Sephora

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!

Spring Favourites

With just a couple more weeks of Spring left (helloooo Summer!), I wanted to share some of the products I’ve been loving for the past few months.  Let’s get started!

1. Beauty With a Twist Daily Shampoo and Conditioner*

Created in 2013 by celebrity stylist Oliver Ifergan in an effort to capture the essence of the California lifestyle (palm trees, sandy beaches…basically everything I dream about), Beauty With a Twist’s products are formulated with only the highest quality, certified-organic ingredients.  Their products are not tested on animals, and a portion of their sales are donated to The Beagle Freedom Project to help end animal cruelty.  Their Daily Shampoo and Conditioner smell amazing, (notes of coconut and soft peach), and leave hair feeling soft and moisturized.  Both are formulated without parabens and are sulfate-free, ensuring they protect and preserve colour treated hair.  Beauty With a Twist products can be purchased in Canada exclusively on Amazon.ca.

2. Sahajan Discovery Kit*

This Discovery Kit is like an adult goodie-bag full of nourishing treatments for your face, body, and hair.  All of Sahajan’s products are natural and organic, and are developed and made in Canada (Toronto to be exact!) with eco-friendly and sustainable practices.  This kit is the perfect way to test out some of Sahajan’s products and includes: Nourish Face Cream, Restorative Eye Cream, Protective Face Serum, Nurture Hair Oil, and Ritual Body Oil (plus a handy linen makeup bag and a natural-wood mirror).  All of the products in this kit are impressive; they are nourishing, lightweight, and smell beautiful.  If I had to choose just one favourite (and trust me, it’s hard), it would have to be the Restorative Eye Cream.  A good eye cream is hard to find, and this one left the skin under my eyes feeling soft and moisturized, and looking brighter.  You can purchase this Discovery Kit, or the individual Sahajan products at Toronto’s Blossom Lounge.

3. Skechers Flex Appeal Sneakers in “Floral Bloom”

For me, these sneakers were love at first sight (um, hello, do you see those flamingos!?).  Not only are they bright, adorable, and perfect for Summer, they are also extremely comfortable, thanks to their memory foam insoles and stretch mesh panels.  They are light-weight (a women’s size 7 is just 6oz!) and are super flexible, allowing them to bend and flex naturally with your feet.

4. NYX Lip Lingerie in “Corset”

After reading positive reviews about this colour and formula online, I decided to give it a try.  This product is a matte liquid lipstick with a griege-ish tone.  It is long-lasting, and, as is commonplace for the NYX brand, is affordable without compromising on quality. If you’re looking for a super-unique yet wearable tone to add to your makeup collection, this is it.

5. Prada Candy Eau de Parfum

I’m one of those people who likes to switch up their scent on a daily basis, so it’s not often I find one that ends up on repeat.  I received a sample of this scent about a year ago, and brought it with me on a trip to Mexico.  Now, maybe it’s that every time I smell this scent I recall sandy beaches, warm breezes, and pina coladas, but since purchasing a full-sized version a couple of months ago, I still can’t get enough.  With notes of caramel, musk, and vanilla, this scent is soft and sweet with a nice warmth to it, just like a Summer night.

What have you been loving these past few months?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: products indicated with an asterisk (*) were received for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

For Skin that Glows, and Makeup that Lasts All Day: Farmacy Skin Dew

I recently reviewed one of Farmacy’s Lip Blooms, and was given the opportunity to test out another one of their products: Skin Dew, a hydrating essence mist and makeup setting spray.  The name alone sounds super luxurious, and a product like this is perfect for the hot summer months ahead.  As mentioned in my previous post, the foundation for all of Farmacy’s products is GreenEnvy, (a variant of Echinacea Purpurea), which is a natural antioxidant that protects, firms, and evens skin tone.  In addition to GreenEnvy, Skin Dew is also formulated with kiwi fruit extract (to improve the skin’s barrier function, and improve tone/pigmentation), glycerin (for hydration), Horsetail Juice (an antioxidant and skin-smoother), and a blend of essential oils (Rosemary, Peppermint, Bergamot) that act as a light astringent (and smell amazing!).

Skin Dew can be applied in the morning before or after moisturizing, or after applying makeup as a setting spray.  Because it creates a light veil over the skin, it prevents oil-migration, and is perfect for those who often find their makeup shifting on their face throughout the day (i.e. me!).  It can also be re-applied throughout the day to freshen skin and increase radiance, or to help touch-up makeup.  The sleek, frosted plastic packaging is beautiful and is compact enough (3.3 0z) to tuck in your purse or beach bag.  To use, simply hold the product 8 inches from your face and spray, starting at your forehead and working downward.

Free of artificial colors, formulated with natural ingredients, and not tested on animals, this product is one that is good for both the environment and your skin.  You can purchase this product on Farmacy Beauty’s website, or online/in-store at Sephora.

Have you tried Farmacy Beauty’s Skin Dew, or any of their other products?  Let me know in the comments below!

Note: Product received for testing purposes.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own. 

Farmacy Lip Blooms: Natural Ingredients for Soft, Smooth Lips

A good lip balm is hard to find.  You want something that moisturizes and protects your lips, but also one that looks and feels nice (and if it can double as a lipstick or gloss, even better!).  Personally, I use lip balms around the clock: before bed to moisturize overnight, in the morning to prep my lips for lipstick, and during the day to revive my lip colour.

I was presented with the opportunity to review Farmacy Beauty’s Lip Bloom in “Lavender Mint”, and was excited to give it a try.  I’ve seen their products at Sephora, and have heard great things about their skincare made from farm-grown, hand-picked ingredients.  Their trademarked ingredient (and one that can be found in their Lip Blooms) is Echinacea GreenEnvy (a variant of Echinacea Purpurea), which is a natural antioxidant that helps protect and firm the skin, and inhibit collagen breakdown.  In fact, the Echinacea GreenEnvy is cultivated in upstate New York and travels only 2 hours to the Farmacy lab, where it is then cold-pressed.  Farmacy’s Lip Blooms also contain Castor Seed Oil and Sunflower Seed Oil for hydration, smoothness, and protection of the delicate skin on the lips.

So what do I think of the Lavender Mint Lip Bloom? Aside from the pretty (not overpowering) scent, what I love most about this product is its versatility.  You can wear it as a lip balm on its own, pair it over top of a lipstick for a glossy shine, or even wear it on the eyelids over top or underneath eye shadow for a high-fashion, dewy finish.  The packaging is simple, chic, and compact, making it perfect to throw in your purse or makeup bag.  It applies smoothly and evenly, is a nice (not sticky) consistency, and leaves lips feeling soft and moisturized.

Lip Blooms are available for purchase on the Farmacy Beauty website and also in-store and online at Sephora.  Other flavours include Strawberry Basil, Honey Ginger, Vanilla Mint, Citrus Lemongrass, and Apple Rosemary. Yum!

Have you tried Farmacy’s Lip Blooms, or any of their other products?  Let me know in the comments below!

*Product provided for consideration.  All thoughts and opinions are honest and are my own.

Gift Guide Day 8: The Little Gift that Does A Lot

GG 2015-8

We are all aware of the fashion and beauty emergencies that can happen when you’re on the go: a run in your tights, hair that won’t stay put, a broken nail, a hem that has fallen loose, or an earring back that has gone M.I.A.  We know these emergencies can (and do) happen, but we simply don’t have enough room in our purses to carry all the items we’d need to solve these problems…at least until now, that is.  Pinch ProvisionsMinimergency Kit for Her” holds 17 beauty and fashion emergency fixes in a cute pouch, all while being able to fit in the palm of your hand.

Included in kit are the following:

– Adhesive bandage
– Safety pin
– Earring backs
– Deodorant towelette
– Nail polish remover pad
– Stain remover pad
– Clear elastics
– Lip balm
– Emery board
– Tampon
– Hair spray
– Clear nail polish
– Dental floss
– Mending kit
– Breath freshener
– Double-sided tape

You can purchase the kit shown in the picture above on the Sephora website, or you can visit the Pinch Provisions website to see even more styles and products, including a kit for men.  There are even Minimergency kits for brides and bridesmaids!

Missed the first 7 days of the Gift Guide? Check them out below!

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Gift Guide Day 3: A Pretty Pout

GG 2015-3

Bite Beauty has been on my beauty-radar quite often this year.  Their products are made solely of food-grade ingredients (and are gluten-free), and the colour payoff is always impressive.  This Best Bite Rewind set is the perfect way to try out the brand (if you haven’t already), and includes 4 matte-finish mini lip crayons (0.031 oz each).  The kit includes a fun range of colours: nude (Cafe), rose (Torte), raspberry (Coulis), and eggplant (Aubergine).  Orange peel wax protects and seals in moisture, while triple milled pigments provide light but serious colour payoff.  The pointed crayon tips allow you to perform precise, liner-free applications on the go.  This set comes ready to gift in a cute holiday-red tin, or you can divide it up into 4 individual gifts!

Miss the first 2 days of the Gift Guide? Click below!

Day 1 (+ Giveaway!)

Day 2

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! 

6 Fall Must-Haves

Fall Must Haves

When I think of Fall, I think of pumpkins, apples, warm colours, and cozy knits.  Here are a few of my Fall must-haves.

1. Bath and Body Works Mini Candle in “Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin”

When it comes to candles, I’m typically more of a vanilla/musk/men’s cologne type of gal, but I have been absolutely loving this Sweet Cinnamon Pumpkin candle as of late.  Picture a fresh pumpkin pie baking in the oven mixed with a hit of vanilla (mmmm, right?!).  I love that it fills the house with fragrance, but isn’t overpowering/headache inducing.  I own this candle in the 3-wick version, but how cute is this mini version? Perfect for testing out the scent!

2. Old Navy Patterned Sweater Cape in “Warm Multi”

Capes are huge for fall this year, and I’m in love with the Aztec-inspired pattern on this one from Old Navy.  What’s great about this cape is that you can wear it many different ways: over top of a chambray shirt, a sweater, a dress, and beyond.  It can be a statement piece that inspires the rest of your outfit, or simply an extra layer you leave at your desk during the day for when the office is chilly.  It’s versatile, affordable, and the perfect cozy material for Fall. And while I’m still a huge fan of the blanket scarf, this is a fun alternative.

3. Bite Beauty Matte Creme Lip Crayon in “Brandy” 

When it comes to lip colours, I simply can’t resist a good berry tone.  This one from Bite Beauty is perfect for Fall.  Described as a “muted raspberry”, it’s super pigmented, applies smoothly, and has a matte finish.  The crayon-style applicator allows you to line your lips easily before filling them in, and the colour has serious staying power. For mornings that are getting increasingly darker (and when you start using the “snooze” button more often), simply pair this shade with some mascara and you’re good to go.  I’ve blogged previously about Bite Beauty and their use of food-grade ingredients; I’ve become a big fan and highly recommend trying them out!

4. Grove Square Spiced Single Serve Hot Apple Cider 

If Fall were a drink, it would be a nice hot glass of apple cider.  These k-cups are a super fast, easy, and convenient way to enjoy this seasonal classic at home, without having to make a full pot.  If you’re feeling fancy you can even add some cinnamon sticks or orange slices.  Yum!

5. Forever 21 Leaf Statement Necklace

There’s something so very “Greek Goddess” about nature-inspired jewelry, and this gorgeous one from Forever 21 is just $12.90!  What’s great is that, while it’s perfect for this time of year, it can actually be worn year-round.  And because a statement necklace makes, well, such a statement, it can be worn with the simplest of outfits (hello button-up and dress pants) for those not-so-easy Fall Monday mornings.  If you’re feeling a little more energetic, picture this necklace paired with a buttoned-up chambray shirt, a top-knot, a berry lip, and hey, maybe even the cape from Old Navy!

6. Mark’s Work Warehouse “Brooklyn” Mid-Rise Plaid Rain Boot

Buffalo plaid.  Need I say more? These fun rain boots from Mark’s Work Warehouse are perfect for Fall’s rainy days.  Even better? They are treated with antimicrobial technology to ensure they stay smelling and looking fresh.  I own a pair, and wore mine recently to go apple picking!

What are your essentials for Fall?  Let me know in the comments below!

March/April Favourites!

March-April 2015 Favourites
I hope Spring is treating you all well so far! Here’s what I’ve been loving for the months of March and April.

1. Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette

After reading all the rave reviews and seeing swatches online, I purchased this palette during the most recent Sephora VIB sale.  The 12 shadows are a gorgeous, creamy texture, and are impressively pigmented.  The colours range from light neutrals to darks, making it extremely versatile (and perfect to keep in your purse to help transition your look from day-to-night).  I also love the packaging: super chic and girly!

2. Dove Beauty Finish Dry Spray Antiperspirant

New from Dove, this antiperspirant sprays on (as opposed to a glide-on stick formula), dries instantly, and lasts up to 48 hours while moisturizing the skin.  I admit that upon purchasing it, I was a little skeptical that a spray could be as effective as a stick deodorant.  But I was pleasantly surprised when, 14 hours later, the pretty floral scent (water lily, freesia, and jasmine) was still present.  I also love that, because it dries instantly, you don’t get any white deodorant marks on your clothes (finally!).

3. Nivea Vanilla & Macadamia Lip Butter

I love this product so much, that I actually wear it in place of lipstick some days.  Not only does it smell amazing (exactly like its namesake states), it is also super moisturizing (thanks to shea butter and almond oil) and long-wearing.

4. Christian Siriano for Payless Perforated Wedge

I originally went into Payless Shoe Source looking to use a coupon I received during a previous visit.  I had my sights set on a pretty pair of floral pumps, but sadly my size was absent.  I then spotted these on the top shelf, and as soon as I tried them on, I knew it was meant to be.  These are, by far, one of the comfiest pairs of shoes I’ve ever owned.  They are super easy to walk in thanks to the wedge heel, and go with nearly everything: jeans, dresses, and ankle pants.

5. Alex and Ani “Everything Happens for a Reason” Charm Bangle

When it comes to bracelets, t-shirts, or nearly anything adorned with a positive saying, I need to have it.  I’m also a big believer in the idea that everything comes our way in life for a reason.  I received this bangle as a gift, which has since sparked a slight Alex and Ani obsession (I Instagramed about some of my others here).  As someone who has ridiculously small wrists, I love that I can adjust these bangles to fit perfectly, and also that each one has its own special meaning.

 

What have you been loving these last couple of months? Let me know in the comments below!

 

 

5 Accessories to Ring in Spring!

5 Things for Spring

While Summer is my favourite season, there’s just something about the fresh, warm(er), Spring air that makes me smile.  Another thing I love about Spring? It’s when bright colours and fun patterns make their way back into style.  Check out these 5 fun accessories I’ve chosen to help you celebrate.

1.  Indigo Applique Pouch Swimmer 

Just try and look at this pouch without cracking a smile (it’s basically impossible).  Use it as a makeup bag, put your camera in it, or rock it as a fun clutch!

2.  Kate Spade New York Umbrella

Until those flowers arrive, make the most of April’s showers with this adorable umbrella from Kate Spade New York (that reads “Rain Check?”).  The clear shell allows you to actually see where you’re walking (it’s happened to all of us…), and it folds up easily with a tab-with-snap closure.

3.  Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in “Anarchy”

Aside from being one of my favourite accessories in general, I especially love that each season comes with a brand new range of lipstick shades to choose from.  One of my favourites right now, (and one that is perfect for Spring and Summer), is this gorgeous bright fuchsia from Urban Decay (picture of me wearing it here).  Extremely pigmented, this lipstick applies super-smoothly and keeps your lips moisturized courtesy of jojoba oil, avocado oil, cocoa butter and shea butter.

4.  Aldo “Frerima” Necklace

I love this necklace for 3 reasons: 1. the floral design screams “Spring”, 2. the colour allows it to be extremely wearable, and 3. the unique, asymmetrical design makes it extremely interesting to the eye.  Pair it with a simple black dress, or with a plain tee and jeans.

5.  Keds Crashback in “Navy Flamingo”

Warmer weather and sunshine means it’s time to trade in those Uggs for something a little lighter (unless you’re me and wear them all year round, of course).  Called “Crashback” because you can collapse the back of the shoe any way you’d like, these awesome flamingo-adorned slide-ons are perfect for commuting to the office, or pairing with jeans on the weekend (making them both fun and practical).  Not a flamingo kind of gal? They come in a variety of other colours/patterns (but really…who’s not a flamingo kind of gal?!).