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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Mail Haul!

Today was so crazy hot... why? I need a slower build to the heat, I don't care for it, but when it gets hot so fast I just don't adjust well. Anyway, I braved the heat to do boring daily necessities (bank, groceries, post office and the like.) When I was done will all that I was greeted to a full mail box, which can make even the worst day just that little bit more amazing.



First were some fabric coasters from Art by Anna. These are a gift for my mom. She kept saying she wanted another set of fabric coasters after her last set got all lumpy in the wash. It took me a few weeks to clue in that I could find a set on Etsy. The little buggies are too cute! 



I managed to get in on the seven day trial of Kiehl's that was being offered on their Facebook page. It came with Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate, Midnight Recovery Concentrate and Ultra Facial Cream which was chosen just for me based on the survey I completed when I signed up.



I got a nifty little certificate from the organization I volunteer with. I missed their annual appreciation dinner this year, but I was awarded my Senior Tutor Certificate, which means I've logged 40+ hours with my students. 



I love stud earrings (90% of my earrings are studs) so I couldn't pass up these little sterling silver button studs and star stud studs from AgHalo. They are little silver bits of perfection. 




Last, but not least, a few polishes I ordered from Amazon with gift cards I got by cashing in my Swag Bucks. I never thought I'd see any prizes from it, but it really didn't take long to collect enough. I ordered an Essie mini cube from the 2010 Resort Collection. I've wanted Splash of Grenadine for quite some time, but I couldn't find a seller who shipped to Canada, so I went with the mini cube. I also got a couple China Glazes in Peachy Keen, Lemon Fizz and For Audrey.

Did you get any good mail today? Do share!





Monday, May 30, 2011

Review: Skin 79 BB Cream Miniture Set


A while ago, I got this set of Skin 79 BB creams (from ebay, $9.99 with free shipping) because I have been reading/ watching so many reviews of BB creams and Skin 79 seemed to be a very popular brand.

Now, I am absolutely not an expert on this topic, so I suggest you read these posts (here and here) from Musings of a Muse- she really knows her stuff when it comes to BB creams- and watch this video from Missglamorazzi. I'll wait.

Done? Okay, just in case there were a few lazy *coughs* who didn't do their reading, I'll give you a very, very basic run down as to what BB cream is. It is a tinted moisturizer like product that was initially created for use on laser surgery patients to use on their sensitive skin. BB cream is (in very simple terms) a mix of makeup (ie your foundation) and skin care (ie your moisturizer) all in one.


I really just wanted to try the Super Skin 79 BB cream (in the hot pink tube) but since I had never even tried BB creams I was reluctant to shell out the $20-$40 for a product I didn't know much about. I was super excited to see the mini set and have a chance to try a few out and get more acquainted with the product. I must say that these little tubes are quite mini, I have only been able to get 5-6 uses out of each- and that has included cutting the thing open to get every last bit- but it is a great way to try them.

Click for full size

Now, unlike foundation, there really aren't any shade options (some brands seem to have 1-3 shades, but nothing that would suit every race/skin colour) so you kind of have to just wing it and try them out. Luckily for me I am rather pale and am able to use all of the shades included in this set. 

The BB creams in the gold tube (it is easiest to describe by colour) and in the hot pink tube, were the most griegy in colour, while the light pink tube and the silver tube BB cream are lighter. The silver tube also has a pearl finish; so not great for all over one's face, but makes a nice highlight. The shade is a bit discerning when you squeeze it out onto your hand, but once you blend it on your face, it just kind of blends into your skin tone. The coverage is light, I found I still needed a bit of concealer under my eyes and on my acne scars (if I want them completely covered, it did mask them a bit.) The finish is dewy and you can feel that it has moisturizing properties. I love this for my dry skin as it doesn't give me any dry patches and looks smooth without any issues. I usually use a bit of MAC MSF Natural over the BB cream just because I find it stays just a bit too dewy for my liking, but with a light powdering it is perfect. It feels super light on your skin, like you aren't even waring makeup, which is perfect for warmer weather (I can't believe how hot it was here today, just a few days ago I was still wearing a sweater...crazy)

Overall, I am liking these BB creams. I think the light pink tube- the Diamond Prestige, is my favourite out of the bunch, as it is a bit lighter in colour out of the tube and not as thick (the others are quite creamy.) I would recommend trying these if you are a lighter skin tone and are looking for a lighter alternative to foundation. I have also been using the Dr. Jart + Premium BB cream, review on that soon. 

Have you tried BB cream? What did you think? What brand(s) do you like?



P.S Thanks to everyone who has shown interest in joining me as a Comment-a-Holic! I love your response. I'm headed to that post to reply to all your awesome comments and then off to do my daily blog reading and leave a lot of you a bit of comment love as well :)







Sunday, May 29, 2011

Comment-a-Holic!


I was just reading blogs, and had just closed the tab on a post and thought "I should have left a comment...oh well." Then I realized, I love reading your comments, I get that warm-fuzzy-someone-left-me-a-comment feeling. I'm going to say every other blogger does as well (maybe not in so many words, but they feel it still the same.)

So, what I am I going to do about this? I vow to be a strict Comment-a-Holic for one week. What does that mean, you ask? I vow to leave a comment on every single blog post I read for the following week. Daunting, but I think I can do it.  Anyone care to join me? I think it would be pretty awesome if a few of you tried it too, what could go wrong... Okay, let's not think about that, I'm sure there will be a lot of happy bloggers who would love an influx of comments.

Will you be a Comemnt-a-Holic with me this week?




P.S Don't forget to enter my Super Smoocher Giveaway here! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Review: Garden Botanika Lip & Cheek Stain in Cherry


Up for review today, we have Garden Botanika's Lip and Cheek Stain in Cherry. I have to say up front I am having a terrible typing day ( I had to type the title four times, yeah, four!) So please excuse me if you find typos blunders.


Made in Canada!



I was sent this to review from the lovely folks at Garden Botanika, and I will say the red shade was a bit scary in the pan. Who wants their blush to make them look rashy? Yeah, no.

"Garden Botanika Lip & Cheek Stain glides on smoothly delivering a natural flush of colour. Sweet Almond Oil softens while age defying Vitamin E and Vitamin A protect delicate lips and cheeks from harmful environmental elements. Does not contain fragrance, mineral oil or lanolin derivatives." -from box

Obviously, I put my preconceived opinions aside and tried it anyway. Results? Pretty good. While this is called cherry, and it definitely is red, it applies almost like a gel based product and gives cheeks a really natural flush that ends up looking more pinkish than red.





On cheeks the colour glides on easily, even over foundation, and does not shift the makeup under it. It blends really easily, and like I mentioned creates a really natural flush. I have had lip and cheek products before there were great for one place but terrible for the other, but I can say that this worked well on both cheeks and on lips. On lips the stain applied easily and could be used to get full on red or tints of pink. I did find it got a bit drying after an hour or so, but a bit of balm on top was all it needed. I didn't find it to be the longest lasting stain on my lips- it wore away after about 3 hours, but on my cheeks it lasted pretty much all day - about 6 hours before it started to really fade.

Overall I would say that this is a very universal product that would be great for someone who doesn't really like makeup but wants a bit of natural colour or for someone just getting started with cosmetics. I don't know how well this would work on those with dominant red tones in their skin, as it might make them more pronounced. I think I'll get a fair bit of use out of this on the days when I just want a little bit of flush on a "no makeup" day.

Have you ever used any Garden Botanika products?





Thursday, May 26, 2011

Accessories on the Cheap!


Holy wow, I didn't intentionally mean to be away for so long, but life got in the way, and well I was an awful neglectful blog parent. Call Blog Protective Services on my sorry self. Oh well, I'm back! 

I was out of "beauty world" and have been spending a lot of time in "renovation/redecorating world". I'll be moving into a new place (when? whenever it's ready) and since I have a very good "in" with my land folks (hint: they are also my regular folks) I have creative control to do... well, close to whatever I want (within reason, mind you.) 

I love searching "interior design" on We Heart It!

I have a little list of things I'd like to save up for and change down the line (that list keeps getting bigger...) but for now I've been deciding on the basics, like paint colours. I thought I was 100% sure on what I wanted, until I saw all of my options. I have gotten it all settled now though, a palette of grays and blues with white trim. Are you as nosey as I am? Want a sneak peak at my colours?
Kitchen/Living Room (it's open concept) Shore Line
Office/Trim/Ceilings  Snow White (pretty self explanitory)
Accent wall in office Admiral Blue
Bathroom Van Deusen Blue (I love saying that, Van Deusen)

Any way, on to the point of this post... I am going to have to erm... adjust my spending habits a fair bit to be able to make my new digs all that that they can be, which will be a wee bit blah-zay, but I know I can do it. I recently revamped my summer wardrobe, but realized my accessories could use a bit more spark. I love fashion and accessories, but my personal style is rather plain. Not to say I don't accessorize, but I usually lean more towards actual fine jewelry pieces that are classics and less trend driven. I decided I'd get a few more "fashion" pieces that are a bit more fun. Where to find cute and interesting baubles? Ebay to the rescue! I used to Ebay a fair bit, but a few years ago, my account and email were hacked and it scared me away. I've since gotten an extra secure password and paypal only bank account and am totally back on the Ebay train. 

For just a few dollars- each item I got was under $10, most under $5- you can score some really cute little gems

Robo Necklace $3.75 (free shipping)

Rhinestone Panda $0.60 ($4 shipping)

Royal Hello Kitty Studs $3.85 (free shipping)


Octopus Studs (I got silver) $3.67 (free shipping)

AB Crystal Fireball Studs $10.50 (free shipping) My most "pricey" item

And possibly a few other little things as well. I love that so many sellers offer free shipping!

A few of my tips to get the most out of your Ebay-ing:
- Know what is the most you are willing to pay for something before you bid- only consider going higher if the item is super rare. For the items I was going after there were multiple listings so I had a lot of options.
- Look around, there is no rush- check a ton of listings for similar items to get the very best deals possible.
- Show "Free Shipping" listings only- that way you won't get your heart set on something that costs a fortune to ship, because you won't see it.

Of course now I'm ever so patiently awaiting all my little parcels... part of the excitement I suppose! Where do you get your fashion accessories? Do you Ebay?


Friday, May 20, 2011

Smashbox Birthday Haul!


As you know from my Sephora haul, it was my bday a while ago. This year, pretty much everyone I know deemed me too hard to buy for, so I found myself with a nice little pile of birthday cash. I didn't know exactly what I wanted, so I've been doing little bits of shopping here and there. One of those places was Smashbox. Did you know they have a points program that includes a birthday gift? Indeed they do! When I set up my account I made my bday in May, so I could space out my ordering (since my actual birthday is in April and I make my Sephora order then, gotta give the ol' wallet a bit of a break.)

Smashbox Try It Kit $19

I did some major browsing before I made my order (there was only one item I really "needed") and decided on the sampler. It looks pretty neat and gives you pretty large size samples of Smashbox Photo Finish Primer, Photo Finish Lid Primer, Limitless Eye Liner, Hyper Lash Mascara, and Lip Enhancing Gloss. I'm most excited about trying the primer.
Brow Tech Brow Wax $20

The item I was really wanting was the Brow Tech Wax. I've been doing a major overhaul on my brows and have a great powder, but was in need of a wax. I've been using an all in one type balm that can be used for brows, but I am almost out. I searched locally for brow setting type products and could only come up with clear mascara. Hopefully this stuff lives up to it's reputation. Review to follow (eventually!)

Samples!

Like Sephora, Smashbox really makes with a girl feel important with awesome samples. You get to choose from three deluxe samples, two smaller packet samples and they throw in an extra deluxe sample if you are a member of their loyalty program; Pretty Points. My Pretty Points sample was Artificial Light in Glow, the most gorgeous bronze highlight that isn't shimmery, it actually makes skin glow. I'm not really into highlighters (or bronzer for the most part) but I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this this summer. My smaller sample was of Photo Finish Lid Primer, and my deluxe sample was of Sheer Focus Tinted Moisturizer in Luminous. I almost bought it (in that shade too) but I thought maybe it would be best to give it a try first.

Bday Gift

Annnd, the birthday gift! I had seen it on blogs and it was a Smashbox tin and a stripy blush/bronzer and a gloss, but I guess they've changed it. I got a mini gloss in Cocktail Hour, a very pretty mauvy shade and Double Exposure Lip and Cheek Colour in Speedracer in a little coin purse type pouch. Initially I was totally disappointed in the shade; a very brown looking colour in the pan, but when I gave it a fast swatch it wasn't so bad. I'll have to play around with and see how it works.

Service wise, shipping was pretty fast, even though I chose the cheaper method which could take 2-4 weeks (it took about 2.) Shipping is free in the US, but so I had to wonder if it would be sky high for Canadian orders, but it wasn't bad. I ordered everything seen here and a mascara (for a friend) and only paid $12. Not bad, considering what some other sites charge. 

Have you ordered from Smashbox? What is/are your fave products by them?




Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Review: Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Peach Petal & Lilac Pastelle


Yesterday I was in Wal Mart, (I know, I'm my life is just so classy!) I popped in for the ground chicken that was on sale, btw, and even thought I was totally tired and feeling lazy, I hauled my butt to the other end of the store just to "take a peek" in the cosmetics section. It isn't very often that I've found super great deals at Wal Mart but since I was there I figured why not. It turned out to be totally worth it as I not only found two glosses I'd wanted (ages ago and had forgotten about) but I also got them on sale- $3.97 as opposed to $9.97? Score!



The shades I grabbed - Peach Petal and Lilac Pastelle- have been around for a while and have defiantly been around the blogosphere block a few times, so this post is a bit redundant, but oh well. These squared tubes have your basic sponge tip/ doe foot applicators that get the job done. The formula on these is great, just slightly sticky to give a bit more lastability (I know, made up word, but it works) and the texture is similar to MAC's Creamsheens. Like the Creamsheens these are a bit sheer, but still give a nice wash of colour. The specific shades I chose are also creams. I do wish it was easier to get glosses that are creams. Shimmer can be great on occasion, but I really prefer a cream finish.

Above: Peach Petal Below: Lilac Pastelle
(note: the shimmer seen on my hand is not the gloss, it was residue from an in-store swatch)


Peach Petal: A Sheer creamy peach but it since it is sheer the natural colour of your lips gives it a pinky undertone. A very pretty shade, that does not look overly milky on. It looks like it has settled a bit in the photo, but in person you get a clean looking cover.



Lilac Pastelle: This one looks quite purple in the tube, but it is a really pretty sheer lilac on. As with Peach Petal this looks like it has settled, but you don't see it in person. I love the shade of this and know I will get a lot of wear out of it.

Overall, I am super pleased with these glosses and will for sure pick up other shades if I come across them. I have to say my inner 12 year old was kind of hoping Peach Petal would smell like peaches. Oh well...!

Have you tried these? Which shades do you like?





P.S What do you think of my blog background? I really think I need a total re-design, but I am feeling so lazy. I'm not sure if I want the dots back or not... thoughts?



Sunday, May 15, 2011

DIY: French Manicures


When I was in 7th grade I ordered a French manicure kit from Avon. I was already known amongst my friends as the nail polish expert, so needless to say when I showed up at school sporting not only a French manicure, but one I'd done myself, I became the nail queen. It was love ever since. Some may say that the French manicure has fallen out of fashion, but I still think it holds its own. It is a classic after all, and it really is easy to achieve with a little patience. 



For my French manicure I used Sally Hansen Xtreme Wear in White On for my tips, Eyeko Petite Polish as my pink, and Essie To Dry For topcoat. I went for a traditional French manicure with a crisp white and a sheer pink base, but you can change it up about a million different ways by changing the base colour to a beige-y nude or shimmery sheer. It's really up to you. 


1) Yves Rocher French Manicure Guides
2) Orly White Tip Guides
3) Essence French Manicure Tip Guides

I was too lazy to root through my nail stuff bucket to use guides, but they are an excellent way to get your mani started. They are stickers that go along your nail line and stop the white polish from going over the line. Alternatively, if you have a steady hand you can paint free hand by following the natural curve of your nail line. I suggest going just a bit over the natural line, as this will make your manicure last a bit longer once your nails start to grow out. Nail guides can sometimes be tricky to find, but check the nail polish aisle in your favourite store, they are usually found with the treatments and tools.


5) Sephora Collection French Tips & Toes Manicure Pen

The first step (after your guides, if you decide to use them) is your white polish. I'm fond of white, but you can also use off whites, creams or light nudes, it really is up to you. Using the white polish apply a THIN layer along your tips. It is important to keep the polish thin or it will end up looking globby and messy in the end. Not to mention it will take forever to dry and end up getting stuck on your  nail guides and then tear leaving you with messy white tips. Not a good look. Once the first coat is dry, inspect to see if you think you need a second. Chances are you won't, but if you do follow up with another thin coat and let it dry completely. Remove your guides.


2) Eyeko Petite Polish
5) Zoya Bailey

After you've got the hard part finished (the tips, and it really isn't that hard) you can move on to the pink. Again, I prefer pink and it is the most traditional shade, you can change it up and use a sheer nude, shimmer or sheer tint of your favourite colour if you like, just make sure that whichever shade you choose is sheer so you can still see the white tips you applied. Apply a thin coat of your desired polish and let it dry. You can follow up with a second coat if you think your tips look to harsh or you can move on to the next step: a good coat or two of your favourite top coat.


1)Bourjois Paris French Manicure Kit
2) China Glaze Love Story French Manicure Kit
3) Orly French Nouveau Manicure Kit
4) Essie  French Manicure Kit

If you are completely new to French manicures and don't want to have to go searching for the perfect white and pink, pre-designed kits can be the perfect choice. They usually come with everything you need (even nail guides) to achieve the perfect manicure. 
What do you think of French manicures? Do you do your own? What are your favourite shades to use?





Saturday, May 14, 2011

Sephora Birthday Haul!

Click for full size.

This year for my birthday (it was a few weeks ago) I decided to treat myself to a big haul from Sephora. I don't order much from them because, let's face it nothing is really very reasonable, price wise, for us Canadians. Their set prices are way higher than exchange rate would make them, and of course you have shipping and tax... all the fun stuff. Anyway, I went ahead and made one monster order, and let Sephora pay for the shipping (for once!) 


Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake 3 in 1, Philosophy Classic Fudge Cake 3 in 1, Philosophy Coconut Macaroon Body Butter

As you probably know Sephora's Beauty Insiders are eligible to receive a free gift on their birthday. You can pop into a store and get it absolutely free or you can get it online with an order. Obviously I did the latter. This year's gift is a very sizeable bottle of Philosophy Vanilla Birthday Cake Shampoo, Bubble Bath and Shower Gel (3 in 1 as I call it.) I haven't used it yet, but it does smell pretty great. I've been on the hunt for a new shower gel, and decided that maybe Philosophy was my best bet, so I scoured reviews and ended up with Classic Fudge Cake. It smells amazing! I wanted to eat my bath pouff... and my impulse buy when checking out (even online they get you at the check out) a mini Coconut Macaroon Body Butter, which like everything else smells pretty damn good. 


Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden and Urban Decay Naked Palette

Two products I've wanted for some time, I knew for sure I was going to order Primer Potion, but I really couldn't make up my mind if I wanted Naked or not, but obviously I caved and got it. I must say, it is pretty great. I think most blog readers have seen their fill of Naked swatches, but if anyone is interested leave me a comment. As for UDPP in Eden, I had read a few reviews that it was too yellow, but I call hogwash on that. I'll do a comparison to the original in the future.


Smashbox High Definition Concealer, MUFE Mist & Fix (0.84oz), Dr. Jart+  Premium Beauty Balm

A few other goodies I picked up were Smashbox High Definition Concealer  and Make Up Forever Mist & Fix. I love a good finishing spray, and recently got MAC Fix+ and am happy with it, but I couldn't help getting this little bottle too. I am interested to see how it works as it claims it can refresh makeup as well as set all types of makeup. My most exciting purchase is (to me anyway) is Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm. For the past few weeks I've been testing out Skin 79 BB creams (post on that to come soon) and I have found I am quite intrigued and think BB creams could be my next favourite thing. I've only used the Dr. Jart a few times, but so far no complaints, review to come once I've used it a bit more.


Benefit Girl Meets Pearl, L de Lolita Lempicka, Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, Clinique Pore Refining Serum

Joys of Fragrance Booklet

Of course, what is a Sephora order without a few samples? I love the little fragrance book they sent! It has little peel back sniffers to get a true sense of what the perfume really smells like (no paper smell!) I am really liking the Burberry Brit Sheer. I also got a sample of L de Lolita Lempicka, and I've fallen in perfume love. I scoured around online for it, but ended up spotting it at Shopper's two days ago for $19.99! Way cheaper than anywhere else. I should get a second bottle... Oddly enough Sephora doesn't carry that Lempicka scent. Why give samples for something you don't sell?

Oh well, I'm a very happy customer and will enjoy trying out all my new goods. Have you had any interesting hauls lately? Do share!