Follow The Sewing Unicorn by Email

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

March TopBox Review!

I love my monthly Topbox Fix! 

For $12 a month, 4-5 beauty samples (one full sized) are sent to your doorstep.

I have a high satisfaction rate, and can usually spread out the samples to last until my next fix.

This month, Gideon was sad though:

Sad Gideon

Normally we opt for the thick cardboard tube option, so he gets all excited for the package.  He even recognizes it in the dark blue TopBox mailing envelope!  So normally we are both excited.  This month was "eco friendly" packaging month...so a tulle-type bag that we will never use vs cardboard tube that lasts the pups a week or two.

I think the tube is the eco-friendly option in our household!

Anyhoo - back to March's TopBox surprises.  As I normally opt for the plain Jane surprise box vs a brand-specific box.  I don't want to miss out on trying a new brand, something the brand-specific kits don't fully provide me with.


Mereadesso - Tinted All-In-One Moisturizer

Blend product into skin for a sheer, naturally glowing finish.  Apply more in areas where extra coverage is needed.

20ml for $48.  Available at shop1.Mereadesso.com

I really liked this sample package - the package itself.  Normally with tinted creams and cover-up type of products, there might be enough for one or two applications squeezed from the corner you ripped off with your teeth.  This package has a cool flap at the front that closes, and you press down to squeeze the cream onto the handy plastic palette underneath the flap.

The cream itself is a nice consistency and provides full coverage where I need it.  My face doesn't feel tight or greasy afterwards, and it dries pretty quickly.  You can also rub your face afterwards without any of the tint coming off on your fingers.

What I do NOT like.  The smell - it smells awful. This is unfortunate, as due to the scent, it overpowers the quality of the product, and I won't be replenishing it after my sample has been used up (2 weeks and it's still going strong!).

I just checked the Mereadesso site - and the "sample" I received is actually their travel package - and sells for $16 CAD! 

This again is one of the reason I vouch for monthly beauty packages - value for your money and products that get you thinking outside of the box!


MaskerAide - ALL EYES ON ME Hydrating Eye Gel Patches

Prepare under eye area by cleansing and toning your skin.  Open packet and remove eye gels from tray and remove protective film from both sides.  Apply to under eye area.  Both sides of eye gel can be used.  Relax for 15-20 minutes.  Remove eye gels and discard.  Use once per week as a treatment or as needed.

1 Box (4 pairs of Eye Gels) $25.  Available at MaskerAide.com

These eye gel patches made me feel like a reverse football player - with white patches under my eyes instead of black patches under their eyes (why do football players do this??). 

Once you get beyond the initial cold shock of the gel underneath your eyes, it's all good. 

The directions say to relax, but I just continued studying for my Risk Management Exam instead. 

After patch removal, my under eyes appeared to be less fatigued and not quite as zombie-like. 

I'd definitely try these again as part of my weekly "spoil myself" evenings where I use a face mask, do my nails, and have a soak in a bath full of homemade Lush-like bath bombs.


Nova Scotia Fisherman eXtreme Skin Care - Fisher-Mint

This bright refreshing Fisher-Mint lip balm is the perfect naturally fresh way to moisturize your dry winter lips.  Since all of the ingredients are natural, you can feel good about using it as many times a day as you would like.

9.9g for $4.95.  Available at NovaScotiaFisherman.com/retailers

This is one of my favourite Nova Scotia Fisherman products to date. 

The lip balm was normal sized (compared to their original Lip balm which is about 5 times the girth of a normal lip balm) and perfect to keep in my purse or pocket.  I always have lip balm with me, as my lips dry up quick easily - especially during the winter months.

This balm left my lips with a slight minty scent and felt not too sticky but not too drying.  It is just the right consistency that Husband will kiss me with it on and doesn't complain that I am wearing lip goo.

I love that this product is Canadian, supports our economy, and is made with fresh & natural ingredients.



Bliss - Triple Oxygen Energizing Vitamin C Day Cream

Infused with CPR Technology, and an advanced form of vitamin C to enhance skin's vitality and clarity, and smooth fine lines and wrinkles while intensely hydrating and protecting for a smooth, glowing complexion.

50ml for $75.77.  Available at BlissWorld.com

I have no idea what "CPR Technology" is - other than thinking it has something to do with oxygenating the skin?  Bringing it back to life? 

I absolutely LOVE the smell of this cream - it smells light and citrusy - and is quite invigorating first thing in the morning! 

The scent makes up for the funky Mereadesso smell.

I use it on top of my normal vitamin C serums, as this is the consistency of a moisturizer. It smooths on easily, and very little is required to cover my face.

I haven't noticed any difference in my fine lines or complexion, but that might also come from regularly using face creams and Vitamin C serums.  I guess I could say my wrinkles and complexion hasn't regressed - so anything that maintains or reduces fine lines is thumbs up in my world!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Chronic Fatigue in Me - There is Hope

I know a lot of my Posts relate to products - I'm helping the little businesses get their name out there.  I know how difficult marketing is from my Crystal's Bird Toys days - word of mouth really DOES get the most repetitive business (or at least that's what I encountered).

This post in about My ongoing 12+ year battle with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Something the majority of people just brush off or laugh off.

I can't count the number of mainstream doctors I've seen.  I've seen one homoeopathic "doctor" (she was only a few years into it, but I saw a glimmer of hope with her treatments).  And one Naturopathic Doctor (ND) who really helped me progress beyond Zombie stage 3 years ago.

Every single one of my friends, my in-laws, and the car at lunch have all encountered Systic falling asleep on their couches, on chairs, on the floor, against walls, and probably other random places.

When I stop, I drop. Or at least I used to.

My ND, however, was not cheap. And as great as my employers' benefit plan is, beyond the actual visit fee, Naturopathic remedies are not covered. I could manage this when I ran CBT - but after I closed shop, it became very anxiety driven as to where the extra $200-$300 a month would come from.

So I went from monthly visits to every 3 months, then 4, and finally not at all. I stalled out, my memory began fading again, my constant dizziness returned, and my sleep cycle worsened.

It's not as bad as it was 3 years ago - I can work out daily, and am not a walking zombie. I don't feel I'm as grumpy as I used to be either.

I really do try to stay positive - like unicorns, sparkles, and Jazz Hands!

c/o play.google.com


Not stopping + positive thinking = better frame of mind.

Then my accident in September happened, and my mainstream doctor ignored me yet again (about my pain and injury totally unrelated to CFS), and I ended up in the emergency room two days later.

Husband once again asked his newish family doctor if he would take me on as a patient. Husband likes his doctor - he listens and seems to actually care. For Husband to recommend someone - they MUST be good!

I finally mustered up the energy to fill in the transfer paperwork, and eventually got it to the new doctor's office for the process to begin.

I'm at the point where I expect nothing from mainstream doctors. For my concerns to be brushed under the rug, like my last doctor who suggested warm milk and a boring book before bed.

I'm totally serious.

c/o hypervocal.com
I went to my first appointment the day after the last snowstorm.  I snowshoed part way to be more efficient.  And really, who doesn't want to snowshoe partway across town? It's what Canadians do, eh!



.  My first impression was "Wow!" as the nurse was personable, friendly, and made me giggle.

The nurses at my old office were always abrupt and never smiled - I appreciate that they are busy running a clinic, but making patients feel like more than just a number really goes a long way.

My new doctor's office is just him - no clinic with multiple doctors on the roster (I did have my own set doctor) with a walk in at the end of the day AND It's not an Appletree (which I don't think I ever saw the same doctor at).

I was in the reception room for 1 minute and then brought to a room in the back. I was in the room in the back for another minute before the doctor arrived.

So weird, right?  A doctor on time??

As this was the meet & greet appointment, I went through my history, and my main concern - my CFS.  He asked me questions, spoke about what he might be able to do for me, and set me up to get my blood work completed.

My last doctor didn't have my bloodwork done, and I was with her for at least 7 years.

8 vials of blood and 2 weeks later, I was sitting in his office again.

An action plan is now in motion!  Right then and there he administered my first monthly Vitamin B12 shot. And faxed over 3 prescriptions to the pharmacy.

I'm on a super weekly dose of Vitamin D (1 pill a week 10x the normal weekly amount), monthly Vitamin B12 shots, and Modafinil in the mornings (my keep me awake pills).

He was hesitant about the Modafinil, as he wanted to get me into the Sleep Clinic first - but they don't have any availability until July or August - this is a band aid fix until he can review the results of my sleep test.

I'm also going in to another specialist for my Thyroid this week - it's enlarged with a possible growth on it - the thing that irks me, is I recall at least 2 other doctors in the past years who have mentioned it seems enlarged. And they did nothing.

I honestly feel like crying, because for the first time in 12+ years, I'm not being ignored. There is an action plan in place. I don't feel like a number.

I don't feel like a number.

Wow.

So far, I feel like I can focus so much better, which is great, as I have my Risk Management exam next month and have had troubles really focusing and remembering what I'm studying and learning.

I feel less foggy in my brain.

I feel there is Hope.

I feel the girl pictured below pre-CFS can come to life again.  I also really miss that running shirt - It was so sweet!





Saturday, 12 March 2016

The Painting of Gideon's New Bowl @ The Pottery Place

I visited a local ceramics shop - The Pottery Place - last summer to paint a cute mug and turtle during a Bachelorette Party, and really wanted to go back to paint something else.



Then Gideon's food bowl broke. 

He's afraid of metal bowls, so we had to opt for either plastic or ceramic.

I scoured the local stores and Interweb for something different - we wanted something special enough for him, but alas, we found nothing. 

I then found a picture of Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night" while Googling "Unique Dog Bowls" or "Tardis" - I don't remember which. I had seen it before, and knew one day I would paint it (with my own flare). 



My inspiration was in full force and I knew I was going to paint "Starry Night" on Gideon's new bowl.

With the dogs.

And a Tardis.

Just because I can.

So, I went in a Friday night after work, and painted for almost 3 hours.


You start with the lightest colour to the darkest. And put 3 coats of each colour.


With tedious details, I ended up going back Saturday for another 2-3 hours to finish the bowl.



And unlike painting on canvas, you don't paint the background colour on the entire canvas, then paint over those colours...but you don't want to overlap, or the colours may look muddy after the kiln fires away.

Then I had to wait a week to pick up the bowl.

It's not exactly how I envisioned it, but given the painting technique and a shaky hand for outlines, I think it turned out decent enough. 


Gideon and Fynn encompassed in Starry Night while the Tardis flies above their heads.



Gideon even ate out of it and wasn't afraid. Win-win!


I would definitely recommend The Pottery Playhouse in Stittsville, Ontario, for anyone looking to get their creativity on - even if you're not creative, you can paint a one-of-a-kind item that is made with love.

You just have to bring a donation ($ or non perishables) as your sitting "fee," which are then donated right back into the community.

I plan on returning soon to paint one of their new Garden Gnomes - I have to make a Zombie Gnome!

Husband says I should try to sell it. *I* think NOT. I remember the last time I sold my wares...it turned into a 6 year adventure!

Once I'm done my current professional exam, I THINK I'm ready to conquer painting the bird room into a mural. That will be a task in itself!

Monday, 7 March 2016

February 2016 Topbox Review - Monthly Beauty Kit

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty sample distributor - for $12 a month, you will receive 4 product samples (one usually being close to or full size).

It's pretty exciting for me, as I love trying new products; and it's exciting for the dogs, as they love the cardboard tube my samples come in.

So it's a win-win situation in the Systic household!



February brought me a few familiar items, and a few new ones.



POP Beauty - Kajal Pen

Matte finish, intensely pigmented kajal pen defines and shapes eyes in an instant!  Lush gemtone shades POP any eye colour effortlessly.  Esaily blends with included smudger.  Suitable for sensitive eyes.  

0.9g for $10.  Available at popbeauty.com

I think this is a mascara alternative?  That's what I'm going with.

I use this when I have pink eye shadow, so the nice shade of thick purple shows up nicely.  If you use the smudger, you also need to then apply more eyeliner if you really want to make your eyes POP.

I don't feel that this product alone makes my eyes pop, even when I use fabulous mascara.

Maybe if I use it on my lower eyelash line?  I haven't experimented with that yet. Baby steps to beauty.

It's ok, but I want an awesome eyeliner...this is not it.



Morgan Taylor - Professional Nail Lacquer

It's what's inside that counts.  Inspired by luminous pearls, raw gems, semi precious stones, glimmering silvers, and radiant gold all drawn from the earth.  All pigments are saturated, pure, and finely milled for luminous metallics, never before seen shimmers, decadent cremes, stunning sheers, and more glistening glitters.  

15ml for $15.83

I received a full size bottle of this nail polish in...Crocodile Green.

Wow, that's bright! It's not easy being Green.

I think this will be worn for St. Patrick's Day and Christmas...and I like bright coloured nail polish.  Green just isn't my thing all year round.

With the description, one would expect a glitter bomb experience on your nails - this is just a plain Jane green.  If it had sparkles and glitter, I would more likely wear this colour regularly.

I like sparkles.

The polish itself requires 2 coats and a clear topcoat to last a few days before requiring a touch up.

It actually holds up to washing dishes and other menial life tasks, so other than the colour, it's a great formula.



Nova Scotia Fisherman EXtreme Skin Care - Nova Scotia Fisherman Sea Salt Soap

This naturally scented soap is perfect to nourish your dry winter skin.  The Organic Shea Butter provides a satiny feel you will love!  

116g $5.95.  Available at Sobey's, Wholefoods, Natural food stores near you, or ONLINE at NovaScotiaFisherman.com

I received some samples directly from this company a month or two ago, and it's ok.

I do like that it is Canadian Made, and most of the ingredients are natural.

It doesn't quite suds up as much as I like my body soap to, and my skin usually feels itchy after using it.  I definitely cannot get away without using moisturizer after this - especially in the dry winter season.

Some people with skin issues or sensitive skin love it,

I'm okay with it - it's better than Dove or Zest bar soaps at least.



Smashbox - Photo Finish Classic Primer

Worn alone or under foundation, our best selling, oil free primer helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores for flawless skin with a velvety-smooth finish.

30ml for $44.  Available at Smashbox.com

I received this before...probably from Glymm (who went out of business abruptly a few years back, hence why I joined Topbox), and loved it back then.  I still love it now.

It's so soft to put on my face (it really does feel like velvet).  It applies well (and with a dab of the formula) to my face, and really smoothes out my face!  It creates a nice base to apply my foundation to.

If it wasn't $44, I'd have the real size.

Overall, I was 50% happy with this months samples - the nail polish in a better colour would of made me 75% happy.

For now, I will wear the green with other shades of green/turquoise...