Thursday, May 30, 2013

H&M Finds & New Sneakers

Just a quick post sharing some recent outfits and finds...

First up is an H&M Conscious Collection dress - this was the outfit I ended up choosing for my family party. I don't LOVE it, but: it has a fun & colorful print...I couldn't find anything better ... AND it only cost $24.95:

I also picked up 3 button down shirts - the top 2 were $20 and the bottom one was on sale for $10. I love H&M button downs - and was excited to find them at such great prices (previously I've paid up to $35 for their shirts).

Today's outfit was also from H&M, although I think the dress is from last year. It's very light & comfy, and I love the draped design.

Here's a purchase I'm still debating: Nike Flex Run sneakers on sale for $59 at Winners. I loved the hot pink color and unique perforated sole (close up image here) which makes the shoe VERY light weight. However, my sister said that this batch of sneakers must have ended up at Winners for a reason - and they might not provide enough support. I've been looking up reviews online - but am confused by all the technical running terms ("natural gait" and "barefoot-style running") LOL! I'll mainly use them on the elliptical & when traveling, so perhaps I shouldn't worry so much! And did I mention they were hot pink? That should be reason enough to keep them, right?

Do you buy things just because they are a cute color?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

F21 Fitting Room Reviews & a Chance Meeting

I stopped by Forever 21 the other day to try find an outfit for an upcoming family party. Although there were some lovely cheap and cheerful clothes - I didn't find anything suitable for the party. That doesn't mean I came away empty handed though!

I decided I needed the Valentino Rockstud-alike flats after all:

Forever 21 Studded Faux Leather Flats

And of course I had to pick up a necklace too - apparently elephants symbolize protection and good luck!

Forever 21 Elephant Charm Necklace

I tried on a couple of shirts - I find it hard ordering clothes from the F21 website as the selection is TOO LARGE (very intimidating!) and the items look quite different in person (in terms of fit, quality and material). Here are my thoughts on the clothes I tried on:

Forever 21 Tie-Front Georgette Top

PURCHASED. I liked the nautical vibe and feminine bow detail. The material seems more sheer and wrinkle-prone in person, but still good quality for the price.

Forever 21 Chest Pocket Gingham Shirt

PURCHASED. Fit isn't the best - it's slightly boxy - but I love the color - and can see myself wearing it a lot in the summer.

DIDN'T BUY. I liked the vibrant color, ruffled shoulder and long sleeves, but was put off by the scalloped hem - not a flattering shape at all!

Forever 21 Star Print Peplum Top

DIDN'T BUY. I really liked the material and pattern of this shirt, but the fit was very strange. I don't think I have a long torso, but this sat surprisingly high on my waist. I don't think the peplum flare worked with my figure as it  over-emphasized my hips.

Top: Gift, Jeans: Garage, Sandals: Coach, Bag: Coach

Here's the outfit I wore out - I've been wearing my Coach Bow sandals non-stop since I bought them. I'm SO glad I purchased the navy Tanner tote - it works really well with any denim outfit.

While I was checking out the necklace section in Forever 21, I noticed somebody who looked familiar - lovely eyes, Damier Ebene LV & strolling with an adorable newborn. Before I knew it, I was going up to her and asking her: "Are you Mehreen?" (from the monthly must-reads group)... And it was! Even though we've chatted on email and both live in the GTA, what are the chances we'd run into each other so randomly? It was surreal but a WONDERFUL surprise - especially because we already knew so much about each other from our blogs!

Have you ever had an unexpected "real-life" meeting with someone you knew "online"?

Monday, May 20, 2013

DIY Cuticle Oil, Iced Water & New Purchases


I'm always looking for products to try on my perpetually raggedy cuticles. After some research on Makeup Alley, I discovered that layering CND Cuticle Eraser and CND Solar Oil is meant to be REALLY effective in giving your cuticles the "just-manicured" look.  

I ordered a bottle of CND Solar Oil but decided to make my own DIY cuticle oil while I wait for it to arrive. Solar Oil's main ingredients are: Almond, Jojoba & Rice Bran Oil. I had some Almond Oil left over from a previous DIY skincare project, so I transferred it into a nailpolish bottle. This is how Solar Oil is dispensed - it makes the oil easier & neater to apply. Here's what I did:
  • Find an unused or empty nailpolish bottle.
  • Pour any leftover contents into a ziploc bag filled with paper towels (helps contain the mess!) Save any metal ball bearings that came in the polish.
  • Fill the bottle 1/4th full of acetone or nailpolish remover. Reinsert the ball bearing and swirl it around to thoroughly clean the bottle.
  • Turn the bottle upside down so the neck & brush are cleaned.
  • Pour the liquid into the ziploc bag. Refill and repeat a couple of times.
  • Put a drop of dishwashing soap in the bottle and fill with warm water. Shake around with the ball bearing to remove all remnants of polish & acetone. Rinse and drain.
  • Fill the bottle with Almond Oil - can add or substitute Jojoba Oil or Olive Oil. Add any essential oils for fragrance.
  • Keep by your bedside and 'paint' it over cuticles at least once a day! 


Now that warm weather has finally arrived (knock wood!) I'm always tempted by Iced Drinks when we're out running errands (Iced Coffee, Iced Tea...) Keeping Iced Water on hand has helped me avoid the urge to hit the drive-thrus. The Bubba Stainless Steel Hero Bottle is AMAZING at keeping drinks cool - even after 5 hours in the car, it still has ice cubes! If you're trying to drink more water, I highly recommend this thermos - AND it costs less than $20. I bought mine at Walmart and I've seen it sold at Target too - I've been buying them for EVERYONE in my family - my uncle, my sister, my parents etc! It's also great for hot drinks - I used it to carry my Green Tea around in the Winter - and it stayed steaming hot for at least 4 hours (not tepid or lukewarm like my other stainless steel mugs).


Chanel nailpolish iPhone case in May

How adorable is my newest iPhone cover - a Chanel Le Vernis print in May! I first saw this cover on Celina's blog - she purchased hers on Etsy and I did too. I think the sellers keep changing usernames, because the seller I purchased mine from is no longer there (even though I JUST purchased this!) but if you search "Le Vernis Case" on Etsy, you should be able to find something similar.

My other new loves are these Coach Jelly Sandals with Bows. I've had a thing for bows ever since I saw the Valentino Bow Jelly Sandals (what is it with Valentino and all their amazing shoes? First the Rockstuds and now these?). They're surprisingly comfy for Jelly Sandals - I wore them out doing errands on the weekend without any problems (unlike other Jelly shoes I've had which have rubbed my feet raw - ouch!). I found my sandals at Winners for $50 - it's more than I'd usually pay for sandals but they look and seem indestructible so I'm hoping they're worth it!

Have you used cuticle oils? Are you a fan of bow sandals?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Building a Lash Wardrobe: L'Oreal Voluminous Mascaras

Mascara is one of my favorite make-up items: thick and lush lashes make such an impact on your overall appearance! I'm a huge believer in different mascaras for different occasions (at one point, I had EIGHT mascaras in rotation - check out my mini-reviews here!). At the very least, I like having 2 options in my Lash Wardrobe: A thickening formula for everyday wear and a dramatic formula for evenings out. 

So you can imagine how excited I was to receive this beautiful make-up bag from L'Oreal featuring a "Lash Wardrobe" with a VOLUMINOUS mascara to suit every occasion - from Classic to False Lash DRAMA! I received this package over 2 months ago - I've had a great time thoroughly testing each formula out and making notes to share here.

L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Swatch

1) L'Oreal Voluminous Carbon Black Review
CLAIM: Uniquely formulated to resist clumping, soften lashes and build lashes to 5X their natural thickness, with 2X the intensity for a more dramatic effect.
MY THOUGHTS: This classic mascara is popular with a LOT of beauty bloggers for its famed "spider legs" effect. It is unique because it volumizes the whole lash - including the tip. While the spider legs effect looks good with my overall makeup - I personally like my mascaras to be thick at the root and tapered and feathery near the ends.
GOOD FOR: People who like thick spider-leg lashes.

L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Swatch

2)  L'Oreal Voluminous Million Lashes Review
CLAIM: Revolutionary collagen-infused formula and Millionizer Brush for amplified volume and definition.
MY THOUGHTS: Firstly - I'm in LOVE with the packaging. The gold tube is so sleek and glamorous - it looks very YSL.  The flexible brush head with its multitude of bristles was VERY effective at separating lashes and preventing clumping, resulting in perfectly defined lashes which held their curl all day. On my lashes, I found the overall effect to be more lengthening than volumizing.
GOOD FOR: Everyday mascara where you want separation but don't want it to be obvious that you're wearing mascara

L'Oreal Voluminous Power 24H Black Smoke Swatch

3) L'Oreal Voluminous Power 24H Black Smoke Review
CLAIM: Matte formula with collagen spheres, provides 24 hours of volume in a black smoky finish. The semi-arched brush catches all lashes for fuller looking and dramatically bold volume.
MY THOUGHTS: This was the mascara I couldn't stop using: I absolutely love it and will DEFINITELY repurchase! It gives me thick & feathery lashes and is very easy to apply - no clumping even after multiple layers. The brush has a unique shape with a flatter side to build volume at the base of my lashes and long-bristled side to sweep mascara on the lash tips. It's super-dramatic and one of my new holy-grail mascaras!
GOOD FOR: Going-out make-up, when you want noticeable & dramatic lashes!

L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara Swatch

4) L'Oreal Voluminous False Fiber Lashes Mascara Review
CLAIM: Lash sculpting fiber formula adheres to lashes for a volumized, sculpted lash effect. Lashes appear fuller, longer, sculpted and curled at every angle.
MY THOUGHTS: Love the cone-shaped wand which makes it easy to reach even my tiny inner-lashes. Similar to the Power 24HR mascara in creating a false lash effect - though this provides MAJOR lengthening (via layering fiber pieces) while the Power 24HR focuses more on volume. The packaging is super-glamorous - love the golden tube on this and the Million Lashes mascaras!
GOOD FOR: Evening make-up, especially if you want longer-looking lashes.


Have you tried any Voluminous Mascaras? Which one is your favorite?

DISCLAIMER: These mascaras were sent to me by L'Oreal, but I am under no obligation to provide a favorable review.  As you can tell, I wrote my honest unbiased thoughts (as always!!!).

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Testing 5 Revlon Nailpolishes & How I Apply Nail Stickers: #RevlonSelects

Revlon has a program called "Revlon Selects" that is open to ANY makeup enthusiast (not just beauty bloggers). I read about it over here and since I LOVE trying new make-up, I signed up straight away. I was SO excited to be one of their chosen testers!

In this post I thought I'd feature all of the exciting nail products I've been sent to test out - along with my thoughts on them:

Applying Revlon Nail Art Wildflowers in Bow-Quet
How I Apply Nail Stickers:
1) Clean nail surface by wiping with polish remover/acetone
2) Select a sticker that best fits my nail size
3) Apply carefully on nail
4) Fold down excess over the edge of the nail & file it off (using file included in the kit)

Revlon Nail Art Wildflowers in Bow-Quet after 5 days of wear

Nailpolish: Revlon Nail Art Wildflowers in Bow-Quet
My Thoughts: Surprisingly easy to apply - WAY less time consuming than regular polish. No polish smudges on cuticles OR smelly paint fumes either. No drying time so you can use your hands right away without worrying about smudging. VERY long-lasting: the bottom pic is after 5 days of wear - survived hair-washing & pot-scrubbing. However, I had problems getting the stickers to lie flat at my nail base - they kept curling up and catching on things - I had to keep sticking them back down. Would be great for a special night out - and easy enough to peel off the next day. Can save the extra stickers in a ziploc bag to use on accent nails.

Revlon Colorstay in Natural Pink Swatch

Nailpolish: Revlon Colorstay in Natural Pink
My Thoughts: I LOVE the Colorstay polish range - I had already purchased Bare Bones (such a beautiful neutral) before I received this polish. Natural Pink has replaced Essie Fiji as my ultimate pale pink polish. The color is so pretty with peach undertones to keep the shade warm and flattering. Most pale pink polishes are sheer - but the Colorstay range is known for their opacity & gel-like finish, so you don't have to worry about your nails showing through the color at all!

Revlon Chroma Chameleon in Topaz Swatch

Nailpolish: Revlon Chroma Chameleon in Topaz
My Thoughts: Mesmerizing polish that truly shifts colors from green (pictured) to turquoise depending on the light. Not my favorite finish as I prefer creme formulas over shimmery metallics (I feel shimmery polishes emphasize nail imperfections such as ridges). Thin but concentrated formula - I applied 3 coats but it didn't appear thick or smudgy. Great lasting power - wore it for 5 days with only minimal tip wear.

Revlon Orbit and Vincent Van Gold Swatches

Nailpolish: Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy in Orbit
My Thoughts: The purple base coat is so pigmented and creamy - it applies beautifully and is opaque in just one coat. The top coat has stunning iridescent flakies - but is a little difficult to apply. The flakies are gritty and your nails look a bit lumpy when viewed from the side as the flakie sticks out. The color and effect are very beautiful - and it wasn't that difficult to remove unlike some glitter polishes.

Nailpolish: Revlon Nail Art Expressionist in Vincent Van Gold
My Thoughts: The creamy base is amazing and would look gorgeous even on its own. The gold side is lovely and has a thin brush which makes nail art easy (I used free hand to paint the gold stripes). The formula was smooth and pigmented but thin, so my nail tips don't look bumpy in profile (hate bumpy nails!). I personally don't like the golden & purple combination - but the Expressionist line has a pink & silver combo that I'd like to try. Would also love it if they came out with one for a classic french manicure.

Do you like Revlon nailpolishes? Which of these 5 is your favorite?

DISCLAIMER: These products were sent to me by Revlon as part of their RevlonSelects program, but I am under no obligation to provide a favorable review.  As you can tell, I wrote my honest unbiased thoughts (as always!!!).

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Blogging Etiquette, OOTDs & Monthly Must-Reads

Question of the month from Skylette: "What is blogging etiquette to you?  For example, do you comment on everyone's blog that comments on yours?  Do you follow everyone with a blog that reaches out to you?"

I LOVE this question but there's so much to say! I wish we could ALL meet up for one big coffee date and discuss this over cappuccinos!
  • As I wrote above my comment box: "Thanks for commenting! Comments are my favorite part of blogging and I respond to each and every one "  I love interacting with my readers and hearing their thoughts on my post - if you've taken the time to comment: I'm definitely writing back!
  • I reply under each comment so my readers can see it if they check back - this also helps other readers who may have wanted to know the answer to the same question.
  • I wish BLOGGER integrated a commenting system like DISQUS so that you could easily see when your comment receives a reply. When I comment on somebody else's blog, I usually check back in a day or 2 (if I remember) to see if I've received a response - but this is not efficient!
  •  In terms of commenting on other blogs - I only comment if I have something meaningful to say. I'm also more likely to comment on a blog when I know I'll receive a response.
  • However, I don't judge other bloggers who don't reply back - I know a lot of them send emails to their readers...and in a lot of cases, they may receive SO many comments that its impossible to respond to all of them - I'm just grateful they are writing posts! I get so sad when some of my favorite bloggers feel under pressure and then want to quit blogging altogether! 
  • For me, responding to comments is FUN - thanks to you guys for being so amazing & interesting! I especially want to send LOVE out to my regular commenters (you know who you are!) - you guys make my blogging experience so rewarding & worthwhile!
Since I don't have any etiquette-themed photos to share, I thought I'd include some recent OOTDs instead!

Shirt: Old Navy, Necklace: Joe Fresh, Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Old Navy, Bracelet: J.Crew, Bag: LV Speedy 25

Shirt: H&M, Necklace: F21, Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Old Navy, Bag: Coach

What are your thoughts on Blogging Etiquette? 

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Bag Review: Coach Legacy Leather Mini Tanner Crossbody Tote

The Mini Tanner Tote caught my attention because of its resemblance to the Celine Nano Tote - at a fraction of the price!

Similar: Celine Nano Tote and Coach Mini Tanner Tote

I loved its mini-size, cross-body strap & leather tassel detail. When I received a 25% PCE (Preferred Customer Event) coupon - I thought it was the right time to make my purchase.


Coach Legacy Mini Tanner Tote in Perforated Leather


The Mini-Tanner comes in many bright colors but I wanted a dark color since I would wear this cross-body and didn't want to worry about color transfer. Although the Black was classic, I went for Navy since I don't own any dark Blue bags.

At first I ordered Marine - but when it arrived, it turned out to be a deep Purple rather than a true Blue. Luckily my Coach SA was able to track down a Navy/Citron Mini-Tanner from last season for me.

The pictures below reflect the true color of the Navy versus Marine bags (don't know why the lighting is making my Navy bag is looking purplish in the pictures above!)

Coach Legacy Mini Tanner Tote in Perforated Leather
Legacy Leathers: Navy on the left, Marine on the right


Coach Legacy Mini Tanner Tote in Perforated Leather
Handheld & Cross-body


Coach Legacy Mini Tanner Tote in Perforated Leather

Although the bag is small, it's boxy shape means that it can hold a LOT more than most of my other cross-body bags.  (DIMENSIONS: 9 1/2" (L) x 8 1/4" (H) x 3 1/2" (W))

Looking at my purse contents - I now realize I have a LOT of Coach pieces - I particularly like the durability of their canvas coated pieces. (I own the Waverly North/South Universal Case, Madison Mini-Skinny, and Coach Peyton Zip-Around Wallet)

I LOVE the Navy color I chose - but I'm seriously tempted by Coach's latest spring offerings in bright colors (especially since they just sent out another 25% PCE!). Also - I'm obsessed with Coach's Waverly line - how sweet and pink is this Daisy Coin purse.

Coach Mini Tanner Totes

Have you purchased any new bags recently? Do you like Coach bags/wallets?

Disclaimer: I purchased my bag & wallet/wristlets myself - I don't have any link to Coach...I'm just loving their latest designs!

Liked this post? Read my other bag reviews here!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Product RAVE & a Skincare Haul

As an avid blog reader and beauty junkie, I've been making notes every time I read about a star skin care product. I try not to experiment with TOO many new products because of my acne-prone skin, but I had to give in and acquire a few new products to try!

I'll start by introducing my FAVORITE new purchase - I've only been using it for 2 weeks - and it's improved my skin more than anything else I've ever used!


Oil-based cleansers are meant to be better at removing make-up and sebum from your skin because oil attracts oil. I've avoided oil-based products due to my acne-prone skin. I'm SO glad I decided to give this product a try - it cleans everything off my face and leaves me with soft and supple skin. Previous double-cleansing with foam-based cleansers would leave my face irritated and dry while STILL leaving make-up residue.

This balm has a firm and dense texture - similar to Vaseline! I scrape out a dime sized amount and rub it between my freshly-washed hands. It transforms into an oil and I smooth it all over my face. As I rub it into my skin - I can feel my pores unclogging. This sounds gross but little plugs of hardened sebum come loose in to my hands!!! My forehead used to be so bumpy with clogged pores before - now it is completely clear!

When I splash water on my face, the balm becomes a milky liquid and easily rinses off. I'm left with clean and glowing skin. I follow up with Spectrojel  and a warm washcloth to remove any leftover oils (the balm ALWAYS rinses off completely but I don't want to take any chances - plus the Spectrojel keeps my skin pH balanced). My washcloth comes away clean without ANY foundation residue. I wear MAC foundation - and previously, I'd still find traces of foundation on my skin even after double-cleansing!

THE BOTTOM LINE: This product is SUPER effective at cleansing yet SUPER gentle on skin. I'd recommend this product to anyone who wants to remove ALL traces of makeup - especially if you have blemish prone skin that clogs easily.


Clarins Instant Eye Make-Up Remover - This product has been featured by a couple of beauty vloggers that I follow. I was drawn in by the chic packaging, and the claims that it could remove waterproof makeup.  Sadly, this product was a complete FAIL: The formula doesn't have much slip so it tugs at your delicate eye skin - a complete no-no! Despite being marked for sensitive eyes - the formula made my eyes sting AND finally - the deal-breaker...each time I used it, I lost 2-3 eyelashes !!! I'm sticking with Bioderma (the best eye make-up remover I've ever tried) - it's gentler (no stinging!) and much more effective.

Hydraluron - Caroline Hiron is a UK beauty insider with a very popular skincare blog.  Hydraluron is one of her "hall of fame products" because it contains a high dose of hyaluronic acid which helps the skin attract and retain moisture. It is meant to be layered under a moisturizer to keep skin hydrated, plump and glowing. Hyaluronic Acid is also one of the key ingredients in the cult favorite Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair (ANR) serum. Hydraluron is cheaper and has a simpler formula - which I hope suits my skin more than ANR (which broke me out in cystic pimples). I purchased mine at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Jade Roller - I've been interested in Jade Rollers ever since I read that Kate Moss uses them. The Jade stone is meant to be rolled across the skin during facial massage to promote lymphatic drainage. As seen in my earlier post, I'm a long-term fan of anti-aging massage and look forward to incorporating this into my facial routine.

Vichy Liftactiv Serum 10 - This eye serum has a triple function: It moisturizes the eye area, brightens it with micro-pearls and uses ceramides to strengthen lashes. The total result of this is younger looking eyes. I've had success with lash conditioners before (including the Revlon Grow Luscious formula posted about here), so I'm interested to see how this works. I will definitely take before and after pictures to see if there is any noticeable change.

Vichy Aqualia Thermal Night Spa - This product contains Vichy Thermal water (renowned for its skin soothing properties) and Hyaluronic Acid. It is a SLEEPING MASK - you massage a thick layer of this on to your skin and leave it on overnight. When you wake up - your skin is meant to be hydrated and radiant. I'm eager to try this with my jade roller for maximum massage benefits - and will report back on my results. As this is a clear moisture mask - I also think this would be a great product for long-haul flights. You could apply this to freshly cleansed skin and not have to worry about dehydration from the recycled cabin air.

Do you use a cleansing balm? Have you tried any products with Hyaluronic Acid?

DISCLAIMER:  The Vichy mask & eye serum were sent to me, I purchased all the other products myself. As usual, my thoughts are 100% my own.

P.S. Since Google Reader is closing in July - if you follow me on Google Reader, please click here to add me on Bloglovin. 


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