Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Luxe Box | 2014

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The new spring season is (slowly, but surely) bringing us more sun, nicer weather, gorgeous pastels, and.... a new Luxe Box! Yes, it's that time again— a specially curated box of goodies to bring on the new season.

This season's box came packaged in the same sturdy box as previous seasons. I love re-purposing this box for storage— so handy!

Opening the box, there were six (I'm including the shampoo / conditioner combo as one) products tucked inside the soft silk drawstring bag. I also love re-purposing this bag for travel— it's great to pack shoes in.


To start, the hair stuff...

I have always enjoyed using Fekkai products (I've been using them since before they dropped the Frederic). This spring Luxe Box contained two travel sized bottles of shampoo and conditioner from the PrX Reparatives line. I don't know about you, but my hair is in some serious need of TLC from winter. I can definitely appreciate the Argan extract infused in this combo— my hair is eating it up. I love the scent, too!


This box is also feeding my obsession with blush with the Be a Bombshell blush in Love Me. It's a beautiful sheer pink with a bit of shimmer. I have been layering it with a matte counterpart for a luminous effect and it's gorgeous. While it is shimmery, it isn't incredibly pigmented, so the shimmer is subtle on the cheeks. 


I think we all know how much I love Essie Mint Candy Apple. Even though this new bottle is a bit more on the "Robin's Egg blue" than it is "mint," I still love the colour. It's a great pop of spring on the nails.


Dry hands are a way of life for me these days, so I cannot get enough of this L'Occitane hand creme. I've actually almost finished it up, so a repurchase is definitely in order. The shea butter in this smells so good! Plus, it's leaves my hands feeling silky and smooth.


I love Lancome's Genifique Concentrate. It's definitely in my Top 5 "Big Girl" face serums. It's lightweight and absorbs quickly into the skin. I typically use it at night, but it's also notable to mention that it sits well under makeup, too.


These Loose Button Gel Eye Pads are wonderful. You can use them warm or cool but I've been doing the latter. You can pop them in the fridge for 40-60 minutes... or if you're like me, leave them in there overnight because you forgot about them. Place them over your eyes in the morning (or night) and get ready for a cooling, relaxing, spa-like time. They're great for the morning after those late nights when your eyes are feeling a bit puffy.

Did you get a Spring Luxe Box? What products did you enjoy the most? I think my two favourite products in this season's Luxe Box are the blush and the gel eye pads.

Ps, the Summer Luxe Box is being curated as I type. If you're interested in one, pop over to Loose Button's website!x


Pps, I recently picked up a new Macro lens. These photos weren't shot with it... but I just wanted to let you know you can look forward to some up close, macro goodness soon :)


(*) This Spring Luxe Box was sent to Stylish & Literate for consideration. See disclosure here.

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Friday, April 04, 2014

A White Denim Affair

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Spring has sprung (... or is trying to spring) and I am ringing in this joyous occasion with some white denim.

I have a love / hate relationship with white denim. Currently, it's a love, but it also has a dark side. You know the one I'm talking about... finding a pair that isn't completely see-through, always having to do a butt-check in any reflective surface, and being keenly aware of your proximity to anything that could end up decorating your pants. 

Obviously the glories of white denim  -- the way they look so fresh, the way they can be styled up or down, and the way they go with anything -- outweigh all the bad. 

I've recently armed my wardrobe with two styles, and while they look so similar that you'd question if they really are different... they are and I love them.

The first pair is from Gap. I haven't bought jeans from them in years, but they had a 40% off promo recently (on their website & in store) and I went a little cray-cray. This whole shopping spree was sparked after seeing this pair, the Destructed Sexy Boyfriend jeans, hauled on Lisa's (LisaLisaD1) channel.

They fit a little slimmer than other boyfriend jeans I own, but there's still a bit of slouch and they're still so comfortable to wear. I love pairing boyfriend jeans with loose fitting tops for casual feel. 

On another note, I'm excited to start bringing out lighter jackets, like this faux leather pastel piece from Forever21. I've had this jacket for so many years and I'm really impressed that it has held its shape.

I am on the hunt for a new leather piece, though. I used to have a staple black leather jacket but I left it at a restaurant one summer & never saw it again. Five years later, I'm realizing that I should really fill that void in my wardrobe and I think I found the one.  If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug here), you'll know I spotted this one at Aritzia. It's a great fit and the leather is incredibly soft. I want to try on one more at All Saints before I buy, but I'm really leaning towards the Mackage one from Aritzia.

Jacket, Forever21 (old) | Top, Target (Massimo) | Jeans, Gap (here) | Scarf, Hudson's Bay | Boots, Target (Sam & Libby)



The second pair is thanks to Elise (BlushistheNewBlack). We were shopping at Target a few weekends ago (watch our vlog from that weekend here) and we both ended up getting a pair. Actually, Elise saw them first & I just copied ;).

They are distressed skinny jeans but they are a bit stretchier than regular denim which makes them über comfortable to wear. They have some stud detailing on the front & back pockets, but they're hardly noticeable.

They look great tucked into boots, but they will look great with heels or flats, too. There's still a bit of a chill in the air so I haven't quite retired the cashmere sweaters for the season. I can't wait to lose the layers!

Top, Target | Cashmere Sweater, Lord & Taylor (Hudson's Bay) | Jeans, Target | Scarf, Alexander McQueen | Jacket, Vince Camuto (old, from Nordstrom)

Even warmer weather is on the horizon and I can't wait to bring these out again! Do you own a pair of white denim jeans in your closet? x

Ps, I have picked a winner for my Favourites giveaway on Tuesday! Congratulations to Samantha K! I emailed her the other day & she just got back to me with her "wishlist." My first European giveaway winner. Thanks so much to all that took the time to enter the giveaway / read my blog / watch my videos! :) x

Ps, thanks to the Beau for entertaining my vision of a "middle of the street" lookbook shot :)

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Favourites ♥

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It's probably time to get my 2013 favourites up, huh?

I am so late with this. Sorry! Seriously... February came and went while I was twiddling my thumbs. There's definitely a moment when this becomes completely moot & I feel like I'm encroaching on that border (if I haven't already blown past the welcome sign haha). The further into 2014 we get, the more irrelevant 2013 faves becomes but hopefully you'll still care to know…

So without further ado... here are some of my faves from the past year.

Instead of sharing a laundry list of favourites, I thought I would condense it into 13 (give or take a few). Starting with hair tools…


Conair Curl Secret
A hair tool I’ve loved in 2013 is the Conair Curl secret. I think this new range of curlers is so innovative. Let me tell you why I love it, but why I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone.

What I love:

  • It works really well with my hair.
  • It gives me the perfect loose, romantic curls that I love.
  • It’s incredibly easy to use for me and it cuts my hair curling in half.


The downsides are:

  • You can only curl your hair in one direction (there’s no way to switch the way the barrel turns with this particular model / brand).
  • You really have to prep your hair before using this tool to make sure that it is tangle free and fairly smooth (otherwise it will eat your hair and create a mess).
  • It doesn’t give really tight curls, so if you’re used to the kind of curl / longevity you get from a flat iron, then look elsewhere.


For me & the kind of curls I like, this curler is perfect!



Mason Pearson Hair Brush
I seem to be a hoarder of hair brushes. I have a drawer dedicated to them. All different shapes and sizes and bristles, but this is by far my favourite (followed very closely by the Sonia Kashuk hair brushes).

I am a firm believer in the “100 brush strokes before bed” – especially with this brush. I try to do it every single night and my hair looks extra shiny and smooth the next morning. Plus, it redistributes the oils in my hair so my second day hair looks even better than the first.


Biotherm Anti-Drying Body Milk
I discovered this body lotion during the summer & I’ve been loving it ever since. It keeps your skin smooth, hydrated, and comfortable all day long. It has been a bit of a skin saver during the current winter conditions we’ve been experiencing.




Skincare Loves

I could do a completely separate post on skincare favourites (in fact I have one in the pipeline), but instead, I picked out three (kind of new) standout products from this past year. They are the Sibu Hydrating Serum, the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, and the Embryolisse Lait-Crème Concentrè (24-Hour Miracle Cream).


Sibu Hydrating Serum
I’ve heard so many good things about the Sibu skincare line from Michelle1218, so when I saw that Well.ca was carrying the brand, I opted for a few things. I’ve been loving the Hydrating  Serum (I am now on my second bottle). It’s so lightweight and liquid (kind of feels like water), but it hydrates like nobody’s business.

Clairins Beauty Flash Balm
The Clarins Beauty Flash Balm doubles as a moisturizer and a deep conditioning mask (for the face, of course). It’s so refreshing on the skin. It glides over the skin beautifully and it keeps my skin looking moisturized and fresh. I applying this in heavy doses for those days where my skin feel taut and dehydrated.

Embryolisse 24 hour cream
I am so happy to have rediscovered the Embryolisse. I first used it years ago and I don’t know why I haven’t repurchased it until last year. This has become a morning staple. It’s a great moisturizer (my skin feels hydrated and smooth all day long) and it’s a great base for any makeup.

You’ll notice a theme here… One of the main criteria I look for in a moisturizer is that it must be hydrating on the skin. I don’t have dry skin, by any means, but I hate applying a layer of lotion onto my skin, only to have it feel tight and dry an hour later.


Mascaras
These mascaras have been on rotation for the last year. While I haven’t been using mascara at all lately (I got lash extensions done recently and while they have all fallen off, I still haven’t gotten back into the habit of mascara yet), these three would be the ones I would reach for.
Lancome Doll lashes, Dior Diorshow, and Covergirl Clump Crusher.

I don’t expect miracles from mascaras – I was born with short & straight lashes, so I’m used to it – but I do love a mascara that defines my lashes, volumizes them, and that doesn’t leave raccoon eyes. All three of these mascaras work exactly the way I want them to. They vary in brush shapes and mascara formulations, but they last all day long and they define my lashes so people know I actually have some!




Chantecaille Just Skin
I am upgrading this to Holy Grail status. I don’t throw that word around lightly; in fact, there are probably only a handful of products that I would deem worthy of that title.

When I think Holy Grail, I think a product that you would repurchase in an instant or a product that when you stop using, you actually miss.

Just Skin is my holy grail. It still allows your skin to peek through, but it gives a beautifully fresh finish. I love that! It also lasts all day long on my normal / combination skin. It is fool proof to apply, you can use your fingers, a beauty blender, a brush… they all give a great finish. Lastly, it looks so natural on the skin. I do wish it was more reasonably priced, though.


YSL Touche Éclat
You know, for the longest time I was torn on whether I even liked this products, but it’s official, it’s wonderful. I just use it to brighten up under my eyes, whether I have put concealer on or not, it just helps to brighten the dark circles I have. I also use it to highlight sometimes. Try this if you’re not looking for a full-coverage concealer because it’s definitely not meant for that. By the way, shade #3 works the best for me.


Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder
I may have to bump this up to Holy Grail status, too. I can count on one hand the number of days that I have left the house without dusting this on my face. It has become the ultimate setting powder for me. Dim Light is the perfect colour and it gives my skin a subtle soft focus look to it (how can you say now, right?). The Ambients Powders have just been one of my favourite products of 2013, but this shade is at the top.



Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector
I purchased this pretty late in 2013, but I still cannot get enough of it. Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfectors are wonderful products to begin with… Great formulation, silky texture, easy to blend… but when I saw their Limited Edition Rose Gold version, it was love at first sight. Seriously, it was. The powder has such a gorgeous geometric pattern that’s mesmerizing. On top of being very pretty to look at, it also gives my skin a warm glow. This has definitely been perking up my skin this winter.



Clairins Instant Light Lip Perfector
Ever since I picked this up last summer, it has been calling my makeup bag home. I always carry it in my purse because when I want a flattering lip colour that goes well with any outfit and that feels comfortable on the lips, this is the one I pull out. Also, when I'm feeling posh, I love to pull out my Chanel compact mirror, which is not only beautiful to look at, but totally functional for checking your make-up through the day (although beware of the magnified side when you're having a bad skin day -- yikes!).


Blushes
I am a sucker for blushes and I’m surprised I managed to narrow down my choices to two: Bourjois Cream Blush in Healthy Glow and Benefit Dallas

I spotted these Bourjois Cream blushes on the blogosphere early last year and I knew I would love them. I especially love #3 Healthy Glow – I have a penchant for peaches and corals. While these blushes aren’t incredibly pigmented & vibrant, they offer a subtle hue to the cheeks that lasts for the most part of the day. I especially love the formulation of these. They blend out really well & they don’t leave a sticky / tacky feeling on the skin.


Benefit Dallas is an unsung hero in my blush stash, but today, it’s getting its moment in the sun. It does look a bit boring in the pan, doesn't it? It’s definitely one of those products you have to wear to appreciate. It’s a cross between a blush and a bronzer, and it gives your cheeks the prettiest glow. When all else failed, Dallas was my saviour.



Make Up For Ever Artisan Brushes
I have a soft spot for tapered pointed brushes like this Make Up Forever Artisan Brush in #160. I have similar styles in MAC, Hakuhodo, and Sonia Kashuk (one day I'm hoping to add a Suqqu version to the family). I just love applying blush, bronzer, or powder with this type of brush. What sets this MUFE brush apart from the pack is that a) it has synthetic bristles, and b) the bristles are so long & flexible, it's especially great for super pigmented cheek products.



Essie Encrusted Collection
I have been obsessed with this Essie Collection. I am a huge fan of glitter polishes and this collection delivered. These three are my favourites: Peak of Chic, Jazzy Jubilant, and Hors D'Oeuvres. Actually, now that I'm typing this I am not sure that Jazzy Jubilant was part of the collection... but it's still a great multicolour glitter polish. Peak of Chic reminds me of snowflakes and Hora D'Oeuvres is just a stunner on.



So, that's it. That's all of the products I've been waiting months to share with you guys.

Now, if you've seen the accompanying video (which is below if you'd like to watch it), I am doing a giveaway. I meant to have this giveaway up during the holiday season, but as you can tell, I didn't get to it.

Anyway, I will be giving away all of the favourites I just mentioned! If you're interested in winning, please enter via the Rafflecopter widget below.

This giveaway is open worldwide (provided that there are no barriers for you to received Canadian parcels) and I will be choosing one winner on Sunday, April 30th, 2014. That's in a couple of weeks -- I wanted to give everyone enough time to enter, but I also want to get the prize out as quickly as possible. When entering, please use an email that you check because I will be contacting the winner through email. Please watch the video below if you want more information about the giveaway; it's the latter half of the video.

Thank you guys so much for taking the time to read my blog and / or watch my videos! I will hopefully be getting into a better blog / video schedule soon -- you know, one where I actually will be posting things from time to time ;).

Good luck if you're entering! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Monday, January 20, 2014

Oh my Gold!

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I've been remiss with the blog lately, but to ease myself back into a proper routine, I blog bearing my favourite nail accessory of the week.

I've been wearing the Essie Sleek Stick in Oh my Gold! ($10.99) since the beginning of the weekend and I'm in love.

I cannot stress enough the convenience of instant nail art, especially for my clumsy hands. Oh my Gold is a gorgeous metallic and gold hexagonal pattern. Actually, it looks like a blinged out honeycomb. The geometric design is over a transparent base, which means you could layer it over any colour of your choice for an even more unique look. I just went with a bare nail, but it still looks far from plain. It catches the light beautifully.

 

This is only the third day of wear, but there’s no peeling / lifting in sight. I did have a bit of trouble applying the first strip though. It was entirely my own fault because I forgot I had applied cuticle oil to my nails. A tip: use a cotton swab & nail polish remover to clean your nails first. It will help the strip stick on much better.

 

I’d definitely recommend these, perhaps for a special occasion, or maybe to spice up your Monday Mani? I want to get another set so I can set it over a base color, I’m thinking a turquoise or a blue… maybe even get some metallic on metallic action going.

 

Let me know what you’re wearing on your nails today! x

 




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Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Beauty United | Red Carpet Glam

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Tonight marks the beginning of award season for Hollywood with the People's Choice Awards kicking it off.

While I'm not a huge award show junkie, I do love to ogle the gorgeous outfits, gowns, and makeup after the fact. Before the new year I received a package from Beauty United containing a slew of products to create a glam look for any posh occasion. What better time to put these products to work?


Here's what was inside the #RedCarpetGlam beauty box:
• Repair Heat & Protect Shine Spray
• Olay Fresh Effects Satin Finish Lotion
• Olay Regenerist Microsculpting Cream
• COVERGIRL Clean Glow Bronzer in Spices
• COVERGIRL Lip Perfection Lip Liner in Passion
• COVERGIRL LipPerfection in Hot
• Crest 3D White Whitestrips Advance Seal 1-Hour Express (1 sachet, not the full box)
• Vidal Sassoon’s Flexible Hold Hairspray
• Vidal Sassoon Repair Heat & Protect Shine Spray


I created this look by throwing on most (if not all) these products on. To prep the skin the night before, I used the Olay Regenerist Microsculpting cream (which I am loving, btw). Then I moisturized with Olay Fresh Effects and then I added a bit of concealer under the eyes. The eyes sparkled with a bit of Sidecar from the Naked 1 palette and the Clump Crusher mascara. The cheeks were chiseled with the Clean Glow bronzer in Spices. The lips were ombré-d (or at least attempted to) with two Covergirl lipsticks in Hot and Eternal. The hair was messily curled and pinned back using the Vidal Sassoon Heat & Protect shine spray and the Flexible Hold hairspray. I was definitely going for the messy hair and "glow-y" skin trend.

Any predictions for tonight's show? Anyone you're looking forward to seeing? x






Disclosure: I am a #BeautyUnited blogger. As part of my affiliation with this group I receive products and special access to P&G events. The opinions on this blog are my own.

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Monday, January 06, 2014

Winter Lip Care | Live Clean Lovely Lips

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Lip balms are essential throughout the year, but especially during the seasons where your lips tend to get drier than usual (i.e., right now). The Live Clean has three Lovely Lips lip balms would make a great pocket / purse companion to beat the blistering cold's affect on your lips.

Canadian-made, Live Clean ensures that all their products are organic and only contain the best natural ingredients. On top of that, they're also cruelty free, preservative free, hypoallergenic, and dye free. If you're looking for an eco-conscious lip balm in your life... look no further.

Like I said, these Lovely Lips come in three versions: Soothing, Moisturizing, and Protecting. They come simply packaged in plastic tubes. They're slim and small, so they easily fit into your pocket. They also have an oval shape to them, as opposed to the traditional round-shaped balm. They are great to use alone, or as a base for your lippie of the day.

While they have their similarities, they each contain different ingredients & they perform a bit differently, too.

After testing them out for the last month or so, I would say the Moisturizing Lip Balm is my favourite. It's infused with Jojoba and Avocado oil, it's the most hydrating on my lips. The Soothing Lip Balm comes in second place with it's refreshing peppermint oil. The minty feel to them feel comfortable on the lips, but to me, it's not nearly as overpowering as the Burt's Bees lip balms. My least favourite would be the Protecting Lip Balm. It contains Vitamin E, but I didn't find that it was hydrating enough on the lips. I found myself reapplying constantly. While I wouldn't recommend Protecting, I don't think you could go wrong with the other two.

Have you tried these Live Clean Lovely Lips lip balms before?  What's your favourite lip balm right now? x


Pricing & Availability

$4.29 | Where Live Clean products are sold (Shoppers Drugmart, Walmart, Rexall Pharma Plus)



(*) This post contains PR samples. See disclosures here.

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