Monday, March 25, 2013

REVIEW: Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids Lipsticks

oh Maybelline, you have me hooked!
when i first saw these Maybelline Color Sensational Vivids on store shelves, i knew i was in trouble.
when i saw Jayne post about them and say: "I know you'll get these Helen, you love lippies!!", i was doomed. there was no fighting it, she had already written my fate.

and so, i picked up one last week. then i went back the next day and got another one. and now i am trying to decide which one i want next!

the Color Sensational Vivids Lipsticks (4.2 g) come in the rectangular shape like the other Color Sensational lippies but with a clear plastic orange cap. all of them come in the orange cap so don't let that confuse you :)
there are 8 Vivids available in Canada and 10 in the States - according to the website, we missed out on "Neon Red" and "Hot Plum" but i found "Hot Plum" in stores and not "Brazen Berry" - has anyone seen "Brazen Berry"?
you all know of my love for corals so it's no surprise that i picked up "870 Shocking Coral" and "885 Vibrant Mandarin". the names for these fit the color so perfectly - when i look at my lips, the color definitely screams "shocking" and "vibrant" and i love it! i am not one for bright colors usually but this lipstick line has opened a whole new world for me.

"Shocking Coral" is a beautifully bright pinky coral lipstick. i really enjoy wearing this color which i find is perfect for spring.
"Vibrant Mandarin" is another bright color but in the orange-y red of the color spectrum.
both of these colors are extremely pigmented - it makes me so excited that i can get such great color payoff from a drugstore lipstick. they have a honey nectar formula which i think is why the lipstick also smells sort of sweet. it feels nice on the lips and doesn't feel drying. the color itself lasts a good 4+ hours or until you eat.

for me, i feel like i can't just throw on this lipstick and walk out the door. the lip color becomes such a focal point on my face that i feel the need to balance it out a bit with other makeup.

i took a couple pictures with and without flash to show off the brightness of the colors:
top: natural light; bottom: with flash
with flash - aren't they gorgeous?

here are some arm and lip swatches:
top: natural light; bottom: with flash

if you like it bright and bold, you can apply it straight from the tube to get this look:

but if this is a bit of a step outside your comfort zone, try using a lip brush to control the amount of color you apply to your lips:

i purchased these at Walmart for $5.96 each! what a steal!
i am debating between "Fuchsia Flash" or "Hot Plum"/"Brazen Berry" as my next purchase - should i go for the hot pink or a (gasp) purple?? let me know what you think!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

TOPBOX: March 2013 [regular]

it's just my luck, it happens all the time.
does it have to be this way for me?

hell yeah, cause it's just my luck.

anyone else remember the Canadian group V.I.P.? lol i think they came out with 2 songs in the 90s. i love 90s music!!

but you know what i don't love?
this month's Topbox.

my spirits were dampened when Topbox emailed me after my box has shipped that one of the items i was supposed to get (Chloe perfume) was replaced with a "VWL" - which someone else pointed out could only be Vera Wang, another perfume sample.
i went with a regular box after given the choices of an Aveda, Pure+simple, Lippy Girl and Jurlique (upgrade) Topbox. i wasn't really excited about these options and figured that since last month's regular box was such a hit - Deborah Lippmann, MUFE...

but of course, this month's regular box was nowhere near as awesome.
1) Aveda Caribbean Therapy Body Creme - i already heard complaints about the scent of this before even receiving the box. it sounds like it would smell good - Caribbean mango, cocoa butter and warm island aromas. my sister says it smells like a pile of dying leaves mixed with some bug spray.
the creme says that was 'people-tested'... i wonder if these people had noses.

it does work in terms of moisturization but i'd probably apply it at night and on my legs so that it is furthest from my nose. haha ok it is really NOT that bad. but it isn't something i'd slather on.
size: 25 mL
retail value: $42 (200 mL)

2) L'Oréal Professionnel Mythic Oil - i actually have a full size of this... waiting patiently for me to crack open since Christmas. there was so much talk about this product online that once i found it on sale, i had to have it. so i really have no idea why i haven't used it yet! it feels great on my ends - it makes my hair smoother and less frizzy - and smells great at the same time!

check out Topbox's Mythic Oil giveaway here :)
size: N/A but 2 vials
retail value: $26 (125 mL)

3) MaskerAide Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask in "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" - another MaskerAide mask! but it is different from the other two i have received from Topbox and BB5. the name of it is exactly what i feel. i have my first "big girl" job now which is going great but there's all these other responsibilities and demands. oh shucks.
size: 1 mask @ 23 g (full size!)
retail value: $4.99

4) Vera Wang Lovestruck Floral Rush - i received Vera Wang Lovestruck exactly one year ago in the exact same size from LB. this March, i got the Floral Rush version which is a stronger scent than the other. the Lovestruck Floral Rush one also smells like fresh, fragrant flowers and has a younger feel while Lovestruck is softer and less-in-your-face. i personally prefer the Lovestruck one; what about you?
size: 4 mL
retail value: $79 (50 mL); $105 (100 mL)

- - - - -

so that's that for March's Topbox! i don't know if i prefer the surprise of a regular Topbox or knowing exactly what i am getting in a branded Topbox... agh! guess we will have to see for April. sneak peeks have already been released!
what kind of risk-taker are you?

Monday, March 18, 2013

POLISHED: Color Club Halo Hues Nail Lacquer in "Kismet"


i must have been at Winners for about 2 hours before i was forced to check out my items at closing time - it is amazing how time flies by when you are shopping there! as i rounded the corner and passed by all the items intended to lure you in last minute, i came to a halt in front of some nail polish.

and then, there it was.
sitting there, sparkling and twinkling with all its friends.

it was "Kismet".

hah! i am hilarious.

but no, seriously, i was in love! the Color Club's 2013 Halo Hues Collection has been all over the blogosphere and i've been wondering when i would finally see them in Canada. but alas, i must be smart about my spending! i walked away with only "Kismet" but i am thinking of searching for at least one more... it may be "Cosmic Fate" ;)
"996 Kismet" (15 mL) is a lovely yellow-green holo. this is only my second holo but i haven't seen many in this color before. it applied like a dream - no problems at all and dried quickly. i found the brush very easy to use as well. i also love how resistant it is to damage - i've been wearing it for 2 days with no top coat and there are no chips, dents or scratches. with a lot of the Essie polishes, i see little dents within a couple of hours. i thought the coverage was almost completely opaque at 2 coats but i did 3 just because you cannot get too much of a holo.
i picked this up at Winners for $7.99.

i took a gazillion pictures to capture the beauty of this polish. my hands are in a claw-like pose because i didn't want my thumb to feel left out. please excuse my cuticles! one of them suffered a paper cut recently :(

one coat:

two coats:

three coats:

the Halo Hues Collection can be separated into 2 parts: 6 polishes released in late 2012 and then 6 more this year. the colors released this year seem to be more vibrant and fun :)
check out the first 6 here (2012) and the next 6 (2013).

which ones are on your wishlist?

Saturday, March 16, 2013

REVIEW: Essence Stay All Day Long Lasting Eyeshadows

i've been eyeing the Essence Stay All Day Long Lasting Eyeshadows (5.5 g) for a while now and finally took the plunge. mind you, it was more like a little hop since Essence products are so reasonably priced and i even got these two on sale (75% off!).
i picked up the Stay All Day Eyeshadows (which are cream eyeshadows) in "02 Glammy Goes To..." and "09 For Fairies". these eyeshadows come in a tiny clear pot with a dome lid.

"Glammy Goes To..." is a shimmery champagne gold. when you layer it, it becomes darker and more brown.

"For Fairies" was released after "Glammy Goes To..." and has slightly different labeling. the color is a shimmery pink with a golden sheen.

i love both of these colors!!! they are both very pretty and wearable. keep in mind that they are really shimmery so i love to use them on the inner half of my eyelid and then a dark matte powder eyeshadow around the crease. i am surprised that even though the formula feels rather thick, it actually lasts 8+ hours on my oily eyelids if i am wearing good primer (for the "Glammy Goes To..." anyway - haven't used For Fairies on my eyes yet!). i only noticed the slightest trace of creasing after i've been wearing it for 11 hours - there was also some fading of the color but otherwise, it was still very impressive.

the eyeshadows are very pigmented - the top picture shows a swatch of when i just lightly rub my fingers in the eyeshadow. i also decided to use this close-up to try to show you how the eyeshadow may feel patchy and uneven. note that "Glammy Goes To..." looks more gold here than in the bottom swatch, which is where it is layered. when i wear it on my eyes, i only need to use a tiny bit since a little goes a long way.
like i said, the texture is slightly thick and patchy but as long as you put in a little effort to blend it out, you shouldn't have any problems. the eyeshadow dries nicely afterwards and does not budge. when you first touch it, it does feel a little hard but it's only because the top has dried a bit. 

warning: it looks like these eyeshadows are in the process of being cleared out for the new Essence releases so if you want to get your hands on these before they are gone (possibly forever), head to your Shoppers Drug Mart right now where you will find them for $3.99 or probably cheaper in the Clearout section! hurry hurry!

Friday, March 15, 2013

BEAUTY BOX 5: February 2013

what the what is going on with Google Reader? i missed the announcement apparently made all over Blogger yesterday but i guess it explains why i've had an exponential increase in Bloglovin' followers :) thank you for wanting to keep me around!!

anyways, i got my February box from BB5 the same day i got my Glymm (last Friday). Beauty Box 5 also celebrated their one year anniversary, just like Glossybox. i think both did rather well with their one year anniversary boxes!
i love the cute touches that BB5 includes on their card - they have a little poem and thank yous to customers for their support. i believe that BB5 is really sincere since i know other companies who only pretend to care about the customers...

let's check out what i got:
1) H2O Plus Bath Aquatics Shampoo - the shampoo features watercress, Iceland moss and seaweed. both watercress and Iceland moss are great for repairing damage and restoring moisture. seaweed is listed on the back of the shampoo but not explained on the site (Provitamin B is featured instead so i am not sure if H2O changed the formula). the shampoo has a fresh marine scent to it.

i haven't seen this brand sold in stores before but they do have a Canadian site  ($9.95 shipping if spend < $75). also i did a store locator search and it turns out there are a few Duty Free stores that carry it.
size: 37 mL
retail value: $14

2) Tree Hut Shea Sugar Body Scrub in "Coconut Lime" - i am absolutely in love with Tree Hut scents and products. i tried the Shea Body Butter thanks to BB5 last May and it was divine. this Shea Sugar Body Scrub also smells very yummy - like an island cocktail (coming from a non-drinker but hey, it smells like something that'd be delicious on a beach). the scrub itself is very fine and 'goopy' (as opposed to hard and chunky?).
size: 156 g ("full size!")
retail value: $7.49 (510 g)... or same price for 156 g according to

3) The Brush Guard Sample Pack - this sample pack contains an extra small, small and medium Brush Guard that you can slip over your makeup brushes. these Brush Guards can be used to shape them after they have been cleaned or to protect them while travelling or storing. i actually think that this makeup tool is quite genius (everyone remembers the other 'invention' that we cannot escape from right?).
it says that it is available at Walmart but i haven't seen them there yet.
size: 1 XS, 1 S, 1 M
retail value: $5.50 (Variety Pack - 1 XS, 2 SM, 2 M, 1 L)

4) Coolway Boost Repair Serum - i already have this from January's Glymm which i was just about to use up. as mentioned before, it is to be used instead of a conditioner and to leave 2 days between uses. the product is slightly gritty and smells sugary. i don't feel that this does much for my hair but then again, Aleksandra (Plumpish Beauty) told me that you can't really get the full benefits if you don't have the complete Coolway system.
size: 30 mL
retail value: $39.95 (236 mL)

5) **bonus** BB5 Foldable Brush Compact - oh BB5 how did you know i needed something like this!!! i was thinking that i needed a mirror as well as a brush at work since i'd like to check if i'm scaring anyone with food stuck in my teeth or a rat nest in my hair. so thanks to BB5 for coming up with a solution to both :)

congrats to BB5 for reaching their first year anniversary! i found everything in February's box to be quite handy/useful! i am especially loving the Tree Hut scrub and the Brush Guard is something i am excited to use. i will definitely consider sticking around for the second anniversary :)
cute - everything matches the Beauty Box 5 color :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

GLYMM BAG: February 2013

there you are, Glymm! i almost forgot about you and your February bag until you finally showed your face March 8. i don't recall that it was going to be so late so i checked my inbox and i checked Facebook. there were no emails saying that you would be sending February bags out so late and there were a ton of concerns from your customers that went unanswered - until March 1. that post on March 1, informing us that they were finally shipped, took much too long and is very unprofessional on your part. Glymm bags are supposed to ship on the "week of the 10th" but i see that you have made changes to that and now say that you ship "by the end of the month". i have to say that customer response time and shipping times can definitely use some improvement.

aside from all this, Glymm's bag - as in the bag it came in - is my favorite yet. it is a satin black bag with white hearts all over it. super cute!
but haven't we been taught to never judge a book by its cover?

1) Purely Pro Cosmetics Eye Shadow in "Luxury" - how many people pulled this eyeshadow out and wished it was any other color? that navy blue in the pamphlet is pretty but it seems that everybody got a rather boring-looking brown (they even tease us by saying that this "innovative shadow is sure to make you stand out in a crowd"!). BUT if you have dark hair, you may be in luck since i found it to work well for filling in my brows!
the color is very similar to my Ameli Cake Eyeshadow in "Charcoal Brown".
size: 1.7 g (full size!)
retail value: $18

2) Villainess Bar Soap in "Ginger Snapped" - this is a newly released scent - smells more like cinnamon than ginger i think. if we are to keep receiving Villainess products, please oh please send Paradise Misplaced!
size: N/A
retail value: $6 (99 g)

3) Nailuv Gel Nail Polish in "Berry Sweetie" - i don't understand.... this polish requires me to purchase a $70 UV/LED light in order to use it? why do you bother sending this, Glymm? did your team research how many of us actually own such a device? and this is just out of curiosity but how many of you have brought your own polish to a salon before (as suggested by Glymm)?
sadly, the color actually looks pretty in the bottle (Nailuv: "a fresh dark pink with a hint of iridescent shimmer").
size: N/A
retail value: $14.95 (15 mL)

4) Femme Couture Plump Up The Color Lip Gloss in "827241 Coral Burst" - i haven't tried many Femme Couture's products so i was pumped up that we got a product from them but this shade is rather interesting. there seems to be multiple shades of coral in the gloss and it is very, very shimmery. i just don't feel like i would wear this often... but i'd love to see a swatch of someone who did try it!
there was some variability in the bags this month, where some got this Plump Up The Color gloss or  a Monster Gloss - which did you prefer?
the Monster Gloss is almost twice as big! 10.4 g! that's monstrous indeed.
size: 5.4 g (full size!)
retail value: $9

this month's bag also came with a 50% off a ShinySet subscription (jewelry) and a red heart lollipop. a subscription to ShinySet regularly costs $24.99 a month. they also have quarterly and annual ($299.99!) subscriptions. there's no way i'd subscribe for more than a month since jewelry is a very personal thing. it might be good to try it out for a month at 50% off though... hmmm. i'll need to do some more research!
as for the red heart lollipop... it would've been cute if it arrived by Valentine's... or even if it came while it was still February... oh - and if it wasn't slightly broken already :(
what are your feelings on Glymm and ShinySet?

Monday, March 11, 2013

GIVEAWAY: My Second Spectacular Giveaway Winners

my Second Spectacular Giveaway has ended!

i have gone through the 306 entries and pulled 24 and dun dun dun....
i bring you the three lucky winners!!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SECOND PRIZE - Rosemary f.
THIRD PRIZE - Jasmine N.

congrats congrats!
as per the rules, each winner gets to select first in one (or more) of the four categories of prizes. i have already emailed Gen to start the ball rolling! i will contact the rest of the winners shortly after i hear from her.

thank you all for participating!!! 

Friday, March 08, 2013

IPSY GLAM BAG: February 2013

oh hello procrastination!! how did you ever manage to delay this post until the day i get a shipping notification from ipsy saying that my MARCH bag is on its way...

oh geebus.
anyway, here's a little reminder that there is less than THREE hours to enter my giveaway! then my Saturday will be dedicated to going through the entries so i can select 3 lovely winners.
if you are a fellow procrastinator, click to enter here!!

so let's keep this post short and sweet...

March's ("Red Carpet Ready") bag contained:

1) POP Beauty Smoky Lash Kapow!!! Mascara in "No. 1 Smoky Black" - haha i like the use of exclaimation marks in the name :) can't exactly crack this open yet but it seems that many people are saying that it is clumpy. i wonder if it is that way because they followed POP Beauty's instructions that include using 3 layers of this. i ain't got time for that!
one time when i was flying home from LA, the lady beside me must have spent a good 20 minutes putting on mascara and then using a safety pin to separate her lashes and repeating this process over and over.

odd thing i noticed is that the full sized version gets the "e" in Smokey. guess there wasn't enough room on the mini one!
promotion: 20% off purchase that ended... yesterday. oops! oh well, it wasn't available to us Canadians anyway!
size: 4.8 g
retail value: $18.50 (7 g)

2) MicaBeauty Ultra Smooth Gel Eyeliner in "Black" - i am pretty sure i have seen MicaBeauty booths at the mall before but i have never stopped long enough since i'd feel obligated to buy something when the prices are probably pretty steep.
i love gel eyeliners since they are the most pigmented type of eyeliner. i also love black eyeliners so i will definitely be using this baby up. the other colors such as Blue, Purple and Green look gorgeous but i don't think i could pull colored eyeliner (on my top lash line) off! the full sized version also comes with a built-in application brush.
promotion: 30% off purchase that ended... 8 days ago. again, no real 'loss' here since Canada was excluded. :(
size: N/A but looks pretty big - perhaps a full size but just without the brush?
retail value: $35 (5 g)

3) Lash Card The Lash Card - onetwo aaaaaaaaand three. third time's a c----- rap.
promotion: buy 2, get 1 free. ended 2 days ago. was valid for Canadians. no one is sad here.
size: 4 cards (this ipsy deluxe sample was special)
retail value: $6.99 (10 cards)

4) Pixi Flawless & Poreless primer in "No. 1 Translucent" - this primer has the same kind of texture as the Benefit POREfessional - light and velvety. i did not notice any difference in my pores and how long my makeup lasted. but i just found out that it has salicylic acid so i will now pay attention to whether or not it helps with my current situation (THREE pimples in one week boooooooo - this i am sad about).
promotion: 20% off purchase until yesterday.
size: 15 mL
retail value: $29 (30 mL)

5) Coastal Scents Shadow Palette Sample in "Glitz & Glamour" - this palette sample included the colors "Candlelight" - my desription: a shimmery white/silver; official description: a decadent wash of silvery-grey with a satin finish
"Gunmetal" me: a soft black with red shimmer; official: a sultry, deep grey with a slight satiny finish
"Incognito" me: a semi-matte dark navy blue-almost black; official: a mysterious black hue with a matte finish
"Ashen" me: a shimmery champagne; official: a light greyish-taupe hue with a satiny finish
my sample palette also came a little broken.

by looking at it, i thought "Gunmetal" looked like an amazing color! the red and the black was just gorgeous. sadly, the red does not show at all! in fact, the rest of the colors were also just okay. after debating about Coastal Scents for all these years, i don't feel like i am missing out. i like that i got to try it out though. plus the tiny samples are rather cute and can pretty much fit into a wallet.
top: natural light; bottom: flash

promotion: 25% off until... you guessed it - yesterday.
size: 2 g
retail value: $1.99 (1.3 g)

all in all, i like the variety that ipsy delivers. they are also quite prompt when it comes to sending out their bags (unlike how i received my Glymm for February today...). the bag looked slightly cheap though - with the rushed sewing job to brand ipsy on the inside and the zipper that won't open all the way up.
and what is up with the eye-straining info card with the black font on a black background??
<will insert group photo later>

anyway, i will be getting my March ipsy bag shortly! and i *will* post that within a reasonable time frame. :)
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