Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Currently Obsessed: Clinique Cheek Pops in Cola Pop and Heather Pop

Hi, everyone! First off, I'd like to extend a huge thank you for all of your kind words in response to my latest Vibrant Health post. Your encouragement and enthusiasm about my yoga practice were much appreciated and totally inspiring! Happy to have spread a bit of motivation as well- please let me know if you give yoga a try or test out any of the videos I shared. Would love to hear about your own yoga experiences! 

Now onto another recent inspiration of mine- these seriously stunning new blushes from Clinique. Regular readers of the blog will know that the Cheek Pops were one of my favourite makeup releases of 2014 and quickly rose to the ranks of the top blushes in my books. So when I heard that Clinique was creating several new colours this Spring 2015, my heart skipped a beat! I was lucky to snag two of these lovely shades during the recent Sephora VIB Sale and have been properly obsessed ever since. 

The Clinique Cheek Pops are packaged in square-shaped floral-printed cardboard boxes in typical pastel Clinique colours. 

The blushes themselves come in clear, circular plastic compacts that allows you to view the blush inside. This is such a nice touch because the blushes themselves are a true work of art! Each pan of colour comes molded like a blooming daisy, which is completely unique and beautiful. Luckily, the formula is smooth, yet solid, so the floral design lasts for many, many uses. My much-loved Ginger Pop still sports the pattern after a year of use. 

The first shade I selected this time around was Cola Pop which, in my opinion, is the most unique of the new offerings. Cola Pop looks like a deep reddish berry brown in the pan (potentially intimidatingly dark for some), but on the skin imparts such a beautiful natural flush. 

Clinique Cheek Pop in Cola Pop

I also snagged Heather Pop, which may look slightly unassuming in the pan, but is incredibly flattering and did fill a gap in my blush stash. Heather Pop is a pale to mid-tone neutral pink that seriously goes with any makeup look. It has instantly replaced Tarte Exposed as my go-to no-brainer blush, as I prefer the subtly glowy formula to Tarte's flatter, matte finish. 

Clinique Cheek Pop in Heather Pop

Here are both of the blushes swatched on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone), first heavily, then more softly:

And both of the blushes in the context of completed makeup looks. 

First, Cola Pop

and then Heather Pop

So here is a quick refresher on why I am properly obsessed with these pretty little blushes:

  • Of course, the packaging. The dainty floral design is truly beautiful! Plus the flower pattern lasts through many, many uses. 
  • I love that these can be worn quite sheer or be built up easily for a bolder flush
  • These provide the most lovely, soft glowy finish. No shimmer or glitter in sight, just a natural luminosity
  • These blend so beautifully- they are incredibly smooth and not at all powdery
  • The formula is seriously long-wearing. It still looks perfect after a long day of work! 
  • Compact packaging makes these perfect for travel
  • At $24 CAD, these aren't ultra budget, but I feel they are wonderfully affordable given the high-end quality

I really have no cons or qualms about these. For real. For the price, I think Clinique's Cheek Pops are the best on the market. So please indulge your love of flowers and pretty, colourful cheeks and pick one (or six) of these up! 

Have you tried any of the Cheek Pops? What are your favourite blushes at the moment?

Thanks for dropping by! ox

Monday, 27 April 2015

Vibrant Health: In Love with Yoga

Hi, everyone! So, a new week has started and, instead of sinking into the doldrums of the Monday blues, I'm attempting to approach the day mindfully, moment by moment. Don't get me wrong, I can worry with the best of them, but I've been purposefully aiming to be in the present more often, more whole-heartedly. A huge impetus of this mindset has been my re-connection with yoga. I have done yoga on and off for years, but had gotten out of touch. With my New Years resolution of diving back into the practice, I have actually rekindled a passion. I have been doing online-based yoga videos 2-3 times per week since January and am now properly addicted. Given that I'm also addicted to expensive lipsticks and frozen yogurt, it's nice to have a healthy vice in the loop as well. 

Soaking in some serious sun in Mountain Pose

So why do I love yoga? Let me count the ways:

  1. It encourages me to be in the present moment. To quiet my mind, feel my breath, and experience every sensation in my body without judgement. To not scold myself if I'm feeling stiff and to embrace my inner power. Cheesy, but true! 
  2. It makes me feel incredibly strong! I noticed my muscles returning after the first couple of weeks and during every workout I find myself being able to hold some badass move I didn't think I could do. 
  3. It is so, so easy to notice progress! Every time I hit the mat, I notice that I'm able to hold a pose a little longer, lunge a little deeper, or take fewer breaks. It's wonderful reinforcement that keeps me going!
  4. It inspires a mindset of self-compassion. This doesn't mean letting yourself off the hook (pushing yourself is important), but it encourages you to laugh, breathe, and smile when you fall or slip up.
  5. It's tougher than it looks! There is something beautiful about a pose that looks gentle and still, but feels incredibly challenging. 
  6. Not only am I getting stronger, but more flexible too! It is always so exciting when you find yourself comfortable(ish) in a pose that you couldn't quite reach a few days before.
  7. When I finish a yoga workout, I feel simultaneously strong and relaxed. It's truly blissful!

In search of a home-based practice that would keep me positive, motivated, and engaged, I was lucky enough to come across Yoga with Adriene. I instantly connected with this Austin, Texas based actress and yogi. She is incredibly positive and encouraging, goofy, and ultra knowledgable about the practice. She pushes her viewers to put everything out on the mat, while also focusing on options for all levels and connecting mindfully. Her motto is "find what feels good", which is a quest I'm always willing to pursue! The Yoga with Adriene videos I visit most frequently are:

Energizing Morning Yoga- a quick 25-minute video comprising of sun salutations and balancing, grounding moves. It lets me break a sweat without having to invest a full hour on busy days. 

Yoga for Weight Loss 40-Minute Fat Burning Workout- this is an amazing workout for building strength! It gets the abs seriously burning and will get your planks and lunges in tip-top shape. 

Yoga with Adriene Power Yoga- this is perfect for a serious sweat! It's fast paced and combines classic yoga moves with squats and jumping jacks for extra intensity. If you want to see me with a serious tomato face, pop on by after I've finished this one.

And here are some shots of me in action! When I first saw the photos (taken by my talented and patient boyfriend, Adam), I first thought- "ugh, I'm not posting these. I look awkward and chubby. Eeek". But I quickly realized, I am passionately for people of all shapes and sizes loving their bodies and for promoting yoga (and all exercise, really) being embraced by every body. So here I am!

Twist it out


Heels touching the ground in Downward Dog. Like a boss!

In terms of yoga gear, this curvy gal does not run from bright colour and bold prints! I find that dynamic exercise clothes make me feel just a few notches stronger and more badass. I recently picked up the printed tank (seen above) and patterned leggings (below) from Addition Elle and am totally smitten. 

And to wrap things up, I have to brag about my at-home yoga coach. Sadie is the toughest yogi out there. Here she is giving me the death glare- "don't stop now, Mommy!" :)

I cannot wait to experience my yoga practice deepen and expand as the year continues. Maybe I'll be able to do a headstand by 2016? And if not, I'll revel in the silliness and braveness in my attempts ;)

Have you tried yoga? What is your workout of choice?

Have a wonderful week! xo

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Makeup of the Month: April | Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colours

Hi, everyone! Holy crap, it's the weekend! If there was ever a weekend I needed, it's this one. It's been a super stressful kind of week, but luckily with a couple extra exciting tidbits thrown in. First, my little niece just celebrated her 1-month birthday. I'm totally smitten with this baby! Second, I have booked a trip to NYC with my parents for June! They have never been to the Big Apple, so I decided that I could not imagine a better graduation present than getting to be their tour guide for a few days. New York is my absolute favourite place to visit, so I couldn't be more thrilled!

|So before I slip into a stress and excitement-based coma, I have some fabulous goodies to share with you. Yes, I did make a pretty sizeable Sephora Haul in April, but one of the stipulations in my Makeup Resolution was that Sephora sales are independent entities, separate from my goal of one beauty purchase per month. Acceptable exception? Pitiful excuse? You can decide, but either way, let's revel in some Chanel today! 

When Chanel released their re-formulated Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colours, this lipstick fiend was obviously curious. Chanel has never steered me wrong in terms of lip colour. Even more, this new range not only offers an impressive selection of shades, but also roots each lipstick in a personal inspiration of Ms. Coco Chanel herself. If there's anything I like more than an interesting back-story, it's a lipstick with an interesting back-story!

The new Rouge Coco Lip Colours promise vibrant, luminous colour with jojoba oil and plant butters for deep hydration. 

They come in sleek black boxes with gold accents with classic black and gold squared-off tubes to match. Simple and chic- everything you would expect from Chanel!

Narrowing down my picks was a tough one, but I aimed to snag shades that are generally lacking in my collection (i.e., no more hot pinks!). After trying on several colours, I brought home Catherine and Emilienne. Along with my purchase, the sales associate at The Bay was generous enough to give me a deluxe sample-size tube of Arthur as well. They make for quite the pretty trio! 

Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colours in (L) Catherine and (R) Emilienne

Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colour Mini in Arthur

Here are swatches of all three shades on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone). As you can see, that have a softly luminous finish (not too matte, not too glossy) and a medium level of intensity (not ultra sheer, but not completely opaque either). 

Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colours in (L-R) Catherine, Emilienne, and Arthur

First off, I selected Catherine because the peachy section of my lip stash was quite small and I had been looking for a '60s-inspired lip colour that was also entirely wearable. In my opinion, Catherine is a perfect pink-tinged peach that channels a retro vibe without looking too outdated or chalky. The luminous finish makes it quite flattering! I love to pair it with blacked winged liner to channel my inner mod vixen. While I initially guessed that this shade was inspired by '60s icon Catherine Deneuve, it turns out it was actually created to honour Catherine de Medicis, Queen of France, who was a fierce patron of the arts and also a women who donned the interlocking double Cs. How interesting! 

Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colour in Catherine

Next up, I selected Emilienne partially because it was my result from this quiz (gotta love letting your life decisions be guided by an online personality quiz) and partly because I fell instantly smitten at first swipe. Emilienne is a cool-toned ruby-tinged raspberry that straddles the lines between my-lips-but better, vibrant, and vampy. It's unique, yet wearable, vivid, yet sophisticated. It's also inspired by French courtesan and dancer Emlienne d'Alencon who was a free spirit and one of the first women to wear Coco's designs. So happy that my delving into this range also led me to learn about some of these fabulous women! 

Chanel Rouge Coco Lip Colour in Emilienne

Finally, we have Arthur. This was the shade from the range that actually tempted me the most, but I had resisted because we all know I have one too many reds in my stash. But when I was given a mini tube of it, I couldn't have been more excited! Arthur is truly my kind of red. Cheery, gently orange-toned, and slightly retro. I absolutely love it! To further deepen my fascination, this shade was inspired by Coco Chanel's first love and eventual fashion muse Arthur "Boy" Capel. I feel like I'm swiping on a bit of history everytime I wear it! 

Overall, I am truly captivated by these lipsticks. The formula is a pleasure to wear- the texture is comfortable, quite long-wearing for a hydrating formula, and the luminous finish is ultra flattering. Plus, the shades are totally spot-on! Yes, these are pricey at $42 CAD, but perhaps a small price to pay for a piece of Ms. Chanel's personal loves and inspirations? ;) And clever marketing aside, these really are top-notch lipsticks!

Which of these shades is your favourite? Have you tried the new Rouge Coco Lip Colours? Are you also a sucker for shades named after real people?

Have a fantastic weekend! xo

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Veracious Product Review: Make Up For Ever Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer

Hi, everyone! I love a good foundation. I don't like to discriminate between matte or dewy, sheer or fuller-coverage formulas, but my oily skin definitely has its own preferences. If it's not a fairly bulletproof base, my complexion will seek to demolish it. While I've been able to address my oily tendencies somewhat with light, gentle skin care, my skin can always use a bit of extra help, especially when facing off with more hydrating foundations. Luckily, a top-notch solution made its way to my doorstep recently in the form of Make Up For Ever's Step 1 Skin Equalizer Mattifying Primer**.

Make Up For Ever's new Step 1 Skin Equalizers come in an impressive 10 varieties, each of which addresses a specific concern related to skin texture or tone. They can be used solo or blended together to smooth and neutralize a variety of pesky skin issues (e.g., redness, sallow skin, dehydration).  

As described on the box, all varieties of the Skin Equalizers offer 3 key benefits: 1) aiding with a flawless foundation application, 2) improving the shade and finish of foundation, and 3) helping foundation wear longer on the skin. 

The Mattifying Primer** promises just what the name suggests- a solution to combat oil, enable a more matte finish, and reduce the appearance of pores. 

The primer is water- and silica-based, which definitely differentiates it from the standard silicone-laden formulas out there. My skin is ultra sensitive to silicones, so this is much appreciated! 

The Skin Equalizer range comes in a variety of colourful tubes, the Mattifying Primer** being the least colourful of the bunch. It is housed in a medium grey tube with white lettering and a precise, narrow tip. 

The texture is decidedly thick, almost paste-like, and has a pale beige hue:

Here are some shots "Before" and "After" applying the primer. As you can see, it does nothing to correct the tone of my skin (and it doesn't promise as such), but it instantly removes all hint of shine from my complexion:

Before Mattifying Primer

After Mattifying Primer

So how does this primer perform? Here are my two cents on the ups and downs:

  • The simplest, yet most important benefit- this really helps reduce oil break-through during the day!
  • It doesn't seemed to have caused any breakouts or irritation on my acne-prone, sensitive skin
  • While this definitely renders skin instantly matte, it neither causes nor accentuates any flaky patches
  • Definitely prolongs the wear of more natural, dewy-finished foundations on my oily skin
  • Water-based formula for those sensitive to silicones
  • Practical, portable packaging that prevents dispensing too much product
  • A little goes quite a long way!

  • Leaves a tacky and mildly uncomfortable feel on the skin, rather than the "silky smooth" feel of other primers
  • This dries quite quickly on the skin, so you have to apply and blend it quickly or else things can look and feel a bit patchy
  • Definitely takes the luminosity-factor of foundations down a couple of notches (at least for the first few hours). If you're aiming for a glowy finish, skip this one.

Overall, this primer is a hit! While an even application may take a bit of effort, the extra elbow grease is well worth it. It truly keeps oil at bay better than any primer I've tried! Any combination-to-oily complexion will revel at the effect, but if you're at all dry, skip this. It's heavy duty stuff! Even I might not reach for it during the colder months, but I can certainly predict that this will make its way into my daily arsenal come Summertime! I also completely appreciate that this allows me to wear just about any foundation without melting into a greasy mess by lunchtime. My foundation options have opened up!

My experience with the Step 1 Skin Equalizing Mattifying Primer** has definitely piqued my interest in the other options from the range. As my skin deals with pretty persistent redness (see evidence above), I'm eyeing up the green-tinted Redness Correcting Primer next!

Have you tried Make Up For Ever's new range of primers yet? What is your favourite primer at the moment?

** This product was sent as a PR sample for consideration and review. All opinions expressed are authentic and my own! 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Look of the Day: Papaya/Topaz

Hi, everyone! It had been ages since my last Look of the Day, and now I've brought you two in a row! Clearly, my Sephora VIB Sale Haul was the perfect impetus to play with some new makeup and simultaneously embrace some cheery spring shades. I thought I'd share the results of another such play session with you here! Today's look highlights an utterly gorgeous product for Spring and Summer, Becca's Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Papaya/Topaz

I'm going to be reviewing my newest Becca Shimmer Souffle soon, but in short, these little pots of goodness offer a swirl of blush and highlight that blends effortlessly, imparts a flattering shimmer, and wears all day long. Papaya/Topaz is a warm orange-coral shade with veins of deeper gold throughout. For this look, I've applied it to my cheeks, as well to my lips. While the gold highlight can look a touch frosty as a lip product, the effect as a blush is perfection! It gives such a warm, summery hue to the cheeks. 

For the eyes, I found some complementary tones in Urban Decay's Naked 3 Palette. I swept Trick (a glittery burnt rosy orange) all over my lid and mixed the plummy tones of Limit, Nooner, and Liar in the crease. To steer away from my typical brown liner, I smudged Jouer Creme Eye Shadow Crayon in Renaissance (a mid-tone plum) along my upper lash lines. 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Clinique Perfectly Real Foundation Shade #1
Concealer: Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivory

Powder: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot (over t-zone) and Inglot HD Illuminizing Pressed Powder #402 (lightly all over)

Bronzer: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in Fair Matte 02
Blush: Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Papaya/Topaz

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original formula
Eye Shadows: (from the Naked 3 Palette): Urban Decay Trick (all over the lid) and a mixture of Limit, Nooner, and Liar (on the crease), Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow in ME512 Golden Beige (on brow bone and inner corners of the eye)

Eyeliner:  Jouer Creme Eye Shadow Crayon in Renaissance (along upper lash line) and  NYX Wonder Pencil in Light (on lower waterline)
Mascara: Revlon Bold Lacquer Length & Volume Waterproof Mascara in Black

Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffle in Papaya/Topaz

And a couple more shots of the look:

Boy oh boy did this look make me want Summer to be here, pronto! Though the temperatures are now dipping back into the chilly April-like range, I think Papaya/Topaz will help me to channel some warmth while I wait for things to heat up. Plus, I'd never viewed Naked 3 as a Springtime palette (the plummy tones always led for me to reach for it in Fall), but I think this look proved me wrong!

Have you tried any of the Becca Beach Tint Shimmer Souffles? Is Papaya/Topaz a shade that you'd wear? What colours do you reach for in Springtime?

Thanks for dropping by! xo

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Look of the Day: Strawberry Cola

Hi, everyone! Hope you're all having a wonderful, sunny weekend! It's been bright and warm here in Toronto the past few days and this gal couldn't be happier. Bring on Summer! If you saw my last post, you'll know that I scored some super lovely goodies at the recent Sephora Spring VIB sale. I dug into my hauled items for the first time yesterday morning and was so smitten with the products I tried, I knew I had to capture them in a Look of the Day!

The first new goody in the spotlight is one of Clinique's new Cheek Pops in Cola Pop. We all know that the Cheek Pops are among my favourite blushes out there. Not only is the packaging unique and beautiful, the formula is top-notch. Buildable intensity, a natural glowy finish, and all-day wear. Can't go wrong! Cola Pop is one of the most unique blush shades I've seen. In the pan, it's a deep brownish garnet, almost intimidatingly dark. On the cheeks, however, it applies as the most lovely warm, ruby red. Incredibly natural and flattering! I layered on a decent amount as to truly showcase the hue, but it can be worn much more sheerly than this as well. 

The second star of the show is my new Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Strawberry. I'd been lusting after these lip colours for ages and their new Spring shades drew me in further. I selected Melted Strawberry simply because it's a truly "me" colour. It applies as a vivid warm red and, as it sets, becomes more of a fuchsia sort of shade. While I do wish it retained more of its initial reddish hue, the end result is still quite lovely and the wear time is truly impressive! Plus, it feels incredibly comfortable on the lips. 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Bobbi Brown Intensive Skin Serum Foundation in Warm Ivory (sampling)
Concealer: Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivory

Powder: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot (over t-zone) and Inglot HD Illuminizing Pressed Powder #402 (lightly all over)
Highlighter: RMS Living Luminizer

Bronzer: The Body Shop Honey Bronze Bronzing Powder in Fair Matte 02
Blush: Clinique Cheek Pop in Cola Pop

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original formula
Eye Shadows: Make Up For Ever Aqua Waterproof Eye Shadow Pencil in 28E

Eyeliner:  NYX Wonder Pencil in Light (on lower waterline)
Mascara: Revlon Bold Lacquer Length & Volume Waterproof Mascara in Black

Lipstick: Too Faced Melted Liquified Long Wear Lipstick in Melted Strawberry

Lip Liner: Annabelle Stay Sharp Waterproof Lipliner in Glam Red

And a few more shots of the look:

Both Cola Pop and Melted Strawberry are bright, ultra flattering off-kilter reds that work wonderfully together and completely scream "Spring!". Paired with the most colourful floral top I had, these shades carried me perfectly through a sunny afternoon by the lake. Couldn't have asked much more from the scenery, the weather, or my makeup!

Are these shades that you would wear? What have been your go-to Spring weekend makeup goodies?

Thanks for stopping by! xo