The New Year has been and gone and we're still in the depths of Winter with Spring a long way off. So now is the time to spend a little something on gifts and products that help you reset and renew, if even in the smallest way. Here is our pick of helpful little wonders, for face, body, and home.


There are beauty products, and then there are beauty products! Ever had that feeling that your favorite creme or serum just isn't quite right for YOU? It's time you tried doing it yourself—and it's easier than you think. Bellus All Natural Labs is the ultimate plant-based addition to your beauty routine with its Make Your Own Serum Kit. Simply scan a QR code and enter the interactive experience of creating your own luxury serums guided by Kristina Cimo, the head of Bellus All Natural Labs. These craft customized serums consisting of nature's finest oils such as apricot kernel, rosehip, passionfruit, and jojoba resulting in a personalized set of ointments that will breathe new life into your skin during the harshest winter months and beyond. And when you see your glowing results, tag @bellus_labs! Bellus All Natural Labs is an award-winning, clean skincare and beauty company that brings its private label production into the palm of your hand.

One of the worst things about the pandemic is having to wear a mask (you must) but wearing glasses at the same time. Whether your glasses are sunnies, readers, or your regular specs, you will have found out by now that breathing through your mask fogs up your eyewear. Well here's a handy, pocket-sized solution: FogBlocker Eyeglass Anti-Fog Wet Wipes or choose the Anti-Fog Cloth for longlasting fog-free vision. This revolutionary plant-based cellulose wipes have been created by biotech scientists to safely coat your lenses for fog-free vision that lasts all day.

These little wipes reduces moisture buildup with the ultra-fine, natural microfiber cloth lasting for up to 500 uses that last all day. Can be safely used on all lens types, even coated, PPE plastic guards, and goggles.


Bluebird Botanicals is a supplier of varied and high quality CBD products that address most aspects of wellness. Bluebird Botanicals products are crafted by trained herbalists using organic Colorado hemp and premium botanicals. Founder & CEO Brandon Beatty says: "We made these products to help you feel your best every single day no matter what." Starting as a company that produced CBD oil, it has now grown into an entire line of foundational wellness products. These are great products for the time in which we live where building immunity and reducing stress might help keep you out of the path of serious illness. We tried the (delicious and potent!!) CBD Gummies, the Complete Concentrated CBD Oil (luxurious, great for ingestion and external use), and the Dynamic Immune CBD Soft Gels (these are great but do contain bovine gelatin and so are not for vegans). But there are so many products for various needs, including for your pets. All these products were effective in their own way—whether that was to calm, to heal, or to relax and restore. After a few weeks our skin and nervous system felt boosted.

Hemp seeds

Sea Witch


There is no quicker way to bring a sense of luxury and harmony to your home than with a specially scented candle. Well, we have three top recommendations for you in terms of scent and aesthetic. For lovers of minimalist chic with fragrant aromas, RareLumiere candles emit the kind of scents that will have you imagining you've stepped into a European parfumerie. And indeed, each hand-poured creation is elegantly packaged with a corresponding handwritten note included in the box. My favorite scent was "Notting Hill." These elegant, slow-burn cotton-wick candles offer 55 hours of burn time for each candle.

Sea Witch Botanicals All-Natural Essentials Oil Candles are also richly-scented and hand-poured, but this brand is all-natural and scented exclusively with essential oils and plant-derived waxes. Their vegan candles contain no paraffin wax or fragrance oils. And the biggest difference to your usual candle: The wide wooden wicks give a beautiful glow, while the soy candle has a nice, even burn to the bottom. Our favorite scent was "Herbal Renewal" and it surely did renew us with its uplifting and relaxing scent of lavender.

Now who doesn't like a little something rustic, this time out of the wilds of Ohio? The Little Burlap Barn Vintage Mason Jar Candle will transform your humble home into a chic farmhouse with one little spark. Plus, their homey scents will conjure orchards, walks in the woods or a day of baking pies: think scents such as Cran-Apple Pumpkin, Crisp Candied Apple, Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll, and Autumn Breeze. These candles come poured into authentic vintage blue Ball jars with a vintage zinc screw-top lid (keep the lid for snuffing out the candle). Made with 100% soy wax, cotton/lead-free wick, the scent oil is phthalate-free.

In these germ-filled times it's so important to keep your home clean and wipe down all surfaces that comes in contact with the outside world. We were delighted to discover an effective and environmentally-friendly product that has multiple uses around the home, and is as easy to keep clean as it is to be used for cleaning! Pure Sky makes products perfect for fighting germs and grime. Their green cleaning methods make cleaning easy, quick, and stress-free. What a relief to not be tearing through reams of paper towels or cluttering up the kitchen sink with multiple cloths and sponges. This is our favorite product and we're not surprised it's a bestseller: Pure Sky Magic Deep Clean Cleaning Cloth. Works like magic! Simply add water and instantly remove 99 percent of bacteria on your floors and home and car surfaces. It’s designed of patented state-of-the-art composite ultra microfibers, consisting of multifilament yarns that are made of more than 1,000 strands per yarn. It can be used wet or dry, plus it conveniently attaches to the Pure Sky mop pole with clip wings. For more information, visit

Photo courtesy of KimChi Chic Beauty

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Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.

Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.