Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Can you believe that the first month of 2015 has already almost past? December and January were great months for trying out new products, rediscovering old products, and finding some new HG items, so I'm so excited to share you my January favourites today!
I found a bottle of the Dove Cream Oil Body Wash hanging out under my sink, and once it had made its way to the shower it has seen non-stop use all throughout this month. My skin has been crazy dry especially my legs, and though this doesn't completely eliminate the need for body lotion post-shower, it has been a great first step to keeping my skin out of the flake zone.
After hearing Amanda rave about the Bumble & Bumble Hairdressers Invisible Oil, it immediately went on my wishlist. I got it for Christmas and immediately started putting it to use. And I have to say WOW what a difference it makes in my hair. The combination of my It's A 10 and this means I can wear my hair in its natural state of curliness without having to battle serious frizz. It also makes my hair ridiculously soft and shiny!
I am so late to the party on this, but after finally getting the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette last month I can say these powders are definitely worth the hype. I use Dim Light (far left) as a setting powder and I can't even explain how beautiful of a finish it gives. It looks almost like you've put a primer over top of your makeup because it smoothes and blurs everything out like nothing I've ever seen before. The other two I use to highlight and bronze. I think this palette is perfect for travelling, but if you only wanted one powder, I highly suggest checking out Dim Light.
The Anastasia Brow Gel is another product that I've done a complete 180 on recently. After talking with Mia about how I didn't get along well with this product when I first tried it, she told me it was one of her favourite products, and so I decided to give it another shot. I don't know if it's because it's dried out a bit or I was applying too much before, but it no longer gives me super crunchy and shiny brows. With just a tiny bit of product it keeps my brows in place all day.
I did a whole post reviewing the Origins Clear Improvement Mask so I won't go into detail here, but let's just say that the love affair is still going strong. You can read all about it in the original post here.
Last but not least, another rediscovered favourite. I got the Too Faced Better Than False Lashes in a set last year, but didn't really pay much attention to it. Over the past month I've been busting this out for occasions where I just don't want to deal with the hassle of using false lashes, but want a little more oomph in the length and volume department, and it has been working great for me. I know there have since been tons of these types of products hit the market so if you like the look of bolder lashes without the fuss of false lashes definitely give one a try!

Have you rediscovered any new favourites this month?
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Linking up to: Mia | Kelli

Monday, 26 January 2015

As much as I love colour, there always something so classic and easy about a simple black and white outfit. Especially for winter, it always looks put together and sophisticated without needing a ton of work.
Shirt: Old Navy {exact} | Skirt: H&M {exact} | Coat: Forever 21 {similar} | Boots: däv {similar}
Necklace: Old Navy {similar} | Sunglasses: Forever21 {similar} | Purse: eBay {similar}
I used this wet weekend as an opportunity to take my new rain boots on their maiden voyage. I snagged these during a 75% off sale and thought they looked pretty nice for a rain boot - what do you think? Keeping with the black and gold style of the boots, I pulled the look together with a quilted chain purse and simple black and gold enamel necklace. If you haven't already checked out the jewelry section at your Old Navy, I highly recommend it because they have some great pieces that are frequently on sale!

How often do you keep it classic?

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Linking up with: Jana | Maegen | Lauren | Shanna | Sarah | Lindsey | Tara

Friday, 23 January 2015

A few months ago I was invited to a blogger event at the Miracle 10 Skincare Boutique in Yorkville. At the event we were given a consultation on our skin type and how it fit in with their product line, and offered a chance to book a complimentary peel treatment at their boutique on a later date.
Being a treatment newbie that I am, I booked my peel treatment for right before I left on my trip to BC in December. When I arrived at the boutique, there had been a mix up with my appointment time, but they were incredibly accommodating and took me right away. I was taken into the treatment room by Shirali, who then asked me a series of questions to determine what type of peel treatment would be best for me. 
When she asked if I would have any extended periods of sun exposure in the near future, I told her I would be leaving soon on my ski vacation. I was so glad that she was thorough in her questions, because she informed me that doing the peel treatment makes your skin very sensitive to the sun exposure after the appointment. She said we could go ahead if I really wanted to, but that she would suggest rescheduling since there was a higher risk that I would burn during my vacation if I did the peel. I had no idea, and agreed it was better to be safe than sorry when it comes to skin.
Last Saturday I finally had my treatment. Neda cleansed the skin and used a tiny dermablade to remove all the dead skin and hair from my face so that the products would be better absorbed by the skin and not the hair. Who knew? She applied Lactic Acid, which is the most gentle of acids since it was my first experience, and left it on for two minutes. It did tingle but it was nothing unbearable. After it was removed she immediately applied a mask with lavendar and vitamin K to heal and calm the skin. She left me to relax for 10 glorious minutes then removed the mask with a hot towel and massaged a mix of SPF and a moisturizing treatment into my skin.

There was no redness from the treatment when I left the boutique, just a bit of shininess from the thick moisturizing treatment that was applied. I was able to apply makeup that night without any problems, and noticed that my hyper-pigmentation left behind from previous acne was definitely reduced. The next day I noticed a slight irritation between my right eye and hairline, which developed into a small, dry, rash-like patch over the next few days. After five days the dryness has disappeared but there is still a bit of redness. I do have very sensitive skin, but I'm not sure what would have caused the irritation in that particular area. 

These treatments are definitely not cheap. At $125 I can't see myself making it a regular habit, but it could be a nice treat before a special occasion. I would definitely discuss my irritation with them before booking a second appointment.

As for the skincare line, it is a definite win in my books. As you can tell, my favourite product is definitely the Light Serum, which was featured in my gel moisturizing round up and November favourites and is still going strong. The other notable mention - the Miracle 10 sunscreen, which unfortunately I left out of this picture, is one of the best facial sunscreens I've tried. It leaves your skin smooth and matte making it a great base for makeup. Its ingredients don't break out my sensitive skin, which is why it was one of the only products I took with me on my vacation.

Have you ever tried a facial peel treatment? What was your experience?
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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

When I recieved this L'Oreal Infalliable polish as part of a Christmas gift, does my family know me or what, I knew it would be a great product for review. The bottle itself didn't have any information, but after doing a little research I realized that it has some pretty big claims. So how did it match up?

The colour I got was 02 - Always A Lady, a very deep burgundy cream with a red tinted top coat. The price of these range from $10-$12 CAD at Walmart/Shopper's Drug Mart, which is pretty steep for a nail polish from the drugstore. L'Oreal claims that the "Infallible Nail Polish is a sleekly designed two-step process that delivers on-trend shades, with hard as nails toughness and magnifying shine. A stunning, show-stopping hybrid gel-lacquer result, which is inspired by a Salon UV gel manicure. Up to 12 Days of wear"

I started with my Revlon Base Coat, that I'm almost certain has been sadly discontinued, since I use it with every polish that I put on my nails. The L'Oreal polish was amazing to apply - the brush is the perfect shape and size and the formula is super opaque, so I could have probably gotten away with one coat, but I put on two for good measure. It does give a super glossy finish, and actually had a surprisingly quick drying time for a thicker formula. 
I did a check in on how this polish was holding up on Instagram when I had had it on for five days - not bad right? Well here's a look at where we were on day 12.
Is that not pretty incredible?! I'm not even exaggerating when I say this polish did not chip on me at all in 12 days of wear. There was some minor tip wear that showed up pretty early in the marathon, possibly after trying to get into my phone's Otterbox to clean it out - those things are ridiculous to take off, but after that it really seemed to stay put. I did not wrap the tips in polish or top coat so that may have been a factor. My biggest problem with nail polishes is usually not so much that they chip easily, but that they start to crack under the top coat after a few days - does this happen to anyone else? The L'Oreal Infalliable had no cracks in sight. Seriously amazing, especially for such a dark polish. The shine was definitely taken down a notch over the 12 days, but it wasn't dull in the slightest.  Mostly the my nails were just starting to look grown out and in need of a fresh paint job!

The only con I can really say about this polish is the price considering how much product you get. After painting all my nails just once, there was a noticable decline in the product left in the bottle. However, I think that it is worth it because of the sheer longevity this polish has! Plus, I think this would be great for travel, because it's compact and has everything you need for a manicure on location. I think it's safe to say that I've found my new favourite polish formula!

Have you tried any of the polishes from this range?

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Monday, 19 January 2015

I hate to jinx it, but is it just me or does this winter feel way more bareable than last? It warmed up to above freezing this week, and it actually made me excited to get dressed. Anyone else feel this way? There's just something about not having to be up to my eyeballs in wool/down to keep warm that feels so freeing! We talked last week about incorporating bright colours, but mixing in neutral patterns is another of my favourite ways to have a little fun with my work-wear.
Blouse: Express {similar} | Vest: Old Navy {similar} | Skirt: Express {similar} | Tights: Target {exact}
Shoes: Aldo {similar} | Necklace: Nadri {similar} | Bracelet: Gift {similar} | Watch Michael Kors {similar}
Red and polka dots really feel made for each other, don't they? I bought this shirt with a red blazer and leather leggings in mind, but I also love it paired with this bright red skirt. 
What's your favourite pattern/colour combo?

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Linking up with: Jana | Maegen | Lauren | Shanna | Sarah | Lindsey | Tara

Friday, 16 January 2015

If you read my October empties post you'll know I was going on the hunt for a new face mask, so I was so excited when my Grandma got this Sephora Beauty Unmasked set for me as a Christmas gift! It comes with 4 dexluxe sample size masks all designed to focus on different areas. Even though it is no longer available to purchase as a set, I thought it would be helpful to give my thoughts on the masks individually.

Boscia Luminizing Black Mask
I had never heard of the Luminizing Black Mask before, but I was intrigued by the brand as well as the fact that it is a peel off formula. Those are so satisfying right? This mask has a thick sticky formula that is easy to spread on, but unless you lay it on THICK I found it really hard to peel off quickly. I feel like you would blow through a tube so quickly because of the amount of product you need to apply. I eventually got annoyed and would wash the rest off with water, and feel...absolutely no difference. I don't really have a problem with large pores or blackheads so maybe I'm not the target for this mask, but at $32 for 2.8 ox I will not be buying the full size.

Peter Thomas Roth Cucumber Gel Mask
This Cucumber Gel Mask was an interesting one. It claims to detoxify, calm and hydrate dry irritated skin, which I was excited about because I've been getting some dry patches lately on my forehead and cheeks from icy wind burn and blasting car heat. It feels almost like you're putting on aloe vera gel and absorbs entirely into the skin, which I really like since it can be worn as a sleeping mask without making a mess. At first when I wash it off it doesn't feel like it's really done anything, but the next day my makeup application was smoother and I didn't have any dry patches on my forehead. This product is pretty pricy - $45 for 5 oz, but I would consider purchasing if I can't find anything else that gives me the same results.

Glam Glow Thirsty Mud Mask
The Thirsty Mud Mask was honestly the product I was most excited to try in this set. Everyone raves about these masks, and as I said I was dealing with some dry patches so I thought this would work wonders on those areas of my face. I'm both sad and glad (since this is such a pricy item - a whopping $70) that this just did not live up to the hype for me. The topical sunscreen smell is amazing, though very strong. It goes on super thick and doesn't ever fully absorb, leaving a slight tackiness to the surface of the skin. It feels great going on, but even though I tried it multiple times my dry patches just didn't diminish with use of this mask. I definitely suggest getting a sample before commiting to the price tag of this one!

Origins Clear Improvement Mask
Last but certainly not least, this Origins Charcoal Mask is a clay based formula, which has traditionally been my favourite, but I was a little concerned that it would dry out my face more and exentuate my dry patches. I'm excited to say that I think I've found my new favourite mask! This mask smoothes on easily and doesn't take forever to dry like some clay masks. Even after the first time I used it I couldn't believe how soft and smooth my skin felt after washing it off! Since then I've reached for it many times, and my skin always feels more refreshed and looks brighter when I use this product. Only time will tell really how well it does with preventing breakouts, but I love what it does for the texture and tone of my skin. At $25 for 3.4 oz I'm also happy I fell in love with the least expensive of the bunch! I will definitely be purchasing the full size.

What is your favourite face mask? Do you have any hydrating mask recommendations?
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Wednesday, 14 January 2015

We've all had those situations - you buy a product that just doesn't end up working for you. How disappointing is that? Well don't pitch them just yet, because today we're talking about some of my tried and true ways of putting "bad" products" to new uses!
Any powder products for the face (bronzer, blush, highlighter, foundation) can easily transition into natural eyeshadows, but my favourite ways to use face powders that didn't work well with the rest of my skin is to grab a dense brush, like the Nars Diffusing Brush or this dupe, and use a skin tone powder to clean up the edges of overblended or dark shadows. It's literally like a magic eraser for your makeup!
Have you ever bought an eyeshadow primer that just didn't hold up on your eyelids? Try using it as a mascara primer instead to help give a little more thickness to your eyelashes! You can also try it out as an under-eye concealer primer if you tend to have problems with your concealer lasting thoughout the day.
Skincare products can be tricky, so every so often you're bound to come across a dud of a face wash. Since they are designed to break down oil and dirt, and are gentle enough for sensitive areas of your face, use it to give you brushes a deep clean and get rid off all the bacteria and makeup in a breeze!

Find you don't get much use out of your waterproof mascaras? Instead of letting them dry out, grab an angled liner brush and put it to use as a matte liquid liner. It will set to a smudge resistant finish and last you all day.

And finally, turn all those loose shadows and glitters that you love the colour of but don't ever wear into beautiful custom nail colours by mixing them together with that extra bottle clear polish you have hanging around in your collection!

Have you tried any of these? Do you have your own tips for giving life to products you don't like for their intended purpose? I'd love to know!
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Monday, 12 January 2015

After a week balancing a pretty awful head cold and the after Christmas work crazyness it's always nice to be able to rely on a few easy outfit combos for those extra tired mornings.
Blazer: Forever 21 {similar} | Blouse: Forever 21 {similar} | Jeans: American Eagle {exact}
Boots: Spring {similar} | Necklace: eBay {similar}

This bright magenta blouse has been a great addition to my closet this year because the colour is perfect no matter the season! It's dark and rich enough not to seem out of place for winter, but still bright enough to wake up my complexion during these endless grey days. Paired with some simple jewelry this outfit takes me from a business casual work day to a dinner date with ease, don't you just love outfits like that?

Do you have any colours that give an instant pick me up to your work wear?

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Linking up to: Jana | Maegen | Lindsey

Friday, 9 January 2015

It's been a while since my last Trash Talk post, but I've finished up a few things over the past few months that I thought it was worth sharing my thoughts on, so let's just get right into it!
I used this L'Oreal Everstrong Deep Replenishing Masque when I was in university and loved it, so I was sad when I went to repurchase and could no longer find it in stores. When I was at a L'Oreal warehouse sale last year I spotted it and immediately put a few in my basket. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to do what it used to for my hair. It smells great and does an okay job at hydrating but doesn't leave my hair soft and smooth like it used to.

Recommendation? I don't think you can buy it anymore, but if you happen to come across it I would skip it.

Before I found my beloved Stila Stay All Day liner the Jordana fabuliner was my go-to. The brown was my favourite because it was the perfect dark cool-toned brown liner that didn't end up pulling red on me. It has a thicker, stiff felt tip that was great for doing quick winged liner if you don't have a steady hand. The formula is a little thin but for the $2 price tag it was a great buy.

Recommendation? If you're a beginner with liquid liner I would recommend this one for sure as the brush is easy to handle and use for winged liner. If you're experienced and looking for a budgeproof formula than the Stila liner is my fav!
I don't hear a ton of people talking about the Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse foundation, but it is an old favourite of mine! It's super blendable, and even though it's creamy still works well on my combo-oily skin. It's more of a natural finish and not as longwearing as the formulas I've been wearing recently, but it's a great light and quick to apply option for winter weekends.

Recommendation? If you are a fan of cream foundations I highly recommend checking this one out!
I'm not a regular user of waterproof mascara so they usually dry out before I can really finish all the product. This L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes waterproof mascara was pretty average. It didn't add a ton of volume but did pretty well with separating and fanning out the lashes. I did notice a little bit of smudging when wearing it all day in the summer.

Recommendation? If you're looking for a volume, you won't find it here. It's a very natural looking mascara, but even if you like that look I personally prefer the Maybelline Illegal Length Waterproof formula.
This Joe Fresh Matte Topcoat was one of the first of the drugstore variety that I could find back in the day. For $3 or something similar it did the job, but it dried up fully before I could finish the bottle. I've since picked up the Wet N Wild Matte Topcoat.

Recommendation? If you're looking for something cheap and cheerful, this is available at most Loblaw's/Superstores.
This Walk the Line Liquid Liner from Hard Candy was one that had been in my collection for years, and it was just time for it to go. It is a brush tip liquid liner and is extremely black and long lasting, but I just find pen style liners easier to manage now.

Recommendation? I would say if you're a newbie this is probably not the easiest of liquid liners to navigate with, but you're a fan of brush tip liquid liners than it's worth picking this up from Walmart for under $10.

What's hit your trash recently?

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Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Last year I took a pretty focused approach on what I wanted my "goals" to look like. I'm the type of person who if faced with too broad or too long a list of tasks, will immediately go into overload and leave them all exactly where they started - on a piece of paper.
My focus of 2014 was "follow through" - working on keeping myself on track and not letting my unfocused brain flit from project to project without seeing them through to completion. I am honestly pretty proud of myself because I think I made some great strides with this in 2014. I've kept up this schedule of blogging 3 times a week for a year now, and that is something I never thought I would be able to accomplish a few years ago. Of course it's a constant journey (and let's be real often a struggle), but no one is perfect and I'm learning it's okay to give myself a pat on the back sometimes even if it seems like a small victory.

Following in the footsteps of my 2014 goal, I've decided to make this the year of time management. In my time focusing on follow-through, this was one area I realized could use some work to help the whole process run smoother. While I'm known for being an organized person at work, I tend to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of person when it comes to the rest of life. I realize that this sometimes creates unnecessary stress, and I just know I can do better!
Since blogging does take up a lot of my free time, I decided to start there. I recieved this mini binder for Christmas, bought myself the Mama Miss 2015 Blog Planner, and have created a way for me to visually map out my plans for the coming weeks and months. That way when I have limited time (and daylight) on the weekends, I can still make sure I have all the elements I need to put together my posts. Hopefully this will help me streamline the process and leave me with more time in the evenings to work on other projects and spend quality time focusing on my friends and family!

Do you have any tips or tricks that help you effectively manage your time? I'll take all the advice I can get!

What are you trying to focus on this year?

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Monday, 5 January 2015

We've already covered my favourite Beauty and Hair/Skin/Body products of the 2014, so today we finish up my Hit List series for this year talking about my favourite nail polishes and beauty tools!
Winter of 2014 was all about the greige-taupe  polishes - Metro Chic by Sephora is no longer sold but L'Oreal Eiffel for You is pretty close and a beautiful colour as well. There's just something about a warm grey with a hint of purple looks so classy and sophisicated right?

During the spring I got a ton of use out of my JulieG 9 to 5 polish - a bright creamsicle-peach that looks like a pastel inside but glows like a neon in daylight. I got so many compliments every time I wore this colour, it is seriously stunning and unique!

This summer I discovered my perfect nude polish - Essie's Topless & Barefoot. Its slightly pinky-undertone made it the perfect pairing for my cool toned skin. This barely ever came off my nails all summer long because it just went with everything and looked great with a tan.

You probably already guessed you would see Essie's Bahama Mama on this list. I was obsessed with this colour all throughout the fall and included it quite a few posts. It's the perfect opaque deep berry-burgundy cream that looks great on fingers and toes, and lasted a surprisingly long time on my nails.
I was considering investing in an expensive blow dryer this year, but when I was caught out of town for a wedding without a blowdryer, I picked up the Remington T-Studio Ceramic Dryer and was blown away, no pun intended, by how smooth and soft it made my hair feel. For under $40 it was an amazing steal!

The Sephora Crystal Nail File, or really any glass nail file, has become an essential part of my nail care routine. They might seem like an expensive tool for what they are, but don't be fooled. Nothing gives you as smooth and cringe-free of a file as glass - plus they never dull!

How in the world does the Tangle Teaser work? I have no idea, but it's been a favourite of mine for two years running now. Somehow this little pink wonder manages to untangle my fine and curly rats nest of hair with reletive ease and way less pain than any other brush I've owned.

Costal Scents Angled Foundation Brush and my hands were my go to for liquid foundation this year. The fact that this brush is super dense and has an angled shape makes it a breeze to blend foundation even in the awkward spaces around your nose. It also dries surprisingly fast after washing compared to my other synthetic kabuki brushes, which is a nice bonus!

Real Techniques Blush Brush was an amazing find this year. The tapered shape makes it perfect for blush, brozer, powder, highlighter, you name it. It's super soft and gives me a great finish on my cheeks. When I consider purchasing more than one, you know it's a winner.

Tweezerman Travel Tweezers are not only less expensive than their original siblings, but they are mini so they can get to the finest of eyebrow hairs and help place fake eyelashes like nobody's business. 

If you ready my skin & body care favourites you'll know I got into self-tanning this year, and let me tell you getting a Tanning Mitt or two is so worth the minimal investment. They blend in the product better than any gloves could do and leave you with a smooth streak-free result. 

And finally, I brought back the Scrunchie from the 90s. No, not in public, but as the absolute best way to keep my baby fine hair from developing hair elastic dents when tied up during the night! Using a scrunchie to put my hair in a high pony or bun before bed puts less pressure one one spot of the hair, and actually helps to give me more volume when I wake up the next day.

If you made it to the end of this post, thanks so much for sticking with me! Now it's your turn: any polishes or beauty tools that need to be on my radar for 2015?

In case you can't get enough of favourites from 2014, you can pop on over to Ivory Avenue to see what made the list for my favourite beauty trends of the year!
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