Wednesday, June 24, 2015

On Mixing Lippies - Bite + Stila

I'm not usually one to mix lippies...maybe it's because it's an "extra step", or simply because I'm not very adventurous. The most I'd ever done previously was to put on clear or very light pink lip gloss on top of lipstick.  Recently, something got into me to layer this shimmery-apricot-y shade from Stila ("Starfruit") over the Bite VIB Rouge lipstick, and it was instant love!

Bite lipstick on the left, Stila lip glaze in Starfruit on the right, and layered in the middle.

sunlight with bounded flash

This combo tones down the red just enough that I feel comfortable wearing it daily (I usually feel self-conscious wearing very bold red lipsticks).

What lippie combo are you loving recently?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

A Better "Orgasm": Face Aterlier Ultra Blush - Peach Glaze

My hubby still finds it really odd that Nars would name their blush "Orgasm", but name aside, I always really liked the peachy-pink shade of Orgasm but found it too sparkly/shimmery for me. Alas, I found something similarly shaded but less shimmery!

Face Atelier is a Canadian brand which I've written about lots; mostly I love their foundations for the amazing skin-like finish. 

They also make blushes of course, called "ultra blush". These are very simply packaged (not good for those of you who adore packaging), but amazingly blendable. The pigmentation level is medium, so is easier to use and allows some building up before going clown-y.

I've previously reviewed the shade on the right, "Tangerine".  The new shade I picked up, "Peach Glaze", is a peachy-pink with fine shimmer, but not overly done.

with bounced flash
 Here it is next to Nars "Orgasm" in the pan.

no flash, bathroom lighting

You can see that it leans more peach than pink, but the difference is not notable on the cheeks.

Left to Right: Nars Orgasm, FA Peach Glaze, FA Tangerine; bounced flash

Swatched side by side, you can see how Peach Glaze is still a shimmery blush, but has slightly less shimmer particles compared to "Orgasm" on the far left. "Tangerine" is obviously a matte blush.

Overall, I'm loving it! Perfect summer glowy blush without too much shimmer. What do you think? Are you a fan of the infamous "Orgasm", or have you also found other, and better options?

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Tarte Amazonia clay 12 hour blush - amused

This is an unusual shade of blush for me to buy, but it was on sale at Sephora (so hard to resist!) and I keep hearing from others how lovely this blush line is, so into my cart it went. I've been trying this blush out for the past month, and at this point I'm not sure if I like it...Click to read more and see why:

Friday, June 12, 2015

Empties: May 2015

A little late, but better late than never! I was away for a large part of May and some empties got tossed, but here's what I saved: 3 full sized products and rest are all deluxe samples.

 Lancome CILS mascara primer: this white primer is HG for me, I've gone through 2 full size tubes and get the deluxe samples like this whenever I can. Definitely will repurchase, it makes virtually any mascara smudgeproof!

Lancome Hypnose Doll mascara: this is definitely volumizing, a bit too much for me as up close looks clumpy, won't purchase full size.
 Benefit benetint: I've realized I don't like these liquid tints. Though they give a natural flush, I find it much too hard to control the product. It either goes where I don't want it to go, or it's too light until it becomes too much. More finicky than it's worth, won't be purchasing full size.

barefoot v argan dry body oil: this was a topbox item, was a basic spray on oil, kind of "meh", won't purchase full size.
 Anastasia tinted brow gel: this is good stuff! I had "granite" and it was a perfect shade for me. Will repurchase.

miracle10 toner: good solid toner, wouldn't say it stands out especially from others though. Not sure if I will purchase full size.
Lancome Bi-facil:  my HG eye makeup remover! This is easily my 5th or 6th bottle now (full size), have already repurchased (I always have a backup!)
Philosophy miracle anti-aging lotion with SPF 30: this was a great daytime moisturizer for summer, and was relatively demi-matte and lasted me a good part of the year. Unfortunately not moisturizing enough for winter. May repurchase.

Philosophy miracle worker overnight cream: I'm so glad this was just a sample, cuz it burned!! I gave it one more try without any exfoliating prior and it still burned. Will never purchase!

Clarins HydraQuench cream mask: This didn't do much for me, good thing was a deluxe sample, won't be purchasing full size.

Clarins multi-active day cream: this is very thick, great for winter, felt too thick came spring but didn't cause breakouts. May purchase full size next year.
dermadoctor KP duty: I've already purchased 2 full size tubes and given one to a friend, it's that good. Amazing for winter dry skin and for the annoying KP I have on my upper arms. When I stopped using it on vacation my KP got much worse.

What did you empty this month?

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Illamasqua Velvet Blusher - Sleek

I bought this blusher for my mom actually, however since I was visiting her in BC, being her daughter naturally I get to try and test all her cosmetics right?! Oh I'm not looking forward to the day my daughter does this to me... =P

This is a cream blush, of a cream-to-powder finish that blends out impeccably fine, and feels like nothing is on my cheeks. 

indirect sunlight

Though the formula blends beautifully, on me this actually isn't the most "natural" shade. It's much better on my mom who is slightly more dark and yellow in her skintone than me. I have to use a very light hand. It's a strange effect, the formula blending so well that it becomes a part of my face, yet the shade being somewhat unnatural. It gives a very pretty and contoured look though, despite the oddity. I'm not sure how I'd even describe this shade, dark warm apricot?

direct sunlight

Overall, I'd recommend this for those with darker and warmer skintone! It looks beautiful on my mom (*pat myself on back for good pick*). Anyone paler than me I think is going to experience the unnatural shade effect.

Are you sad that Illamasqua has left Canada? Sigh... If it was still here I'd definitely try out some of the other shades, as the formula is the perfection of cream-to-powder blush.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Mid-Year Reflections and Vacation Photos

view from Tunnel Mountain, Alberta

For the past year, my life has been more than a little crazy, Between being a mom to a very energetic toddler and a very energetic dog, there was some major studying for exams that needed to be done in order to complete my many...many.... years of schooling. I used this blog as a much enjoyed "escape". At the same time, especially during the 1-2 weeks right before each exam, I did a shocking amount of "retail therapy" (I'm flabbergasted at my recent credit card bills and the stock of unopened beauty products, which I have had no time or heart to test out). There was an almost daily influx of boxes arriving in the mail full of goodies, which momentarily soothed exam anxiety and fears about where my life could go after this. Thankfully exams are now over and I'm at the tail end of a wonderful and much needed vacation, so this is a good time to reflect!

Emerald Lake, BC

Our vacation took us out west to BC and Alberta, and being surrounded by and soaking in the beauty of God's creation, helped me realize how wrapped up I have been in the past year in momentary circumstances. Hindsight is always 20/20 of course, so I can't say I won't ever get so wrapped up again in anxiety, but my soul now feels rested and eased. A boss once said to me, that a day of work will erase a week of vacation, so I don't know whether I will still feel this way a week from now, when I'm back in the hustle and bustle of Toronto, but for now I am utterly content. Fresh air, beautiful lake scenery, and amazing views from arduous hikes really did my soul good!

I have also worn no makeup at all for the past 2 weeks, not even the little bit of undereye concealer and eyebrow pencil that I always wear on my "no-makeup" days; this has been a real no makeup vacation. Daily now I can clearly see more of all the sun damage, acne scars, dark circles, and fine lines starting to creep up with my age. It doesn't really help that I gained 20 pounds over the past few months from over-eating during exam period. Despite all this, I have less of an urge to try to "cover" all those flaws. Don't get me wrong, I will still take 2 hours to get ready for the next dinner party, and enjoy every bit of it (as long as hubby will take care of the kids to allow me this!); but the flaws on my body and face now tell a story.

Morraine Lake, AB - waiting for more glacier meltage to rise back to to its former glory
I look at my daughter, with her perfectly smooth and glowing skin, and in that flawless face the innocence of childhood. She is happy and content with such "little" things: running around outside, holding her favorite dinosaur, giggling to no end while running around with our dog. She hasn't known the pains and sorrows in life yet. I have, be it from my own life, or from those lives that have touched mine. Each experience has been important and none would I trade (ok maybe some), but each have also scarred and weighed down my heart and head in more ways that I can describe here. There have also been gloriously happy moments, be it spiritually, with family or friends, that made my heart and head soar in more ways than I can describe as well. 

When I now look at my own face and body, I see the years I have lived: the sun spots from all the fun times outdoors with the people I love, the dark circles from decades of not-enough sleep, the scars from stress-induced acne flareups, the lines from repeated expressions of laughter or tears. I see the way my body has changed since having my daughter, and some days I disparagingly have to give away or donate things that no longer fit (I went up one whole shoe size after giving birth, imagine giving up most of your shoe collection!). I remember that before having her, I also disparagingly saw flaws here and there that I wished I didn't have. In comparison, how I wished I had my old body back! All this to learn: the tides of time are moving, I can't control it but I can ride with it and enjoy to the max.

A few new goals for me now at the mid-year juncture:

1) to be more content with the present situation, be it stressful or not, be it happy or not. Whether I am able to be fulfilled or not, I can be content.

2) I don't need so much "stuff"! I don't regret the "retail therapy" I did, it served its purpose. Now that exams are over though, it's time to really cut back on purchasing and live simpler. Oh, and actually start using the stuff I bought. I'm looking forward to reviewing more products for the blog!

3) to age gracefully. Accept and work with my features as they are now rather than covering them up. Instead of using the same eyeshadow techniques that served me well BEFORE my lids became more hooded with age, I will seek to learn new and different ways to enhance how I look NOW, not how I looked 10 years ago.

4) eat and exercise to be healthy, not to lose weight. So I've had to get much new clothes and shoes, but rather than continuing to fret about my size/weight, I will accept it as is and instead work on health.

This was an unusual post for me, but it felt important to post, and so that I can also myself look back on it at the end of the year and see whether I stuck to my new goals. Have you done any reflection or made any new goals at this mid-year time? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.