Wednesday, 28 May 2014

If you read my recent wish list post you'll know I recently took a day trip over the border to visit our good friends to the South. I may not have come away with all of the things I was after, but here's the damage that I did this past weekend!

I got the best deal on these two pairs of Nine West shoes, I couldn't be happier! If you follow me on Twitter, you saw last week I was on the hunt for a pair of strappy heeled sandals. Boy am I happy I didn't go home with either of the pairs I was looking at then, because I got both of these beautiful babies for a total of $60 versus paying $130 for one pair! Total steal!

I also couldn't resist bringing home this purple/periwinkle colour blocked dress from Loft. Not only was it 40% off the already low outlet price, it seems like the kind of dress I could easily dress up or down for work or more formal functions. I have a couple of weddings to go to in the next few months - this dress may make an appearance at one of them.

I spent my sweet time going through all the amazing sections at Ulta - I think I was in beauty heaven - and ended up coming home with a couple of staples (the Jordana Mascara/Eyeliner and Mario Bedescu Drying Lotion) as well as some new goodies to try. 

I decided to go with the Real Techniques Complexion Sponge instead of a brush since I'd never dipped my toes into the sponge craze and wasn't really willing to shell out $25+ for the beauty blender. 

NYX stole the show for me this visit. I found a palette of cool neutrals - something I've been on the hunt for over the past few months, a Butter Gloss in the shade Apple Strudel (mistaken for the soft matte lip cream in the picture above - oops), and the lip primer in Nude that I was intrigued by after seeing it on Nancy's blog a few weeks ago.

Did you pick up anything exciting in the Memorial day sales?
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Sunday, 25 May 2014

I love the look of gradient nails, but nothing speaks to me quite like the pairing of neutrals and metallics. I've already talked about an easy technique to get the typical french tips with a metallic twist, so here's an easy way to take the metallic tip to the next level.

Base coat: Sally Hansen White Tip | Tips: Orly Rage | Top Coat: Sally Hansen Mega Shine

1. Make sure your base colour is opaque and completely dry before you attempt to add the gradient. Grab a cosmetic sponge and scrap piece of paper and you're ready to go.

2. Place a blob of your metallic polish of choice (it works best with polishes that have a very fine glitter base) on the paper and pick up the polish with a flat edge of the sponge. Tap off most of the polish on the paper (especially on your first round of sponging) so there is only a light layer on the sponge.
3. Start at the tip and gently pounce the sponge on the nail, covering the entire width of the nail before moving down towards the cuticle. Use lighter pressure has you move down the nail so that the metallic polish fades out completely.
4. Dip the sponge back in the polish and repeat the step, staying closer to the tip of the nail to build up the colour. Repeat until you have the desired intensity at the tip.

And you're done! It may take some trial and error to figure out exactly how much polish/pressure to use, but you'll pick it up in no time.

Base coat: Essie Topless and Barefoot | Tips: Orly Rage | Top Coat: Sally Hansen Mega Shine

White was the easiest to see in pictures, but one of my favourite ways to wear this look is actually to pair it with a nude polish. The final look is really subtle, but super pretty especially in natural light.

So, will you give this look a try?

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Thursday, 22 May 2014

Being a Canadian girl, I often read my favourite bloggers talking about products that I just can't get my hands on, so whenever I will be making a trip stateside Ulta and Walgreens are a definite stop on my list. This weekend I'll be heading on over the boarder and have decided to share today what I think might be making it back in my trunk.
It's no secret on this blog that I am a big fan of the Batiste Dry Shampoo and the Jordana Best Lash Extreme mascara, so I will take the opportunity to stock up! The others I am just itching to give a test run. Have you tried any of these products? If so let me know your favourite colours/varieties from the lines!

So Americans, anything else that I just can't leave without?

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Tuesday, 20 May 2014

After taking a couple of days off to enjoy the long weekend, it seems only appropriate to come back from the kickoff to summer with a post about getting that perfect golden glow - the sunless way. 

1. Buff away those dry skin patches with an exfoliating scrub that won't leave behind any sort of residue. I've recently been loving the Sugar Crush Scrub from Soap and Glory mostly because of the heavenly smell (think Coke with lime) but also because it gets the job done. Here is another scrub recommendation if you're looking for something a little less expensive.

2. Slap on your favourite self tanner using a tanning mitt for the best streak-free application. I personally find mousse formulas the easiest to work with - they're quick absorbing and provide an even natural-looking tan. I've been on the same bottle of St. Moriz for the past year and it's still going strong! As far as smells go - it's definitely there, but I have yet to find a body tanner where it isn't. I just suggest putting it on 15-30 minutes before bed and rinsing it off in the morning.

3. You guys, I have found the perfect product for getting the most natural sun-kissed glow on your face. The Clarins Radiance Plus Golden Glow Booster is a made to measure self tan serum that can be added to your daily face moisturizer. Genius! The results of this product have been amazing - it looks quite natural to start but you can build it up quickly by using both day and night.

4. To maintain your colour it's important to moisturize. For normal daily moisturizing I use either of these two lotions, but if I want to boost my colour a bit without having to go the whole nine yards I'll add a lotion with a gradual tanner to the mix. My favourite is the Moist Hemp Bronzing Lotion which I get from Sally's for under $10.
Are you a fan of the faux-tan?
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Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Mascara is a make-it-or-break-it product for every single makeup look, but not everyone may be looking for the same things when it comes to performance. There are so many varieties available at different price points that sometimes it can be overwhelming to just pick one. Here's a round-up of some of my favourites, and why they made the cut.

More into the natural look? Cover Girl Clump Crusher and L'Oreal Volumious Butterfly might be worth a look. Volumious Butterfly has a unique brush that really focuses on those outer eyelashes, while Clump Crusher provides a great all-around natural look. Both can also be used on top of thicker formulas to help with separation if you're not into clumps.

If length is your end-game Benefit's They're Real and Too-Faced Better than False Lashes will help you get the most out of your lashes. They're Real is great for day-to-night because of it's budge-proof formula. The Too-Faced system is a little more time-intensive, but worth it for special occasions!

Ladies looking for volume should check out Jordana Best Lash Extreme or L'Oreal Volumious Carbon Black for great dramatic intensity. Volumious works a little harder in the lengthening department, while Best Lash Extreme is the darkest mascara I have yet to find. It's no secret I'm a huge fan of both of these - take your pick!

Looking for some other product round ups? Check out more posts from this series!

What do you look for in a mascara?

Love Always Nancy J
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Monday, 12 May 2014

Don't you just love those weekends where everything seems to fall into place? This past weekend was all that and more for me. Perfect weather, and some awesome outings with friends & family. What more could I ask for?

Spring was out in full force, and let me tell you - it's weekends like these that make it my favourite season. By Friday the tulips were out, the magnolia tree in my front yard was blooming, and we were reaching highs of 20+ degrees. I am lucky enough to be able to work from home on Friday's - which equates to afternoons on the back porch at Tyler's hanging out with the warm weather and my favourite pooch.

Tyler and I have been wanting to pay a visit to the new aquarium in Toronto for months now, but it seemed like every time we made plans to go something would get in our way. Finally, I managed to round up some of my best friends and we made a date on Saturday that we promised ourselves we wouldn't break - and it was so worth it. It's not the biggest aquarium I've been to, but walking through the tunnels with sharks swimming overhead was an amazing experience. If you are in the area and haven't been yet I definitely recommend it!

Mother's Day came around and I celebrated with some cuddles and a pancake brunch with my Mum, before heading to my best friend's for a birthday celebration, and then to my Grandma's for dinner with the whole family. A beautiful, busy day and the perfect way to end an incredible weekend. I also managed to fit almost the entire first season of Scandal in there somewhere, no judgement, and I'm still on the fence about it. Are you a Scandal fan?

How did you spend Mother's Day weekend?
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Friday, 9 May 2014

Earlier this week we saw all the things that I polished off in the month of April, but what was I particularly fond of that might have been absent from that post? I'm linking up with Amanda and Kristin today to show you!
I include the L'Oreal Infallible shadow in Amber Rush in my picks for top products at the drugstore last week, and I've been loving it throughout the whole last month. It creates such a fresh, glowy look that seems to make my blue-green eyes "pop", but I honestly think it would look stunning on anyone!

The warmer weather has seen the return of my Talula army-style jacket and I can't get enough of the olive green colour - it looks great when paired with bright spring shades like peach and magenta. This jacket was expensive, but worth every penny. The hood comes in mighty handy for the bi-polar spring weather.

I'm a big fan of brown liquid liner for daytime, and I recently found this Femme Couture felt tipped pen at Sally's for $6.99. It seems almost identical to the Stila pen I was loving over the winter. Win!

I seem to have finally broken in my Tory Burch Revas just in time to ditch the tights for spring. They've become my everyday work shoes if I'm not wearing heels. Hugely expensive, I know, but I love how classic they look and they seem to go with everything! 
Stop the presses, a BB cream that finally doesn't seem to break me out. It's a miracle! This Garnier version for combination/oily skin is seriously amazing. Super light but fantastic coverage that wears great throughout the day. Be warned: the packaging does suck, but the product inside is worth the extra hassle!
I'm usually not much of an earrings person, but when I found some rose gold pave disks at Joe Fresh for $7 I was in love. They make a statement without being too obnoxious and heavy, and we all know how much of a magpie I am when it comes to sparkle! I've worn these so many times in the past month, I lost track.

What were your most worn/most used items last month?

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Wednesday, 7 May 2014

It's almost time to put the panty hose away, and that has me dreaming all about spring and summer fashion. What's on my wish list for this season? Let's take a look shall we.

Trench: Ted Baker // Blouse: Express {link} // Peach Necklace: F21 {link} // Clear Stone Necklace: Baublebar {link} // Pink skirt: ASOS {link} // Beige Skirt: Herry {link} //Sandals: Bottega Veneta {link}

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Monday, 5 May 2014

You guys, it's finally May - hallelujah! You may or may not have deduced from my posts over the winter, but the weather has a very definitive effect on my mood. May is really when things are starting to look up, so bring it on. The start of a new month also means a new pile of trash has accumulated- shall we?  

If you've read my post all about my lip balm obsession, you would have already seen this balm's counterpart featured there. I really do love the Fresh Sugar Lip Balm - nice smell/taste, good texture, real moisture - but $22 for lip balm? I don't know if I'll be able to stomach forking out the cash to pay for a full size.
Recommendation: If you've got money burning a hole in your pocket then I say go for it.
I have been trying out so many different dry shampoos recently, but I always have at least one bottle stocked away of Batiste. The Wild scent takes a little bit of getting used to, but I actually grew to love and and have just bought two more bottles. Sorry I'm not sorry.
Recommendation: If you're not opposed to more purfume-y, scents definitely give this one a try. It's still the same tried and true Batiste product I know and love.

I still have mixed feelings about Bioderma. It seems awfully expensive for a simple makeup remover. It's not great at removing longer wearing eye makeup, but I do really like it for the face. It's light and non-greasy feeling I'm thinking of trying out the L'Oreal version, but for now my makeup wipes seem to be getting done everything I need. 
Recommendation: Definitely worth trying it out, but don't expect life changing things from this product - it is just makeup remover after all.

The Maybelline Age Rewind Concealer is really a great product, good coverage for days when my Garnier Rollerball just isn't cutting it. But, has anyone else's packaging made it impossible to get all the product out? That just irks me. Reusing the sponge top for months also seemed a tad bit sketchy to me so I just pulled it off and applied the product with my fingers.
Recommendation: I'll be repurchasing with the hopes I just got a dud. If you have problems with your dark circles I would definitely suggest you give it a trial run!

Finally, my dearly beloved St. Ives Skin Renewing Body Lotion has bitten the dust - and that's a real accomplishment for someone who usually hates moisturizing anything but my face. It speaks volumes about the product that I've only had it for a few months and already blew through the whole bottle. I also use it for hand lotion because it moisturizes without leaving me feeling like I can't touch anything for 10 minutes.
Recommendation: If you are a fellow hater of sticky, never absorbing lotions I highly suggest you pick this one up.
Phew - well I'm glad I'm actually getting through products and not completely wasting my money, Anyone else with me?

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Thursday, 1 May 2014

Do you ever find yourself stuck in a rut and getting tired of using the same products over and over? Most sane people are probably saying no, but lately I have been feeling the itch to veer away from the tried, tested, and true products that are usually my go-to’s. It didn’t help that I was invited to a L’oreal Sale through work and was surrounded by discounted products. Say hello to the newest additions to my collection.

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo. If you’ve been visiting around these parts for any length of time you probably have read about my obsession with dry shampoo. I’ve been on a serious trial kick - straying away from my beloved Batiste and testing out probably way too many. Look forward to a What Are They Good For on dry shampoos in the near future!

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer.  I’ve seen people raving about this for months, and while I still love my Coastal Scents concealer wheel, I thought this may be a little more purse friendly. I got the colour light, and unfortunately it actually seems too dark for me at the moment. Looking forward to really putting it to the test when the sun comes back and it matches me a bit better.

Nars Pro Prime Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base. Eye primer is an essential part of my daily routine, and I had a Sephora gift card burning a hole in my pocket, so I decided to pick up the Pro Prime to see how it compares to others that I’ve tried. At $29 a pop I have high hopes for this.

Clean & Clear Soothing Gel Moisturizer. Just like dry shampoo, gel moisturizers are just my thing. They tend to hydrate without being overly greasy or thick. This one came in at a lower price point than my holy grail Garnier version so I thought I would give it a go.

Essie First Timer & Bottle Service. I saw these at the L’oreal sale, and just needed to take them home with me. First Timer was hugely popular when it first came out, but was nowhere to be found in any of my local haunts. I’ve already used it on my toes and it really is a beautiful bright, but not sickly looking, green. Bottle Service just looked like the perfect darker super bright pink for spring/summer. If you're looking for some more recommendations, I've already gone over my budget friendly picks for spring. I am now putting myself on a nail polish no-buy.

Love Always Nancy J
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