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What I’ve Been Loving Lately…

It’s been a while since my last post, and I couldn’t be more excited to get back into the swing of things!  The products I’ve discovered these past few months are some of my all-time favourites, and I hope you’ll love them, too!

1. MantraBand “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly” Bracelet

I discovered MantraBand during a trip to the USA this past summer.  Being someone who loves motivational quotes, I was immediately intrigued by these bracelets, which are sleek and simple in design (available in silver, rose gold, or yellow gold), and adorn various fun, inspirational messages.  In particular, I was drawn to the saying, “Smile, Breath, and Go Slowly“.  The MantraBand website describes this bracelet as a reminder to, “Remember to focus on one thing at a time and give it your all. Stay calm, look on the bright side, and keep going. Because it’s all about the journey, not the destination.”  I, like many others, often times find myself rushing to get things done, and I can easily forget to slow down and enjoy the process.  Naturally, I’m now hooked on these bracelets and have a handful of others on my wishlist: “Hakuna Matata“, “Ohana“, and “Que Sera Sera“, just to name a few!

2. L’Oreal Paris Hair Expertise Extraordinary Clay Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve waited a long time for an affordable shampoo and conditioner that were specially formulated for oily roots, and guess what?  It’s finally arrived! L’Oreal’s Extraordinary Clay line is perfect for those who have hair the equivalent to “combination skin”: an oily scalp, with ends that could use some love.  These products use the power of various clays (white, blue, and green) to cleanse, moisturize, and revitalize the hair and scalp, leaving hair balanced for up to 72 hours!  The shampoo lathers beautifully and leaves your hair and scalp feeling clean and refreshed, and the conditioner is super moisturizing and lightweight.  Oh, and both products smell amazing.  Using the shampoo and conditioner, I noticed a difference in my hair within just two uses.  Next on my list to try is the Pre-Shampoo Clay Mask.

3. Benefit Cosmetics Dallas Box o’Powder Blush

I’d always heard great things about Benefit Cosmetic’s boxed blushes, but had never actually purchased or tried one for myself.  I decided it was time to hop on the bandwagon, and chose the shade “Dallas” (described as a rosy-bronze hue).  Trust me, the shade you see in the box does not do this product justice.  Once applied, it wears as a gorgeous, warm bronze that gives you a healthy glow, and is perfect for Fall.  You can even use it as a bronzer, or to contour, and it suits nearly every skin tone.

4. Quo Effortless Curl Mascara in “Black”

I’m someone who’s lucky enough to have long lashes naturally, but if I don’t use the right mascara, they just fall flat and can end up looking sparse.  I’m therefore always on the lookout for affordable options that give volume and hold curl.  I received this particular mascara in a gift bag from a Quo event, and was hooked after trying it just once.  The formula is glossy and super pigmented, the curved silicone brush adds curl, and it apples clump-free and lasts all day.  This mascara easily compares to high-end versions, and is just a fraction of the price. Definitely recommend!

5. Michael Kors Eau de Parfum in “Sexy Amber”

This is a perfume that has been on my wishlist for a long time, but due to it’s higher-than-average price tag, I always hesitated.  When Shoppers Drug Mart hosted their recent redeem your points event, I decided to finally take the plunge.  First off, this product is an Eau de Parfum, meaning a little bit goes a long way (making it a good value for money). It comes in a gorgeous glass bottle with gold accents, and the signature Michael Kors logo.  The scent itself has notes of warm amber, sandalwood, and white flowers.  It’s warm and musky but still feminine, and it’s perfect for the colder months ahead.

6. Bath and Body Works Ultra Shea Body Cream in “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar”

Surprise! Another warm, musky scent that I can’t get enough of.  Until it was recently discontinued, Bath and Body Works’ “Twilight Woods” was always one of my favourites.  However their new scent, “Golden Pear & Brown Sugar” has now replaced it as my number one.  It has notes of almond creme, Bartlett pear, brown sugar, toasted hazelnut, silken vanilla, and decadent pistachio mousse (hungry yet?).  It’s a pretty, sexy scent, but is also subtle and not overpowering.  I pair the shower gel in the same scent with the Ultra Shea Body Cream for an extra scent boost.  Note to self: stock up on this before it’s gone!

What have you been loving lately?  Let me know in the comments below!

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August Favourites!

August Favourites

It’s hard to believe that August is officially over…where has the Summer gone?!  My favourites this time around are a mix of both warm and cool weather-inspired products. Let’s get started!

1. Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in “Celebrated” $34.00 

At first glance, the colour of this blush is a bit under-whelming.  And to be honest, it’s probably not something I would have ever picked out on my own during one of my Sephora trips.  It wasn’t until recently, when I had my makeup done for an event, that I fell in love with it.  This “warm pink nude” wears completely different than it appears in the packaging, and suits nearly every skin tone.  So what’s with the name (“Celebrated”), you ask?  This long-wearing shade was actually limited edition, brought out in celebration of Tarte’s 15th birthday.  Beauty fanatics went so crazy for it, that they re-released it.  Now I know what all the hype is about!

2. Glade Wax Melt Refills in “Cashmere Woods” $4.68

This scent was released in Canada a few years back, and I bought a handfull of candles to keep in my “backup” collection.  Sadly, I went through them quickly, and was left with the opportunity to restock only during the occasional cross-border shopping trip.  On a recent trip to my local Walmart, I spotted both candles and these wax melts in the Cashmere Woods scent, and yelped in excitement.  Since my candle collection is quite large at the moment, I decided to opt for the wax melts, along with the Glade Wax Melts Warmer.  Since I’m already a huge fan of Scentsy, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  To my surprise, this warmer performs just as well as the Scentsy, spreading the smell of “mixed notes of citrus and jasmine and the oaky scents of amber and vanilla beans” throughout the entire house.  I simply cannot get enough of this scent and am so excited to have it back!

3. Bite Beauty Luminous Creme Lipstick in “Retsina” $28.00

Let’s face it, the perfect nude lipstick is on every beauty lover’s shopping radar.  Bite Beauty is not a brand I’d tried before, though I’d always heard great things, and I love that their products are made of all-natural, food grade ingredients (and that they’re Canadian!).  I decided to purchase the colour Retsina, a creamy, natural pink tone.  This product feels amazing on your lips, is long-wearing, beautifully pigmented, and has as much resveratrol (with anti-aging properties) as 5 glasses of red wine!

4.  Guess Factory Hilary Backpack in “Red Multi” $52.49

I may not be headed back to school this September, but this adorable backpack was just too cute to resist.  I purchased this on a recent trip to Dixie Outlet Mall during the “She Who Hunts Finds” blogger challenge.  I love that it’s a) a backpack and can carry anything and everything, but more so that b) it comes in buffalo plaid!  It’s faux-leather details make it easy to dress up, and the colour is perfect for Fall.

5. St. Ives Indulge Coconut Milk & Orchid Body Lotion $4.47

I received this product in a seasonal giftpack from Walmart, and decided to give it a try.  This lotion smells amazing: like Summer in a bottle, and goes on smoothly with no greasy residue.  I also love that it is extremely affordable, at under $5.00 for 600ml!  The pump makes it easy to apply, and the packaging is super cute!

 

What did you love for the month of August?  Let me know in the comments below!  

 

 

 

WhatDidSheFind Gift Guide: Day One

 

Photo Credit: Urbandecay.com

Photo Credit: Urbandecay.com 

Selfishly, I chose this product for day one of my gift guide because I’m just that excited about it.  Naked On The Run is the brand new (released today), limited-edition kit from Urban Decay, meant for the “Naked” lover on the go.  For those of you not already familiar with the highly-coveted Naked pallets, you can check out my previous post here.  This set comes with 6 eye shadows (all brand new shades), blush, bronzer, lip gloss (full size), eyeliner, and mascara.  Perfect for travelling or touch ups on the go, this set retails for $54.00 US and can be purchased as of today (November 20th) on the Urban Decay website, or at Sephora on December 1st.

 

 

Products I Regret Buying (and What You Should Buy Instead)

Products I Regret Buying

It’s happened to the best of us: we hop on the “hype” train when a new product comes out, only to discover it really wasn’t worth the trip in the first place. Bummer.  For drugstore products, you usually have to bite the bullet and pass them on to a friend (or a garbage can), and, so long as you’ve purchased those higher-priced items at Sephora, you’re in the good hands of a solid customer return policy.  The following are items I regret buying, as well as those I recommend you spend your hard-earned dollars on instead.

1. First Aid Beauty Dual Repair Eye Cream $50.00

When purchasing this product, I’d already become a big fan of First Aid Beauty’s “Facial Radiance Polish” and “Daily Face Cream“, so I was disappointed to discover that this eye cream did nothing for me (especially at such a high price point).  It didn’t moisturize or calm my skin, (in fact, I actually had a reaction to it).  In it’s place, I’d recommend Jurlique’s “Herbal Recovery Eye Cream”, that gently hydrates and smells amazing.

2. Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real Remover $22.00

They’re Real Mascara is my an all-time favourite of mine (I posted about it previously here), and I was thrilled to discover that Benefit had come up with a solution to the sometimes-hard-to-remove holy-grail mascara.  I wanted so badly to love this product as much as I love the mascara, but sadly, all it did was burn and sting my eyes, and barely removed the mascara at all.  There are two products I’d recommend in this remover’s place: 1. Clinique’s “Wash-Away Gel Cleanser”, and 2. The Body Shop’s “Camomile Gentle Eye Makeup Remover”.  Both of these remove makeup like a pro, and have been longtime favourites of mine.

3. Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush $15.99

To be fair, the idea behind this blush is adorable: “Infused with our Happy Boost Blend, featuring Happy Skin and Euphoryl, natural plant extracts which have been shown to promote a feeling of happiness by mimicking the effect of Endorphins and helping protect the skin from environmental stress. The sweet scent of Violet provides a feeling of joy each time you apply!” (Well.ca).  The packaging is cute, the colours in the mix are pretty, and the payoff is good, I just can’t say this blush made me any “happier” than others I own.  For drugstore makeup, it’s also on the higher-priced side, and I think there are others you can buy that will make you just as…happy.  For example, the Hard Candy boxed blushes I talked about here for a fraction of the price.

4. Essie Sleek Sticks Nail Appliques $12.99

It’s no secret that Essie is a front-runner in the nail polish industry, so I assumed their nail stickers would be equally as impressive.  Wrong.  The application was fast and easy, but within less than 24 hours of wear there were chips on almost all of my nails.  As I have many times before, I highly recommend purchasing the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Real Nail Polish Strips.  These are the only strips I’ve found that live up to the “long-wear” claims (mine really do last upwards of 10 days).

What products do you regret buying?  Let me know in the comments below!    

#Dealoftheday: Sephora VIB Rouge Freebies!

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As a Sephora VIB Rouge member, (more info here), you receive invitations to special events, Rouge-only discounts, and private shopping parties.  The event I attended this weekend was a private shopping party in the morning before the mall opened.  VIB Rouge members (and a friend) received 15% off their purchases, free coffee and treats, beauty consultations, and much more.  I did purchase some items, but for today’s #Dealoftheday I wanted to share all the goodies I received for free (shown in the picture, above):

-Sephora makeup bag

– VIB Rouge water bottle (love this!)

-VIB Rouge compact mirror

-FULL SIZE bareMinerals Ready Blush in “The Tease” (Regular $28.00)

-bareMinerals foundation, brush, and eye brightener sample

Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black perfume sample

Prada Luna Rossa perfume sample

-Assorted primer, body butter, and moisturizer samples

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3 Products to Wear Everyday (and Everywhere)!

3 products1. Clinique Superbalm Moisturizing Gloss in “Black Honey”

I have been using Clinique’s Superbalm Gloss in the colorless formula for years, so when I came across the “Black Honey” version ($19.00 +tax) in Sephora recently, I thought I’d give it a try.  Mostly, I was intrigued by the claim on the sign next to the product, stating that this specific colour flatters nearly every skin tone.  I bought it, tried it once, and fell in love with it.  In the tube, it is a little intimidating (Clinique describes it as a “deep blackened raisin”), but on your lips, it presents itself as a beautiful berry colour.  I promise you that you’ll be able to wear this colour with almost any outfit, on any day.  I have paired it with everything from a dark-smoky eye, to just a little bit of mascara.  Another awesome benefit? The gloss itself is moisturizing and lasts a really long time.  According to the product description on Sephora’s website, Clinique Superbalm, “Instantly relieves dryness while protecting lips with antioxidants and providing sheer, high-shine color that lasts”.  Not a fan of the glossy look? Clinque has also developed other products with the same fab colour: nail polish, lipstick, even eye shadow and gel eyeliner.  Check them all out on Clinque’s website here, or you can purchase them at Sephora, here.

2. Nars Blush in “Orgasm”

It’s sort of ironic that most of us “blush” when we ask for this product by name at makeup counters, but once you try it, you’ll never be embarrassed to ask for it again!  This beautiful shimmery pinky-peach shade is raved about by makeup artists, celebrities, and everyday people alike.  It has just the right amount of shimmer (so you won’t look like a disco ball!), and the subtle, glowy colour and finish flatter a wide range of skin tones.  Because of this, I pretty much stopped all use of my other blushes as soon as I purchased it.  The price tag may seem a little unreasonable to some, ($32.00 +tax), but if you figure that this may be the only blush you’ll ever need on a day-to-day basis, it could definitely be justified.  Again, this colour is extremely popular, and Nars has expanded the line to include nail polish, lip gloss, illuminator, and a “multiple” (essentially a product that can multi-task for face and body).  You can purchase these products at Sephora, here.

3. Physicians Formula Eyebrightener Multi-Colored Eyelighter in “Hint of Taupaz”

Last but not least on my list of 3 products to wear everyday, is this beautiful, earth-toned eye shadow by Physicans Formula (notorious for their hypoallergenic makeup and skincare).  According to their website, this product is said to brighten dark or dull eyelid area with subtle hints of pearlescent color.  Depending on where you purchase this product, it can rage from $8.00-$16.00.  I actually purchased mine years ago and rediscovered it recently.  I’ve worn this eye shadow on it’s own for weeks in a row and haven’t got bored of it yet (and I’m normally a multi-colour, base, crease, highlight kind of girl!).  The colour is predominant enough to give you a soft glowy “I-just-stepped-off-a-Greek-island” kind of look, while subtle enough to pair with a bold, bright lipstick without competing.  This colour is becoming increasingly hard to find here in Canada (you can try Shoppers Drug Mart or Wal Mart), but if you’re unsuccessful, they do carry it in the United States at CVS, here.   Now, if bronzey-brown tones aren’t really your thing, this product also comes in a more neutral colour, called “Natural Eyelight” that you can find online here in Canada.

In the end, all of these products claim to match and flatter nearly every skin tone, and in my personal experience, they haven’t failed. If you’re purchase all 3, you really only need to add a good foundation (or tinted moisturizer), and some mascara, and you have your full daily makeup routine (and one that you can bring from day to night)!

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