Saturday, April 30, 2011

Lusting for summer...

It's still 3 degrees Celsius at night here.
Apologies for sounding like a grandma complaining about the weather every time I blog, but it's just pissing me off.

So I'm just holed up in my room, avoiding going out and spending money (I almost bought a gray sequined sweater at Banana Republic but then I told myself May is near... what am I thinking?) so instead I am sitting on my bed wishing for the following items:

Giorgio Armani Sheer Blush #2

perfect light cardigan for summer (by A.L.C.)

Barbara Bui sandals *sigh*


paneled tank by Vena Cava

I also need a new powder foundation.


Have any of you tried Laura Mercier mineral foundation before? I swatched it today and I loved the texture, but any feedback on staying power?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The perfect bright coral for summer 2011


After much debating (and blogging about it in previous posts) I've finally purchased my saught-after coral nail polish for this summer! This means that I am now at 3 nail polish purchases out of the 5 I am allowing myself this year.

Ironically enough it's none of the colours I was debating between - it kind of caught my by surprise. I was searching for Essie's California Coral or OPI Cajun Shrimp in a couple different stores and I just couldn't find them. I didn't want to order online since I only had one shot at getting it right in order to comply with my "Nail-Polish-Out 2011" rules. I don't have access to Illamasqua either since Sephora online doesn't ship those nail polishes to Canada...

So as I was sulking around in Neiman Marcus, the beautiful Deborah Lippmann nailpolish display caught my eye, and I was hooked!
Gorgeous bottles, cute names, amazing colour choices... and lo and behold, there lies my perfect bright coral:

Deborah Lippmann "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun"


These nailpolishes retail for $16 a bottle and I can't speak of the quality of all of them but I am very happy with my purchase. It is a smooth, jelly-like consistency (similar to the consistency of Essie's Lollipop, which is one of my all time favourite nail polishes in terms of colour AND application) and it goes opaque in two coats. The brush is very similar to the brush of Essie nail polishes, which I prefer (I'm not a fan of the thick OPI brushes or the Chanel brushes that are a bit too "tall" and flimsy).

Here's what it looks like on the nails (after two coats):


I know it's not a terrible unique colour and it most likely has cheaper dupes out there, but I figured if I'm only allowing myself 5 nail polishes this year, I might as well make them special.
Very excited to dabble into the Deborah Lippmann brand and I've got my eye on some other shades as well for when my nailpolish ban gets lifted at the end of the year...

Do you own any Deborah Lippmann nailpolishes? Are you tempted to try?


Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Attack of the mini skincare items: the sequel


I recently decided to spend 500 beauty insider points from Sephora because at last they had something I actually wanted to try: a set of deluxe samples by Boscia.

Always was keen on trying this line, and this little packet is great - it contains a generous portion of their cooling cleansing oil, a light daytime moisturizer with SPF15, a skin perfecting primer, oil blotting sheets and an eye cream.


I already know that I am repurchasing both the blotting sheets and the cleansing oil (so good for night time - in the winter I use my Cetaphil lotion to massage my skin and melt makeup off before I rinse and cleanse, but this cooling cleansing oil by Boscia is an ideal option for summer since it's much lighter).
I haven't tried anything else yet but new skincare gets me excited and I have a positive impression of the brand thus far.

Have you tried anything by Boscia?

I feel like my skin has really changed lately and I can now try to focus on improving the overall luminosity and texture of my skin rather than all the acne treatments I was trying before since I have finally managed to keep my acne at bay (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo still remains my weapon for when those pesky bumps reappear).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Currently Lusting: Alexis Bittar Boa Bracelets


I never really paid much attention to Alexis Bittar jewelry, I had seen it online before on various sites but I finally got to check some pieces out in person at an Intermix store and absolutely fell in love. They are not cheap (which is preventing me from taking the plunge at the moment, they cost somewhere between $95-$190 depending on style) but I want to keep them in mind and bring them to the attention of other people as well because I think they're so cool.

I posted about one of the necklaces that really caught my eye a few posts ago, and I have since discovered the bracelets from the similar line, called Boa.



I assume they have the name "Boa" because the texture of the chain resembles a snake, but anyway, I just love the look. It's simple yet bold, if that makes any sense. Just my type of jewelry. They sell this line on various sites like Shopbop and Intermix.

Have you seen something similar at a more student-friendly price point? I'm definitely keeping an eye out!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Attack of the mini skincare items!

In my latest video I did a lot of complaining about my skin's oily overdrive.
It was clear that I needed a change in some of my skincare steps since winter is now over and my skin no longer needs a daily dose of my Cetaphil Moisturizing lotion.

So as I was walking through Sephora, the REN anti-blemish 3 piece kit caught my eye.


It was $24 and it contains a small clay-based cleanser, a daytime fluid that replenishes the skin's moisture (contains blemish-fighting ingredients and leaves the skin smooth and matte), and a light night-time serum. What drew me towards the brand is that it is completely natural - free of parabens, sulfates, fragrances and animal ingredients. I have been using the products for the past three days and so far so good. The cleanser is OK but I still prefer my Cetaphil. The daytime fluid works great under makeup so far but it smells bad.

Anyway I'm going to keep on trying and give a final verdict on these after I use them up on my "Used Up Products" series. I still haven't broken out in 2 months now and the longer I can keep it up using preventative blemish care products, the better!

I'm also eyeing the Glycolactic Peel Mask by REN...

How happy are you with your current skincare routine?


Saturday, April 23, 2011

IN & OUT (Easter Edition)


IN

- long weekend spent with family, really looking forward to not doing anything at all except for eating lamb and easter eggs and potato salad :)

- the little REN skincare starter kit I bought from Sephora (the blemish treatment kit) is quite nice, I used all the products today and so far no complaints! I'm still loving the La Roche Possay Effaclar Duo acne treatment but knock on wood I haven't had any new blemishes in over a month so I don't need to repurchase it just yet.

- The Only Way Is Essex. This TV show makes me so happy. I watch it online - the episodes are often posted on YouTube the day after the show airs in the UK. It's hilarious. Joey Essex is the best thing to happen to that show, him and his little white Smart car.

- My Stuart Weitzman ankle boots arrived in the mail last week and I've been in love with them since. They make the cold weather we're having easier to bear since it means I get to wear them out more often haha...

- perfume. I'm a junkie. I'm excited to smell the Tom Ford Neroli Portofino range of body products... the products and the campaign photos look so good already



OUT

- November weather. It's almost May, I want sunshine NOW.

- ran out of St. Tropez... must restock!

- dry and dull hair, any recommendations for a good repair treatment?

- falling in love with this Alexis Bittar necklace only to find out it's almost $350 and way out of my reach at the moment


- Gossip Girl. I was so excited for this to come back after the 6 week break only to be disappointed to the max. Chuck still sounds like a whispery old man, Serena still has the IQ of a hamster, and what the hell is the purpose of Vanessa in this show other than to be a big buzzkill at all times? *groan*


That's about it for me today, hope you all have a fantastic weekend and Happy Easter if you're celebrating :)

xx

Sandra

Monday, April 18, 2011

Missing in action (and tiny blog sale preview)

Ah! I haven't been able to post anything for the last couple of days, but the good news is my last exam is on wednesday then I'm done for the summer! Woohoo!

It snowed today which is absolutely depressing - most of it has melted by now but that doesn't take away my misery. I just want to see the sun again! Now I feel stupid with my hot pink nail polish on...

Anyways, after wednesday expect me to be on track and finish the month off strong. I have planned a post every day to end the month of April with, and hopefully by the time May comes around I'll finally be able to stow my winter coat away.

In the mean time, I managed to rummage through my collection and pull some things that I do love - but that I have barely used (1-3 times... it's a sin!) and I am going to part with them and see if I can find them a better home. Here's a super quick preview of a tiny blog sale that I'll be having later on in this week:


Hope you're having a great monday, I'm very excited for the return of Gossip Girl on TV tonight!

xoxo

Sandra

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Used up so far... Part XI


It's that time... the time I tell you about the products I have used up this week!

1. La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo


One of my favourite acne treatments. Doesn't dry out the skin, works with salicylic acid to gently penetrate the pores and clean out any infected blemishes. Works wonders on whiteheads and congested pores and those pesky small bumps under the skin.
I will definitely repurchase this. Will give it a break for a month or so just so my skin doesn't get too used to it (and knock on wood I haven't broken out in a while *phew*) and if it starts acting up again I will come back running to this.

2. Live Clean Argan Oil Treatment


A little goes a long way with this! I preferred using it as an overnight treatment before washing my hair rather than a product to put in the hair before blow-drying (as instructed). It's a good cheaper alternative to the more expensive argan oil treatments on the market, and I found it at Shoppers Drug Mart.
I wouldn't repurchase because I am eyeing other hair treatments. I very rarely repurchase hair products anyway.

3. St. Tropez Self-Tanning Mousse


Definitely the best self tanner I have used to date. Doesn't turn orange, smooth application - I apply it with a sponge-like tanning mitt that I purchased at the drugstore.
No streaks, the smell is bad but only after you apply it, once you shower it off after developing, it doesn't linger on.
I use it on my face and body and it has never broken me out. What I love most about it is that you can apply it and it dries in 60 seconds so you don't have to wander the house naked for hours until a thick goopy cream soaks in haha...
Only down side to this is it doesn't last long enough! Only lasts about a day on my face and maybe 2-3 days on the body.

I'm definitely looking to buy another self-tanner but would love one that sinks in the skin quickly like the St. Tropez but maybe has longer tan lasting power.
Do you have any recommendations? I'm thinking of maybe trying the St. Tropez spray version?

As always, love reading what you have to say! Have you used up any products this week?

--- Sandra


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Nail Polish Verdict

First of all I'd like to thank you all so much for your input and for helping me narrow down my search for the perfect bright coral/orange/pink hybrid nail polish that I've been dying to have this summer.

If you remember I'm only allowing myself to buy 5 nail polishes this year and this would mark my third purchase so it has to be carefully chosen haha...

With your help, here is the list I'm going to choose from:
thanks to the magic of Google Image for the beautiful swatches that came up!

1. OPI Cajun Shrimp



2. Illamasqua Collide


3. Essie California Coral


4. Sephora by OPI I'm Wired


5. Chanel Orange Fizz (nothing like the polish I posted about before but I recently fell in love with pictures of it haha)


I think the Illamasqua one is probably the closest to the picture just because it seems to be the most neon... and ironically Illamasqua is the hardest nail polish to get a hold of out of all the ones I wrote about *sigh*...

Which one would you choose?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Wishlist Revisited


Remember how back in February I made a big fat wishlist - well it's time to revisit that and add/remove a couple of things.
I went shopping today to reward myself after a difficult day of 2 final exams and it just so happened that Shoppers Drug Mart had a "spend your Optimum points" event - in which if you redeem 50,000 or 95,000 points you get $100 or $200 off your purchase (as opposed to the $85 and $170 you would have gotten from redeeming those points on a regular day).

I had enough for a $100 redemption so I got some goodies which I will show you in a video some time next week :)

Anyways, so time to refresh my list... it's quite summer-oriented

- Chanel Soleil Tan De Chanel (still at the top of my list, still waiting on my NARS Laguna to finish... that thing is the gift that keeps on giving, I swear... haha)

- Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua

- Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy or Rivage and maybe a bright one as well?

- NARS Madere matte lipstick

- NARS Night Star eyeshadow (saw some swatches and I think I need to check this out in person)

- La Roche Posay Effaclar K and some sunscreen

- Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh and Chanel Chance Eau Fraiche perfumes

- a bright neon coral nail polish - something like in this picture (apologies for the random celebrity toe shot, but at least she's wearing gorgeous shoes haha)


If you guys might have any clue what shade that might be, drop me a comment :)

What's on your wish list for the upcoming warmer months?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Foundation Review: Makeup Forever HD

I've had this foundation for several months now and I never got around to doing a proper review for it, so I though it would be fitting for today's blog post.

The main reason I fail to mention this foundation is because it doesn't match my skin tone 90% of the time. I don't know what the heck I was thinking when I walked out Sephora with shade #123 in tow after being "colour matched" by one of the girls there.
The lighting in Sephora is always so messed up, I wouldn't trust half the shades being thrown at me from now on.

Anyways, so long story short - the foundation is extremely yellow on me, and the only way it ever looks remotely acceptable is freshly after a dose of fake tan. In the summer it looked great mixed in with YSL Teint Resist in #5.

So today I had a dose of St. Tropez (I use the mousse) and I was able to slap this on, take some pictures, and can finally write a decent review for you!



PROS:

- good medium coverage, can be built up without looking cakey
- easy to blend
- photographs extremely well
- comes with a pump and is reasonably priced
- wide colour range (if matched properly... haha)
- doesn't transfer as much as others (i.e. Chanel foundations)

CONS:

- doesn't work well as a daytime foundation... makes face seem quite flat and dimensionless when used by itself. Contouring/highlighting always needed.
- mediocre staying power (oils break through in about 3 hours even after powdering)

In conclusion, I do quite like this foundation and I do think it's worth giving a try. It would be rubbish as a daytime foundation in the summer on oily skin, but really - our skins are all so different and have varying needs throughout the year, it's very rare that we ever encounter one foundation that can truly do it all. I find myself needing different things from my foundation in the summer, winter, daytime, nighttime.

I was on the fence about this for a long time and most of my issues with it were colour-related... I almost always had to mix it with other foundations to get a proper match.

After giving it a whirl by itself for a few times I can truly say that I do like this foundation. It's literally the only foundation that has passed every flash photography test. The flash on my DSLR camera hardly ever poses a problem with foundations, regular digital cameras are less forgiving and perhaps the WORST flash photos for making the face look lighter than the body is the flash on my BlackBerry camera. This foundation is literally the only one that looks great even with that dreadful cellphone camera flash - no white face in sight:



I think it's a good one to have around.

What have your experiences been with MUFE HD? Would you purchase/repurchase this?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Birthday Dress?

Now, my birthday isn't until August but I've already fallen in love with two dresses that I would purchase for the occasion in a heartbeat - both were spotted while I was in Toronto last week and both left lasting impressions on my heart.

They're both very "me", and both by designers that I love.

BCBG Max Azria Runway

Alexander Wang


If my birthday was this weekend and I didn't have any bills to pay, *sigh*, one of these would be mine!!!
Are you a sicko like me and like to plan outfits for birthdays far in advance? :)

Thursday, April 7, 2011

In and Out (April Edition)

IN

- cleaning out my closet (cue Eminem's dramatic rap). Made some little girls very happy with my "cool" Abercrombie/Hollister gear from the high school years :) I am such a hoarder, I can't believe I still had some of that stuff, barely worn, hanging around.

- Nutella. Just got 2 big jars *happy face*

- Snoop Dogg (this is really random but I just realized that he's been looking exactly the same since 1992, I wonder what anti-aging regime he uses haha)

- Celebrity Apprentice - I love Nene, Marlee and Lil Jon this season

- longer days! Sun sets after 7PM now, which is wonderful

- frequent blogging! I'm trying to post daily this month to the best of my ability... Can you believe that in all of 2010 I only posted 49 times? Despicable. 2011 will definitely be my year of the blog.

OUT

- sensitive teeth. Oww.

- still being sick, roll on week 2 of my hackling cough.

- RAIN

- growing out my roots. They're at the most annoying stage ever, and I'm still not sure what I want to do with my hair... all I know is I don't have time to get it done at the moment so I just keep looking at pictures like these to try to keep motivating myself to let my dark roots grow... one more month!!!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Aviator Loving


It may be cloudy and gloomy outside but I've got summer on my mind and with that, of course, will come a new pair of sunglasses!

It's been two years since I've purchased a new pair of sunglasses - I'm not particularly big on sunglasses... I like them but I rarely reach for them. Anyway, I've been meaning to get a classic aviator pair for ages. I love the metallic, reflective ones especially.

I wanted to show you some that caught my eye:

Gucci Aviators
Tom Ford Rose Gold
Ray Ban
Ray Ban Classic (reflective gold lens)

I tried the Tom Fords in person but in a silver colour and I wasn't impressed, but the rose gold option looks so beautiful online!

The Ray Bans are classic - albeit with a bit of a twist - and would probably be my safest option.

Do you own aviators? What is your favourite style?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Lip Product Storage

I recently decided to dig through my handbags and pockets and gather all the stray lip products I had hiding around. As I was about to toss them into my plastic drawer of lip products, I was compelled to just empty it completely and try to organize it.

I had these black stackable storage compartments that I wanted to use for nail polish but the nail polish collection outgrew them, so I decided to use them for lip products instead! Here's an aerial view ;)


Decided to divide them in 3 since I had 3 of these compartments. Lip glosses, lipsticks, MAC lipsticks/lip conditioners. The containers are stackable and I got them a while ago from a hardware store, they were in the tool storage section.




You all know that over the past few months I've been working on using up products and trying to downsize and I'm very happy with what I have at the moment. I got rid of all the weird random Limited Edition MAC glosses that I used to buy just for the sake of buying from collections but they went stale and barely used over the years.

There are still a couple of lip glosses I'm trying to work through and a few lipsticks that I want to finish before I can start buying new things again, but all in all I'm very pleased with my little collection.

The next lipstick I buy will be a Chanel Rouge Coco Shine but I am telling myself I have to finish a lipstick I own and don't particularly care for (I'm aiming for MAC's Blankety) before I can buy.

What is your lip product collection like?

Monday, April 4, 2011

A quick jewelry fix...


I found this little gem in Forever 21 last week and I love it so much, I just had to blog about it.
It's this cool intertwined circle ring (not sure how else to describe it).


The ring is made up of a ton of metal bands all intertwined together in such a way that they stay together. It looks so good as a statement ring!

PS: on my nails I'm wearing Essie's Lapis of Luxury

I haven't purchased any rings in a while but this definitely caught my eye and I am so glad I got it. It cost $5.80 and they had them in silver as well, but I opted for this slightly rosy gold shade.
Let's hope that it doesn't stain or decompose anytime soon...

- Sandra

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Used up so far... Part X

It's that time again! Here is the most recent batch of products that I have finished over the past few days:

1. Urban Decay Primer Potion


This is my favourite eyeshadow primer, I have been using it steadily ever since I discovered it about 2 or 3 years ago. I still get surprised at how much product gets left behind in the grooves of the packaging even though you think it's finished up.
I hear that they finally put them in squeeze tubes (not just the large professional sized one) but when I was in Sephora a few days ago, they still had the stupid Genie Bottle-like tubes with the doe-foot applicator wands.
Hopefully by the time I am fully finished with my bottle, the squeeze tubes will replace all the crappy old packaging versions.

2. CO Bigelow Mentha Lip Shine


My favourite clear lipgloss! Not sticky, fresh minty scent, tastes good and moisturizes the lips... definitely one of those products I keep purchasing over and over again. My tube got super dirty towards the end of its life span because I literally carried it with me everywhere - from my workplace to the dirty dungeons of the university library.

3. NeoStrata 10% Glycolic Acid Peel solution


They've since changed the packaging and although Shoppers Drug Mart still carries the NeoStrata line, the two local stores that I frequent no longer carry the products. I did enjoy using this, it comes with a dropper and you only need one dropper full of solution on a cotton pad to apply all over the face (I did it at night time for a series of about 3 days in a row every other month or so - but never in the summer). It lasted me over a year, which is great considering it costa close to $70. Although I was pleased with the results and think it's a great product if you're just getting started with at home glycolic acid peels, I wouldn't go out of my way to repurchase this. Maybe if it was still available close to me, I'd give it another whirl - but until then I'll gladly try something else.

I'm eyeing a couple of new products to try next - an exfoliating cleanser by Dr. Murad and an exfoliating cream from Dermalogica... will report back when I get them :)

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Cuticle S.O.S.

As winter is finally coming to an end, it's time to take the dark polishes off of my nails and to dive into the beautiful neutrals and pastels of spring.
With those neutrals and pastels, I find that my nails and fingers have to be in perfect condition in order for me to pull them off. Dark polishes are much more forgiving.

I've already mentioned this product before in other posts so I'm just briefly going to talk about it again - Sally Hansen's instant cuticle remover is a great product for the maintenance of clean and good-looking nail beds. It dissolves all the excess dried up cuticle pieces that like to "crawl" up my nails. All I do is apply the gel over my cuticle area, wait about a minute, then gently push back my cuticles with one of those wooden sticks, then all the excess dissolved pieces just wash away in the sink with soap and water.


This shouldn't be done more than once a week because it can be quite irritating if done too often.

The only thing I am still needing in order to resurrect my fingers for spring is a good cuticle conditioner, what are your favourites?

Hope you're having a fantastic weekend,

- Sandra
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