Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year's Eve is upon us and while different plans call for vastly different outfits, nails are something that can be glammed up no matter the occasion! As I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of magpie when it comes to sparkle, and what better time to go full out then New Year's. Here are my top picks for NYE nails in a range of prices and shades to compliment whatever you are wearing to ring in 2014.

Orly Rage // Essie Hor D'oeuvres // China Glaze Loreli's Tiara // Revlon Facets of Fuchsia // Deborah Lippman Cleopatara

For those who can't be fussed with glitter or may be going glitter crazy for makeup or outfit, Orly Rage is the perfect glamorous accompaniment to a NYE ensemble. If you're into beauty or fashion you know that rose gold is just massive, and conveniently can pair with any other gold or silver jewelry. You can find Orly polishes at Sally's Beauty Supply.

Another chameleon polish is Essie's Hor D'oeuvres. This has been my favourite for the holiday season. It has flecks of silver and gold, and boy does it shine. I believe it is part of their holiday collection, available at most drugstores.

Loreli's Tiara is what I think of as a classic New Year's Polish. The most packed glitter I own, this silver-blue polish is crazy beautiful and guaranteed to get noticed. China Glaze polishes are also found at Sally's.

Another drugstore contender that is a little more subtle, Revlon's Facets of Fuchsia, though it may be called something else in some locations, is a great option for those who don't want in your face glitter. I recommend putting down a black polish first as the black base in this is fairly sheer, but this is still a great contender especially if you want to add a little colour outside of the typical black gold or silver.

And finally, the most expensive out of the bunch, Deborah Lippman's Cleopatara. I got this in a Sephora set for Christmas and it just screams New Year's to me. A little less glitz than Loreli's Tiara, but still striking.

I am still debating which of these lovely polishes I'm going to be sporting tonight, but as with most things in my life, it will probably be a game time decision. That's the beauty of nail polish: slap it on, apply a quick dry topcoat and you're ready for whatever!

Which of these sparkles catch your eye?

Whatever shenanigans you may be up to tonight, I wish you a safe and Happy New Year's, and look forward to a special treat from me for the start of 2014!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Originally I was going to title this "Winter Fashion Essentials", but let's be real; If you have experienced an Ontario Winter, it's where fashion goes to die. 90% of the time I am in work clothes, and the other 10% I try not to leave my house. That being said, here are some of my must haves for surviving the winter without looking like a total slob. 

J. Crew Saturday Pants
I have this thing where I can't seem to leave my house with sweatpants on. Even in university, the only time it ever happened was to pop over to see the convenience man next door, and even that was rare. However, going to my boyfriend's hockey games in jeans or leggings doesn't really work out for me. My Saturday Pants are the perfect marriage of leggings meets sweats. They have actual shape like leggings, but they're thick and cozy like sweatpants. Winning.

Knit Headband
I have always been a headband fan. Even though they may not be quite as practical as a regular old hat, they don't give you hat hair which is worth it for me. I love the deep burgundy colour because the majority of the rest of what I'm wearing, at least on the outside, is always neutral. It's nice to throw in a bit of colour now and then.

Down Jacket
I used to roll my eyes and laugh at anyone who dropped major coin on a jacket, but last year I invested in a Nobis Luna and it has seriously been one of my best purchases ever. I use it every single day in the winter and it is like being wrapped up in a heated blanket. I like this brand/model in particular because it is way more streamlined than the Canada Goose type puffy jacket. Hint: I tried one on in a regular retail store so I knew what size I was, then found on off Kajiji new with tags for something like 40% off!

Fleece Lined Tights
These things are a godsend. I still like wearing dresses and skirts in the winter, and it is because of these that it is even possible. A bunch of stores are selling them now so they should be fairly easy to find. Anyone in Toronto should check out the Black Market, they have them for less than $10!

Touch Screen Gloves
I will admit, I don't yet have these in my possession, but I know that when they arrive they will immediately become essentials. I have really terrible circulation to begin with so gloves are an absolute must, and taking them off is not only a hassle but also annoying because it takes my hands so long to warm back up. I ordered Glider Gloves because they have great reviews and they were on sale, but I've seen some less expensive ones at Target as well.

That wraps it up for my basic Winter essentials, nothing too exciting maybe, but they save my immune system from beating me up for 4 months of the year. I envy all you West Coasters who can get away with a peacoat for the season.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

It has come time again to root through my trash and give you the lowdown on the products I used up this month. Let's just get cracking, shall we?

John Frieda Sheer Blonde Colour Renew Shampoo & Conditioner
Blondes are constantly told that a purple shampoo will be your best friend, so when I saw these on sale for next to nothing (usually they are on the pricier end of drugstore hair care) I bought out the bunch. It works well, but I've never really tried any other brand of purple shampoo so I guess I don't have much to compare it to. The purple conditioner I've been told is pretty unnecessary, but since I only put shampoo on my roots, I like to make sure my colour is even.

Recommendation? If you have something that you love, maybe cool your jets and stick with it. If you're looking for a recommendation that won't break the bank, I would definitely check it out.

Redken Extreme Strength Builder Plus Fortifying Mask
Over the past year I've been going back and forth on the whole protein thing. There was a period where everything and anything you used on your hair had to have proteins to make it stronger, but in this case you can definitely have too much of a good thing. Too much or too often and my hair becomes akin to a broomstick. If I were to repurchase any protein treatment, however, this would be the one.

Recommendation? I would give it a try, but just make sure you don't O.D. on the protein.

Garnier Fructis Instant Melting Masque

Yet another mask, or "masque", but this one was a meh purchase. It's been half empty for most likely one year too many and it's time to see it go. It wasn't bad, but it didn't do much for me either. It also felt a bit waxy which isn't quite the style I usually go for.

Recommendation? You could probably go ahead and skip this one.

Neutrogena Triple Moisture Deep Recovery Mask
And if you thought it was over, the last mask of the bunch. Can you tell I've been trying to use up my hair products? I read great reviews on this one, and since Neutrogena doesn't sell anything other than skincare in Canada I had to wait for a trip to Niagara Falls to pick this one up. The results? Didn't blow me off my feet or anything, but it did make my hair feel soft. I have used some in the past, and am currently using some that I think are better suited for the job of tackling my damaged, fine hair.

Recommendation? I might buy it again in the future if I got tired of using the same products, which I often do, but I think there are others out there that offer more. Stay tuned for more info on those.

Covergirl Stay Flawless Foundation
Heading on into the makeup category, this one was a definite win for me. The coverage was great without feeling too thick or heavy, and it lasts fabulously, pardon the pun, throughout a day at the office. SPF is an added bonus too, though that means I tend to go for something else in the evening when I know I'm going to be taking photos. Avoids the whole sickly looking backflash.

Recommendation? This definitely stacks up to some of the more expensive foundations that I've tried. Just note: it did tend to oxidize on me, so you may want to go a shade lighter.

Garnier Skin Renew Anti-Dark Circle Roller
Another beauty that hits it out of the park for me. This was especially great in the summer because it's nice and light but still provides a surprising amount of coverage for something so thin. It can seem pretty pricy for what it is, but it's lasted me probably far longer than it should so I consider it worth the coin.

Recommendation? If you have serious dark circles, it may not be heavy-duty enough for you, but if you're looking for something that doesn't feel cakey for light makeup this is a great buy.

Finally, it may seem a little random, but I've included this haggard looking tube for a reason. I love this toothpaste, but be warned that not all 3D White Toothpastes perform the same! I made the mistake of letting myself wander to the "Luxe" variety and let me tell you, there is nothing Luxe about it. I'm not sure what it is, maybe the extra grittiness that it has, but I feel the original cleans and whitens so much better!

Recommendation? Go for the original or go home. I can't wait until I can get this back into my routine, as odd as that sounds.

It's amazing how much stuff I actually seem to go through when I pay attention. Though of course now that I've said that, the next one will probably be in July. Enjoy the view!

Thursday, 5 December 2013

After a brief hiatus while I have been sorting out my first ever Black Friday purchase, a new laptop and TV/monitor, yay, I am back and full of ideas for DIY projects/gifts for the near future. Ready for my first HoliDIY?

Since a phone can be considered one of your most consistent accessories, many people take it as an opportunity to show off a little bit of their personal style. Mine? Customization, and storing a ton of phone cases can be a pain. I mentioned this in my 5 favourite tech accessories post, but here is the lowdown on how I make my case inserts. Note, you can also make these with scrapbook paper if that is more accessible to you. My Mum always has a stash of fun scraps around the house for me to use, I'm a lucky girl.

What you need: 
  • Clear Silicone Case
  • Fabric Scraps (with a design you love)
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Fabric Pen
  • Fray Check or Starching agent (to stop fraying and make the fabric more stiff)
  • Template to use as a guide for size/shape (cases usually come with an insert that fits perfectly!)
The process is really quite simple. Use your template to trace the shape of your insert with your fabric pen (rub or wash out are best) and then cut it out. If you are using fabric, here is where you would apply your anti-fraying agent.

Tip: If you are not using a starching agent, put some anti-fray where you will eventually cut the hole for the camera. This will make it stiffer and easier to get a clean cut when you're ready!

Place your insert into your case and make any trims necessary. Put your phone back in to create a hard surface, and trace along the inside of the camera window with your fabric pen. Cut out the window and you're done!

Tip: If you have a darker phone and are using a lighter or sheer fabric/paper, cut out a sheet of white paper with the same template and put that between the fabric and your phone. It makes the colours pop and stops your phone, ahem apple logo, from peeking through.

Include a clear case and a couple inserts as a secret santa or stocking stuffer for the holidays!

Happy DIYing!