Posts Tagged Blog

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…

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…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:

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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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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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Ho Hum: My *exciting* Sephora VIB sale haul

It feels like for the past year I’ve been really responsible with my beauty purchases. It’s been quite boring actually, but I feel a lot better about my collection – less overwhelmed, and I use the products I have with regularity since I’m not constantly adding new ones to the mix. Over the past couple months however, I had grand ideas about really going all out for the Sephora VIB sale – I’d been a good girl and it was time to reward myself with a splurge.

Well…I splurged. But before you get excited, take a look at what I bought and see if you think I *really* went crazy:

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Sure, I bought a fair number of things – 9 items, which is more than I probably buy in a month, lately. But do you see any REALLY frivolous things there? I think for all my scheming and plotting, I managed to be sort of responsible, yet again! It’s like ingrained in me, you guys. DAMMIT ALL TO HELL.

Probably the most ‘reckless’ thing I bought was a YSL Gloss Volupte (in the shade ‘1 Gold’) – I got it in my head a couple days before the sale that I NEEDED a gold gloss, and this was the one that came home with me. The L’Artisan Perfumer perfume sample box was a whim purchase too, the lemming created by Liz (surprise, surprise) as I was reading her post en route to the store. But the rest of these items were all products on my list and all ‘necessities’ in my mind. I use this term loosely of course, because who ‘needs’ all this stuff, but for a beauty junkie, there are real needs, no? I ‘needed’ a new concealer as my NARS Radiant Concealer is on it’s last legs, and the Lancome Effacernes Waterproof Under Eye Concealer seemed like a good replacement. I ‘needed’ a leave-in treatment for my hair (Phyto Phyto 7 Hydrating Day Cream) because I had ran out of my previous one. I ‘needed’ the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads because I’d used up my previous jar and had been patiently waiting to replenish them for weeks. I ‘needed’ an eye cream with SPF, like the Boscia All-In-One BB Eye Brightener SPF 20, because I don’t have one and I gotta hold off those wrinkles, yo. I also ‘need’ a couple new facial masques – both a hydrating one and an exfoliating one (gotta cover all the bases!) – and this little sample kit of three Peter Thomas Roth masks seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Finally, I ‘needed’ a new serum, as all the ones I have are oil-based and are a bit heavy for day. The Boscia Cool Blue Hydration Essence lured me in with it’s calming aesthetic and it’s promise to boost hydration in my skin to the max, a must for the oncoming winter season. I suppose I didn’t ‘need’ a new black liquid eyeliner – I own a black gel liner that works a treat – but the ease of use of the Kat Von D Ink Liner over my gel liner couldn’t be ignored (the lines are SO crisp!).

So there you have it. I clearly ‘needed’ almost every item I picked up, and my intent to go WILD and pick up some really fun products (like a Givenchy Le Rouge lipstick…a Dolce & Gabbana blush…or a Dior mascara) was once again squashed by my IRRITATINGLY sensible brain. ~le sigh!~  Maybe someday…

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PS: The two other items I didn’t mention were samples I received during my shopping ‘spree’ – Dior’s Diorshow Iconic Overcurl mascara, and Fresh’s Sugar Face Polish. A bit more exciting, but they were free so I can’t take credit :(

What did you buy during the VIB sale?

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I’m dreaming of… {Fall Edition}

I have been exceedingly good this season, and have picked up next to nothing from the Fall 2014 collections – only recently caving to the allure of Zoya’s Ignite collection and ordering both Remy (metallic indigo with gold and copper shimmer) and India (deep red with gold metallic shimmer) polishes. However, that doesn’t mean that my wish list still isn’t a mile long, or that I don’t pine away for products every minute of every day. Right now, my ‘Loves’ list on Sephora is like, 4 pages and growing daily…oops! I have been holding out for the usual 15% off sale they have right around the beginning of fall, and the products show above are on the ‘serious contenders’ list for purchase:

Sephora Wish List - Fall 2014

1) Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks ($26CAD)
2) Make Up For Ever Artist Shadows in I746 Watermelon, and I220 Sapphire ($24CAD)
3) Ardency Inn Modster Manuka Honey Enriched Pigment in Rose Gold ($24CAD)
4) Becca Beach Tint Souffle in Watermelon/Moonstone ($33CAD)
5) Medium Z Palette ($35CAD)
6) Givenchy Le Rouge lipsticks ($38CAD)
7) Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder ($29CAD)
8) Formula X by Sephora The System ($40CAD)

I feel that this list is half frivolous, half reasonable. The lipsticks, shadows and blush I don’t *need* of course, but I’ve been dying to try both lipstick formulas so it’s probably time I do that; the shadows and blush, well ~shrugs~  I’m human, after all! I desperately need a Z palette to put all of my newly depotted shadows in, and I want to try the LM powder under my eyes to set my concealer – I’m hoping it’ll also give a nice brightening boost, as sometimes regular powder looks too flat and does nothing to improve the darkness. Finally, I’m running low on most of my base coats, and I’ve been curious about the Formula X ‘System’ so this might kill two birds with one stone.

What’s on your wish list this fall??

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Beauty Envy Bag – End of Summer Giveaway!

We’ve dished about our favorite products that help shift our summer beauty routines into fall, and now it’s time for one of you to win a bag filled with these essentials. If you haven’t yet gotten to know all of the ladies behind the Beauty Envy Bag, here’s a quick intro:

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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.

beauty-obsessed

Latoya is a beauty blogger from the East Coast of Canada. While she loves all things girly, she’s also a closet gamer and is a die-hard Walking Dead fan. She is the blogger behind Beauty Obsessed.

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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.

burbbeauty nail blog swatch review Ozotic Pro 505

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

Check out the reviews for the featured products in this season’s Beauty Envy Bag:

Here is what you need to know to enter in the Rafflecopter widget below:

  • Must leave a blog comment (just one blog, doesn’t have to be all four) letting us know your favorite way to shift your summer beauty routine into fall.
  • Additional entries for following each blog on social media networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
  • Open internationally
  • Must be 18 or older
  • Giveaway closes on Sunday  September, 21 at 12:00 AM EST

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Empties abound!

It is just me or do I seem to be plowing through a lot of products lately?? Either that or I’m just super delinquent at posting about empties in a timely fashion O_o

This instalment is kinda a big deal for me because I have a whole whack of makeup at the end of the post – hooray!  Let’s get to it.

Skincare

Hurraw! Green Tea Lip Balm – awesome stuff. Keeps lips in tip top condition and feels awesome to boot – not too slippery but not too thick either. For less than $5 a pop, I’m all in!

Consonant Ultra Firming Organic Eye Cream – I opened this a couple years ago, used it for a while, then acquired a couple new eye creams and promptly forgot about this. It’s quite thin so if you prefer that in an eye cream, you might like this. Personally it was too thin for my taste – but otherwise it was fine. Nothing to write home about though.

Pai Geranium & Thistle Combination Skin Cream – Love this moisturizer! If I didn’t have a couple of oils on the go, I’d probably buy this again – it’s perfect for oilier skin or warmer weather when skin doesn’t need a heavy or greasy moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and feels light as air – and keeps sebum more balanced than just a regular moisturizer.

Oceopin Maritime Pine Seed Oil – I was underwhelmed by this. It felt kind of heavy and thick to me and didn’t make my skin super soft like most of the oils I’ve tried. When I was nearing the end of the bottle I discovered that if you apply a good facial mist beforehand and apply this directly afterward, it spreads it out more and it feels a lot nicer. However, I’m still glad I only bought a small bottle of this – I wouldn’t pick it up again.

Soapwalla Restorative Face Serum – I had a weird bias against this the whole time I used it, but it actually is quite nice – great for those of us who have sensitive skin, as it was soothing when my skin felt reactive. On the whole it was just OK otherwise; texture was of medium-thin viscosity and it kept my skin hydrated adequately without being greasy.

La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask – As per my review, I LOVE THIS MASK SO MUCH. It was so lovely and soothing to my skin, and it smelled so tasty like juicy berries and honey. I will be buying this again at some point without a doubt.

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TOO MANY SAMPLES TO HANDLE!!!!  The highs and lows: [highs] Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Booster-Serum (awesome and seemed to help with acne scars even in the week of use), Eminence Red Currant Protective Moisturizer SPF30 (nice, smooth texture that isn’t too heavy), Graydon Sun Cream (also nice texture and dries matte so perfect for summer) and The Serum (smells like blueberries and is packed with antioxidants); [lows] Juice Beauty samples (boring, boring, and the moisturizer was crazy sticky!), CV Skinlabs samples (totally did not soothe my skin nor wow me in any way). The rest? MEH.

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Phyto Phytopolleine Scalp Treatment – soo hard to get out of the bottle! I got this through a swap and I used it really haphazardly, so I can’t say if it worked or not. It was too much of a hassle so I wouldn’t purchase in any case.

Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-in Conditioner – this was OK. Nothing to write home about – it was very lightweight, so if you have very fine hair it might be ideal, but for my personal needs I’ve used other leave-ins that I loved a lot more.

Ojon Damage Reverse Restorative Smoothing Gloss – this was tinted brown, I guess to help boost the glossiness in brown/black hair, and every time I washed my hair it left a brown residue in my tub. It was just OK – I wouldn’t buy this.

Andalou Naturals Argan & Sweet Orange Conditioner (x2) – You may have guessed, I am LOVING this conditioner. It smells soo good, like vanilla and orange, and perfectly hydrates my hair without being heavy or leaving a residue. I’m on my 3rd bottle and I suspect I’ll just keep buying it until I stumble upon something else. The only downside is that I seem to go through it quite quickly!

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Random blue bottle – I can’t remember what this was called or the brand, but it was for your bikini line after a wax (or wherever you got waxed) to avoid ingrown hairs and irritation. I have had this since my very first wax back in 2007…haha! Time to go.

Poshe Top Coat – this was nice at first but it went the way of Seche Vite and got pretty gloopy near the end.

Osha Mae Calendula Salve – I mentioned this in my best of 2013 post, and it really was a lovely salve. I think though that the same I had from Clementine Fields, from M.J. Herbals, worked better somehow!

Kalaya Restore Body Treatment – I got this at Christmas from my aunt who knows I like organic/green skincare. At first I was skeptical but this actually was a really nice moisturizer – not too thick (read: greasy) or thin (i.e.: not hydrating enough) and really made my skin smooth. It did contain fragrance though so for that reason I wouldn’t purchase it.

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KAPOW! THE MAKEUPS:

MAC Dazzleglass in Luscious Spark – pretty sheer orange gloss with shimmer. The Dazzleglass etc formulas are known to be in smaller tubes than they appear, and this went quick. I also found it needed to be re-applied often so this was an easy one.

Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Discrete – I really liked this shade when I got it, but after a while I found it’s neutral tones flat due to the opaque formula. I was happy to see this go.

Buxom Lip Polish in April – when I was more of a gloss person, I loved the shine and sparkle of this pale pink lippie. But then it was just too ‘Bar Star’ for me and I wasn’t inclined to try and finish off that last little bit.

NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base – everyone loves this – and I’m no different! If they day comes where I need to purchase an eye primer (I have the MUFE now to use), I’d definitely buy this.

Clinique High Impact Waterproof Mascara – this came in handy for all the weddings I had last year, but then I stopped using it (I don’t really like using waterproof mascara on the regular). For those kind of occasions though, this is really good – gives nice, full lashes and stays put!

Pur Double Ego Mascara – I got this from my aunt and I used it maybe 3 times before I realized that it’s crazy-wet formula made an absolute mess every damn time. Toss!

YSL Volume Effet Faux Cils Mascara (sample) – I know mascara samples aren’t always a good predictor of a product’s true efficacy, but I did not like this! Flaky, tangly lashes, YIKES!

Random foundation/concealer samples – I honestly can’t remember what these were…I think they were two Tarte BB samples, and two MAC Pro Longwear samples. Lets just say I wouldn’t buy either.

Chanel Illusion d’Ombre in Emerveille – I liked this a lot when I bought it, and its still a great shade, but mine got so dried out and hard to use that I just couldn’t be bothered. I don’t actually like the Illusion d’Ombre formula at all and gave the other one I bought (Abstraction) away. Wouldn’t buy any of ’em again!

NARS Larger Than Life Eyeliner in Via Appia – lovely deep bronze shade I received in a swap. I had a seriously idiotic moment and SHARPENED THE PLASTIC, forgetting its a twist-up! So then I always had to have it twisted up extra far so I didn’t scratch my eye out. D’OH. When it neared the end I just decided to turf it and stop the horror.

Illamasqua Blusher in Lover – this dropped and broke, and while I normally would try and salvage it somehow, I found this shade so light on my skin tone that I just figured it was an opportunity to get rid of it. I really HATE when my makeup breaks!

Giorgio Armani Fluid Sheer #2 (sample) – I found this quite sparkly for my taste. I’m glad I tried a sample (I got this when I was in NYC) because if I’d have bought a full size I would have been quite disappointed.

Burberry Lip Cover in Cameo Pink (sample) – I really did like this shade though it was a touch light for my skin tone. I enjoy the Lip Cover formula – it feels comfortable on the lips, though the inclusion of fragrance isn’t my ideal.

Vapour Organics Mesmerize Eye Color in Storm (sample) – I tried to use this one and realized that in it’s sample form it’s IMPOSSIBLE. So, rather than hang on to it for no reason, I’m tossing it.


And that, they say, is THAT.

How are your empties going? And totally unrelated – did you watch Mad Men last night? WTF was that ending all about?!?!

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Super-Quick Empties Post (from February – oops!)

Ok….so I took photos of some empties in February and then didn’t post about them – oopsie! Let’s get to it, because I want to also post my most recent empties soon – I have a big goal for myself this year in terms of reducing so I want to start entirely fresh!

Skincare

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Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Hand Therapy – I’ve had this seriously for like, 10 years, sitting in a cupboard because it’s scented and ya’ll know I DON’T DO THAT. But then, I wanted to get rid of some stuff so I used it as a foot lotion. Perfect!

Shikai Borage Therapy Hand Cream – ARGH that awful, awful smell of FEET and BO and DEAD MEAT. Thankfully this hand cream wasn’t all that fabulous, because if it were the most amazing thing ever I might have to buy it again and suffer the odour just to have healed hands. THE GODS HAVE SPARED ME.

CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser – It was fine. Just like Cetaphil, really. Which is MEH for someone who wears makeup or who wants a more substantial second cleanser. Even if I wasn’t sporting a ‘green’ skincare routine now I probably wouldn’t get this again, unless my skin was going absolutely batshit (in that case, it’s pretty darn gentle and not too bad at all).

Aubrey Honeysuckle Rose Moisturizing Conditioner – This was also just OK. I didn’t love the smell nor that formula. It was my first organic conditioner and on the whole, it would probably be nice for someone with thin, fine hair that doesn’t need much moisturization like my bone-dry hair does.

Organix Coconut Milk Hibiscus Nourishing Body Wash – This was my second bottle for a reason – it SMELLS SO GOOD. I won’t buy it again because of the ingredients (still has fake fragrance, and is not really ‘organic’ – shame on the name!) but if you don’t care about this stuff, I enjoyed it overall.

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Ellovi Butter – I’m going to be the dissenting voice here and state that I didn’t love this. My eczema did not like this at all, which is surprising given the clean ingredients, but I found I needed more moisture, and my eczema was consistently present while using this, so it didn’t really do much at all. Full-price at $26 (I had a $5 coupon), this would have needed to blow my socks off for a repurchase.

Haus of Gloi Aether Pumpkin Butter – I still have a soft spot for this! I stopped buying it, but I might order a few of the smaller sizes to use as hand cream and such – I really liked the smell and it moisturized well. I feel like the ingredients are pretty decent, and while not totally clean…I just like it anyway.

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Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser – Though I think this might be a bit heavy for me during the summer, I did like this cleanser and I think anyone with normal to dry skin should definitely try it out! So gentle and leaves skin feeling very comfortable.

Stark Grapefruit Cleanse & Hydrate Balm – Minus the little balls of shea butter in this, I liked this balm fairly well. It didn’t cause any irritation – but the scent being so delicious constantly had me on alert for something, so I never used it with ease. I wouldn’t repurchase, but mostly just for that reason! I like using things that I know without a doubt will never eff with my fickle skin.

Tarte Pure Maracuja Oil – Honestly, still one of the best oils I’ve tried to date (and I’ve tried a fair number by now!). Affordable, great for most skin types, absorbs quickly – there’s really not much else to say. I went through two bottles, which saying a lot since I usually try something different every time. I might even come back to this at some point!

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Eumovate Eczema & Dermatitis Cream – I picked up this cream while in NZ, and though it was AMAZING at clearing my the eczema I got while away (like, the best product I’ve ever used for that purpose), apparently my doc tells me this shit is kinda dangerous. At least, it’s not to be used on the regular. O-KAY, then. I powered through it while I was away, and had just a bit left which I used here and there afterward. I was kinda sad to see it go (I really DID work wonders), but it’s probably for the best.

XLash Eyelash EnhancerJust updated you guys on how much ASS this kicks when compared to another lash growth serum…I WILL buy this one again, mark my words. So, SO good.

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Holy smokes, the samples. Let’s do this by notables, and not-worth-it’s:

Notables:

OLO Brand New Day – Nice, gentle enzyme scrub that does have some manual exfoliating qualities as well; leaves the skin nice and soft but not ravaged.

Kahina Eye Serum – Second time with a sample of this bad boy, and I still like it quite a bit. Sinks in quickly and isn’t greasy at all. But sometimes with stuff like this I think – do I really need a separate serum for eye? Nah, probably not.

Babor Calm & Relax Cream – lovely cream thats not too heavy for my normal-to-oily skin, and really does ‘calm & relax’! I plan to buy this one day, but it’s $76CAD so maybe when I have a little bit more disposable funds, hmm?

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus – Not ‘clean’ but I had it in my samples stash and I though I’d use it up. And really, it works. Highly recommend for non-‘green” skincare buffs.

Lancome La Vie Est Belle (sample) – I still love this scent, and one day I’ll give in and buy a bottle. I just wish it was cheaper! 1oz (30mL) is $72CAD. Atrocious.

Not-worth-it’s:

Tata Harper Resurfacing Mask – Honestly, the first sample I had I found this did NOTHING to my face, and the second time I tried it, I felt a little bit of irritation. I know a lot of people love it but I’m not one of ’em.

OLO Vitamin C Serum – Again, another ‘gem’ that gets raves, but I found it was a little heavy for my skin – it would be PERFECT for drier skin, and it gives the skin a glowy sheen (which turned a bit greasy on me).

Vapour Illusionist Concealer – YIKES! All of these shades were so gray!! Even the darkest shade was ashy and awful. And the coverage as well was crappy. Probably if you’re super fair and have hardly anything to conceal, this would be great. Clearly not for me.

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The MAKEUPS:

Urban Decay Supercurl Curling Mascara – I’ve had a sample of this before, and my opinion is the same – great for giving lashes curl (makes mine even CURLIER) and for separation and length. One day I might even buy the full size.

MAC Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner in Petrol Blue – I wish I had this in an eyeshadow, or perhaps just a better eyeliner formula. This ALWAYS smudged on the outer corners no matter what I did, and I didn’t love the more glittery-sparkly quality of it either. It’s old and starting to separate from the sides of the pencil, so I decided to toss it. Whoop!

Clinique Cream Shaper in Egyptian – I loved this shade (blackened olive) and the liner didn’t budge, but it’s also a billion years old (or maybe 7) and was doing the same shrinking thing, so out it goes.

Clinique High Impact Mascara – how many samples of this have I used in my life!? Too many. Still a great formula but I’m kinda bored of it now after years and years.

Clinique Lash Power Mascara – Still digging this formula (it’s newer) and I have a backup in my stash. Gets all the bitty little lashes and doesn’t budge. Awesome.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant Hated. It. Tried to love it. Still Hated. It. TOSS.

YSL Touche Eclat 5.5 – I know Wayne Goss has showed us the error of our ways in using this pen, but I’d just rather have an illuminating wand do all that and not cost $50+. Next time I’ll buy the cheapy version if its not gonna make my dark circles disappear.

Benefit Watt’s Up – This was an OK cream highlighter, but I’ve found plenty others I like far more (Becca, to name one!). I was so glad when I finished this sample!

BAM. Empties #1 for 2014 DONE. #2 to come shortly!

Have you tried any of the products above? What are your thoughts?

 

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