Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Year...


Whoa, so 2010 has come to an end...
It was a year filled with ups and downs for me, a year of meeting amazing new people and keeping close with the people that matter most.

I love being a part of the beauty community, and I am so very grateful for all my amazing blog readers and subscribers.
It's been an amazing year in that aspect and I've enjoyed starting my YouTube Channel and getting more involved with my blog... I'm feeling more inspired than ever and will definitely keep it up.

I hope you all have a safe and fun New Year's Eve and an even better 2011!

You're all fabulous and you have no idea how happy I am to share this hobby with you :)


xoxoxoxo and see you in 2011 (apologies for the cheesy joke, but I just had to!)

- Sandra


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting back into bronze and gold... (FOTD)

After a long love affair with cool-toned browns, greys and taupes for most of fall and winter this year, I decided to slightly change things up last night before heading out with some friends.

I've been in a bit of a makeup rut lately. My hair is in dire need of a change, my face is paler than its ever been, and I just needed a bit of a kick... so out with the pinky nude lips and dark smokey taupes, in with some bronze and a slight hint of cherry on the lips!

Here's what I had on:


Eyes:
- Estee Lauder Silver Leaf DoubleWear cream eyeshadow all over the lid. This was limited edition but you can get the same result by priming your lid with MAC's new Dangerous Cuvee paint pot from their Champ Pale collection.
- Bare Minerals Nude Beach eyeshadow in the inner corner
- NARS Fez eyeshadow everywhere else (all over the lid and on the lower lashline). A perfect dupe for this would be Mulch by MAC.
- MAC Blacktrack Fluidline
- Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Mascara

Face/Cheeks:
- Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation (Shade #5)
- Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer
- Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder
- NARS Laguna Bronzer
- NARS Mounia Blush

Lips:
- Dior Addict Ultra Gloss in Linen Beige (#317)
- mixed in a TINY drop of Chanel Dragon Rouge Allure Laque for a bit of a cherry red kick

Sadly the Dior gloss is discontinued but it looks like this:


Dior tend to "recycle" lipgloss colours and always have similar shades coming out.
If you're in need of a nice opaque non-sticky pigmented shimmery dark golden beige gloss... look closer at Dior's Addict gloss range.
They're great, you get a ton of product and shades like this are perfect for wearing alone when you have a nice tan or for taming wilder lip colours (or adding an extra shimmery punch if needed!)

That's my story for now! Have you been trying to change things up lately?

Hope you're all starting the week of right :)

xoxx

- Sandra

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

Happy wednesday!

I just finished recording a video with a quick review of the foundation that I have been using lately - Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk - and I wanted to do a blog post to go along with it since I wanted to post some more pictures to show how this foundation looks on the skin.

Without flash:

With flash:

(I am also wearing MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural in Medium Dark, Benefit Hoola Bronzer and L'Oreal blush in W5-6 "Subtle Sable")

Click here to see the video!

Overall, I am liking this foundation very much.
Here's a quick screenshot of what the Armani website has to say about their lovely product:


They've pretty much described it spot-on.

I am quite pale now and am using shade #5 for the winter. It's not a perfect match (it's slightly more pink than my skintone) but it's easy to make it work.

In the video I blab on and on about how easy it is to blend - and it's true. Probably one of the easiest to blend foundations I've used to date. Also has the most natural look as well.
I apply it with my fingers since with a traditional foundation brush (I have the MAC 190) it looks a bit streaky. The fingers are often the best tools when it comes to blending in more emolient/watery foundations such as this one.

PROS:
-Feels completely weightless on the skin.
-Photographs well (contains no SPF)
-Easy to blend (takes less time to get ready!)
-Natural skin-line finish (not too matte, not too dewy)
-Oil-free

CONS:
-$59 in US, $65 in Canada (and probably even more in other parts of the world!)
-If you have oily/combination skin, it does need setting powder
-poor lasting power on oilier skins
-Wouldn't be a suitable summer foundation (lacks SPF and doesn't combat major oiliness)

For me, the pros definitely outweighed the cons for winter. When my skin needs a bit more moisture, this foundation is quite perfect.

For the summer, I am not so sure... my skin does get quite oily and this foundation is not very resistant on that skin type. They do make a UV version of this foundation that's catered to oilier skins that I would be interested in trying.

At the Armani counter when the make-up artist applied it on me, she used an Armani pressed powder foundation to set it and I was amazed at how flawless it looked and how long it lasted without touch-ups.
The powder contained an SPF of 35 which would make it ideal for summer time... so watch this space, I may get that in a few months and keep you updated.

Have you tried this foundation before?
Do you have any other recommendations by Armani or do you find the brand over priced and over rated?
I'm always keen to read your opinions!

Have a great holiday season and keep an eye out for some much overdue Outfit Of The Day posts! It's the holiday party season after all :)

xox

- Sandra


Monday, December 20, 2010

Pretty shiny things...


I've always been quite minimalistic when it comes to jewelry.

I'm quite picky and over time I've come to prefer having a collection of a few nice things rather than boxes upon boxes of crap that gives me green stains or bends and breaks after one use.

I just did a major jewelry clean-up last month and am now looking for some new additions.

As of late, I've really been admiring gold and white enamel combinations... here's what I've been eyeing lately:


1. 24k Gold Plated Earrings - Oscar De La Renta
2. White Arty Ring - Yves Saint Laurent

I don't usually like big earrings on myself, but these Oscar De La Renta statement earrings are just so beautiful! They really caught my eye. I'd love to check them out in person and see how heavy they are... the reason I steer away from dangly earrings is that they weigh my ears down and make me uncomfortable... but hey, sometimes you find a pair that's just so pretty - it's worth a bit of suffering :)

As for the ring, it's a pretty famous one. YSL does them in plenty of colours and I have mentioned it before. This white one has to be my favourite so far though. Again, I hate not being able to see these in person and try them out before I buy, but if I were to take the plunge on any piece this holiday season, it would probably be the YSL Arty ring!

Do any of you own one? Is it nice and solid? I hate flimsy rings!



PS: no jewelry post would be complete without a cute jewelry box!
I found this at Anthropologie the other day and I've been thinking of going back for it.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Cold Friday Afternoon Droolworthiness...

It's absolutely freezing outside. Snow, ice, and all that good stuff.
I am completely unprepared for the holidays and my last exam for the semester is tomorrow (woohoo!)...
So what's better than to take a little study break and think about some beautiful things that would keep me warm and cozy during this frigid season.

Here is my ever so cozy wintery wishlist:


1. Shearling lined robe - Anthropologie
2. Studded cashmere scarf - Burberry
3. Beige cardigan - 3.1 Phillip Lim

Simple and to the point. That robe looks SO soft and comfortable, I may just have to try hunting it down at an Anthropologie store nearby. The other two are out of my price range at the moment, but are extremely beautiful nonetheless.
I prefer the black-gray-white large check pattern to the traditional camel or beige ones that Burberry has to offer. This scarf is nice and long, with gunmetal studs at the bottom.
As for the cardigan, you can really never have too many cardigans. I really want a light-coloured one like the Phillip Lim offering above (maybe at student budget-friendly pricing, though) to add to my group of black/gray/navy.

That's what has caught my eye so far today...

Are you lusting for any winter items in particular?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Used up so far... Part V

Last one of these for the time being - I promise!

I've been working through more stuff this week and have significantly freed up my little skincare shelf (my lipstick/lipgloss count is still ridiculous but hey, one step at a time!)

I am not going to go in too much detail about these like I have in previous posts since I've talked about most of the items either in a video or a previous blurb on a blog post. But here's what I finished this week and a quick little recap:

1. Valentino "V" Eau de Parfum


This was one of those "on a whim" purchases one day because I remembered one of my friends using it and it smelling amazing on her so I had to try it out for myself.
Well, it did not smell nearly as lovely on me and while I did enjoy it and use it, it did make it into the "Perfumes to wear to work" category on my little perfume shelf. That section on my shelf is sadly for the rejects of my perfume collection. It's a bit too sweet for me, I'd say. It's sweet and mature. Since I'm useless at describing notes, here's a little quote from an online retailer:

"This phenomenal scent includes the mixture of mandarin grapefruit, freesia, fig, bulgarian rose, lei, ambergris, and woods."

You can definitely smell those Bulgarian roses... it has quite a distinct rose undertone.

2. L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Mascara



I really hated this mascara at first, was extremely watery and flaky, but after about a month it became more bearable after it dried a bit (don't you hate when that happens? I don't like to wait a month for my mascaras to work nicely!). For me it worked more as a lengthening mascara than a volume-boosting mascara, to be honest. It has a plastic brush, which I am not a fan of. I prefer the classic softer brushes with bristles on my mascara wands.
Ultimately, this worked nicely for adding length but since I have other mascaras that I favour, I will not repurchase this one.
L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black is still better, and Makeup Forever Smoky Lash is still my all-time favourite. I'd rather repurchase either of those instead :)

3. MAC "She Loves Candy" Lipglass


Won't say too much about this since it's limited edition. It was part of the Hello Kitty collection that MAC came up with in 2008. Nothing really special... just a pretty shimmery light link lipgloss. Quite sheer, but gave a nice frosty effect on the lips! I'm just happy I used up a lipgloss, to be honest.

4. Chanel Pro Lumiere Foundation (Shade 40, Intensity 2.0)


This lasted me quite a long time, just over a year... mind you it only matched my skin with a tan. The coverage was amazing, the finish was nice. The only problem is that with skin as mine (mostly oily), it gets greasy-looking quite quickly and starts feeling very heavy. Also I would not recommend this if you have any deep acne scarring since it settles into the grooves of the skin and accentuates uneven skin texture.
This definitely worked better for me when I mixed it with lighter, more matte foundations (like YSL Teint Resist or Dior Nude).
On the rare occasions when my skin felt rather "normal" and didn't have any oily or dry spells, Pro Lumiere delivered by itself. When sheered out with a flat foundation brush it looked really good all day long.

If you have normal skin and need a good medium coverage foundation, definitely give Pro Lumiere a try! It just didn't always work for me... we had a love/hate relationship.

5. MAC Cleanse-Off Makeup Oil


This is one of my favourite makeup removers! Been using it for almost a year now. If you wear a lot of mascara, waterproof eyeliner and very long-lasting foundation, this is sure to melt it all off and get your face nice and clean for your night-time cleansing.
A pump of this massaged on the skin dissolves all the make-up, then as you rinse with water it turns into a white milky liquid and everything washes off. Doesn't strip the skin of any moisture and has a nice faint citrus smell. It didn't break me out but all our skins are different, so you'd have to experience it for yourself :)

That's it for me this week!
Since I've ran out of so many essentials, I did purchase a few new things this week... a video wil be coming up soon!

Have a wonderful weekend and keep me posted on what you've been loving and using lately.

xox

- Sandra



Thursday, December 9, 2010

Used up so far... Part IV

Hello there! It's that time again... time to show you a few more items I've used up and my views on them:

1. Cellnique Advanced Bio Renewal Serum


This creamy white serum is lactic and glycolic-acid based and is supposed to gently exfoliate your face and promote skin cell reproduction. I received this from Cellnique several months ago amongst a couple other products, and this was by bar my favourite out of the bunch.
It is very gentle and great to use if you are new to acid-based products and tend to have very sensitive skin. A lot of chemical exfoliants out there are quite harsh and can spark quite the reaction if you just shock your skin and slap them on out of nowhere. I used to have severe itching and burning when trying to do other at-home glycolic acid peels, but since I used this, I have gradually built more of a tolerance and am now able to move on to higher concentrations.
It does tingle a bit for the first half an hour or so after putting it on. I used this every other day this fall (at night, without any moisturizer).

I didn't use this in the summer since any type of chemical exfoliation isn't exactly recommended when you're being exposed to sunshine. It has definitely helped with the fading of those persistent after-blemish marks (you know those suckers that usually take WEEKS to go away) and has made my skin smoother. Strangely enough I've also been using it on my neck and chest for the past month too and that's where it's made the most visible difference. My skin is literally glowing and I used to get small blemishes on my chest that have completely stopped.

Anyways, enough blabber! I liked this product a lot, however, it does cost $51 and is only available online (at www.cellnique.com). They have free worldwide shipping offers which is nice, but sometimes I just prefer brands that are more accessible and I can physically buy in-store. Other brands like Dermalogica and Kate Somerville have similar offerings in the same price range that I'd like to try out first before deciding on whether to repurchase the Cellnique serum or not. Will definitely report back on my acid exfoliation journey... perhaps a comparison post later on!

2. Shiseido The Skincare Extra Gentle Cleansing Foam


I purchased this on a whim in the summer with my precious Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum Points because Cetaphil Oily Skin Cleanser wasn't cutting it and I needed a deeper clean.
I don't usually like foaming cleansers because I find them quite drying and they tend to be full of nasty chemicals (parabens and SLS, yuck!) but after careful observation of the ingredients list, this had none of them so it was the winner! Extremely gentle yet effective cleansing, I must say. Non-offensive scent and a little goes a long way. You literally need about a dime-sized amount for your whole face to be covered by thick, luxurious foam.

However, it does have a couple of downsides:
First off, it didn't work with my Clarisonic. I tried it and it was just odd. Secondly, it's not that cheap. At $30 for a mere 4 ounces of product, you do tend to go through this quite quickly if you use it as your primary cleanser. I only used it on occasion when I felt like I was a big greaseball, but you would easily need to repurchase every month or so.
The upside - it can be COMPLETELY duped. I've tried Clinique's "Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser"and can safely say it is pretty much the exact same thing. It smells a bit "soapier", if that makes any sense, but it's only $18.50 and you get 5 ounces of product. Score!

So, no, unfortunately I wouldn't repurchase the Shiseido cleanser and I'm quite happy I used my rewards points on it rather than dishing out the cash. Some items are worth spending extra on, and this sadly just isn't one of them.

3. MAC Pro Eye Makeup Remover


I won't blab about this one too much, I promise. I've talked about this before. It's been my favourite eye-makeup remover for the past 4 years now (I have tried those oily ones like Lancome Bifacil and all that jazz and I wasn't a fan, they made my eyes misty and itchy).
Now, I don't use any waterproof eye makeup so maybe that's why it works so well for me. It's just perfect at correcting any mistakes during eyeliner application, doesn't leave an oily residue - you can literally remove all eyeshadow and start all over fresh without a rinse or waiting too long. It's really gentle and just an overall great product.

Would I repurchase this? Yes! I've been using this for years. However I did buy the Bioderma Sensibio Micelle solution last week and it works pretty much the exact same way, so I may switch on over to that one instead just because it's $22 for 250 mL versus the MAC which is $18 for 100 mL. I'm all about savvy skincare shopping these days haha

Anyways, that's all for me this week! Look out for a new video tomorrow, I've got a couple of things to show you and some of my favourite lipglosses to rave about :)

Hope you all have a great weekend... I'm SO excited for the X-Factor finals... I'll be glued to my computer and tweeting frantically (I watch an online stream of it on Justin.tv).

Until next time!

- Sandra

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Winter nailpolish goodness...

I love digging into the depths of my nailpolish bin and re-discovering an old love.

This post's subject is a very cool dark nailpolish shade, perfect for winter!
I've been wearing it for the past week and have really been enjoying it. It's "Suzi Skiis In The Pyrenees" by OPI. It was part of their Spain collection last year.



Initially you'd think "oh it's just black" but no, my friends, it is not quite black! The best way for me to describe this quite unusual shade is... a murky charcoal.

It offers the drama of a black nail but with a slight softness to it. You can really see the "murky" qualities of the colour once I photographed the bottle with flash:


The consistency is quite runny yet in two thin layers, if applied carefully, you can get opaque coverage. Since it's not thick and goopy, it is less likely to chip and on me it has definitely lasted longer than other OPI shades.


All in all, this is a pretty neat colour to have in your collection if you are a dark nail freak in the colder months, like I am. It's not quite as stark as a true black nailpolish but satisfies the craving for a dark nail. I think I'll forgo purchasing a true black polish this year as well since I've rediscovered this :)

What have you been wearing on your nails?

xxxx

- Sandra

Thursday, November 25, 2010

FOTD - Face Of The Day


Today I got to do a little test-run of my most recent foundation purchase - Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. Will do a video later on with a more in-depth review but today I really love it. I'm on my last pumps of my YSL Teint Resist foundation and while I was in Toronto last weekend I just couldn't resist stopping (and drooling) over the Giorgio Armani counter at Holt Renfrew.

Keeping the make-up to a minimum today... here's what I am wearing:


Face:
Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - Shade #5
Bobbi Brown Colour Corrector - Light Peach (under the eyes)
Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer - Natural (on blemishes)
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Powder

Cheeks:
NARS Laguna Bronzer
NARS Mounia Blush

Eyes:
MAC Fluidline - Blacktrack
MAC Kohl Power Eyeliner Pencil- Feline (on waterline)
Chanel Single Eyeshadow - Vert Khaki (on lower lashline)
L'Oreal Volume Million Mascara (or whatever it's called)

Lips:
YSL Gloss Pur - #7

Now a photo with flash and a silly pose:


I love the finish of this foundation. While the coverage isn't as great as other foundations I've tried, it really nails the "skin-like" finish. It has great staying power on me as well and photographs nicely from what I've experienced so far. When I bought it, the MA applied it on me together with one of their fluid sheers and set it with their compact powder foundation... my face looked amazing allll day long, and no sign of greasy outbreak. I might have to invest in that powder next!

Hope you all have a great day, and a happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers :)

xoxox

- Sandra

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Used up so far... Part III

Welcome to the third instalment of my "series"... basically me trying to work through all the things I own and determine what I like, what I can do without, and what I absolutely cannot stand out of my skincare/cosmetics/haircare collection (if you could call it that).

Over the past week, 4 more products have been finished, some impressing more than others.

1. C.O. Bigelow Lemon Body Cream


I bought this from Bath and Body Works several months ago, stuck it in a drawer and completely forgot about it until I ran out of the Twilight Woods body butter I finished in one of my previous posts. I then decided to use it up rather than moving on and purchasing a new body lotion. The verdict: I really loved this cream!
It is completely non-greasy, sinks right in to the skin yet immediately replenishes moisture. It also gives the skin a nice hydrated sheen and it smells really good (like lemons, of course). It reminds me of some sort of delicious lemon pie.
I was also pleasantly surprised to find that it does not contain any artificial fragrances or colouring - meaning the faint yellow colour of the lotion and the yummy smell are completely natural and due to the lemon oils inside this cream. This was so so so much better than the body lotions and butters that I have tried from Bath and Body Works before!
I am keen to try some Fresh body lotions next, but I would most certainly repurchase this in the future :)

2. MAC Volcanic Ash Exfoliator


This was also purchased ages ago (I think last winter, from the Style Black collection that MAC put out). It was limited edition and a lot of people really loved it. Unfortunately, after the first time I used it, it broke my face out like crazy! I can see why people did like it, because the texture of the granules was great and it really exfoliated well. The granules are slightly more coarse than those in the MAC Microfine Refinisher (which is also a great facial exfoliator), yet smaller and less harsh than the bits in St. Ives Apricot Scrub.
Since I couldn't use it on my face any further, I used it up as a body exfoliator. It made my skin feel very soft and worked well. It smelled a bit funky, like most things that come from the Earth, and it does get a bit messy since it's so black.
Since I could only use it as a body exfoliator and you get a really small amount in the tube, it's really not worth the money. It was pretty expensive, at around $30 CND if I remember correctly... and I completely used it up in only 2 weeks.
I am sure there are other body exfoliators out there that are more efficient (feel free to recommend me some!).

3. Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Dare Body Mist


This doesn't need a rambly description... it's a sheer, less concentrated body spray version of Victoria's Secret Very Sexy Dare fragrance. It's one of the few fragrances of theirs that I like, and they had a sale last year so I managed to pick up one of these for half price (they're regularly $15). Considering it took me over a year to use this up, I wouldn't repurchase this. The smell was OK, but I'd rather not waste my money on body sprays since they don't last long and I just always tend to reach for my perfumes!

4. Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Mascara


I reviewed this in a previous post so I'm not going to ramble about it again. Despite its fast drying time, it is the best mascara I have tried to date. It does in one coat what others (at the moment I'm using L'Oreal Volume Million) take 2 or 3 coats to do... offers great volume and length and doesn't flake off or transfer.
I will definitely repurchase this and in fact I already have repurchased it... just waiting to finish my L'Oreal mascara first before I can return to this :)

Hope you enjoyed this week's instalment and that you find these posts a bit useful. I am really enjoying working through things and making room for new products to try. I think Lush Ocean Salt will be the next exfoliator that I want to buy - have any of you been using it?

Have a great week :)

xox

- Sandra

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

IN & OUT (Fall Edition)

As I'm sitting here in Starbucks, procrastinating on an essay that I have to write by saturday, I thought I'd rather do this... so here we go!

IN:

- Starbucks seasonal beverages! Yum! Peppermint Mocha, Peppermint White Chocolate Mocha, Peppermint Hot Chocolate... I'll have them all... Grande and with all the trimmings.

- fireplaces

- girl's weekend in Toronto this weekend coming up - desperately needed!

- thinking of Christmas presents to buy myself (sad but true haha)

- neutral sweaters/boyfriend cardigans:

(courtesy of the ever so tempting Net-A-Porter.com)

- gold jewelry and big chunky rings such as this one (Monica Vinader):

- the semester almost coming to an end :)

- slowly but surely using up tons of products (stay tuned for the third "Used up so far" instalment early next week!)

- lipgloss. I've been hating on lipstick lately... too drying

OUT:

- Gossip Girl. Ever since Chuck got back to whispering like Batman and behaving like a corporate asshole 40-year old, I have lost interest. They should have kept that French prostitute on the show for longer, I liked nice and friendly Chuck!
Chuck and Blair were so fun and fresh with their banter during the first season of the show, then slowly but surely after the second season they got converted to an old dysfunctional married couple. They're 20 years old, come on!

- I can't think of any more at the moment, except for the fact that I have to get the roots of my hair touched up. I hate root maintenance.

Hope you all have a lovely week!

xoxo

- Sandra

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Used up so far... Part II


As I continue trudging along on the journey of using up products in order to figure out what I really enjoy using and what I could do without, three more products bit the dust this week.
Let's talk about the victims:

1. Burt's Bees Honey Lip Balm


Burt's Bees is a brand that I really like. I enjoy their simple premise - all natural products that contain the soothing powers of honey and beeswax. This lip balm was really nice, non-sticky, and while the smell wasn't the most enjoyable in the world for me (the smell of honey doesn't really make me swoon), it did its job. It wasn't overly slick on the lips, either, and served as a great primer for the days in which I was using a dried lipstick.
Having said that, it does not really fulfill my dry lip needs in the colder seasons. It works well as a primer but as a treatment I find that I need something slightly richer.
I prefer the MAC Lip Conditioner over this, but that one is not nearly as natural.

Would I repurchase this? Probably.
I'm keen on maybe trying the Mango version. I wouldn't repurchase the Honey kind, but I wouldn't rule out Burt's Bees lip balms forever.


2. MAC Peachykeen Blush (Sheertone Shimmer finish)


This was my first ever blush from MAC. I bought this about 2 years ago (so just goes to show how long a MAC blush can last) and it suited my skintone quite well. I would probably be somewhere in between NC 25 - NC 35 in MAC foundations, depending on the season. My skin has predominantly yellow undertones. The finish of this was very beautiful. The shimmer very soft and for me, it provided just the right amount of glow so that I didn't need to use a highlighter. I am not too crazy about highlighters, anyway.
It's somewhere in between NARS Orgasm and NARS Deep Throat blushes, I'd say. Similar family... a good blend of peach and pink. It's a warm-toned blush.

Would I repurchase this? Probably not. With NARS Deep Throat in my collection, which isn't going to be finished anytime soon, it fulfills my pink/peach blush needs just enough.
Also, if you happen to own the NYC Blushable Cream Stick in the colour "Plaza Pink", it is pretty much a perfect colour dupe for MAC's Peachykeen, at a fraction of the price!

So all in all, I enjoyed the product, but it's not something I can't live without.

3. LUSH Big Shampoo


I had a love/hate relationship with this product. I talked in my haircare video about how much I didn't like it... and as a regular shampoo, it's probably not a good option. It's extremely drying and if you have colour-treated hair, it strips your colour like nothing else.
However, as a clarifying shampoo to use strictly on the roots about once a week, it works wonders. If you are like me and don't wash your hair every day (I wash my hair about every 3-4 days), and if you use dry shampoo, you know that there can be some disgusting build-up in the hair over time.
Just a small amount of LUSH Big shampoo (about a teaspoon, I'd say), massaged well just at the roots seems to do the trick. The large salt granules inside make it a great exfoliator for your scalp, which minimizes flaky skin, and if your hair is prone to getting very oily at the roots (like me), it is excellent at getting all the gunk out and leaving your roots squeaky clean.

Since my hair is colour-treated, I don't use this all over. I use a more gentle shampoo for the rest of my hair and leave Big for the roots only.

I would repurchase this. I've tried other clarifying shampoos before and they just didn't perform as well as this. Plus, the scalp exfoliation is a nice bonus!

That's my product roundup for the time being... I hope you enjoyed my blabbering about what I've been using... are there any products you have finished this week? What's your verdict on them?

Hope you all have a fantastic rest of the week and an even better weekend!
xx

- Sandra

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Used up so far...


If you recall, I am currently in the process of enjoying things I own. I've set aside several products that I've been meaning to use up since otherwise things just keep accumulating and they get forgotten. All categories are game: perfumes, cosmetics, skincare, haircare, etc...

Every week or so I will do a little update post letting you know about a product I've finished and my overall thoughts on it, a mini review, if you will!

So far I've used up two things:

1. Bath & Body Works "Twilight Woods" Body Butter


Now this is what it's described as:

"Our Intense Moisture Body Butter is proven to provide moisture for over 24 hours, taking hydration to the extreme with Shea and Murumuru butters and nourishing coconut oil. Ultra-conditioning and non-greasy, this formula is supercharged with an advanced blend of Pro-Vitamin B, CO Q10 and antioxidant vitamins C & E to leave skin feeling noticeably softer.
  • Indulge your senses with our exclusive Twilight Woods, a hypnotic fragrance inspired by a romantic walk in enchanted woods.
  • Massage into exceptionally dry spots like knees and elbows, or all over for intense hydration"
I am not sure what exactly an "enchanted" forest would smell like, but this body butter does smell really good. It's a sweet scent, quite sugary and with a bit of vanilla in it as well. The fragrance does last a long time on the skin, which is probably the only good thing I can think of for this product.
The body butter itself left much to be desired. I didn't find it that more moisturizing than any average lotion I've tried in the past. Also, it was quite greasy and sticky to the touch for a good hour or two until it sank in.

I wouldn't repurchase this. The scent was nice, but it wasn't really a "me" scent, if that makes any sense. Perhaps I'll give The Body Shop body butter a try next :)

2. Vera Wang "Princess" Eau de Toilette


This is a super girly scent. The bottle is beautiful, the liquid itself in the bottle is a pale lavender colour (absent here because I've used it all up!).
I have no idea how to describe "notes" in perfumes. To me it smells, again, very sugary. There's vanilla and some florals. It has good lasting power on the skin. The official scent description from Sephora is:

"Created for the playful, unpredictable, independent woman who treats every day like an event and adventure. This is a woman who likes to make her own magic, this sheer, flirty blend of water lily, lady apple, mandarin meringue, and golden apricot skin are melded with sheer floral notes, accented with dark chocolate, and finished with a pink frosting accord, amber, warm woods, musk, and vanilla - a whimsical treat."

Again, this is supposed to smell "magical"... this seems to be the theme of today's scents haha...
Hey, at least I guessed the vanilla and sugar (frosting) part right! I do not detect any musk in this whatsoever, nor anything fruity... the vanilla and florals and frosting overpowers all the other notes, I would say.

Overall I did enjoy this, but I did not reach for this nearly as much as other perfumes in my collection. I would not repurchase since it's not a very "me" scent. I don't have a particular category of scents I prefer but I know for sure that this isn't it.

I guess magical forests and whimsical fairy scents are not for me :P

That's about it for me today, I hope you are all having a great week so far.

Any products that you've finished up lately?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Give me an H, Give me an M...


I have a love and hate relationship with H&M, which has seen more hate than love in the past couple of years. I always see cute things on other people, yet whenever I dive in and search at a store, I come out empty-handed and unsatisfied.
I do live near a pretty "crappy" H&M (and that's putting it mildly), but I seem to have this problem at H&M stores in larger cities and overseas as well - although, I do have to say that for some odd reason the European H&M's are far superior to their North American counterparts.

So last week, I reluctantly made my way to an H&M store nearby...

and came out with a bunch of cute new stuff! Score! The most expensive thing out of everything I purchased costed a whopping $39.99, so needless to say, I was a happy woman!



1. Black faux leather panel mini skirt
2. Rose-coloured "infinity" scarf
3. A simple and feminine black dress
4. Taupe faux leather waist belt

5. Oversized chunky knit sweater (see picture below):


The black leather skirt is very cool and "rock-n-roll", will work well juxtaposed with a feminine white or nude-coloured blouse, I think! I was actually looking for faux-leather shorts, but alas, a skirt was the closest I could find...

The sweater is very comfortable and warm, and it was $17.99! I got it in one size larger so I can pull it over my shoulder and wear it a bit like a tunic with leggings or black skinny jeans in the winter. I like how it has three-quarter sleeves, which are cuffed.
It also looks very sexy on supermodel Anja Rubik, who wears it in the photos for the H&M campaign this season:



The dress is simple, the fabric is actually quite soft and I got rid of the black sash belt it came with and replaced it with a taupe faux leather belt. It's also a very flattering shape on me as it gathers at the waist and has a bit of volume at the bottom.


The scarf is so soft and cute! It can be worn as a single "chain" around the neck or doubled up for when it gets cold... It came in a lot of different colours but I chose the rose because it will work nicely with black coats, beige coats, brown leather jackets, etc.
Here's an artsy close-up of it:


Anyways, those are my recent finds, all of which I am happy about!

Hope you all have a great weekend :)

xxxx

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Making my list...

... and checking it twice! (Uh oh, I'm starting to get in Christmas mode...)

I've seen a few of the blogs I follow doing their Sephora Friends & Family sale wishlist and I thought I would follow suit.

* The sale starts October 22nd, 2010, and the code FF2010 gets you 20% off your order, AMERICAN ONLINE ORDERS ONLY*

Now, most of you know I'm Canadian, but I am fortunate enough to have a lovely friend that frequents Canada quite often that will add on the stuff I want to her order :)


I want to pat myself on the back numerous times for being so tame, I'm getting:

- Phyto Phytorhum Shampoo
- a new brush head for my Clarisonic
- Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Mascara

THAT'S IT!

Crazy, huh?

It all goes in hand with my previous post (the one where I blab about things I need to use up).
I am sick of hoarding products I barely use. My original "wishlist" was close to $300 and included a myriad of perfumes, YSL lipsticks and NARS blush...

three cheers for self-restraint!

What are you lusting for from Sephora?
Am I the only one keen on the "let's downsize our collections" movement?

Don't get me started on my nailpolish bin...


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Products I'm trying to use up...

Happy Wednesday!

(Ew, did I really just start off my blog post with "Happy Wednesday"? Oh well, at least I didn't say "hump day" haha)

I am currently on a makeup/skincare buying hiatus until I free up some valuable drawer space. I've got some exciting new storage ideas in mind and sadly space is limited so I'm trying to use up a ton of the half-used and forgotten products I have laying around in the bathroom.

So here is a little list of what I'm currently working on:

- Shiseido foaming cleanser
- Clinique Dramatically Different moisturizing gel
- Burt's Bees lip balm
- Vera Wang Princess perfume
- MAC Refined Skin Zone mattifier/pore minimizer
- NARS foundation primer
- MAC Cleanse-Off Makeup oil
- NARS Laguna bronzer
- MAC Peachykeen blush
- Chantecaille Vital Essence serum
- Cellnique glycolic acid serum
- at least ONE of the many MAC lipglasses I have laying around
- Chanel Pro Lumiere foundation

It's somewhat like a "Project 10 Pan" of sorts, except I think there are more than 10 items, and it's including skincare.

After I successfully complete these products, I will do another quick post (with photos of some of the products) and kind of do a little run-through of what I thought of each of them.
Some of these I'd repurchase, and some I'm very keen on replacing with a different product...

Until next time!

xxxx

- Sandra

Monday, October 11, 2010

Excuse me while I drool for a minute...


If I could sum up my Fall wardrobe inspiration in one single image, this would be it:


Perfect. Sexy, neutral, balance between casual & a bit of rock 'n' roll...
I really regret not buying those Alexander Wang ankle boots when I had the chance! They kick so much ass.
The woman is Christine Centenera, she works for Harper Bazaar Australia and she is most definitely one of my "style inspirations".

What (and who) has inspired your style lately?

xxxx

- Sandra


Monday, October 4, 2010

IN & OUT (the "I'm stressed" edition)

School and work and everything in between has caught up with me big time over the past couple of weeks.
I am knee-deep in assignments, papers and upcoming tests, and of course I am getting the obligatory "start of Fall" cold. *sneezes*
What better way to escape all the stress than to do one of my favourite type of post: IN & OUT!

IN:

- drooling over Paris Fashion Week from afar... Fashion shows make me happy :)

- YSL Palais. Sexiest. Shoes. EvAr. I love everything about them. This hunter green shade, especially:


- on another shoe note, I've also been loving biker boots lately. Outfit of the day post to come... if I ever get out of the house/library.

- MAC Lip Conditioner: smells like cake, tastes like cake, moisturizes lips and leaves them slightly glossy without being sticky. Win!

- Dark red nails. I just ordered Essie's "Limited Addiction" nailpolish and I can't wait to try it. From swatches it seems to be the perfect rich dark shade of red for fall & winter.

- YSL Teint Resist Foundation mixed with a little bit of MAC Strobe Cream. The perfect fix for skin that's getting a bit dried out by the colder weather.

- Bare Escentuals Eyeshadows (the glimmers!)... they surpass MAC Pigments and are now my favourite loose eyeshadows. So easy to work with, pigmented and finely milled, and the glitter isn't annoying like *cough* Urban Decay *cough*

- The Social Network: really enjoyed this film... worthy of all the hype it's been getting. Interesting story, and very well-delivered.


OUT:

- my lipgloss/lipstick drawer. It needs a major sizing down. I've been trying really hard to use up my lipglosses and "start fresh", sticking to only the shades that I know I will always keep using (this also means that some sort of "Favourite Lip Products" video will be coming soon!)

- BBM. BlackBerry phones in general. iPhone FTW.

- Summer 2010.

- not being able to afford the YSL Palais shoes I mentioned above :'(

- stressing out unnecessarily



Friday, September 24, 2010

Wrrrrap me up!

I've been obsessing over wrap bracelets lately...

My wrists are very small and most statement bracelets (the gorgeous cuffs and bangles that look amazing on everyone else) look strange and loose on me.

I had given up on bracelets until gorgeous leather wrap bracelets started capturing my attention. Wrap bracelets don't discriminate against small wrists and come in a myriad of textures, colours and sizes.

Obviously I have chosen the neutral ones (haha):


From left to right:
1. Chan Luu 2. Burberry Prorsum
2. Giles & Bother 3. Alexander McQueen

When I finally take the wrap-bracelet plunge, I'll be sure to post about what I have chosen.
Until then I sit and admire...

What new accessory have you been lusting over?

- Sandra

Friday, September 17, 2010

Makeup Forever Smoky Lash Mascara... the good and the bad

I mentioned a week ago in my August Favourites video that I think I have finally found my holy grail mascara...
*drum roll please*


Here is Makeup Forever's Smoky Lash Mascara, in all its glory!


It offers an intense black formula that coats the lashes generously and makes them more dramatic (thicker, longer and more voluminous) in just one coat!


with nothing on... where art thou, eyelashes?


one coat of Smoky Lash mascara!

I wanted to show you all how nice this mascara is on just plain natural lashes. When combined with the effects of an eyelash curler, the result is even more dramatic.

I really love how this works so well in just one coat. For me, it gives me just the effect I am looking for, thus it may very well be "Holy Grail" material :)

So, let's recap all the pros (and cons... there are a couple of those as well) of this great product:

PRO:

- intense black pigment
- brush coats lashes generously with just one coat
- gives volume, length and thickness
- great lasting power
- doesn't transfer to my brow bone (!!! this was the best part for me)

CON:

- $22
- limited availability (I have to travel to Sephora, which isn't too close to my house, in order to get it)
- dries out way too quickly :(

So, as you can see, I was initially elated by this mascara...
until I noticed that it started drying out majorly after a mere month of usage.
I had been spoiled by my YSL Singulier mascara which seemed to get "better with age"... it would last me up to 3 months and the formula actually improved after a month of use.

Sadly with MUFE Smoky Lash, this wasn't the case, so I must re-evaulate my options... should I buy another tube of this wondrous product or should I continue my hunt?
I can barely use it now after a month of having it since it's getting flaky.

Has anyone else had this experience with MUFE Smoky Lash? Did I get a dud or something? I am not a "change mascara tube every month" person, I know some people will yell at me for this, but if on the tube it says 6 months, I expect mine to at least last 2 or 3.

Looking forward to reading your comments!

xxxx

Sandra
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