Coach Eau de Parfum Review | A cool girl's fragrance for smelling sexy

My opinion of Coach has wavered up and down throughout the years. Coach will forever be known to me as the "outlet designer store" as it's so very popular as a gateway brand into designer goods. The splashy logo purses of yore had me at first curious, then vastly turned off of the brand until I realized that they had plenty of amazing leather goods, particularly their heritage designs, and I've always coveted a pair of their incredibly soft leather and fur-lined gloves.

Coach began their empire with leather goods and has since expanded into all sorts of accessory categories and even jewelry. Now, they've ventured into a market they've never been before, with their new Coach Eau de Parfum, which debuted just this past October.

coach perfume review

With Chloe Grace Moretz as its face, the Coach Eau de Parfum is meant to encapsulate the youthful energy and sensual wise-beyond-her-years feel of a young woman in New York. Coach describes the fragrance as taking
its inspiration from the brand’s iconic codes in an olfactory interpretation of modern luxury rooted in the cool, urban ambiance of New York. Like the brand’s leather creations, it is the ultimate timeless accessory. The feminine, sensual bottle - a heavy glass oval is emblematic of the Coach brand. Its spray cap is shaped like a gold turnlock imitating the iconic clasp of Coach’s most famous bags.
As a fragrance of contrasts, the Coach Eau de Parfum contains a mix of heavy and light notes:
  • Top notes: raspberry
  • Mid notes: Turkish roses
  • Base notes: Suede musk

Upon first spray, I picked up the raspberry notes right away. Berry notes are among my favourites so I really enjoyed the light, fresh, juiciness of this opening. After a few moments, the raspberry deepens and matures into a more sexy, floral mix that still manages to retain some of its effervescent beginnings thankfully, and this (unlike the Burberry fragrances) is its saving grace for me. The Coach Eau de Parfum is heady, lush, but never overpowering or too aggressive. Like a coquettish gaze, or a light grazing of the arm, the Coach Eau de Parfum is flirtatious, but not overtly so.

coach eau de parfum review

With the rainy fall weather we've been having here, the Coach Eau de Parfum has become a frequent staple for me. It makes me feel pulled together and feminine and thankfully it's not super strong, so it just gives me wispy reminders that it's there throughout the day, instead of hanging over me like a stinky cloud.

If you're interested in trying out Coach's new perfume, you can purchase it at The Bay and Shoppers Drug Mart. The Coach Eau de Parfum comes in two sizes: 50 ml for $90 or 90 ml for $115.


* Please note that unlike my other reviews, I will not put a Final Verdict on this product. Fragrances are highly personal, more so than other beauty products, and therefore definitely take these thoughts as reflecting my own experience only. Always try out samples of perfumes before purchasing as different scents will wear differently on each person.


This post contains PR samples.




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Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask Review | A welcome splash of hydration!

origins drink up intensive overnight mask review

You all know how much I love to slather myself in moisture. If anything, maintaining your skin's hydration, alongside vigilant sun protection, is the key to preventing dry, flaky, aging skin. Recently I've been trying out my first Origins mask, the ever popular Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask. 

Designed as a sleeping mask, this rejuvenating mask contains a potion of natural oils and extracts to replenish your skin's moisture stores while repairing and shore up your moisture barrier from further dehydration. According to Origins studies, 83% of testers reported tighter skin and 90% reported smoother skin after just 10 days!

Shall we deep dive into my favourite part of any review, the ingredients?

The Guts
This mask contains primarily:
  • Water
  • Rose flower water - soothing and toning properties to refresh skin
  • Myrtle leaf water - an astringent
  • Bitter orange flower water - moisturizing
  • Chamomile flower extract - reduces redness and inflammation
Other interesting ingredients are black currant seed oil (moisturizing), camphor bark oil (moisturizing), apricot kernel oil (moisturizing), aloe vera (moisturizing), rice extract (moisturizing), oat kernel extract (soothing) and panthenol (or vitamin B, moisturizing).

If you look up this mask on Sephora, the ingredients list differs entirely from what is listed here, but the ingredients I'm citing were straight off of my tube, so I'm not sure if this is a different rendition of the normal mask or not. 

Price & Packaging
As mentioned, the mask I received here is a special Breast Cancer Awareness version for October, but the pricing and packaging of all Origins masks seem similar so I'll just say this one is likely to cost $32 for 100 ml of product. 

For this price and size, I'd say this mask is a pretty good deal. 100 ml may not sound like much, but it actually is quite a lot and will take you awhile to use up, considering that this mask is meant to be used only a couple times a week.

Effectiveness
If I wasn't already impressed with this mask, then I certainly would be after looking at its ingredients list! Every ingredient in the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask seems designed to deliver moisture, whether it's to replenish moisture, or to shore up my skin's natural defenses against moisture loss. With the sudden turn into winter weather here, this mask couldn't be more timely. 

The first thing I noticed was how thick and creamy this mask is. It's a light honey-gold color and totally opaque, with a thick, slightly sticky texture. The Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask also smells freaking lovely. It has a light, vibrant scent that is very citrusy, with just a hint of floral. It reminds me of a tropical cocktail and I just can't stop sniffing it! It's so very refreshing and inspires positive thoughts!

Since it's so creamy, this mask just slides over my skin so easily and coats in a protective layer. I use about a quarter sized amount all over my face and a bit more to cover my neck. If you've never tried a sleeping mask before, then it may take some getting used to the stickiness after and I'd definitely recommend you get used to sleeping on your back, otherwise your pillow will benefit more from the mask than your face. Following these measures though are infinitely worth it. 

This mask is seriously one of the best I've tried. My skin feels super smooth and plumped up the next morning and just plain feels great. The dryness lines in my forehead look reduced and my skin feels supple and bouncy. I would definitely repurchase this one, although now I wonder how it compares to the original? Please say Origins that this isn't a LE formulation!

Final Verdict
Buy - a citrusy splash of moisture that leaves my skin feeling amazing and is utterly worth every penny!


=== 
Life lately: I've discovered a new favourite drink: pandan juice with gin! Everything I've tried with this magical leaf has tasted amazing. I have no idea how to describe it's taste - like a mix of fresh greenness with a creamy sweetness? What are your favourite ways to eat pandan that I should try?


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Red Ombre Lipstick Makeup Look with Essence

Does price equate to quality when it comes to makeup? In my experience often the answer is mostly yes, but there are a few exceptions, most notably with Revlon, Lise Watier, E.L.F and now Essence. Available at Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaw stores in Canada, Essence has long been a well known secret among beauty blogger circles for their dirt cheap prices and solid quality. Recently I was sent a selection of items from Essence's fall collection to play with, which is how I came up with this red lip look, using as many Essence products as possible.

I wore this look out to go to the bank on the weekend, which is pretty made up for that purpose! I think I would redo this look again if I was going out as I found the lips pretty intense for errands and I was definitely way more made up than anyone else I encountered that day. On the other hand, I enthusiastically believe that red lipstick should be pulled out for any occasion, so I should just practice what I preach right?

essence fall 2016 makeup

Anyways, here's how to create this look!

Base
  • Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in Creamwhip (review)
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
I went pretty basic with my base for this by carefully sponging on this foundation all over and even using it as my under-eye concealer. Then I set it all with my favourite finishing powder, Dim Light.

Red lip makeup tutorial with essence

Eyes
  • Essence I ❤ Colour Intensifying Eyeshadow Base ($3.99)
  • Essence 2in1 Eyeshadow and Liner ($4.99) in Peach Perfect and She's Got the Mauve
  • Clinique High Impact Custom Black Kohl Eyeliner in Blackest Black
  • Essence Forbidden Volume Mascara ($4.99)
  • Clinique Pretty Easy Brow palette (review)
First I primed my lids with this Essence eyeshadow priming base. This primer applies very wet and thick, so all you need is a small dot on each lid, then quickly blend out all over with a finger. The doefoot applicator makes it a bit tricky to control application, so I much prefer my usual primer, the Urban Decap Primer Potion. As well, the Essence primer tends to crease before it sets, so I need to leave my lids closed for a couple seconds and the color has a pink undertone that while brightening, doesn't quite match with my more yellow-toned skin.

After priming, I applied Peach Perfect all over my lid and along my lower lashline. Peach Perfect is a glistening white-blush; it's a great base color and the pointed tip is perfect for highlighting under the brow and on the inner corners. Then I applied She's Got the Mauve along my upper lids to the crease, blending with a finger. I wasn't expecting to like She's Got the Mauve so much as mauves sometimes make me look really yellow, but this one is just the right grey for me! Both shadow pencils were easy to apply and blend. The color is very buildable, but when layered together, the finish is super glossy and it bit too much for me. I prefer a more subtle finish, but I think pairing these with a more matte shadow, or solo, would look quite nice. I wouldn't try using these as a precise liner as they're way too thick for that.

Lastly I tight-lined my eyes with black liner, filled in my brows and applied mascara. I'm pleasantly surprised by the Essence Forbidden Volume mascara. Available as a regular and fiber formula, the Forbidden Volume mascara gave me natural looking volume, length and definition. Definitely a good deal for $4.99! The only sad thing is that it smudges pretty bad after 4-5 hours.

Cheeks
  • Essence Pure Nude Highlighter ($5.49)
I'm still riding that K-beauty train, so I didn't bother contouring, but I did apply a subtle highlight. This peach-gold highlighter from Essence is really great for giving a subtle light and warmth to my skin. If you're paler, I think this would work more as a peach blush, but on my NC25 skin, it's pretty much a match so it just gives my face a really subtle candlelit radiance. Contrary to Essence's claim that this would work for all skin colors, I don't think this would do much for anyone darker than me.

Lips
  • Essence Longlasting Lipliner in Berry On My Mind ($3.99)
  • Annabelle Stay Sharp Self Sharpening Lipliner in Glam Red (review)
  • Essence Prettifying Lip Oil ($3.99)
Lastly, the centerpiece of this look - the lips! I'm super impressed with the Essence Longlasting Lipliners. Available in 9 shades ranging from purple to coral, these lipliners are really pigmented and creamy for easy, quick application. My only quibble with them is that they aren't self sharpening! 

I received a few shades of these liners, but my favourite by far is Berry On My Mind, which is a rich purple-red. I used this shade to line my lips for an outer ombre, then filled in the inner center of my lips with the Annabelle Stay Sharp Self Sharpening Lipliner in Glam Red, which is a vibrant retro red. I then dabbed the center of my lips with a bit of lip oil for hydration and that was that! 

Essence makeup look

I loved how this subtle ombre turned out, although I think my technique still needs some work! The berry and red shades worked really well together. You can see the ombre if you look closely, but it's not too obvious. Using lipliners made doing the ombre so much easier and is easier to reapply on the go as you don't need a brush. I'm so in love with doing ombre lips and can't wait to think of more combinations to try! If you have any ideas, please leave me a comment!


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Introducing Belif Skincare | OMG you need this

Whenever I go for a facial and skin examination, the results are usually the same: my skin is in good condition, but it's parched. It seems like I am constantly always trying to drink more, or apply more moisturizers just to keep my skin in balance. Especially after I returned from Spain, my skin has been feeling out of whack, what with the sudden climate change, frequent plane trips and change in seasons. I had to give myself a skin reset with a deep exfoliating facial and then I was ready to introduce some heavy cavalry products to get my skin back to peak condition.

Thankfully, THEFACESHOP had sent me just what I needed to restore my skin's youthfulness. Just launched last month, belif is a brand-spanking-new entry to the Canadian beauty market. Pairing traditional 19th century herbalist techniques with modern day Korean skincare science, belif is a beauty blogger's wet dream.

belif skincare reviews

Every belif product is founded on the guiding principles of the brand: true ingredients, true formula, true safety, true benefit and true timeliness. What this all means, is that belif seeks to be as transparent as possible and doesn't try to dazzle consumers with crazy marketing lingo or fancy packaging. Everything is formulated to be pure, simple and effective, which I love!

The 2 products I'll be featuring today are belif's two-most popular products: The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb and The True Cream - Aqua Bomb. The entire line of belif products can be found at THEFACESHOP stores everywhere.

belif aqua bomb review

The True Cream - Aqua Bomb
Price: $47 for 50 ml

What it is: A light gel formula that deeply moisturizes while minimizing pores, repairing damaged cells, improving skin elasticity and giving it a refreshed, cool feeling. belif claims that this cream moisturizes skin so deeply, that it still measures moisture levels 18% higher than with no cream 4 hours after application.

What's in it:
  • Water
  • Dipropylene glycol - provides a slippery texture
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Methyl trimethicone - a silicon that acts as an emollient and provides a silky texture
  • Denatured alcohol - common in Asian products, this ingredient acts as a carrier to help deliver beneficial ingredients to skin
As well this cream contains a ton of natural extracts that act as moisturizers (chickweed extract, baptisia tinctoria root extract, marigold flower extract, horsetail leaf extract, nettle leaf extract, shea butter, macadamia nut seed oil) and antioxidants (raspberry leaf extract, alchemilla vulgaris leaf extract). This cream is also free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances, dyes and animal origin ingredients.
My take: The True Cream - Aqua Bomb is designed for normal to oily skin, but it really could be used by even dry skin types as it's still very hydrating. I've been using this as my day cream and it's sooo intensely hydrating that it makes me dance a bit in glee. The light gel formula feels super refreshing in the mornings and it has a very faint clean, almost minty scent, that may or may not be a placebo effect based upon its ice blue color. I love to slather this all over my skin and I have to warn you: if you don't like that heavy moisturizer feeling, that sticky, kinda wet feeling, then you may not like this. I on the other hand LOVE IT. Give me moarrr my skin says. After just a couple of applications, my skin noticeably feels plumper, softer, and more even. After a few minutes, the tackiness dries down so you can apply primer and makeup on top easily and it doesn't cause my foundations to pill. 

Final Verdict: Buy

belif moisturizing bomb review

The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb
Price: $47 for 50 ml
What it is: This cream is the artillery tank of belif's skincare arsenal. Targeted for normal to dry skin types, the Moisturizing Bomb delivers 26-hour of intense, deep hydration. Designed with a unique "bursting" formula, the molecules of this cream will burst upon skin contact, to release a "flood of moisture" that is then readily absorbed into skin to leave it feeling smooth, not sticky. 

What's in it:
  • Water
  • Glycerin
  • Cyclohexasiloxane - a silicone that helps plump up fine lines and provides a smooth moisture capturing barrier over skin
  • Hydrogenated polydecene - a powerful emollient and anti-wrinkle ingredient
  • Dipropylene glycol
Similarly, this cream contains a long list of natural extracts that are soothing (mistletoe ferment extract, oat kernel, willow bark) and moisturizing (soybean ferment extract, saccharomyces/imperata cylindrica root ferment extract, poncirus trifoliata fruit extract, marigold flower extract, raspberry leaf, baptisia tinctoria root, chickweed, rose flower). This cream is also free of parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, phthalates, artificial fragrances, dyes and animal origin ingredients.
My take: Similarly to the Aqua Bomb, I found the Moisturizing Bomb to be deeply moisturizing and comforting to my skin. I've been using this one as a night cream as it has a more emollient, thick texture that felt a bit too heavy for me to wear during the day. This cream is freaking amazing. It's super silky feeling and just coats my skin in a creamy layer of protective moisture. Again, if you don't like slow absorbing products then you may not like this one either as I found it wears like a sleeping mask and takes a while to fully absorb. I didn't notice overnight success with this, but over a couple of weeks, this cream noticeably made my skin feel more supple and softer.

Final Verdict: Buy

Overall I absolutely loved these 2 creams. They are just the thing that my skin was aching for with winter coming. Since using these, my skin has transformed itself; my skin feels softer, silkier, plumper, is more luminous, and even. Can I gush any harder about these? They are worth every penny!


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Life Lately: Mr. Artist and I started watching West World on the weekend and we're already hooked! I love a good sci-fi premise, especially if they're ones that make you think and so far, West World is doing a great job at building up its mystery world. Hopefully it won't degenerate into a robot rebellion trope after the first season! Is anyone else watching this?


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Yves Rocher 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser Renutritive Effect Review | My new morning ritual

Yves Rocher 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser Renutritive Effect Review

I can't remember when I picked up this cleanser or where I bought it. For some reason, I feel like it was a random buy from Winners. Whatever the means, this was a new foray to me as I haven't tried out many Yves Rocher products before.

Yves Rocher was founded in 1959 and is a French company that's known for their botanical based products. The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is a luxurious cleanser based on the restorative powers of 3 types of teas:
  • green tea to detoxify and rejuvenate skin (green tea is also known as a potent anti-aging ingredient)
  • white tea to re-oxygenate skin so it looks fresher and more radiant
  • Madagascar tea to protect skin against environmental damage
With its silky cream based formula, the 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is designed to gently cleanse skin, leaving it feeling comforted and revitalized.

The Guts
The primary ingredients in this cleanser are:
  • Water
  • Coco-caprylate - an emollient to help capture moisture in skin
  • Ethylhexyl cocoate - an emollient
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Dimethicone - a silicone that gives this cleanser a silky, spreadable texture and which imparts a silky, temporarily plumper appearance to skin
The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser also contains anthemis nobilis flower water (moisturizing), sesame seed oil (moisturizing), cottonseed oil (moisturizing, but could be irritating) and green tea leaf powder (antioxidant).

I'm not sure where the aforementioned white tea and Madagascar tea extracts are, as this cleanser seems mostly made up of moisturizers, emollients and surfactants to me. Even the green tea extract sadly falls near the end of the list, meaning it probably has little to no anti-aging effect. As well, this cleanser also contains preservatives like parabens and phenoxyethanol, which can be an irritant. Yves Rocher definitely gets demerits for some shaky advertising!

Price & Packaging
A generously sized 150 ml tube retails for around $40. Yves Rocher is a mid-range brand, so this type of pricing isn't unexpected. As I'm writing this, I'm becoming more certain this was a Winners purchase as I wouldn't have paid full price for this without knowing if it was good or not! 

I'm a bit loath to spend this much on a cleanser as it's something you use up so quickly and which stays on your skin for only a moment, however the 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is a bit of a different case, seeing as it's more like a cold cream than a regular cleanser that you wash off.

Effectiveness
My original motivation for trying this cleanser was that it was a cleansing cream. I prefer to use as gentle a cleanser in the morning as possible so as not to unnecessarily strip my skin's moisture. In the mornings you don't need a strong cleanser; you only need something to wash away product residue and dirt picked up from your pillow. In the past I've just used toner to cleanse in the mornings, but I prefer using gentle cleansers to help replenish moisture as well as clean my face.

The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is applied to dry skin and gently massaged in, in order to break up any dirt or dead skin cells. I then take a warm, damp face cloth and wipe away any excess. 

Yves Rocher 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser Renutritive Effect Review

The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is super thick and creamy. It feels like you're applying a crazy thick cream or body lotion to your face, but in an oh-so-good way. I absolutely love the feeling of massaging this rich cream into my skin. It doubles as a morning facial massage to me, which helps invigorate my skin and to flush away toxins. A quarter sized amount is enough to cover my entire face. The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser never leaves me feeling greasy or congested; it just leaves my skin feeling super comfortable, supple and feeling like satin. Also, since I don't rinse this cleanser off, my skin will benefit from its mix of emollients all day.

I've even tried using this cleanser at night and surprisingly it's really effective! It cleansed off all my makeup (post cleansing oil) and passed my toner test, where I see how much makeup and dirt is left when I tone, with flying colours! 

Final Verdict
Buy - The 3 Teas Detoxifying Rich Cream Cleanser is pricier than what I'd normally pay for a cleanser, but I really love how soft this cleanser leaves my skin, so I just can't say no to recommending it! If you've never tried a cold cream or cleansing cream before, then this is the perfect place to start.


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Life Lately: I really love working from home. Although I have a lot of fun joking around and listening to my teammates banter, I'm just 1000% more productive working from home, plus I can dance around in my living room to my favourite hip hop playlists! Who knew DMX would make me so productive?





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Dermalogica Sheer Tint SPF 20 Moisturizer Review | My Quest for the Perfect Weekend Base

dermalogica sheer tint review

As a makeup lover, I relish taking the time to do my makeup in the mornings. It's a ritual that is just about me, for me, and I see it as way to express my feelings that day. As much as I enjoy doing my makeup though, even I can appreciate that it's good to give my skin a break. That usually means weekends for me when I may not leave the house except to run errands or go for a casual coffee with a friend. Primarily it's foundation that I want to give my skin a break from, so lately I've been looking around for a light, no-fuss base product that lets my skin breathe, while still providing decent coverage.

Enter in Dermalogica's Sheer Tint moisturizer with SPF 20. This sheer, moisturizing formula contains iron oxides to give skin a healthy radiance, while hyaluronic acid and natural extracts help moisturize and protect it from environmental damage. Like most Dermalogica products, the Sheer Tint is without any filler fragrances or colors, and it comes in 3 basic shades (light, medium, dark).

The Guts
I really love how the Sheer Tint combines hydration, sun protection and anti-aging ingredients all in one. The primary ingredients in this tinted moisturizer are:
  • Water
  • Capric/Caprylic triglyceride - an emollient
  • Butylene glycol - a solvent and moisturizer
  • Dimethicone - a silicone that provides a silky and lightweight texture that smooths out skin
  • Methyl gluceth-20 - is both a humectant (draws in moisture) and an emollient (seals in moisture) derived from cornstarch and helps smooth and hydrate
Other ingredients of note include lactamide MEA (moisturizing), hydrolyzed pearl (moisturizing), walnut seed extract (moisturizing), olive fruit extract (moisturizing), and eucalyptus oil (moisturizing).

The primary sunscreen components in the Sheer Tint are a chemical sunscreen (octinoxate, 4.5%) and a physical sunscreen (zinc oxide, 9.5%). I like how Sheer Tint uses a physical sunscreen, which while more physically visible, is also I've heard to be more effective and long-lasting.

dermalogica sheer tint light
Dermalogica Sheer Tint SPF 20 in Light

Price & Packaging
However, all this goodness doesn't come cheap. At $60 for a 40 ml tube, the price of the Sheer Tint is comparable to a highend foundation! Packaging-wise, the Sheer Tint is on-brand with all Dermalogica products and is packaged in a minimalist plastic squeeze tube with a screw-on cap.

Hydration
As a moisturizer, the Sheer Tint is definitely very light and not hydrating enough for my dehyrated normal skin right now. The texture of this moisturizer is similar to a BB cream and has that slight oiliness to it that sort of glides and slips across the skin. I'm kinda surprised that this moisturizer is so light since it is mainly made up of moisturizing ingredients, but not many of them are heavy emollients, so I suppose that could be the reason. If you have oilier skin then perhaps this might be good enough for you and I'd probably try this solo in the summer, but for where I'm at now, I have to layer this over top of another moisturizer to avoid feeling parched.

Coverage & Wear
As a light foundation though, I think the Dermalogica Sheer Tint excels. I received this moisturizer in the shade Light, and it gives me just the type of coverage I need on a weekend. Unfortunately if you're any lighter than me (a MAC NC25), then you're out of luck as Dermalogica only made the 3 shades. As well, according to other reviews, this is a new formulation of the Sheer Tint Moisture and many have noted that the medium shade is super orange, so if that's you, then you may want to try a tester first.

For me, the Sheer Tint feels light as air and cancels out all redness. It doesn't unfortunately conceal my hyper-pigmentation, so if you have any blemishes or scars you want to conceal, you'll need concealer for that; this is really just if you want a super-light, naked skin finish.

dermalogica sheer tint spf 20
Wearing just the Dermalogica Sheer Tint with Make Up Forever Translucent Pressed Powder on top

Due to the suncreen components and moisturizers, the Sheer Tint is fairly slippery and dewy, which may turn off some people, but I don't find this any more oily than most facial sunscreens. If you like that super dewy Korean look, then you'll really love this, but I like to tap a bit of translucent powder on top just to bring it down a notch.

The Sheer Tint makes a great priming base for other foundations and it worked well with both my more watery foundations, like Burberry's Fresh Glow, and more creamy ones, like the Estee Lauder Double Wear.

Worn solo, it wore well all day, although it does transfer within the first few minutes of application. I noticed very slight oxidation after 8 hours, but it's only noticeable if you were looking.

Final Verdict
Buy - for a tinted moisturizer this is pricey, but as a light, breathable, foundation I think this is perfect and pretty inline with what's out there formula-wise and in terms of product amount. Looks like I've found my weekend base option!


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Life Lately: I'm already panicking that it's getting close to Christmas! Every year I agonize over how much I spend, so this year I'm contemplating trying to create some DIY gifts. If you have done some easy DIY gifts in the past, please share!


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Me Encanta Espana Part 4: Granada Travel Guide

20161008_175635

This is bittersweet guys. It's the last installment of my Spain trip recaps! Granada is located just a few hours train from Seville and although home to one of the most famous attractions in Spain, it still feels off the beaten path. Certainly most people I knew had travelled to Madrid and Barcelona, but nobody I knew had been to Granada, yet it was probably the city I was looking forward to the most because if its famous landmark, the Alhambra.

As a Game of Thrones stan, I forgoed visiting Madrid in order to fit in Granada and a visit to the Alhambra where I had heard they had filmed many Dorne scenes. Other than that, I didn't know anything about this Moorish style fortress and palace! I'm sure there are worse reasons to travel somewhere right?

Each city on our trip has been unique, and Granada was no exception. It's a smaller city, but with a big personality. Granada is a melting pot of Moorish and Spanish influences, hippy and gypsy culture and university culture, thanks to the schools there. It's as easy to stumble across squares filled with muscians and dancers as it is to walk down a street filled with high street fashion boutiques. Like everywhere in Spain though, the nightlife is crazy and the food spot-on. Spaniards really know how to live!

Transportation
Granada has all the amenities of a big city with a bus and train system as well as an airport. You can easily fly from Madrid or Barcelona to Granada within 5 hours and as I said, it's just a couple hours train ride from Seville.

20161008_160050

Accommodation
The Alhambra is right in the heart of the city and the closest neighborhood is the Albayzin district, a sprawling mix of alley ways, shops, churches, galleries and homes. Even if you don't stay here, the Albayzin is a must-visit. You can stroll along the main road in the shadow of the Alhambra and wander the cobble-stoned streets. Albayzin has a strong Muslim influence with hookah shops and kebabs everywhere. If you are walking though, be sure to wear good walking shoes as the streets here are very steep and literally populated with concrete studded with rocks. Not smooth cobblestones - ROCKS. I cannot emphasize enough how easy it is to twist an ankle on the roads!

In this picturesque neighborhood, many of the doorways open into private courtyards shaded with flowering vines and resonant with the sound of trickling fountains. It gets quite hot in Granada, so these small oases are welcome respites from the heat. Granada residents even take things a step farther by actually digging houses into the mountainsides. Airbnb is full of listings for "cave homes" but beware that these are usually located way up the hillsides where taxis won't venture!

Food
Granada's food scene is lively and full of the usual tapas bars, cervecerias, but also many donair shops! We didn't eat any seafood (beyond anchovies) while here, but saw and ate, lots of delicious grilled pork and lamb. The food in Granada is quite similar to everywhere else in Spain, but one unique thing was that if you order a drink, you automatically get a tapa with it for free! And these weren't even small cheap tapas like a baguette with tomato spread - no I'm talking about a bowl of delicious salty grilled pork! As a pork lover, I was in my element!

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Sights
The main thing to do in Granada though is to soak in the stunning views and the majesty of the Alhambra. We spent a day in this sprawling complex which is a 15 minute walk from the Albayzin district.

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After seeing the Real Alcazar in Seville, the Alhambra was slightly less awe-inspiring as it is more fortress than palace-like and in worse condition thanks to being fought over in multiple wars; however, it is still something to see. The best part was climbing to the tower roof and checking out the stunning vista of Granada sprawled before us as far as the eye could see.

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Tips
  • Bring your hiking shoes! Granada's streets are in good condition, but super steep and rocky
  • Peek into corner shops for deals on Spanish food goods like saffron and chocolate
  • Pack water with you as the Alhambra only has 1 cafe and 1 corner shop to refresh yourself
  • The Alhambra doesn't sell audio guides, so either book a tour, or read up on the sights beforehand

That's it for my guides to Spain! Each city we visited was such a thrill to see. Spain is such a gorgeous country full of lively people, incredible food and stunning scenery. I loved each city we went to for different reasons, but I think my heart was actually won over by Seville. I'm really surprised that Seville just edged out the others, but maybe it's because I feel I barely scratched its surface this time, whereas I'm pretty sure I did all the major things in the others. Until next time Spain!

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A K-Beauty Inspired Makeup Look Featuring Clinique

clinique matte lip color and primer

Okay remember how I said pink and peach were going to be my go-to makeup tones this fall? Well... scrap that. How can one define oneself by just one type of look?! I'm only human!

This weekend I was treated to a live makeup demonstration by famous Korean makeup artist and Youtuber, Saem Mool Jung. In the demo, Jung showcased the latest Korean makeup techniques and trends and let's just say I was thrilled.

According to Jung, Korean beauty right now is all about soft eyes, lush brows, luminous skin and a bright matte lip. I got the chance to meet Jung after the demonstration and when I asked her about contouring, she literally wrinkled her nose and shook her head. I guessed strobing was out of the question too, but I didn't know how well "strobing" would translate to Korean. In any case, I am so in love with the looks she created that I had to rush home and try it out myself!

clinique korean makeup with saem mool jung

Now, you could totally take the looks I featured previously on peach tones and just slap a bold lip on them. Since I've been all about MLBB forever, I had forgotten just how fresh and liberating a bold lip could be. Bold lips can be sexy, moody, strong or flirtatious. With the return of moody fall weather in Vancouver, I decided to go classic with the subtle ombre red lip that Jung created during her visit.

Here's how you can get the look!

Base
  • Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in Creamwhip (review)
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Dim Light
  • Paul + Joe Moisturizing Foundation Primer N (review)
To nail the Korean flawless dewy skin, you'll need a well moisturized base. Jung recommends patting on toner, essence and moisturizer layer by layer; this also helps your makeup sit better on your skin. I also layered a moisturizing primer on top of my skincare just before foundation to really amp up my dewiness as I know this Clinique foundation to be more satin than dewy. I then used a damp foundation sponge to stipple foundation all over my skin, even under my eyes. The sponge helps prevent caking and allows my skin to peek through while providing medium-full coverage.

makeup look with the clinique matte lip color + primer

Eyes
  • Clinique Chubby Shadow Tint in Fuller Fudge
  • Clinique High Impact Custom Black Kohl eyeliner in Blackened Brown
  • Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow
  • Essence Forbidden Volume mascara
  • Clinique Pretty Easy Brow palette (review)
I tried to follow the instructions Jung used on her model, but I feel like mine turned out smokier and more dramatic than hers. First I primed my lids then softly smudged Fuller Fudge along my lid. I was really surprised how much I loved this color! The packaging of the Clinique Chubby Shadow Tint in Fuller Fudge looked quite warm and chocolate toned, but it actually applied a lot cooler and more like an ash brown. The trick to these is to lightly brush your lids then blend with a finger and repeat so you slowly build up the color. I applied this color from lashline to crease, then lined my eyes with the Clinique High Impact Custom Black Kohl eyeliner in Blackened Brown. I love me a good kohl liner and these are no exception. The new High Impact Custom Black Kohl eyeliners come in 4 colors and Blackened Brown is a true deep deep brown. 

I used the liner to line my waterline on the bottom of my eyes, and then made a slight wing on my upper lids, drawing as close to my lashes as possible. Jung advises leaving a bare gap right in the center of lids and it really does help make them look a bit bigger and brighter. To accentuate this effect, I took a liner brush and swiped some of the gold highlight from my trusty Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze and Glow over the center of my lashline, blending outwards. Using the same brush, I then smoked out my bottom lash line with some of the bronze shade from the Filmstar palette as well. 

Using my go-to Pretty Easy Brow palette, I filled in my brows and lastly curled my eyelashes and applied 2 coats of mascara. I'm not a huge fan of the Clinique mascaras, so I opted for this Essence one, which is pretty decent!

Lips
  • Annabelle Stay Sharp Self Sharpening Lipliner in Java (review of a different color here)
  • Clinique Pop Matte Lip Color + Primer in Peppermint Pop
  • Clinique Pop Matte Lip Color + Primer in Ruby Pop
Jung has the strangest way of doing lips that I've seen in awhile! She actually recommends always lining the lips first with brown liner and then applying lipstick. Before you go all 90's on me though, be sure to choose the right liner! A light brown liner close to your lip color will suffice. I didn't have any liner light enough, so I opted for a pink-brown lipliner a la this one from Annabelle

I lined my lips all around and filled in the outer half (this is to mark the "darker" part of the ombre). Then using a lip brush, I applied Ruby Pop over the liner. Peppermint Pop is a deep, gorgeous scarlet red that gives me quivers of joy. The Clinique Pop lip formula is crazy good and although I had never tried the matte formula before, I trusted it to be stellar and I was right - these lipsticks gave me nothing but pure pigment and a matte, but not drying finish. 

After carefully applying Peppermint, I then filled in the center of my lips and the inner half with Ruby Pop, which is very similar to Peppermint Pop, but a tad brighter and warmer. I haven't quite got the hang of the ombre lip just yet and I think these shades are a bit too similar to show, but I still liked the end effect!

clinique makeup look

Now, I think you could go a little simpler if this is too much for you. A pared down version could just involve the Chubby Stick, mascara and lipstick! 


Would you try this look?



*This post features PR samples




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Clinique Flutter-to-Full Mascara Review | Great, in theory...

Mascara is one of those things that are absolutely essential, but damn is it tricky to find the right one! Everyone has their own requirements for mascara, but my personal mascara criteria are that it:
  • must not clump
  • not weigh down my lashes
  • maintain a curl
  • not be super wet or melt off my eyelashes to give me raccoon eyes
  • not dry out my lashes
  • give volume
  • give length
  • define and separate
  • not flake since I wear contacts
  • be affordable (I'm willing to go as high as $50 for a good mascara, which is already crazy)
This all seems reasonable right? Is it too much to ask? Well apparently it is, particularly if you have high-maintenance Asian eyelashes which seem to droop at the slightest provocation. At least mine are decently long, but finding a mascara that will give them lift, volume, length and not melt off my oily eyelids by the end of the day is a constant struggle. 

clinique flutter to full mascara

I'd never tried a Clinique mascara as far as I can recall, but I had high hopes seeing as how Clinique usually fares well for me in the skincare and makeup department. At $28, the new Clinique Flutter-to-Full Mascara is a mid-range product; not as pricey as my favourite Lancome mascaras, but definitely a big jump for anyone who only does drugstore mascara. 

The Clinique Flutter-to-Full Mascara though does a great job at standing out from the crowd. It has a unique mechanism that allows you to adjust the amount of mascara applied to your eyelashes on the fly, thanks to a handy twisting nozzle. There are 3 levels ranging from natural, to full, to maximum flutter and each level equates to more product being applied to the wand. The wand itself seems your usual standard set of bristles. 

Unfortunately for all its potential, this mascara fell flat for me. For one thing, why would anyone not ever want maximum volume :) I did try each level and while I did notice a very slight difference in volume between the lowest and highest level, it was only perceivable because I was testing it out and therefore watching for any differences. To the lay person, each level of the Clinique Flutter-to-Full Mascara is indistinguishable. 

clinique flutter to full mascara review
Wearing the Clinique Flutter-to-Full mascara at the max level

At the maximum level, I would call this a very natural mascara look. My lashes are slightly volumized and defined compared to their natural state. What is good is that they hold this look all day without flaking or smudging. What is bad however is that this mascara takes a lot of effort to wash off. I'd recommend using a cleansing oil so you can really scrub at your lashes as this mascara comes off in weird, big flakes similar to a fibre mascara. Using a regular makeup remover might be too harsh on the eyes and you'll end up using a lot of cotton pads. 

Needless to say, I wasn't that impressed with the Clinique Flutter-to-Full Mascara. For $28 I could get very similar, or better, results for much cheaper. Maybe this would work well on someone who already has naturally full and curled lashes, but for someone like me who is craving dramatic fullness, this just fell flat.


Final Verdict
Ditch - I really liked the fun, customizable aspect of this mascara and the fact that it stays put all day, but I found it difficult to remove and it didn't give me the volume I desired.


===
Life Lately: Anyone watched Black Mirror yet? I just watched the first episode and was like *yawn.* It's early days yet, but I'm not a fan of these kind of episodic series. I want a story to sink my teeth into! 


*This post contains PR samples






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Arwen Glow Thanks to Guerlain Meteorites Carousel Pearls | Weekend "No Makeup" Makeup Look

guerlain meteorites pearls carousel

My best friends and I have a saying when we talk about the holy grail level of glow that we all strive for: Arwen glow. If you're not familiar with Liv Tyler's depiction of the elf Arwen from the Lord of the Rings movies, then here's a reminder:


Isn't it just gorgeous? That type of lit-from-within etherealness is so hard to achieve in real life, when you don't have a lighting crew and photo filters following you around, but thanks to the Guerlain Meteorities Carousel Pearls, it's a little bit easier.

guerlain meteorites pearls carousel review

The Guerlain Meteorites Carousel Pearls ($75) were released earlier this year and like all the Meteorites, feature a mix of variously sized pigmented pearls to illuminate, soften and enhance the natural radiance of your skin:
  • Sunny yellow to increase warmth
  • Soft mauve to illuminate
  • Fuschia to bring freshness to skin
  • Pearlescent white to add softness
While most Meteorites are meant to be used as a finishing powder all over the face, I would actually recommend using this one as natural highlighting blush. The fuschia pearls are quite large and pigmented, which makes this one much more pigmented than normal. The finish though, like all Meteorites is totally unreal. My skin immediately looks like it was put through a soft filter. It gives me such an incredible youthful flush, and softens the looks of pores, lines and uneveness. These pearls are truly magic stuff!

guerlain meteorites carousel review

Though Guerlain does sell a special brush for these, I've just been using a duo-fibre powder brush to lightly sweep this across my cheekbones and temples. I think anything denser would just make this already pigmented product even more so and it would be easy to overdo.

guerlain meteorites carousel review

To really accent the ethereal flush the Guerlain Meteorities Carousel Pearls gives my skin, I created this minimal makeup look. Since I'm finally getting close to my winter paleness, I patted THEFACESHOP's CC Intense Cushion Foundation in Pure Beige all over, over top of the Dermalogica Sheer Tint in Light (review coming soon!) and wow, oh wow, does thus combination give me that coveted fair, flawless, dewy skin I've been craving for! 

Weekend makeup look with Guerlain

To highlight the eyes, I'm wearing a light rose-mauve shadow, Linen from Stila's The Natural palette, paired with mascara and filled in brows. With a minimal makeup look like this, it's all about skin and brows for me, so I filled my brows in a little darker than normal. Last, but not least, I topped this off with some tinted lip balm to play up the natural flush of my lips. 

guerlain meteorites pearls carousel review

I'm really in love with this look and am tempted to wear this all the time! As you can tell, it's quite similar to the all-over peach look I featured previously, so I guess it's offical: peach and pink are my thing this season! 

If you aren't trying out pink shadows in your daily routine, then what are you waiting for!


===
Life Lately: I've been obsessed with listening over and over to the Amelie soundtrack on Spotify, particularly the piano rendition of Comptine d'un autre été. Literally on repeat constantly. This quirky French film is such a classic and I never fail to enjoy watching it. Maybe because part of me identifies with its introverted protagonist with a vivid internal world? Nahhh :)




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Me Encanta Espana Part 3: Seville Travel Guide

In the third part of my 4 part series recapping my recent Spain trip, we head from the northern tip of Spain in San Sebastian to the deep southern province of Andalucia, and its most well known metropolis, Seville.

As Spain's third largest city, Seville is a vibrant place rich with history. It was here that we really felt immersed in traditional Spain. While Barcelona has lots of history, it also had a strong Catalan feel, as did San Sebastian with its Basque roots. Seville, or Sevilla in Spanish, however is adamantly, thoroughly Spanish. Andalucia was one of the original kingdoms that became amalgamated into Spain and it is also known for bull fighting, sherry, saffron and being the birthplace of flamenco dancing.

While the weather was definitely summer-like in the previous cities we'd been in, Seville was another level. The weather while we were there was as close to 30 as it could get, if not more so, and this was fall weather! In summer I heard it can get as high as 40 degrees and then down to 4 in winter. Seville is dry and arid, but as you'll see, also very beautiful.

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Riverside cafe in Triana

Accommodation
Again we opted with AirBnb for this one. While there are many nice hotels in Seville, I really liked the charm of staying in a local apartment. Ours was located in the historic Triana neighborhood and I can't recommend more staying here. Just across the river from downtown Seville and all the main tourist attractions, Triana is an attraction in and of itself. With its historic Spanish buildings, multitude of churches, charming cafes and cobblestoned alleys (this is not a city for heels!) Triana will immerse you into local life. Our apartment was right near the river so it was just a few steps to have our morning cafe con leche (latte) while enjoying the short-lived cool breezes of morning and the sounds of the river.

Another neighborhood worth staying in and exploring is the old Jewish Quarter, or Barrio Santa Cruz. Like Triana, this neighborhood is super lively with bars, cafes and shops all day and night long, and is very pedestrian-friendly.

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Transportation
Seville has an extensive metro and bus system, but we primarily got around by walking. There are also lots of cabs, but beware of cons! Our driver from the airport totally swindled us, despite there being a set fare from the airport to the city center. Always ask if your driver will take credit or debit, and what the fare will be beforehand. There are also stickers on the windows with dispute numbers, but I think the cab drivers realize you're a tourist and unlikely to bother trying to overcome the language barrier.

Sights
There are so many historic sights to see in Seville and we didn't even get through all that we had planned. We definitely want to visit again just to finish off our must-see list, but I think the ones we did see are the true "must-see" highlights.

The first, and my favourite of the trip after the Sagrada Familia, is the stunning Real Alcazar. As with much of Spain's south, it was ruled for centuries by the Muslim Moors and they left their mark on the architecture and culture of the city, most notably in this Spanish palace. The Real Alcazar is unique as it was commissioned by the Spanish kings to be built by Moorish architects with Moorish design, but mixed in with Catholic imagery and iconography.

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The result is a sprawling complex of peaceful courtyards punctuated only by the gentle splashing of fountains, lush gardens populated with curious peacocks, and stunning halls capped with soaring arches inlaid with the most intricate calligraphy of sayings from the Qur'an amongst portraits of Spanish nobility. Needless to say, you definitely want to purchase the audio tour for this one! We easily spent most of a day here exploring and taking tons of photos.

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The other must-see of Seville is right next door to the Real Alcazar and it is the Seville Cathedral. One of the largest cathedrals in Europe, this one really blew me away just thinking about the wealth and power the monarchy and the Church had back then over people and all of life. The cathedral is filled with altar after altar dedicated to various saints in beautifully wrought works of sculpture, paint and glass. Knowing absolutely nothing about Catholicism, I was so overwhelmed with just how opulent it all was. People back then must have cowered in awe and fear in the face of such obvious wealth, which I suppose was the point. How Game of Thrones-like!

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Food
After San Sebastian, it's hard to compare the food scene of Seville to that, but Seville has lots of delicious eats as well. I actually don't think we explored enough of Seville's food scene as we were only there two nights, but the glimpses we did get were awesome. While our previous 2 stops were all about seafood, Seville is an inland city, so we ate lots of pork and meaty dishes while we were there.

For sure the highlight of the trip foody-wise was our sherry and tapas tour c/o Azahar Sevilla Tours. Unbeknownst to us, true sherry wine can only be produced in Andalucia,similar to how champagne only comes from a certain region in France. Our tour took us to several different restaurants where we tried a few different sherries at each location, each specially paired with an accompanying dish. Previous to this tour, I vaguely associated sherry with dessert and while that's definitely true, it also tastes excellent with savoury dishes too. If you're a lightweight like I am, then you should know that sherry is stronger than your average wine!

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Our guide was super knowledgeable and took us to the best spots for local eats. Highlights were this pringa sandwich, a local favourite, which consists of a soft, fresh bun stuffed with flavourful pork, and a delectable chocolate cake which I have no photo of as I ate it that fast! I wasn't a huge fan of the sherries as I found them a bit too strong and acidic for my palate, but I did appreciate how well they embellished the flavour of everything we ate and by the end I was quite buzzed! The tour itself was a bit pricey, but well worth it!

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From left: fried pork rinds, manchego cheese, Iberico ham, chorizo, Spanish omelette and cod with a tangy sauce on baguette (those are not eggs!)

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Spanish omelette - breakfast of champions!
And the best way to finish off a night like a Sevillan? By eating hot chocolate and churros by the side of the river! We found a great little corner shop by the Triana marketplace and for 3 euros you got a cup of chocolate and a sizeable bag of 4 churros. While churros are no Chinese donut, I found the Spanish version of hot chocolate to be superb. For real, get it whenever you can because it's literally a cup of hot, melted chocolate! How are these people not fat when they have such amazing food?!

Overall we were surprised by how much we loved Seville. It's a beautiful city full of life, history and culture. Despite its heat and aridness, it's also a city of absolute beauty. The river criss-crossed with bridges is so peaceful and the charming alleyways and hidden gardens really make you feel like you've travelled back in time.

Tips

  • Bring a water bottle with you! Seville's heat can be stifling so water is a must
  • Order "tinto verano" instead of sangria. It's pretty much the same thing, but cheaper and lighter
  • Take siesta seriously. Sevillans are super night owls so things don't get lively until after midnight! 
  • Pork anything is delicious!
  • If you're curious about bull fighting, but don't want to support this deadly "tradition" there are museums available that will tell you about its history without the disgusting reenactment


Next week is the final installment of my trip recap with our last Spanish destination: Granada!


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