The winner of the Mont Bleu giveaway is…

…. PEPPITA!!!

Congrats Peppita, you’ve won these gorgeous Mont Bleu nail files which will be your favourite files of LIFE, I promise you – you will never use any others, they’re SO DANG GREAT!!!! Please send me an email at beauty.obsessed.blog@gmail.com with your address so I can get these sent out to you ASAP :)

Mont Bleu glass nail files

Thank you for those of you who entered! I hope everyone had a terrific weekend – the rain FINALLY stopped after two weeks of misery and it’s been gloriously sunny and hot the past few days, hooray!

 

 

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From the draft pile: A query for all the Beauty Obsessed out there

[This is one in a series of posts I wrote years ago and never published for some reason. They still feel relevant to me so I thought I’d let them see the light of day, finally!]

If ever asked why I started blogging about beauty, my response is that it gave me an awesome outlet for my obsession and allowed me to connect with others who feel the same.  Being a curious person about the inner workings of people’s minds, I turned that question outward: why are YOU here? If you’re a blog reader, what brings you back again and again (to any blog, not just mine), seeking and absorbing more and more knowledge about the newest products, the best techniques, and the most-loved beauty items out there at our disposal?  Why do you love beauty??  What is it about beauty products that make you swoon?  If you write a blog, what got you started?  What pushed you to stop being an observer and start taking an active part in the blogging community?

blogging-communityImage courtesy – images.google.com

I’m often trying to understand why it is that I can spend $50 [EDIT: this was the value I used back in 2012…seems low now, which is SCARY] $100+ on cosmetics without batting an eye, and yet rarely seem to (or want to) plunk down the same amount on a (necessary) pair of shoes.  I’m not sure I’ll ever truly figure that out, but I do know that there is something so fun, so artistic, and transformative about makeup that I absolutely adore.  I suppose if I were fashion-minded, I could say the same about clothing.  However, since I don’t have the same skill with fashion as I do with makeup, I can get why I would lean toward something of which I have an innate understanding of versus something that seems to always elude me.  So OK, my eye just works with the face and all it’s nuances – shape, tone, features – versus the body, with its curves and angles.  Got it.  I guess I just love the way you can add a touch of color, and shading, and light to the face and it can look so beautiful and entrancing – and it’s generally the first thing people notice about one another.  Ahh…honestly, I can’t seem to put my love into words, but you know what I mean!!

IMG_1634Doing a friend’s makeup for the wedding we were in a couple years ago.

Now, as for deciding to blog.  Honestly, I truly can’t recall what spurred me on to start writing instead of just reading, it seems so long ago [EDIT: And it was! I started blogging in July 2009, if you can believe it!!].  I guess I just had this strong desire to start talking to someone about all these awesome products I was buying, and since I don’t have many friends (if any) who share this consuming passion, I thought perhaps I’d be more successful sharing my thoughts on the world wide web.  Even though my current community is fairly modest, I’ve found some astoundingly wonderful people who ‘get it’ and who have given me such comfort – instead of driving my friends crazy with my beauty antics (1 hour shopping trip to Sephora, anyone?), I have fellow readers and bloggers to whom I can relay all my excitement to without fear of being over the top.  And this, beyond anything else, will keep me blogging away, rambling on about the newest NARS launch or best new skincare ingredient, because I can share freely without judgement, and also see through others eyes what’s out there, broadening my beauty scope.  Which is trouble, of course, but also very wonderful at the same time :)

So now, please, I’d love to hear your own stories!!  What entices you about the beauty world, and if you blog, why do you continue to do it?

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Giveaway time with Mont Bleu design glassware!

Well, what a happy coincidence.

Mont Bleu glass nail files

Mont Bleu – creators of the FABULOUS glass nail files I reviewed several years ago (which are still the only files I use) – has kindly offered Beauty Obsessed readers a chance to win some of their beautiful files (with Swarovski elements!), and here I am with exactly 2000 email subscribers to the blog. It couldn’t be more perfect!

Mont Bleu glass nail files

I mean, how GORGEOUS are these files!? #nailfilingsuddenlymadeglamorous

Mont Bleu glass nail files Mont Bleu glass nail files

So let’s get to the giveaway details!

HOW TO ENTER: Leave me a comment telling me ANYTHING about your manicure habits – how often you file and/or paint your nails, what color of polish do you like most, if you coordinate your manicure to your pedicure, what tricks you use to get a flawless manicure, whatever…the world is your oyster!

Follow me via email or on social media and earn 1 extra entry into the draw for each medium (Instagram / Twitter / Facebook). Be sure to provide your handle for each in your comment so I know to whom to link the entry!

Winner will be chosen at random. Contest is open internationally, and will close on August 1st at 11:59pm ADT (which happens to be a civic holiday for most of us in Canada – here in Nova Scotia it’s Natal Day :)). I will announce the winner August 2nd here on the blog as well as via Instagram / Twitter / Facebook. If the prize is not claimed within 72 hours I will draw another name as random (and so on and so forth).

Good luck to all who enter!

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Going all in with Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

Ok guys. Once again I’ve been delinquent in getting this post up – I seem to be really good at taking photos of product in a timely manner, but not so great at writing the reviews. It used to be the other way around, but I am better at amusing Elena while taking photos than I am typing on the computer / editing photos and simultaneously keeping her occupied – she loves the camera (as you’ll see shortly). Anyway, she’s been taking a power nap this am, so I’m just going for it [edit: and it’s now nighttime…I got the majority of the post done while she was napping, but the finishing touches had to wait till she was down for the night!]!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

A few months ago Make Up For Ever came out with a new formulation of lip gloss that is along the lines of the Dior Fluid Sticks / Lancome Lip Lover / etc. etc. – a long-wearing, full-impact gloss with high shine and vivid color. These Plexi-Glosses ($23CAD) are touted to be comfortable to wear and to deliver up to five hours of color impact. The ‘superflex’ applicator is design in a lip-hugging shape to allow for precision and control and sweeps on the ‘ideal’ amount of lipgloss.

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It comes in a whopping 35 shades, in varying finishes – from pearly to cream, sheer to opaque – which is INTENSE, guys. I’m glad I had an opportunity to try these out and not have to choose a color (or several) on my own, because I’d be there all damn day. The three I was sent are: 403, an opaque red; 207, an opaque candy pink, and 102P, a sheer pearly sweet beige (the ‘P’ indicates a pearly shade).

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses Make Up For Ever Plexi-Glosses

As I mentioned, Elena loves the camera (probably since I’ve become the paparazzi with her since she was born) and I thought I’d really keep her busy by giving her each of the glosses to play with. Now that she’s got good hand control she was loving it!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red

Red gloss has never been my first choice when it comes to lip color – I tend to favour matte shades of red, as it’s already bold enough on it’s own – but in the summertime, I confess that a gloss red lip is kind of fabulous. The sheer (or opaque, in this case) juiciness of it is so enticing and perfect on a warm summer night. 403 Red is just that kind of gloss – it truly is ‘full impact’ and majorly high shine. It’s also comfortable to wear, and though these glosses are intense, they’re not at all sticky – a bit thick, perhaps, but honestly the lip glosses I’ve had in the past that are thin fade away within minutes. I don’t mind the thicker texture on its own, but if they were sticky they’d be a no-go for me (which is why I haven’t own a MAC gloss in god knows how long).

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 swatchMake Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red

Though I just said I don’t generally gravitate toward glossy reds, I did happen to have one in my collection – Maybelline’s Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet. These two are damn near dupes in my eyes; Signature Scarlet is a hair more warm in tone, but that’s getting nitpicky – for all intents and purposes, they’re the same. The real difference is in the texture (Maybelline’s feels a bit more plasticky to me) and the scent (MUFE’s has none, while the Maybelline has this bizarre sickeningly sweet/chemical smell that is just awful – it fades after wear, but UGH, SO bad). Needless to say, I got rid of the Maybelline in favour of the MUFE version!

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 vs Maybelline Signature ScarletLeft: Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 403 Red; Right: Maybelline Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet

Next, we have the shade 207 Candy Pink.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 Candy Pink.

Since discovering cool pink look quite nice on my skintone, I’m all about the shade. 207 Candy Pink is a cheerful pink shade that leans cool, but actually isn’t heavily blue-toned, so those of you who don’t like to wear those kinds of colors could probably still wear this.  This is another saturated shade, though the formula is slightly less opaque than 403 Red. Equally nice formula though – and of note is that all 3 glosses leave my lips feeling hydrated even after they’ve worn off.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 swatch

Once again, I had a similar shade in my existing collection (a mark of someone with too much makeup, perhaps?) – Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Exquisse.  Unlike the red shades above however, there are more noticeable differences: the Dior is more sheer, and a bit more warm than 207 Candy Pink. However, they’re close enough for me that I don’t feel I need to own both – but I haven’t been able to part with either just yet. I prefer my lip products to be opaque, so MUFE – 1, Dior – 0….however, it’s like, a DIOR GLOSS, guys. And they’re kind of lovely. AND it’s got sexy packaging. So I dunno, dudes.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 207 vs Dior Exquisse comparison

Finally, we have the most subtle of the bunch, 102P Pearly Sweet Beige, and the only one without a ‘dupe’ in my stash.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P

102P Pearly Sweet Beige is a sheer, slightly milky peachy beige gloss. This was actually on my wishlist to buy previously, so I was excited to get this in the trifecta. Though I like my lip colors opaque as a general rule, I actually like my lip glosses to be neutral sheers – I find punchy, bold colors that are also high shine are a bit more in-your-face than I’d like. This would fit that bill perfectly; however – on my lips there is something about this shade that doesn’t look all that flattering. I think the milkiness for one is a (small) issue; moreover, I realized after watching a video of Karima’s (so good, go watch her RIGHT NOW!) where she described her lip line as ‘blurry,’ that I also suffer from this affliction, and this is likely why true ‘nudes’ look kind of terrible on me. As I normally choose my glosses to be either clear with a hint of shimmer, or MLBB shades, this veers too closely to a nude tone on my medium pigment lips, and I dunno…just not a huge fan. But that’s just me – I suspect for most people this will be an incredibly wearable neutral.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P

Just for fun, I thought I’d take it even further and make it REALLY nude and see if that looked better. I used a Marc Jacobs lippie (the old style they don’t sell anymore) in Dizzy Spell, a warm peachy nude (which I rarely wear, for the reasons above), underneath 102P to see what would happen. While I don’t actually hate the effect, I think 102P would probably look best on me layered over a more strongly-hued and/or pigmented shade, or lipliner.

Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P plus Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell Lipstick Make Up For Ever Plexi-Gloss in 102P plus Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell LipstickWearing Marc Jacobs Dizzy Spell under 102P. Also wearing Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon in Smoky Emerald – fabulous, fabulous eyeshadow!!

Do you mind wearing a thicker gloss to achieve longer wear time? What are your thoughts on glossy lips in bold, bright shades?

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OPI Two to Celebrate Coca-Cola Polish Set {Review & Swatches}

Good day everyone! How’s life been treating you lately? Our summer weather-wise has been quite lovely here, with just enough rain to keep things lush. Elena has been keeping me très busy these days; she’s going through a sort of sleep regression and is napping for 30 minutes at most – and getting those naps has been hard work! I have a few review posts that have been waiting to be written though, so I’m just going to have to sneak in a bit of blog business here and there when I can. Today’s post should be relatively short and sweet as it’s only covering two nail polishes – the OPI Two to Celebrate polish set commemorating Coca Cola’s 100th year anniversary. I don’t know what’s up with OPI doing so many Coke collections – as a non-pop lover it really doesn’t grab me, but ~shrugs~ There must be a target audience out there somewhere!

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca ColaOPI Two to Celebrate Coca ColaLeft: OPI Centennial Celebration; Right: OPI Visions of Georgia Green

The two shades in the set are Visions of Georgia Green (a pearlescent green with subtle pink duo chrome and a hint of glitter) and Centennial Celebration (a rich shimmering pewter).

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca Cola

Visions of Georgia Green is not my kind of polish shade – at all. It was quite sheer (this is 3 coats and it could have used a 4th, IMO) and it just looks ghastly on my hands. It just seemed to have too much going on, with the sort of golden microglitter, duochrome (though barely visible) and pearl finish. Plus, it’s green, which I’m just not a fan of as a whole as far as polish goes. I layered it over black on my index finger to see if it would look better, but – no. It’s still awful. LOL!

OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch

As always, comparison swatches were had. Since I’m not a green fan I didn’t have much to compare it to, only the recently released My Gecko Does Tricks from the OPI Hawaiian collection. They’re not even close.

OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch comparison OPI Visions of Georgia Green swatch comparisonLeft: OPI My Gecko Does Tricks; Right: Visions of Georgia Green

Thankfully, this is not a complete disaster of a set (and to be fair, there are people who will probably LOVE Georgia Green) – though it easily could have been for me, as a person who isn’t fond of silver either. Happily, Centennial Celebration is FABULOUS.

OPI Two to Celebrate Coca Cola

Though it’s described as a pewter shade, I find it is more silver in tone – probably because it just GLEAMS. The shade is crisp and clean (not what I think of when I think of pewter, which to my mind is like a dirtied silver), and the perfect mix of metallic and shimmer – not too much of either, so it’s got zero brushstrokiness that you can get with a full-on metallic, and it’s not too shimmery for this confessed creme lover. It’s replaced my previous silver polish love, Revlon Sterling, which I merely didn’t hate; Centennial Celebration on the other hand, is pure LOVE.

OPI Centennial Celebration swatch OPI Centennial Celebration swatch

I have a handful of silver & silver-ish swatches in which to compare Centennial Celebration:

OPI Centennial Celebration swatch comparison OPI Centennial Celebration swatch comparisonLeft to right: Chanel Graphite, OPI Centennial Celebration, OPI This Silver’s Mine!, Revlon Sterling, Nicole by OPI DC Lover

The pewter quality of CC is more apparent here; next to decidedly pewter Chanel Graphite, you can see its very much in the same vein only much lighter. It’s clearly more pewter than OPI This Silver’s Mine, and next to Revlon Sterling, it looks positively yellowed (aka dirtied) in comparison to Sterling’s cool tone. It’s not at all similar (red micro glitter aside) to the base color of Nicole by OPI’s DC Lover, which almost has a pinkish hue to it – and I’m glad because I actually love that shade too (two silvers I love, what is the world coming to? Maybe one day I’ll find a green I like as well??).

So, another Coca Cola collection down. I don’t really care how many they do if the polishes are nice, but it seems a bit overkill eh?

Are you a Coke fan? And do you like green and/or silver polish? What do you think of this duo?

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Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200 (or more makeup)

I was inspired by Liz’s post on the type of products she no longer uses, to do a sort of spin-off post in which I detail the products I won’t be buying for awhile – not because I no longer have use for them, but because I really want to try and use up what I’ve got. I’m still aiming for that lofty goal in which my collection is modest enough that I can purchase new items guilt-free, because owning less will inevitably enable me to use up what I have more regularly. Probably an impossibility, but I want to at least put more effort into enjoying what I already have instead of being madly in love for about 3 days, then promptly moving on to lust after the next hot new item. END THE CONSUMERISM CYCLE, dammit.

So, having given you my usual long-winded explanation as to why I do what I do, let’s get to the good stuff. A LIST (of products that are on a purchasing hiatus):

1) Base products (includes primers/concealers/tinted moisturizers/foundations/powders)

IMG_1406All 5 of my concealers, my liquid foundations/tinted moisturizers, and a few of my primers (the rest plus my powders are in my makeup drawer).

I have enough of all of these things; not an overly excessive amount (IMO), but enough that adding any more will just probably mean that some of them will go bad before I finish them all. I don’t usually go crazy over these kinds of items anyway (all but one of my primers and most of my foundations are PR samples or gratis items) except for concealers…still trying to find the holy grail of under eye concealers, but I need to give it a rest for now, as I currently have 5 on rotation, and for me that’s too much. I’ve also been on a mini powder kick, and I have 2 loose and 1 pressed, so I feel I am set for quite a while.

2) Antiperspirant

IMG_1407Clearly I have no allegiance to one brand…

Would you be disgusted to know that I’ve been using the same antiperspirant since Elena was in the NICU? Sooo that’s like…5 months? And haven’t had to replace it yet (eeks!)? I swear I use it {most days} but it seems to be lasting forever. I thought it was near the end so I bought a new one to replace it – twice – and then I discovered I already had ANOTHER backup waiting in the wings already. Plus another oldie that’s been kicking around for ages that I stopped using for whatever reason. So now I have 5 kicking around, which is making me feel far too much like my mother (who used to have hoards of them all around the house; I think she bought a new one every time she went to the drugstore – always finding a new scent or brand that she liked). So yea. I think I’m set for a while.

3) Nail polish

IMG_1422My ‘snazzy’ nail polish, displayed on my bedroom dresser.

IMG_1415The rest of my nail polish collection, housed in a shoebox in Ryan’s closet (there’s no room in mine! lol).

I have been doggedly riffling through my nail polish collection weekly in an effort to pare it down to a more manageable level; to me, if I can’t wear every shade I own more than once a year, then there is a problem. I’m hovering just slightly above 80 shades, and I’d like to cull it down more still to about 75 (in an ideal world, I’d have no more than 50, but there are too many shades I like to reach that goal). So, to keep things in check, I’m adhering strictly to a one in, one out policy. Though I love polish, I find this fairly easy to do, as I feel like I have every shade imaginable anyway. The hardest part is receiving shades for review – I’ve been getting most of the OPI collections lately, and I have to be really ruthless about which ones I keep. I give the ones I don’t absolutely love away shortly after I’ve done my swatches and post so I can’t change my mind, and that’s been working pretty well.

4) Color cosmetics

IMG_1409These are all the color cosmetics in my collection now (save for a Z palette with about 20 eyeshadows in it) – streamlined down to just one drawer, not bad eh?

Ok, this one is going to be a toughie, and I know if I get too serious in limiting myself it’ll only end in disaster (remember this?), so I am giving myself permission to buy color cosmetics that are Limited Edition – but only once a month. Additional exceptions (aren’t there always?): a) I am allowing myself to buy one non-LE item per month as well, b) the Sephora VIB sale is free game (if there is anything left at Sephora, after all the craziness – and also, in keeping with my previous guidelines which dictate that I only pick up one of each type of product), and c) all bets are off during our trip to Cali at the end of December.

After that last rule, it’s clear that basically nothing about my collection will change. LOL!

IMG_3402OH MOM.

My name is Latoya and I’m a makeup-aholic.

Are you on any sort of no- or low-buy? How do you justify your purchasing habits (or do you even bother)?

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Recent Purchases, Part IV: The tools

MAN, I gotta get through all these ‘Recent Purchases’ posts already! There was just SO MUCH, you guys. And the photos have all been taken. And truth be told I’m a little bit lacking in original post ideas, since I’m a wee bit sidetracked these days:

IMG_3129 IMG_3227 IMG_1173 IMG_3210 IMG_3322THIS KID. She makes me laugh so much!!

I hope no one minds gratuitous baby pics…I can’t help myself!

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ANYWAY. Let’s soldier on. Today I bring you the brushes/tools I’ve purchased over the past few months. These were not really necessary to buy, yet I feel they all were fairly practical purchases as I use them all quite frequently. The first to join the ranks of my tool collection was Beauty Blender ($26CAD); I finally caved to the hype and picked on up during the Sephora sale in April.

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To be honest, I’m not particularly wowed. At least not when it’s used to blend foundation – I find I look MORE makeup-y when I use it for that purpose, and the whole reason I bought it was to look more natural, so that’s a fail. However, it’s nice for blending concealer and cream/liquid highlight, so it’s not gone to total waste. But I’m definitely not a convert nor going to preach its amazingness. Also – apparently I’m too rough when washing it, as this has already happened:

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Oops.

Next, during one of two MAC hauls I bought the #266 Small Angled Brush ($   CAD), as I wanted something to use to apply cream/gel liner in a more diffused way. I like this a lot – you could also use it damp to apply powder shadow as liner, which I haven’t done yet but intend to. I have an angel liner brush from Clinique that I use for powder brow products, but it’s splayed and fluffed out too much for liner application – this one sounds like it will retain it’s tight shape much better.

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Then, I had a bit of a ‘moment’ and decided I *needed* to buy the Chikuhodo Z-Series Z4 Cheek/Highlighter Brush ($73US) from Beautylish*. I really didn’t *need* this, but since having it I’ve been enjoying it immensely – aside from the fact that it’s SO DAMN SOFT, it applies and blends powder highlight like a dream. I used it initially with my more pigmented blushes as it’s so soft I thought it would help me stop overapplying them (damn if I don’t love my blush), but it’s too soft to blend them as well as I’d like; I’ve found myself using the Make Up For Ever #156 Large Flat Blush Brush for blush application a lot lately and LOVING it.

*Fantastic service by the way – I received my products within two days and afterward someone from the site text messaged me to see how I was enjoying the products I’d purchased. At first I found it a bit invasive, but after a bit of back and forth they left me alone, so ! I’ll be purchasing from them again. And FYI – your first purchase from the site they offer 15% off and free shipping, so BONUS.

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Finally, after deciding the Beauty Blender wasn’t doing the trick and trying to hunt down the Real Techniques Expert Face Brush for achieving a natural-looking base, I found a Lawtons that carried the brand, and I bought said brush, as well as the Real Techniques Setting Brush. Unlike the Beauty Blender, the hype surrounding these is well-deserved, especially for their price (I can’t remember exactly but they were both under $15 each). I’ve been using the Expert Face Brush for both liquid and powder foundation and it buffs them both so nicely into the skin, and so effortlessly. Equally as useful, the Setting Brush is fantastic for placing powder right where it’s needed, and with a light touch. As someone who loves a more glowing look, but has slightly oily skin – which means I can veer into greasy very easily – spot powdering is ideal; I can just dust a bit around my nose, between my brows, on my chin, and under my eyes to set my concealer, without mattifying EVERYTHING on my face. I thought my MAC #138 Tapered Face Brush was sufficient for this task, but it’s still a bit too big and ends up powdering more than I want/need. So these two = total win.

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Alright. Another purchase post down! I have 3 more to go (I KNOW. I bought SO MUCH STUFF) which I hope to get out soon so I’m forced to come up with something interesting to write about. I mean, it’s not all bad doing these kind of group mini-reviews – hopefully they’re helpful – but I’d like to get my creative juices flowing again.

Have you tried any of these brushes/tools? What sort of posts might you be interesting in reading? (I’ve been reading my old old OLD posts and I am thinking about doing a showcase of all my products by category again – thoughts?)

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Recent Purchases, Part III: The eye make-ups

In the ongoing chronicle of my intense 3 month makeup haul, next we have all the eye makeup that I bought over the past few months – again, this behaviour was nonsensical as I barely wear eye makeup these days save for mascara, but…sometimes we just lose our damn minds. I’m better now (but still want to atone for my ‘mistakes’).

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Let’s begin with the most sensible purchases, given my comment above – mascara.

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I went many years without buying much mascara at all – maybe one per year – as I’d often get free ones from Clinique, or just use the samples I’d get from Sephora etc. But this past year I’ve been trialing quite a few drugstore mascaras, as I’ve made an informal, semi-pact with myself that I won’t spend the big bucks on mascara any more; for only 3-4 months of use (and generally the same effectiveness across low- and high-end), my monies are better spent elsewhere.

The first mascara I picked up however, WAS from the higher-end of the spectrum – Benefit’s new Roller Lash mascara ($31CAD) – though I bought it during the Sephora sale in April.

Benefit Roller Lash MascaraBenefit Roller Lash Mascara

Benefit’s newest mascara offering claims to be a ‘super-curling and lifting’ mascara to give a ‘sexy, wide-eyed look.’ As my eyelashes are already pretty curly on their own, I wasn’t initially reeled in by the product, but after seeing a few tutorials and reviews online I decided I liked the way it separated and lengthened lashes. Since I tend to go very low-key on the eye makeup day-to-day, I do prefer my lashes to be ultra-defined while letting my lips do the heavy lifting. For me, Roller Lash does the job well – it gives decent length, doesn’t clump and really catches every lash so they stand out, which is important when you’re not wearing anything else on the eye.

Benefit Roller LashTwo coats of Benefit Roller Lash Mascara

Though I am quite enjoying the lengthening and separating effects of Roller Lash, I also wanted to have a more volumizing formula on hand for when I wanted more drama. Enter L’Oreal’s praised Voluminous Million Lashes Excess mascara:

IMG_1018L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara in Black

The Million Lashes Excess is supposed to give ‘bold volume with clean definition’, and I’d say this is partly true. The formula is thin and wet, so it gives you time to build it up on the lashes without clumping. Because of this, you do get fairly defined lashes – however, it takes effort and several coats to get that ‘bold volume’, at which point the likelihood of clumps increases (though not by too much). I personally find this tedious to apply, and the effect is not dramatic as I’d hoped. Not a bad option though for those who are looking for a reasonably priced mascara with a little bit of drama.

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Excess Mascara

After watching Tati’s first impressions video on the L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock mascara, I went ahead and picked it up when it went on sale at my local Lawtons drugstore. The yet another addition to the Voluminous franchise, Miss Manga Rock is touted to give ‘mega texturized volume’ via a 360° spiked brush and textured formula, creating ‘explosive volume’ at the roots and pointed lash tips.

IMG_1016L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara in Blackest Black

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara one coatOne coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

L'Oreal Miss Manga Rock mascara two coatsTwo coats of L’Oreal Voluminous Miss Manga Rock Mascara

Despite the aforementioned tendency to wear little to no other eye makeup except mascara lately, I still get sucked in by a pretty shadow. I had been on the hunt for a striking gold eyeshadow with almost a greenish tint for month, when I finally stumbled upon Makeup Geek’s Liquid Gold pigment. The price was right (~$6) so I promptly ordered it because, why not?

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Shortly thereafter, I went on a MAC craze, listing all the products I *needed* to buy from the core range. I planned to buy a few every couple months or so, and one of the first on my list was the subtle highlight eyeshadow in Ricepaper (frost), and a couple months later I followed my plan and picked up Cork satin eyeshadow, which I though would be perfect as both a transition shade or an all-over lid shade that would give me just a hint of smokiness (being so close to my skin color).

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During my shopping trip to buy Cork, it so happened that the Extra Dimension eyeshadows were launched permanently, and though I don’t love a ton of shimmer in my shadows, I couldn’t help but buy one – iridescent A Natural Flirt reminded me a lot of my favourite shade in my KATE BR-2 palette, and so it was that I brought it home as well.

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Finally, I had been eyeing a handful of products from Charlotte Tilbury (who isn’t these days???) and Beautylish offers free shipping on your first order from the site, so along with a Chikuhodo brush (review to come) I picked up a Colour Chameleon eye pencil in Smoky Emerald, a gorgeous dark sparkling khaki, after seeing it in action in a post on Into the Gloss re: makeup for brown-eyed girls. Of all the new shadows I’ve bought, this is the only one I’ve worn (for shame!), and it is LOVELY. Glides on SO creamy and smooth and then lasts all day. And this shade really is PERFECT for brown eyes!

IMG_1062 IMG_1063Left to right: Charlotte Tilbury Color Chameleon in Smoky Emerald, Makeup Geek Pigment in Liquid Gold, MAC Extra Dimension Shadow in A Natural Flirt, MAC Shadow in Naked Lunch, and MAC Shadow in Cork

I also made another shadow purchase, during the Sephora sale: a Giorgio Armani Eye Tint, in the shade 10 Senso (reg. $39CAD). I was so excited to try this formula, and having to order sight-unseen as we don’t have Armani here in Halifax, I took the safe route and ordered the bronzy shade which I was sure would work well for me. When it arrived however, I was dismayed to find that not only was it not all that bronze on me (it looks much more like a taupe-brown with a purple lean), but that it looks very similar to two other shadows I already owned – Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst and Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab.

IMG_0672 Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso swatch comparisonLeft to right: Giorgio Armani Eye Tint in Senso, Urban Decay 24/7 Shadow Pencil in Rehab, Laura Mercier Caviar Stick in Amethyst

Having already purchased more eyeshadows than I should have, and being less than impressed with the shade (and formula – this was nothing to write home about, in my opinion, especially for $39!), I returned Senso. There’s just no room for subpar products or duplicates in my stash!

And so ends my eye makeup purchases – for the time being. I’m sure I’ll buy more mascara at some point, but not until I’ve finished two of these – I’ve tried all the ones on my lemmings list now so I’m good for a while. However, I am going to try my very hardest to resist buying any more eyeshadow until our trip to Los Angeles over the Christmas holiday (can’t wait!!!!), when I’ll have access to a ton of brands we can’t get here (MOAR Charlotte Tilbury!). As you may have seen on my Instagram, I’m struggling with reducing the current collection of shades I own as it is, so until I either can eliminate a few shades or use a few up (!!!!!), I absolutely NEED to put a lid on it for a while.

Now, to leave you with a couple sweet pictures of my wee one, who was such a good girl during my swatchfest :)

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GAH. My kid is so stupidly cute.

Have you been hauling lately? How do you stop yourself from buying products that you don’t need/don’t use?

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OPI Brights summer 2015 collection {swatches & review}

[This post contains press samples] Happy second day of summer! We’ve been having a lovely June so far, with a ton of sun sprinkled with a few rainy days to keep everything lush and green. As such, I’ve been switching up my mani & pedi shades on the regular, which is also helping me pare down my collection as I go through shade after shade and determine whether it stays or goes. The OPI Brights summer collection for 2015 kept me busy for a while, but I’ve finished all the swatches and have them to show you today! The collection contains 3 existing shades from the core collection, plus 6 brand new shades – all in varying finishes to keep things interesting.

OPI Summer 2015 Brights Collection

I did a few mani/pedi pairings to easier facilitate the swatches, and also added comparison swatches for any shades that seemed to have close relatives in my existing collection. Let’s begin with the core shade Hotter than You Pink and new shade I Sea You Wear OPI:

OPI Hotter Than You Pink and OPI I Sea You Wear OPI swatches

Hotter than You Pink is described as a…’hot pink’, how novel. It’s a bright pink shade with a blue iridescent flash that I’m sure is a favourite for many. These kinds of colors aren’t my bag, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it – and the formula for this one is great, two coats to opacity and it flows easily on the nail with no drag.

I Sea You Wear OPI is yet another shimmering aqua confection from the brand, an iridescent metallic that is a classic come summer. This one is a bit sheer, like some other similar OPI shades, and requires 3 coats – even then, you can still see a bit of my nail line in certain lights (like above). It’s pretty though, and the formula otherwise is good with no patchiness.

Hotter than You Pink reminded me of the shade Hang Ten Toes from China Glaze’s Neon collection from 2012. Both that have blue flash, but CG’s polish is less shimmery and more cool-toned:

OPI Hotter than You Pink vs China Glaze Hang Ten Toes comparison swatchLeft: OPI Hotter Than You Pink; Right: China Glaze Hang Ten Toes

I figured I Sea You Wear OPI would be very similar to either the brand’s This Color’s Making Waves (recently reviewed) or Catch Me In Your Net, but it isn’t at all – it’s much more blue and shimmery (rather than metallic) than the former; and though similar in hue, it’s considerably lighter than CMIYN, with less depth.

OPI I Sea You Wear OPI comparison swatchesLeft to right: OPI This Color’s Making Waves, OPI I Sea You Wear OPI, OPI Catch Me in Your Net

Next, I paired Life Gave Me Lemons with I STOP for Red:

OPI I STOP for Red and OPI Life Gave Me Lemons swatches

Life Gave Me Lemons is a core shade, a ‘citrusy lemon-lime’ creme that is very cheerful-looking. It does have a bit of green in it, which for some might make it more wearable than just a straight yellow, which can be tricky on some skintones. While I don’t love yellow polishes on the whole, I actually didn’t mind this – it’s just so happy-looking! Also, for a yellow, the formula isn’t all that bad – it requires a bit of care when applying, but it wasn’t as fussy as other yellows I’ve come across. This is two coats.

I STOP for Red is a tomato red crelly (creme-jelly hybrid) that has the best squishy texture I’ve seen! Though the shade is nothing new, it’s the texture that really makes it stand out – it’s so juicy and delectable. On shorter nails, two coats will do, but on longer nails or if you prefer no VNL, I’d go with three.

The green tones in Life Gave Me Lemons is much more apparent when compared to other yellows:

OPI Life Gave Me Lemons comparison swatchesLeft to right: American Apparel Neon Yellow, OPI Life Gave Me Lemons, butter London Jasper

It’s much more dull (and more glossy) compared to American Apparel Neon Yellow (my fave yellow EVER and the only one I have kept in my collection), though both have that touch of green. butter London’s Jasper on the other hand, is more *ahem* butter-y, and more of a true yellow color.

OPI I STOP for Red comparison swatchesTop to bottom: Essie Meet Me at Sunset, OPI No Stopping Me Now, OPI I STOP for Red, OPI Aloha from OPI, Essie Come Here!

IT IS FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE TO PHOTOGRAPH REDS!!! Gah. The five shades above look identical, I’m sure, and though they are VERY close, they are not the same. Essie Come Here! is more pink, OPI No Stopping Me Now and Essie Meet Me at Sunset are both more orange, and OPI Aloha from OPI is more coral. Though the latter is closest in tone, it’s a straight creme and doesn’t have that glossy, squishy texture.

The last pairing I did was with My Car Has Navy-gation and Down to the Core-al:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation and OPI Down to the Core-al

My Car Has Navy-gation is a gorgeous deep indigo blue that sadly is a bit of a disappointment once worn. It’s on the sheer side (this is three coats) and is streaky in it’s application. I think they were trying to achieve that crelly texture with this shade, too, but alas it didn’t translate properly in the final product. Let’s take a closer look:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation swatch

The last of the core shades, Down to the Core-al is a ‘brilliant coral’ which has a touch of violet flash. This was quite pretty, a bit different than your standard summer coral, and easy to apply (this is two coats). Just the right hint of shimmer.

I own a fair number of blue polishes, but nothing was really like My Car Has Navy-gation:

OPI My Car Has Navy-gation comparison swatchesLeft to right: Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like, OPI My Car Has Navy-gation, YSL Bleu Majorelle

Lippmann’s I Know What Boys Like is more purple and less vivid, and YSL’s Bleu Majorelle is much brighter and without ANY purple tone.

OPI Down to the Core-al swatch comparisonLeft: OPI Down to the Core-al; Right: OPI Go With the Lava Flow

Once again, I thought a shade from the recently released Hawaii-themed collection from the brand would be very similar to Down to the Core-al; Go With the Lava Flow is a coral shimmer polish as well, but it is more shimmery and darker, and with a more murky quality to it (which you can’t really see in the photo above).

Can’t Hear Myself Pink! is described as a ‘shimmering metallic pink’, but there’s more to it than that. Though it’s more obvious in the bottle than on the nail, there is a subtle orange duochrome that elevates this shade and makes it more unique. Alone, this shade is pretty enough, but a touch sheer and requires three coats. On my index finger, I layered Can’t Hear Myself Pink! over Down to the Core-al, and this brought out the duochrome and intensified the shade beautifully. I don’t own anything even close to this shade.

OPI Can't Hear Myself Pink! swatch OPI Can't Hear Myself Pink! swatch

My regular readers know I’m not a fan of glitter polishes, and hot pink glitter On Pinks and Needles is no exception. It’s fine, it’s cute, but not for me – here it is layered over Life Gave Me Lemons (on only one nail because glitter removal is a P.I.T.A.):

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Finally, we have my favorite shade from the collection, The Berry Thought of You, a ‘delectable purple.’ It’s a beautiful purple-based berry that has a touch of that crelly texture and an uber-glossy finish. Two coats and you’re good to go.

OPI The Berry Thought Of You swatch

Dior’s Bloom polish, an LE shade from last spring I believe, is thisclose to The Berry Thought of You but a hint more pink. If it weren’t Dior, I’d get rid of it because I love the OPI shade more; as it is I’m keeping them both…for now. American Apparel’s Neon Violet has the same purple undertones but is more vivid (and matte, as neons tend to be); Nicole by OPI’s In Grape Demand looks straight-up purple in comparison.

OPI The Berry Thought Of You swatch comparisonsLeft to right: American Apparel Neon Violet, Dior Bloom, OPI The Berry Thought of You, Nicole by OPI In Grape Demand

Though I didn’t find many of these truly ‘bright,’ OPI suggests layering them over white to make them truly pop, and while I didn’t try that I suspect I would have gotten a better effect by doing so. Nonetheless, I liked most of these shades and I think it’s a solid summer collection with a variety of color and finishes from which to choose. I actually am keeping a few of these, namely: The Berry Thought of You (naturally), Can’t Hear Myself Pink! (for layering over similar shades), and I STOP for Red (dat texture, tho!). Hooray for summer!

OPI Summer 2015 Brights Collection

Has summer arrived where you are? Will you check out this year’s OPI Brights collection? What kind of shades do you gravitate toward in the summer?

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Leibster Award and a Q & A

Liebster

Hello again!! Two posts in one day!! Unheard of in these parts. It just so happens Elena is taking a power nap so I’m using the time to catch up on things ;) First, I was nominated for a Liebster Award by Janine of A Beautiful Whim, and I don’t like to pass these by if I have the time, because it’s always flattering to be noticed! I am unlikely to have time to come up with new questions for other bloggers to answer, but I am certainly going to answer the questions Janine came up with! So here goes:

1.  What is the best beauty tip you have ever received that you could share with us?

Oh man…quite honestly, I have heard and read so much I’m not even sure where I could begin with this one! Let me ponder it while I do the rest of the questions and see if I come up with anything…hmm…probably the best one I’ve only recently been using is applying a transition color like brown in the crease first before applying eyeshadow. Really seems to make certain looks more wearable and soft.

2.  What is your favorite feature about yourself and how do you highlight that feature and play it up?

Truthfully, it depends on the day! If my lips are dry and flaky (half the time) then I’d rather play up my eyes, though that usually just entails winged liner and mascara…if my lips are in good condition I love to wear a bold lip…and if my skin is doing well (also – half the time), then I like to wear very little makeup and play that up. Does that mean that I like all my features…?! Huh.

3.  What is your most cherished childhood memory?

Hands down, summers with my grandmother at her house in the valley. When she first moved there, she had a huge garden that we would tend to. When she got older, just spending time with her talking about anything made my day. She was definitely one of my best friends as a child!

4.  What is the best nude lipstick you have ever gotten your hands on?

I have yet to find one…

5.  What is a specialty dish that you can cook or bake that would blow people’s minds?

I’m a better baker than a cook, though I’ve improved in the latter a lot in the past few years. I bake a mean peanut butter chocolate cake that I have eaten in it’s entirety before. It is EFFING GREAT. Recipe here. <- In fact, you should just follow her blog. SO MANY TASTY THINGS.

6.  If you were planning a vacation, where would you like to travel and why?

Well, I’ve been to a lot of places in Europe already, and though there are many more sights to see, I think I’d like to get to Asia next. It’s a whole other world!! I think it would really be filled with things I’ve never seen or experienced.

7.  What is your holy grail liquid or gel black liner?  (Can’t wait for this one!)

MAC Blacktrack has been a steadfast fave for a couple years now for gel…and the Kat Von D Ink / Make Up For Ever Artist liquid liners are both really excellent.

8.  What perfume do you get the most compliments on when you wear it (even if it’s not your favorite)?

Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco. I love this for summer, and it’s one of those scents that just smells DELICIOUS. I also used to have a sample of Lancome’s La Vie Est Belle, and I got a lot of comments on that one, too. I think I may finally buy it this fall.

9.  What are you most frightened of?

Being unappreciated and/or taken advantage of.

10.  What is the best tip you have received from a long-time, expert blogger?

Gosh, an expert? That’s a heavy title to carry…but a few times some of my regulars have commented that my chatty style is what keeps them coming back to my blog, so I try and stick with that.

11.  What’s your most embarrassing moment?  (hee hee hee)

Ok, here’s a story. One year I was in Dublin for St. Paddy’s Day, and I was drinking a lot of Guiness. As many people know, beer seems to flow through you like water, making you have to pee a million times more than other booze. I had to pee SO BAD, and of course it’s Paddy’s Day so the washrooms in the pub I was at were completely lined up, so I went into a backroom I found with a toilet (staff only access) and peed, while one of the employees was banging on the door telling me to get out. Miraculously though, they didn’t kick me out of the bar! Guess that’s par for the course in Dublin at that time of year lol.

…And that’s a little bit about me :) I haven’t done a question and answer post in so long!! These are fun to do every now and again. I encourage anyone who wants to do these questions to go for it, and be sure to let me know!!

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