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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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Holiday Wish List: Organic Skincare

Ok.  So I’ve been going a little crazy with this whole organic beauty thing.  Or maybe a lot crazy.  I guess it depends on your perspective.  For me, I FEEL a little crazy, which is probably the most important opinion, right?  Eeep.  Oh well.  Stockings with coal in them for everyone this year!

Obviously, I can explain my behavior in a variety of TOTALLY justifiable ways.  As I noted in my green beauty Part I post, I’ve been using up old stuff and making way for the new.  That includes a new facial mist (Kahina Giving Beauty Toning Mist) and a new exfoliant (Osmia Organics Detox Exfoliating Mask - 20% off this past weekend, hel-LO!) to replace the ones I’ve finished.  Then, I HAD to buy the Ellovi Butter that both Taylor and Megan raved about, because I was given a $5 coupon for the site.  And with the change in weather, my skin has been unusually dry and I needed a booster product on top of my Pai Rosehip oil, so I bought Soapwalla’s Restorative Face Serum – CLEARLY I can’t be walking around with dry skin.  The only purchase I can’t justify is Lina Hanson’s Global Body Serum, which I bought last month – $64 of pure CRAZY there, yep…but I will say, it’s actually kind of a miracle on my eczema.  I’ve had persistent patches on my legs for months, and a few drops of this mixed with my Haus of Gloi pumpkin butter has fixed them right up.  Could I have tried a basic carrier oil like avocado mixed with my cream for a much cheaper and likely similarly effective result?   ….Let’s not go there, shall we?

Anyway.  Like I said, I’ve been a little CRAZY lately, it’s true.  What makes me even more crazy, is that I’ve still got a list a mile long of other products I want to try…but thankfully for the moment I’ve put a stop to the madness and am exercising restraint for the rest of the month (and yes…I realize I’ve done most of this damage in 4 days  O_o).  For the time being, I’m just going to ogle my *little* list here and lie in patiently wait until my wallet cools off it seems reasonable to purchase something.  Which of course is up for interpretation ;)

Organic Wish List

1) Kahina Giving Beauty Eye Serum $78CAD – A light eye treatment rich in peptides and antioxidants, designed to alleviate dark circles as well as address fine lines and wrinkles.  I had a sample of this that lasted almost two weeks, and in that time my eyes looked brighter and felt HELLA smooth.  Sign me up, please.

2) One Love Organics Vitamin B Active Moisture Cleansing Oil $39CAD – Another product I had a sample of, I found this oil cleanser worked well to remove my makeup at the end of the day and rinse away cleanly without needing a cloth to wipe it off, like many other organic oil cleansers.  It also contains papain, a fruit enzyme that helps exfoliate the skin – I love me a good dual product.  Though I am not a huge fan of the super-sweet, tropical scent, it’s manageable for a product that’s effective.

3) La Bella Figura Bio Active Healing Mask (may buy soon as there is a 15% off coupon code till Nov 15th) $65CAD – With my skin on the drier side these days, I’m in need of a nice restorative, hydrating mask.  I’m currently finishing up the derma-e one I purchased last year (thank god…that heavy floral smell, gah!), and this one sounds just about perfect.  It contains honey, which is kind of the be-all in skincare lately, and it both balances, moisturizes, and exfoliates the skin (again with the multi-functional produts!).  It’s also chock-full of antioxidants…me likey.

4) Graydon The Balm $29CAD – Here I am again, trying to stock up on the heavy-hitters that will keep my skin hydrated throughout the cold days and the moisture-sucking central heating we deal with during wintertime.  I had a sample of Pai’s Chamomile and Rosehip Sensitive Skin Cream which I thought may work, but it was a bit heavy and my skin felt a bit reactive after using it.  The Graydon Balm (a Canadian brand!) has super-light hydrators that I should be able to apply over oils at night without fear of clogging my pores, and it’s supposed to be ideal for eczema.  Perfect!

5) Aster & Bay Glow Facial Serum $32 – Nourishing and moisturizing oil with essential fatty acids and antioxidants to repair the moisture barrier and protect the skin from environmental aggressors.  It’s supposed to give skin a great glow and contains a slew of ‘dry’ oils (like hazelnut and macadamia nut) that are great for day use on my combo-oily skin.  I plan on wearing this under my Pai Geranium & Thistle moisturizer to get that dewy look I’m losing with the cold weather.

6) Marie Veronique Organics Treatment Oil $82CAD – I’ve only read a few things about the MVO line, but as I like to be well-rounded I started looking into each of the products to see if anything would suit me. Lo and behold, I read the details and the ingredient list on this oil and wow!  It’s not terribly suitable for my skin right now where I’m not experiencing any breakouts – more so dry patches – but in the warmer months I think this will be amazing.  It’s got a handful of wonderful oils and extracts that are considered especially effective for acne-prone and/or oily skin, such as willow bark (a natural salicylic acid) and watermelon seed oil (which helps dissolve excess sebum), plus gentle ingredients to reduce inflammation.

7) Consonant Intensive Therapy Organic Hand Cream $20CAD – I’m currently using an organic hand cream that contains Borage oil, which is super-high in Gamma Linoleic Acid and hence awesome at repairing the skin’s barrier function (a must for my eczema-prone hands).  However, it smells like rotting meat.  I’m not even kidding guys, it is the WORST smelling product I’ve ever used in my life!!  Its effective enough and the smell dissipates after 5 minutes, so I’m going to struggle though it, but after that I’m gonna get me some of THIS stuff – a lovely rich hand cream that is made by a Canadian brand.  You can’t get much better than that (although you can get MUCH worse with this Borage oil cream…blech!).

8) Yarok Feed Your Ends Leave-In Conditioner $23CAD – I haven’t been using a leave-in since last winter, and its come time to get on the wagon again.  This has jojoba and olive oils as it’s two primary ingredients, both excellent for hair, so I’m giving it a go.  Hair care with really basic ingredients is equally important to me as it is in skincare, as most contain a whack of artificial fragrance that kills my scalp and can irritate my face if I’m wearing my hair down.  I don’t like to spend too much on hair care but I’ll give anything a shot once.  If it lasts for a few months it’ll be worth it.

Innersense Organic Beauty Quiet Calm Curl Control $20 – Designed to eliminate frizz and smooth textured hair, this is one of the few organic styling creams I’ve found on the market so far specifically targeted toward curly hair.  Again, it’s a bit more than I like to spend on my hair, but I use very little product, and the TIGI curl cream I’ve been using I’ve had for a good 6 months and am just nearing the end, so I can deal with it.  I haven’t gotten my hair professionally cut in over 3 years now, so spending a little extra on my hair is not really all that bad!

May Lindstrom The Honey Mud *not yet released* – I don’t know much about this soon-to-be-released product, but it looks and sounds amazing from what I do know!  It’s described as a lush, velvety cleanser that can also be used as a masque (dual-purpose, hurrah!).  And just yesterday I heard that there is another new release coming out this month as well, called The Blue Cocoon (a balm)…oh May, I have yet to own anything of yours, and I wasn’t wowed by The Youth Dew (thank GOD…$125 is the height of crazy), but I will get my hands on something of yours yet!

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You may notice the title of this post – indicative of a series of wishlists, perhaps??  And…you would be right :)  Though skincare is my primary focus these days, I still ogle makeup and polish on the regular too. Keep your eyes peeled for those wish lists in the coming weeks! (I’m a lost cause, I know)

What’s on your wishlists lately??  

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Life or Something Like It

As many of you know, I’m having a rough go of it lately with respect to finances.  I don’t really know how to handle this situation mentally and emotionally – I don’t want to come across as a whiner, or like I’m some sort of a ‘victim’ of circumstance.  I also don’t want to be one of those people who sits around not DOING anything to change their situation – generally I’m a fairly pro-active person.  But the way things are now, well – the whole issue is tricky, and not easily solved by just ‘doing something.’  First, there are so many options (and if you’ve been reading for a while, you know me and options = anxiety): I could get a roommate.  I could get a serious part-time job (not just hours here and there with Clinique).  I could sell and buy a new, smaller, more affordable hole-in-the-wall place.  I could rent my condo and then rent an affordable apartment to live in.  Everyone has great suggestions for me, and are trying to help the best way they can.  Problem is, I am the type of person that can see merit in just about any idea a person has, so every new suggestion seems like ‘The Best Choice.’  And every option has a downside, which makes it easy to cast aside.  I like my space.  I like my free time.  I love my condo – maybe not the location, which (as much as I like the area) means I’m terribly isolated from almost everyone I know, but the actual building and unit itself is damn near perfect.  SO.  What the heck do I do?!?

Essentially since I returned from New Zealand I’ve been a lesser version of myself.  I’m tired often, I’m unproductive, I’m generally uninterested (in reading, in work, in running, in being social, in romance – take your pick)…I just feel overall blah.  And everyone around me has all these great things happening and going on, and as truly happy as I am for them, what it seems to mean for me is that no one really notices that I’m struggling, that I’m trying to maintain this joie de vivre that I’ve always had, but that I’m failing.  And I’m not interested in bringing them down with me.

Note: I can write all this here because the majority of people in my life don’t read my blog.  Typing that sentence feels kind of shitty, actually, when you think about it.  But I don’t hold it against them; the reason I started the blog and then continued it was because it was so amazing to me to actually meet other like-minded individuals, when I truly thought there were none.  So they really have no reason to read my ramblings on makeup and beauty. 

Last week I realized that I spend almost 100% of my free time looking at makeup etc. on the internet.  I come home most evenings to just sit at my computer and stare at the screen, making lists upon lists of products to try, and then repeat the same behavior every single night.  I’ve been pondering this behavior a lot and trying to figure it out.  Sure, I’m kind of obsessed with beauty and I sure do love makeup and all the pretty things that come out here and there.  But I’ve never taken it this far.  It’s never taken over.

I think the reason I’m behaving this way, is because it gives me something to hope for.  Even on a small scale, regardless of the fact that ‘hoping’ for more makeup may be sad, and pathetic in it’s way, nevertheless – making wishlists of beauty products allows me to imagine a time when I might have more money to actually indulge myself, sort of like acting in a self-fulfilling way; if I write these products down, it’s like saying ‘I will be able to purchase that, someday’. It’s not to say that I don’t buy makeup at all now – obviously that’s not the case (see all the posts over the last 6 months!).  But every single purchase comes with a price: guilt.  And just like anything else, once I deem something as a ‘no-go,’ it tends to be all I think about.

Anyway, that’s a little bit of what’s going on with me lately.  Sorry to be a downer, but you know everyone has low points in their lives, and this just happens to be one of mine.  While this blog is dedicated to beauty, it doesn’t mean I’m a robot without feelings, and blogs by nature are a place to express yourself.  It just so happens that my expression today is sadness.  Additionally, sometimes its easier to confess to those you’re not as close to – for the most part I’ve been keeping my feelings under wraps with my loved ones, as I find those who care about you most want to give you advice, rather than just be an ear.  And I think right now I’m kind of maxed out on advice.

I will return to the regular light and fluffy posts now – in fact, I’m just about to write a review on Chanel’s quad in Vanités.  If you stuck through this whole ramble, I applaud you.  Life isn’t always fun, but you have to have some lows to appreciate the highs.

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I’m Ba-ack!!! So….Whatcha Been Up to Lately???

Well, hello there!  It’s been uh, a long, LONG time since I’ve been around, no?  And I left without barely saying goodbye, please forgive me!  The days leading up to my trip to New Zealand were absolutely insane – all the plans I had for pre-trip posts and a handful of scheduled posts pretty much went right out the window, unfortunately.  It was a truly stressful week – thankfully at the end of it I was on vacation for 5 weeks :D  How’s everyone been doing since I left!?

A rainbow just outside of Queenstown, NZ

I won’t go into major detail about the trip, because this IS a beauty blog after all – and it’s hard to sum up 5 weeks of some of the best times of my life!  It was an absolutely amazing, wonderful, fantastic time, and I can’t wait till my next adventure (no, I don’t have anything planned yet but I hope to soon!).  I made some truly solid, lasting friendships with people from all over (most notably: Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, and even some fellow Canadians!); saw some of the most beautiful landscapes; did some daredevil stunts (SO unlike me!); and even had a wee bit of a romance ;)  I even got a tattoo (I will post pics!)!  I guess I could summarize the trip by saying, I got majorly out of my comfort zone and did things I never thought I’d do, and I came back a better person for it all.  It was the trip of a lifetime, and in all honesty, I struggled to come home.  But alas, here I am! :D

90 Mile Beach in the Bay of Islands, NZ

One thing I did NOT do, was think much about beauty (for shame!).  I wore minimal makeup on the best of days (most days I skipped it altogether) – opting for concealer, mascara, and a dab of cream blush when I did wear any.  If we went to a bar, I put on a bit of black eyeliner to really go crazy (lol).  I wore my hair au natural without any product most days, and actually loved how it looked – kind of beachy-kinky.  Unfortunately, I’m trying to recreate the look now that I’m home and it is NOT working for me – it’s too humid here, and it just does NOT look the same.  Boo :(  Anyway, makeup etc. was the furthest thing from my mind on this trip (though I confess when I was in the LAX airport en route to NZ with 7 hours to spare, I DID buy a MAC mascara – Haute ‘n’ Naughty – because I was planning to buy it when I returned, and with duty free and the price difference ($23.50CAD vs $20US), I ended up saving $7-8 bucks – sweet!  Will review soon!).  Oh, I’m lying, I did buy one other thing, but I think I might use it for a giveaway soon, so I’m gonna keep that to myself for now!

Pauanui, in the Coromandel Penninsula of NZ.  Check out that hair!  No product whatsoever :)

Anyway, enough rambling – time for pictures!  Since this could easily get lengthy, in this post I’m just going to summarize the ‘beauty’ portion of the trip – tomorrow I will post actual photos of New Zealand itself :D  (I know, waiting sucks, but it’s tough to find time when you’re majorly jetlagged – I keep sleeping in till the afternoon :S – and trying to fit in seeing everyone again…it’s crazy-busy!).

What I packed for cosmetics:

I put Bumble & Bumble deep conditioner in the Ojon jar, TIGI styling lotion in the Aveda container, and TRESemme conditioner in the Bioderma container lol (reuse and recycle!).  Everything in this picture was entirely used except for all of the styling lotion – still some left!

The Curel lotion was used up in about two weeks, max – I had to give in a purchase a small Aveeno lotion to get me through the rest of the trip.  I’m just finishing the Glysomed hand cream, the Dove soap is still kickin’, and I barely used the Vichy sunscreen – I know, I know, and they have a big ol’ hole in the ozone layer over NZ which on bad days can burn you in 2.5 minutes (no, I’m not exaggerating, this is fact!), but dudes – it was pretty damn chilly there!  I wore sleeves and pants almost every single day… :(  The Burt’s Bees cuticle cream took a beating, and the deodorant was entirely used up, it lasted *just* until I made it home!

I bought the travel size of the Purity cleanser before I left – even though I’m leery of the ingredients, I still really like this cleanser and don’t have any issues with it.  The Simple cleansing cloths I had bought a while ago but had only used a handful – these were awesome when you were out in the wilderness or if you were sharing a bathroom/shower and wanted to get it done quickfast.  They also served as my exfoliant on the trip, and worked quite well! 

My trusty facial SPF standby, Clinique’s City Block Sheer, is still going despite using it every day; the Clarins Sun eye cream is on it’s last legs and expired at the end of Oct so it’s going in the trash now.  The little pot beneath it is my 100% Pure Coffee Bean Caffeine eye cream, which I squirted into this container – I used almost the entire pot to try and combat those late, excessively boozy nights of which I had FAR too many.  Vaseline – the cureall, and of course not even near finished.  Next to it is Weleda’s Almond Facial Lotion, which was very nice and which I used up completely.  The Clinique Dramatically Different Lotion and the Moisture Surge samples I’ve finished only since I got home, though note I did have TWO of the Moisture Surge packed.  I used the Clinique Even Better SPF20 sample up the first week I got to NZ as the weather was still cold enough to justify a heavier moisturizer.  I carried the La Roche Posay moisturizer sample around with me everywhere and dabbed it on when needed – that tiny thing lasted about two weeks!  Lastly, the sample of Clinique’s All About Eyes serum I used in the AM and it’s still probably half full, it lasts ages!

In an effort to get rid of the millions of perfume samples I have, I brought a handful with me – but forgot to apply it most of the time!  As such, I only used up the Escada sample (last one on the right), which was a sweet scent and perfect for summer (not that it was quite summer in NZ…brrr!).  The rest (3 Jo Malone and 1 Bond No.9) were worn sporadically, and still are quite full :S

Lastly, we have the makeup.  I also threw in a green Urban Decay 24/7 liner in the mix just before I left for a little color, which I did wear sometimes on the lower lash line when we went out.  For the most part though, I just wore one of the two Bobbi Brown Pot Rouges (or sometimes both at once), a touch of mascara, and concealer (which I forgot to feature here).  When we went to a bar, I’d add one of the two black liners, a bit of foundation (in the contact lense case – learned that trick online somewhere!), and some lip gloss.  Out of all this makeup, which was mainly the dregs of my collection – items that were near done or which I wanted to use up – NOTHING was finished, because of the infrequency of wear.  DAMN.  The samples of primers, the loose shadow in the jar, and the sample Burberry lippies weren’t even touched.  BOO :(

I stored all my makeup in this little case:

Cute, eh?  Don’t know where I got it, but it was the perfect size, and I liked being able to see what was where. 

I think my cosmetics stash was pretty reasonable for five weeks, for a beauty junkie – don’t you?  Actually, one day I was unpacking my whole backpack (which I had to do EVERY day because it only opened from the top – super annoying!), and the girls in my room were shocked at how little stuff I had overall.  It sounds great, but honestly I was NOT prepared – for all the partying!  I had brought one black tank top, one dressy sleeveless shirt, one pair of jeans, and two dresses (each of which I wore only once because it was NOT a dress kind of trip) for ‘going out’ clothes.  I had NO idea that I would be out dancing my ass off at bars and clubs for half of the trip…FAIL.  I thought I’d be off hiking every damn day, not getting wasted in Queenstown at World Bar where drinks are served in teapots, or singing kareoke at the Establishment bar in Wellington!  Not one other person packed as ‘practically’ as I did, either.  Dammit all to hell.  Ah well, I still had the BEST time a gal could have! (but I did buy a whole new outfit once I returned to Auckland near the end of my trip – at least ONE night I was well dressed lol).

My totally awesome new pants, as part of my brand new outfit – that got only one use while away lol

Alright, that’s it for this installment – I go back to work tomorrow, and actually have to get up at a respectable time!  I will post photos of the actual trip tomorrow!  In all fairness, this IS a beauty blog, so I had to get the business side out of the way first :)

I’m really glad to be back, I missed you all!  I can’t wait to catch up on the goings-on in the beauty/blogging world, I hope I didn’t miss anything too crazy!  Let me know all the gossip – and what I NEED to know regarding makeup collections, etc.  I am so MAJORLY out of the loop!!!!

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