Friday, November 21, 2014

Why I Love Pinterest

For years I have been saving photos from my favourite blogs and websites into labelled folders in my computer documents. Weather they were jewellery ideas, outfit inspiration, or makeup looks, I feel like I've been secretly pinning for decades. My inner type A yelped for joy when I first found out about this pretty little site (and app!) where I could offload all of my saved photos, and find millions more to add to my collection. One night I literally spent hours building up my boards, and I haven't stopped since. I check Pinterest almost daily, and I continue to find amazing ideas for now, or for 10 years from now. 

I'm really conscious of what I'm pinning, and I frequently go through my boards to keep my inspiration fresh. Some of my favourite things to find on Pinterest are at-home workout routines, easy recipes, unique DIY's and home decor ideas. 

My Pinterest page @MadelineADM  :*
I've had so much fun recently creating some of my own pins too. But my favourite board as of late has got to be my Sweets. It might just be because of the change in weather, but nothing sounds better than a warm banana bread, or fresh crispy cookies. 

If you haven't already made a Pinterest account, I'd highly suggest checking it out! Click here to see mine. I'd love to follow you back.

xx

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Natural Skincare From Lotus Aroma


Over the past few months I've been incorporating two new serums into my routine from the French Canadian brand Lotus Aroma.

Despite being labelled "anti-aging", these skincare products are very gentle and formulated for adults of all ages. It's never too early to start taking care of your skin!

Here is a breakdown of the active ingredients:

Day - This serum contains 5 plant extracts, and is enriched with Vitamin-E-rich Hyaluronic Acid to moisturize and "fill" wrinkles. The skin is left radiant, plump and fresh. Jojoba oil has been added for nourishment and moisture, which keeps the skin free of irritation. 
From the product description: "Sea Mayweed — a marine bio-ingredient acts as a true skin prebiotic — it promotes microcirculation, soothes the skin and lastingly optimizes its natural balance."

Night - Along with the same Hyaluronic Acid, the night serum is also formulated with natural AHA and BHA. 
From the product description: "This natural AHA is made of citrus and maple sugar that coat and improve the skin. BHA extracts from White Willow Bark promote cell renewal and impairs the skin's aging process. Witch Hazel Floral Water tones and soothes, along with German Chamomile extract, an exceptional skin revitalizing agent. The skin becomes visibly balanced, hydrated and more supple, rested, silky and glowing."


You can see in this photo that the day serum, on the left, is a thinner consistency and contains some shimmer particles. The nighttime serum is a different consistency for sure - a bit thicker and translucent.

After cleansing, I'll apply a witch hazel based toner and follow up with one of these serums. I usually don't need any added moisture in the morning, since I only use warm water to cleanse, but I will add a light moisturizer once the nighttime serum has been absorbed.

There's something to be said about the "natural" claim. Now I'm no nature police, but I really appreciate when products are made from plant-based ingredients. Lotus Aroma is a homegrown Canadian brand- a division of the Quebec-based skincare Laboratory DermoLab Pharma. It's comforting to know that the lotions and potions I'm applying to my skin are safe, and free from unnecessary chemicals.

At around $45 per tube, these serums are a small investment. When compared to other high-end anti-aging products with similar ingredients and claims, they are definitely a more affordable option.

For a list of local health food/nutrition stores which carry the brand, you can use their "retailers" feature on the site, linked here.

I'm a big fan of these serums and will continue to incorporate them into my routine. Though I don't have many skincare concerns, I have noticed an increase in the overall brightness and evenness of my complexion when using these serums. Blemishes disappear faster and makeup looks more radiant. When it comes to treatments, I still use my Paula's Choice BHA liquid and foam, but not in conjunction with the night serum. I would not recommend experimenting too much with chemical exfoliants, so stick to one product and see how it works over a few weeks before making any changes.

xx

I was offered a sample of these serums to try out after expressing my love for natural skincare treatments. This review has not been sponsored.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Visiting Williamsburg and Virginia Beach

A pretty horse and carriage in Colonial Williamsburg
I spent a brisk afternoon walking through Colonial Williamsburg while visiting the US at the end of October. This popular historic site is like a more intense version of our Pioneer Village. The warm fall colours and muted sunlight really brought out the natural beauty of this picturesque American town.


I so enjoy the perfect 15° fall weather which makes afternoon walking very enjoyable. There's nothing quite like a pretty, winding path lined with leaves.

Hey, have you ever seen a cotton plant? There was a small garden area with various plants for kids (and overgrown kids like myself) to walk through and explore. I thought this was so cool, and super soft.




As a lover of all things found in a gift shop, I was in absolute heaven in the vintage-y stores scattered around Colonial Williamsburg. How adorable are these bottles of Beautifying Water? Luckily they were too big to carry home on the plane, so I had to deal with only taking a picture. Because let's be honest.... how many beautifying waters does a girl really need? I believe I maxed out a looong time ago.

These yummy syrups made me seriously crave some pancakes. 

My one souvenir was this teeny tiny wax sealer, etched with my initial. I'm a big card maker so I thought that this would be a really nice addition to my stock of supplies. It's currently acting as a little piece of decor on my desk until my Christmas production line begins. (Finishing exams on Dec. 16 ... it couldn't come sooner.)




We also managed to visit Virginia Beach, which was unfortunately hit with a dark, rainy wind storm that same weekend. It's a really sweet spot that gets packed during the warmer months. Despite the weather, it was fun to walk around the streets lined with beachwear shops and fun restaurants.


Happy travels!

xx

Friday, November 14, 2014

Latest Finds

Latest Finds

I took a short trip to the U.S. two weeks ago and managed to find some really great fashion and beauty items.

First up is this sequinned black dress from the Altuzarra for Target collection. It was reduced for around $16 from $54, which is a super deal since it fits well and has really nice details.

I also found this cute burnout tee at Target, on sale, which you can see here in two colours. I picked up the black one for $13 and cannot get over how high quality the material is.

I have finally rounded up 6 completed MAC products, so I was able to do a Back2MAC swap for this gorgeous shadow in the shade Quarry. It's a pretty, matte taupe that looks wonderful in the crease. The photo is showing up a lot more pink than it is greige, but next time you pass by the store be sure to check this one out.

One of my favourite finds is this cute lace bra from Gap. Not only is it in one of the best colours, but the fit is amazing and it's super comfy since there is no wire. I'm hoping that this style returns in some fun new colours for spring.

One thing I make sure to pick up in the states is a pack of these "no show" socks from Journeys. I do believe that these can be found in Canada now, but I got both a white and black pack anyways. For about $10 for 5 pairs, these high quality socks are a must have.

After hearing this great multitasking tip from Jessica at Beautezine, I undoubtedly had to find the Maybelline Color Tattoo Leather in Creamy Beige. A long-wearing cream eyeshadow, and cream contour in one? Amazing.

I also decided to invest in these New Balance runners from DSW. I actually switched out the white laces for some black ones, which gives a less stark appearance. These shoes weigh nothing and are extremely cushy for running and exercising.

And finally, my new favourite foundation. The Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in Classic Ivory is the perfect replacement for my Essence Matte Foundation (available in Europe only) which I fell in love with over the summer.

I also scored two amazing jewellery pieces on sale at J.Crew. The Honeybee necklace, which is sadly sold out online, is a stunning statement piece that sparkles like nothing else. I can't wait to wear this around the holidays to spruce up any simple top.

All hail, the Pyramid Crystal Bracelet, my new love. This piece is surprisingly small enough to fit my wrist, and the curved links sit so comfortably. The raised pyramid crystals are super classy, with that little bit of a rocker edge. I have to restrain myself from buying another one since I love it that much.

Happy shopping!

xx

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Under Hyped: Olay Daily Facial Cloths

"A one-step cleansing routine that leaves you skin feeling clean, comfortable and makeup-free." Sounds too good to be true, right?

These soft-textured, fragrance-free cloths for sensitive skin gently cleanse to remove everything from waterproof mascara, to dark lipstick and foundation. Simply add water, rub the cloth together and toss after using.

 I recently picked up a new box of these all-in-one cleansing face cloths, remembering how useful they were back in the day to remove my makeup after ballet recitals. Since they will remove makeup and clean the skin with soap and water, these cloths allow you to skip double cleansing.

My favourite part about Olay Daily Facial Cloths is that they're so lightweight, making them perfect for travel. You don't need to worry about leaky bottles, damp cloths, cotton rounds or makeup remover. Just slip a few of these compact, dry cloths in your bag and almost all your skincare steps are covered.

One side of the cloth is smooth for cleansing, while the other is textured for mild, scrub-like exfoliation. They are fragrance-free and the cleanser must be fully rinsed off, unlike with typical makeup wipes. I also love how they come with a sleek reusable box for storage.

The one downside with this product is the waste that these cloths create. It's not like they're pounds of plastic or anything, but I don't think they're biodegradable.  For those concerned about the cost, these cloths are pretty large so you could definitely get away with cutting them up and only using half.

I have seen countless rave reviews on these cloths and I totally understand why. Not only do they cleanse thoroughly to give a nice fresh feel, but they have also incorporated Olay's conditioning moisturizer to soothe the skin. Here's the Beautypedia page for them - Paula's Choice is usually really nitpicky with product reviews, so the "BEST" rating is pretty impressive.

Be sure to grab a box of these little gems on your next drugstore run. You won't regret it!

xx

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dislike: Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial Products

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Facial toner and mask 

The fun, gelly mask that I wish worked better on my skin

I prefer to keep things positive, but I must share my disappointment on these two products that really did not work out.

I came across this line of pretty skincare from Alba Botanica a few months back. After reading some good reviews, I decided to try out the hibiscus toner and papaya enzyme mask from their pore-fecting range, that were both under $10.

The problem with these products is that they are extremely irritating. When I apply both the toner and mask, my skin immediately turns red and starts to stingRegardless of what the product contains and what it is supposed to do, visible, instant irritation is never a good sign. Irritation of this nature can cause active blemishes to scar deeper, or even more blemishes to arise.


Although I do have sensitive skin, I've used many strong toners and masks in the past that aren't nearly this irritating. It could just be my skin reacting to the papaya/fruit acids in these products, but I would steer clear if you're ever considering the "Hawaiin Facial". I don't think all Alba Botanica products are this irritating, since I have heard some good things about the Vitamin C line, which is carried at my local Rexall drugstore.

Alba Botanica does not claim to be "natural", but they are a cruelty free line and contain "vegetarian" ingredients. The scent of these products isn't bad, but it is very potent and sweet.

This experience has been a great reminder that gentle skincare really is the best. I remember when I'd apply rubbing alcohol to blemishes, thick globs of salicylic acid gel, and harsh sandy scrubs hoping they would "clean out my pores". Funny enough, that excess drying and irritation made breakouts 10x worse, with scarring 10x deeper. A simple clay mask, gentle exfoliation, some BHA liquid and nourishing moisturizer is definitely the way to go. My favourites can be found here, and here!

xx

Friday, November 7, 2014

l'Occitane Arlésienne

"The Arlésienne is the L’OCCITANE woman: a luminous, mysterious woman from the south. Her unique character can be seen in the way she carries her head, in the movement of the fabric of her dress and in her distinctive shape of her feminine silhouette. The Arlésienne is like no other – she arouses creativity and inspires artists. In her wake she leaves a distinct trace of her presence. Three floral notes, each one like a trait of her character, fuse together: the fiery temperament of saffron, the grace of rose, the mystery of violet."

Inspired by the beautiful city of Arles in the south of France, the Arlésienne collection from l'Occitane is simply divine.

This eau de toilette is fresh and fun, but not overly sweet or artificial. Rose, violet and saffron create a beautiful fragrance, suitable for any age.

I'm quite picky when it comes to perfume, and I have to say that this is quickly becoming one of my favourites. Since taking their photos, I've been incorporating the accompanying shower cream into my daily routine. This smooth and silky wash foams up nicely to cleanse the skin without leaving it stripped and dry.

It also helps that the bottles are GORGEOUS. As rose gold's biggest and most loyal fan, I have now displayed these stunning bottles in my room and washroom as pretty pink decor.

Any items from this line would make for a wonderful Christmas gift. Despite being more on the luxurious side, prices range from $6-$48 to please any budget. As an added perk, gift wrapping is available at l'Occitane boutiques and they often have promotions featuring small sets of their best-sellers. Besides, you're getting both artwork and pamper products with these beauties! The range includes a solid perfume, bar soap, hand cream, lip gloss, candles, lotion, powder and more.

Magnifique, if you ask me.

xx

These products have been sent to me for optional review, without compensation. Let's be real here- I actually love them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Wet n Wild MegaLast Lipstick - Review & Swatches


Guys, I've found a great lipstick.
Or 8.

Like many others, I'm a huge fan of Wet Wild products. They make really nice nail polish, and their Color Icon blushes and eyeshadows are fantastic. I was able to try out some of their other products at a recent event, where we were introduced to the new "Steal The Look" app, which you can see more on here. The event was also celebrating the launch of Wet Wild's first commercial, which aired during the premiere of The Voice. 

Now back to the lipsticks. Although Revlon continues to stand as my favourite brand for lip products (in general), it's hard to fork over $10-15 for a bold lipstick that might only get worn for a few months. Welcome, MegaLast.

901B Think Pink, 904B Rose-bud, 911D Stoplight Red, 912C In The Flesh, 915B Spiked With Rum, 966 Don't Blink Pink, 968 Pinkerbell, 969 24 Carrot Gold

At $3 each, I'm amazed by the long-wearing formula of these MegaLast lipsticks. The pigment is strong and staining for each and every shade, which is great for those like me who don't want to reapply often. 

With a richly pigmented product like these, it's easy to achieve varying levels of opacity - apply a thin wash of product with a brush for a light stain, or layer up coats for a more intense impact. 

Just be sure to exfoliate and moisturize well before applying colour to avoid having dry spots show through on your lips. I would recommend Aquaphor Ointment as a great pre-lipstick moisturizer. You can use a towel or toothbrush to gently rub off any dry spots on the lips after taking a shower. Also, if you're a fan of darker lip colours, use a clear lip liner (cheaper here, pricier here) to inhibit that dreaded "feathering" mess when dark colours bleed out and around the lip line.

Head to your local Walmart, Rexall or Loblaws and try out MegaLast for yourself!

xx

Monday, November 3, 2014

Battle Of The Foundation Brushes

Foundation Brush



When shopping for a specific item, do you go for the cheaper option and sacrifice quality, or opt for the more expensive option and expect a better product?

I got the idea for this "Splurge vs. Steal" comparison from The Budget Babe, one of my favourite beauty and fashion blogs. As of a few weeks ago, my favourite synthetic flat top foundation brush from Shiseido now has an accessible, cheaper doppelgänger!

The H&M "bb cream brush" seen above is a very similar style to my Shiseido fave, just a bit larger. Despite what it might look like in the photo, the H&M brush has a bigger surface and a longer handle.

The Verdict:

Personally, I'd splurge with the $35 Shiseido option since it retains and applies my Maybelline mousse foundation the best. I would rather buy one expensive brush, use it daily, wash it properly and have it last for years, as opposed to spending $12 on the H&M one.

Regardless, I'm very happy to have found a cheaper alternative to my favourite foundation brush, which you can pick up at your local mall.

xx

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Inspired Makeup


Revlon Colorstay Eyeshadow Palette in 587 Wild Sauvage
With Halloween just a few days away, I thought that this would be a great time to test out my new Revlon Colorstay eyeshadow palette in the shade Wild Sauvage. I immediately thought of a pretty pumpkin when I saw these shadow colours and decided to try something a bit out of my comfort zone.

First off, I'm very impressed with the pigmentation and texture of the green and orange in this palette. I find Revlon eyeshadow to be dull and inconsistent (see here, and here) and sadly, the dry, chalky texture I'm used to is reflected in the white and beige shades of the palette. Overall, the combination of shiny neutrals and punchy, matte brights would be a great addition to anyone's eyeshadow repertoire, especially for the fall months.

Although this eye look is a bit weird, I really love how easy the colours are to work with without being super over-the-top.

Here's how I did it:

Friday, October 24, 2014

10 Things I Can't Live Without


After surviving a pretty gross cold, I've decided to highlight some of the essential items I hold most dear to my heart. It's in the darkest of times that we come to realize those things that we truly cherish. Along with our loved ones.

In no particular order, here are mine:

1. My iPhone

Isn't this everyone's #1?
#firstworldproblems.
But being real here, this thing has a great camera, a good calendar, decent notifications and has a nice notes app. I also wouldn't be able to get anywhere without my Google map. The battery life on the other hand... questionable.

2. Bicks Mini Crunch-Ems in Definitely Dill

Cold mini dill pickles. That is all I need.

3. Nivea Creme

This stuff is heavenly. A legend in skincare, Nivea has the ability to soothe and heal chapped skin without feeling heavy and suffocating. It's my go-to for dry lips or the dreaded nose pain after experiencing the plague (aka common cold). Read more on my lip-savers here.


4. Mustard

When it comes to my moutarde, I'll really do any kind. Especially with a sausage. But I've been loving some fancy dill varieties lately. This one in particular is a Canadian brand that I picked up at the Delicious Food Show last weekend.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Review: Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Nail Polish

High Stakes (green), All or Nothing (pink) and Diamond Top Coat

Revlon's new Gel Envy nail polish is supposed to be the at-home equivalent to a gel manicure, without the UV light. The claim: "2 Steps to Total Gel Envy - Create salon-quality colour in 30 vibrant shades with our revolutionary 2-step system. Brush on the base + colour in one, and then finish with the protective ColorStay Gel Envy Diamond Top Coat™ for superior strength. Together, they create vivid colour, brilliant shine and gorgeous life-resistant wear." - Revlon Site

Day 5, chip-free nails wearing High Stakes (no filter)
I initially fell in love with this dark, forest green shade called "High Stakes" after it applied flawlessly with only two thin coats. I decided to follow the 2-step system and omit a base coat, even after reading some reviews claiming that the darker polishes can stain. I followed with the "Diamond Top Coat" which is a great, thin consistency that dries shiny and quick. Only downside- the bottle is black so you won't be able to tell how much you've used.

These polishes are a bit thicker than your typical Revlon Colorstay enamel, so be sure not to shake them before application since that will cause annoying bubbles to appear on the nails. The colour pigment and formula seems to be very consistent and I can't see it separating easily.

My nails lasted pretty much chip-free for the entire 6 days. I'm no construction worker, but I definitely don't take it easy on my nails so this wear time is impressive. To remove I used a generic acetone-free nail polish remover, and everything came off easy except for a bit of the green colour which collected around my cuticles. Fortunately, after 6 days my nails were still pretty bright with no major staining.

Day 6, slightly chipped nails wearing All or Nothing
(no filter)
I just applied some of the "All or Nothing" shade last week, which had a slightly less appealing application. The polish is pretty thin, so I had to do three thin coats to get this semi-opaque finish. Overall, the wear has been pretty impressive, although the pink did chip more than the green.

I'm looking forward to checking out the other Gel Envy shades during my next trip to the drugstore. I noticed that both of these colours have a subtle glittery sheen to them, which you can only see in bright light. Super-opaque polishes tend to chip really fast for me, so this could be one of the reasons why these polishes have been working so well.

I've only had one gel manicure in the past, and I'm really not interested in getting any more. My nails grow pretty fast so after the week is up, I'm always due for a cut, file and fresh polish.

Have you tried Gel Envy? There's a coupon on the Revlon website if you want to! http://www.revloncolorstay.ca/en/

xx


I was the lucky winner of a Revlon gift bag after participating in a Canadian Beauty Bloggers chat, which included these fab polishes. 
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