Fall Nail Polish Edit

I’ve already started to write a post where I gave some explanation for my absence over the last two months that will be up soon, so I won’t dwell on it here. In short, I just haven’t been able to organize myself enough to write and take pictures for a blog post. Ugh. Especially as of late, I’ve gotten into nail polish and now that fall is rapidly approaching, I thought I would share my picks for the upcoming season. I thought it would be especially interesting if I released it before I bought any fall shades, as it might encourage some of you to seek out shades that you already own before rushing into the latest collections. At least that’s my hope. This is a bit of a mix of traditional autumnal shades, what I see as trendy for the season and what I personally seem to enjoy wearing during the season.

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Ciate Brocade Parade ($18): I’m always a fan of manicures that feel a bit more edgy and less traditionally girlie and sparkly in that sense but I feel that starting with fall, we move away from the softer glitters and accents and closer towards the tougher side. This is an expensive polish but it is a stunning glitter topper that is almost opaque in three coats. It’s an interesting tiny black circle glitter, larger hexagonal white glitter chunks and medium-sized asymmetrical silver glitter pieces. Because it dries textured, it is a fast drying shade but it’s easy to use and is not sparse. I applied three coats on its own on the nail wheel.

OPI Cajun Shrimp ($10-12): A bright red – especially one with orange-y coral undertones like this one – might not seem like a shade that screams fall, but I love the look of a bright red when the weather starts to get cooler and I’m all about comfy sweaters and scarves. It’s a nice transitional summer to fall shade in particular, sitting kind of in between a neon and a deep red or berry. I chose this one because the warm undertones are more flattering for me. There are two thin coats on the nail wheel and the application is effortless. Interestingly, Orly’s Fall collection has a similar shade.

Nails Inc Baker Street ($16): Although I have this polish in the traditional formula and not in the newer gel one, I had to include it nevertheless. It’s another less traditional shade for the fall. I would describe it as a slightly muted cobalt cream that instantly makes me feel more bold and stylish. The formula is a dream to work with, opaque in one to two coats and dries in a few minutes. There are two coats on the nail wheel. My only complaint is that it’s not super long wearing.

OPI Malaga Wine ($10-12): I’ll start this off by mentioning that this is a sort of placeholder shade, standing in for a chic oxblood or berry shade. I do really enjoy the easy 1-2 coat formula and self-leveling quality of this deeper berry hue but I don’t love it enough to wholeheartedly include it. I will be hunting down my essential colour in this category soon.

Zoya Arianna Pixie Dust ($12): This polish is a reddened berry textured take on the berry hue, with an interesting finish, a crelly base and a mixture of matte and holographic glitter. I love how fast it is as a manicure, how long it wears and how it’s a little bit different. There are two coats on the nail wheel.

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark ($10-12): This blackened plum cream polish is easily my most worn nail polish and favourite nail polish of all time. I’ve gone through countless minis and now have a large bottle that I adore. It has an easy self-leveling formula that is opaque in two thin coats and dries glossy. This kind of polished deep blackened hue was seen all over the runways for the season, too. Cream polishes in general are having a real moment trendwise – they are exclusively featured in OPI’s Washington along with a myriad of other collections. There are two thin coats on the nail wheel.

Zoya Payton ($11-12): Not only is the glass-fleck shimmer in this polish unique, the darkish plum colour feels appropriately autumnal with its vampy feel. It’s a holographic polish that will appeal to anyone but the best thing of all is its easy two thin-coat formula and that it removes as smoothly as a cream. It fits more into more of a traditional colour category but it’s trendy enough that Zoya released an entire six piece collection of jewel toned polishes in this finish.

Essie Chinchilly ($10-12): I’m going to warn you, I’m about to go a bit insane over these greige kind of shades for this shade and three that remain. I wear these greige kind of shades year round but in the autumn, there is something about them that feels strangely appropriate as we get into scarves, boots and sweaters and sophisticated. This cream polish is a medium taupe with slight purple undertones and has an amazing formula that is so close to being opaque in one coat – it needs two thin ones – and applies like a dream.

Essie Take It Outside ($10-12): This shade might not be as easily accessible as some of the other shades, as it came out in their Fall 2014 collection, but I assure you, it’s available online at a variety of places. The formula might be even better than Chinchilly somehow, being even closer to a one coat polish, despite being a lighter cement greige shade. I have two thin coats on the nail wheel but I know I could do one thick one. There are similar shades in both Essie and Orly’s fall collections but I doubt the formulas match this one.

Zoya Naturel Satin in Rowan ($12): I’m a big fan of textured polishes but I think I get the most into them in the fall because they feel just a little bit edgier, which is how I tend to like to feel in the fall. This one has a satin finish that leans in the middle of a matte and cream formula and dries very quickly. It’s a medium greige shade that is opaque in two thin coats and is fairly easy to work with. I love that it’s such a quick manicure as well.

Essie Cashmere Matte in Comfy in Cashmere ($10-12): This medium taupe shade hails from last years Cashmere Matte collection but seems to be still available and despite the formula not being the greatest – but it is workable, particularly in this shade – I adore this shade for its cool matte textured finish, with a blue iridescent lean that does not show up on camera. It chips quickly but I forgive it on account of its matte texture and unique shift. The shimmer comes out even more with top coat and it has better longevity that way, too. There are two coats on the nail wheel but I might have gotten by with one; the second was to even out my application. The polish is unique.

OPI I Cannoli Wear OPI ($10-12): This greyed-out pale neutral polish hails from last fall’s Venice collection but remains part of OPI’s permanent line. Despite being an off-white that leans half-way blue and half-way grey, it’s opaque with two medium thickness coats – although if you overwork it or do thinner coats, you’ll need three. It’s easy to work with and feels understated and autumnal with its muted out quality. These greyed out neutrals had a real moment last year but remain on trend, being featured heavily in Essie’s fall collection.

Have any favourite autumnal polishes to share?
Maggie, x.

 

 

September 2015 Favourites

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Base-wise, I happily reached for the Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation in Barely Beige ($48) throughout the month. Adjusting to the whole university, working and attempting to throw some blogging in on the side has been rather difficult and I’ve definitely been slacking on the daily effort front with makeup, so I’ve adored the ease of use of this luminous foundation and just how forgiving it is, build able where you need extra coverage and flattering over dry patches and uneven texture. I adore its satin, glowing finish that reads as natural skin and just how little effort and time it takes to apply.

Along with that effortless haphazard application feel – there are way too many adjectives in this sentence, I’m aware – I was committed to wearing the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Ethereal Glow ($41). I now remembered why I adored this glowy pastel sheer pink – it applies and builds effortlessly, not even requiring a mirror, and adds instant brightness to the face without obvious colour. The texture and glow-from-within without shimmer particles is all kinds of fantastic. But seriously, the formula of these blushes are all kinds of life-affirming. On a less natural-looking note, I tracked down the L’Oreal True Match Lumi Powder Illuminator in N202 Rose ($16) – at work, no less – and have been enjoying the strong sheen and somewhat visible shimmer particles, as it adds instant visible luminosity to dull, dehydrated skin and works as a gorgeous champagne shadow.

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Although I’ve spoken about the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($39) countless times, particular in any favourites kind of the post in the last three months, but I couldn’t make this post without including this creamy warm peach-tinged rose lipstick. The formula is impeccable, as it would have to be at its retail price, and I haven’t wanted to reach for any other shade, as this one is so brightening and just easy. Actually, its kind of a lie when I said that I haven’t been wearing any other shade. I’ve also had the Rimmel Kate Moss Lasting Finish Nude Lipstick in 45 ($7-8) thrown in my bag all month long and on days when I haven’t managed to apply lipstick before leaving this own, I’ve been just throwing the hydrating pinky nude-but-not-overly-light shade.

There were also two nail polishes that I was loving throughout September: the Ciate Paint Pot in Brocade Parade ($15) and Essie Nail Lacquer in Find Me an Oasis ($8-9). Unfortunately, the formula on the powder blue Find Me An Oasis kind of sucks, requiring four coats for opacity, but I adore the pale greyed out hue so much that it was worth it. Even paired with this powder blue shade, either as a topper or for an accent nail, I’ve been experimenting with Brocade Parade, this really edgy black and white chunky glitter, that I got in my first beauty box ever (the Luxe Box) and have been loving it.

What were you loving in September?
Maggie, x.

The Review | Essie Cashmere Matte Nail Lacquer in Comfy in Cashmere

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The transitional collection, Essie’s Cashmere Mattes, is my kind of collection, as I knew it would be – filled with interesting but neutral polishes that tended to lean on the greige side of things with nothing remotely resembling the frou frou. It was the beginning of January that the collection started popping up along the blogosphere and conveniently the timing coincided with my more recent renewal of my love affair with all things polished and this became an object of fixation for over a month. Finally, I spotted the whole collection in Lawton’s at the beginning of March and I’m pleased to report that I restrained myself and only picked up the shade that I was lusting after the most, the Essie Cashmere Matte Nail Lacquer in Comfy in Cashmere ($9.99-11.99). Although I do concede that there is truth to the complaints of many, – the polish dries so fast that it requires some extra care to ensure that the coats are applied evenly without streaks and the demi-matte formula tends to chip very quickly without the use of a topcoat – I have to say that I’m still just as obsessed with this greige polish as I was before acquiring it. Essie describes Comfy in Cashmere as “a mauve with deep velvet undertones” but I would disagree saying that it has more of that grey-tinged taupe to it than a mauve would have in my view and velvet is not a colour descriptor, I’m telling you. I would call the beauteous polish a medium-toned greyed taupe with a semi-matte finish and that unique blue iridescence running throughout.

The polish is very susceptible to chipping, especially when worn without a topcoat (I’m wearing it with the CND Vinylux Weekly Top-Coat), I do assert but in its defense the matte finish allows for it to dry uber-fast which is convenient when you’re as impatient as me and I do appreciate how the formula covers well in one coat and becomes completely opaque within the second one. If you’re looking for a neutral polish with a bit of an edge and/or fancy a polish that will dry fast and opaquely, I would highly recommend Comfy in Cashmere.

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Have you tried any polishes from Essie’s Cashmere Matte Line?

Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #55

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On the positive side, last week I managed to conquer that dreadful cold and I had the week off from university to rest, recharge and complete three rather large assignments. The Reading Break wasn’t exactly a break for me in the slightest but I was productive and I caught up a good bit on blogging, getting four posts out there that I felt really good about. In particular, I had such a nice and productive Saturday morning that I took it on myself to apply each and every of the eight MAC Lipsticks that I own and it turned into a full-on lengthy collection post complete with thoughts and lip swatches and I can’t even tell you how pleased I was with it – so that was a nice thing.

1. The Daily Face #24 | Smokey Eyes and Rosy Lips & Cheeks
2. I Used Up Things #5
3. The Disappointment: Essie No Chips Ahead
4. MAC Lipstick Collection + Lip Swatches, Musings & Favourites

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this but in the last maybe three weeks, we’ve had more storms around here that I can count and it’s been absolutely freezing. Now, I’m well used to dealing with winter (being a Canadian and all) but my skin in particular has taken a hit from these subzero temperatures. I’ve been continuously reaching for the Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil to combat the drier and more sensitive skin, not just nearly every night but also in the morning when things are a little dry and foundation application would be a little frightening with just the standard moisturizing routine. Also on the dealing with drier skin theme, I’ve dug out my Quo Foundation Sponge that’s long overdue for a replacement – with the tearing starting to happen – and even longer overdue for a thorough clean and as one would imagine, I wet it and wring out the excess water and then use it to apply foundation seamlessly and more forgivingly – most likely because the sponge is wet and it sheers things out a bit. And finally on the most interesting beauty note, I sucked it up and finally admitted to myself that I had somehow lost my beloved NARS Golshan Satin Lip Pencil, had quite the freak out slash hissy fit and then obsessively searched my bags and finally found the treasure missing from my life. Let me tell you, the comfortable and long-wearing deepened red-berry hue was just as great as I had originally remembered and our romance has been rekindled.

Er, how was your week etc.?
Maggie, x.

The Disappointment: Essie No Chips Ahead

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In my experience, (and what I’ve gathered to be the experience of the consensus of others who talk/write about such things) Essie polishes are either fantastic or finicky, being gorgeous but sheer requiring a multitude of coats and effort and based on my experience with this top coat, the Essie No Chips Ahead Anti-Chip & Shine Top Coat ($9-10 CDN), I would wager that their treatment and coating products are very much the same. It’s not that the top coat is outwardly bad, as it adds that shine expertly and has that smooth top coat feel but it doesn’t work particularly well at preventing chips and it takes ages to dry so it can lead to less than spectacular results – bubbling or marks, anyone?

I’ve mentioned before that I’m less than stellar at all things nails so I’m definitely open to the possibility of user error, however, I just feel that despite the name, this is not the ideal top coat for someone with chipping prone nails that I have and less patience than desired. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten nice looking manicures with this top coat but they have required a wee bit more patience than usual and they haven’t lasted much longer than they would without a top coat.

I will note that I was actually quite fond of this top coat worn alone on the nails because I found that it wasn’t too thin, didn’t smell weird, applied easily, added that gorgeous shine/smoothness and felt rather nourishing on the nails – it’s not marketed as nourishing or anything so I cannot exactly be certain – and I likely will use more of it this way. I would not recommend this top coat even to those with chip-resistant nails and infinite patience because if one is that saintly, I still wouldn’t recommend shelling out around ten dollars for this. I have heard fabulous things about their regular Good to Go Top Coat and honestly I wish I had listened to my first instinct and bought the standard one rather than hoping for more with the chipping-directed one.

And it’s not pink, originally anyway. I may have tried to apply the top coat over a vampy polish before it was not exactly dried down…

What’s your favourite top coat?
Maggie, x.

The Beauty-Related Christmas Additions

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I’m someone who really enjoys scrolling through posts detailing what others received for Christmas but I’m lacking the organization of pulling off a post of that magnitude without writing a small novel while I’m at it, so I’ve come up with a compromise here; I thought instead that I would give you a rundown of handful of gifts that I received of the beauty variety and share some preliminary thoughts and information while I’m at it. Also, I figured it would be helpful to share my most recent product acquisitions so you all would be able to let me know what you would be most interested in hearing about in coming weeks.

First off I thought I would begin with the couple of goodies given to me by my close friend Laura who has graced the pages of this blog before and her family – starting with the one and only makeup related item I opened – a Benefit Cosmetics Posiebalm and Posietint Duo. It’s no longer available online, but it came from a set that included a four-part set including a full-sized balm with a sample size of the matching cheek and lip stain – believe me I checked. I’m absolutely in love with the beyond comfortable warm-pink tinted balm and I enjoy the stain as well, but I was surprised to find out that the balm is far more warm-toned and corally than the stain. She and her family also got me the Essie Nail Lacquer in Wicked ($8-9), a blackened purple polish that is so up my alley that I haven’t been able to resist applying it to my nails – I’m sure some of you are well aware of my feelings for vampier polishes.

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I have to admit that the rest of the gifts, all of which came from my mother (and father too I suppose), weren’t quite as surprising because I sort of gave her a push, nudge or shove into the right direction but I’m equally as excited about these products. I’ve waxed poetic on my love for the Caudalie Vinosource range before so its only fitting that after falling in love with facial oils in the last year or so, I would want to try out their offering. The Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil ($55)  has greatly impressed me thus far despite its hefty price point for intensely hydrating and soothing my skin with a few drops. Its a blend of oils, primarily composed of grapeseed oil, jojoba seed oil, sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil and rose flower oil and although I know that its not fabulous for the skin, I quite enjoy the rosewater scent that the product has. The other skincare product that I received was a toner and I was curious because its been ages since I used one – I cut them out of my routine as they contained alcohol and like irritants – and this one seemed promising, formulated with soothing ingredients rather than the usual alcohol. The toner in question comes from a brand that I’m quite familiar with and fond of, Kiehls, and its titled the Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner ($22.50). The main claims or interesting particulars about the product are its inclusion of promising ingredients such as Sodium PCA, Aloe, Chamomilia Flower extract and Cucumber and claim to soothe and hydrate the skin and so far, so good.

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Given my recent rekindling of my interest in all things hair, it should not be particularly shocking that I asked for a few hair products for Christmas and magically they appeared in my stocking – poof. Ever since I got my first cut at my local Deva-approved salon, I’ve heard great things about the DevaCurl No Poo Cleanser ($25) and have consequently wanted to try the gentle detergent and silicone-free cleanser and I’m pleased to have it in my collection. It’s rather nice and I enjoy the minty sensation along with how its not drying in the least and is the gentlest on my knot-prone hair. A good couple of years ago, I remember being interested in the Sally Hershberger line, after seeing her videos online and so when I spotted a few of her products about a month back, I mentioned my interest and voila. The product in question specifically is the Sally Hershberger Glam Waves Texture Spray ($12.99), a product that I’ve tried and have been pleased with as a hydrating oil-enriched and mineral-infused product to add texture and moisture to both wet hair in the styling stage and to refresh my wavy curls without weighing them down in the slightest.

Were you lucky enough to get any beauty-related Christmas presents?
Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #44/45

Recently Updated44So it may or may not be more than a wee bit after my last post in this series – I’ve been doing this for a year with impressive constancy (if you discount the last month or so) and am nearing my fiftieth post with frightening vigor. There might have been five to many adjectives in the last sentence but I’m stressed, exhausted and tend to overuse adjectives. Well, I’m more than pleased to say that it’s gotten nice and wintry around these parts and the constant rain has stopped with some snow being thrown into the mix. I’m afraid that I’m not quite as pleased to be less than a week from classes ending and the impending doom called the exam period starting. Things have been stressful and busy but the funny thing is that the deadlines were worse a few weeks ago. However, having a bit more time to write and agonize over my assignments and large research essays might not be all that great for my productivity and sanity. Still I’m not looking forward to next week when my papers all seem to be due extremely close together. Ackkkk.

In the last few days quality sleep hasn’t occurred at all and I’ve been more sleep deprived than usual. Evidence of this would be seen by my appearance in recent weeks that has not been masked with any sort of makeup all that often and perhaps has been washed a little less frequently than even I desire, giving quite the haystack appearance. Oddly enough, my skin hasn’t been freaking out and I’m convinced that that can only be chalked down to an effective and consistent skincare routine – expect something more on the skincare front soon. Anyways, one thing that I’ve been loving is my extreme binge-watching of The Originals in the last four days or so. I’m not exactly sure that it’s been conductive to productivity but considering that I have this nostalgia-driven duty to watch every episode of The Vampire Diaries ever to be aired, I figured it was time to start with the sister series. More often than not, I amaze myself with my ability to procrastinate in the most self-destructive way possible.

Continuing on the note of things that I’ve enjoyed, last weekend I went out for dinner with the family at Agricola Street Brasserie and although I really enjoyed my mash and sausage meal, the spicy margarita that I ordered was particularly noteworthy. It was rather strong in a tasty way and had a strong sense of lime along with the heat and less of that sugary sweetness that I don’t typically enjoy. At the end of last week, I also gave myself somewhat of a DIY manicure that I rather enjoyed for the five days that it lasted. The combination was all Essie, beginning with two coats of Bikini So Teeny on the nails as a base and then topped with a layer of the spectacular glitter, On A Silver Platter and the No Chips Ahead Top Coat.

I might as well start calling these bi-weekly medleys, I’m beginning to realize, but I digress. How are things around your parts?
Maggie, x.

The Essentials With Laura

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DSC_0750This isn’t anything close to resembling a sort of novel post, but I love reading the kind of posts where bloggers bring their friends into the mix and ask them about their staple products and I’ve been planning on doing one for ages so I bring you the first post of a series I hope to continue. So, here’s Laura, one of my very best friends since the day she was born that I now go to University with and I’m pleased to report my beauty-obsessive tendencies seem to have rubbed off on her. Success. Let’s get all nosy and into her staples…

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DSC_0752Urban Decay Naked Palette: “I’m not really an eyeshadow girl but I do go for Sin on the lid during the day and add other shades – usually Half-Baked, Smog and Toasted – into the mix for nights out and the like”

MAC Patisserie Lipstick: “If I feel like lipstick but nothing too statement, I go for this one. It’s a MLBB (my lips but better) kind of shade on me.” Note: I approve of this choice and I didn’t pressure her into it; she came out with it after being helped in the store without me being present. This is clearly an testament to how amazing the shade is.

L’Oreal True Match Foundation in N2: “I’ve been using this one for almost a year now and it’s just shy of full-coverage on me and I can go without concealer in less we’re dealing with that hormonal situation. It looks natural on the skin but does develop some shine on my oily t-zone after a few hours but it otherwise lasts”.

MAC Studio Fix Powder Foundation in C2: This is a great powder, especially for when I’m in need of more coverage and don’t feel like going for concealer. It’s perfect for setting my foundation, getting rid of shine and I use it frequently for touching up – even then, it doesn’t cake”.

MAC Cubic Powder Blush: “This is my everyday blush shade of choice; it’s perfect for adding a natural flush to the cheeks and the muted hue is foolproof. I also like its more matte finish to sculpt the face”.

Benefit Bella Bamba Boxed Powder: “When I want to go for more of a pop of colour, I go for this blush as it instantly transforms my face. It’s a watermelon kind of shade with shimmer that isn’t too obvious on the skin”.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser: “This is the perfect concealer for underneath the eyes to get rid of dark circles that undoubtedly are caused by late nights and refusing to acknowledge my dairy intolerance. It’s a must-have for any student because it instantly fixes late night issues”.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer in 15 Fair: “It’s great for covering blemishes and actually is a good match for my fair skin. Also, it blends in easily with my foundation”.

L’Oreal Lash Out Butterfly Mascara: “This is a great mascara for my itty bitty lashes — I’m still on the hunt for one to hold a curl but I love the volume and length that this one provides. The wand is the best part as its flexible with the nice “butterfly” shape to catch all of my lashes”.

Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium:” It’s the perfect match for my light brown hair and actually doesn’t turn my brows orange. My favourite part is the spoolie on the end; even if I’m not using the product, it helps to clean up the brows and the spoolie is great for blending out the pencil for a natural look”. Note: Laura’s brows look the best I’ve ever seen them due to this product.

Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eyeliner Pencil in 011 Sable Brown: “I’m not normally an eyeliner kind of person but if I’m feeling some added definition, I’ll add this one to my lower lashes and if I make the effort to sharpen it, it’s great for the upper lashline too”.

Smith’s Rosebud Salve: “It’s not a treatment but it’s also not too sticky and it’s great even for when I don’t feel like lipstick because it adds a nice healthy sheen to the lips while hydrating them”.

Benefit High Beam: This one is great for a natural looking highlight on the browbone, the tops of cheekbones and the corners of the eyes. It attracts the light rather than being obviously shimmery”.

Essie Bikini So Teeny Nail Lacquer:This is a really nice sky or periwinkle blue and it looks perfect on nails, consistently generating compliments whenever I wear it. I also love Meet Me At Sunset, a reddish orange that looks equally as amazing on fingernails and the toes“.

I hope you enjoyed the opportunity to look into someone else’s makeup staples with different (but still pale) colouring and skin concerns. Thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

Weekly Medley #9

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I won’t try to bore you with the details as I’m sure if you’ve gone through the university ordeal yourself (or are currently undergoing the process), you know how stressful the few weeks before the end of the semester can be. I do suffer from anxiety and I am attention-deficit (diagnosed, if you were curious) and therefore making it through the day and remembering to bathe on a regular basis is difficult enough for me when I have so much that needs to be done and am so anxious and actually getting the work done that I’m stressing about is a whole other battle. It hasn’t been the greatest of weeks but I’ve survived without any sort of existential life crisis, so I can’t complain all that much.

I suppose I should mention that I was finding the whole structure of these weekly posts a little bit too repetitive so I mixed things up a bit this week. The posts haven’t been as regular as I’d like but things have been hectic for me and I’m glad I got as many up as I was able too – you’ll have to forgive me.  Although I wish I had gotten more posted here I was happy with my three posts last week: another edition of my Weekly Medley, a review of my MAC Dreaming Dahlia Lipstick that I adore and my early spring picks that I titled, Hello, Spring 

I would not describe myself as someone who rejoices in the beauty of nature and finds some sort of spiritual connection or anything of that variety but when I opened the blinds this morning, although there were remnants of snow on the ground, it was sunny, birds were chirping and it was glorious. Being able to glance at some actual sunlight and some kind of life outdoors does tend to help one in the task of not succumbing to the seductive oblivion of crawling underneath the covers and pretend that you’re asleep and don’t have a million things to do.

I’m not saying its easy to get out of bed and be a productive human being however. Sometimes despite our best efforts, nothing seems to come and out of this dry spell, sleep doesn’t seem to come either. When I’ve needed an escape I’ve turned to my good pal, playing The Sims and drinking a cup of tea. Somehow after the two, things look a little brighter and productivity seems to happen – there’s little in life that a few rounds on The Sims and a hot beverage can’t fix or at the very least, remedy.

It’s rare that I find a nail polish that I have enough love for (and do not grow tired of) to warrant a mention as a favourite product in these sorts of posts but Essie Maximillan Strasse-Her is worthy of this honour many times over. The dirty grey-green shade fits into the whole spring theme without being overly cliched and this polish has the best formula that I’ve ever tried – instantly opaque on the nails and lasting for almost a week on the nails, which is a record for chipping-prone nails like mine.

From the moment that I first swatched the beauty, I knew that the limited edition MAC Dreaming Dahlia Lipstick would become a favourite in my building collection of lip products with it’s gorgeous coral colour in the comfortable and effortless lustre formula but I didn’t expect for it to as versatile as it is. Although it’s a fairly bright colour, it can be worn with some colour on the cheeks and eyes without caution and it’s a great one for when I only have a couple of minutes to get ready.

In the next week or so, you can expect at least one skincare-themed post and perhaps another drugstore makeup review or two… but that’s all I’m giving you for now. It’s now back to lab report writing, essay editing and eventually assignment writing for me.

I wish you all a more relaxing Sunday than mine but at the very least, I hope it’s more productive!

Maggie, x.

Winter Essentials Edit – The Miscellanious Edition

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It’s taken a bit of adjustment to get back into the swing of things blogging-wise now that school has started up again even though I was only off for a month and this post was long overdue, a companion to my recent makeup post. This is going to be a little more chaotic and disorganized – a summary of the beauty bits that have proved essential to me in this winter weather when it’s difficult to muster the effort to lift yourself out of bed in the morning.

OPI Lincoln Park After Dark Nail Polish ($9-10 CDN)

Recently I’ve mentioned that I’ve turned into a usual nail-painter but I haven’t been mentioning particular products because I can’t commit to anything, ever but this polish may be the exception to the rule – before starting the blog, this was the only nail polish that I mustered the effort to apply over and over again but then I lost it and it was tragic but luckily I got a mini-size for Christmas again. As cliched as it is, I love the vampy almost-black-but-not-quite shade, particularly in the winter with purple-undertones and a opaque cream finish. It has good longevity on the nails and is almost fully opaque after one coat. Because of the darkness of the shade, it makes a statement of sorts but doesn’t involve the effort of pairing everything with of a red or bright.

Essie Maximillian Strasse-Her Polish ($8 CDN/ 6)

I know I’m horrible for including a limited edition polish from what I believe was the Spring 2013 but I picked this up recently at the Canadian version of the TK/TJ Maxx enterprise called Winners which I’ve recently become very interested in rummaging around through. In the last few months, I’ve grew a little bit tired of the red polish and I think this is an alternative option that still is seasonally appropriate with it’s wintry iciness. The formula of the polish is phenomenal, very opaque and it lasts on my nails for the longest of any polishes I’ve tried – I can get a week out of this on my chipping-prone nails. The colour is a paled-out dirty green with a greyish lean to it, which does not sound attractive but I love it. It’s a lighter and dirtier version of the famous (but also limited edition) Mermaid’s Tears, that is my staple summer polish.

China Glaze Nail Polish in Ingrid ($8 CDN)

Years ago, when I was going through one of my brief periods when I was determined to give nail polish a go (before quickly abandoning the seemingly futile effort) I picked this one up after OPI You Don’t Know Jacques was sold out pretty much everywhere and the salesgirl told me this one was very similar. The formulation is fantastic (as all of these mentioned are as I’m very impaired at nail polish application), not quite as long-lasting as the Essie but it wears for a long time and applies very opaque with minimal streaking. I’m beginning to notice that I seem to like slightly-grungy and dirty colours; yet again this is a dark taupe with fine golden-brown microshimmer running throughout and it’s much more amazing than this description is suggesting. I usually hate shimmery and absolutely detest sparkly polishes but this one is the exception for me. It’s easier to wear on my warm-leaning skin because it leans slightly more on the brown side.

Aveeno Skin-Relief Body Wash ($8 CDN)

I suffer from eczema along with generally very sensitive body skin and this is a great gentle body wash that does not irritate my skin even in it’s fragile state. I didn’t realize that this contained fragrance as it’s hardly detectable and non-irritating but I do want to give the fragrance-free one a go sometime. The worst eczema I suffer is on my legs and it’s quite painful and by far this is the best thing to shave my legs with due to it’s gentleness and the instant hydration in provides. I sort of can’t believe I’m talking about body wash but alas…

Indeed Labs Pepta-Bright Serum ($40 CDN)

With sore winter dry and irritated skin, a chemical-exfoliant with acids sounds like the last thing you need but it’s been a saviour for me. The formulation of this serum is hydrating but concentrated with the lactic acid that exfoliates the skin without being abrasive and it’s one of the only things that has helped to reduce the severity of the dry patches I do get. It doesn’t burn on the skin either and beats manual exfoliation in ways other than gentleness, as it helps with pigmentation and dullness – the latter which is a large concern of mine and I imagine it to be an issue that many face with winter pale skin.

By Nature Organic Rosehip Oil ($26/13 CDN)

I’m an avid blog reader myself and before I was always dismissive when I read posts boasting about the wonders of oils on the complexion. It’s not that I was worried about the oiliness or anything of that sort but more of that I’d been down that road before with minimal success. This one has been a recent addition in my routine every night and every morning or two, bringing much-needed radiance to my face paired on top of moisturizer (or the serum above). It really seems to moisturize and soothe irritated and dry skin but also works wonders on angry breakouts – but mine are the dry itchy kind so keep that in mind. This was another purchase from Winners.

Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment ($26 CDN)

This glorified lip balm is very expensive and I haven’t purchased a tube as I’m still working on the sample from the Sephora birthday gift but as much as I hate to say it, it’s worth it. I have naturally dry and chapped lips and this performs the best at hydrating them after the balm wears off rather than just coating the lips which many others do. It outperforms the close contender, the more affordable and popular EOS balms.

Pureology Precious Oil Softening Hair Masque ($50 CDN)

Yes, this masque is ridiculously expensive and I’ve only used it a handful of times but I already know it’s worth it. I have the kind of hair that is death to untagle, eats up conditioner and is difficult to keep hydrated and this product is worth it to me. It has that amazing spa-like scent but I would purchase this even without the scent – It’s one of the rare masques that actually is concentrated and a quarter size is more moisturizing than palmfuls of other (not cheap) intensive conditioners and I rarely find that. It doesn’t weigh down my insanely dense mass of fine-textured wavy hair while leaving it feeling nourished for longer than a few hours. I find it keeps the hair soft and helps my hair to curl in the way I like. It’s beautiful, that is all; it’s that perfect wintry hair-saving treatment.

Bumble & Bumble Texture (Un)dressing Creme ($17/34 CDN)

I’ve rambled on about this before but in the winter my hair really begins to lack life and just hang and regardless of your hair type, this treasure adds texture and vitality without tangling and drying the hair. This has really become a staple product when you’re headed out the door in a minute or two and your hair is catastrophically flat and dull.

x

Maggie

What are your winter essentials? Have you used any of these?