September 2014 Favourites

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I spent a chunk of September travelling abroad but, quite oddly, didn’t fall in love with a ton of the products that I had brought with me. I did, however, fall head over heels for some brand new products!


Makeup Geek Vegas Lights palette
Makeup Geek Vegas Lights palette

As I said in my What I Bought This Month haul for September, I went back and forth on this palette for a while. In the end I bought it because I’ve developed a collector-like attitude towards the MUG eyeshadows and I was worried that these shades would not become permanent.

Makeup Geek Vegas Lights
Makeup Geek Vegas Lights

While gold is a colour I personally struggle with (it never looks right on me), the rest of the shades are absolute staples for me, in particular the orange and the red. The red is reminiscent of MAC Cranberry and the orange of an Inglot shade I own. I like how Marlena managed to actually make a palette that has all the staples (a matte cream shade, a midtone blending colour (although quite unique in its ochre-ness) and a dark brown) and yet still have plenty of punchy colours to play around with. Half the palette is perfect for daytime wear (as beauty bloggers are so damn fond of saying) but the other half can be used to liven up your makeup. The quality is also top notch and surpasses the quality of most of my MAC shadows. I cannot recommend this one enough (and I am so stinking glad I bought it!).

Makeup Geek Vegas Lights swatches
Makeup Geek Vegas Lights swatches

201409_favourites_toofaced_meltedcandy

Another new product to me! Too Faced‘s Melted Lipstick formula has been something that I’ve been lusting after for several months. I had put off buying them because I already own way too much lipstick for a person that considers lipstick to be the very bottom priority of their makeup routine. But oh man. I finally got my hands on some of these this last month and they are amazing. So amazing, that I ended up buying three of them. They don’t stay glossy on me, but instead dry down to a finish that wears like iron. While they are drying on the lips, that actually makes them even more enjoyable to me because I don’t have to be constantly fretting over whether or not my lipstick is actually staying on my lips. I reached for Melted Candy the most this past month and was amazed at just how vibrant it shows up in pictures. Love, love, LOVE!


Too Faced - Tinsel eyeshadow
Too Faced – Tinsel eyeshadow

Too Faced has developed a bad rap for re-naming their eyeshadow colours depending on what eyeshadow palette it has been included in, so I’m unsure if Tinsel goes by any other name. The version I have came in the Holiday 2013 set – A few of my Favorite Things palette. To me, it’s a shadow that looks like a gold shot through with green. It has a vaguely patina-like look to it and excellent pigmentation. I reached for this particular shade a lot while on vacation and was always happy with the looks I was able to produce with it.


Softlips CUBE in Vanilla Bean
Softlips CUBE in Vanilla Bean

I was sent a Softlips CUBE for review at the start of the month and found that not only did I like it enough to review it and do a giveaway, I also ended up reaching for it constantly despite owning several other lip balms I’m trying to finish up. This sits on my bed side table at home and I reach for it over all the others I own because the packaging makes it so simple to access. The Vanilla Bean flavour is my pick out of the two (Berry Bliss being the other).

A simple but sweet roundup of my favourite products of the month. :)

What I Bought This Month – September 2014 Haul

Settle in folks, this is another doozy of a haul. I spent almost two weeks in September travelling in Europe and this meant getting to dabble in makeup brands that I don’t have access to in Canada. I picked up a lot of different brands and products overseas, as well as a few new releases here in Canada/US.


Makeup Geek Vegas Lights palette ($37.99 USD)
Makeup Geek Vegas Lights palette ($37.99 USD)

The most exciting thing I picked up was the brand new Makeup Geek Vegas Lights palette. I hemmed and hawed over this sucker for a little while, but in the end splashed out for it. I love Marlena of Makeup Geek, and I *love* her eyeshadows.

Vegas Lights: Casino, Sin City, Roulette, Mirage, Desert Sands, Bada Bing
Vegas Lights: Casino, Sin City, Roulette, Mirage, Desert Sands, Bada Bing

The colours in this palette are right up my alley – specifically Sin City and Roulette. The bottom row really helps ground any look you can come up with this palette. I’m impressed that Makeup Geek managed to put out a palette that actually has serviceable neutrals along with some beautifully coloured shadows. I think this palette is limited edition, in which case, consider picking this up before it’s completely gone!


Makeup Geek shadows: Chickadee, Glass Slipper, Shark Bait ($5.99 USD each)
Makeup Geek shadows: Chickadee, Glass Slipper, Shark Bait ($5.99 USD each)

When I put in the order for the Vegas Lights palette, I also put a few shadows in the order. I have this (completely useless) idea of collecting all the Makeup Geek shadows so had to plug in a few more for this order.


MAC Chromacake in Landscape Green ($31 CAD)
MAC Chromacake in Landscape Green ($31 CAD)

For this year’s Halloween costume, I’m going as Gamora from the Guardians of the Galaxy. Because of Gamora’s green skin, I’m going to need a heck of a lot of coverage so I hopped on over to the MAC Pro store and picked up a Chromacake in Landscape Green. I’ve never used a Chromacake before, or any kind of body paint before, but I’m hopeful that this will turn out well.


MAC pigment in Landscape Green (free)
MAC pigment in Landscape Green (free)

The lady at the MAC Pro store was kind enough to give me an insanely generous sample of Landscape Green pigment to match my Chromacake. In fact, she gave me so much pigment I was actually able to mix it with alcohol and press it into an eyeshadow pan. Very handy!


essence - Life's a Cherry ($3.99 CAD)
essence – Life’s a Cherry ($3.99 CAD)

I’ve been loving the Autumn Peach blush by essence that I was previously sent, that I wanted to check out the other shades. Life’s a Cherry is a lovely pink veering on red shade. I think the lighting on the shot above really doesn’t make it across right, but so far I am loving this other essence blush as well.


e.l.f. Disney Ariel Eye Collection ($5 USD)
e.l.f. Disney Ariel Eye Collection ($5 USD)

The Disney Ariel collection was never released in Canada as far as I could see, so a friend in the US shipped a bunch of the products up to me. The eyeshadows aren’t bad, but that eyeliner is absolute crap.


e.l.f. Disney Ariel Bronzer & Mini Kabuki Brush ($5 USD)
e.l.f. Disney Ariel Bronzer & Mini Kabuki Brush ($5 USD)

The brush on this one is far too scratchy, but the bronzer is fairly nice. Pretty glittery, but still useable.


Ardell Disney Ariel Lash Kit ($8 USD)
Ardell Disney Ariel Lash Kit ($8 USD)

And lastly from the Ariel collection, a couple pairs of false lashes. They’re regular Ardell lashes but specially packaged up for this Little Mermaid collection.


Tarte - Rainforest After Dark ($26 USD)
Tarte – Rainforest After Dark ($26 USD)

My wonderful friend Sara whom I was vacationing with in Prague managed to snag me a few goodies in the US that she very kindly brought over for me. She managed to get an awesome deal on the Tarte Rainforest After Dark palette.

Rainforest After Dark
Rainforest After Dark

Having only ever tried Tarte’s blushes and bronzer, I was curious how their eyeshadows would perform. There are some lovely shades in here, but the palette on its own needs help. There’s no matte brow shade that works for me (the light pink is too dusty of a pink colour) and the pale lavender-grey is actually quite sheer and requires a lot of packing on. That being said, this sucker is super handy. The browns on the right side are wonderfully pigmented, the bronzer and the highlighter are wonderful and the blush is like all of Tarte’s blushes – easy to blend and looks great on my cheeks. This palette is wonderful for a full face – something quite rare in a palette of this size.


NYX - Fizzies ($5.99 USD)
NYX – Fizzies ($5.99 USD)

I had bought NYX‘s Butter Lipstick in Fizzies back in March but had managed to mangle it when I took it out to a club one night with me. The bullet broke in half and no matter what I did, I couldn’t put it back together. Since NYX‘s Butter Lipsticks still aren’t available in Canada, once again Sara managed to pull through and picked me up a tube in the US. Here’s hoping I don’t break this one as well.


Too Faced Melted Lipsticks in Melt Berry and Melted Candy ($21 USD, each)
Too Faced Melted Lipsticks in Melt Berry and Melted Candy ($21 USD, each)

She also snagged me two of the newer shades of the Too Faced Melted lipsticks. I haven’t actually tried any yet, but I’d been lusting over them for several months. As they’re cheaper in the US, I broke down and had her buy me two – Melted Berry and Melted Candy. Melted Candy is AMAZING. It’s almost fluorescent and shows up amazingly in pictures.


NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul (free)
NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Istanbul (free)

And finally, she also kindly gave me a few products that hadn’t worked out for her. NYX‘s Soft Matte Lip Cream is a product I’ve heard about constantly over the years, but had never picked one up. The colour above is Istanbul and I’m excited to try it out.


NYX Butter Gloss in Red Velvet and Fortune Cookie (free)
NYX Butter Gloss in Red Velvet and Fortune Cookie (free)

And lastly, Sara handed over two NYX Butter Lip Glosses that hadn’t worked for her. (Shock, horror!) I’ll always happily add more of these to my collection!


Soap & Glory Lid Stuff in What's Nude (£10 GBP)
Soap & Glory Lid Stuff in What’s Nude (£10 GBP)

I had a layover at Heathrow on my way to Prague and made a mad dash for the Boots they had in one of the terminals. Thankfully, this particular Boots had Soap & Glory makeup products and I was able to pick up their Lid Stuff eyeshadow quad in What’s Nude.This is a handy quad to bring along with a super bright palette, quite similar to one of the Urban Decay Naked Basics.


Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in Raplumzel (£8 GBP)
Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker in Raplumzel (£8 GBP)

Also from Soap & Glory is their Sexy Mother Pucker Gloss Stick in Raplumzel. This is completely unlike any other balm sticks I own. It’s way more buttery and soft, very reminiscent of a Revlon Lip Butter except that this smells like caramel or something. Delicious!


Boots No7 Stay Perfect Foundation in Deeply Ivory (£14.50 GBP)
Boots No7 Stay Perfect Foundation in Deeply Ivory (£14.50 GBP)

Boots’ own brand No7 was having a deal on where if you spent enough money, you’d get a free goodie bag. I was interested in picking up more foundation from No7 as I already use their Instant Radiance foundation quite often. I got re-colour matched with their fancy handheld device and they paired me up with Deeply Ivory, two shades darker than what I had been previously using. I really love just how well the colour match seems to work with this brand, I’ve never been disappointed! I have zero idea if the technology is the same, but I’ve found that the Boots one gives me accurate results whereas the one from Sephora is seriously dodgy.


Boots No7 Lipstick in Sweet Copper (£9.95 GBP)
Boots No7 Lipstick in Sweet Copper (£9.95 GBP)

The lady at the Boots counter was doing colour matching to “find your perfect shade of lipstick”. I’m sure this suckers some women in, but it was really just about colour matching your skin and then finding a few shades that seem to match it based on some card they had. I thought it was basically a bunch of garbage, but I picked out a colour I didn’t think I had (yeah right) and it turned out to be Sweet Copper. Beautiful shade and I really love the consistency.


Boots No7 Exquisite Eyes Gift with Purchase (free)
Boots No7 Exquisite Eyes Gift with Purchase (free)

And because I’d spent enough money on their No7 line, they gave me this set. It includes a mascara, an eye pencil, a brush and a shadow.


Barry M Nail Paint in Diamond Glitter (£2.99, each)
Barry M Nail Paint in Diamond Glitter (£2.99, each)

I spotted the Barry M display and snagged the last two Diamond Glitters left on the display. I had previously gone through an entire bottle of it and I knew I loved it. I was happy to re-stock this in my collection because I can’t get Barry M in Canada.


Too Faced - Melted Nude (456 Kč)
Too Faced – Melted Nude (456 Kč)

Because I had loved the Too Faced Melted lipsticks that Sara had brought me up from the US, that I ran out at bought Melted Nude in Prague. Bonus being that it was on sale (price above is the non-discounted price) and it was cheaper than I could even get it in Canada. Sold!


Sephora Eye Lash Curler (315 Kč)
Sephora Eye Lash Curler (315 Kč)

This one was a necessity. I had forgotten my eyelash curlers at home and had to pick up a pair while on vacation. I’ve been using Tweezerman ones for years and I guess I just assumed eyelash curlers are supposed to pinch your eyes? Wrong, so wrong. I was happy to discover that Sephora‘s eyelash curlers are wonderful! No pinching of my lids at all! Think I’ll be throwing out my Tweezerman ones immediately.


MAC Prep + Prime for lips (500 Kč)
MAC Prep + Prime for lips (500 Kč)

Another item I’d forgotten at home (or so I thought, turns out they were in my luggage), but one I don’t mind buying multiples of. You know the drill… MAC‘s Prep + Prime for lips, an essential for me.


L'Oreal Micellar Gel (119 Kč)
L’Oreal Micellar Gel (119 Kč)

Now this was interesting! I picked this up at Rossman, one of the drugstores in the Czech Republic, because I had read that L’Oreal regular liquid version was similar to Bioderma‘s micellar liquid. This is the gel format and I’m curious to see how this works in comparison with my other makeup removers.


Dermacol Soft Heel Balm (72.90 Kč)
Dermacol Soft Heel Balm (72.90 Kč)

Picked up Dermacol‘s Soft Heel Balm solely because of the packaging. I have nasty heels and anything I can use to repair them is definitely right up my alley.


Dermacol Party Time mascara (179 Kč)
Dermacol Party Time mascara (179 Kč)

I wish I’d bought more Dermacol, but I didn’t actually realize that they were a Czech brand until very late into my trip. This was another item bought purely because the packaging screamed at me. Not opened yet because I have a bunch of other mascaras I need to finish up first.


essence blush up! in Heat Wave and Pinky Flow (105 Kč, each)
essence blush up! in Heat Wave and Pinky Flow (105 Kč, each)

Snagged these two up because I’ve never seen them in Canada! Bush ombres are just way too pretty to pass up and the one on the left looks like a dupe for MAC’s Ripe Peach, a blush I had never managed to get my hands on.


Astor Lipcolor Butter in Feeling Feline (169.90 Kč)
Astor Lipcolor Butter in Feeling Feline (169.90 Kč)

Hot pink, slightly sheer and called Feeling Feline! We had to go to three or four DM stores before we finally found one that hadn’t already been used. I also like how it’s not cut at the top like all the other chubby stick lip products.


Catrice Liquid Liner in Dating Joe Black (94.90 Kč)
Catrice Liquid Liner in Dating Joe Black (94.90 Kč)

Nikkie of NikkieTutorials claims this is better than Make Up For Ever’s liquid liner. Sold!


Gabriella Salvete Glitter Enamel (89.90 Kč)
Gabriella Salvete Glitter Enamel (89.90 Kč)

Yet another 3D silver glitter polish to add to my  collection! I think this one is textured though.


Gabriella Salvete Liquid Eyeliner in Black (129.90 Kč)
Gabriella Salvete Liquid Eyeliner in Black (129.90 Kč)

I really don’t need more black liquid liner, but this one claims that it’s matte. I’ve yet to meet a liquid liner that’s actually matte, but hey, I’m willing to give it a shot!


Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (15 €)
Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre (15 €)

My brother brought this over from France as I was getting low on the one I had back in Toronto. I had thought this was around 7 or 8 euros, but it turns out it’s a lot more expensive than that. I wonder if the price got jacked up recently?


That’s it for this post! There were a few things I picked up in Vienna that I don’t have on me now (forgot them in the car, my friend in Germany is going to mail them to me) so they’ll be in next month’s post.

Fitness Friday – Ústí nad Labem Half Marathon

RunCzech
RunCzech

Over the last year, I’ve developed this habit of wanting to do races while on vacation. So when my friend Sara and I decided to go to the Czech Republic for a week, I started hunting down races to run in the area.

One of the only ones I could find was a half marathon race in Ústí nad Labem (and another 10k in Vienna the following weekend, which I’ll also be doing). I was a little wary: I had never run a half marathon before, I was going to be in a different country that was six hours ahead of my current time zone and I would only have 48 hours to recover from the time change before the race. I also had to do some serious training for the weeks leading up to the race because I hadn’t completed any distance of over roughly 12k.

So uh…

Bam!
Bam!

Upon hearing that I was going to be doing this, my brother, who lives in Paris, offered to come out and do the run with me. So with my good friend and brother in tow, we made our way up to Ústí nad Labem from Prague on the morning of the race.

Getting excited prior to the race
Getting excited prior to the race

The weather wasn’t great – it was cold and rainy, and the outlook for this run wasn’t good. But frankly, I was too excited to really care. Despite the cold and rain, I knew that I would warm up enough on the run to not freeze my butt off out there and, if anything, the rain would feel refreshing. I very much dislike running in the heat, so I’d opt for rain over bright, boiling sunshine any day.

Attaching our bibs
Attaching our bibs

We picked up our packets and huddled in a few buildings until the start of the race. Sara took our bags (bless her cotton socks) while my brother and I made it down to the race start zone. He was in a faster class than me, (sub two hours) but it didn’t seem to matter since we all basically ended up in the same area.

It wasn’t too packed of a race either – roughly two thousand people and the start zone wasn’t a disaster which was hugely appreciated.

My goal for this run was just to complete it. I had some idea I’d like to get around two hours, but given the road conditions, my overall fitness level and the fact that I was on vacation, I knew I wasn’t going to be busting ass the whole way throug. My good friend Cory had suggested a pace of around 6:10/k, so I took him at his word and decided to stick with that.

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I started off too fast. I was doing the first few kilometers around 5:30 and feeling pretty awesome, but I knew that couldn’t last. The rain dwindled off around the 4th kilometer and the sun started to come out so my pace actually ended up slowing down at that point.

The first leg of the course was through a fairly industrial area of Ústí nad Labem. It wasn’t particularly picturesque, but the lanes were wide and there was tons of space to move around through the crowd. I was passed often and frequently, but that was okay because I was out there to have a good time.

One thing is for sure though, despite this being labeled a flat course, it definitely was not! By the end of the race, we had done 125 meters uphill! Uphills are not my friend, and I appreciate them even less on a half marathon course!

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Having never done a half before, I have to say I was impressed with just how many water stations there were. Not only water, but power drinks (not something I go for though), actual pre-peeled fruit like bananas and oranges and even wet sponges to use on yourself if you’re too warm. The run was put on by a company called Mattoni, which turned out to be a water company from the Czech Republic. The only slightly odd thing was that brand was the only water they were serving on the course and it was lightly carbonated. In any and all situations I opt for flat water, so I wasn’t sure how my system would handle the carbonation of the fluid. Thankfully, it was such a low amount of carbonation that I didn’t feel especially gas-y while drinking it. (I did have a small bottle of tap water on me that I had filled up prior to the race though.)

I had three running gels on me and I consumed one right before the start of the race and another one at kilometer 7. By the time I was supposed to take my next one (kilometer 14), I was just really grossed out by the sugary gel and only ended up eating half of it. I actually had to force myself to do so because I didn’t really want to eat it, but I could tell I was getting a bit lackluster and thought maybe some of the carbs would help me out. In the end, I don’t know if I really noticed much of a difference.

Towards the end of the race
Towards the end of the race

All in all, it was a good run and I didn’t feel strained at any point. None of my joints hurt, and my muscles didn’t really start to feel any kind of soreness until roughly kilometer 19. I wasn’t pushing a pace that made me out of breath, so I think it allowed me to enjoy the race a lot more than if I had been busting my ass for a sub two hour run. I enjoyed the run as a whole, although I’m not sure how much I’d like to be physically pushing myself for faster and faster times for such a long distance.

I saw my Sara several times throughout the course, and it was such a huge boost to see her out there supporting us! It put a smile on my face every time I saw her (and I saw her loads of times and at varying intervals! I think she got around that course faster than I did!). She snapped pictures of me and my brother constantly for those two hours and it really warmed my heart.

The course
The course

I also really enjoyed getting to see a city I’d have no other reason at all to visit if it weren’t for this race. The people were friendly, the course was… err… interesting, and I got to experience my first half!

Finished!
Finished!

As you finish the race, they hand you your medal and these shiny silver foil cloaks. I always thought they looked a bit silly, but oh my god did I ever need that after the run. It worked well to keep my body temperature up because as soon as I finished the run the warmth started to leave my body and I was shivering within seconds.

I met up with my brother (who finished around the one hour, fifty-five minute marker) and Sara at a designated spot after the race. I clocked in around 2:08 something or other.

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Yay! Completed my first half marathon! One thing that interested me, and of course made sense, was that in this echelon of racing, I’m no longer amongst the more physically fit people out there. Usually in 5 and 10K races I’m in the top 25%, but for this one I was definitely in the bottom half! There was also a huge discrepancy in how many women (25%) ran this compared to men (75%).

Race Results

  • Finish Time: 2:08:46
  • Pace: 6:06 per kilometer
  • Overall placement: 1450/1831
  • Age group placement (Women up to 34 years): 134/219
  • Gender placement (F): 272/452

Night Out at the Opera

So I’ve been in Prague! I’ve been having a lovely vacation and wanted to share something slightly different on my blog because quite frankly, I don’t get to do this often (if ever). My good friend Sara, whom I am vacationing with, suggested we hit up the opera and get all fancy. And really, who can say no to that?

Poser
Poser

We chose to go to the opera on a Wednesday night. Which means we probably got a little overdressed, but that’s fine by me!

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I somehow managed to do this on the cheap. The dress was on a $10 sale rack at H&M that I’d picked up in Toronto. The shoes are ones I intended to wear to my wedding, but never did because they were too uncomfortable to wear for a long periods of time. The necklace was also a wedding castoff that had never been worn (bought from Etsy). So not only was I excited to wear stuff I hadn’t gotten a chance to before, but the dress was so cheap that it was actually exciting!

Face and hair
Face and hair

I had less time than normal to prep, because apparently not everyone requires two hours to do so. (Absolute blasphemy I tell you…)

Eye makeup
Eye makeup

I opted for an eye look that would match my dress, because frankly, I don’t know how to contrasting colours well at all.

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Eyes
(using the Too Faced A Few of my Favorite Things palette)

  • Bluff all over the lid
  • Blue Satin Sashes in the outer corner
  • Pure Glam to deepen up the outer corner
  • Chocolate Milk through the crease to blend it out
  • Cream Colored Ponies on my browbone to highlight

Urban Decay Perversion mascara is on my lashes and I used Kat Von D‘s Tattoo liner in Trooper to create the wing. Sephora‘s Tempting lashes were then popped on as well.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Stay Perfect in Deeply IIvory
  • Bronzer: Too Faced Chocolate Soleil
  • Blush: essence -Pinky Flow
  • Concealer: essence -match2cover
  • Brows: Anastasia Brow Whiz in Ash Blonde/Taupe
  • Lips: Wet n Wild 903C with NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu on top
Best shot I have of the both of us, despite it being a bit blurry
Best shot I have of the both of us, despite it being a bit blurry

The opera house itself was beautiful. I’d never been in such a gorgeous old world venue like that before!

On one of the (many) flights of stairs up to our seats
On one of the (many) flights of stairs up to our seats

We saw Jacobin, which was kind of a “take it or leave it” storyline for me. The sets and the singing were beautiful, and thankfully, although the entire opera was done in Czech, they actually had a scrolling screen high above the actors that translated everything into English. Genius idea for those of us who can’t speak Czech!

Outside the opera house after the show
Outside the opera house after the show

This is right about when my shoes started to kill my feet. Good times.

Beer me
Beer me

After the opera, we sauntered on down to Wenceslas Square and had bratwurst, fried cheese sammiches and beer because we are classy, classy ladies.

Sara with her deepfried cheese sandwich. It was way too delicious and I was seriously envious.
Sara with her deepfried cheese sandwich. It was way too delicious and I was seriously envious.

Softlips CUBES – Review + Giveaway


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I’ve been aware of Softlips for a long time – my best friend in high school used them religiously. She loved the shape of the slim lip balm stick and how it felt slathered on her lips. I wasn’t a huge lip product person back then, if anything I wore whatever no-name brand chapstick my grandmother happened to give me in my Christmas stocking (FYI,  wrote that out as STALKING first).

Softlips CUBEs
Softlips CUBEs

So when Softlips e-mailed me and offered to send me their brand new CUBE product, a totally different shape from their slim lip line, I was intrigued. The CUBE can’t help but share a striking resemblance to eos‘ rounded lip balm spheres. Having tried the eos balms a few years back, I have to say I wasn’t impressed. They were waxy and unpleasant smelling, to the point where I actually returned one of their lipbalms to Shoppers Drugmart. (I think I’m just about the only person that feels this way.)

CUBEs all a stacked
CUBEs all a stacked

All that to say, I was curious to see if Softlips would be better, equal, or worse to the eos balms. And I have to say, I’m hugely impressed. Unlike their spherical counterparts, these balms don’t leave me with a nasty residue on my lips. The taste and feel is really wonderful, and when I apply them before bed, I’ll wake up the next morning and still find a thin layer of the product on my lips.

Softlips CUBE - Vanilla Bean
Softlips CUBE – Vanilla Bean

The Vanilla Bean flavour is by far my favourite out of the two I received. Vanilla-scented anything is something I really love, and this product does not disappoint! I’ve found myself reaching for this over my other lip balms just because it’s so easy to use.

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Softlips CUBE – Berry Bliss

If fruity-scented items is more your style, you may be more interested in the Berry Bliss option. It’s not to my personal tastes, but I’ve had a few friends sniff it and say they quite liked the scent.

Thankfully, these balms are clear. They don’t leave a white-cast to your lips that can occasionally occur with other brands (*ahem* Nivea), so you don’t need to worry about putting this on in public without a mirror. There’s also a lot to be said for the cute, rounded shape of the balm – it makes application easy, and the shape of the product is pretty interesting enough to feel like you’re using something unique.

Final verdict? I approve. These may not fit into your pocket like a traditional lip balm would, but the flavours are really quite appealing. If you’ve tried these, I’d be interested to hear your opinions on them!

Softlips Giveaway!

Softlips was kind enough to sponsor a giveaway to my readers. Please see below for details!

Prize Pack!
Prize Pack!

One lucky winner will win a $50 CAD giveaway prize including:

  • 1 Softlips CUBE lip moisturizer in Berry Bliss
  • 1 Softlips CUBE lip moisturizer in Vanilla Bean
  • 1 Clutch Purse with zipper chain wristlet
  • 1 Purse Mirror

Details

  • Open to residents of Canada (you must have a Canadian address that we can ship to).
  • Giveaway runs from September 19th until October 3rd.
  • Winner will receive a $50 prize pack, no purchase necessary.
  • Be aware that all entries will be double checked to ensure fairness.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’s On My Face – Volume 24

So many vibrant  looks this week! Hooray!


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I don’t wear this look very often, but when I do, I definitely seem to startle people with how vibrant that pink colour is!

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Eyes

  1. NYX Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Milk all over the lid, with Sleek Floss on top.
  2. Sleek Pout on the outer half of the lid.
  3. A touch of Makeup Geek Creme Brulee through the crease.
  4. MAC Shroom to highlight the brow.

Winged liner with Tarte’s Black gel liner and Covergirl Clump Crusher mascara on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: Hourglass Diffused Heat
  • Lips: Softlips CUBE in Vanilla Bean

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I created this look for my guest blog post on Nicole’s site (Nicole About Town), but wanted to re-post it here to have in my own archives.

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Eyes

  1. Inglot Matte 334 all over the lid.
  2. Inglot Matte 325 on the outer third of the lid and used as lower lid liner.
  3. Urban Decay Blackout to darken up the outer edge.
  4. MAC Vellum  to highlight the brow, also used as an inner corner highlight.

I used Tarte‘s Black gel liner to create a wing, then used Urban Decay‘s Black Velvet pencil liner  to tightline and rim my inner lower lash line. I applied several coats of CoverGirl‘s Clump Crusher mascara and then popped on a pair of J. Cat lashes in EL13 with some duo lash adhesive.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: NYCFire Island Tan
  • Blush: HourglassDiffused Heat
  • Highlighter: MACSilver Dusk
  • Lips: essenceWear Berries!

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Oh Razzleberry… aren’t you BEAUTIFUL!

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Eyes

  1. Urban Decay Half Baked on the inner two-thirds of the lid.
  2. Makeup Geek Razzleberry on the outer corner and through the crease.
  3. MAC Ricepaper to highlight the brow.

Urban Decay Perversion mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: NYC Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: Hourglass Diffused Heat

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Playing around with Illamasqua‘s Alluvium pigment. Not my best attempt at blending!

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Eyes

  1. Illamasqua Alluvium pigment all over the lid.
  2. MAC Handwritten in the outer corner and through the crease.
  3. MAC Shroom to highlight the brow.

Urban Decay Perversion mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Illamasqua Skin Base in 6.5
  • Blush: Coastal Scents – some kind of peach blush, no idea name or number
  • Lips: Bite Beauty Fig

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Subdued, but rather pretty.

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  1. MAC Vanilla pigment all over the lid.
  2. The pinky-bronze shade from the Sleek Sunset palette in the outer corner.
  3. MAC Handwritten tapped lightly in the outer corner and used as a liner.
  4. MAC Shroom to highlight the brow.

Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant is on my lashes.

Products I’m Pitching

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I couldn’t justify doing an Empties post with these products because they’re really not empty. In fact, these are some barely touched products that I’m just completely chucking from my collection. These are items that I just don’t use in my collection and so I have no reason to keep them around. So let’s check out what I’m pitching or passing on!


KIKO Smoky Look eyeshadow pencil in 09
KIKO Smoky Look eyeshadow pencil in 09

This was actually a great product. I loved KIKO’s Smoky Look eyeshadow pencil but I only got to use it twice before it dried up and fell out of the tube that was its home. It dried up within a year which I found slightly shocking since I have eyeshadow pencils that are much, much older than that and aren’t anywhere near as crusty and hard. Into the bin with this one.


Hard Candy Highlight and Contour Cheek Duo
Hard Candy Highlight and Contour Cheek Duo

Oh god this thing is AWFUL. Hard Candy‘s Highlight and Contour (really? Contour your cheeks with pink?!?!) Cheek Duo smells rancid right out of the package. It smells like plastic that has gone off. It goes on the cheeks in a waxy, slimy mess. It never fully sets, so you’re left with a grease smear across your cheeks. This one isn’t even worth passing on to anyone so I’m throwing it out.


MICA Beauty lip balm in Natural
MICA Beauty lip balm in Natural

MICA Beauty lip balm in Natural came in my very first Ipsy bag and I’ve not used it since then. It’s too pigmented to be convenient in a pot as I really feel like I need a lip brush to use this product. My mom liked the colour however, so I’ve passed this on to her.


Absolute! You're the Balm in Grape
Absolute! You’re the Balm in Grape

Another Ipsy item. I got this Grape balm from Absolute! in my August Ipsy bag and hated it right away. I couldn’t bring myself to wear it again, so it’s getting tossed. Jelly balm with chunky craft glitter in it? No thanks.


Elizabeth Mott It's So Big mascara
Elizabeth Mott It’s So Big mascara

This never ended up working for me how I wanted it to, so I passed it on to my mom who was willing to try it out. (Yet again… another Ipsy product…)


Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the shadow in Champagne
Elizabeth Mott Pop! Goes the shadow in Champagne

And anottttther Ipsy-delivered item I never reach for. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with this eyeshadow, it does in fact apply rather nicely, I must have about five different dupes for this shade in my collection. It’s the most basic of basic eyeshadow colours and not one I need multiples of. My mom snagged it from me.


Lord & Berry Black SILK eyeliner
Lord & Berry Black SILK eyeliner

Are we noticing a trend here? Yep, another Ipsy product, also from my August bag. The world’s smallest eyeliner from Lord & Berry and it’s useless. Not creamy or smooth, barely transfers onto the lid, not fun. GARBAGE.


Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil and Lemon
Nivea A Kiss of Olive Oil and Lemon

Nothing wrong with this product other than the fact that the scent of Olive Oil and Lemon doesn’t seem to be too enticing for me. I love Nivea lip products in general though so I’m definitely not harping on the product quality. My mom liked the scent so she snagged it from the pile of things I was going to throw out.


Pacifica eyeshadow duo
Pacifica eyeshadow duo

And lastly, another Ipsy product. Pacifica‘s eyeshadow duo is too weak in pigmentation for me to bother using. My mom liked the softness of the colours (aka lack of pigmentation) so she’s taking it home to play with.


While culling my makeup collection of items I don’t use/don’t like, I noticed that the bulk of them are all from Ipsy bags. Of the nine items I’m getting rid of today, six of them are from my Ipsy subscription. That right there was enough realization to cause me to cancel my Ipsy delivery. I’ll be receiving the bag for the month of September, but that’s it. For me, it’s just not worth the money to be receiving products I generally tend to use up without repurchasing or just throw away entirely. It was a fun novelty for a while, but the excitement has really worn off by this point.

Fitness Friday – Toronto Island 10K

So the next race in the “my dad wants to run a marathon” series was the 10K. He’d done his first 5K in May with me during Ottawa Race Weekend, and a 10K race was the very obvious next step up. We signed up for the Longboat Toronto Island 10K, making this my third 10K race to date. I was excited to do this run because Toronto Island is a beautiful venue for a race as the terrain is fairly interesting. You alternate between paved path running, occasional grass running (NOT my favourite, but my dad likes it) and then finish up running a kilometer or so down the boardwalk before hitting the finish line. Additionally, a good friend of mine decided to join us for the race (the same friend who had done the Sporting Life 10K with me back in April).

Bib Number
Bib Number

Once again, I was nervous. Will this never end?! I wanted to beat my previous 10K personal best (pb) which was 56:23 but I didn’t know if that was going to be possible. Reason being is that my previous 10K pb was done on a primarily downhill route! Downhill running conserves a LOT of energy and I always kind of figured it was pretty much a cheater personal best since that previous race had been so much downhill. This was an incredibly flat course – there was zero elevation gain or loss, so I didn’t know if that was going to mean I was less able to get a better time.

All that to say… I had no idea what to expect.

We took the ferry over to Toronto Island and made it there with plenty of time to spare. It was a beautiful day – sunny, cool(ish) and no wind. Absolutely beautiful conditions for running. The 10K didn’t start until 11:15, but I think that’s partially because getting out to Toronto Island on a Sunday isn’t the easiest of things to do in the early morning since the subway doesn’t even start running until 9 am.

Me (on the left) and my dad (on the right)
Me (on the left) and my dad (on the right)

So we set off at 11:15 and I broke away from my dad and friend right away. I started out with a good pace, but I could tell my breathing was a little too laboured which meant I would eventually have to slow down. In previous interval training I had done, I knew I could push a 5:00/k pace for roughly 3 kilometers before I’d have to tailor it back a bit. My first few kilometers were done around the 5:08/k mark, which was nice, but I wasn’t going to be able to keep that up.

I started significantly slowing up during my third kilometer right through to my seventh which turned out to be a 6:02 pace. When I saw that 6:02 lap pop up on my Garmin for that kilometer, I knew I had to speed up because that was way wayyyy too slow for my liking.

I stopped to walk a few paces at the last water station on the course (7k) because all I’d managed in doing at the previous water stations had been to slosh water all over my face and get maybe a teaspoon of water in my mouth. (Nothing like trying to drink from an open cup while bouncing up and down.) So I stopped to a walk for five meters and actually got a gulp of water down my throat before pressing on.

It wasn’t till I got around the 8th kilometer marker that I realized I could actually beat my previous time by a significant chunk if I just continued to push myself. I was surprised because I had wasted a lot of time in the middle of the race due to my ever-slowing pace. There wasn’t a lot of leeway for error though, so I really had to book it and monitor my pace closely (thank you Garmin 220!).

Unfortunately, it was right after I realized I needed to push a bit harder that I also started to feel really fucking weird. I started getting body chills mixed with a touch of nausea. I’m starting to wonder if that’s just how my body reacts to physically stressful situations when my heart rate remains elevated for too long. My average heart rate for this race was 183 bpm, peaking around 193. The last time I felt similar chills and nausea was during the 5K race I did in Ottawa when I also had a nasty heart rate average of 185, peaking at 196. Comparatively, my best 5K pb had a heart rate average of 177, with a max at 186 and I didn’t suffer the same odd side effects during that race.  That’s a very large jump in heart rate between races. Very interesting.

Anyway, the second to last kilometer was along the boardwalk and there was a beautiful breeze coming off the lake. Considering my nausea and intermittent chills, this was incredibly refreshing. My iPod also started playing a really energizing song (Cheryl Cole – Say My Name) so it gave me even more inspiration to press on.

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I crossed the finish line somewhere around the 55 minute marker (good news!), headed straight for the water station and pounded down two full cups of water right away. That seemed to make me feel better, so I doubled back to the finish line to wait for my friend and father. My friend clocked in just before the 60 minute mark, and unbelievably, my 66 year old father finished his first 10K in 65 minutes! I can’t even tell you how unbelievable I find that. It also makes *ME* feel incredibly out of shape. I mean, I’m 31 so he’s more than double my age and he’s only finishing the race 10 minutes after me? Holy smokes, what have I been doing with my life?!?

Toronto Island Run medal
Toronto Island Run medal

In the end, we all achieved our goals. I wanted a new pb, and I got it (my official finish time was 55:14, which was 1:09 minutes shorter than my previous record), my friend finished a few seconds shy of 60 minutes which had been his goal, and my dad just wanted to finish somewhere under 75 minutes and he blew that completely out of the water!

It was an excellent race all around, and one I’d definitely consider doing again. We went for burgers and beer afterwards and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as everyone was happy with their accomplishments!

Race Results

  • Finish Time: 55:14
  • Pace: 5:31 per kilometer
  • Overall placement: 386/971
  • Age group placement (25-34): 24/95
  • Gender placement (F): 120/495

Travel Makeup Bag – Heading off to Prague & Vienna

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Tomorrow I’m heading off on a week and a half vacation with a very good friend of mine. Several months ago we decided to go on vacation together and we picked Prague as our destination of choice. We’ll be in Prague for about seven days, but I’ve also extended my trip by a few extra days so that I can visit Vienna with an old friend of mine that lives in Germany.

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I’m changing things up this time a little bit and bringing a (mostly) all-in-one face palette. When I was looking through my choices of palettes to bring, almost everything was either all neutrals or all brights. I didn’t want to travel with an all neutral palette yet again (I get too bored) but bringing an all brights palette isn’t the best of ideas either.

Too Faced - A few of my Favorite Things
Too Faced – A few of my Favorite Things

So when I was perusing my palettes I realized that my best option was going to be Too Faced‘s A few of my Favorite Things palette (from their holiday 2013 collection). There’s enough mix of colours in this palette to satisfy me on holidays and it’s got two blushes and two bronzers as well. Most of my powder bases are completely covered with this!

The only downside is the palette is freaking huge which makes it slightly inconvenient. Thankfully it actually came with a large makeup bag so I’ll be using that for this trip as well. I have to say that I’m incredibly nervous about damaging this on vacation. The palette was limited edition and I’ll be heartbroken if I bust this or lose it while on vacation.

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And of course I’m bringing my eye primers – NARS‘ Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base and Urban Decay‘s Primer Potion in Original.

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And one pair of falsies for certain special occasions while on vacation (we’re planning to go to the Opera and get all fancy!). These are Sephora‘s Tempting lashes with some Duo eyelash glue.

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I’m also bringing along Anastasia‘s Brow Wiz in Ash Blonde/Taupe because it’ll be quick and easy to apply (versus my Dipbrow pomade).

Kat Von D‘s Tattoo Liner in Trooper is also coming along for the ride because of its easy application. I’m a winged eyeliner freak, and while I prefer gel, this is far less fussy while travelling. I love that it has a brush tip and not the regular foam/felt tip applicator that most automatic liquid pens have.

My mascara of choice is the Urban Decay Perversion sample that I received in my August 2014 Ipsy bag. This stuff is absolutely wonderful. Really black, wet formula and does wonders for my eyelashes.

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I’m not even sure I’ll wear these, but they’re good to have just in case. For foundation I have my beloved Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla. It’s the darkest foundation I own but it’s still a touch too light for me right now. Nothing a little bronzer can’t fix though!

For any blemishes when I want to look flawless, I’m also bringing along essence‘s Match 2 Cover! concealer. Having two shades in this package is incredibly handy for custom mixing a shade to my current skin shade.

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In an attempt to possibly counterbalance my precious eyeshadow palette, I’m bringing some of my absolute cheapest lip products: Two Wet n Wild lipsticks (910D and 903C) and a NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu.

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Just some essentials for my lips:

MAC Prep + Prime for lips to keep my lipsticks from bleeding outside my lipline and to increase lipstick longevity. (This product is absolutely holy grail status.)

MAC Brick lipliner for the red Wet n Wild lipstick. While the lipstick doesn’t necessarily need the liner since it’s pigmented enough, it’s just nice to have something to help clean up the edges of a red lipstick.

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And lastly, a Nivea lip balm in Milk & Honey for when I inevitably end up with chapped lips (thanks airplane air) and a bite-size Benefit Watt’s Up! cream highlighter.

I’m actually quite proud of this makeup bag. I think it’s the right choice for a “longer” (~12 days) European vacation without being overly excessive in the product department. I think the Too Faced palette really made it a lot easier since it alleviated the need to bring a bronzer and some blush options.

By the way, if you’ve been to either Prague or Vienna, I’d love to hear any of your recommendations for places to visit!

Challenge Week: Urban Decay Naked 2

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I’ll start off by saying I hugely dislike this palette. I bought the Urban Decay Naked 2 palette not long after it was released because I loved the first Naked palette so much and figured a second palette must be just as good… However, the Naked 2 has always been an absolute downer in my makeup collection. I never reach for it, and when I do, I’m forcing myself to use it just so I can say I did.

So that’s what this past week has been like. Forcing myself to use this palette. And it was painful.

My primary problem with this palette is that while some shades are beautiful… the reality is that most of them just blend into each other so much so that you’d think the colours were all completely identical. Nothing feels unique about these shades, and that’s what makes it so frustrating. I tried for a solid week to make interesting eye looks, and in the end I was just disappointed with everything.

Anyway, on with the (all completely similar) looks.


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This is the very first look I did that week, and I think it’s my favourite. The colours remind me of stuff I’ve done with the Naked 3 palette.

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Eyes

  1. Tease blended through the crease.
  2. YDK on the inner two-thirds of the lid.
  3. Busted on the outer third.
  4. Foxy to highlight the brow.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: Milani Luminoso

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Baaaad lighting. BAD.

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Eyes

  1. Bootycall on lid and to highlight the brow.
  2. Snakebite in the outer corner and through the crease.

essence get BIG! lashes mascara on my lashes and Hard Candy Skinny Dipping blush on my cheeks.


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This one’s a bit better, but it’s just not colours I tend to gravitate towards.

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Eyes

  1. Chopper on the inner two-thirds of the lid.
  2. Snakebite on the outer corner and through the crease.
  3. Foxy to highlight the brow.

MAC Dipdown fluidline to create the wing and CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: essence Autumn Peach

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This is a prime example of my problem with this palette. Can you even tell I have a different colour in the outer corner?!?! ARGH!!!

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Eyes

  1. Bootycall on the inner two-thirds of the lid.
  2. Suspect on the outer third.
  3. Tease through the crease.
  4. Foxy to highlight the brow.

Tarte gel liner in Black to create the wing and CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: Hourglass Diffused Heat
  • Highlighter: MAC Soft & Gentle
  • Lips: Rimmel Apocalips in Stellar

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Fall time! Time to bust out the dark lips!

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Eyes

  1. Verve on the inner two-thirds of the lid.
  2. Busted on the outer corner and lightly through the crease.
  3. Foxy on the brow bone.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: MAC Gingerly
  • Highlighter: MAC Silver Dusk
  • Lips: Revlon Black Cherry

 

So I tried. In the end, I really tried. But this palette just isn’t for me. I like that it completes my Naked palette collection, but man, definitely would not encourage anyone to pick this one up.