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Thursday 29 October 2015

Vibrant Lips with The Born Pretty Store

Hi, everyone! It's no secret that I'm the ultimate sucker for a vibrant lip. And when I can find a vivid lip colour at a killer price? Even better! I've been collaborating with The Born Pretty Store- an Asian-based online cosmetics retailer- for the past several months and have never been disappointed with one of their lip products. The packaging is adorable, the shades are bold and fun, and the prices are incredibly low! Here's a peek at two of my most recent lip loves from Born Pretty

The first lippie is one heck of a bright shade, Mili Fluorescent Lip Gloss* in Shade #5 (which you can find here). It costs a mere $3.59 USD and applies to lips smoothly with a high colour saturation. The lasting time was average as glosses go, but given the price, I have no complaints about this. The shade isn't for the feint of heart- and that's kind of why I love it! 

My second vibrant lip love from Born Pretty comes in the form of the LipHop Makeup Velvet Matt Lip Gloss* in Shade #4 (which you can find, here). It's a whopping $2.92 USD and is the most gorgeous shade of vivid watermelon coral that I find to be super flattering with my skin tone. It is definitely not the smoothest, most hydrating lip colour I've used, but the pigmentation and wear time are phenomenal! Definitely on par with other budget-friendly matte liquid lipsticks I've tried. 

As I'm getting back into the swing of blogging following a bit of a break (or at least a bit of a slow-down), I figured the best way to jump in was to feature items that truly brighten my day. Few things can transform my mood like a neon lip for a steal of a price! When I first started working with Born Pretty the ultra low prices had me skeptical, but I've truly been nothing but impressed! If you're on the hunt for an ultra cute, ultra affordable lip colour, peeking at Born Pretty is definitely worth your while :)

If you visit, you can enter the code VIBH10 to get 10% off your order! Enjoy!

What are your favourite vibrant lip colours? Have you been pleasantly surprised by a budget makeup item lately? What makeup items instantly cheer you up?

*These products were sent to me for consideration and review. All expressed opinions are 100% authentic and my own!

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Makeup from Halloweens Past

Hi, everyone! Apologies again for the lack of posts lately- life has been ramping up and my resolve to blog after work has been wavering. I am determined to get back on track, though! One thing that always re-ignites my passion for makeup is Halloween. While I'm still unsure what character will adorn my face this year, when I saw Chelle's Post from yesterday, I thought it might be fun to share a Halloween makeup retrospective with you! It was ultra fun looking back at my previous creations- it definitely inspired me and maybe it'll give you some ideas too! 

Halloween 2014 #1: Pop Art
One of the looks I created last year was straight from the canvas of iconic pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. I was inspired by this look from blogger Keiko Lynn and also studied some of Lichtenstein's most iconic works to put this look together:

Halloween 2014 #2: The Siren
The second look I created last Halloween was inspired by a couple gorgeous sources, this look from Pinterest and this look from Coco at The Beauty Milk. I used shades of gold and green to channel my inner mermaid- I kind of wanted to wear this look every day afterwards! 

Halloween 2012: Welcome to the Dollhouse
A few years ago I opted to create a look both adorable and creepy, heavy on the creepy. I wanted to play with a look that helped me build my makeup skills (like covering up my natural brows and expanding the look of my eyes), while still being accessible. I was happy with how it turned out- and it was fun spooking out my boyfriend that day :)

Halloween 2013: Purple Fairy
This was a last-minute costume that was also drawn from the ultimate inspiration machine, Pinterest. I was smitten with this gorgeous look, so decided to don my wings and paint my face in shades of ethereal purple and pink. I really felt like a fairy! 

Halloween 2011: Feeling Devilish
If you've noticed a theme in my Halloween costumes, it's that they're all about the makeup and the costumes themselves are pretty bare bones. For my devil costume, the horns and pitchfork were mere accessories to my bold smokey eyes and killer contoured cheeks. I really did feel like a badass! 

Halloween 2009: Cleopatra
Back in 2009 I decided to tackle the ancient queen of beauty herself, Cleopatra. I paired shades of peacock and burnished gold with dramatic winged liner, huge lashes, and black brows. The wig I wore was totally cheap looking and a bit askew- I almost preferred the way the makeup looked with my natural hair and a gilded snake headband :)

2009: Film Noir
So this one wasn't for Halloween, but rather an annual Toronto tradition, Fake Prom. Fake Prom is a themed costumed dance that's way more fun than any real prom, that's for sure! The theme that year was Film Noir, so I donned by best '40s makeup and vintage dress and made a bit of mischief!

So there we have it, a roundup of my favourite Halloween looks from the past several years. There are few things I enjoy more than putting together creative, out-of-the-ordinary makeup looks and Halloween gives me the perfect opportunity to do just that. Whatever makeup I decide to wear this  year, I know the process will be beyond fun. I can't wait to share it with you!

What costume are you sporting this Halloween? What was your favourite Halloween makeup you ever created?

Thanks for dropping by! xo

Friday 23 October 2015

Veracious Product Review: Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Fluid Foundation

Hi, everyone! It's the weekend- woohoo! I'm especially excited because I'm getting some special visitors tomorrow- my sister, brother-in-law, and my adorable little niece! Cannot wait to host them here in the big city and share some quality family time. I'm sure you'll be seeing some photos soon :)

When it comes to the blogosphere, I've come across countless reviews that have either introduced me to a holy grail product or saved me from splurging on a stinker. Your reviews really make me an informed shopper! That said, there have been times when remaining open and objective have also helped me to stumble across some gems. Upon the release of Make Up For Ever's new Ultra HD Fluid Foundation*, I'd read some mixed reviews. Opinions were generally positive, yet there had been somewhat of a consensus that this wasn't the best option for oily skin. This made me rather hesitant, but when Make Up For Ever, one of my original makeup loves (since the '90s, people!) offered to send some Ultra HD Foundation* my way, I decided to keep an open mind and eagerly said  yes. So, so happy I did! 

The Ultra HD Foundation* comes in Make Up For Ever's typical glossy black packaging with white lettering. The box features a description of the product as well as a full ingredient listing. 

The foundation is housed in a cylindrical sturdy plastic bottle with an ultra handy pump dispenser: 

I'll go into more detail below, but the texture of the foundation is, as the name suggests, quite fluid. Here is a single pump of the foundation on the back of my hand. As you can see, it starts to run when gravity takes over:

So onto the nitty gritty! I'll first let you know what Make Up For Ever has to say about the foundation, then I'll give you my own breakdown! 

Make Up For Ever describes that the new Ultra HD Fluid Foundation* was designed to accommodate the new 4K, beyond sharp, television screens, aiming to be completely undetectable on camera, screen, and in real life.  It promises "medium to buildable coverage with an even lighter weight, second-skin texture that looks just like skin... [It is] long lasting with a natural finish... formulated with hyaluronic spheres to ensure comfortable wear on all skin types" (from 

Sounds promising, indeed! Here are my thoughts on the product, after wearing it several times: 

Colour Match-First off, the Ultra HD range offers a totally impressive range of 40 shades- amazing! I selected shade Y225 Marble, which is decidedly yellow-toned and reminiscent of MAC's NC20 offerings. Y225 is definitely more yellow than my natural skin tone and is *ever so slightly* darker than my skin, but when blended in, it matches quite beautifully and evens out the redness in my skin incredibly well! 

Texture-The texture is quite fluid, but is not the most runny/watery I've come across. When pumped onto the hand, it does begin to run quite quickly if the hand is tilted (see above photo).  When applied to the face, it has a noticeably silicone-y texture, yet still feels incredibly lightweight. 

Application- This formula really blends like a dream! Not only does it take minimal effort to blend, but it is also incredibly buildable, as promised. I typically add a second layer of foundation on areas with more redness, breakouts, and I've had no problem with things looking cakey or settling into pores. It also does not highlight any dry or rough patches in my skin. 

Coverage- This foundation truly is buildable! I find that one pump creates a coverage just shy of medium, while two pumps (what I typically use) results in a coverage somewhere between medium and full. With two pumps, only my dark circles and most pesky blemishes/scars show through. 

Finish- "Natural" would be my best description of the finish. It definitely isn't matte, yet I don't find it to be dewy or glowy either. It truly just looks like healthy skin (but better!). 

Wear- This is the area in which I was most pleasantly surprised! Yes, this foundation does tend to let natural oils peek through after about 6-7 hours or so. But, impressively, the break-through oil does not cause the foundation to break up, separate, or get cakey. As such, a quick pass of blotting papers fixes things perfectly! Sometimes I don't even blot, as the shine is far from the most intense I've experienced with other bases. I truly find that I can wear this for a solid 10 hours without the foundation disappearing or otherwise looking unsightly. 

Now here are some photos to demonstrate the Ultra HD Foundation* on my face! Like a bad blogger (forgive me, I was still in the grips of a terrible cold at the time), I completely forgot to take a "before" picture. But hopefully the photos below are still helpful!

Here I am wearing about 1.5 pumps of the foundation. As you can see, it really covers everything except from my dark circles and darkest red marks:  

Wearing 1.5 pumps of Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Foundation in Y225 Marble

And here is the foundation in the context of a completed makeup look, topped with Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light:

And finally, here are shots of me, on the same day, about 9 hours after applying the foundation (without any blotting or powdering in the meantime). As you can see, there is definitely some break-through shine, but the coverage of the foundation is still completely intact. You can ignore the redness around my nose, as that was 100% due to all the nose-blowing I was doing at the time! 

If you couldn't already tell, I am quite smitten with this foundation! The coverage is impressive, yet the finish is totally natural. It isn't the best at oil control, yet still wears quite nicely through a full day of work without breaking up or sliding off the face. It feels incredibly lightweight on the skin and does not seem to irritate my sensitive, acne-prone skin. It's truly great stuff! 

If I've tempted you, you can find Make Up For Ever Ultra HD Fluid Foundation* at Sephora for $50 CAD.

When was the last time you were pleasantly surprised by a product? Have you tried this foundation? Does it sound like your kind of base?

Have an amazing weekend! xo

* This product was sent to me for consideration and review. All expressed opinions are authentic and 100% my own! 

Tuesday 20 October 2015

Putting My Sephora VIB Points to Good Use with Caudalie!

Hi, everyone! After a self-imposed blogging break to get my work and life in order, I'm returning with a new post today. First off, I'd like to thank everyone for their warm congratulations on my PhD graduation- you have all made the accomplishment extra special!! This blog has truly kept me sane and balanced throughout graduate school and all of your support means so very much. Thank you, thank you!

I know there has been a lot of controversy in the Sephora BI/VIB world these days and, as such, I haven't been making any special moves to rack up my points ultra quickly. But in my normal month to month shopping, I'd managed to accumulate over 500 points and had been biding my time to wait for the perfect reward. Earlier this week, I found just the treat- the Caudalie Skincare Stars Set, which was a 500-Point Perk from Sephora. Well worth it in my books! 

Caudalie is a brand that's always on my radar, though I haven't tried much from the line over the years. I've heard great things about their formulas, appreciate their affinity for natural ingredients, and appreciate their several environmental initiatives. When I spotted the Skincare Stars Set, I knew it was finally my opportunity to give the brand a proper go.

The set contains four skincare items, pretty much a complete daily regimen. It includes their Gentle Cleansing Milk (1oz), Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (.33oz), which I've been dying to try for ages, Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (.33oz), which I know has been raved about by Essie Button, and their Polyphenol C15 Anti-Wrinkle Eye & Lip Cream. All of the goodies feature their signature grape-based antioxidant and brightening ingredients and come in quite generously sized tubes given their mini status. 

I cannot wait to give this set a go- I'm fairly confident my skin will totally love it. Overall I'm so happy that I held out for the perfect VIB reward- I'll get back to you soon with my thoughts on the set to see if my patience truly paid off! 

Have you tried anything from Caudalie? Any favourites?

Hope you're all having a wonderful week! xo

Friday 16 October 2015

Life Recently: It's Official... I'm a Doctor!

Hi, everyone! Coming at you today with a quick, but exciting post. Most of my regular readers will know that I've been in graduate school for the past million several years and that I completed my PhD Dissertation work back in May. That was beyond a huge milestone for me and yesterday marked another- my graduation! I got to don my velvet robes and cap, cross the stage, and make this thing official: I have my doctorate! Just call me Blogger, Ph.D. :)

The ceremony yesterday was long, but lovely. Between the nerves and the heaviness of the gown, I was hot!! It felt like such a relief to finally line up near the stage to get my diploma. Once on there, I was hooded by my longtime supervisor, who has been by my side for the past 8 years. It was quite an emotional moment! 

Afterwards, we headed outside for some fresh air, where I met up with my (ultra proud) parents. I posed for some photos and shared the love with my family, classmates, and professors. 

By the time the ceremony and photos were over, my tummy was grumbly so we head down to Joey Eaton Centre, a nearby restaurant, for some celebratory grub. My boyfriend Adam met us there for the meal, which completed the special day perfectly! 

To conclude, I want to send a heartfelt thank you to all of my friends in the blogosphere who have sent along their congrats and messages of support as I finished up my Ph.D. Your kind words and encouragement truly mean so much!!

Have a wonderful weekend :)

Wednesday 14 October 2015

A Brief Break; Cuteness in the Meantime!

Hi, everyone! I realize that I haven't posted in a few days and, looking ahead, it seems like blogging won't be in my timeline for the next few. I was busy with Thanksgiving festivities, now work, and tomorrow is my PhD graduation! My parents are coming into town this evening and tomorrow I cross the stage to make it official! I will be back next week with some reviews and tutorials, but for now, I leave you with my favourite photo of my niece and I. 

Have a wonderful week and I'll be back with you soon! xo

Saturday 10 October 2015

Look of the Day: Bumble Cola

Hi, everyone! Thanksgiving weekend is in full swing (at least for us Canucks), which means I'm once again nestled in my hometown anticipating bushels of food and tons of family time. Always a good thing in my books! Apologies if ya'll are getting sick of my face- I'm coming atcha with another Look of the Day today! I have some new reviews coming up soon, but in the meantime I continue to play around with my new makeup goodies and have been happy with how the looks have been turning out. This look includes products I've featured on the blog before, but today I was able to create my most favourite combination with them yet! 

The perfect pair of this look is ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble and Clinique Cheek Pop in Cola Pop. I'd been struggling with how to wear Bumble (although it's a fab neutral rosy red, it was deeper than I originally expected), but when I paired it with Cola Pop, I knew it was a match made in makeup heaven! Both Cola Pop and Bumble offer stunning hues of muted reddish berry that are so utterly perfect for Fall. I'm so glad they found each other! I've also been applying a very thin layer of Bite Beauty's Maple Lip Mask underneath the ColourPop Ultra Mattes, which has been helping me to enjoy these liquid lipsticks much more.

On the eyes, I kept the lids fairly neutral, thanks to the lighter shades in Gucci's Crystal Copper quad and a fab neutral matte brown shadow from Inglot. I opted for this so that I could add a pop of colour with the eyeliner- YSL's Faux Cils Shocking liquid eyeliner in Deep Green. I've never found such a lovely teal liner that's also so easy to apply! 

I always struggle with the lighting in my parents' house, but hopefully you can still get a good idea of the shades and finishes!

Here's a closeup of the shades and textures of Deep Green, Cola Pop, and Bumble, followed by a full breakdown of everything I'm wearing! 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Make Up For Ever HD Ultra Fluid Foundation in Y225 Marble
Concealer: Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Flawless Wear Concealer in Light

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Long-Wearing Pressed Powder in 011 Creamy Natural (on t-zone) and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (lightly all over)

Blush: Clinique Cheek Pop in Cola Pop
Highlighter: RMS Living Luminizer

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

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original formula
Eye Shadow: From the Gucci Magnetic Colour Shadow Quad in Crystal Copper- golden shade over the lid, ivory shade as a highlight and Inglot Eye Shadow #357 (on the crease)

Eyeliner: YSL Eyeliner Effet Faux Cils Shocking in #4 Deep Green  
Mascara: The HotShop Long Lash Mascara (from the Born Pretty Store)

Lipstick: ColourPop Ultra Matte Lip in Bumble


And a few more shots of the look:

This look has carried me through a trip to the local mall (about a quarter of the size of malls in Toronto, yet always a nostalgic visit- plus it has a Sephora now!) and will be with me while grabbing a pint with my friend tonight. I aimed to create an everyday Fall look with a bit of extra oomph and I think that's just about what happened! 

Have you tried any of the products I featured today? What is your everyday Fall makeup like? 

Hope all of your weekends are ultra relaxing!

Thursday 8 October 2015

Look of the Day: A Perfect Storm

Hi, everyone! Now that IMATS has come and gone, it's high time I start to play with the new goodies I purchased at the show. Over the past weekend, I decided to push through my cold (which is now finally getting better!) and experiment with the stunning metallic neutrals and jewel tones in the Sleek i-Divine Eye Shadow Palette in Storm. In the process, I was able to create a look that is both colourful as well as totally wearable. Three cheers for budget shadow palettes that pack a punch! 

Using the Storm Palette, I first applied a metallic mid-tone gold shade on the inner half of my lid, as well as on the inner corners and the inner portion of my lower lash line. I created some dimension in the crease with the matte taupe shade and shaded the outer corners of my eyes with the rich blue and purple shades. For a contrasting colour, I lined the outer half of my lower lash line with the emerald-toned green from the Storm Palette. To define the upper lash line, I reached for a cheery jewel-toned purple in Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Liner in Ransom

For the complexion, I wanted to keep things natural and luminous. I used Make Up For Ever's new Ultra HD Fluid Foundation and highlighted the high points of my face with MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade. I have been lusting after this highlighter for almost 10 years (it was initially a limited edition release in 2006) and I'm so happy it's finally mine! On the cheeks, I reached for Sleek's Powder Blush in Flush. It's an intimidating russet red in the pan, but on the cheeks it mimics its namesake- a truly natural flush! 

I decided to contrast the colourful eyes with a natural, neutral lip. I first lined the lips with MAC Subculture (my first-ever lip liner years ago, and perhaps still my fave) and then topped it with one of my favourite unique, flattering nude lipsticks, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy. And voila! 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Make Up For Ever HD Ultra Fluid Foundation in Y225 Marble
Concealer: Cle de Peau Concealer in Ivory

Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Long-Wearing Pressed Powder in 011 Creamy Natural (on t-zone) and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light (lightly all over)

Blush: Sleek Powder Blush in Flushed
Highlighter: MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade

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

Primer: Urban Decay Primer Potion Original formula
Eye Shadow: Sleek i-Divine Eyeshadow Palette in Storm (gold shade on inner corners of the lid and lower lash line, green shade on outer half of lower lash line, purple shades on outer corners of the lid, matte brown shade in the crease)

Eyeliner: Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Ransom  
Mascara: The HotShop Long Lash Mascara (from the Born Pretty Store)

Lip Liner: MAC Lip Liner in Subculture

Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy


And a few more shots of the look:

I'd been eyeing the Sleek Storm Palette for ages and I'm so glad I finally snagged it! Its mix of neutrals, roses, blues, and greens make it ultra unique and versatile- I'm sure this isn't the last time you'll be spotting it in a Look of the Day! 

If you're reading this Friday morning, I'll likely be snoozing on a terribly early train heading to my hometown for the Thanksgiving weekend (yup, it's Thanksgiving in Canada, folks!). I'll be getting to spend some time with my niece (and the rest of my family, of course!), which is always the ultimate treat for me.

Hope you're all getting to relax this weekend as well! Happy Thanksgiving! xo