Monday, January 30, 2012

January Favourites

My favourites this month are about as exciting as watching paint dry - Laura Mercier Secret Brightener, Collection 2000 concealer, Armani corrector, Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint, La Roche Posay Toleriane lotion, Effaclar Duo... all on heavy rotation as always. 
I thought I would forgo a video and instead bring to your attention the one product that I haven't really mentioned before and that has totally rocked my socks (and cheeks) ever since I received it from the company in December. The product is Benefit's Hervana and here I am wearing it in all its glory:

I am wearing it quite sheer. The finish is gorgeous - matte bordering on slightly satin. The finish and texture of the powder is probably my favourite thing about this blush. If you are a fan of Well Dressed blush by MAC and Madly by NARS, consider Hervana somewhere in the middle of both. I love the fact that it's such a versatile blush, it can literally go with any makeup look.

the pretty design doesn't budge as you swirl your brush around to get all the colours
You can wear it sheer like I am or you can build it up if you want to put more focus on your cheeks. 
The packaging is quirky and standard Benefit. You all know how I feel about the boxes (I am Hoola's biggest fan but the packaging drove me nuts). They have changed the packaging slightly to offer a little mirror and the lid has a magnetic closure as opposed to completely coming off as before.

I'm still not the biggest fan of the boxes but I know that many women love the quirky design and like to collect them. They are cute, especially with the little sayings on the sides like on Hervana, but just not as portable/travel-friendly as I'd like. I don't store my makeup in a way that it's displayed (I basically throw everything into a drawer separated into "eyes, lips face" and call it a day) so the cardboard boxes tend to get a bit beat up. But, with some products, I just have to make an exception. I've been really missing Hoola as well since it worked so well with my skin tone both in summer and winter.
Anyway, enough rambling. I have been wearing this blush almost daily since its release. The powder smells nice too, slightly floral. I have seen it at Sephora here - who now lowered the Canadian order limit to $75 for free shipping which made me happy, it was $120 before! Of course you can order it from Benefit's website or Ulta as well if you're in the US.

As for the rest of my makeup, I wore:

Chanel Perfection Lumiere foundation in shade B30 (it photographs nicely but don't be fooled, this foundation is a b*tch to apply), Chanel loose powder in shade 30, Bourjois Chocolate Bronzer in shade 52, Benefit Hervana blush.
MAC Brulee eyeshadow all over the eyelid, MAC Wedge eyeshadow in the crease, Giorgio Armani Maestro liquid liner and Eyes to Kill Excess mascara.
On my lips I busted out an oldie - MAC Jazzed from the In the Groove collection from a couple of summers ago.

Hope your January was great! Mine was stressful and February is shaping up to be the same. However, if you have Instagram, I am planning on doing the "#febphotoaday" challenge: one photo per day, following a particular theme, if you search for the tag in the program you will see more about it. It seemed fun so follow me on there if you'd like, my username is "tt5andra" because weirdly enough both "ttsandra" and "5andra" were taken by other users *evil stare*.
If you're not part of the iWorld or don't care about Instagram, I may do a summary of it on here and I will tweet the pictures as well!


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Currently Loving - Chanel Loose Powder

As the title suggests, I've been really loving my latest cosmetic purchase and I figured that it deserves its own review. Going to keep this one short and to the point.

The subject: Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder (I got it in shade 30)

As you'd expect from Chanel it comes in sleek and pretty packaging. You get a nicely sized tub and pretty powder puff.

Although it comes in a variety of shades, colour matching shouldn't really be a big problem since the product has very minimal coverage and the pigment of the powder isn't that obvious on the skin. Now having said that, you probably won't be able to wear it by itself or anything (the coverage is less than MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Natural, for example) but it is a beautiful setting powder and it does its job very well in my opinion! 

- you get 30g of product, which is great compared to most loose powders
- extremely finely milled
- natural skin-like finish
- doesn't look caky throughout the day
- pretty packaging and comes with a quality powder puff
- decent oil control
- doesn't accentuate dry patches
- doesn't oxidize

- the price; this baby will set you back $56 if you are in Canada (plus tax, so just over $60 altogether) or $52 in the USA
- won't keep you matte throughout the day (if that's what you are looking for in a setting powder!)
- shade selection is pretty dismal. It only comes in 4 shades, ranging from fair-medium. Although the pigmentation isn't strong, if you had a very deep skin tone it might leave a light cast on your face if you used the lighter shades. I wish they had a translucent option as well but from what I can see on the website, they do not. Warning: the one shade they have called "Feerie" is SHIMMERY. So stay away if you don't want to look like, well, a fairy.

Here is what it looks like on my skin right after application (I don't remember what blush I was wearing, so apologies in advance if I can't answer that question)

Here is what it looks like after about 6 hours of wear:

For reference, I wore it with my Liz Earle Sheer Skin Tint (a tinted moisturizer) that has zero oil control capabilities by itself just to show the powers of the powder :)
As you can see it lets some oils shine through but it doesn't look bad - it diffuses them and it just results in a nice natural glow. You can add more powder to touch up after a while and it won't cake up.

In conclusion, I love this loose powder! It does a great job at setting foundation. Previous setting powders that I have tried are Laura Mercier Translucent loose powder, MAC Select Sheer loose powder, MAC Blot powder, Bobbi Brown Pale Yellow loose powder.

If you'd like to buy it and have no Chanel counter nearby - click here. I got mine at a Chanel counter at The Bay.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

What's in my shopping bag?

I though this would be a fun little post to do - not sure if you are like me but I often peruse the Internet in search for cute and affordable clothes. Forever21 is one of those sites I have a love/hate relationship with but I must admit that when I do buy from them, I end up being happy and satisfied with my purchase. Now, here's one of my online shopping tricks to make sure that what I do end up buying, I really do love. I fill my virtual shopping bag and save it. I step away from the site for about a week and if I remember and care enough to go back to it in a week, check the saved shopping bag and if I'm still into the clothes (or some of them, at least) I buy! It means they passed the test in my mind and that they are worthy.

So without further ado, here's my little shopping bag at Forever21 at the moment -

how cute would this be 1 size larger and worn off the shoulder? :)

I'm so adventurous when it comes to colour, aren't I? ha ha

Thursday, January 19, 2012

In and Out - 20.01.12


- Attention, Canadian ladies!!
The Bay's "Beauty Trade" program! Now until January 26th, visit your The Bay store with 1 or 2 empty or old skincare bottles and get a $10 or $20 off voucher for beauty/cosmetics! Such a fun initiative and I'll definitely be taking part in it this weekend. Click here for more info and I'd like to thank one of my subscribers on YouTube for letting me know about this!

best basic leggings evAr

- buying another pair of my favourite Only Hearts "So Fine" leggings. I love these things SO much. My favourite basic pair of leggings. I got my first pair about a year and a half ago and it was the only black pair of leggings I needed. I wore them to bed, I wore them to the gym, I wore them out. It was time for a new pair so I ordered one a couple of weeks ago. I highly recommend you check them out. You can order  them from Shopbop or Revolve, I have used both - depending on whoever has them in stock at the time!

- Kraft "Whipped" peanut butter. Peanut butter with a much lighter, fluffier texture. I've been overdosing on it all week.

- The "Satsuma" range from The Body Shop. I ran out of the shower gel and I have some Philosophy ones to go through first, but it is hands down THE BEST shower gel/lotion fragrance if you like to shower in the mornings before you get your day going. It smells so refreshing. I really wish they made candles. I might have to settle on the oil fragrance version for the home.

- New Girl. If you're looking for a fun, short, new TV show to waste your tuesday evenings on... tune in to New Girl. It's my favourite show at the moment and it just started up again after the holiday hiatus.


- Tassimo coffee. I love the idea of my Tassimo coffeemaker but the coffee options are awful. Everything is so strong and bitter and burnt-tasting. Don't get me started on those mysterious condensed milk containers. French Vanilla and the hot chocolate are the only things I like (and I have to add copious amounts of almond milk to both). I'm disappointed.

- I'm in a brush rut. I'm eyeing the Bobbi Brown bronzer brush but I have had zero time to get anywhere near a counter that sells the products - and buying online is out of the question since shipping to Canada is extortionate. Must be patient.

Hope your week was a good one!! 

Monday, January 16, 2012

Skincare Saviours!

One product is new, one product is old... but La Roche Posay is keeping me happy :)

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that during the past couple of weeks my skin started reacting negatively to something. I can't quite pin-point the cause since I haven't used any exfoliating acids in a  long time or anything. But there had been 3 heavily fragranced products, 1 lotion and 2 Bourjois foundations, that I had been using daily since my big flare-up so I just blamed those.
At night my skin would get so red and irritated even after cleansing with the gentle cleansers I've used for a long time. It would feel sore and tight no matter how gentle I cleansed. I had dry patches where my breakouts had started to clear (with the help of another one of my La Roche Posay staples - Effaclar Duo spot treatment) so on them I used Cicaplast, as I usually do. 

I am not sure if I mentioned this product before, but I have owned it for a while now ever since I saw it used as a makeup primer in Lisa Eldridge's acne covering video. It is a gentle and effective skincare product designed for irritated skin (post procedures like chemical peels, etc.) and it acts like a protective barrier that boosts the skin's capability to repair itself. I use it at night on any flaky over-exfoliated sensitive areas and it's great. 

However, my skin was still feeling awful, it needed something more. Since I discontinued the use to my super-fragranced lotion and my skin was feeling tight, I perused the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart in search of a rescue. Naturally I turned to La Roche Posay again. I chose the soothing protective skincare lotion from the Toleriane range and I was NOT disappointed. 
Dare I say this is the best lotion I've ever used? I chose the version for normal/combination skin since I am  quite oily, but they also have an "ultra" formula for dry skins.
The texture is milky, it's gentle, it soothes the skin instantly, and it sinks in without leaving any greasy residue. It also has no scent at all. I am obsessed. After 2 days of using it morning and night, my redness has almost completely subsided. 

If you suffer from sensitive yet oily/combination skin like me and are in search of a new lotion - check this one out. I am SO happy that I did.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Under-eye Concealing Combination

Last month I posted a video in which I talked about how I conceal my under-eye circles. I am still using those products and have received a few requests to do a more detailed post on them, so here goes!

The three products are:
1. Giorgio Armani Master Corrector shade #1, which I apply first in order to neutralize the purple/blue tones of my under-eye circles. I purchased mine at Saks Fifth Avenue in the US. In Canada, the only place I can think of where you can find Armani cosmetics is Holt Renfrew... or you can order online from Saks here.
2. Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer shade #2, this is not available in North America as far as I know, but there are many similar products out there. I got mine in a swap from the UK - it is a product that is quite easy to find at drugstores there. This concealer isn't the greatest on blemishes since it can get a bit cakey and drying, but under the eyes mixed with the third product I'm about to show you, it works like a charm :)
3. Laura Mercier Secret Brightener shade #2 - this is a highlighter "pen" type of product, that has very very minimal coverage. I love blending it with the concealer because it makes it perfect for the under-eye area and it adds a slight amount of light reflection which makes the area look lifted and bright. Just one click of this is all you need. I got mine at Sephora.

I'd like to try the Giorgio Armani under-eye concealer as well, but for now I am working with products I already own (a theme you will see in my posts... I am really trying to use up stuff before I buy something new) and the results are keeping me satisfied. It is quite buildable, too. 

For daytime, I use a very thin layer of concealer. Here are some creepy close-up photos:
For night-time I like to build it up a bit more, and the result is nice and bright!

I like to set it with Benefit Powderflage since, as you know, I have quite oily skin.

Any under-eye products you've been loving lately? I'm underwhelmed with my Boscia eye cream and as soon as that baby is used up I think I am going back to my Chantecaille Vital Essence. It's funny how that stuff isn't even an eye cream (it's a face & eye serum) yet it worked so well for me. I miss it!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Studs and Coats

I'm getting really creative with these post titles, aren't I?
Joking aside, there isn't really a whole lot more I can tell you about today's outfit. It's freakishly warm here for being in the "dead of winter" - in previous years we'd be buried in snow and freezing rain by now but this year it's uncommonly warm (here comes grandma Sandra talking about the weather again). I'm just not used to this above freezing temperature in January thing, so today I busted out a coat that's usually reserved for early fall times.

It's a coat by Guess that I've owned for many years and it's still holding up so well! While I've been eyeing my next coat to buy (it's been about 2 years since I've purchased one and it's time), it's not really a bad thing to "shop my closet" so to speak and enjoy what's already there and has been there for years. 
I paired it with shorts, opaque tights, some gold and silver accessories and a funky mustard-meets-lime coloured sweater! Some details:

Sweater - Forever21 (you can always find simple, good ol' basics in their knit top section here)
Blouse - H&M (old)
Bracelets - Pandora, Forever21, Anthropologie

Shorts - DKNY
Tights - H&M
Nail Polish - MAC Light Affair

And, of course, the trusty black studded "Wink" loafers by Dolce Vita. They still have 2 sizes left on the Nordstrom website here and they're 50% off, if you're interested. I clearly love mine very much :)

--- edit: they now seem to be sold out on Nordstrom but they are available in Pink and on sale at ASOS here and the black ones are still available on the Bloomingdale's site! yay!

That's about it for me today, I purchased a couple of new skincare items in the hopes of calming down my skin - I am having some sort of irritation/reaction to something. I am experiencing redness like never before, and some breakouts which are now on their way out thanks to my trusty La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo. So, any anti-redness skincare items you recommend, throw them my way!

Hope you've had a wonderful week... I am ready for the weekend, is it Friday yet?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Pink Kevin Murphy Color Bug

I have been fascinated from afar by this product ever since I saw it featured in a magazine shoot with one of my favourite models. The idea seems so cool - a completely temporary intense pigment that gives you fun colour with no commitment! Last month I took the plunge and purchased one, in pink. 

It's basically one giant eyeshadow for your hair. Completely washable and temporary while still delivering intense colour results.

this is the picture that got me intrigued!
I could drone on and on about how to use it, but I found this awesome video by the master himself, Kevin Murphy, explaining how to use the product on a variety of shades of hair. 

I've become a big fan of his products recently and I would have never even have thought to check out the brand hadn't it been for my hairstylist who recommended it to me. I have been hooked since.
The Color Bug was no different. Easy to use and it definitely showed up on my super dark brown hair. I applied a small amount of Kevin Murphy Hair Resort (which is basically a sea salt spray type of thing, in gel form) to the ends of my hair where I wanted the colour to deposit and then I went to town! I was in a total rush to get out and never got the chance to photograph it with my DSLR camera, but I did manage to carefully crop myself out of one of the photos my friend took with her camera, so you can see how well it showed up on my dark hair:

Would I recommend them? Absolutely! It was easy to use (I watched the video above for instructions although it comes with simple and easy to follow instructions in the packaging) and it lasts all day, and completely washes out afterwards. One word of warning, though, definitely put a dark towel on your shoulders as you're rubbing it into the hair since it does get quite messy and you have quite a bit of fallout when you first apply it, before it sets. I would also recommend not wearing your favourite light coloured blouse since you might have some transfer. It does completely wash out of fabric, but still. Better be safe than sorry.

You can find them at any salon that carries Kevin Murphy (using the salon locator on their website or if you don't have any nearby, they are available on eBay from various trusty sellers here. They come in pink, orange and purple. I think the orange one would be my next choice. A red would be nice too!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

In and Out, 03.01.12

I love the start of a new year. Over the past year I've become someone who always tries to challenge herself at the start of every month, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant the challenge. Sometimes, like last month, it's makeup related or sometimes it's on a more personal level. The past year was definitely a year of growth in a lot of aspects of my life. What better way to continue on my little journey than with the start of a new year? :)

So in with the positivity, in with quest to be more organized (my closet literally looks like a bomb exploded inside, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a small family of squirrels hiding in the corners and munching on old forgotten pieces of my 2005 wardrobe that I keep hoarding) and, more importantly, in with health! Drinking more water, eating better, exercising and all that jazz... I have had an incredibly tough last couple of months and haven't taken proper care of myself. My skin is a disaster, I barely drank 2 cups of water a day let along 2 litres and I've been surviving on refined carbohydrates. Gross.

Anyways, enough with the ramble and on to some more entertaining IN and OUTS!


- getting hair cut and the colour touched up. It feels thick and looks shiny and healthy. Win.

- Gossip Girl. I am SO happy I caught up with the current season over winter break. It's amazing and has re-stored my faith in the sinking ship that used to be that show! If you were a Gossip Girl fan and have abandoned the ship, please hop back aboard because you won't be sorry. You'll want to cause severe physical harm to a certain prince of Monaco, but you won't be sorry.

- Chanel Chance. I got an e-mail showing these cute purse sprays coming out this year with all the Chance fragrances (and I am obsessed with them all, I own Eau Fraiche but have currently been surviving off of samples of Chance original). I want all of these! How beautiful are they? I can only hope that they'll be available in Canada soon. 

- finding the sequin dresses I loved on the runway at Phoenix Fashion week! They were featured in the closing show of the week, Blaque Label, and they looked incredible on the models. So eye catching and beautiful. I found them online today in a few different colours and I was pleasantly surprised that the price tag was more than reasonable (compared to very similar offerings by Brian Lichtenberg which cost 5 times as much... plus I'm kinda sick of those extreme shoulder pads).
Anyways isn't this beautiful? They look stunning in person, I promise. I know that New Years eve has passed but there are plenty of fun occasions to celebrate throughout the year, so this baby is saved in my shopping cart. If you are interested, you can find them here or even better priced (thanks Kelly) HERE

- Peanut butter and Nutella

- Using products up

- no longer being on a nail polish ban *evil laughter*


- 2011. Don't let the door hit you on your way out :)
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