Archive for Tissue Throwdown

Cruel Summer: Stock Up for Hay Fever with the Personnelle “Summer Festivities” Tissue

August 14, 2013  |  Tissue Throwdown  |  1 Comment

Winner of the Coolest Tissue Box, Summer 2013: Personnelle “Summer Festivities” 3-ply, 65, ($1.79) at Jean Coutu.

Just when it seemed like nobody could top Kleenex’s ode to ice cream in 2011, or Scotties Supreme Peacock box of tissues, Sinus Sister found this psychedelic box on the shelves of Jean Coutu. It’s classy. It features flip-flops. It sparkles like the sun glinting off a rippling lake. If you have to reach for a tissue 25 times a day when Hay Fever hits, it should be this box.


The Artist: Black & White Film, Scotties Tissue Box Make a Case for Class


Rating: ★★★★★ 

“Colour is so…last year”, thought Sinus Sister, emerging from a post-Oscar party for The Artist. It’s impossible to see this film and not want to take tap dancing lessons. But before I gush about the charm and grace in this silent film, FULL DISCLOSURE: Sinus Sister is “romantically linked” (wink) to the first cousin of the The Artist‘s director/writer, Michel Hazanavicius, but nobody put me up to this review. Michel hardly needs the endorsement of a small-time blogger when he has Harvey Weinstein in his corner. The Artist debuted at Cannes, where it was robbed of the Palme d’Or. Film critics loved pulling for this underdog entry, a clever homage to the silent era in our over-stimulated culture. With only a film score to highlight the action, Hazanavicius tells the tale of a washed-up silent movie star (Jean Dujardin) and the upstart actress (Bérénice Bejo) who brings him back to life.

Why see a silent film: for the unexpected sound gags

Who to take: someone on a first date

Who we loved: Bérénice Bejo, who is all moxy with no mugging

What we didn’t miss: colour

What we wanted afterward: elbow-length gloves

Inspired by the film’s classy black and white palette, Sinus Sister banished all Christmas-sy tissue boxes from the house except one—the seasonal two-ply penguin design by Scotties. It’s understated yet grand, somehow, just like The Artist. Now, let me practice pulling off my long gloves, tugging on one finger (tug) at (tug) a (tug) time (tug).

Thanksgiving Tribute: American Flag Tissue Box for Holiday Snot & Tears

November 27, 2011  |  Tissue Throwdown  |  ,  |  19 Comments

Rating: ★★★★½ 

Happy Thanksgiving Sunday, to our American cousins. Thank you for Tina Fey, David Sedaris, Don DeLillo, Mary Karr, Tom Waits, Dave Eggers, Dorothy Parker, Paul Giamatti, William Styron, Frank Lloyd Wright, Levis, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Basel Miami, Florida oranges, Kitchen Confidential, Alice Sebold, Alec Baldwin, Little House on the Prairie, Death Cab for Cutie, The Brothers Wilson, Coen & Wachowski, Little Miss Sunshine, the Sisters Deschanel and Fanning, The Royal Tanenbaums, The New York Times recipes, The Big Lebowski, Willie Nelson, The Mattress Factory in Pittsburgh, The Guggenheim (Uptown), Witness, Deadwood, and the concept of delayed adolescence.

Sinus Sister found this apt tissue box cover from Marye-Kelley ($36 US) for the occasion, which we hear is never short on family drama. Cue the snot and tears.

Halloween Sinus Scare: Public Transit, The New Yorker & Tissues From Hell

Understated. That’s how I like Halloween. Save the ketchup-soaked costumes and theatrical ax murders. The sound of a creaking staircase does not, as a rule, make me scared at parties. But if you think I’m a stick-in-the-mud beyond fear, you’re dead wrong.

Sinus Sister got the scare of her life on Halloween: minding her own business, she stepped into a subway car and resumed reading The New Yorker, where Canadian Craig MacInnis is a finalist in the cartoon caption contest! (Vote here!) After laughing at Craig’s witty entry, I moved on to read Rebecca Mead’s profile of fashion icon/heiress Daphne Guinness. While it was an engrossing article, I slowly became aware of a building chorus of sneezing and sniffing. Looking up from the magazine, it was like a scene from a Hitchcock movie. Instead of birds flying at me, it was germs, from every direction…There was a sneezing art student with bedhead…a party girl coughing without covering her mouth…Another passenger was picking his nose, staring at me with unblinking eyes. I was trapped. My subway station was three stops away.

Nobody heard my silent scream as I reached into my purse and pulled out a tissue—as if it could save me from the onslaught of germs flooding the subway car. At least the 4-ply Sniff tissue ($1.60) accurately reflected the situation: black with a skull and crossbones. Would it be rude to wave the tissue like a pirates flag, and declare the subway a sneeze-free territory? Probably. Did I fantasize about burying an ax in the party girl’s chest, then suffocating the art student? Yes. The nose picker would get more of a Dexter Morgan treatment, later. Sinus Sister fled at her subway stop, cursing the sneezers on her way out, and disappeared into a safe sea of Harry Potters, Lady Gagas and Jack Sparrows.

Best Tissue Box for Downton Abbey: Keep Calm and Carry On

Brilliant tissue box. Keep Calm and Carry On. Who said that? Churchill? Indirectly. After some investigation (i.e. in-depth and rigorous Google search), Sinus Sister learned that it was a slogan in a poster created by the British Ministry of Information in 1939, at the beginning of the Second World War. Indeed. It conjures images of stiff-upper-lip Brits brewing tea as the bombs fell.

When suffering from hay fever or a bad cold , this is the perfect slogan to get you threw the worst.  It’s also good to have this box of tissues handy while you’re watching the latest episode of Downton Abbey, the ever-so-prim Masterpiece Classic/PBS parlour drama set during World War One. It’s really about class divide and who’s tempted to cross it. Love is usually involved, of course, and money.

Why we love Downton Abbey:  all the corsets and tea cups

What we notice: everyone’s great posture and dic-tion

What we really notice: the evil class system

What we covet: the dresses

What we crave: the Upstairs/Downstairs skulduggery

Who’s hot: the Irish chauffeur (these days, the hot Irish guy’s usually a vampire or an I.T geek)

Buy your Keep Calm tissue box here, at Marye-Kelley. $36 (USD)




Scotties Design Challenge Winner, Mischa Bartkow: Artist for Allergy Sufferers, Sneezers and Hay Fever People Who Hate Ugly Tissue Boxes

Sinus Sister is blown away

One hanging light bulb is stark. One hundred hanging light bulbs are stylish. This neo-Goth tissue box is like a mini art installation that looks good beside your Barcelona chair. It speaks to my inner architect, who has always wanted to renovate a reclaimed space (read: dump) and fill it with design curiosities—Ingo Maurer lamps, Victorian bird cages, neon light boxes and now this award-winning tissue box.

Who is the design’ling (my word) behind this haunting box? Meet Mischa Bartkow, kick-ass photographer and winner of the Scotties Design Challenge 2011.  Mischa, please tell us what you’re doing with your $10K prize! Sinus Sister can’t wait to see your living room makeover. Will you send photos?


Most Summery Kleenex Box

August 22, 2011  |  Tissue Throwdown  |  ,  |  No Comments

Welcome to the Beauty Contest for Tissue Boxes










“Tissue?”, a friend asked, eyebrows raised. She had already endured 10 minutes of my unrepentant sniffing. Shauna held out a tissue box so summery that it made the birds chirp. Visions of beach towels and BBQs filled my head.

“Whe-where did you get these?”

“Wal-Mart. They’re on sale, if there’s any left,” she offered, gracefully holding out the waste basket for my castoffs. “But they may be at the pharmacy, too.”

How did I miss these? Three months of summer flew by before I noticed these triangular-shaped boxes of sunshine. Kleenex outdid itself with the ice cream theme, offering vibrant photos of mint, orange, cherry and blue berry (off screen). Somehow, they’re simultaneously innocent, decadent and almost dirty. But the core message is clear: summer is here, summer is here! Amen.

“You can take my last box home if you stop sniffing.” Shauna is a mother of two and knows how to leverage a bribe. Deal.

(70 2-ply tissues for $3.98 or less)

Kleenex-Stepping Stone

August 4, 2011  |  Tissue Throwdown  |  , ,  |  2 Comments

Welcome to the beauty contest for tissues boxes.


From the Department of Protesting Too Much: this pattern was not featured because it matches Sinus Sister’s logo….No it wasn’t….The design, called Stepping Stone, is on a new wallet tissue pack from Kleenex®. It strikes me as an (unintentional?) tribute to artist Franz Kline, an American master of the black slash, circle and squiggle. His huge action paintings need to be seen live, full scale, so wander through the Art Gallery of Ontario to eyeball Kline’s iconic Chief painting, and save yourself a trip to MoMA.

Scotties Supreme ‘Peacock’

July 19, 2011  |  Tissue Throwdown  |  , ,  |  1 Comment

Welcome to the beauty contest for tissue boxes.

May I present the first winner? It’s a  Scotties Supreme peacock print. With a sparkly 3D  pattern, it’s trippy in a way that explains why people drop acid. The psychedelia peacock box recalls a hilarious line in Claire Dederer’s new book, Poser, a memoir about surviving yoga addiction and parenthood. She explains how taking a walk with a childless girlfriend is like “taking a peacock out on a leash”. Ouch. I am that childless peacock friend. [Read my full book review of Poser at the bottom of this page in Maclean’s magazine]. Peacocks are an apt symbol for the preening yogis and yoginis she derides in the book. (This comment is in no way directed at my most kind yogis, who teach without ego).

The winning tissues are 3-plies–the sturdy mops of the trade–and the best yoga tissues I’ve tried in a while. However, at $2.19 per box, you pay for the luxury and the trippy graphics.

Claire Diderer




Kleenex Recidivist

June 20, 2011  |  Tissue Throwdown  |   |  No Comments


Hankies are noble. They help the environment and they score instant cred at yoga class. If you want to bask in the adoration of strangers, just pull out a handkerchief in the health food store. But hankies are expensive and time consuming. Apparently I hate ironing little squares of cotton. Linen is even worse. It doesn’t matter if the hankies are organic or embroidered or monogrammed or edged with little shamrocks. They’re a pain to maintain.

I have no problem using a clean hankie. That’s easy. But what do you do with a half-used handkerchief? Put it back in your purse, where it’ll stick to your wallet? Shove it up your sleeve, where it sticks to your arm? I started carrying around ZipLock bags (un-recyclable plastic!) to store my cotton handkerchiefs. I figure that’s a zero sum game, environmentally, and reach once more for a 2-ply tissue. There you have it. Sinus Sister is a Kleenex recidivist.  To argue the pros and cons of hankies, join the tissue forum at