Saturday, March 29, 2014

March 2014 Dior Polished Diva Unboxing

I've been a bad, bad blogger. I don't know why I can't seem to stick to a regular schedule when it comes to blogging. I've tried writing posts in advance and scheduling them, I've tried setting aside time to blog, I've tried marking my calendar with posts I want to do on specific days... still, I fall behind. How do you amazingly consistent bloggers manage to post so frequently? Please share your secrets!

Here is my long overdue Dior Polished Diva March unboxing. I received a beautiful shade called Bouquet, which is also from the Spring 2014 Trianon collection. It's a gorgeous bright coral-pink with a cream finish. The application is lovely - the big brush and highly pigmented polish allowed for opacity in 2 coats. While I love this shade, I think it would be quite easy to find a dupe for it. Once I finish swatching my nail polish collection, I will see if I can indeed find one.

In case you'd like to see my thoughts on the first 3 Dior Polished Diva polishes in video format, here is my Q1 unboxing! :)

For more information about this and the Secret Diva subscription, please click here!

Click here to see all my Polished Diva boxes
Click here to see all my Secret Diva boxes

Sunday, March 16, 2014

January 2014 SeasonsBox - Last One!

I am so glad this is my last SeasonsBox! If you have been following the saga, you'll know that this used to be my favourite subscription service, but it is literally now at the bottom of the barrel. Over the past year, the quality has declined, the price has increased, the owners have changed 3 times, and the value of the boxes is inconsistent... and quite frankly highway robbery in certain months. For example, the January box. The value of the January box was approximately $21, compared to a price of between $39.95 to $49.95 depending on where you live.

Note: Many subscribers (including myself) found unauthorized charges from this company on our credit card statements. Even though I cancelled via e-mail and changed my credit card information online, I was charged $250 USD for another 1 year subscription. SeasonsBox has since refunded me but do check to make sure you do not have any unauthorized charges on your credit card statements.

Oddly enough, the January box included the old-school inner craft boxes, which was something I loved about the first few SeasonsBoxes. This has since changed as the February box (which was sent to me in error) did not have the inner gift box.

While I do not recommend this subscription service, the products contained inside this box were actually quite nice.

1. Unearth Malee Jasmine Sticky Rice Mango Handmade Soap
4.5 oz // $6.95
We've received a product from Unearth Malee before and I really like the brand. I am excited to try this soap. It smells like jasmine, which is a scent I really like.

2. Puur Lemonade Natural Lip Scrub
1.25 fl oz // $5
This product is made in Boise, Idaho and is sold online via Etsy. It smells like lemon candy! It looks a little dry but I haven't tried it yet. Temptalia has done a review of this product in case you want to read more about it.

3. Fabulous Frannie Lavender Essential Oil
10 ml // $3.95
I love the scent of lavender so I was happy to receive this product. A few of my viewers suggested I put a few drops in my bath water so I am going to try that tonight!

4. Chocolita Pine Pollen and Lemon White Chocolate
35 g // $5
This is a raw and vegan chocolate bar that is handmade in Sedona, Arizona. While this is a "white chocolate" bar, the colour is a light brown, just like milk chocolate. Since it doesn't have any milk or cream in it, the texture is a little crumbly but the flavour made up for it! This chocolate bar is very fragrant and it has a very interesting yet pleasant flavour. My hubby enjoyed it as well!

Bottom line: If this had been a $10 box, I would have been very happy with it. However, if I had paid $40 to $50, I would have been furious.

That is it for my SeasonsBox reviews!! I'm sure you're as happy about that as I am, hehe. :) Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday evening!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Brunch at La Neuf Café

My friend and I had a very nice brunch today at La Neuf Café! I had heard good things so when she suggested it for our March get-together, I quickly agreed. The restaurant is located in a little house and is quite small but we arrived after the first wave of brunchers so we got a seat immediately. The decor is absolutely perfect - so French! The ambiance is very Parisian (I so miss hearing people speak French around me) and it made my heart ache for a trip back to France.

I ordered the croque madame (I'm a creature of habit) and my friend ordered the french toast with some delicious looking caramel on the side. My sandwich was quite flavourful but alas it was a little dry. My friend said her french toast was delicious. I want to go back for brunch again pronto as there are a gillion other menu items I want to try.

Next time, I am going to pick up some pastries to go. I regret not buying any today - I was hardcore eyeing the religieuse, which I have not had for years and years. That was one of my favourite discoveries during my 6-week sojourn in France in 2004 and it's a shame more of them don't make their way into my belly. Oh, and La Neuf Café is also open for dinner... I'd like to try that down the road too!

2014 Goals Update - February

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

UPDATE: I'm still doing very well with my goals in the beauty category! Towards the end of February, I definitely started feeling the urge to spend but I mostly resisted. 
- I'm well into using cruelty free toiletries and various products for the home and I'm hoping to do a video soon on some of my finds!
- I purchased 2 cruelty free brow products (Tarte Brow Mousse and Anastasia DipBrow Pomade) because my eyebrows have been looking a little sad lately and I want to give them some TLC. 
- I forgot to mention in January that I upgraded to the February Polish Lover Julep box... mostly to earn points so I could get a March box for free.
- In the first 2 months of 2014, I only spent 49% of what I spent in in the first 2 months of 2013 on cosmetics and toiletries. In light of my beauty ban success, I recorded a video with 5 of my tips and tricks to stick to your "no buy" or "low buy"... please let me know if you have any tips and tricks to share!

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

UPDATE: I haven't been too diligent with setting biweekly goals so I will have to try a little harder on that front. Here are some things I accomplished in February:
- I dyed my Balenciaga Pompon as planned and I absolutely love my "new" bag!
- I'm planning to dye a pair of Birkenstocks - they are white and I think I would wear them a lot more if they were black.
- I'm continuing to swatch my nail polishes - I'm nearly done all my Juleps!
- We rearranged the living room a bit and got rid of a bunch of old junk we had lying around. 

On the list for March:
- I'm planning another de-stash giveaway - I'm hoping to do one every month or two.
- I'm going to bring out my spring/summer clothing soon (enough with winter, already!) and I am going to be very selective when editing my wardrobe.
- I'm going to continue swatching my nail polishes.

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

UPDATE: I'm only at 9% of my savings goal so I'm a little behind.

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

UPDATE: I think I made some progress in this area, although the blog and Instagram are being neglected at the moment.
- I started using Google+!
- I updated my profile pic for the first time since starting my YT channel.
- I'm still thinking about what I want to do for my YT channel trailer. 

- I'm starting to share a little more on my Facebook page... if you don't follow me there, I just posted a link to this fun interview with one of my favourite celebrities:

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 me with our pets, (2) my side of the family, (3) Hubs' side of the family
- Biweekly/weekly goals: none

UPDATE: Still doing well... didn't miss any days in February for my 365 project. :)

Did you set any goals for 2014? If so, how are you doing so far?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

February 2014 Empties

Happy March!!! You know what this means! Spring is just around the corner... and not a moment too soon... I am so tired of winter. I'm starting March on a positive (or should I say, productive) note... I am posting my February empties relatively early this month. Not too many empties in February but I finished a ton of shampoo and conditioner samples! I think I only have 2 or 3 travel size shampoos left. :)

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

I am going to go through the shampoo & conditioner samples rather quickly because they were all pretty small and I don't have too many thoughts on them. I was really just trying to get through them!

1. Clear Scalp Therapy Shampoo for Men
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: I only used this once or twice. It was alright.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Unilever)

2. MGM Grand Jasmine Shampoo X 2
Source: Hotel samples from Las Vegas
Thoughts: This shampoo smells nice but I found it drying. I also hated the bottles because you can't squeeze them to get the product out.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

3. Pharmacopia Verbena Shampoo & Conditioner
Source: Hotel samples from Halifax
Thoughts: I liked these - loved the scent!
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

4. Damana Shampoo with Extracts of Juniper
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: This was ok for me. My hubby really liked the scent.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Damana website)

5. Aveda Rosemary Mint Shampoo
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: Another product my hubby likes but I found the scent too medicinal. It was also drying to my hair.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes but parent company Estee Lauder is not (Source: PETA)

6. Tresemme Platinum Strength Shampoo & Conditioner
Source: Free samples
Thoughts: I liked this shampoo & conditioner duo. Both products smelled really nice, the shampoo did a good job cleansing my hair, and the conditioner was thick, creamy, and moisturizing. The samples were small though so I only got around 3 uses out of them. I often change my mind on products after using them longer so I'm hesitant to give 3 stars...
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA - see results for Alberto-Culver)

7. Judith Jackson Spa Citresse Conditioning Shampoo
Source: Free sample
Thoughts: This was alright, but nothing special.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

8. June Jacobs Citrus Clarifying Shampoo
Source: Hotel sample
Thoughts: This product cleansed my hair very well (think, squeaky clean) but I found it very drying even though I tried to pair it with a deep conditioner.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

9. Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel
Source: May 2012 Glossybox
Thoughts: This is a thick gel wash that I found was not very gentle. It was also a little drying, which surprised me. I didn't like this product.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Paula's Choice)

10. The Body Shop Aloe Calming Facial Cleanser
Source: May 2012 Glossybox
Thoughts: I love this facial cleanser! It is thick, creamy, soft, and soothing... plus it is not difficult to wash off. I love this paired with my Clarisonic.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes but parent company L'Oreal is not (Source: PETA)

11. Marcelle Essentials Gentle Make-Up Remover for Sensitive Eyes
Source: I received this from Marcelle as I was testing the product packaging
Thoughts: This was my second bottle of this and I tried to use it up quickly because I'm not a fan. I found this product really irritated my eyes. I was disappointed because I usually like Marcelle products.
Rating: *
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Paula's Choice)

12. Clarins Extra Firming Day Cream
Source: Murale bonus
Thoughts: I loved this day cream! It was thick and creamy yet light enough for me to put on in the morning and immediately apply my makeup. I thought I noticed a difference in my skin after using this. It seemed, dare I say, a little firmer??
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: Paula's Choice)

13. Olay Ultra Moisture Moisturizing Bar in Vanilla Indulgence
Source: Purchased by Hubs
Thoughts: I really like these bar soaps! They are very creamy, lather well, and moisturizing. They smell good and are ergonomically designed so they fit in my hand. I also like that they last quite a long time and don't just melt away in the shower. I am upgrading my rating for these!
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: PETA)

14. The Body Shop Shower Gel in Papaya and Mango
Source: Gift from one of my sisters
Thoughts: I really liked the formulation of these but they smelled less mouthwatering than your average product from The Body Shop. Perhaps I kept them for too long. I liked the mango scent the best and I will probably buy a full size down the road (when I am done all my other body washes and soaps).
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes but parent company L'Oreal is not (Source: PETA)

15. Kosé Cleansing Sheet Type
Source: Hotel sample from Japan
Thoughts: Same comment as last month... These are cleansing cloths that I used as body wipes. I've had them since 2009 (oh dear) but they were still very moist! There were two wipes in the packet and despite not being resealable, the second wipe did not dry out after 1-2 days. I liked these.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Unknown

16. La Fresh Travel Lite Facial Cleansing Wipes
Source: Not sure but it must have been a beauty box... most likely Beauty Box 5
Thoughts: I used these as body wipes and I liked them.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: My Beauty Bunny)

17. Beauty So Clean Cosmetic Sanitizer Wipe
Source: January 2013 Glossybox
Thoughts: These little wipes come in really handy. I'm so happy this company is cruelty free - I use the Cosmetic Sanitizer Mist and Conditioning Brush Cleanser regularly.
Rating: **
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: PETA)

18. Nivea Essential Lip Balm
Source: January 2013 Glossybox
Thoughts: Besides the Maybelline Baby Lips in Quenched, Nivea definitely makes my favourite lip balms... and you can't beat the price!
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: No (Source: Paula's Choice)

19. Essence Sun Club Matt Bronzing Powder for Blondes / Lighter Skin
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: I finished a 15g bronzer!! So proud of this!! :) I really loved this bronzer - it is matte and perfect for contouring.
Rating: ***
Cruelty Free: Yes (Source: Essence website)

20. Rexall Cotton Swabs
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: What can I say? These were fine. :)
Rating: **

21. Scentsational Candles Natural Soy Premium Candle in Fearless
Source: Purchased by me
Thoughts: This candle is lovely! It burns and long time and the throw is excellent. These candles are marketed towards men and the scent while burning was definitely more masculine than the solid wax in the canister. The only thing I didn't like about this candle was the wick. It was quite smokey when I blew out the candle.
Rating: **

That's it for February! I'm going to continue trying to work on my massive collection of samples and travel size products so these empties posts are going to be a little light on commentary for the next few months. I'm slowly working my way through a few full size products too so hopefully I'll have some of those to share in the next little while.

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