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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Most Satisfying Haul Ever?

Hi, everyone! Makeup haul posts are far from an anomaly on this blog. What can I say? I'm a makeup fiend and eager enabler through and through! Even though the title of this post is phrased inquisitively, it's still making a strong statement. Most satisfying haul ever? What, among my countless beauty booties, could rank this haul at the top of the list? The photo below is some evidence; there are clearly some lovely treasures comprising this bunch. But my superlative claim goes beyond that- below are the reasons why this recent haul might have been my very best!

It only cost $5!
Do not adjust your computer screens. Yes, $5! In a formidable show of patience (and an equally impressive series of strategic shopping sprees), I managed to rack up the maximum level of Shoppers Optimum Points. A first for me! This usually grants $170 of free goodies, but due to their "Spend Your Points" event last weekend, I had $200 at my disposal. I hit that target within five bucks and only had to pay taxes. Not a bad deal at all! 

It is chock-full of stunning Fall shades.
Fall is hands-down my favourite season. The crispness in the air, the changing leaves, the pumpkin spice... everything. While I'm partial to vibrant summery makeup hues, I always look forward to the sultry, sophisticated shades that Fall brings. Plums, navies, taupes- quite sexy, really!

It is a celebration of my finishing my year-long internship!
This past week has marked a major milestone of my PhD career. Aside from finishing my dissertation (which, fingers crossed, will be defended before the holidays!), the final requirement of my doctorate was a year-long clinical internship. A gruelling, endurance-testing endeavour that turned this willy-nilly graduate student into a full-time therapist. It turned out to be a fabulous experience, but finishing up feels like a huge accomplishment!

It saw the end of my lipstick ban.
Most of y'all know that I've been on a self-imposed lipstick-buying ban since February. At that time, I gathered all of my lipstick products and thought "that's enough!" I have to say that I'm incredibly proud that I went a full 6 months without buying a single lip product. I never thought it would be possible! Recent reflections, however, led to the realization that a ban wasn't feeling quite authentic and wasn't actually meeting my real objective of paring down and loving my stash (I've bought, like, 15 blushes this year!). I'll be writing a longer post regarding this choice, but for now, I'm totally owning it :)

As for what I picked up, I went a bit crazy with the Chanel. I snagged two goodies from their Fall collection: Rouge Coco Shine in Aura (a sheer, polished plum) and Le Vernis Nail Colour in Orage (a deep navy-soaked grey). I also chose one of their new reformulated Les Quatres Ombres eye shadow quads in Tisse Rivoli, which features the most beautiful shimmery copper and plum-tinged neutrals. I'd been eyeing it for a few months and was thrilled to finally take it home. 

I also picked up two shades from the range that had been the biggest temptation to my lipstick ban. I'd heard nothing but amazing things about the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvets and my testing in-store confirmed their worth. Ultra pigmentation, a true matte finish, and an elegant lightweight texture. I opted for two bold stunners, Frambourjoisie (a warm, reddened raspberry) and the instant classic Pink Pong (a cool, ultra-bright fuchsia). 

To round things up, I chose two Fall-perfect shades from Revlon and Clarins. I'm a huge fan of Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butters and Fig Jam had been on my wishlist for ages. It's a warm brownish plum with a sheerness that makes it totally wearable. The final selection was Clarins Ombre Matte in #4 Rosewood. It's a powdery cream shadow with a lovely matte finish. The shade is a neutral to cool taupe that can be worn sheer or built up for some extra smoke. I'm already obsessed!

So there you go, perhaps my favourite haul of all time! Luxurious, yet frugal and perfectly timed. Couldn't have asked for much more!

Have you picked up anything particularly satisfying of late? Any brag-worthy deals or new Fall favourites?

Thanks for reading! xo

Friday, 29 August 2014

Quickie Review: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot

Hi, everybody! If you've been following my blog for a while, you'll know that me and MAC Blot Powder go way back. It's my all-time favourite setting powder, as it tames shine without adding any heaviness on the skin. Despite Blot being my main squeeze, I do stray once in a while and sometimes my wandering eye pays off. 

Enter Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot. I'd  heard several UK-based bloggers rave about this one, so I was eager to receive it as part of my recent UK Drugstore Beauty Swap. First off, the packaging is ah-mazing. It hearkens back to screen sirens of decades past whose matte complexions were a trademark. 

The packaging is cheeky, retro, and feminine, which is an aesthetic I can totally get behind. The box has more puns than you can count and, on the practical side, has a handy full list of ingredients. It touts an "ultra light smooth velvety finish" and promises to be suitable for all skin tones. 

The compact is circular and made of sturdy plastic. It has a good-sized mirror and comes with a puff that so very nicely adheres to the top. And as for the powder, it's just as visually pleasing as the outer package. It's etched with stars and circles, as well as a reminder that this POWder packs some punch! It appears to be a very fair shade in the pan (on par with a MAC NC/NW20 or so), but applied on the skin it instantly disappears. I was going to swatch it, but that proved to be a futile venture! While I can't vouch for how seamless this is on darker skin tones, it's totally invisible on me!

In terms of performance, One Heck of a Blot really delivers. The texture is light as air, setting foundation easily without any extra texture or weight. It works wonders to keep my shiny t-zone in check and, when oil does break through later in the day, it's just as handy for touch-ups. No cakiness in sight! 

Overall, I'm super pleased with this powder and can't see any downsides save for the fact that this is not available in Canada! Soap & Glory really hit a home run with this one- the formula and packaging are truly lacking for nothing. While it may not permanently displace MAC Blot as my holy grail, it has been the best runner-up I've found to date!

What are your favourite makeup items from Soap & Glory? What mattifying powder is tops in your books?

Thanks for stopping by! xo

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Look of the Day: Rubenesque, Rosegold Nectar

Hi, everyone! We all know I love a good pun when it comes to Look of the Day titles, but sometimes the product names are lovely enough to stand on their own. Today's look features a few goodies from my recent UK Drugstore Beauty Swap and focuses on tones of gilded rose and peach. Soft, feminine, and glowy!

For the cheeks, I opted for my brand new Sleek Rose Gold Blush. It's a stunning rosy pink with prominent gold shimmer. It gives a wonderful sheen to the cheeks without any hint of frost. It creates such a healthy flush! On the lips, I selected another fresh summery shade from my UK swap, MUA Lipstick in Nectar. It's a cheery peachy coral that adds a kick to the lips while still being subtle enough to fit with the softer motif of the look. It's such a "me" shade- was so thrilled to receive it! 

The standout on the eyes is a longtime fave of mine, MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque. Not only is the shade name up my alley, the colour speaks to me as well. It's a shimmery golden rosy peach that gives a beautiful glow to the eyes and makes me feel straight out of a Botticelli. A perfect partner for Rose Gold

Here's a peek at the stars of the show, as well as some swatches:

(L-R): Sleek Blush in Rose Gold, MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque, MUA Lipstick in Nectar

The Breakdown

Primer: Jouer Anti-Blemish Matte Primer
Foundation: Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet B10
Concealer: MAC Select Cover-Up NC20 (on blemishes and redness) and BeneFit Fake-Up in Light (on dark circles)
Powder: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot (on t-zone) and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (lightly all over)
Blush: Sleek Blush in Rose Gold

Eye Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original
Eye Shadow: MAC Paint Pot in Rubenesque (all over lid, blended up to the crease) and Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Eye Shadow in Playa del Pink (on brow bone and inner corners)
Eyeliner: Clinique Quickliner for Eyes Intense in Intense Chocolate
Mascara: Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof mascara in Black

Lipstick: MUA Nectar

And a few more shots of the look:

Playing with my new UK drugstore goodies has been suck a treat and Rose Gold and Nectar have become instant staples! It was ultra fun to pair them with some old favourites. Who doesn't want to evoke a golden rosy glow once in a while?!

Thanks so much for reading! xo

Monday, 25 August 2014

The Summer Lip Bag

Hi, everyone! Before the summer months completely escape us, I thought I'd share with you a post about all of the lip colours I've been toting around with me during the last few months. I carry around far more than is remotely practical, but hey- a lipstick fiend needs to be prepared!

Here's what my pretty little Lipstick Queen pouch looks like all filled up with my summer lip selections. Not sure if you can tell from the photo, but it is pushing maximum capacity! That's one solid brick of lipstick :)

And below, all of the contents strewn about. Yes, I have been carrying around nearly 15 lipsticks with me of late. Crazy? Indeed! But I do always have a shade to fit my mood, outfit, or social demand at the ready. For that, I'll accept the extra weight!

As you'll see below, I'm quite a sucker for vibrant shades during the summertime (go figure).  When the temperatures heat up, I snag all the fuchsias, hot pinks, and corals in my sight. Check them all out below, organized by colour family. 

The Fuchsias
  • MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Lickable. This might be my favourite MAC lipstick of all time, and that's saying a lot! As you can see, it's almost seen its last swipe, proof that it's gotten lots of love. It's a semi sheer cherry popsicle sort of fuchsia with a subtle sheen. So perfectly summery!  
  • e.l.f. Essential Lipstick in Sociable. This is an affordable little number that really surprised me! It's a full on fuchsia with subtle silver shimmer. It packs a serious colour punch, but remains quite wearable.  
  • Revlon ColourBurst Lacquer Balm in Vivacious. A gorgeous glossy fuchsia in a handy chubby pencil format. The wear time is pretty impressive despite the glossy finish!
  • NARS Semi-Matte Lipstick in Schiap. Such an iconic shade- it's a staple of mine, particularly during the summer. It's a matte blue-toned orchid fuchsia that brightens the face so nicely!

(L-R) Schiap, Vivacious, Sociable, Lickable

The Hot Pinks
  • Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter in Wild Watermelon. This is a reddened bright pink with a semi-sheer finish. An effortless way to bring life to the face and is super comfortable on the lips!
  • Milani Colour Statement Lipstick in Flamingo Pose. This is a gorgeous warm rosy vibrant pink with ultra colour payoff and an almost-matte finish. Not for the timid!
  • Revlon ColourBurst Matte Balm in Unapologetic. Almost identical to Flamingo Pose, but a touch more coral and a smidge more matte :)

(L-R) Unapologetic, Flamingo Pose, Wild Watermelon

The Oranges and Corals
  • Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendezvous. An extremely wearable orange coral, thanks to the semi-sheer, slightly shiny finish. Perfect for those who want to try an orange-toned lip, but are feeling a bit hesitant. And the wear time is great!
  • Tom Ford Lip Colour in True Coral. What's not to love about this one? A bold pinky coral with a strong colour payoff, a subtle sheen, and ultra luxe packaging. It's beautiful stuff!
  • MAC Sheen Supreme Lipstick in Korean Candy. The truest, juiciest orange in my stash! It has a beautiful shiny finish and a sheer, but buildable formula. The shade name is ultra fun too :)
  • MAC Amplified Lipstick in Vegas Volt. The best-ever electric coral lipstick out there! I always get tons of compliments when I'm wearing it. Makes a statement, but isn't overwhelming. Love it!

(L-R): Vegas Volt, Korean Candy, True Coral, Rendezvous

The (Slightly) Softer Side
  • YSL Glossy Stain in Beige Anarchist. My all-time favourite nude, as it's not quite nude :) It's a rosy beige with subtle coppery shimmer. Works with just about any makeup look and it leaves a lovely shine on the lips.
  • Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya. This actually can be layered to create quite a bold peachy coral lip, but at first swipe, it leaves a beautiful fresh peach tint. Very summery!
  • MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crosswires. So, this isn't quite a "soft" shade, but it's one of the more muted corals in my collection. Halfway between orange and pink, this is perfect for those who want to go coral without committing to an electric lip. I reach for it often!

(L-R) Crosswires, Juicy Papaya, Beige Anarchist

I hope you enjoyed a peek in my (incredibly over-stuffed) summer bag! I'm sure it gave you a sense of my lipstick-centric ways, but hopefully it also tempted you to check out one of these fun, summery shades!

And yes, this what my arm looked like at 9am on Saturday. Typical ;)

As always, thanks for reading! Have a fantastic week :)

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Look of the Day: Human Fundamentalism

Happy weekend, everyone! In my latest post I brought to you the colourful little enigma that is the Illamasqua Fundamental Palette. It features a bitter yellow, a metallic silver, a creamy seafoam, and a jewel-toned purple. Shades that, at first glance (or second or tenth), don't appear to mesh together in any way. Since each of the colours are all completely gorgeous in isolation, I recently took up the challenge of creating a look that featured all four. Here's my go with the Fundamental Palette

For the eyes, I started by applying Cream Pigment in Bedaub, a pastel seafoam green, to the centre of my lid, blending upward. The pigmentation was beautiful, but I did find it creased quite quickly. To remedy this, I topped off Bedaub with a touch of the seafoam powder shadow from the Marc Jacobs The Siren Style Eye-Con palette. I then applied Powder Shadow in Hype, a green-tinged yellow, to the inner corners of the eye, blending it into Bedaub. To add some definition to the crease, I applied Powder Shadow in Inception (a rich purple with a subtle sheen) and a touch of the jewel-toned blue shade from The Siren palette on the outer corner of the eye. Then, I applied some of Liquid Metal in Surge, a metallic silver, underneath my lower lash line. I finished off the eye look with some deep black liner (Prestige Total Intensity in Black) and two coats of waterproof mascara (Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof in Black). 

Here's a closeup of the finished eye look:

For the skin, I kept things neutral with a subtle glow. I bronzed up my complexion with my new, uber-affordable Essence Beach Cruisers Life's A Beach bronzer and swiped my cheeks with my all-time favourite blush, NARS Deep Throat. The lips are a true mish-mash. I couldn't decide on a single lip colour, so I mixed a whole bunch to create the muted rose tone I was going for. I combined Revlon Lacquer Balm in Vivacious, Milani Colour Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chic, and MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crosswires. A random smattering, but they blended together well!

Here's another view of the look, followed by a full breakdown of everything I used:

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Liquid Makeup (Combination/Oily Formula) in Buff
Concealer: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place High Cover Concealer in W1
Powder: Soap & Glory One Heck of a Blot

Highlighter: BeneFit Watt's Up
Bronzer: Essence Beach Cruisers Bronzer in Life's A Beach
Blush: NARS Deep Throat

Brows: Maybelline Define-A-Brow in Dark Blonde
Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original Formula
Eye Shadows: (from the Illamasqua Fundamental Palette): Powder Shadow in Hype (on inner corner of the eye), Cream Pigment in Bedaub (on centre of the lid), Powder Shadow in Inception (on outer corner of the eye, crease of the eye, on outer third of lower lashline), Liquid  Metal in Surge (along centre of lower lash line), (from the Marc Jacobs the Siren palette): seafoam shade (over top of Bedaub), vibrant blue shade (on outer corners of the eye)

Eyeliner: Prestige Total Intensity Liner in Black 
Mascara: Revlon Lash Potion Waterproof Mascara in Black

Lips: A mix of MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crosswires, Milani Colour Statement Lipstick in Naturally Chic, and Revlon Lacquer Balm in Vivacious

And a few more shots of the look:

I'm so happy I took the plunge with the Fundamental Palette. It was a challenge dreaming up a look that would put all four shades to use, but as I've said- little risk, little reward! The shades in this palette really are gorgeous and I can see myself using them individually on days when I want a pop of colour but don't feel like a full-out vibrant explosion! 

Are these shades you would dare to play with? What are your favourite eye shadow palettes for a vibrant pop of colour?

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend! xo

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Veracious Product Review: Illamasqua Fundamental Palette

Hi, everyone! We all know I like a challenge when it comes to bold colour. There are few things more satisfying than taking an intimidating, vibrant shade and making it totally wearable. Or, in the case of today's product, combining seemingly incompatible shades in a harmonized way. Such is the challenge with the Illamasqua Fundamental Palette. At first sight, it's a bit of a head-scratcher. Contrasting shades, multiple textures, vivid hues. It literally made my boyfriend raise an eyebrow- "so you looked at those colours and though, yeah these would go well together?" I raised an eyebrow right back. Challenge accepted. Little risk, little reward! 

The Fundamental Palette comes in a shiny black box with minimal gold lettering and the Illamasqua logo:

The palette itself is also black and shiny (extra shiny here, as it was a very bright morning) made of lightweight yet seemingly durable plastic. It comes in Illamasqua's signature curved square shape, which isn't exactly practical, but looks quite nice! The nerd in me actually spent a few minutes trying to find out what the name of such a shape is... a concave polygon? a superellipse? Anyone know? Ok, I digress...

The back of the palette features a listing of the products as well as a description of what's inside. It touts "a startling blend of colours and textures... a playground for self-expression". That all sounds about right! 

Fundamental includes four eye colours in square-shaped pans. They are:

Powder Shadow in Hype- a slightly green-tinged matte yellow
Liquid Metal in Surge- a slick creamy, slightly warm metallic silver
Cream Pigment in Bedaub- a thick creamy pastel minty seafoam
Powder Shadow in Inception- a satiny jewel-toned purple

There really isn't a dud among them! Here are swatches of the shades on the inside of my arm (NC15 skin tone). Hype is incredibly pigmented and applies quite smoothly. Surge has quite a wet texture and is full-on at first swipe. Bedaub has a drier texture and builds to full opacity quite easily. Inception is the sheerest of the bunch, but layers quite nicely and has a pretty, subtle sheen: 

Fundamental Palette (L-R): Hype, Surge, Bedaub, Inception

Here's a full breakdown of my thoughts on this colourful, quirky palette:


  • Extremely pigmented shades- a little goes a long way! Inception is slightly sheerer, but builds up nicely
  • Incredibly unique combination of shades and textures
  • Perfect for those who love creative makeup looks and relish playing with colour!
  • The powder shadow shades have excellent staying power
  • Bedaub works wonderfully as an eye shadow base!

  • Not for the faint of heart. These shades are bold!
  • Bedaub tends to crease fairly quickly. Best used as a shadow base, rather than on its own
  • Due to the wetter texture, Surge tends to fade and slip off the skin. You might have to re-apply.
  • At $45 CAD, this is a pricier palette! Though all Illamasqua is now 25% off at The Bay!

Overall, I'm so happy I picked up this eclectic little treasure. Some of the textures might be a bit tricky, but I find it's totally worth a bit of extra effort. It truly is unlike anything I own, which is saying a lot given the size of my stash! While I likely won't reach for it on a regular basis, I know it'll be my go-to when I'm wanting a proper play with colour.

Keep your eyes peeled for a Look of the Day using this palette on Saturday!

Thanks for dropping by! :)

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

The Oskia Facial (featuring the Secret Weekend Discovery Kit)

Hi, everyone! Last week I brought to you my recent Cult Beauty Haul that featured more than a few splurge-worthy complexion treats. Perhaps the most pampering among them was the Oskia Secret Weekend Discovery Collection, which includes three generously-sized miniatures from the line. Taken together, they create an evening skin care routine that is nothing short of luxurious!

If you haven't heard of Oskia, you're not alone. This Brit-bred brand hasn't gotten much press across the pond and if it weren't for the likes of Anna from Vivianna Does Makeup, I might have remained oblivious as well. Oskia is a brand that focuses on natural, nutritious, effective skin care. They endorse beauty from the inside out (via their promotion of a healthy diet and their popular MSM-based vitamins) as well as touting that organic, plant-based ingredients can be just as effective as the numerous synthetic offerings out there. Oskia takes a strong stance against animal testing (yay!) and aims to promote the prevention of skin care woes, rather than simply treating damage after the fact. All good things!

Now onto the product at hand. The Secret Weekend Discovery Collection includes three of their best-selling products, ideal for travel or, as in my case,  sampling the brand before committing to a full-sized product. The kit is housed in a sleek rectangular box that slides away to reveal three circular glass jars with decorated lids. How beautiful! 

The back of the box not only includes handy product descriptions and application advice for each goody inside, it also features full ingredient listings. Transparency regarding product content is very important to me, so I really appreciate this inclusion! 

As mentioned earlier, I like to use all three of these products in tandem for an ultimately pampering facial. The first step in the ritual is the Perfect Cleanser Nutri-Active Cleansing & Nourishing Balm. It's designed to remove all traces of makeup while purifying and deeply hydrating the skin. I must say, this stuff is thick. Most definitely the richest cleansing balm I've tried, like a richer version of Lush Ultrabland. You only need the tiniest amount- I warm up a dime-sized dollop between my hands and massage well all over my face. It does feel quite luxurious! I remove the balm with warm water-soaked cotton pads and a washcloth would do just fine as well. It really does remove all traces of makeup! As this does not emulsify completely with warm water, however, it will leave a bit of a residue on the skin. For those with dry complexions, it might be a welcome feeling! For oily skinned gals like me, a second cleanse is necessary. I followed it up with my Kiehl's Calendula Deep Cleansing Foaming Face Wash

After my double cleanse, it's time for Oskia's ultra lovely Renaissance Nutri-Active Brightening and Resurfacing Mask. This is somewhat of a cult product, and with good reason! It looks and smells of fruity jam and is designed to gently exfoliate, brighten, and rejuvenate the skin thanks to lactic acids and natural papaya, lemon, and pineapple fruit extracts. In the jar it appears as a peachy gel-cream, yet as it's massaged into the skin, it transforms into a milky white paste. Oskia claims that this metamorphosis signifies that the key ingredients in the mask are now activated and working their magic! Their is a slight tingle to confirm that things are happening, but far from a level of discomfort. The mask removes easily with warm water only, though you can certainly use a cotton pad or cloth to be extra thorough. My skin is left very bright and even-looking, with no signs of irritation. 

The final step in the facial routine is the Bedtime Beauty Boost Nutri-Active Nourishing and Regenerating Night Cream. This ultra rich cream hydrates and treats the skin with the likes of MSM, jojoba oil, shea butter, rose hip oil, and niacinamide. As you can see from the photo below, it's much like custard in terms of colour and texture. I usually don't opt for such an intense night cream, but this is a lovely exception. While it is intensely nourishing, this does sink into skin effortlessly and does not leave a heavy feel behind. It really leaves my skin looking glowy, not greasy! And the tiniest amount does the trick. 

Here's a shot of me post-Oskia facial (makeup-less, eek!). While my complexion isn't perfection, you can see that these products have given my face a healthy glow without any excessive redness or shine. Simply a happy face! 

Overall, my first experience with Oskia has been quite lovely! The textures of the products are rich and luxurious, but are not too heavy for my oily skin. They are a pleasure to use and the results are visible without any harshness. Moving forward, I think I will reserve the Perfect Cleanser for travel, as it is much more compact and mess-free than my Shu Cleansing Oil. I can see it being a perfect holiday treat over my Thanksgiving or Christmas travels. The Renaissance Mask is something I plan to use once weekly till it's used up. There are a good 5-6 more uses in the pot left to go, and while it's tempting to use it more sparingly, I do want to integrate it regularly enough to determine just how suited it is for my skin. A full-size might be in the cards! As for the Bedtime Beauty Boost, I think I'm going to stash this one away until wintertime. It is so beautifully rich and concentrated, that I can see it keeping my skin nourished and calm throughout the entire frigid season!

I definitely have other Oskia products on my radar (the Renaissance Cleansing Gel and the Micro Exfoliating Balm in particular), but for now I will savour this handy little luxurious kit!

Have you tried anything from Oskia? What are your favourite skin care splurges?

Thanks for dropping by! xo