Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Sephora Black Friday 2016: Intro to Tarte Deluxe Discovery Set

The Sephora Black Friday and Boxing Day deals are my kryptonite. I love a good deal! And I especially love sets like these to try out something new from a brand you love or maybe have never tried before. I'm not new to Tarte, but I had not tried the lipstick formula or mascara in this set. As for the blush, I never say no to the Amazonian Clay blushes.

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The full-sized Lights, Camera, Lashes 4-in-1 mascara is available outside of this set at $25 CA. They often offer these deluxe sample sizes at checkout and in other kits.  What I like is the lengthening effect, but it did nothing for curling and very little volumizing on my lashes. It wasn't the worst I have tried, but it won't be a mainstay on my vanity table. I am going to play around with it and see how it layers with other mascaras.

The Drench Lip Splash lipstick in Living is so pretty to look at. Look at that packaging! This shade seems to be exclusive to this set, but I wouldn't rule it out to pop up in other sets. You can find the full-sized Drench Lip Splash lipsticks for $26 CA. Living is a mauve on me, but Kerri said it shows as a brownish color on her. Obviously, I love mauve lip colors as I always say. This isn't a unique color, but the formula is nice. It goes on opaque in one swipe and doesn't feel drying. It lasts about four hours on my lips before fading. While some of the shades available look gorgeous, I don't know that I would purchase a full one.

The real winner of this set is the Amazonian Clay blush in Unstoppable. The full-sized Amazonian Clay blushes retail for $35 CA. While this shade is exclusive to this set, it looks similar to Risque that is part of the permanent line. I love these blushes. When they offer them in blush palettes, it's really a steal. On me, they last all day. I don't reach for them every day, but I like them for days that I know I'm going to be out a long time. I think they made a good choice with Unstoppable in this kit, because I feel like this color would work for most skin tones.
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For $13, I am happy with my purchase. I have been able to try two products that were new to me and got another shade in one of my favorite blush formulas. I don't think this is one of those things that you should feel regretful over if you missed it. It's a nice set, but it is not groundbreaking or that unique.
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Bare Lips // Drench Splash in Living // Drench Splash in Living and Amazonian Clay blush in Unstoppable
Did you get this set? Have you tried any of these products or formulas? I'd love to hear what you think.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Blog of the Month: December 2016

In November, Chantal from Chantal's Corner was my featured blogger. You can read that post and see other past featured blogs under the "blog of the month" label! Being my blog of the month gets you a designated blog post, a sidebar button, and a mention on my Twitter account. The sidebar button stays up all month long. I don't believe in necessarily making bloggers pay for advertising and I'd much rather show you blogs that I really enjoy reading. And I hope you end up enjoying them too!

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Hard to believe we are at the last month of the year and I am sharing my last featured blog of 2016! This month's blogger is Andreanne from A Certain Romance! She focuses mostly on beauty with a few lifestyle posts thrown in and has gorgeous bright photography. From reviewing skincare to surviving grad school, she has you covered. If you pop in, feel free to let her know I sent you! :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Black Friday Haul: Sephora and Shoppers Drug Mart

Kudos to all of you doing Vlogmas and Blogmas this year! I just wanted to say that while I won't be doing that, you can expect a few more blog posts from me than usual. I still have a few gift guides, product reviews, and more coming your way!

For Black Friday, I went to my local mall for a quick Sephora haul to take advantage of their deals. And then on Sunday, Shoppers Drug Mart was having a "Spend Your Points" event. For those that aren't Canadian, they have a points program with monetary levels. And unlike Sephora with their Beauty Insider points, you can use the Shoppers points for just about anything in the store. So here are the few things I picked up for myself during the weekend!

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Sephora usually has some pretty nice sets for Black Friday and Boxing Day each year. While they had a few on offer that were nice, none of them caught my eye as much as the Intro to Tarte and Nest Fragrance trio ones. I used 500 of my Beauty Insider points for the Smashbox set. While I am not doing a product review and swatches on the Tarte and Smashbox products in this post, I will be posting about them soon!

I hoard my points, because I rarely think anything is worthy to spend them on. If 500 of my points is going to something, it better be a nice something! I don't have a lot of Smashbox items and when I saw this set, I thought "bingo!". The contour palette is nearly full size, which I thought made it worth it on its own. I know I am not going into full detail on this right now, but if you see this in your store and have the points, I'm telling you it is worth it! With the contour palette, you also get a small Photo Op eye trio in Screen Shot, LA Lights Lip and Cheek Color in Hollywood & Highlight, and a Photo Finish Hydrating Under Eye Primer.

The $13 (CA) Tarte set came with a mascara, lipstick, and blush, all in colors I do not own. And I have yet to try the Lights, Camera, Action 4-in-1 mascara, so I am looking forward to testing that out. The set also came with a Drench Lip Splash lipstick in Living and an Amazonian Clay blush in Unstoppable.

My most prized set is the Nest fragrances, though. This is my first venture into Nest and this was a great value at $16 (CA). I couldn't believe they were still available online later in the day on Friday. I thought they would go fast. The scents are great and work well together, if you enjoy layering your scents. And they have a nice lasting power. Each spray is 5 mL and a Nest rollerball is 8 mL. Not too much of a difference in size. The three included in the set are Indigo, Citrine, and Dahlia & Vines.
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At Shoppers Drug Mart, my purchases may not seem exciting. But these are just what I picked out for myself, the other things are gifts. The Nivea products were already on sale and I had coupons on top of that. I am so excited to try these. If you have, please let me know what you think! I have tried the Jergens shower moisturizer and really liked it, so I thought I'd finally get around to giving the Nivea one a try.

I also had a coupon for a free Essie nail polish. They screwed up recently by sending a lot of people on their mailing list an email saying they won a nail polish set. To make up for it, if you had actually entered said contest, they mailed out a coupon for up to $10 off an Essie product. I picked out the Cashmere Matte polish in Just Stitched and it was the last one on display, so it must be popular. Apparently it has been out a while and just completely escaped my radar. It's a gorgeous baby pink with blue shimmer. I just knew it would be perfect for winter for the days that I don't crave dark nails! And I do like the matte finish, I will probably opt for a shiny top coat when wearing it. Do you own this one? It's beautiful in person!
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So that is my little baby Black Friday weekend haul. What did you get? Any big ticket items? I love that it is making its way north of the border, so I'm not missing out on my American tradition!

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November 2016 Favorites

It's December! I'm so excited! I have Christmas music playing right now as I type, but to be truthful it was a hard decision not to play Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, or The Weeknd. Have you heard their new albums? So so good. But right now, Christmas music is winning. You only get that short window of time to have carols in your head before people start looking at you funny.

Here are my favorites from last month (two are repeats from October)! I'd love to hear if you have tried any of these or what you have been loving this past month. Is there anything I need to be adding to my Christmas list?! Do share!

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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Gift Guide 2016: For the Hosts

Before I dive in to today's gift guide, I just want to mention Gatlinburg, TN. I considered the place my second home growing up. It was where I was married and spent my honeymoon. And it is still one of my favorite places to vacation when I am heading back home for a visit. This past week, Gatlinburg has been battling fires and it is devastating and heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go out to everyone there. And if you can manage it, please consider donating to the Red Cross or the Gatlinburg Relief Fund.

Now back to regularly scheduled programming! Here is my gift guide for the host and/or hostess. You can also see my past hostess gift guides: 2014 and 2015.

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  • Wine* - One like Two Oceans' Pinot Grigio won't break the bank. With tastes of pear, peach, and lychee, you can't go wrong. This one is crisp and dry with a clean finish and would pair well with the appetizer round. For the price, you can grab two and not feel guilty about it. Holidays are meant to indulge and gabbing around the appetizers at a party is one of the best parts about holiday get togethers.
  • Poo Pourri* - Yes, really! It saves on the embarrassing bathroom smells and works like a charm.
  • Candle - Who doesn't love candles?! 
  • Food - A cheese tray, pancake mix, homemade brownies, etc. 
  • Ornament - I love ornaments that tell a story or have a memory behind them and this way the host will have an ornament to remind them of the party for years to come!
  • Soap Set - Soap always comes in handy. Even better if it is in a nice caddy as a set.
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**Some of the products in this post were sent to me for testing and reviewing purposes. All thoughts and pictures are my own. There are no affiliate links in this post.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Gift Guide 2016: For the Girly Girls

Where do I start? This is the easiest and hardest gift guide to do. Why? Because how does one narrow down all of the pretty things into one compiled list? It's not easy and there are plenty more things I could have added to this post, but I have to draw the line somewhere. With that said, these are some of my favorite gifts and gift ideas right now for the ladies in your life (or you!).

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  • Scarves - You can't go wrong.
  • Perfume - Rollerball perfumes are perfect for gifts.
  • Makeup - Buy gift sets and split them up among friends. You save money and everyone wins!
  • Jewelry - Something personalized or a charm for a bracelet is always a winner. (I'm a fan of LovePendants!)
  • Sentimental Gifts - A framed picture, concert tickets for you to enjoy together, etc.
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You can see my past girly gift guides for more ideas: 2014 and 2015.

I hope everyone in the States has a lovely Thanksgiving! I am taking a short staycation and will be back to posting next week. Hope you all have a great rest of the week!

Monday, November 21, 2016

ColourPop Cosmetics Sculpting Stix in Gummy Bear

For cheek highlighting, I am loving ColourPop's Lunch Money and Smoke N Whistles. But for other areas of my face, their Sculpting Stix in Gummy Bear has captured my heart. In this post, I mention what I like and don't like and you can see my swatch.

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There was issues with the original chosen names of these when they first came out, but the darker shades have since been renamed and the brand has apologized. I got the lightest, Gummy Bear. I knew I wanted to use it for around my eyebrows, Cupid's bow, inner eye corner, nose, etc. My skin is near porcelain and this is just right.

It's super creamy and easy to blend. It is a little tougher to work with on dry skin, so I do recommend a little prep work to get your skin ready. The one problem with it being super creamy is that it nicks very easily. You can see a nick in the picture above. I don't roll it out too far for fear of it breaking off or not going back in the tube. I've found that the easiest way of blending this for me is either with my fingers or a wet beauty sponge. It being in a stick form makes it super user-friendly to apply.

For $5 US, these are a steal!
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Arbonne Exfoliating New Cell Scrub and Foaming Sea Salt Scrub

Here I am, back at it again with some exciting skincare products! These two scrubs are from Arbonne, the Exfoliating New Cell Scrub and the Foaming Sea Salt Scrub. I never say no to a good scrub! Scrubs and moisturizers are probably the items I have the most of in my skincare collection. I recently showed my latest pamper routine that involved bath products, but I use these in the shower. I like to mix things up a bit!

Keep reading to hear my thoughts on these two products! And click on the Arbonne tag at the bottom of this post to see other products that I have reviewed from the brand.

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The packaging is crisp and fresh and adds a nice pop of color in my shower. Because of the citrus in this product, I do have a mild reaction but I counteract it with a dose of Benadryl and I am good to go. Can we talk about what a nuisance that allergy is? Citrus is just about everywhere. I'm just happy that my reactions aren't more severe than itchy skin, hives, and migraines. Still not fun, I assure you. Bless Benadryl for existing!

I don't usually share pictures of skincare formulas, but these two are worth showing. The New Cell scrub is bright white and the Sea Salt scrub has little white (oxidized polyethylene) microbeads. I am trying to stay away from plastic beads in products and there is controversy with products that use them. Between those, the pumice, and sea salt, the Sea Salt scrub is a little too harsh for my sensitive skin. But I've been using it on tougher areas like my elbows and heels with success. I love that it has a little foaming action. I cannot fully recommend this scrub for an all over scrub, but if you have dry and cracked feet and elbows, it may be worth a try for you. It retails for $40 US/ $46 CA.

As for the New Cell scrub, it warns that your skin might stay red for up to two hours afterward. Having such sensitive skin, I was nervous upon first use but this does not feel abrasive at all. And while my skin did get slightly red (as it does with just about every single product that touches it - ugh), it did not last that long and it was not uncomfortable. This did make my skin feel very dry after, but a dose of moisturizer fixed that right up. While a breakout is rare for me, they can and do happen. This did not bring about any spots or issues. My skin felt clean and softer when all was said and done. This retails for $34 US/ $40 CA.

As with any skincare item, I recommend looking at the ingredients and seeing if they will work for you. I mentioned my reaction to citrus, so I only use these once a week or every other week. There are plant extracts and fragrance oils in these that can cause reactions for some. Out of these two products, I like the New Cell scrub. I think it will be great during colder months to rescue facial skin from all of the dry air from the indoor heating units and the cold blustery winds outside.

Let me know if you have tried either of these! Are you a scrub lover like I am?
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**I was sent these products for testing and reviewing purposes. All thoughts and pictures are my own. There are no affiliate links in this post.

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