Feb 26, 2011

Another Guest Blog by the Smashing Ariella

Unlike the lovely Ms. Christina, it is very rare for me to fall in love with a product. I am not loyal to any particular brands and I usually find myself settling for products more than loving them. But then a friend came to stay with me for a bit and brought along an amazing container of wonderful…

Only available in the US at Sephora, or ordered online here in Canada, First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream has changed my world. I suffer from severely dry skin and eczema. This cream made a difference in just 3 days. I ordered a bunch immediately! It is free of fragrance, parabens and other harsh chemicals too, which is the cherry on top to this greatly affordable wonder cream!

As a makeup artist, there really aren’t many types of mascara I haven’t worked with. All have their benefits and downsides, and frankly, mascara is a very personal thing. Everyone’s eyelashes react differently. So just imagine my luck when after finding my amazing wondercream, I also found my perfect mascara!

I discovered Bourjois Paris Volumizing Mascara. If you are like most women, your eyes, lashes and brows are not identical, they are sisters, very similar, but different. My left lashes do not behave like my right!! My right has a perfect natural curl; my left just doesn’t want to curl! I religiously pull out and heat my eyelash curler each morning to fake it but within a couple hours we are back to square one. What first caught my eye about this mascara was its 2 step system. (None of this eyelash primer business, but 2 actual mascara wands in one tube). I curled my lashes, applied using each wand and voila! Perfect lashes… this is when I thought to myself “nice volume and length, but let’s see how long it lasts”. Now, this was one of those nights where you get tipsy, tired and do not take your makeup off before going to bed, you know, the night where you are amazed you got into your pj's? Anyway, I woke up in the morning and went into the washroom and looked in the mirror. My first thought, “well that was a good night, look at that hair!” but more importantly, my second thought was “my eyelashes look like I just applied mascara!” They were still perfectly curled with virtually no smearing.

Perfection ladies, that’s all I can say.

Thanks so much Ariella for your reviews and words. I am so excited to hear about this mascara that I'm just about to run out and grab some myself....xo

Feb 25, 2011

The Perfect Pink Blush: Found

I don't know why I'm beyond obsessed with color changing beauty products right now.

First it was the DuWop Private Collection, tomorrow it's probably going to be Smashbox's O-Glow products and today, well it's Stila's Custom Color Blush.

I first read about this product almost a year ago, in a magazine, and put off purchasing it until now. Don't get me wrong, I'm typically the first person to run out and buy something to see what all the hype is about but, for some reason, this product confused me. I mean how can a beauty product actually decipher your perfect pink by reacting with your skin's pH balance? I know, I wasn't sure either but I took the plunge and purchased it.

Upon opening the palette, I was completely shocked at how bright the blush was. (Seriously, ladies, it's fuschia.) Once I was over the initial shock, I grabbed my fan brush and went to town. The color was absolutely stunning on! I waited and waited and waited to see if the color would change annnnndddddd, it didn't. I will say that this is quite possibly the most universally flattering color but it won't pick your perfect pink.

Needless to say, I will definitely be buying this again. There are way too many pros:
1) A little goes a long way so this blush will last me a very long time
2) It's only $24 (This is a good deal if you're used to buying Lancome or Dior like me)
3) Once on, it is the most flattering pink I've ever worn

Check it out ladies! This product is worth not only the $24 but also the investment of a fantastic fan brush!

Feb 23, 2011

Color Changing Lipstick???

Have you ever worn color changing lipstick??? (aka Mood Stick...) Well, I can sure remember my first encounter.

It was grade 7 and my mom had finally allowed us to wear lipstick to school. My sister and I went to the Shoppers Drug Mart and each picked out a mood changing lipstick. (Mine was blue and hers was green.) We were sooooo excited to have not only bought our very own beauty product with our very own money but that it was supposed to rival a mood ring, except on your lips! It was a very exciting day. We ran home, opened the plastic wrapper and promptly spread our tubes on our lips. Almost immediately, our lips turned bright pink and, they stayed that way for hours. (So much for color changing.) However, I will say that it had the best staying power of ANY product I've ever used. My mom was trying to wash this horrible color off our mouths because, as she said, "it's too bright and NOT the color I was referring to when I said you could wear lipstick!" Unfortunately, the color didn't budge. She scrubbed and scrubbed and scrubbed and finally, on the third day, the color began to fade. (Man were our lips chapped after that...)

Quite a story, I know, but it hasn't deterred me from wanting to try other color morphing beauty products. So, when I noticed that DuWop Cosmetics had a trio of color changing lipsticks, I promptly pulled out my credit card.

Of the three available, I purchased the Private Red and Private Nude. (There is also a Private Plum.) These lipsticks are supposed to morph into each woman's perfect nude or red shade so, for the second time, I tore of the wrappers and applied the red right away. The color (prior to change) is actually beautiful; very deep and vibrant. Within about five minutes, the color did start to change and I was left with a warm berry color. I wanted to love this color, I really did, but with my complexion, it didn't work. I was really wishing for a cooler tone.

However, the Private Nude is absolutely perfect! The tube color is a mocha tone and goes on very smoothly. Within minutes the color had truly morphed into my perfect shade. (An amazing neutral with a slight rosy pink undertone.) I will definitely be buying this shade again! My only qualm, and yes there is one, is the amount you need to reapply. It seemed I was reapplying almost three times an hour. (This is a lot, even for me.) Either way, the color is great and definitely worth the $22.

Have you ever tried the Private Lipstick collection? If so, what are your thoughts?

Feb 21, 2011

Christina's Best Beauty Buys Under $15

Beauty bargains are my one and only reason for waking up early on the weekends. Seriously, the minute that Allan packs his bike and gear into the car, I am literally running out the door and to the mall. Wow, it almost sounds like a have a minor problem......ha.

Don't get me wrong, I've definitely cut back on my beauty product allowance since we bought the condo BUT there also comes a time to treat yourself. Particularly when there are fabulous beauty products out there for under $15....
TRESemme Waterless Foam Shampoo. I never thought I would find a different dry shampoo to replace my Batiste but I have. This shampoo is great because it's a foam. (This means no powder streaks left in your hair.) This foam has a great citrus scent and can refresh my whole head of hair with only two pumps. Plus, it's only $8.99 from Shoppers.

Annabelle Custom Quad Refillable Magnetic Compact and Mono Eye Shadows. I love palettes. I think I love palettes almost more than I love popcorn and man, that's a lot. This palette is one of my faves because it's refillable, the shadows are easy to change out AND you get to custom pick your colors. This palette holds up to four colors at once and each shadow fits perfectly inside with no movement. My custom palette is currently holding Ultraviolet (a bright purple), Fantasy (a beautiful turquoise), Metallic Meltdown (a shimmery bronze) and Revolover (a neutral grey metcallic). These shadows are only $6 a piece and if you buy four, you get the custom palette for free!!
Revlon Heavenly Metal Collection and in particular the three new metallic nail polish shades: Copper Penny, Silver Dollar and Gold Coin. For a girl as obsessed with metallics as I am, it's great to finally see true-blue color that actually captures the color it advertises. I am definitely loving the Copper Penny shade. These little polishes are only $7.49 a piece.

Avon Banishing Cream Skin Discoloration Improver. Ladies, ladies and even gentlemen, this cream is virtually flawless. I have used many different "radiance-enhancing" products in my day but this one actually works. I have been using it religiously every night, and most mornings actually, and my scarring and red splotches are actually going away. I will praise this to anyone who wants to listen. This cream typically costs about $12, however, I got it on sale and it cost me $3.50.

Victoria's Secret Beauty Rush Lip Color. Allan gave me a few of these in my Christmas parcel and I am really liking them. The stay glossy, aren't too sticky and give your lips the perfect amount of color. My favorite colors are Juiced Berry, Yummy Berry and Shine Berry. At only $7 a piece, they're also great on your pocket book.

With the '70's being all the rage this year, blue eye shadow is back with a bang. In terms of blues, my favorite blue trio is Rimmel London's Color Rush Trio Eye Shadow in Maritime. These three colors (a grey highlighter, a light aqua blue all-over shadow and a gorgeous teal crease shadow) blend beautifully together and create the perfect blue lid. This palette was only $5.99Joe Fresh Cheek Tint in Pink. I love cheek tints. Not only are the purse friendly but you can touch up your cheeks, lips and eyes with one cute product. I am especially fond of the Joe line because it's top notch quality for virtually nothing. Seriously, these little puppies are only $4.
Avon Simply Because Frangrance for Her. Aside from my romance with Calvin Klein Beauty, this is the only other scent I've been wearing lately. It's light, airy and full of my favorites floral scents. Plus, it's purse-sized so you can carry it around with you. Oh, and only $9.99 from your local Avon rep.
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. This cleanser is such a staple for me. Not only does it remove all makeup (eyes included) but it's non-comdogenic and doesn't cause breakouts. I use this cleanser every night and love the way my skin feels after I've washed it off. Oh, and it's only about $14 for a nice big bottle.

Anything I've missed ladies? What are your favorite products under $15?

Feb 15, 2011

The Power of Green

On the color wheel, for those that don't know, red and green are directly across from each other. Though I've known this for quite some time, I've never before used a concealer that didn't match my skin perfectly....until the other weekend.

I've been going through quite a rough patch with my skin for the past couple weeks. For some reason, I'm breaking out A LOT more than usual. Typically, I don't really care, but my friend and I had planned a weekend in the States and I was dreading getting all dressed up and having a bright red intruder on my chin. So, after some careful perusing, I purchased my first ever green concealer.

As I was applying my makeup, I used just a tad of Physicians Formula Gentle Cover Concealer in Green to cover my monstrosity. Low and behold, the product covered the pimple like a dream. I used the stick on some of my scarring (since I'm so fair, scarring is something I'm prone to) and it covered everything with one easy swipe of the tube.

Since that day, this little tube of green wonder has become a staple in my makeup bag. I use it on everything from minor touch-ups to large red spots and it always does the trick.

QUICK TIP: I used to apply concealer first before any other product and it seemed I was using way more product, plus I felt oily during the day. So, I've changed my ways. Once you've moisturized you skin, apply a quick setting powder to your skin before anything else. (A rice powder OR translucent powder will do the trick.) It seems to sop up any extra oil and moisture which creates an even canvas. After this step, apply your concealer. You will use a lot less, I guarantee it.

Feb 11, 2011

The Best Moisturizer For Your Skin

Moisturizers are one of the most important skin care products on the market. These super products provide your skin with added hydration, make your skin more resilient and pliable, even out skin tone, soften texture and mask imperfections. It's no wonder every cosmetic company on the planet has launched a moisturizer which makes finding the perfect one that much harder. That being said, here are some quick tips to remember when selecting a facial moisturizer:


Establish your skin type:

Normal/Combination: Medium pores, smooth even texture and prone to breakouts occasionally. Dryness in the cheeks is common while the t-zone may be oily.

Oily: Shiny skin with fairly enlarged pores. Prone to breakouts and blackheads.


Dry: Skin that's prone to flaking, red patches and wrinkles. You'll notice that this skin type will be very tight after cleansing.


Sensitive: Typically fair complexions but the skin is very thin and delicate looking. Prone to rashes, irritation and flushes very easily.


Once you've determined your skin type, search for products created to match it. Most products on the market will specify what demographic they're targeting (for example, Anti-Aging Serums or Sensitive Skin Moisturizer) so it makes it a bit easier to find what you're looking for. I have, though, compiled a list of a few of my faves:


Clinique Youth Surge SPF 15 Age Decelerating Moisturizer: This product is brilliant for both normal/combo skin as well as dry. Because it's never to early begin an
anti-aging regimen, this product makes it easy since it does it without that extra step of a serum. It has many youth-extending agents but still provides your skin with the best possible moisturizer as well as an SPF. I highly recommend it!


Epicuren Aloe Vera Gel: This is an amazing solution for oily skin. It works because it doesn't leave a residue behind, making your foundation or beauty products stick to your skin and NOT your
moisturizer. (You'll be less oily during the day.) It's made of 100% pure whole leaf aloe and calms irritated or reddened skin. This product has a lot of hype and it's definitely well deserved!


Aromatherapy Associates Tripe Rose Renewing Moisturizer: By far the best scented, most luxurious moisturizer for sensitive skin on the market. (It's hard to come by so if you're interested let me know.) Don't be swayed by the name because it's actually quite nice and light. The scent is created by a blend of three different roses and contains rosehip and red marine algae. I am absolutely in love with it and will recommend this to anyone who has sensitive skin.


Tell me, what are you using for a moisturizer? Anything that's working wonders for you?

Feb 4, 2011

OMG, We Own A Condo!!!

As you've probably noticed, I haven't been blogging as frequently as before.

Now, I could conjure up some silly story for you BUT instead, I'll give you some pics to explain!

As of Wednesday January 26th, Allan and I became first-time condo owners. (Seriously, it's almost as exciting as finding your favorite product in stores after thinking it's been discontinued.) This is why I haven't been on-line as much. I don't think that either of us had ANY idea how much work it would be. It's been almost a full-time job getting all the paperwork for the bank, completing home inspections, attending multiple meetings with realtors and signing our lives away on hundreds upon hundreds of forms. So, without further adieu, here's the new pad..

Front of the building, from street



Living Room

Dining Room


Kitchen

Kitchen Nook

Master Bedroom

Master Ensuite

Guest Bedroom

So, the only picture that's really missing is the second bathroom. (You're not really missing too much though since it has blue countertops and strange yellow walls....) We take possession on March 25th and can not WAIT too move in!!!

I have actually started my first DIY project for the condo (well it's more for me I guess...ha) which is to sand and repaint my vanity table. I have it sanded so far and am waiting for a sunny day to begin painting. Hopefully very soon!
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