Four Disappointing Purchases

This post was originally going to be something far more exciting and labour intensive, but somehow I have this crazy feeling that I can’t complete it without having a certain eyeshadow palette I ordered online from the Sephora VIB Sale in my paws beforehand. Instead, I’m going do one of those old school blog posts where I write a little bit about four products that have disappointed me.

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25 Hour Breathable Foundation ($11.99 CDN)

It’s true that my dry and sensitive skin doesn’t get along with lots of different foundations but I haven’t been as utterly disappointed in a foundation in years as I was with this one. It does not have great longevity but the worst part is that for a foundation that’s marketed as being skin like and natural-looking, it looks completely unnatural on my skin – even when I don’t have much in terms of dry patches. It also provides only light coverage that might build ever-so-slightly. There are lots of foundations that I find look terrible and mask-like on the skin but it’s been a long time since I’ve found a sheerer more natural and glowy foundation that I couldn’t make work. I’m the ideal candidate for a foundation like this one and if it looked unnatural and covered little on me, I don’t think it’d do much for anyone else. I’m usually quite the fan of Rimmel foundations and this one was so bad I couldn’t even stand to look at my face in this foundation long enough to write a review post of it. There is one positive about this foundation: the shade range features several pale shades. That’s as far as I can go.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Bette ($41 CDN)

For the most part, I adore the formula of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks. However, I find that this deep vampy red-leaning berry shade applies in a patchy manner and tends to wear in a patchy manner as well. The formula is creamy, comfortable and relatively smooth but I find that I don’t reach for this lipstick because its not the easiest to apply neatly and it’s a higher maintenance option with its creamier texture. I do understand that the formula inconsistancies are likely due to the difficulty in formulating these uber-deep shades. The lipstick looks great if I apply lipliner and blot it but there are other formulas that require less work and maintenance that I would reach for over this one.

Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Incandescent Strobe Light ($48 CDN)

It’s no secret that I adore the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blushes and quite like the original Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders but I can’t say I feel the same way about their strictly-highlighter formula. The powder is incredibly finely milled and isn’t the most unflattering on texture but I’m completely confused by the very subtle sheen it gives off along with the visible micro glitter particles. It’s a pale pink champagne-ivory kind of shade with silver micro glitters that produces the slightest sheen and visible glitter particles. I’m confused by how subtle this highlighter is in terms of effect along with the visible micro glitters. I don’t have anything against a subtle highlighter but the visible particles in a sheerer formula rain on my parade.

Paula’s Choice Perfect Cleansing Oil ($25 US)

It’s rare that I try a Paula’s Choice product that I don’t enjoy. I always appreciate the effective formulas that they produce that don’t break the bank and are the most gentle on the skin. I was so excited to try their cleansing oil because I adore using these products to gently dissolve makeup from my skin without any sort of abrasion. However, I have issues with it stinging my eyes (despite being fragrance-free and not having anything questionable on the ingredient list) and I don’t find it as nourishing or as effective at removing makeup as other ones I’ve tried.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

April 2016 Favourites

What’s this – an almost early favourites post? Hide your unbelievable shock and read on.

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Shea Moisture Mongogo & Hemp Seed Oils High Porosity Moisture-Seal Masque ($17.15): I’ve always heard great things about Shea Moisture’s products and wanted to try them to no end, but I was always doomed to frustration because they were not available in Canada in stores or to order. However, I learned that Target will ship them to Canada with their relatively recent Canadian shipping at not too high of a cost and couldn’t resist trying a number out. One of them was this deep conditioner from the new high porosity hair line – which I have despite having fairly healthy hair – and it was almost as life changing as it gets. It’s one of those concentrated and rich but somehow lightweight formulas that manages to both drastically improve the condition of the hair in a few minutes but leave the hair bouncy with a bit of the remaining product left in. It has heavier butters in the first couple of ingredients so it does have the potential of weighing those with looser textures and extremely fine hair down. It also has a really perfume-y scent that I don’t love but thankfully does dissipate.

Shea Moisture Tahitian Noni & Monoi Smooth & Repair Rinse-Out Conditioner ($14.51): My love for a good conditioner or two – and copious amounts of said conditioners – run deep but regardless, I do feel a bit ridiculous including two Shea Moisture offerings in one fairly restrained selection of product favourites. The fact remains that I couldn’t resist leaving this everyday conditioner out. I love the smell, because it’s fresh and energizing but I particularly love how it has a concentrated boost of protein – keratin is the third ingredient – and packs a moderate hydration punch that lasts. I imagine that it’s not quite as heavy as other Shea Moisture conditioners, as the shea butter appears lower on the ingredient list and likely because of this I can easily leave a generous amount in my long wavy hair without disturbing the curl formation in the slightest, or even use it as a leave-in. It pleasantly has decent enough slip for detangling but the best part is that lightweight moisture-protein mix that helps to perk up my droopier waves.

Pixi Overnight Glow Serum ($31.69): I ordered Pixi’s glycolic-laden serum on a whim from Target in order to reach the threshold for more affordable shipping, being impressed with the aloe rich and alcohol-free formula of the serum. Despite not hearing much about this chemical exfoliant with all of the recent exfoliant hype, I have to say that it’s a delightful one – with enough glycolic acid to be brightening and resurfacing but soothing and hydrating at the same time. My only complaint is that the product has a weirdly thick and gel-like texture to be effectively dispensed through the dropper.

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation ($68): I can count on a few fingers the number of times that I wore makeup in April that did not include the cult favourite foundation and I regret each of these times. It’s not super-detectable on the skin and has that luminosity but its subtle in a way that wears well and does not require powder or anything. I love that it makes me glowy and doesn’t highlight my dry patches, whilst providing almost undetectable medium-buildable coverage. It has risen to the top of my absolute favourite foundations, let me tell you.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit in Fair ($52): Despite not being a full-on heavy contour kind of girl, I found myself springing for the cream offering from Anastasia during the Sephora VIB Sale and falling in love with the effect. I’ve found that these creams make contouring really easy and laid-back, fitting into my routine at least a few times a week. Unlike powders, they sit seamlessly with my dry skin and they last and last at the same time. The best part are the colours for my moderately fair skin – coming with two cool-toned grey contours that add that natural shadow and one more neutral offering and three highlighters that actually add some natural-looking light. The contour shades can be combined to sculpt my face and the neutral offering can add warmth and I’ve actually found myself applying a bit of the highlighting creams under my eyes for brightness in that triangular shape – with good subtle results. The sheer golden highlight is also lovely for adding that kind of lit-from-within glow.

MAC Eyeshadows in Typographic & Phloof ($8/each): With MAC lowering the price of their shadows by a significant margin last month, it shouldn’t be a surprise that I found two new shades to fall in love with. Typographic has proven to be that perfect black – it’s actually the deepest grey – with a soft matte creamy and pigmented formula that performs expertly as liner or to smoke out the lash line and outer corner. Phloof has impressed me similarly, functioning as a pale champagne-ivory lid shade and as a spectacular inner corner highlighting shade with it’s champagne lean and pigmentation.

NARS Audacious Lipstick in Juliette ($39): This coral lipstick was yet another addition during the month of April that I couldn’t place my order from Sephora without or write this post without including. I love the Audacious formula and even though I was surprised to learn that this particular shade was a bit bolder than I originally thought, I have been adoring it. It’s bright while having those rosy and peach undertones that give it a more neutral and understated quality, softening it somewhat. The shade is ridiculously flattering and seems to perk everything up. I’ll have to get a post of me wearing it up as the photo here doesn’t do it justice.

What were your staple products in April?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

August 2015 Favourites

While I might not have been able to keep up with blogging content throughout August, – or even the beginning of September – I was able to keep up with and organized with my handy list of the products I was obsessing over and gravitating towards all month long…

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($39):  On a daily basis throughout August, I was happily applying this neutral rosy lipstick shade, either on its own or paired with a neutral lip liner. The formula is so gorgeous, pigmented and creamy and I can get it smudged along my upper lip when I’m being particularly careless, drinking coffee and the like, but otherwise it remains comfortable and intact for hours and hours. The shade has that brightening quality that works great with minimal makeup and when you’re looking worse for wear, but it also looks great with more dramatic makeup too.

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Colab Volume Extreme Dry Shampoo in London ($9-10): I’ve experienced my first true dry shampoo love with this intensively volumizing formula; with a quick spray, even from a distance, it adds drastic instant volume and texture that lasts for hours on end. It has a nice sophisticated high-end-reading scent that I quite enjoy and it does have a white cast, but it dissipates quickly and the effects are worth the extra effort.

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Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in SX04 ($58): As I’ve mentioned before, I kind of adore the uber-pigmented and creamy formula of this multi-purpose concealing product, although I unfortunately do have to work with it quite a bit on account of picking out the wrong shade – I wouldn’t exactly describe this shade as a fair golden hue, as its quite orange-yellow on my moderately fair skin. With some work, I find it works underneath the eyes to conceal heavy duty circles and it’s particularly amazing to spot-conceal blemishes.

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Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette ($64): Essentially every single day in August, I reached for the latest Urban Decay palette without feeling bored by the shades in the slightest. I love the matte shades in the palette along with the more neutral shimmery offerings, particularly paired with the more interesting smoky shades for that neutral-but-smoky look that I adore. If you’re on the fairer side, as I am, this palette contains both a beige transition shade and a matte highlighting shade, along with a few traditional crease and outer corner, which is tremendously helpful. The champagne High and the golden Dirtysweet are both essential lid shades for me, I reach for Combust and Whiskey on a daily basis and I do enjoy the smoky shades such as Smolder to ‘smoke’ things out.

Sephora Collection Master Cleanse Daily Brush Cleanser ($19): With wearing makeup every day – or at least each day that I’ve been working -, I’ve been more inspired to keep my tools clean – to hopefully result in an easier application in the mornings and I’ve been loving this new instant alcohol-free cleanser. I like the slight residue it leaves because it seems to keep my brushes in ideal condition while still quick cleansing well.

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Di Morelli Moisturizer ($58): Through work, I’ve had the opportunity to sample some of the lovely products created by the Vancouver-based dermatologist and I have to say that I’ve been loving this moisturizer throughout the month and it might just be worth the price – as it comes with 100 mLs of product and is up there with my beloved Caudalie. It has that lightweight but thicker soothing texture, that my skin drinks up it quickly but it leaves my drier patches adequately moisturized all day, with its high panthenol content to help repair the skin barrier and nice assortment of the usual emollients etc.

What were you loving in August?
Maggie, x.

 

 

 

The Review | NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte

If you’ve been a regular reader in the last month or so, it’s likely that you’ve heard me declare my love for the NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($37 CDN) and therefore my musings and general verdict should be anything but surprising. However, I’m going to provide my (relatively) unabridged thoughts regardless and let you know whether the lipstick appears to be worth the price tag.

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The Audacious Lipsticks are definitely a luxury product – even compared to NARS’ other offerings – and fortunately, the looks, packaging and performance of the lipstick fits its luxury branding. The glossy black packaging thankfully repels dust and is sleek and luxe with its square shape, subtly monogrammed sides and full-on extravagant monogram into the bullet itself, along with the addictive magnetic packaging. The formula delivers on all of its promises; while its a more traditional style of lipstick than many on the market today with full-on pigmentation and a cream finish, it’s the best performing product that I’ve tried of its kind. It offers insane pigmentation in a single stroke, lasts for ages on the lips – without fading weirdly, I might add – and has that luxurious nourishing texture that makes your lips feel nicer with use rather than the opposite. I find the formula wears for a good 4-5 hours with moderate eating and drinking and stains nicely after that time period. The only thing that I have to watch when I’m  wearing this lipstick and doing some heavy eating and/or drinking is that the formula can slip and slide a little bit because of its creamy texture. I love that the lipsticks are unscented for both cosmetic reasons and for the sake of my sensitive lips. Because they are unscented, they do not have irritating ingredients that many do, nor do they have a weird scent.

The shade range is huge, consisting of 40 shades – 10 of which can only be purchased online or in NARS boutiques, however – and does come with loads of interesting shades, but I went for Brigitte, one of the most neutral shade offerings. NARS describes the shade as a “nude rose”, which is sort of misleading because it’s notably darker and rosier than one would expect a nude offering to be, especially one presumably named after Brigitte Bardot’s signature pout; nevertheless, it is a gorgeous subtly-warm-leaning neutral rose with a hint of peachy-coral to it. It definitely fits into the my-lips-but-rosier category for me and is one of those staple neutral shades that doesn’t compete with other makeup but instantly adds life to the face. Brigitte also is easy to wear, even though I have tremendous difficulty wearing pink lipsticks.

While Brigitte is a relatively unique and non-generic shade offering, I’ve come to the conclusion that I have two lip products in my collection that are very similar in colour – but the formulas are different. As the name would suggest NARS Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil has more of a matte finish and texture, along with stronger brick undertones – but is extremely similar. The Bourjois Nude-Ist Rouge Edition Velvet also has a more matte finish along with the different liquid stain texture that dries down completely but has a little more brightness and true rusty rose lean to it, but really it gives a similar effect.

 

From top: NARS Brigitte | NARS Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($31) | Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-Ist ($23)
From top: NARS Brigitte | NARS Dolce Vita Velvet Matte Lip Pencil ($31) | Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet in Nude-Ist ($23)

I’ve gotten out of the practice of grading products as I review them, but I have to mention that this lipstick would be a solid ‘A’ rating, which is something that one does not come across to often. I adore both the shade and the formula, but given that the product is so expensive, I won’t be investing in shades all too often.

DSC_0546Have you tried any of the NARS Audacious Lipsticks?
Maggie, x.

April 2015 Favourites

As a university student, April seems to come and go in the strangest fashion – it’s just a weird time, the first half (or more as was the case this year) full of the doom known as the exam period where the most menial tasks such as bathing become a hassle and makeup application can be somewhat laughable before leading to this weird sense of freedom when it’s all over but you can’t exactly process it. It’s also the time when Spring is beginning to rear its head, despite the snow still hanging out.  To get to the point, I might not have experimented with beauty or makeup all that often this month, however, I can report on some essential items for me.

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NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($37): Whenever I did that whole full-faced makeup thing and went for something on the lips, I happily grabbed for the slightly coral-tinged rose hued lipstick that I succumbed to at the end of March. The formula is ridiculously good and does all it claims – the formula hydrates the lips, lasts and actually stains the lips in the best way possible without any sort of drying effect or weird fading and just look good on the lips without requiring any fuss. I find pink colours extremely difficult to wear, however, I have to say that I adore this more neutral-pink offering, likely because of its slight tinge of coral and warmth that I adore, and it’s a bit more of a unique rosy neutral shade. This is a really great staple shade in my daily life because it works with anything, offering enough life to the face when worn with minimal other makeup but subtle enough to work with smokier eyes.

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MAC Eyeshadow in Bronze, Bamboo & Swiss Chocolate ($12-19): After popping the inserts out of my MAC palette in order to justify buying more eye shadows, – and picking up Bamboo and Bronze – I’ve really gotten back to relying on my MAC palette on the daily basis and these are the three shades that I’ve been reaching for. I’ve been constantly using my new Bamboo eyeshadow as a transition colour that blends into absolute nothingness in the best way possible, – (it’s lighter than Soft Brown) – Bronze, a true red-toned reflective bronze eyeshadow in the outer corner and along the lower lashline to add easy definition and the warm red-toned Swiss Chocolate to add some matte dimension to the crease or outer corner.

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Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream ($35): In my journey, searching for a way to get adequate sun protection on a daily basis without irritating my skin, making my makeup look questionable and drying out my skin, I’ve gone back to using my favourite authentic Asian BB Cream and I’ve been pleased with it. It has ridiculous sun protection, hydrates the skin nicely while adding medium-coverage with a more generous amount, only contains mineral actives and has loads of beneficial ingredients, such as the potent niacinimide along with other hydrating ingredients. On some occasions, I’ve been reaching for this as my sole base but on other days I’ve been using it pre-foundation as sun protection. I’m still of the belief that this is one of those few authentic multitasking products that function excellent both in terms of a skincare product and in terms of makeup application.

Paula’s Choice Resist C15 Super Booster ($20-48 US): Ever since I received my Paula’s Choice order, I have been incorporating my trial size of this potent vitamin c antioxidant product into my daily skincare routine – or at the very least every two days – but it was in April when I began to really reap the benefits and discover how much that I liked the stuff. While it seemed to tingle slightly the first couple of times that I applied it, the 15 % antioxidant treatment stopped triggering that response within a couple of uses – my bet is that my skin was a bit irritated from retinoid use and weather conditions, along with a little bit of being temperamental. Now I apply this antioxidant booster at least every second night in the serum stage and my skin drinks it up, immediately looking smoother along with just looking a bit brighter, even and less angry in the six weeks that I’ve been using it. I’ve been using it alternate nights with my prescription retinoid and I would have to say that it’s gentle and actually seems to help soothe the skin rather than leaning towards any sort of aggravation.

Elizabeth & James Nirvana Black Rollerball ($26): When I’ve been feeling like making myself feeling a little (or a whole lot more) put together, I’ve been applying this warm and spicy vanilla scent. It’s uber warm but doesn’t have even the faintest touch of a sugary candy sweetness and is more of a winter scent to be completely honest. It reads a bit androgynous and lasts for ages on the skin without being overwhelming in the slightest.

Bath & Body Works 3-Wick Candle in Renew & Refresh ($22.50): It’s times like this month that I burn candles the most excessively; I find myself turning towards scented candles the most when I’m stressed out of my mind but some productivity needs to happen so obviously April was a candle heavy month. I loved burning this mellow but warm springtime scent – it was never overwhelming but potent enough, reading as fresh and calming with a hint of jasmine. For once, the candle appears to be named appropriately if you’re asking me.

What did you love during April?
Maggie, x.

 

March Wishlist

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  • Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA ($30 25.50): This doesn’t exactly fit in the standard wishlist criteria, as I’ve already ordered it (along with a smaller size of the Resist C15 Super Booster), but I wanted to talk about it and I figure as it hasn’t arrived yet and it won’t for a few days, it counts – even though I’ve already committed to it. I finally have bit the bullet and ordered Paula’s Choice and I’m particularly excited about this daily chemical exfoliant – it has a slightly lower percent of glycolic acid than most treatments so it will be more suitable for frequent application and is formulated into a soothing hydrating base with some effective salicylic acid (0.5%) added in. Oh, and even though I managed to miss the event, all of the Resist products (including this one) are 15% off at the moment! I am very excited.
  • Zoya Naturel Satins Nail Polish in Rowan ($9): I’m still on my nail polish kick and I’m particularly enjoying these greyed neutrals at the moment. I certainly have some similar colours but as I’ve heard fabulous things about the longwearing satin formula, I’m kind of obsessing about this one. I’ve never tried a Zoya polish but I’ve heard such great things that I’m just about ready to bite the bullet and this “suede taupe cream” looks amazing.

 

  • OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Hair Butter ($7.99): I’m always on the lookout for  rich and intensive conditioning products that are effective but lightweight, helping to detangle and treat my dry hair without weighing down my finer loose curls – and this one looks promising. I’m a fan of the OGX line and I’m partial to their more refined scents, so I’m very tempted to give this curl-enhancing deep treatment a go. While it has mineral oil, which I have found kind of heavy in some formulas, the nice concentration of other oils seems promising and I’m pleased that the formula is not laden with silicones and the silicones included are not dimethicone.

 

  • Living Proof Curl Defining Styling Cream ($34): Again on the difficult curly hair related note, I’ve been intrigued by Living Proof products because they are formulated without silicones and I’ve heard that their polymer formulas somehow manage to add a good level of control and definition to the hair with minimal product and weight. Curl creams can be tricky but the rare few that I have found to actually help with definition along with hydration have been serious loves of mine and this one could potentially be part of that group.
  • NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte ($37): It’s safe to say that this muted coral-tinged rosy lipstick is setting records for appearing in my wishlist posts most often, but while I haven’t picked up this painfully expensive lipstick yet, I’ve decided that as a purchase it’s a foregone conclusion. I’ve had it on my lips and the formula and shade is just that amazing.

 

  • NARS Dual-Intensity Blush in Craving ($52): Although I was enticed by the NARS Dual-Intensity Eyeshadows on more than one occasion, I pride myself on my ability to purchase the beautiful but exorbitantly priced shadows but I’m afraid that I will be giving into this one. I am aware that I need another blush like I need another hole in the head, though. I’m intrigued the most by this sheeny highlighter and bronzer duo, as it comes with a pale pink-toned highlighter shade and a nice bronzer that isn’t too shimmery or unnatural-looking. I will admit that the Fervor offering has me intrigued, coming with ” a shimmering soft pink” and “sparkling deep coppery rose”.
 What have you been lusting after as of late?
Maggie, x.

 

Weekly Medley #50/51

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Believe it or not, I have discovered something positive about my consistent tardiness in putting these kind of posts – wanna hear what that is? When I’m writing these weekly posts far after I’m supposed to, I don’t have to have deep inward contemplations over what tense to use while describing the week because it’s far gone. This is about as positive as I’ll ever get and you would be correct to detect my genuine sarcasm and generally misunderstood sense of humor. Well, for the first time in ages, I stayed home from class today, feeling like I was drowning in the ocean that is my cold-filled respiratory system, unable to move and like a large animal was pounding my skull. I’m pleased to report that things have made a turn for the better and I’m able to do something as productive as actually write a post, but actual coherency is out of the question so I’m returning to point form format.

1. The cold slash tired slash dying of winter skin essentials… These are a few of the products of the skincare variety that I’ve relied heavily upon in the last two weeks, not just because of the coughing-cold sense but because we’ve been having some serious dry, windy, snowy and generally freezing weather. I’m kind of ready to declare my love for the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Masque, the Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Oil and the Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Moisturizing Stick.
2. The standard other loves… I won’t bore you by prattling on about my love of caffeine – particularly lattes – yet again but it could not be neglected in my show of non-beauty loves. I’m also ridiculously thrilled to have the deliciously musky Bath & Body Works Flannel Candle in my life again, even though they only brought the mini sizes back with their big sale. I know what candle I’ll be buying in the larger size next fall – unless they are actually irrational and do not bring back the heavenly candle. These are what have got me through the frustratingly long weeks.
3. Some general blogging musings… While I have not been able to produce the five weekly posts that I have often unrealistically set as a goal for myself – although I certainly wish I could -, I have been pleased with the quality of the posts that I’ve put out lately. More specifically I’m pleased with some of my recent photography attempts especially when you put the winter sunlight issue into consideration.
4. The lipstick that I’ve dreamed about… It would not be out of the question to doubt my sanity after reading this but regardless, have at it: Ever since falling in love with the gorgeous rosy peach NARS Audacious Lipstick in Brigitte at my local Sephora but finding out that the shade was not in stock, I’ve been thinking longingly about it incessantly and I might have had a nightmare where I was chasing the lipstick and it remained out of reach. I have some pretty creative dreams but combining my beauty obsessiveness with the usual running out of time dream might have to take the cake.
I hope your January has been a tad more interesting and eventful than mine?
Maggie, x.