like a madman on a carousel and it’s kind of weird trying to turn it around so I can put it on!

The balm is actually VERY moisturizing, but it tends to sit on my lips like a layer of wax instead of something like EOS where you can practically feel the balm seep into your lips in a good way.

But, it’s not oily or feel like it’s melting off my lips like some other lip balms, so it’s a win!

Verdict: 3.5/5 – Third nail polish in a row and the La Roche-Posay sample is really too tiny for an effective sunscreen sample. It’s not Topbox’s fault, but it does leave you wanting a little more.

Did you get the June Topbox? What did you think of it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Blogger Swap – Jewelry!

I did another swap with the lovely at The Other Side of the Box! We decided on rings at first, but she couldn’t find one that I would like so she gave me THIS…

Jewels & Aces

It’s a Moroccan Gem Link Bracelet and a pair of Aqua Stella Studs by Jewels & Aces!

Jewels & Aces

They’re so pretty and bright! They’re a tad heavy for my liking, but I’m really happy that the chain on the bracelet is strong and it actually fits snugly on my wrist!

Jewels & Aces

Not to mention, it’s a Canadian company. Gotta love supporting the local companies!

Check out Jewels & Aces here! They’re perfect for a gift or a nice personal treat! 😀

xoxo,

B.elle

The Music Box Subscription – June 2014

I signed up to The Music Box a while ago with a small discount code they advertised on Twitter and I finally got it this week all the way from the US!

What is it?

The Music Box Subscription introduces you to new music and swag from up and coming bands from all over North America. Each box is curated to your music tastes through a small survey and costs $10USD per month! Shipping is free in the US, $5USD to Canada and $9USD to Australia.

It’s kind of hard for me to describe what kind of music I really like since I find that my music tastes will change from month to month and people keep redefining what the categories are!

Thankfully, they also had a section for “Your Favourite Bands” and I put down these bands: Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Offspring, Linkin Park and Metric (I think). I probably should put in Lorde and USS because they haven’t moved from my commuting playlist at all!

Based on my responses, TMB sent me this lovely box!

The Music Box Subscription June 2014

The sunglasses are actually really cute and they’re also UV protected! They’re a little hipster-y, but I would so rock this with a loose t-shirt, formal shorts and flats. And contacts, because I’m pretty much blind without prescription glasses.

The bands they featured for my June box were more along the screamo, metal and punk categories that I’m pretty familiar with, and I’ll admit that I’ve had in my music library from my late high school years!

Both Aurin and Chrysalis put in whole albums into the box, and Aurin was spotlighted with more swag like a sticker and a couple of guitar picks! (No idea what I’ll do with the guitar picks, but it’s nice to see!)

If you like the type of grinding punk screaming rock that’s common at places like Taste of Chaos, I would definitely recommend Aurin and Chrysalis! Aurin has a wonderful lead singer and Chrysalis delivers some good drives.

They also put in a handful of cards with promo codes for free album streaming, which is a really good way to get some advertising! In no particular order, they included these bands:

  • 3AM (3pm-music.com, free downloads at mantarayrecords.com with code 3pm2014)
  • Olio (oliosongs.com, free downloads available)
  • Aurin (aurinband.com)
  • Nobody Yet (iamnobodyyet.com)
  • Pyro Ohio (PyroOhio.com)
  • Chrysalis (chrysalisband.com)
  • itMusic, a music community (itmusic.us)
  • Rivers Monroe (riversmonroe.com, free album download HERE!)

Verdict: 3.5/5 I do like the swag and getting introduced to new bands, but I wonder if I’m just too particular with music to really appreciate this type of music again. We’ll have to see what’s in the next couple boxes to see if I’ll stick around!

xoxo,

B.elle