Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

My dear friend and I did something a little unconventional for Halloween this year. We had a superhero themed Sunday brunch at Fanny Chadwick's and then a mini iPhone photo shoot in our costumes! I have not worn a Halloween costume in many many many years so I was surprised by how much fun it was to dress up again. We were originally going to go to Casa Loma to take a few photos with the "castle" in the background... but due to the rain and wind and cold, I conveniently thought it might be neat to take a few photos in the subway instead. And so we did! Here are some crazy photos for your enjoyment.







We got very silly! Odd considering we didn't even drink at brunch. Actually, with this friend, it's not so odd. We are often sillier when we are sober.






Are you dressing up for Halloween? If so, as who or what? Or perhaps your kids and/or pets will be dressed up?

In case you are interested in watching, I also shared some of the above photos in my recent I ♥ Fall TAG video.



Below are the questions I answered in the video:

1. Favorite fall lip product?
2. Favorite fall nail polish?
3. Favorite Starbucks fall drink?
4. Favorite fall candle?

5. Favorite fall scarf or accessory?
6. Haunted house, haunted hay ride, or haunted corn maze?

7. Favorite Halloween movie?
8. Favorite candy to eat on Halloween?
9. What are you dressing up as for Halloween?
10. What is your favourite thing about Fall?

Please feel free to share your faves! Have a happy and safe Halloween!! :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Books I'm Reading

I used to love reading when I was younger. I would literally come home from school, hole up in my room for hours on end, and read my many many books - some of them over and over again. Now that I'm older, I still enjoy reading but I usually gravitate towards the online variety... blogs, e-mails, websites, you name it. Even when I do sit down to read a physical novel, I find that I am very easily distracted by the Internet. I ordered a bunch of books recently so I am going to try to set aside at least 2 hours a week to just read. my MacBook will be turned off. My iPhone will banned from being by my side.

Here are some of the books I purchased a few months ago.



Maze Runner series: I was really craving some easy reads so this was the first set of books I read. I got through them quickly but these books have already been donated so that should tell you how much I enjoyed them.

Uglies series: I am on the fence about this series. I felt they were decent books with some interesting content but I was a little frustrated with the writing and the pace. I felt the stories could have been taken so much further.

Watership Down: This is a classic but I had actually never read it. It took me a very long time to get into this book but, when i finally did, the story moved me and stayed with me for a long time even after I read the last page. I would read this book again.

Unbroken: I just started reading this and it is very well written. However, I put it down and I haven't picked it back up for a couple of weeks now. I want to read it but always forget or just can't find the time. I have such bad reading habits!

Divergent: Leesh recommended this book to me so of course I picked it up. I haven't read it yet but I've already purchased Insurgent too. I'm holding off on reading these because I'm worried I'll like the books so much, I'll be upset the third book isn't out yet. Yes, I'm silly like that!

Lover's Dictionary: This book is so thin and light that I'm planning to bring it with me on vacation in November to read on the beach. I plan to read a few pages, then take a nap. Read a few pages, then people-watch. Read a few pages, then have a snack. Read a few pages, then dip my toes in the ocean.

Have you read any good books recently? If so, please share! I am always looking for books to add to my list. :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Canon Giveaway Winner!

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway! I am beyond thrilled with the response. I loved reading all your blog comments telling me about yourselves, your Facebook messages with video suggestions, and your Youtube comments with your favourite things to photograph. I also loved answering all your questions on Tumblr.

The winner has been chosen via Rafflecopter (which is powered by random.org). I'd like to congratulate Sarah-Nicole as the winner of my first ever giveaway! She won with her Youtube comment that her favourite subject to photograph is her puppy, Oreo.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


There will be many more giveaways to come (I have no less than 3 planned at the moment). Thanks again for all your support!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Sorta Sad, Sorta Glad

i dropped my expression bronzing brush the other day and it broke in two. i was sad at first and contemplated gluing it back together. then i remembered how i wished the brush could stand up on its own... and now it can. hooray for my clumsiness!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

A Haulish Type Post

Yes, I'm still on my beauty ban (and doing very well, I might add)... but somehow I still managed to get some new products in my hot little hands. Here are a few products I'll be trying in the next little while. First up are the products I received by redeeming my Glymm points. I saw lots of beauty bloggers redeeming recently so it reminded me that I should probably use mine. Since I loved this product so much when I received a sample in my September Glymm bag, I ordered the Evolvh shampoo and conditioner set, which included a free full size styling cream.



The next item I ordered was also sampled in the September Glymm bag. I ordered the Villainess dulces en fuego warming body creme and scrub duo. I've only tried the body creme and the more I used it, the more I liked it. I've heard great things about the body scrub so I'm excited to try it. :)



Next is a product that I won in a recent Loose Button giveaway on Facebook. I've never heard of No Bleeding Lips but it's basically a clear lip liner applied outside your natural lip line to prevent your lipstick from bleeding. I think this will come in handy in the fall/winter when I start to wear more of my dark lip colours.



The last product is something I received when I went to the BlushPretty Beautiful Face Forum featuring Kaia Naturals. I love the juicy bamboo facial cleansing cloths so I was really eager to check out Kaia Natural's new product line - nature's matte finish, a 2-in-1 primer and skincare collection. Mary Further, Kaia's founder, was onsite to answer questions and she was literally a wealth of information. I learned so much and I'm hoping to share some little tidbits with you in future blog posts (once I do a little more research on the topics we discussed). At the end of the event, we got to take home a little goody bag containing a bamboo cleansing cloth and the new 24-hour face cream. I can't wait to try this product!



Happy Thursday everyone!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

October 2012 Glymm Bag - Unboxing & Review

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

Glymm seems to have improved a lot this month so I was pleasantly surprised! I hope this continues in future months. October is breast cancer awareness month and Glymm themed this month's bag by including a pink cosmetic pouch, some information in the product card brochure (yes, the product cards are back!), and a pink ribbon.

I haven't done anything yet for breast cancer awareness month so it's time to give back! For every comment made on this blog post in the month of October, I'm going to donate $1 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. CBCF was rated with a B overall in the 2012 MoneySense ratings - looks like this charity needs to work on the % of funds going to programs but I am still going to support it. One comment per person per day will be counted and the maximum donation will be $300.



Here is what I received (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Sari by Ocean Nail Polish in Paprika

Some of you may recall that I signed up for Glymm's nail polish promotion. Basically, if you sign up for a full year of Glymm bags, you will receive a full size nail polish every single month in addition to your regular 4-5 samples. I was sort of second-guessing my decision until I received this month's Glymm bag. I am very happy with my first nail polish under this promotion! Glymm mentioned that next month will be a different brand. I'm excited to see what it will be.

I've received one other Ocean nail polish in the past but I couldn't really find anything about this company online. I still can't! I really think all companies need to have some sort of web presence in this day and age. Anyway, I liked the colour of the Ocean nail polish from my March Glymm box but I have to say that this is one of the strongest smelling nail polish brands I own - except for my Seche Vite.

Impressions: While still strong smelling, I really loved this nail polish in paprika! It applies like a dream - only one coat for opacity but I used two anyway because sometimes my brush strokes are uneven. I love the colour as well and did not have anything like it in my collection.

full size and sample size // 15 mL // $12 (note: this shade is currently available in a set of 3 on the glymm website for $24 but I used the price of a single polish)



Sorry for my huge hand in this next photo!



2. Johnson's Baby Oil

This item did not count towards our 4-5 deluxe samples - it was a bonus item, which Glymm included to promote its upcoming Glymm Mama box. I think Glymm Mama will be similar to Glymm Man but geared towards mothers and mothers-to-be. An interesting concept but I wonder if Glymm will basically include the same samples as the regular Glymm subscription? It looked like there was a lot of duplication in samples under Glymm Man and I would have been really disappointed if I had subscribed to that for my hubby.

I've since read that Johnson's baby oil is pure mineral oil but apparently it won't clog pores. I'm still trying to navigate my way around different ingredients but it's tough given all the misinformation on the web and not to mention my lack of scientific knowledge!

Impressions: I've never actually used baby oil or even had it in my home so I was interested to try this product. I've been reading and hearing a lot about using oil to remove your make-up (cleansing oils and plain ole olive oil) so I tried it right away. It did a pretty good job at removing all my eye make-up including my mascara. It was also very gentle on my eyes, which is something I've been having trouble with when I use other cleansers. I used a damp paper towel to remove the residue after cleansing.

full size // 414 mL // $4.49
sample size // 88 mL // approximate value of $0.95




3. Miss Jessie's Baby Buttercreme

When I initially took out this product, I was super excited because I thought it was a generous sized sample of body butter! Turns out this is actually creme for your hair. Oh, but not everyone's hair... this creme is intended for big, beautiful, curly, kinky, frizzy hair... aka the hair I wish I had. My hair is pretty much the polar opposite. Just in case you think I'm exaggerating, check out the photo gallery from the Miss Jessie's website.

Impressions: I was still interested in trying this product so I thought maybe I could use this to tame my flyaways. It definitely worked but this product doesn't have any hold so I still had to use a hairspray to keep my hair in place. The texture is very slick, likely due to the petroleum and mineral oil ingredients, but it's also very light in texture - it's a very soft creamy feeling. I've read some bad reviews about the scent but it didn't bother me. I've only tried this product once and I'm not sure I will be using this frequently.

travel size and sample size // 2 oz // $9



4. Cyber Derm H20 Hydration

Glymm has sampled Cyber Derm in the past - these were the samples that came in oral syringes. Perhaps the feedback for the syringes was not good because these new samples are quite different! They are in small aluminum tubes and mine look like they have been squeezed a little. I have to say that I prefer the syringes!

Impressions: I tried the H2O Hydration sample when it was included in my July Glymm bag. Basically, I liked it but it didn't wow me.

full size // 50 mL // $60
sample size // 3 mL (estimated) // approximately $3.60


5. Cyber Derm Every Morning Sun Whip with SPF 25

I was actually really excited to receive this sample. I was bummed last time because we didn't get to try this, especially with Cyber Derm being "The Sunscreen Company" - so you'd think we would have received a sunscreen! I was actually considering purchasing the sunscreen but I thought the price point was a little high and I wasn't sure I would like the product. I've only swatched this product on the back of my hand (I was running late on Friday morning and forgot about it so I used one of my regular sunscreens instead) and it felt light and easy to apply. I'm still interested in trying Cyber Derm's Simply Zinc Sun Whip in SPF 30.

full size // 50 mL // $38
sample size // 3 mL (estimated) // approximately $2.28




6. Femme Couture Lightning Lash Mascara in Midnight Black

I had never heard of this brand of mascara so I was happy to give it a try. It looks like Femme Couture makes a few funky mascara colours including blue and purple. I used to love blue mascara but now that I'm a little older, I tend to prefer black. This mascara has a small brush - I generally prefer bigger brushes but these small ones are starting to grow on me.

Impressions: Despite the mixed reviews online, I quite liked this mascara. I found the formulation a little thin but it worked to reasonably lengthen and thicken my lashes without clumping or smudging. I'm not sure I would purchase this product at $14 but I did see it on Sally Beauty Supply online for $8.99.

full size and sample size // 11.3 g // $14



6. The Lash Card

This is a novelty product that I would probably never use. It's basically a card with a cutout you place between your eyelid and your lashes that's supposed to allow you to put on your mascara without clumping or smudging it. Maybe I'll give it a try one day but I am not very coordinated so I think it might be awkward for me to hold this cardboard paper to my eye while applying mascara.

full size // 10 cards // $6.99
sample size // 2 cards // approximately $1.40




I was very happy with the Glymm bag this month! As mentioned, since this was a breast cancer awareness themed box, Glymm also included a pink ribbon, which I've already pinned onto my jacket. One other thing I wanted to mention was that Glymm brought back the project card. HOORAY! I like getting the product card because it makes the bag feel a little more complete to me. I also like that it's finally a sign that Glymm is actually listening to us! :)

Also keeping in theme with breast cancer awareness month, we received a pink cosmetic bag in quilted patent faux leather. This might be the last month for the quilted bags so I'm curious to see what we'll get next month. I'm still hoping for a red bag sometime soon.



// Approximate value of the products in the October 2012 Glymm bag: $43.23 //

I am also glad this month was good because I recommended the nail polish promotion to my bestie so she subscribed for a year! It was fun comparing nail polish colours this month - she got beauty queen - a very on-trend vampy dark red. I can't wait to see it on her! I'm not sure if the nail polish promotion is still on but if you're interested, you can check out my blog post.

Did you receive a Glymm bag this month? If so, what did you think of the samples?

If you wish to join Glymm through my invitation, I will earn 50 points and send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: I paid for this subscription with my own money.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

October 2012 Topbox - Unboxing and Review

If you follow my beauty box reviews, you're probably aware that Topbox is my favourite subscription service out of the bunch. I had high hopes for the October Topbox but unfortunately, I was not a huge fan of this month's box. I received BOX-6. The brands were great but I was iffy about a couple of the products and sample sizes. Please read on for more details.



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

1. Maskeraide Detox Diva Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask

I had never heard of Maskeraide and I've never tried a sheet mask so I was pretty happy to receive this sample. Maskeraide is a Canadian company started by Karyn (a Canadian makeup artist and model - now in marketing and social media) and Michelle (a cosmetic and skin care addict from Korea). The masks are made in Korea. They are free of parabens, harsh dyes & pigments, mineral oils, artificial fragrances, benzophenone, and glycerins. I don't know what all these ingredients are or their impact on our skin (on my list of future research projects) but wanted to share just in case you're interested.

There are 6 different types of masks included on the Maskeraide website:

- All Nighter - awaken, replenish & refresh
- Detox Diva - cleanse, exfoliate & detoxify
- I Don't Wanna Grow Up - lift, firm & soften fine lines
- Beauty Rest'ore - restore, regenerate & repair
- Weather Warrior - calm, soothe & heal
- Pre Party Prep - brighten, prime & energize

My hubby's a little sad that it's a sheet mask so he won't be able to partake in the experience. I will try the mask this Sunday and report back soon!

full size & sample size // 23 g // $4.99



2. Aveda invati Exfoliating Shampoo and Thickening Conditioner

The only Aveda products I've tried were from the rosemary mint line and I really liked them. My first impression of the invati samples was not very good - this product line has a very strong herbal/medicinal scent that I find very unpleasant. The scent was trapped in my Topbox and invaded my nose when I opened it. I sneezed. A lot.

While I have relatively thin hair and I do lose a lot of it on a daily basis, I don't really think of myself as having thinning hair. I wanted to do some research before using this product. I found mixed reviews online and read a common theme that the shampoo is very drying so be sure to use the conditioner with it.

Impressions: I tried the shampoo and conditioner this evening and ended up using the entire sample. Each tube contained 10 mL of product. The shampoo was on the thin side and did not lather well so I probably used more than I needed. I used up the entire conditioner too because I wanted to make sure to coat my hair very well. So far, my hair feels fine but I'll put an update on my blog in a day or two. I did not like the scent whatsoever so I will not be repurchasing this regardless.

shampoo:
full size // 200 mL // $27
sample size // 10 mL // approximate value of $1.35

conditioner:
full size // 200 mL // $27
sample size // 10 mL // approximate value of $1.35




3. Stila In the Moment Eye Shadow Palette

Initially, I was pretty excited pulling out this card because of the Stila brand name. I thought it was an info card but it turned out to be an actual sample. I was disappointed in this sample solely due to the size as I do not consider this to be a deluxe sample. I thought Topbox had moved away from card samples - the feedback from subscribers in the past was that these samples would be ok as a bonus but not as one of our 4 feature samples.

According to the Sephora website, there are 4 similarly named "In the [Blank]" palettes by Stila - I'm not sure if all of these were provided to subscribers:

- In the Moment - featuring a mix of pretty purples and ultra-wearable, neutral shades plus a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Tetra (deep shimmery purple).
- In the Light - featuring wearable, neutral shades plus a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Damsel (matte chocolate brown).
- In the Garden - featuring wearable, botanical-inspired shades plus a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Starfish (rich black with green-and-gold sparkle).
- In the Know - featuring all matte earth-inspired shades plus a Smudge Stick Waterproof Eye Liner in Halfmoon (matte charcoal gray).

I was most interested in the In the Know palette so I wish I received that one instead but no biggie. The shadows in the palette I received look to be very pretty. I have not tried this product yet but I will try it this weekend and put an update on the blog.

full size // 1 palette // $50
sample size // 1 card // approximately $0




4. Stila Prime Pot in Taffy

I have been receiving a lot of eye shadow primers lately, which is odd because I've never really used them or thought about using them. I know people swear by them but, up until very recently, I had only tried the NYX HD Eye Shadow Base and I didn't really like it (it was a little flake-y on me and I found it harder to blend my shadows with the base underneath). Just recently, however, I've been using Urban Decay's Primer Potion (from the Smoked Eyeshadow Palette) and the Starlooks iPrimer from my September Starbox. I really really love these products! I'm definitely converted so I was a little more excited that I would have been a few months ago to see the Stila prime pot included in my Topbox.

There are 2 colours available on the Sephora website:

- Taffy (pale pink)
- Caramel (beige)

I've only swatched this product on the back of my hand and it felt a little dry. The texture reminds me of concealer at first but it seems cake-y and difficult to blend. It also smells a little bit stale so I'm wondering if I got an old one?

Impressions: I haven't tried this product on my eyes yet - I'm worried it's going to be hard to blend so I will save it for the weekend when I'm not in a rush.

full size // 0.14 oz // $26
sample size // 0.07 oz // approximately $13




Overall, i was not overly impressed with the October Topbox. There was really only one sample I was really excited about - the mask. All the other samples were just ok. The shampoo and conditioner didn't do it for me due to the scent, the eye shadow palette would have been exciting but it was such a small sample, and the eye shadow primer seems a little dry. Of course, beauty boxes do vary from month-to-month so I'm hoping next month will be more to my liking.



// Approximate value of the products in the October 2012 Topbox: $20.69 //

I think a few of you received your first Topbox this month - what did you think of it? If you received a Topbox this month, please let me know your thoughts.

FTC: I purchased this Topbox with my own money.

Monday, October 15, 2012

October 2012 Julep Box

When the styles for the October Julep box were released, I was a little disappointed as most of the boxes contained a crackle polish. I've tried crackle polishes in the past and I'm not a huge fan (although I do like the one I received in my first Topbox). After a peek at Julep's Facebook page, I realized that I was not alone. Many mavens were unhappy with the choices for October and were planning to skip this month's box. Julep responded very quickly by presenting another option called Maven's Choice. This is the box I chose and I love it!



Here is what came inside the box:

1. A little bag of candy corn.

I've never tried candy corn before and I'm not really into these types of candies (I'm more of a chocolate bar gal) but my hubby was excited when he saw these. He'll probably be gobbling these up!



2. Nail polishes in Keira, Lisa, and Eloise.

All three nail polishes in the Maven's Choice box were cream polishes, which are my favourite so I was really happy.

Keira, originally from the Bombshell box, is described as a deep merlot red creme.
Lisa, originally from the Boho Glam box, is described as a warm pebble grey creme.
Eloise, originally from the American Beauty box, is described as a smokey indigo blue creme.

One thing I don't really like about Julep polishes is how they are named. I find it very difficult to remember the names because I don't develop a connection between the names of the polish and the colour. I'm all for naming polishes after people but perhaps it would help if Julep included a brief story behind each polish and why it was named after a particular person.

In terms of the formula, I find some of the Julep polishes a little goopier than normal. When you first open the polish, it is fine but then it's almost as if the polish thickens up immediately upon contact with the air. I remedy this by painting my nails as quickly as I can. I do my left hand, cap the bottle tightly, turn it upside down or put it on its side, then i do my right hand, cap the bottle tightly, turn it upside down or put it on its side. Then I repeat for a 2nd coat (or 3rd coat if necessary). I love most of my Julep colours and I always get a lot of compliments when I wear a Julep polish so I try to work with the thicker formulation.

Each bottle contains 8 mL of nail polish, which is quite a bit less compared to most nail polish brands, which include 13 to 15 mL. I love the shape of the Julep bottles though because they are so easy to store.



I'm wearing Eloise right now and I am so impressed by the colour. It has worn really well this weekend too - no chips!



3. Glitter pots in orange and black.

I really loved the little surprise we got in our Julep box this month. We received two glitter pots that we can use to glam up our nails. I have never applied loose glitter on my nails so I'm happy I will get to try it soon. Keeping with the theme of Halloween, we received glitter pots in orange and black.



That's basically it for my October Julep box. My bunny Truffle had a great time nibbling on the box and the crinkle paper. He made a mess (I don't have a photo of it but he literally pulled half the crinkle paper out of the box and spread it around) and then took off to explore elsewhere. GAAAAAH, I still love him. :)





Julep is $19.99 including shipping but you can preview months and skip as many boxes as you want. Julep's penny promotion is still going strong. Simply type in PENNY to get your first box for $0.01 including shipping! If you are interested in signing up to Julep and don't mind using my referral link, I would earn points and send heaps of good karma your way!

FTC: I used my referral credits in exchange for the October Julep box.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Giveaway - Canon PowerShot A800 Digital Camera

Welcome to my very first giveaway!



I wanted to do this giveaway to thank all my viewers and readers for being so supportive of my Youtube channel and blog. I did not expect to "meet" so many amazing people and I truly appreciate all your comments, questions, and suggestions. The prize is a little unconventional because it doesn't really have anything to do with beauty but it is related to something that is near and dear to my heart... photography. :)



My husband and I won a Canon PowerShot A800 Digital Camera in last year's Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Welcome Home Sweepstakes. We don't have a need for another digital camera because we already each have our own so we decided to give it away to one of my viewers/readers. This is an entry-level, no frills digital camera and I believe the value is around $100. If you don't need a basic digital camera, please feel free to enter the giveaway anyway... and if you win, you can gift the camera to someone who needs one. :)



The box shows a silver camera but there is a label on the side indicating a black camera is included inside.





Here are the details about the giveaway:

1) Giveaway is open to residents of Canada and the U.S. You must have a Canadian or U.S. mailing address for me to send the prize to you.
2) You must be 18 years of age or older or have parental permission to enter.
3) All entries will be validated. Any ineligible entries will be deleted.
4) Winner will be selected on October 28, 2012.
5) Winner will have 72 hours to claim the prize before another name is selected.

If you are interested, please enter the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget below. You can gain multiple entries if you follow me on other types of social media - all the different ways to gain additional entries are also shown below.

UPDATED TO ADD: Thank you to everyone who has entered thus far... I am really happy with the response to this giveaway! :) I want all your entries to be eligible so I just want to provide a reminder to please ensure you follow the instructions included in each option to enter, for example:

A) Your comment on this blog post should include something (anything) you want to tell me about yourself.
B) Your comment on my Youtube channel should include one of your favourite things to photograph.
C) Your comment on my Facebook page should include a suggestion on what other videos you would like to see from me.


Thank you for your support and good luck! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


FTC: This giveaway is not sponsored.

Friday, October 12, 2012

2012 Goals // September Update

September was kind of a strange month for me in terms of my goals. I didn't do well on some of the goals that have been very easy for me thus far... and I did really well on one particular goal that has been mediocre up until this month.



1. Photo-a-day project of hubby and me.
- I missed a whopping 6 days in September! 2 of those days were legitimate because I was out of town but the other 4 were just plain misses.
- 80%.

2. 100 day 1 year thrifting challenge.
- In the video, I indicated that I only purchased a pair of Rockstar Jeans from Old Navy (on sale for $19!). However, I received a parcel in the mail the other day that reminded me of another purchase: this little bunny purse that I saw on Wendy's Lookbook. I was contemplating returning the purse because I'm not a huge fan of the quality but I love how it reminds me of Truffle so I will probably end up keeping it.
- 75%.

3. Savings goal + rewards!
- I'm still at 53% so I better ramp it up in October!

4. One new beauty product per month. 2 month beauty ban.
- I was very good in the month of September - no new beauty products and I used up a ton of stuff as well! I did, however, redeem a few Glymm points for the Evolvh shampoo & conditioner and the Villainess body creme & scrub because I am worried Glymm is going to change its policy that you can redeem an unlimited number of points (in 100 point increments) in a single transaction.
- 90%.

5. Drink one litre of water per day.
- Not doing well with this goal at all. Maybe it's because of the cooler weather but I am not even close to drinking one litre of water at work... and I'm probably barely drinking one litre for the whole day.
- 0%.

6. Figure out the mess that is my hair.
- I didn't learn any new styles in the month of September but I've been trying really hard to make my hair look presentable every single day. I think I'm doing pretty well.
- 75%.

7. Decorate, de-clutter & re-organize.
- My hubby and I did so much to our condo in September! We completely rearranged our furniture and now we have a lot more space in the living room. We de-cluttered quite a bit too but it's still a work in progress. Our unit is teeny tiny so it's really important for us to keep on top of clutter.
- 100%.

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

I can't believe we're in the last quarter of 2012. It has been quite the year!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

New Glossybox Canada Pricing



When I first read the e-mail about the new Glossybox Canada pricing, I wasn't quite sure what to think. On one hand, I wanted to cancel my subscription. On the other hand, I was hopeful that the boxes would finally start to match the caliber of some of the Glossyboxes offered in other countries. The e-mail notification we received above was pretty vague and I had a few questions, which I e-mailed to Glossybox Canada as follows:



In the meantime, I also did some research on the company's Facebook page and was encouraged by replies from Glossybox to the effect that the boxes would be increasing in quality. However, when I received a response to my e-mail from customer service, I kinda felt like I was being given the runaround:



This response really confused me because I thought Glossybox charged one month in advance per this screenshot, which I just took today (October 9). Note that the $15 price is still on the website so "all new subscribers" aren't really paying the increased price.



Since I wasn't really satisfied with the original response, I tried again.



The response I received next was a little more direct, which I appreciated.



I looked at my history of payments and the response I received from customer service appears to be correct (oopsie!) - while it didn't start out that way, Glossybox seems to now be billing in the same month that the box is received. I guess that also means that the website is incorrect? Still a bit confusing but at least I know I didn't make an extra payment somewhere. The part about the refund was news to me but very good to know.

All that being said, the line that stood out to me the most in the response was this one:

we currently do not think that we have "drugstore" brands in our box, however some may say that we do

For real? I know Glossybox has been inundated with feedback from subscribers on the price change and, to be fair, I received a very prompt reply to my inquiries. I know the definition of drug store brand can be a difference of opinion but this part of the response was oddly infuriating to me. I think it's because I feel Glossybox is always trying to gloss over (heh) the issues raised by subscribers.

I also wish Glossybox had grandfathered the current price for existing subscribers for a little while longer but I have a feeling the company does not mind losing a few of us. With a 40% increase in price, Glossybox could essentially lose around 28.5% of subscribers without taking a hit in the overall revenue. Will a larger percentage of subscribers cancel? It appears so from the Facebook page but I suspect there is still a large majority who will pay the higher price.

As for myself, I will pay the $15 grandfathered price for the October box but, depending on the contents, I will likely cancel in either November or February (I might stick it out to see if Glossybox will send an extra for its one year anniversary box). While I love the surprise of beauty boxes, I think I would rather save the $21 each month to purchase a full-size product that I really love. Or I may try some of the other subscription services out there like Beauty Box 5, which seems to have improved and is still reasonably priced.

What do you think of the price increase? Will you stay subscribed to Glossybox?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

September Empties

It feels oh-so-good to finish things. I think I did pretty well this month - I finished quite a few full size beauty products. Anyway, let's just get started with my September empties! :)





Here are the products I finished in September - in order of appearance in the video:

1. Pantene Pro-V Shampoo for Fine Hair

I received this sample with one of my orders from Well.ca. I thought it was alright but nothing special - it definitely did not volumize my hair. It did a good job cleaning my hair but did not make it feel particularly soft like other shampoos I've tried - even when I used the shampoo with the matching conditioner. I will not be purchasing this product.

2. Pantene Pro-V Aqua Light Conditioner

This full size product was included in my ginormous goody bag from the Blush Pretty Beauty Board earlier this year. Similar to the shampoo for fine hair, I thought this conditioner was ok. It felt decent on the hair and I didn't mind the scent but I didn't find that this conditioner made my hair feel particularly soft. I don't think I would purchase this product.

3. Mane Teeze Hair Perfume in Social Butterfly

This hair perfume was included in my July Glymm bag and I really ended up loving it. The scent is a mix of vanilla and coconut. It's rather strong but I still liked it. Best of all, the scent did not give me a headache yet it lasted a good part of the day (I would say 6 to 8 hours perhaps?). I am thinking about purchasing the full size product... maybe when I get enough Glymm points. I read somewhere that we'd be receiving the other scents in future Glymm bags so I'd like to try those first before making a decision.

4. Dove Visible Care Softening Creme Body Wash

YAY! I finished another full size product... this one was from my July Glossybox. While I liked the softness and texture of this body wash, I didn't notice any difference with my skin after using this product for the better part of 2 months. So this product does not live up to its promise of "visibly more beautiful skin in just one week." I also did not like the scent as it was way too strong. I will not be purchasing this product.

5. Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser

This is another sample size product but I'm not sure where this came from. I think my hubby may have gotten it from somewhere. It's a make-up remover and cleanser in one. The scent is light and the cleanser was effective but I found it a little more drying on my skin than my other products. Overall, I thought it was a decent cleanser but it did not wow me so I likely will not be purchasing the full size.

6. Simple Eye Make-Up Remover

I received two of these samples (May Glossybox and June Topbox). I ended up using both of them and the one pictured is the second one I finished. I liked this product at first; however, the more I used it, the more it started stinging my eyes. OUCH! I wanted to finish the samples so I just started taking great care when using the product around the eye area. I will not be purchasing the full size of this product.

7. La Fresh Waterproof Makeup Remover Wipes

I received 2 of these wipes in my September Glymm bag and I was pretty excited to try them. Unfortunately, I did not like these at all. I was fine with the size, texture, and scent (lavender) of the wipe but that's where our relationship ended. I thought the wipe was not moist enough and it left an oily residue on my skin. Even still, I tried to keep an open mind. The deciding factor was the wipe was not effective in removing my mascara. I will not be purchasing these wipes.

8. Kaia Naturals Bamboo Facial Cleansing Cloths

I was introduced to this product when I received a lonely individually wrapped cloth in my January Glymm box and I immediately fell in love. I enjoy everything about this product - the size, weight, texture, and moistness of the cloth, the scent, the formulation... and it is very effective in removing all my make-up. I only use these when I travel so I always buy the individually wrapped ones. I will definitely be repurchasing these again and again.

9. Shiseido Facial Cotton

I was introduced to this product by Aleeza of Stylish and Literate and I've been hooked ever since. I use these cotton pads exclusively on my face and they are very soft. For my nails, I still use the drug store brand cotton pads. The package is quite large so I think the price is actually pretty comparable to the less expensive drug store brand cotton pads anyway. When I saw this product in my local Shoppers Drug Mart recently, I noticed that the packaging is slightly different (new font/design on the front). I will definitely be repurchasing these.

10. Consonant Ultra Moisturizing Organic Face Cream for Dry Skin

This is another product I received from the Beauty Board earlier this year. I like this product very much - it's effective and I also love that it's unscented (although it does have a little bit of a nutty scent from the natural ingredients). I'm not sure I would purchase this due to the price and also because I think I like my Be Fine night cream just a touch more.

11. Orlane Anagenese 25+ First Time-Fighting Care Eye Contour

I received this sample in my May Topbox and I was happy to try it because I've been noticing some fine lines around my eyes. EEEP! Sadly, I didn't notice a difference after using this... and my sample lasted a very long time so I did use it consistently for quite some time. I enjoyed trying this sample but I would not purchase the full size of this product.

12. Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circles Eraser in Medium

This is my favourite concealer at the moment but I haven't repurchsed it because I am trying to use up a few other concealers that I have in my collection. I find this to be very effective in concealing my blemishes. It's pretty good at masking my dark circles - I might buy a lighter shade next time for this purpose. Yes, I will definitely be repurchasing this product.

13. Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Talc Free Mineral Face Powder in Buff Beige

This is probably my favourite pressed powder - I find it can mattify my face pretty much all day (except during those hot, humid summer days). The only thing I didn't like about this product was the packaging - it fell apart long before I finished the product. I don't take this product out with me on a daily basis - only travelling - and I've never dropped the compact so I'm not sure why it got so beat up. Regardless, I will definitely be repurchasing this after I'm done with all my other pressed powders.

14. Mai Couture Blush Papier in Prettyful

I received this sample containing two blush sheets in my August Glymm bag. I thought I would really like this product but unfortunately I did not. These sheets did not transfer enough colour onto my cheeks. I also didn't like that there was so much shimmer. I didn't notice the shimmer on my face but I saw it all over my hands. I would not purchase this product.

15. Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil

I purchased this product a while ago and it's taken me quite a long time to finish it because I have so many lip balms that I switch up regularly. Once I started using this product consistently though, I found I got through it really quickly. I am a big fan of this lip balm. I like the weight and texture on the lips, I like the scent, and I like that there's no tint or flavour. I'd repurchase this but first I have to use up a few other lip balms.

16. Alessandro International Pedix Feet Heel Rescue Balm

This generous size sample was included in my July Glossybox and I really enjoyed trying it. To me, this smells like a combination of mint and melons but in the most pleasant way imaginable! The formulation is great too - non-greasy, quick drying, and made my feet feel very soft. While I love this foot cream, I am not sure I would purchase the full size due to the price... plus I have no idea where this is sold.

17. Wet Ones Sensitive Skin Antibacterial Wipes

These Wet Ones are definitely my favourite because they are unscented. I absolutely love this product because they are so useful. I keep these at work to wipe off my feet when I get to the office (I wear flip flops on my walk to work whenever the weather permits so my feet can get a little narsty) and also to keep my high heels clean and fresh. I also use them to wipe off my desk as needed. I usually keep a container of Wet Ones at home too and I primarily use them to wipe my shoes and also to spot clean my make-up brushes. The cloths do not dry out in the container, which is also a plus. I will repurchase this product over and over again!

WHEW! Finally! That's it for my September empties. If you're still reading, thanks for sticking around. :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

September 2012 Starbox - by Starlooks

Here is my September Starbox review! The box was shipped in a bubble mailer from Los Angeles on September 22 and I received it in Toronto on September 28. This month, we received a white box with the Starlooks logo/name/website in silver. It was tied with a light grey organza ribbon and the products inside were wrapped in light grey tissue.



Here is what we received in the September Starbox (in order of appearance in the video):

1. Quartz Crystal

Similar to last month, I received a small quartz crystal in my Starbox. These crystals are supposed to attract energy and help maintain focus. I suffer from a major case of the winter blues so I'm hoping these crystals will work their magic over the next few months! The other idea is that subscribers can collect them in a glass jar to eventually build a brush holder. The crystal I received this month is teeny tiny so I imagine it will take a large number of Starboxes to gather enough for a brush holder. :)

I didn't take a photo of the little extras so I've used screenshots from my video.



2. Swarovski Eye Jewellery

Each month, Starlooks will include a little gift in our Starbox. I like receiving a little extra - it's definitely something to look forward to... and I also like that Starbox does not include anything edible. As much as I loved the Jelly Belly candies I received in my first Glymm box, I prefer to buy my own sweets and have the beauty boxes focus on beauty products.

In the September Starbox, we received 10 Swarovski flat-back eye crystals. We received 5 each of the opal and champagne colours. My personal favourite are the champagne crystals - they look almost like a topaz shade - and they sparkle like crazy! These can be attached using lash glue and I can't wait to wear these on Hallowe'en or for New Year!



3. iPrimer in Clear // 3 g // $15

I haven't tried a lot of eye shadow primers so I don't really have a basis for comparison. I've used the NYX HD eye shadow base but I didn't really like it. I find I like my eye shadow super blended and sometimes eye shadow primers are so sticky that I feel they don't allow me to blend very well. I wasn't too excited about this product but now that I've used it a few times, I can say that it's starting to grow on me. It has a really pleasant citrus-y scent. It feels a tad greasy (very slick) when you first apply it but it turns to a smooth and silky matte finish on the eye. I tried this with the eye shadows that were also in this month's Starbox - more on that below - and it made a huge difference in the vibrancy of the eye shadows.



4. Monographic 5 Shade Eye Shadow Palette // 9 g // $30

When I read the spoilers for this month's box, I was super excited to see a full size eye shadow palette included in the Starbox. I have to admit I was surprised by the colour selection though. All 5 shadows look very similar in their pans and they are very light in colour. It felt like there was a disconnect with the upcoming fall season; however, the eye shadows were previewed in this month's theme, Running With Wolves, and looked absolutely stunning on the model.



The first time I tried the eye shadows, it was after a long day at work and I had just come home from dinner with a friend. I swatched them all and then put them on over the eye makeup I was already wearing. The shadows looked quite pigmented in the swatches but they disappeared on my eyes so I was a little disappointed. Sorry the palette looks a little weathered in the photo below - I had already used the shadows and I accidentally dug my nail into two of the shades! :(


(From left to right: mint green - blue/purple - pink - opal/white - gold/yellow

It wasn't until the next morning, when I applied the iPrimer and eye shadows again to a clean eye, that I saw the full potential of the eye shadows. All the shades included in the palette have a white base and a different opalescent/iridescent sheen so they have a complex dimension to them. These eye shadows really need light to bring them to life. They looked gorgeous the next day, both in the swatches and on my eyes. I am very glad that we were provided with this palette, even though it contained colours I would never pick for myself. It pushed me out of my comfort zone and, let's face it, I have enough smokey eye palettes.

My favourite shades are the gold/yellow and the blue/purple. In the video, I'm wearing the blue/purple on my lid and the opal/white as a highlight (brow bone and inner corners) - next time, I'm going to try to blend out the edges of the lid colour a little more.


(From left to right: gold/yellow - opal/white - pink - blue/purple - mint green)

Now that I've had a chance to try all the products, I am pretty happy with this month's Starbox. The value was higher than last month; however, the ROI still remains lower than some of the other beauty boxes - I will post an updated comparison soon. The lower ROI is likely a result of the shipping cost to Canada, which represents a whopping 25% of the base cost. That being said, I like the quality of the products and I also like the surprise of having products selected for us... so I will stay subscribed to this service for the time being.

// Approximate value of the products in the September 2012 Starbox: $45 (prices were estimated since these products are not available on the Starlooks website) //




As promised last month, Starlooks' founder and owner, Marci Star, has started a video series called "Why, Marci!?" to give a little more information about the products included in the box each month. I love this idea and look forward to seeing these videos in future months. I am particularly excited about the masquerade theme for the October Starbox!



Last detail I want to note is that the customer service is still excellent. I had an issue with the lip gloss from the August Starbox so I contacted Starlooks and they sent me a replacement with my September Starbox! I was a little confused at first because I received a different shade (Calla Lily instead of Pink Petal Rose) but I am pretty sure this is the replacement because the colours are very close.

While I like that the Starbox packaging changes every month, I've noticed that the product packaging is not consistent. For example, the August lip gloss in Pink Petal Rose was in a completely different tube than the September lip gloss in Calla Lily - the size and shape were both very different. This might be due to Starlooks being a new company but I think consistency in product packaging is important.


(Please see the photo with the eye shadow swatches for a swatch of the lip gloss)

For more information about the company, please check out my August Starbox review.

If you are interested in subscribing to Starbox, please mention ellesy or petitepearstyle when you sign up. I would really appreciate it and, as always, send heaps of good karma your way!

Note: Canadians who wish to subscribe to Starbox have to contact the company directly to get set up. I signed up by filling out the information on the contact form and a representative got back to me very quickly. I asked them to call me and I gave them my credit card information over the phone. I was recently notified by a Youtube viewer that shipping to Canada has changed to $4.50 - please contact Starlooks for a quote.

FTC: I paid for the September Starbox with my own money.

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