Wednesday, January 29, 2014

A Little Valentine's Day Giveaway!

Valentine's Day is fast approaching and since this "holiday" often gets a bad rap, I thought I'd do a little giveaway. :)

The giveaway will include the following products:

- Tarte Lights, Camera, Lashes Mascara (full size)
- Tarte LipSurgence Lip Creme in Promise (full size)
- Julep Nail Color in Oscar (full size)
- Julep Nail Color in Paris (full size)
- Burt's Bees Naturally Nourishing Milk & Honey Body Lotion (travel size)
- My Beauty Diary Mexico Cactus Mask (1 sheet mask)
- My Beauty Diary Bulgarian White Rose Mask (1 sheet mask)
- Perfumies Solid Perfume Stick in Kissing Bandit (full size)
- Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Shock (full size)
- Giorgio Armani Rouge d'Armani Lipstick Trio (sample size)
- Anna Sui Lip Rouge G in #304 (full size)

Here are the details about the giveaway:

1) Giveaway is international!
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 February 10, 2014.
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.

Good luck!

Update: Thank you to everyone for entering!! The winner has been chosen and has claimed her prize. Congratulations, Cristina!! :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, January 20, 2014

December 2013 SeasonsBox

This post is a long time coming. I wanted to wait until I had tried some of the products, but I likely won't get to them for a while. The value of the December box was approximately $42, compared to a price of between $34.90 to $49.95 depending on where you live. I do not recommend this subscription service.

The December box contained 4 products; however, the wrapping was so shoddy that the contents of my parcel were damaged.

1. Nicobella Organics Organic Vegan Truffles in Pure Cocoa Bliss
4 Truffles // $8
Three of the four truffles included in my SeasonsBox had fallen out of their little box and were rolling around with all the shredded paper and other products. All the truffles went in the trash.

2. Flying Bird Botanicals Organic Hot Chocolate Fine Cacao Drinking Chocolate
3.5 oz // $10
I'm excited to try this and I'm happy mine did not come damaged (besides a couple of dents in the tin).

3. Moksa Body Butter in Organic Rosemary, Mint & Sage
8 oz // $16
We've received a Moksa product in the past and I enjoyed trying it so I was happy to see this brand again in the SeasonsBox. This body butter looked so light and fluffy (like whipped cream), but it had a really hard texture to the touch. One of my YT viewers mentioned it might have been because the body butter froze in transit. I will still use this. It smells heavenly.

4. Premium Soy Mason Jar Candle in Sugar Cookie
8 oz // $8
I was excited about this candle but the wax looks funny so I suspect it probably froze during transit too. The lid also somehow unscrewed itself and became loose in the box. I love the jar so I am excited to reuse that once I'm done the candle.

My one-year subscription will be complete after the January 2014 box, and I'm happy it's finally coming to an end. SeasonsBox is charging customers with credit cards on file so I e-mailed to cancel and I changed my credit card expiry date by logging onto the website (since it wouldn't allow me to delete the information outright). I was on the SeasonsBox website to check out the January preview and noticed they are using one of my old photos from the January 2013 SeasonsBox! How infuriating! I had authorized Agnes to use my photos when she was the owner, but it's misleading to show the pretty box and ribbon when the packaging looks nothing like that. I will be e-mailing SeasonsBox to remove my image from the website.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Red My Lips

Red My Lips is one of three nail polishes I received in my Sally Hansen VoxBox from Influenster. The colour is quite literally the perfect, classic red. The brush makes the nail polish very easy to apply and the high level of pigmentation means it is pretty much opaque in one coat (although I did apply two out of habit).

Complete Salon Manicure is intended to be a 7 in one product: base coat, strengthener, growth treatment, color, top coat, chip resistant, and gel shine finish. I did use a base coat and a top coat with this application, but I may try the polish by itself next time. The wear time is quite good. I'm the type of person who chips my nail polish after only a day (I always find the need to wedge open some random container after painting my nails), but with this shade, my manicure was chip-free for a whopping 3 days!

Overall, I am really loving this shade... I may have a new favourite red nail polish!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Fun Holiday Swap with sarahnicolebear!

2013 was definitely the year of the swap for me! I did a whopping 3 swaps during the year and got thoroughly hooked up with a gillion amazing products. I've loved each swap and this will be the last one I will be sharing for quite a while. I am taking a break from swaps in 2014 because I want to focus on trying and reviewing products currently in my collection.

Some of you may recall the holiday swap I did with sarahnicolebear in 2012. We had so much fun with it that we decided to swap again this year! :) Since meeting on YouTube over a year ago, Sarah and I have gotten to know each other pretty well and I really enjoyed picking out products for her. In turn, she spoiled me with yummy treats and a wide range of beauty products. I could not have thought of a better way to kick off a busy and festive holiday season. This post is a long time coming... I have had a chance to try a number of the products so I'll be able to include my impressions in this blog post. :)

I loved all the delicious goodies in my swap package! Some of these are imported so that made the treats extra special.

- Haribo Pico-Balla // Hubs loves gummy candies so Sarah sent these over with him in mind. They are from Germany and have a really unique flavour and texture! Hubs really enjoyed them so they went pretty quickly. :)

- Thorntons Special Toffee in Original // I loved this toffee... I ate the entire bag. This is a hard yet chewy toffee with a texture that reminds me of the Macintosh boxed toffee (anyone remember those?). The Thorntons toffee come in little pieces though so much easier to devour. I loved the flavour of this toffee... very rich and creamy!

- Kettle Kitchen Peppermint Popcorn // Hubs and I both shared this... or rather we ate as quickly as we could so we could each get our fair share. This popcorn was incredible!! I absolutely loved the pepperminty-ness and the salty/sweet flavour of the butter toffee popcorn. I want to buy boxes upon boxes of this.

- Galaxy Bar // Sarah sent me a small Galaxy bar last year and I loved it so much that I was ecstatic when I saw she included a bigger bar in the box this year! This chocolate bar is from the UK and it is sooo creamy. Very indulgent! I brought it to work and enjoyed it over three days. It has been very busy and stressful at work lately so the chocolate definitely helped lift my spirits.

These next products have a common theme... they all smell incredible!!

- Pier 1 Imports Sugared Cinnamon Reed Diffuser // Sarah has a knack for finding interesting products for me. I've never had a reed diffuser before and this one from Pier 1 Imports is super cute. The oils do diffuse into the reeds (amazing!) but the throw is not very strong. I can only smell it when I'm close to the actual bottle. That being said, the product is lasting a very long time and I do enjoy the scent very much.

- The Body Shop Satsuma Body Puree // I tried this for the first time today and oh-my-goodness!! I love everything about this product!! It is moisturizing and incredibly fast absorbing. The texture is like nothing I've tried before... it's similar to a moisturizing gel and it is so refreshing to apply after a hot shower. Oh and it smells mouthwatering!

- The Body Shop Ginger Sparkle Hand Cream // I haven't tried this hand cream yet because I have a few others I am working on finishing up. The cream smells great in the tube so I'm excited to try this.

- Bath & Body Works Candle in Leaves // This is literally the perfect scent for me. It smells fruity with a bit of spice and I can't wait to burn this!

- Essie Sleek Stick Nail Applique in Show Me Your Stuff // Such a pretty purple pattern!! I love nail stickers because they are so easy to apply. I really like the ones with intricate patterns since I'm not skilled whatsoever with nail art. I find the different designs to be a lot of fun and this one in particular is gorgeous.

- Juice Beauty Hydrating Mist // I've never tried any products from Juice Beauty and this is a nice mist. The scent is not my favourite (I prefer my rose water) but it does feel nice on the skin.

- St. Tropez Instant Glow Body Lotion // I've heard great things about this brand of self tanners... it's supposed to be among the best so I can't wait to try this product. I'm not going anywhere this winter so my skin is going to need a little colour. I'm a little terrified of self tanners (ok, a lot terrified) so maybe I will make trying this product one of my bi-weekly beauty goals!

- Taylor Swift Wonderstuck Rollerball // Such a lovely sweet scent! I brought this rollerball to work and I've been reapplying it regularly. I really enjoy the scent because it is not overpowering.

- Julep Lip Gloss in Glowing // I love this lip gloss!! It is moisturizing, non-sticky, and comfortable on the lips. It's a really pretty light pink. The pigmentation is not too strong but I typically wear my glosses over a lipstick anyway.

- Smashbox Try It Kit // I don't have a lot of experience with Smashbox so I was happy to receive this kit, which contains 5 minis. Being the lippie addict I am, I'm particularly excited about the lip enhancing gloss.

- Smashbox Eye Shadow Trio in Head Shot // I've used this eyeshadow trio a couple of times and I really like it. All three shades are flattering on my eyes and the shadows are creamy, pigmented, and blendable.

- Pier 1 Imports Bath Gel // How cute are these little mittens?! They are filled with bath gel... adorable! :)

- I am Canine-dian Dog Bandana // Last, but certainly not least, Sarah sent Lulu a little bandana! Hubs and I put it on her and recorded some footage of her wearing it... she is so awkward and uncomfortable when we put "clothing" on her hehe (I included the at the end of the swap video).

Sarah, thank you so much for such a lovely set of goodies! I like how you included a little bit of everything and the edible treats in particular were much appreciated. :) I hope you are loving the products I sent you as well. You are such a sweet and funny person, and I've really enjoyed getting to know you over the past year or so!

Here is Sarah's unboxing video in case you'd like to see what I picked up for her! :)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

December 2013 Empties

December was a great month for empties! I finished so many products that I've been working on for months. :)

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

1. Vidal Sassoon Moisture Lock Shampoo
Source: Sample Source
Thoughts: I still have a bunch of these samples and I think they are just ok - nothing special.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

2. Tresemme Thermal Recovery Replenishing Shampoo
Source: Purchased by me prior to 2014
Thoughts: I didn't like this shampoo. When I first started using it in the summer/fall, my roots would become greasy after only 1 day so I didn't think it did a good job cleansing my hair. Now that it's winter, I find this shampoo completely dries out my scalp and leaves me with a lot of flaking. I'm pretty sure it was this product that caused the flaking because I switched shampoos midway through using this huge Tresemme bottle and the flaking subsided.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Alberto-Culver)

3. Ion Repair Solutions Effective Care Treatment
Source: Swap with Maria
Thoughts: I liked the scent and texture of this but it didn't make my hair soft and silky like other treatments do.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

4. Hair One Hair Cleanser and Conditioner
Source: Swap with Maria
Thoughts: I loved this product! It left my hair feeling soft and silky for days. It also reversed some of the dry scalp issue I had due to the Tresemme shampoo. :)
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Unknown

5. The Body Shop Camomile Waterproof Eye Make-Up Remover
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I wasn't crazy about this product when I first started using it, but now that I'm done the tube, I really miss it! This make-up remover is a thick cream that is really soft on the eyes. It does sting if I get the product in my eyes, but I rarely got it in my eyes because the lotion is so thick.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes but parent company L'Oreal is not (Source: PETA)

6. Olay Fresh Effects Shine Shine Go Away
Source: Sample Source (I think)
Thoughts: I liked the scent of this product but found it rather drying. My hubby loved this product though and purchased a full size when we started running out.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

7. La Fresh Travel-Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes
Source: January 2013 Glymm Bag
Thoughts: These wipes were effective and I enjoyed trying them. I don't like using wipes on a day-to-day basis though so I likely won't be purchasing these.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: My Beauty Bunny)

8. Yes to Cucumbers Natural Glow Facial Towelettes
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: These wipes irritated my skin so I used these as body wipes. I liked the scent but I didn't like how quickly the product oxidized in the package (they would start to yellow after only a day or two.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

9. La Fresh Instant Body Smoother
Source: April 2013 Beauty Box 5
Thoughts: I really loved this wipe! It has a refreshing peppermint scent and gave me a little pick-me-up in between coming home from work and going out again.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: My Beauty Bunny)

10. Filthy Farmgirl Filthy Sailor Limey Lime Soap
Source: Purchased by me in Hawaii
Thoughts: I love the Filthy Farmgirl line of soap! The Filthy Sailor soap smells like lime cola, which is a really interesting scent and also right up my alley. The soap lathers beautifully and it's also non-drying.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Filthy Farmgirl website)

11. Fragrant Garden Aoringo & Lavender Bath Salt
Source: Hotel in Japan (I think)
Thoughts: I really enjoyed these bath salts! They are bright and colourful but do not stain the tub. They also smell amazing - very strong - and provided me with a little aromatherapy.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Unknown

12. Dermal Pearl Collagen Essence Mask
Source: Swap with Maria
Thoughts: I liked this sheet mask a lot, but I preferred the scent of the Dermal green tea mask.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

13. BRTC Green Tea Stem Cell Mask
Source: Rose Secret Box
Thoughts: I enjoyed trying this mask too - this one had an interesting texture/pattern to it.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

14. Complex 15 Daily Face Cream
Source: Purchased by me prior to 2014
Thoughts: This is my favourite light face cream and I've been using it for over 10 years so I am going to miss this product as I search for a cruelty free replacement. This cream is extremely light and fast absorbing. I like to use this right after I cleanse and tone my face but I need to apply a heavier night cream before bed.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Schering-Plough)

15. Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer
Source: This was either a sample from Kiehl's or part of a gift from my hubby
Thoughts: I really enjoyed using this moisturizer. It's light and unscented.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

16. Bask Heavenly Silk Daily Skin Nourishing Moisturizer
Source: August 2013 Beauty Box 5
Thoughts: The scent of this moisturizer was lovely - slightly floral, slightly fruity. I also really liked the texture of this product - it was fast absorbing and non greasy.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA - see results for Performance Brands Inc.)

17. Deep Steep Brown Sugar & Vanilla Body Butter
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is a heavy body butter - it is not fast absorbing but it is non greasy and very moisturizing. I also liked the scent. I normally prefer more fruity scents (and not such rich, cake-like scents), but this one really appealed to me.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

18. Curel Foot Therapy Cream
Source: May 2012 Glossybox
Thoughts: This is probably my favourite foot cream. It is thick and moisturizing. I also like that it's an inexpensive drug store brand.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Kao USA)

19. Curel Hand & Cuticle Therapy Cream
Source: November 2012 Glossybox
Thoughts: I thought this hand cream was ok. It is light and fast absorbing but it leaves a little bit of a residue. The effects of the cream do not last long and this products do not leave my hands feeling soft like other hand creams do.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Kao USA)

20. Kiehl's Ultimate Strength Hand Salve
Source: Gift from Hubs
Thoughts: I like this hand cream - it's really thick so I use it on both my hands and my feet. This product has a strong eucalyptus scent and I like to use it right before bed.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

21. Method Green Tea and Aloe Naturally-Derived Foaming Hand Wash
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I made the switch to Method cleaning products and hand washes a little while ago. I love most of the products but I find the Method hand washes to be slightly drying so I may look for something I like better.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

22. ImPress Press-On Manicure in Over the Moon
Source: 2013 Beauty Board
Thoughts: I have mixed feelings about this product. I like the ease of application, the pattern, the nail shape, and the nail length. However, I did not like that my hair would get caught in the nails and that stuff tended to get stuck under the nails. These nails also feel very thick, like acrylics.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

23. Tarte Maracuja Oil
Source: Swap with Lisa Hatcher
Thoughts: I really like this oil. It is 100% maracuja oil. There is no discernible scent and it does a great job at moisturizing my face. I use this under my night cream and my skin feels wonderful in the morning. The only thing I don't like about it is the price, but this little trial size lasted forever so I think it would be worth the money.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

24. Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate
Source: I think this was a part of another gift from my hubby :)
Thoughts: This is also a great oil. It's a blend of ingredients and I really like the scent. This product is also quite pricey and I had to use more of this product to get the same result as the Tarte oil.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

25. Marcelle BB Cream Anti-Aging with SPF 20 in Medium-Dark
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I really like this BB cream. It provides light, barely there coverage and it is very comfortable on the skin.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Paula's Choice)

26. Urban Decay Original Primer Potion
Source: Sephora 500 Point Perk
Thoughts: I really like this primer potion. It works great to keep my shadow on all day.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes but parent company L'Oreal is not (Source: PETA)

27. Fresh Sugar Rose Tinted Lip Treatment
Source: Sephora 2013 Birthday Gift
Thoughts: The scent of this product really appeals to me - it smells like lemon candy. I like that this particular lip treatment is a very light tint and it's reasonably moisturizing on my lips. The only thing I don't like about this product is that it always breaks on me because it's so soft.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: Paula's Choice)

28. Maybelline Baby Lips in Pink Punch
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I really like this lip balm but I prefer the untinted version.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

29. Nivea Pure & Natural Camomile & Calendula
Source: Swap with Keltie
Thoughts: This product has a very distinctive scent that I didn't really like when I first started using it... but because I love the texture and consistency of the Nivea lip balms so much, I continued to use it. After using this on a daily basis, the scent actually grew on me and I ended up really liking it.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: Paula's Choice)

30. Revlon Lip Butter in Peach Parfait
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This is my favourite lip butter! I love everything about it. I typically don't like shimmer in my lip products, but for some reason, I don't mind it in Peach Parfait. This lippie isn't 100% empty but I'll be keeping the last little bit for swatching purposes.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

31. Ice Breakers Duo in Raspberry
Source: Influenster Maple VoxBox
Thoughts: I love these mints!!
Rating: ***

32. Light of the Life Dreaming Candle
Source: No idea
Thoughts: This candle was fun but not something I would purchase as it is just a novelty. This candle changes colour after you light it. There is no scent and it burned for quite a while.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

33. Bath & Body Works Candle in Spiced Cider
Source: Swap with Maria
Thoughts: I love this scent! It's fruity and mouthwatering.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

34. Bath & Body Works Candle in Pumpkin Caramel Latte
Source: Swap with Maria
Thoughts: I liked this candle but with the scent was a little more pumpkin and less caramel.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

35. Nourish Tea Minty Igloo
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I thought this tea was ok - just an average peppermint tea.
Rating: **

36. Lupicia Apricot Black Tea
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This tea was alright - I wanted more apricot flavour.
Rating: **

37. Lupicia Lychee Oolong Tea
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I thought I would really like this as I love lychee... but there wasn't enough lychee flavour.
Rating: **

It feels so good to get through a marathon blog post of empties! I feel like 2014 is going to be the year I make a significant dent in my collection.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

January 2014 Secret Diva - Pore Minimizer

Here is my first Secret Diva box! The box is supposed to arrive on the eighth of every month, since 8 was Christian Dior's favourite number. I was very impressed that it arrived a few days ahead of schedule! This box was shipped via UPS and it contained a letter informing me that I have a secret admirer, hehe. There was one full size product included in this month's box. It was packaged beautifully in a "luxe couture gift box" and tied with a ribbon. The box is really thick and heavy duty. I am definitely going to re-use it for storage or gift giving.

(I tried to re-tie the ribbon, but it looks... erg... different.)

Inside is a new product - the Pore Minimizer Skin Refining Matte Primer. I am really excited to try this as I have never tried any of Dior's face products (last year, I purchased a blush and the two shimmer powders, but I haven't even swatched them yet). The letter I received in the box notes the following:

This advanced primer instantly corrects imperfections by filling, refining, and mattifying skin for a high-definition flawless complexion. The weightless, ultra-fine texture visibly reduces pores, smoothes skin, refines skin's texture and optimizes foundation hold. In one universal shade, this product adapts to all skin tones. Pore Minimizer can even be used throughout the day. Touch up your makeup by patting it gently over makeup.

Similar to the nail polish featured in the January Polished Diva, this product is part of the 2014 Spring Trianon collection. I was taking a look at the rest of the items in that collection and oh how my heart aches for the new Lip Glow in Coral!

The Secret Diva subscription service provides you with 12 Secret Admirer boxes, one for each month of the year in 2014. This service is intended to be gifted to a loved one (hence, Secret Admirer), but I just bought it for myself. Products can range from skin care to cosmetics to fragrances. Dior is expensive and this subscription is no exception. The auction priced the 2014 Secret Diva subscription at $600. You are not guaranteed a value in each box, but judging from some of the 2013 unboxings from likesthelook, there are a number of months where the value of the product exceeds the monthly "price" - in any event, 100% of the proceeds go to charity so I view the price tag as a donation and I am not too concerned about the value in each box. For more information about this and the Polished Diva subscription, please click here!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Travel Tuesday . Abbaye du Mont-Saint-Michel . June 2012

We woke up bright and early the next day so we could visit the Abbey on Mont-Saint-Michel before the tourist buses arrived. First, we stopped in Brioche Dorée for some pastries and we spied with our little eyes... a giant pain au chocolat! Of course, we bought it.

With full tummies, we were ready to spend a few hours exploring the Abbey. It was beautiful.

I spent a lot of time looking at this diorama. I'm fascinated by miniatures and it was neat to see the progression of how the Abbey expanded on the Mont.

The view of the sands surrounding the Mont was magnificent. We saw people taking walks on the sand... hopefully guided walks as there are supposedly patches of quicksand...

Emboldened by the trekkers, we wanted to step foot on the sand too... but we stayed very very close to the paved road.

We had such an amazing time in Mont-Saint-Michel and I'm hoping one day we'll be able to go back to watch the tide.

This post completes my throwback to our 2012 France trip! If you are interested in seeing what we did on this trip while we were in Paris, I wrote a post quite a while ago on my photography blog. Thanks for taking this journey back in time with me. We're going to be flashing forward to January 2013 for my next series of Travel Tuesday posts... to one of our favourite places in the whole wide world... Hawaii. :)

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Dior Annual Subscriptions and January Polished Diva

Every year, Dior holds an online auction with 100% of the proceeds going to charity. I am not sure if the charitable organization changes every year, but the proceeds from the 2013 auction went to Look Good Feel Better, an organization "dedicated to improving the self esteem and quality of life for people undergoing treatment for cancer." The Dior auction is held once a year and it ran from October 1 to October 10 in 2013. I learned about the auction from a fellow YouTuber, likesthelook, who purchased the 2013 Secret Admirer subscription in 2012. She did several unboxings on her YouTube channel if you want to get an idea of the types of products included in the subscription.

The auction was mainly for one-of-a-kind luxury experience packages (like a trip to New York during fashion week), which go to the highest bidder. In addition to this, there were also several fixed price auctions available in limited quantities, and I purchased two of these:

1) Secret Diva Subscription. This service provides you with 12 Secret Admirer boxes, one for each month of the year in 2014. This service is intended to be gifted to a loved one (hence, Secret Admirer), but I just bought it for myself. Products can range from skin care to cosmetics to fragrances. Dior is expensive and this subscription is no exception. The auction priced the 2014 Secret Diva subscription at $600. You are not guaranteed a value in each box, but judging from some of likesthelook's unboxings, there are a number of months where the value of the product exceeds the monthly "price" - in any event, 100% of the proceeds go to charity so I view the price tag as a donation and I am not too concerned about the value in each box. There were a limited number of subscriptions available but I don't recall how many (I made my purchase on October 5 so they don't seem to sell out too quickly).

(Source: - website not currently available)

2) Polished Diva Subscription. This is a nail polish of the month club that runs for the 2014 calendar year. The auction priced the 2014 Polished Diva subscription at $250 and there were 15 subscriptions available for purchase.

(Source: - website not currently available)

I was pleasantly surprised when I received my first 2014 Polished Diva box on December 30! It was shipped via FedEx and the box was rather large considering there was only a letter, a small gift bag, and a nail polish inside. The January polish is part of the 2014 Spring Look Collection: Trianon. I received 204 Porcelaine, which is a limited edition shade. It's a lovely baby blue. This is my first Dior nail polish so I am very excited to try it!

As you can see, these Dior subscriptions were very expensive, but I felt alright about the price since all the proceeds went to charity. Plus, I was below budget on my charitable donations in 2013... so I used this fact to further justify the purchases. :) I will be doing video unboxings for all the Dior boxes, but I am going to do them quarterly. In the meantime, if you are interested in what I receive on a monthly basis, I will be posting the contents on this blog, on Instagram, and on Tumblr.

Overall, the 2013 Dior auction raised $124,000 for Look Good Feel Better.

2014 Goals

It's 2014! Happy New Year!

As you may know by now, I am a huge list, calendar, and goal setting type person. I just love writing things down and checking things off. While you can certainly set goals at any time of the year, annual goals have been a regular part of my life for a number of years now and I find it not only to be very motivating, but it's also a lot of fun. That's right folks, I find it fun to set goals. This year, I'm doing something a little different. One of my viewers, Katfully, mentioned that she sets bi-weekly goals (and no more than 3 at a time) throughout the year to keep herself focussed. I thought that was a brilliant idea as I like the idea of fluidity in the goal setting process. I change my mind a lot, and as a result, my goals can also be in flux at times. How many times have I set a goal at the beginning of the year only to realize, after a few months, that it was no longer a priority? This year, I am going to be setting a combination of annual and bi-weekly (or weekly) goals.

As with previous years, I've organized my goals around a few main themes. Each goal under my 5 themes will follow the SMART criteria - in case you're interested, here is the post I wrote last year on how I set goals. With that in mind, here is what I'll be working on in 2014:

1. Beauty - be more thoughtful about purchases
- Annual goal: reduce spend on beauty and skincare products by 50% in 2014 (vs 2013)
- Annual goal: purchase only cruelty free beauty, skincare, and household products
- Biweekly/weekly goals: to be set throughout the year

2. Home - continue to organize and declutter
In order to focus more attention on organization, I am increasing my budget for home spend this year. I plan to use the additional budget room for organization, whether it be buying more storage solutions, switching out our furniture, etc.
- Annual goal: none
- Biweekly/weekly goals: to be set throughout the year

3. Financial - continue to save money
- Annual goal: meet my annual savings goal
- Biweekly/weekly goals: none

4. Petite Pear Style - create more synergy among PPS channels
I am really good at keeping up with my YouTube channel, but my blog and other social media channels are often neglected. For this goal, I'd like to work on creating more of a brand and synergy around PPS.
- Annual goal: none
- Biweekly/weekly goals: to be set throughout the year

5. Photography - focus on personal projects
- Annual goal: photo-a-day project of Hubs and me
- Annual goal: take annual family portraits for (1) Hubs and I with our pets, (2) my side of the family, (3) Hubs' side of the family
- Biweekly/weekly goals: none

As with previous years, I will be providing updates of my progress. I have not decided on the frequency of updates yet but I will be tracking my goals more diligently this year. I will likely do quarterly or semi-annual video updates... blog posts will be available on an ad hoc basis when I have something to share.

Are you the type of person to set annual goals? If so, did you set any goals for 2014? If not, another idea is to create a 101 in 1001 list, which is basically a list of 101 items you hope you accomplish in 1001 days (2.75 years)... you can see my 101 in 1001 here.

All the best for a safe, healthy, and happy 2014! x

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