Going on a little vacay

Priorities: snuggling

This has been awhile in coming, but I think it's time that I took a little vacation from the blog. That means no more posts here for the next while, for various reasons.

When I started blogging, it was because I loved makeup, talking about makeup, and writing. Blogging seemed like the perfect amalgamation of these and it's definitely been a life changer for me in terms of opportunities, friends and learning new skills - but, it's also been draining, time-consuming and anxiety inducing. Lately it's gotten to be too much.

For anyone who thinks little of the blogger who talks about PR samples, then get your head fixed. The reality is that for any blogger to have readers, they need to be featuring new product. Nobody wants to read about the same products and old stuff that came out years ago, and frankly that's what most people's normal makeup collections are made up of. In order to keep your content fresh, you constantly need to be trying new products, which means either you go broke (because for sure I make no money off this thing!) or you work with brands to get free product to talk about.

Having those brand relationships though are the best and worst things about blogging. It's super fun getting to work with brands and share new products with your readers before they hit shelves. It's exciting to go to cool events and meet the people behind the brand, but maintaining your blog's presence, stats and whatever other criteria PR use to judge whether you're worthy enough to work with is exhausting. The game always changes and the people themselves change as someone you may have spent months getting to know, could just as easily disappear and move on to another brand or firm without notice. Then it's back to the beginning again, proving your case, sending your media kit, tweaking your SEO, posting to multiple social feeds... and so on and so on.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy this. I really do. It's just right now I feel I've lost my inspiration. I still love trying new things and sharing my thoughts with others who also love skincare and makeup, but the act of blogging, scheduling tweets and Instagram, building up a following, taking photos, scheduling when to start testing what, is more chore than passion anymore, and frankly it was causing me a lot of (self-inflicted) stress to maintain. When the work becomes greater than the fun, then it's time to question priorities and I don't want to continue unless I can give you all 100% of my effort and joy.

So I need to rediscover my blogging mojo. Or maybe I won't. Things are changing in my life and maybe it's time for me to make a change as well.

Is this the end? I hope not. I can't see myself not writing in some sort of form. All I can say is that right now, it's farewell while I go enjoy the spring time weather and my sudden expanded free time!

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Essence Lipstick Mega Review: Matt Matt Matt, Longlasting and Sheer & Shine Lipsticks

essence matt matt matt lipstick review

You know what makes finding a great new makeup item even better? When it's dirt cheap! This is why I'm dancing with glee after discovering these (new to me) Essence lipsticks.

Essence is a German drugstore cosmetics brand that's still kinda under the radar in Canada. You can get them primarily at Shoppers Drug Mart, online, and recently via Ulta.

Essence is known for its extremely affordable, fun, and beginner-friendly makeup. I've tried a few Essence items before, but my favourite Essence products by far are their lipsticks.

Recently, Essence was kind enough to send over 5 different lipsticks for me to try, from the Matt Matt Matt, Longlasting and Sheer & Shine lines.

Gunmetal Grey Makeup Look Inspired by H.E.R

Gunmetal Grey Makeup Look Inspired by H.E.R

I've been mulling over this idea of doing makeup looks inspired by songs for awhile, but the thing holding me up with finding the right song to use for my first look! As soon as I stumbled across Rn'B singer H.E.R on Spotify though, I knew I had my inspiration.

I grew up in the 90's so you know that I love me a good smooth jam and H.E.R's debut album is full of honey-smooth anthems. Her songs run the gamut of emotions in a relationship: love, lust, doubt, yearning and the type of powerful confidence unique to women everywhere.

For this look, there was never any question of not doing a smoky eye. I wanted this look to be sexy, soft and perfect for making dreamy bedroom eyes that say "come get me."

Dr. Roebuck Boost & Tighten Serum Review | Get smoother skin in seconds!

dr roebuck boost and tighten serum review

I love trying out serums as unlike many other products, you can usually tell a difference with your skin right away! If you've never tried a serum before, then I highly recommend getting into them. They're a super-concentrated version of a moisturizer that's targeted to penetrate deeper than a moisturizer and provide long-lasting benefits.

Lately I've been using mainly oil-based serums, but my new favourite right now is this gel-based one from Dr. Roebuck. This Aussie brand is known for their capsule collection of pure, effective skincare that is eco-friendly and inspired by the best ingredients in nature. I haven't tried too many products from the range, but I was very impressed by the instant results I achieved after using this serum just a couple of times.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation Review | Velvet glow IS a thing

shiseido synchro review

Woohoo! Spring is finally returning. Flowers are blooming, the sakura are peeking their pink heads out and we're beginning to dry out from the winter. What I'm most excited about though is the change in the air as that will facilitate my skin changing!

As I'm sure you're sick of hearing, this past winter threw my skin for a loop. Winters are always hard on my skin and especially this one. My skin was super dry and if I wanted to wear anything more than a tinted moisturizer, my skin would just go "nope nope nope!" 

Thankfully, I seem to be turning a corner. I've been masking multiple times a week, I switched to a gentler exfoliation routine, added in some better oils and essences to my daily routine and I've been drinking loads more water.

One of the only foundations my skin seemed to be able to tolerate during this bad period was the Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation. I'm totally new to Shiseido foundations, so I didn't know what to expect, but I'm super happy that this was gifted to me!

My Sephora VIB Sale Wishlist

It's one of the most wonderful times of year - Sephora VIB sale time! For just 1 week (or less, depending on your membership level), everything at Sephora is 15% off. Sephora only has these sales for their loyal shoppers a couple of times a year and it's 100% the reason why I haven't saved enough to retire yet. 

As with most times, I'm always scrambling last minute to think about what to buy. I really should download the Sephora app, so then I can just add things to my shopping list as I go as I'm constantly thinking to myself "I want this" when I see something shiny and pretty on a blog or Instagram.

Read on to see what items I've narrowed my cart to so far:

Pixi Glow Tonic Review | Time to ditch that face scrub!

pixi glow tonic

One of the biggest tips I have for anyone who wants to maintain their skin, is to exfoliate. Your skin is continuously bombarded with pollution, sweat, dirt and just plain ol' dead skin cells and your regular cleanser just gets the surface. To truly make your fancy skin treatments effective and to ensure a youthful glow and clear complexion, exfoliation is a must - provided you do it right.

Once you get into exfoliation, it's easy to go overboard. Trust me I've been there and all of sudden you'll be facing skin that's going into full on rebellion! When I entered my 30's, I hit such a period and suddenly my skin wasn't as tough as it was and unable to handle as strong an exfoliation as previously.

To fix that, I started to get into chemical exfoliation, which can be gentler for sensitive skin. The latest one I've had on rotation is the famous Pixi Glow Tonic.

Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-Matte Nudes Lipstick Review | What better way to celebrate Easter long weekend than with new lippies?

maybelline color sensational inti-matte lipstick review

Are you all sick of lipstick posts lately? I'm sorry if I've been boring you lately with so many lipstick themed posts. Is it possible that my lipstick obsession is WORSE than my neutral eyeshadow obsession? Hey, we all have our vices. Check your judgment at the door.

Anyways, happy Easter long weekend! I'm not religious, so Easter for me always meant ham dinners, chocolate eggs, bunnies and new spring shopping. I let myself buy 1 pair of shoes per season and I've already bought my new spring shoes, a pair of slip-on black flat mules with a metallic gold heel, and to match them, I picked up a couple of spring toned lipsticks!

The Maybelline Color Sensational Inti-Matte Nudes came out late last year I believe and are a line of creamy, matte-finish lipsticks. Yeah yeah, been there done that right, but these aren't your old-school mattes. These are 2017 mattes, which means a more hydrating finish with a velvety finish for a softer, more wearable look than the super mattes of the last couple years.

Ingenium Naturals Luxury Teas | My new source for all natural teas!

ingenium naturals tea review

Rarely a day goes by without me drinking at least 2-3 cups of tea. Some people are coffee drinkers, but I'm a social coffee drinker. In fact, I found that coffee actually made me feel more tired, as I would crash after a few hours from the caffeine.

As a big tea lover, I'm always on the lookout to try new teas, so I was super excited when Ingenium Naturals reached out to me to work together.

Ingenium Naturals is an online retailer selling teas, health supplements and skincare, which personally would be my dream store if I ever had my own business! Founded on the principals of only offering the freshest, highest quality and sustainable products possible, Ingenium Naturals checks all the boxes: sustainable production in small batches with a focus on organic ingredients.

An Ode to Burberry Lipsticks

Burberry lipstick review

Burberry, oh Burberry. How I love thee. As I'm sure you all know by now, lipsticks are one of my makeup obsessions and Burberry makes some of the best that I've tried. Today's post features an ode to my Burberry lipstick collection, including some new additions that I recently picked up!

Lipstick is one of the few makeup items that I don't believe you always get what you're paying for. When it comes to foundations and eyeshadows, for sure I'm a bit of a snob and rarely purchase these from a drugstore brand, but with lipsticks I'm way more democratic and will pick up both low and high end items.

A Pink and Purple Eyeshadow Tutorial Ft. Urban Decay Naked 3

teeez cosmetics purple eyeshadow look

It's FINALLY beginning to look like Spring here in Vancouver and so I was inspired this past weekend to make a celebratory spring makeup look, featuring that most springiest of colors: pink!

how to wear purple eye shadow

I love pink eyeshadows, particularly if they're a MEBB (My Eyes, But Better) shade. Yes, I made that acronym up literally just now, but it does perfectly describe what I mean! Similar to my fave MLBB lipsticks, my MEBB eye shades are generally a spectrum of soft pinks with browns or mauve undertones, which is why I love the Urban Decay Naked 3 palette so much.

This palette doesn't get enough credit. I love the concept of it; the Naked 3 is so perfectly focused around a limited color family. It's designed for pink neutral lovers like me and I just get so much wear out of this palette that it's easily my favourite of the Naked series.

Today's makeup look features colors that remind me of the sakura blossoms that are so characteristic of spring in Vancouver.

Here's the details on how to get this look!

Naruko Rose & Botanic HA Aqua Cubic Review

naruko rose and botanic HA review

I love trying out Asian skincare and so I was thrilled when Naruko Canada sent me a couple of items to try from their Rose & Botanic HA line, which is designed for gently moisturizing and improving skin's brightness and tone. Sometimes I'm really hesitant to try anything rose scented, but this line was not old lady smelling at all, and worked really well with my skin!

Lise Watier Age Prevention Supreme Serum Boreal Review | Lightweight, but lacking

lise watier age prevention supreme serum review

Lately I've been trying to shop more from my stash, so that I can make more room in my skincare storage and to also justify buying shiny new things! Recently I was digging around for a new evening serum to try, when I dug up the Lise Watier Age Prevention Supreme Serum Boreal (phew, long name!).

It's been a long while since I've reviewed a Lise Watier skincare product, but generally in the past I've had good results with Lise Watier's Age Prevention line. Lise Watier has 2 anti-aging lines: Age Prevention is for those needing a higher level of anti-aging capabilities, whereas the Age Control is for those first wading into anti-aging products. Keener as I am, of course the regular face serum isn't enough to satisfy me!

(More) Lipsticks For That Perfect MLBB: My Lipstick Collection Part 5

just j mlbb lipsticks

I was torn on whether to call this part 5 or part 4.1 because this week's installment features MORE MLBB lipsticks!

MLBB, or My Lips But Better, lipsticks have been my favourite style of lipstick for a long while and I don't think I'm alone in this love affair. There's something just so squee-worthy about a perfect pink. You know how some peoples' eyes light up when they see something really cute and you just want to throw your arms around it in a big hug? That's called cuteness aggression and it's how I feel about MLBB lipsticks!

You can check out my first round of MLBB picks from last week's post and today's continues where I left off.

Burberry Cashmere Compact Foundation Review | Full coverage in a few swipes of a brush

burberry cashmere compact review

One of my favourite items to review on the blog are base products. Foundations and powders are such essentials and there's just so many factors to think about when testing them that it's never boring: seasonality, your skin's condition at the time, application technique, how it interacts with skincare, not to mention just picking the right color and texture! I've reviewed a lot of liquid foundations in the past, but not many powders. I usually use powders as setting powder, but the new Burberry Cashmere Compacts are one of the first times I've gone wearing powder solo, for reasons I'll explain in this review!

Mugler Angel Eau Sucree Eau de Toilette Fragrance Review | Or how to smell like a cupcake all day long

angel eau sucree review

It's official. I'm a nerd. Why? Because the first thing I thought of when I opened the Mugler Angel Eau Sucree Eau de Toilette, was that it would make a neat looking version of the Phial of Galadriel from The Lord of the Rings, which Frodo uses to fight back against the spider queen of Mordor.

Unfortunately, this star shaped phial isn't filled with celestial light, but with fragrance. The Mugler Angel Eau Sucree is the latest rendition of Thierry Mugler's iconic Angel perfume. The original, which debuted in the 90's was a vanilla tinged Oriental scent, with notes of lush mandarin orange, blackberry and jasmine and came in the same star-shaped bottle. This latest, limited edition version, came out I believe in 2015, as a sweeter, more gourmand sister.

How I Got Back Into Cream Eyeshadows Again

cream eyeshadow sticks

If you'd asked me a few months ago what my thoughts were on cream eyeshadows, I'd give you a big MEH, NO THANKS. Unlike everyone else out there, cream eyeshadows just weren't my thing, even though every brand under the sun has been putting out line after line of cream shadow pots, sticks and wands. Nope, I was decidedly on the shadow purist side. Eyeshadows were meant to live in pans and palettes, to be delicately picked up by fluffy brushes and blended with a dexterous hand. They weren't meant to be drawn on with broad strokes and blended *shudder* with a finger!

You see, cream eyeshadows and I have a history. Secretly, I always wanted them to work for me because they were always touted by "beauty experts" to be the epitome of easy makeup on the go. Plus there are just so many gorgeous pots of glittery, shimmery creams! Just swipe it on and run out the door, they claimed. Blend it out with a finger and be instantly fab-o-lous, they trilled. So why did it never work for me?

Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Masque Review | Like a spa in a jar!

phyto corrective masque skinceuticals

Life is stressful. If I could, I'd go get a facial and a massage treatment every week, but I'm not a Kardashian, so I have to resort to more affordable alternatives. Lately masking has become an important part of my skincare routine, particularly moisturizing masks. Age, weather and dry indoor heating has left my skin feeling less than stellar and it's only been with copious amounts of oils, serums and masques that I've gotten back to almost normal.

The newest masque in my arsenal is the Skinceuticals Phyto Corrective Masque. I picked up this beauty at the recent opening of the new Skinceuticals by Project Skin boutique in Richmond Center and I'm finally ready to share my thoughts on it today.

A Not Your Usual Grey Eyeshadow Makeup Look Ft. the Anastasia Modern Renaisssance Palette

modern renaissance palette tutorial

This month, the CBB is highlighting all the ways to incorporate grey into your daily makeup routine. There's tons of inspiration, so I highly recommend checking out the roundup, but for my contribution today, I'm featuring something slightly different from your usual smoky grey eye look.

grey eyeshadow makeup look

After much enabling by my fellow bloggers and friends, I finally joined the club and purchased the Anastasia Modern Renaisssance Palette. Guys, this palette is pricey, but so worth it. It is 14 shades of buttery, crazy pigmented, goodness and if you're a matte lover like me, then you're going to love the variety of shades in this palette.

I won't gush too much about it since there are a bazillion reviews already out there on this one, but I thought it would be interesting to create a warm grey-toned look featuring these on-trend colors. I've been really into what I call "sunset" tones lately and nothing screams that more than the bright magenta and red-pink shades in the Anastasia Modern Renaisssance Palette. I thought it would be really fun to highlight these colors alongside a smoky grey.

belif Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream Review | Another K-Beauty Winner!

belif eye cream

Korea's belif is quickly becoming one of my favourite skincare brands as every single item I've tried from them have been a hit and today I'm here to share my latest winner!

If you haven't heard of belif before, they're a sister brand of Korea's THEFACESHOP, which is arguably the most popular Korean skincare company to be exported to North America. You can find belif products in all THEFACESHOP stores and until recently they were at Sephora, although I can't find them online anymore!

belif is formulated on the promise of only using pure, effective ingredients using the latest scientific techniques. Previously I had tried their 2 bestsellers, The True Cream - Aqua Bomb and The True Cream - Moisturizing Bomb and loved them, so I was curious to see if anything else by the brand could be as good. Eye creams are notoriously tricky to nail, so I decided to put the Moisturizing and Firming Eye Cream to the test.

Lipsticks For That Perfect MLBB: My Lipstick Collection Part 4

mlbb lipstick for medium skin

Woohoo it's onto part 4 of my lipstick collection series and into my favourite lipstick color family right now: pinks!

In this multi-part series, I'm sharing a peek into my "active" lipstick collection. Right now I have 2 pencil cases (like the kind you use in elementary school to hold pencils and school supplies) full of lipsticks and these make up my go-to daily rotation. This series will feature those products and hopefully will inspire you to try a new lippie yourself!

In the previous installments, we went through my go-to reds, plums and orange-red/orange lipsticks. That's a total of 21 lipsticks so far! I'm equally pleased and horrified that I count this many lipsticks as my "daily go-to's." Seriously, do I have a problem?

Introducing Naruko Canada: Your New Source for Asian Skincare | Sheet Mask Review

naruko sheet masks

One of the first Asian skincare trends to cross over to North America were sheet masks. These serum soaked paper sheets are designed to give you an instant lift in glow, hydration, anti-aging, or whatever else you want to fix! While I prefer using an actual sleeping or hydrating masque for more long term results, sheet masks are a great way for an immediate perk-up after a long night or before you have a big event or day.

Recently, I was introduced to Asian skincare retailer, Naruko. With sites available across multiple countries in Asia already, it was about time for them to open a site just for Canada! Like any legit Asian skincare brand, they offer a wide variety of sheet masks and Naruko was kind enough to send over a few for me to try!

Foodie Adventures: Chinese Stir Fry Beef with Chives

chinese stir fry beef with chives

What is your comfort food? For me, a delicious, saucy stir fry with steamed rice ranks high up on my list of satisfying dinners. Beef and chives stir fry is a common Chinese restaurant staple and it's one of my favourites. Flavourful and steaming hot, it's usually served on a sizzling plate with hot oil. I've never tried making green chives before, but when I saw them in the grocery the other day, I picked out a bunch on a whim.

Chinese style chives are reminiscent of green onions, but with a much milder and very slightly peppery, garlicky flavour that pairs well with all kinds of meat and seafood. Unlike regular chives, Chinese chives have thicker flat leaves and are arm-length.

This dish is my twist on beef and chive stir fry. It's a quick and easy way to mix up your usual weekday dinner fare and something that now I've discovered its easiness, is something I'll make more often!

Maui Moisture Thicken and Restore + Bamboo Fibers Shampoo and Conditioner Review

So what's up with this picture of Maui instead of actual products? Well this is what happens when you don't realize that products have paper labels and you bring them into the shower!

The Maui Moisture Thicken and Restore + Bamboo Fibers Shampoo and Conditioner are my latest shower staples in my quest to eliminate my dry, itchy scalp. Free of parabens, silicones, mineral oil, sulfated surfactants and synthetic dyes, Maui Moisture hair products are a new addition to drugstore shelves that offers you an affordable option for more environmentally friendly and scalp-friendly hair treatments.

Available at Shoppers Drug Mart, Walmart and London Drugs, there are Maui Moisture products available for any hair concern:

  • For super parched strands, try the Nourish and Moisture + Coconut Milk 
  • For brittle, fine hair, try the Thicken and Restore + Bamboo Fibers
  • For damaged or color-treated hair, try the Strength and Anti-breakage + Agave
  • For curly hair, try the Curl Quench + Coconut Oil
  • For regular hair that just needs some extra moisture, try the Revive and Hydrate + Shea Butter
Each collection consists of a shampoo, conditioner and leave-in mask. There are also hydrating sprays and oils for extra moisture on the go! 

I had a tough choice picking which line to try, but ended up opting for the Bamboo Fibers line as it seemed like all the Maui Moisture products are highly moisturizing, but the Bamboo Fibers one had the added bonus of extra volume.

Introducing: Di Morelli Brightening Skincare | First Impressions Review

di morelli skin brightening review

The latest buzzword in the beauty industry are "cosmeceutical" lines, which basically means that brands are combining scientific innovations and traditional skincare ingredients to impart additional health benefits. Recently, I was given the chance to try out Vancouver cosmeceutical brand, Di Morelli Skincare.

Di Morelli was started by physician Dr. R. W. Morell in 2007. Dr. Morell started off by giving skincare treatments out of his Medical Rejuvenation Centre, then expanded into a capsule collection of skincare products targeting aging, brightness and clarity. Di Morelli products are all made in Canada, are not animal tested, and is focused on using medical-grade ingredients and formulations to maximize results, while being simple enough for anyone to use.

Di Morelli was kind enough to send me 3 of their products to try: the Vitamin C Serum, Brightener, and SPF with Vitamin E sunscreen. After testing these out for the past few weeks, I'm ready to report back with my results so far!

Natural and Organic Skincare and Beauty Roundup | First impressions

natural skincare brands list

As you all know, I love it when I can find natural or organically sourced products that work just as well as the "regular" versions. In recent years, it seems everyone has jumped onto the natural bandwagon and it's so much easier to find natural and sustainably sourced products than ever before. Today, I'm featuring my first impressions on some new natural skincare and beauty products that I was sent over recently. All of these are from brands I've never heard of, so I'm excited to discover these alongside you!

Lipsticks For Feeling Fresh: My Lipstick Collection Part 3

how to wear orange lipstick
Left to right: Revlon Super Lustrous in Siren, Clinique Pop Lip in Poppy Pop, Clinique Liquid Pop Lip in Ripe Pop

In this multi-part series, I'm sharing a peek into my "active" lipstick collection. Right now I have 2 pencil cases (like the kind you use in elementary school to hold pencils and school supplies) full of lipsticks and these make up my go-to daily rotation. This series will feature those products and hopefully will inspire you to try a new lippie yourself!

In the previous installments, I shared my favourite reds and berry lipsticks and this week I'm sharing my favourite orange lipsticks!

What immediately surprised me about this week's installment was how FEW lipsticks I have that are orange based. Turn the clock back a couple of years and I was all about that orange lipstick life, but from then to now, I've migrated towards more MLBB and moodier/vampier tones. Maybe I'm feeling more emo than before?

Bdellium Maestro 987 Face Blending (Contour) Brush Review | A hidden gem

Bdellium Maestro 987 brush review

Although one might think that eventually you could have talked about everything under the sun when it comes to beauty, this is not actually the case. There are always new brands, new formulas and new products to talk about! Case in point: this Bdellium Maestro 987 Face Blending Brush. I haven't seen many reviews on this brand at all, so I'm thrilled to be able to share this line with you all today.

Bite Beauty #TheLipPencil Review + Swatches

Bite The Lip Pencil review and Influenster

By now, you probably feel inundated with Instagrams and reviews of the Bite Beauty lip pencils. Well here's another one, but I think what I have to say may surprise you. These classic, ultra-pigmented, creamy lip pencils are Bite's answer to the often overlooked lip liner. Although I'm not a big lip liner person myself, I do think they're an essential in every lipstick lover's kit, so how do these ones from my beloved Bite stand up?

Lipsticks For Feeling Good: My Lipstick Collection Part 2

plum lipstick collection

In this multi-part series, I'm sharing a peek into my "active" lipstick collection. Right now I have 2 pencil cases (like the kind you use in elementary school to hold pencils and school supplies) full of lipsticks and these make up my go-to daily rotation. This series will feature those products and hopefully will inspire you to try a new lippie yourself!

Last week, I kicked off the first installment of my lipstick collection series, starting with reds, or the lipsticks I wear when I want to feel confident and bold.  This week, I'll be sharing the lipsticks that I wear just for me.

Skyn Iceland Brightening Eye Serum Review | It's time to destress.. starting with your eyes

skyn iceland brightening eye serum review

Stress. It's a standard of everyday modern life and it can drastically affect your mental and physical health, as well as your outward appearance. The founder of skyn ICELAND learned this the hard way, when she was forced to detox her life after stress became too much. To do so, she escaped to Iceland, where she was inspired by its pristine landscapes and laid back lifestyle to create a lifestyle and beauty company focused on encapsulating Iceland's pure natural benefits into a line of skincare products.

I've always wanted to visit Iceland, so why not start with some skincare inspired by it?

Lipsticks For Feeling Bold: My Lipstick Collection Part 1

red lipstick for yellow undertones

If there's one weakness I have regarding makeup, it's eyeshadows and lipsticks! I can never seem to get enough and I tend to go through phases where I'm obsessed with a certain type of shade for months before I get sick of it and move on to the next thing.

In this multi-part series, I'm sharing a peek into my "active" lipstick collection. Right now I have 2 pencil cases (like the kind you use in elementary school to hold pencils and school supplies) full of lipsticks and these make up my go-to daily rotation. This series will feature those products and hopefully will inspire you to try a new lippie yourself!

red lipstick shades
Left to right: Clinique Pop Lip in Peppermint Pop, Bite Amuse Bouche in Beetroot, Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Nude, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo, Clinique Pop Lip in Ruby Pop, Annabelle Stay Sharp Lip Liner in Glam Red, Sephora Collection lipstick in 04 Red, Annabelle TwistUp in Monroe, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy in Empowered

First up, are the reds, or as I affectionately call them, the confidence makers. Red isn't for wussies. It's not for no-fuss, minimalist hippies. It's for glamourzons, seductresses, femme fatales and no-nonsense takers. It's that most classic of shades, yet it retains an air of mystery and sauciness. Have you ever met a boring person who wears red? I rest my case!

I always wear reds when I'm either feeling really lazy to do my makeup, or when I want to feel stronger than I am, say for a big work meeting, or a meeting with an ex, or just a party where I want to look good and feel more extroverted than my natural self.

My favourite types of reds range from true reds to deeper, moodier territories. Right now I'm lusting for a true oxblood shade for winter, but in summer I'll even venture to slightly orange-reds to match the season. There's a red for every skin tone, but for mine, I think it favours neutral-to-cool reds more.

red lipstick for when you want to feel powerful
Left to right: Clinique Pop Lip in Peppermint Pop, Bite Amuse Bouche in Beetroot, Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Nude, NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo, Clinique Pop Lip in Ruby Pop, Annabelle Stay Sharp Lip Liner in Glam Red, Sephora Collection lipstick in 04 Red, Annabelle TwistUp in Monroe, Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy in Empowered

Here's the details on the reds featured here:
  • Clinique Pop Lip Matte Lip Colour + Primer in Peppermint Pop - a bold scarlet that's high impact in just one swipe and lasts all day (see how it looks here)
  • Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Beetroot - maybe I say this a lot, but trust me when I say that Bite makes some of my favourite lipsticks! I recently got Beetroot, so I'm still getting used to it, as it's so bold looking, but I really really love it. These are super creamy and never drying. Bite lipsticks are a little pricier at $30 each, but so worth it and they're made from food grade ingredients!
  • Sonia Kashuk Velvety Matte Lip Crayon in Raspberry Nude - this one always makes me sad that Target left Canada because Sonia Kashuk is so good! These lip pencils offer as much pigment and lasting power as a higher end lipstick, but at a much cheaper price. This shade is very wearable despite its brightness, with a soft velvet finish that gives you that flushed lips look
  • NYX Soft Matte Lip Cream in Monte Carlo - this one is quite similar to Raspberry Nude, but in a cream liquid lipstick finish. I'm such a sucker for a good cranberry red!
  • Clinique Pop Lip Matte Lip Colour + Primer in Ruby Pop - I always get the name of this one mixed up with Peppermint Pop as rubies just imply a darker tone to me for some reason. Ruby Pop is a brighter, more cheerful version of Peppermint Pop, with just the slightest hint of orange
  • Annabelle Stay Sharp Self Sharpening Lipliner in Glam Red (review) - reds can be notoriously tricky to apply and keep intact, so a creamy lip liner should be a staple in your pocket. This liner is not only super red and works great as an all-over color, but it also will literally last you from sun up to sundown AND you can even sharpen it on the go! 
  • Sephora Collection Rouge Cream Lipstick in 04 Red - one of my first red lipsticks. This tried and true red is super bright and the boldest of the bold 
  • Annabelle TwistUp Lipstick Crayon in Monroe - I reviewed these AGES ago and I still haven't used this up! The original TwistUp shades were my favourite of the line. Monroe is what I call a "beginner's red" as it's not too loud, but still packs some decent pigmentation. As a recall, I said this was a "wear it and call it a day" type color as it's really all you need to look put together
  • Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Lipstick in Empowered (review) - another fantastic scarlet from another fabulous lipstick line. I love this lipstick as it has a really pretty glossy finish, leaves my lips feeling moisturized, and packs some great color payoff. Out of all the reds featured here, this one is probably the sheerest, but I actually like that as sometimes you just want a little something and not a lot of something. Plus the packaging here is the best of them all with a sleek navy and gold bullet and the most satisfying clicking magnetic lid. Seriously, you have to play with it in person to get what I mean!

As you can tell, a lot of these are oldies, but goodies in my collection and the fact that I've been wearing these for so long just tells you how versatile and essential they are! I would certainly repurchase any of these anytime.

What is your favourite type of red lipstick?

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Burberry Liquid Lip Velvet Review + Swatches | Burberry does it again!

burberry liquid lip velvet

2016 was the year of the liquid lipstick. You could not get anywhere, especially on Instagram, without seeing that ultra-pigmented, matte liquid lipstick look. While admittedly gorgeous, I just didn't find myself jumping wholeheartedly onto the liquid bandwagon, namely because liquid lipsticks are notoriously tricky to apply, take too long to set and most importantly, leave my lips feeling like Death Valley.

With the debut of the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets though, was it finally time for me to step into the liquid lipstick camp?

The Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets are ultra-pigmented liquid lipsticks with a unique whipped texture and a matte-cream finish. Designed to offset the worst characteristics of the category, the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets claim to be non-drying, lightweight and comfortable for all-day wear. The collection is available in 14 stunning shades, ranging from a pale nude mauve to a vibrant fuchsia and  a deep black cherry - and lest we forget, there is of course an oxblood shade!

Burberry was kind enough to send me 2 shades from the line to try and they are just the ones I would have picked myself!

Fawn is described as a nude rosy brown, although straight out of the tube, it looked more like a pink mauve. On me, the color is true to description. Fawn is a beautiful brown rose MLBB that makes my lips look like a refreshed version of their natural color. If you want something more mauve, then Fawn Rose would be your pick, but the warm brown undertones of Fawn suit me perfectly!

burberry liquid lip velvet fawn rose
Burberry Lip Velvet in Fawn

The other shade I received was Brilliant Violet and it's described as a soft purple. On the Burberry site, Brilliant Violet is a gorgeous magenta purple that's a cross between a deep mulberry and phlox. On me, my lips seem to bring out more of the red tones in this color and it appears more like a amaranth than a purple.

burberry liquid lip velvet brilliant violet
Burberry Lip Velvet in Brilliant Violet

Both shades apply with one swipe full color, which is what I'd expect out of any liquid lipstick. The texture is probably the most unique part of the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets. It truly comes out of the tube like a whipped mousse that applies softly and evenly across the lips. Although you don't need to, I like to swipe back and forth across my lips with the wand to really pack on the color; I found this the best way to make the color last without fading, whereas a single swipe tended to fade slightly over time.

The Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets mousse texture makes this lipstick a lot easier to apply than other liquid lipsticks that lean more gloopy and sticky. The Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets' creamy texture melts into lips and can be blended easily with the Lip Velvet's tapered doe foot wand. I found the tip of the wand especially handy for creating a precise outline on my lips.

As the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets aren't really wet, I thought they would set quickly and they do set somewhat, in that they don't feel slippery, but I didn't find them to ever truly set like a liquid lipstick should. Basically these transfer as easily as any other lipstick, i.e. onto cups, napkins, skin, everything! The color does however last very well throughout the day and I didn't notice either of mine fading to a dreaded ring over time.

burberry liquid lip velvet swatches
Left to right: Fawn, Brilliant Velvet

Besides the fact that the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets don't truly set, my other major gripe with these is that they are not moisturizing. My lips right now are drier than they've been for months thanks to the weather and indoor heating and these lipsticks show every single dry patch. Looking at these photos just makes me cringe because I can see every line and wrinkle clearly. Both shades show dryness equally, though I imagine the palest shade in the line could probably show this even worse. Exfoliation and lip balm are definitely needed with these.

At first I was super hesitant to use any balm with the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets, but unlike many liquid lipsticks, these didn't seem to melt off with lip balm; just be sure to use a beeswax based one and not an oily one to be safe.

Despite these lipsticks not resolving my biggest dislikes with liquid lipsticks, the Burberry Liquid Lip Velvets are still a winner in my eyes. The colors are gorgeous and I love the truly velvet finish it gives. If my lips were more moisturized, then I think the velvet finish would make them look so pillowy and lush and who doesn't want that?

You can purchase these lipsticks from Sephora and Burberry counters for $38 each.

Final Verdict

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A Dinner Party Makeup Look Ft. Clinique Lid Pop in Willow Pop

just j makeup look

Happy Valentine's Day! Today's post is a day late from my usual posting schedule as yesterday was Family Day in BC so I had the day off.

Green eyeshadow isn't something people would normally call a neutral, but I beg to differ! There's green and then there's green. Basically, one cannot write off a whole color just because some aren't one's cup of tea! Unless it's grey and then I am very biased. Anyhoo, if you're not a green makeup lover, then I beg for you to give Clinique's Lid Pop in Willow Pop a try.

Willow Pop is a beautiful olive green color that is super flattering for many skin tones, particularly if you have yellow undertones like me. This is the only Lid Pop shade I own, but if Willow Pop is representative of this line, then I'd say it's awesome. Willow Pop is pigmented, but easily sheered out and has a really soft satin finish that is great if you hate in your face shadows.

clarins iridescente eyeshadow makeup look

To demonstrate its wearability, I created this look featuring Willow Pop and my favourite grey shadow for a dinner banquet this past weekend. I'm such a fan lately of soft, smoky eyes, and this look could be worn for any number of everyday or special occasions.

Here's how to create this look!

  • Clinique Beyond Perfecting Foundation + Concealer in Creamwhip (review)
  • Urban Decay Naked Skin Color Correcting Fluid in Pink (review)
  • Algenist REVEAL Concentrated Color Correcting Drops in Pink (review)
  • Make Up Forever HD Pressed Powder
Every good look requires a solid base and nothing makes my skin look as flawless as my go-to Clinique foundation concealer. I have a couple of blemish scars at the moment, so this was a necessity. Then to brighten things up as I wanted a lit, but not super dewy, glow I applied some pink color correcting under my eyes and to the center of my forehead. Finally I set everything off with some translucent powder.

  • Urban Decay Primer Potion
  • Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette 
  • Clinique Lid Pop in Willow Pop
  • Clarins Ombre Iridescente Eye Shadow in Silver Grey
  • Stila Extreme Lash Mascara
First prime your lids with your fave primer. I always prime as it just helps my eye colors lay down more pigmented and last longer. Primer also helps to smooth your eye lid surface. Now for color! I like to lay down my transition and base shades first. I wanted something slightly cool but mostly neutral, so I opted to first lay down the shade Flower Child from my Tarte Tartelette in Bloom palette all over my lid; it's a fine yellow-cream shade that perfectly matches my skin. Next, I highlighted with Charmer, a matte bone white, and then went over my lid and crease again with Jetsetter, which is a slightly ashy light brown.

clinique willow pop makeup look

With my transition down, it was time to apply color. Taking a medium stiff shadow brush, I dipped it generously into Willow Pop and then applied that across my lid with patting motions, concentrating the color on my outer lid and keeping it beneath my transition area. 

I could have stopped things there, but I always like a bit of shimmer to draw light to my eyes, so I picked up my Clarins shadow and with a tapered shadow brush (the Sigma E30S is perfect for this) I lined my top lash line with a shimmery grey. Now you might think that a warm tone like olive wouldn't go well with a cool grey, but somehow it does! 

Lastly since I was skipping any further eyeliner, I wanted full lashes, so I applied 2 coats of a voluminizing mascara.

  • KISS Pro Top Brow Fine Precision Brow Pencil (review)
  • Marcelle Perfect Brow Gel (review)
Normally I'm all for defining and filling in my brows, but for today's look I wanted something softer. This combo of pigmented brow gel + brow pencil has been my go-to for weekend soft brow looks. First, I outlined my brows using this super-fine brow pencil, just gently filling in the tail ends of my brows, which are always too short. Then I filled in everything using this awesome Marcelle tinted brow gel; seriously this gel is the best as it's so pigmented and the brush is angled so it's really easy to work with! 

  • Clarins Contour Visage Palette
Again, keeping things light here. I just took a small blush brush and swept my T-zone and cheekbones with the cream toned highlight from this palette and the rose-pink shade across the apples of my cheeks. No contouring today!

  • Bite Lip Pencil in 020
  • Burberry Lip Velvet in Fawn
I'll be reviewing these two items soon, but I'll just gush now about how much I love the combo of these two. They both look really pink-mauve in person, but I suppose my lip color brings out the rosiness in them way more. This is the perfect type of lip color for pairing with a green as it just gives a very fresh-faced, romantic finish.

gray and green makeup look

What did you think of this look? I hope I've convinced you to give greens, or at least olive greens, a try! 

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A Jem Doll Inspired Makeup Look Ft. Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner and Extreme Wide-Angle Mascara

lancome grandiose bendable eyeliner makeup looks

Happy Friday everyone! I'm celebrating the long weekend here in BC by bringing to you today a fun makeup look inspired by the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner and Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara. 

I am so excited to review these two Lancôme GRANDIÔSE items for you. I've always been a huge fan of the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE mascara and this new version, which came out last fall, is designed to give you even more volume than the original. Also new, is the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner, which comes in 3 long lasting shades (blue, black and brown).

lancome grandiose bendable eyeliner
Left to right:  Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner, Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Mascara

So what's so cool about the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE line? Well, that unique bend to the wands! Both the mascara and the eyeliner have the ability to bend their applicator wands to a maximum 35 degree angle, which makes these so much more ergonomic and easy to apply. The mascara especially is a game changer as you now only need to use a single angle to apply mascara to your lashes - no more awkward arm twisting to get your left eye!

I absolutely adore the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE mascara formula. It's is wetter than others, but it's not heavy, so it doesn't weigh down my lashes and it gives them a true falsie-like volume and length.

The Lancôme GRANDIÔSE liquid eyeliner was new to me and the ability to bend the wand was, I felt, a bit gimmicky. Did it make application way easier? Maybe. I could see this helping with beginners, but it wasn't so significant an effect as I found with the mascara.

lancome grandiose swatches
Left to right:  Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner, Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Mascara

lancome grandiose mascara review

I received both these products in a stunning blue sapphire shade. The Lancôme GRANDIÔSE mascara was actually tinted enough to be subtly visible if you looked at my face on an angle, but not so colorful as it wasn't appropriate to wear out to work. The Lancôme GRANDIÔSE eyeliner is a beautiful peacock blue with a shimmery, almost metallic finish.

With such bold, fun colors, I was inspired to create a look to match! As a kid growing up, the TV show Jem and the Holograms was a bit before my time, but what I do vividly remember is playing with my sister's Jem dolls, particularly Aja. With her Asian-American ancestry, Aja was the first toy I'd played with that actually looked like me - if you ignore the blue hair and neon makeup - and she was definitely my favourite. I think I've always had a thing for rainbow hair and makeup ever since because of her and so this look is a little homage to that time.

makeup look with lancome grandiose mascara

Here's how to create this look!

  • THEFACESHOP CC Intense Cushion Foundation in Pure Beige (review)
To start things off, I wanted a very luminous, dewy look, so this cc cushion from THEFACESHOP fit the bill. I applied it all over. Setting and finishing powder is optional.

Jem doll inspired makeup look

  • Morphe 35F palette
  • Teeez Cosmetics Spectrum of Stars eyeshadow in Magical Fuchsia (review
  • MAC Pro Longwear Waterproof Colour Stick in Madly Sunny
  • Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner in blue
  • Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Extreme Wide-Angle Extreme Volume Mascara in blue
The eyes are the centerpiece of this look! First I applied a shimmery white-gold base from my Morphe 35F palette (LOVE THIS!!), then laid down a layer of a shimmery magenta pink all over my lids to just above my crease. Next, I took a warm medium-purple shade from Teeez and applied that generously on the outer third of my lid and into the crease. Then, I mixed it up a LOT by applying a thick layer of this crazy citrine MAC color. The only problem I had with this (and the problem was not with these mad color combos) was the mix of textures. The MAC Colour Stick is creamy and thick, while everything else is a soft powder; thus, it was difficult to blend things out properly, as you can see in my photos. I'm not sure how to alleviate that next time; perhaps I should reverse the order of application?

lancome grandiose mascara makeup looks

Anyways, once I was satisfied with my lid colors (I also applied the citrine to my under eye), I then gave myself an extended cat-eye with the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE liner and finished off with a couple coats of the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE mascara.

Bold eyes means bold brows, so I filled in my brows quite darkly. Sorry, but I forget what it was that I used! 

Nothing! I took these photos during a super fun epic girls day with Sheila and Angela and so I had schlep everything over for my blogging to Sheila's and forgot anything for my cheeks. I highly recommend some crazy shimmery, could-cut-glass highlight for this though if you were to recreate this. 

  • Revlon Ultra HD lipstick in Orchid
Lastly, a fun look deserves a fun lippie and nothing's so fun as matchy matching. A few generous swipes of this purple magenta lipstick and this look is done!

lancome grandiose bendable eyeliner makeup looks

This makeup look is way out of my comfort zone, but I really had a lot of fun putting it together! With my hooded lids, it didn't even look that crazy in the photos. I love how the Lancôme GRANDIÔSE eyeliner gives such a metallic blue pop, even among all the other colors I've got going on. If you're interested in checking these out, I highly recommend heading to your nearest Sephora!

Life lately: This long weekend is also Valentine's Day weekend! As per usual, Mr. Artist and I eschew the mushiness and instead gorge upon yummy food and revenge movies. Even after 8 years together, I can still surprise Mr. Artist, as I did when he asked me what revenge movie I wanted to watch this year and my reply was a big grin and in my best little girl voice, "one with lots of violence!" Single or no, what will you be doing for Valentine's Day?

*This post contains PR samples

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