Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Estée Lauder Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette in Topaz Mosaic

As I mentioned yesterday, EL strayed from the mainstream for spring, and instead of putting out pastels they went with beautiful desert neutrals. How could I not want this??? This is my second 5-shadow palette from EL. My first one I acquired last spring :)

EL produces one heck of a quality shadow. Beautifully pigmented, lasting, rich, soft, finely milled… nothing disappoints. I'm even sweet on the packaging. The palette feels sturdy and well made. I have no use for the applicators that are included, but I must say I appreciate the variety; and I keep them along with the plastic cover. 

Now for the swatches:

Combination of eye looks are numerous, but this is a look I tried this past weekend and I liked it a lot (but I didn't photograph it, as we were running late). I didn't come  up with it, I read a review on EL website from a person who had her makeup done at an EL counter somewhere with the following color combo, so I followed the instructions as they were listed :)…

Primer: I used Laura Mercier in Linen (the reviewer had Ivory Lace from EL put on her lids)
Lid: coral
Outer corner: burgundy
Blend: light beige
Inner corners: yellow
Brow bone: pale shimmery peach
Eyeliner: teal eye khajal
Black mascara

Monday, January 30, 2012

My picks from Estée Lauder and Laura Mercier Spring 2012 Haul

And I thought I was done with all the spring lines… lies all lies. I couldn't resist the beauty and originality of Tom Pecheux's creation for EL. The collection consists of 10 pieces (1 eye palette, 1 highlighter, 1 nail polish, 2 eye pencils, 3 lipsticks, 1 lip gloss, and a mascara).

While majority of spring collections are all about beautiful pastel colors, Tom was inspired by his vacation to Arizona, and created a lineup of desert themed gorgeous that's impossible to resist. My sister visited Arizona in person, I only Googled it... I understand the inspiration....

I chose 5 pieces for myself:
1. The Topaz Mosaic Pure Color Five Color Eyeshadow Palette
2 & 3. Dramatic Black and Dramatic Teal Pure Color Intense Kajal Eye Crayon
4. Teal Topaz Pure Color Nail Lacquer
5. Pure Color Gloss in Citron Kiss

Then I made the mistake of stopping by the Laura Mercier counter, and left with Lip Shine in Naked Apricot and Sheer Lip Colour in Kissed Lips, which is selling out like crazy in Toronto...

Swatches and impressions coming up soon...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It Cosmetics Most Beautiful You Set

I've been reading up on this company for a while now. In a nutshell, It Cosmetics works with plastic surgeons to perfect their products. They are aimed at covering up, while being gentle for sensitized skin, and of course looking natural. You know it's the association with MDs that had me convinced this a legitimate product I must try :)
Purchased Jan. 19th from the Shopping Channel. This set was the Showstopper that day at $49.57 CAD.
Individual item price breakdown in this set is as follows:
• Bye Bye Under Eye Concealer (0.28oz/8g) - $29.00
• Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush - $29.95
• Airbrush Illuminating Powder (0.23oz/6.3g) - $29.95
• Illuminating Wand Ball Brush - $48.00
• Brow Power Universal Brow Pencil (0.0056oz/0.16g) - I'm not sure

But even without the brow pencil the retail value of all these items is $136.90… $50.00 seemed like a good deal.

I chose shade Neutral Medium as according to "It" brand 70% of us fit this shade. I'm definitely not porcelain so I skipped light, and I'm not tan, since I avoid sun and tanning salons :)

As I play with each item I'll post reviews. Today I'm just going to ramble on a bit about the brushes included in this set first.

What I really wanted was the Heavenly Luxe Powder Brush, but i'm not willing to pay $50 for it alone… maybe it will be a part of their next Showstopper :)

What I got is Dual Airbrush Concealer Brush. This thing is great. It is fully retractable on the rounded side, and has caps to protect the brushes at each end. One end is rounded, one end is flat. Together they apply, blend, and buff in your concealer for that airbrushed look that we all (well I do anyways) try to achieve. The ease of portability of this brush makes it one of my current favorites.
Illuminating Wand Ball Brush is an awesome powder brush. It has a relatively short handle, but I kind of like the way it fits my hand. This brush has longish bristles shaped into a dome. I really like the container it came in, great for travel. It is also incredibly soft, and dense but not dense enough to be suitable for liquid foundation (I wouldn't do it). However setting your makeup using loose powder and this brush is a pleasure. Like plush bunnies tickling your face :)
Both brushes are synthetic (vegan), so no bunnies were harmed :). They alone were worth the purchase, no regrets :)

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Aveda Hand Relief™

2011 was the year of L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream, it was my favorite. But 2012 is turning out to be the year of Aveda Hand Relief.

By the end of December I was running low on L'Occitane, I was going to repurchase it. However first I went for my last haircut with Trinh. As I was patiently waiting, I glanced over, and next to me was this tube of cream to sample. So I did… love at first rub.

First, this cream has a fresh light citrus (lemony) scent; and I mean light, it quickly dissipates once rubbed in, but it is oh so pleasant. Second it moisturizers like no other hand cream I've ever tried… I am beyond in love with this product. It's thick and creamy and using it has not only improved the look of my hands and cuticles, but nails as well. They are no longer splitting, but growing out nicely. I honestly think it's thanks to this gorgeous concoction.

Of course all this goodness comes with a price tag, $28 CAD for 125ml tube… pricey, but dry cracked winter knuckles are much more painful. Currently I am toting this around with me in my purse, have one in my bathroom, and soon a third tube will make an appearance on my work desk.

Some say that they find this cream to be a bit greasy… not I… but then again I am an all consuming cream/moisturizer/butter sponge…. It is possible that you may not be able to snap your fingers right after using it (wait a few minutes :)), soft, smooth, moisturized hands are worth it :)

Sorry L'Occitane, it seems Aveda has you beat. (Aveda also has a foot lotion, that I'm really tempted to try… as soon as I use up my current fave by L'Occitane :))

On a totally unrelated note. Lately I've been obsessed with heat, specifically Sriracha and Sambal Oelek hot sauces, I eat it on practically everything… can't get enough. Jay is amazed at how quickly I go through a bottle. One day while having dinner together….

Jay: I got you some hot salsa….
Me (as I'm drowning my food in hot sauce): I don't like hot salsa, it's too hot, I like medium, always medium salsa.
Jay: I hate you….

Friday, January 27, 2012

YSL Forever Youth Liberator Serum - sample review

On his way home last week, Jay stopped by the YSL counter at Holts and picked up the 2012 Spring polishes for moi.
Since he's a frequent visitor to Holts, many of the SA's know him by name if not by face, and they know who all the treats are for :)

So the gorgeous YSL SA (and I mean gorgeous, this woman is like the sun, your gaze is drawn to her, but you can't stare for too long… it hurts :)). Well anyways she bestowed upon Jay a sample of YSL's Forever Youth Liberator serum. Three days worth to be exact, because and this is coming from her through Jay that if after 3 days I'm not wowed by the changes then I'll never be wowed. Well ok…..
I was nervous to use it, I mean I am pretty oblivious to settle changes. I'm never sure if my skin is glowy, dewy, luminous, or right down oily…  I don't know…

Anywho I did not want to be swayed by any online opinions so I didn't check if there are any online reviews, but I did google the price. Looking young doesn't come cheap…
30ml of the serum retails for £60 approximately $100 CAD
100ml of the serum breaks the bank at £100 over $300 CAD

and I grabbed this form YSL online UK version

YSL.SKINSCIENCE has developed a patented1 powerful serum enriched with a combination of 3 glycans to help increase youthful activity in skin cells.²
88% agree skin looks more luminous³
72% agree fine lines appear less visible³
72% agree skin feels more plumped³
¹ Patents pending
² In Vitro Test
³ Self assessment on 50 women
This elixir has the highest concentration of Glycanactif™.

There is a little bit more on glycobiology here - don't know how reliable the source is

The self assessment of 50 women is pretty useless as a scientific study. Where is the control group? Where are the independent dermatological comparison assessments between those 50 and the control group… the before and after shots???

I mean I look at the back of the packet, and I wish I majored in chemistry.
But regardless the line is aimed at women over 30 and so one fine morning, I analyzed my face and neck in the mirror for good 10 minutes. Took pictures (not sharing those)… and slapped on the serum for the next 3 days, morning and evening… In the morning after a wash, I toned first with my La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion, then the serum, then some Effaclar K. In the evening after cleansing, LRP toner, the serum, and Effaclar Duo.

Serum is lightly viscous, and a semi-opaque very light pink in color. It has a light YSL scent. Do you know what I mean? :) It's spreads easily, absorbs relatively quickly, and is non-greasy.

After 3 days… reanalyzed my skin… took pictures… and came to these conclusions…
1. I'm not wowed but I am happy.
2. Skin seems more even toned.
3. Texture does feels more plump, even and hydrated.
4. Aaaaaand this is a biggie, absolutely no breakouts, and the ones I had, really subsided.
5. Points 1 to 3 might be wishful delusional observations ... but 4 is the truth as I see it, for the past 3 days :)

So this is a "self assessment" of only 1 woman, and just as useless as YSL's version of 50… but there you have it :) If you give any of the products from this line a try, let me know… I'd love to know your experience.

Other than the serum, YSL Forever Youth line also includes:
- 3 types of face creams (one for normal/combination, one with spf 15, and one for dry skin), £60 approx. $100 CAD
- moisturizing fluid, £60 approx. $100 CAD
- eye cream (I promised myself that if the serum wows me I will invest in the eye cream, £40 approx. $60 CAD… I'll give it some more tought)
- cleansing foam, £35 approx. $55 CAD
- toner, £35 approx. $55 CAD

So will I invest in a bottle of YSL Youth Liberator Serum? Maybe, eventually, just so I can have a proper 30 day trial... but I'm not running out to get it... I have other things to use up first, and in the meantime contemplate if I really want to drop $100 CAD on 30ml of product...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Boxing Day at Holt Renfrew

Can you believe that was a month ago?!

Anywho I'm not a big boxing day shopper. But I will get out there for a couple of hours as a sort of "I've done it" thing.

I like quality costume jewelry. I like browsing Holt displays for fun, because even though it might be glass, it's still pretty glass… and yes pricey as well… therefore browsing not buying. But on Dec. 26th I found two pieces, I adored and decided to acquire.

First pretty, I call it my "Aztec" necklace. It's feels heavy and substantial, the brushed gold catches the light very nicely, and it looks so pretty. They had one with green stones, but something about these deep cognac ones had me smitten. Original retail value $298 CAD… boxing day markdown $109… sweet!
 Second pretty, a bracelet. I purchased it with the intent of gifting it to someone… but the longer I looked at it, the less likely that was going to be.  I adore the multi color sparkle/shimmer in these dark navy beads. The string allows for resizing to fit wider or thinner wrists. Markdown percentage not as wild as the necklace, but the piece is beautiful, and the price was right… originally at $47 CAD… I got it for $19.99.
Both pieces were packed in these sweet round, cloth pouches.  I promised myself to be back next year :)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Lush: Phoenix Rising Bath Bomb

I purchased this bath bomb a couple of weeks ago ($5.95 CAD). This past Sunday seemed like a good day to use it. Described by Lush as '… gold-dusted apple cinnamon bomb…' it just sounded delicious.

The bomb is dense and heavy for it's size. It sinks right to the bottom of the tub. If left undisturbed Lush says it will slowly rise to the top (like a Phoenix :)). But I couldn't stop myself from handling it. The outside core is so much fun to watch as it melts. It turns your water an opaque lavender color. Once the hard shell dissolves, the light sea-foam green core fizzes out rather quickly and turns the water a deep purple.

My bomb also had a piece of cinnamon in it. Now, the bomb was all fine, but I won't be repurchasing this one for one simple reason: the scent just didn't do it for me. I know there is supposed to be apple, cinnamon and Lush says orange in it… but I didn't smell any of these. The only way I can describe the scent of my bath water is kind of peppery… I'm a fruity, flowery kind of girl, this spicy fragrance was not relaxing at all, or that pleasant for that matter… and that is my personal opinion.

Still I soaked and read… but at the end I soaped up really well… I didn't want Phoenix to linger on my skin.

PS. hahahahahaha I just caught my own spelling mistake on the picture it's supposed to be "blogspot" not "bogspot" :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wish/Want/Lemming List Vol. 1

During a quiet moment, my mind started to wander… I started daydreaming about makeup and cosmetics of all things :) and things I would love to try and own…
1. Sigma Mrs. Bunny Blue Essential Kit - not that I need them, but they're vegan, and I want one :)

2. Chantecaille Just Skin - online research leads me to believe I'm shade Bliss. I'm resisting the urge to visit the counter and test it… but come summer I think I'll give in to temptation, and splurge. This is pricey $64 USD.

3. Kiehl's Creme de Corps - it's just a matter of using up what I have, then I need to give this a try.

4. Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado - I hear it's rich and moisturizing, and I need something heavier to use at night. My under eye area is feeling a bit tight and dry when I take my makeup off.

5. By Terry Blush Terrybly in Cheek to Cheek (#1 Rose) - Sephora in Toronto used to carry By Terry products, but no more it seems.  I don't wish to purchase without an in person swatch first.  I missed out…

Monday, January 23, 2012

MAC Amplified Creme lipstick in Fast Play

I received this from Jay. I don't know why, I didn't hint at it, I didn't even know about this shade, I am not a MACaholic. I have a couple of their lippies, one gloss, and a couple of eye pencils, some nail polish, and that's about it. No foundation, no blush, no bronzer, no shadows… not a follower. So this was rather random.
 Still I must say MAC lippies have (or at least the 4 that I own) a very beautiful creamy texture, excellent color, and delicious light vanilla cookie scent. Their Amplified Creme - Fast Play is no exception. Excellent lasting color, feels rich, and buttery when applied. It is also a very very wearable color for me… something I tend to gravitate towards… an every day kind of shade. It's described on MAC website as neutral pink.
daylight (shade)
daylight (sunshine)
 Final thought, pretty and flattering. Husband has good taste :)

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Benefit They're Real! Mascara

I don't remember where I received this sample. It was most likely a 100 point trade in at Sephora. Since I used up my previous mascara, I decided to run through my samples and see if I have any new undiscovered favorites hiding in my drawer.
I pulled out Benefits They're Real!, and it seems I scored on my first choice. First I love the big plastic brush, it holds just enough product, and it covers a lot of lashes at once. Second this wand somehow manages to grab onto my lashes, it keeps them separate as it coats them in black tar. Third it adds illusion of length and volume. Fourth it doesn't smudge or flake throughout the day.
Up until I tried this, the only tube of mascara I'd spend my own money on is bare Minerals volumizing one. But I think I'll give a full sized version of this a try as well, because my little sample simply rocks, and a girl can definitely have two favorite mascaras.

Now for some eye shots. I would like to say that it was so very hard to take eye pictures. I don't know how others do it. If the angle looks kind of odd, it was, it was :) But first up, the natural no product shot. My lashes naturally want to make friends, and sort of tend to group together :)
 and below a good coat of Thye're Real!... it's a good mascara
 below straight ahead shot... I don't think it really shows off my lashes to the best of their ability... but what the heck... I took like 20 pictures... and only 3 were in focus and worth sharing... so I'm giving you all 3 :)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2 piece Anthropologie haul

Ever since on a random day we visited this store, whenever we happen to find ourselves in Yorkville I have to stop by, just to browse.

Last time (Jan. 8th) I spotted a deal I couldn't pass up. These pants are most likely pj bottoms, but I see them as something to wear to the beach… so pretty. However I didn't buy them just because they were pretty, that was a factor, but it was the 50% markdown that had me won over.
My second item was regularly priced… there were only two left of this kind… and I haven't seen a jewelry sale there yet… so I said yes to these earrings.
My favorite part about this purchase is the little storage pouch the earrings were put in. Isn't that the most adorable thing ever… so pretty.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Estée Lauder Even Skintone Illuminator

 I used to be a die hard Estée Lauder skin care user. Cleansers, toners, serums, eye creams, face creams/lotions. There used to be an Estée Lauder spa in Toronto that I used to frequent (it no longer exists). Estée Lauder products are expensive, and there came a time when I could no longer afford to pamper myself so. Once we were back on track again, I broadened my product window and have been sampling and trying other lines.

So, when I first read positive reviews about this product I didn't automatically jump on it, even-though the list of benefits seemed to be exactly what my face needed.

Forward a few weeks and several more positive rave reviews, and I could no longer resist the tug of the promise this little bottle had.  This product comes in two sizes 30ml (1oz) $72.00 CAD ($58.00 USD) and 50ml (1.7oz) $100.00 CAD ($85.00 USD). I opted for the smaller bottle, simply because if I was one of the few this did not work for, I saved myself a couple of bucks.

This serum is targeted for uneven skin tones. It claims to even out redness, acne marks, sun spots, dark spots, and any other discolorations. It's oil-free and non-acnegenic. Recommended usage every AM and PM for the first 12 weeks, on cleansed skin, after your toner (if you use any), before your moisturizer. After 12 weeks, once a day in the AM.

It was the acne marks reduction that I hoped this product would help me with most. The color of this serum is luminous ivory. Feels extremely comforting, moisturizing, and calming when applied.

This product delivered somewhat. Skin redness was reduced, but I didn't see enough of a drastic change that I was expecting. I stopped using it when I started my La Roche Posay routine... and LRP has been really really good for my face.

So in conclusion, EL... nice product. But for the price of one illuminator I can practically purchase all the LRP stuff I need and use, and the results were more satisfactory.  I'm glad I didn't splurge on the big bottle, well actually I wish I found LRP before I got all wound up over EL.

In a few years when my face is more mature, with more sun/age spots and texture is dryer, if EL doesn't discontinue this product, I might give this another try. It was nice, just not nice enough at this time.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

CHANEL: Blush Horizon de CHANEL - Soft Glow Blush

While purchasing some nail polish at the CHANEL counter, my gaze was drawn to this blush from Spring 2012 line up. It is limited edition, but I didn't know if I wanted it. Two reasons, one,  I have a few blushes and haven't hit pan on one yet.. and I was terrified of loving it so much, I'd start collecting them. But makeup hoarder side of me won and I walked away with it as well.

It's a beautiful stripped compact, that comes in its own velvet pouch along with a brush encased in another velvet pouch. The brush is useless, when I tried swatching with it, it started to shed, but the blush is gorgeous.
 In the photos below I attempted to swatch individual stripes, but since they are on the thin side it was rather hard. Also I will not wear a stripe on it's own, but blend them all together for as perfectly pink cheek.

First photo individual stripes on the left; all blended to the right of the blue dot. Picture taken during daylight, but it was slightly overcast.
 Second photo, color all blended together to the left of the blue dot; to the right individual shades (but I think I'm missing one). Photo taken in the evening with flash.
 I love wearing this, color is gorgeous. It is a bit on the powdery side, and I tend to dust up the whole compact when blending the shades... I think I just need to slow myself down, and gently pull the brush through vs swirling it like I'm sweeping the floor :) No regrets with this purchase... a lot of love... staying away form the CHANEL counter until at least April :)

And the wonderful darling d has the Cute Blog Award to me. Thank you so much, for thinking my blog was worthy :)
As always there are some pointers to follow :)

1. Link back to the person who awarded you. - done
2. Answer the award questions. - done
3. Tell something about yourself that you haven't told anyone on your blog yet. - I really wanted to be a writer, but I'm much better with numbers
4. Award as many blogs as you think worthy of this award - everyone listed to the right... picking a few gives me too much anxiety
5. Make sure to let these you gave this award to know that you awarded them. - see 4

The Award Questions:
1. What is your go to make-up brand?
I don't have one, that would be a restriction and I wouldn't be able to deal with it. But the dominant brands in my drawer are Laura Mercier, CHANEL, Dior, YSL, Lancome.
2. What was your favourite fashion trend of 2011?
I loved the color blocking... I just couldn't quite figure out how to pull it off :)
3. What is your favourite dessert? 
Jason's vegan chocolate cake... mmmmm or OMG chocolate vegan cupckakes :)
4. Favourite colour?
Gray, pink, navy... in that order :)
5. What is your middle name?
skip - but it starts with M
6. What's the last song you listened to?
Runaway Baby by Bruno Mars
7. Cats or dogs?
I have both, can't choose :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Dior Garden Clutch in Granville Garden #002

As I mentioned yesterday, what I was really lemming this season is Dior Garden Clutch, a gorgeous woven texture, light pink exterior with rose shaped clasp… omg!!! stunning!!! Inside three eye shadows, and two lip products. The lippies are covered by a silver door to prevent shadow contamination. There were two versions of this clutch: Milly Garden #001 (reviewed yesterday) which has purple-silver-pink shadows and Granville Garden #002 which has a brown-peach-green shadows.

Holt Renfrew has #001 Milly Garden. They Bay has #002 Granville Garden.

Jay got Milly for me, since he works practically next door. We went together for Granville. As we walk into The Bay I pull back a bit,
Jay: What's wrong?
Me: I feel queasy and anxious.
Jay: Why?
Me: You'll find out in 30 seconds.

When we left the Dior counter having acquired only what we wanted…

Me: Do you understand now?
Jay: Jeeezuz I feel worked, I'm so sweaty, my hands are shaking. Next time you want something, tell me, I'll go alone.

We had the mother of all SA's… and I mean OMG!!!! I understand the concept of an up-sale  but I said no 10 times (so did he), repeatedly refused to follow you around the corner and you still won't give up… just give me what I waaaant. The other 3 Dior SA's just stood there, like dear caught in headlights, when I made the mistake of mentioning the blush… and I realized that I know more about it then they do….. so forget the blush, just forget it, no I don't want to see anything else, really pleeeaaaase I'm a nice person but you make me want to scream…. I just want this, just this, I just want this, my finger hurts from pointing… please for all that is Dior just sell me what the f^@% I'm asking for!

I'm sorry The Bay I don't know what kind of SA training program you've got, but it's stress I don't need in my life. I don't want to deal with you anymore, and I won't ask Jay to either… If it's not at Holts or Sephora, and I want it bad enough there is always the good old  internet… you are not worth the grays you gave me.

Ok, if you read through that rant and are still with me... here is the clutch itself :)
 Each clutch comes with an applicator... sponge tip on one side... lip brush on the other...
 Shades from left to right: brown, peach, very light green...
 I love the soft color payoff of this palette... shades are beautiful...
 Lip products are gorgeous shade of peach in the pan, but there is absolutely no color payoff when swatched on the arm... they just appeared well glossy... the darker shade is a regular gloss... the lighter shade is a lip plumper type of gloss, you will feel that minty tingling...
 On my lips both products mixed together... non-sticky, shiny, clean, minimalistic lip

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

The gorgeous Steffani from Steffani's Merry Makeup & Beauty Blog, has awarded the
honor to me (an award for bloggers with 200 followers or less). Thank you very  much Steffani.

Rules of the treat :)
1. Thank the Liebster blog award presenter on your blog!
2. Link back to the blogger who awarded your blog!
3. Copy and paste the award to your blog!
4. Reveal your top 5 blog pics!
5. Drop by your top 5 pics and let them know you have chosen them by commenting on their blog!

Very, very hard to pick top 5, but since it's all about blogs with 200 followers or less, I narrowed it down to: