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Friday, January 27, 2012

Review: Marcelle BB Cream

This post has taken me forever to get finished. I've been coming back to it for four days, and until now have yet to get further than the title. I've had a few freelance projects, I started what ended up being a huge nail polish organization project (I'll share soon) and this weekend is full of birthdays, so I spent most of yesterday baking coconut vanilla cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting (soo good!)

Anyhow, during my business, I also got my Marcelle order which contained their new BB Cream. Over the past few days I've been testing it out. My general rating: okay. Not bad per-say, but not great either.

I don't know if this still needs saying, does everyone know what a BB cream is by now? I'd say yes, but to be nice to those who don't, I'll give you a quick 411. BB cream aka Blemish or Beauty Balm is an all in one skin care/makeup. It is meant to be your moisturizer, sunscreen, primer, foundation and concealer all in one.

Marcelle claims that their BB Cream provides 8 functions. Not too bad, but it is lacking any SPF. I have yet to come across any true BB Creams that don't have SPF. Out of my collection, none have a level lower than 20  and PA++. While I won't title myself as a BB cream expert, I have used a few brands and have used them regularly enough to know what I like in a BB Cream. That said, I find the Marcelle BB Cream to be more like a tinted moisturizer than a BB Cream.

 Marcelle BB Cream thick (left) and lightly blended (right) 

Marcelle BB Cream fully blended

The Marcelle BB Cream is not as thick as others I've used (all the BB Creams I've used are of Asian origin, all made in Korea to be exact) and is much more yellow toned. I applied this just like I would any of my other BB Creams; by prepping my skin with a facial mist, dabbed on some BB with a foundation brush, then finished blending it in with my fingers. I was a bit worried about the shade (I have light to medium) being too yellow. I seriously looked a bit jaundiced when I first applied it. Luckily the more you blend the more the colour evens out. While I didn't see it on the box, Marcelle's web site claims that this product has "self adjusting pigments that adapt to skin tone". In the end there was so little colour left I considered applying another round. I found that like many tinted moisturizers I've used, the more I blended the product onto my skin, the less colour/coverage I got. I set my BB cream with my usual powder and went about my day.

Aside from coverage being lighter than other BB creams, I found this to be really moisturizing (more so than my other BB creams) a definite plus, and my skin felt amazingly soft, but I did find that my t-zone got oily throughout the day, which is not normal for me.

 Skin 79 The Prestige BB Cream, Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream, Marcelle BB Cream, Skin Food Good Afternoon Peach Green Tea BB Cream

Skin 79 The Prestige BB Cream, Dr. Jart Premium BB Cream, Marcelle BB Cream, Skin Food Good Afternoon Peach Green Tea BB Cream

As you can see in the comparison, the Asian BB Creams all lean more neutral in tone and have a thicker texture. While I don't mind the Marcelle BB Cream, I won't reach for it as often as I do my other BB Creams. I'll most likely use it on days where I just want to even out my skin tone, and am not concerned about coverage (of course a dab or two of concealer can help as well). 

Marcelle's BB Cream won't be available in stores until Feb. 6th, but can be purchased from their website now, for $22.95 and comes in two shades: light to medium and medium to dark.

Will you be trying it out?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Buyer Beware: Kobo Vox

I know this isn't a typical type of post for IKATW, but, my blog, my rules! I kid; I'll have a beauty related review up in a bit. Hold tight, and read this while you wait.

I initially had this titled as a review, but I think I'll end up going off on a tagent of sorts somewhere through  this post. If I leave anything out that you'd like to know more about, be sure to leave me a comment.

Before I decided that the Kobo Vox was the e-reader for me, I did a bit of poking around. Sure there are reviews up the wazoo, but they're all written by the super techie "I review crap for a living type" who tell you everything but what you really want to know. Where are the reviews for the everyman woman?

Kobo Vox is great for reading, and a little Fruit Ninja break every now and then as well.

I initially loved my Kobo, it wasn't perfect (more on that later) but, it did it's main function very well and it was easy to set up- after the first three failed start-up attempts. When you first start up you have to update the software, and mine just did not want to co-operate. After three tries I was successful. Based on my readings, some buyers never get past setup and end up having to exchange for a new unit. Past the start up snare, I did notice that the touch screen is a bit sluggish and often requires a heavy hand for my movements to register. This wasn't a huge issue most of the time, as it seemed to subside when turning pages in books. It is however a bit annoying during a tense game of Fruit Ninja. I love me some Fruit Ninja.

Along with being able to download apps (from the Android Marketplace) you can obviously use this for ebooks. Kobo Vox uses epub files, which you can purchase from their estore, or if you're crafty, you can find online from various epub sites. I was amazed at all the new titles I was able to find for free. After I downloaded the books to my computer, all I had to do was plug in my Vox via it's USB and turn on mass storage. From there a little drag and drop, and the files were good to go. All that was left was to use the sync function from my bookshelf and they appeared like magic. I haven't gone into amazing technical details here, so if you's like the specs see this.

I know what you're thinking... sounds kind of like I like it, why the whole beware thing? Good question, friend. Because after a mere 28 days of use my Vox seems to be catatonic and customer service seems to want to do little to get to the bottom of it. Glad my one year warranty is there for protection. It all started last Thursday. I was reading and turned it off like normal ( if you don't turn it full on off, sleep mode eats up your battery like wow) but when I went to use it a few hours later, I got nothing but a blinking light. Odd. It was about 80% charged so I couldn't see what the issue would be. Now, I'm pretty good with electronics and don't mind getting in there to fix things, so I headed online to see what I could do to get that bad boy online. I tried the reset with no luck. I didn't want to (as it would wipe out all my stuff/info) but I tried the factory reset- with no luck. I figured this was a good time to email the Kobo help line and went to bed. The following afternoon when I still couldn't get the thing to turn on, and one pointless email from the Kobo folks telling me to do exactly what I had told them I already did, I decided to get my hands dirty. Luckily, it seems like a lot of others have had issues with their unit and I was able to find a few other fixes. I'll save you the details, but let's just say that they didn't work.

I made a call to the help line- what would be the first of many- and got great service. The woman I spoke to actually listened to me and didn't treat me like an moron. She stated that I could try returning it to Chapters/Indigo, and if they wouldn't accept it, phone back and they'd go about my replacement. Flash forward to now, a week later, and countless calls and emails, and I still have a $200+ paperweight (my Vox) and no answer as to how to fix it or go about exchanging it. Fun, Fun. You would think at least one person at the company would have had computer repair training.

Do you have an e-reader? What do you think of it?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

China Glaze ElectroPop Collection: Electric Beat and Comparison

Spring collections are finally arriving!
The makeup colour artists who have attended accredited online colleges for cosmetology have been busy creating new colours.  Now, I do love fall/winter collections with their deep saturated tones, but I also really love the fresh, clean colours that emerge for spring. Really though, who am I kidding? There really aren't many colours I don't love.

The ElectroPop Collection consists of twelve polishes that can be split into two sets: The Brights and The Lights. I would say that the Brights look more like Summer shades, but oh well. I like most of the colours, but really, don't they (for the most part) look a bit... well, like they've already been done? The glitter top coat- Techno has, it's a repromote, but a lot of these shades look like polishes from the Something Sweet Collection or at the very least very dupable. For that reason, I only picked up one shade from this collection.

China Glaze Electric Beat

Electric Beat is a dusty light blue that is almost cornflower/ periwinkle but not exactly. Not the easiest to describe, but very pretty. Formulation is perfect; two coats and not issues what so ever. Is it unique though...

click for full size
 Joe Fresh Powder Blue, OPI What's With the Cattitude?,Nicole by OPI "Baby" Blue, China Glaze Electric Beat, Essie Lapis of Luxury, Essie Coat Azure

Joe Fresh Powder Blue, OPI What's With the Cattitude?,Nicole by OPI "Baby" Blue, China Glaze Electric Beat, Essie Lapis of Luxury, Essie Coat Azure

Ummm, not exactly.
I'm slightly ashamed of how many blues I gathered upon a quick inspection of my polish collection. I have pales, mediums, deeps, brights, shimmers, glitters... you name it and I probably have it. For this comparison though, I stuck with the lights and dusty lights-mediums. The first three shades are not dupes at all, but they serve as a sort of comparison to the comparison, if you will. It is interesting to see how much green is in What's With the Cattitude and "Baby" Blue compared to a true light blue- Joe's Powder Blue. 

As for Electric Beat, the closest match (and a very close one at that) is Essie's Lapis of Luxury. The slight difference lies in the fact that Lapis has a touch more of a periwinkle hue. Now, I love Lapis of Luxury, like really love it. I wore it to my Dad's funeral to honour his love of blue. That said if you have Lapis, you really don't need Electric Beat; they are that close. Essie's Coat Azure is in the same colour family, but it has fine shimmer and is less dusty and a truer blue. 

Which shades from this collection are you interested in?

NOTD: A Greener Shade of Pale - a Comparison

OPI Gargantuan Green Grape

The other evening I had a massive swatch fest consisting of a bunch of polishes that didn't fit any collection- the loners. When it came to OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, a polish I'd wanted for a while, I had a bit of a deja vu moment...

I don't (normally) feel the need to have multiple varieties of really similar colours. It just ends up being a waste of money, time and space. Redundancy is for the birds. Buuut, when it comes to pale greens/turquoises I totally broke my own rules.

OPI Gargantuan Green Grape 

Gargantuan Green Grape is a pale green, but it isn't as dusty as other minty green shades. I thought that it would be more of a pale apple green and was a bit disappointed that the shade was not more unique. More disappointing than the shade, was the formula. I'd say that this is the worst formulated OPI that I have; it's sooo thin. It took three coats to reach opacity and even then I think it still could have used a fourth to cover up the patchy areas. Not cool OPI.

 L-R: China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, Nicole by OPI My Lifesaver, China Glaze For Audrey, Essie Turquoise and Caicos

L-R: China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, OPI Gargantuan Green Grape, Nicole by OPI My Lifesaver, China Glaze For Audrey, Essie Turquoise and Caicos

A fast peek in my collection and I found a complete little family of pale greens/turquoises. I know, there is a difference between green and turquoise, but they do look pretty good all snuggled up together on a colour wheel.

While there are definite similarities here there are no dupes. Re-Fresh Mint is lighter and has slightly less yellow than Gargantuan Green Grape. My Lifesaver is quite close to For Audrey, but isn't quite dark enough to fit the bill, and Turquoise and Caicos, while close, isn't dusty enough and a touch too light to be a dupe.

Which pale green has a place in your heart?

As for this posts title... I wracked my brain trying to think of a cute, creative green themed title, with no avail. When I started trying to think of pale, it came to me. This song has always been a favourite of mine, so it was a good excuse to give it another listen (even if it made me cry, again.)

January Top Box

I had a relatively crappy day today. Pretty much everything I looked at made me want to cry. Ugh, at least today was a pretty good mail day. My Top Box arrived- in it's neat round tube (see here.) I have to wonder if it costs more for them to ship it that way...

This month's selection is pretty great, no wimpy samples here and a Hands & Hair theme. Well, they don't officially state that, but it fits, so I'll use it.

 Cake 'It's A Slice' Velveteen Hand Cream 

 Cake 'It's A Slice' Velveteen Hand Cream

 The first item from "Hands" is a full size tube of Cake 'It's A Slice' Velveteen Hand Cream ($18). I have had great luck with all the Cake products I've used, and I am especially fond of their "Slice" scent- think orange creamsicles! This hand cream not only smells delish, it moisturizes quickly. It is a touch greasy, but I found it didn't linger too long and I could get back to business pretty quickly.

Lilly Pilly Tea Tree with Rosewood Hand & Body Creme

Lilly Pilly Tea Tree with Rosewood Hand & Body Creme

The second "Hand" item is Lilly Pilly Tea Tree with Rosewood Hand & Body Creme. I have never heard of this brand but that's the whole point, try something new. This is a thicker hand cream then the Cake one, but it doesn't leave a greasy feel. It does however have a bit of the signature tea tree scent... one I'm not that fond of, but we'll see how it goes as I get used to it.

Shu Uemura Full Shimmer Illuminating Shampoo 

In the "Hair" department we have Shu Uemura Full Shimmer Illuminating Shampoo. This is a very generous sample. I've yet to use it, so I really can't say too much, but it does smell quite nice; light and fresh.

Principessa Notte Breeze Dry Shampoo- for Darker Shades

Principessa Notte Breeze Dry Shampoo- for Darker Shades

Last, but not least, a product I almost bought a few weeks ago, Principessa Notte Breeze Dry Shampoo for Darker Shades. I'm excited to give this a try, as the full size is a bit pricier than I really care to spend on dry shampoo, but if it's worth than it's worth it, you know? I like that it's a Canadian brand as well.

Have you tried any of these product? Thoughts?

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Deal: Julep Maven for...

A penny!

Crazy, right? Now would be an awesome time to try Julep Maven out (even if you quit once you get the first one.) Each box is valued at about $40  and I will say that the quality of their polish is pretty fantastic. You know, I meant to post this... last week? I'm getting old and starting to forget things. So sad.

Use code NEWYEAR2012 to get yours!

NOTD: Nubar Gem

This year, I was very restrained when it came to my Boxing Day shopping; I only did one order. Of nail polish. I so didn't need any more, but the prices were so very good that I just had to. Of course, now I have a little heap of polishes to swatch, and none of them are from the same collection... 

Anyhow, the first I'll be sharing, is Gem from Nubar's Prisms Collection.

Nubar has had a lot of fame due to their dazzling holos ( I got Reclaim a while ago as well, very excited to try it out!) and this shade follows suit. Gem is a slightly lilac leaning taupe filled with holographic glitter. I found the formula a bit thin with this, and ended up needing three coats, which wasn't so terrible, as I found that this dries very quickly. You'll want to add a couple of coats of top coat with this one as well, as it dries to a rather gritty finish. I have a tendency to constantly rub/feel my nails when they aren't smooth...anyone else? 

I love that this polish is a mix of a more sophisticated ladylike shade, but with a twist of fun holo thrown in. Have you tried this polish? Which Nubar shade is your fave?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mini MAC Giveaway!

 Not the biggest giveaway ever, but who wouldn't like to add another MAC lipstick to their collection?

A few MAC orders ago I ordered Snob, a lipstick I've wanted for ages, but always forgot about. When my order arrived, it was back-ordered. Since it looked like I had not been charged for it, I figured it was up to me to order it again when it was available. Which I did, buuut the long and short of it is that you do not have to re-order your back-ordered items. They'll send them off to you when they are available. That left me with two tubes of Snob. What is a good blogger to do with two MAC lipsticks? That's right, review one and give one away!

 MAC Snob Lipstick (Satin)

 MAC Snob Lipstick (Satin)

MAC Snob Lipstick (Satin) topped with Boy Bait Creamsheen Glass

MAC describes Snob as 'a ladylike mauve' but really? Was the lipstick namer hung over that day, because this is not very mauve at all. It is a cool pink (on the verge of being a Barbie pink really...) with the slightest whisper of lilac and an almost matte finish. I say almost matte, since it is a satin it isn't as dry as a matte, it has more creaminess, but no shimmer or shine once applied. I find it to be a bit too dry to wear alone, so I either top it with gloss or use a good balm before applying it. The colour is very pretty and girlie without being garish or over the top. 

But enough talk, lets get to the part you're really interested in. The giveaway portion! To enter simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Please note that this giveaway is open internationally and will end Feb.14th ( a little Valentine's gift from me!) Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January Julep Maven

This month's Julep Maven selection arrived really early this month (maybe to make up for how late last month's was?) and with it brought a bit of Summery cheer. 

I received the 'It Girl' selection, and it seems Julep is finally getting it right, as it is all nail polish this month. No non- polish filler. There was actually supposed to be a fourth colour, but they were out of stock, so I received a code to choose another shade or redeem once the original shade is available. 

Julep Megan, Leah and Hayden

My selection included:

Julep Nail Therapy
'A playful and sultry Mediterranean aquamarine shimmer' which leaked everywhere. I don't know if anyone else has noticed this, but the lids on the bottles are never on tight enough. One finally leaked. I lost a lot of polish. So far no response from Julep customer service. Anyhow, the shade is pretty, not super unique though... applied a bit streaky. It would be a good summer pedicure shade.

'A vivid and refreshing grass green with a hint of shimmer.' I LOVE this shade! I don't have any polishes like this and it applied super easily. I'm very excited to wear this one.

'Bold and bright neon peach creme.' Did you know a shade could be neon and pastel at the same time? This looked a bit scary at first, but the shade has really grown on me. I think that this will be fun for the summer.

Did any of these shades interest you?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Review: Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation

This was one tricky product to get my hands on, but (as is obvious) I did and I couldn't be more pleased. Chances are you've seen one of the many positive reviews of this floating around. I'll elaborate as I go on, but I'll start by stating they were right. This is a pretty fantastic foundation!

Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation  #52 Vanilla

Aside from having difficulties finding where to purchase this (I got mine from ASOS) I had a bit of trouble knowing which shade would work for me. I typically fall into the second lightest shade or NW20, so I took a chance on #52 Vanilla hoping it would be a useable shade. Luckily the shade turns out to be spot on. I'm not sure if the shades available are as limited everywhere- I tried to check the Bourjois UK site, but my anti-virus keeps registering a threat so I haven't been able to check. If the shades are as limited as it seems, this might be out of the question for darker skinned gals, which is a total shame.

The texture of this foundation is perfect, in my opinion- a medium consistency that feels almost weightless once on. The formula claims to use 'fruit therapy' and specific fruit complexes to mimic skincare properties, specifically apricot for radiance, melon for hydration, apple for anti-oxidants, and ginger for energy. All the 'fruit therapy' might be bogus, but it does give the product a very light, slightly floral-fruity scent. It dissipates quite quickly, but could be bothersome to the super sensitive.

To apply this I use a Sigma F80 that I lightly spray with Avene Thermal Water and I couldn't dream of a better finish. This applies so easily, and blends beautifully. I finish this off with powder, but it really isn't necessary as the finish once dry is so natural; it feels just like your skin, but better. The bottle makes claims of it having 16 hour wear, which I have not tested, but from the 8-10 hours I have worn it, it has stayed remarkably well. Even around my nose, where my glasses sit, it stays on my face (not smeared into the nose curve of my frames.) A most excellent thing.

The comparison above might be helpful for those with a similar colouring to mine. Yes, all of those foundations match me; odd how they all look so different when swatched side by side. Well, the MAC Pro Lonwear is a bit too yellow toned for my liking, but it can be blended out to match. Colour wise, the Bourjois #52 is closest to Revlon ColourStay 180 Sand Beige.

Overall, I am very pleased with this foundation and hopefully will be able to get my hands on more products from the range/brand. Have you tried this? What did you think?

Top 11 of 2011- Polish Edition

When I made my Top 11 of 2011 post (here) I realized that there was no way I could choose just one or two nail polishes to sum up a whole year. So I didn't. That's right; my blog, my rules. That said, not every polish was released in 2011, these just represent my faves over the past year. To make things a bit more manageable, I divided my selections into creams and shimmer/glitter. 

Onto the creams:

L-R: Essie Topless & Barefoot, Essie Nice in Nice, China Glaze Something Sweet, OPI Jade is the New Black, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Gray by Gray, OPI Road House Blues

L-R: Essie Topless & Barefoot, Essie Nice in Nice, China Glaze Something Sweet, OPI Jade is the New Black, Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure Gray by Gray, OPI Road House Blues

Essie Topless & Barefoot and Essie Nice is Nice
Both of these shades are from the 'A French Affair' Collection, that I (without meaning to) ended up collecting almost the entire collection (minus the shade 'French Affair'... go figure.) Topless & Barefoot is described as a 'barely there soft beige pink' which is spot on. I love this shade, such a pretty take on nude. For swatches, see here. Nice is Nice is described as a 'whimsical light lavender'. It's not the most unique, as there are a ton of pastel purples around, but it's the one I ended up with and it is very pretty and soft for a demure pop of colour.

China Glaze Something Sweet
Something Sweet is a light, baby pink with a touch of lavender and happens to be one of my favourite pink polishes ever. Big statement, but so true. This is such a pretty shade, that is very wearable. Swatch available here.

OPI Jade is the New Black
I'm pretty sure I once stated that I'd marry this green if I could, and that still holds true. Jade is the New Black is a slightly dusty, yet vibrant jade green. Love. Swatches here.

Sally Hansen Gray by Gray
While I do love gray, this is not it. Gray by Gray is a gorgeous dusty slate blue. It is quite similar to MAC's Blue India which I missed out on.

OPI Road House Blues
Road House Blues was released with OPI's Touring America Collection, and is a deep navy creme with a slight twist of indigo. Swatched here.

The shimmers/glitters:

L-R: NYX Girls Buzz Worthy, OPI Designer de Better, Orly Rage, Butter London Wallis, L'Oreal Owl's Night

L-R: NYX Girls Buzz Worthy, OPI Designer de Better, Orly Rage, Butter London Wallis, L'Oreal Owl's Night

NYX Girls Buzz Worthy
Gold nail polishes usually aren't my thing, but this is a slightly taupey gold glitter that just has that something different to make it stand out. 

OPI Desginer de Better
I had a hard time choosing between this and Warm & Fozzie as they are both gorgeous shades. There had to be just one victor though, so Designer de Better it is. Designer De Better is a dirty silver foil with micro copper flakes. It applies so smoothly that it looks like it should be a nail skin. A really unique shade that was perfect for the holidays. Swatched here

Orly Rage
Rage is the a perfect rose gold foil. Like the previous shade, this is one foil that puts most others to shame due to the fact that it applies like a dream. Very lovely. Swatches here.

Butter London Wallis
What can I say about Wallis... as soon as I saw the promo photos I knew that it had to be mine. It is a "tarnished, metallic olive gold, as mysterious and regal as its namesake" that is... well perfect! It applies wonderfully and catches the light and glows from within. Might just be my number one of the year. Swatched here.

L'Oreal Owl's Night
Last, but not least, Owl's Night. A very popular shade, and for good reason; this dirty green tinged taupe with coppery-golden glitter is so unique and like the previous shade glows from within. Gorgeous! Swatches here.

What polishes made your best of '11 list?