Friday, October 16, 2009

Product Review: Zax's Bruise Cream

I am a clumsy girl. I mean, really clumsy. At the time of this writing (8:45AM), I have already this morning bashed my knee against the bathroom counter and jammed my finger against the railing in the stairwell. I am already dreading winter with its inherent slips and falls...

Luckily, my friend Sean has introduced me to my new favourite product - bruise cream! I picked up some of Zax's Bruise Cream in August, and have been using it on my various bumps and lumps long enough now to provide a review...

The instructions on the package say to use it three times a day, but I'll admit that I forget to do that since I'm lazy, I mostly remember in the morning and at night during my regular moisturizing routine... And maybe it's psychosomatic, but I really feel like it makes the bruises both lighter and last for less time.

In case you don't know, a bruise results from a bash that happens with enough force to damage capillaries (and sometimes venules), so that blood seeps into the surrounding tissue. Not super-damaging in the small variety, but big accidents can cause big bruising...

The three active (and natural) ingredients in Zax's Bruise Cream are arnica, witch hazel and menthol. Here's how each of these things work with relation to bruising:

Arnica: One of the compounds in arnica is sesquiterpene lactone, which can assist in the healing of bruises by decreasing swelling, speeding blood reabsorption to the surrounding tissue, and decreasing pain.
Witch hazel: Witch hazel contains tannins, which give it astringent properties (in a pinch I have used witch hazel by itself as a mild astringent, and while the smell is unpleasant at best, it is gentle on the skin). It helps tighten up the blood vessels which have been damaged by a bash on, say, the underside of a countertop.
Menthol: Provides a cooling sensation, especially useful if the bruise is aching.

It doesn't smell great, I'm not going to lie to you. But it works, and for me at this clumsy stage in my life (wasn't I supposed to outgrow my gangly teenager years?) it is a godsend.

Five stars. No question.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Evening elegance.

(Image found on A Dress A Day)

As the days turn cooler, I find myself thinking about the upcoming holiday season - Christmas and New Year's parties, time spent with family and friends, the people I love the best. And I feel like this year I want to wear something simple and elegant to these events, instead of my hastily-thrown together outfits or the same old, same old grecian-style evening dress I've worn every holiday season (and to every event, it seems) for the last six years.

I do have a lovely little black silk number that has served me well for a couple of holiday parties over the years (sleeveless, princess seaming, with floral beading near the knee-length hemline), but I don't know if my chubby little tummy* is going to fit into it this year, despite the foundation garments I have to support it.

That's why I'm looking to vintage patterns for inspiration this year. I love, love, love the dress on the left, and I think it would be absolutely stunning in a navy or royal blue silk taffeta for the holiday season.

The thing with evening clothes is that the best ones are simply designed and made from beautiful fabrics - a simple design will let gorgeous, luxurious fabric speak for itself (not to mention showcasing expanses of lovely skin and setting off shining hair), and it will stay stylish for years longer than something with excessive detailing. (This also helps prevent the dreaded, "Oh, she's wearing that old thing again.") Also, simplicity is most often more comfortable. If you're pulling and tugging at your dress all night, you can't very well be your wonderful, charming, witty self!

While black is both slimming and elegant, it seems like everyone wears it (at least in my circles). I like to stand out a little, which is why a little colour goes a long way for me. (Please note I am not condemning black in any way, but if you do choose an all-black ensemble you should give extra thought to your accessories.)

I would pair this dress with simple drop earrings and a tennis bracelet . Also a minaudiere and lovely shoes .

*Please don't take this as a criticism of my chubby little tummy, it's lovely and plump and the skin is so soft...


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Simple sipping.

In an effort to simplify my life I've been purging a lot of things out of my apartment lately - I am lucky to work in a place that has an online bulletin board where you can sell things, and I'm making a tidy profit off of my unwanted items. A profit that can be spent on booze.

Having said that, I used to be the kind of girl who liked complicated cocktails. But not anymore. No longer is it necessary to have my cocktail match my dress.

Thank God. I only own so much pink.

I have recently learned the joy and simplicity in maximum two-ingredient cocktails.

Bourbon: I don't know everything about bourbon. I don't know anything about bourbon, actually. I do know that Knob Creek Bourbon is lovely just neat, on the rocks, or, in the summertime, mixed with lemonade. And that's it.

Vodka: With soda. And sometimes ice. And a slice of lime if I happen to have some in the fridge (a rare occurrence, but you never know). I'm not picky about my vodkas, but some people are. I guess if I were drinking it straight I would worry about it, but if I'm drinking vodka straight my biggest worry is smelling like Boris Yeltsin.

Champagne: Don't get me started. I love champagne. I could drink it all day. (But then I'd be drunk all the time, and no good could come of that...) My best friend and I like to drink it on Friday nights to celebrate the end of the work week and the beginning of the weekend. (We call this drunk-up... To the point that I have pajamas and a toothbrush that live at her house in case of impromptu drunk-ups - or is it drunks-up?) We usually put in an ounce of some sort of spirit - peach schnapps are a favourite, but we also recently discovered that ice wine is great in it as well. Champagne also makes a great aperitif - I will often have a glass with my first course at a nice restaurant. Prosecco can also be substituted.

The key to drinking stylishly is that you shouldn't have to:
  1. Tell the bartender what goes in your drink; or
  2. Blush when you ask for it (Orgasm, Sex on the Beach, etc.)
Simplify, friends. And remember an anything-tini isn't a martini.