NAILS | Happy Halloween from KISS Nails!

Happy Halloween everyone! Halloween nail art is one of my favourite things to do at this time of year, but I will admit that ever since my career switch earlier this summer, nails have been harder to polish due to just flat out fatigue. I try to keep them painted, but lately there have been stretches where I will go a solid week without polish because "I won't have time to take proper photos". This is when KISS Nails comes to the rescue with what seems to be a neverending wealth of designs for all seasons! Every Halloween, KISS releases limited edition press-on nails that make you wish it was Halloween everyday. This year there were some old favourites and some cute new designs that I couldn't wait to cover my claws with!








I have reviewed KISS nails a few times here and generally feel that the press-ons are just a wee bit wide for my nail beds, but man are they ever shiny and durable! They adhere so well and are so easy to remove with just a hint of polish remover or very slow and careful peeling. All of these Halloween designs can of course be mixed and matched to your liking and I guarantee these are the most amazing nails you will have at any Halloween shindig if you aren't the greatest at nail art!

Anyone headed to a Halloween party tonight? What are you dressing up as?

MAKEUP LOOK | Halloween with Hard Candy - Black Swan Inspired Makeup Look

It's Friday and I'm sure many of you will be starting the Halloween festivities today at work or at parties this weekend (I know I will be!) so because I had quite a bit of fun with Hard Candy earlier this week (here), I thought we could keep up the fun with this Black Swan-inspired Halloween look featuring one of my new favourite eye products - Hard Candy's Eye Def Glitter Eyeshadows*! These are SERIOUSLY intense in terms of pigmentation and wow factor so if you would like to see swatches of some other shades, please let me know!
 



GET THE LOOK!

I have literally ZERO peripheral vision at this point.



Face:


Boscia BB Cream Broad Spectrum SPF 20 PA++

Brows:

Dior Diorshow Universal Brow Styler in #002 Universal Dark Brown* 

Eyes:

Apply Eyes the Limit Long Wear Eyeshadow Primer* followed by Eye Def Glitter Eyeshadow in Smoking Gun* up until brow bone. Go over twice to get the colour very opaque and allow to dry. 

Clean up the edges of the shadow with a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover.

Apply the darkest brown shade in the Hard Candy Naturally Gorgeous Palette* along the lower lash line and blend into Smoking Gun. Use a black liquid liner to line the lower lash line to give more of a dramatic and yet precise effect. 

Line inner water line with Hard Candy Take Me Out Liner in Treasure Chest* and finish off with three coats of 1000 Lashes Mascara in Midnight Black*.

Apply your the most massively long lashes you can find! I'm using lashes from Illasmasqua.

Cheeks:

Diorskin in Nude Tan*

Lips:

Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Gloss in Daredevil*



 This was a little on the short side, but I wanted to share this with you all before Halloween is over! Have a great weekend and be safe!

Hard Candy products are available at Walmart and www.walmart.ca

NAILS | Wet n Wild Halloween Monsters Nail Art

I haven't done Halloween nail in the longest time! I feel like it creeps up so quickly and yet they are hands-down my FAVOURITE nail art theme! This year, a friend of mine tagged me in this Nail Arts Design Magazine video and I thought, yes! Let's attempt this! I was sent a couple of Halloween colours from Wet n Wild and even though my nails are SO SHORT NOW thanks to violin practice, I was determined to fit as many monsters on to them as possible!





The Jack O Lantern was created with two coats of the shade Nuclear War* and some black acrylic paint.

The Bride of Frankenstein was created with two coats of my new favourite creme green, Do Pass Go* and then all the details were handpainted with afine brush and black, white and red acrylic paint.

The female Dracula was created with two coats of another awesome polish, a bright purple called Who is Ultraviolet?* The rest of the details were also handpainted with acrylic paint.

The mummy was one of the fastest nails to do with just two coats of a white polish followed by painting fine black lines and then dotting on some demonic eyes.


Speaking of demonic eyes, this is what I get when the hubby thinks it's funny to step in front of my ringlight. Happy Halloween everyone! If you have fun nail art, link me! I wanna seeee!

Wet n Wild is available at Wal-Mart in Canada.


SKINCARE | Clean & Clear Essentials Review

Sponsored by Crowdsocial

When I think of Clean & Clear, I am immediately taken back to my teenage years of oily skin and every blemish you could think of. Though I never had severe acne, I did have pimples and constant whiteheads across my forehead and cheeks that gave my skin a consistently "textured" appearance. Sexy, I know. I remember trudging on over to London Drugs and not knowing anything about skincare, picking up a Clean & Clear toner because it sounded like it would kill all the bad and give me my pre-pubscent skin back. Low and behold, it helped with some of the congestion on my forehead and the rest is skincare history. I haven't used Clean & Clear in about 10 years so let's see how this curated skincare regime fared on my now more "mature" skin!





The Facial Foaming Cleanser* is the first step in the Clean & Clear Essentials line for those who just want clean and beautiful skin. Even though this is shown on the website as something that works for any non-sensitive skintype, the presence of salicylic acid in the other two steps of the routine make me think this is more suited to blemish-prone skin. This cleanser is oil-free and has a very fresh, soapy scent. It is a fairly thick gel cleanser that foams slightly leaving my skin with that squeaky clean feeling. Some people like this, but at this point in my life means that I am going to have to amp up the moisturizer like nobody's business after cleansing! For those ingredients junkies, this cleanser is not paraben-free.



Step 2 is the toner step which in the Essentials routine is the Deep Cleaning Astringent* which contains 2% salicylic acid and is alcohol-based (very first ingredient). This toner was far too strong for my normal skin and even the scent was very "alcohol-y" to a medicinal point.I would only suggest this toner if you have oily skin. Even if you have an acneic skin condition, I would not suggest drying out the skin with an alcohol-based toner indefinitely. 



The Dual Action Moisturizer* contains 0.5% salicylic acid and is oil-free allowing it to absorb quickly into the skin. Again, I would recommend this for oily skin types or for those in humid climates because in seconds my skin felt like it needed MORE HYDRATION! So, I had to slap some facial oil on top. Don't get me wrong, I love salicylic acid in small doses because there is nothing like a good BHA to clear out the pores, but using this moisturizer alone was really not enough for me. I need much more! For the ingredient-conscious, there is dimethicone in the first half of the ingredient list which contributed to the smooth, silky finish I felt on my skin. The scent was very pleasant and I wish more moisturizers smelled this way!

Final verdict: If you have sensitive skin, you should look into Clean & Clear's sensitive product solutions as the combination of alcohol, salicylic acid and lack of oils might prove to do more harm than good. However, if you have an oily skin type that is prone to breakouts, the Essentials trio is a great way to control oil and breakouts if you don't already have a routine. While I found the astringent to be quite drying, the moisturizer was my favourite of the group and would have come in handy when I was in the more humid climate of Montreal this past summer. My skin was so congested from using my skincare regime from Vancouver!






SUBSCRIPTION BOX | NEW! Vancity Box "Our City in a Box" - Supporting Local Business in Vancouver

Yes, I love the "big brands" and I will admit that there are times when I believe that God placed me on this planet to be a consumer, but I ultimately have a very soft spot for buying local. Vancouver has some of the BEST locally-made goods especially when it comes to food! Living on the West Coast gives us a huge advantage when it comes to food selection which is why the inaugural Vancity Box* is the perfect start to wonderful and new subscription for BC residents as it is filled with local Vancouver food delights guaranteed to make your mouth water!
 


The Vancity Box deets:

  • $34.99/month, $31/sign up for 3 months and $27/sign up for 12 months
  • Full sizes of 6-8 products every month made by BC vendors
  • New theme every month
  • Additional $5 flat rate shipping fee
  • Only ships to BC residents

My Vancity Box was delivered by hand on Thanksgiving Sunday. I almost didn't answer my door because I wasn't expecting anyone! Once I knew who and what it was, I rushed to the door to find a shiny, hefty blue and white box.


The first thing I spotted was this bottle of what I assumed SHOULD be filled with alcohol! From Graveley & Sons, is the perfect DIY kit for anyone who appreciates a good drink. I do not drink thanks to my Asian genes and apparent lack of alcohol dehydrogenase, but this Rum infusion kit is still pretty awesome! All of the necessary spices are already in the bottle and in the scroll are the instructions for how long to infuse your rum. Cool, eh?

Value: $14.95 USD/kit


*CHOMP CHOMP* I'm sorry I was too busy eating the most delicious gourmet cotton candy from PetitPuf! This certified organic cotton candy just melts in your mouth. This particular flavour is French Vanilla and tastes just as fancy as it sounds. 

Value:
 $6.00/single jar


I have not had beef jerky in the longest time, but my memories of it are tough and chewy. Hailing from Chilliwack, BC, Billy Bob's Jerky, puts a fun twist on classic beef jerky with fun flavours like Garlic and Teriyaki, but still has the Original meaty jerky flavour we're all familiar with should those flavours be too out of the box!

Value: $9.99/bag


I adore macaroons, but I definitely have to have them in moderation. These vegan chocolate macaroons from Living Lotus, while not quite as sweet as the traditional macaroons, went well with my morning Asian milk tea.

Value: $4.99/3 pack


Inside the Vancity Box was a monthly calendar from Bored in Vancouver listing events happening all over Vancouver if you are well..bored in Vancouver!


Total value of October Vancity Box: $55.91 (I just added the USD as CDN for simplicity sake)


Final verdict: Like a lot of lifestyle boxes, this isn't your typical $10/month beauty box as buying local usually costs more. Actually, the beef jerky packs ALONE in this box took care of the entire value! If you don't like beef jerky, then you're out of luck, but I like beef jerky and never buy it because it's so expensive! What I love is that with every Vancity box, I know I'm supporting a local business and based on what I have received here, I know that I will definitely be ordering more PetitPuf cotton candy! This is a wonderful discovery box and though it is still in its infancy, I think it is such a great idea as there are so many small businesses here in BC that I still do not know about! And now that our dollar is so low, it's time to buy local! We have so much to offer!

Sign yourself or a friend up for Vancity Box to start discovering more local BC gems at www.vancitybox.com!

MAKEUP LOOK | Getting Romantic for Halloween with Hard Candy's Top Ten Eyeshadow Palette in Naturally Gorgeous with Swatches

I will start off by saying that it is my two year wedding anniversary today and because it falls on a Monday, my husband and I decided to celebrate Sunday night with dinner. Seeing as how I had intended to create a Halloween look, but it needed to be appropriate enough to be seen in public at a respectable venue. So, out of the literal bucket (photo) of Halloween goodies I was sent from Hard Candy, I pulled out the Top Ten Eyeshadow Palette in Naturally Gorgeous*($6.98 CDN) and decided that the shades in here would be restaurant AND hubby approved!





All swatches are done without any primer so you can see that the pigmentation for a $6 makeup palette are pretty awesome! They don't feel that buttery to the touch in the pan, but apply wonderfully. I should note that all 10 shades are shimmery in finish.

I guess the Halloween aspect of this whole endeavour are the lips as I decided to try the Hard Candy Fierce Effects Daring Lip Gloss in Black Rose* ($4.98 CDN), which is a watery black/purple shiny gloss that actually leaves a purple/pink stain behind on the lips. I have three coats on as it is quite subtle on the lips though it appears opaque in the tube.


GET THE LOOK!

Face:

MAC Studio Waterweight SPF 30 Foundation in NC35*

Brows:

Dior Diorshow Universal Brow Styler in #002 Universal Dark Brown* 

Eyes:
Apply Eyes the Limit Long Wear Eyeshadow Primer* followed by the second shade of the Top Ten Eyeshadow Palette*, which I am using as a highlight, to the inner corner and first third of the eyelid.

Apply the sixth second, a dark brown to the middle of the lid.

Apply the third and darkest shade in the palette (right at the end) in the outer crease and blend into upper and lower lash lines. Using a smudgebrush, line lower lash line with shades highlight + dark brown. Apply first highlight shade in a “C-shape” to the inner corners of the eyes. 


Line lower lash line with Take Me Out Liner in Soy* and finish off with three coats of 1000 Lashes Mascara in Midnight Black*.

Add your favourite criss-cross false lashes. I'm using a Korean brand with the only English words being "Secret Star Girl"


Cheeks:

Sephora + Pantone Universe Shimmering Marsala Cheek Trio

Lips:

Hard Candy Fierce Effects Lip Gloss in Black Rose*

Final verdict: For $6, the range of neutrals in the palette is
outstanding! Pigmentation and wear time were comparable to that of the "big guys" and I can see myself reaching for this palette as often as my $60 palettes! I reviewed another Hard Candy neutrals palette (here) and if I had to choose, I would actually choose the latter ONLY because when I am faced with many eyehadow shades at once, I like some ideas for what to do with the colours. As for the quality and value of this palette, just go get it. If you love shimmers, this will give you much to experiment with!  


Hard Candy products are available at Walmart and www.walmart.ca

HAIR | Maple Holistics Natural Argan Oil Shampoo and Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner Review

Have I seriously not talked about shampoo since before the summer?! Well, lemme tell ya, I feel like I have been thrown into shampoo and conditioner boot camp ever since going blonde June 26th, 2015. I remember because it was THAT momentous a day. I have now become very selective about shampoos as they have to be safe for blonde and such, but now that I am using purple S & C's to keep brassiness at bay, I have found it difficult to have BOTH clean and healthy feeling hair.

After getting a bit frustrated with the purple S & C game, I was approached by Maple Holistics to try their Natural Argan Oil Shampoo* (8oz/$12.97) as well as their Silk18 Natural Hair Conditioner* (8oz/$12.97). After having a look at the ingredients and feeling confident that all that hard work bleaching and toning the crap outta my hair would go unharmed, I said "let's do it!"





I put this shampoo to the ultimate test after not washing my hair for 4 days and having a ton of dry shampoo and sea salt texturizing spray in my roots. Talk about putting a natural shampoo through the ringer! 

The first thing I do with shampoos is give them a whiff and while I was expecting something along the herbal route, this Natural Argan Oil Shampoo smelled a little like honey and sweet almond oil. Quite pleasant actually and had a good creamy lather thanks to sodium lauryl glucoside, a foaming derivative from coconut and corn. While the s
hampoo wasn't powerful enough to wash out all the product that was in my hair on the first rinse, subsequent shampoos with two and three day hair left my hair feeling clean.




Right here is where I fell in love. I am rarely impressed with conditioner now as I am used to the straw-like feel of my hair no matter what I do. Masks help, but the effects never last more than a day or two. So, remember how I like to smell new hair products? This 

conditioner contains natural vanilla fragrance which smells absolutely AMAZING! Like out of this world amazing!

It has been difficult to find a conditioner that leaves my hair feeling smooth and usually the products that work are the ones with sillicones in them. If there are no silicones in this conditioner, how was my hair feeling so silky? And for 3 days straight at that?! In addition to ingredients like shea butter and argan oil, there is something called Behentrimonium chloride, which is plant-based conditioning agent made from colza oil from the seeds of Brassica rapa, subspecies oleifera. Instead of sitting on top of the hair shaft, like petrochemical-based ingredients, this actually penetrates the hair shaft giving imparting some INSANE conditioning effects! As I was rinsing it off, my hair just slid through my fingers and made me say OOOHH! The silkiness lasted for so long and while I still had to use product for frizz control, the overall feel of my hair has been almost better than when I DIDN'T have it coloured! Even my roots felt soft and not greasy!


As a bonus, when I blow dried my hair I constantly got whiffs of vanilla :-)

Final verdict: I am so glad that I gave these Maple Holistics products a chance because the conditioner really blew me away! I still use a purple shampoo on the blonde parts of my hair, but this cocktail has kept my hair feeling and looking its best!

Maple Holistics is available at www.mapleholistics.com and www.amazon.com (for Canadians)

Maple Holistics blogger connection sponsored by edumuch.com

BEAUTY BOX | Vive La France October GLOSSYBOX

Welcome to one of the prettiest and chic Glossyboxes I have ever seen! I was expecting the classic pink box and and instead was this beautiful Parisienne-themed piece of art for the month of October. It is so beautiful that I had to jump the gun and skip the summer Glossyboxes I still have to show you! On top of this beautiful box (that I now MUST find a use for!), there was a consistent theme throughout that acutally MADE SENSE and contained products with some French flair.



Even the inside of the box was beautifully decorated!


Phyto | Phytokeratine Repairing Thermal Protectant Spray

Thoughts: I was so pleased to see the brand Phyto in here because they are an awesome luxury botanically-based hair care brand! I have used the scalp treatment as well as night oil and love both! I was looking for a heat protection spray and was actually planning on purchasing this very item!

Full size: 5oz/$32.00

I received: 1oz/$6.40 (This sample size is actually quite generous and the bottle is still glass)

Maison Francis Kurkdjian | Aqua Universalis

Thoughts: GASP. This is one of the most beautiful scents I have ever inhaled! It is incredibly sophisticated (I would expect nothing less from the French!) and is a blend of bergamot from Calabria, lemon from Sicily and lily of the valley. It is citrusy and yet soft and feminine. I cannot believe how much I love it.

Full size: 2.4oz/$185.00

I received: 0.2mL/$15.42

Nuxe | Gentle Exfoliating Gel with Rose Petals

Thoughts: I have tried a couple of Nuxe products before and they are quite good. Nothing too fragrant and this particular scrub exfoliates with walnut shell powder while soothing skin with rosewater (second ingredient). This will pair nicely with my Bio Beaute by Nuxe routine in the coming weeks.

Full size: 2.6oz/$24.00

I received: *FULL SIZE* (According to card, but I think this is the deluxe gift size?)


Lollipops Makeup Paris | Nail Lacquer in "Voyage a Paris"

Thoughts: Ah, a classic red polish. It doesn't get more chic than that. I have never heard of this brand, but it is from France and although I have not swatched it yet, looks deilghtfully juicy in the bottle.

Full size: 12mL/$10.00

I received: 
*FULL SIZE*

De Bruyere Paris | Red Lipgloss

Thoughts: Now, this lipgloss I HAD to swatch since I have been on a bit of a bright lips kick and it IS quite pigmented. Not quite blue red, but more on the fuchsia-red and smells kind of like bubblegum?

Full size: 5mL/$17.50

I received: *FULL SIZE*


Total Value of October Glossybox: $73.32


Final verdict: If THIS is how Glossybox is going to be doing their special edition boxes then sign me up! I was so pleased with the presentation and more importantly the actual products inside. Even though I received this as a press sample, THIS is a good box and I've reviewed A LOT Of boxes at this point in the game. Cannot wait to see what Glossybox dishes out for the holidays!


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