Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Make-up in the Mail: L'Oreal Gel-Lacque, Live Clean Age Resist & Elizabeth Arden Golden Orchid

"Make-up in the Mail" posts feature products that were sent to me - with in-depth reviews of some products and mini-reviews of others. I take my time to thoroughly test and review products, but I don't want my readers to miss out on the latest and greatest on the market while I formulate my reviews!

Product: L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque Nail 1-2-3

What is it? A 3-step nail system (primer/polish/topcoat) that provides the look of a Gel/Shellac manicure
Why is it special? It's an easy way to get glossy, shiny nails without using a UV light or having to go to a salon

L'Oreal Paris Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque Nail  Swatch 700 Absolutely Timeless
L'Oreal Extraordinaire Gel-Lacque in 700 Absolutely Timeless and 701 Don't Shy Away

My thoughts:  I absolutely adore this Gel-lacque system. I've tried both salon Shellac manicures and at-home UV-light kits...and I prefer this L'Oreal kit over both those options! Here's why:
Application: Curved brush applies polish neatly. Rock hard glossy finish typical of salon gel nails, and the formula dries very quickly!
Longevity: The L'Oreal Gel-Lacque polishes provide me with a solid week of wear (with minimal tip wear/chipping by the 5th day). Meanwhile, a large chip peeled off my nail on the 3rd day after my expensive salon CND Shellac manicure!
Removal: Comes off super easily with normal nail polish remover - no need to soak your nails in acetone and scrape of the uv-baked on formula (which can lead to damaged brittle nails).
Tips: The gel colour layer looks matte and dries very quickly - you NEED to use it with the Primer/Top Coat kit to get the super glossy look. Would follow the instructions and only use 2 coats of gel colour - when I applied 3 coats, I got a small air bubble on 2 of my nails. 700 Absolutely Timeless is a gorgeous pale pink shade, but the formula was slightly streakier than 701 Don't Shy Away. Luckily most of the streaks smoothed out when I applied the Top Coat.
Price: Primer & Top-Coat Kit ($15.99), Gel Colour ($8.99)

Product: Live Clean Age Resist Collection

Live Clean Age Resist Shampoo, Conditioner, Multi 10 in 1 Treatment, Miracle Nutrition Oil

What is it? A 4-part anti-aging hair treatment consisting of: pre-wash oil, shampoo, conditioner and post-wash beauty balm.
Why is it special? Uses eco-friendly ingredients: Plant-based silicone alternatives (rosehip and avocado oil), Antioxidants (Pomegranate, Gogi and Blueberry extracts) and Volume-boosting Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein.
Who is it good for? Anyone who has found that their hair has gotten thinner, fragile and dull over time.
My thoughts: I tried the whole system out, massaging the Miracle Resist Nutrition Oil in my hair before my bath, followed by the shampoo and conditioner in the shower, and applied the 10-in-1 treatment after towel-drying my hair. The whole system smells amazing. My hair looked very healthy and glossy after use - the strands felt fuller and were completely frizz-free. My only complaint would be that my roots felt a bit weighed down and oily. So depending on your hair type, I would recommend using  a volume-boosting shampoo on your roots, and the Age Resist system on the rest of your hair.
Price:  Shampoo, Conditioner & 10-in-1 treatment ($8.99 each), Miracle Nutrition Oil ($11.99)

Product: Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Eye Shadow in Golden Orchid

What is it? Finely milled eyeshadow single in Pantone 2014's color of the year
Why is it special? Buildable shadow with rich pigmentation and long lasting wear

My thoughts: I don't usually wear colour on my lids, but this shadow was very easy to use.  I applied it as a simple wash of colour on my eyelids - and because of the subtle gold dimensions, it actually looked like 2 eyeshadows blended together! Even without a primer, the rich orchid tones showed up, and the shadow lasted without creasing for the whole day. The shadow is light enough for everyday wear because it's very subtle, but it could also be smoked out with deeper colors for a more dramatic look.
Price: $24

 Have you heard of or tried any of these new products?

These products were sent to me for review but all opinions are 100% my own.  

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Shopping Diaries - ZARA, JACOB, Michael Kors and Rockstud Dupes

I love shopping (which is why I'm the Shopping Blogger over at Yummy Mummy Club) but I can't possibly buy EVERY great deal I find (ha ha!) Still, I CAN share my favorite finds with you! This post is a mix of recent purchases along with some items that I loved but didn't buy.

JACOB tweed jacklet
Purchased: JACOB jacket

My favorite purchase is this jacket from the JACOB outlet. I'd been looking at these ZARA tweed jackets , but they fit strangely around my shoulders. This was originally priced at $139, with 50% off. Yet when I was checking out, it rung up for $29...such a steal!!!

JACOB dress, JACOB top, ZARA jacket

I also tried on this blue dress and the lace capped shirt at JACOB. Seeing pictures of Kate Middleton on the Royal Tour makes me want to wear more dresses, but I want one that's slightly longer than this blue one. I bought the white shirt - it's a simple and classic piece and would look great paired with slim black pants. I purchased the quilted blue jacket on the right from ZARA, but I'm not sure if I should keep it. I've been looking for a lightweight, slim-fitting quilted jacket (especially useful when traveling) - but perhaps I should wait and invest in a classic Barbour jacket instead?

Didn't Purchase: Rockstud Dupes from Urban Planet

I don't usually shop at Urban Planet - but my friend S and I decided to check it out - and we were SO surprised to see these Valentino Rockstud dupes for $35! I've spotted many inspired shoes - but these are the first exact copies I've seen.

Didn't Purchase: Bucket Bag from Old Navy

Apparently bucket bags are going to be very big this season (along with backpacks...but I'll pass on those!) I thought these bags at Old Navy were very well-made, and a fun way to indulge in the bucket trend without spending a lot of money.

Michael Kors Saffiano Orange Phone Case
Didn't Purchase: Michael Kors Wallet

I spotted this adorable Michael Kors Hamilton Wallet at Winners - I love the vibrant orange colour as well as the tiny MK lock! However, half of the wallet was a phone holder, and I like carrying my phone separately. Speaking of adorable MK items, have you seen their tiny Hamilton bag? It fits next to nothing but is so darn cute!

My last set of purchases was thanks to my friend T. One of her friends owns a showroom and only sells wholesale lots to department stores...luckily for us, she made an exception and let us shop there at wholesale prices. This necklace was only $14 (!!!) It was hard not to ransack the store...but I tried to be very selective, and only purchased one other necklace and a bracelet, as well as some gifts for friends.

Hope you enjoyed virtual shopping with me! If you want some more eye candy, click over to check out all the pretties I spotted at the Indigo preview last week!

Which of these shopping finds do you like the best?

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Bag Review: A Look Inside my Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Leather Satchel

After countless mentions of it on my blog, I don't think it's any surprise that I finally got the Phillip Lim Pashli Mini in Taupe! It was a Congratulations-on-Passing-my-Driving-test gift from hubby. (Sidenote: After years of thinking I could never do it...and being too scared to even try...I still can't believe I passed my driving test!!!)

Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Review

The Pashli Mini comes in a wide range of colours - the black and jade versions are gorgeous, but I love the taupe one the best. It's a light shade but dark enough that you don't have to worry about color transfer. The pebbled leather material is very durable - it's scratch resistant and has even survived being drenched in the rain!

Crystal Bloom Flower Necklace
Shirt: H&M, Necklace: eBay - search for "crystal blooms bib necklace" (similar from Baublebar), Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Old Navy (similar from Target), Bag: Pashli Mini

What Fits Inside the Pashli Mini

My favorite feature of the Pashli Mini is how light yet spacious it is. The dimensions are 7"H x 9"W x 3.5"D with additional interior space when the sides are unzipped. All my daily essentials fit comfortably inside (sunglasses, keys, wallet, iPhone, camera and makeup pouch).

The interior of the Phillip Lim Pashli Mini

Wearing the Pashli Mini

The Pashli Mini is the perfect hands-free crossbody bag. I never get any shoulder pain when I use it because the thick strap distributes the weight evenly. I love the structured shape, stand-up handles and flared out 'wings'.

Outfit featuring Phillip Lim Pashli Mini
Shirt: Forever21 (similar from F21), Necklace: Aldo (similar), Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Old Navy (similar from Target), Bag: Pashli Mini


While I absolutely love my Pashli Mini, there are some factors to consider before deciding if this bag would work for you:
  • Shoulder strap - the 25" shoulder strap is TOO long - after I adjusted the strap for my height (5'4"), there was a long length just sticking out. Right now I tuck the excess strap into the bag, but I might try looping it around the buckle so that it's not in my way. 
  • How often you open your bag - closing the push lock can be tricky (you need both hands to click it in place) and unfastening and refastening the button tab on the handles can be a chore. I don't need to open my bag that frequently because I usually just slip my iPhone in and out of the side wings - but I do need some extra time to take out my wallet. I wouldn't recommend this bag if you had to access your bag contents multiple times a day.
  • Scratched hardware - the brushed metal push lock closure gets marked easily - mine already has a few scratches. I don't mind because I think it works with the rugged texture of the bag, but if it would bother you, I wouldn't get this bag.

Mini Pashli Phillip Lim Bag

Celebs wearing the Pashli Mini

I love how the Pashli Mini works with both casual wear (on Rachel Bilson) and for a night out (on Emma Roberts). And how gorgeous is the vibrant green bag Reese Witherspoon is carrying? (She has a larger version of the Pashli.)

Reese Witherspoon, Rachel Bilson, Emma Roberts Phillip Lim Pashli Mini

Hope this review was helpful if you were thinking about purchasing the Pashli mini yourself (ahem...Jessy!) Note for Canadian Readers - if you're wondering where to buy a Pashli, we purchased mine from Holt Renfrew.

Similar (in appearance, not price) to the Pashli Mini is the Target Satchel from the Phillip Lim x Target collaboration, the dimensions are alike but the designs are different - the Target one is faux leather, with a top zip closure, and was a bargain at $35! Unfortunately they sold out so quickly that I never even got the chance to see them in person.

Liked this post? Read my other bag reviews here

Disclaimer: This bag was a gift from Hubby. Please don't mind the "not for sale" watermarks - I've had to add them to some of my pictures after sweet blog readers have emailed me weblinks of my pictures being used on sketchy bag sale sites!

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Winner of my WANTABLE Giveaway....

Thank you to everyone who entered my Wantable giveaway! The lucky winner of their very own Wantable box is......


Please check your email - and congrats!!!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Going Blonde...Getting the Perfect Touch of Ombre with L'Oreal

I was invited by L'Oreal to discover my perfect ombre look using their at-home haircolour kits. I had been wanting to change up my haircolour, so I was very excited about this opportunity!

Product review Superior Preference Ombre Touch in OT5
Photo Credit: Elaine

Eric Del Monaco (Official Hair Artist & Colourist for L'Oreal Paris) provided me with a personalized consultation. He recommended creating a subtle blonde ombre using Superior Preference Ombre Touch in OT5 (Light Brown to Medium Brown Hair).

The application process was super simple - it only took 10 minutes. My top layer was sectioned off, and Daniel (a stylist at the Del Monaco Salon) used the thimble applicator from the kit to comb streaks of colour through the middle layer of my hair. He then unclipped my top layers, gently placed it over my middle layers, and highlighted a couple of face-framing strands. I waited 30 minutes for the colour to develop - just enough time to chat with Elaine and take a salon-selfie!

After 30 minutes, Daniel washed my hair with the conditioning shampoo from the kit. He then applied L'Oreal Color Radiance Precious Oils and blow-dried my hair. When it was dry, he used a curling iron and L'Oreal Elnett Satin Stronghold Hairspray to create voluminous curls.

L'Oreal Color Radiance Precious Oil

Can't believe it only took 3 products to create my new hair style! I'm amazed at how light my hair got with the ombre kit - it's very powerful. There are definitely some gold strands in my hair, but because it's in the middle layer, it just peeks through - so it doesn't look choppy or shocking. Although I'll be able to recreate this colour at home (with the ombre kit) - I wish I had Daniel's talent so that I could recreate my style too...I can never get such perfect curls myself! Here's the end result - with the 2 people responsible for my look: Eric and Daniel:

Photo Credit: Elaine

In between the colour and consultation, I got the chance to catch up with some other Toronto Beauty Bloggers - which is always my favorite part!

With: Emily, Elaine and Tess

My outfit for the event:

Shirt: H&M, Necklace: J.Crew Factory (this season's version), Jeans: Garage, Shoes: Old Navy (similar from Target), Bag: Balenciaga

Not only did L'Oreal ombre my hair - they provided me with all the products I need to keep it looking shiny and healthy - look at these massive bottles of Color Radiance shampoo and conditioner! And a bottle of Precious Oils of my own - so excited!

Would you ever try the ombre look? And if so, would you ever use an at-home kit?

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Spring is for Lovers...Lancôme LIP LOVER!

I received a gorgeous trio of lip products from Lancôme, just in time for Spring! The latest addition to their In Love line, the Lip Lover range contains 21 glosses based on varying shades of pink. Basic Chic contains fresh and delicate glosses, while Creative Chic has deeper and more daring tints.

I have one Basic Chic gloss (318 Abricot Tango) and two Creative Chic glosses (355 Framboise Étoile & 362 Bordeaux Tempo). The vibrant Framboise Étoile was the perfect match for my favorite rose scarf. True to its promise, this Creative Chic shade definitely delivered a deep and saturated color!


The Lip Lover range provides colour (lipstick pigments), shine (non-sticky, silicone-infused oil formulation) and lipcare (eight-hour moisture). They are beautifully fragranced: Basic Chic is scented with rose petals, vanilla and raspberry (seriously adore this scent!) and Creative Chic is perfumed with Rose, Iris and Violet.

I have to rave about the composition of these glosses, the oil-based formula is so unique! They apply in a light layer, without any waxy or cakey feeling, yet they manage to stay on your lips and leave them feeling soothed and moisturized for hours. I usually prep my lips with balm before applying my makeup, but that step is completely unnecessary with this gloss.


The Creative Chic line is very pigmented since they show up on my dark lips. The glosses provide a long-lasting tint which wears off evenly over time (on my lips, Framboise Étoile still showed up 4 hours after application - great staying power for a gloss!) However, I would not pair these with a lip liner, as when the gloss gradually fades, you'd be left with a ring of liner around your lips. I've been loving Abricot Tango for daily wear. The shimmery coral shade makes my lips look plumped up, and it goes perfectly with peachy blushed cheeks and dark, lined lashes.


Lancome Lip Lovers Basic Chic gloss (318 Abricot Tango) and Creative Chic glosses (355 Framboise Étoile & 362 Bordeaux Tempo)

The Lip Lover glosses come packaged in a chic silver tube with a click-button closure - it definitely looks and feels luxe! Since I haven't been using a lip liner with these glosses, I've been especially loving the pointed tip applicator - it lets me trace my cupid's bow and apply the gloss with the precision of a lip brush.

Montmartre / Mug / Pashli Mini / Rockstuds / Laduree Keychain

I created a mood board inspired by the Framboise Étoile shade worn in my picture. How much fun would it be to stroll around a quaint Parisian neighbourhood, wearing chic accessories while sipping on coffee?

Want to win a Lip Lover gloss? Lancôme is currently running a contest, visit this website for the chance to win your favourite shade!

Additionally, you can use the code LIPLOVER for 10% OFF + Free Shipping applicable on any purchase on between March 24th to April 25th inclusively.

DISCLAIMER: This is a sponsored post but all opinions are 100% my own.

Linking up with More Pieces of Me and On the Daily Express.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mad about a ZARA Bag, Blossom Lounge Water Challenge & Dress Like Gwyneth!

There are certain ZARA items that have reached cult status among bloggers - these colorblock heels, THAT napkin skort and last winter's sought-after plaid scarf. Two popular items from this season are the Court Shoes with Bows and the Mini City Bag with Zip Details.

I saw the Mini City bag in person, and I'm in love - it's a GORGEOUS taupe-ish pink color...and looks like a cross between the Celine Nano (structure & zip) and Pashli Mini bag (button tab on the handles). Although I was seriously tempted by the bag, I left it in store so that I could think about it. What would you do - get this adorable faux-leather bag (which costs less and may last a season or two with heavy use) or invest in the Pashli Mini (which is pricier but made of real leather, with a reputation for durablity?)

I'm featured on Blossom Lounge's blog after completing the Blossom X BKR Water challenge! In my mind, I had always thought of myself as someone who drinks a lot of water (I never leave the house without a bottle!)...but in reality, I wasn't drinking as much as I should have been. Participating in this challenge made me more aware of my drinking habits - and it showed me that consistently drinking adequate water REALLY does help my skin look its best!

1. LOFT / 2. OLD NAVY  / 3. EXPRESS / 4. GARAGE / 5. FOREVER21 / 6. ALDO

Gwyneth Paltrow has been in the news non-stop since she decided to 'consciously uncouple' from Chris Martin. Although she used an unusual (and some might say pretentious) phrase to describe her separation, as long as she has her family's best interests at heart, I can't fault her. On a more frivolous note, I've always had a huge style crush on her - if you have too, you'll want to check out my Steal Her Style post - which includes some fashion misses as well as hits!


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