Friday, October 17, 2014

September 2014 Empties

Happy October!! It's been a crazy week... finally posting my September empties blog. I finished so many great products this month!



* = Disliked the product - would not repurchase
** = Liked the product - might or might not repurchase
*** = Loved the product - would repurchase

Note: Similar to last month, I'll provide my thoughts on full size products or deluxe samples (versus 1-3 time use samples, which I'll just list).

1. Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Shampoo
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: I'm starting to get a little sick of the scent. The shampoo is alright though - nice and creamy.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


2. The Body Shop Banana Shampoo
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: Wow, poor product placement in the below photo - you can't even see the name on the label! I liked this shampoo a lot when I had long hair. Now that my hair is short, I find it gets extra greasy more quickly so I have to wash it more frequently. When I use the banana shampoo on my short hair, I have to wash it twice. I love the scent though. I will try this product again when my hair grows out.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes


3. Tresemme Finishing Spray in hold 4
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: One of my favourite hairsprays! It works really well and is inexpensive to boot! Unfortunately, I will not be repurchasing this product in the forseeable future because I am trying to switch to cruelty free beauty products but I do highly recommend this hairspray.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No


4. Molton Brown Seamoss Stress-Relieving Hydrosoak
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: I love this product!! It has a nice, spalike scent and turns your bathwater a beautiful greenish blue. The bath salts dissolve nicely and it feels like a very luxurious product.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


5. Dot & Lil Rose Soap
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is one of my favourite brands of bar soap. This particular scent is very roselike so you must love rose to love this soap... which I do! This is one of the creamiest bar soaps I've ever tried.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


6. Filthy Farmgirl Filthy Surfer Soap
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is another one of my favourite brands of bar soap. The Filthy Surfer soap has a citrus-coconut scent.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


7. Les Notes de Lanvin Body Lotion in Orange Ambre
Source: Sofitel NYC
Thoughts: This lotion has a rather mature scent but I still really like it.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown


8. Les Notes de Lanvin Body Lotion in Vetyver Blanc
Source: Sofitel NYC
Thoughts: Another strong, slightly mature scent.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown




9. Montagne Jeunesse Dragon Fruit Sauna Mask
Source: PR sample
Thoughts: I love this mask! The scent was amazing and it heated up nicely on the skin. It was a little difficult to get the product out of the packaging but there is enough for 2 applications so both my hubby and I got to try it. I thought I noticed that my skin looked and felt better after using this mask but I will have to try it again to be sure.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


10. Sonia Kashuk Eye Makeup Remover
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is my new favourite eye makeup remover. It does the job well and does not irritate my eyes.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


11. The Body Shop Calming Aloe Toner
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This has become an old standby for me. I love this toner and will continue to repurchase it!
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


12. Philosophy Hope in a Jar
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: I really enjoyed trying this sample. This is a very light moisturizer and absorbs very quickly. I like using this to bridge the gap between washing my face and applying my night cream (could be hours some evenings). I have a full size of this product so I'm eager to continue testing it out.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


13. Made From Earth Vitamin Enhanced Moisturizer
Source: September 2013 Seasonsbox
Thoughts: This moisturizer worked reasonably well as a night cream but I absolutely hated the scent. It was very medicinal and just plain stinky. My hubby made fun of me by crinkling his nose almost every time I applied this night cream. It didn't have a scent like it had gone off... it just smells bad. I was so happy when I finished it.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: Yes


14. Revive Beauty Sponge
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is a beautyblender dupe that I purchased from Winners. I did a review and comparison between this sponge and the original beautyblender, and while both do a good job blending your makeup, I much preferred the beautyblender because it is less dense and easier to squeeze. That being said, the price differential is quite significant, so if you don't mind squeezing stress balls, you may find the dupe suits you perfectly well.
Rating: **


15. Missha BB Cream in #23
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I like this BB cream a lot. It has light coverage but it matches well with my skin tone and evens out my complexion just the slightest bit. Very lightweight and easy to wear.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


16. Dior Addict It Lash
Source: Secret Diva box
Thoughts: This mascara is good if you want very natural looking lashes. It doesn't do much to volumize or lengthen so it didn't really do it for my short, sparse lashes. I ended up using this as more of a base and then applied another mascara for more drama.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


17. Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Baby Doll
Source: Purchased by me - Sephora Favorites Give Me Some Lip Kit
Thoughts: I love this lip gloss. The formula really agrees with my lips and this particular shade is very pretty. There is a light scent and no flavour. Even though this lip gloss has shimmer in it, it did not dry out my lips.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No


18. Fluffs Cotton Pads
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: These are my new favourite cotton pads and super affordable as you can find them at Dollarama!
Rating: ***


19. Quo Nail Polish Remover
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This nail polish remover was alright. It's acetone free so it did take quite a bit of rubbing to get my nail polish off.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


20. Clean Well Natural Hand Sanitizing Wipes in Orange Vanilla
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: These wipes have replaced Wet Ones (another one of my favourites but unfortunately not cruelty free). The only thing tricky about this product is that the scent is a little bit herbal so may not be to everyone's liking. I don't mind it though and find that the wipes work well and stay moist to the very last one.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


I also finished a few tea bags in September. Nothing much to say about these because I don't really remember...

21. Tazo Awake Tea x 2
Source: Purchased by me

22. Numi Organic Berry Black Tea
Source: Care package from Tammy - thank you! :)



That's it for September!! I'm trying to use up a lot of deluxe samples in October... but it looks like I may have some full size products to add to the mix!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

How I Store My Makeup

My hubby and I have a tiny condo so I don't have a dedicated makeup room. Instead, I store all my makeup in a dedicated makeup corner. :) I have 4 main components of makeup storage, which I show in detail in 2 videos. In part 1, I show my set of acrylic makeup drawers (I have six 3-drawer units) and 2 shelves in our built-in wall unit. In part 2, I show the makeup I keep in a corner of our "island" (which does triple duty as kitchen counter, dining table, and makeup table) and my 6 drawer Ikea Helmer. Note that part 1 was posted back in March (giveaway has since closed) and part 2 was posted very recently... there is a huge gap because I was a little averse to showing my huge collection of lippies; however, since I was going to start my makeup inventory and decluttering series, I thought I would wrap up my storage series first.

I have been working hard at decluttering my makeup collection, so my storage is going to evolve and hopefully take up less space over time. In the meantime, here is the current state of my makeup storage!


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Finish 6 By Christmas



Finish 6 by Christmas is a spin-off from the Finish 5 by Fall tag. Since I love trying to finish products, I was really excited to start a new challenge so I could continue to track my progress. Here are the 6 products I'll be working on finishing over the next 3 months:

1. Urban Decay De-Slick (also featured in Finish 5 by Fall)
I received this translucent pressed powder in my swap with Pebbles and I really like it! It doesn't keep me shine free all day but I love the mattifying and smoothening effect when I initially apply this powder to my t-zone. I like to apply this with a flat top brush to really work the product into my skin. I have quite a significant amount of pan showing after using it for 2 months every single day... and sometimes multiple times a day. I'm hoping I'll be able to finish this product by Christmas.

2. YSL Creme de Blush (also featured in Finish 5 by Fall)
This is a beautiful cream to powder blush that I picked up in France last fall. I love the colour - it's a beautiful rosy shade - and it's very easy to blend. When I set this blush with powder, it lasts a very long time on my cheeks (over 8 hours) - I come home from work and still have a nice flush. The reason I chose this product is because I don't tend to reach for my cream blushes often and I'm worried they're going to go off on me. There is quite a big dent in this product now but I still have not hit the bottom... and I've been trying hard to use this up! I think I went out looking a little bit clownish for a while because I couldn't believe how long it was taking to make a noticeable dent in this product. I'm definitely getting my money's worth. :)

3. Bath & Body Works Body Spray in Japanese Cherry Blossom
I believe one of my sisters bought me this product and I completely forgot about it. I found it in my bathroom when I was decluttering and decided to try to finish it. The scent is really nice (pure floral) and it's rather light since it's a body spray... which means I can spray more hehe. I don't think I'll be able to finish this in 3 months - especially since I'll be going away for 2 weeks and won't be bringing this product with me - but I will certainly try!

4. Christian Dior Backstage Eye Prime
I'm not a huge fan of this eye primer but I wanted to see how much of a dent I can make by Christmas. This is a product I received in my Secret Diva box. I've been using it every day for a long while and there is still so much product remaining. The reason I don't really like this primer is because it's on the dry side and the consistency is very hard. Plus it's a little too light for my skin tone. I'm actually questioning my decision to include this product in my Finish 6 but I will just go with it. :)

5. Burberry Lip Mist in Feather Pink
I have been so close to finishing this lipstick for so long but I keep forgetting about it! Since it's officially fall, I'm starting to move away from my corals. I like wearing Feather Pink at work so I figured it would be a good time to try to use it up. I really love this lipstick and part of me wants to save it; however, I need to get into the habit of using my favourites rather than having them collect dust in my collection.

6. Tarte Glamazon Pure Performance 12 Hour Lipstick in Inspired
This is the only deluxe sample I've included in my Finish 6. I decided to include this because it's been in my collection for so long and it should be relatively easy to finish given the small size. The funny thing about this product is when I initially reviewed it as part of my Sephora Favourites Give Me More Lip set, I complained about it being so tiny and said I'd likely be able to finish it in 2 weeks. Of course, I only used it a few times and moved on to something else, so months later, it is still in my collection. I absolutely love this shade and I've been putting this on in the morning before I go to work.

That is basically it for my Finish 6 by Christmas! There are a few other variations floating around that my YT friends and viewers have mentioned: Finish X by Xmas and Finish 15 by 2015. Will you be doing one of these challenges?

Friday, October 3, 2014

September Vlogs

After the end of Vlogust, I really missed my routine of vlogging every day, so I started posting vlogs on a weekly basis (or thereabouts). Here is my collection of the vlogs I posted in September. :)






I took a little break from vlogging last weekend, but I will be posting more soon!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Finish 5 by Fall - Results!

At the end of July, I picked out a few products for the Finish 5 by Fall tag. The idea of this tag was to pick 5 beauty products in your collection to finish by September 22, 2014. Here are the products I picked, in various states of finished-ness on July 26, 2014:



I didn't end up finishing any of the products I picked (beauty products take forever to use up!), but I did make quite a bit of progress. Here is what my products looked like approximately 2 months later:



It's difficult to see how much I used from the above photos (aside from the Urban Decay De-Slick and the Revlon Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya)... if you would like to see the products in more detail, I recorded a video with close-up shots of each product. This was a fun tag and I've already started on a new challenge - Finish 6 by Christmas! I will post more on that soon... in the meantime, Happy October!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tea Collection and Storage

At long last, here is my current tea collection. :) I don't plan to add to my collection anytime soon as I have way too much even though it all fits in one drawer. In fact, I'm going to try to dwindle it down... similar to what I'm trying to do with my beauty products.



I've listed all my teas below by category and indicated my absolute favourites/staples with an asterisk.

BLACK TEA
- David's Tea Kenyan Tinderet*
- Kapkatet Tea Factory Black Tea (purchased in Kenya)
- David's Tea Nepal Black
- NourishTea The Duke of Earl*
- Tea Emporium Winter Blend (this is really old so I'm going to steep it again before I decide whether to keep it)
- David's Tea Jasmine Black Pearls (this may be bumped up to a favourite... but I want to try it one more time)
- Lupicia Decaf Muscat









GREEN TEA (I'm not a huge fan of green tea right now so I may brew each of these to try before deciding whether to keep them)
- The Octavia Tea Company Emerald Spring
- NourishTea The Sencha Way
- Lupicia Budou Green
- David's Tea Rose Congou Green
- Tea Emporium Ming Dynasty Rose







WHITE TEA
- David's Tea Jasmine Silver Needles (I found this tea when I was decluttering my kitchen... it's the tea I used for my tea ceremony so it is also really old... I'm going to steep it again before I decide whether to keep it)



HERBAL INFUSIONS
- David's Tea Peppermint Amour*
- David's Tea Egyptian Camomile*
- David's Tea Cold 911 (great for when you're feeling under the weather)
- David's Tea Lemon Myrtle* (my new obsession!!!)






OTHER
- Teaopia Earl Grey Rooibos*
- Tisano Chocolate Tea




NOT PICTURED
- Teaopia Flowering Tea
- Various Tea Bags

That's basically it! I didn't have as much tea as I thought but still enough to last me quite a while. I had been neglecting my teas for some time (favouring decaf coffee and espresso), but the whole process of recording this collection video really re-ignited my interest in tea and I've started drinking tea/infusions again almost every day at work and every evening at home. While I won't be adding to my tea collection, I will definitely be replacing my staples as I finish them up. Also, because I'm very caffeine sensitive, I likely will not be replenishing the majority of my caffeinated teas, with the exception of my favourites.

Friday, September 19, 2014

August 2014 Empties

It's that time of the month again... empties time!



* = Disliked the product - would not repurchase
** = Liked the product - might or might not repurchase
*** = Loved the product - would repurchase

Note: Similar to last month, I'll provide my thoughts on full size products or deluxe samples (versus 1-3 time use samples, which I'll just list).

1. Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Daily Conditioner
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: I liked the scent of this and it was ok in terms of conditioning my hair
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


2. Joico Body Luxe Conditioner
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I've had this HUGE 1 litre bottle of conditioner for upwards of a year and I finally finished it. This conditioner is supposed to provide fullness & volume but it didn't work for me. I definitely learned my lesson and will not be buying jumbo products in the future without trying them first!
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: No


3. Les Notes de Lanvin Orange Ambre Shower Gel
Source: Sofitel NYC
Thoughts: I really liked the scent of this shower gel and I found it pretty good at cleansing my skin without leaving it feeling dry.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown


4. Filthy Farmgirl Filthy Squirrel Soap
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: Filthy Farmgirl is one of my favourite soap brands - I love the scents, the packaging, the cheeky names, the way the soap looks... the list goes on. Most of all, I like that these soaps cleanse without drying out my skin and the soaps are relatively big so they seem to last quite a long time.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes






5. Ella's Botanicals Beauty Bar Soap in Lemon Zing
Source: 2014 BlushPretty Beauty Board
Cruelty Free: Yes


6. Ocean Breeze Beauty Bar
Source: Hotel sample
Cruelty Free: Unknown


7. Udderly Smooth Body Cream
Source: Sample from Well.ca
Thoughts: I liked the texture of this cream but not the scent (it is unscented).
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes


8. Judith Jackson Spa Tenderly Hand & Body Lotion
Source: Hotel sample
Cruelty Free: Unknown


9. Bath & Body Works Rainkissed Leaves Body Lotion
Source: Free sample
Cruelty Free: Yes


10. Etro Body Lotion
Source: Hotel Moresco (Venice)
Cruelty Free: Unknown




11. Kaia 24hr Booster Serum
Source: Kaia event at BlushPretty
Thoughts: I enjoyed trying this serum. It contains argan & Moringa oils, which the owner mentioned were dry oils. They are very fast absorbing and non-greasy on the skin. I found this serum a little too light for evening use though as I prefer something a little heavier for my nighttime skincare routine.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes


12. Complex 15 Daily Face Cream
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: One of my favourite light creams! I've finished bottles and bottles of this in the many years I've been using this product. Sadly, we will be parting ways as this product is not cruelty free.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No


13. Caudalie Vinosource Moisturizing Sorbet
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: I really enjoyed this cream! It had a bit of a whipped texture. I was surprised how strong the scent was though... especially since this is supposed to be for sensitive skin.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No


14. Julep Daylight Defense SPF 30
Source: Julep Gold Glamour Mystery Clutch
Thoughts: When I finally got around to trying this product, it quickly became my favourite sunscreen... so of course I found out it was discontinued. :(
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes


15. Face Q Ocean & Aloe Mask X 2
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I really love sheet masks! I just noticed though that these did not fit my nose well. There is a little flap that hangs over my nostril and I had to keep folding it back.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown


16. My Beauty Diary Mexico Cactus Mask
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: Love this!
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Unknown


17. J.R. Watkins Natural Beeswax Lip Balm
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: It took me a long time to finish this lip balm because I wasn't really a fan of it. The texture was really hard and I didn't find it very moisturizing or soothing on my lips.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: No


18. Almay Liquid Lip Balm in Blooming Balm
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: One of my favourite lip products - it has reached holy grail status but alas I will have to finish up the other 2 in my stash and then part ways as Almay is not cruelty free. This liquid lip balm does a great job in moisturizing my lips and also has a light pink tint that warms up my face a little bit. I have never found a tinted lip product that I've enjoyed as a lip balm so this product is truly unique for me.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No




19. Claire Burke Sparkling Citron Verbena Candle
Source: VitaBath event
Thoughts: I enjoyed trying this candle but the scent wasn't very strong. The burn time is supposed to be "up to 15 hours" but I think my candle only burned for around half that time (over 2 days).
Rating: **




That's it for my August empties. I feel like I haven't been doing very well with empties but my September bag is feeling rather full so hopefully I will have more next month!

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