Friday, August 31, 2012

SPOTLIGHT: Los Angeles Trip // Aug 23 - 29, 2012

i am back from my trip!!

it all started when 2NE1 (a Korean female group) decided to embark on their first ever world tour and only chose to perform in 2 cities in North America (so far anyway): Los Angeles and Newark.
Los Angeles was more appealing so off we went to catch our flight at 6 am on August 23.

so to spare you the details, here's a quick recap of my trip:

Thursday, August 23  
- rental car from Midway... very good prices here
- hotel at Marriott Courtyard Ventura in Simi Valley (which is ~45 minutes away from downtown L.A.)... not somewhere i would normally book if i had not have a family member who got a discount (thanks!)
- In-N-Out Burger... quite delicious!
- shopping at Camarillo Outlet... HUGE place, i would definitely recommend to those wanting to get great deals!

Friday, August 24
- strolled down the Hollywood Walk of Fame, checked out the hand/footprints in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre... Hollywood Blvd is a bit dirtier than expected - be careful of random homeless men mooning you or asking you for money for cocaine and hookers
- went to Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum... quite life-like! took a lot of fun photos
- 2NE1 concert at Nokia Center... fantastic concert but unimpressive merchandise
- ate the spiciest tteokbokki ever

Saturday, August 25
- did some Koreatown shopping... shops are quite overpriced but food is fantastic!
- waited THREE hours to eat at a highly recommended Korean BBQ All You Can Eat... had to actually grab an appetizer at the bar next door but it was actually really delicious. i get super cranky when i am hungry though

Sunday, August 26
- visited the happiest place on Earth... Disneyland. did the 1-day park hopper. warning: one day is NOT enough to visit two parks. we were there from approximately 9 am - 12:30 am and felt that there was just too much to do!
- i found the Disney California Adventure Park and Disneyland were both huge and equally fun
- rides are amazing, lineups are pretty long (30+ minutes) but single rider lines and FASTPASS can save you sooo much time; for example: Cars Land just opened so the ride Radiatior Springs Racers had a 2 1/2 hour + wait. ridiculous!!! we decided to split our group up and do the single rider which ended up being like 40 minutes.
- World of Color is a show that uses water, light, fire and color... it is the most amazing thing i have ever seen in my life. a MUST-SEE. i was seriously overwhelmed at this point and thought i might cry hahaha. too bad they experienced technical difficulties halfway and had to stop the show!!!
- spent a ton of money on merchandise but now that i think about it, i should have spent more! i hate that i regret not buying a few more things.

Monday, August 27
- recovery day. ate at Jack in the Box. very affordable! pancakes were cute haha
- went hydrobiking at Long Beach (got it from Groupon)... this resulted in having a sore butt for the rest of the trip but the scenery was amazing
- South Coast Mall in Costa Mesa... VERY expensive!!! i tried on Christian Louboutins for the first time in my life! although i have to say they were not comfortable
- walked the Santa Monica beach at night. so gorgeous!

Tuesday, August 28
- Universal Studios!... less rides than Disneyland so got to ride all except for one so like 4 rides? they were mostly motion stimulation rides. favorite: Jurassic Park - but be warned that people wore ponchos for a reason!! i was laughing at them but they knew what was going on
- Universal Studios also had much shorter hours (10-6) so right after close, we decided to do one of those tours on Hollywood Blvd. visited celebrities homes and yadadada. i uncontrollably squealed when we passed by Orlando Bloom's (and Miranda Kerr's) home.
- visited a Walgreens and a CVS - hooray!

Wednesday, August 29
- quickly scrambled to fit in everything before leaving... went to Macy's and Target. Macy's was having an AWESOME shoe sale - and when i say awesome, i mean awesome. Nine West, BCBG shoes going for like $20 - ack! but sadly, nothing (except a pair of sandals) in my size! Target had such a lovely lovely lovely cosmetics section. i wanted so much stuff but had to walk away. they sell e.l.f. products there too!
- walked around a bit in Chinatown but it was the hottest day ever. i read somewhere it was like 38 degrees.
- departed LAX at 5:50 pm.

and now onto the exciting part: pictures of what i bought (prices in US$ - not listed for items i will be reviewing)!

starting off with makeup:

1) e.l.f. Eyelid Primer (Target)
2) e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in "Coral" (Target)
3) e.l.f. Matte Lip Color in "Tea Rose" (Target)
4) Maybelline Expertwear Luminous Lights Eyeshadow Collection in "Opal Lights" (Target)
5) Wet n Wild Mega Last Lip Color in "Just Peachy" (Walgreens)
6) Love & Beauty Hydrating Lipstick in "Rose" (Forever 21)
7) Nuance Salma Hayek Color Vibrance Lipstick in "Coral" (CVS)
8) Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in "Charm" (CVS)

on to nails:

9) Love & Beauty Nail Polish in "Crystal Pink" (Forever 21)
10) Love & Beauty Nail Polish in "Patina/Fairy Tale Blue" (Forever 21)
11) Sinful Colors Nail Polish in "Super Nova" (Walgreens)
12) Sinful Colors Nail Polish in "Pink" (Walgreens)
13) e.l.f. Nail Polish in "20417" (Target)

some beauty tools:

14) Sonia Kashuk Limited Edition Brush Couture 4 Pc Travel Brush Set (Target)
15) Sonia Kashuk Kashuk Tools Complexion Perfector (Target)
16) Nudy Double Eyelid Tape - 68 Pieces (Palace Beauty)

and jewelry:

17) Minnie Bow Necklace (Disney Parks; $12.95)
18) Minnie Dotted Charm Bracelet (Disney Parks; $9.95)

of course, some clothes:

19) Stella Skirt in "Eternal Animal" (Cotton On; $5.00 - was $17.95)
20) Mossimo Supply Co. Shorts (Target; $12.58 - was $17.99)
21) Trixie 3/4 Sleeve Lace Shoulder in "Black" (Cotton On; $2.00 - was $12.90)

more specifically, dresses:

22) Viva You Long Chiffon Dress (Attitudes; $17.60 - was $44; retail $90)
23) Weavers Striped Heart Dress (The Garage; $5)
24) Double Zero Strapless/Banding Dress (Attitudes; $18 - was $45; retail $100)
25) Chiffon Dress (Essue; $29.99 - was $45.99)

regrettably, only one pair of shoes:

26) INC International Concepts Maura Sandals in "Leopard" (Macy's; $7.49 - was $29.95)

some new bags:

27) Carry Me Around in "Tan/Beige" (Cotton On; $5 - was $14.95)
28) Clutch/Bag (H&M; $10 - was $17.95)

and who could resist these two stuffed animals:

29) Round Pooh (Disney Parks; $17.95)
30) Round Eeyore (Disney Parks; $17.95)

what i learned from this trip:
* check if your airline charges baggage fees!! sounds simple right? however, i did not take this into consideration since i've never had this happen before when i went to Australia and Mexico. $25 each way :(
* wear socks on an airplane. having cold feet means not being able to sleep.
* "washrooms" is not a term used in the states - they will look at you funny or chuckle to themselves and say, "you mean restrooms?"
* iced tea doesn't exist or rather, it is unsweetened - which doesn't make any sense to me. who likes it unsweetened??
* the BBQ sauce at McDonalds is NOT the same. the American version is too BBQ-y. haha yes that's right, it has too much of a BBQ flavor to it. i prefer the Canadian version.
* portions are HUMONGOUS. we could hardly ever finish what we order.

so what items should i review first?? i have a ton to do from before the trip still as well as some beauty box reviews but let me know if there is any you are specifically interested in.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

REVIEW: Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in "Honey"

Revlon's Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stains (2.7 g; $7.97 at Superstore) have arrived in Canada!!!! yippee :)

i first saw them available at Superstore and over the weekend, they began popping up at Shopper's and Walmart.
i didn't even really think about what color i wanted. i just sort of grabbed one and that was it. usually there's a complex decision making system i go through but i already knew that i would be purchasing more so this was just a start!

i picked up "001 Honey" which looks like a dusty rose. i love the packaging. it looks like a super-sized crayon - which makes it so much more fun to apply since it actually looks like you're drawing on your lips :). to get more product, you just twist the bottom. once i work through the product, i do not think that pointed-end shape will be maintained - wouldn't it just flatten out? or become a slope like a lipstick?
it has a minty scent and applies incredibly smoothly. it is very moisturizing but this does fade by the hour. on the other hand, the color remains so really you can just touch up with a lip balm.

the shade in the tube is actually darker than what you expect so be warned when you are picking a color out.  the tube color is a better representation of what it will look like once it is applied. "Honey" is a dusty pink that is actually leaning towards purple. the color can be sheer if you prefer it that way but can also be layered. the following photos show the difference:
artificial light; natural light

one layer:

a few layers:

i will be in LAAAAAAAAAAA in a little over 12 hours (should start packing - it's so hard because a girl needs selection!!). i will be purchasing more of these since i think it will be cheaper there. but any suggestions to what else i should pick up while i'm there? let me know! i welcome any ideas regarding things i should buy, places i should visit or food i must eat.
if i have time tonight, i might try to throw together a quick Topbox post since i got one today. sadly, i can't show you July's BB5 just yet because i was missing a product. i have emailed them and am waiting for a response.

thank you for reading! what colors will you be picking up?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

POLISHED: Revlon Nail Enamel in "Popular"

for the second part of my gift to my sister for Sister Day, i got her a Revlon nail polish (14.7 mL; $4.47 at Walmart). to be honest, i was looking for "Whimsical" for myself and just happened to find one that was also glittery and pretty with a name that my sister would appreciate - "230 Popular" (cue: the song "Popular" from Wicked).

"Popular" is a soft pink with micro-glitter as well as hexagon-shaped glitter (the hexagons do not have sharp edges though so it can almost pass for circles).

unfortunately, i had trouble putting it on. the soft pink is a milky kind of pink but once i applied it, the "milk" seems to have gone bad. it was very clumpy with all that glitter in it. if you look closely on my nails, the pink and much of the glitter is gathered at the top of my nail while it becomes a little more sheer near the bottom. perhaps i did not shake it enough or i did not have the right strategy for applying glitter polishes - should i try applying very thin layers instead? i also only used two coats since the coverage looked pretty good until i took the pictures in natural light. i'll try 3 coats next time! i still really like the color so maybe i'll update you on some better pictures :) (by the way, my artificial lighting pic was taken at another place so i couldn't tell that the lighting was actually very similar to my natural one. oh well!)

taking it off - like any glitter polishes - require a bit more patience. this was actually one of the easier glitter polishes to remove for me. holding a cotton ball (with remover) on your nail for 10 seconds should do the trick.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

GOODIES: First Online Sephora Purchase

helloooo everybody!
i wanted to share my experience with placing my first Sephora order online. i've always ooh-ed and ahh-ed at all the fancy products they have on the website. i love checking out new palettes or makeup sets. but then i never go through with an actual order since i live close to a number of Sephora locations and in order to get free shipping, i have to spend at least $75.

in case you haven't ordered online with them before, it came in a cardboard box with lots of paper stuffed inside.

well, one day i decided that i should get my sister something for Sister Day (the first Sunday of August). i mean, why not get her something and have her feel guilty for the rest of the year? hahaha, i am kidding ...
here is what i got:

sorry for the bad photo! there will be better ones later!

seeing that my sister lost a tokidoki lipgloss (that i also bought her) and that Sephora was no longer going to be carrying tokidoki, i thought i should grab a few items while i had the chance. my sister is just venturing into the land of makeup so i decided to get her a super cute tokidoki Airways Palette. it has 8 eyeshadows and a keychain. one of the eyeshadows is called "Los Angeles" which fits in perfectly with our upcoming vacation! the little tin suitcase as well as the sale price was more than enough to convince me.

from here on, i just had to get to $75 to get free shipping, so i indulged a little. just a little.
i decided to also get two tokidoki Nail Confetti & Nail Art Stickers in "Stellina" and "Savana" since i have succumbed completely to the nail glitter craze.

next, i placed the Buxom Travel in Style set in my cart so i could try out their lip polish and lip stick in my current favorite lip shade of the moment - peach. it didn't hurt that it was a dollar off and made it to the sale section (i have a keen eye for this!).

another Buxom product i picked up is the Buxom Armed and Gorgeous. it is consisted of 3 double-ended eye sticks. i've been eyeing this for so long but i've heard mixed reviews about them. i figured i needed to reach the $75 mark so if anything, i'd give it a go. note, this was the most expensive item in the order!

i also threw in a Sephora Wave Hair Clamp which i have never heard of but was intrigued. reviews were good so i thought $5, why not! thinking back, it was definitely an impulse purchase. the clamp turned out to be much smaller than expected. i think i would need two (or maybe even 3!) in order to get all of my hair. it would look odd with just half of my hair done.

and some happy extras!! i love promos!!!
* Benefit Cosmetics - Creaseless Cream Shadow/Liner in "Silver Spoon" (free with $25 purchase or something like that!)
* Sephora/Fresh - Sugar Kisses Mini Lip Duo (hooray for being a beauty insider and birthdays!)

with this purchase, i threw in 3 samples i was very excited to try:
* Urban Decay - Naked Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup
* Kat Von D - Lock-It Tattoo Foundation
* Benefit Cosmetics - 'Hello Flawless!' Oxygen Wow Liquid Foundation
most unfortunately, Sephora only sent me one of the three samples (the Benefit one). i was so excited thinking that i could test all 3 of these liquid foundations out. i have emailed them about the issue. has anyone else had this problem before?

-- update Sept 4, 2012 -- i am sorry i didn't update you on what happened with this Sephora order and the missing samples earlier. after my first email, Sephora emailed me back saying that they could not give me replacement samples because it is not something their warehouse can do. i found this answer ridiculous because it does not solve my problem at all. i sent them another email explaining how the samples were a key reason why i ordered online in the first place (i live close to a number of Sephora stores and the items were available there too). customer service replied, offering me a "one time courtesy" of $5 to be used online. this doesn't help at all since this means i have to make another online order, and $5 would not even cover the $7.95 shipping if i chose NOT to spend over $75. to add on top of this, i checked my Sephora account and cannot find this $5 credit so i have to email them AGAIN. bah!! not liking the online Sephora experience. --

the order was made on July 26, 2012. Sephora notified me that they shipped it on July 27. from this day on, I kept trying to login to my account and track my package but I kept getting an error message. this is because i did not know that there would be two different shipping notifications. the first being that it was shipped to their Canadian border facility (Borderfree) and from there, shipped to your address. i got another notification that Borderfree shipped it on August 7. by this time, i was hoping that the package will arrive since it says on the site that total delivery time is 6-12 business days. i received it on August 13. exactly 12 business days. if you count weekends, it was a very long wait! especially since Sister Day was on the 5th. oops!

so anyways, i am quite excited to try out everything i ordered. do not worry, i hope to share my experiences soon! i'll also borrow the tokidoki palette for some swatches - i'm sure she won't mind. i hope i sort out the issue with the samples too.
do you guys like to order online with Sephora?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

GLYMM BAG: August 2012

imagine my surprise when i got my shipping notification from Glymm stating that their August bag was on its way. and then when i even received the bag before Topbox sent our their notification... that is mind-blowing!!

i got my bag yesterday which seems to be still later than everyone else. 
August's bag is black, shiny and quilted. very pretty! i am glad they switched it up. i am tired of the bags, but if Glymm has to absolutely keep them, then i rather they change the design every month and keep it exciting. 
the products inside can do with some improvement though. 

everything is very small. it seems that small samples are Glymm's specialty.
for August, we got:

1) Vitamine & Sea Mineral Clay Mask
This natural facial mask made with clay directly from the Dead Sea will tingle as it softly exfoliates, eliminates toxins, promotes circulation, cleanses and strengthens your skin.

the mask is to be left on your face for 20 minutes or until it dries. for me it was the latter - i think it dried within a few minutes! i think it's because i wanted to get at least 2 uses out of this so i used it sparingly which meant that the layer i applied was quite thin. it smells like dirt and rocks (if rocks had a scent, this is it). it left my face feeling fresh and smooth.
i do not use masks enough to justify paying $62 for it. plus, i still have plenty of samples to go through.
size: small (Glymm says 3 uses)
retail value: $62 (210 mL)

2) Naked Princess Naked Shine Luscious Lip Gloss in "Barely Nude" 
This sexy gloss stimulates collagen, is non-tacky and plumps your lips ever so gently.

this reminds me of the Anastasia gloss sample in March`s - you guessed it - Glymm, because they are both the tiniest lip gloss samples i have ever seen. i have never heard of the brand Naked Princess before but i like their look and their use of healthy formulas in their products.
the Naked Shine glosses come in 8 shades of nude. "Barely Nude" is completely nude on me. it just makes my lips look shiny. i doubt there is any way to build on the color, and even if there was, i would not be able to attempt it since there is not enough product. i like that the gloss is free of a number of chemicals and that it is non-sticky. the gloss has a sweet scent to it that reminds me of another lip gloss that i can't exactly pinpoint right now.
size: 0.25 g
retail value: $26 (2.96 mL)

3) Atelier Cologne Vanille Insensée
An electrical current runs through the subtle sweetness of vanilla, jasmine and fresh lime to bond with rich oak moss, woods and spicy coriander.

of the many fragrance samples i have received, i enjoy the packaging of Atelier Cologne. even though it's in the form of a vial, which is harder to use, i like the neat postcard it comes with. i also like the scent of it. it's not something i would normally wear but the vanilla is sweet and not overpowering.
size: smaller (~20 uses)
retail value: $70 (30 mL)

4) The Laundress Delicate Wash (Lady)
Take care of your beautiful delicates and lingerie with a wash that's effective yet gentle.

not what you would be expecting from a beauty subscription service. i do not feel like i need some special detergent for my delicates so it's not entirely useful to me. does it make sense that i think it would've been neat if it was a bonus product instead?
size: 15 mL
retail value: $22 (500 mL)

5) BENTA BERRY G-1 Moisturizing Face Cream for Boys and Girls (Regulating Line) 
This cream is made from 100% natural active ingredients: burdock, jasmine, mandarin, blueberry, white dead-nettle and zinc pidolate.

pheww that is a long name!! the packaging is eye-catching but really hard to decipher. under the Glymm notes, it says: "Its subtle fragrance was designed by a famous perfumer for both boys and girls." i actually did not know that perfumer was a word. and who is this famous perfumer?
i'm blanking out again because the scent reminds me of something else... agh. anyways, it's lightweight and helps mattify the skin. it is a bit out of my price range though!
size: 3 mL
retail value: $22 (30 mL)

6) Mai Couture Foundation Powder Papier in "Nude Glow"
The Papier collection by Mai Couture exudes novelty and modernism. Whether you need coverage, color or highlights you’ll find a quick and effective solution here.

foundation powder papier. i am intrigued about the idea since i cannot see how one sheet could substitute for foundation but... 
funny how Glymm does not listen to customers' feedback because i clearly remember back in February, when there was backlash as people calculated how much 2 sheets of blush papier was worth ($0.70!!). here, we are sitting at $0.76. 
if you look closely at the papier, you can see little shimmers on it. other glows available: fair and golden.
size: 2 sheets 
retail value: $19 (50 sheets)

everything is just so tiny. a number of the samples can only be used once, or max twice. the bag is cute but i rather have better products. the value of the bag does not seem to exceed or even equal its cost - especially for those paying $12. i heard some got a full size nail polish though - what did you get in your Glymm? 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection in "Comfort Zone"

throughout the blogging community, i heard applause for Wet n Wild's latest eyeshadow palettes. i found it a bit surprising in regards to all the praise the company was getting since Wet n Wild was even more affordable than the regular drugstore brand.
i bought Wet n Wild Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection in "738 Comfort Zone" (8.5 g; $3.99 at Superstore) which is, as the name applies, colors i can throw on easily. the 8-pan eyeshadow collections also come in a purple-based palette, "Petal Pusher" and a blue one, "Blue Had Me At Hello". i prefer to use browns and greens but the other ones look fun too!

the 8-pan palette is separated into 2 "sets" - each with a suggested browbone, eyelid, crease and definer color. also suggested on the back are different looks you can achieve, i.e. flirty vs. wild. at first i tried following the guidelines but you can definitely take your own spin on it and mix and match! my favorite colors to wear are 2, 3, 5 and 6. sorry they are not named but i will try to describe them to you:
top to bottom: natural light; artificial light

* 1 - pearly soft apricot (least pigmented in the palette)
* 2 - peachy bronze
* 3 - soft brown
* 4 - dark chocolate brown (darkest color)
* 5 - champagne
* 6 - moss green
* 7 - smoky gray
* 8 - brown/purple base with sea green shimmer

a closer look (in natural lighting):

6 of the 8 shadows are very shimmery with the exception of #4 and #7 which are more matte with a touch of sparkle.
#1 was the hardest one to swatch - the color is hardly visible. i really had to try to dig into the product but it was just too stiff.
the rest was no problem at all - they were very silky to the touch and very pigmented. the color payoff is amazing - especially the darker colors. as i was going down the column, i realized quickly that you show use a lighter hand with the darker shades. a much much lighter hand.
it is hard to tell that #8 is a duochrome unless you compare the top of the swatch on my arm with the bottom of it where the light does not hit directly.
the dark shades last all day while the lighter ones tend to disappear off my oily eyelids after a few hours so i would suggest using an eyeshadow primer to make them last longer. there was bit of fallout since the shadows are just soo soft. i'd recommend applying with your fingers instead of a brush and/or just gently pressing into the eyeshadow rather than swiping widely across it.
the packaging is simple and sturdy - still, i doubt the eyeshadows will survive a fall to the floor. it also comes with a brush (see third pic) but i don't normally use sponge tip applicators and the bristles on the other end is not packed densely enough - seems like eyeshadow would just fluff everywhere.

so final verdict is that this is a great product for a great price! the range of colors, the fantastic pigmentation and the color payoff make it really worth the price.

-- update -- i took this palette with me on my trip to L.A as part of my carry-on and on my way back, i found that one of the eyeshadows (#8) did not survive the plane ride. i'd suggest a little extra care with this palette since it is not all that sturdy! perhaps it is better off to be used just at home, rather than traveling. --

i've also heard wonderful things about Wet n Wild's Mega Last Lip Color so i am definitely going to keep an eye out for them too. have you tried their eyeshadows before?

Friday, August 10, 2012

REVIEW: SPAresource & theBalm Makeup Brushes

in all honesty, i really did not know what to look for when buying makeup brushes. i could not tell the difference between a high-end makeup brush and a cheap(er) one. what is the major advantage of forking over US$78 for a Hakuhodo Highlighting Brush? which by the way, was a brand that popped up when i was doing a little research on stippling brushes. quick company lesson because this company is very interesting!!

Hakuhodo is a high quality Japanese makeup brush company (also sells brushes for painting and calligraphy) that manufactured brushes for M.A.C. and then decided to sell brushes under their own name. so you know what you get for US$78? the ferrules of the brush are brass-rolled 24-karat gold while the hairs are from a blue squirrel. oh you don't like blue squirrels? what about a Canadian squirrel or a pine squirrel? perhaps, goat or weasel hair? take your pick.
it was my first time looking into brush hair types (aside from synthetic) so it was a very uhm, intriguing read. and blue squirrels?? wow. but i did pick an example that was really out there. Hakuhodo do sell different series of brushes that are more affordable like the 200 Series, which ranges from US$18 - $53.

so anyway!! i already own a few makeup brushes - mostly e.l.f., Bare Escentuals and ModelCo. i have not had any previous experience with stippling brushes so i figured why not take baby steps?
i put it on my birthday wishlist and suggested my sister check Walmart out. it was the cheapest one i've seen in stores that also looked like it was pretty good quality. i wanted to actually touch the bristles before settling on a brush so i did not want to order one online. (and yes! that is Disney Princesses wrapping paper! i may be 25 but i still love them!)

i now use SPAresource Pro-Series Stipple Brush ($6.97 at Walmart) everyday. its' bristles are both synthetic and natural. the top is flat which allows you to create the "satiny airbrushed effect". i was actually sold on getting a stippling brush in the first place because i wanted to achieve an airbrushed look - who doesn't? the word i wanted to explain how it leaves your skin looking is "dewy" but checking, i want to clarify "dewy" as in "fresh and bright" and not "damp and clammy". i use it to apply foundation by dabbing the foundation on first using my fingers and then using the stipple brush in a circular motion to blend it all out.

bottom left pic is after i have used it...
there are certain features that i discovered that i should be looking for in a makeup brush. so in regards to the SPAresource stipple brush, there was hardly any shedding. a few bristles came off when i first started using it but that's it. the bristles are soft but firm enough for its purpose. the handle looks like it is made of wood and has a clear coating over it. i can get a good grip on it and it's comfortable to use. it doesn't seem like it will break anytime soon so put another check mark for durability.

i picked up 3 brushes from London Drugs in the last week. why? because they were on clearance for $0.99 each. yes only 99 cents!! down from original price of $10. theBalm seems to be a reputable company so i just swooped right in. they came in clear plastic bags (no boxes). all 3 seem to be a mini version, probably travel-sized. the handles are super thin.

theBalm brushes measure up to be about the same length as the handle of my stippling brush. the stipple brush is the biggest brush i own. i think the handle of it could've been an inch or two shorter and it would not have affected its performance.

two of the theBalm brushes are to be used for eyeshadows, or more specifically, theBalm's line of eyeshadows, "shadyLady".
i love theBalm shadow brush! the bristles are very soft and dense. the curved angle works just perfectly to get the inner corner of your top lid or for accentuating with a crease color.

i have only used theBalm liner brush for rimming my lower eyelid and it works well for that purpose. i think it may be possible to use it for gel eyeliner as well. the bristles are flat, dense and slanted.

theBalm concealer brush is to help with the application of timeBalm (foundation). i already own two other concealer brushes so i didn't need another one. oh well, this is for travelling! the bristles are flat and rounded.

so my top two additions to my brush collection is the theBalm shadow brush and the SPAresource stipple brush. i've been reaching for the shadow brush everyday since then and i do not understand why i have waited so long to get a stippling brush! seriously, i recommend everyone go out and get it! i love how even my foundation looks afterwards. it may take a little bit more time than just rubbing foundation in with your fingers but the results are amazing.
what do you think? have you tried a stipple brush before? what brush can you not live without?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

REVIEW: Joe Fresh Cream Lipstick in "Cinnamon"

okay i admit i've been lazy in regards to blogging the last couple of days. i have a rather long list of ideas to post about but simply did not feel like doing any of them.
so i started rummaging through my lipstick pile and found something that i was going to accidentally buy again last week, so here we go...

i picked it up sometime last year while browsing the beauty section of Superstore and found it on sale. i think it was somewhere between $2 and $3 (original price is $6).
it was not my first time trying Joe Fresh cosmetics (along with a lip stain, a liquid eye liner and nail polish) but it was the first time trying their lipsticks, so why not pick it up on sale? :)
it was around the same time that i was becoming interested in different finishes of lipsticks, like matte and cream. so i picked up the Cream Lipstick in "Cinnamon", a warm nude.

the packaging is clear so you can easily see the color inside. quite handy indeed! but on the other hand, the clear tubing is a bit thick. it is wider than my other lipsticks and takes up more room. below is a comparison of the Joe Fresh lipstick and a Gosh lipstick. there is no indication of how much product there is so i can't tell you either.

also make sure that when you close it, you snap it tight because the cap had a tendency to come off in my bag.
like its name, it is in fact very creamy. it may actually be too creamy. when i applied it straight from the tube, i felt that there was way too much product on my lips. if you have dry patches on your lips, a lot of the product would accumulate around it; so to have more control, i'd suggest using a lip brush first to get all the edges and whatnot and then applying a thin layer on your bottom lip and smacking your lips together (note: i only did the first step for the swatches). this way you'd get more coverage without it getting too messy.
the color payoff is amazing. when i swatched it on my hand, i could not believe how pigmented this lipstick was. and look just how shiny it is!
top to bottom: artificial light; natural light

on my lips, it looks like a warm nude (as mentioned earlier) but also slightly peachy. i am rediscovering my love for this! i guess it was meant to be that i saw it on sale again and was going to purchase the same shade. good thing i checked my lipstick arsenal first.
top to bottom: artificial light; natural light

the cream lipstick also lasts pretty long - it survived through drinking and snacking and required only a slight touch-up to my center of my bottom lip.
i am coming to an understanding that nudes that work on me aren't necessarily the nudes that are all the rage among other bloggers or ones that have the word "Nude" in the name - one example of this is Revlon's "Nude Attitude".

all in all, i am glad i picked up "Cinnamon". have you tried Joe Fresh's cosmetic line? they are relatively new - Joe Fresh started branching out in '09.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

GLOSSYBOX: July 2012

ahhh.. Glossybox. why is it that you are so consistently late?
i got mine just yesterday but already plenty of posts from other bloggers were up. i resisted taking a peek until i got my box and after reading about it on Blogger as well as Facebook, it seems that a TON of people are unhappy this month. 
most of the complaints are regarding the different versions - apparently there is a major price difference between them. i am a V2 this month (there seems to be 3 variations).

so upon opening the box, i can automatically tell it is more deflated than usual. still there is one very large item, but you will see why it is not a huge deal:

July's samples (and fancy, fancy - the product card is glossy this month):

1) Zoya Nail Polish in "Shelby ZP616" - ooooo my first Zoya nail polish ever! i've seen these floating around many nail bloggers' websites but i have never actually seen one in real life. woooooaah. 
i'm not sure where they are even sold in Canada! "Shelby" is from the Summer 2012 Beach Collection. it is a bubblegum pink creme. when i look at my nails, it makes me feel super girly.

i needed 3 coats to get full coverage. it dries rather quickly but not quick enough for me to avoid denting it in the following pictures (i blame this on having to put on 3 coats)...
size: 15 mL (full size!)
retail value: $8
left to right: natural light; artificial light

2) Alessandro International Pedix Feet Heel Rescue Balm - this company is based in Germany so kudos to Glossybox for branching out. Alessandro International also sells other pedicure items as well as cosmetics such as lipsticks and nail polishes.
the Heel Rescue Balm is nice - i think i am starting to build a little collection of heel creams. this one in particular has a fruity but minty scent. 
size: 30 mL
retail value: $19.95 (100 mL)

3) John Frieda Frizz-Ease Sheer Solution - frizz has never been a major concern of mine so i have never tried such products. the solution needs to be shaken before use and the cap that it has does allow for shaking 10 drops into your palm and then rubbing into your hair (as per directions). i can say that my hair seems to be less tangled but that's it.
size: 10 mL
retail value: $14.99 (60 mL)

4) Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer in "Strawberry" - this is the second lip product from Burt's Bees i have gotten from a beauty box. i am glad that this one has less packaging that the tinted lip balm had - if you have forgotten, click here. i am glad to get to try a different color since i find "Cherry" a bit similar to "Rose".

"Strawberry" is a sheer shimmery pink. it smells like peppermint and leaves a tingly feeling. i like that it is 100% natural and is moisturizing. the shimmer in addition to the pink doesn't work too well on my skin tone if i put on a few layers of it - it comes off as a bit too frosty so i need to stick with only a minimal amount.
size: 2.6 g (full size!)
retail value: $5.99
top to bottom: artificial light; natural light

5) Dove VisibleCare Softening Crème Body Wash - so here's the thing with Glossybox. i don't want to point the finger at Glossybox and say that this is exactly what they are doing, BUT it seems that Glossybox includes a full size drugstore item to create the illusion that there is a lot more value for your money. i hear plenty of people are unsubscribing this month because the drugstore products are turning them off. personally, i don't mind as much when it's something i can use but body washes aren't my thing. i can't blame Glossybox for that though.
the body wash smells nice but i don't understand why it is a "Limited Offer".
size: 200 mL (full size!)
retail value: $5.99

6) BeautySoClean Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipes - i missed the very first Canadian Glossybox that included the sanitizer mist so i am happy to get to try these wipes! i find the company's idea so simple but genius at the same time. i have a brush cleaner but hadn't thought of cleaning lipsticks or face powders before hearing about BeautySoClean. 
size: 4 wipes
retail value: $12.50 (48 pack of wipes)

so overall, it is a "good" box in that i will use mostly everything in here. i don't normally use body washes or frizz solutions unless they are given to me. i like being introduced to brands i haven't tried before like BeautySoClean and Alessandro International. my favorite item would be the Zoya polish though - it's hard to go wrong with nail polish!

i will be going to L.A, L.A, L L A, L.A (re: Bran Van 3000's Drinking in L.A.) in a few weeks!!! hooray hooray hooray! first time ever so i am asking all you lovely bloggers if you have any suggestions on things i need to see or do while i'm there. it would be fantastic if you know of any places i must visit for some awesome beauty deals (like CVS? or something haha) or any brands only available in the US? very excited! thank you thank you :)
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