Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Skin Wonderland - The Sephora Set You Need

Shop Sephora's Skin Wonderland Set here

Nothing cheers me up during midterms like some miniature bottles of top-notch skin treatments. To be completely honest, that itsy bitsy bottle of AmorePacific Treatment Enzyme Peel is the reason why this holiday gift set made it onto my loves list in the first place. You can read my review of that product here, along with L'Occitane's Almond Shower Oil here.

There's an ongoing promotion at Sephora for either 10% off, extra points or some free products by playing the fun matching game linked here. After scoring a 10% off coupon code, I decided to seize the day and order (IMO) Sephora's best skincare box set to date. 

The Skin Wonderland Set is an incredible deal, featuring some deluxe samples and full sized versions of their best-selling skincare products. The 0.5 oz bottle of ExfoliKate is $25 on its own!

My new enzyme peel is now in my travel bag, shower oil on the ledge of my tub, and I've begun to test the Lavanilla deodorant. I couldn't be happier with the purchase since I've heard great things about each and every one of these products. The total would definitely add up to $184 if each was purchased individually, so at $70 for the lot, I'd say it's a steal. Although there will be another sale sometime in November (see my Sephora sales list here) I don't know how much longer this set will last. For any skincare lovers out there, take note because this would make a fabulous gift.

Happy Wednesday!

Friday, October 10, 2014

HowTo Organize Your Scarves

While getting dressed in the morning or looking for a specific accessory, if I can't see it, I'll probably forget that I have it. Creatively displaying everything might be a bit excessive, but keeping my most frequently used items tucked away in a drawer really isn't practical.

In the fall and winter, scarves are a daily staple in my wardrobe. I love how unique patterns and styles can take a simple outfit from drab to fab, while also adding some necessary warmth. The one issue: storing them. I've tried the folded in a drawer idea, circular "scarf hangers", etc. But nothing has seemed to work just right. I wanted to be able to see the colours of my scarves, and only the ones pertaining to the season. 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Paula's Choice Resist 4% BHA

All hail, Paula's Choice wins again.

It's a rave day. If you haven't read my previous review of Paula's Choice 2% BHA Liquid, go do so now!

Salicylic Acid is one of the most widely used active ingredients in skincare, since it has the ability to dissolve the oil and residue which clog our pores. Over the years, nearly all Salicylic Acid containing products have irritated and dried out my skin- not because of this one ingredient, but because of the other "oil-controlling" crap they throw inside to fill the bottle.

Paula's Choice products are formulated to work on even the most sensitive skin. Their BHA treatments (Salicylic Acid) are actually somewhat moisturizing, and never irritate or cause redness for me. This is a huge benefit, and proof of the thorough research backing up the products.

My daily treatment is the 2% BHA Liquid, and I use this 4% foamy treatment once per week - whenever I feel as if my pores are extra congested (more blackheads and bumps). All you do is smooth on one pump of product after cleansing (at night) to the desired area - not the eyes, and follow with a light moisturizer.

I'd almost guarantee that after using this treatment, you'll wake up the next day and notice a significant difference in the texture and brightness of your skin. Pores will be smoothed, blackheads will be reduced and there could be an improvement in breakouts. Their stuff answers all your skincare wishes... it's a bit miraculous. Also, their return policy is quite forgiving so don't fret when buying online.

One precaution: chemical exfoliants speed up the natural shedding of the skin's protective layer of dead cells - it is VERY important to wear an SPF of at least 30 when using these products, especially if you're planning on staying outside. This exfoliation increases the probability of getting burns and sunspots. Don't risk it! See my favourite SPF's here.

To Get $10 off your first purchase, feel free to use this link:


Monday, October 6, 2014

Berry Stained Lips & Après-Ski Cheeks

Are you in a makeup rut? Sometimes a fresh, new look is just one product away.
That "less is more" motto really comes into play when considering everyday makeup. I find that eyes take the longest in my routine, so playing up the cheeks and lips has been a definite go-to this fall.

First off: I love multitaskers. There's nothing simpler than using one fab product for lips and cheeks, especially since you only need to tote around one product for touchups. Also, you can do all the applying with fingers if you don't have suitable brushes. Watch out though- this deep pigment will stain!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: l'Occitane Styling Cream & Heat Protectant

Not only have the French mastered wine and cheese, but they also know how to make great pamper products. I was recently introduced to l'Occitane's Aromachologie hair care line, and I couldn't have been more intrigued. Does their crème cheveux live up to their iconic crème mains

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Black Skirts and Jean Jackets

The jean jacket and the black skirt: two staples that I definitely don't wear enough. I decided to pull together some unexpected tones in this look, incorporating classic blue jean, warm tan leather, an autumn inspired scarf, and pops of black and white. This was a perfect fancy-ish outfit which kept me just warm enough for a final September night out. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

My Daily Makeup Routine

Ahh... the sweet feeling of having a set routine. After trying out numerous variations of my daily makeup staples (note: mousse foundation, pressed powder, good brushes, under-eye concealer...etc) I've finally found some real winners. Below you'll see the products I use day-to-day, and exactly how I apply them in video form. 

I tend to mix high and low - some products are designer and some only a few bucks. Despite loving a few luxury makeup items, I have found many affordable dupes for most of my high-end faves. You can see the contrasting blog posts here: low-end, high-end.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Review: Bella Vita Miracle Hand Balm & Formidable Cream Deodorant

As a shameless oil/balm/cream junkie, I'm always in the market for the newest innovation. I've recently started using oil as a daily moisturizer since it locks in the hydration, keeping my skin silky smooth longer than any traditional lotion. Right after I turn off the shower, I apply a thin layer of oil head to toe, then dry off the remaining water with a towel. I find that even a tiny drop of oil works wonders on my ends, far better than any hair conditioner. Just remember to keep the oil off your shower floor- no one needs broken bones. To see my favourite oils, see my (in depth) post, here.

This review will highlight two natural, propolis-based products from the Quebec brand Bella Vita, which both contain some of my favourite oils. Curious to know what propolis really is? Read on!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Is Shopping At Sephora Really Worth It?

Photo via Nicole Reviews Beauty

After receiving some "Holiday Sneak Peak" emails this week from the Sephora V.I.B. program, (thanks for making it feel that much colder!) I decided to compile my thoughts on the Sephora experience in general. I've been a part of their Very Important Beauty Insider program for 3-4 years now, so I've definitely had time to experience lots of highs and lows.

Everyone is eligible to become a Sephora Beauty Insider, which enables you to receive free birthday gifts and collect points. On a regular purchase, you receive 1pt per dollar, (before tax) and there are deluxe samples available for redeeming 100, 250 or 500 pts. Throughout the year, Sephora runs various events for Beauty Insiders which sometimes involve 2-3X the points on select items.

To qualify for V.I.B. status, you must spend $350+ at Sephora (before tax) in one calendar year. You will then receive 10% off your next Sephora purchase (one time use coupon) and one free 45 minute makeover in-store. Makeovers are typically free with any purchase of $50+ and I believe an appointment is necessary.

VIB Rouge is the next level of perks, achieved when you spend $1000+ at Sephora, before tax, in one calendar year. I haven't heard anything extraordinary about the Rouge program, aside from a few extra samples/discounts, so I'll refrain from spending copious amounts of money on more trinkets and potions for the time being.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: John Frieda Go Blonder Lightening Spray

Earlier this summer I decided to try out the "Go Blonder Lightening Spray" from John Frieda's "Sheer Blonde" range. I was feeling some lighter highlights, but didn't want anything too chunky or salon-like. Since my hair is naturally dark blonde, I figured that the product would work just fine. I've never actually dyed my hair before, so it was my first time making a permanent change.

I don't like John Frieda's shampoo and conditioner very much since I find that the shampoo feels like plastic, and the conditioner is full of slippery silicones. That being said, I've heard amazing things about some of their other products, such as the iconic Frizz-Ease line.
This lightening spray is pretty much a heat protectant, mixed with a touch of bleach and some citrus and chamomile extracts. The product is not suitable for medium brown, or dark coloured hair since it would turn rather orange. You can see the full product details on the John Frieda site here.

I used the spray around 5 times, over a span of two weeks. I strategically applied the product onto the top layer of my towel-dried hair, concentrating it on the bottom half versus on the roots. I  loosely combed through with my hands to evenly distribute the product, then continued with my typical 2 minute blow-dry. The directions state "the more heat you use, the greater the lightening effects". I don't typically use hot tools, but if you were going for an ombré style or more defined highlights, I'm sure some extra heat would help.

The results are exactly what I was looking for - noticeable highlights, without looking fake or overdone. For a drugstore product thats around $10, I couldn't be more pleased.

Happy highlighting!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fall Favourites

Now that August has come and gone, I can confidently say that the weather this summer really sucked. Both when I was at home and away, I never felt fully comfortable or prepared for the fluctuating temps. Too many days were spent shivering in the dreary rain, or peeling of layers in the sweltering sun. I'm really not looking forward to sub-zero temperatures, but I am enjoying the fresh fall chill that has now fallen over the city. A warm quilted moto jacket,  rich coloured pants, and fun accessories have been my definite go-tos this past week. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Visit To Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is the capital of the Dutch province in Belgium. The area itself is called West Flanders, and the main language spoken is Flemish - a dialect of Dutch. This city is located in the northwest corner of Belgium, about 2 hours away from Brussels. I was immediately brought back to Amsterdam when walking through the streets, since it is another canal-based city, commonly referred to as "The Venice of the North". Bruges was historically one of the most important port cities thanks to its location, which is right on the coast.

The Belfry of Bruges - a medieval bell tower

The first thing we did after arriving in Bruges was a walk up the Belfry tower. Despite the narrow spiral staircase, the 350 step climb wasn't bad at all and the view was well worth it.

The view from the top of the Belfry Tower

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