Exploring Style In My 30s: Springtime Outfit Inspirations

Now that I've just bumped over the edge into my 30's, I've been pondering lately how to change up my style. It's very easy and common for women to stick to the same clothing routines of their 20's and particularly of what they wore in university years. If you're forced to change your wardrobe to office appropriate basics early, then you may avoid this style rut better, but if you work in a casual work environment like me, there's really no impetus to never not wear hoodies and sneakers to the office, so the onus is on me to think about how to keep my wardrobe current and age-appropriate.

Luckily, being in your 30's doesn't equate to wearing grandmother clothes (unless you want to!). In fact, your 30s seem like an awesome time style-wise as you get to come into your own by incorporating both younger and more sophisticated elements and giving a big F off to being a trend slave. In your 30s, you're no longer the naive ingenue skittering around on tipsy heels trying to look sexy; now instead you're the sexually confident woman standing by the bar, wearing boots, jeans and a tee.

The key to nailing style in your 30s is to know your body and to know what makes you feel good. It's all about fit, color and working the hell out of those basic wardrobe foundation pieces.

Here are a few inspirations and tips that I'm hoping to incorporate myself over the next year:

Inspiration #1: A bold blazer
While a black blazer is a must-have, I would also argue that having a colored or printed blazer is almost as essential too. Blazers are the workhorse of a grown woman's closet and I woefully under-utilize mine. Blazers are great transition season staples and go so well with everything!

The peaked stripes of this inspiration photo from Lauren Conrad's blog is a great example of how to refresh a basic. Black and white stripes go with everything and the vertical lines elongate the torso. I found a matching option from Vero Moda, but if you're worried that stripes is a little too out there, then why not try some color or a bright floral pattern? I'm absolutely in love with this Stylestalker floral blazer; it reminds me of the recent Spring Ted Baker collection and would look awesome with a silky cami or a plain ol' tee.

Exploring Style In My 30s: Springtime Outfit Inspirations from Forever 21 and ASOS
Blazer options: Forever 21 Tuxedo inspired blazer, $35.80 | Vero Moda stripe pointe blazer, $80.40 | Stylestalker Forever Floral blazer, $243.31

Inspiration #2: Chambray + leather
Both chambray and leather are essential items for me and incidentally they look kick-ass together. A leather pencil skirt in an office-appropriate length can work for both work and play, while a chambray shirt is a sexy, yet casual counterpart. Simply throw a light sweater on top for day, then toss off the sweater and undo a couple of shirt buttons for a super sexy, powerful, night-out look.

Exploring Style In My 30s: Springtime Outfit Inspirations from American Eagle and Topshop
Inspiration via The Style Spy
American Eagle Outfitters Half-sleeve button down shirt, $36.54 | Topshop leather pencil skirt, $240 | Topshop MIAMI elastic cut-out boots, $74

Inspiration #3: Color and pattern
Rich jewel tones and balanced proportions make this type of outfit comfortable and poised. The relaxed fit of these pants are definitely something you wouldn't wear as a kid and going tone-on-tone with a matching top is a sure-fire way to stand out in a crowd.

Exploring Style In My 30s: Springtime Outfit Inspirations from Aritzia and Zara
Inspiration photo via The Blonde Locks
Aritzia Wilfred Cauchy pant, $145 | Zara printed crop top, $45.90 | Zara mid-heel strappy shoes, $79.90

What are your best fashion tips for "grown-up" style?

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Sakura Inspired Makeup over on Makeup Your Mind | April Canadian Beauty Bloggers

sakura pastel face of the day

Like this look? Check out my guest post on Makeup Your Mind for all the deets on how to create this pastel, sakura inspired makeup look!

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Wedding Color Palette Inspiration For All Seasons

The most important thing when planning your wedding, perhaps even more important than choosing your venue, is to determine your wedding's theme and color palette. Often the theme and palette are interchangeable as one derives the other, or they may simply be the same thing and that choice will help you determine the type of venue you want to select, the style of your dress and the dress of your bridal party and even what kinds of food you serve! It's not a decision to be taken lightly, but neither is it something that should stress you out. In fact, if you're looking to get married, you probably know what your palette is already - you just may not have realized it!

Although there are tons of beautiful things out there and it's really easy to get overwhelmed by being in love with too many things, it's important to focus and really get in tune with yourself and your wedding vision. Pinterest has been my number one tool as it helped me become aware of my personal preferences. After just exploring and creating boards, I started to see that I was drawn to a particular wedding look. Eventually it was quite clear what my wedding theme/palette should be:

Photo: Style Me Pretty

My wedding theme is a vintage-inspired Hawaiian tea party inspired by the colors of this peony bouquet. Peonies are one of my favourite flowers and I am fascinated by the variety and lushness of their blooms. Everything else, from the venue, to the decor, to the ambiance I want to create at my wedding stemmed from this.

If you're still searching for wedding palette ideas, here are some inspiring images to get those creative juices flowing:

Spring weddings
Spring weddings colors are my favourite. It's all about fresh greens and airy pastels. Spring palettes have an innocent romanticism about them that feels full of promise and isn't that what weddings should be all about?

Image: One Fab Day

Image: Elegant Wedding Invites

Summer weddings
Summer weddings also can look quite similar to spring weddings, but the colors tend to be a bit more vibrant and have more of a late afternoon/sunset feel. I love the casual feel of both these palettes, which are ideal for outdoor weddings or even a rustic little church ceremony!

Image: Fab Mood

Image: Hey Wedding Lady

Fall weddings
The air is crisper, the days are shorter and the colors become more muted. For a fall wedding, nothing looks more gorgeous than a moody color palette that evokes the mysteriousness of a misty morning. I love the idea of going for stronger jewel tones for the bridal party and grey is a great way to go more formal without the starkness of black.

Image: One Fab Day

Image: One Fab Day

Winter weddings
Last, but not least are winter weddings. This season is to me the time to go all out as people will already be purchasing formal wear for their holiday parties! Go for glitz, glamour and gold. Reds, cranberries and of course, marsala (Pantone's color of the year) are fantastic choices for a splashy accent color. It may seem cliche, but there's a reason why Christmas colors are red, green and gold! It just works.

Image: Linen Tablecloth

Image: One Fab Day

Which palette inspiration are you most drawn to? If you're married, what was yours?

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Guest post: Amanda of Ginger Chic's Top 5 Pastel Nail Polishes

Hey Guys! It's Amanda here from Ginger Chic. For this month's Canadian Beauty Blogger guest post the theme is Pastels. I searched through my collection and although I have several pastel lipsticks and eye shadows, I was drawn towards my pastel nail polishes. As soon as the snow starts to melt I am constantly wearing pastel and muted neon nail polishes until it starts to snow again (which according to the local weather could be tonight...) so I decided to pick my top 5 pastel nail polishes for this post, These are the ones that I have been rotating through for the last couple months.

 Pastel nail polishes: Sally Hansen Peach of Cake, Ceramic Glaze Newly Minted, Sally Hansen I Lilac You, Essie Mint Candy Apple and Essie Fuji

Going clockwise, first we have Sally Hansen's Peach of Cake which is an amazing soft orange, Next is Ceramic Glaze Newly Minted which is my all time favorite mint green. It is light, yet vibrant and is my all time favorite spring colour! Then we have Sally Hansen I Lilac You which is a perfect cool toned lilac purple. Next is Essie Mint Candy Apple which is a cult favorite and I know why! It is more of a pastel blue than a mint in my opinion and is my favorite light blue! And last we have Essie Fiji which is a beautiful baby pink!

Pastel nail polishes: Sally Hansen Peach of Cake, Ceramic Glaze Newly Minted, Sally Hansen I Lilac You, Essie Mint Candy Apple and Essie Fuji

Pastel nail polishes: Sally Hansen Peach of Cake, Ceramic Glaze Newly Minted, Sally Hansen I Lilac You, Essie Mint Candy Apple and Essie Fuji

And there you have it! My favorite Pastel nail polishes! Leave a comment with your favorite pastels so I can check them out! And I would appreciate it if you could take a minute and check out Ginger Chic! Thanks again MizzJ for letting me guest post on your blog!

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Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon Review | RIP Target Canada

sonia kashuk velvety matte lip pencil

When I first heard about Target leaving Canada for good, my first thought was to immediately go out and buy all the Sonia Kashuk I could. They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone and it’s so true. I had never gone before to Target to purchase my makeup fix and now I would be regretting it!

Despite my initial instinct to buy “all the things,” I ended up only getting a few items, including two of the SoniaKashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayons in Pinky Nude and Candy Nude. Even though Target will be soon be gone, this review won’t be entirely irrelevant as you can still purchase these online and if you live near the border like me, whenever you go visit the States. Thank god for that because suffice it to say that I love these lip pencils!

The Product
The Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayons are the usual lipstick-in-pencil format that we all know and love. These ones in particular come in 9 shades all designed to be wearable “nudes” though they are nude in more of the My Lips But Better sense and not in a true nude sense.

These pencils are designed to give a soft, matte finish that is richly pigmented while not being overly drying. As I’m obsessed with all things MLBB these days, I opted to try out two shades that I thought would be complimentary to my lip color, which is naturally anywhere between a pink-gray-blue to a light pink-rose shade (depending on when I last ate) called Pinky Nude and Candy Nude.

Pinky Nude is a light, pink-rose shade with slight blue undertones, while Candy Nude is a brighter, more saturated pink that ranges closer to a magenta tone.

sonia kashuk velvety matte lip pencil

The Guts
The primary ingredients in these lip pencils are:
  • C12-13 Alkyl Ethylhexanoate – an emollient
  •  Euphorbia Cerifera (Candelilla) Wax – an emollient and gives a soft, waxy texture
  • Polyethylene – has a variety of functions, but probably used here as a thickener and emulsifier.
  • Cyclopentasiloxane – a silicone that evaporates quickly and provides a slippery and spreadable feel
This liner also contains dimethicone and parabens for those who are watchful for those, and limonene, which can be a skin irritant.

Price & Packaging
I suppose it doesn’t matter anymore what these cost in Canada, so the price right now off Target US is $7.59 each. I’m not quite sure the exact size of this pencil, but it’s about the same as an Annabelle TwistUp and is much thinner than say a Clinique Chubby Stick. I think the price is pretty standard so no complaints there, but my biggest gripe with this liner is that it’s non-sharpening and non-retractable. It’s literally just a pencil – how old school in this day of auto-everything! At this point, I kinda expect my makeup to just jump up and apply itself, so not sure why they couldn’t at least have made this self-sharpening.

sonia kashuk velvety matte lip pencil

Despite that minor gripe though, I am in love with these pencils. The color payoff is rich and the texture is amazing. For once, the marketing hype is real – the finish of these pencils is truly velvety smooth. It’s not a true matte, but rather a soft wash of creamy, opaque color. These colors take seconds to apply, don’t transfer and look gorgeous when topped with a bit of gloss.

Pinky Nude is my favourite shade by far out of the two I bought and actually out of my current lipstick rotation. It’s the perfect MLBB that looks amazing with every look from smoky, dramatic eyes, to bare-faced days where I just wear highlighter and mascara. I would seriously wear this everyday except that I’m half-trying to hoard it now that it will be harder for me to get more.

Candy Nude is very pretty as well, although it doesn’t have me swooning as Pinky Nude does. It’s a gorgeous bright pink that goes great with a wide range of skin tones. I like to wear this one when I want a “medium-bold” lipstick look and it does a great job of perking up my look without looking too done. Don’t take my gushing for Pinky Nude the wrong way – Candy Nude is just as great a color, but it’s just that I’m in the midst of a nude phase so I’m biased in my preferences.

sonia kashuk swatch
Left to right: Candy Nude, Pinky Nude

Final Verdict
Buy – great pigmentation with a soft smooth finish that is truly velvet on the lips. Grab one now!

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The Differences Between Fashion and Beauty Bloggers

I've been a blogger for a long time - 6 years in fact. I started off on a different blog from here, which was primarily about fashion, with a bit of beauty and lifestyle. Now I'm writing this blog, which is primarily about beauty, with a bit of fashion and lifestyle. As I've had two blogs with two different focuses, I've had the unique opportunity to experience being in both blogger communities. While there are a lot of similarities between the two, I have observed some distinct differences. Keep in mind that my experience revolves primarily around the Vancouver scene, but I'd love to hear if it differs or is reaffirmed in other cities around the world!

From my time being a beauty and a fashion blogger, here are some of the differences I've noted:

1. Beauty blogging events are way better
Here is how a typical beauty event goes down:
  • everyone arrives pretty much on time, or early!
  • there's mingling and food
  • the host presents the new products to all attendees. There may be video or slide presentations and even live demos
  • attendees are encouraged to play with all the products
  • there's a sweet swag bag
  • attendees range in age and occupation from university students to stay-at-home moms to professionals
Here is how a typical fashion event goes down:
  • everyone arrives late
  • there's mingling and food, but nobody eats it. Lots of drinking though
  • sometimes there's a DJ
  • sometimes there is a shopping discount, but nobody actually does any shopping
  • there's a swag bag filled with a couple token swag and coupons
  • attendees range in age from 20-something skinny blond girls, to 20-something skinny... non-blond girls
As someone who actually wants to go to events to see products and to learn more about a brand, I much prefer the structured format of beauty events. As well, I've noticed more innovation in beauty events in terms of what actually is done at events, from flying in on helicopters, to getting our hands dirty playing with products. I stopped accepting most fashion events a long while ago as it would usually just be a store with a bunch of people standing around checking each other out. After a long day at work, that type of social awkwardness is the last thing I want to do!

2. Beauty bloggers get way more stuff, way earlier in their blogging careers
Because beauty products are typically cheaper (not including high end skincare and makeup) and easier to mail, I've noticed it's a lot easier to get product sent over than with fashion. With clothes, you have to get the right sizing and there may be limited quantities available if the designer isn't mass-produced. Often, you may even have to return items after you've written about it. Fashion brands also seem to be more conservative with who they send product out to, which basically is a nice way of saying you need a bajillion pageviews and Instagram followers to matter.

3. Beauty bloggers tend to be much more analytical, OCD, collector types
There's definitely a "type" that seems to be a stereotype between fashion and beauty bloggers. Fashion bloggers generally tend to be skinny, good-looking women with perfect hair and waistlines - catalog models essentially. They also seem to tend towards the bohemian or preppy look, with a decidedly laissez-faire, well life is just always perfect attitude, whereas beauty bloggers... well, we tend to be more the over-thinking librarian/mad scientist type. Not to say there aren't gorgeous beauty bloggers out there (there are TONS!), but that as a species, we lean more to analyzing the hell out of everything. That's why beauty bloggers are such trusted resources; they research the crap out of everything they try, so you know that you're getting an informed opinion. I'm talking about testing in all weather conditions, noting wear time by the hour, doing skin type analyses and even investigating ingredient patents! Here's a prime example of what I mean: only in beauty blogging would someone get criticized for not taking photos in different lighting conditions and for not noting exactly whether something was "shiny" vs. "glittery" vs. "satin" vs. "pearlescent."

Beauty bloggers also tend to be hoarders as any casual perusing of the makeup collection post tag can attest. Fashion bloggers may like a certain collection, but rarely will they buy it in its entirety. Beauty bloggers will often do this and collect an entire collection in all its shades, editions and regional varieties. Why would anyone need to do this you ask? Well, why wouldn't you need 20 different shades of red? You never know when an occasion may call for it!

4. Fashion bloggers are way more clique-y and standoffish
Another reason for why I said in #1 that I prefer beauty over fashion events is that it's very difficult to make any real connections in fashion blogging. After a certain point, "famous" fashion bloggers become an elusive breed that instinctively know whether you're "in" or "out" of their tribe; if you're "in" then you will be welcomed to all the #Sundaybrunch dates you can handle, otherwise you're tolerated as a body in the backdrop of their event outfit photos.

Famous beauty bloggers though still make the effort to interact with their communities - just check out the comments section of Temptalia and Makeup and Beauty blog to see what I mean. In my own experiences, I've made some of my closest friends through beauty blogging, but I've only experienced cold shoulders and frenemies from the other.

5. Beauty blogging is much easier to do on your own
I feel I may offend some beauty bloggers here, but hear me out! Beauty blogging is tough to do, but it's often something you can do by yourself. Fashion blogging on the other hand, is very difficult now to do on your own.

Firstly, you're weather dependent. Almost all fashion bloggers take their photos outdoors and so having suitable photo locations is key. Secondly, predominantly all fashion blogging is now personal outfit photos. When I first started blogging, fashion blogging was more inclusive in that there was more content out there around styling advice, runway images and collages of fashion items; in fact, there were fashion blogs out there where you would never even see the blogger's face! Nowadays, it's 99% outfit photos and those photos are of professional quality with SLR's, lighting setups and photographer boyfriends.

Sure, it's possible to take your own photos with a tripod and remote timer, but that doesn't seem a common route. I used to take my own outfit photos when I was a fashion blogger, but I couldn't get over my self-consciousness to shoot outside and it probably took me twice as long to shoot one outfit as it takes now for me to shoot a full week's worth of products.

In conclusion, I hope this post didn't offend anyone, but I thought it would be interesting to share these differences as I've seen them. I'd love to hear from you if you're a fashion or beauty blogger about your own experiences in either community! Does what I say ring true or am I just crazy?

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L'Oreal Paris Smooth Intense Haircare Line Review + Giveaway

When it comes to hair, the grass is truly always greener on the other side. Those with curly hair want straight locks and us straight-haired gals want luscious curls. I dream of the day when I can achieve effortless beachy waves, but until then I try to make do with what I've got, which is stick straight, fine hair. When I was gifted the new L'oreal Paris Smooth Intense haircare line, at first I was a little skeptical. What use would I have for products that fight frizz and promise to give you sleek, shiny hair? I already have super straight hair! Well, I'm happy to admit, I was wrong.

The Smooth Intense line is a range of cleansing, conditioning and treatment hair products that harness the powers of Oleo-keratin to give you 72 hours of "ultra-polished frizz control." The strategy that L'oreal has taken with this line is similar to Korean skincare regimes: more is more. That means not only a straightening shampoo and conditioner, but also two types of balms that come before and after washing to help the ingredients penetrate even further for longer lasting results.

While my hair has been drier after dying it a couple months ago, I don't think it's quite ready for this intense a regime, so I opted to test out only the conditioner and one of the balms - the shampoo and the other balm I am opting to giveaway! Details on that at the end of this post :)

Smooth Intense Conditioner

L'Oreal Paris Smooth Intense Haircare Line Review

The Product: The Smooth Intense Conditioner aims to tame and soften hair when used alongside the Smooth Intense Shampoo. To use, apply after shampooing and leave in for 1-3 minutes, then rinse.

The Guts:
  • Cetearyl alcohol - gives thickness to a product and acts as an emulsifier
  • Mineral oil - lubricant and emollient that has anti-static properties
  • Behentrimonium chloride - fights frizz and conditions hair. Could be irritating if used at high concentrations.
  • Fragrance
This conditioner also contains argan oil (conditioner) and arginine (antioxidant).

Price & Packaging: A huge 385 ml bottle costs around $5 US via L'Oreal, so prices may vary, depending on your drugstore. The bottle is a squeeze tube, which I love, but the cap is rather odd. For whatever reason, my cap has a leak somewhere that causes water to be trapped inside the cap in a mystery void that exists between the exterior and the inside contents. The conditioner isn't affected in any way, but it's very irritating to me to see all this water inside that I can't get out and I can't stop thinking about whether it's going to start molding in there!

Effectiveness: This conditioner is going to take forever for me to use as I only need a small dab to coat my hair in silkiness. The Smooth Intense Conditioner is super rich and creamy, but thankfully doesn't leave my hair feeling weighed down. As a consequence of this richness, it takes a while to rinse it out, but the end result is silky soft, shiny hair. This is the perfect conditioner if you have damaged or dry hair that needs an extra dose of moisture.

Final Verdict: Buy

Smooth Intense Straight Perfecting Balm

L'Oreal Paris Smooth Intense Haircare Line Review

The Product: The Smooth Intense Straight Perfecting Balm is an after wash hair treatment that helps seal in moisture and protects it from heat damage. To use, apply to towel-dried hair before blow-drying or heat styling.

The Guts:
  • Amodimethicone - a silicone that moisturizes hair and gives it a silky, shiny sheen
  • Cetearyl alcohol
  • Trideceth-5 - a surfactant and cleanser
  • Polyquaternium-37 - prevents static and enhances volume
This balm also contains arginine and glutamic acid (humectant and anti-static).

Price & Packaging: A 150 ml tube costs around $7 US via L'Oreal. You only need up to a dime-sized amount and for my shoulder-length hair, I use even less than that, so the cost per use of this balm is super low.

Effectiveness: I've been using switching between my usual heat protectant cream and this balm for the past month and it's giving my usual cream a run for its money! The Smooth Intense Straight Perfecting Balm has a strong fragrance to it, but it's a pleasant one. I can't quite put my finger on what the fragrance is exactly, but it's that type of "salon hair product" smell. To use, I rub this balm between my palms and then spread it from root to tip. A little goes a long way and I do notice that my hair looks sleeker and with less little baby hairs sticking up than usual. It's hard to tell whether a product prevents heat damage or not, but it's certainly not causing any, so I guess that's good? I prefer using a balm like this over a heat protectant spray as it feels like I'm really applying something whereas a spray is mostly evaporated drops; however, the fact that you can only use this on damp hair does limit its usefulness. Also, unlike my regular blow-dry cream, it doesn't shorten my drying time. Overall, I like this product, but I don't see it as a necessary one.

Final Verdict: Ditch

Do you want to try out this line? I'm giving away a full sized bottle of the Smooth Intense Shampoo and the Smooth Intense Straight Booster to one lucky reader! Giveaway is open only to Canadian readers as I'll be shipping these out myself. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Burberry Beauty Counter at Richmond Centre | *photo heavy*

Thanks to Vancouver's high concentration of rich, luxury-loving Asians, we've been blessed with an influx in recent years of luxury fashion and beauty brands. Recently, I got to have a private sneak peek at the latest addition to the Vancouver beauty scene with the brand new Burberry Beauty counter at Richmond Centre.

Designed to feel like a mini "store within a store," the Burberry Beauty counter is like a chic oasis of British style. The entire space is decked out in Burberry's signature plaid and framed by glossy brass-toned finishings. Shoppers can easily try out a variety of products, as the counter features sleek slide-out panels that let you get up close and personal, while the foundation area contains a wide variety of shades so everyone can get shade matched.

While there, I got to chat with Patricia Bensimon, Burberry's national trainer, about all the new releases. She emphasized how Burberry Beauty is all for classic, effortless beauty and even demonstrated some of her makeup tips on me. You totally get that vibe of timelessness and quality with every Burberry product. The textures, the pigmentation and the packaging are so spot on. There are so many gorgeous things to play with here and as someone new to Burberry makeup, I felt like the proverbial kid in a candy shop!

Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

lip glosses and nail polishes at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry kisses lipsticks at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

complete eye palette at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry light glow blush at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Burberry fresh glow foundation at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

burberry fresh glow luminous fluid base Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

Swatches of Fresh Glow primers

burberry cheek tints at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

burberry lip glosses at Burberry beauty at Richmond Centre

My fave lipstick swatches. Left to right: No. 207 Camelia Pink, No. 37 Pink Peony and No. 302 Peony Rose

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My "No Makeup" Makeup Look Featuring the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo

Have you ever seen those bullshit Instagrams of people doing the #nomakeup look? Yes, I say bullshit because I suspect 98% of those people to have either photoshopped the hell out of their photos or they are wearing makeup that is designed to fool you into thinking they just woke up like that. Well bullshit. Bullshit I say! Unless you really are that #blessed, odds are you need a little help like the rest of us to have flawless skin and gorgeous features. Don't fret though in case you think you'll need to do a 20 step routine to achieve that. Assuming that you have a good skincare regime already, then all you need are a few key products to highlight all of your natural features!

Here's a look that fits the bill for a "no makeup" face that I did this past weekend when going out for lunch with a friend:

Just J: My "No Makeup" Makeup Look Featuring the Makeup Forever Pro Sculpting Duo

To create this look, I used

  • Maybelline Eye Studio Color Tattoo cream eye shadow in Barely Beige
  • Urban Decay Naked 1 Basics shadow palette
  • Lise Watier Feline Eyeliner HD in brown
  • MAC Veluxe Brow Liner in Deep Brunette
  • Lancome Definicils Waterproof mascara in black
First, I applied a moisturizing primer to give me a smooth base and subtle radiance. If you don't have a similar product, you could use a an all over highlight powder, like the Hourglass Ambient powders after you apply your foundation. Next, I applied foundation wherever I had redness or discoloration such as around my nose, chin and cheek areas. Even after just using a sample of the Dior Nude Air, I think I'm in love. It has this really unique dry oil texture that sits so light on your skin. It's truly one of the closest I've ever come to having a "skin-like" foundation! 

After that, I used a cream beige shadow that is just a shade or two darker than my eyelid color to prime and shade my eyes subtly. You want to give your eyes some definition and depth, but without being obvious. This is my first Color Tattoo shade and I can see why everyone raves about them. Barely Beige is a gorgeous tawny brown that has a slight satin sheen to it. I then used the white highlight shade from the Urban Decay Naked 1 Basics palette on my brow bone, inner corner and center of my lid to add some extra highlight that helps awaken the eyes. Then I lined my lash line with a subtle brown liner; as always, this Lise Watier liquid eyeliner is my favourite way to do a "naked" liner look.

My "No Makeup" Makeup Look Featuring the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo
So glad I got my brows threaded just before this!

Since this look is all about subtle highlighting and face framing, filling in your brows is essential. With such a minimal eye, I like to fill my brows in a little darker than normal. 

Next, give some color to your face with blush and/or bronzer. Normally I opt for blush, but this day I thought I'd try out my new contour kit, the Pro Sculpting Duo from Make Up For Ever. This sleek palette contains a bronzy contour shade and a pearlescent highlight that can be used on your face and which also doubles as an eye shadow! I'll have a full review on this product later, but here I'm using the contour in the hollow of my cheeks and along my hairline and jawline. Then I used the highlight across the top of my cheekbones, down my nose, the center of my forehead and the arch of my brows.

My "No Makeup" Makeup Look Featuring the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo

Last, but not least, is the lips. To moisturize, I slathered on some lip balm and then topped this with a rose toned lip gloss for shine and MLBB color.

My "No Makeup" Makeup Look Featuring the Make Up For Ever Pro Sculpting Duo

And that's it - 10 products and just 7 steps! What do you think: would you try out this look?

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Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer N and Eye Color Trio Review | Makeup that makes you go squee!

Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer N and Eye Color Trio Review
Left to right: Paul & Joe Eye Color Trio in Boitier palette and the Moisturizing Foundation Primer N

The difference between a product that works well and one that works well, but makes you go "I NEED this always in my life!" is probably due to the packaging. Don't deny it. We women are vain creatures and us Libras especially so because we are easily swayed by beautiful, luxurious things.  At some point in your life I'm sure all of us have squealed or at the very least gasped when we saw something pretty and just had to have it.

New and exclusive to Shoppers Drug Mart, Paul & Joe is a French beauty and fashion brand known for their quality products and unabashedly feminine packaging that make women everywhere go squee. I actually thought this brand was Japanese as I'd mainly heard of them through Asian blogs and because of the Japanese writing on the packaging, but Paul & Joe was actually founded by Parisian Sophie Mechaly, who began the brand as a menswear line in the 90's. While the fashion lines have struggled, Paul & Joe's beauty line has thrived with a niche following and now they are available across Canada!

What's awesome about Paul & Joe is that many of the palettes are customizable as you purchase your shadow and blush colors as pans and then you purchase the palette containers separately, which allows you take advantage of the many cute and lovely palette patterns Paul & Joe has to offer. Besides their great packaging, Paul & Joe is well-known for their cheerful, shimmery shadow colors as well as their light, luminous foundations that give you that perfect, youthful look. Recently I was offered the chance to try out a couple of products myself: the Moisturizing Foundation Primer N in 03 Creme and the Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe.

Moisturizing Foundation Primer N

Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer N
Moisturizing Foundation Primer N in shade 03 Creme

The Product: The Moisturizing Foundation Primer N is a tinted primer designed to provide a smooth base for longer lasting makeup. It also contains teeny tiny gold pearl particles that give your skin a luminous glow. The Moisturizing Foundation Primer N is available in three shades: 01 Dragee for light to medium skin tones, 02 Miel for darker skin tones and 03 Creme which I suppose contains a higher level of shimmer to create a porcelain look. Although 02 is supposed to be for darker skin tones, it doesn't look very dark to me based on the online photos and it also leans very orange, whereas the 01 Dragee appears to have more of a pink undertone. 03 Creme, the shade I received, is a pearly white and would probably be suitable for most skin tones.

The Guts:
  • Butylene glycol - a common ingredient in makeup that provides a slippery texture
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Dipropylene glycol - provides a slippery texture and helps products absorb easier. A possible irritant
  • Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate - a sunscreen ingredient that's more commonly known as octinoxate. Although some studies have claimed that these types of chemical sunscreens could be cancerous, results are still not definitive when it comes to normal sunscreen use.
Other ingredients of note here are white lily root extract (moisturizing), apricot juice (emollient), jojoba seed oil (emollient) and Sodium acetylated hyaluronate (humectant). This primer does contain parabens for those not into those.

Price & Packaging: A 30 ml bottle costs $40.70 off BeautyBay and $40 at Shoppers. I'm not sure what the price is at Shoppers, but likely similar. The bottle is very cute and while not made of super luxurious materials, it still manages to have a chic look. The topper is removable to reveal a pump dispenser. 

Paul & Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer N swatch
Moisturizing Foundation Primer N in shade 03 Creme

Effectiveness: To use, simply apply a single pump of this primer to your face after your moisturizer and sunscreen, and before your foundation. I always have a tricky time finding primers I like as they either leave me super shiny, or feel like a thick mask. This primer however felt super light and more like a moisturizer than anything. A single pump was enough to cover my entire face. It applies clear and absorbs quickly, but leaves a slight tackiness behind, which I believe helps your makeup adhere better. The slight opalescent tint helps to even out any redness and imparted a super subtle, inner glow to my skin; in fact, this primer kinda reminds me a bit of a liquid version of an Hourglass Ambient powder! I'm not sure about whether it helped my makeup last any longer than normal, but it did help with application and gives a nice moisture boost. I don't think this is a must-have product, but if your skin is feeling rough or dull, this is a great lifesaver.

Final Verdict: Buy

Eye Color Trio

Paul & Joe Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe
Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe

The Product: The Eye Color Trio is well, a trio of eye shadows, available in 8 different configurations. The one I received is the Night Cafe trio, which is a mix of a sparkly white highlight, a shimmery gold lid shade and a shimmery black crease shade. Besides being colorful, these trios also help moisturize your eyes, thanks to white lily extract, jojoba, and sodium hyaluronate.

Paul & Joe Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe
Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe

Price & Packaging: a single trio costs $42.50 via BeautyBay  vs. $32 at Shoppers. (again, not sure the comparable Shoppers price). The price certainly is very steep considering that this palette is quite small! In fact, it's probably smaller than most drugstore shadow trios and you don't even get a case to put it in. The separate Boitier palette costs $8 at Shoppers $11 depending on where you buy it, so altogether this palette is $40 $53

Paul & Joe Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe

Effectiveness: Considering the price, I am pretty disappointed with this trio. Even when not considering the price, I'm not sure I would purchase this particular trio myself. From what I've heard, Japanese eye shadows lean more towards being shimmery and sparkly and these ones definitely are like that. Each shade is very sparkly and shimmery, with very sheer color payoff. The pigmentation I would say is on par to a drugstore eye shadow, and with such a sparkly texture, that's not necessarily a bad thing as otherwise you would just get glitter overload. This trio is more suitable for daytime as the sheerness allows you to get a pretty, all over, but not over the top, sparkly eye that draws light to your face. Of the three shades, I like the gold one the best as it makes for a lovely base color. The white is a bit too frosty for my taste, so I use it very sparingly on my brow bone. The black makes for a pretty outer corner or soft, smudgy liner shade, but contact lens wearers beware as there is a bit of fallout. Besides Night Cafe, other trios I think would be fun to try are Tree Shade Walkway, a lovely mix of browns and greens for spring; and Breakfast in Bed, which is a mix of warm nudes.

Paul & Joe Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe
Eye Color Trio in Night Cafe heavily swatched

Final Verdict: Ditch

Are you curious to try Paul & Joe?

*Updated Apr. 14 for Shoppers pricing

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Saje A Night For You Event Recap | #SajeRobson

#SajeRobson event

A couple weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend my first Saje event at their downtown Robson location, alongside a ton of media and blogger guests. It was the proverbial dark and stormy night when I arrived and immediately upon entering, I was hit with a welcoming wave of scented oils, which blasted away the chilliness of outside. Hosted by NKPR, the event was to celebrate and to promote all of Saje's new releases and fan favourites. Guests mingled and noshed on delicate appies and wines while staff circulated the room answering questions and providing recommendations. Usually I would be all up in the food and drink with everyone else, but for that night, I was on a mission to shop as Saje was offering a 30% discount to all guests!

Saje Arrive Revived aromatherapy spray
So curious about this jet lag spray! It can be used anytime you need a quick recharge of moisture on tired or stressed out skin

Saje, is a Vancouver based company specializing in aromatherapy and natural beauty products. They're probably most famous for their nebulizers, which are small devices that act like a humidifier, but which also clear the air of dust and allergens. The best part is, that each nebulizer can be used with any of Saje's diffuser blends and essential oils, which means an infinite number of combinations to scent your room and house! Saje also sells a variety of other bath and beauty products, perfumes and energizing teas, but #sorrynotsorry it was all about the oils for me, as I figured that was really their star product and also because Saje was gifting each guest with a nebulizer of their choice!

Saje aromaom deluxe nebulizer
The AromaOm Deluxe nebulizer

Saje sells a variety of nebulizers in various shapes and sizes, but they all generally operate the same. I think most people, like myself, opted to be greedy and went for the top of the line model, which is the AromaOm Deluxe. This nebulizer comes in black and white and features a ceramic outer casing, which can be removed. The AromaOm Deluxe contains controls for low/high output, run time (up to 3 hours or continuous) and to toggle through various light displays. I've been using mine every night since I received it and absolutely love it. My room smells fresher than ever and the scents are subtle yet noticeable!

Saje tea tumbler

Saje pocket pharmacy
The Pocket Pharmacy - review coming soon!

Once I had selected the nebulizer of my choice, it was time to choose oils to fill it with. I believe I literally stood in front of the diffuser and essential oil wall for an hour just sniffing each bottle and then sniffing them again as I kept forgetting what I had smelled before. Each of the diffuser blends and essential oils can be used for various purposes, with some being energizing, or soothing, or even... seductive. After much deliberation I settled on Liquid Sunshine, a strong citrusy blend, pure lemon oil (I'm obsessed with lemon scented things), and bergamot oil. As well, I also received in my swag bag, a set of the Pocket Pharmacy rollerballs, which is a set of therapeutic oils and the Happiness mini diffuser blend collection.

Diffuser blend wall at Saje
So many blends! A Libra's nightmare

Each the oils I received at the event are formulated for specific purposes:
  • Liquid sunshine - a mix of bergamot, grapefruit, orange, lime and mandarin for optimism and cheer
  • Lemon essential oil - for uplifting moods, and its antibacterial properties help combat colds, acne and insect bites
  • Bergamot essential oil - soothes and calms the mind and can also ease respiratory ailments
  • Refresh - uplift spirits with the refreshing smell of peppermint
  • Citrus dreams - orange, grapefruit and neroli to energize
  • Cloud nine - star anise, lavender, geranium, ylang ylang and sandalwood to soothe and elevate
Saje Happiness diffuser blend collection

Saje Happiness diffuser blend collection

While I'm quite skeptical of the topical benefits of essential oils, I do believe a little in the powers of aromatherapy. It just makes sense that good smells elevate your mood and each of these certainly do. At first I was a bit worried that the scents I chose would work too well and leave me unable to sleep at night, but the fragrance is subtle enough that it just relaxes me and doesn't keep me awake. I usually turn on my nebulizer for 2 hours on high and it's enough to gently scent my bedroom and eliminate the dog odor that comes from Ecko's bed. 

Saje diffuser blends and essential oils

I think it's safe to say that Saje has made me addicted to essential oils! They're much easier to clean up than candles and with the nebulizer, they have the added benefit of providing clean air for your home. 

For Canadians, Saje has stores across Canada, but you can also purchase their products online.

If you've tried Saje before, let me know your recommendations! I'm eager to try more!

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