“Recent” Acquisitions & Thoughts

To state the obvious, I will admit that I have taken the longest break that I ever have from blogging and I apologize for that, but in my defence it was unintentional – things were crazy around work and I was falling a bit behind on my posts and then poof, my laptop finally hit the dust and I was without a computer for two weeks. My apologies for this and let’s get onto the post that I had started to write before this all went down.

I had some general musings to share before getting into the nitty gritty of things: I had been doing quite possibly far too much shopping in recent weeks and therefore, I had felt the need to share my thoughts on these items without overwhelming myself. To be completely honest, I find doing full-on reviews of products overwhelming but I hate the idea of simply going on about items that I’ve purchased without aim or purpose. As I’ve noticed that I can’t seem to get around to writing a dedicated review of a product until I’ve used it to death, – figuratively – I’ve been thinking that these more review-y acquisition posts might be in order for sharing my verdict on these more recent purchases.

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Sephora Collection Master Cleanse Brush Cleanser ($19): Makeup brush cleaning might be the most mundane, seemingly unnecessary and unappealing task so along with generally skimping on the chore, I’ve downright refused to spend any money on any sort of brush cleansing product. I used the (somewhat) recent 3x points even as justification to foray into brush cleansers, wanting to add one to my rotation for daily spot cleaning. This alcohol free but fast drying spray feels conditioning on brushes and works well to instantly remove makeup, particularly on eye brushes without fuss or time spent waiting for it to dry. It’s also nice because it won’t break down brushes but still has that instant effect.

Sephora Collection Pro Smudge Brush #11 ($23): I want to begin this with a funny story but I’m not sure that this is actually interesting in the slightest – I bought this brush along with the cleanser, inspired to invest in and take care of my brushes but I accidentally grabbed the wrong brush. Regardless, I used this short wide shading brush without noticing and fell in love with it anyway. I adore it for applying colour underneath my lashes and for building depth along the lash line and outer corner. I do note that the quality is impressive.

Urban Decay Naked Smoky Palette ($64): I’ve heard quite a few less than stellar responses to Urban Decay’s latest palette instalment but I have to say that I really disagree. I do not find that the shadows blend into one another and I actually quite enjoy the shade selection, not finding it repetitive from their previous palettes in a problematic way or unflatteringly cool-toned. Because this palette offers a variety of smoky shades in different depths along with a nice variety of matte neutrals, a few of those light shimmery lid shades that I adore, and a mix of neutral, warm and cool shades, I find it to be perhaps the most versatile palette out of the collection. I do agree that many of the shades are close to others released in previous palettes but as an all-in-one palette, I don’t mind in the slightest because of the convenience.

Youngblood Natural Mineral Foundation in Barely Beige ($47.99): Being someone who suffers with dryness and foundation settling over patchy areas of skin and can suffer with sensitivity to certain powder formulas, I’m not usually one for these mineral powder formulas but since being exposed to this luxurious mineral makeup line at work and playing with the product, I couldn’t resist picking this loose powder up. It does feel weightless on the skin and provide coverage whilst almost looking undetectable and gives both build able coverage and a glow. I enjoy using it on its own for lighter coverage days and to set liquid foundations for other occasions.

Rimmel Lasting Finish 25h Comfort Serum Foundation in 103 True Ivory ($9-10): By no means did I need yet another foundation but I couldn’t resist picking up this affordable comfortable yet long wearing foundation, particularly because it’s been hot this summer and my skin has gotten a little bit more combination in the t-zone and I’ve been curious to find something a little more matte but that’s still flattering. This foundation has impressed me, providing a semi-matte finish and medium build able coverage that lasts without clinging to any uneven texture.

Colab Volume Extend Dry Shampoo in London ($9-10): I can be quite a harsh critic so I’m rather surprised that even my final product of discussion has greatly impressed me – in other words, the hype is authentic about Ruth Crilly’s dry shampoo formula. This one does leave a bit of residue that needs to be mussed with to eliminate but its worthwhile because it gives a dramatic amount of volume that actually lasts and doesn’t leave too much of a powdery feeling in the hair along with the grit it adds. I’m partial to the scent as well, with its slightly musky sophisticated notes that I can’t quite describe.

Any thoughts?
Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #47

Recently Updated47Until maybe the last day or two, I’ve been in this odd sort of post-exam funk where I haven’t known what to do with myself now that I don’t have classes, required readings or essays and exams to study for. I’m not complaining but its been an interesting adjustment – it’s felt weird not to be constantly on the go and such. I’m also in absolute disbelief that Christmas is just so soon.

Speaking of Christmas, I’m pleased to report that my personal shopping is now done and when I finished, I also picked up a bit of a treat for myself, a book to read for fun. I enjoyed it and I’m not afraid to admit that I demolished it in one evening.I was feeling something different so I picked up ‘The Queen of the Tearling’ by Erika Johansen after hearing that it was a recommended new novel and mistakenly believing that it was historical fiction. Although I was wrong about the time the novel was set — it’s actually dystopian future where there is a return to a feudal system –, I swallowed the novel whole finding it to have that guilty pleasure vibe that young adult novels can have with an added maturity and complexity to it. I have my eyes out for news on the next book in the series.

The last few days have been a bit more fun, festive and fast-paced. On Sunday night, I got together with two of my closest school friends to exchange gifts, have drinks and enjoy a nice meal together, along with our usual craziness. It was great. It also gave me the excuse and motivation to stop being lazy and actually get all into the full-on makeup thing with winged eyeliner (courtesy of the brush-tip version of L’Oreal Lineur Intense), vampy lips with my also newly acquired NYX Butter Lipstick in Licorice, along with the usual glowy skin situation. On Monday, I joined my cousins for an adventure, braving the mall so close to Christmas and although I was pretty much done shopping for Christmas, I enjoyed hanging out, looking around and goofing off. I may or may not have been motivated to go in for a chance to visit Sephora but before you judge me, it was to make an exchange. I know I included the Dior 5-Colour Eyeshadow in 456 Jardin in last week’s post and have raved about the quality and uniqueness of the quint, however, after much deliberation I had decided to exchange the quint for a more versatile everyday option that included both matte shades and shimmers that worked well as a solo source of shades. Although I wasn’t expecting to go for the hyped Cuir Cannage palette, I have to say that I’m pleased that I did on account of its wearability and versatility – expect more on this soon. Another exciting find came in the form of a 500-point-perk – this really interesting Formula X Kit. I haven’t tried out any of the four products as of yet (the nail cleanser, base coat, neutral rosy polish and top coat) – I plan on remedying this today – but I thought it deserved sharing because of its great value as a reward.

How was your week?
Maggie, x.

My Sephora Sale Picks/Recommendations

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It has reached that time of year when many are beginning to have access to the promotional sales at Sephora that begins with the Friends & Family Sale (I don’t have access to that one unfortunately) and will continue soon with the VIB sale so I figured it was due time to share some of the products that I consider essential and worth picking up, especially at a substantial discount for once. I’ve also been wanting to share some of the higher end products that I adore for some time now so it only seemed fitting to share.

Caudalie Vinosource Riche Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40 CDN)

If you’re looking for a moisturizer that doesn’t break the bank – but keep in mind that it’s not uber-affordable either – that delivers on the intense hydration and soothing front, look no further than this one (or the lighter Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet if you’re more of a true combination skin type and worried about the t-zone situation). It’s almost like a moisturizer and treatment at once and it is quite possibly the gentlest and most soothing thing on my delicate skin and it’s magically effective while being lightweight.

DevaCurl B’Leave In ($26 CDN)

This certainly isn’t a product that will suit a wide variety of hair types and this is perhaps tied to the fact that despite the name, this is not a leave in conditioner. Instead, this is a leave-in protein treatment that when used with other styling products with hold adds vitality to the finer or sad limp curls and waves in my hair – there’s nothing else like it. I would recommend it if you have hair of the wavy or curly variety that falls flat and/or limp in spots, particularly towards the front and at the roots.

Diorskin Star Fluid Foundation ($50 CDN)

There are two things of crucial consideration that must be said before I truly get on into this about this foundation: one it’s expensive and has some crazy hype and claims and that I might have only had this for under two months. It’s a real testament to the wonder that is this foundation that despite these two factors, I believe that it is worthy enough of praise to make my edited down list here. It’s a ridiculously long wearing foundation that true to its claims offers that brightening luminous effect with a satiny finish and medium-buildable coverage. I love that it does all of these marvelous things without including harsh alcohol in the formula. This has to be my newest foundation love and I’d say its worth the price, however it’s not quite a seamless second-skin foundation; it is slightly visible on the skin but it covers and brightens like nothing else so it’s a worthy trade off.

Bobbi Brown Corrector ($30 CDN)

It might not look all that special but this discoloration camouflaging cream concealing product covers my dark circles like nothing else. I know that you’re technically supposed to apply a concealer on top but on the everyday basis where I can’t be bothered, I get away without applying one on top without sacrificing on the coverage front. It can settle into creases within the first couple of minutes but after some patting in and some setting if I’m not to lazy, you’re set for days. I wouldn’t expect to be matched to Light to Medium Bisque given that I’m on the fairer side of things but its slightly deeper shade helps to conceal my horrific dark circles with minimal product, effort and visibility. The seemingly small pot lasts ages too.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush ($41 CDN)

It would be an understatement to even intimate that my love for this blush formula in Ethereal Glow has not been documented in a frighteningly redundant frequency but I couldn’t resist mentioning it now that there is an opportunity to get the magical formula at a price that is slightly easier to stomach. There’s something just so beautiful about the formula of these blushes, especially in how they add that subdued glow while actually blurring imperfections on the skin as opposed to highlighting them. I’ll either be picking up the palette version of this or another shade…

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette ($67 CDN)

I will admit that this has certainly been talked to death, both the standard miraculous blurring powders and the palette itself, but if you’re eager to try them out for themselves but have not yet had the opportunity, I would recommend going for them now in the nice palette form. I’ve reviewed these extensively and in short I find they create a beautiful subtle effect and these three shades offer a nice selection – Radiant Light to add warmth, Dim Light to blur the skin with the nice beige hues and Incandescent Light to serve as a lighter more traditional highlighting powder.

NARS Contour Blush ($46 CDN)

You might be aware that I’ve waxed poetically on the middle shade available (Paloma) but I stand by my assessment that these powder duos are exquisite but the truth remains that they are a pricy investment so they seem to be an ideal sale item. The powders are pigmented and smooth, working nicely to contour the face and highlight and set the other areas in a flattering and seamless way. If you’re looking for a more natural contouring product and matte highlighting powder, look no further – if one of the three shades strikes your fancy at least.

Dior 5 Coleur Eyeshadow in 734 Grege ($61 CDN)

Despite being quite an extravagant purchase, Dior eyeshadows have proven themselves to be my favourite of all time – they’re hella pigmented, buttery, long-wearing and have the least fall out that I have EVER experienced and Grege is the palette that I have that I find to be the most versatile. It has a nice caramel satiny shade, a shimmery pale ivory shade, a muted taupe, a shimmery mid-tone gunmetal-silver and a matte greyed deep brown that work together to create a multitude of different ‘looks’ and although it’s quite an investment at first, the shadows do last for ages as they come with an impressive amount of product.

Do you have any recommendations for me to check out? I’m always eager…. 😉
Maggie, x.

The Restrained Sephora Order

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On Monday morning, I woke up and upon lazily picking up my laptop from the floor and into bed with me, I figured that I would check up on the state of my Sephora order and when I found out that it was actually here in my mailbox, I was more than a little bit excited; this excitement has not faded since opening and trying these products, either. I’m not one to make online orders really at all, but when I didn’t manage to make it into the store for the 2x/3x/4x the points event, I bit the bullet and went for the promotion online. I’m pleased to report that while I was charged duty, it was a miniscule amount and that it arrived within a week of being shipped – that’s good for us Canadians. Plus, they actually managed to give me the samples and the perk that I requested as well. Let’s get on into my small assortment of goodies but be forewarned that they aren’t the most interesting of products…

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First up is the NARS Contour Blush in Paloma that I had sights set on as soon as its release into the blogosphere but had initially held off because of its price and apparent similarity to the MAC Harmony Powder Blush that I adore for contouring. There’s no way around it, the 0.28 oz duo is pricy, coming in at $42 US/ $46 CDN but I fell in love with the darker shade upon first use (and I have worn it twice), as it might not swatch amazing but as soon as its swept onto the face, there’s some magical contouring action that happens with little effort and you still look completely natural. It swatches nicely, more similar to MAC Harmony than it actually appears on the face, but applies in a much more pigmented and smooth fashion than one would expect — I think it might beat out my old favourite. While it swatches quite rosy, on my neutral-to-yellow undertones, it applies more of a muted rosy tan hue, with much more brown in it. It doesn’t appear pink on my skin at all, which I had previously thought it might do. Plus, it hadn’t faded on my face within 10 hours — brownie points, anyone? As you can likely imagine, I purchased the duo mainly for the contouring shade but the soft-matte “highlighting shade” is nice, too. It doesn’t really seem to show up on my wrist as it’s always slightly paler than the rest of my body but because of this, I feel that it can be used to set the undereyes and other areas of the face without difficulty while still brightening things up.

Below: NARS Contour Blush in Paloma (both shades), with MAC Harmony on the right for comparison. And after that, my face today featuring both this product and the next one

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The next product was nothing glamorous but as I’ve heard fabulous things for ages about the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($25 US/$29 CDN) and have had it on every single wishlist I’ve made myself for more the year, I finally went for the eyeshadow primer. I have difficulty with eyeshadows creasing despite not having oily eye lids and it’s been getting worse as of late so the purchase only seemed to be rational. I do have deep set eyes so I have eyes that are more creased at the socket generally, though. While I’m not sure if this is life-changing yet, it’s definitely a primer that works thus far and one  that dries down quickly.

If you’ve been a reader for a while – thank you! – then I’m sure you’ve heard me ramble on about my love for the Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet (until it ran out at least) and now that I noticed how close I was to the end of my current moisturizer, I decided to bite the bullet and go for the slightly more intense but-not-heavy formulation from the same line. I’ve used the Caudalie Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($39 US/$40 CDN) three times since it’s arrival so I can’t say anything definite but it seems to me that this has impressed me even with my prior high expectations. Like promised, the antioxidant-rich cream seems to soothe the skin while being extremely hydrating. I’ll definitely keep you posted.

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I’m not normally one to spend time discussing samples but as the 100 point perk that I included with my order has astounded me, I figured I would give them some attention in photographic form. I haven’t tried any of the three yet but I have tried the sample size of the Marc Jacobs Beauty High(Liner) in Brown(Out) and was amazed with the rich deep bronze liner that applied as if it were liquid and stayed put like a champ. I’m not wearing this today but I wore it yesterday and it seems to be blowing most liners out of the water with its intense colour and actual authentic creamy texture that doesn’t go waxy or break of instantly. Let’s hope it stays this way.

Have you picked up anything lately? Either way, Happy Wednesday!
Maggie, x.

Weekly Medley #29

Recently Updated26Want to catch up?
Sunday August 3: 10 Indulgent Sunday Staples | Tuesday August 5: The Review- Skin79 Snail Nutrition BB Cream | Thursday August 7: I USED UP PRODUCTS #3 | Friday August 8: The Daily Face #21 – Actual “No Makeup” Makeup | Sunday August 10: The Current Obsessions

 

Another week has passed and therefore it’s time for another Weekly Medley post. Standard. This week has been a weirdly low-key one especially after the stress and generic hectic-ness of previous weeks and although the weather was a wee bit bipolar, it wasn’t too much of a terrible one, which was a rather nice change of pace, I must say. Now that its August, I had decided that it was time to go and buy a thing (or five) so some shopping happened but I was more restrained than one might expect. The first trip was actually a good ol’ day of in-person mall shopping and I came out with the fabulous sleepwear set shown above (I’m in love), a nice structured red satchel and a printed top from Forever 21, a few things from Shopper’s that were on sale (and one that I redeemed points on) and a candle or three as my first Bath and Body Works purchase.

I’m a huge comfy clothes slash sleepwear person and I’m passionate about caffeine so the $17.80 sleepwear set was right up my alley and I’ve been loving the comfortable summer set, just as expected. I talked about it in yesterday’s post already, but I must reiterate my love for the Bath & Body Works Beach Day Candle that was on for a good price as well as being absolutely amazing. Considering that I’m not particularly sad that the season is coming to a close and that Fall is coming, it’s no surprise that I was on board with the autumn scents in store and I’m excited for when I get to burn the Spiced Pumpkin Cider Candle and the weirdly scrumptious Cayenne Caramel Candle. If you’re familiar with the store, I would love to have some other scent recommendations — hint hint nudge nudge. However, my purchases did not end there; yesterday I made an online order at Sephora for the extra points offered as a promotion but was actually rather practical which both excites and horrifies me equally. I know Sunday is technically the start of the new week but since moving these posts to Monday, I’m taking creative liberty and pretending that they existed in the previous week.

It might be a while until I have my new items (courtesy of Sephora) in my possession but I’m excited nevertheless and feel the need to chronicle them here. Frustrated by my creasing issues, despite not having oily eyelids, I’ve bit the bullet and gone for the NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base ($29), along with the NARS Contour Blush in Paloma ($46) that I’ve heard nothing but fabulous things about and have been lusting after. It pleases me to be actually making progress using up products but at the same time it’s not fun having to buy new products because you ran out of the previous; I have maybe a day or two left out of my REN moisturizer and rather than repurchasing it, I’m trying the more moisturizing version of the Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet that I loved so much in the past, the Caudalie Vinosource Intense Moisture Rescue Cream ($40). I’m excited to try that one out, for sure. I’ve been really interest in trying out the rather expensive liner so I had to snap up the sample of the Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Crayon when it was offered as a 100-point-perk. Clearly.

My low-key week was also pleasant because I was pleased with the blog posts that I wrote — it can make such a difference, truly. How was your week?
Maggie, x.

P.S. The bright lip that I’m sporting in the above collage is the Rimmel Colour Rush Balm in Lady Marmalade that I raved about yesterday here!

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette

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DSC_0956Dim as a finishing powder and Incandescent to highlight

After falling in love with the extravagantly-priced Hourglass Ethereal Glow Ambient Lighting Blush, I had made up my mind that I was actually going to do that insane thing and invest in one of the hyped $52 dollar powders that people claim perform miracles – recreating flattering lighting situations even in broad daylight. However, it was not so easy to go out and actually buy one; I hum-ed and haw-ed at the shades in the range in deliberation for months but at the end of June when I realized that I hadn’t done much high-end beauty shopping, I finally took the plunge and picked up the re-released palette.

The palette is sleek and relatively compact, containing 0.116 ounces of each of the three shades, Dim Light, Incandescent Light (exclusive to the palette) and Radiant Light, priced at  $67. I was most interested in trying out the powder as a finishing powder as I had heard from a variety of trusted sources that they blurred imperfections while adding luminosity to the skin and when I had a look in Sephora and discussed them with the salesgirl, Dim Light seemed like the ideal shade for this purpose and it has continued to be the standout shade in the palette in my opinion. Like the other two shades in this palette, there is no visible shimmer or glitter particles in this one and when applied lightly all-over the face, you’re left with this satin-y glow that instantly brightens the complexion, smoothing over imperfections in the process. The powder is particularly helpful into blurring the look of textural imperfections (i.e. hyperpigmentation). Unfortunately the effect of the powders seem to be undetectable in photography as shown below but you’ll have to take my word for it on this one.

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While these powders do achieve what they claim and have the most luxurious formula, the promised soft-focused and airbrushed effect isn’t overly dramatic or miraculous and because of this, I was not awe-struck upon initial application of the powders and instead grew to really appreciate the products over time. Their ability to reduce shine is minimal so if you’re looking for oil control, other powders would likely have to be in the mix but if the oiliest you lean towards is a normal t-zone like me, these should be adequate. I’m sure this is true across the shades but I find that  Dim Light in particular is the perfect product to perk up my face after five or so hours of wear when makeup is still on the face but things aren’t looking so fresh. Oh, and according to Hourglass, it’s “a neutral beige powder that blurs imperfections and highlights the complexion” and that describes the shade adequately.

DSC_0975From the top: Dim Light, Incandescent Light, Radiant Light

Although I haven’t fallen for the other two shades in the same regard, the other two shades are just as lovely. Incandescent Light, “a opalescent pearl powder that brightens the complexion with a celestial glow”, does just that, working on my skin as a lovely subtle (but flattering) highlighter that’s low shimmer content allows for it to be applied to a wider area to add brightness and Radiant Light, “a sun-kissed golden beige powder that enhances the complexion with believable subtle warmth” functions as a nice and glowy warm bronzer that doesn’t lean red or orange in the slightest.

As mentioned above, the formula is impeccable. They feel somewhat powdery and product is kicked up when the brush makes contact but they are powdery in the most luxurious way – finely-milled, blendable, extremely pigmented and long-wearing to boot! I’m internally cringing as I’m writing this but I think they’re worth the money and will pick up at least another shade in the future.

Have you tried the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powders?
Maggie, x.

The Essential: NARS Orgasm Blush

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I was fully intending to title this post “The Eternal Standby”, but then I decided that perhaps that was a tad overdramatic and would make any further posts of this kind rather difficult as my indecisive nature coupled with choosing products of that nature would be an absolute disaster. The NARS Orgasm Blush ($33 CDN)is one of those products that straddles the line of being a cult favourite and one that many (including some of those who I trust implicitly about all things beauty) dub as completely overrated but regardless of all that hoopla, it’s one that I can go through phases of using constantly and forgetting about for a while, but as soon as it is dug out again I remember why exactly I fell in love with it in the first place, regretting my neglection instantly. As it’s morning here (as I write this post and even earlier when I took pictures), the pink-leaning coral with fine golden shimmer running throughout wasn’t showing up great so I’m using a flash photo despite my qualms of how it makes my foundation look (my loved Rimmel Wake Me Up, if you’re curious — it’s not shiny in real life FYI).

This was one of my very first purchases from Sephora and was my first foray into NARS and it definitely impressed in formula even beyond the flattering hue. It’s pigmented in a buildable way, has good longevity and its texture is smooth and sits on the skin organically, bringing some subtle glow and brightness to the face. I’m shocked that being the blush hoarder that I am, I haven’t tried any more. I plan on remedying this is in the not-too-distant future…

 

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L-R: MAC Stereo Rose MSF (LE), NARS Orgasm Blush, MAC Springsheen Powder Blush
 

I’ll have you know that I was rather pleased with myself today, for actually providing a comparison swatch photo and a not altogether horrendous one at that, if you ask me. These illuminating coral blushes will forever hold a place in my heart as they seem to flatter my fair but warm-toned skin like no other but NARS Orgasm holds a special place due to its versatility. It doesn’t look outwardly coral on the cheeks but rather looks rosy in a way that outdoes traditional pink offerings and instantly brightens the face without looking obvious in the slightest. Although the shimmer particles in this one are the most noticeable of the three, it blends into the skin whilst looking invisible and has less of a metallic sheen than the others. Because of its pink-coral hue, it tends to suit both warm and cool looks and the smokiest of eyes and bold lip offerings; this is why it’s a standout in my book. If you need further convincing of my love for this, I’ve actually hit pan on this beauty. Mmhmmm.

So this was not the planned post for today but when I put on my makeup, featuring this beauty, I was overcome with inspiration — typical. I want to know your thoughts on this famous product, regardless of whether you’re on the love or hate side of things!

Maggie, x.