Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday Vibes...

After a mostly relaxing weekend (read: if there was such thing as a napping championship, I would have won the trophy) I am starting off the week totally recharged and re-inspired.

I even dusted off my Pinterest account and updated some of my boards with inspiring images, namely from the fashion and home decor categories (sprinkle in some recipes here and there). Pinterest is like entering a time-sucking black hole filled with all sorts of awesome things, and sometimes those things involve cheese, bacon and carbs ^_^

Yummy recipes aside, here is my fashion inspiration for the week... my closet "cheese bacon and carbs", if you will:


I like it when the Olsen twins don't look like they're homeless. 

I hope your week is off to a great start! I will be filming my updated skincare routine video, July 2014 beauty favourites and another tutorial this week (time permitting) so catch me on YouTube for more beauty banter later on in the week.

xx

Sandra

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Benefit "They're Real!" Push-up Liner Review

I gotta hand it to Benefit's marketing team - they did an amazing job at creating buzz, hype and excitement over their new eye liner. I can't even remember the last time the beauty world got so excited about eyeliner! Sadly like with all things that get super hyped up, people have higher expectations and when those expectations are not met, they tend to be more vocal about it. This is what happened with this liner, I think, because the ladies on the Sephora website have not been very kind with their reviews.


I really like this liner. In the spectrum of non-pencil liners I prefer this over gel/cream formulas that come in the pot and that you have to use a separate brush to apply. Call me the Negative Nancy of gel eyeliners, but I just think that they're a pain in the ass and I'd choose a felt tip/brush tip liquid liner any day.

Now back to Benefit Push-up Liner - this isn't a liquid in a felt tip nor a gel with a brush. This has a gel formula in a unique angled rubberized applicator tip. The gel formula isn't as smooth and gliding like MAC Fluidline gel liner, it's more akin to a cream liner formula (like my Shu Uemura painting liner or the Smashbox cream liner). This is why I think many reviewers complain about it - the liner can skip a bit due to not gliding well against the rubber applicator. I think this is awesome for creating a graphic winged liner, so I don't mind going over a couple of times since it's what I have to do to get the line thicker anyway.



This is the easiest liner I've used when it comes to creating even graphic wings on both sides and it's due to the applicator... the angle of the applicator makes it effortless!


As for the formula - I got a solid 8 hours of wear with this without smudging or flaking. It faded a tiny bit at the end of the day but nothing super noticeable. It has a matte black finish, which I appreciate, and it was easy to remove at night with either Bioderma or an oil cleanser. 

If you're a fan of a thicker, more graphic winged line, and you suck at achieving that look using gel liner and a brush, I think that this liner is definitely worth a shot. I like different liners for different looks (a liquid can't be beat for that sophisticated super sharp cat eye, a kohl is best for smudging, etc.) and I definitely have enough room in my heart and my makeup drawer for Benefit's Push-up Liner.

You can find Benefit "They're Real" Push-up Liner at Sephora, Benefit counters worldwide and Shoppers Drug Mart (my Shoppers Beauty Boutique had a big display of them by the checkout!)

Have you tried this liner? What do you think?

xx

Sandra

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Coolness Alert!!! The Warby Parker Beacon Collection

Are you in the market for a new pair of sunglasses? I feel like I always am and aside from a pair of H&M aviators that I bought last year for beach purposes, nothing has really caught my eye. 
I almost bought those blue flash Ray Bans but managed to talk myself out of it because too many people have them (I'm such a sunglass hipster. Womp.)


Enter my stalker-ish love affair with Warby Parker. Not only do they make gorgeous glasses and sunglasses but with each pair sold, they donate a pair of glasses to someone in need. You can read more about their awesome story here, but think of the as the Toms of glasses! 

They have free shipping to the US and Canada and an effortlessly cool selection of frames - both for prescription glasses/sunglasses or no prescription. Today their new limited edition Beacon collection launches and I thought I'd share my favourites before I go HAM and click the buy button. I don't wear glasses so my first choice would be the Ingram sunglasses. Which colour, you ask? Erm... how 'bout both?

The Ingram model in Tiger Tortoise is an awesome way to spruce up a neutral monochromatic outfit because of the blue lenses, or you can go full out black on black on black (my favourite!) with the Revolver Black option. Want more options? Check out the rest of their sunglasses here. All their lenses are polarized and the prices start at $95. 

I almost want to buy a pair of the regular glasses frames even though I don't have vision problems and tout them around (they'll make me look smarter, right? Right? ... *cricket noise*). My favourites from this limited edition batch are the McKee:


Explore the rest of the Warby Parker Beacon collection and bookmark their site for your next glasses/sunglasses search :)

What are your favourite sunglasses designers?

xx

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Velvet Finish Foundation Round-up

Rummaging through my foundations, I decided to round up the ones that I own that provide the most velvet/matte finish since that is a finish that a lot of us gravitate to during this time of year (especially if your skin is on the oily side). On the dock we have:


Chanel Perfection Lumiere Velvet, Giorgio Armani Maestro and Hourglass Immaculate Liquid Powder foundations. I have more comprehensive reviews of the Chanel here and Hourglass here, but I find that reviews by comparison are even more helpful. I am going to provide you with a nerdy list of my likes and dislikes for each of these. Alas, let's begin.



LIKES: 

- this is the best if you have any texture issues/concerns. I have some deeper acne scarring on my cheeks and this smooths out the skin surface perfectly. 
- feels incredibly lightweight and is easy to blend with fingers or a brush (not the beauty blender)
- doesn't oxidize pink on me and it's a decent colour match
- looks incredible when you first apply it on the skin, it's a true velvet finish, with a slight glow from within

DISLIKES:

- lasting power. It starts looking weird after about 3-4 hours. The coverage gets patchy, the oils break through... not impressed. I actually get longer lasting power from Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua.
- it transfers way too easily. This is the only foundation I've owned in my life where it actually transferred on a boyfriend's face after kissing him. OH HELLZ NO. Unacceptable. 

Verdict: if your skin is normal and you don't get oily patches, I think this is more suitable for you. This has a medium coverage yet feels very light on the skin and gives a nice smooth look to the skin even if you have acne scarring/texture issues. Sadly it just didn't last on my oily skin so I won't be repurchasing.




LIKES

- the most lightweight and easy to blend foundation I own (best used with fingers)
- the colour doesn't oxidize at all (!!!)
- evens out the skin tone extremely well, has a soft skin-like finish
- really pleasant soft soapy scent
- good lasting power

DISLIKES

- the application is a hot mess. It has a dropper... and any accidental drops on clothes do not wash out easily since the pigment of this foundation is suspended in oil
- a nightmare on dry patches. If you have even a hint of dry flaky skin (which can sometimes happen even if you're oily and battling acne) this foundation will cling to it and it will look terrible.

Giorgio Armani Maestro #4
Verdict: if you have normal/slightly oily skin and don't have any texture concerns or dry patches this foundation is perfect for you. It's easy to apply with your fingers and gives a light/medium buildable coverage. Just don't drop any of your clothes unless you want to rack up your dry cleaning bill.


LIKES

- lasting power. This stuff is water resistant, you can take a swim and this shiz will still be on your face.
- you don't need to set this foundation with powder since it dries exactly to a powder finish
- this is truly the most long-lasting foundation of the bunch

DISLIKES

- be careful when selecting a colour since it dries up to a full shade darker.
- hard to apply since it sets to a powder finish quite quickly... you don't have much time to blend it into the skin or to customize the coverage (which is medium coverage, I'd say)
- the pump gets clogged every time because the formulation dries down to a solid powder

Verdict: Maybe I just sucked at applying it.... but I think that this feels slightly heavy on the skin and it's hard to work with. The result is nice and long-lasting, however, so it's a good one to keep on hand for long-haul summer days where water may be involved but you still want your face to look done up.

Have you tried any of these? Do you have any other matte/velvet finish foundation recommendations for me?

xx

Sandra

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Weekend Wishlist: Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Picks

Such sale. Very Nordstrom. Wow.

The Nordstrom Anniversary sale is upon us now until August 3rd and there are a ton of awesome beauty exclusives to take advantage of. Here are my picks:


1. NARS Cheek Palette ($49)
Perfect for travel. Cult favourite bronzer and blush shades in Laguna and Orgasm as well as two pink shades.

2. Ciate Sundae Best Nailpolish Trio ($25)
I love Ciate nail polishes. They are creamy and apply well - most of them give opaque coverage in one coat. This is a great trio consisting of a sophisticated latte brown shade, a creamy teal and a hot pink.

3. Kiehl's Creme de Corps Lavender Whipped Body Butter ($38)
This is one of my favourite body moisturizes. It's incredibly hydrating without feeling greasy and the scent of the original formula is heavenly. The limited edition Lavender version would be fun to try and the perfect moisturizer to apply before bedtime.

4. Voluspa 3-wick Candle Set ($35.90)
Voluspa candles are awesome. They burn for ages, they are coconut wax based and they have very interesting and luxurious scent combinations. One candle generally retails for about $20-$30 so this is a great value!

5. Laura Mercier Travel Brush Set ($75)
Laura Mercier brushes are so underrated. They are among the best I have tried and the travel versions of her brushes are the exact same quality as the full sizes. This is an awesome set that is both a great deal and perfect for travel.

6. Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Killer Cheekbones Set ($110)
This has me buzzing with excitement - could it be that Charlotte Tilbury will soon be carried at Nordstrom???? AHSUAHAJKSAHSLAJASHAJKSA
You get her famous sculpting brush as well as the Filmstar Bronze & Glow (a beautiful universally flattering bronzer/highlighter duo) in this particular set.

7. NARS Dolce Vita Lip & Nail Set ($52)
NARS Dolce Vita is one of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's favourite lip colours and it's been on my wishlist ever since I read that fact from one of her makeup artists. This set includes the lipstick, a matching lip gloss and a limited edition matching nail polish. This is the perfect blushing rose shade that enhances your lips while still looking natural.

What do you have your eyes on this sale season?

xx

Friday, July 18, 2014

Hair Holy Grails

I'll be honest, I don't like spending a lot of time on my hair. I am an avid supporter of the "messy hair, don't care" philosophy. My hair is long, fine, color processed and I don't have a lot of it. Thus I don't wash it often (about 3 times a week) and I look for volumizing product ranges.

The three products I am sharing with you today have truly stood the test of time. I've been using/repurchasing them for over 3 years now, and they deliver every time.

First on the dock we have Batiste Dry Shampoo. This was the first dry shampoo brand I ever heard of and the one I always go back to. Like an old friend, Batiste is always there for me. It's affordable, easily available (online or at drugstores) and comes in a variety of scents - "Original" (a clean powdery scent, "Tropical" (coconut) and "Blush" (a powdery floral). There are also "Cool & Crisp", "Cherry" and "Wild" scent options but I haven't gotten the chance to personally smell those yet.
After my last two unscented powder dry shampoos suffered the kiss of discontinued death (RIP Ojon and Fekkai hair powders) I am back to Batiste and I am a happy camper. The Blush scent is my personal favourite. It does leave a slight white cast when you first spray it on but with a bit of tousling it blends in effortlessly with my dark roots, soaks up the oils and adds a bit of volume. Every girl needs a bottle of this on their bathroom shelf!


Kevin Murphy Anti Gravity Spray – This. Stuff. Is. Awesome. Best volumizing mist for fine hair, it comes in a lotion formula as well but I prefer the spray. When you have fine hair, the last thing you want is to weigh it down with extra product. I use this on damp hair at the roots before I blow dry (or air dry) and I always notice the difference this makes. It adds weightless volume, doesn't look greasy and actually extends the style of my hair. I use the term “style” loosely. #messyhairdontcare
I get Kevin Murphy products at my local hair salon, you can use the salon locator on  their website for more info, or order from Amazon!

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue. *bows and prays* this is the best hair oil I have ever used. It smells divine and at over $70 it's expensive but 1-2 pumps are enough to go through the lengths of my hair and this bottle has lasted almost two years. You can get it online at FeelUnique with free shipping worldwide, or at salons that carry the brand. If you're in Toronto - the Bloor location of Holt Renfrew has a lovely corner dedicated to all things Shu Uemura.

What are the hair products you come back to time and time again?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: L'Oreal Sublime Fresh Purifying Gel Wash

Hey oily skin girls! It's absolutely gross outside and you feel like your skin could run its own oil refinery. You wake up in the morning greasy, you go to bed greasy... you're on a budget... WHAT DO WE CLEANSE WITH?

I have your answer - you cleanse with this: L'Oréal Sublime Fresh Purifying Gel Wash


I reviewed the foaming cleanser from this range a few weeks back and while I did enjoy that one, I used it up way too quickly... the downside of those handy foaming pumps.
The Purifying Gel Wash, however, is even better.

It's gentle, it has a pleasant scent (lighter and better than that of the foam) and is soap free. It doesn't leave my skin feeling dry, just comfortably cleansed.  Excellent with the Clarisonic or a regular washcloth. I tend to prefer using warm water and a washcloth when I have dry patches on my skin because it tends to slough off dead skin and leaves the surface smooth and primed for makeup.

This is my summer morning cleanser of choice right now! What's yours? Are you a cleanser freak like I am? :)

xx

Sandra

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

What I Wore - Silk & Leather

Now I know why most fashion bloggers look down in their photos - it's infinitely awkward getting outfit photos taken. Or maybe just I am infinitely awkward... 

Anyway, outfit was worn and photos were taken!! 
Let's start off with me trying to answer an imaginary telephone, shall we?


Hello? It's me, Sandra, I don't know what I'm doing. I should probably look down.


Both these pieces were sale finds from this last week. Faux leather shorts from H&M - super comfortable, black AND they have pockets (my favourite!). Found very similar ones online click here.

I like the juxtaposition of leather-like textures with more feminine silk/chiffon blouses. The blouse in question is by ASTR, which is exclusive to Nordstrom from what I understand. They have a collection of cool, well-made blouses that don't break the bank.



Rose gold sandals by B Brian Atwood (similar ones here) to finish off the look.

I'm still obsessed with rose gold and I don't care who knows it.

Hope your week is a great one!

xx
Sandra

Friday, July 11, 2014

#DressingRoomSelfies

I wore this outfit out shopping and it made me happy so I felt compelled to document it with my mature and professional looking iPhone (thank you eBay). One day I'll get "Outfit Of The Day" posts right but today is clearly not one of those days. Bare with me :)


I broke down and bought a skort from Aritzia a few weeks ago when I was in Calgary and I am so happy with my choice. It's the Liah skort by Wilfred Free and you can still get it online here (as part of their summer sale, woo!)

I paired it with this bright tomato red thin knit short sleeve cropped sweater from Topshop (available here) and black blazer by Helmut Lang (available here).

Yes I still like to dress like the grim reaper in the summer months but today I threw in a splash of colour. I'm really into this bright warm red at the moment - especially if you have warm undertones. It makes you look more tanned and stands out in the most flattering way!

Shop the colour:



xx

Sandra


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Cleansin' Wednesday: Shiseido Benefiance Cleansing Foam

I'm the Mary Poppins of cleansers. Just when you think it's over, I bust out another cleanser out of my magical purse.
This week's Cleansin' Wednesday post is more luxe than the rest, the subject being Shiseido's Benefiance Extra Creamy Cleansing Foam. It's $35 ($42 in Canada because the Universe hates us) from Sephora and it's a beautiful cleansing experience.


I love creamy foaming cleansers and I don't care who knows it. This one is amongst the most "dense" that I've tried in terms of consistency. They say extra creamy and they mean it. It's supposed to be loaded with anti-aging properties (which to be honest I can't really vouch for) but it smells divine, lathers well and you need a very small amount of product to thoroughly cleanse your entire face.

This cleanser has tiny beads in it that do some (very gentle) physical exfoliation as well. They're not abrasive like walnut shells by any means, but there is some grit to them. It's not going to magically get rid of any texture issues on your face like a microdermabrasion does, but it does help thoroughly cleanse the skin without irritating it at all. The skin is left completely clean while feeling nourished and not dried out.

All in all, this is an awesome cleanser. In terms of cleansing performance, the La Roche Posay Toleriane Foaming Cream does the same thing albeit without the pretty smells and it is not quite as hydrating. If you are on the slightly normal/dry side and you like cleansing foams but are afraid of them sine they can get drying, you gotta give this a try.
It's such a nice treat to use at night after a long day. I did use the regular Shiseido foaming cleanser years ago and the Benefiance Extra Creamy is definitely more hydrating and dense in consistency. I remember my previous tube lasted ages and this will also last a long time since I find that a pea-sized amount does the job well.

100% Recommended!

x

Sandra
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