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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Make Your Move with Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess!

Hi, everyone! Chess is a game that I quite admire, but have yet to master- at least consistently. I've learned how to play three times in my life, with about 10 years between each lesson. When I was ten years old, my little brainiac of a sister (just having learned the game) taught me chess and I beat her the first time around. She was none too pleased and I still tease her about it today. When I was 20 years old, a younger cousin of mine re-taught me and I quite enjoyed it (I can't recall if I won, perhaps because it was less emotionally charged than battling my sibling). When I was 30, my hubby taught me how to play and I fell back in love with the game. Pretty sure he beat me a few times in a row, but that's besides the point. The history and strategy behind the game is immensely fascinating and it brings out the fierce competitor in me!

So when I first saw that Lipstick Queen's Spring collection was a lipstick-themed homage to chess, I was delighted! I'm so excited to be sharing the full Lipstick Chess collection with you today. It's quite a special lineup that will thrill the lipstick lover and board game geek alike! 

Before going into describing the collection further, I have to give a shout-out to my hubby for not only entrusting me to put lipstick on his antique chessboard, but also for helping me stage the photos. I was struggling to find the right position and lighting to really highlight the product as well as the chess pieces (and was throwing quite the tantrum, to be honest) and he really came to the rescue! Frankly, I think we was pleased that my obsession with lipstick finally intersected with his dedication to board games ;)

The packaging of the collection is utterly fantastic, with the boxes themselves a work of nerdy art. On each box, one side dons the Lipstick Queen logo, on another, the Lipstick Chess label, and another (the best part) an illustration of the chess piece that inspired the shade. 

The tubes are made of sturdy lightweight metal with lids that secure with a satisfying click. There is also a little Lipstick Queen logo on the inside of the tube, revealed when the cap is removed. 

The Lipstick Chess collection, which the brand touts as "Beauty and Brains combined in a lipstick" offers 6 shades of matte lipstick ($24 USD/$32 CAD each) that promise full coverage and a hydrating formula. Each shade is named after a chess piece is enriched with natural oils, antioxidants, and Vitamin E to ensure that the effect is matte, but not parched. They tout a suede-like texture and finish with both long wear and saturated colour. 

The shades are divided into two "teams", as it were- the white pieces, which is a trio of modern neutrals. 

The three white pieces/shades are: 

Lipstick Queen describes Pawn as a "Deep Nude". I would describe it as a mid-tone warm, tawny peachy nude. It's super pretty and I think it will look perfect in the summertime with a bit of a tan! 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in Pawn

Lipstick Queen describes Knight as a "Dashing Mocha". I'd describe it as a warm chestnut brown that lies firmly between nude and vampy. I don't have any brown shade quite like it in my collection and I like that it has a bit more warmth than some of the grey-toned '90s browns on the market. 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in Knight

Lipstick Queen describes Bishop as a "Determined Mauve".  I'd describe it as a mid-tone mauve pink that's cool-toned but not overly so. I think it would be the most universally flattering shade of the bunch! 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in Bishop

And then we have the three "black" pieces, a trio of more saturated red-based hues. 

The three black pieces/shades are: 

Lipstick Queen describes King as a "Rich Berry".  I'd describe it as mid- to deep-tone true berry that lies firmly between a red and a purple. It really is a beautiful balance between red, pink, and plum! 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in King

Lipstick Queen describes Rook as a "Brick Red". I'd describe it as a deep brown-red with subtle berry undertones. It is my favourite of the bunch because I find it to be quite unique and it is just this side of vampy, so that it's bold, but still brightening to the complexion! 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in Rook

Lipstick Queen describes Queen as a "Ruby Red".  I'd describe it as a classic, balanced red that really brings brightness to the complexion. It's definitely the most vivid of the collection and I think it would be a perfect red for almost any skin tone as it doesn't pull distinctly cool or warm and is neither neon or vampy. Just a beautiful, wearable red! 

Lipstick Queen Lipstick Chess in Queen 

And here are swatches of all six Lipstick Chess shades on my inner arm (MAC NC15 skin tone) under slightly different (artificial) lighting: 

So what about the formula? Does it live up to the brand's claims? I have to sound an enthusiastic yes! First off, the texture really is suede-like, with just enough creaminess to glide easily and feel hydrating, but also with a subtle powdery finish to keep things truly matte, but also lightweight. These lippies really do offer full-on colour, which can be built up easily in about two passes. I actually like that these aren't completely full-on in one swipe (sometimes you like a softer effect), but that boldness can still be achieved quite easily. And as for wear time- also impressive! They wear off only slightly during a meal and leave a nice wash of colour behind as they continue to wear (especially the darker shades). By the end of the day, my lips have a soft powdery feel to them, which I'd much prefer to the parched, peeling impact that other matte lipsticks can have. I truly have no complaints about this formula! 

If you can't tell, I had a blast photographing this lovely collection and, more importantly, I'm so impressed with the range. Lipstick Queen has never really led me astray, as their products are always innovative and aimed at the true lipstick junkie (like yours truly). The Lipstick Chess formula is top-notch, the shade range is small, but wonderfully varied, and the names and packaging actually made me want to keep the chess board out after the photo shoot was over. I'm determined to kick my husband's butt sometime over the long weekend ;)

If I've tempted you with the Lipstick Chess collection, you can now find these lovely lippies on the Lipstick Queen website and in Murale stores in Canada. 

Thanks so much for stopping by! Have a fantastic weekend :)


**Products marked with these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own! 

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A Murale Optimum Points Haul

Hi, everyone! About once per year, I reach a coveted status in the shopping world: the top tier of Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points! The excitement for this milestone is real, as it allows you to snag $170 in free goodies from the store. Not too shabby, eh? Once I reach that level, I usually test my patience further and wait for an extra promotion. Such an opportunity arose last weekend, when Shoppers and Murale both held events that allowed you to redeem the full $170 as well as earn back another $30 worth of points. I thought I'd use this as a chance to travel up to Murale for the very first time (it's about a 45-minute transit ride from my home), as I'd heard nothing but good things about the brand selection there! 

I seriously spent over an hour filling, switching, and re-filling my shopping basket. Murale has the most wonderful selection of brands (NARS, Chanel, YSL, Bobbi Brown, Lipstick Queen, Kat Burki, Tata Harper, and RMS, just to name a few), which made it so difficult to narrow things down. Also, when you spend months building up your Optimum Points, you really want to get the most bang for your buck and to choose wisely! 

Here's a peek at the goodies I finally ended up choosing!

Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder ($76 CAD)
I don't think Chanel has released a limited edition highlighter that's not a true work of art, but I'm usually able to resist. There was something about this one, however, that made me want to splurge. Not only is the design simultaneously intricate and mesmerizing (it was inspired by the delicate nature of folded Japanese paper), but the shade itself is beyond lovely. Chanel describes it as "a pure and delicate golden light", but I'd say it's more of a rose gold-tinged ivory, It's neither too warm nor too frosty and is so perfect on my fair-light skin tone. The design is so gorgeous, I hated to dig in, but me and my cheekbones are so happy I did.

Lipstick Queen Lip Liner in Natural ($22 CAD)
I don't wear lip liner often, but when I do, I prefer a shade that's close to my natural lip tone, as that really pairs with everything! Till now, my go-to "my lips but better" shade was MAC Whirl (a true classic), but my Whirl pencil is now over 10 years old, so I thought I'd branch out. Enter Lipstick Queen Natural. First off, this formula is wonderfully soft and creamy, with just enough stiffness that it doesn't slip or smudge. And once it sets, it's pretty bulletproof. It promises to be transfer- and waterproof (which I have found to be true) and also touts antioxidant protection, which I won't complain about! Also, Natural is a wonderful shade to give some natural rosiness to my typically pale lips. It's a warm mid-tone rose that gives a beautiful punch of colour, while remaining perfectly neutral. I love wearing it all over the lips for an ultra natural look! 

NARS NARSissist Unfiltered I Cheek Palette ($76 CAD)
I am on OG fan of NARS blushes, but I had not purchased one in ages. A travesty, really. I was able to remedy that in a huge way, however, when I picked up this palette. I'd been eyeing it since its release a couple months ago because I loved the range of warmer hues and I'd been lusting after Exhibit A (the bold matte red in the palette) for years. Also, this palette wonderfully excluded classic shades like Orgasm and Deep Throat (which are in every palette and we all have them already, seriously!!), so it didn't force me to re-purchase any shades already in my collection. I haven't calculated the value of this palette based on weight, but it was an excellent value for me, given that I never actually finish a blush and this palette is essentially the cost of 2 regular NARS blushes. I am so in love with the rosy, plummy tones on the bottom row and the highlighter shade is beyond gorgeous. If you're in the market for blush (or are a true NARS junkie) you need this!!

I seriously can't over-state how much time I spent agonizing over this haul, as there were so many incredible brands to choose from and I wanted to get the most of my $170 worth of points. Part of me wished I had several products to share, rather than just three, but in the end I'm so glad I chose these few solid, beautiful options instead. I'm deeply in love with each of them! Also, you can see the makeup look I created with these new goodies in my last post!

Did you snag anything from Murale or Shoppers Drug Mart last weekend during the promo event? I'd love to hear what you got (and also if I tempted  you with anything here)!

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


Sunday, 12 February 2017

Look of the Day: Warm, Rosy Valentine

Hi, everyone! Wow, it feels like it's been ages since I've done a proper Look of the Day! This past weekend, there was a bonus event that allowed me to take extra advantage of the Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points I'd built up, so I headed a bit north to Murale for a bit of a shop! Murale is a sister company of Shoppers and the Toronto location carries a number of amazing brands like Bobbi Brown, NARS, Lipstick Queen, YSLKat Burki, and Tata Harper (which you generally can't find at Shoppers) as well as staple Shoppers Beauty Boutique brands like Chanel, Stila, Clarins, and Clinique. After shuffling around my shopping bag several times (I really wanted to make the most of the $170 credit I'd accumulated!), I oped for the NARS Unfiltered I Cheek Palette (a limited edition blush palette with 6 killer shades, ranging from shimmery ivory to matte red), the Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder (the limited edition highlighter from their Spring 2017 collection), and Lipstick Queen's Lip Liner in Natural, the perfect rosy "my lips but better shade" that can be paired with just about anything, or worn on its own.

I'll be sharing a full haul post shortly, but in the meantime, I realized that my new goodies would pair together super nicely for a warm, rosy Valentine's Day makeup look! Incorporating them, I created a romantic look that's soft enough to wear to the office (Valentine's is a Tuesday, after all), but with just enough colour, glow, and lashes to still be festive and romantic. 

I added a fresh flush to the complexion using three of the powder blush shades from the NARS Unfiltered I Cheek Palette- I mixed Out There (a matte dusty rose) and Chic (a matte raspberry plum) on the apples of my cheeks, blending upwards to the temples to create some depth and proper pinch of colour. I then topped the matte shades with Me First (a shimmering apricot) for some extra warmth and glow. For highlighter, the Chanel Plisse de Chanel Illuminating Powder is everything. Everything. Not only is it a work of art in the pan (it's almost too pretty to use; almost), but the shade itself is the most beautiful blend of ivory, pink, and gold that's extremely flattering on my fair skin. It's warm, but not overly golden and gives a definite glow without looking at all frosty. I'm pretty sure it's my new fave. 

For the eyes, I reached for some of the warm rosy neutral shades in my trusty Violet Voss Holy Grail Eye Shadow Palette. I first applied Bestie (a neutral light brown) on the crease as a transition shade, then deepened my crease with two darker matte browns, R U Kitten Me and Brownie Points (these shade names, though). I then added some shimmer to the eyelid with Cool Beans (a frosty champagne) and So Jelly (a unique duochrome golden pink) and then applied touches of berry smoke by blending Glamping (a deep matte cherry chocolate) and Cranberry Splash (a shimmery cranberry) on the outer corners of the eye, blending up to the crease. I finished the shadow by adding touches of Ploof (a pale frosty pink) and Crystal (a shimmery ivory) on the brow bones and inner corners of the eyes. The liner I chose is perhaps the prettiest red-ish eyeliner I've tried, Chanel Le Stylo Yeux Waterproof in Eros (it was limited edition, but I so hope they re-release it- I need backups!) and I made the lashes extra luscious by layering Essence Forbidden Volume Rebel Mascara with the Essence Forbidden Volume Topcoat. Serious drama! 

For the lips, I first added a dose of moisture and smoothness with my favourite lip balm, the Bite Beauty Maple Agave Lip Mask. Then, after blotting away the excess balm, I lined and filled in my lips with my new Lipstick Queen Lip Liner in Natural. I chose it because I'd been on the lookout for a new "my lips but better" liner, given that my MAC Whirl Lip Liner is now over a decade old. Lipstick Queen Natural is definitely warmer than Whirl, but does an equally amazing job at giving my naturally pale lips some life without looking overdone. Plus, the formula is so creamy and long wearing. I'm so glad I chose it! 

The Breakdown:

Foundation: Revlon ColourStay Whipped Creme Makeup in Buff mixed with By Terry Sheer Expert Foundation 02
Concealer: Dermablend Smooth Liquid Camo Concealer in Fair (on blemishes and redness) and Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Perfecting Concealer in Buff (on undereye circles)
Powder: Rimmel Stay Matte Prssed Powder in 011 Creamy Natural
Bronzer: Revlon PhotoReady Bronzer in Bronzed and Chic

Blush: NARS Powder Blushes in Out There, Chic, and Me First (from the Unfiltered I Cheek Palette)
Highlighter: Chanel Plisse Lumiere de Chanel Illuminating Powder

Brows: Anastasia Brow Powder Duo in Taupe and Tinted Brow Gel in Caramel
Primer: Essence I Love Colour Intensifying Eye Shadow Base
Eye Shadow: (from the Violet Voss Holy Grail Eye Shadow Palette): Cool Beans and So Jelly (all over lid), Bestie (blended into crease), RU Kitten Me and Brownie Points (more precisely in the crease to add depth), Glamping and Cranberry Splash (on outer corners, blended into crease to add smoke) and Crystal and Ploof (on brow bones and inner corners of the eye)
Eyeliner: Chanel Le Stylo Yeux Waterproof Eyeliner in Eros
Mascara: Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara Rebel in Black topped with Forbidden Volume Topcoat

Lipstick: Lipstick Queen Lip Liner in Natural

And a few more shots of the look:

I'm so completely pleased with the goodies I snagged at Murale this weekend (a full haul post to come soon, as promised!), so I'm pretty sure I'll be wearing this look on the regular well after Valentine's has come and gone. I'm also happy to be back on the Look of the Day train- I'm hoping to do a lot more (including more editorial, artsy looks- I need practice!) in the weeks and months to come!

What's your go-to romantic makeup look? Favourite blush or highlighter at the moment? Most-worn lip liner?

Thanks so much for stopping by and have a lovely Valentine's Day! xo


Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Sexy Green Beauty Valentine's with Eco Diva Beauty

Hi, everyone! Love it or hate it, Valentine's Day is around the corner! Even though I do have a hubby, the forced and commercial natural of the holiday still makes me roll my eyes. It's actually our tradition to watch a horror movie on Valentine's night, an homage to our love whilst subtly snickering at the event. That said, I am all about using Valentine's Day to celebrate love in general- to honour all of the special people in our lives, including ourselves! And since I'm all about treating yo'self (or your loved ones, of course), I've put together a little Valentine's Day gift guide featuring a selection of goodies from Eco Diva Beauty . All of the products are luxurious, beautiful, and all-natural- what's lovelier and sexier than that?!

Kjaer Weis Lip Tint in Lover's Choice ($67 CAD, including compact)
Kjaer Weis really is the epitome of green beauty glamour. Their packaging (which is reusable and refillable, as well as wonderfully weighty) is a work of art the their formulas are packed with beautiful, skin-loving ingredients. Plus, their shades are to-die-for! Their Lip Tints are ultra moisturizing, thanks to sweet almond, rose, and jojoba oils and the pigments can be applied lightly as a sheer wash of colour or can be built up for a full-on hue. I own Lover's Choice and it's a beaut- a true bold warm berry bed that is truly romantic! 
You can find it on Eco Divahere!

Tenoverten Nail Polish in Delancey ($24.50 CAD)
I am currently obsessed with Tenoverten polishes because they are free of all harmful toxins and each shade is named after a street in New York City! My pick for Valentine's Day is Delancey, a stunning bright raspberry pink.
You can find these lovely polishes, here!

Hynt Beauty Aria Pure Lipstick in Red Fervor ($39.50 CAD)
I have yet to try Hynt, but boy is their shade selection gorgeous! The formula is also fully vegan and enriched with natural oils to hydrate and protect the lips. You can't go wrong with a classic red lipstick for Valentine's Day, so I bring to you the bold and stunning Red Fervor.
You can find it, here!

Mun Anarose Rejuvenating Rose Toner ($98 CAD)
Mun is a brand that has been tempting me for ages due to the luxe packaging and simple, but precious formulations. Their Rose Toner is designed to be both calming and balancing thanks to Bulgarian rosewater. It also hydrates courtesy of hyaluronic acid and gently exfoliates thanks to willow bark. Plus, it adds an antioxidant punch with goji berry and is scented with sexy jasmine.
You can find it, here! 

Max and Me Mesmerizing Body Oil Blend ($102 CAD)
This brand is romantic in and of itself because it is said to be born from a love story. And what would Valentine's Day be without a little body oil action, am I right?! Seriously, there are few things more wonderfully sensual than massaging in a luxe body oil (and in my case it will likely be right before I slip on my sweat pants and turn on a horror movie ;)). I chose this oil because it's a beautiful blend of cold pressed oils or marula, argan, rosehip, and passionfruit and is scented with sexy jasmine and soothing lavender. It's rich with antioxidants and and illuminates the skin while "brightening the skin and soul". Seriously.
You can find it, here!

Woodlot Coconut Wax Aromatherapy Candle- Cinder ($32 CAD)
For me, the sexiest scents are rich, spicy, and smokey. So if I'm going to light a candle on Valentine's Day, it's going to be something like the Woodlot Cinder candle. It's made of natural coconut wax and recyclable glass and is meant to evoke a cozy, crackling fire. 'Nuff said. 
You can find it, here! 

One Love Organics The Cleansing Sponge Charcoal Heart ($13.50)
I love this as an anti- (but totally appropriate) Valentine's gift because who doesn't love a black heart?! This little black heart is extra special because it's infused with charcoal to add some deep cleansing power to your face wash routine. Plus, it's super soft and loving on the skin. And when better to love your skin than on Valentine's Day?
You can find it, here!

I hope I've inspired you to treat your loved ones (or yourself- as that's more my style) to some all-natural, ultra luxe, super sexy treats this Valentines Day. Because you're lovely and you deserve it! 

If I've inspired you, check out Eco Diva Beauty for these and a multitude of other goodies!

Have I tempted you with anything? How do you spend your Valentine's Day?

Thanks so much for stopping by! xo


++This post contains affiliate links.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Green and Local Skin Care: Cocoon Apothecary

Hi, everyone! Hope you've all had a great weekend! There's no shortage of skin care in my cabinet, that's for sure, but it's always a special treat to test out a brand that's made close to home. Cocoon Apothecary is made in Kitchener, Ontario, right in between Toronto (where I've been living for over 9 years now) and Windsor, Ontario, where I grew up. When I first heard of the brand, I was instantly drawn to the name- cocoon is such a calming, enveloping sort of word. And it fits the brand's ethos quite well! Cocoon Apothecary creates meticulously-crafted all-natural, plant-based skin care products that are suitable for even the most sensitive of skins. Further, the line is completely vegan and includes ingredients that are biodegradable, organic, and ethically-sourced. They tout that nature's ingredients include all of the anti-aging benefits that you need without requiring unsafe and harsh additives. They are dedicated to effective formulas and intoxicating scents- and I say cheers to both! 

The brand was lovely enough to send along some of their best-sellers, including the Skin Care Starter Kit** ($30 CAD) and the Ancient Mud Facial Mask** ($26 CAD). A perfect way to delve into the range. 

The Skin Care Starter Kit** includes three product minis and is housed in a glossy flower-laden box. I do have to say that the brand's packaging, with its flourishing font and floral motifs, is not of the style that would typically tempt me, but I'm glad I was given the chance to not judge a book by its cover! 

The kit contains three mini products (20 mL each), a cleanser, face mist, and face cream. Each are packaged in solid glass bottles with handy pumps. The goodies included are:

Petal Purity Facial Cleanser
This is a creamy cleanser designed to remove impurities and makeup without stripping the skin. It contains geranium and lavender to balance the complexion and coconut and sweet almond oils to cleanse and hydrate.
What I love about this cleanser is that it feels so rich and creamy on the skin, yet rinses easily and completely clean without any greasy residue! It doesn't dry out my skin, as promised, yet doesn't feel at all heavy or clogging. I love to use it as a morning cleanser- it leaves my skin perfectly fresh and calm without any fuss!

Rose Dew Facial Toner
This floral-smelling mist is made from 100% organic rose hydrosol (which also means that it's alcohol-free and smells of freshly picked roses). This flower extract is rich in antioxidants and also works to tone and balance the skin.
While I don't find anything spectacular about the toner, it is perfectly nice and pleasant to use. It smells lovely, adds a very light, fine mist, and doesn't irritate my skin.

Rosey Cheeks Facial Cream
This rich face cream is designed to be hydrating, anti-aging, and soothing for the skin. It includes rosehip oil (which is brightening and rejuvenating), avocado oil (which is deeply nourishing), camellia oil (which is rich with antioxidants), and shea butter (which is ultra moisturizing). 
This is such a beautiful moisturizer! The scent is to die for (a floral, chocolately concoction) and the texture is just perfect- rich and nourishing, yet sinks in perfectly. It does not leave my skin feeling smothered or greasy, but instead imparts a perfectly soft and dewy finish. It wears well under makeup and calms my redness too! 

The Ancient Mud Facial Mask** is another natural treat, consisting of only four ingredients: dead sea mud, glacial marine clay, neroli essential oil, and rose essential oil. It promises to detoxify and exfoliate while dosing the skin with minerals and purifying the pores. The combination of the mud and clay ingredients are said to infuse and maintain the health of the skin while purging pollution and dirt. Plus, the essential oils add an extra antioxidant boost. 

The mask is a greenish brown colour and is very thick, yet super creamy in texture. It smells of earth, flowers, and the sea and gives you a perfect mud monster look when on the face (yay for getting to scare my hubby!). 

After 10-15 minutes the mask does dry completely and feels slightly tight on the face. This sensation typically leaves me wary, but I was pleased to find that the mask rinsed quite easily without leaving my skin feeling parched. The natural grit of the clay also provides a super gentle exfoliation that does not irritate my fussy skin. Overall, this leaves my complexion super bright and clean and has been helping to make my breakouts less frequent over the past few weeks. Another win! 

I'm super glad I discovered Cocoon Apothecary as I think they're quite the local gem! The formulas are simple (in a good way), yet totally thoughtful, are truly gentle enough for sensitive skin (my finicky complexion would know!), and are a pleasure to use. I'm definitely eyeing up their Spotbuster Natural Blemish Treatment, Rosehip Oil Serum, and Magic Bean Body Lotion next!

If I've tempted you, you can find Cocoon Apothecary on their website, here

Thanks for stopping by! xo


**Products marked with these asterisks were sent to me as PR samples for consideration and review. All opinions expressed in this post are 100% authentic and my own!