Monday, May 26, 2014

(Review) Always Look on the (Brightside) of Bubble Baths!

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!  A nice relaxing 3 day weekend where we barbeque, go out on our boats, and of course, remember the fallen soldiers that gave their lives so we could be free.  Amongst the ribs and tubing out on the lakes, let's not forget what this day is truly about!

Meanwhile, I'm holed up in my apartment, huffing Flonase like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction and spooning a box of kleenex.  It's one of those days where you feel like you've been hit by a truck full of pollen and cats.  Lovely, right?  Well if I can't go outside and join the festivities on this gorgeous Memorial day weekend, I'm going to bring the festivities to the form of a bubble bath!

Enter Brightside, Lush's newest bubble bar to the permanent collection.  Prior to being made a permanent item, Brightside was only released with the Easter collection, a tye-dye fiery swirl amongst the egg and bunny shaped items Lush usually cranks out every year.  It smells like fruit punch and gives you luscious, creamy bubbles!

Now, if you've never heard of a bubble bar, what it is is solid bubble bath.  You crumble the bar underneath the running tap of your bath, and the pressure from the water creates these big, fluffy, movie starlet bubbles that epitomize luxury.  You can use it whole, or you can use as much as you want.  I used half of Brightside since my tub is extremely small, but if I had a huge, jacuzzi tub, I'd use the entire thing and craft a bubble beard that even Gandalf the Grey would be jealous of!

Crumbling pieces of Brightside underneath the tap

It can be a little hard to crumble at first, so what I like to do is hold it under the tap for a little while until it softens, then I begin to crumble.  Also I crumbled the entire thing one handed and photographed blindly with the other.  Because I care.  You're welcome.

You can see mainly in the second picture how the bubbles are already forming.  And that was just the smaller chunk I was crumbling!  I had yet to get to the bigger piece!  Brightside also tints your water a groovy Nickelodeon orange color.

Swooshing dem bubbles

When the bubble bar was all crumbled, I like to dunk my arms in and give the bath water a few good swishes, since my water pressure isn't all that great.  It's a great upper arm workout and gives you bigger, longer lasting bubbles.  If you have jacuzzi jets in your tub, you could just turn those on and watch the bubbles form!

Halfway full and already so many bubbles!

As I said earlier, Brightside used to be an Easter only item.  It was first introduced last spring in 2013, selling over 65,000 globally, making it the second best selling bubble bar in March of last year.  Needless to say, it was so well loved that it was added to the permanent collection!  Brightside was the first bubble bar I ever bought, catching my attention while on a shopping trip with my sister.  I was so taken by the bright colors and intoxicating citrus scent that I didn't even notice her sneaking more items into our basket (love her dearly but I'm not made of money!).  

Brightside was named after the catchy song "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" from the hit Monty Python movie "Life of Brian," and its appearance was inspired by the Comforter bubble bar.  The scent is bright and fresh, containing mandarin, tangerine, and bergamot (my personal favorite scent) oils straight from Sicily.  These three oils are fresh and zesty, and are mood lifters.  One sniff of this stuff and your mood will just perk right up!  

So in I sank into my sunset colored, fluffy bath.  As a sucker for anything neon and bright, I loved the color of the tub, and the bubbles felt nice and soft, not soapy and staticy like a lot of cheaper bubble baths feel.  The sinus headache I had been nursing began to dull away, and I snuggled right into my fluffy bubble blanket with my book, my cool, crisp granny smith apple, and relaxed, my mood only occasionally being interrupted by my roommate laughing hysterically at what I assume is the latest Marble Hornets entry.

When I popped out of the tub, my mood was worlds better.  Not that I was in a down and out mood to begin with, but allergies suck.  I wish the scent lingered a little more on my skin, but I followed that up with a citrusy smelling massage bar and I was a walking orange grove for the rest of the night.

So if you're having a bad day, or just need a sunny smelling pick me up, get yourself this awesometastic bubble bar and have a crisp, zingy smelling "treat yo'self" night at home!  And remember to always look on the Brightside!

...I'm sorry...that was a terrible joke to end a blog with.  Just trust me and get yourself this bubble bar!

*This bubble bar is certified Vegan

*Stop by your local Lush store, or buy it from the website here

Monday, May 19, 2014

(Review) Twilight: A Soothing End to a Grumpy Sunday

So to start this blog entry off, I'm going to share with you a riddle.  What does a time of day and a bored Mormon housewife have in common?  Hint: the answer's in the picture above.  And if that's too hard of a hint for you to figure out, it's Twilight!  Advertised as Lush's most relaxing bath bomb, Twilight has a whopping 93% repurchase rating on famed cosmetics site Makeupalley, one of Lush's highest and most reviewed products!  Also whenever I walked by the bath bomb display, my nose would always pick up the floral and sweet aroma, so when the chance to purchase this came, I snatched it right up!

I specifically chose this bath bomb for my bath last night because I've been a busy little Lushie.  Working lots of hours at my shop, loving every second of it, but as I am human, my feet get sore and I get tired.  So when I saw I was scheduled to close on Sunday with a 2 hour meeting right after, I knew this bath bomb would do just the trick to help wind me down after a busy week! 

So into my apartment I trudged, clutching the bag of free bagels the people at Starbucks were so generous to give me, lamenting my sore feet and the fact that I was a walking human shaped ice cube.  I waved a tired hello to my roommate, and slumped my way to the bathtub, the sound of the running tap enough to relax me at this point.  I dug out the pinky lavender bath bomb and once my tub was filled, chucked it in and watched the moon and stars melt into a creamy, cotton candy pink marshmallow fluff.

Bubble bubble toil and trouble...

So while Twilight was dissolving, I spent much of that time fighting with and cursing at my camera, who has been acting up a bit these past few days.  So I do apologize for the lackluster photography.  I need to break out my old photography textbook and study up on my shutter speeds!

I specifically chose Twilight because it's loaded with one of my most favorite scents in all of Scent-dom.  Lavender!  Lavender is nature's glass of warm milk before bedtime.  Its soothing scent is not only great for relaxation, but for sore, achy muscles, as well as skin conditions like sunburns and bug bites.  It's antibacterial, antiseptic, and a sebum balancer, so if you have very oily skin, check for lavender in the ingredients list, and it'll tell those overactive sebum glands to chill the heck out!

Twilight also contains Tonka Absolute, which I like to refer to as vanilla's dirty cousin, as the scent is similar to vanilla but a bit more deep and musky, and Ylang Ylang, which is not only a relaxing scent that helps you de-stress, but a mood lifter as well.  The latter two scents mix with the lavender very well, creating something that isn't overly floral, but not overly sweet as well.   

As Twilight continued to dissolve, I noticed the water becoming a gradually deeper shade of purple, and saw that a beautiful pastel blue had begun to foam out of the bath bomb, spinning it in hypnotizing circles.  The pastel pink and blue together reminded me of the cotton candy I would get at the local fair every year, something I would meticulously chew as I contemplated going on the big kid rides like the roller coaster and the rocking pirate ship (which I actually almost flew out of one year and was forbidden from going on ever since).  Twilight also has a creamy frothy coating that I like to trace patterns into as it covers the bath in bubbly, cappuccino-like froth.  Underneath, the water became a darker and darker shade of purple, like the sunset slowly becoming night.

I like to trace patterns in the froth and pretend I'm a misunderstood cappuccino artist yearning for their big break at Starbucks

Twilight soon split in two, and each part dissolved slowly.  It's a slow "burn" so it took a while to fully dissolve, but once it did, I lowered myself in and let out a sigh of relief as my popsicle toes were soon warmed by the silky sweet deep purple water.  It was like laying on a warm fluffy cloud of cotton candy and lavender sprigs.  It was fantastic!  When the froth dissolved, I noticed two things.  1. that the water was almost the exact same color as Inhale Exhale (the bath bomb I used last week, check out the review here, and 2. there were tiny silver sparkles shimmering through the water.  I can see where Twilight gets its name...not from the shimmery vampires in that god awful piece of "literature," but because the bath water looks like a beautiful clear night sky with the stars shining down, like a blanket someone poked tiny holes into.  They didn't photograph well and I apologize for that, but take my word for it, they were there!

I soaked for about two hours, getting out only when the water was turning cold and my fingertips resembled peachy pink raisins.  About a half hour later I was in my pajamas in bed with my laptop in my lap, all set and motivated to write this review and...I promptly fell asleep.  Twilight just conked me right out!  When I say this is nature's glass of warm milk, this IS nature's glass of warm milk!  So I woke this morning refreshed, smelling floral and sweet with bits of silver glitter shimmering against my skin, and pumped for a new week full of possibility and awesomeness.

Overall Twilight has a high repurchase rate for me.  I can see why Makeupalley users rated it so highly, and it's something I'd recommend if you have insomnia, or are stressed or tired or in need of some me time.  It's relaxing, beautifully scented, and it's like bathing in a field of stars.  Because seriously...bathing in a starry night sky?  How freaking cool is that?!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

(Review) Toothy Tabs: The Frothmaker (Part I)

 Don't you hate it when you wake up in the morning, after a full 8 hours rest (yeah right), and you roll over to find your partner trying to kiss you good morning with his/her rank morning breath?

Well I don't.  Because I'm single and I don't have to deal with that crap.  I am no man's spoon!

Well regardless of whether you're taken or not, morning breath stinks.  Literally.  I don't know about you all, but I have to brush my teeth the minute I wake up.  It really helps me snap out of that sleepy haze, and my day just starts so much better with a squeaky clean mouth.  For years I've been an avid user of Crest 3D whitening toothpaste.  I have mild calcium deposits on my front teeth, and I was told whitening toothpastes could help blend the white spots on my teeth in with the rest of them.  So I tried...and while I've used it for years, I've failed to see any dramatic results.  So one day, while at the checkout line at Lush, I saw a tiny little cardboard box of what looked like breath mints sitting by the register.  On a whim, I threw them in my basket, deciding to try them out.

And that, my friends, is how I found Lush's Toothy Tabs.  Toothy Tabs are solid toothpastes that look like small breath mints.  You take one tablet, crunch it up between your teeth (I like to pretend I'm a gerbil nibbling on a carrot when I do this) wet your toothbrush, and brush away!  The result is lots and lots of foam, a pleasant yet mild taste, and a fresh, clean feeling as well as squeaky clean teeth!

Detailed shot of Chou Chou I Love You

Toothy Tabs were invented as an alternative to gel toothpastes in aluminum packaging.  The packaging for toothpaste isn't environmentally friendly, and as a result sits stagnant in landfills, taking up space and adding to our already overly polluted planet.  Not only is it stagnant garbage, but as you squeeze out toothpaste, you're also squeezing out aluminum deposits as well, which have been proven toxic and responsible for certain illnesses like alzheimers and dementia.  Definitely not good.  Not only are Lush's Toothy Tabs packaged in ecofriendly cardboard packaging, but they're fluoride free as well.  For some this is a pro, for others it's a con.  Nonetheless, the baking soda base had me curious, and the concept of a solid toothpaste sounded cool, so why the hell not?

Lush currently has several flavors of Toothy Tabs out on the market.  I will be reviewing the three I currently have, and will be reviewing the final four at a later date.


We'll start off with Dirty.  Dirty is a great way to transition from gel toothpaste to Toothy Tabs because it has that spearmint taste we're all so used to.  Out of the Toothy Tabs I've tried, I find this one to be the most fragile.  Every time I go to take a tablet out of the box I get a little white powder from a tablet that broke or crumbled in the box.  Nonetheless, it's refreshing and the spearmint flavor is very mild, so you could probably drink a glass of orange juice afterwards without your mouth tasting like vomit (I personally despise orange juice, so you'll have to test that out for me).  I also find this the easiest to nibble, easily demolishing it with a few chews with my front teeth.  My teeth felt squeaky clean after using this, none of that fuzzy plaque feeling on my teeth.  So I think the only con would be that they're a bit fragile and easily breakable.

Ultrablast was the box I picked up that one fateful day on a whim at the register.  It intrigued me with the fact that it had lavender, and of all things, wasabi in it.  It's also advertised with triple mint, which is peppermint oil, spearmint oil, and fair trade organic dried spearmint.  Needless to say, out of the three, this was my least favorite.  I couldn't taste any mint at all.  I tasted a hint of lavender, but mostly I tasted the wasabi.  I don't much care for wasabi.  I don't even dab my California rolls in the thick, flubber green paste, so I thought the triple mint would be the dominant flavor.  Well I was wrong.  I was a bit hard pressed to finish the whole box, but I did it!  And while the taste was something I found unpleasant, the cleansing and whitening effects were astounding!  I did notice a difference in the color of my teeth.  They seemed so much brighter and whiter than they usually had.  Not that I had yellow corn kernels for teeth before mind you, but they just seemed...brighter.  Like they had a certain glow about them.  And again, no fuzzy plaque feeling on my teeth.  However, because I couldn't stand the taste, I won't be buying this one again.  Which is fine...because we're moving onto my favorite Toothy Tab right now...

...which would be Chou Chou I Love You!  Once a limited edition flavor for Valentine's Day, Chou Chou gained quick popularity and soon became a permanent item.  It has rose oil and lemon in it, and a coworker of mine described it as "a mouthful of Ro's Argan Body Conditioner, but in the best possible way."  And honestly I couldn't agree more.  It smells almost exactly like Ro's Argan!  These ones are a bit hard to chew though.  I had to give them a few hard cracks with my molars to break them up, but the taste is absolutely beautiful.  Chou Chou is my current toothpaste and I just love it.  It's like brushing your teeth with a less sugary sweettart.  Like the previous two Toothy Tabs, this leaves my mouth clean and my teeth bright, and the rose and lemon flavor lingers subtly on my breath.  So if some dashing young rapscallion were to break into my bathroom and kiss me after I was done rinsing, he'd be pleasantly surprised and pleased with such fresh, rosy breath!  ...and then I'd call the police on him, because I don't care if you're Alexander freaking Skarsgard, you do NOT break into my apartment!  That's just not cool.

So overall, Toothy Tabs are a clear winner in my book.  The baking soda and cream of tartar base for all of them cleans and gently buffs away stains and plaque, as well as producing a ton of Cujo, mad dog-like foam, and if you find the taste of minty gel toothpastes too strong, these have a much more subtle and mild taste.  And while I might not have liked the taste of all of them, I was very pleased with the cleaning power of all three.  They're ecofriendly, great for travel, and a new, fun way to brush your teeth!  What's not to love?

So let me know!  Have you tried any Toothy Tabs, and if so, what kinds and how did you like them?  And if you haven't, would you be open to the idea of a solid toothpaste?  This is only my second blog entry, and I'd love to hear from those of you who read it!  Thank you very much for taking the time to come to my little corner of the internet, and indulge in my passion for Lush cosmetics.  Stay tuned for more reviews and entries! 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

(Review) Inhale Exhale: A Guide on Breathing

"Keep your head above water, but don't forget to breathe" - Alexi Murdoch

There's nothing I love more than a Sunday.  Waking up without an alarm clock blasting you deaf, the promise of a new week ahead, it's the perfect day to just sit back, relax, and decompress.  There's something sacred about a Sunday.  With society's whole "I needed this done yesterday, rush rush, busy busy busy" attitude, a day off is something that's become a foreign concept to us.  However, there are those of us that keep the traditional alive.  Some find solace in Sunday mass, some choose the meditative monotony of cleaning relaxing.  But for me?  It's my weekly Sunday soak.  I can't start my week without a nice, long, 3 hour soak in my tub.  Complete with a bath bomb from Lush of course!

I can never get flash to work properly...

Enter Inhale Exhale.  A dual colored reminder to take time for ourselves now and then.  Limited edition for Mother's Day, Inhale Exhale is not only dual colored, but dual scented as well.  The pink side is scented with Inhale, a bright, fresh melon scented perfume, while the blue side is scented with sandalwood and amber, giving off a peppery, incense vibe.  These two perfumes combined make up the Breath of God fragrance Lush currently sells.  For me this was love at first sniff.  I'm an avid incense burner, never going a day without lighting at least one smokey stick of Dragon's Blood, so this was right up my alley as far as scents were concerned.  This was inspired by Tibetan incense after all, so the heady, smokey notes make sense.  So let's test this baby out, shall we?

Poor little guy is camera shy...
Upon dropping this into the tub, I noticed the pink side fizzed away within seconds, filling the bathroom with this fresh and slightly floral aroma, while the more heady, spicy blue side took its sweet time.

The pink had fully dissolved within literally a minute, leaving in its wake a warm lavender color and a creamy, bubbly coating that felt soft and fluffy when touched.

Braaaaaains.  Fizzy, sweet smelling BRAAAAAAAAINS

 Inhale Exhale not only contains sandalwood (which, in my opinion, is the sexiest scent on a man) but neroli as well.  What do these two oils have in common?  They're both soothing!  Neroli and Sandalwood oils help sooth and calm any inflamed, red, and sore skin.  I chose this one specifically because I had an allergic reaction a week before to a product I had used (a blog entry soon to come about that) which caused a rash to spread across my chest and down my ribcage.  Inhale Exhale also contains cade oil, which is that smoky smelling oil used in the Soak & Float shampoo bar.  Cade oil works as a stimulant to help improve circulation in the body and remove any debris in the body.  I hate the word "detoxify" because it's a hot button word tossed around like a rodeo clown, but that's precisely what it does.  Upon getting out of the tub, I did notice that my chest felt better.  The redness was toned down and it wasn't tight or itchy.  Which was nice, since scratching your boob in public isn't the classiest of moves.

Wait...what's that?  In the top right you see that?
It's a note!
A little affirmation pops out of the bomb when it's dissolved enough.  A nice little reminder that we all need to take five minutes and just breathe once in a while
Once the bomb had fully dissolved, the water turned a beautiful cool lilac color, reminding me of my great-grandma's favorite flower.  And when I sunk into the nice, warm water, I felt like I had wrapped myself in a fluffy down comforter in a warm, incense filled room.  I laid back, stared at the remnants of Essie's Aruba Blue on my toenails and contemplated the meaning of life for a good 30 minutes.  And by the meaning of life, I mean how the hell I was gonna get the rest of that polish off of my toes (seriously, it won't budge!).  I breathed in the spicy smokey aroma and marinated for about 2 hours before I dried off, slapped on a face mask, and started this entry.

Overall, this was a fantastic bath bomb.  A not too strong heady, herbal smell with water the color of sugared violets.  My skin was soft, the rash on my chest looked worlds better, and it inspired me to just stop and breathe, and take in everything around me, whether I have 5 minutes or 5 hours.  In this hustle bustle world, filled with caffeine and deadlines and unnecessary stress, whenever you feel overloaded and on the verge of exploding, just keep one word in mind.