Monday, May 24, 2010

Finally, I'm a Balmshell

I am a lipstick girl. I have been wearing lipstick or lip gloss for as long as I can remember. When I was younger, it was the one piece of makeup I could wear and feel confident that it had been put on properly and that I didn’t look like a clown when wearing it. Even now it is the one thing I refuse to leave the house wearing. Sometimes I worry that I am somewhat fanatic about it, but I’ve stopped caring. It’s my security blanket if you will. Because of this lipstick/gloss addiction I am always on the hunt for that one perfect lip stick/gloss. The one that even if it is the only thing I am wearing, will make me look like a million bucks.

If the above statement doesn’t prove my worth somewhat as a lip makeup expert than I don’t know what will! I came upon a pleasant lip gloss discovery a few months ago. I was attending TwestivalTO, a Twitter event that brings together followers and gives them a chance to meet in real life (IRL). I went with my friend Maria and we hung out all night with other Twitter people who had no idea who we were. Several sponsors had provided gifts for the event and Maria and I were quick to snatch up anything that looked good. My best score of the evening were testers of a lip gloss I had never heard of before called Balmshell. I was a little hesitant to start using the lip gloss as I had never heard or seen this brand before. Now that I have tried it, I am addicted! In my non professional opinion it is the best lip gloss I have ever used. It doesn’t make my lips stick together and it doesn’t feel like things are going to get stuck in my lips when I wear it!

What I’ve always been disappointed about in lip gloss is that the colour is usually so sheer, once it is applied you can’t even tell there is any colour there. This is not the case with Balmshell, at least not the colours I got (there were two samples in each package). I have a very neutral shade that I wear with lip liner and that is it. There is enough colour to it that I don’t need to mix it with lipstick. Sometimes I do but I don’t have to.

My love and admiration for this new product I had stumbled across led me to look up their website. The company was started by twin sisters, Jennifer and Fiona Lees, from right here in Toronto. They did not have a background in makeup but decided to go ahead and create the perfect lip gloss. I for one am ecstatic that they did and can’t thank them enough. I will be a fan for life. Their website says the products are sold at some Shoppers Drug Mart stores and Sephora. I have yet to see Balmshell in any of the locations I’ve been to but I will keep looking. If I can’t locate it in a store, I will buy it from their website ($20) as soon as I figure out what colour it is I have. If you happen to see Balmshell being sold at a retail location, please message me or leave a comment. I swear I will run there within 24 hours of someone confirming a location for me. My lips thank you in advance.

PS: They have a colour called “Shopaholic”. How cool is that?

Update June 17: I have found a few Shoppers Drug Mart locations that carry Balmshell. They are:

Mississauga, ON: Burhamthorpe and Cawthra
Etobicoke, ON: Queensway and Park Lawn
St. Catherines, ON: My co worker found this one. I have to get the street name from her.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

What Are You Wearing Under There?

If you asked women what they dread shopping for the most, I assume answers to tie for first place would be either jeans or bathing suits. As for 3rd place, I’m going to go out on a limb and say under garments, specifically bras. It’s never been one of my favourite things to buy. It’s gotten better over the years, but it is still something I dread. When you think about it, a bra has a pretty important job to do. It isn’t really something you can skimp on. The fit has to be right or some pretty awful things and looks can happen. As with jeans and bathing suits, when I find one that fits properly, helps make me look skinny, and doesn’t break the bank, I usually end up buying the same style in more than one colour. Then I thank my lucky stars that it will be a considerable amount of time before I have to undergo this torture again.

Through the years, I have tended to stick to the same styles. I have my go to stores where I know I’m bound to find something. Even if it is going to take hours, I will leave with something which is the ultimate goal. The last time I was at my go to store in the US, I was told the most devastating news, they don’t make that style anymore. What? Are they out of their minds? What the heck am I supposed to do now? They have no idea the stress and anxiety this news has caused. I have to replace the go to style but with what?

Below are my top 3 choices for places to shop at for the dreaded under garment. A visit to either of these stores is likely to end with the purchase of some type of under garment that does the job it’s supposed to and doesn't make me burst into tears during the process.


By chance I happened to wander into Oakville Place a few weeks ago and discovered Change has a store here. I’ve read about Change for years in my fashion magazines. It is Europe’s answer to fashionable affordable lingerie. Known for stylish items and reasonable prices, I knew I had to pay them a visit. Plus I was in need of said undergarment. There are some things you should be aware of if you have never been to a Change store before. First of all, their sizes are European. If you think it is hard to convert your Canada shoe size or shirt size to European sizes, think how difficult it is for lingerie where sizes tend to be all over the place anyway. A staff member was very helpful in this respect. Be prepared to be measured. Not the most pleasant thing but necessary to determine the right size. From there, it is still a guessing game for cup size. A fun game of trial and error now starts and hopefully you can get it right before trying on everything in the store. I did like a lot of their styles and the prices were really good. I saw several that were $28 and $38, certainly much better than some of those other places out there. I bought one item and am pretty sure I would go back for more. Lounge and swim wear round out their collection.

For a list of Canadian locations visit the Change website.

Gap Body

This seems to be a store that women don’t really think about when they need to buy new lingerie. Locations are more limited. The only full stores I know about are Square One and Bloor Street. Other Gap stores usually have a small collection of Gap Body, mainly lounge wear and underwear. Bras can be a slim offering or nonexistent at those locations. I have visited the Square One location frequently. I like it because it is at the back of the store, away from all the other merchandise. Last thing I need is some group of guys watching me pick out my under things. Usually this part of the store is quiet so you can browse in peace. The sizes are normal lingerie sizes and I find sizes to be pretty consistent across styles. The one downfall is there usually isn’t staff in this section. If you have questions or need help you’ll have to venture out into the regular store and hunt someone down.

There is a really good selection of styles and colours. The best thing is any promo that runs is usually valid on Gap Body items which gives you potential to save quite a bit of money. Get on their Canadian email list if you’re not already. I also happen to be a fan of Gap Body pyjamas. It is possible that I could buy more from Gap Body than their regular stores if only they would make Gap Body more readily available. Gap Canada is promising we will have a live shopping site of our own sometime this year; oh happy day! I hope we will see the full Gap Body assortment on that website. We will be able to shop for our underwear in our underwear from home. I don’t do this but have heard of others who do.

You can visit the Gap Canada website here. Stay tuned for a launch date on that long awaited Canada shopping site.

Victoria’s Secret

For the longest time this was where I bought all undergarments. It was my go to store until they stopped making my favourite, forcing me to branch out to other chains. This store was always a bit harder to get to since I had to get myself to the US to be able to buy anything. You can order online and I believe they ship to Canada, just beware of extra taxes and duties on your order.

Later this year, Victoria Secret will be opening up locations in Canada. This will allow for more spontaneous purchases. When I get fed up from lack of fit and styles, I will be able to frequent other locations to try my luck again, there by keeping the torture to a minimum. Personally I think this will be a great addition to the Canadian retail landscape. They bring a ton of styles and many different product categories from make up, reshaping garments, pyjamas, and lounge wear.

You can get a list of existing Canada Victoria's Secret Pink locations by visiting the website. Looks like the stores are only in Ontario right now.

If you have a favourite place to shop for lingerie, leave a comment to tell us about it.

Change image from blogTO
Victoria’s secret image from their website.