My First Look At essence Products

201408_essence1

As mentioned in a previous post, the CBB brand of the month is essence. essence products are readily available at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada, but it’s a brand I’ve never delved into before (despite encouragement from my cousin over the years).

When I got the opportunity this past month to be sent a few of their products for the CBB “The essence of Fall Beauty FotD + Giveaway” I was extremely excited. I was generously sent a package containing plenty of exciting products to play around with. I thought I’d show you what I received in my loot bad and give you my thoughts on what I liked or didn’t like.

essence - All about... palettes
essence – All about… palettes

The most exciting product for me is always going to be eyeshadows. So when I saw how vibrant these looked, not to mention how bloody cute the packaging is, I knew that I just had to start playing around with them asap.

essence - All About Paradise Palette
essence – All About Paradise Palette

My favourite out of the four palettes I received is Paradise. I do tend to use a sticky white base while using the Paradise palette just to bring out the colours even more, but I do feel this one has the best pigmentation out of the whole bunch. The colours are right up my alley too. This was the palette I used in my previous essence FotD post.

essence - All About Sunrise palette
essence – All About Sunrise palette

Their Sunrise palette, appropriately, focuses on beautiful golds and oranges with some easy to blend browns. The lightest shade in the palette makes a beautiful highlighter for cheekbones. Some of these shades can be a bit on the chunkier side which can mean problems blending.

essence - All Bought Nude palette
essence – All Bought Nude palette

A nude palette focused more on the pinker side of nudes. Personally, this isn’t something I’d reach for very often.

essence - All About Candies palette
essence – All About Candies palette

This one was the most disappointing out of the four palettes. The soft, pastel shades are beautiful in the pan, but they have little to no payoff. When you blend them out, they’re basically a sheer wash of nothing with a very faint hint of colour. You wouldn’t be able to use this palette on its own because it just doesn’t have any dimension or depth to the colours.

essence - (l-r) On the Catwalk!,  Wear Berries!,  Nude Love
essence – (l-r) On the Catwalk!, Wear Berries!, Nude Love

These really surprised me, and I’m not entirely sure why. I didn’t expect much out of essence‘s lipsticks, because I suppose I thought the quality would not be top notch given that it was a relatively inexpensive product. I was really, really wrong – these are wonderful. They’re full coverage and glide on the lips easily. No tugging and definitely no lack of pigmentation. There’s a scent to them, but I can’t quite place my finger on what it is. Out of the three that I received, On The Catwalk! is my definite favourite. It’s a luminous red that is very easy to wear.

essence XXXL shine lipgloss in Frosted Pink
essence XXXL shine lipgloss in Frosted Pink

The only gloss I received was Frosted Pink in their XXXL shine formula. The formula itself is really nice, but the colour is not for me. It’s a super frosted light pink that makes me look like I stepped back into the 80s (just add blue eyeshadow really). The smell on this one is reminiscent of strawberry wafers which may be a bonus for some people!

essence lipliner in Wish Me A Rose
essence lipliner in Wish Me A Rose

I’m not much of a lipliner person (nor a super pink one at that) so I’ve not really worn this outside of the apartment yet. The colour looks pretty good for those more typical girl-ish pink colours (the ones I tend to avoid) so I’m sure there are plenty of people out there that would make good use out of a shade like this. I can’t testify as to the wear time though!

essence silky touch blush in Autumn Peach
essence silky touch blush in Autumn Peach

This is what I’d call the perfect blush to be perfectly honest. Autumn Peach is a beautiful peach colour with incredible pigmentation. This does wonders on my cheeks, even going so far as to add a glow along with the colour. If nothing else from essence‘s line of cosmetics, try something from their blush line!

essence Stays No Matter What in Chocolate Brownie
essence Stays No Matter What in Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie is a shade stick with excellent pigmentation. This goes on opaque and smooths out better than any other cream I’ve tried. I did wear this with primer so I have no idea if this creases on its own. Highly recommended.

essence gel pencil liner in Black
essence gel pencil liner in Black

I’ve never used a gel liner in pencil format so I was excited to try this one out. This one has a twizzle up mechanism, so you don’t actually waste any product with sharpening. Despite the product being quite creamy and opaque, I can’t use this liner as I would a normal gel liner. It’s great for lining the lids, but I can’t get a sharply pointed winged out liner with this product. That being said, I’ll take this product over any other normal pencil liner because the creaminess is just wonderful. It also stays on the waterline incredibly well.

essence Get BIG! Lashes volume curl mascara
essence Get BIG! Lashes volume curl mascara

Another excellent product! Despite being called “volume and curl” I never really notice much curling action, but for me that’s irrelevant. What I look for in a mascara is something that can make my lashes incredibly black and as thick as possible. Thankfully, this seems to do the trick. The slight curve of the brush  also makes it easy to apply to my lashes.

essence Match 2 Cover concealer
essence Match 2 Cover concealer

I’m not a huge concealer user as I don’t feel the need to cover every blemish on my face so I only used this briefly on my undereyes. Since I have a bit of a tan, I used the darker shade since the pale one was just way too stark on me. I didn’t notice any creasing and very minimal “crepe-y-ness” (which is a particular problem of mine when I use products under my eyes). I think this is their only shade however, which makes this very unusable for a lot of people.

essence effect nail polish in Party Crasher and Laser Show
essence effect nail polish in Party Crasher and Laser Show

Laser Show has been covering my toenails since it showed up with Party Crasher sitting ready and waiting to be used as soon as I bore of Laser Show.

essence nail art polish in Glow in the Dark
essence nail art polish in Glow in the Dark

I’ve not tried this yet, but I can’t tell you my level of excitement for using this product as we get closer and closer to Halloween. Glow in the dark ANYTHING? Sign me up!

That’s all my goodies! Is there anything from essence that you especially like? Or anything that you think I really need to try? I’m definitely going to be taking a gander at their blushes when I’m next in Shoppers to see what other colours speak to me.

Ipsy – August 2014 Glam Bag

201408_ipsy_bag1

Everyone’s already talked about how the bag of the month looks like a deflated beach ball… So now that I’ve stolen everyone elses’ much smarter observation than my own, let’s move on to the contents of the actual bag!

The theme was back to school, but as with all Ipsy bags, the theme never really seems to make any sense. I mean it’s all makeup at the end of the day… we wear this stuff year ’round!


Urban Decay Perversion mascara
Urban Decay Perversion mascara

The big hitting product this month was Urban Decay‘s brand new Perversion mascara. People were absolutely freaking out over the size of this sample on the Ipsy threads, but when I go back and compare it to previous deluxe size samples of mascara I’ve received through Ipsy before, it’s near identical in volume. Most deluxe size samples are between 0.1 and 0.2 fluid ounces (this one is 0.1 fluid ounce). There is nothing wrong with this sample – heck you can even tell they stuffed the tube because the darn thing makes a squelching sound every time I open it. If anything, I think UD just really knew how to package this sucker.

ANYWAY. On to the actual mascara. Plain and simple: I love it. It has a natural, “normal” brush and it coats my lashes wonderfully. It’s smooth, thick and wetter than most mascara formulas, which is something I like in particular. This one is a winner, and I may very well buy the full size when I finish this one.


Dr. Brandt - Pores No More pore refiner primer
Dr. Brandt – Pores No More pore refiner primer

I had amazing results with Dr. Brandt‘s microdermabrasion scrub, but unfortunately a primer just isn’t necessary for me. It smells heavily of tea tree oil, which is really nice (if you like the scent, of course!). It has a silicone feel on the skin, which I quite like, but I couldn’t tell you if this does what it’s supposed to do because I never notice a difference with my foundation whether I use primer or not.


LORD & BERRY Black SILK mini kajal kohl liner
LORD & BERRY Black SILK mini kajal kohl liner

This is a black liner that does absolutely nothing. There’s nothing remotely enticing about this product. Lord & Berry say it’s a kohl kajal, but the damn thing is so stiff that it’s hard to get colour pay off (as you can see in my eye shot above). It was difficult to even get that much on my lid. I tried tightlining with it and I swear it smudged off within 30 seconds. I’ve not use for this liner at all.


Absolute - You're The Balm - Grape
Absolute – You’re The Balm – Grape

This one wigs me out. Absolute‘s You’re The Balm in Grape looks, feels and smells like a very cheap product. It’s a relatively clear, gelatinous balm with multicoloured sparkles mixed in. Normally the glitter would fill me with glee, but since it goes on the lips rather gritty, I really just feel like I’m wearing a Wet n Wild sparkly balm from the 90s. I’ve only tried it once and was too disgusted to try it again. It’s sitting in a corner on my makeup desk, waiting for the moment that I gather the courage to try it again…


Coastal Scents Forever Blush Sample
Coastal Scents Forever Blush Sample

These Coastal Scents blushes aren’t too bad actually. The pans are really tiny and I made the mistake of accidentally cracking the product on one of them while trying to get it out of the plastic packaging. It can be a bit difficult to get your blush brush into these products though since the pans are so bloody small. The colours, however, go on my cheeks rather nicely and have lasted throughout and entire work day, so that’s a huge bonus for a relatively inexpensive products.


201408_ipsy_bag2

Ipsy August 2014 Breakdown (all prices in USD)

  • Urban Decay Perversion mascara (0.1 fl oz @ $5.50, full size is $22 for 0.4 oz)
  • Dr. Brandt Pores No More pore refiner primer (0.25 fl oz @ $11.25, full size is $45 for 1 fl oz)
  • Absolute You’re the Balm Lip Balm in Grape ($2.99, full size)
  • Coastal Scents Forever Blush Sample Duo (2.5g @ $2, full size is $7.95 for 10g)
  • Lord & Berry Black SILK Kajal Kohl-Liner (0.6g @ $7.50, full size is $15 for… double the size? – just a guess, I can’t find sizing info anywhere)

BAG VALUE = $29.24

My Thoughts

Kalyn basically summed up my thoughts in her own post on this month’s Ipsy bag, but in essence… aside from the mascara, this bag bored me. After such an amazing last month, this bag was just an absolute downer. It was so offputting that I’m considering whether or not want to stay subscribed to Ipsy. I think I’m at this point where I’m realizing that some of this is really just unnecessary products that I use, but never really fall in love with. I’ll see how next month goes and then make a solid decision.

What’s On My Face – Volume 22

Another set of makeup roundups!


20140818_look1-1

Something nude-ish for all your neutral lovers out there!

20140818_look1-2

Eyes

  1. MAC Ricepaper as the inner corner highlight and to highlight the brow.
  2. MAC Amber Lights all over the lid.
  3. MAC Handwritten on the outer third.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: Hard CandyHula Hula
  • Blush: MACWarm Soul

20140818_look3-1

The nude lips soooo do not work with this one!

20140818_look3-2

Eyes

  1. Makeup Geek Mango Tango all over the lid.
  2. Makeup Geek Bitten on the outer half of the lid.
  3. Makeup Geek Creme Brulee through the top of the crease.
  4. MAC Shroom to highlight the brow.

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

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: NYCFire Island Tan
  • Blush: TarteCharisma
  • Highlighter: MACWhisper of Gilt
  • Lips: essenceNude Love

20140818_look2-1

A fun dark one! As I’ve said before, I usually stay away from dark lid colours but when I do try it out I generally quite like the results!

20140818_look2-2

Eyes

  1. Urban Decay Darkside all over the lid.
  2. Urban Decay Blackheart on the outer third of the lid.
  3. Urban Decay Nooner to blend out the crease.
  4. Urban Decay Strange on the browbone.
  5. Urban Decay Dust to highlight the inner corner.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: NYCFire Island Tan
  • Blush: Wet n WildPearlescent Pink
  • Highlighter: MAC - Soft & Gentle
  • Lips: MaybellineMaple Kiss

20140818_look4-1

This one doesn’t come across as well in photos as I had hoped. Isn’t it strange how that can happen? I really love orangey-reds on my lids and this was one of the first few looks I ever did that really pushed me into using more and more fiery colours.

20140818_look4-2

Eyes

  1. MAC Gleam all over the lid.
  2. MAC Coppering on the outer half of the lid and heavily through the crease.
  3. MAC Handwritten in the very outer corner.
  4. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the brow.

CoverGirl Clump Crusher mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: NYCFire Island Tan
  • Blush: TarteCharisma
  • Lips: NYX Butter Gloss – Cherry Cheesecake

20140818_look5-1

I had been lamenting how much I seem to fail at makeup looks that involve gold, primarily because I tend to combine them with brown. Kalyn showed me that gold just seems to work way better with black, so I decided to give it a shot the next time I incorporated some gold shadow.

20140818_look5-2

Eyes

  1. Maybelline Color Tattoo in Bold Gold all over the lid with Sleek‘s gold shadow from the Sunset palette layered on top.
  2. I used a strip of tape on my outer lid to create the super sharp edge, then swept on Urban Decay‘s Blackout.
  3. Makeup Geek Creme Brulee lightly through the crease to blend out the black.
  4. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the brow.

I tightlined my upper waterline with the Lord & Berry Black eye pencil and applied Urban Decay‘s Perversion mascara on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: Revlon Photoready in Bronzed & Chic
  • Blush: HourglassDiffused Heat
  • Highlighter: MAC - Whisper of Gilt
  • Lips: Revlon Sunset Peach gloss

Fitness Friday: Half Marathon Training Update


201408_halftraining1

So this is rather daunting for me: On September 14th, while on vacation in the Czech Republic, I’m going to run my first half marathon in Usti nad Labem (about an hour north of Prague). That’s almost exactly four weeks away.

Training, in all honesty, has not been that bad. I had expected it to be more strenuous and hard on the body since I’ve never consistently run so much for such a long period of time. But aside from being rather time consuming, I truly haven’t felt any ill effects on my body. I expected something really. A blown out knee, a rolled ankled,  SOMETHING.

201408_halftraining5

But nope! Over the past month or two I’ve trundled along at a decent pace with my workout plan, very rarely missing runs altogether.

The last few weeks have pretty much looked like this:

  • Week of July  3rd – 2 x 7.2k and an 11.5k
  • Week of July 13th – 2 x 7.2k and an 11.5k
  • Week of July 20th – 2 x 7.2k and a 13k
  • Week of July 27th – 2 x 7.2k and a 13k
  • Week of August 3rd – 2 x 8k and a 14.5k
  • Week of August 10th – 2 x 8k and a 15k

Each week has consisted of two support runs alongside my longer run of the week (which will cap at 17k in three short weeks). I’ve started to turn the 8k support runs into interval training in an effort to break up the monotony and hopefully increase my shorter race pace. It’s nice to actually be able to say that – a few months ago I could barely do interval training for 4k, never mind double that! Mixed amongst my runs were my regular sporting activities (soccer and, more recently, ultimate frisbee), as well as strength training.

201408_halftraining2

There’s one month left of training to do! Then I start what runners call their “taper”, which basically means reduced distance running in the week leading up to the actual half marathon to ensure that my muscles are as strong as they can be.

201408_halftraining3

It’s funny because I expected training for a half marathon to feel more monumental. More like an 80s workout montage a la Rocky movies. But it’s been smooth and easy to do. Time consuming, for sure, but painless and very easy to progress through the increased distances week after week. (And for that reason, I cannot recommend the Hal Higdon programs enough!) I even started taking energy gels throughout my long runs a few weeks ago to keep my energy up and I didn’t experience any awkward stomach cramps which was a blessing as I’ve heard some pretty uncomfortable stories from other people.

My biggest recommendations for distance running? Aside from the obvious, which is sticking to your plan, I can’t recommend changing your music enough. Change it frequently, maybe even as often as before every long run because the monotony of kilometer after kilometer can become incredibly boring. At this point I am sooooo damn tired of Ke$ha’s Timber! (And yet, it’s still on my playlist, so I just keep listening to it every. single. time. I. run.)

201408_halftraining4

I’m really looking forward to this half marathon. It’s a new challenge for me because it’ll be a distance I’ve never fully completed to date. I’m especially eager to do it in a country I’ve never been to, which means it’ll be a completely new and exciting experience.

© photos taken by Shawn Mitchell

Sad Illamasqua News & Haul

201408_illamasqua1

I don’t normally post mid-month hauls as I generally try to save all of my goodies for a big long post at the end of the month, but I had a slight panic attack today when I read Julie from Swatch and Review’s recent Illamasqua haul. She pointed out that Illamasqua was pulling out of the North American market and that all of their products were on sale at The Bay. If I had waited till the end of the month to haul this stuff, you guys would’ve been screwed!

So, I don’t know where the heck I’ve been, but when I started researching this on Google, I discovered this isn’t apparently news and the information has been out there since February. Colour me totally blind because I had NO idea. I only got into Illamasqua‘s products within the last year or so, and I’ve been a huge fan of their blushes (in particular Tweak and Hussy). Feeling somewhat panicked by the news, I stormed over to the Illamasqua counter at The Bay yesterday during my lunch break (a mere hour after I read Julie’s post) and snapped up a few products. ALL Illamasqua products are 25% while supplies last, which means you’ll be saving a pretty penny since they’re not cheap products to begin with. The woman I spoke to at the counter indicated that they were expected to pack up shop by the end of August. YIKES!

It’s worth noting that as far as I can see, Illamasqua is completely gone from Sephora as well. That being said, The Bay always carried Illamasqua at significantly cheaper prices than Sephora did, so you’ve still got a few weeks to pick up some nicely discounted products!

Here’s the loot I snagged. I may go back for more before the end of the month, but this will do for now!


Illamasqua Skin Base in shade 6.5 (on sale for $31.50 CAD, regular price is $42)
Illamasqua Skin Base in shade 6.5 (on sale for $31.50 CAD, regular price is $42)

Skin Base. If there’s one thing that Illamasqua fanatics always talk about, it’s Skin Base. I first heard about their foundation through Pixiwoo, and kind of ignored it over the years because it’s expensive and I’m a cheapo when it comes to foundation. It’s not a product I wear every day, so it’s not really essential like eyeshadow is to me. But goddamn if I wasn’t going to get this at 25% off! (And even on sale, it’s still pretty pricey at ~$32!)

The makeup artist at the counter helped me pick out the Shade 6.5 which kind of surprised me. Despite having a decent summer tan right now, I wasn’t expecting to be so high up the line of foundations (this is good news for the super pale folk out there!). According to Illamasqua’s site, Shade 6.5 is similar to MAC NC25, so it’s not nearly as dark as I thought.


Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium (on sale for $19.12 CAD, regular price is $25.50)
Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium (on sale for $19.12 CAD, regular price is $25.50)

Um hello there pretty! The Alluvium Pure Pigment is stunning in the pot (although the pots themselves are an absolute disaster packaging-wise. What a mess they make.). It looks like an incredibly dark navy blue with flecks of copper and gold sparkle. However…

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium
Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Alluvium

What sorcery is this?!?! The swatch compared to the pigment in the pot is completely baffling to me. Honestly, I prefer the shade in the pot, and I’m going to see if I can try to pull more of the darker copper sparkles out of this shade by using a brown base. It’s still beautiful though. Despite the rather unexpected blue shade, you gotta admit that is one *stunning* shade of blue.


Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static (on sale for $19.12 CAD, regular price is $25.50)
Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static (on sale for $19.12 CAD, regular price is $25.50)

The Static Pure Pigment looks an awful lot like Beguile (a Pure Pigment shade I already own), but it has far more of a pink flash to it (whereas Beguile ends up looking like snow although it has multi-coloured shimmer in it). I bought this because I don’t have anything quite like it. It reminds me of MAC‘s Transparent Glitters (teal being my favourite).

Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static
Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static

Out of focus shot to the right so you can see the pink flash to the pigment. It’s obvious in person, but man oh man is it hard to photograph straight on.


Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Raindrops (on sale for $12.75 CAD, regular price is $17)
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Raindrops (on sale for $12.75 CAD, regular price is $17)

I wasn’t sure what else to pick up from Illamasqua, so I did a bit of research before heading over. One of the things that Christine from Temptalia recommended highly was their Raindrops nail varnish. It’s a muted grey polish with flecks of silver throughout. It looks like a polish I could wear week after week. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’m excited to try it out!


Nemo helping out
Nemo helping out

And what’s a product photographing session without Nemo checking out what’s going on? :)

That’s it for this haul – if you’re interested in Illamasqua, you’ve got until the end of the month to pick up some lovely products at some very nice prices. Good luck, and let me know if you got anything!

The essence of Fall Beauty FotD + Giveaway

The Canadian Beauty Blogger brand of the month is essence! The brand has been kind enough to sponsor a giveaway for several of the CBB blogs and I was one of the lucky ones chosen to be a part of this fantastic giveaway. Having never tried any essence products before, I was excited to play around with some of their products and find out what I thought about the brand.

First up is my own Face of the Day using products from essence‘s Fall line. See below for giveaways details and how to enter.

201408_essencefotd2

Having never been one for subtle makeup, I knew when I saw the All About Paradise eyeshadow palette that I had to do something fun with it.

201408_essencefotd1

And have fun I did! I managed to use all of the colours in the incredibly vibrant six-pan palette. The end result is exactly what I wanted – something moderately tropical, semi tie-dyed and just all around fun!

Come closer, dear
Come closer, dear
Using the All About Paradise eyeshadow palette from essence
Using the All About Paradise eyeshadow palette from essence

My kind of eye look – colour EVERYWHERE!

Closed eye for more detail
Closed eye for more detail
My weapons of choice
My weapons of choice

So here’s how I did it:

201408_essenceeye3

Eyes

I first layed down a solid white base using NYX‘s Jumbo Eyeshadow Pencil in Milk to ensure that the colourful shades would pack a punch. I then used essence‘s All About Paradise eyeshadow palette:

  1. Yellow all over the inner corner and around the tearduct.
  2. The pale green on the middle of the lid.
  3. Blue in the outer corner and the outer half of the lower lash line.
  4. Pink through the crease.
  5. Champagne to highlight the brow.
  6. Peach on the inner half of the lower lid.

I then used Tarte‘s black gel liner to create the wing and then tightlined and lined my lower water line with essence‘s Black gel eye pencil. On my lashes is essence‘s get BIG! lashes mascara.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instance Radiance foundation in Cool Vanilla
  • Eyebrows: Anastasia‘s Dipbrow Pomade in Blonde
  • Bronzer: NYC‘s Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: essence Silky Touch Blush in Autumn Peach
  • Highlighter: Champagne shade from essence‘s All About Paradise palette
  • Concealer: essence Match 2 Cover! cream concealer
  • Lips: essence‘s Wear Berries!
Possible prize options
Possible prize options
The essence of Fall Beauty Giveaway

One lucky winner will win $100 worth of essence cosmetics! Items selected will be at random, but it’ll be $100 worth of awesome essence products.

Details

  • Open to residents of Canada (you must have a Canadian address that we can ship to).
  • Giveaway runs from August 10th until August 18th at 12:00 a.m. EST.
  • Winner will receive $100 in products from essence, no purchase necessary.
  • Be aware that all entries will be double checked to ensure fairness.

201408_essenceoffallbeautygiveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 


Fitness Friday: My Daily Walk to Work

I am one of the fortunate people who gets to walk to work. I work in Toronto’s downtown core and have the undeniable luxury of not having to spend money on transit. Instead, I get a lovely two and a half kilometer walk through downtown Toronto.

These pictures are actually from a few months ago when it was still spring but I’ve not had a chance to create a post for it till now. These were taken on a day when I had to be in the office at a surprisingly early hour (6 am) due to an emergency.

Time to head out!
Time to head out!

So I take off down the block, and even though I usually take a different route every day, this is typically where I start. I like this street – it can be pretty trashy at the end of it, but the upper reaches of the block are quite pretty.

Nearing Allan Gardens
Nearing Allan Gardens

End of the street and coming up to the park.

Facing east on the Carlton
Facing east on the Carlton

But one quick shot down the road of the sun rising. Timing on this was perfect and you can see the streetcar tracks down the road.

Allan Gardens
Allan Gardens

I pass through Allan Gardens pretty regularly, there are usually people doing Tai Chi, but it was way too early for them this time.

Allan Gardens + Conservatory
Allan Gardens + Conservatory

Love this shot. You can see the Allan Gardens conservatory in the background and my building wayyyyy off in the distance (tall brown one).

With Allan Gardens in the background
With Allan Gardens in the background

Super awkward taking selfies in public, but anyway. (Again, it was early spring, and still pretty cold out hence the jacket.) I walk to work in workout clothes and bring a backpack filled with my work attire (and change rapidly when I get into the office in the bathroom!).

Along Gerrard
Along Gerrard

Leaving the park and getting more into the downtown area where you can see streetcar wires criss-crossing above our heads.

Still along Gerrard
Still along Gerrard

The lighting this morning made for some beautiful shots. That’s the incredibly tall Aura tower off on the horizon.

Metro (groceries)
Metro (groceries)

I used to love walking down by the Metro so I could see the kitty cats in the window at the vet down that way, but since it’s so bright in the mornings, they put up blinds that they don’t open up till mid-day. I get to see them on the way home though! :D

Along Dundas Street
Along Dundas Street

Quintessential Toronto shot here – streetcar, Pizza Pizza location and Esso!

Church Street
Church Street

As I turn onto Church Street, I am accosted by the number of churches on this street (hence the name). They’re quite pretty to walk through, although the bums often sleep on the lawns.

Church on Church
Church on Church

Side view of one of the bigger churches on Church. This church was actually used in Boondock Saints 2 (which was a rather tragically unfortunate movie that we shall never speak of again).

MOAR CHURCH
MOAR CHURCH

So this it the point where I check my watch and I’m always late or running behind. If I don’t hit this park by 8:15 am on a typical day, I know I’m screwed for time. And since I am chronically late, I can assure you I hit this park between 8:20 and 8:25 every. single. morning.

Not even sure which street this is... Victoria maybe?
Not even sure which street this is… Victoria maybe?

Another shot that turned out rather well.

Toronto's financial district
Toronto’s financial district

And there’s my tower! I’ve always thought that particular tower looks awfully menacing with the “V” cut into the side. Like it belongs to a villain in a super hero comic.

201408_walktowork16

Made it!

At the end of the day, I’ll make the 2.5k trek back home. I’ve been walking to work for about four years now and I’ve come to really enjoy the extra fresh air and exercise to start and finish my day!

Empties – May through July 2014

201408_empties

Garbage time!

My empties bag has clearly since better days. Poor guy.

As per usual, makeup items first.


Benefit They're Real mascara
Benefit They’re Real mascara

It’s a mascara graveyard here today. I had so many bite-sized mascara samples to use up and they got completely mauled throughout the last few months.

Anyway, back to the actual product. Benefit’s They’re Real is amazing. I’ve never given in to high end mascara hype because I don’t WANT to love the product. I really do not want to develop a habit of enjoying $30 mascara at all! However… My mom even thought I was wearing false lashes when I had this on. Having used this sample size, I have to say that there’s a high chance I’ll actually end up dishing out the money on this one in the future (once I run through all my deluxe mascara samples!).

Purchase? More than likely.


L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black waterproof mascara
L’Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black waterproof mascara

I used to love this mascara, but this time round the block L’Oreal‘s Voluminous Carbon Black mascara just didn’t cut it for me. I’ll leave it for a while and then revisit it in a year or so. Maybe.

Repurchase? Eventually.


Make Up For Ever's Smoky Lash Extravagant
Make Up For Ever’s Smoky Lash Extravagant

A surprising favourite out of the bunch. MUFE’s Smoky Lash Extravagant builds up quite well and doesn’t clump. It dried up after a month or two though. I didn’t love it more than the Benefit one though.

Purchase? Unlikely.


Pop Beauty mascara
Pop Beauty mascara

No. Just no. Useless and dry.

Purchase? Hah. NO.


NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base
NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base

Love this. I’m one of the unfortunate people that NARS Smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base doesn’t actually work on its own to prevent creasing, but it does work in conjunction with Urban Decay‘s primer potion to kill all creasing so I love it for that reason. Word to the wise though, even when the wand pulls out nothing from the tube, cut that baby open and get out the remainder. There is MONTHS more product in there even after it feels empty.

Repurchase: Definitely.


Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee
Revlon Lip Butter in Creme Brulee

Absolute favourite. Revlon’s Creme Brulee lip butter is my favourite nude lip. This is my second tube of the stuff and it’s one of the easiest lip shades to wear on my complexion.

Repurchase? More than likely.


MAC Omega eyeshadow
MAC Omega eyeshadow

*The* eyebrow shade for blondes. MAC‘s Omega has the right kind of grey tint to the powder that makes my eyebrows not look overly ridiculously blonde (not that I have much in the way of eyebrows to begin with). I loved this eyeshadow, but I’m currently plugging through my Anastasia Dipbrow Pomade to try something new because this eyeshadow lasted me longer than a year even with daily use!

Repurchase? Maybe eventually, but for now I’m having fun exploring other options.


MAC Prep + Prime for lips
MAC Prep + Prime for lips

Second… third maybe? tube of MAC’s Prep + Prime for lips. Fantastic for preventing lipsticks from bleeding outside my lipline.

Repurchase? Already have!


Murad - Oil-Control Mattifier
Murad – Oil-Control Mattifier

I didn’t notice Murad’s mattifier working especially well, but then I also noticed the expiry date was roughly four months prior to when I used it. Whoops. It also smelled like glue. Ew.

Purchase? No thanks.


Barry M - Diamond Glitter
Barry M – Diamond Glitter

Ohhhh yes. Barry M‘s Diamond Glitter nail polish had a lovely home on my toenails for about six months this past year. The bottle is dead empty now which is a shame since you can’t buy Barry M in Canada!

Repurchase? If I find myself in the UK again, I will *definitely* pick this one up!


Quo - Nail Polish Remover
Quo – Nail Polish Remover

I swear Quo is the only brand of nail polish remover I can ever find at the drugstore. I default to this because it’s there, it’s functional and it’s relatively cheap.

Repurchase? Yes, because I don’t know of anything better out there!


Neutrogena Wipes
Neutrogena Wipes

No shocker here. Neutrogena‘s makeup removing wipes are the only ones I use now. Definite preference to the hydrating ones.

Repurchase? For sho.


Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover
Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Make-Up Remover

I’ve used several bottles of Neutrogena‘s makeup remover now and have another one cracked open. It doesn’t work as well on waterproof makeup as my Marcelle stuff did so I think I’ll be reverting back to the Marcelle one.

Repurchase? I have an open bottle, but aside from that I think I’m going to try something else out next time.


MOR Hand Cream - Kale and Watercress and Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer
MOR Hand Cream – Kale and Watercress and Urban Decay Anti-Aging Primer

The foil packets of the lot.

MOR Hand Cream in Kale and Watercress smelled nice, but it’s a hand cream… Nothing amazing here.

Purchase? Pass.

Urban Decay‘s Anti-Aging Primer Potion is basically the same as the Original really. I didn’t notice it really having any anti-aging properties (I basically think that anything that claims that is utter hogwash really) so meh.

Purchase? I’ll just stick to the Original one I normally use.


Fortune Cookie Soap - Captain's Berried Booty Whipped Cream
Fortune Cookie Soap – Captain’s Berried Booty Whipped Cream

FCS‘s whipped cream body butter is an awesome formula, however, their Captain’s Berried Booty scent was totally nauseating to me. It’s fruitloops and cardboard, basically.

Repurchase? Not in this scent!


Fortune Cookie Soap - Tick Tock Whipped Cream
Fortune Cookie Soap – Tick Tock Whipped Cream

Another FCS whipped cream. I liked their Tick Tock scent quite a bit. I have no idea how the scent relates to the Hunger Games, but anyway… it basically smells like clean laundry to me. Very detergent-y, but it doesn’t bother me.

Repurchase? I liked it, but not enough to repurchase it. There are other things I like more.


Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter
Tree Hut Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter

Sample size of Tree Hut‘s Coconut Lime Shea Body Butter. This was okay, but not amazing. The smell wasn’t really my cup of tea either.

Purchase? Nope.


Dermal Therapy - Hand, Elbow & Knee Moisturizer
Dermal Therapy – Hand, Elbow & Knee Moisturizer

This stuff isn’t fancy, or pretty, but oh man does it ever work. Dermal Therapy products are a godsend for anyone with incredibly dry skin. I get pretty scratchy elbows and ankles and this works miracles on them.

Repurchase? Definitely.

Dermal Therapy - Heel Care Moisturizer
Dermal Therapy – Heel Care Moisturizer

And this ganked up nasty jar is Dermal Therapy‘s Heel Care. The best thing EVER for heel cracks. This can repair the Grand-freaking-Canyon of heel cracks and make your heels look baby-butt smooth in the span of a week. I’m not kidding because I’ve seen it happen on me. (You’re welcome for that visual.)

Repurchase? Forever and a day.


Burt's Bees - Almond & Milk Hand Cream
Burt’s Bees – Almond & Milk Hand Cream

Burt’s Bees Almond & Milk Hand Cream smells nice, but it’s super thick and super greasy.

Repurchase? Nah.


Clean & Clear - Deep Action Cream Cleanser
Clean & Clear – Deep Action Cream Cleanser

One of my usual cleansers. I like how this one has a cool tingle on the skin. I do find your skin gets used to that tingly feeling though, so I tend to swap out my cleansers pretty frequently.

Repurchase? Definitely.


Boots No7 - Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser
Boots No7 – Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser

Snagged this from a friend who didn’t want to finish it up. Boots No7 Beautiful Skin Foaming Cleanser is good but the scent is a little bizarre to me. This may be completely offputting to some, but it smelled faintly like cigarettes. Or like the afterburn of a cigarette. It truly wasn’t as gross as I’m making it sound, but there was that scent to it that was really hard to place.

Purchase? Maybe, if on sale.


Fortune Cookie Soap - Lemon Drop It Like It's Hot Microdermabrasion Scrub
Fortune Cookie Soap – Lemon Drop It Like It’s Hot Microdermabrasion Scrub

FCS‘ first skincare item. I liked it at first, but the scent started to bother me over time. Nicely abrasive though.

Repurchase? Nah.


Philosophy - The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash
Philosophy – The Microdelivery Exfoliating Wash

Another product I swiped from that same friend as before. Philosophy‘s Exfoliating wash smells terrible to me. Did not enjoy it at all.

Purchase? Nope.


Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant
Dr. Brandt Microdermabrasion Skin Exfoliant

Dr. Brandt‘s Microdermabrasion skin exfoliant was AMAZING. It completely cured me of a milium spot I had on my lower left eyelid. This stuff packs a hefty price tag, but I fortunately received this sample size in an Ipsy bag. If I had milia again in the future though, I would absolutely pick this up even at the full price.

Repurchase? If necessary due to skin problems, then absolutely yes!


Aveeno - Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer
Aveeno – Clear Complexion Daily Moisturizer

A staple daily moisturizer for me. The packaging’s all messed up though. I normally get the Radiant one, but this one says Clear Complexion in English… but Radiant in French! What the hell? They’re normally two different types!

Repurchase? Definitely. I’m almost done another bottle in the bathroom already.


Eva NYC - Therapy Session Hair Mask
Eva NYC – Therapy Session Hair Mask

I wouldn’t normally post hair stuff, but this came in an Ipsy bag so I thought I’d mention it. This is nothing more than a hair conditioner. I don’t feel it did anything extra special to my hair, even when I left it on for a good ten minutes in the shower.

Repurchase? Nope.


PHEW! That’s a lot of garbage to get through. Looking at some of these products, I kind of wish I’d saved them for Kalyn’s Sample Killah month. Darn!

Challenge Week: Sleek Sunset Palette

20140804_challengeweek_sleeksunsetpalette

Helllooo stunner! Sleek‘s Sunset palette is a beauty. Every single shade in this palette packs a punch of colour so insane that it’s hard to believe something this good is sold in drugstores in the UK and Ireland (and readily available online too).

The only downside to this palette is the lack of any kind of matte shades, so I had to give up trying to use the shimmery shades as a browbone highlight because it was really becoming far too much shimmer everywhere.

Anyway, six looks this week!


20140804_look1.1

Let’s start the looks off with a bang! This was my favourite look out of the whole lot and best emulates the whole sunset idea this palette was going for.

20140804_look1.2

Eyes

  1. Gold shade on the inner corner.
  2. Orange in the middle.
  3. Bright red in the outer corner.
  4. Light and dark pink mixed together (bottom row, first and second shades from the right) and blended into the crease.
  5. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the brow.

Benefit They’re Real mascara is on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Blush: Revlon Coral Reef
  • Lips: NYX Fizzies

20140804_look3.1

A staple look for me – I always love a really bright red outer corner, but the pinkness of the lid tones down the red and makes it look far more pink, maybe magenta. The black liner helps to alleviate the look of pink eye that the pink shadow can sometimes give off.

20140804_look3.2

Eyes

  1. Pink shade on the inner half of the lid (bottom row, first shade from the right).
  2. Red shade on the outer half and blended through the crease. Also used in the outer corner of the lower lash line.
  3. MAC Blanc Type too blend out the red and highlight the brow.

Tarte‘s Black gel liner to create the wing and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: NYC Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: MAC Sea Me, Hear Me
  • Highlighter: MAC Soft & Gentle
  • Lips: MAC Viva Glam Cyndi

20140804_look2.1

Odd combo, particularly with the lips, but I do like how it turned out. I’m slowly learning to try lip colours with bright eye makeup and sometimes it works out!

20140804_look2.2

Eyes

  1. Gold shade on the inner half of the lid.
  2. Dark purple on the outer half (bottom row, first from the left).
  3. Black to deepen the outer corner.
  4. Light pink (bottom row, second from the right) to highlight the brow. (Do this lightly or you’ll end up with shimmer overkill!)

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

Rest of the Face

  • Bronzer: Hard Candy Hula Hula
  • Blush: MAC Sea Me, Hear Me
  • Highlighter: MAC Whisper of Gilt
  • Lips: Revlon Snow Peach lipstick with Revlon Sunset Beach gloss on top

20140804_look6.1

I think I was going for bronzy-shimmery for a summer evening.

20140804_look6.2

Eyes

  1. Peachy-gold shade all over the lid (bottom row, third from the right).
  2. Pinky-red on the outer half and through the crease (top row, third from the left).
  3. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the browbone.

MAC‘s fluidline in Dipdown to create the wing and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: NYC Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: Hard Candy Skinny Dipping
  • Highlighter: MAC Whisper of Gilt

20140804_look4.1

Another odd/interesting mashup (to me anyway). When the eyes are closed, I wasn’t a huge fan of how this turned out, but when they’re open there’s a huge pop of that blue that I really love.

20140804_look4.2

Eyes

  1. Peachy-gold shade all over the lid.
  2. Blue in the outer corner and through the crease.
  3. Dark purple and black used to darken up the outer corner.
  4. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the brow.

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

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: NYC Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: Hard Candy Skinny Dipping
  • Highligher: MAC Soft & Gentle
  • Lips: Revlon Sunset Beach

20140804_look5.1

I didn’t realize this was going to come out looking so similar to some of the other ones this past week!

20140804_look5.2

Eyes

  1. Light pink (bottom row, second from the right) in the middle of the lid.
  2. Pinky-maroon (bottom row, second from the left) on the inner and outer corners of the lid.
  3. MAC Blanc Type to highlight the brow.

Tarte‘s Black gel liner for the wing and Make Up For Ever Smoky Lash Extravagant on my lashes.

Rest of the Face

  • Foundation: Boots No7 Instant Radiance in Cool Vanilla
  • Bronzer: NYC Fire Island Tan
  • Blush: Tarte Charisma
  • Highlighter: Too Faced Candlelight
  • Lips: Too Faced Coral Fire

If you’re interested in checking out other Challenge Weeks I’ve done, clicky below!

July 2014 Favourites

201407_favourites

ALRIGHT PEOPLE! It is 1:07 a.m. Friday night (aka Saturday morning), this blog post was supposed to get posted at 8 a.m. this morning, but clearly that did not happen. I’m a few glasses *cough*bottle*cough* of wine down, my photos are edited, I have episodes of Supernatural playing in the background should I require immediate distraction, and I just need to provide you with insightful data on what I loved this month.

Shall we proceed?

WE SHALL.

Too Faced - Coral Fire
Too Faced – Coral Fire

HNNGGGGGG. Call this my lipstick of summer. (Really, call it whatever you want, I’ll just be over in the corner calling it pretty.) This is Too Faced‘s Coral Fire and it apparently fits into their “red” category of lipsticks. Uh… okay. On ME it’s (oh god, am I really saying this?) it’s a fiery coral. Derp.

Herrrrp
Herrrrp

It’s deeper than most corals, but I can’t get away from the fact that I do feel it’s actually *coral* in nature. I don’t think it’s red (like Too Faced does), but anyway. It’s beautiful. It’s a colour that just suits me – I’m always shocked by my appearance when I see myself in the mirror while wearing this. It’s slightly pink, slightly “red”, slightly coral, creamy, luminous and it just *works* on me. It’s the kind of shade that makes you want the entire collection because you figure that one colour must make the ENTIRE LINE be as beautiful on yourself as this one shade is. Not to mention the luscious sweet lemon scent of the product which is TO DIE FOR, just so we’re clear, and totally unique as far as I’m aware!

Even if you don’t like this shade, I encourage you to try something from Too Faced‘s La Creme line. All of the lip shades I have from this line are glorious on a level I didn’t even know existed. Plus the name appeals to me. Aside from the colour, we all need to acknowledge the fact that packaging and the naming conventions of products do inspire us to like products more. If this was called “pink-red”, I’d probably like “meh”. But it’s not. It’s called Coral Fire, and it makes me swoon.


Sleek - Sunrise palette
Sleek – Sunrise palette

Sleek does gorgeous makeup through and through. Their 12 pan eyeshadow palettes are my absolute favourite product by them. I used the Sunset palette extensively throughout an entire week this past month! (upcoming Challenge Week coming this following week with this very palette) and could not believe I had used this palette so little before then. The colours are phenomenally pigmented. The only downfall is a lack of matte colours. But let’s get real here – you’ve got mattes in your collection somewhere, and you can definitely break them out to use in conjunction with this palette.


Nicka K - Shimmer Eyeliner in Green
Nicka K – Shimmer Eyeliner in Green

Like Sarah, I’ve also been loving this liquid eyeliner this month. Nicka K‘s Shimmer Eyeliner in Green (uhhh *sorta* green) arrived in my June 2014 Ipsy Glam Bag.  I loved it at the time, but used it a few times and kind of disregarded it.

I’ll say the bad right off the bat: the brush is fucking weird. It’s not felt, foam or brush tip. It’s some weird plastic contraption that actually causes some patchiness when you apply it. The other downside is that it stains.

The upsides? IT STAINS, WHICH MEANS IT STAYS PUT FOREVER. The colour is incredible. The vibrancy and shimmer is completely unparalleled in anything I own. And it retails for $6 freaking dollars. My MUFE Aqualiner (read: is expensive) doesn’t even perform this well. I don’t mind staining when it means I can wear a product forever. And that colour… good lord. This is worth buying. And I want every shade.

I’m writing too many paragraphs, which generally means you’ve skipped over to the next picture and given up on me. But I love this, and it’s been my only eye makeup of choice when I’m visiting nearby friends or on a hot day when I really can’t be bothered to wear multiple eyeshadows.


Julep - Paris
Julep – Paris

Kalyn sent me this when I won a giveaway on her blog and I could kiss her for it. This is Julep‘s Paris nail polish. I don’t know much about Julep, but I know I love this. This is a chunky holographic glitter with a gold sheen. As I’ve mentioned before, I wear glitter on my toenails 24/7. When she sent me this, I had just run out of my current glitter polish and needed a replacement.  I’ve worn this on my toes for the entire month of July and I only have about a third of the bottle left. I *love* this stuff!


MAC - Sea Me, Hear Me
MAC – Sea Me, Hear Me

When I bought MAC‘s Sea Me, Hear Me blush I kind of made fun of it in my head. I mean it… to me, it was a fall colour being promoted in the summer. “The heck am I going to do with this thing throughout the summer? It’s too damn dark!” is what I told myself.

Lies. All lies.

I wore the pants out of this blush this month. Despite the swatch, it goes on my cheeks slightly more orange, which means I’ve kind of paired it with some odd combinations this month… but really, I don’t care. Because it’s an extra dimension blush (which has always meant “harder than normal” texture to me), I need to use a stiff duo-fiber brush to dig into the product. Buff it on, blend it out and pray for the best. It’s beautiful. To me it’s a more vibrant, showy Tarte Exposed. Which is perfect for the summer!

And really, I bought it because the packaging was pretty. (Show of hands, you know you did it too!)


Cat butt alert
Cat butt alert

And this was a blurry Nemo. Because you know he wasn’t going to miss out on on showing off some cat butt for this post!

And now, my favourite gif, because this entire WORK MONTH has felt like this. My boss sent it to me today and I was reminded of how much I love this gif. Grumpy cat, I <3 u4lyf.

Staaaahp
Staaaahp