Sunday, July 29, 2012

nail polish haul

there was an awesome deal at the trade secrets in the holt renfrew centre - 2 essie or opi nail polishes for $12. or at least i thought it was a good deal until the sale price dropped again to 2 for $10. oops. after purchasing 16 nail polishes at the higher price, i had told myself i would not set foot in that store again. and so far, i have not. here are the 16 polishes i picked up in two video installments!





left to right: armed and ready - sew psyched


left to right: tickle my france-y (la collection de france by opi) - my pointe exactly (new york city ballet) - don't touch my tutu (new york city ballet) - stranger tides (pirates of the caribbean)


left to right: heart throb (softshades by opi) - the "it" color (mod about brights by opi) - do you lilac it (brights by opi)


left to right: big hair... big nails (texas collection) - too hot pick to hold 'em (texas collection) - big apple red (new york city collection)


left to right: you don't know jacques (la collection de france by opi) - ski teal we drop (swiss collection) - lincoln park after dark (chicago collection by opi) - pamplona purple (coleccion de espana)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

july 2012 glymm bag

UPDATE (April 2013): Please read my most recent post on Glymm before ordering from this company.

the july glymm bag didn't wow me at first but i quickly changed my mind as i tried out all the samples. we received an orange make-up bag this month. read (or watch) on for my review of the products!





here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. cyberderm h2o hydration

the cyberderm samples came packaged in syringes. yes, syringes! i am still undecided on how i feel about this. i really like innovative and unique packaging but looking at these samples makes me feel a little bit uneasy... and i'm not even afraid of needles! the syringes have cyberderm labels on them, which cover the line reading, "for oral use only." this company was started by 2 physicians, which gives us some insight as to the packaging.

cyberderm calls itself "the sunscreen company" and i was very excited when i read that because i thought i received 2 sunscreen samples. i was disappointed when i saw that we had actually received 2 moisturizers / anti-aging products. then i was confused when i couldn't find any sunscreens for sale on the cyberderm website. the sunscreen company?! further research revealed that the sunscreens (which are called sun whips) are coming soon. i'd be interested in trying the simply zinc sun whip. i'm hoping it will be reasonably priced.

anyway, h2o hydration is a daily moisturizer and anti-aging product. it was easy to dispense the product from the syringe.

impressions: i really like the h2o hydration sample. the moisturizer absorbs very quickly into my skin and is non-greasy; however, i probably would not repurchase this product. i did not notice enough of a difference between this product and my other moisturizers to justify the high price tag.

full size // 50 mL // $60
sample size // 5 mL (estimated) // approximate value of $6
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase


2. cyberderm pm anti-age

the cyberderm website describes the pm anti-age as follows: Chromosomal telomeres (the end portions of our DNA) shorten with age, stress and oxidative/UV damage. The active ingredient Renovage has been clinically shown to prevent telomere shortening in skin cells. Collagen and elastin fibers are like springs in a mattress that support the skin from below. Renovage increases the life span of these very important fibers. Turmeric, also found in our PM Anti-Age, brightens the skin and makes it radiate from within. The purified molecule EUK 134 mops up free radicals continuously. The results- a reduction in the appearance of fine lines, age spots, and pore size and healthier, more hydrated skin.

impressions: unfortunately, i did not like this product due to the scent. i think some people liked it but to me, it has a very strong and unpleasant medicinal scent.

full size // 50 mL // $115
sample size // 5 mL (estimated) // approximate value of $11.50
personal rating // 1 // disliked the product - would not repurchase




3. dirt beaute purify + glow salt scrub

i have never tried a salt scrub so i was pretty happy to receive this. this is a body scrub with a very pleasant cucumber and fig scent.

impressions: i didn't want to use the entire sample all at once so i just tried it on my feet as they are in serious need of some tlc! i used the product in the shower on the tops, heels, and balls of my feet. the salt was fine in texture and dissolved very quickly, leaving a oily residue on the skin. my feet felt very moisturized after using the scrub - my skin also looked brighter. i am happy with this scrub but undecided about whether i would repurchase it. i might try to make my own. :)

full size // 12 oz // $45
sample size // 0.5 oz // approximately $1.88
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




4. mane teeze hair perfume in social butterfly

i wasn't sure what to think when i first saw this product. the scent was pleasant enough - a blend of vanilla and coconut. as i researched this product a little more, i found that this product was the brainchild of two ladies (tara & melanie) who own 4 blo blow dry bar franchises. i have heard a little bit about blo - and was actually thinking about trying the service - so i became really intrigued by the hair perfume.

there are three scents available: black widow (dark amber), haut mess (chocolate caramel), and the one we received, social butterfly (vanilla coconut). you only have to spray 1 to 3 spritzes as the formula is apparently more concentrated than most of the fragrances you would wear on your skin. the product does contain alcohol but is supposedly gentler for your hair than a regular eau de toilette.

impressions: i really really really like the social butterfly hair perfume. it smells amazing and lasts a very long time (although i didn't find it lasted the advertised 12 hours... then again, i only used 2 spritzes). no scent headaches. i felt like a lady when wearing this. a fancy lady. :)

full size // 50 mL // $34
sample size // 8 mL // approximately $5.44
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




5. joico k-pak revitaluxe

while i don't mind receiving haircare products because they are so useful, i wasn't too excited about this product because i've tried a lot of conditioners and treatments from beauty boxes and i've never been wowed. this is a protein treatment so i read that you should only use it once a week as too much protein can make your hair dry and brittle. to use this product, you shampoo as normal and then apply the treatment for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing it out.

impressions: i used this last night and ohmygoodness i could not believe the difference in my hair today. it is so soft and silky and super duper straight. it also seemed to stay fresher longer - less greasy and slightly more voluminous. i lovelovelove this treatment! the product smells pretty good too - it reminds me of something i can't place.

full size // 150 mL // $25
sample size // 50 mL // approximately $8.33
personal rating // 3 // loved the product - would repurchase




overall, even though i was disappointed when i first opened the glymm bag, i ended up being pretty happy with the samples. while we didn't receive any full size products, all of the samples were reasonable in size. my favourite product was the joico treatment... and i was probably least excited about that sample when i first opened the glymm bag! again, glymm has provided quite a few surprises in terms of brands and products included, which i really like about this subscription service. i love being able to try a whole bunch of brands i have never seen and products i would never have thought to purchase for myself.

we also received a coupon code for 25% off nail polishes from the glymm beauty boutique but i seem to have misplaced it. i wasn't planning to use it anyway as i've amassed way too much nail polish in the past few weeks.



// approximate value of the products in the july 2012 glymm bag: $33.15 not including the nylon bag //

what did you think of this month's glymm bag?


ftc: i paid for this box and nothing was sent to me for free.

Friday, July 13, 2012

breakfast at the senator

it was supposed to be brunch but we arrived too early. it turned out to be good timing because we snagged one of the last booths and then the diner got uber busy. plus we wanted eggs anyway. :) i can't believe this was our very first time at the senator. it was comfort food at its finest. a deliciously greasy start to a lazy sunday.






we pretty much licked our plates clean. it's one of those meals you know you shouldn't eat too often but do anyway. it's not good for the body but it's oh so good for the soul.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

july topbox - 2012

my topbox arrived on july 10 - this company is really on top of things with shipping!



here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. china glaze nail lacquer in purple panic (neon)

after my crazy nail polish shopping sprees of late, it was ironic when i opened up my topbox and found yet another nail polish to add to my collection. thankfully, i don't have a lot of neon nail polishes and this colour was right up my alley. on my july topbox survey, i answered, "surprise me" on the nail polish question so i lucked out when i received a colour i actually liked. this does not look purple to me but rather a bright fuchsia.

impressions: i love this nail polish colour. my quick swatch revealed a nicely pigmented bright neon fuchsia shade with a matte finish. the colour is intense and it makes me happy. i'd wear this shade matte (so pretty) or with a glossy topcoat to make it shine.

full size and sample size // 14 mL // $8 (the card shows $10-$14 but china glaze is typically priced at around $8 at the toronto barber & beauty supply)
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




2. nume hydro punch hydrating shampoo

i received the nume hydro punch hydrating conditioner in my may glymm bag - i guess i should have saved that sample so i could use the shampoo & conditioner together. this product contains sage extract, bamboo extract, and argan oil.

impressions: when i tried the conditioner from my glymm bag, i thought it was ok but i did not fancy the smell. the verdict is pretty much the same with the shampoo. it was alright but the scent was way too strong. i also found my hair a little more tangled the next day. i will finish using this sample (i will probably end up getting 2 to 3 uses out of it) but would not repurchase this product.

full size // 250 mL // $24.99
sample size // 20 mL // approximate value of $2
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




3. pure+simple calming cucumber mask

i've loved everything i've tried from pure+simple so i was really happy to receive the cucumber mask in my topbox. i'm working my way through samples of the organic lavender hydrosol, collagen elastin plus, and face colour in soleil - plus i tried a few of the moisturizers, lotions, and creams when i was at the beauty board.

impressions: i didn't like that there were no directions for use on the sample or on the topbox card. after i put it all over my face, i looked up the directions online and learned i had to leave it on for at least 30 minutes. i also could have slept with it on. unlike other masks, this one goes on clear and feels very light. it also doesn't make your skin feel super tight as it dries. it has a bit of a sticky texture. after 30 minutes, i rinsed off the product and my skin was super soft! i really loved how gentle this product was - yet it still made my skin feel noticeably smoother. this is unlike any mask i've ever tried and i absolutely loved it.

here are the directions for use for the mask:

- apply to entire face and neck after cleansing + toning
- leave on skin to penetrate for 30 minutes
- best if used after exfoliating (as long as skin is not irritated)
- rinse off and pat dry

this product can be used as:

- an eye mask to relieve puffy eyes and dark circles
- a cooling treatment for irritated skin conditions such as sunburn and rosacea
- an overnight treatment (to be washed off the next morning)

the pure+simple website describes this product as a deeply soothing gel mask that infuses moisture without the use of oils. also, you can refrigerate the mask before applying it - i want to try this!

dear topbox: more pure+simple samples please! :)

full size // 50 mL // $25.25
sample size // 20 mL // approximately $10.10
personal rating // 3 // loved the product - would repurchase




4. sampar ultra hydrating fluid

i've heard of this brand before but don't know much about it. i wasn't even sure what this sample was - initially, i thought it was a serum but after using the product a couple of times, it feels more like a face cream or moisturizer.

impressions: i find the scent a little strong but it is otherwise ok. the cream feels very moisturizing. after applying the product, it left my skin looking a little shiny (and feeling a little sticky) as it did not seem to absorb quickly. however, in the morning, my skin looked and felt great - i'm not sure if it was due to this particular product or a combination of different products. based on how much i've used so far, i expect to get around 3-4 uses out of each sample packet - so even though the sample looks small, i think it is a reasonable size.

full size // 50 mL // $80
sample size // 2 mL x 2 packets // approximately $6.40
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




after being disappointed by the june topbox, i was pretty happy with this month's box. my favourite product was the pure+simple calming cucumber mask, followed by the china glaze neon nail polish. i am also happy to try the sampar product, even though i've read that you can request these samples for free directly from the company - i never think to do that but maybe i should! i liked the variety of brands and products included in this month's topbox.

oh, we also received a $100 gift certificate to use towards nume professional styling tools or hair extensions. this is the second time i've received this gift certificate (first one being in my april glymm box). i haven't used the one from glymm and i'm not sure i'll use this one either. if i use the code, i'd probably have to spend $50 to $100 after shipping - and that doesn't even include any custom fees that might apply. :( also, i question the pricing on the website if nume can afford to give away thousands of $100 gift certificates (they have made appearances in myglam, glymm, and now topbox). anyway, the promo code expires october 31, 2012 so i still have time to change my mind.



// approximate value of the products in the july 2012 topbox: $26.50 //

what did you think of this month's topbox?

ftc: i paid for this box and nothing was sent to me for free.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

{what i wore} patio night

this outfit was really out of my comfort zone. i never wear short skirts and i never wear this much colour all at once! this was the night of one of my themed dinners with my friend - and our theme was colour! no black, white, brown, or grey allowed in any part of the outfit. this is the outfit i came up with - would you believe my friend was wearing almost the exact same colours!? great minds think alike. :)


song: all the world by jenny mayhem (creative commons license)

- coral lace bandeau (urban outfitters)
- maroon tank top (h&m)
- red-coral skirt (zara)
- purple flats (walmart)
- oversize clutch (zara)

{on my face}

- bronze smokey eye with coastal scents mirage palette
- hard candy fox in a box blush in skinny dipping
- milani baked blush in bellissimo bronze
- hard candy so baked bronzer in tiki
- revlon lip butter in peach parfait
- mac cremesheen lipstick in ravishing
- sula lipgloss in i'm so lucky

{on my nails}

- opi stranger tides
- accent nails with julep portia

i got so many compliments on this hairstyle and i couldn't stop playing with the braid all night (or in this video apparently)! :) thanks to beyondbeautystar for the double fishtail braid tutorial. i took the below photo in the morning when i was "trying out" the hairstyle.



{what we ate}

we went to mambo lounge for summerlicious dinner. it was a beautiful night on the patio and a family of raccoons peered down at us as we ate.



we both had the tropical salad to start - seasonal mixed greens, tomato, avocado, and fresh mango tossed in a sweet mango-balsamic dressing. i'm not a huge fan of salad but this one was so fresh and tasty. i love avocado and mango.



for her main course, my friend had the mero antártico - filet of sea bass served with coconut rice and salsa tropical with vegetables.



i had the confit de canard - slow cooked duck leg served with mashed potatoes and roasted root vegetables. the duck was cooked to perfection but i could have used more sauce / seasoning.



my friend had crème brulée for dessert - rich & creamy custard with a crispy sugar top. i loved hearing her crack her spoon through the top layer of caramelized sugar.



i had the flan de coco - cuban crème caramel with coconut. this was so fabulous, i probably could have eaten two more servings.



we washed our meal down with mojitos and pina coladas. it was the perfect patio night.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

2012 goals // june update

here is my june goals update video... i cannot believe we are already more than halfway through 2012!



1. photo-a-day project of hubby and me.
- i thought i had photos every day in june but i actually missed june 17, which happened to be both father's day and the day we came back from paris. gaaah!
- 97%.

2. 100 day 1 year thrifting challenge.
- i went thrifting in june! haul will be posted shortly (i have to shorten the lining in one of my new-to-me wool skirts).
- 75%.

3. savings goal + rewards!
- i'm almost at 40% but i already bought myself my reward. i had my eye on a purse in paris and, since it was a lot less expensive there than it would be in toronto, i bit the bullet and purchased it. i am 100% sure i will hit the 50% threshold anyway so it is just a timing issue. yes, that's right.

4. one new beauty product per month.
- i still haven't decided how i'm going to modify this goal but i didn't buy very much in the month of june.
- 0%.

5. one litre of water per day.
- i'm still doing well with the water but not so much with the raw vegetarian diet. in fact, as of june, i would say i'm as bad with food as i've ever been (i.e., eating almost exclusively junk). :(
- 50% because i can't in good consciousness give myself a good score even though i've been drinking enough water.

6. figure out the mess that is my hair.
- i didn't really learn any new styles in june but i've been playing around with the ocean spritz from my june glossybox and i also wore the nume feather hair extensions from my march glymm box.
- 50%.

7. decorate, de-clutter & re-organize.
- in june, we replaced our last shag rug in our condo... hooray! i also organized by handbags but i feel like there is still so much to do. i better pick it up in the 2nd half of 2012.
- 80%.

8. keep a better record of events.
- 100%.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

june glossybox canada - 2012

in similar fashion to previous months, i received my glossybox on the last mailing date of june. the box was very heavy and glossybox definitely stuck to its formula of providing very generous (full-size) samples. even though most of the products were drug store brands, i really enjoyed the contents of the box this month.



i've included my personal rating for each of the products based on the following system:

3 - loved the product - would repurchase
2 - liked the product - might or might not repurchase
1 - disliked the product - would not repurchase

here is what i received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. covergirl blast flipstick in minx

i've tried this product before and i really liked it. i don't believe this product was available in canada at that time but i received the colour stunner in my beauty board swag bag.

impressions: i received the colour minx in my june glossybox and i have to say that this is probably the worst shade of lipstick i've ever seen on myself. one side is a very dark brown and the other side is a golden-copper colour. i tried the brown side on lightly hoping that a sheer wash might look a little like fig jam (revlon lip butter) but it was very dark and made me look very scary. the golden-copper colour was too metallic on my lips. seeing the deep brown colour made me think to use it as a contour and some of my youtube viewers also suggested using the gold side as a highlighter and using the brown side as an eye shadow primer. i might give those ideas a try down the road.

full size and sample size // 3.8 g // $12.50
personal rating // 2 (for the formulation, not the colour) // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




2. biore combination skin balancing cleanser

i go though skin cleanser relatively quickly so i was reasonably happy to receive this product. while i love my clean & clear daily pore cleanser, i don't mind switching it up every so often. this cleanser smells a little strong to me (i prefer minimally scented or, better yet, unscented products) but it's a pleasant, fruity scent.

impressions: i've only used this cleanser once - the gel and lather felt very soft on my face. the scent reminds me of pineapple and, while it doesn't bother me, i still wish the product were unscented. my skin was squeaky clean after using this cleanser but it also felt a little drier and tighter than normal. i like this product; however, it will not be replacing my regular cleanser.

full size and sample size // 200 mL // $9.99
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




3. wella professionals ocean spritz

i was ecstatic to receive this product because i had just run out of the bumble & bumble surf spray and was planning to make my own salt spray. the wella product is a "beach texture hairspray" with a hold level of 2 (out of 4) but i'm hoping it will work just like my bumble & bumble.

impressions: i loved the texture this product added to my straight hair. similar to the bumble & bumble spray, the salt does leave a certain grittiness to your hair but i don't mind it. although the scent was pretty strong in the bottle, i didn't really notice it in my hair. overall, i really like this product and can't wait to try it when i use my ghd to work my hair into loose beachy waves.

full size and sample size // 150 mL // $16.99
personal rating // 3 // loved the product - would repurchase




4. olay regenerist wrinkle revolution complex

a lot of subscribers don't seem to like receiving anti-aging products but i don't mind now that i'm a little older. i probably should have started using them earlier. well, i say that, but i'm not sure i believe these types of products actually work.

impressions: i've used this product a few times on my face and neck. my face felt a little tingly after applying the product. the texture also felt a little sticky/gritty. very strange as it felt so silky when i tried it on the back of my hand. i don't think i've used it long enough to notice a difference but i thought my skin looked a little nicer (smoother?) this morning. however, that might also be a function of actually getting a full 8 hours of sleep last night!

full size // 50 mL // $30.99
sample size // 7 mL // approximately $4.34
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




5. gillette venus embrace razor

i've seen a lot of razors included in previous luxeboxes and i have to say it didn't turn me green with envy. i guess razors just don't excite me. the reviews for this particular razor are pretty good though so maybe i will fall in love with it after i use it. the kit comes with the razor and 1 cartridge. i haven't used this razor yet but i will update this post when i do.

update: i've now had a chance to use this razor (underarms and legs) and it seems no different from the regular (and much cheaper) blue 2-blade men's razors that i am currently using. the shave doesn't feel any closer and my legs don't feel any smoother. i had high hopes for the 5 blades but i would say this razor is just ok.

full size and sample size // 1 kit // $13.43
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




6. neutrogena ultra sheer dry-touch sunscreen lotion spf 55

i was pretty happy to receive this sample as i'm still looking for my holy grail sunscreen. my initial test of the sunscreen on the back of my hand was pretty promising. the sunscreen feels non-greasy and seems to absorb quickly. it does have a rather strong perfume-y scent though.

impressions: i love the way this sunscreen feels on my face! it is not greasy at all but it also does not leave a white cast on my skin. i wish there was an unscented version as i am not crazy about the floral scent all over my face. the only reason i'm a little hesitant to add this sunscreen to my regular routine is due to its rating on the ewg website. it was rated a 7 (high hazard) due to it containing oxybenzone and also because it advertises a "misleading" spf of 55 (apparently, anything higher than 50 is misleading). i am not sure how reliable the information is on ewg (i read everything with a grain of salt) so i'm going to do a little more research before making a decision. nevertheless, i loved this sunscreen so much that i am giving it a 3.

update: even though i really love the sunscreen, i am modifying my rating to a 2 - i really do want to look for a mineral sunblock and the high hazard rating on ewg freaks me out.

full size // 88 mL // $15.99
sample size // 14 mL // approximately $2.54
personal rating // 2 // liked the product - might or might not repurchase




7. biore deep cleansing pore strips

i haven't used the biore pore strips in years! i've made my own a few times using michelle phan's diy tutorial but i found after using my clean & clear daily pore cleanser, my blackheads weren't as bad as they used to be. still, i like using pore strips, mainly because it's fun (disgusting) to look at the little "trees" that come out of my nose. i haven't used this sample yet but i will update this post when i do.

update: the pore strip was a lot stickier and less effective than i remember. it didn't remove a lot of blackheads and it was very difficult to remove. afterward, my nose felt dry and quite sensitive. i did not like this product.

full size // 8 strips // $9.99
sample size // 1 strip // approximately $1.25
personal rating // 1 // disliked the product - would not repurchase




even though some of the products did not end up being my favourite, overall i really liked the june glossybox. we received 4 full-size products, which is pretty amazing for a $15 box, including taxes and shipping.



// approximate value of the products in the june 2012 glossybox: $61.04 //

did you receive a glossybox this month? if so, what did you think of the products?

glossybox canada subscriptions are available for $15 per month including shipping and tax. it promises a minimum of 5 luxury samples per month and will throw in a 6th sample from time to time (this month, we got 6 samples plus a bonus!). if you wish to join glossybox through my invitation, i will earn glossydots and send heaps of good karma your way.

ftc: i redeemed my glossydots for my june glossybox.

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