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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Life Recently #5

Hi, everyone! It's been a couple months since my last installment of Life Recently (where I share with you shots from my (mostly) non-makeup-related life), so here are some of my favourite photos from May and June!  Hope you enjoy :)

Perfect blogging breakfast at one of my favourite local coffee shops, featuring an incredible meal of toasted cranberry focaccia and brie + an incredibly strong coffee.  Mmmm... :)

Sadie, looking pretty as always :)

My crazy desk calendar in May. Things really do get more bizarre each month, and I love it!

Went to the Royal Ontario Museum (the ROM, full of natural history, art, and ancient artifacts) and what do I take a photo of? Cleopatra doing her makeup. Of course ;)

I also managed to get a shot of this breath-taking totem poll, reaching 4 stories in height

Base of the totem poll; this dude is serious!

Blogging over breakfast, part 2. Veggie omelette and a mocha coconut latte. Heavenly!

Sleepy Sadie. Zzzzzz...

My sister's bachelorette party was in May, hosted by our lovely friend who planned the whole thing! These are the adorable gift bags she put together for us.

My sister and I at her bachelorette party. I'm closing my eyes, but love the shot anyways! Notice the table covered in amazing snacks! 

My sister's wedding colour was teal (the shade of the bridesmaids dresses), so our friend baked an ombre cake with the colour scheme. Delicious and beautiful! 

We played Cards Against Humanity, which is wickedly naughty and incredibly fun. This was my starting hand, which makes me laugh every time! Luckily nothing too inappropriate! :)

Made dinner with a friend a few weeks ago; the starter was a mixed green salad with apple and pomegranate. So yummy, especially when paired with a 10% IPA! 

Sadie's way of telling me that I've been travelling too much and that she wants to come with me next time ;)

The sky was just too gorgeous, had to snap a photo!

An outdoor, unplugged concert in Trinity Bellwoods park on a gorgeous weekend afternoon!

Sculptures in Nathan Phillips Square by renowned Chinese artist Ai WeiWei

Each sculpture is a sign of the Chinese Zodiac!

My Chinese sign is the Pig! Here he is, looking particularly smiley!

Just when you thought things couldn't get weirder... June :)

That's it! The summer has really gotten off to a fun start; here's hoping July and August are equally spectacular!

To see my previous installments of Life Recently, see here, here, here, and here.

What fun summer activities have you been getting up to lately?

Thanks for reading! xo

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Nail of the Day: Mary Kay Gold Leaf

Hi, everyone! Seems like it's been ages since my last post- I apologize for  my absence. Have been out of town visiting and celebrating with friends and family, which was an incredible blast! But now I'm back in Toronto for the rest of the summer and ready to be a blogging machine :)

Today's featured nail polish was a lovely gift from a friend and a shade unlike any other in my collection. While I'm super partial to gilded tones in many makeup products, my nail polish collection was completing lacking a proper golden shade. Enter Mary Kay Nail Lacquer in Gold Leaf.

I'm pretty sure this was the first Mary Kay product I've ever tried and I have to say I was super impressed! Gold Leaf is a warm, mid-tone, classic gold with ever-so-slight olive undertones and a highly metallic finish.

It comes in a round, elegant-looking bottle with a frosted, reflective cap. It photographs nicely!

With the help of Revlon's base and top coats, Gold Leaf applied incredibly smoothly and evenly. It took 2 thin coats to achieve rich colour and full opacity. Not too shabby! Any flaws in the manicure are definitely due to my rushed technique and the rough shape of my nails. No fault of the polish! The formula really was top-notch.

Here are a few more shots of me wearing it, under various lighting:

Overall, I was so pleased with this thoughtful little gift; Gold Leaf really is the perfect summery gold! It's a treat to have it in my collection. May have to give other Mary Kay polishes a go!

Are you drawn to gold nail polish during the summertime? What are some of your favourite gold shades for nails?

Thanks for reading! xo

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Anyone Can Wear a Red Lip! Part 1: Choosing the Right Shade and Formula

Hi, everyone! Today's post is a bit different and was totally inspired by a comment my friend made to me a few months ago. She messaged me, saying "I tried red lipstick on yesterday and I looked like a clown. I know you hate clowns. How can I get red lipstick to work?" She touched on two very important points with that comment: 1) Yes, I hate clowns. To a pathological extent. But I won't get into their shifty, demonic ways here ;) and 2) A lot of people, even those well-versed in the realm of beauty, have difficulty and apprehension when it comes to red lipstick.

I think this quandary exists for a few reasons. First, red is undoubtedly bold and many people feel they can't pull it off. "I'll draw too much attention to myself", they might say, or "I'm going to look like a hooker". To those folks (after a brief lol), I would say that it's all about confidence and finding the shade and formula that works best for you. Second, many people may hold the belief that "red just doesn't look good on me!" To this I would retort, you just haven't tried the right red! And third, I think a lot of people get overwhelmed by the undeniably extensive amount of options out there. "There were, like, 200 shades of red lipstick at Sephora. How the heck to I choose?" I would certainly agree with this sentiment, but luckily I've tried more lipsticks than most beauty editors out there, so I can offer a suggestion or two ;)

Me sporting a red lip for my Adele Oscars makeup tutorial

So, regardless of the reason you find rocking a red lip a daunting, confusing, or frightening task, this post will hopefully clarify the ins and outs of red lipstick and help you choose a shade and formula that works with your skin tone and desired effect. And if you're already a red lipstick junkie, hopefully this will further feed your obsession!

I've broken things down into three categories: Undertone, Opacity, and Finish. Really hope you find the breakdown helpful!

My red lipstick collection, standing tall and proud

1) Undertone (Warm vs. Cool Reds)

The first factor to consider when choosing a red lipstick is the undertone. Specifically, is the shade warm or cool?

Warm reds have more yellow in them than blue, so will have slight to strong orange undertones. Examples of warm red shades are brick, scarlet, carmine, terracotta, persimmon, and fire-engine red. Warm reds tend to have a 1940s or 1970s feel and look best on people with warm golden tones in their skin.

Cool reds have more blue in them than yellow, so will have slight to strong purple undertones. Examples of cool red shades are cherry, burgundy, magenta, berry, and ruby. Think 1950s movie stars or Snow White. Cool reds tend to look best on people with cool, pinky tones to their skin.

Swatches of my red lipstick collection (warm shades on left, cool shades on right)

In the swatches above, I've arranged my lipsticks so that the warmer tones are on the left-hand side and the cooler tones are on the right. As you can see, the shades on the left (warmer shades) have a brighter, more orange-toned appearance and the shades on the right (cooler shades) have a more pinky-purple look to them.

And here are some shots of me wearing both warm- and cool-toned reds, to give another visual example.

Warmer reds:

Cooler reds:

So overall, as pretty as you think a certain shade of red lipstick might be, if it clashes with the natural undertones of your skin it is less likely to be flattering. So stick with what works!
Here are some recommendations for great red lipsticks from both colour families:
Warm Reds: NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave, MAC Lustre Lipstick in Ladybug, Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipstick in Ambition and Power
Cool Reds: NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Icon, MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red, Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipstick in Decisive, Chanel Rouge Allure in Lover

2) Sheerness/Opacity

The second factor to consider is how sheer or opaque the formula is. I think many people view all red lipsticks as extremely bold and bright, but there are plenty of red shades out there with sheerer, more subtle finishes.

Sheer lipsticks are the best way to go if you want to wear red lipstick but are feeling timid. They allow you to play with the colour family without fully committing to a bold, full-bodied red. Since they are more subtle and soft, they can be extremely wearable and forgiving. They're also great for those who love red lipstick but want something a bit less conspicuous during the day or at the office.

Opaque reds are highly pigmented, bold, and do not let any of your natural lip colour show through. They're for when you want your lips to make a clear statement! I'd say they're good for any occasion (but then again, I'm highly partial to a bold lip), but opaque red lipsticks are especially lovely for special events or a night on the town.

Here are some shots of me (and some other lovely ladies) wearing both sheer and opaque red lipsticks.

Sheer finishes:

Opaque finishes:

So the lesson with this factor is: if you're scared of red lipstick, start sheer! Once you're comfortable with a sheer formula, work up to something bolder and more opaque when you feel more confident or have a big event! Here are some recommendations:

Sheer Reds: Revlon Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic, MAC Glaze Lipstick in Hot Tahiti, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy in Luscious Cherry, MAC Lustre Lipstick in Ladybug, Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis

Opaque Reds: NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave, Lush Emotional Brilliance Liquid Lipsticks in Power, Ambition, or Decisive, Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Icon or Raven

3) Finish (Glossy vs. Matte)

The final factor to keep in mind (or at least the final one I'm going to mention here) is the finish of the lipstick. Finishes can range from highly shiny and glossy to completely matte. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Glossy lipsticks tend to be more forgiving and youthful looking. Like sheer lipsticks, glossy (or semi-glossy) is the way to go if you've been afraid to wear a red lip! The downside is that glossy formulas tend to be more moist and less adherent, making them generally more prone to smudging and transferring.

Matte lipsticks have a flat, shine-free finish and tend to be more sophisticated looking and retro-inspired. Matte lipsticks are often more bold and strong than glossy ones (as they also tend to be more pigmented and opaque) and are great for when you want to make a statement. They tend to be longer-wearing and more transfer-resistant, but the trade-off is that they are more likely to dry out the lips.

Here are some shots of me (and others) wearing semi-glossy, glossy, and matte red lips.




Overall, if a full-on matte lip seems daunting and impractical, opt for something with a shinier, more forgiving finish (as long as  you don't mind it showing up on your coffee cup or significant other's face)! Here are some recommendations:

Glossy to Semi-Glossy: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Romantic, Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Volupte Sheer Candy in Luscious Cherry,  NARS Satin Lip Pencil in Majella, MAC Tinted Lip Glass in Russian Red (not technically a lipstick, but hey, it's shiny!)

Matte (or almost matte): Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Icon or Raven, MAC Matte Lipstick in Russian Red, NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella, NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Heat Wave, Chanel Rouge Allure in Lover

So overall, if you keep in mind a lipstick's undertone (and how it relates to your skin tone), opacity, and finish (given the look you're going for and how confident you're feeling), it should be a lot easier to find a shade and formula that works for you! I hope you found all of the tips and recommendations to be helpful- please let me know below!

Part 2 of the Red Lip series will talk about what to do once you've selected the right shade of red, namely how to apply the lipstick and keep it looking good throughout the day. So look out for that one soon!

Thanks for reading! xo

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Where to Find and Follow Vibrant Beauty Blog!

Hi, everyone! There seems to be another wave of frenzy around the imminent termination of Google Reader (and perhaps GFC as well?), so I thought I'd write a quick post to direct my Google-based followers to other ways to stay in touch.

The first is Bloglovin', which is an amazingly user-friendly site for managing all of the blogs you follow. It's super easy to sign-up and is a pleasure to navigate. You can follow me via the Bloglovin'  button on the right of the page or by clicking the link, here!


My blog also has its own Facebook page, which includes fun photos and sneak peeks, in addition to linking all of my posts. My Facebook followers are really the first ones to view upcoming posts and get to see other insights and ideas that may not be published on the blog. If you'd love to see updates from Vibrant, Vivacious, Veracious on your Facebook newsfeed, see the link on the right-hand side, or click here! 

Feel free to be in touch with any questions about how to follow (or even general questions, at I'd like to thank everyone for their continued support, encouragement, and readership. All of your fun, thoughtful comments really make my day and motivate me to continue making this site as vibrant and informative as possible. Couldn't do it without you!