I Tried The Lucia Nº3 Hypnagogic Light!

For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with all things spiritual & metaphysical…

There was the psychic phenomena/Ouija board faze of my tween years, a never-ending interest in decoding my lucid dreams, the studying of auras and chakras, the wearing and collecting of crystals/gems period, and a stint learning about palmistry.

To this day, within 15 minutes of a conversation with someone new—I’ll either have guessed their horoscope sign or at the very least—ask them what it is.

If there’s an organic interest, I’ll probably move on to Chinese astrology, but only if there’s enough time… 

…All this to say, I leaped at the chance to try the Lucia Nº3 light, located at Spa Cloud in the hip enclave of Griffintown, and incidentally, the 1st official machine of its kind to exist in Montreal!

Hypnagogic refers to the transitional state in-between wakefulness and sleep. The flickering white lights of the machine (through a series of preprogramed light cycles) helps you access a theta state as well as high Alpha patterns often associated with joy, intuition, creativity and relaxation. 

After pouring over several online testimonials the potential promise was a celestial journey unlike anything I’d ever experienced, that words simply could not do justice. Naturally my interest was piqued; if anyone can transcribe an experience into some loquacious wordplay it would be me!

What does it do?

On a experiential level, the Lucia N°03 light opens up ones third eye—also knows as the pineal gland— a bridge to higher consciousness and widely referred to as the “seat of ones soul…”

As a life long practitioner of yoga (no surprises here!) I’ve long been interested in the mechanics of the Third Eye and its spiritual/psychedelic properties. It can be opened through yoga and the end-of-practice restorative pose Shavasana, but moreover is achieved through decades worth of mediation practice. When activated the pineal gland excretes DMT (known as the spirit molecule) and is an all-healing substance also found in a combination of medicinal plants to form Ayahuasca or Ibogaine.

As a spiritual experience chaser, years ago I researched shaman assisted Ayahuasca and Ibogaine journeys given at retreats in Costa Rica and Peru but chickened out—worrying that I would be stuck in a 12-hour maddening fugue that I would never come out of. The idea that I could experience some of the same visuals and long term healing effects, in a controlled environment with the Lucia Nº3 light was too good to pass up.

After a phone consultation where I was asked if I suffered from epileptic seizures or had extreme anxiety, I was given some further information about the Lucia N°03 light and that I should arrive with ceded expectations and an open mind as everyone’s brains offer up a different experience.

Arrival at Spa Cloud Montreal

I have to admit there was a part of me that was apprehensively nervous.

Several accounts online likened the experience to “tripping ones balls off” and in the drug experimentation of my youth, I had always given a hard pass on the usage of psychedelics. But as soon as I opened the door to Spa Cloud and met with the warm and professional staff, I was instantly at ease and really excited to start my visionary exploration!

Stevie ” the female Lucia N°03  technician brought me into a serene room and explained that she would be with me for the entire duration of my sessions. As a first timer, I would be going through 2-5 minute demo sessions for a half hour, as opposed to a full 30 to an hour uninterrupted session. She emphasized that if at any time I felt uncomfortable for whatever reason, all I had to do was raise my hand in front of my closed eyes and the lights would immediately be turned off, thus immediately ending the visuals setting up shop in my ‘noggin.

Blinded by the Light…The Lucia N°03

Laying down and covered with a cozy blanket, Stevie started me on an low introductory level. She offered me a set of headphones that was playing peaceful meditative music to ultimately enhance the experience. *Press play below to set the mood ↓

I closed my eyes and she started the low 2 minute program of flickering light on my closed eye lids. Keep in mind the light is only white, so whatever colours or patterns I would see, were being produced by the mechanics of my own brain. WILD!  

She instructs me to take a deep breath and to relax.

I’ve succumbed to whatever lays ahead…

Beam Me Up Stevie…”

Immediately a very lovely visual ballet of colours and shapes emerge…

easy

I feel warm, safe and grounded—but absolutely in another realm. Before I know it the 2 minutes is up and I am asked if I’d like to go to a Medium program. I give the go ahead.

This will be a 5 minute session. I am deeply relaxed.

Medium-Level Program

Ok, this is deep space nine, people. I believe I let out a Bill + Ted-like utterance of  “Woahhhhhhhhhhh.”

Its intense but not unbearable by any means. The shapes are kaleidoscope-like in many instances and the movements, colours, and vectors are happening at you, as opposed to having an innate awareness of where things are going—considering its all coming from your own brain?!

I see a lot of red, blue and green, and at one point I feel like I’m seeing heavenly visions, or what I have often likened to in yoga practice as the third eye with lots of white light cascading around it. I even at one point see a full wall of eyes. As trippy as that sounds, it’s not scary and as soon as I see it, its gone rapidly. Did I mention the music really makes the experience emotionally raw and beautiful? I believe a tear dropped from my eye as it ended. I am truly moved.

Stevie is next to me with a comforting hand on my arm as I open my eyes.

How are you feeling?” she asks.

 “Wow…” I express some of my initial thoughts dancing in my head—which are all positive.

“Would you like to do the high level program?”

I’m reticent, as I don’t want to push my sensitive boundaries but I do want to experience all of this. I wait a beat and say “Yes.” I’m really proud of myself for being so brave! It will be 10 minutes.

She reminds me once again, if at any time I don’t like what I’m feeling or experiencing, raise my hand over my eyes and everything will come to a full stop.

The reminder is comforting.

High Level Program

circles

Because every timed program is different, it doesn’t feel that much more intense than the medium level, just that the visuals are different and I am absolutely feeling one with all that is washing over me. It definitely feels like inter-dimensional space travel. I let out some audible noises and I can hear Stevie laughing in some far away distance reacting to my child-like excitement.  

*The below visual feels a little dizzying, but I was not dizzy, and I definitely suffer from motion sickness, so rest assured it was all palpable.

Again, the visuals are ever changing, and sometimes its just being bathed in a bright peaceful light for a couple of beats.  Before I know it the 10 minutes is up. Time absolutely flies faster than it normally would, at least that’s what I felt in all of my demo programs.

Again, Stevie is by my side as I emerge wide eyed and smiling. Between prep time and breaks in-between programs, there’s only enough time to experience one last short demo program.

Let’s Do This,” I say playfully, and away I go into “Andromeda” or “Tron,” or any other space like monikers that come to mind.

Once I’m done, I feel light-as-a-feather as I walk or did I actually ‘float’ into the relaxing foyer of Spa Cloud Montreal?

No one can really say for sure. 😉

Of the reported benefits that happen in the full 24 hours after a session are enhanced intuition, released endorphins, a renewed joyful sensation, relief from anxiety, better memory, lucid dreaming and a restful nights sleep.

Yes, I had a restful nights sleep, but I have never had problems with falling asleep, in fact those who know me would say I sleep almost “TOO WELL.”

Were my dreams lucid, well…yes, but again…my dreams have always been that way.

Lastly, would I try it again? Absolutely, if only to see what an uninterrupted 30 minutes to 1 hour session would be like. As with anything, repeated sessions build on the previous one(s) and the results can truly start to show themselves.

What I would say to anyone is YOU MUST TRY THIS.

While I may be able to wax poetic after the fact, during the sessions I uttered out cliché stoner idioms…so yea…its an immersive intangible thing, that words certainly don’t have a check box for. I wouldn’t impose my experience on anyone else’s as what is most interesting, is that everyone’s experience is different, as it’s based on their own emotional/spiritual paintbrush (their brain!) at any particular time.

My most profound takeaway was that it actually increased my overall confidence

I tried something new that was definitely outside my comfort zone, (highest level yay me!) and that in and of itself is a perspective shifter!

While this is the first machine of its kind available in Montreal, I know several places that offer this light experience in Toronto and Vancouver, and certainly around the world. Find out where its available in your city and let me know about your experience here!

To infinity and beyond my lover heads,

XOXO

 

 

6 Music Artists to Watch in 2018

 

While 2017 felt like living in spiritual foreclosure—I blame the bleak combo of auto tuned, ‘makin-my-ears bleed Trap Music + man-baby Donald Trump—2018 is already teeming up to be the most exciting year in music yet!

The following are the comers, your next gen ⭐️ STAHHHH’s ⭐️ the gilded young music artists to watch in 2018 and the talent level is M-I-N-D B-L-O-W-I-N-G!

2018 Ones to Watch

Allan Rayman

Photo: Zack Vitello

Wyoming native, man-of-mystery Allan Rayman is an artist playing by his own rules in terms of the frequency & form of his releases, music videos that play like short films, and his absolute disinterest in the publicity machine. In February 2017, he released a full album Roadhouse 1 [Communion Records] and then in November 2017 released a 5 track EP titled Courtney. His track “13” from Roadhouse 1 was certified GOLD in Canada (he now calls Toronto home) and he’s racked up over 50 million+ streams on Spotify. If you like his growl-y, raspy vocal, you will easily listen to his full album in one sitting, which is as you can appreciate is a lost art in 2018. Like so many contemporary young artists, Rayman is absolutely GENRE-LESS comfortably mixing everything from R&B, Soul and Hip Hop influences together as he is Roadhouse, Grunge, Rock and Folk.

Snack on this sexy Led Zepp paced track “Gun” from his Courtney EP…and try and catch one of his live shows in 2018.

Billie Eilish

16-year-old Billie Eilish is a dancer and singer-songwriter pop prodigy from Los Angeles who has been putting her music online since she was 13-years-old. Along with her older brother Finneas O’Connol who acts as her co-writer and producer, their dreamy track Ocean Eyes was originally released on SoundCloud and eventually led to her being signed by Interscope Records.

Her EP Don’t Smile at Me was released in Aug 2017 and she is the youngest talent to ever be nominated for the BBC’s Sound of Poll. Her upcoming international tour starting on January 27th, is 95% SOLD OUT barring a handful of dates. She will be in Montreal at Theatre Corona on March 27th, and Toronto at The Mod Club on March 28th, and ‘yes‘ both shows are sold out.  

Jesse Reyes

Columbian Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Jessie Reyes launched her emotionally raw EP Kiddo [Island Records] in 2017, and gave a goose bump inducing TV debut performance on Jimmy Fallon. Her voice is so beautifully feral as she wades through tear-your-heart-out ballads, R&B and Hip Hop inspired Pop. Her track “Gatekeeper” detailed via a short film  how she was sexually harassed by a music producer 5 years ago, pulling back the curtain on the #MeToo movement in the music industry. Expect to see 26-year-old Torontonian’s full length debut album come out in 2018, and catch her European tour from February until June 2018. 

Jorja Smith

20-year-old Jorja Smith has been riding a supernova wave of success based solely on a handful of releases over the past two years. The Walsall England singer whose been compared to Amy Winehouse doesn’t even have an EP out, nor a major label recording contract and yet, she’s worked with everyone from Drake to Bruno Mars. Most notably she has won the ultra coveted 2018 Brits Critics Choice Award (former winners include Adele, Florence and the Machine + Sam Smith) was added to the Coachella ‘s 2018 lineup, and will be on her own North American tour until May.

 

Lewis Capaldli

Lewis Capaldi is a 21-year-old Scottish singer-songwriter and musician from Edinburgh, who channels (IMHO) a bit of Irish singer Hozier’s vibe. His fiery growl and lyricism cuts deep through your heartstrings with mature themes of longing, heartbreak and devastation. He is currently on the BBC Sound of 2018 Long List and will most certainly become a recognizable name in 2018 as he embarks on a new North American tour with loads of UK/US/European and Asian festival gigs on the horizon. I can’t decide which track I like better off his EP Bloom [Capitol/Virgin] Bruises or Fade? Can you?

Maségo

24-year-old Maségo is a self taught multi instrumentalist (piano, saxophone, drums) an accomplished producer and singer-songwriter whose unique brand of hip-hop, soul and trap house jazz has fans comparing him to Pharrell and the legendary Cab Calloway. Born in Jamaica and brought up in Norfolk Virginia, Maségo put out an independent EP Loose Thoughts on SoundCloud in 2016, garnering him international acclaim and an enormous word of mouth fan base. He doesn’t have an official website, but he is extremely active on his Instagram and Twitter where he just recently announced that he’s working on his first official album for 2018!

No doubt there will be a label bidding war over this extremely talented artist!

In the next gen stars of music we trust,

XOXO,

 

 

WIN! PCR Ho! Ho! Holiday Giveaway!

It’s HERRRRRRRRE-EEEEEERRRRRR!

 

That’s RIGHT! We’re absolutely euphoric with SEXCITEMENT (*sexy excitement*) for The Pop Culture Rainman’s™ Ho! Ho! Holiday Giveaway 2017!

Nope, were not giving away free Bitcoin…(but I’m going to write Bitcoin a couple more times because BITCOIN is totes trending right now and I’m so here for the SEO kickbacks )

…BUT we are giving away the COOLEST gifts from some of the HOTTEST pop culture brands in the multiverse!

Not sure why I’m saying “we,” ’cause really it’s just me, my cat daughter and my stepped on dreams over here?

So without further ado…let’s meet the PRIZES shall we?

1. CHAPTERS INDIGO Giveaway

Reading REAL **tactile** BOOKS is one of my life’s purest pleasures. With the help from my friends at Chapters Indigo, I picked out 6 stellar titles from 2017 that encompass all of my literary passions. From music journalism, break-out star essayists and poets, to a healthy dose of Cancon folded in—I think you’ll agree that my holiday book giveaway is pop culture GOLD!

 

Sticky Fingers by Joe Hagen [Knopf Canada]

As any musicphile knows, Rolling Stone Magazine captured the 1960’s youth culture of rock and roll and created a hothouse counterculture that dissected fame, pop culture and provocative politics. It is the ultimate music journalism tome, and writer Joe Hagen gleans exclusive access to editor in chief Jann Wenner and the cast of luminary artists and writers that made this magazine the zeitgeist juggernaut it remains to this day.

Uncommon Type by Tom Hanks [Knopf Canada]

Nope, it’s not a Tom Hanks memoir as one might expect, but rather a generous offering of fictional short stories by the two time Oscar winning actor. Hanks writes genuinely well, bringing both his well-mined sensitivity and honesty to this collection of 17 stories. Alternatingly whimsical, laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving this book will delight his mammoth fan base!

We Are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby [Vintage]

I am all about the hilarious female essayist category, and supernova writer Samantha Irby is the latest gem of the genre, putting all of her human (oh so human!) foibles on NAKED display for our side splitting consumption. The bitchesgottaeat.com blogger covers awkward sexual encounters, her failure to adult and ENDLESS funny-’cause-its-true vignettes about love in our digitally wallpapered modern-day dystopia.

 

101 Simple Truths For a Better Life by Humble The Poet [Indigo Press]

Heading into 2018 we could all use some pearls of wisdom through a fresh and unexpected lens, n’est pas? Former elementary teacher turned performance artist, rapper and YouTuber, Kanwer Singh aka Humble The Poet offers up just that with 101 Simple Truths. Singh was the winning panelist for Canada Reads 2017 and splits his neo-enlightened philosophies between Los Angeles and Toronto.

The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur [Simon & Shuster]

Toronto SUPERSTAR poet and illustrator Rupi Kaur inspired the millennial generation of writers to post their digital ink to the ordinarily photo-heavy Instagram. Her meteoric rise and moniker as Instagram’s favourite #Instapoet (9.1 followers and counting!) is no easy feat for our impatient swipe-up reflexes + blink-and-you-missed-it attention spans. The 25-year-old’s second book of poetry is a treasure trove sure to be a passed down through generations to come.

Bear Town by Fredrik Backman [Simon & Shuster]

The perfect book to get lost in for the holiday season by Swedish blogger-turned famed author Fredrik Backman. Beartown is set in a small Swedish hockey town on the brink of extinction and grappling with a sexual assault case that has the town divided. You will be hooked by the eerie opening paragraph and see shadows of yourself in every one of the richly dense characters.

2. NESPRESSO Giveaway

I am a latte aficionado and would happily mainline on an IV drip if I could, so I am thrilled to be offering up this limited edition CRAIG & KARL Aercinno3 frother from coffee doyens Nespresso.

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL!

‘Tis the season to get hopped up on delicious holiday inspired coffees, so I’m also throwing in 3 sleeves of limited edition Variation Confetto pods in Snowball, Orangette + Licorice flavours!

 

Used with your snazzy new frother you can make the following specialty coffee recipes with ease!

*Click on individual pictures to read the fine print.

 

3. BLACK OPIUM YVES ST LAURENT Giveaway

This limited edition collectors bottle featuring black glitter and electric pink is a sophisticated and intoxicatingly sexy scent. I’m giving away 2 YSL 50ml Eau de Parfum bottles away to two lucky winners! Black Opium ‘Pure Illusion’ has top notes of pear, orange blossom and pink pepper. Middle notes of coffee, jasmine, almond and licorice and Base Notes of vanilla, patchouli, cedar and cashmere wood.

Also, it smells like BITCOIN, because you will feel like MILLIONS when you wear it, honey! Cha-CHING!

4. ALPHA INDUSTRIES Giveaway

ALPHA INDUSTRIES bomber jackets with the signature red “Remove Before Flight” flag were seen on everyone from Beyoncé, Justin Beiber, Gigi Hadid , Kendall Jenner and The Weeknd, in what was undoubtedly the fashion staple of 2017.

 

I’m giving away one women’s MA-1 W Flight in any colour of your choosing, but if you ask me I’m partial to the burgundy and mauve variety. Either way expect to look hella fly in your oh so LIT bomber jacket.

 

The RULES

Open to **Canadian** Residents Only

Must Be at least 18 years old to enter

You must be specific in which prize giveaway you are vying for; “I Want to Win The Nespresso Giveaway” or “I Want to Win the Alpha Industries Giveaway…” (*you can only choose 1 out of the 4) and you must use the hashtag #PCRHOHOHOLIDAY.

You must follow The Pop Culture Rainman on 1 of the following social media platforms:

Twitter: @popcultrainman

Instagram: @Reneepopculturerainman

PCR Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/popculturerainman/

…or HERE on my good ol’ bloggitty blog, either by signing up to receive my posts by email or by following me through WordPress.  

If you are able to join ALL 4 of my platforms you can enter yourself in for a 2nd prize giveaway!

Add in my Pinterest page (((5 platform follows ))) and you are fast tracked to a guarantee win!  But, If that’s the case holy f*ck knuckles you seriously need to get a life ← and I say this with love ♥ ♥ ♥

Winners will be chosen randomly by lottobot and will be announced here and directly to your respective social media channels depending on how you enter, on December 13th by 8pm Eastern time.

Got it? GOOD LUCK! Either way you slice it you are a winner in my books kiddo. Plus you will be marinating in my spesh brand of trend spotting content and comedy from now until forevs. TALK ABOUT WINNING BIG!

CONGRATULATIONS WINNERS!

Chapters Indigo Giveaway: Jill Barkhouse, Kentville NS

Nespresso Giveaway : Sandrine Ohayon Huynh, Montreal, QC

Black Orchid YSL Perfume Giveaway: Melanie Dragan Mississauga, ON + Karla Sceviour Botwood, Newfoundland.

Alpha Industries Giveaway: Natalie Van Appledoorn, Vancouver B.C.

Happy Holidays to you and yours! (Your pet children and your trampled on dreams…)

As you were lover heads,

XOXO,

Holiday Giveaway Alert

Greetings FA LA LA LOVERS!

Just a brief prompt in-between the take down of every pervy-pants in Hollywood, the media, politics, (and every other segment of the workforceto tell you about my upcoming HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!

The contest will be announced HERE on Monday December 11th, 2017 and at the very least, it will help to alleviate some of the existential angst that is the dumpster fire of our BROKEN planet.

In the meantime, for all my American readers (truth be told, the crux of my fan base are mainly the Helsinki’s…) an early Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

…And in bona fide Pop Culture fashion, I give you the best ending from my all-time favorite film about Thanksgiving; Planes Trains, and Automobiles.

Also, If you aren’t hysterically snot crying by 5:46, I. NEVER. WANT. TO. KNOW. YOU.

…Stay Tuned!

XOXO,

 

5 Easy Pop Culture Halloween Costumes

 

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*Squish Candies Contest Details at Bottom of Story. 

 

Don’t have your Halloween costume yet? Fear not, friendsicles!

Whether you need something for your adulting parties this weekend or something to wear with the kidlets on Tuesday October 31st, The Pop Culture Rainman™ has got you covered for easy DIY pop culture inspired costumes!

1. Hurricane Melania & Donald

For a couple costume, I recommend the myopically out-of-touch outfit that Melania Trump wore on her way to visit the devastated aftermath of the Houston hurricane. I simply dub this ridiculous look “Hurricane Melania” and it’s really easy to do. Simply grab an all black ensemble and add a khaki bomber jacket, a pair of aviator sunglasses and your highest, most inappropriate pair of black stilettos.  

For Trump, a pair of work boots, beige pants, and white button down and rain slicker will do. The most important element is to get his Doritos dust spray tan down pat, as well as his fly away hair.  

Character Personas: For her, stay absolutely silent with a no-one-knows-what-you-are-thinking-poker face. For him, a general air of douche rocket-ness, with the occasional thumbs up and lampooned facial affectations.

2. Eleven from Stranger Things

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This is a great gender fluid Halloween costume that is sure to be a crowd pleaser for Stranger Things enthusiasts!

It’s all about having the short-hair-don’t-care buzz cut, the pink dress with white-collar, blue jacket, sports knee socks, white Chuck Taylors, a bloody nose and a box of Eggo waffles.  Close facsimiles of her outfit will do, and all are easy to source inexpensively!

Character Persona: A fish out of water air of bewilderment, but a wallflower you are not! You will knock out a bully without batting an eyelash, or at the very least throw a frozen waffle at their head!

3. “Cash Me Outside” Teen Danielle Bregoli

The trash talking teen who made her debut on a Dr. Phil intervention show, is now a bona fide Instagram star (11.6 million followers) and a newly signed rap artist for Atlantic records. Her look? Bad and Boujee!

Her hair is an auburn/aubergine red that you can wear straight, curly or in corn row braids.

Other pertinent details are a shaved eye brow, fake eye lashes, boujee long nails, and to cap it off, a gold grill. Be sure to wear a tank top that shows off your beige bra and ample cleave. Wear your boujee-ist pair of ripped jeans and you are good to GO!

Character Persona: Threaten to beat up every 4th person you meet, and remember to incorporate Ebonics into all of your speech. For example, “I’m going to beat CHU up, dumb HOE.” Pure elegance, ya feel me?

4. Marion Kelly

Toddler Marion Kelly stole the worlds hearts when she interrupted her father Robert Kelly’s BBC interview with her “hippity-hoppity” entrance.

All you need to covet this look is to wear your hair in pigtails, sport a canary yellow sweater, grey jeans, and a pair of pink frames. I say go full-on method and buy a pair of baby frames!

Character Persona: You’re 4! The world has yet to break your heart and crush your dreams. Act deliriously happy while you do the Marion Kelly strut + eat all the candy!

5. Iris Apfel

Fashion icon Iris Apfel is by far my favourite nonagenarian, with Betty White coming in at a close 2nd. The 96-year old’s signature bold + colourful style is easy to mimic with a FABULOUS pantsuit and oversized, chunky baubles and bracelets. 

Add a short and spiky slicked back grey wig and red lipstick, her signature black round specs, and for extra flair a red boa!

Character PersonaNew York Fabulous. Tell everyone about your design restoration projects you did at the white house for nine presidents while telling everyone to put away their phones and “TALK TO EACH OTHER!”

All of these can be turned into sexy costumes, except I draw the line at baby Marion Kelly! Leave her playful innocence in TACT you PERVS!

…I’m all for a slutty version of Iris Apfel however!

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I’ve partnered with Squish Candies to offer up 1 lucky winner a ‘brainy” candy bar selection of all 4 Brain gummies.

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The rules are simple! Just follow along on my Twitter @popcultrainman or my Instagram @reneepopculturerainman or HERE on my blog to qualify with the hashtag #PopCultureBrains. *Canadian Residents Only.  I will pick a winner randomly by 1pm tomorrow and will have it shipped to be received in time for Halloween!

Happy Halloween Kittens! 🎃👻🍭

XOXO,

The Truth About Harvey Weinstein

 Photo Credit: Peter Strain for Variety Magazine

 

It was 2003 at the Toronto Film Festival and I was a newly minted Canadian stringer for People magazine.

I can’t say I wasn’t enjoying the power that my press badge afforded me that year; doors opened, publicists waved me through, A-list celebrities stopped to talk to me on a dime.

Because smart phones were still a new phenom, and the iPhone ephemera non-existent, I had a bird’s eye view of celebrities unguarded and letting loose at various parties that simply wouldn’t be possible today.

Over imbibed on champagne and enjoying the exclusivity of VIP after hours access, I recall a young male Los Angeles director telling me about the nefarious practices of Harvey Weinstein. He mentioned Gwyneth Paltrow and the Machiavellian sex pact that she previously had to make with Weinstein to sustain all of her Miramax roles.

I balked in disbelief.

Gwyneth Paltrow—she of the alpha female variety, with baked-in familial ties to Hollywood, seemed pristinely above something as seedy as the clichéd Hollywood casting couch?

Trust me it’s true,” he said with an authority that made me feel sheepishly naïve.

Why do I mention this instance in the wake of the recent Harvey Weinstein scandal?

Before I go on, I want to make it abundantly clear, I believe all women, full stop.

It’s just that when we speak of entertainment, or specifically Hollywood, lines become blurred and statements are vetted, or alternately—fully written by publicists. This is a business based on public opinion, likability and keeping up appearances, and the truth isn’t always applicable. The truth can put brands and businesses in peril.

Many celebrities came forward since the New York Times piece about Harvey Weinstein broke two weeks ago. Each of them a unique weather system of their own truths, accounts, and opinions. I could not help but become obsessed with championing Rose McGowans Twitter feed, and thought Canadian Mia Kirshner had written the most compelling and moving op ed, that is until I read Canadian Sarah Polley’s op ed.

Meryl Streep had a statement of veritable shock and awe, George Clooney had a ‘safe statement’ that pivoted in every direction but straight—specific enough to mention that he “never saw anything,” and Gwyneth Paltrow had soft core allegations towards the man that she worked with repeatedly.

Gretchen Mol took the opportunity to tell the world that she was never one of Harvey’s girls.

Jessica Alba remained silent and continued to tweet about Haircare + Decluttering Ones Life for her business The Honest Company ←yes the irony is thick.

Blake Lively another rumoured compliant, was radio silent for 48 hours until her latest film “All I See is You” is due out and a story about her being harassed by someone ‘other’ than HW is added to the mix. The title alone: Blake Lively Shares Her Own Story of Hollywood Harassment  feels like publicity driven clickbait pablum, and I wonder if again this was a choice, a buffer, a diversion to be put out as to not takeaway from her new film. It’s hard to believe she was spared Harvey’s advances.

Georgina Chapman announces she is divorcing her husband, articles about Marchesa’s fate hanging in the balance are written and within this maelstrom of empathy, support, accusations and announcements, I can’t help but feel like I’m witnessing a “Wag the Dog” performance on the part of many. The mechanism of the statements themselves, are like a Shakespearian play with “entrances and exists,” the perfectly synchronized press releases in conveyer belt succession feel like an expertly played chess game.

Beyond the victims statements and brilliant op eds, plus anything and everything Lena Dunham wrote, it felt like a parade of people TRYING to save their own asses?

The truth? Maybe far more of our favourite actors, the ones who even put out statements of accusations did so as a defense mechanism. Perhaps they were even in touch with Weinstein’s crisis team as they put out their statements. Perhaps, some were even willing (insofar as it wasn’t under forced duress) participants in the unthinkable trade of sex for the promise of career advancement.

I don’t want to shame anyone, but where are all these A list celebrities who, according to Weinstein’s recurring trade pitch/preamble, went along with his offer? And, am I terrible for even thinking this? Does it even matter who they were or weren’t in light of this bigger picture?

One of the few people to expose the truth that “everybody knew” and admit his own personal culpability of silence was director Scott Rosenberg. It’s a must read.  Yes, it’s brave, but let’s face it, he has far less to lose with his transparency than the above aforementioned.

Even Vanity Fair featuring a black and white photo of Weinstein on their latest issue with the sobering caption Game Over, took Miramax’s ad dollars for decades.  They actively sacked stories that were percolating about Weinstein and yet here they are to add their truths into the ‘shake down’ Cuisinart.

I revert back to that night in 2003 when, whether fact or fiction, I became privy to the Weinstein rumours/heresy and I was not remotely seeking it out. I was merely an off-duty/unknown freelancer and even I got an earful.

You want the truth about Harvey Weinstein and the rest of Hollywood, their knowledge and or complicities’?

Maybe we can’t handle the truth.

Maybe it’s obliquely liminal like one of my favourite quotes from August: Osage County the Pulitzer play turned film, distributed by the Weinstein Company, natch.

In the scene, character Tracy Letts played brilliantly by Juliette Lewis tells her judgemental sister about sacrifices that she’s had to make. Sacrifices she’s not proud of but that were made for her own survival.

My point is, it’s not cut and dried, black and white, good and bad. It lives where everything lives: somewhere in the middle. Where everything lives, where all the rest of us live, everyone but you.

― Tracy Letts, August: Osage County

***


 

Get-Foxy-Ready-For-Fall-Beauty-Guide 2017 + Caudalie Gift Giveaway!

*Post is very content heavy, give it a minute to fully load all media…you won’t regret it!

 

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Greetings gorgeous foxes!

I’m back with my annual juicy listicle of all the latest beauty trends and products, to get you front-of-the-line ready for fall 2017.

You remember fall don’t you?!

But first, a histrionic confessional on the ‘challenges’ of maintaining ones FOXY-ness with age.

*Shouldn’t every fall beauty guide have one?

Cue Beethoven’s spring sonata

Voice Over:Le aging is like a melty ice cream cone in summers dead heat…”

((((RECORD SCRATCH)))))

Cue the Darth Vader theme followed by a random death knell

“…You’re licking up the drip on one side while there’s two other streams on the opposite end already sticky-ing up your new mani?! It’s a NEVER-ENDING dance of attempting to contain THE DRIP, and, AND! with each passing year the pace of THE DRIP is faster and less resistant to licks, serviettes or say, overnight retinols?!

(BDB: Big Deep Breath)

Like a game of carnival whack-a-mole, I am constantly trying to beat Le Aging into submission until a skeevy-looking carnie gives me a stuffed Pokémon doll, but the elation of winning doesn’t last, NO IT NEVER DOES, cause there’s a hole in the side of that stuffed Pokémon doll and now your car is filled with 1000 tiny plastic pellet balls forcing you to start the whole process over again, and, AND! can I tell you, that lately? I’ve started losing tinkle-control? and soon I’m going to have to get myself a pair of old age-y ‘signature’ glasses, and I just can’t keep up this maddening CHARADE ANY LONGERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!?!?!?”

Old Age-y ‘Signature’ Glasses

*Clears throat nervously

“And so…FALL BEAUTY! (takes in a dramatic big inhale, letting out a breathy yogi exhale…)

…quite the view, isn’t it?”

SKIN CARE
I’m an absolute fanatic when it comes to skin care. I mean, If the canvas ain’t flawless, no-ones going to be able to appreciate the artwork on top, am I right honey? I’m constantly on the hunt for new products and procedures to keep my skin as foxy as possible—and this falls bounty does not disappoint!

Glossier
Glossier is a highly affordable NY skin care and makeup line with prices ranging from $12 – $35 currently disrupting the online beauty market. Created by Emily Weiss a former fashion assistant at W and Vogue, Glossier offers a simple, yet effective skin care line that promotes a fresh and dewy glow buoyed by its mission statement of “skin first, make up second.” If the long lineups outside its Manhattan flag-ship don’t convince you, nor their throngs of celebrity fans like Kate Bosworth and Alexa Chung— trying the products first hand will!

 

I ‘glowingly’ recommend their Milky Jelly Cleanser $22, Soothing Face Mist $22, Priming Moisturizer $27, their Super Glow Vitamin C Serum $35, and their Mega Greens Galaxy Pack Mask $27

Caudalie

 

Natural skin care doyens Caudalie, are celebrating their 20th year in the beauty biz by launching a limited-edition gold accented bottle of their bestselling face mist Beauty Elixir $59. Spokesmodel Rosie Huntington-Whitley, likes to spray the elixir after she cleanses her face or to set her make up—leaving her skin toned and radiant. Check out my incredible Caudalie giveaway at the end of this beauty guide!

NuFACE

While I’ve never had a weight problem, my Achilles heel since forevs has been my jaw line or my SAGGING JOWELS. Specifically, the fact that they have always been slack in nature unless I’m beaming from ear to smiling ear, which let’s face it is exhausting. I’ve tried everything non-invasive to pull those suckers up from filler to collagen facials, but the results were temporary with LE GRAVITY always winning out.

The solution?

Daily, at-home microcurrent courtesy of NuFACE technology. While you may have seen similar devices on late night infomercials, NuFACE is the first and only FDA cleared, multi-solution handheld device. Known as the “5-minute facial lift” The  NuFACE Trinity® $325 improves, skin tone, facial contour (i.e. lifts those suckers!) and reduces wrinkles on an ongoing, cumulative basis.  

I like to think of them as adorable Despicable Me minions that make my face foxy.

 

But my absolute favourite, is their Trinity Ele attachment ↑ $149 which, among others feats of magic, lifts! lifts! LIFTS a hooded brow! I’ve been doing Botox for years, mainly for the lifting effect because my brow area is like a Parisian café awning. Alas→ ‘BO no more, ‘Bo No ‘Mo!

Honourable Non-Endorsing Mention: MDMA SKIN

Yup, Madonna’s skin care line MDMA Skin previously only available in Japan, is now available as of last Tuesday, September 26th at Barneys.com

Always cognizant of staying relevant with ‘the cool kids,’ Madonna shot a promo vid with The Fat Jewish, whose millennial audience—let’s be clear, won’t be able to afford her gimmicky $600 magnet removing mask?! No offense but no sooner would I endorse a celebrity’s skin care line, than I would purchase any of their perfume lines?! And while I’m certain Madge’s skin is space age perfection, she needs to back the EFF up on that filler needle, as she’s lookin’ exactly like my childhood Cabbage Patch doll preemie as of lates!

 

↑Spot the difference?

 

Hey Madonna, I love you to infinity, but you need to get Jane Fonda’s derm + co. on your speed dial. Whoever her team is, they are performing Le Aging skin sorcery, sans Cabbage Patch cheeks!

MAKE UP
Everyone knows I’m a devout follower of the church of ARMANI foundations, but choosing their products every year would be lazy, mais non? So, while I firmly believe no one will ever do a better job at make up coverage, texture and their diaphanous finishes (their sheer fluids are heavenly)—the marketplace is still brimming with contenders who are making their very best attempts to compete.

 

Milk makeup recently launched their 1st full-coverage foundation after their famed blur stick and skin tint became a cult favourite with top beauty bloggers. The new matte oil and silicone-free formula comes in 16 shades and will run you around $50. Rihanna’s new line Fenty Beauty is for women of all shades, cultures and races and is disrupting the beauty space in a huge way. Her Pro Filtr Soft Matte Longwear Foundation $34 comes in 40 shades, ushering in a new era of beauty inclusivity for all.

CONCEALER

Besides my sagging jowls, another beauty malady of mine are dark circles under my eyes. No matter how much sleep I get (and let’s face it, I’m a professional napêur) I still can’t get rid of the bags under mes yeux. To date, the best undereye cover up I’ve ever tried is Bye Bye Undereye from it cosmetics, a line that originally started on QVC, eventually bought by L’Oréal , and just recently starting selling at Sephora’s worldwide. Promising 8 hours of sleep in a tube, their magic potion costs $32 and covers like a dream.

Honourable mentions go to Glossier’s stretch concealer $22 and Josie Moran’s argon oil infused creamy concealer crayon $23 that goes on like cashmere and covers amazingly. I can totes endorse Josie Moran cause she’s a former top model and those bitches really know skin care!

 

*Don’t even pretend you haven’t ordered Cindy Crawford’s Meaningful Beauty backed by Dr. Sebag’s (pronounced Se-BAHH) proven melon extract found ***ONLY*** in France during a late-night infomercial coup!

EYES

It gets considerably more difficult to reinvent the wheel when it comes to fall eye makeup, but the following runway looks managed to do just that for fall 2017.

Best in Show: Alberta Ferretti

I was full-on mesmerized with Alberta Ferreti’s fall 2017 eye makeup when I wrote about the red eyeshadow trend back in the spring. Makeup artist Tom Pecheux created a baroque eye that combined a pop of red in combination with black shadow and liner, finishing off the look gold highlighter in the corners of these unknown models eyes below. Amateurs, Pfffft!

 

Best in Show: La Perla

Makeup artist Erin Parsons created an exotic fairy-maiden look on an array of brunette models from refreshingly diverse backgrounds. This sultry + glossy burgundy eye was paired with a metallic pink that brought out the model’s darker eyes and prominent bushy brows. The lips highlighted the au courant floating lip liner trend which you can read about in the lips section below. All in all, it was a highly covetable, gorgeous eye that also deserves a Best in Show nod.

 

Get the glossy effect courtesy of  Kevin Aucoin’s The Exotique Diamond Eye Gloss $46

Get in Line…

Lining the eye CREASE in inventive ways is a mammoth trend for fall 2017. Theirry Mugler displayed a variety of preciously-thin graphic lines that added a striking, futuristic modernity to his runway show.

 

…And a half-moon line directly in the crease was shown at TomeEmilio De La Morena.

*Spot the floating lip liner on the Emilio De La Morena model ↓

 

I personally prefer the usage of a liquid liner and highly recommend the spanking new smudge proof Beauté Couture Liquid Eye Liners by YSL $38.00

They come in 8 amazing shades (I love the green!) and in 3 different finishes matte, satin or shimmer for a bevy of different looks.If your preference is a pencil liner, just make sure the tip is HELLA sharp, and remember practice makes purrrfect foxy kittens!

Powdery Blue Lilac

Powdery, bluish lilacs placed in unexpected nooks of eye real estate is all the rage for fall 2017 as seen at Derek Lam, Prada and Mary Katarantzou

 

If you want to replicate this fall trend I highly recommend Pat McGrath Labs Mothership I Subliminal Palette $125. Mix up the 2 right bottom and top shades for an intoxicating blue lilac eye wash.

  
Monochromatic Metallics

Sizzling monochromatic metallic eyes are everywhere for fall 2017. Whether you choose to use a cream or shadow appliqué, just make sure that no one dares to dim your sparkle!

 

Get the Look:

Pat McGrath Labs Mothership III Subversive Palette $125, Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Eye Foil in Blond Gold $52, Huda Beauty Rose Gold Textured Eye Palette $85   

Contour + Highlight

Whether your contouring, highlighting, strobing or just wanna get glowing, the ever-competitive landscape of the contour/highlight space has never been so beautifully abundant!

 

1.Urban Decay’s Naked Skin Shape Shifter is a 3 in 1 set of contouring creams, colour correctors + highlighting powders is a master class in the aforementioned. $66 2. Ciaté London’s 3 shade Dewy Sticks give off a wet iridescent high shine sans glitter or pigment worthy of its name!$26. 3. Fenty Beauty’s assortment of Match Stix Shimmer Skinsticks (I adore Unicorn + Chili Mango) $31 and Killawatt Freestyle Highlighters $41 can be used universally on the face from eye shadow to a cupids bow highlight! 4. BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector Prismatic Amethyst highlighter will give you that sparkly all-over unicorn glow $41.

LIPS

Best in Show: H&M Purple Reign

The biggest news out of the fall 2017 beauty cognoscenti was makeup artist Mark Carrasquilo’s purple/pink mixture of two $5.00 lipsticks (Manic + Triangle by LA Matte Flat Velvet Lipstick) that looked incredible on every model.  

 

Inspired by the gorge purple hue, here are my top picks for fall 2017 that unfortunately aren’t as affordable as the H&M “big win,” but are IMHO worth every cent!

Tom Ford

Nobody and I mean N.O.B.O.D.Y performs lipstick magician-ship like Tom Ford Beauty. His collections always bring to mind a slow drip of sexuality and new monied lamé. Standouts from his new GIRLS collection in ultra rich + sheer colours are Georgie,
Isamaya (so fun to say!) Loulou & Nico $44

 

 Pat McGrath

Pat McGath’s MatteTrance™ is a richly pigmented formulation that adorns the lips in a lightweight veil of opaque colour $38. Favourites are Magenta Violet & Deep Void—a deep blacked purple.

 

Pat McGath’s MatteTrance™ is a richly pigmented formulation that adorns the lips in a lightweight veil of opaque colour $38. Favourites are Magenta Violet & Deep Void (a deep blacked purple)

Steal This Lip

Montreal make up artist Leslie-Ann Thomson recently performed this maquillage opus on model Diane Chiu, and I’ve got the insider intel on how to get this covetable grape lip!

 

 

Line the lips with Dirty Mind Velvet Matte Lip Pencil from Nars $27 and then fill in the lips, add Burgundy Lip Mix Mac $19 with a lip brush and highlight with Fenty Beauty Killawatt in Trophy Wife $42

Now strut you FOXY thing!

Best in Show: Floating Lip Liner

Another trend that seemed to permeate fall 2017 beauty was the nomenclature of ‘floating lip liner.’ Roughly translated, it means some rando beauty editor created a highly clickable moniker for the very antiquated usage of pencil and highlighter in the outer corners and rebranded it as a bona fide THANG. The cupids bow and top of the lip has always been a hot bed for perfectly placed highlight, but this fall, the look was paired with a finger blotted or barely-there lip with some interesting icy white accents.

 

From L to R: Erin Featherstone (first 2) + Emilio De La Morena

Gradient Lipstick

A similar looking trend that has been all the rage in Korea for the last 2 years is the The Gradient Lip (aka the ombré or two-toned lip)

 

The can be performed DIY style with either foundation or a highlighter (or combo of both!) all over the lips, drawing the lip colour on the top and bottom inner lip and blend/blot with finger tips ↓

Laneige pronounced ‘La Neige” like snow in French, is a south Korean beauty brand sold at Sephora. Their two toned lipstick $35 combinations are incredible but availability may differ from store to store, and some Sephora’s are fazing out the lipstick line—so if you want them all, you’ll have to go to the direct source! 

 

NAILS

While I normally get the crux of my nail art inspo from Korea, this year I’ve focussed mainly on the work of expat Jin Soon Choi, owner of 3 nail salons in New York and the famed polish line Jin Soon.

From the Prabal Gurung runway, nail maestro Choi, was inspired by the idea of nails dipped in paint using the new colour “Toff” $18. It’s a great transitional shade and I’m a big fan of the French Mani done with colour as you can get an extra week of grow out!

 

Julie Kandalec for Essie created a twist on the modern French manicure at Tanya Taylor using colours “Go Overboard,” “Bahama Mama” + “Smokin’ Hot.”

 

Choi also did a smoky teal nail at Phillip Lim with her nail colour “Charade,” but I also love “Beau” and “Heirloom” as alternates.

 

And lastly, I have no idea who makes either of these colours, but I find this caramel hue to be deliciously inspiring and quite apropos for fall. If you have any clue what either of these colours are, or something similar, do reach out lover heads! Rhianna’s nails were done by celebrity nail artist Maria Salandra @redhotnails but my request for colour intel went ignored.

 

 

And there you have it my foxy lovelies, fall beauty à la LONG READ. I don’t begrudge you if you needed to use the facilities for 2-3 tinkle breaks during this extensive list. As for myself I took 100-127 tinkle breaks writing this.

In fact I’m tinkling right now…

Wait…did somebody say CONTEST ALERT

I’m giving away a Caudalie gift package worth aprox $300.00 In fact the following goodies are spokesmodel Rosie Huntington-Whitley’s must have, can’t live without Caudalie products. Who says I don’t get you up close and personal with the STAHHHHHH’s?!

From left to right: Instant Foaming Cleanser, Glycolic Peel, Vinoperfect Radiance Serum, VineActive 3 in 1 Moisturizer, and the 20th anniversary gilded bottle of their famed Beauty Elixir!

Contest Rules

To Enter You Must be 18 Years or older and be a Canadian resident. To repeat this particular contest is for Canadian residents only.

You must follow me on either Twitter @popcultrainman or in Instagram renee@popculturerainman or follow my blog the Pop Culture Rainman popculturerainman.com and if you are not a wordpress user there is a convenient email sign up on the main right hand page. On either Twitter, Instagram or in my blogs comment section you must post “I want to win the Foxy Caudalie Giveaway from” (give me credit) from Twitter → @popcultrainman or Instagram renee@popculturerainman and hashtag #PCRBEAUTY.

1 lucky winner will be randomly chosen by lottery bot Tuesday, October 10th, 2017 at 7pm eastern standard time. The winner will be announced here and on my social media channels.

CONGRATULATIONS BRENDA PENTON from NL, CANADA! 👍🏻 You’ve Won! 🎁

Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and comments, and please enter the contest FOXES!

Ohhhhh Shut Your Gorgeous!

XOXO,