Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Online shopping: Swimsuits, Silk Pillowcases & Purse organizer

I've been doing a lot of online shopping recently. Maybe it's the cold weather...or stress relief (we'll be moving to a new house soon and I've got so much planning to do!). I already blogged about my Sigma order. Other recent purchases include: 4 swimsuits (I only plan on keeping 2), silk pillowcases and a purse organizer.

I have a hard time shopping for swimsuits (who doesn't?). I want a suit with a cute print that covers my cleavage, tummy and bottom. But most swimsuits have a trade-off - if they cover your bottom, they are really low-cut in the chest....or they'll cover your cleavage but will bare your belly. In an ideal world I'd order this swimsuit from jcrew:
But since I'd have to order it from the US it would come to around $120 with shipping and duties - not really worth it for something I'll use to splash around in waterparks! Also, if it didn't fit, I wouldn't want to deal with the hassle of shipping it back.

I've purchased Old Navy swimwear before - they fit well and the colours don't fade. My local store mainly carries bikinis, so I had to order the suits I wanted online. I checked their policy - and as long as the hygiene strip is intact, they accept returns on swimsuits (free shipping back or at my local store). They currently have a 30% online coupon code (ONCAN30 for Canadian shoppers) so I purchased these 4 suits to try on.
Blue suit - includes bikini bottoms and board shorts ($39.55 plus tax). Pink suit ($31.50 plus tax)
One piece ($24.15 plus tax). Brown tankini ($28 plus tax)
Most of their tankinis are halter tops - which I REALLY dislike - it always makes the back of my neck sore. Luckily, I've found an easy way to fix this. I take the halter strings and sew them down to the back of the suit as straps - it takes 10 minutes and is SO much more comfortable and secure.

I ordered silk pillowcases after watching this video from LanaIndiana. Apparently they are great for preventing wrinkles and keeping your hair healthy. I purchased the pink one first - and I LOVED it - it feels so cool and lovely against my skin. I often find hubby using my pillow! I offered to get one for him - but he prefers not to use a pillow when he sleeps (except for when he steals mine in the middle of the night!). Since I have to wash pillowcases frequently (to keep my skin clear) I purchased this beautiful aqua blue one as well. I got mine on eBay from this seller - they ship SUPER fast.
My last purchase was the "Purse-to-go" organizer in Large. I switch my bag frequently (at least twice a week) and I thought having this product would make it easier to move everything over without forgetting any important items. Also - it would make it easier to find the small items that keep getting lost at the bottom of my bag. I ADORE this organiser- it is so well made! It's very light, flexible and reversible so you can have the pockets facing in or out, and it has Velcro bands to adjust the size to fit in smaller bags.
I've placed it my small Le Pliage bag - and velcroed the edges to make it fit neatly in the base. There are so many prints and varieties to choose from - I'm tempted to order a few more!

Which swimsuit do you like the best? Do you use silk pillowcases or purse organisers?

DISCLAIMER: I am not affiliated with any of the retailers listed and I paid for all of these items myself.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Brush purchases, NOTDs and What's for Dinner

I finally succumbed to the Sigma marketing and have purchased 2 items off their site. If you're not familiar with the Sigma brand - they became popular in the online beauty community for producing cheaper dupes of MAC brushes (right down to the numbering). Although they no longer copy MAC's numbering, they still sell brush dupes along with their own unique products. 

I was sceptical about this brand because they sent their brushes to A LOT of Youtubers and bloggers. Part of me wondered how much of their positive publicity was related to free brushes/commissions for referrals rather than actual brush quality. Although I read a lot of blogs, I only trust the opinions of certain people:  those who buy MOST of their products themselves...and when sent products - aren't afraid to review them critically - highlighting both the positives and negatives (I apply this standard to myself as well). Here are the two items I purchased (with my own money!)

Sigma F80 brush - this brush is unique to Sigma and not a copy of any MAC brush. It is meant to be great for buffing in foundation and is supposed to be unbelievably soft and dense. On the downside apparently some Sigma brushes bleed and shed when washed - hope that's not the case with this brush. I'm going to try this as an alternative to my ELF flat-top studio powder brush.
Classic Brush Roll - This faux-leather roll should help protect my brushes and keep them organized - especially when travelling. The most valuable part of my make-up collection are my brushes - so I want to make sure that they stay in the best shape. In the past I've used large make-up bags to carry my brushes, but I'm always paranoid that their bristles will get stuck in the zipper - this roll has a top flap to protect the bristles.
I will definitely review these items once I've had the chance to use them. Despite my skepticism, sometimes internet hype is worth it - I found out about my brush guard through the online beauty community - and I can't live without it! I hope I feel the same about my Sigma purchases...

Now for some "Nail of the Day" photos from this past week:
Rimmel Lasting Finish Pro Nail Enamel in English Rose - I really like this range of polishes (even more than Sally Hansen's Complete Manicure line). The brush that comes with this polish has a curved shape which allows precise application. The formula was opaque in just 2 coats (but it was quite thick so I should apply thinner layers next time). The colour is a cheerful watermelon pink - very glossy and pretty.
Joe Fresh polish in Fig - I've reviewed Joe Fresh polishes before here. I like the consistency of these polishes - they're very creamy and pigmented. They have a wide range of shades - and since the bottles are so small, they're great for experimenting with different colours. This lavender is very cheerful and spring-like - but I felt that the shade was a bit childish for me...

Finally, here's some food I made this week:
Filipino Chicken BBQ - inspired by this recipe here. It tasted good, but was not worth all the effort and specialty ingredients it took to make the marinade/glaze from scratch. I think I'll stick with my pre-mixed seasoning powder next time!
And lastly - here are some mini-cupcakes I made for my Dad's birthday:
Have you purchased Sigma products? Are you less likely to buy products that have been given to bloggers/vloggers?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Make-up in the Mail, Paradoxal dupes (Revlon and Barry M) and What's for Dinner

Erica is one of my best friends from college. She is as make-up obsessed as I am, and always knows which products are receiving rave reviews. We had many lovely Sephora/coffee dates when we both lived in New York,  and even though we're in different countries now - she's still sharing the make-up love. She sent me the cutest little package in the mail the other day:
There was one casualty of the mailing system - the wet n wild eyeshadow trio shattered into a fine powder (spreading over the other products and making them look dusty)...all while managing to remain tightly sealed with tape!  In case you're wondering, it was meant to look like this:
Maybe the shattered eyeshadow was a message from the universe telling me that I already have MORE eyeshadow than I could ever use up! I'm very excited to experiment with the JANE blushes (in Blushing Blossom and Blushing Petal) and have already worn the 2 nail polishes (reviews below). Since I've limited my make-up purchases this year, it's fun to have something new to play with. Thank you SO much to Erica (who occasionally reads this blog). Your package was so sweet and come and visit me already!
The Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in "Naked Ambition" is a gorgeous peachy-pink with microshimmer. I like the way this colour works with my skintone - however, the formula is quite thick and streaky. I had to apply 4 (!!!) coats to achieve an opaque finish. I've reviewed Complete Salon Manicure polishes here and here - and have also encountered the streakiness problem with the other pink polish I tried (although "Plum's the Word" applies like a dream). Since this is a thick polish that requires several coats, you have to allow a LOT of drying time in between to reduce the risk of imprints and smudges.

The Revlon Polish in "Perplex" is a dupe for Chanel's Paradoxal.  I now own 2 Paradoxal dupes - this one and the Barry M "Dusky Mauve" that was sent to me last year. I don't own the Chanel original - so I can't compare them to it...but I did compare them to each other. The Barry M one has a slightly greyer undertone, while the Revlon formula is creamier and more pigmented - it only requires 2 coats. However, the Barry M lasts longer and shows less tip wear. I couldn't really choose one formula over the other - but you probably don't need to buy both! Still, I'm grateful for my 2 bottles since I'm in love with this colour, it looks very dark and sophisticated on my nails.

As you can see, my toddler shoe box container has reached maximum capacity! I can't accumulate any new polishes before using up or giving away some of my existing stash.
Finally, here's what we had for dinner last night: Pioneer Woman's "Penne a la Betsy". I made this before here, this time I used fibre-rich fusilli instead of penne. For some reason my tomato paste and cream sauce always comes out looking neon!

Disclaimer: I was sent the Barry M nail polish, but was not paid to review it. All thoughts shared on it are my honest opinions - and are not affected by the fact that the item was given to me.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Louis Vuitton Love and "8 most worn" tag

We were finally able to pick up my Valentine's day present last weekend (it had been out of stock previously):
It's the 6 key-holder in Damier Ebene canvas - apparently it's very durable and scratch-resistant. In the pic above, my keys are already inside - and it doesn't bulge out (unlike my sad over-used greenish black Prada key-holder). I'm so happy with this gift - it seemed like a splurge for such a small item - but considering that I'll use it and see it everyday - it's definitely worth it - it makes me feel special and puts a smile on my face. It's the perfect Valentine :-)

As I was browsing the LV website I noticed this GORGEOUS Cabbas MM cute is it? It's not a wishlist bag for me, because I'd rather spend my money on a versatile classic....but it is so cheerful and PINK - I had to share the pic.

This week I thought I'd do the "8 most worn" tag that was popular on Youtube and Beauty blogs a while back. This is one of my favourite tags, because you get to see what people actually use - rather than their most recently hauled items. Here's my list:

1.  Most Worn Hair Product - I've written about these products before in my Hair Routine post. I use the Castor Oil twice a week and the Moroccan Oil 3-5 times a week.

2. Most Worn Lip Product - I love my Barry M Raspberry Lip Paint - I always pair it with a gloss to tone down the colour. I'm currently using Benefit's "I'm With the Band" - it has a beautiful pinkish-gold colour - but unfortunately the pigmentation disappears within 5 minutes - I will not be repurchasing it!

3. Most Worn Earrings - these pearl earrings were given to me by my parents. I wear them ALL the time - I only take them off when I shower. I love the glow they add to my look - and they go with pretty much everything I wear.

4. Most Worn Shirt - I bought this sweater at Garage last fall. It's so soft and comfy - warm enough to wear on it's own, but light enough for layering - perfect for cold weather!

5. Most Worn Nailpolish - I have a lot of nailpolish for someone who only paints their nails 2-3 times a month! Since I rotate through my colours a lot - I haven't really used up any of my polishes. However, these 2 shades do get a lot of use - they work great for both manicures and pedicures: Sally Hansen's "Plum's the Word" and Sephora's "Pure Prune".

6. Most Worn Shoes - I think I purchased these Nine West boots in 2005, but I've only been wearing them a lot these last 2 years. They are warm, comfy and work perfectly with skinny jeans - I prefer them to my faux Uggs. I'm definitely going to check out Nine West the next time I need new boots.

7. Most Worn Perfume - Coco Mademoiselle is my going-out scent - I've been using it for 5+ years and I still love it - which is rare for me. For daily wear, I like citrus-y unisex scents. I'm currently loving my Jo Malone "Lime Basil and Mandarin" perfume. I also use my Body Shop Vanilla Perfume Oil daily - I layer it with my deodorant - it doesn't interfere with my other perfumes - it just adds an undertone of sweetness.

8. Most Worn Bag - I've been getting a lot of use out of my Rose Sabrina from Coach. It's pretty but durable - so I'm not afraid to use it when I'm out with my kiddies. It can be worn many different ways, and can fit a LOT. I adore the colour - it works with greys and browns for winter, and with lighter colours for spring.

I tag the following blogs - these ladies are so stylish - I'd love to see their lists!
The Beauty Look Book 
Saltwater Dreams
Pearls and Green Tea
Law Fashionista (completed here)
Lilly's Style (completed here)
Cafe Bellini
Beautygirl24 (completed here)
Beauty Parler 
15 Steps, then a Beauty Blog

I love reading these tags - even if I haven't tagged you please post a link to your blog in the comments if you've already done this tag!


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