Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Another Spending Ban is Upon Us....

Sigh. I tried to keep my spending in check, I really did. But what can I say? I get sucked into new products or have the urge to shop. But no more...well at least for now.

Over the past little bit I have said I was on a spending ban, but soon broke that the minute I saw something shiny and new. So I thought back to earlier this year when I actually successfully completed a spending ban. What worked then? Oh that's right....I announced it on here.

So what are the rules this time?

No shopping except for food and life's necessities.
I can still spend a bit of money on entertainment but will mostly throw myself into work or try and do free things.
The only products I'm allowed to buy are ones that I have used up and do not have a suitable replacement.
No limited edition purchases. I never actually need those things. (I've actually already passed up on the Rocky Horror MAC Collection - gasp!)
I am allowed to purchase things for my Hallowe'en costume(s) but these things must be affordable.

This spending ban is in place so that I can pay down my Visa bill and save for tuition. So in addition to the ban, I will also be searching for ways to make more money. I've already started tutoring, I do extra work at my lab, and plan on selling some of my clothes to a consignment store. If I find that I have a lot of unused beauty products I may do a blog sale.

So how long do I plan on living in agony? Until Black Friday. Yep, that's right. Basically 2 months of no shopping.

I have a huge basket....well maybe three...of beauty products I have stockpiled and I hope I can get through a bunch during these two months. So keep an eye out for empties posts, more reviews, updates on this spending ban and hopefully, in general, more posts!

If you have any tips or well wishes for me during this hard time, please leave them in the comments. Getting this out there will help me stick to this ban. Because I never like to fail in public.

til next time...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Battle of the Lip Crayons

Over the past couple of years lip crayons have exploded onto the beauty scene. From higher end brands to the most affordable drugstore brand, everyone seems to have a lip crayon product. But how the heck are you supposed to choose which one to purchase? Well you can be like me and buy one from almost every brand (I don't suggest this) or you can take my advice and try the one you think will suit you best.

I've gathered up all the lip crayons I own (well, one shade per brand) and scored them on the following criteria: pigmentation, texture/formulation, scent and long wearing.

Please remember that I suffer from dry lips so products that score higher will most likely be more hydrating.

Covergirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm Review

Covergirl Lip Perfection Jumbo Gloss Balm 

Pigmentation - 2/5
Texture/Formulation - 3/5
Scent - 2/5
Long Wearing - 3/5
Overall - 10/20

The Covergirl crayon is definitely the sheerest of all however I don't see this as a downside really. Sometimes you want a wash of colour over your lips instead of an in your face punch of colour. A bit of that "flashback drugstore lipstick" scent but feels nice on the lips (quite like a lipstick) and wears for a relatively good amount of time.

Bourjois Paris Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick Review
Bourjois Paris Color Boost Glossy Finish Lipstick

Pigmentation - 4/5
Texture/Formulation - 5/5
Scent - 4/5
Long Wearing - 3/5
Overall - 16/20

The Bourjois crayon is the most expensive of this bunch but it definitely performs accordingly. I love the glossy finish and the way this feels on my lips. It is definitely the most hydrating of the bunch. A very nice, light and pleasant scent (which I would rather than a dentist-y mint scent). It doesn't last as long but with the glossy finish that is expected. Plus it feels so nice I just want to keep rubbing my lips together.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm Review

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Intense Colour Balm

Pigmentation - 3/5
Texture/Formulation - 4/5
Scent - 4/5
Long Wearing - 3/5
Overall - 14/20

The Rimmel crayon is almost an exact dupe in terms of texture and finish as the Bourjois Color Boost. It features a gorgeous glossy finish and feels very nice on the lips. Due to the glossiness it looses a bit of longevity. Pigmentation could be a bit better but the glossy finish sure does make up for that.

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colour Review

NYC City Proof Twistable Intense Lip Colour 

Pigmentation - 3/5
Texture/Formulation - 4/5
Scent - 4/5
Long Wearing - 3/5
Overall - 14/20

The NYC crayon features some great pigmentation along with a nice sweet scent. Feels nice and comfortable on the lips with decent wear time due to that pigmentation level. I love when the most affordable option performs so well.

H&M Lip Pen

Pigmentation - 5/5
Texture/Formulation - 2/5
Scent - 1/5
Long Wearing - 4/5
Overall - 12/20

The H&M crayon has some outstanding pigmentation however I didn't like the scent, found it pulled on my lips and wouldn't adhere to the middle of my lips. Maybe if you don't suffer from dry lips this would work better for you.

Revlon Colorburst Balm Review

Revlon Colorburst Matte Balm

Pigmentation - 5/5
Texture/Formulation - 3/5
Scent - 2/5
Long Wearing - 4/5
Overall - 14/20

Probably one of the most popular is the Revlon Colorbusrt Balm. I have it in the matte formulation which has ridiculous pigmentation but can be very drying on the lips and exaggerate lines or dry bits on the lips. It lasts a really long time (as mattes should) and has a minty (kind of reminds me of the dentist) scent.

Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon Review

Pop Beauty Pouty Pop Crayon

Pigmentation - 4/5
Texture/Formulation - 4/5
Scent - 3/5
Long Wearing - 3/5
Overall - 14/20

The Pop Beauty crayon is another minty lip crayon that features very nice pigmentation and feels nice and creamy on the lips. However, despite the good pigmentation I found that I needed to reapply this more so than other crayons but that could be due to the fact that I have a neutral shade in this brand, not a bright shade.

Jelly Pong Pong Lip Blush Review
Jelly Pong Pong Lip Blush

Pigmentation - 3/5
Texture/Formulation - 3/5
Scent - 2/5
Long Wearing - 2/5
Overall - 10/20

The Jelly Pong Pong lip crayon (or blush in their terms) has nice pigmentation but I found it bled on my lips into my (very few) fine lines. Slight glossy finish with a very light but strange scent. Slight staining did occur but the bleeding made this one loose points.

What do you think of some of these lip crayons? Do you have a collection like I do?

If you'd like more of these battle type posts let me know in the comments with suggestions!

til next time...

Monday, 22 September 2014

Ipsy Bag || September 2014

A little while ago I received my September Ipsy bag and have yet to share its' contents. I've been pretty busy recently and when I'm busy I rarely try out new products. Just give me my go-to products so I'm out the door in seconds. So I've only tried out one of these products thus far. But take a look at what I received and what may show up in my monthly favourites and a fail post.

Alterna Haircare Caviar CC Cream 10-in-1 Complete CorrectionA miracle leave-in product that delivers 10 benefits in 1 easy step, leaving hair perfectly polished. Can be used alone or as a foundation for the layering of other styling products. Benefits: 1. Moisture 2. Shine 3. Smoothness 4. Softness 5. UV protection 6. Manageability 7. Strength 8. Anti-Breakage 9. Heat protection 10. Light hold 
All I know is that this smells delish! Excited to try though.

Crown Brush Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet BrushThis dual-ended brush offers the best of both worlds. The shadow brush is perfect for applying eye shadow or contouring the eye, while the crease brush is designed to be used dry for defining the eye, or wet for precision concealing 
Super soft brush but how will it stand up in applying shadow?

Hikari Lipstick in Cabernet Amp up the color with Hikari’s richly colored lip stick. The high pigmented formula glides on smoothly with a matte finish. Layer this formula to build color for a perfectly enchanted pout
The one product I've used so far. Creamy, pigmented, stains the lips and lasts for a long time. LOVE this colour for fall. Liked it so much that I even included its' own picture in this post!

Pacifica Waterproof Eye Pencil in Fringe These rich water-proof, buttery smooth eye pencils glide on smooth and deliver big color pay off with every stroke. Long-lasting natural formula, provides hours of wear and contains beneficial ingredients great for the sensitive eye area 
Swatched this quickly. Nicely pigmented, can smudge before it sets. Good staple colour.

Nourish Organic Moisturizing Cream Face CleanserThis gentle cleanser washes away impurities without drying, irritating or causing redness. Cucumber hydrates and soothes. Watercress, rich in antioxidants, helps protect skin from free radical damage. Alcohol-Free. Gluten-Free. Vegan 
This product is extra sealed with the aluminium foil seal beneath the cap. No idea on scent, texture. BUT it is gluten free - hooray for me!

Overall I am pleased with what I received as it is a nice range of products. Can't wait til I have the time to try these out fully.

til next time...

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Review || So...? Fragrance*

I used to live the life of wearing only one fragrance (Chanel No.5 to be exact) but with my growing curiosity in terms of beauty it trickled over to the fragrance world. I love trying out new fragrances to see if I can find another staple in my fragrance collection. I was given the opportunity to try out some of the products from So...? Fragrance - a brand that has been in the fragrance industry since the 90s.

I decided to try out the So...? Sinful fragrance but was surprised with the So...? Kiss Me body fragrance. Keep reading to hear my thoughts on the two scents and two different "formulations".

So...? Sinful - A hypnotic aroma with top notes of mint and pineapple followed by heart notes of violet and strawberry. A creamy and tempting base note of vanilla, praline and musk completes this spellbinding scent.

Of the two scents, I definitely preferred this one. A bit more mature and more my speed with musk and vanilla notes. Not too sweet if you like to steer away from that but the pineapple and strawberry notes still come through. A nicely balanced, good smelling fragrance.

So...? Kiss MeSugary notes of blackcurrant and citrus reveal layers of kissably sweet vanilla with a floral heart rounded by musk- perfect for day and night.

If you love sweet scents, you will adore this one. While there is a slight musk note, the vanilla-floral-citrus aspects are definitely the prominent ones. A great, light fragrance to make you smell as sweet as your personality.

So...? Sinful Review

Okay so you've decided which fragrance you like but what form will you buy - eau de toilette or body fragrance? I've broken them down below and in what scenarios to use them are best.

Eau de Toilette - Your typical fragrance form - liquid in a spray bottle. I found that the longevity of this form was longer than the body fragrance but still wasn't lasting all day (needed to reapply halfway through the day). Best used at home like you typically would use a fragrance.

Body Fragrance - This is in an aerosol-like bottle that distributes a mist of fragrance. Like I said, the scent didn't last as long with this form but this could be good for touch ups during the day. Also, I love the idea of this product for travel - no worries about your fragrance bottle breaking and soaking all your belongings in fragrance. This would be great for after workouts as well due to it's easy portability.

So...? Kiss Me Review

Overall, I wasn't overwhelmed by these fragrances but they are fantastic for a very light scent or for travel when using the body fragrance. Look to this brand as a great introductory fragrance for teen girls.

This brand also has scented dry shampoos which really intrigue me, especially if they smell as nice and light as the fragrances do.

You can purchase So...? Fragrance in more than 30 countries including the UK and Canada. In Canada you can find their products in Walmart, Shoppers Drug Mart, Pharmaprix, Jean Coutu, Uniprix and Brunet.

til next time...

Disclaimer: These products were received for consideration. All opinions are my own and not affected by any affiliates. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Review || Garnier Fructis Color Shield*

Garnier Color Shield Review
I colour my hair fairly often, and typically at home. So when I had the opportunity to try out Garnier's Color Shield line through the wonderful people at Influenster, I was super excited to see what it could do for my currently red hair.

I received the shampoo, conditioner and the heat protect and shine spray and have been trying them out for a couple of weeks. Just to keep in mind my hair was dyed near the end of July with a semi-permanent dye so it was pretty faded already when I started using the products.

Garnier Color Shield Review

Color Shield Shampoo and Conditioner - Keeps colour bold and brilliant, hair silky and soft. Its unique, double-action formula combines acai berry, a natural antioxidant that protects colour, and grapeseed oil, which prevents dryness.

I really enjoy this shampoo - it lathers well, rinses easily, smells great and doesn't strip my hair's moisture. The conditioner is a lighter weight one that still adds moisture to my hair and help untangle it as well. I would definitely still need a deep conditioning mask every few days in my hair care routine to really inject moisture into my hair.

Color Shield Heat Protect and Shine SprayFormulated with camelia seed oil and acai berry extract, our unique technology defends freshly coloured hair against heat and nourishes to extend shine and softness.

This heat protectant is a dual layer one that you have to shake before use. I didn't notice any difference in my hair while using this and didn't really like the scent of the product. The spray nozzle does a good job of finely distributing the product which is such an important thing in my opinion.

Overall, I didn't notice any further fading of my hair while using these products. I still get compliments on my hair colour even though it's been almost 2 months since I dyed my hair. I'm going to continue to use these products after I redye my hair (in the coming days) and see how they fare in that context.

If you colour your hair and are looking for a drugstore line of products for coloured hair I would recommend trying these out. They also have a product specifically for blond hair that prevents brassiness.

til next time...

Disclaimer: I received these products complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Movies, Parties and Prizes - My TIFF 2014 Experience

Some people get excited for Christmas, some for their birthday. Now I'm not saying I don't, I most certainly do! But there is another time of the year that I wait for with palpable anticipation - the Toronto International Film Festival.

A world-renowned film festival that spans 10 days at the beginning of September and takes over the city of Toronto. Hundreds of films are screened with just as many celebrities and film directors coming to town to promote the movies.

I wouldn't call myself a movie buff but I do love going to the movies and immersing myself into the worlds created in films. I most likely could be called a celebrity buff though, always following the ins and outs of their lives. So really TIFF is a perfect time to dabble in both of these loves.

In years past I have waited countless hours outside of premieres to catch a glimpse of a star or two. This year I just didn't feel that desire to sit on an awkward stool, eat so-so meals and honestly, waste time. Instead, I decided to pick a few celebrities I really wanted to see/meet and made it happen.

Throughout the rest of this blog post I will go over everything that I did during TIFF including movie reviews, celebrity encounters and detail an amazing prize I won. I apologize for the lengthy post in advance!


This year I purchased a Back Half pack which gave me 6 tickets for $74 but I could only see movies after Tuesday. Here's a quick rundown of what I saw and what I thought:

Wild - A 1,000 mile journey for a woman to find herself again starring Reese Witherspoon. Reese is wonderful in this movie based on a true story and book. Rating: 3/4

Tales of the Grim Sleeper - A documentary about the Grim Sleeper, a serial killer who preyed on prostitutes and crack addicts in south central LA for 25 years before his capture while also discussing the social and legal injustices faced by African-American women in the LA area. If you like this type of topic definitely watch it. It just got picked up by HBO Documentary so keep an eye out for it. Rating: 3/4

Cut Bank - A Fargo-esque comedy-drama-thriller of a murder gone horribly wrong. Some may dislike this movie because they will see it as a rip off of Fargo. I was entertained and you can't go wrong with Liam Hemsworth, Billy Bob Thornton, Bruce Dern and John Malkovich. Rating: 2.5/4

October Gale - A Canadian film of a woman grieving the loss of her husband of 32 years by opening up their cottage up north but takes in a man with a gunshot wound who's killer is en route to finish the job. Patricia Clarkson and Scott Speedman are amazing in this movie. Rating 3.5/4

99 Homes - A film centered around the horrible housing market in Florida a few years back with a cold hearted real estate agent helping out and changing a man who he just evicted from their home. Michael Shannon is flawless in this movie and if he doesn't get some nominations out of it I will be mad. A great performance by Andrew Garfield, he should really stop doing Spiderman movies... Rating: 4/4

The Years of Fierro - A documentary that focuses on Fierro, a Mexican man who has been on death row in Texas for over 30 years. A beautiful film that details his life and the events that got him put in jail, all while underlining the injustice for foreign prisoners in the US. Rating: 2.5/4

Celebrity Sightings

Like I said previously, I focused in on a few celebrities (3 to be exact) and made it my mission to meet them. I have to say that I must be a magnet for celebrities this year. Of all the celebrities I wanted to meet, they all got out of their vehicle and came directly to me with very minimal attention seeking behaviour (maybe a single yelling out of their name). I met Dominic West (McNulty on The Wire) and got him to sign my first season of The Wire and he took a picture with me. Next was the gorgeous Reese Witherspoon who signed my copy of Walk the Line. And finally, John Travolta who signed my copy of Pulp Fiction. I found that waiting outside the TIFF Bell Lightbox for the press conferences were the best opportunity to get close to the stars and will definitely be doing that again next year.

TIFF Parties

This year I was fortunate enough to go to two TIFF parties - both with the lovely Sarah (check out her blog here). First was an intimate party at Michael's on Simcoe for the opening of TIFF. Second was the Eligible Magazine party that included special appearances by some of the bachelors from Bachelor in Paradise (a guilty pleasure of mine). I had a great time both nights but it was pretty awesome to meet some of my favourite bachelors.

NKPR IT Lounge Experience

I had eluded to the fact that I won a contest during the TIFF festival and it was one run by The Kit (a fantastic online magazine that covers fashion, beauty and lifestyle topics) and NKPR (a well-known PR agency located in Toronto). I entered online for the contest mainly because I'm a big fan of NKPR and what they do during the TIFF season and to my surprise I won!

I won the opportunity to go to the exclusive NKPR IT Lounge that hosts numerous celebrities during the festival. I also got to go around just like a celebrity and learn about the different brands featuring their products and take home an amazing swag bag. This swag bag included David's Tea, Saje Natural Wellness Pocket Pharmacy, Nakd bars, Christian Rex bracelet, Rudsak wallet, Tweezerman personalized tweezers, Goody hair accessories, Yo Socks socks and a Producer's Ball Survival Kit.

The people at NKPR were amazing hosts and made me and my friend feel like celebrities! We also got to have drinks and food while in the lounge. Now celebrities do come to this lounge for another reason than the swag bag - to be photographed by Caitlin Cronenberg. A lot of the photos are up on the NKPR website so definitely check them out! In terms of seeing celebrities in the lounge while I was there, I got to see Justin Long and Anthony Mackie.

Overall, you can see that I had a very busy and exciting TIFF experience. Easily the best one yet! I've already started counting down until the next TIFF and it just finished yesterday!

Well I hope you made it through this post alright. If you did - congrats!

til next time...

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Review || Amie Skincare*

Ever look for an affordable skincare line that has natural ingredients and free of parabens, mineral oils and petrochemicals? Well Amie Skincare may just be the line for you!

Amie Skincare started in the UK and is now spreading its wings and making the journey across the pond. This skincare line is pH balanced and dermatologically tested, free of harsh chemicals, not tested on animals and suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

I was fortunate enough to test drive this new-to-Canada skincare line - now available at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations.

Keep reading to hear what I thought of some of the products from the line!

Amie Hydrating Daily Moisturiser Review

Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser (Retails for $12) - Rich in rose extract, rose hip oil and mallow to help keep skin soft, hydrated and nourished all day long.

With my ongoing battle with my dry skin, I was very curious to see if this could help hydrate my skin without breaking me out. This moisturiser definitely increased the hydration level of my skin immediately and made it feel super soft after it absorbed quickly into my skin. Not once did it break out my skin. I am a little hesitant to how well this will work in the dead of winter but I think with a good, hydrating routine it should work out well.

This product is scented - mainly rose - so if you don't like rose-scented products perhaps stay clear of this.

Amie Deep Cleansing Mask Review

Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask (Retails for $12) - A deep cleansing treatment that works pore-deep to draw out dirt and impurities while soaking up excess oil and helping prevent blemishes. Peppermint and lime extracts purify and cool, leaving skin clear and soft.

Even though clay, deep cleansing masks should scare me and my dry skin to no end, I do have some stubborn blackheads and like to clear out all the gunk every once and awhile...followed by a super hydrating mask. This mask left my skin feeling clean, clear of impurities and not tight feeling after leaving it on my skin for about 10-15 minutes. I still used a heavier duty moisturiser/mask afterwards just in case. The scents of peppermint and lime instantly refresh and reawaken me but are very prominent.

Word of caution - when first trying out this mask start with a very thin layer. The thicker the layer, the more tingling and cooling feeling which can become a tad uncomfortable. Work your way up to your ideal level of tingling.

Amie Exfoliating Daily Wash Review

Radiant Dawn Exfoliating Daily Wash (Retails for $10) - A gentle foaming gel wash with natural blueberry seeds to help unblock pores, lift away dead skin cells, dirt and oil. Green apple and lemon extracts refine and tone skin keeping oiliness at bay. Skin is left ultra-clean, soft and shine-free.

Daily exfoliation? I do shy away from this and decided to test out this product every couple of days. This is a very gentle but effective exfoliator and cleanser. It removed makeup relatively well (I suggest using a baby wipe/facial cloth to remove the majority of your makeup then using this) and left my skin feeling soft and clean without being tight at all. The foaming action of the cleanser means you don't have to use a lot to get great results. This cleanser would be great for all skin types but just adjust how often you use it depending on how your skin responds to exfoliation.

Amie Matte-Finish Moisturiser Review

Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser (Retails for $12) - A light, mineral oil-free daily moisturiser. Natural plant sugars hydrate skin while rosehip and bilberry nourish and soften. Excess oil and shine are controlled leaving skin soft and matte.

I have to admit I only tried this product once. I applied it on one of the hotter days of the year and immediately regretted my decision. Because I have dry skin this moisturiser only exacerbated my skin issues - my skin was left feeling tight and dry once the product absorbed fully. Now even though I suffered it goes to show that this product will work well for someone with normal-combination-oily skin. I wasn't a huge fan of the scent of this product either - it smells herbal of which I'm not a fan.

Overall I was happy with the results I saw after using these products. In terms of what I enjoyed the most, well I sneakily spoke about the products in their overall ranking in my books.

The Amie Skincare line has a few other products (cleanser, wipes, toner and makeup remover) that I would most certainly try out because the line performs well and is very reasonably priced.

til next time...

*Disclaimer: These products were received for consideration. All opinions are my own and not affected by any affiliates. 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Haul || CNE Edition + Giveaway!

If you saw my post last week, I summarized the great shopping at the Canadian National Exhibition. Today I wanted to go over the items I picked up on this trip plus have a little giveaway, just cause!

The first items I picked up were from Philosophy - these were $5 each or 6 for $25. I decided on Hope in a Jar and Miracle Worker which are both moisturizers. Also I was intrigued by the Hope in a Tube firming cream - can't hurt to start now! Finally the Miracle Worker Miraculous Anti-Aging Retinoid Solution which typically comes with pads for application. All in all, these 4 products retail for approximately $200 and I bought them for just over $16.

Now as I do my own nail art I typically don't buy products like these but I do like to use them as accent nails. Plus the Sally Hansen Salon Effects Strips are my favourite brand of nail strips/stickers. Tried to find the most intricate designs and I'm pretty sure I accomplished that. These were a great deal at 3 for $5.

These three lip products were purchased at the Lips and Tips booth. I love the Revlon Pink Ice lip gloss (so much so that I've actually used up a WHOLE TUBE). Decided to stock up as they were $3 each. The L'Oreal lipstick is from their Limited Edition Project Runway collection a few years back. It is a very unique colour - dark berry/plum with shimmer.

More holy grail products were found during my hunt - the Maybelline Define-a-Brow brow pencil and Rimmel Moisture Renew Gloss in Rose Cocoon. The Rimmel Wake Me Up highlighter was a steal at $1.25 that I just had to try it (it is very similar to Nars Copacabana by the way).

I always go a little crazy for polishes at the CNE. These were 7 for $8. Went for very unique shades/textures as I own most of the basic/must have polish colours already. I picked up NYC Disco Inferno and Strobe Light, Tweedy, Quick Jeanius, Chop Chop Copper, Blue It and Grey Area from Sally Hansen.

Rimmel Highlighter, Revlon Pink Ice, Rimmel Rose Cocoon and L'Oreal The Temptress' Kiss

Lastly, I was able to find the exact colour I want to dye my hair next - Olia Dark Garnet Red - for 2 for $10.

Now as I was surrounded by deals I thought I would pick something up for a lucky follower! I picked out 3 designs of the Sally Hansen Salon Effects. This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY! And I always like to throw in a few surprises with any giveaway I do, if possible.

Contest will run until September 5th 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

til next time...