Friday, April 29, 2011

Thoughts on the Royal Wedding

I didn't plan on it but I stayed up all night watching the Royal Wedding - and it was worth it. I've always admired Kate - but I couldn't believe her grace and poise through the ceremony. While William appeared slightly nervous, Kate exuded calmness and serenity- as if she was born for this role.
Source: Daily Mail
I'm obsessed with finding out the actual products she used for her wedding make-up (not just suggested items for a similar look). This is what I've discovered so far:
Nails: a custom blend which included Essie's 423 Allure and Bourjois' no. 28 Rose Lounge.
Perfume:  White Gardenia Petals by Illuminum
Mascara: Lancome Hypnose (not confirmed but she recently stocked up on this)
Foundation: Laura Mercier oil-free tinted moisturiser (not confirmed but she recently purchased this)
Blush: ??? She has recently purchased a lot of Bobbi Brown products. The specific products she used have been released and are posted here.
Lips: ????
Source: Daily Mail
My second obsession was Pippa Middleton at the wedding - how gorgeous did she look? Her dress was amazing and she just radiated beauty. The Middleton sisters really know how to carry themselves.
I know I'm not the only one who thinks that Harry and Pippa would be the perfect match!
Source: Daily Mail
Also looking pretty: Earl Spencer's daughters/William's maternal cousins.

Now for the not-so-great::
Source: Daily Mail
Chelsy Davy - Harry's on-off girlfriend. She usually has a cute boho-chic vibe - so I'm not sure what happened today. Between her messy hair, ill-fitting/matronly clothes and frumpy hat - she looks like a medical student (in scrubs) who just finished an all-nighter - and NOT like a candidate for the NEXT Royal wedding.
Source: Daily Mail
The Beckhams - Posh looked harsh rather than elegant and David looked a bit like Ricky Gervais.
Source: Daily Mail
I don't think I've EVER seen anything uglier than Princess Beatrice's hat. It is TRULY a monstrosity - it looked like a giant cartoon alien was perched on her head.

What did you think of the Royal Wedding? Comment if you know what make-up Kate used on the day - especially her lip colour.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Some internet shopping: Sigma, ELF and StrawberryNET

I think my "buying craze" has slowed down somewhat. Things are gradually coming together for our new house so I'm less stressed out. I was feeling a little guilty about using shopping as therapy, but my sister pointed out that I don't really go overboard or purchase items that I don't use, so I shouldn't feel TOO bad (I'm definitely not like Becky Bloomwood from Shopaholic ...yet!). Here are some of the internet items that I purchased recently:

 StrawberryNET - contacted me with a discount code to try their site (To make things clear - I still had to pay for my purchase - I just received a promo code to use at checkout which gave me a % off my purchase). I had read about this Hong Kong-based website before on beauty forums so I knew that it was a reputable company. Here's what I ordered:
L'Occitane Shea Butter hand cream (CAD$ 14) - I've read rave reviews about this product - and since I'm always on the search for the perfect hand cream - I bought the travel version of this. Sadly I find this product just average. It has a pleasant (slightly old lady) scent, absorbs easily and provides adequate moisture. But I get the same result from Ponds cold cream. I will definitely use this product up (it's the perfect size for my handbag), but I will not repurchase.
Lip Fusion gloss in Full Frontal (CAD$ 14.50) - I've wanted to try these glosses ever since I read that Kim Kardashian uses them. I have not tested this yet, as I want to finish up my MAC gloss first (I don't like having too many glosses open at one time).
GOSH Everlasting Lips in Apricot Kiss (FREE) - StrawberryNET offers one free full-size product for every NEW customer (only on the first purchase). The selection changes frequently, when I ordered it was a choice of several Stila items and a couple of these GOSH glosses. I googled swatches and chose this,  I haven't tried it yet though.
KORRES Lip Butter in Wild Rose (CAD$ 13) - Another product I read raves about in the blogosphere. Korres lip butters are supposed to be amazingly moisturising.  I really wanted this product to work for me, as it provides such a pretty flush of colour - but unfortunately, it makes my lips peel. I'm going to try use this up with my Nivea lip balm underneath - but this kind of defeats the purpose as a moisturising, fuss-free, on-the-go product.

My thoughts on StrawberryNET
-although the prices are roughly comparable to Sephora, you don't have to pay taxes OR shipping on your items. If you are charged customs, you will be reimbursed.
-you can get items not available locally. I have already placed another order (this time there's no discount code). My second order is for Peter Thomas Roth mineral SPF 30 powder, which is currently not being shipped to Canadian Sephora customers.
-you get a free full-size gift - but only with your first order
-no minimum order for free shipping, so you can choose to purchase only deeply discounted items (My Fusion gloss is CAD$31 plus tax at Sephora, and only $14 at StrawberryNET.)
-If you don't love a product, your return options are limited (at Sephora, I would have just returned the KORRES Lip Butter). So I would only purchase items that I'm sure I'd love.
- The company is based in Hong Kong, so you may have to wait to receive your products. My first order took a little over a week to arrive, but its been nearly 2 weeks since I placed my second order and it has not yet been delivered.

ELF - I purchased 3 items from ELF when I ordered the 3 Coffee gel eyeliners for my giveaway.
Custom compact ($1) - this is like the MAC 4-pan palette, but it's much cheaper and comes with a mirror. MAC eyeshadow pans will fit in this, but I plan on removing the separators and creating a custom palette with depotted blush, highlighter and eyeshadow (will post pictures when I get around to doing this).
Gel eyeliner in Midnight ($3) - I wanted to try this because blue shades are supposed to complement brown eyes. When applied, it looks like black with a hint of blue sparkle - it's very pretty, but not a must-have - and too harsh for everyday wear. I *LOVE* the tiny angled brush they've included with this - it's perfect for patting on liner over your lash line. For comparison purposes, I've included my small-angled brush in the picture above. It has a more compact and less-angled brush head, but is otherwise quite comparable to the free tiny brush.
Angled eyeliner brush ($3) - Angled brushes are supposed to help create the perfect cat's eye look. I did find it easy to extend my liner with this brush - so it's a worthwhile purchase. However, I wish the brush tips would taper together in a point for a more precise line.

Sigma - As I mentioned in a previous post I ordered the brush roll and F80 brush from Sigma.
F80 brush ($16)- Although the brush is well made, I haven't found a good use for it yet (since I'm not currently using liquid foundation). I tried using it for cream blush, but I prefer my MAC 129 for a more natural flushed look.
Brush Roll ($20)-  I'm LOVING my brush roll. I store all my "everyday" brushes in it - I love having all the brushes I need in one place. I prefer using a roll as I think my brushes stay cleaner than they would if they were displayed. And when I travel, I just need to carry a small make-up bag and take this roll with me. This roll is a must-buy - it's worth more than $20 - it's very well made and wipes clean so easily.

DISCLAIMER: I purchased ALL these products myself. I received a discount code for the StrawberryNET purchase, but selected all items myself, and was not under any obligation to provide a favourable review. As you can tell, I wrote my honest unbiased thoughts (as always!!!).

Contest Winners

Thanks to everyone who entered my contest - reading your entries/feedback was SO helpful to me - I wish I could send everybody a Hello Kitty prize!
Must get these packaged up...expect lots of bubble wrap and tape - I don't want a nail polish-plosion!

The winners of this contest are: Beautygirl24, Ashley and JCHokie. Please check your inboxes - I've emailed you.

Thanks for entering - I hope I'm able to hold more of these contests in the future!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Come enter my 100 Follower Giveaway!!! CLOSED

I love writing in my blog - and having people follow my blog means SO much to me. I was super-excited this week to see that I had reached 100 followers. I'm holding a giveaway to celebrate this lovely milestone - please come enter my contest! There are 3 prizes - made up of 5 products that are so "Ella Pretty" - and of course I couldn't resist getting all matchy-matchy with the colours

1) Nivea Lip Creme - I love the Milk and Honey (yellow) lipbalm - it's always in my purse. I apply it before reapplying gloss or lipstick - it provides the perfect moisturising base and majorly prevents "flakies". The blue version is very moisturising while the pink one adds the prettiest sheen to your lips.
2) ELF gel eyeliner in Coffee - This is the only product I couldn't colour-code LOL! This is probably my most-worn make-up item. It's the perfect colour for everyday wear (black can look too harsh). Smudged on my lashline, it provides a thicker lash effect - and can also be applied in a more defined line. It lasts ALL day without smudging - I've even worn it to the beach - and it didn't budge! ELF have recently included tiny angled brushes with their liner - I haven't tried mine yet, but it looks pretty useful.
3) Crown Perfumes roll-on - I found this range of perfume oils at my international grocery store. The floral scents are very sweet and long lasting. I own the rose one - but now I want to get the blue (jasmine) and yellow (a mix of white flowers) for myself too!
4) JOE Fresh nailpolish - I've blogged about these adorable little polishes before. They are such sweet colours and perfect for spring.
5) Hello Kitty cupcake tins with candy - I adore Hello Kitty AND cupcakes - although I don't know what the candies inside taste like LOL! Once the candies are finished, these tins would make the perfect container to store small jewelry items.

DISCLAIMER: I purchased ALL these products myself - this is NOT a sponsored giveaway.

Here are the contest rules. This contest is open internationally. You must be a follower (on Google Friend Connect) of this blog to enter. (Use the Google Friend connect button on the right-side of this page, under the "FOLLOWERS" heading) 

Answer these questions: 
1) What is your favourite post from this blog/ What type of posts would you like to see more of?
2) What email address can I contact you at if you win?

For an extra entry you can tweet this message: "Enter Ella Pretty's (@ellaprettyblog) 100 Follower Giveaway:"

The contest ends a week from today at midnight EDT (April 27, 2011). I will go through the list and use to pick a winner.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Michael Kors Rose Gold Watch: MK5430

I've always loved rose gold, so I'm really enjoying the current popularity of rose gold accessories. I love my Sydney Evan Rose Gold Disc necklace (posted about here), and now Hubby has bought me the most beautiful rose gold watch...I really am in rose gold heaven!
Rose Gold Watch by Michael Kors
Michael Kors MK5430 Rose Gold 33mm Women's Watch (My watch here (on sale!) and here, Similar 33mm model here)
I've been looking for a rose gold watch for a while - I think a lot of the current selection is inspired by Victoria Bechkam's Rose Gold Rolex Daytona - isn't it gorgeous?
Victoria Beckham Rolex Watch
Source: Google Images
I took some time to find the most suitable watch - I knew I definitely wanted both the band AND the watch face to be rose gold. Michael Kors oversize watches have been quite popular in the blogosphere - especially their metal and ceramic watches. After some research, I discovered that Fossil makes Michael Kors watches. They sell similar (but more affordable) versions of many MK watches through their own line.
Comparing Rose Gold Watches
US shoppers are SO lucky - there are so many amazing deals on watches - the MK5430 is on Amazon for $187.50 (although Saks has it at $250). I didn't want to risk buying my watch online (due to cross-country servicing and warranty issues - as well as potential customs and duties), so we had to pay CAD$300 at Holt Renfrew.
The top two watches are Fossil brand watches, while the bottom two are MK watches.I've tried all four of these watches on. The Fossil watch with the crystal face (mini Riley) looks quite flimsy in person, but the Stella is very pretty. However both the Stella and the MK watch (MK5128)  in the bottom left corner have large faces (around 38mm). I have small wrists - so I look a little ridiculous when I wear such a large watch face! The watch I purchased (MK5430) has a 33mm watch face - a much better size for my wrist, while still working with the oversize trend.
Even though I ended up buying a MK watch, if you can wear a larger watch face and just want the Rose Gold oversized look - I'd definitely look into the Fossil Stella. The MK5128 watch has a nicer sheen and finish up close - but the Fossil is $135 cheaper.
 Longines Rose Gold Face Watch

My other dress watch also has a rose gold face - it's a Longines Dolce Vita watch bought 5 years ago. I think it's a lovely contrast to my MK watch - small, delicate, silver-toned and square-shaped. I'm so grateful to have both these watches - and to my lovely hubby for giving me both! (P.S. I'm lovely to my hubby too LOL - I just finished doing his taxes - he HATES doing paperwork!)

What type of watch do you like to wear? Do you love Rose Gold as much as I do?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Too much shopping part 1 (Old Navy, H&M, Coach, Body Shop)

It must be a combination of Spring and house-moving stress that has made me so spend-happy! It's not that I've been shopping's just that I've been picking up a lot of stuff that is cute but not essential. The first place to sucker me in was Old Navy...they've brought out such lovely transitional items - and everything seemed to be marked down - who can resist that?
My favourite purchase was this tie-front sweater for $15.39. It's ballet inspired - very feminine but not at all fussy.
I also loved this hunter green Boyfriend cardigan ($20.70). It's very roomy and comfy, and would look great with brown accessories.
I loved the ruffly details on this cropped cardigan - I have a lot of cropped cardigans, but nothing this cute! I bought it for $24.15 but I just noticed that it's been marked down to $19.50, so I'll try get a price adjustment the next time I'm at Old Navy (I have to go there anyway to return some of my mail-order swimsuits).
As soon as I tried this dress on - I imagined myself in a hot climate wearing flip flops, beachy accessories and a straw hat. I don't need anymore "holiday" clothes - but clearanced for $12.59, I thought I'd regret NOT buying this dress.
With regards to my swimsuit search, I ended up keeping these 2 tankinis from Old Navy. I wore the black one this past weekend at the waterpark - it offered a lot of coverage while the ruffly neckline kept it from looking too boring. Hubby said I looked "tiny" in the black suit - which I'll assume is a compliment LOL!
I've been wanting a leopard print H&M scarf for a while (they are somewhat inspired by LV's leopard stole) but since they came out last Fall, I wasn't sure I'd find any left in stock. I  couldn't believe my luck when I spotted this reversible scarf, I grabbed it and headed straight for the register. I'm not usually into animal prints - but the black and white print is quite subtle and goes perfectly with my black trenchcoat. I've already worn it (on the leopard side) a lot!
Here are some toiletries I picked up...nothing is noteworthy apart from the Body Shop Almond Oil Nail and Cuticle Treatment. If you like the look of neatly groomed cuticles, you NEED this pen in your life. The fragrant almond oil moisturises while the built in pusher-head softly shapes your cuticles I've bought many "popular" cuticle products (including Burts Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream and Sally Hansen's oils) but this is the most effective product by far - and it's gentle enough to use every day. These were marked as $12 but only rung up for $5. If your Body Shop is offering them at that price - grab two...although they are even worth it at full price!
The last item I'm sharing today is my Mahogany leather Sophia bag by Coach. I've wanted a Sophia bag since their debut in 2010 but I had no specific plans to purchase one. As we were visiting Niagara Falls this past weekend, we dropped by the Coach outlet. When the SA brought out this bag, I knew it had to be mine! I loved the colour (brownish black is so versatile and classic) AND the style (the bag is really light and the wide-zip opening makes it easy to use). As I've previously posted, I've gotten lots of use out of my leather Coach Sabrina bag - and I hope this bag will be as practical.

I think that's enough posting for this week...Next week I'll be sharing part 2 of my purchases (mainly Internet buys). 

Have you been tempted by any Spring merchandise?

Monday, April 4, 2011

In a Decor Daze...

We've recently purchased our first house and will be moving in over the next couple of months. After years of apartment-renting, it's a blessing to have a place to call our own and I'm VERY grateful. However, instead of unleashing my inner interior designer, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. I'm not very good with "blank canvases" and I don't know where to start....What paint colour should I use? What furniture should I buy? Which pictures should I hang on the wall? Do I need curtains?

Source: Google Images
I'm good at looking at a finished room and saying "I love this"...I'm not very good at assembling beautiful pieces into a cohesive whole. Furthermore, although we love our new home already...we only see ourselves living there for the next 3-5 years (it's in the ideal location, but as our children grow up, we'll need more space). So I don't want to invest in furniture pieces that may not translate into our next home.

As with most big projects, I've tried to break this move into "babysteps". There are only 3 rooms that will start from scratch (children's room, living room and furnished basement). I have furniture for the other rooms, and will just have to focus on arranging them in the best way, along with any other required finishing touches. My first step was to make a binder with photographs and floorplans of every room. I used colouring pencils to sketch in furniture placement, and added notes at the bottom. Here's a peek at my Master bedroom plan:
The next step is visiting design websites (here are a few favourites: House & Home, Style at Home, House to Home)  I've always saved decor inspiration pics, but I'm doing targeted searches now that my needs are more specific.
In terms of design style, I used to be into Shabby Chic and French Country - and while I still enjoy elements of those styles, I'm also drawn to sleek and modern pieces. Sadly, the best way to define my current style is "Hotel" (!!!)... I love how 5-star hotels are so restful and elegant, with concealed storage for most items. Now I know that it doesn't really count as a design style - but it is something I'd like to aspire to as I decorate my house.

As I progress with my move, I hope to share some of my projects on this blog - and hopefully get some feedback and ideas from my readers :-)

I'll end this post with some saved inspiration pics of rooms that I like...I still haven't found any of the "perfect" living room yet..sigh!

Source: Google Images
Source: Elle Decor
Source: Google Images
Source: Google Images

What type of decor do you like? Do you have any home decorating tips to share?


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