Recap of 2014: My Picks for the Best Beauty and Makeup

With it being the last day of 2014, I thought I'd end the year by recapping my favourite products as reviewed by me! I've had the chance to try a crap ton of products (as attested by Mr. Artist) this year. Some were duds, some were meh, but there were a few standouts.

Here are some of my "best of" from the past year:

Face and body care picks

L'Occitane Control Styling Prep Cream | Just J | Recap of 2014 - best of

Best hair treatment: L'Occitane Control Styling Prep Cream - a lightweight, nourishing leave-in conditioner that I've been raving about since September. This cream keeps my hair soft and manageable even after a perm and daily curling.

L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub | Just J - Recap of 2014: best of

Best body scrub: L'Occitane Aromachologie Revitalizing body scrub - L'Occitane wins again! I can't get enough of this body scrub this winter. Its invigorating citrus scent and soft granules mixed in with sunflower oil, spearmint oil and grapefruit oil exfoliate away dry skin and coat it in softness.

Best eye cream: Lise Watier Age Control Supreme eye cream - this is one of the ONLY eye creams that has ever had any significant effect on the fine dryness lines under my eyes. This cream is thick, luxurious and feels like it's hugging your skin when applied. Let it do its magic and you'll awake to plump, softer skin.

Makeup picks

lancome grandiose mascara | Just J - Recap of 2014: best of beauty and makupe
Wearing the Lancome Grandiose mascara

Best mascara: Lancome Grandiose - the unique "swan-like" wand helps you get even the teeniest inner lashes. This mascara got me plenty of the "are your lashes real?" reaction, which is always my gauge for a killer mascara. This large tube lasted me forever and now that I'm back to using regular mascara wands, I'm really missing this unique product.

Best foundation: Lancome Teint Visionnaire - This full-medium coverage foundation is watery, but truly feels like you're wearing nothing at all. It's pricey at $60 but well worth it as it lasts forever! It doesn't clog pores or cake and comes in a wide variety of shades - I can't recommend this one enough.

Ladykin One Touch Bling Glow lipstick | Just J | Recap of 2014: best of beauty and makeup

Best lipstick: Ladykin One Touch Bling Glow lipstick in Fall Rose - I've raved about this on the blog and on Instagram, I love this lipstick that much. This lipstick is pigmented, has a dewy finish and decent lasting power. It is creamy but not overly soft as my beloved Lip Butters can sometimes be. The shade Fall Rose is one that I'm obsessed with as it's a beautiful MLBB on me that brightens up my complexion with just one swipe. The only downside? Unavailable in North America!

Best makeup sponge: Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge - While I've always wanted to try the famed Beauty Blender, paying that much for foam is just too silly for me. Luckily, Real Techniques has a very affordable and awesome option! The shape of this sponge is perfect for getting into those little corners of my nose where I have redness, while the blunt rounded end does a great job of stippling for overall coverage.

Chella Ivory lace highlighter pencil | Just J | Recap of 2014: best of beauty and makeup

Best highlighter: Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter pencil - this ivory tone has convinced me of the power of "white" eyeliners. Its soft texture allows you to easily swipe this whereever you need a little light on your face: cheekbones, cupid's bow, brow bone, inner eye corner - the options are so many! I love to wear just this along my waterline and a little mascara on the weekends while running errands. It really does make you look more awake and refreshed!

Clinique A Black Honey Affair eyeshadow palette | Just J | Recap of 2014: best of beauty and makeup

Best eyeshadow palette: Clinique A Black Honey Affair - this was my first Clinique palette and I'm in love with the versatility and staying power of this neutral palette. This palette contains a full range of brown and purple tones, which are among my go-to colors!

Best blush palette: Tarte Pin-up Girl Amazonian Clay 12 Hour blush palette - another new foray for me was into Tarte Cosmetics, with their new limited-edition palette. I bought this during the Sephora VIB sale and have been using it practically everyday since. These blushes are crazy pigmented and blend beautifully into my skin. Unlike my cream blushes, they also last for hours without touch-ups and the palette format allows me to mix and match as I please to create a variety of looks.

I hope you enjoyed these picks! Have you tried any of the above?

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Happy Holidays!

Hi everyone,

Just a very quick post today (I'm writing it while eating my earl grey breakfast scone) as I just wanted to let you know that I'm officially/unofficially on my annual Christmas break from my blog. Posting will be intermittent or non-existent for the next couple weeks as I take a break and head home for the holidays!

Whether you're a new or old reader, thank you SO MUCH for another great year. I really appreciate anyone who bothers to make a visit to this little blog of mine and I read each and every comment.

I've been mulling over what new things I want to try and accomplish next year with my blog - details to come soon on that - but the short story of it is that I'd like rediscover the joy of blogging. There's been a lot of talk in the blogosphere on blogger burnout and the pressure of the "game". To a lesser extent I've been feeling it as well. With all of life's stresses and frustrations, blogging needs to be my haven.

So here's to new beginnings in 2015 and I hope you all have an amazing holiday filled with family, friends and of course FOOD!!



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The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur Eye Primer Review | Concealer + Primer = Time saver!

I'm not a morning person, so any seconds I can save off my morning rush is a god-send as I tend to sleep in to the very last possible minute. That's where multi-purpose products come in. Recently I got the chance to try out The Body Shop's All-In-One Instablur Eye Primer, the first eye primer to be released by the UK brand.

Just J: The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur Eye Primer Review

The Product
Designed to conceal dark circles, fight off redness and act as a makeup base, the All-In-One Instablur Eye Primer is meant to be applied to bare lids before any other makeup and will enhance and prolong eyeshadow wear. Available in only one shade, this is definitely meant for those with light-medium skin tones (for reference, I am an NC-25).

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this primer are:
  • Isododecane - an emollient that provides a smooth, spreadable texture
  • Dimethicone - a silicone that serves a variety of purposes, such as an emollient, providing a slippery texture and filling in lines/plumping up skin
  • Vinyldimethyl/Trimethylsiloxysilicate Stearyl Dimethicone - similar to the above
  • Silica - a moisture absorbent that also provides a slippery, spreadable texture

Price & Packaging
A 10 mL tube will cost you $15, which is on the higher end for TBS, but not high for primer products overall. The packaging is a discreet, small tube which is perfectly sized to fit in a purse. It also features a small pointed tip, which makes for easy precise application.

Just J: The Body Shop All-In-One Instablur Eye Primer Review
Left: unblended. Right: blended

Normally, I don't like primers that are heavy on the silicones as I worry about them covering and suffocating my skin. Dimethicone is supposed to be non-comedogenic however and since this is also only for the eye area, I'm not too worried about breakouts. This primer has that typical silicone feel to it, in that it's very silky and easily blends into skin. The color of this primer exactly matches my skin tone, which is good and bad; good because it's a seamless skin match, but bad because it takes more product to cover up my dark circles. This primer does do a good job at counteracting any redness on my eye lids and provides a smooth base for makeup.

In terms of how well this primer helps perk up eyeshadows, I'm pretty skeptical. I didn't notice any real difference in the vibrancy or application of shadows as I do with my normal go-to, the Urban Decay Primer Potion. In terms of longevity, this primer is pretty decent and for the most part, prevented my shadow from creasing by the end of the day. It doesn't fare as well though with darker or heavier shadow looks and after a few hours, I noticed slight creasing.

Final Verdict
Ditch - this is a decent primer that I would recommend if you want something affordable, but for me, I personally want more of a workhorse.

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Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in LA Exclusive Review | Color, not stickiness

What's the difference between a lip gloss and a lip stain? I don't know. Both come in tubes with similar looking deer foot or brush applicators. Both come in a wide variety of colors and pigmentation levels. Both offer glossy color and are kinda known for being sticky, but not always. Really, it all seems a bit like marketing speak, but this is a stain for some reason, so let's go with that.

Just J: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in LA Exclusive Review

The Product
The Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains came out awhile ago and to much hype and rave reviews. Available in 11 different shades, these have been dubbed as a high impact lip stain, which promise to give you the pigmentation of your dreams, with a glossy "wet" finish, no stickiness AND while moisturizing your lips with vitamin E and aloe.   I've had a couple lying in my stash that I didn't get a chance to try out until recently and I was eager to see if they lived up to the hype.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this product are:
  • Octyldodecanol - an emollient and thickener
  • Polyglyceryl-2 Diisostearate - an emollient
  • Butylene Glycol - provides texture and gloss
  • Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oleosomes - a natural ingredient that acts as an emollient
Other ingredients of note are some well-known moisturizers: aloe vera, shea butter and panthenol.

Price & Packaging
One tube will cost you around $10 at your most drugstores, so pretty standard pricing for Revlon lip products. What marks this lip stain as different though is the high-end styling of the packaging. With its sharp, rectangular corners and simple white labeling, these lippies come off as very "fashion" and definitely very unlike the lip gloss of your teeny-bopper years.

The shade I received to try was LA Exclusive, a medium tone blue-pink. While light blue-pinks and I are not friends, medium tones blue-pinks and I are quite congenial. This color looks super natural on me, despite that it's a fairly light shade compared to my natural lip color, which is more of a rose-brown.

The pigmentation on this product is to die for; super thick and totally covers up everything, even the dark spot on my lower lip! It's so thick that it just fills in the lip lines too without settling, giving the illusion of fuller lips and without any stickiness. My lips just felt moist, soft and full. The color lasted the usual couple of hours before fading. Since this was a lighter shade, the color faded away nicely, but I couldn't say whether the darker shades would wear the same.

Just J: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in LA Exclusive Review

The only thing I didn't really like about this lip stain was the brush. It's very bristly and wider in a distinct leaf-shape. The pointed tip is handy for outlining the cupid's bow, but I hated how thick and bristly it was. I found that mine would often end up with little crusties that I'd have to wipe off before applying, which was kinda gross and not convenient for touch-ups. I would have much preferred if the applicator was a brush instead, which I think would allow for more even application.

Just J: Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stain in LA Exclusive Review
Sorry, no in action shot today! My chin is going all crazy with breakouts, so it's talk to the arm this time.

Final Verdict
Buy - Gorgeous, pigmented color for $10? You can't go wrong!

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L'Occitane Arlesienne Eau de Toilette review | Attain that French mystique in a bottle

Just J: L'Occitane Arlesienne Eau de Toilette review

I don't know if French women in real life are actually like this (I'm sure there must be some out there with frizzy hair and sweatpants), but the idea of what a French woman is is certainly renowned throughout the world. Who wouldn't dream of attaining their elusive perfection? That carefree elegance and charm?

Well, L'Occitane knows your secret yearning. They have built their business upon it and their latest collection perfectly encapsulates that French feeling. The new Arlésienne collection, which I mentioned during a previous post, is a line of bath and beauty products inspired by the classical French woman. One part mystery and two parts seduction, the Arlésienne collection is designed to inspire and captivate, particularly with the centerpiece of this collection: the Arlésienne Eau de Toilette perfume. 

Just J: L'Occitane Arlesienne Eau de Toilette review

Like all L'Occitane fragrances, it is packaged in a simple, beautifully crafted bottle. It's also quite a generous size, coming in at 75 mL for $48. To find such a quality scent at under $50 is quite the deal and is one of the reasons why I love L'Occitane fragrances so much.

The Arlésienne is quite a unique fragrance in my collection as it contains notes of violet, saffron from Provence and rose from Grasse. The resulting mix is heady and very floral with just a hint of spice. I loved this scent on the swatch stick and on my skin, it smells mostly the same. I have heard that it can change depending on your skin, so definitely try a sample first before purchasing.

Just J: L'Occitane Arlesienne Eau de Toilette review

When first sprayed, this toilette smells very fresh and light, then slowly deepens after a minute as the saffron surfaces. The whole effect lasts for about 3-4 hours, which is in line with the wear time of my other L'Occitane perfumes. This one is quite different for me and makes me feel very womanly and luxurious and the spiciness definitely gives it a sauciness. While those more into spicy, oriental fragrances may find this a little too light, for a beginner like myself who usually sticks strictly to light florals and fresh notes, it's quite heavy enough.

If perfumes aren't your fancy, you can also try out the Arlésienne scent with the other products in this collection, such as the body milk, soap, hand creams and candles, all available in stores and online.

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Guest Post From The Lazy Laquerista: Cetaphil DERMACONTROL Review

Hello Just J readers!

MizzJ was kind enough to hook me up with Cetaphil Canada when their new product line was more appropriate for my skin type than hers.  After two weeks of use I'm hear to share the results and my thoughts with you.

The Products:
According to Cetaphil, the Oil Control Foam Wash is a gentle, non-drying, soap-free foam that effectively cleanses the skin of excess oil without compromising the skin barrier or resulting in over compensation of sebum production.  The Oil Control Moisturizer is a non-greasy, lightweight facial moisturizer for daily use in the skincare routine with the added benefits of broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 protection.

Just J - Guest Post From The Lazy Laquerista: Cetaphil DERMACONTROL Review

My Skin:
I'm in my late 20's with combination acne prone skin.  My cheeks tend to be dryer and my T-zone and chin more oily.  I don't have full blown acne but I there are always a few smaller pimples on my chin and/or cheeks.  I rarely get them on my nose or forehead.  This product appealed to me because I thought it might help with my pimples and keep my shiny forehead under control.

The Test:
I used the foam wash and moisturizer every morning instead of my normal cleanser (The Body Shop Tea Tree Facial Cleanser) and my usual moisturizer (Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief) for two weeks.  The following photos show me with no make up right after using the products in the morning and then again at the end of the day.

Just J - Guest Post From The Lazy Laquerista: Cetaphil DERMACONTROL Review
First day of use - Beginning of day First day of use - End of day

Just J - Guest Post From The Lazy Laquerista: Cetaphil DERMACONTROL Review
Two weeks of use - Beginning of day Two weeks of use - End of day

Things I Liked:
  • The cleanser was very light and rinsed off well to leave my skin feeling clean, but not stripped of moisture.  
  • I like that the moisturizer had SPF protection.

Things I Didn't Like:
  • The scents.  The cleanser smelled somewhat 'chemically'.  The moisturizer smelled just like sunscreen.
  • The packaging.  I fell like they put the lid/cap on the wrong product.  The cleanser came with a cap over the pump.  When I'm in the shower with wet slippery hand removing smooth plastic caps can be a little difficult.  I ended up just leaving the cap off permanently.  The moisturizer didn't come with a cap over the pump.  This meant that the little bit of moisturizer left in the end of the nozzle would dry out before the next use.  I ended up with little dried white clumps mixed in with the new moisturizer when I would use it.
  • The results.  I really didn't see any noticeable improvements in my skins appearance after two weeks.  I actually broke out really badly about one week in.  I'm not sure if my skin was just adjusting or if there was another culprit?  I also noticed that I'm getting more small bumps on my forehead and some pimples along my hairline after using these products.

These products just didn't do it for me.  The benefits didn't materialize and I ended up with more pimples than when I started.  I'll switching back to my old products.  I may save the moisturizer for beach vacations and summertime activities though since it doesn't affect my skin as badly as plain old sunscreen.  Have you tried these products? Did they work for you? 

I hope you found this review helpful and informative.  If you like what you see come check my out in my natural habitat,

Happy polishing,


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November Beauty Favourites

Just J: november beauty faves

Another month, another set of favourites! Last month was all about the new makeup faves for me thanks to some recent purchases and PR samples! Certainly one of the best parts of being a blogger is the chance to try out products you may never have even heard of otherwise. During times of stress and sadness, I can always count on the fact that at least one thing I can control is my appearance and how I feel about myself. Makeup may be superficial, but I think it really does have the power to transform how you feel.

Now onto my favourites this past month!

1. Barbine shea butter hand cream - I've been using this daily since receiving it in my first Memebox last month. This hand cream has quite a strong fragrance, but it absorbs quickly and leaves my hands feeling soft literally all day! View full review.

2. Got2B Rise n' Shine Blow Dry cream - this lightweight cream is applied to damp hair and acts as a heat protectant and reduces your blow dry time to just a couple of minutes! My hair already dries pretty quickly as it's fine, but it dries even faster with this cream.

3. Tarte Pin-up Girl Amazonian Clay 12 Hour blush palette - I purchased this, my first blush palette, during the Sephora VIB sale and have been hooked ever since. These blushes are crazy pigmented, apply smoothly and give a true, velvety finish. Each shade is unique from the others and can be mixed together to create a variety of looks. My faves out of this palette are Breathless for contouring, Embraced for that perfect plum winter look, and Whimsy for a girlish flush.

4. Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter pencil - this soft smudgy pencil can be used on eyes and face to highlight and illuminate your face. Seriously amazing, this pencil is the perfect brightening color for my skin tone! View full review.

5. Clinique A Black Honey Affair All About Shadow palette - alongside my Tarte palette, this one has become a daily go-to. My first Clinique palette, I was amazed at how soft and wearable the colors were and the pigmentation is top-notch. This palette is a great mix of warm browns and cool purples, which surprisingly work well together. View full review.

Tried any of these? Let me know your thoughts!

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Memebox Superbox #65 review | Korea's Most Wanted 2

I'm so excited to share with you another Memebox review! This time around, I received the Superbox #65 - Korea's Most Wanted 2, which contains a mix of best-of skincare and makeup products!

For those unfamiliar with Memebox, it's a Korean subscription box that delivers you the best of Korean cosmetics and beauty products. What makes Memebox different though, is that you don't pay a monthly fee and you don't get a box of mystery items each month. You simply sign up for alerts of new boxes and then only purchase the ones you want. It's perfect for someone like me, who is curious about Korean beauty, but not wanting the commitment of a monthly subscription.

My experiences so far with Memebox have been excellent and this second box did not disappoint. Here's the lowdown on all the goodies I received:

Elroel Tone Up Sungel

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Elroel Tone Up Sungel

Price: $13 (on sale!)
Size: Full
What it is: An all-in-one wonder product that works as a makeup base, redness reducer, has SPF 50, and contains antioxidants.
What's in it: 
  • Tea tree extract - an antioxidant
  • Lotus flower extract - a moisturizer
  • Cactus leaf extract - an antioxidant

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Elroel Tone Up Sungel

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Elroel Tone Up Sungel
Straight out of the tube and blended

Effectiveness: This feels very similar to a CC cream and works similarly. It's a bit thick, likely due to the sunscreen properties, so if you're not used to a BB or CC cream, this may take some getting used to. Despite that, it's very easy to spread and blend. The cream itself is a minty green color which works wonders to eliminate redness on my face and leaves it brighter and whiter! It also has decent priming properties.
Final Verdict: Buy - I love this product!

Hiello Blooming Multi-firming cream

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Hiello blooming multi-firming cream

Price: $50
Size: Full
What it is: A thick night cream that targets aging factors and repairs skin overnight, leaving it soft and luminous. This cream can be used as a daily night cream, or as an overnight hydrating mask.
What's in it:
  • Papaver rhoeas (corn poppy) extract - astringent, helps firm up skins elasticity
  • Cyclomethicone - a silicone that helps plump up fine lines (temporarily), is an emollient, helps to provide a smooth, spreadable texture and acts as a delivery system for other ingredients
  • Hydrogenated coconut oil - an emollient
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Hiello blooming multi-firming cream

Effectiveness: Since I've been busy using the Nivea Sensitive night cream, I've been using this cream twice a week as an overnight moisturizing mask. I've recently gotten into the habit of overnight masks and they're a great way to deliver a surge of moisture to skin right after a good exfoliating session or deep-cleansing mask. The Blooming cream feels very thick and almost waxy, so it's a little hard to pick up from the jar with your fingers. Once on it feels very nice on skin, leaving a moist, but not sticky feeling. The next morning my face does feel smoother and plumper! Once I'm done my Nivea, I'm definitely switching to using this one daily. 
Final Verdict: Buy

Kskin Emu Leg R-free Massage cream

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Kskin emu leg R-free massage cream

Price: $46
Size: Full
What it is: A stimulating moisturizer just for legs designed to relax and rejuvenate.
What's in it:
  • Emu oil - similar to olive oil and mineral oil, this oil derived from the fat of emus is an emollient. There are also claims that it is anti-inflammatory and contains anti-aging properties. 
  • Hyaluronic acid - a moisturizer
  • Menthol - usually seen in lip plumping products and as a fragrance, this ingredient has antibacterial properties, but can be irritating so patch test first
Effectiveness: It's a little weird to me to use a different product just for my legs and I was a little disappointed that this one didn't contain any anti-cellulite or slimming properties. The texture of this cream is also different from most lotions. It's initially a little sticky, but spreads easily like a gel. Once this hits your skin, a very strong peppermint scent wafts off; in fact, this smells exactly like mint toothpaste! It's refreshing in a way, but unexpected. A minute after application, my legs began to tingle and feel cool all over due to the menthol. What was funny too is that the tingling seemed concentrated on certain areas, like my inner thighs, even though I applied it evenly all over. I got excited thinking that maybe this did mean that this cream had slimming or anti-cellulite properties, but sadly no go. This cream just seems gimmicky and doesn't deliver any different result from any other lotion.
Final Verdict: Ditch 

LadyKin One Touch Bling Glow lipstick

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Ladykin one touch bling glow lipstick

Price: $11
Size: Full
What it is: A silky smooth, hydrating and pigmented lipstick. Available in three shades: Fall Rose, Deep Plum Burgundy and Chic Red. I received Fall Rose

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Ladykin one touch bling glow lipstick

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - Ladykin one touch bling glow lipstick

Effectiveness: As the only purely makeup item in the box, I was at first a little disappointed with this one as a lipstick doesn't seem very "super". Also, the color was a pinky-brown, which is pretty MLBB, but boy was I wrong. I LOVE this lipstick and have been wearing it almost everyday. It's the perfect winter MLBB color and goes perfectly with a soft eye and flushed cheeks. The color is pretty much a match for my natural lip color, but richer and rosier. It wears for hours and fades nicely. Applied solo, the color is rich and pigmented in one stroke. Over top of lip balm, I had to apply a bit heavier as my balm was slippery.
Final Verdict: Buy

The Face Shop Calendula Eden Essential Moisture essence

Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - The Face Shop calendula eden essential moisture essence

Price: $9
Size: Full
What it is: Is it an essence? A serum? Who knows, but this product from popular Korean chain The Face Shop is designed as a pre-moisturizer treatment that delivers a hit of hydration and soothes skin.
What's in it:
  • Calendula extract - derived from marigolds, this natural ingredient acts as an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant
  • Hyaluronic acid - a moisturizer that promotes collagen formation
Just J: Memebox superbox #65 - The Face Shop calendula eden essential moisture essence

Effectiveness: I wasn't sure in which step to use this product, so I tried using it twice daily: first in the morning between my moisturizing toner and day cream, and at night after my serum. After a couple weeks though, I began to notice that my skin was starting to break out a bit, so thinking that maybe my skin was becoming over saturated, I switched to only using this during the day. This essence/serum delivers a welcome shot of moisture to my face and feels very cool and soothing. It also has a slight floral scent which is very relaxing and reminescent of spa beauty products. The texture of the product is watery and spreads easily. To use, I take a pump and warm it between my fingers and then spread it on my face, patting it in gently with my fingertips. I wish I had the ingredients list for this one as I do wonder if it contains any silicones since it leaves my face feeling very silky and soft. 
Final Verdict: Buy

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12 Days of Christmas | Christmas tag

Thanks to Glitter Diaries for the inspiration for this fun Christmas themed tag! Rather than doing the usual wishlist post, I thought I'd share some of my Christmas memories and traditions. And yes, I am listening to Christmas carols while writing this post!

2013-12-09 21.12.30
Have a very derpy Christmas!

1. What is your favourite Christmas movie(s)?
Oh man, how to narrow it down? As a kid and an adult, I will always have a soft spot for the traditional movies - I'm talking those super old-school, made with puppets and clay, ones for Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. I would watch those every year as a kid and was utterly fascinated with how they made those puppets move. In terms of modern movies, my favourites are Love Actually and The Holiday!

2. Do you open your presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning?
My family opens one present on Christmas Eve and then the rest the next day. It's a pretty big ritual of shaking and prodding the presents under the tree to pick that most auspicious sounding one to open before all others. Usually, there are a few that are "off-limits" as they're too good to open on Christmas Eve!

3. Do you have a favourite Christmas memory?
My favourite Christmases growing up were the ones where my entire extended family would come together as a kid. The house was full of craziness: wrapping everywhere, people talking, kids running around and the smell of good things wafting throughout. Christmas is about spending time with your family and those were my favourite times where I would run around all day with my cousins.

4. Favourite festive food?
Again, too many to count! I love all holiday foods, but I definitely have my favourites: stuffing, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes and Chinese sticky rice with sausage and mushrooms!

5. Favourite Christmas gift? 
I don't think I have one actually!

6. Favourite Christmas scent?
The smell of baking cookies and of a roasting turkey. The piney-fresh scent of a real Christmas tree.

DSCF0115 - Copy

7. Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
See answer to #2! Plus, we usually have a family dinner together.

8. What tops your tree?
Which one? Growing up, we had 4 trees - 2 big ones and a little one each for my sister and I. Each tree had a different topper as well! Yeah, we kinda like Christmas in our house.

9. As a kid, what was the one (crazy, wild, extravagant) gift you always asked for, but never received?
Haha, my mom will laugh reading this one. It was this tablet (before there were tablets) that you could connect to your TV and draw on. I'm not sure why I wanted that one so bad considering I wasn't a big drawer, but there you go. I asked for it two years in a row and gave it "****" on my list to emphasize how much I wanted it, but no luck!

10. What's the best part of Christmas for you?
I think the general air of happiness and how the world seems brighter and more joyful. From the lights and the carols, to everyone saying "Merry Christmas" to each other, to the delicious food (oh the food!) and spending time with friends and family, I just love the season for how it brings out the best in everything. After it's all over, everything seems a little dull and lifeless.

I'd love to hear about your Christmas memories, so let me know in the comments your thoughts!

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Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks | Up your makeup game this holiday!

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks

The holidays are all about that sparkle thang. More so than any other time of year, winter holidays is the time to bust out those sequins, those jewels and of course that glittery, colorful, fantastic makeup!

Really, you should be allowed to wear crazy makeup any time of year, but since most of society is BORING, us makeup lovers have to really take advantage of the season. Lucky for me and for you, Revlon has got our backs with the new release of their lid + line + lash sticks called the Photoready Eye Art.

Coming in ten bold shades, each stick is dual ended with one side containing a shimmery cream shadow and the other end a clear glittery topper.

Recently I was lucky enough to receive three shades to try: Peach Prism, Cobalt Crystal and Black Brilliance.

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks
Left to right: Peach Prism, Cobalt Crystal, Black Brilliance

Each of the Photoready Eye Art sticks are extremely pigmented and very wet. The cream shadows set very quickly and aren't very spreadable, so to apply these, quickly brush onto lids and blend with fingers.

After it sets, the cream shadow has a very shimmery, metallic finish and feels a bit rough to the touch, but it's still easy to apply powder shadow over top. Once on, these shadows stay put all day with absolutely no creasing or fading!

On the other side, the glitter end was easier to apply than the cream and goes on more like a regular wet eyeliner. The brush itself is similar to a very thin nail polish brush and the glitter is spread evenly throughout the tube, so it's simple to get a solid glittery line.

Although all the shades in this line are quite bold, they can also be pretty versatile. Obviously these are made for letting your imagination run wild with dramatic looks, but you could also use these as a thin cream liner and the lighter shades as an all-over wash of color.

Here's how I used my Photoready Eye Art shades to create an easy daytime and dramatic costume look:

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks

Look 1: easy on the eyes pink
Shade: Peach Prism
Other products: L'oreal Lineur Intense liquid eyeliner, Urban Decay Naked 3 palette, Lancome Grandiose mascara
How to recreate this look: Apply the cream base all over lids and up into brow bone. Then apply black eyeliner to the lash line and top it off with the glitter end for subtle shimmer. Using a shimmery pink (I'm using Dust from the UD Naked 3), apply to the center of lids for extra sheen, and a cream shade (Strange from UD Naked 3) to the brow bone and to blend out the edges of the shadow. Apply mascara to lashes.

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks

Look 2: bold ice queen
Shade: Cobalt Crystal
Other products: Clinique A Black Honey Affair palette, Smashbox Limitless 15 Hour Wear cream shadow in Sapphire, Lancome Grandiose mascara
How to recreate this look: I recently did this blue & silver inspired look for my recent guest post over on Chantal's Corner - to learn how I did it, go visit her!

Just J: Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash Shadow Sticks

You can purchase the Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid + Line + Lash line at your local drugstore, such as London Drugs or Target. Each stick retails for $11.49 which is great value for essentially two products in one! I had great fun trying these out and can't wait for more opportunities to let crazy makeup lady flag fly!

Which of these looks was your favourite?

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It's a lovely Lush Christmas | Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre

If you've visited Vancouver's Pacific Centre lately, you may have wondered what that intoxicating smell was - well, it's likely either Purdy's or the new Lush store located near the City Central station entrance! A couple of weeks ago, I got to celebrate the opening of the new store, which alongside Lush's other downtown location on Robson, boasts the full line of Lush's natural, handmade products. Since it was getting close to Christmas, the store and the event was decidenly holiday themed. Besides checking out the new digs, which are crafted from beautiful sustainably sourced wood and cream subway tile,  guests also got to check out the new holiday releases, view live demonstrations of the products and to actually play with some of them ourselves!

One such product is the new Snowman FUN bath soap and bubble bath clay. The Snowman FUN feels similar to clay, but can be used as a bubble bath, soap or shampoo! And of course, it contains mostly natural ingredients such as Sicilian lemon oil, bergamot oil, gardenia, and cornflower.

During the event, we were all challenged to make our best snowman using the Snowman FUN for a special prize. Building my creature was definitely the highlight of the event for me; it was super fun getting our hands "dirty" playing with these toys and for only $6.95 each, these make an awesome gift for kids or silly adults like me.

If you haven't already, get yourself downtown and check this store out!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Lush does the best gift wrapping!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Lush has tons of amazing gift sets at all price points - check them out online!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Moarr Christmas!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
The awesome looking 12 days of Christmas gift set - WANT!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Argh I can't recall what bath bomb made this, but it's a new one that creates the famous "mermaid water" all by itself - PLUS it has these amazing little gold stars made of sea kelp!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Hours and hours of fun

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
My Snowman FUN creation - a dog!

Just J: Lush Cosmetics opens in Vancouver's Pacific Centre
Vancouver bloggers unite! From left to right: Sheila's, Jayne's, mine and Angelas' creations.

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Nivea Sensitive Skincare line review | Sensitive Night Care cream, 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water and Cocoa Butter Body Lotion

Just J: Nivea Sensitive Night Care cream, 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water and Cocoa Butter Body Lotion review

Winter has suddenly arrived in full force this past week here in Vancouver. The sidewalks are slippery, the air is frigidly clear and we even had a dusting of snow over the weekend! As a result, I've been cranking up the heat, packing on the layers and smoothing on the moisture. Your skin can take a beating in winter, so I was super happy to receive these Nivea products formulated just for sensitive skin!

The new Nivea Sensitive line is designed to target the main signs of sensitive skin: redness, tightness and dryness. Consisting of face and body products, Nivea is all set to provide you affordable and effective weapons against flaky, uncomfortable winter skin.

I was fortunate to receive a sampling of both the face and body products: the Sensitive Night Care cream, 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water and the Cocoa Butter body lotion.

Nivea Sensitive Night Care Cream
Price: $8.99 for 50 mL
What it is: Designed as a protective night treatment, this cream contains no parabens, colorants or perfume. It instantly protects and repairs skin, eliminating tightness and redness with natural licorice extract, shea butter and grape seed oil.
What it's made of:

  • Glycerin - a common moisturizer
  • Cetearyl alcohol - an emollient
  • Methypropanediol - a solvent that helps other ingredients absorb easily and which also hydrates skin
  • Shea butter - a wonder ingredient that protects and hydrates skin, acts as UV absorber and also contains antioxidants!
Effectiveness: This cream is very thick from the shea butter, but absorbs quickly with only a minor tackiness. You only need a little bit to cover your face, so use sparingly. I really enjoyed using this cream as it left my face feeling soft and smooth every morning. My fine lines were lessened and it wasn't so thick that it caused any breakouts. As well, the redness on my cheeks was reduced!
Final Verdict: Buy

Nivea Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water
Price: $8.99 for 200 mL
What it is: I heart micellar waters! These multi-taskers remove makeup, cleanse skin and rebalances it so it is ready for moisturizing. You could use these as your only cleansing product for an ultra-gentle touch, but for me, I prefer to use this alongside my regular cleanser in order to get the best deep-down clean. As with the night cream, this product contains no parabens, colorants or perfume.
What it's made of:
  • PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil - a surfactant and emulsifying agent that has emollient properties. Avoid use if your skin is cracking or has any cuts as it can cause skin to be sensitive to absorption of other toxic ingredients.
  • Grape seed extract - a powerful antioxdant that contains alpha-hydroxy-acid (AHA) a known anti-aging ingredient that also helps skin retain moisture and improves skin tone. Since it contains AHA though, be sure to use a sunscreen with this product as it can make your skin more UV sensitive
  • Panthenol - form of vitamin B5 that provides a slippery texture and acts as an emollient
  • Glyceryl glucoside - a moisturizer
Effectiveness: As I mainly use my micellars post-wash to get rid of any dirt leftover by my cleanser, I'd say this micellar is on par with most I've tried from Marcelle and Bioderma. I'm not a huge fan of the packaging with this one as the bottle opening is this teeny tiny pinprick, which means you almost need to shake the bottle to get your cotton pad moist enough for use. Pre-wash, it was just okay at removing makeup and I needed a few swabs to get my full face off. If you just wear light makeup though, you'd probably be fine with using this.
Final Verdict: Buy

Nivea Sensitive Cocoa Butter Body Lotion
Price: $9.99 for 625 mL
What it is: A delectable indulgence for your skin, this heavy-duty moisturizer contains cocoa butter and vitamin E for lasting moisture. This product is also the first from Nivea to contain cocoa butter!
What it's made of:
  • Glycerin
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Isohexadecane - provides products with a rich, thick texture and non-greasy feel, while acting as an emollient
  • Isopropyl palmitate - another thickening ingredient that provides hydration to skin
Effectiveness: Although this product is marketed as a cocoa butter lotion, the actual cocoa butter is third to last on the ingredient list! Boourns. However, Nivea does make up for it by ensuring that there are some good, strong emollients at the top of the ingredients list. This lotion also contains shea butter and coconut oil for extra hydration. Unlike the other products, this one contains parabens. Overall, I found this to be a great body lotion. It was thick and super-creamy, which is just the way I like my winter moisturiziers! The cocoa scent is pretty subtle and I actually wish it was heavier. I also wish this wasn't a dreaded pump bottle!!
Final Verdict: Buy

Well, it is 3/3 here for the Nivea Sensitive skincare line! You can purchase Nivea products at your local drugstore. They're a great addition to your winter routine if you're interested in products that are cheap, straight-forward and that work.

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Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel review | My 6183729th attempt at peeling masks

Me and peeling masks don't have a good history. My very first mask ever in life was a Freeman's peeling mask and it was not good - sticky, scratchy and generally annoying to take off. Not to say it was a bad mask at all; in fact peeling masks are quite popular and effective. I'm just not a fan, so when I got the offer to try out the Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel, my eyebrows went way up, but I thought I'd still give it the ol' college try.

Just J: Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel review

The Product
The Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel isn't like your regular peeling mask. It is formulated with argan oil and vitamin E and instead of letting the mask set and then peeling it off, you instead massage this into your skin and it literally pills and peels away dirt, impurities and dead skin cells. Kinda like the hand grommage I tried in my last Memebox review!

Simon & Tom Barcelona is a beauty line distributed through Beauty Solutions, who is also based out of Spain. Simon & Tom specializes in natural products containing argan oil and is available worldwide.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this gel are:
  • Camellia sinensis leaf extract aka green tea powder extract - huge source of antioxidants that helps fight signs of aging
  • Maris sal aka sea salt - natural exfoliant and detoxifier
  • Aloe vera juice - anti-inflammatory and moisturizing
  • Carbomer triethanolamine - a thickening agent that gives this product its jelly texture

Other ingredients of note are argan oil (moisturizing), orange peel extract (astringent), papaya extract (astringent), pomegranate extract, and cucumber (soothing, moisturizing).

Price & Packaging
A single 50 mL jar will cost you around $57, which puts this at the higher scale for beauty products. I remember one of my favourite masks from June Jacobs costing around the same, but in a container that was much larger. There's plenty of product here though as you only use a bit per application. The jar itself is very elegant and luxurious looking. It's also the perfect size for throwing! Not that I would, but I just noticed this because it's the same size as one of my dog's toy balls.

The texture of this mask is very jelly-like and is a white translucent color. When I first opened this jar, I entertained myself for a couple minutes by just poking the gel - it's so squishy! The mask also has a very slight, cucumber-esque scent which is quite refreshing. I wish this product came with a spatula because it doesn't seem very hygenic to stick your big dirty fingers into this pristine pearl-like jar, and this is coming from someone who usually chucks the spatulas out first thing!

Just J: Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel review

Just J: Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel review

Once applied, the mask feels cool on the skin. I applied this mask to slightly damp skin, after washing off my makeup with a cleansing oil. I then gently massaged my face for about a minute. After around 20 seconds, the mask starts to change from a soft gel to millions of tiny, white spoolies. Basically it starts pilling like an old sweater.

Just J: Simon & Tom's Soft Peeling Gel review

This pilling action is the mask cleaning off all that dirt and ickiness from your face. If you're not prepared for this beforehand, it can be quite alarming. Once you've sufficiently pilled all the dirt away, it's time to rinse.

Rinsing is the worst part.

My sink is the type that tends to run slow and so I got little mask pills ALL OVER MY SINK. I also didn't enjoy how the mask didn't rinse off easily and left a very sticky residue. I suppose I could have washed my face again afterwards, but to me, that kinda defeats the point.

The effects of the mask aren't significantly noticeable, but aren't detrimental either. My skin looks clearer and a little brighter. It didn't seem to have any effect on removing blemishes. As much as I try to soldier on with things I review, I really did not like this mask very much, so I actually stopped using it after a couple weeks - sorry!

Final Verdict
Ditch - awesome, naturally based ingredients. For those who are a fan of peeling masks, this is probably a winner, but for me personally, it was a dud.

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