nails

Spa Day Essentials Featuring Blossom Lounge

With a long weekend just a couple of days away, it’s the perfect time to prepare for some rest and relaxation.  And hey, why not make your extra day off feel like one spent at the spa?  Today, I’m featuring 3 fun products to help you do just that.  All can be purchased at Blossom Lounge, located in Toronto’s Distillery District (I’ve featured them previously here and here). Be sure to follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) to stay up to date on new arrivals and more!

1. Graydon Clinical Luxury Superfood Mask + Scrub

This unique mask gently exfoliates and brightens skin, and is formulated with 19 superfoods (including papaya, matcha green tea, white willow bark, cinnamon, activated charcoal, and more!).  Each mask is individually portioned in a vegetable-derived capsule to ensure the product stays as fresh as possible, without oxidizing.  So how do you use it?  With clean, dry hands, simply break open a capsule (learn more here), mix it with your favourite creamy cleanser, soap, or face oil, and massage it into your skin.  Leave it on for as long as you’d like (try for at least 3-5 minutes), and then rinse off with water.  Repeat up to 3 times per week.  For an even more natural touch, try mixing the mask with ingredients such as full-fat yogurt, raw honey, coconut oil, or mashed avocado instead of your cleanser!

 2. Trust Fund Beauty Nail Polish in “Subtly Sassy”

This nail polish is the perfect everyday, cool-toned, nude (seriously, it matches everything).  But aside from being the perfect shade, it’s also an impressive, long-wearing polish: mine lasted a week with just a basic base and top coat.  The rich, creamy, 7-free formula only requires 1-2 coats, which, let’s be real, is a rarity in the light-toned, cream-polish world.  Another perk?  It’s also vegan and cruelty free.

 3. Coal and Canary Candle in “Gimme Some Sugar”

This candle’s unique notes of brown sugar, honey, yam, and vanilla, make it the perfect cozy-up-and-relax scent (and may also make you crave baked goods!).  Hand poured and made in small batches, these Canadian-made candles are created with only the highest quality soy/vegetable wax blends and fragrance oils.  The wooden wick burns cleanly (no smoke or soot here!) and provides a soothing crackle when lit. What I love most about the brand, aside from their unique scents, are their fun, catchy product names.  Some examples: “Good Beats & Eatin’ Sweets“, “Hiking Trails and Breaking Nails“, and “Peach Pies & Cute French Guys“.   Coal and Canary candles are 8 ounces each, and the burn time is an impressive 45-50 hours.

Which product are you most excited to try?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Products provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.  
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Beauty Innovations to Make Your Fall Days a Breeze

Fall Beauty Innovations

As someone who’s not much of  a “morning person” to begin with, Fall’s late sunrises certainly do not make things any easier (not to mention the cooler, drier temperatures that wreak havoc on your hair and skin).  The good news, is that there are some awesome (and fun) products available to help you make your Fall mornings and days easier, and some that may even allow you to catch a few extra zzz’s.

1. Deborah Lippmann “Genie In A Bottle” Illuminating Nail Tone Perfector

In Fall especially, I love a gorgeous oxblood or navy nail polish.  But we all know the frustration that is removing it: stained nails and cuticles, and yellowed tips…ugh.  However this handy polish by Deborah Lippmann is changing the Fall nail game.  Simply apply a coat under your favourite polish to  protect and enhance your natural nail tone.  You can also wear it on its own for natural, luminous looking nails.

2. Urban Decay Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil

Much like my choice of nail colour, Fall also inspires me to bring out my darker berry, brown, and purple lipsticks and glosses.  After all, what better way to change up your look than with a statement lip, right?  The problem is, sometimes the “statement” is that your carefully-applied lipstick is now feathering and bleeding outside the lines (grrr!).  Solution? Urban Decay’s Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil.  Line the outside of your lips with this clear pencil for long-lasting lip colour that stays where it’s applied.  Want even more staying power?  Apply it under your lipstick to help it last all day.  But wait, it gets even better.  You can also use this product as a primer when covering up blemishes and fine lines, and as a beauty eraser to correct any makeup mishaps (example: for those fun times when your mascara ends up on your cheek instead of your eyelashes).  This multi-tasker is a Fall must-have!

3. Conair InfinitiPro “The Ultimate Brush”

The dry air this time of year means there’s a good chance that your freshly straightened hair is going to be visited by Fall’s good friend: static electricity.  And no matter how much product or water you add, sometimes it just seems as if it’s never going to leave.  This handy hair innovation by Conair, “The Ultimate Brush“, contains a battery-powered (2X AAA) ionic generator that acts to “neutralize the static charge, smoothing the cuticle for an instant shiny, frizz-free finish” (conaircanada.ca).  That’s right, the static in your hair can now be turned off with the slide of a switch. Dreams do come true.

4. Jergens Wet Skin Moisturizer

Now that we have our dry, static-y hair problem solved, it’s time to show some love to our skin.  There’s two things about applying moisturizer that frustrate me: 1. waiting for your skin to dry after the shower, and 2. waiting to get dressed while your moisturizer soaks in.  Luckily, this Wet Skin Moisturizer by Jergens solves both of these problems.  Simply apply to your skin before you exit the shower, and then pat dry with a towel (no need to rinse!)  Because your pores are open from the heat of  the shower, your skin is more receptive to absorbing moisture.  In fact, studies have shown this product actually moisturizes 2X’s more, and in half the time, than with ordinary lotion.  In a nutshell, this means you can sleep in a little longer and have gorgeous, moisturized skin.  Where can I sign up for a lifetime supply?

Have you tried any of these products?  Are there any beauty innovations you’re loving?  Let me know in the comments below! 

WhatDidSheFind Gift Guide: Day Eleven

Photo as seen on prettypleasenailpolish.com

Photo as seen on prettypleasenailpolish.com

Let’s admit it: a cute name doesn’t hurt when trying to pick out a shade of nail polish.  Pretty Please Nail Polish allows you to personalize your shade by giving it a fun, customized name.  Simply choose one of the 25 colours on their website, come up with a name (up to 2 lines of 14 characters each, which gets put onto the front of the bottle), and purchase. One bottle of polish costs $12.00 US, and the price decreases with the more bottles you purchase (of the same name and colour).  The polish is cruelty free, vegan friendly, and made in the USA.  These would make great holiday party favours, placeholders at the dinner table, stocking stuffers, or a fun gift to exchange with friends (why not make a full “line” of nail polish inspired by inside jokes, experiences, or vacations?).

Sample created on prettypleasenailpolish.com

Sample created on prettypleasenailpolish.com

Previous Days:

Day One, Day Two, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, Day Six, Day Seven, Day Eight, Day Nine, Day Ten

September/October Favourites

September October Favourites

While I much prefer the heat of Summer over the brisk Fall we’ve been having, September and October did at least mark the discovery of a few new holy-grail beauty and fashion items.  Let’s get started!

1. The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in “Almond Kiss”

The Body Shop’s newly released nail polishes can definitely play in the big-leagues.  Their polish applies easily and evenly, dries fast, and has impressive wear-time.  I especially love the colour “Almond Kiss”, which is the perfect neutral for pairing with your every day work-and-play attire.  Other favourites?  The colour “The Body Shop Green”, (an ode to the colour of their logo), and “Crazy for Blue”, a gorgeous, glossy navy.

2. Sally Hansen Insta-Dry Fast Dry Nail Color in “Cleary Quick”

I always find waiting for nail polish to dry so inconvenient; there are a million other things I’d rather be doing.  That’s way this product has become a staple in my nail polish routine.  Paired with The Body Shop polish above, my nails were fully dry in about 10 minutes, and lasted upwards of 8 days with little to no chips (which speaks to the quality of both this top coat, and the nail polish above). It’s also extremely affordable, and can be purchased for around $4.00 a bottle at Wal-Mart.

3. American Eagle AEO Denim Vested Hoodie

This jacket has been a part of American Eagle’s line for the past few seasons (and has come in other colours as well).  I toyed with buying it in the Spring, but finally purchased it at the end of Summer.  I wasn’t 100% sure that I’d get the wear out of it that I’d like to, but I was wrong.  This jacket is extremely versatile (not to mention super comfortable).  I’ve most recently paired it with a black t-shirt dress, and also with leggings (which you can see in this post, and on Instagram here).  American Eagle offers great sales fairly often (usually around 40% off with free shipping), so be sure to sign up for email notifications!

4. Urban Decay Naked2 Basics

If you invest in one pallet, this should be it.  The eyeshadows are perfection: thick, creamy application, and beautiful tone and pigmentation.  All you need to create a subtle day-look, or evening smokey-eye drama is in this 6-eye shadow pallet.  My favourite colours are “Stark” and “Cover”, which give eyes a “no-makeup” makeup look.  All you need to do is add a little bit of “Undone” to the outer corners of your eye, and your ready for after-work cocktails or a night on the town!

5. NARS Audacious Lipstick in “Audrey”

Newly released by NARS, these lipsticks are flying off the shelves, and all with good reason.  Beautiful pigmentation and smooth application, one swipe is all it takes to obtain long-lasting lips that are sure to make a statement.  The luxe packaging also includes a magnetic-closure lid.  The colour I’ve been loving? Audrey: described on the Sephora website as “red currant”.  In the tube, this colour looks like a darker-toned red, but on the lips, it’s much more like a rich berry or wine tone.  I wore this to a recent event (where food and drink were involved), and never needed to reapply throughout the night.  You can check out a picture of me wearing this on Instagram, here.

6.  Minicci (Payless Shoe Source) Ultra Low No-Show Socks

Time for some real-talk: the truth is, that every time you wear your favourite heels without socks or pantyhose, the dead skin and bacteria left behind (gross, I know) is there permanently.  Shoe cleaners and sprays will help mask any build-up or scent, but the bacteria will always remain.  An easy way to prevent this is by wearing these no-show socks from Payless.  A pair will run you around $3.00 (they come in nude and black), and will help ensure your new shoes stay fresh for many walks and dances to come!

 

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

 

 

 

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!    

My Top 6 Nail Polishes for Fall

Fall Nail Polishes

While I’m definitely a Summer-weather kind of girl, there are many things I love about Fall: pumpkin pie, Bath and Body Works scented candles, and a richer, darker colour pallet when it comes to fashion.  This includes nail polish, which I try to switch up on a weekly basis.  Below are my top picks for the perfect Fall nail polish; which one will you be wearing while sipping your Pumpkin Spice Latte?

1. Julep “Jet”

I never seem to get tired of black nail polish.  This one by Julep is described as a “Jet black crème”, and is like a little black dress: it’s great for anytime, anywhere, and goes with anything.  Enough said.

2. O.P.I “Ice-Bergers and Fries”

This creamy, brown tone is from O.P.I’s new Nordic Collection.  Truthfully, this wouldn’t be a colour I would normally pick, however after discovering it was Cosmopolitan’s recent award winner for “The Best Nude”, I decided to give it a try (you can check out my Instagram post about this here).  It applies beautifully, keeping it’s rich colour and creamy texture.  It’s also long lasting, and removes easily.  Definitely give this polish a try!

3. Essie “Wicked”

Spotlighted on the Essie website for the month of October, this polish is described as a, “strident, striking and bold, blood red lacquer”.  The description alone makes it the perfect nail polish for the month of Halloween, but aside from that, it is also a gorgeous, deep, oxblood red colour that will take you all the way through to Spring.

4. Julep “Karmen”

The colour red is a given when it comes to the Fall and Winter months.  But what I love about this one in particular, is that it’s unique.  Julep describes it on their website as a “Golden crimson microglitter” polish.  The result?  A cross between Fall leaves and Dorothy’s red slippers.  Gorgeous!

5. Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure “Jungle Gem”

I once read that this polish is a universal tone, in that it matches nearly every skin tone.  I decided to put it to the test, and it’s definitely become a top pick of mine.  It’s a rich, creamy, dark teal colour, that is long lasting and can work as either a blue or a green when pairing with outfits or accessories (though if I’m being honest, I barely ever worry about matching my nails to my outfit).  Try it out and let me know if it worked for you too!

6. Essie “Style Cartel”

Just like black nail polish, I also love a gorgeous rich blue, and this polish is definitely has that box checked off.  Described on the Essie website as an, “inky, cobalt blue”, it is blue enough to be a for-sure navy, but also dark enough that it can be a “neutral” and pair well with nearly anything.  It’s also a nice Fall switch-up from another one of my favourite Essie blues: “Butler Please“.

 

 

Fab New Find: Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-on Manicure

imPress Manicure

When I used to think of press-on nails, I always pictured the sticker nails that little kids use.  You know…the kind that last 5 minutes and then fall off.  Notice I said “used to“, because I ladies and gentleman, am a changed woman.  I decided to test out my imPress Manicure on a Sunday night, and see how far into the week I could get before they a) fell off, or b) effected my daily activities.  I tried the style “Over the Moon“, a fun, leopard-style pattern in hot pink and purple.  Can we also talk about how adorable the packaging is?  Made to look like a bottle of nail polish, one package includes 24 press-on nails in 12 sizes, as well as a small nail file and a prep-pad to get your nails ready for their manicure.  Prices range based on whether you choose a single colour ($8.99) or a patterned set ($10.99).  You can purchase them at a variety of stores including WalMart, Target and Loblaws.  I’m thoroughly “imPress-ed” (too cheesy?) by the application, wear, and removal of this product.  Keep reading to learn more about why you’ll love them too. (more…)

January/February Favourites!

January-February Favourites

1. Dior Crème de Rose Smoothing Plumping Lip Balm

What I love about this lip balm is that it can be worn day or night.  Use it as a lip treatment while you sleep, or wear it to school or work in place of (or underneath) a lipstick or gloss.  The baby-pink tone flatters nearly every skin tone, and can be subtle or more intense depending on how much you apply.  The rose scent is pretty (not overpowering), the formula has SPF 10, and the packaging is chic and durable.  A little more expensive than your typical Chapstick, this balm is definitely worth the splurge (around $29.00).

2.  Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black

This is one of the best liquid liners I’ve ever used.  It provides rich, pigmented colour, a smooth application (no tugging), and has a tip that makes it easy to create both thick, thin, and cat-eye style lines (with a marker-style tip).  The waterproof formula ensures it stays in place throughout the day, but yet still washes off easily at night.

3.  JESSICA (by Sears) Women’s ‘Ibenawen’ Leather Platform-Heel Pump

For about 6 months, I was on the hunt for a pair of leather shoes that have leather insoles.  I was close to giving up, when I came across these pumps at Sears.  An extremely reasonable price for an all-leather shoe ($59.99), I picked up both the matte and patent black.  I was prepared to be uncomfortable the first day (as most leather shoes need time to stretch), but was surprised to find that they fit perfectly right from the start; no blisters, irritations, or soreness.  After about 2 weeks of wearing them, they still fit like a glove.  I also love that they are the perfect height.  They are tall enough to lengthen your legs (3.5 inches), but the platform makes them easy to walk in and adds extra comfort (the leather insoles are also cushioned).  Depending on the season, these shoes come in different colours (currently, I’m lusting over the “Cognac” pair).  I was lucky enough to find last season’s pairs in blue and beige, and got them for $23.00!

4. Buxom Full-On™ Lip Cream in “White Russian”

This lip gloss is creamy, shiny, and is the perfect pink tone.  It has a temporary plumping effect (with a slight cool, tingling sensation), but provides your lips with vitamins A and E to keep them soft and hydrated.  No shimmer or sparkle to be found in this gloss, which makes for a nice, clean finish to a smoky-eye or dramatic eye makeup look.

5. American Eagle Hi-Rise Jegging in “Clean Rinse”

For me, finding the perfect pair of jeans can seem next to impossible.  They’re either too short, too long, not the right shade of blue, don’t fit my waist properly, or most annoyingly: too low.   Luckily, more and more stores are offering higher-rise versions of their jeans, including American Eagle.  For these jeans, it was love at first try-on.  They are stretchy like a legging, a rich indigo blue that matches nearly everything (and have no feathering or pre-purchase rips), and are the perfect rise (just below the belly button).  I also love that they are skinnies, so they can be worn with heels or tucked into boots.  Interested? American Eagle always has great sales on, so be sure to follow them via email for updates on current promotions (up to 40% off and free shipping).

6.  Sally Hansen I Heart Nail Art Studs Kit

This fun set creates endless nail-art opportunities.  It includes 3 vials of studs (black, silver/metal, and clear), and also includes a handy nail-art pick up tool.  No glue necessary, simply apply the studs when polish becomes tacky (approximately 30 seconds after polishing), and then cover with a top coat.  This set is extremely affordable and  can make a plain polish seem that much more exciting (accent nail, anyone?).

Happy girls are the prettiest. ~Audrey Hepburn

Review: Gel Nails For Less!

Loreal Gel Lacque

On a recent trip to Wal-Mart, I saw a display for the new L’Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque 1-2-3 nail polish system.  Basically, you purchase the gel primer (base coat) and gel glaze (top coat) as a set (I got mine for $9.99) and then choose your own colour (which you purchase separately, around $5.00-$7.00).  I decided on a dark, navy blue colour called “Don’t Shy Away”.  According to L’Oreal’s website, “New L’Oréal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque provides high-gloss, and resilient shine while protecting nail color from dings, dents and scratches. Get the high-shine of a UV-Gel and the perfect nail shape without harmful UV rays.” I was bit skeptical, but figured I’d give it a try.

Application

The gel primer applied easily, and dried quickly (you only need one coat).  I then applied 2 coats of the gel colour, which proved to be a little trickier (but nothing unmanageable).  The consistency of the coloured polish is much thicker than a normal polish, and I found that you need to dip the brush in the polish more often (once per fingernail).  The colour is extremely pigmented: after applying one coat, you can’t imagine needing to apply another (though you should).  I found it was really important to let the coloured polish dry prior to applying the gel glaze.  I say this because the polish is so pigmented, I found it smeared a bit and dyed the brush applicator of the gel glaze.  I did find that total drying time was very reasonable, and the finish was glossy, rich, and definitely looked professional (after I cleaned up the edges with nail polish remover of course!).

The Wear

Below is a picture of my nails on day 4.  At this point, I’ve put these nails through cooking, fitness classes, typing, pretty much anything.  And, minus a few tiny chips around the ends of my nails, these babies are still looking freshly manicured.

Day 4-1

Next, is a picture at day 6.  At this point, normal nail polish on my nails would be extremely chipped and un-wearable.  Impressively, minus a few minor chips here and there, they are still completely wearable and could easily make it to the 1 week mark!

Day 6-2

Repurchase?

Would I repurchase this set, or recommend it? Definitely. This is one of the most effective, reasonably priced gel-nail sets I’ve seen.  It lives up to its promises and even comes in a full collection of colours, so you’ll have an option for every mood or outfit.  Next up, I’m thinking of trying “Diamond in the Buff”, a gorgeous peachy-pink colour, just in time for Valetine’s Day!  What’s even better about these polishes?  They remove easily with regular nail polish remover!

A woman is helpless only while her nail polish is drying