Pregnancy Update: 2 months to go!

Lately it seems that a fair number of us bloggers, as well as blog readers, are getting a little worn out with the same old thing; the same old beauty reviews just don’t seem to cut it: we want something to inspire us and to pique our interest. At least, I know I do! I love all things beauty just as much as ever, but reading about it is starting to get a bit boring, and writing about it can sometimes fall into a routine. While I do have a few ideas I’m hoping to post on over the next couple months, I’m also interested in posting more personal things as well – especially with everything going on, it’s near impossible to keep this as a beauty-only space, and once the baby comes I suspect that will only increase. I still intend to focus on beauty primarily, but I’m going to start injecting a good dose of *life* into my writing, too. ‘Write what you want to read about’, is the motto I’ve always used to generate blog content, so nothing’s really changing, I guess!

This past weekend I spent HOURS working on the baby room. I hesitate to call it a ‘nursery’ because that sounds much more formal than I’d like, and more put-together than it’s ever going to be. As we’ve STILL got the condo on the market (since June – GAH!), we’re still holding out hope that we will sell in the next couple months – but it would be a damn near miracle if we sold and were moved into a new place before the baby comes. So, it seemed a good idea to at least set *something* up for the baby, and since we had this empty spare room, well…it wasn’t a big deal to do so.

Back in November, I painted the spare room – which was a hideous honeydew melon shade left over from the last owner (since we never used the room, I hadn’t bothered re-painting it) – to the same neutral tone that’s throughout the rest of the condo. It was partly strategic, as I hoped it would help sell the place, and partly in tentative preparation for the baby.

IMG_1306Green walls, pre-paint – I know it may LOOK like a nice shade in these photos, but trust: it was NOT.

IMG_1305Gettin’ er done! 

IMG_1311 IMG_1310Et voila! Hooray for normal-colored walls :)

Shortly thereafter, we bought the crib and dresser, but the room was still completely undone, with boxes and piles of other baby bits and bobs taking up space.

IMG_1326All we had at this point were these items plus the car seat.

A couple weekends ago, a friend of mine came over to shoot a few photos of Ryan and I and ‘the bump.’ When she arrived, she suggested that we take a few photos in the baby room first before heading outside to take photos of he and I. Of course, having NOTHING done in the room at all, that idea went by the wayside – but it was an excellent catalyst to get me moving and get started on making the room more baby-friendly (and cute!).

IMG_1349This was the only decorative non-furniture item in the room when she arrived…

IMG_3562…nonetheless, she still made it work!

I am by no means a creative or stylish person when it comes to home decor. While I know what I like (and don’t like), and I think I have good taste, putting things together is definitely out of my comfort zone – I find it very challenging to imagine what might look good without seeing it already complete in front of me. I often defer to either my mother, or my interior designer friend – both extremely talented in this arena – and rarely buy much for the home because I’m too scared to take a chance and make a bad decision. However, with encouragement from my mom, I went ahead and took a few ‘risks’ (which weren’t, in fact, that risky, but hey – gotta start somewhere).

First, I had to begin with a color scheme. Preferring to not know the gender didn’t make a difference in my choice, as I’m not one who would go for an all-blue or all-pink room anyway. I know yellow is often the default for gender neutral rooms, and some people balk at the shade for that reason, but I like the bright and sunny nature of yellow. I decided to pair it with gray because the two shades go so well together, and I plan to add some splashes of aqua in there as well for fun.

IMG_0217My first purchase (with my mom’s help) – a yellow lamp :)  The stuffed rabbit was a gift from my mom early on in the pregnancy.

IMG_0214First solo risk-taking was purchasing these curtains – I wasn’t sure, but they were affordably priced, and I quite like them! They’re fun and playful. The shelving below was also a economical purchase – I had to put it together myself, which took some time. Once I can find the right shade of storage containers, I’ll stick those in 3 of these squares.

Then, I needed a theme. Several months ago, I had seen a nursery that had prints of baby animals on the wall, and I absolutely loved the way it looked. While perusing Etsy, I found a seller who had prints of all different types of animals – barn animals, forest animals, ocean ones, etc. – that were so darn cute (and affordable!) that I had to put in an order. The prints are electronic, so once you’ve paid, you receive a PDF & JPEG copy of each print you’ve purchased, which you can then get printed off like a photograph. I opted for 6 prints, which I put into white frames – 4 small frames, which I picked up from the Dollar Store, and 2 large frames which I bought from Target. After measuring and checking and measuring for what seemed like AGES (and in fact, it was ages…it’s hard doing that stuff with only one set of eyeballs!), I managed to get them up, and DAMN if they don’t look great! EXACTLY what I was aiming for :)

IMG_0220GAHHH so freakin’ cute! We went with all safari-type animals – I particularly love the monkey :)

The Dollar Store frames were designed only to sit on tabletops, so I had to do a little DYI with hanging apparatuses, another time-consuming endeavour. Well worth the effort though; I’m really pleased with the way this turned out! I purchased two framed canvas prints from Target as well, which had NO hanging mechanism at all, so the hanging process for all was a bit cumbersome. Still – decorating success!

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Once I cleaned out and/or found a home for most of the straggling bits kicking around the room, things started to look a lot better. Once we have a mattress and sheets etc. for the crib and a rocking chair, I think we’ll really be in business! I’d also like to have a floating shelf above the dresser for a couple last decorative items.

IMG_0212Still untidy and unfinished-looking without a mattress, but it’s coming along!

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Overall, it was a fun way to spend my weekend. Despite some of the extra work I had to put in, even though there’s not much going on in the room, it is still satisfying to see it coming along, and to have finally made some solid decisions on decor by myself. It’s something I do very rarely, but I feel just a wee bit more inclined to do this more often – I always wish my home looked a bit more put-together, so…baby steps! (pun not intended, ha)

Aside from the baby room, things are well. I’m in the single-digit week countdown now, and I’m still feeling pretty good – my energy hasn’t waned yet (clearly, if this post is any indication!), I’m sleeping fairly well most nights, and no major aches or pains. The only thing I’m struggling with is some pelvic pain, which happens when I walk – it’s manageable for short distances, but anything longer than 15 minutes and I’m left with residual pain and major stiffness, which is a bummer. I’ve upped my prenatal yoga to twice a week, but I’m going to have to figure out some other kind of cardio I can do aside from walking – perhaps the recumbent bike? I’ve been thinking about going swimming, but that would require me to a) buy a maternity swimsuit, and b) get wet and then go outside in the cold. Also, chlorine and my eczema are MAJOR ENEMIES so it might not be the best choice. I’m sure I’ll figure something out!

One last thing – it is CRAZY how fast you start growing once the baby starts to put on fat in preparation for the birth. Here’s a shot of me at 29 weeks…

IMG_1412

…and then again at 31 weeks (this pic was just taken a couple days ago):

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DUDES. That is frickin’ NUTS!! I feel like every day the baby gets exponentially bigger. I’m getting more slow-moving by the day as a result, too. I find it quite humorous most days, though I’m still not used to having to slow down so much. You should SEE the process I go through to get out of bed. Sad state of affairs LOL.

Here’s a shot I took today (which is far cuter than these bare belly shots) – just for good measure:

IMG_1447

My mom hooked me up with a TON of maternity clothes for Christmas, this dress being one of them. It makes it SO much easier in the mornings to get ready when you have a handful of things that fit!

So that’s the full update! Sorry for the novel, I guess I had more to say that I realized ;) All this baby stuff is so fun, and the reality of everything gets closer every day, so it takes up more and more brain space the closer we get to the big day. It’s become more real – and SURREAL – each day that passes. I’m feeling a bit of nerves with the excitement, but I also know that everything will be just fine – it will be hard at times, and exhausting, and I’m certain there will be tears and frustration, but I’m just as sure that there will also be some of the most joyous moments of our lives. BRING IT ON.

Me and Baby, Jan 10 2015

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Toeing the ‘natural skincare’ line with Boscia

For whatever reason, the last couple months of 2014 saw me researching and wish-listing non-green beauty products, though I’ve been dedicated to ‘clean’ skincare for well over a year now. I think the combination of interesting new releases plus just getting bored with my current routine (I am a fickle Gemini, after all) led me to this phase; even so, I scrutinized every ingredient list and in the end turned down a lot of potential products that just didn’t pass my ruthless inspections. One brand did make its way into my routine was Boscia, which toes the line between conventional and more ‘natural’ skincare, due to the fact that it doesn’t contain preservatives in it’s formulas. It’s also botanically-based, but that doesn’t really mean much to me – there are a ton of cosmetic lines that make the same claim (Clarins comes to mind) but they still contain fragrance and a few other ingredients of which I usually steer clear. In any case, Boscia does have some nice products that do not contain such ingredients, and so I felt confident in picking up a couple of items from the brand during the Sephora VIB sale, namely the All-In-One BB Eye Brightener w/SPF 20 ($47CAD) and the Cool Blue Hydration Essence ($60CAD).

Boscia Skincare

The BB Eye Brightener was a planned purchase, as I needed a new eye cream and was keen to pick one with an SPF. The fact that this claimed to also brighten the eye area optically (as it’s tinted, and provides sheer coverage due to the physical SPF titanium dioxide) as well as over time (via wakame, which is purported to brighten skintone and diminish dark circles) made this an easy choice for me – sleep can sometimes be elusive in pregnancy, for various reasons (finding comfortable positions, thoughts about the future, peeing every few hours, etc.), so I’ve been battling my dark circles more than usual of late.

Boscia All-In-One BB Eye Brightener

I’ve been using the Brightener regularly every morning and I like it; the texture is perfect – not too thin, but not too thick that it’s hard to smooth around the eye. It does lighten up my undereye area because of it’s BB/tinted properties, and it sinks in quickly while leaving the skin around my eyes lightly hydrated (I don’t suffer from dry undereyes). It’s not a miracle worker, however, and I don’t suddenly look fabulously rested from using this – I find most of the brightening effect comes from the tint of the cream and not from the formula itself improving my eye area over time. But honestly – what does? I have yet to find that elusive treatment that will actually lighten up my eye darkness long term (however, if you know of a product that does this – SHARE, PLEASE!!).

Ingredients: 1,2-Hexanediol, Algae Extract, Allantoin, Alumina, Arginine, Bakuchiol, Butylene Glycol, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Caprylyl Glycol, Caprylyl Methicone, Carbomer, Cetyl PEG/PPG-10/1 Dimethicone, Citrus Aurantium Amara (Bitter Orange) Flower Extract, Cyclopentasiloxane, Dimethicone/Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Dipeptide-2, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Disteardimonium Hectorite, Epilobium Angustifolium Extract, Glycereth-26, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Hydroxyethylcelluose, Iron Oxides (CI 77491), Iron Oxides (CI 77492), Iron Oxides (CI 77499), Isopropyl Titanium Triisostearate, Lactobacillus Ferment, Methicone, Mica, Neopentyl Glycol Dicaprate, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-7, Panthenol, PEG/ PPG-20/15 Dimethicone, PEG-10 Dimethicone, Polypropylsilsesquioxane, Polysorbate 20, Salicornia Herbacea Extract, Silica, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Sodium Chloride, Sodium PCA, Steareth- 20, Tocopheryl Acetate, Triethoxycaprylylsilane, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Undaria Pinnatifida Extract, Water.

The Cool Blue Hydration Essence seems to be something of a mystery to many. Designed to ‘create lasting moisturization and firmness while calming and cooling the skin,’ I picked this up on a whim – I always love a good serum, and as winter was fast approaching I figured I could use a little extra boost in the hydration department, without going overboard on my normal-oily skin. At first glance/use, this reminds me a lot of Indeed Labs Hydraluron – it sort of seems like it’s not doing anything, but I suspect it’s getting to the dehydration in a deeper, less visible way (or so I tell myself).

Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence

Quite honestly, I’ve been using this for about two months now, and I don’t see any huge changes in my skin – but that doesn’t mean I don’t like it! Though our winter for the most part so far has been quite mild, I’ve found that using just this and a light moisturizer on top has been sufficient to keep any flakiness or dry skin entirely at bay. It feels lovely going on – it’s quite thin and spreads easily over the skin, and leaves just a hint of a cooling sensation behind (it lasts only briefly). Leaving it to penetrate for a minute or two, I follow up with my moisturizer, and I’m good to go. I DO find that without moisturizer on top, it can leave my skin feeling a touch tight (which likely attributes to the negative reviews of this on Sephora about it being drying – but people, the instructions say to use it PRIOR TO MOISTURIZER. Cam on!).

One thing to note about this product which I found particularly interesting, is that the star compound in the essence, Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate (fermented yeast filtrate), is the same top ingredient found in the cult-favorite SK-II Facial Treatment Essence. The SK-II is $131.25CAD for 2.5oz, or $52.50/oz…while the Boscia product, sized at 1.7oz, works out to be $35.29/oz. Additionally, the SK-II contains parabens, while the Boscia does not. Something things to consider, anyway!

Ingredients: Saccharomyces Ferment Filtrate, Methyl Gluceth-20, Dipropylene Glycol, Pentylene Glycol,Glycerin, Lactobacillus Ferment, Lactobacillus/Punica Granatum Fruit Ferment Extract, Sea Whip Extract, Beta Vulgaris (Beet) Root Extract, Allantoin, Dipotassium Glycyrrhizate, Caffeine, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Seed Extract, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Epilobium Angustifolium Flower/Leaf/Stem Extract, Rose Flower Oil, Rosmarinus Offinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil, Water, Menthyl Lactate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Citrate, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, PPG-26-Buteth-26, Acrylates/Vinyl/Isodecanoate Crosspolymer, Hydrolyzed Corn Starch, 1,2-Hexanediol, Caprylyl Glycol, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Sodium Hydroxide.

Overall, I kind of like this step in my routine, buuuuut…I’m not sure if I’d repurchase. It’s just so hard to quantify the effectiveness of these kinds of products, truthfully!

As for the eye BB, I would potentially repurchase; I’ve been into these tinted eye creams for day for the last while (I’ll take all the help I can get), as I think that’s about as much lightening as I can expect to receive from any eye treatment, and this one does that job well, with the added benefit of protecting my eye area from the sun.

Have you tried any Boscia skincare products? What tricks or products do you use to help you look rested?

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Make Up For Ever is feeding my black liner addiction

Like most everyone else, I go through phases with things. I remember one year during university, I kept buying white clothing – white skirts, pants, dresses, blazers…you name it, I had it in white. It was my JAM. And I am a fairly careful, non-klutzy person so my white clothes stayed white (except that one time I bought a white pant suit to wear to a formal event [nothing underneath but a bra {scoundrel!}] and I got drunk and spilled a purple candle down my front…not good, my friends]. It was a good year. Strangely enough, a few years later and I found myself with hardly any white clothes, and a closet full of black. UGH! Yes, it’s classic, but honestly black is so blah – I’m still recovering from THAT phase, trying to introduce more color into my wardrobe. It’s a process.

Needless to say, of COURSE I go through phases in makeup as well. As evidenced in my 2014 purchases post, I bought a LOT of lippies last year – I was on a huge roll. But when I realized I had oodles of eyeshadows going unused in favour of a bold, bright lip, I started wearing shadows more than lipstick, and I flipped the game yet again.

MUFE Graphic Liner

Lately, though you might not know it to see me (still wearing a lot of shadows…), I’ve been on a big black eyeliner kick. When I was wearing a lot of fun lip colors, black eyeliner was the perfect companion to polish off my look without seeming overdone. Apparently, that idea has a strong hold on me, as somehow I’ve managed to amass SIX black liners over the past couple years (a bit excessive, don’t you think?). The most recent addition to my collection is one of Make Up For Ever’s newest addition to the line, their Graphic Liner ($29CAD) – an inky black liquid liner pen.

MUFE Graphic LinerMUFE Graphic Liner swatch

The Graphic Liner pen is much like any other liquid liner out there – it has a foam-tip applicator that allows for good control and the ability to draw a thin or thick line. It’s a nice, dark black – not charcoal like Rouge Bunny Rouge’s Nocturnal Ink – and it applies easily and wears very well throughout the day. If I hadn’t *just* purchased Kat Von D’s Ink Liner a month earlier, I’d be very pleased with this – it’s an exceptionally good black liquid liner that does everything is promises. However, it’s almost identical in function and form to the KVD version, and only slightly larger in size (0.03oz vs. KVD’s 0.02oz), though it’s $6 more here in Canada (KVD’s is $23). I don’t usually like to write a review on a product and compare it so plainly to another, but honestly these two are so, SO close in how they perform, down to their applicators and the color of line.

IMG_0081The tip on the Kat Von D liner is slightly shorter and thinner, but they operate exactly the same to me.

In fact, the color of the Graphic Liner is similar to most my black liners…but of course, the application of a liquid vs a gel or cream vs a pencil is not comparable at all.

IMG_4030Chanel Waterproof Liner in Noir Intense, Giorgio Armani Smooth Silk Eyeliner in 1, MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, Make Up For Ever Graphic Liner in Black, Kat Von D Ink Liner in Trooper, and Rouge Bunny Rouge Nocturnal Ink in Friesian

I guess what I’m saying overall is that Make Up For Ever’s offering is quite lovely, but there are other options out there that are equally as nice. If you’re a big fan of the brand (I am!), then you might choose their version over another just because. But if you already own Kat Von D’s liner, or another similar one, you probably don’t need to rush out and buy this one.

Currently, I’m trying to re-introduce the black liner to my routine in an effort to lessen the hoard…think it might take a while, hmm??

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What is your favourite black liner? What formula do you prefer? 

*Product provided by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Quickie Post: Rescue Beauty Lounge Oh Snap! swatches

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I’m trying to clean up any lingering photos I have kicking around that I haven’t yet posted, start the year off fresh. I actually am feeling a bit more inspired lately so hopefully that translates into some interesting stuff for you guys to read/see! But I gotta do a little housekeeping first :)

Last year there were some pretty good promos coming from Rescue Beauty Lounge – free shipping being one of them. Almost every time Ji offered free shipping (I think it happened at least 3 times), I ended up picking up a shade or two; I just couldn’t resist. Truth be told, I’m actually not a HUGE fan of some of her shades – they’re a little too ‘out there’ for me at times (guess I’m boring like that) – but her formula has always been spot on, if nothing else. Over the course of the year I picked up 3 shades: Stormy, a moody grey creme; Mismas, a bold purple creme; and most recently, Oh Snap!, a girlish pink crelly. I have yet to wear any of these shades as full manicure yet (shame on me), but I hope to rectify that very soon. However, I already have a favorite – Oh Snap is such a feminine, pretty pink that I can’t resist it’s charm.

RBL Oh Snap! swatch

This is 3 coats, and though you can still see VNL, I don’t mind it at all. It flows on the nail so nice and evenly that the sheerness doesn’t seem to detract from the polish itself (in my humble opinion). It’s just so darn gorgeous!

As always, I checked for dupes in my existing collection, and was nervous at first because another RBL polish I own, Poco a Poco, seemed mighty close to Oh Snap! in the bottle. However, when applied, the two are definitely different. While they run in the same color vein, Poco a Poco is completely opaque, and leans a bit greyish. Additionally, Poco a Poco has very fine reddish shimmer, whereas Oh Snap! is just one creamy tone.

Below you can see the differences clearly; Oh Snap! is on my index and ring fingers, Poco a Poco is worn on my middle and pinky.

RBL Oh Snap! vs Poco a Poco swatchDirect sunlight.

IMG_4023Shade.

RBL Oh Snap vs Poco a PocoArtificial light.

I think Oh Snap! is going to be THE perfect shade to wear come spring (though it’s suitable for any season, really), and I can’t wait to pull it out again and again. It’s a great shade that would go with a lot of looks but isn’t too neutral or boring in the least. Now all I need to do is just WEAR it already!!

Do you own any RBL polishes? What are your thoughts on the shades in general?

 

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Final Empties from 2014

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I’ve been thinking about my empties posts lately. I know some people are less than enamoured with these kinds of posts, while others absolutely adore them. Personally, I don’t have much interest in empties posts except to see just how much stuff people are using up – I use the evidence as motivation to continue diligently using my beauty products, rather than buying them just for hoarding’s sake. I’m most impressed by makeup empties, and as such, I feel pretty badass when I myself have used up a handful of makeup products, so of course I still need a medium for which to show it off at times.

Therefore, moving forward my empties posts will be wordless wonders – express posts mainly to show what I’ve used up / tossed every few months. If there are questions about a particular product, please – ask away! I’ll answer in the comments. Otherwise, consider these posts a reprieve from my usual chattiness :)

The first half of the photos are empties that were tossed back in the summer…yea, I’m MAJORLY delinquent in posting these, but as I said, empties posts aren’t really all that exciting, so I never got around to it. There wasn’t that much to showcase anyway – see for yourself (also, pre-emptive apologies for the dusty-looking photos and wonky lighting!):

IMG_3120Body and hair care

IMG_3122Facial skincare

IMG_3124Handful of samples

IMG_3125Makeup empties. KABLOW!! Almost all full-size products :)

Since that time, I’ve been storing up products and my empties bag was getting close to overflowing. Not only do I find empties posts kind of boring to read/write, but good grief taking PHOTOS of used-up products is AWFUL. However, these shots I took today of the next batch of empties was considerably more enjoyable, because last week I bought new camera :D :D :D I wanted a DSLR that could take fabulous photos once the baby arrives (and it doesn’t hurt that it’ll improve my shots on the blog, too :)), and Best Buy had a great Boxing Week deal on so I purchased the newest Canon Rebel, the T5. Now I just need to get my lighting set up down and I’ll be cookin’ with gas, as my family would say ;)  I took most of these shots outside in the snow, because it just seemed like the perfect backdrop, and I’m having fun figuring out how it works and what it can do!

IMG_0153Yüli empties…I am definitely purchasing a large size of the Cocoon Elixir (a facial mist)! So lovely.

IMG_0161Other skincare empties. On my second jar of the F.A.B. Facial Radiance Pads :)

IMG_0159Hair and body care empties. 

IMG_0169Deluxe samples…I really liked the Indie Lee ones (a cleanser and facial oil), and the amala serum (though it’s like, $300 for the full size…uh, NO), but I HATED the GlamGlow mask. Full of weird seaweed-y bits or something and thus was a major pain to apply. PASS, PASS, PASS. 

IMG_0171Random samples of hair & skin care, and foundations/concealers. Nothing to write home about except the Eminence Neroli Age Corrective Eye Serum – that was quite nice and I’m thinking of buying the full-size when I’m in the market for an eye treatment (I have like, a billion samples to get through first). 

IMG_0167…and BOOM! More makeup empties!! There’s a ton of mascara empties – as I mentioned in my 2014 makeup purchases post, I went through a slew of different kinds this year, mostly all disappointing – but there are two full-size foundations and two full-size blush. Oh YEA, baby! The MAC blush is one I’d dropped a couple years ago and was really left with only scraps left, to be fair – the other is a Milani blush/bronzer duo I’ve had for 5 years which I figured should be tossed now. Also, see how I finished the Burberry illuminator?? Not too shabby, methinks!

And so, my final roundup of empties from 2014. I can now start fresh, woohoo! I feel lighter already. My goals for 2015 are to see more lippie empties (so I can achieve part of my resolutions) and maybe even a blush or an eyeshadow. The latter is a TALL order, but I’ll see what I can do!

Did you make any significant headway in finishing products this year? Do makeup empties make you as happy as they do for me? What are your thoughts on empties posts overall?

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I’m Resolute: My goals for 2015

So.  Resolutions.  I got ‘em.  Somehow I missed sharing them with you the past couple years (or at least I’m just stunned and can’t find the posts – it’s possible), but this year I’m on the ball and excited to share them with you!

There seems to be two camps when it comes to resolutions – those who do them religiously, and those who never do.  I totally get the school of thought that one just strives to improve themselves throughout the year and hence has no need to set goals specifically after the New Year.  However, when you are someone who loves lists as much as I do, any excuse to make a new one is always welcome! :)  I am always working toward the best version of myself, but I also love the idea of starting fresh, so these factors are why every year I look forward to laying down my goals as a way to start the year off on the best foot.  This year, as an extra incentive to stay on track, I plan on writing an update post each month to share with you my progress (or any setbacks).

IMG_0179My fab new notebook in my fave shade :)

And so.  Witness my top resolutions for 2015!!


1. Streamline and reduce makeup collection.

But of course this is a goal. As per my cosmetics tally noted on ‘My Beauty Stash’ page, I am above my comfort level in several areas of my makeup and nail polish collections.  The ‘max’ quota numbers are somewhat arbitrary, but I wanted to choose within each category an ideal number of products to which I can aim toward and feel at ease with what I own, instead of stressed out that I’ll never use it all (which will still undoubtably happen, but I can dream!).  In some cases, I just felt like a larger number of products in a category seemed just plain silly (how many foundations do you really NEED?); in other areas, I felt like I would never make good use out of the shades I DO love if I have more than I can reasonably wear regularly (i.e. lipsticks/lipgloss/nail polish).  In truth, I just really want to feel excited and guilt-free about buying a new pretty now and again!

IMG_0181Just a small portion of my current collection – my current rotation :)

You’ll notice below I didn’t give a goal number for eyeshadow……..dudes, I have like a billion, and I’m never gonna use ‘em all up ever in life, so there’s no point setting an impossible standard! Mainly I just want to ensure that the shades I’m keeping are getting used, so that’s my true goal there. Blush is a similar conundrum – if I ever finished one I think I would call myself the ULTIMATE BLUSH CHAMPION – but I think 30 is a reasonable number (in makeup fiend terms, anyway) and I still have a couple spots left!!  Also, I hope to continuously weed them out as I determine shades or formulas not well-suited to my skin tone / type.  To make way for new ones.  OF COURSE.

And so, here are my goals in the makeup reduction effort:

– Primers: 3 + 1 sample, 1 eye primer / Goal: 2 + 1 eye primer
– Concealers: 5 / Goal: 2
– Foundation: 4 + 1 travel size / Goal: 2
– Highlighters: 3 + 1 deluxe sample / Goal: 2
– Bronzers: 3 + 1 deluxe sample / Goal: 2
– Mascara: 4 / Goal: 2
– Eyeliner: 24 / Goal: 15
– Lip Color: 51 / Goal: 30
– Nail Polish: 103 / Goal: 75

I’ve actually made considerable headway with most of these categories since last year…the tough ones are going to be eyeliners, lippies and nail polish. Erm…wish me luck??

2. Spend more time enjoying things I own and less time seeking out newer, ‘better’ things.

I think we all come up against this challenge one time or another, especially as beauty bloggers. I’ve been improving with this over the past year, but sometimes I still get caught up in the trap of needing something new just because it’s NEW, and not because I need to have it. It’s like our attention spans keep getting shorter and shorter…and it can get quite ridiculous, really. My biggest saving grace is that I hate clutter and I get anxious with too much STUFF kicking around, so I purge relatively often. But I still own items that I felt like I just HAD to have, but yet I haven’t even used all that much, and that’s a damn shame. This year, I vow to give things I acquire a fair shake before rushing off to buy something else that catches my eye.

3. On that note…spend less time thinking and more time doing.

Oh man, I’m really bad for this. And not in the way you might think – I don’t get too wrapped up in thinking about doing something but never getting around to doing it; moreso, I just spend a lot of time thinking, period. That’s all well and good, but sometimes I need to get out of my own head (it can betray me sometimes), and just enjoy a moment, or let things go and stop analyzing every damn thing. This is the reason I did my degree in Psychology – I love to understand how people’s brain’s work, and why we do what we do…I want to understand so that I can continuously open my mind, refrain from judgement and be as accepting of people as possible. Probably I do this too because I want that behaviour and thought process to be reciprocated to me; everyone wants to be understood, I think on some level. But DANG if I don’t do it a bit too much, is what I’m sayin’ lol. So, this year, I’m going to try and be accepting without overthinking it too much…it’s like thought OCD, I keep thinking the same things over and over and it’s just kind of silly at times {now maybe ya’ll can see why I ramble so damn much all the time lol}.

4. Take at least 30 minutes a day to do something good for my body.

Since I’ve still got around 3 months left of the pregnancy, and I don’t know what things will be like once the baby comes, I don’t want to give myself a seriously structured fitness and health regime (I don’t really do that, anyway – I’m too into moderation for that) – but I do always like striving to be my healthiest self. I wanted to get out for a walk every single day since becoming pregnant, but that hasn’t happened and I don’t want to set myself up for failure – sometimes I’m honestly just too busy/tired/whatever to get it done. But I DO have 30 minutes every day to do SOMETHING good for myself – be it a walk, taking the time to make a healthy meal, or sitting down and writing in my journal for 30 minutes. So I’m committing to that and I know I will stick to it. There’s just no room for excuses!

IMG_0176Two books I received at Christmas….my family knows me well.

5. Relax with uncertainty. 

This is something else I struggle with a lot. It’s funny, because in many ways I’m very cavalier and unconcerned with the future – I haven’t been reading countless books on how to raise a child (in fact, I haven’t read any), and my general outlook on life is that things usually work out for the best, so why worry? My issues with uncertainty aren’t situational, but rather interpersonal – I’m always wondering if I’m doing the ‘best’ thing in my relationships (romantic, friendly and familial) and worrying that if they aren’t perfect, they’ll fail. I’m always thinking about how we can improve, how we can relate better and be better to one another. This all sounds well and good, but it tends to leave little room for error – any perceived failures on my part or the person involved and I start to question our relationship and it’s tenacity. You start to see the problem now…it’s like I want to control every interaction so that it only involves positivity – differences in opinion, disagreements, and conflicting behaviours leave me feeling unsure about the relationship as a whole. An unrealistic view, yes, but a hard habit to break. This year, I am determined to relax in my relationships and see any difficulties (within reason) as an opportunity for growth. I’ve only recently come to this realization, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge, but one that I think will benefit me significantly.


And that, my friends, is my resolution list for 2015! I feel quite good about it, and like these goals are both challenging yet achievable. I always love a fresh start, so I’m keen to get cracking!

Have you made any goals/resolutions for the New Year? Can you relate to any of mine?

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Makeup Roundup: Purchases in 2014

Hello and a happy last day of 2014 to you all!! I sincerely hope everyone has been having a lovely holiday and enjoying family (as much or as little as you like), fun, and delicious food! As always, it flew by for me this year, but I took time off from the 19th and don’t return to work until the 6th, so if nothing else I’ve been relishing my sleep-in time and some laid-back days!

I thought I’d do a little something different this time around in wrapping up the year. Since I’ve spent much of 2014 trying to rein in my beauty spending, I was curious to see just how well I did and how much I purchased in the end. I thought perhaps you might be curious too! Some of the numbers are surprising to me, mostly due to what I DIDN’T buy *pats self on back* – but that doesn’t mean I didn’t go a bit crazy in other areas ;)  Let’s get to it, shall we?

*Note that the numbers below represent the total number of products I own in my current stash (some items have been given away/tossed/etc.), and the number that I have purchased in 2014 – not overall.

PRIMERS (Own: 3 full size, 1 sample, 1 eye. Purchased: 0)

OK, OK, so while I didn’t purchased any primers myself this year, I did receive 2 via PR samples (Make Up For Ever HD Primer in 6 Yellow, and Skindinavia The Makeup Primer Spray), so this is a bit of a cheat. But still, I personally haven’t bought a primer of any kind in over 3 years (NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base in July 2011), so that’s pretty impressive. I’m not a huge primer person though, so there’s that – but lately I’ve been reading a lot about the Chanel Le Blanc Light Revealing Brightening Makeup Base, and it sounds right up my alley –  all I’m ever trying to achieve is a lit-from-within glow to my skin, and this might be the ticket to getting it!

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FOUNDATION (Own: 4 full size, 1 travel-size. Purchased: 1 travel-size)

Until very recently, I hadn’t bought a foundation in almost 3 years (Hourglass Immaculate in Mar 2012); all others have been received either via PR samples, or through my Clinique gratis (though this year I only snagged 1 new product, Clinique’s Stay-Matte). But a couple weeks ago, when I was in Sephora trolling the aisles for things to buy to utilize my $20 off a $50+ purchase coupon, I snagged a travel size of NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer in St. Mortiz. I’d been hemming and hawing over the product for ages, and when I saw the smaller sizes (the other shade offered in travel size is Alaska), I figured it was a great opportunity to give it a shot. St. Mortiz is a shade too light for me (but Cuba, the next shade up, is too dark), but I’ve been mixing this with my deeper-toned summer foundations and I’m quite liking the result. I’ve been wearing some form of base makeup almost every day lately (again trying to work that pregnancy glow) so I’m hoping I might have a couple products for the empties bin by the time the warm weather hits – I’d love to try out some of the new offerings, but I can’t justify a purchase till I get through some of the ones I already own.

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CONCEALER (Own: 5 full size. Purchased: 1)

In my Sephora VIB {Rouge} sale haul, I showed you that I picked up Lancome’s Effacernes to try – but unfortunately I had to return it, as I found it didn’t meet my expectations at all (though it’s nice and lightweight, it was somewhat dry looking under the eye, and the tone was a bit greyish). I exchanged it for Tarte’s Maracuja Creaseless Concealer, which I’d sampled before but wasn’t super keen on. While it still doesn’t give me true FULL coverage that I need to hide my ever-present dark circles, I like that it’s a bit dewy-looking, so at least my undereye looks hydrated, and it even seems to reflect the light a bit. I look tired but youthful I guess…I’ll take it! lol

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The other concealers I have are all on their way out – I’m scraping out the last bits of my two NARS Radiant Creamy Concealers (purchased in 2013), my Clinique Airbrushed Concealer is almost finished (which I did add to my collection this year, but which I received via my gratis), and my Benefit Boi-ing (purchased in 2012 or 2013, I can’t remember) is my leave-at-work shade and has major pan showing. So the 5 that I currently have will very shortly become a small number of 1-2. Just the way I like it.

POWDER (Own: 2 full size. Purchased: 1)

Powder isn’t all that exciting, so it’s no surprise I only have two. I bought MAC’s Blot last year and I rarely use it, mainly only for travel as it’s a compact – to be honest, it doesn’t wow me much. What I did buy this year however, was Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder, which I’d read good things about over the years. I do like it, and it doesn’t even leave me looking too powdery, but I still find I have shine peeking through by mid-day without fail. However, I suspect no powder will ever be able to leave me both shine-free yet still luminous, so my expectations are low.

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I’ve been thinking about trying the Secret Brightening Powder from the brand however, to use under my eye area to give it some more brightness and help set my concealer. However, every time I swatch it in store it looks SO GLITTERY. Has anyone tried it?? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

HIGHLIGHTER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

While going through my stash, I was surprised to find that I hadn’t bought ANY highlighters this year – I think because the year before, I picked up 3, so I was still feeling a bit overdone. Though I wear highlighter almost every day (usually opting for Chanel’s Poudre Signée de Chanel), it seems to last ages, so I really have no need to buy any more at the moment. Aside from the Chanel, my most cherished is my deluxe sample of Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal – when that runs out, I will be buying a full size, STAT. However, though I love highlighters and how they look, I’m fairly content with just owning a small handful – perhaps if I hit pan or use one up over the next year I’ll pick up a holiday one (they tend to be SO GORGEOUS, ahhh MY EYES burn from the BEAUTY), but I think that every year and then every year I don’t bother…so we’ll see.

BRONZER (Own: 3 full size plus 1 sample. Purchased: 0)

Bronzer has been on my ‘to buy’ list for two years but I keep putting it off – I can never fully convince myself that I really need one! Aside from the NARS Illuminator in Laguna, which I bought back in 2011 (!!), I’ve never really bought a bronzer. The others I have were swap items (a deluxe sample of Too Faced Chocolate Soleil, and a full size of Too Faced Sun Bunny), and the last isn’t truly a bronzer, but I use it as such (Estee Lauder’s Shimmering Sands Illuminating Gelee, which I use to achieve a ‘sunburnt bronze’ look). Maybe this will be the year…

BLUSH (Own: 28 full size, 1 palette size. Purchased: 2)

Dudes. I only bought 2 BLUSHES this year!!! Seriously, do I deserve a pat on the back or what!? Last year I bought 7, and the year before, 6…so I consider this a HUGE WIN. The first purchase, Benefit’s Lollitint, is still a fave, and Chanel’s Malice, while a slight disappointment, is nevertheless a wearable shade of which I get use. Again, I did receive a bunch of great new shades via PR samples (MUFE HD Blush) and my Clinique gratis (Cheek Pops and a Chubby Stick Cheek Color) though, so that helped keep my own spending in check.

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My goal is to keep my blush number at 30 or less, so it’s nice feeling like I still have a bit of wiggle room if new shades catch my eye next year. After I hit that 30 mark though…some lesser loved shades will have to go, it’s as simple as that!

MASCARA (Own: 4. Purchased: 4)

I blew through a bunch of mascara samples this year (4), some drugstore offerings (L’Oreal, Maybelline, CoverGirl), and a couple PR samples (Benefit, Arbonne), but nothing truly wowed me. I picked up Bobbi Brown’s Long Wear Intensifying Mascara while in Ottawa though, the first time I’d spent money on a department store mascara since fall 2012, and I quite like it (separates the lashes nicely, subtle but pretty). Never completely satisfied however, I then grabbed CoverGirl’s Clump Crusher Extensions Mascara a few weeks ago, and it’s great. Maybe not HG, but I would definitely repurchase again, especially for the price – it gives good volume, decent length, and best of all you can add coat after coat and it never gets clumpy!

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BROW PRODUCTS (Own: 3. Purchased: 3)

I’ve always been pretty lackadaisical when it comes to brows – I guess since mine are decent I haven’t cared to fuss much with them. But since becoming pregnant, for some reason I got it in my head that I needed bigger, bolder brows! I’ve been letting them grow out somewhat, and on top of that I’ve been investing in a few products to achieve this goal as well. However, don’t get me wrong – I’m still resistant to spending much on my brows, and even the $16 I paid for Sephora’s Waterproof Brow Liner was kind of pricey for me. Most recently, I picked up a couple cost-effective drugstore options: Revlon’s Super Liner Brow Artist pencil and Maybelline’s new Brow Drama brow gel, and both have been doing the trick for me. Brow-wise, I guess I’m easy to please ;)

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EYELINER (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I feel like I bought a lot of eyeliners this year, though I only picked up 4, two of which were black. I generally only wear liquid or cream eyeliner as I prefer to wear it in the ‘flick’ style – I think it’s most flattering / impactful on me, so that’s mainly the formula I picked up (a MAC Fluidline, Kat Von D’s Ink Liner, and a NARS Eye Paint). I did pick up one pencil though – Giorgio Armani’s Smooth Silk Eye Pencil in 1 (black), and so far so good. I recently received Make Up For Ever’s Graphic Liner, another black liquid liner iteration, to try, and it also seems up to the task. I’m a bit inundated with black liner now though! For someone who doesn’t even really wear eyeliner much as a whole, 24 is kind of a lot. I’m going to try this year to reduce that number by half – wish me luck!

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EYESHADOW (Own: 72 shades [not including ones still in palettes]. Purchased: 5 plus 4 samples)

Though I got rid of a ton of eyeshadows from palettes this year (18 shades!), I also picked up a handful of new shades (oops) – most which I purchased myself (though I did receive 3 new shades from MUFE PR). I seemed to be on a cream shadow kick (a Bobbi Brown Long-Wearing Cream Shadow, the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Quartet, a MAC Paint Pot, and a Maybelline Color Tattoo), with only one powder shade purchased (MAC Soul Serenade). Just before the holidays however, I got it in my head that I *NEEDED* a sparkly, glittery shadow to up my festive game, and I grabbed an Urban Decay Moondust Shadow in Space Cowboy. It’s been the perfect way to glitz up my holiday looks!

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I still plan to get rid of more shadows, as my original goal of owning less than 100 shades total (singles and palette shades) has been reached; now I’m aiming to have less than 75. Here goes nothing!

PALETTES (Own: 3 [21 shades]. Purchased: 0)

This probably comes as no surprise to any of you who’ve been with me for a while. Palettes = BAD in my world. Too much choice all in once place! Gah, the anxiety. Having said that, I’m very happy with my palette stash, and unsurprisingly I didn’t buy any this year (nor did I last year…I’ve actually only ever bought two in my life, once in 2010 [the Urban Decay one, now since completely deconstructed] and a small 5 pan in 2012 in New Zealand [the Kate palette]). Nor am I likely to buy any next year, either! This, my friends, is OK by me :)

LIP LINER (Own: 3. Purchased: 0)

Lip liners, meh. Boring category. As such, I only own 3 total, and had no need to even look at them this year. I picked up a translucent shade last year which pretty much covers my needs entirely. However, I was seduced by a MAC shade last year (Fashion Boost), and I’ve owned MAC’s Subculture (procured via a swap) for a couple years, only to have used it maybe once or twice on myself (I use it more frequently on others when doing wedding makeups due to it’s neutral tone). If I were smart, I’d toss Subculture in my kit and pick up a great neutral red liner just to round things out.

LIPSTICK/LIP STAIN (Own: 28 lipsticks, 6 lipstains, and 5 samples. Purchased: 11)

Lipsticks and lip stains clearly came out on top this year, with me purchasing almost 1/3 of my stash in this year alone (yikes!). I’m trying REALLY hard to get the total number down to under 30, but DAMN it’s hard. I have slowed considerably on my purchasing in the past few months though, so I just *might* achieve my goal. The problem is lately I keep getting lured in by drugstore brands (Revlon’s Color Burst Matte Balms, and more recently Maybelline’s Color Sensational Color Elixir in Signature Scarlet), which are just too easy grab when you’re looking for a cheap pick-me-up. There are some great options out there for anyone on a budget, no doubt, but this is one reason I try and keep to the higher-end brands – it curbs my shopping habits better!

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LIPGLOSS (Own: 12. Purchased: 4)

I had a strange, mild love affair with lip gloss this year, even though I generally like my lips either bold and mostly matte, or nude (as in, nothing on my lips but balm). I picked up 4 new shades on my own, nonetheless, and I’m on the fence about most of them – I love the YSL Gloss Volupte I got during the Sephora sale, and the Ilia Lipgloss I snagged is a great neutral, but both my Dior Addict Gloss in Exquisse, and the NARS’ newly formulated lipgloss in Istria I picked up, I hardly wear (for no good reason!). Silly rabbit. I’m hoping because the two latter shades are cooler-toned, that it’s just been a matter of not reaching for those kinds of shades in the summer and fall months. Hopefully they’ll get some love in the New Year!

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BRUSHES (Own: 24. Purchased: 4)

I mentioned in my Summer Recap post that I’d picked up some Hakuhodo brushes in August. I’d been keen to try the brand for quite some time, and I have been very pleased with each brush I selected. I tried to choose brushes that both filled a gap in my collection but also would be useful on a frequent basis – no specialty brushes here! If you’re curious, after a LOT of research, I chose the J142 Eye Shadow Brush (a lovely crease brush), the G5520BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a pencil brush, great for detail or for the lower lash line), the G5512BkSL Eye Shadow Brush (a teeny tiny liner brush that is perfect for tightlining) and a Medium Pointed Yachiyo Brush (which helps me blend out my cheek products beautifully – especially as I can be heavy-handed at times [MOAR BLUSH!]). I don’t have my sights set on any new brushes or brands for the New Year….but we all know that could change in a heartbeat :)

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BONUS CATEGORY: NAIL POLISH (Own: 103 Purchased: ~18)

I bought less nail polish this year than usual, around 17-18 shades (as opposed to my average of about 25+) – in part due to my efforts to keep the number at 100 or lower, and also due to the fact that since being pregnant I’ve not been as crazy about polish as normal – it takes effort to put it on all the time lol! That being said, the total number is at 103, plus 3 shades I consider base staples (white, black, and sheer nude), and I’d still like to bring that number down even lower before the baby comes. But dudes, it’s HARD. I’ve pulled my favourite shades out and that hits around the 50 mark, but then the majority of the other shades are still ones I enjoy…GAH. The reason I’m making the big CHOP is because I figure, when baby comes – if I can manage to paint my nails once a week I will be a superstar.

IMG_3720So. much. POLISH!

Considering I’ve been hovering around the 100 mark for a couple years now, it’s clear I do well at getting rid of ‘meh’ shades regularly, but now that I’m much more particular about any new shades I pick up (as in, I must LOVE them to give them a go), the remaining shades are well, DARN PRETTY, you guys! Maybe I should just go on a purchasing ban for a while, see if I can use up a few shades and bring the number down that way. ~sigh~ Rough life, eh?


So 2014 wasn’t a record-breaking year, either in purchasing or restraint, but I feel pretty good about it nonetheless. I plan to kick-off 2015 with a similar mentality, keeping my purchases to only those that really excite me, and trying to weed out the ‘ho-hum’ products that I only use because they’re there and I should. It may seem like the same old, but you know – I love these perpetual challenges I hold for myself! :)

What are your New Years’ goals, if you have any? How did you fare in terms of purchasing/restraint in 2014?

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!!!!!!!

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