Month: August 2017

Sparkle & Shine

Jacket, Parker (thrifted); top, Gap (thrifted); pants, Aritzia (thrifted); shoes, Louboutin (thrifted); bag, MbMJ
Jacket, Parker (thrifted); top, Gap (thrifted); pants, Aritzia (thrifted); shoes, Louboutin (thrifted); bag, MbMJ

A sequin jacket is a bit over-the-top for an average day in the life of Adina. On the other hand, a birthday is a once-a-year kind of deal, which justifies all the sequins, no? This is what I told myself, anyway. For my birthday dinner this year (which, full disclosure, happened on a Monday at 5 PM, lest you think my life is all glamorous and stuff), I pulled out my new-to-me Parker jacket AND the Loubs. Hey, I love any excuse to get a little fancy.

column of black
column of black
with a pop of champagne
with a pop of champagne

So as not to let things get too out of hand, I kept everything simple with a decidedly non-fancy “column of black” consisting of an old Gap tank top and my favourite new (to me) Aritzia joggers. It’s a formula that works both for the office and for casual (or fancy) occasions. Which reminds me: I need to put it back into my work rotation.

Everything but the bag and necklace was thrifted; the bag was an eBay score, which means 90% of the outfit was pre-loved. Not a bad showing, and more proof — if proof was still needed — that a well-stocked thrift store is a woman`s best friend. Sequins and all.

necklace, Alexis Bittar
necklace, Alexis Bittar
red soles, baby
red soles, baby
happy birthday to me
happy birthday to me

How To Get The Eyelashes of Your Dreams

Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder. Trite but oh so true. Some people love luscious lips; some people admire killer cheekbones or the perfect, pearly smile. Me, I am obsessed with 3 things: great skin, mermaid hair, and Bambi-like eyelashes. I have conceded defeat in the face of my follicular shortcomings; my hair looks its best (and is the most manageable) anywhere between chin- and shoulder-length — hardly the stuff mermaid dreams are made of. I am working diligently on getting my skin to look as dewy as my 37 years allow, and I am quite pleased with my current regimen. That leaves my lashes which were, well, fine. As long time readers know, I am devoted to mascara (L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly, to be precise) for making the most of what nature has given me — super blond lashes, of average length and density. A good mascara can do a lot, so I was more or less satisfied … until the recent surge in popularity of eyelash extensions.

Suddenly, everywhere I turned, I saw Bambi lashes. Long, thick, feathery. I won’t lie; I got a bad case of eyelash envy. (Dun dun dun … foreshadowing) I am not one to shy away from improving on nature, but in this case, my options seemed sadly limited. I had tried working with false eyelashes before, with dismal results. Getting extensions myself was also out of the question; quite apart from the cost, I refuse to commit to any procedures that require monthly maintenance. It’s the reason why I stopped getting gel nails. I don’t have the time to go to a salon on a regular schedule; I can barely manage to make it for a haircut every 3-4 months.

It looked like there was nothing to be done on the eyelash front, until one day when I saw a post from the aesthetician who did my eyebrow microblading. I had admired her impossibly long eyelashes during my first appointment, and was intrigued to find out that they were not a product of extensions but, rather, a serum called EyEnvy. At my next visit, I asked her about it and she shared her experiences with me. At $100 a tube, I wasn’t immediately ready to jump into buying the serum, but the more I looked at her eyelashes, the weaker my reservations grew. Long story short, I paid the money and got my paws on it. And the rest, as they say, is history.

By the way, this is not a sponsored post. I bought EyEnvy with my own money, and I`m writing about it because, well, I think it`s worth talking about — even if taking close-ups of my eyeballs is just about the least fun thing to do ever.

What The Hell Is It?

Here is what you need to know about EyEnvy. Unlike Latisse, it is non-prescription and, as far as I know, comes with no risk of changing eye colour. It comes in a tube that looks similar to a mascara, but with a very, very small brush similar to what you would get with a liquid eyeliner. The version I got (3.5 mL) is supposed to last anywhere up to 5 months. For the first 3 weeks, you apply a small amount to each lash line every morning (before putting on make-up). The recommendation is that you touch the brush against the inner rim of the tube to get rid of excess serum, then run the brush along the upper lash line in the same way you would apply eyeliner (from the outside corner of the eye to the inner). I did not apply it to my bottom lashes, but you can do that as well (ditto for eyebrows). After 3 weeks, you continue using the serum about 3 times a week only.

As with any product used in the vicinity of your eyes, exercise caution. The serum should not go into your eyes, as it may cause irritation. Some people have reported temporary eye redness from use, but I did not experience any side effects. I am not a doctor, so I will add only this: apply your best judgment, and discontinue use if you notice any concerning symptoms.

Does It Work?

In one word: YES.

Pictures being worth a thousand words, I will let you judge for yourselves.

the "before"
the “before”

Because I didn`t start thinking about writing this post until after I started using the serum, this is the best “before” pic I could muster. The angle is not ideal to show you the relative length of my eyelashes (plus, I`m wearing eyeliner) but it gives you a decent sense of what was there.

four weeks in
four weeks in

I started to notice some changes about 2 weeks in; my lashes were a bit more lush, though not noticeably longer. For some reason, it seemed like my mascara went on more smoothly. I started noticing some extra length at about the 3-4 week mark. With that said, please don`t imagine that I went from average-to-Bambi in no time flat. I did not get to the point of noticeable growth until about the 6 week mark, and the growth was at times frustratingly uneven. Is there such a thing as lazy eyelashes? The eyelashes of my right eye grew faster than the left, and in a more even pattern — progressively longer towards the outer corner, similar to what you would get with a set of falsies. The eyelashes of my left eye … well, that was another story. They took longer to grow, and I ended up with random individual lashes that shot out, leaving the surrounding ones behind them. I ended up doing a second pass with the serum on my left eye a few times to try to encourage more growth.

Thankfully, by about the 8 week mark, things had evened out. And I had a legitimate fluttery fringe on my hands, erm, eyes. Behold:

two months in
two months in

What`s Next?

Judging from the sounds of the sloshing in my tube, I have quite a bit of serum left, so I plan on continuing to use it 3 times a week for the time being. I like the current length of my eyelashes, and the rate of turnover, but I may consider cutting back to 1 or 2 weekly applications in the future. My aesthetician mentioned that she stopped using the serum altogether, and did not notice any loss in length for about 6 weeks, so a small amount of serum can probably go a long way during the “maintenance” phase. Although there is a part of me that`s tempted to see how much more length I could get, I am already at a point where applying mascara without getting it all over my brow bone is quite tricky; it`s probably a sign to leave well enough alone.

One thing I should say is that mascara is still definitely much needed to make the most of my eyelashes. Though long, the tips of my eyelashes are even paler than the roots, and very fine. Without mascara, they would be completely invisible. While I don`t know for sure that the results would be the same for someone with dark eyelashes, I would not be surprised if it was. So if you`re looking for a way to ditch the mascara altogether, EyEnvy might not the answer for you. But if you want Bambi lashes? Well, you could do a lot worse.

"before" and "after"
“before” and “after”

Got questions? Leave me a comment, and I will do my best to answer.

ETA: I apologize for not addressing this in the original post. Several readers have indicated that EyEnvy is not available to purchase online. I bought mine through the medical spa where I received microblading services. I believe it’s available exclusively through salons in Canada. I should have included that in the post info — sorry to anyone who is unable to purchase this in their neck of the woods.

What I Read: Empires Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I found a random biography of Napoleon III at the thrift store, so of course I bought it. It’s my reading catnip; I love French rulers — they have the messiest personal lives, which makes for excellent reading for someone with my superficial interests. Gossip is always fun, and historical gossip is among the best. Napoleon III and His Carnival Court (John Bierman) is nicely peppered with gossipy bits. The titular emperor — step-grandson and nephew of the great Napoleon — was an interesting character, with an active personal life. Married to the former Eugenie de Montijo, daughter of a Spanish noble and the preeminent fashion plate of her time, Napoleon had dalliances with a bevy of beautiful women from all over the continent. His rule, known as the Second Empire, coincided with a flowering of French culture and style. It also marked the heyday of the grandes horizontales (high class courtesans), whose world was immortalized by Emile Zola in the classic novel Nana — one of my favourite 19th century books, along with Zola’s Pot-Bouille.

Sadly, this biography does not appear to be available on Amazon Prime at this time, so I recommend Zola to you instead (think Balzac, but earthier). Or, if you want to read more about real-life famous French courtesans (including the inspiration for Zola’s Nana), try The Courtesans by Joanna Richardson. I also recommend Napoleon’s Buttons: 17 Molecules That Changed the World, which has nothing to do with Napoleon III and only a little with his namesake ancestor, but is a very entertaining science read.

In other news, I watched The Incredible Jessica James on Netflix and it was really good. A pretty straight-forward rom-com plotline, but with great dialogue and really engaging performances (and a nicely diverse cast). Highly recommend.

And, of course, Game of Thrones.

Mandatory spoiler warning.

I am throwing this extra paragraph in for anyone who needs it to X out of here. It’s not too late. Go. Come back on Monday for more non-GoT, fashiony stuff.

Are we alone now? Onwards.

I really enjoyed last week’s episode. OK, that’s an understatement. I loved it. I still feel like the show is dragging its feet on some of the plotlines — the Stark kids need to hurry up and put that Chekhov’s dagger to good use, for example. I love Littlefinger (he used to be my second fave character on the show, behind Jon — don’t even ask) but his time is over. Similarly, if the show is dead set on having Jon and Dany engage in incest-y shenanigans (it really sounds like a terrible idea when one puts it like that, doesn’t it?) then they might as well just get to it. They still have zero chemistry, but maybe Davos will narrate their hook-up for our benefit and then maybe it will seem somewhat plausible. Davos could sell anything, to anyone.

But none of that matters because the battle between the Lannisters and the Dothraki (and Drogon, of course) was everything we could have wanted it to be. I’m glad that HBO hasn’t burned (haha) through all of its CGI budget prior to this episode, because that was one amazing spectacle. I was on the edge of my seat for the last 15 minutes or so of the episode, even though I knew that neither Dany nor Jamie were going to die — Dany because she hasn’t shagged Jon yet (kidding but not really), and Jamie because he hasn’t killed Cersei yet. I think Drogon was and is equally safe, though I know some people are speculating that the spear was poisoned. I don’t think that’s likely. To be honest, I was afraid that Bronn was going to die. Clearly, his plot armor is as strong as Arya’s last season. I do hope he dumps the Lannisters soon, because they ain’t worth staring down the business end of a dragon as far as I’m concerned.

Other quick thoughts:

– I really struggled to understand some of Sansa’s reactions to her siblings, particularly to Arya’s mock fight with Brienne. I don’t know if that was just a questionable acting choice on Sophie Turner’s part or intended to be foreshadowing of some kind of inter-familial strife. I would love for the Stark kids to pull together — see my comment above regarding Littlefinger, but also in general — so I hope it was the former.

– I am guessing that Jaime is about to become a prisoner YET AGAIN, which is going to be interesting if it means that he and Tyrion are reunited.

– Destroying the grain carts? Maybe not the best move, Dany. Winter is coming and all.

– An Arya-Brienne-Hound reunion? I am THERE!!

Lastly, a confession. After watching the last episode, I caved and ended up tracking down a summary of the season 7 leaks online. I won’t discuss them here because, judging by what we’ve seen so far, they seem to be legit. I will say that while some of (purported) twists served to confirm my own speculations, others came as complete surprises. Oh, and one more thing: I have no idea how they are going to cram everything that is still supposed to happen this season into 3 episodes. It makes me really excited for Sunday night. THINGS ARE ABOUT TO GO DOWN.

Join me in my GoT speculation (or book talk) in the comments. Happy Friday!