Archive for category Just for Fun
Hiiiiiiii everyone! I’m back from a whirlwind past couple of weeks which culminated in one of my closest friends getting married!! I’ve been to what seems like a billion weddings in the past 5 years or so, but this one was truly special (and not just because I was standing in it ). Honestly, I don’t know if I can express my happiness in words, but let’s just say it was AMAZING, lovely, wonderful, glorious, heartwarming, awesomely fun…what else can I say? It was the BEST
The month began with the bachelorette party, followed by the bridal shower the next week, and then this past weekend, the wedding itself – which was held at White Point Beach Lodge, a really beautiful ocean-side resort here in Nova Scotia. We stayed for two nights and it was most excellent – a fantastic gathering of friends and family with a lot of laughs and a lot of love. As you all probably know about me, I like to party – and of course there was no exception this time around! There were some seriously late nights, even the night before the wedding (we’re talking past 4am – but the bride was up ’till almost 3am so I didn’t feel so bad!), but I powered through and actually felt pretty great the entire time. I did the makeup for the entire bridal party plus the mother of the bride without a problem, and everyone looked fab! Here’s a full shot of the bridal party:
So good, right? The bride wanted neutral dresses but we had leeway to chose whatever we wanted – I think it came out awesome! Three of the four dresses were bought from ASOS.com, for less than $50 – you can’t beat that!!
I couldn’t find an appropriate shot of the bride to show but the one below gives you an idea – she looked absolutely stunning, trust me. I really like this shot for some reason, probably because it implies at our close friendship
It was a really fabulous weekend I must say, though I have next to no pictures of my own to prove it – I was too busy having fun! Needless to say, I loved every minute, and while the past month has been incredibly busy and at times stressful, it has been one of the best experiences of my life. Yay for love!!
I promise now that things have wrapped up, I’ll be back to posting more regularly! I am headed to Ottawa this Thursday evening as the Ottawa Half Marathon is on Sunday (ran my last long run yesterday – 20k – and it went AWESOME so I’m feeling very good about the race!), so I’m going to try to get a good post or two up before I go. I have a handful of things I want to talk about, that I’ve been wanting to talk about for ages! So expect to hear all about them very soon!
Hope everyone is just peachy
I’m just sitting here reading my online copy of this month’s Allure via Zinio (thanks Amy!!!!) and there’s a feature on a pair of GAP shorts and how 5 women wear them. Each have a small side bar which notes what lipstick, jewelry, shoes, etc. they would pick as their “favorite things“, which I always find interesting to read. Every time I come across these types of stories, I note how it pulls you in and makes you want to ‘have what they’re having’ so to speak – the psychology of it is kind of amazing, and I always think that if I were being interviewed, even plain old non-celebrity me and my choices would sound kind of intriguing. Takes me back to my Honours Psych thesis days
So, I decided to interview myself, share my favorite things, and see if everyone runs off to buy them.
In seriousness though, we fickle beauty-fiends find ‘favorites’ every month, but it’s the shades and items we wear over and over, standing the test of time, that are a better indicator of a great product, and also hint at our beauty and style personalities!
Favorite Lip Color:
This may not be a fully-formed favorite just yet, but since it’s purchase last month its been in heavy rotation over all other lippies, and I don’t see that changing any time soon. You probably guessed it – it’s BITE Beauty’s High Pigment Pencil in Quince. DAMN, this pencil is fine! Fuchsia is definitely my new jam. Long-wearing, non-drying, bold color that works for all seasons. SOLD.
It may not come as a surprise that my favorite mascara brand is Clinique’s – yes, I work for the brand, but I love the mascaras because of all the different options we have (natural, fluttery, mega-volume, etc.) as well as the fact that they don’t dry up in a month, and for the most part are terribly easy to remove but don’t smudge throughout the day. I’ve always been a huge fan of the High Impact mascara, but more recently I’ve become majorly enamoured with our new High Impact Waterproof mascara, which gives some major oomph to the lashes without being crispy or unnatural-looking like some other waterproof versions I’ve tried. You can be sure I’ll be using this at the wedding next weekend!! Also notable is the Lash Power mascara, which is like a waterproof in that it won’t smudge or budge through heat, sweat, swimming, etc., but removes with warm water. It doesn’t give the same POW! as the waterproof, but it gets to each individual lash due to the teeny tiny brush, and is great for separation.
Favorite Nail Polish:
Ugh, how do I pick just one!? C’est impossible. But I *think* I can pick two. And they would be butter London Snog and Chanel Orange Fizz. I know both are summery tones which could be swaying my opinion this time of year, but I don’t think so. I seriously could wear Snog every day – put me on a desert island with this shade and I’d be happy as a clam (though… the clams on the island probably wouldn’t be that happy as I’d be eating them for survival).
It’s safe to say that I’m still madly in love with Tarte’s Pure Maracuja Oil – nothing has made more of a difference in my skin than this product! Stupidly, I bought a bottle of Bosica’s Tsubaki Facial Oil during the Sephora sale last month to try something new – I hope it can live up to Tarte’s! My bottle is almost finished so I’ll be trying the Boscia soon, and I’ll be sure to fill you all in on it’s efficacy.
I tend to be a scent jumper (are you seeing a trend here? Hello, fickle!) so I’ve never repurchased a bottle, but there was one fragrance that really stood out to me in the past that I actually finished and of which I get tempted to re-buy – namely, Burberry The Beat. It’s categorized as a woody floral which doesn’t sound like my taste, but damn it if I didn’t love that scent – it was so fresh and alluring at the same time. I went through that bottle within a year, which is unheard of for me. It has middle notes of Iris, which seems to be a recurring theme in a lot of fragrances I’ve sampled and enjoyed (Prada Infusion d’Iris; Lancome La Vie Est Belle), as well as top notes of Mandarin and base notes of Cedarwood, both of which are also found in Prada’s scent. I’ve considered buying Infusion d’Iris many times but never could commit, surprise surprise.
Ok, shoes are kind of the bane of my existence, as I have a bunion on my right foot that makes buying them incredibly tricky, so I make sure to always buy quality. In the past few months I’ve had tremendous success in two pairs – black platform pumps from Rockport, and a pair of nude almond-toe pumps from Banana Republic. SO. EFFING. COMFORTABLE. YOU GUYS. It’s crazy. The BR ones are no longer available, but the Rockport ones are still around (though not in the lizard skin finish anymore) so I’d grab ‘em fast if you’re interested! Now all I need is a fun pair in a color and I’m set
So apparently this has been a list of my two favorite things in each category lol – and I’m going to get even crazier here and show you 5 of my fave jewelry pieces, because they are equally loved by me on the regular.
LOVE my Michael Kors rose-gold watch, obviously (which I bought due to this Lent challenge), and I picked up a pair of Stella & Dot rose gold earrings to complement the watch last year and love ‘em too.
I wear the gold large-link bracelet from Banana Republic quite a bit, and it’s actually shifted me into wearing gold a lot more now. This gold ring from Aldo gets a lot of love – its tough to wear rings a lot when you always wear crazy-colored polishes, but this manages to hold it’s own. Lastly, this awesome funky giraffe bracelet my Mom bought me from Aldo ages and ages and ages ago is one of the few real statement pieces in my collection, and though initially I thought it was bizarre, I quickly became to love it.
Just for the heck of it (because I’m clearly out of control now), here’s two more well-loved pieces: my Tiffany key I got a few Christmases ago – I totally cried when I opened it, best gift ever! – and an eclectic owl necklace that I sort of inherited from my great-grandmother. Can you imagine her wearing something like this? And it just goes to show you how everything comes around and is new again eventually
And there you have it – all my fave things, are you feeling like you want to go buy it all now since I’m clearly SOOOO fabulous!? *crickets* …Yea, I didn’t think so, lol. But, since I didn’t do a favorites post for the end of 2012, I figure this is still original content on the blog, and a good way to get to know a bit more about me – which is sort of the real point of blogs, right? Hope you enjoyed!
What are some of your favorite things?
So, I’ve been a somewhat MIA this week – I had been getting headaches at work this week staring at my computer screen so much, so when I came home I wanted nothing to do with computers, period. It happens sometimes from the whiteness of the screen and the glare – I have glasses just for this purpose, but at times I forget to put them on, or I’m staring for so long it doesn’t matter anymore anyway. However! Seems I’m back to normal now and I have a bunch of posts lined up so all is well
You know how sometimes you get something in your head and you just can’t get it out ’till you do something about it? I was in one of those mindsets on Friday when I decided I needed to create better storage for my makeup drawer. I’ve been pulling out seasonal shades and piling them in one of my bathroom drawers for easy access to items I use most often, except it looked messy and kinda irritated me a bit (hi, OCD!). I was reading Joey’space blog and she has a lovely set up of her makeup etc., and I got it in my head I had to get my shit straightened out too. Somehow I got on to buying bamboo drawer organizers, and almost bought a bunch online, but the shipping was atrocious at two different websites I was on (for those interested, they were The Container Store, and Crate & Barrel). Then I saw them available at Bed, Bath & Beyond, and managed to finagle* one of my friends into swinging by there while we were out on Saturday. Again, me being extremely eager, I got everything set up when I got home – which was after midnight but HECK, a chance at organization!? Yea, I’m gonna be all over that no matter what the hour LOL.
*Apparently this means: 1) to obtain (something) by devious or dishonest means, or 2) to act in a devious or dishonest manner. NOT the case! I just thought this meant to sort of convince someone of something in a bit of a roundabout way…well! You learn something new.
Eeeeeeeee! Me love things in neat little rows!
Seriously though, it’s a bit ridiculous how much pleasure this gives me. Just looking at this makes my heart skip a beat!
So, as you can see, on one side I’ve got my powders, bronzers and concealers, and then my palettes and a couple stray shadows which constitute my every day brow color and brow highlight. Then I’ve got my eye pencils (and there are mascaras in there, buried), blush, shadows, lipsticks, and glosses, all in their own small spaces. Aside from the lipsticks (because…guilty blogger here…that’s ALL the lipsticks I own. Eeep! I am shocked too!), all of the shades I have out are ‘seasonal’ which means they’ve all got a wintery vibe going on. I have all my additional makeup still in my cute lil pink Sephora train case, but it’s looking and feeling considerably diminished, which is OK by me. I tend to use what’s in front of me, and now everything is laid out so well!
Lastly, I picked up this bamboo counter tray (it’s actually called a ‘tank tray’ as it was designed to be used on the top of my toilet tank LOL), to hold my brush container, a few tools (tweezers, sharpener, scissors, etc), and makeup and skincare that have to be stored upright. This looks so much more tidy than before – I had my foundation and primers in a little corner of my bathroom counter, and then my skincare items in another corner, and it just looked messy. Totally digging this!
There are a few upgrades I’m hoping to do to my condo over the next few months, all of which will be much more conspicuous in terms of making it look nicer, but leave it to a beauty blogger to ensure her makeup looks good first before all else LOL. But you know, I spend a lot of quality time in my bathroom (it’s also the first and one room I’ve painted so far ), and I want it to look great and be functional. Now I can move on to the rest!
How do you store your makeup? Are you meticulous or is it more haphazard?
It’s that time of year again, when everyone likes to compose their ‘top 5/10/20′ etc. lists which sum up opinions of what made an impact on them during the outgoing year. I like reading these a lot, but am not fully sold on composing them myself; my lists tend to be quite small, as I’m terribly discerning when it comes to what constitutes as a favorite – and also because I rarely love a product consistently enough and get bored quickly (I’m a fickle beast, I know). However, when I develop a loyalty to someone or something, it truly sticks. The following list is dedicated to my absolute favorite beauty blogs, which give me such pleasure to read and are well-deserved of recognition (not that they need my help, mind you, but I always love to give credit where credit it due!). And so, without further ado, here are the blogs that rocked my world in 2012:
1) Best Makeup Swatches
- Bloomin’ Beauty
Danielle’s swatches are of perfect clarity, and her makeup collection is large enough that she easily has some of the best comparison swatches I’ve ever seen. She took a well-deserved hiatus in the fall, and is STILL one of the best resources I’ve found online for product swatches!
- The Beauty Look Book
Sabrina’s swatches are a great reference point for any beauty enthusiast, and she also has a vast high-end makeup collection, which is invaluable when you don’t want to waste your hard earned money on duplicate shades (and she almost always does comparison swatches). Also, she has the good fortune to live somewhere that seems perpetually sunny, and is able to capture the nuances and sparkle of the shades in the sunlight.
2) Best Polish Swatches
- Ommorphia Beauty Bar
I have the proud honour of being one of the first readers of Eugenia’s blog – I don’t recall how I stumbled upon it, but I am SO thankful I did! Even looking back to her first photos, her swatches were still perfection, and have impossibly improved even since then. She is, bar none, the very first resource I go to when I want to see shots of the newest collections, and somehow can turn even a ho-hum shade into something I should desperately covet.
- Burb Beauty
I came across Lola’s blog while looking for comparison swatches of some random shade (I habit I have of doing before I buy any new polishes!) – she had been posting a series called ‘Purge Wars’ in which she swatched potential dupe shades within her collection, and instantly I was hooked. She has exceptional swatches and a HUGE collection of shades, writes concise reviews, and is an all-around lovely person Plus, an additional bonus for me is her skintone is similar to mine, which make choosing shades that much easier!
3) Inspires the Most Lemmings
- Bloomin’ Beauty
For the reasons I noted above, plus Danielle’s exuberance when describing her own particular favorites and seeing her pretty face wearing the products, she easily makes almost every item she shows lemming-worthy!
- Ommorphia Beauty Bar
Again, same reasons as above – honestly, this gal KILLS me every day with another new polish to add to my wishlist. On top of her fantabulous swatches, her way with words will hook you in Every. Damn. Time.
4) Best for Brown-Skinned Gals
- Makeup and Beauty Blog
If a product catches my eye that I’m unsure will look good on my skintone, I needn’t go any further than Karen’s blog, as she generally has reviews of any new product coming out, and is very close in color to myself. With my penchant for online shopping lately, having a reference point helps immensely as not all shades will work for everyone, and some are less pigmented than others, which can render them almost useless to me. Karen most definitely saves the day!
- Weekend Ramblings
As a relative newcomer to Radhika’s blog, I was so pleased to discover it in my search for shade swatches, as it gives me such a better idea on whether or not certain colors will work for me / show up on my skintone. As there aren’t a lot of blogs featuring darker skintones, I am so grateful to find another that reviews current, department store products (as we all know I’m a snob)!
5) Most Likely to Have You Laughing Out Loud
- Makeup Morsels
The very first time I read MM’s blog, she had drawings she made of a stick figure doing lunges – how can you not love a gal who can get silly like that? I laughed my ass off, and continue to do so each and every time I read a post – her witty humor and hilarious geekery are SO up my alley. I came to realize that her stick figures are one of her signatures, and every time she pulls them out my day is made that much better.
- Beyond Just Beauty
Sometimes I can get pretty wordy with my posts, but Amy beats me hands down in that category! What makes her posts so much more worthwhile to get through though, is her self-depreciating humor and her natural ability to tell a story. Add to that her insanely fabulous vocab and you’ve got one excellent read on your hands! Her blog title really tells it all – it’s not just beauty reviews that I keep coming back for!
- Beauty Reflections
I adore a good quirk in a person, and Tracy’s got quirkiness in spades! She’s got to have one of the best imaginations out there (hello, Zombie Apocalypse!), and infuses every post with comic phrases and a huge dose of fun. She’s the one you KNOW would be the life of the party and you just can’t help but absorb her cheerful energy every single time.
6) Best FOTD
- Messy Wands
Every single face shot that Xiao posts is just so insanely gorgeous that you essentially feel like buy everything she’s showing right on the spot. She always uses makeup in a unique way, pairing colors and using techniques I’d never even think of, and is fearless when it comes to pretty much any look. When I’m in need of inspiration, this is one of the first places I turn to.
- Drivel About Frivol
I almost feel unworthy even trying to sum up Kate in a few words, because she is just in a league all her own. I have yet to come across another blog that manages to showcase incredibly unusual yet still beautiful looks – the way she pairs what seems like odd color combinations together and manages to look amazing nonetheless is a skill I’d LOVE to learn!
7) Most Original Content
- Eye Heart It
While I can appreciate a structured post in which you can scan the goods in mere seconds and move on, true enjoyment when I sit down to go through my RSS feed comes from those posts you can really get into; the ones you can relate to and which feel a bit more ‘real’. The beauty of Larie’s blog lies in the fact that she doesn’t follow a formula – she marches to her own beat, and nails it every single time, without feeling scattered (as I sometimes can be). I always feel like what she has to say carries weight to it – you want to listen to what she has to say, and it always feels authentic.
- Beauty Reductionista
In the original sense, a blog was a tool to use in which you could discuss your opinions and personal reflections on your life and interests. To me, Liz’s blog is the epitome of this. Her interest (one of them, anyway) is makeup and beauty (and candles!! LOL), and in between we learn about her life and gain insight into her personality. There’s a reason she has a strong following: because while reading her blog, she becomes someone you want to know, and someone you care about. Her personality BLAZES through, and the fact that she writes about makeup is just an added bonus, because she could write about dust bunnies and I would keep coming back for more.
8) Most Thorough
Rae’s reviews are, simply put, perfect. She has the perfect combination of information, photos (arm and face swatches), and personality, which makes for endlessly good reading. It can be a fine line between detail and becoming detached, but she manages to pull it off and make it look easy in the meantime!
- The Beauty Sample
Becca’s blog style reminds me the most of my own in the fact that her enthusiasm for makeup mirrors mine – and we can both get a bit chatty It’s a pleasure to read what she has to say, as she takes the time to truly evaluate a product and explain each nuance. With the hoards of cosmetics I accumulate, this is important to me as I want to know exactly why *this* product is not like another product I own and thus is justifiable in purchasing (word of caution – you WILL find yourself enabled! lol).
9) Most Refined
- Glossed in Translation
Ack! Elizabeth has truly got to be ‘the fairest of them all,’ and this doesn’t just refer to her porcelain looks. I’m certain she’s much younger than I, yet when she writes I feel as if I’m hearing from an expert in the matter. Her choice of products is always enviably sophisticated, and I feel that when she makes a purchase she uses exceptional judgement and taste. I always feel that her reviews are well thought-out and each opinion is not made lightly!
- My Lucite Dreams
Aside from Taylor’s flawless skin, which could sell just about any product, she presents herself in a way that always makes me feel calm, cool, and collected. She is the epitome of sophistication and has a well-edited stash of cosmetics that are always presented beautifully and tastefully. She rarely features anything but the very best!
10) Most Flawless Technique
- Call It Beauty
I’m fairly certain Dani could just have a lipstick blog and I would be just as satisfied – girl can WEAR some color on that gorgeous pout! – but she’s also got a serious talent for eye makeup as well, and when she puts it all together, it truly is stunning! With her sweet features, the contrast between them and the touch of edginess she has with makeup makes for an absolutely fabulous juxtaposition which I always find myself trying to recreate (to no avail, sadly!).
- Glitter Geek
~sigh~ Those dimples! Arianne has an unfair advantage because of her chiseled features, of course – but even despite her lovely genes, she clearly has this makeup thing DOWN. Even the most basic look turns into something magical, and at the same time, she makes it feel achievable. She is a perfect example of someone who knows her face and coloring well, and uses that knowledge in the best way possible (which is, to make us all terribly jealous!).
…And now you all know what I spend my time doing most hours of the day! Reading all of these blogs, ogling over makeup, laughing at their hilarity and commiserating when they have a bad day. For someone who doesn’t really have any friends who share my love of cosmetics, discovering beauty blogs several years ago was like coming home. Even though my spending has been somewhat curbed, beauty is still in my blood and this is how I get my fix – living vicariously through all of these lovely ladies! So, if you haven’t already, I highly suggest you start reading them all, stat! I promise you won’t be disappointed!
Happy New Year to everyone – I hope you all celebrate the end of another year in the very best of ways!! See you in 2013!
O-KAY. After three days of uploading and posting most of my photos to my personal Facebook account, I’ve finally had the heart to post a selection of these photos for your viewing pleasure! While I love looking at all the great things I did and reliving my trip – dudes, this is a big effing job!! I only uploaded 82 photos here, but on FB it was more like 450…gawd. But, I’m glad it’s done – now, I can just sit back and look at them at my leisure
A brief synopsis before I begin. I had originally planned to rent a car and drive myself around the island, but upon landing and not meeting anyone, I was persuaded by a guy working at my hostel to do a bus tour. The company I chose was Stray, and you could hop on and hop off at any time along the route it took. It was half price (off-season), and MUCH cheaper than renting a car, so I went for it! I got on the bus the third day I was in New Zealand, and most of the photos below were taken while on the tour. At certain points (Queenstown, Wellington, and Auckland – Round Two), I hung out for several days and took in the sights. The shots taken in the very Northern part of New Zealand were from a separate tour, also with Stray, which lasted three days. *As a note, if you’re traveling to NZ, I highly recommend the Stray tours, I met a TON of people and had an absolutely amazing time!*
This is only a small snapshot of my trip, but it should give you a general idea of what I got up to. Sit back, get comfy, and ( I hope) enjoy!
And so it begins…on the North Island, where I landed in Auckland October 8th…
Also, the only other real LOTR thing I saw while away (don’t throw things! I was BUSY, guys!) – Mount Doom (aka Mount Ngauruhoe in the National Park). It was initially covered by cloud, but then they parted and you could see the whole deal. It was AWESOME.
This was my partner-in-crime, Marikym, from Montreal, who I happened to sit next to the first day on the bus. Love that girl This is a night out in Wellington…there are MANY more pics, but I don’t want to show you in all my drunken glory LOL
From there, we went on to the South Island…
But I did it!
This was the ‘Heart Attack’ – the perfect hangover breakfast. Eggs, bacon, ham, hashbrowns, and hollandaise sauce on thick, dense, delicious bread. HELL YEA. The way we partied in Queenstown (there are like 160 bars within it’s small area), this was absolutely crucial.
Debra and I thought it would be a good idea to go on a hike of Ben Lomond. FYI guys – IT’S A FRICKIN’ MOUNTAIN. It was two hours of a steep continuously uphill climb to the snow-capped mountain-top, followed by two more hours of a leg-wobbling downhill trek. Hungover. LOL
At this point, I hopped off the bus for good, back in Wellington on the North Island. It made it’s finally trek straight up to Auckland, while I got my visit on with my beautiful friend Lavilla!
After the visit, I hopped back on the bus to swing a ride back to Auckland.
We went into an Asian beauty store as my friend was looking for some fake lashes (they have a HUGE selection). I couldn’t get over these ‘Nudy’ strips that help you get a more defined crease in the lid. Crazy!
After revisting Auckland, where all I did was shop and drink, I headed even further North to the Bay of Islands.
…..AND THERE YOU HAVE IT, my friends!! That, is my most excellent trip, in a nutshell. I spent it hiking, drinking in the sights (and drinking in a LOT of white wine and ciders), and generally just loving every single minute of the day. I really and truly met some of the best people I’ve ever come across, I was SO lucky to have a bus full of ‘em! Coming back to reality is rough!!! Thankfully, I have all these photos (and travel journal!) to reflect back on and remember each detail.
It truly was the trip of a lifetime. I got completely out of my comfort zone in a lot of ways, and I know I’ve come back changed, though I haven’t figured out how just yet I’m feeling the itch to keep moving, and am thinking of all the possibilities and places to go. I’m taking suggestions…anyone? Feel free to let me know where you’ve been, where you’d like to go and why, or just commiserate with me on the sad state of affairs that is returning from a big-ass trip. I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Hope you enjoyed the photos and I didn’t bore you death!
Well, hello there! It’s been uh, a long, LONG time since I’ve been around, no? And I left without barely saying goodbye, please forgive me! The days leading up to my trip to New Zealand were absolutely insane – all the plans I had for pre-trip posts and a handful of scheduled posts pretty much went right out the window, unfortunately. It was a truly stressful week – thankfully at the end of it I was on vacation for 5 weeks How’s everyone been doing since I left!?
I won’t go into major detail about the trip, because this IS a beauty blog after all – and it’s hard to sum up 5 weeks of some of the best times of my life! It was an absolutely amazing, wonderful, fantastic time, and I can’t wait till my next adventure (no, I don’t have anything planned yet but I hope to soon!). I made some truly solid, lasting friendships with people from all over (most notably: Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and even some fellow Canadians!); saw some of the most beautiful landscapes; did some daredevil stunts (SO unlike me!); and even had a wee bit of a romance I even got a tattoo (I will post pics!)! I guess I could summarize the trip by saying, I got majorly out of my comfort zone and did things I never thought I’d do, and I came back a better person for it all. It was the trip of a lifetime, and in all honesty, I struggled to come home. But alas, here I am!
One thing I did NOT do, was think much about beauty (for shame!). I wore minimal makeup on the best of days (most days I skipped it altogether) – opting for concealer, mascara, and a dab of cream blush when I did wear any. If we went to a bar, I put on a bit of black eyeliner to really go crazy (lol). I wore my hair au natural without any product most days, and actually loved how it looked – kind of beachy-kinky. Unfortunately, I’m trying to recreate the look now that I’m home and it is NOT working for me – it’s too humid here, and it just does NOT look the same. Boo Anyway, makeup etc. was the furthest thing from my mind on this trip (though I confess when I was in the LAX airport en route to NZ with 7 hours to spare, I DID buy a MAC mascara – Haute ‘n’ Naughty – because I was planning to buy it when I returned, and with duty free and the price difference ($23.50CAD vs $20US), I ended up saving $7-8 bucks – sweet! Will review soon!). Oh, I’m lying, I did buy one other thing, but I think I might use it for a giveaway soon, so I’m gonna keep that to myself for now!
Anyway, enough rambling – time for pictures! Since this could easily get lengthy, in this post I’m just going to summarize the ‘beauty’ portion of the trip – tomorrow I will post actual photos of New Zealand itself (I know, waiting sucks, but it’s tough to find time when you’re majorly jetlagged – I keep sleeping in till the afternoon :S – and trying to fit in seeing everyone again…it’s crazy-busy!).
What I packed for cosmetics:
I put Bumble & Bumble deep conditioner in the Ojon jar, TIGI styling lotion in the Aveda container, and TRESemme conditioner in the Bioderma container lol (reuse and recycle!). Everything in this picture was entirely used except for all of the styling lotion – still some left!
The Curel lotion was used up in about two weeks, max – I had to give in a purchase a small Aveeno lotion to get me through the rest of the trip. I’m just finishing the Glysomed hand cream, the Dove soap is still kickin’, and I barely used the Vichy sunscreen – I know, I know, and they have a big ol’ hole in the ozone layer over NZ which on bad days can burn you in 2.5 minutes (no, I’m not exaggerating, this is fact!), but dudes – it was pretty damn chilly there! I wore sleeves and pants almost every single day… The Burt’s Bees cuticle cream took a beating, and the deodorant was entirely used up, it lasted *just* until I made it home!
I bought the travel size of the Purity cleanser before I left – even though I’m leery of the ingredients, I still really like this cleanser and don’t have any issues with it. The Simple cleansing cloths I had bought a while ago but had only used a handful – these were awesome when you were out in the wilderness or if you were sharing a bathroom/shower and wanted to get it done quickfast. They also served as my exfoliant on the trip, and worked quite well!
My trusty facial SPF standby, Clinique’s City Block Sheer, is still going despite using it every day; the Clarins Sun eye cream is on it’s last legs and expired at the end of Oct so it’s going in the trash now. The little pot beneath it is my 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream, which I squirted into this container – I used almost the entire pot to try and combat those late, excessively boozy nights of which I had FAR too many. Vaseline – the cureall, and of course not even near finished. Next to it is Weleda’s Almond Facial Lotion, which was very nice and which I used up completely. The Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion and the Moisture Surge samples I’ve finished only since I got home, though note I did have TWO of the Moisture Surge packed. I used the Clinique Even Better SPF20 sample up the first week I got to NZ as the weather was still cold enough to justify a heavier moisturizer. I carried the La Roche Posay moisturizer sample around with me everywhere and dabbed it on when needed – that tiny thing lasted about two weeks! Lastly, the sample of Clinique’s All About Eyes serum I used in the AM and it’s still probably half full, it lasts ages!
In an effort to get rid of the millions of perfume samples I have, I brought a handful with me – but forgot to apply it most of the time! As such, I only used up the Escada sample (last one on the right), which was a sweet scent and perfect for summer (not that it was quite summer in NZ…brrr!). The rest (3 Jo Malone and 1 Bond No.9) were worn sporadically, and still are quite full :S
Lastly, we have the makeup. I also threw in a green Urban Decay 24/7 liner in the mix just before I left for a little color, which I did wear sometimes on the lower lash line when we went out. For the most part though, I just wore one of the two Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges (or sometimes both at once), a touch of mascara, and concealer (which I forgot to feature here). When we went to a bar, I’d add one of the two black liners, a bit of foundation (in the contact lense case – learned that trick online somewhere!), and some lip gloss. Out of all this makeup, which was mainly the dregs of my collection – items that were near done or which I wanted to use up – NOTHING was finished, because of the infrequency of wear. DAMN. The samples of primers, the loose shadow in the jar, and the sample Burberry lippies weren’t even touched. BOO
I stored all my makeup in this little case:
I think my cosmetics stash was pretty reasonable for five weeks, for a beauty junkie – don’t you? Actually, one day I was unpacking my whole backpack (which I had to do EVERY day because it only opened from the top – super annoying!), and the girls in my room were shocked at how little stuff I had overall. It sounds great, but honestly I was NOT prepared – for all the partying! I had brought one black tank top, one dressy sleeveless shirt, one pair of jeans, and two dresses (each of which I wore only once because it was NOT a dress kind of trip) for ‘going out’ clothes. I had NO idea that I would be out dancing my ass off at bars and clubs for half of the trip…FAIL. I thought I’d be off hiking every damn day, not getting wasted in Queenstown at World Bar where drinks are served in teapots, or singing kareoke at the Establishment bar in Wellington! Not one other person packed as ‘practically’ as I did, either. Dammit all to hell. Ah well, I still had the BEST time a gal could have! (but I did buy a whole new outfit once I returned to Auckland near the end of my trip – at least ONE night I was well dressed lol).
Alright, that’s it for this installment – I go back to work tomorrow, and actually have to get up at a respectable time! I will post photos of the actual trip tomorrow! In all fairness, this IS a beauty blog, so I had to get the business side out of the way first
I’m really glad to be back, I missed you all! I can’t wait to catch up on the goings-on in the beauty/blogging world, I hope I didn’t miss anything too crazy! Let me know all the gossip – and what I NEED to know regarding makeup collections, etc. I am so MAJORLY out of the loop!!!!
WAAAAAA! I wrote and posted this on Saturday, but I just saw now that it never posted!?! WTF?! Anyway…without further ado…………
Well, I survived yet another trip, and for the first time ever I’m looking forward to NOT traveling for a little while (until the BIG trip next month, anyway! ). I am thoroughly on a break from airports, having been to and from and to and back again six times in the past week – my flight was delayed six hours going to Ottawa, and if I hadn’t had my laptop I would have been one sad, sick gal! From all the travel and stress going on, I got the flu just as I was leaving for Ottawa, but happily I seem to be on the mend now and should be good as gold when I head back to work this week. It made for a rough couple of days in workshops, but nevertheless I enjoyed my trip; I got a boost in work morale and ambition, I got to meet a fabulous long-time reader for a delicious lunch (thanks Sarah!), and had a couple of days to spend with one of my favorite people – a good friend of mine who’s now living in the city. All in all, its been a whirlwind of a summer – not without it’s highs and lows – and with the weather cooling a bit, I’m really looking forward to fall and all it has to bring!
I arrived back from Ottawa feeling in desperate need of some R&R and major pampering. My hair and skin lately have been showing my fatigue – the ends of my hair are painfully dry and tangled, and my skin has been itchy, irritated and flaking in patches. I haven’t yet been home, staying with my mom overnight and enjoying her company and nurturing, so since I didn’t have my ‘usual’ treatments on hand I got creative, concocting a few home spa recipes! I’m normally not entirely on-board with this kind of thing (though not against it by any means – just lazy I think), but it was a perfect way to spend a day, whipping up some treats to soothe the body and soul. I must say, I am exceptionally impressed with the results, and think I might incorporate these treatments into my regular routine from now on! Let me show you what I got up to
Brown Sugar and Olive Oil Scrub
I got the ball rolling with a smooth start. This ‘recipe’ only conains two ingredients and is super-easy and requires only items I’m sure you already have in your cupboards: brown sugar and olive oil. Mix a small palmful of the sugar (just the regular kind, not the raw sugar) with a few drops of the oil, creating a paste. Rub on face (or body!) in a circular motion to remove dead skin cells and wake up the skin. Rinse thoroughly and gently pat face dry.
Ta da! That’s it! You’ll find as your rinsing that it feels like the olive oil is leaving a residue on your skin. I was worried that it would leave my oily skin oilier, but surprizingly after I patted my face dry, my face felt neither greasy nor like there was any film on my skin at all! I actually would have needed to apply a moisturizer to some of the drier parts of my face afterward if I wasn’t going to follow with a masque – so I would say this is a great scrub for all types of skin. It wasn’t too abrasive but definitely gave my skin a good buffing…I think I’m hooked!
Cucumber Soothing Masque
Next, I wanted a masque to soothe my skin from contact with all the random allergens of other people’s (typically fragranced) laundry detergents that I had come in contact with over the past few weeks, which has really taken a toll on my skin (I actually usually bring my own pillowcase to places away from home but due to the busy-ness of the month I forgot for the most part). This cucumber masque was noted for being great for sensitive skins (hello!) and it didn’t seem to contain any funny stuff, so I tried it out. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
1 tbsp active yeast
1 tbsp finely ground oatmeal
1 whole cucumber, peeled
2 tbsps plain yogurt or sour cream* (what I used)
1 tsp honey
I made several mistakes/changes to this face masque – first, I used only a half a cucumber, and forgot to peel it (LOL!); I also combined everything together in a blender at once, though they recommend mixing the oatmeal and yeast together and setting aside, and blending the cucumber separately first – then adding other ingredients, blending, then finally the oatmeal/yeast into the rest of the mixture. However, my version still seemed effective so I wouldn’t worry about it too much (though I would peel the cucumber as I had bits of it stuck to my face haha). They suggest to apply it chilled so I had it in the fridge for a while before using. Once I applied it to a clean face and neck, I left it on for a good 30 minutes, until it fully dried, then gently splashed warm water on my face, loosening the bits until it fully washed off. I didn’t experience any irritation or uncomfortable sensations while wearing it nor after it had been washed off – what I DID feel was smooth, soft skin that wasn’t itchy or inflammed at all, and an awesome by-product – smaller pores! I don’t know why exactly but I’m not questioning it! I will definitely be using this masque in the future without a doubt.
Avocado, Banada and Honey Hair Masque
Just before applying the cucumber masque, I whipped up this hydrating masque for dry hair (which would also work for the face – just exclude the olive oil). I’ve always wanted to make my own hair masque with avocado (probably due to my addiction to the yummy green stuff), so I was stoked to check this out. I actually combined a few recipes I read online to make this masque, as I really wanted to include banana and honey as well. So I used the following and it turned out pretty great!:
1/2 of a ripe avocado
1/2 of a ripe banana
1 tbsp of honey
1 tsp of olive oil
I combined all the ingredients in a blender and applied to dry, brushed out hair (now…my hair had been in a braid before I did the masque so I was able to ‘brush it out’…but normally I would have applied this to damp, just washed/rinsed hair because otherwise it would just *not* be happenin’ on this curly head!). I left it on for a few hours while I sat outside in the sunshine – optimal situation I think – but you can probably just leave it in for 30 minutes under a shower cap and retain similar benefits! As the masque dried my hair got hard as a rock, like I had put gel in it, which was kind of interesting.
I have to tell you gals, this masque was awesome! When I rinsed out my hair, it felt really good. Really, really healthy and strong, and to my surprize – thick! I have a lot of hair but it’s quite fine, and when I straighten it you see how not-thick it really is (which is probably good because if it were super-thick along with being super-curly, we’d have some major problems). After this treatment, my actual strands felt thicker and more resilient – I’d love to try this just before straightening my hair to see the effect! Also, it reduced the frizziness of my hair big time. And shine? Yea, ok, you get the picture, right? The only caution I have is that if you do have fine, limp hair, I would either use this at night when you’re just staying home, OR omit the olive oil, as it may weigh hair down a bit (which for me is a plus). Again, definitely a concoction I will be using again and again, I absolutely LOVE it!
So that was my homemade spa day! It was an excellent way to unwind from it all, pampering myself while sitting outside in the sunshine with a glass of wine. I feel rejuvenated and ready to get back to ‘er – and it only cost about $5. Note that both masques made WAY more than was necessary – the hair masque will easily make 2-4 treatments depending on your hair (more like 2 for me), and the face masque made enough to last me a whole month (though it probably won’t last that long physically – I’m going to try and use it every second day until it goes bad). Probably best case scenario is to do these with a friend and share the fabulous – maybe watch a little Sex and the City?…which is my plan for tonight This weekend has been all sorts of awesome – and we still have another day off tomorrow!! Which of course helped make today just that much better
Have you tried any home recipes for spa treatments? What are some of your favorite home remedies? What is your favorite way to unwind?
I confess that I don’t really understand the ‘terrible’ implications some people seem to feel turning 30 has (or 40, or 50, or any milestone age, for that matter!). I feel exactly the same today at 30 as I did yesterday at 29, and the number itself harbours absolutely no negative feelings in me whatsoever. I actually much prefer the even number to the odd, ugly number of 29 (though 28 – my ‘golden’ year – was my favorite ). Anyway, mostly I just think it’s pretty cool to be entering a whole new decade of my life, and I’m really looking forward to what it is going to bring. I can’t imagine anything but new and exciting times to come!
In order to fully celebrate making it successfully into my thirties, I’ve decided to do compile a list of 30 things I’d like to do this year, starting today till my birthday next year. I’m sure many of you aren’t surprized, since I do so love a good challenge and an opportunity to make yet another list!
The list is comprised to items of varying nature – some are quite grand events and goals I hope to endeavor upon (run a full marathon; buy a piece of designer jewelry or a pair of designer shoes; participate in a protest; travel to New Zealand – which has been on my ‘bucket list’ for ages and is the only thing that’s officially set in motion!), while others are much more moderate in nature but things I’ve always wanted to do nonetheless (learn how to play poker; read 12 classic novels; have a technology-free weekend; go to a new restaurant every month). I divided them into categories – 10 for life-based goals (like learning how to shoot a gun *just because, not for any scary reason!*), 5 for Halifax-themed (go on the local Ghost Walk tour), 5 for travel (take a spur of the moment flight somewhere!), 5 for ‘fabulous’ things (like attending a real fashion show), and of course – 5 for beauty-related items!! Which I am now going to detail below:
1) Learn 3 new hairstyles
My curly mop of hair is fun, to be sure, but there’s really not a whole lot I can do with it – or at least that I’ve taken the time to learn, anyway! So this year, I vow to stop doing the same old (which just means wearing it down as is) and trying out new ways to work with it to have some fun with it! I’ll say it right now: I am welcoming suggestions!!!!
2) Attend Cosmoprof or IMATS
I’m fairly certain attending one of these events would be like my own private Utopia, so attend I must It’ll depend on the timing and location to determine which I’ll go to (and I’m not even sure if a layperson can go to Cosmoprof?), but I probably should start saving my pennies now, eh?
3) Go makeup-less for a week
Gotta throw in a good challenge of course! Even though I tend to not want to stop wearing makeup for the mere fact that that means I’m not using it up faster, I think going makeup-less for a week will be a wonderful way to make sure I remember thatit’s just makeupand that as fun as it is, it’s not the be-all end-all. I don’t think this is going to be that hard as in, being uncomfortable without it per se, but obviously makeup plays a huge part in my life, and I think going without for a period of time will strengthen my character. And when I say without, I mean nothing. Nada. Not even concealer for my racoon eyes. Who am I kidding? It’s gonna be a scary week. But also majorly liberating!
4) Try 12 new-to-me beauty brands
I’ve already got my list drawn up for the brands I’d love to try! I’ve made some headway this past year with checking out Le Metier de Beaute, and Burberry (oh yes I did! Keep reading for the scoop ), but there are still a handful which I’d love to try and am going to make a point to do so. I think this year will be a good one for restraint on the number of products I pick up, and more of a focus on what I’m getting instead. I’m pretty stoked for it!
5) One Month Beauty Challenge
I have to explain this one because it’s a little convoluted, as my schemes usually are What I want to do is this: Choose 10 makeup items only (this includes staples like foundation or mascara) and then allow myself to wear only those 10 items for the entire month. Of course I will have to be extremely selective and make sure I have the best products to allow me to create a variety of looks. I have a vague idea of what I’ll use; when the time comes I’ll make the final decision. I’m tempted to cheat and do this while I’m traveling for five weeks in New Zealand – because I’ll be bringing VERY minimal makeup along with me then – but I think I’ll do this as a separate challenge for my day-to-day life. I don’t know the month yet, but of course when I decide I’ll be posting all the details here!
So that’s what you can expect to see at Beauty Obsessed over the next year! I’m pretty excited for all of the goals I have to work toward, beauty or otherwise. I love having things to look forward to, and I like getting a fire under my butt to get things done. No time like the present!
Now, I’m not going to leave you with just a bunch of my ramblings today, of all days! I’ve got a little bit of photo porn to show you from my Burberry haul first – of course full reviews will be forthcoming over the next little while!
Oh yea, I forgot to mention – these photos were taken with my BRAND NEW CAMERA!!!!!! My delightful boyfriend gave it to me for my birthday gift (along with planning a surprize super-fun photo scavenger hunt/pig roast/party for my celebrations this past weekend!). Best gift ever! I can’t get over how much better my photos are and how much less work I have to put in to get a good result! Old camera is getting the boot lol. I hope you’ll enjoy the much better quality photos moving forward!
Now I’m off to relax and enjoy my day (going for a massage later – heaven!), I hope you all had a fantastic weekend!!!
Good morning everyone! I’m up and at ‘em this morning, as today is the official celebration of my 30th birthday (which isn’t actually until Monday)! I’m pretty pumped – my bf has planned the whole thing and it’s a total surprize, I have no idea what we’re doing! You can be sure to hear all about it next week In the meantime, because I’m not sure what’s going on – which means I don’t know how to dress – I did a birthday celebration manicure, since fun nails work in any situation!!! I thought about it all day yesterday (even during work training – oops), trying to think about what I could do special. I was keen on the idea of another gradient/ombre manicure, as I love how they look and they’re so eye-catching. I decided to do contrasting pastel-type shades, and I LOVE how it turned out. Take a look!
My technique has improved since the last time; I made sure to use only one shade on the tips, and mixed the edges of the dollops of the two shades together on tinfoil to ensure a softer gradient (in the last one, I just had a splash of the tip shade on the foil which I picked up with the sponge), a tip which I learned from this tutorial. MUCH better than before, though I could still use some practice. You can see on one of my pointer fingers that the pink is a little more saturated than the rest. Oh well, I’m determined to get this down pat – it’s one of my favorite nail looks right now!
I’m off to enjoy the day now, I hope you all have a lovely weekend – it’s pretty full for me but I’m off on Monday so you can be sure I’ll be posting a little something then
May continues to be a busy month, and I haven’t had much time to sit down in front of my computer much (at home at least…work is another story, but that’s not fun time)! I just came back from seeing ‘La Cage aux Folles’ at the theatre here, it was FANTASTIC. What an excellent cast! We usually go to see 3 shows at the Neptune theatre per season, and we’ve been doing this so long now that most of the cast members feel like old friends They really outdid themselves with this particular performance!
Anyway, I still have a little bit of pep left in me to show you something *sorta cool* I did a couple weekends ago. I was dying to do a mani but none of my polishes were inspiring me. I honestly looked through my stash for the better part of an hour before I decided on a look! I decided to try out a gradient manicure (also known as ombre – though that can be considered another style altogether too! Confusing!). I am by no means a nail art expert or even much more than a novice, so please forgive my poor skills – though I think this is something I’d like to practice more often, as it’s not too hard that I can’t eventually get the hang of it!I used LA Girl’s polish in Hyper, a near-neon pink, and then sponged on first a coat of OPI’s Dutch’ya Love OPI? (medium grape), and then a bit of a-England’s Lady of the Lake (violet prismatic polish) on top. I was hoping the shimmer would do a lil something extra, but it just kinda fell flat – lesson learned! At a glance, my handiwork doesn’t look too bad, but up close……you can see it’s not ideal – a little uneven, and the sparkly bits should have been avoided altogether. But I LOVE the color combo, and even though it annoyed me to see the irregularities, I still admired my work often – though it chipped within a day, which has been happening a lot lately to my mani’s! I think my nails are a bit damaged so I’m trying to keep them short and hydrated as much as possible for the next while so they can grow out healthy – I’m all for changing my polish, but more like every few days, not every day!
Anyway, this was a fun little thing to do to mix up the normal *same-old* mani, and actually fairly easy – I just snipped a makeup sponge in half and dipped it in the darker polish and sponged it on the tip after the base shade had TOTALLY dried (this tip is a must). There are great tutorials on this process that I highly advise you checking out if you’re interested in trying it – I was too lazy to bother watching them all but I probably would have done a much better job if I had! *MEH*
Have you done any nail art lately?