A life update!

Hi guys ~waves~ I have been seriously absent the last while! I don’t like to do the whole apology thing, because this is a blog and it’s supposed to be fun and not stressful – we all have lives, after all – but I did want to give a little insight as to what’s been going on with me lately (because again, this is a blog! :)).

February was a month of emotional roller coasters. I’m not prepared to tell all just now (in time), but suffice to say there was exciting new sandwiched between two traumatic events, and wrapping my head around all of it has really taken up most of my brain space. On top of it all, my bf – who was working in Newfoundland if you recall – has been off work since December, waiting to hear when he would get sent back to NL for the 2nd phase of the project he was working on.  Recently we got word that it didn’t look likely that he’d be going back, which means he was going to be looking for a job again. Funds have been pretty tight over the last few months, so to discover that he kind of was waiting in vain was, to put it plainly – SHITTY. And then last week, both the car and the washing machine conked out.  YAY!  So many *fun* things to deal with, right?  UGH.  While we’ve been trying to stay positive about it all, some days it’s just like ‘OK dude, some GOOD news, please!!’  And my skin due to all the stress is an absolute disaster.

IMG_2036Broken old crappy thing. When I went to run it last, it made a screeching sound and started to smoke :(

Happily, a couple days ago things started to turn around (I hope!).  He got a call from someone connected to the same company he was working for in NL, who had an opportunity for him to work out West – a similar set up to NL where he’d be working a number of days away, and then would have a handful of days home. Obviously it sucks that we’ll be doing the long-distance thing again, but it’s work and it won’t be forever. You gotta do what you gotta do, right?

So, to celebrate (?) we bought a washing machine, and today we’re going looking for a new car. It lifts so much weight off your shoulders to pick off the stressors one by one. Hopefully as things improve, so will my skin – having never lived with acne, I honestly don’t know what to do with it, and I’m worried if I try and tackle it too aggressively, it’ll just get worse. So I’m trying to keep my routine simple, and wash my face as soon as I get home so that its not covered in makeup for longer than it has to be. Until it clears, face shots on the blog will be next to none, so here’s hoping it goes away soon!

Haier Washing MachineNew washing machine on it’s way!

And that’s my story in a nutshell.  I hope to share more of the details with you at some point, but right now is not the time. I’m going to try and get my focus back and start posting more regularly again – I guess if Ryan is away at work I’ll have more time on my hands as well, so no excuse ;)  In the meantime, I hope you can bear with me! I know we all go through tough times so I’m not going to add more stress by worrying about not posting and all that jazz, but I did want to share why I’ve been semi-absent. Life, eh?

I hope everyone is well and that spring is starting to really show its face for you all! Here, we had a huge snowstorm Wednesday (almost all businesses were closed, even the grocery stores!) so yea…no spring here yet lol. As usual we’ll probably just have a lot of rain and then dive headfirst into summer. C’est la vie!

March 2014 Bedford, Nova Scotia It’s really warm and wet here today so the snow is melting and sun is peeking out!

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Beauty Envy Bag Giveaway Spring 2014: Radiant Orchid Edition!

Beauty-Envy-Bag-Spring-Edition

Hey dolls! The ladies behind the Beauty Envy Bag Giveaway have come together to share some our favorite Radiant Orchid products with one lucky person. I’m sure you all didn’t think we just wanted to show them off last week in our first themed post! In case you are a new reader, here is a quick look at the bloggers behind the giveaway.

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Lola is a Midwest blogger with a passion for polish, science, and music. She is the blogger behind Burb Beauty.

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Lakeisha is a nail polish blogger living in Georgia. She is obsessed with polish, fashion, and merging the two together. She is the blogger behind Refined and Polished.

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Leticia is a beauty blogger from the Pacific Northwest. She is a dog lover, sci fi nerd, handbag collector, and makeup junkie. She is the blogger behind Cosmetics Aficionado.

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Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she also has a serious geeky side. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

So what is going into that gorgeous makeup bag? Read on! (Links to each blogger’s reviews included)

So how do you enter? Here’s the lowdown:

  • You must leave a blog comment (just on one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know whether you’ve tried any Radiant Orchid products this year. If so, tell us about them.
  • Score additionally entries by following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).
  • Giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only (sorry, this is due to issues with overseas mail and nail polish).
  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Giveaway closes Saturday, April 5th at 12:00a EST.
  • Winner has 48 hours to respond to our email or a new winner will be chosen.
  • Giveaway is not sponsored by anyone.
  • Note: We are not responsible for items lost, damaged, or stolen in transit. If the prize is lost, we will not be sending a replacement, nor will we provide money for the value of the prize. We are not responsible for any customs fees you may incur.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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A full on Radiant Orchid look? Don’t mind if I do!

It’s been a busy week. On Wednesday night, I reconnected with an old friend that I’d lost touch with for 5+ years, and we spent 5 hours chatting – I guess one for each year missed! Then last night a bunch of my favourite people at work got together to say goodbye to one of our much-loved coworkers, who is moving on to bigger and better things. Let’s just say, we had some SERIOUS fun on a school night! ;)

Thankfully, work is at a standstill due to a crash in our system, which happened Tuesday night and won’t be repaired until Sunday. While I spent Wednesday getting tasks done that I’d been putting off for a while, Thursday was a complete waste of a day – we’re in our fiscal year end, and it’s pretty much the WORST time this could happen, because we have SO much do to and can’t do any of it. So, that fact combined with my party-fun-time last night meant that I took the day off today – whoopee! And also, thank goodness because I needed to get this post up today and I was getting rather delinquent…

Radiant Orchid

The lovely ladies of  the Beauty Envy Bags got together and decided it was high time to do a Radiant Orchid-themed post. As you all know my obsession with this shade, this was a no-brainer for me! But which products to pick…? In the end, I decided to go with two more affordable options, just to mix it up, as I tend to have expensive taste!  I showed you Essie’s Splash of Grenadine last month, and professed my undying love for the shade (that feeling still stands – it’s definitely in my top 5!); today I’ll capture in action L’Oreal’s Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum – which looks a lot more like the perfect orchid tone than plum to me!

L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

I have three of the Shine Stains now, in quite different shades, and they’re one of the few drugstore products I’ll go for – I love the YSL versions, but at $38 a pop, they’re not something I can justify in owning several, and the formulas are close enough that I get my fix through L’Oreal. During my whirlwind spree of acquiring ALL THINGS RADIANT ORCHID, Shoppers conveniently had a ‘Spend Your Points’ event, and I used 40,000 of my points to get $85 worth of product. I was $10 short of my goal, and so Stubborn Plum came home with me.

Radiant Orchid

Sephora sent me a few pieces from their Radiant Orchid Pantone Collection, and the Rush Luster Cheek Sweep* ($31CAD) was the perfect compliment to the lip stain. This cheek palette is really gorgeous! The formula is smooth for all three shades, and the orchid colour makes me drool. I paired it along with the lightest luminizer, and the glow is really something else. In daylight, it borders on shimmertastic, but for this time or year or in the evening (or if you just like to get your glow on!), this trio is great!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep

For the eyes, I did my usual liner flick, but added depth by using a violet shadow in my crease and on my lower lash line.  I loved the way this turned out – I really should do it more! I’ve gotten quite lazy with my makeup application, and usually just go for the flick and skip shadow, but it makes such a nice impact with a little something extra.  The products/shades I used were: YSL’s Eyeliner Effet Faux Cils in Cherry Black (great and long wear but wish the colour was a bit bolder), Inglot Eyeshadow in #325 (first time I’m wearing this!), and Maybelline’s Volum Express ‘The Rocket’ Mascara (which I’m not sold on).

Radiant Orchid

I snagged a sample of Benefit’s newish Hello, Flawless brightening foundation, in ‘Toasted Beige‘, and I quite like it. It’s got good coverage without being too heavy, a nice consistency, an SPF of 25, and the shade is actually pretty close, which is a challenge for me – I find my skin tone really is *neutral* and most foundations are either too yellow, pink or orange.

Radiant Orchid

Underneath the foundation, I tried out RBR’s Original Skin Primer*, which I got when I tried their new Nocturnal Ink liner. I found it VERY heavy on my slightly oily skin when used with a moisturizer, but used AS the moisturizer, it’s pretty good! It dries to a matte finish and doesn’t feel greasy at all – but it is a thick formula and I can see it being best for those with normal to dry skin.

A couple tools of the trade that I wanted to mention are the MAC #217 (which I bought in NYC, and wish I had gotten on that train sooner!), and the ELF Studio Complexion Brush* ($4.95CAD), which NPC sent for me to try. I was not a fan of the brush initially, thinking it was much too floppy for setting/finishing powders, but one day I tried it with a very pigmented blush, and VOILA! Instant success. I used this with the Sephora + Pantone shades above, and it worked beautifully to buff the shade into the skin and bring out that glow. A steal at $5!

Sephora + Pantone Rush Luster Cheek Sweep L'Oreal Color Caresse Shine Stain in Stubborn Plum

The finished look! I’m overall pretty pleased – as I mentioned, I’ve gotten pretty lazy with my makeup lately and it’s either cat-eyes or bright lips for the most part. It was fun to do the whole 9 yards, with primer and foundation and everything (I rarely wear either). Sometimes you just gotta go all in, ya know? :)

Radiant Orchid

See what the other gals have cooked up in their Radiant Orchid posts!

What do you think of tone-on-tone looks? Do you go all-out with your makeup every day, or save that for special occasions?

*Products were sent by the PR company/brand for my unbiased consideration.

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Make Up For Ever’s new HD Blush is PERFECT for spring!

Last week I worked at Sephora for the Clinique kiosk for the first time EVER. Guys, let me tell you – that is one HARD FRIGGIN’ JOB, keeping your hands to yourself and trying to stick to your ‘station.’ DAMN!  The first two shifts were pretty slow, so I had ample time to mosey around and check out the wares…but honestly, I don’t know how they get anything done! (and for the record, pretty much everyone was on the ball, 99.9% of the time. ALL BIZNESS, ALL THE TIME).  Personally, there were so many fun things to look at that it was tough sticking to my ‘area,’ but I made it work.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush

One of the items that kept catching my eye was the new Make Up For Ever HD Blushes ($31cAD), which I believe replace their old HD *liquid* blushes? These are creams in a pot, whereas the older versions were a pump mechanism. Needless to say, these newer iterations are by far easier to use (though I wish the shade range was as exciting as the old…anyone ever check out #2 or #3, both bright hot pinks? YOWZAAAA). I think the idea is to showcase more natural-looking shades, that suit a variety of skin tones – for example, the 200 series is generally best suited for fair complexions; the 300 series for medium complexions, the 400 series for medium-dark complexions (like mine), and the 3 500 series shades are great for the darkest of skins. The exception is shade #410, a bright coral, which was created with all skin tones in mind.  I guiltily admit however, that I don’t give one iota to all of this info, because….I just WANT THEM ALL.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420

The shade I was sent to try was #420, described as an ‘Indian Rosewood‘ shade. As I tend to lean toward more bright, obvious blush colours, I figured it was time to opt for a more natural tone that would meld with my skin without effort. #420 does just that.

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

It almost looks like a warm bronze-y tone once applied to my skin; the reddish-brown hue melds with my skin tone to produce a really wonderfully natural ‘glow.’  I was unsure when I opened the box that this was going to be *my kind of shade* but it’s so foolproof on my skin that I really have to argument against it.  It just plain LOOKS GOOD.  And application is a breeze – just use a stippling brush (my pick is MAC’s #130) to dab it on the cheeks and then blend out; honestly, it was one of the easiest cream products to use and I had zero issues in placement or blending – my kind of product! The finish is reminiscent of Chanel’s new cream blushes, except I actually find the MUFE version a little more dewy and a little bit less cream-to-powder finish, which I personally prefer. It retains a fresh quality that I really like, especially come springtime!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch brown skin

As you can see, it’s quite natural-looking on, and I admit that I kinda slapped this on haphazardly for these photos because sunlight is fleeting these days. I can already see the absolute necessity of buying several more of these – cream blushes are my new *thing* as I’m all over the natural, glowing skin look, and these are hard to beat. Radiant without being greasy or shiny, and a cinch to use. I’m a goner!

MUFE HD Second Skin Cream Blush #420 swatch

When it comes to blush, what is your preference: powder, or cream (or liquid)? Do you opt for natural tones or more in-your-face brights?

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

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Benefit’s Lollitint: Not just for kids!

The newest offering in their cheek tint franchise, Benefit’s Lollitint caught my eye right from the get-go.  When Radiant Orchid was announced as Pantone’s Color of the Year, I hopped aboard that train without looking back, and the Lollitint just seemed like the ubiquitous product, perfect for my newest color scheme.

Benefit Lollitint Benefit Lollitint

One caveat: I was SURE it wasn’t going to show up on my darker skin tone.  Something about the milky cool pink hue just seemed completely out of my realm and better suited for the more fair-skinned among us.  However, early in February, the girls behind the Beauty Envy Bag giveaways got together for a Google Chat, in which my girl Lola informed me that SHE had purchased Lollitint, and it showed up just fine on her gorgeous cocoa complexion. Um, SOLD.  I snapped it up the next week :)  And true to her word, it worked!

Benefit Lollitint swatch

Lollitint is a beautiful orchid hue that gives the skin a pretty flush, perfect for transitioning from chilly winter days to cool, sunny spring ones! It looks somewhat similar on the skin as NARS Desire, but due to the liquid formulation I find it a bit more natural – if you apply it right.  My first tries with this product were admittedly HUGE FAILS; dotting it on my cheeks directly with the brush and then blending it out with a duofiber brush (MAC’s #130 in this case) either looked non-existent, or gave me serious clown cheeks. Getting the right balance of product was extremely tough, and as it stains the skin quite quickly, a lot of blush would deposit on one main area of my cheek, looking HIGHLY unnatural.  After a few days of this, I was frustrated but determined to persevere.

I finally found the best way to apply the product: I would brush a few swipes of colour across the actual brush head itself, and then quickly blend it in on the cheek in the area I wanted it. This allowed me to diffuse the product around before it had those extra seconds to set, and gave me a truly natural looking pink glow. I’m not generally a fan of fussy products, but in this instance I’ll make an exception, because the finished product is kinda awesome!

Benefit Lollitint brown skin Benefit Lollitint brown skin

Yea, I’m a wee bit in love :)  This has been my most-worn blush since picking it up last month, and I see no end in sight at the moment! Once it’s on the cheek, the wear time is unreal – hands down my longest wearing blush EVER. It does wash off fine at the end of the day though, it you were worried about long-term staining. I haven’t worn it on the lips yet however, and I suspect it would probably be 1) an awesome base for pink lippies, and 2) will leave you with a pink pout even after cleansing. I find that lip staining products tend to always be more tenacious.

My love for Radiant Orchid continues! I have purchased shades for lips, cheeks and nails…I’m pretty much set :)

Have you tried the Benefit Cheek and Lip Tints before? What are your tricks for applying quickly setting products?

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Hurry up, spring! My nail polish picks for spring 2014 (plus a dud)

It never fails: as soon as March hits, regardless of the fact that spring doesn’t actually start till the 20th of the month, I move headfirst into ~spring~ mode.  Last night I switched over all my makeup to spring-like colours, and over are the days of dark & moody / icy & cool nail polish colors – bring on the pops of colour and pastels!

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

I went through my nail polish collection this week (which, despite my *efforts* is still increasing in size, rather than hovering around 100 which is my goal :S) and rounded up the shades that most say ‘SPRING!’ to me.  Many of these shades are new acquisitions to my stash, so of course I’m totally enamoured with them.  I think I’m quite covered when it comes to a good array of shades…though I may need a few more metallics, now that I think about it ~always enabling~  I only really own two – the perfect gold, and a striking silver.  I wouldn’t mind throwing a nice rose-gold in the mix somewhere.  Suggestions??

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors(Left to right): Dior Bloom, butter London Poole, Essie Splash of Grenadine, Deborah Lippmann I Know What Boys Like, China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, Chanel Orange Fizz, Zoya Robyn

I’ve noticed a trend over the past couple years, and it’s that spring isn’t just for pastels anymore.  Though I do love all the Easter egg shades that crop up this time of year, I’m enjoying seeing random pops of colour in the spring collections more and more.

Having said that, I am a sucker for any pale aqua or minty green shades that come my way.  Last week at Winners I snagged butter London’s Poole for $12CAD; I had drooled over it last summer but felt that I had several shades similar.  Turns out, indeed I do – but it’s different enough to justify owning it and I love it all the same :)

butter London Poole swatch butter London Poole swatchbutter London Poole, under artificial light

comparison butter London PooleLeft to right: China Glaze For Audrey, Zoya Wednesday, butter London Poole, MAC Mischievous Mint

I also grabbed China Glaze’s Re-Fresh Mint at Winners at the same time (on for $5CAD). Green is NOT my polish colour of choice – unless it’s pale/pastel. I had bought butter London’s Bossy Boots last year for that reason, but I find it’s yellow-leanings don’t do my hands any favours. I’d hoped Re-Fresh Mint with it’s cooler tones might make up for that error….sadly, I dislike it even more than Bossy Boots! UGH this looks terrible on me – it’s like white-out with a drop of green food colouring mixed in (got St Paddy’s Day and green beer on my mind, I guess lol) and aside from it looking awful on my skin tone, the formula leaves much to be desired.  Two thick, gloopy coats are required (actually, it’s the only option – thin coats are impossible as it streaks and balls up on itself in seconds) so if I’d actually wore this as a mani (I only put it on for this swatch) then dry time would be atrocious.  NO THANK YOU :(

China Glaze Re-fresh Mint swatchChina Glaze Re-Fresh Mint, under artificial light

butter London Bossy Boots vs China Glaze Re-fresh Mintbutter London Bossy Boots (left), China Glaze Re-Fresh Mint (right)

In the spirit of Radiant Orchid Madness 2014, I ordered Essie’s Splash of Grenadine from NPC last month, and guys – I cannot tell you HOW MUCH I LOVE THIS COLOR!!!!!  I think it’s the prettiest nail polish colour I own, seriously.  It required three thin coats to reach opacity, but the little bit of extra time is totally worth it!

Essie Splash of Grenadine swatch Essie Splash of GrenadineEssie Splash of Grenadine, artificial light

My photos don’t capture the gloriousness, but trust: this polish is LOVELY.

You may have noticed that I failed to mentioned the beautiful bright pink polish to the far left, Dior Bloom.  Fear not, my dear friends – THAT baby is going to have a separate post all to it’s own ;)

Spring 2014 Nail Polish Colors

What shades do you like to wear in spring?  Are you more of a pastel girl, or do you prefer brights? Do you like / can you wear green nail polish? ~shudders~

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RapidLash Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum

Continuing my adventures in ULTIMATE LASH PLUMPING, I’ve been given an opportunity to try out the cult-product RapidLash® Eyelash & Eyebrow Enhancing Serum, a lash treatment clinically proven to help you achieve fuller-looking lashes in as little as 30 days!

Following the success of XLash, I was sad to see the end of the product earlier last month.  Over the past month, my lashes have almost returned to their former state, though they are still a bit longer than they were previously.  I was excited to get the chance to try and compare RapidLash’s formula, which I have heard about from several different sources.  I’m eager to see how it compares to the XLash formula!

RapidLash

The RapidLash serum is a paraben-free, over-the-counter formula that features a breakthrough formula of six highly effective ingredients, including polypeptides, biotin, and panthenol.  It is dermatologist and ophthalmologist tested.

As with the XLash product, application and use is easy-peasy.  Brush the formula along the baseline of lashes (you can also apply it to the lower lash line) every night at bedtime, and away you go.  Additionally, this formula can be used on the brows by applying directly to the brow line.

RapidLash RapidLash

The RapidLash product is comparable in price to XLash, at $59.95CAD.  Unlike XLash however,  you can get this from Shopper Drug Mart, so it’s more accessible (though it’s also available at RapidLash.com for those without access to Shoppers!).

I will report back in a month on my progress and results – I have high hopes! Having thick, long, fluttering lashes is really becoming addictive, I gotta say!

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

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