Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Launch Info: MAC Viva Glam Ariana Grande 2

Hi, everyone! The MAC Viva Glam range has always held a special place in both my heart and my makeup bag, as it backs a wonderful cause and has created some stunning, iconic lip colours since its inception in 1994. All purchases of MAC's Viva Glam products relay 100% of proceeds to the brand's MAC AIDS Fund, which supports those living with HIV/AIDS domestically and around the globe. 

In exciting news, the Viva Glam family is expecting a new addition (two new additions, to be exact), in Viva Glam Ariana 2

A follow-up to the original Viva Glam Ariana Grande launch last year, Ariana Grande 2 offers a new Lipstick and Lipglass. Here's what MAC has to say:

"Ariana Grande is back! Play it nice and charming in Ariana Grande's shimmering neutral mauve Lipglass, or get fresh and cheeky in matte orchid pink Lipstick. Wear each shade alone, or layer together. Be a doll, and go GLAM!"

The campaign imagery has a playful doll-like theme, one that encourages you to feel both sassy and sweet! 

Viva Glam Ariana 2 Lipstick ($21 CAD) is the bolder, cheekier hue of the pair. It comes in the brand's Matte formula and is described as a "deep cool pink".

MAC Ariana Grande 2 Lipglass ($19 CAD) is the softer option and is designed to be worn alone or over top its corresponding lipstick. It is described as a "neutral nude pink". 

Again, 100% of the proceeds of the Viva Glam Ariana Grande 2 Lipstick and Lipglass will be donated to the MAC AIDS Fund!

They will be available in Canada online on September 1st and in-store on September 8th. They're available for a limited time, so scoop them up soon if you want to channel your inner playful diva and support an amazing cause!

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Currently Obsessed: Dr. Alkaitis Skin Care from EcoDiva Beauty!

Hi, everyone! We all know that I'm a full-fledged makeup addict, but nearly equally as high on my obsession list is skin care. If you've been following the blog for awhile now, you will have noticed that more and more natural, organic, green beauty brands have been creeping into my routine. The natural skin care market has totally exploded of late with products that are not only organic and non-toxic, but also incredibly luxurious and effective. I have fully embraced this surge in the market and am always eager to discover new brands and markets in the niche. So when EcoDiva Beauty offered to send along a Travel Kit** from Dr. Alkaitis Organics, I jumped at the opportunity! 

If  you haven't heard about EcoDiva Beauty, it's time to listen up! They are an online beauty retailer that focuses solely on brands that are natural, non-toxic, luxurious, and effective. They embrace beauty in a holistic sense and feel that proper self-care involves products that are both safe and a pleasure to use. Further, EcoDiva is also committed to the earth and sustainability initiatives, with a portion of every sale going to global preservation charities. A wonderful blend of pampering, self-care, and solid ethics. Plus, it's woman-founded and run! Certainly a company I'm proud to work with. Additionally, from a consumer perspective, EcoDiva also has ultra convenient policies, including free shipping over $75 and hassle-free returns. Handy! 

EcoDiva also has an eye for aesthetically pleasing, personalized packaging, with my products arriving in a luxe black box with gold lettering and a sticker with my name on it. The box also featured a sticker saying "You are Beautiful"- a lovely sentiment! 

Inside the box was the Dr. Alkaitis Organics Travel Kit** as well as a few mini samples- such a nice surprise! The package was put together so beautifully, I almost (almost) didn't want to dig in and mess everything up! 

Dr. Alkaitis is very much a cult brand in the green beauty world; it hasn't achieved the more mainstream status of lines like Tata Harper and May Lindstrom, but has a deep, loyal following of fans. The brand is created by (none other) than Dr. Saulius Alkaitis, who has both a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry and a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering. He also has extensive training in holistic medicine, which is truly demonstrated in the line! A few values and features that make Dr. Alkaitis products unique:

  • All are 100% edible (they tout the idea "if you can't eat it, don't put it on your skin")
  • All are hand-manufactured in small batches
  • All ingredients are raw, not having been heated above room temperature. This keeps the ingredients live, which preserves all of their therapeutic benefits
  • They only include ingredients that produce proven results
  • All are "adaptogenic", which means they can be used by any skin type
  • All ingredients come from organic and biodynamic growers
  • They harness age-old chemistry techniques to best harness and preserve the live, natural, nutritive ingredients

All promising and fascinating, indeed! The brand's Travel Kit** ($84.50 CAD) is a wonderful introduction to Dr. Alkaitis, featuring 8 trial-sized products suitable for any skin type. It promises to last 7-12 days' of use, but I've been using it almost exclusively for 15 days already and it's still going strong! 

The kit is housed in a reusable, recyclable zippered pouch that allows you to see the items inside. Not only does it include 8 trial-sized products, but also a complete product guide and orientation to the brand. 

Four of the products are packaged in green plastic bottles with handy pump mechanisms. These include:

Organic Purifying Facial Cleanser
A brightening, purifying cleanser that gently exfoliates and deep cleans while maintaining the skin's natural barrier and pH balance. It foams gently and leaves my skin feeling ultra clean, but not at all stripped. Plus it smells fresh and fruity! 

Organic Herbal Toner
This promises to refine pores, deeply hydrate, even skin tone, and balance the skin. It does contain alcohol, which initially made me skeptical. My sensitive skin hates alcohol. Dr. Alkaitis promises that their organic grape alcohol is completely non-irritating, which I at first thought was a gimmick, but boy was I wrong! This toner is so ultra soothing and has not inflamed my skin one bit! 

Organic Soothing Gel
This antibacterial gel promises to soothe problematic skin conditions like rosacea, acne, and eczema, while reducing redness and lightly, but deeply hydrating. It also contains grape alcohol, which I initially thought was very anti-soothing, but again, I was wrong! This stuff is truly magical. It calms my red complexion instantly, smells like herbal goodness, and adds just the right amount of hydration for a hot, summer day. Love, love, love! 

Organic Nourishing Treatment Oil
This beautiful oil is packed with antioxidants and is designed to balance sebum production and increase skin elasticity. It hydrates deeply and soothes the skin while also absorbing quickly. This stuff is also incredible! It smells and feels luxurious, yet really absorbs wonderfully as promised. It gives the skin a beautiful glow and is light enough to wear during the day. It is absolute heaven when mixed with the Soothing Gel

Then we have three richer products in little white pots. You can tell they are luxurious just by the texture! 

Day Creme
This daytime moisturizer is designed to deeply hydrate, firm, and reduce the appearance of wrinkles while adding radiance. The cream has a natural luminescence to it, which gives the skin a lovely glow. I find the texture to be a bit heavy for my oily skin in summertime, but I think it will be a godsend during the winter!

Night Creme
A thick, restorative, rejuvenating cream that plumps fine lines, refines pores, tightens skin, and deeply hydrates. It's rich in aloe (which my skin loooves) and shea butter (which is visible by simply eyeballing it) and has a subtle buttery scent. I have to say that despite its richness, my oily complexion really loves it! It hasn't broken me out one bit and whenever I use it I wake to such glowing, plumped skin! 

Eye Creme
A firming, hydrating eye treatment that soothes the eye area, plump fine lines, and reduces puffiness and dark circles. Like the Day Creme, it also has a natural luminosity, which brightens up the eye area so nicely! It feels sooo hydrating, yet also wears well under makeup. It does what it promises! 

Organic Universal Mask
Powdered masks are a common occurrence in the green beauty world, as they don't need as many preservatives and keep the ingredients ultra fresh- activated on contact with water every time you use them! This mask promises just that- a nutrient-rich formula that improves skin texture, boosts radiance, soothes, and nourishes while also gently cleansing and balancing the skin. It's bright green because it is full of ingredients like grass, spirulina, alfalfa, kale, and broccoli- a true superfood smoothie for the skin! And all this kale business is not a gimmick- my skin never looks as great as after I wash off this mask! It leaves my complexion looking so smooth, plump, even, and calm! 

If you couldn't tell by these mini reviews, let me be clear: I am so in love with this brand! I've been using these products almost exclusively for over two weeks now (aside from my separate cleansing oil) and I really have to say that my skin has not looked this good in ages (maybe ever!?). All of the products in this kit truly work to keep my breakouts at bay, calm my redness, plump my burgeoning fine lines, and impart a radiant glow. Not too bad for a range that's fully natural and edible! You truly don't need artificial chemicals for noticeable results. Yes, the price tags on the products are steep ($45-$150 CAD for full sizes), but I will not hesitate to repurchase some of these products, because they're truly that great! If I could pick my fave four from this set, they'd be the Soothing Gel, Nourishing Treatment Oil, Night Creme, and Universal Mask. Those are the extra special goodies in my books! 

Again, if I've tempted you with Dr. Alkaitis, you can find the brand (as well as several other beautiful lines) at EcoDiva Beauty, here

What is your favourite skin care brand at the moment? Any favourite natural, green beauty brands? When's the last time a trial kit totally sold you on a brand?

Have a wonderful day! xo


**These products were sent to me as PR samples from EcoDiva Beauty for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own!

++Contains affiliate links

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Getting Dark and Stormy with Tom Ford!

Hi, everyone! People who have shopped with me know that I'm a huge enabler. My goal is not to bully you into buying makeup, I promise, but typically my passion for certain products cannot be tamed and I unconsciously morph into a convincing salesperson. And my friends tend to buy stuff as a result. Girl can't help it! Once in a while I'm commissioned by pals to specifically help them pick out some new products, which totally ups the fun factor and eradicates the guilt if they spend lots of cash ;) This was the case a couple weeks ago, when a friend of mine invited me to accompany her to the Saks beauty department so I could guide her in choosing some luxury picks worth the splurge. I was more than happy to do so and, in the process, the tables were turned and I found myself being enabled as well. Buying makeup at Saks? Yeah, twist my arm, please. 

Whenever a Saks Fifth Avenue bag graces my counter top, it's a sure sign I've been up to no good that I've properly treated myself and this is no exception! After lurking and playing at the Tom Ford counter for quite a while, I tried on a new lipstick that I just could not live without. 

There are few things more luxurious and beautiful than Tom Ford Lip Colours ($68 CAD- yes, the prices have gone up- eek!) and the shade that won my hear this time around was Dark and Stormy. This colour had completely missed my radar when it was released last Fall (it was part of a shade extension range in later 2015), but it was seemingly meant to cross my path this summer. 

Like all Tom Ford Lip Colours, Dark and Stormy comes packaged in a quilted shiny brown box with gold lettering and is housed in a beautiful, weighty square-shaped tube, also of brown and gold. The lipstick bullet is imprinted with the TF logo, which is a lovely, luxurious touch that makes me almost (but not quite) hesitate to use it. 

In terms of shade, Dark and Stormy is one of the most unique, yet totally flattering vampy lipsticks I've come across. It's a complex mix of brown, berry, and red that is rich, warm and saturated while still having enough brightness to keep some life in the face. It is decidedly bold, but does not cross over into the witchy near-black lipstick zone (not that there's anything wrong with that). It has a subtle satin finish that adds a fullness to the lips and is totally opaque in just one swipe.

Here's a swatch of Dark and Stormy on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

And here it is in the context of a completed makeup look: 

The transformative powers of makeup never cease to mesmerize me and finding a unique, flattering lipstick shade like Dark and Stormy reminds me just how easy it is to channel a mood in just one swipe. This lipstick truly makes me feel bold, sultry, powerful, and glamorous- if I'm going to be enabled to splurge on makeup, why not it be on a product that not only beautifies, but also helps me feel at my sexiest and most badass?! :)

Have you stumbled across any new lipstick faves of late? What is your favourite Tom Ford lipstick? Favourite vampy lip shades?

Have a fantastic day and thands so much for stopping by! xo


Monday, 15 August 2016

Look of the Day: Sunsets and Sushi

Hi, everyone! Apologies that the blog has been a bit sparse of late- wedding planning has ramped up recently (with some exciting and productive results, thankfully), but I'm using this week to fully jump back on the blogging train! I'm getting the wheels turning with a playful, Summery Look of the Day, as it's been ages since I've shared a makeup look- and what better way to restart my engine than with some vibrant colour?

Once again, the star of today's look is the amazing Kat von D Mi Vida Loca Remix Palette, which has to be the most perfect selection of bold, but blendable rainbow shadows on the market. I truly wear it tons! This time around, I opted for a sunset-inspired makeup, drawing on hues of yellow, orange, purple, blue and green. 

For the look, I wanted to create a blended gradient starting with lighter shades of yellow, shifting into reds and oranges and fading to purples and blues. I started with Legend (a pale golden yellow) on the inner third of the lid, blended with Analogue (a true orange) and Swoon (a bold pink) on the centre of the lid. For a further gradient, I applied Anthem (a warm violet), Echo (a sparkly indigo), and Hyperballad (a saturated teal) on the outer third of the lid. For a neutral touch to unify the shades, I swept Strutter (a mid-tone chestnut brown) in the crease as a transition and then added touches of Lyric (a shimmery ivory) as a highlight on the brow bone and inner corners. For a finishing touch, I decided to integrate some green tones on the lower lash line. I started at the inner corner and worked outward, reaching for Legend (the pale golden yellow), Vinyl (a lime green), Misfit (a grassy green), and Synth (a sea blue).

I finished the eye look with my favourite deep purple liner- Chanel Le Crayon Kohl in Rouge Noir- and a generous helping of the amazing Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara in black. 

For the lips and cheeks, I reached for cheery tones of pinky coral peach. The blush is one of my all-time favourites- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta and the lipstick is a new and ultra fun pick, MAC Satin Lipstick in Sushi Kiss. The lipstick can be a bit intense and retro-looking when applied full on, so instead I dabbed it on lightly for a more subtle effect. To add some glow to the skin, I used another new goody from MAC, Beauty Powder in Glow Rida, a lovely subtle rosy golden highlight. 

Here's a closeup of the eye and cheek look, followed by a full breakdown of everything I used! 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation No10 mixed with Clinique Even Better Foundation in Alabaster
Concealer: Urban Decay Naked Skin Concealer in Fair Neutral
Powder: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Light Plus
Bronzer: Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer in Bronzed and Chic
Blush: Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Radiant Magenta
Highlighter: MAC Beauty Powder in Glow Rida

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel
Primer: Blinc Eye Shadow Primer in Light Tone and NYX Jumbo Pencil in Milk
Eye Shadow: (from the Kat von D. Mi Vida Loca Eye Shadow Palette): Legend (on the inner third of the lid) blended with Analogue and Swoon (on the centre of the lid), fading out to Anthem, Echo, and Hyperballad (on the outer third of the lid), with Noble and Strutter in the crease (as a transition) and Lyric as a highlight (on the brow bone and inner corners), and Legend, Vinyl, Misfit, and Synth along the lower lash line
Eyeliner: Chanel Le Crayon Kohl in Rouge Noir
Mascara: Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara in Black

Lipstick: MAC Satin Lipstick in Sushi Kiss

And a few more shots of the look:

This was one of those makeup looks that I really hated to wash off- I so loved how the colours worked together! I've seriously never been let down by the Mi Vida Loca Remix palette and it's nearly impossible to be in a bad mood when wearing MAC Sushi Kiss lipstick. It is so playful and full of life! 

What is your favourite colourful eye shadow palette? How do you like to wear bold colour in the Summertime? Any new favourite lipsticks?

Thanks for stopping by! xo


Thursday, 11 August 2016

#GetYourBoldOn with Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks

Hi, everyone! To say I'm addicted to lipstick is quite the understatement. There are truly few things more satisfying that swiping a brand new bullet of colour across my lips. Makeup heaven! Pretty much any new lipstick release will pique my interest, but when my favourite brands launch something new, I'm in full excitement mode. Last Thursday night I was lucky enough to attend Make Up For Ever's Artist Rouge Lipstick Launch Event, and today I'm here to explore these brand new lippies in a bit more depth! 

The Make Up For Ever Artist Rouges** were released online about two weeks ago and made their in-store debut at Sephora over the weekend. They are packaged in glossy black boxes with white and red lettering and the brand's logo (a sexy brush-adorned pair of red lips). 

The lipstick tubes are sleek and minimalistic, made of a reflective black lightweight metal. They collect fingerprints fairly easily, but this doesn't bother me too much! The caps are adorned with the MUFE logo and the inside of the tubes feature silver accents with the brand's name. 

The lipstick bullets themselves feature a unique teardrop-shaped top with a pointed tip that allows for super precise application in the tightest corners of the lips. 

So what do the Artist Rogues have to offer? The line includes an impressive 45 shades that range from classic nude to vivid coral, to pastel blue, pinup red, and black. There are 15 Mattes and 30 Creams in the range, all of which promise long wear and full-on, opaque colour. The Artist Rouges** tout 25% more pigment than the brand's previous lipstick offerings and also promise comfortable, non-drying textures and a bullet for precise application. The tag line for the launch was #GetYourBoldOn because the range offers so many unique, vivid shades and because even the palest nudes in the line are fully bold and opaque.

At the launch event, I was lucky enough to receive two Artist Rouge lipsticks to test. They are both total stunners! The shades are:

C506**- a cream formula, described as a "dark purple". I'd call it a deep berry purple. I find it to be incredibly flattering, despite its vampy hue, and will be perfect for Fall!
C603**- a cream formula, described as a "midnight blue". I'd call it a dark, slightly cool-toned peacock, blueberry blue. I really think it's as flattering as a blue lipstick can get- not too deep and overpowering and neither too light and pastel. 

Let's look at some swatches!! Here are C506 and C603 swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone):

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks in (L-R): C506 and C603

As you can see, they are wonderfully pigmented, apply evenly, and have a flattering subtle sheen. 

And here they are in the context of a completed makeup look!

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick C506

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick C603

So what are my thoughts on these new lippies? It's love! The shade range is impressive and will have something for everyone, especially guys and gals like me who love a vibrant hue. The texture is incredibly creamy and comfortable and, despite the slip in the Cream formula, the wear time is impressive! Colour is totally saturated and bold, so a little goes a long way, and you can also blot them down for more of a stain effect. I also tried one of the Matte lipsticks at the event and was equally impressed. It likewise felt quite comfortable on the lips- not drying at all and equally pigmented. My only nit-picky complaint is that the slip in the Cream formula can make them a touch messy to apply. You have to use a steady hand, a lip brush, or a bit of lip liner beforehand if you want a crisp application. Aside from that, the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouges** are perfection! 

You can find the Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge lipsticks at Sephora, here

What are your favourite lipsticks at the moment? Any faves from Make Up For Ever?

And don't forget about my MAC Lipstick Giveaway, here!

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


** These products were given to me as PR samples at the Make Up For Ever launch party event. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own!

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipstick Launch!

Hi, everyone! Make Up For Ever is a brand that has enthralled me for years. I first came across the range in 2000, at the ripe old age of 17, during my inaugural trip to New York City. MUFE then had a small boutique in SoHo where all of its employees were decked out in full-faced, colourful makeup looks. My sales associate was a young man with vivid turquoise eye shadow, whose confidence inspired me to say "I'll have what he's having". I bought the navy blue Flash Colour and teal Star Powder that he was wearing (which I still have today) and the rest was history!

As a longtime fan of the brand and its creative, artistic endeavours, it was an utter thrill to be invited to the recent launch of their brand new Artist Rouge Lipsticks. There are few combinations that excite me more than Make Up For Ever and lipstick, so I was there with bells on. Let me take you on a virtual recap of the event in all its glory! 

The Red Carpet
Upon arriving, we were instantly greeted with MUFE flags, ensuring that we were in the right place, leading the way to a lush red carpet. We were there a touch before the event began, so we had some time to take in the scenery, snap some selfies, and feel like VIPs. 

The Venue
The event was held at Airship 37, an old airplane hangar in Toronto's charming Distillery District. It was a large, open industrial space that had been transformed into a modern lounge sort of atmosphere. There were coloured lights, which created a nightclub feel, displays of lipsticks from MUFE past, video projections on the wall, and an open bar to keep the mood festive. 

The Launch
The party was all to celebrate the release of Make Up For Ever's newest pride and joy: their Artist Rouge Lipsticks ($27 CAD each). The line offers an impressive 45 shades that range from classic nude, neon orange, pastel blue, pinup red, to black. Included are 15 Mattes and 30 Creams, all of which promise long wear and full-on colour. The Artist Rouges tout 25% more pigment that the brand's previous lipstick offerings and also promise comfortable, non-drying textures and a bullet for precise application. They come in sleek black metal tubes with silver detail- quite the cool, unique design! 

The Artist Rouge Makeover
What better way to learn about a product than to get hands on!? That was the thinking behind the makeup stations set up along the back wall of the venue. Lined up were six artist chairs armed with makeup pros ready to paint your pout. They were eager to help you try on any shade that your heart desired- and my heart desired something fun and different! 

I opted for the unique and beautiful C601, which MUFE describes as a "peacock green". I'd describe it as a minty pastel green with a satiny finish. Getting my lips artfully painted was a relaxing experience and I was happy with the result! 

Later on in the night I decided that I couldn't go to a lipstick event and only try on one shade. So I went back for seconds! That time around, I opted for a classic "Jen" shade, telling them to "give me the brightest pink you have!". The artist reached for M202, a "candy pink". It was beautiful and vivid and also love at first swipe! Despite the matte formula, it did feel quite comfortable on the lips. 

The Pros
Given that this was a nation-wide launch, some heavy-hitters were in attendance. First there was Trinidad Rivas, National Education Direction for Make Up For Ever. He was gracious, engaging, funny, and had the most stunning blue eye makeup. A treat to listen to! Also speaking was Dannica Lamoureux, Canadian National Educator for the brand. She was likewise bubbly, engaging, and passionate. She had connected with several of my Canadian Beauty Blogger gals at Gen Beauty, so I was happy to put a face with the name! 

The Art
Given the artistic theme of the party, it was no surprise (though incredibly neat) that a painter was on display working on her craft. What made this performance art special was that the works were created solely using Artist Rouge Lipsticks! Usually I'd cringe at the blasphemous use of lipstick, but these creations were quite beautiful and artist Jessica Gorlicky was a treat to watch. 

The Entertainment
And the amusement didn't end there- we were also entertained all evening long by an amazing, dynamic dance troupe (I didn't catch their name- please comment if you know!). They were full of energy and attitude and were super fun to watch- especially as they were all sporting killer shades of Artist Rouges. During the first portion of the night they would take turns freestyling on an elevated platform...

... and later on they busted out in a full choreographed dance! 

The Friends and Fun
Just when you thought there certainly couldn't be any more delight to the night, things step up a notch with the presence of an amazing group of fellow Toronto-based beauty bloggers and buddies. They are always a pleasure and perfect fellow makeup geeks :)

Here I am with my date for the night, Shawna from Spill the Beauty:

You know it's a good night when you get a green lipstick print on your wine glass:

With my fellow blue-lipped babes, Andy from A Certain Romance and Maria from Pink Petals

Melanie and I wearing perhaps my two favourite shades from the range- M202 and C603:

Pink light and green lips:

A trio of vibrant lips with Katherine of The Green Bows and Melanie of I'm Not a Beauty Guru:

The Swag
At the end of the night we were lucky enough to be sent home with two Artist Rouges of our very own! More on those to come in my next post! 

Another lovely touch was a photo station set up where we could take snaps sporting our newly painted lips. We got Polaroids to take home as souvenirs, which I'll definitely treasure! 

A huge thank you to Make Up For Ever Canada for the invite and for throwing such an amazing event! This final photo really sums up how the evening made me feel:

Make Up For Ever Artist Rouge Lipsticks ($27 CAD) are now available both online and in-store at Sephora Canada. You can check them out, here!

And don't forget, I have 2 Giveaways running!

Enter my Schaf Radiance + Firming Serum Giveaway, here!

Enter my MAC Lipstick Giveaway, here!

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo