Friday, 30 March 2012

March 2012 Luxe Box

Wow it has been awhile since my last blog post hasn't it? I apologize for my MIA status. I am the perfect example that "when it rains it pours"! I am a little late doing my Luxe Box review since basically everyone else has already posted a review. But what the hell, I'll throw my hat into the ring and share mine as well :). March actually marks Luxe Box's one year anniversary. It is no surprise then that many people had big expectations for this box, myself included. However, I had high expectations for the December box and was coincidentally let down. I was pleasantly surprised by my box. I feel I received a nice selection of products, though only four this month. Come and unbox it with me :)

Luxe Box Packaging - Back to the Black Box

This is the special seed card that came in this months box. It is to signify Luxe Box "growing" and expanding. I think it is a cute little addition, hopefully it grows for me and I don't kill it as per usual. I am interested to see what grows out of the card.
The four samples I received this month were:

OPI Top Coat Sample
*OPI Top Coat: I was extremely happy to receive this sample. Honestly, I haven't purchased a top coat in a very long time. I have always just used my OPI Nail Strengthener on top of any polish I use, which I doubt does the job I need it too. I tried this out the other day when I repainted my nails and really loved the formula. The only critique I have is strictly sample related: the tiny top makes it hard to hold and move the brush around. If you purchase the full size though, this would not be a problem. The full size product retails for $15.

CHI Silk Infusion Sample
*CHI Silk Infusion: One of best friends, Aleeza had this sample in her last Luxe Box (check out her blog here, she has amazing taste!) and I was instantly jealous. It is one of those products I have heard great reviews about, desperately wanted to try, but could never justify the price without trying it first. I have fallen in love! The smell is amazing, and the texture it gives my hair is great! Instantly combats my frizzy hair and makes it feel soft and manageable. If you have received a sample of this as well and love it (I saw many people received this sample in March...regardless if they had received it before or not), then head on over to HomeSense, Winners or Marshalls since I recently spotted the full size product for only $19.99! Traditionally, the full size product retails for $33.
Cargo Eye Shadow
*Cargo Eye Shadow: This was one of the First In Line products that Luxe Box offered this month.Truthfully I have never had a choice with this program, I usually had to pick whatever was left or didn't get a pick of anything. As most of you know, the Luxe Box website crashed when they did the First In Line program this month, but I persevered and was successful. I have to admit, I didn't love any of the products they had in the program this month but the Cargo eye shadow was my first pick of the three. You didn't get to see what colour you would get (at least I didn't this may be due to their website acting funny) and I was definitely surprised to see the combo I ended up getting. The brown is a great natural colour that has deep pigmentation. It is hard to see on my horrible skin but there is some gold micro-glitter in the shadow. The pink shadow is very sheer and doesn't give way to much pigmentation. I struggle to see how I would use these two colours together, other then using the brown all over the lid and the pink as a highlight. Most combo's I see like this come with a lid colour and a crease colour, but I find the brown too pigmented to be a crease colour for such a sheer pink. I am interested to play around with it though, just because they came together doesn't mean I necessarily have to use them together right! This eye shadow retails for $16.

Swatches: Light Pink and Brown
* Vera Wang LoveStuck Perfume: I have to admit I am not a huge fan of perfume samples. Perfume is one of those products I feel you can test effectively at the store, either you like the smell or you don't. Some products you need time to try and figure out if you love it, or to see a result, but I don't feel perfume falls into that category. This sample came with a simple cap enclosure, it did not have a roller ball or a spray pump. The card describes it as: "A sparkling addictive floral that you are sure to fall in love with."I don't mind the smell, but it definitely didn't win me over. I won't be going out to purchase the full size product, even though the bottle for the full size is very cute. The full size retails for $54.

Favourite Products in Order
  1. CHI Silk Infusion
  2. OPI Top Coat
  3. Cargo Eye Shadow
  4. Vera Wang Lovestruck Perfume

Overall, I am happy with my box. Not over the moon compared to the expectation that were created this month, but I will be keeping my subscription. I am glad I didn't receive the male gift that some people received in their box. None of the men in my life appreciate quality cologne (they are just as happy if it costs $5 or $50) and the sample would have been wasted. Plus, it is my box (not to sound selfish) but I want the products in it to be for me! I feel as though this may be the gateway into Luxe Box releasing a box directed at men, similar to Glymm Man.

What did you get in your Luxe Box?

xo Kathryn

Sunday, 18 March 2012

OOTD 03/18/2012

What beautiful spring weather we have been having here in Ontario! The snow is gone, the sun is shinning, and I actually opened my sunroof for the first time today. My Sunday consists of errands and shopping, and this outfit is super comfy but classically cute. The majority of this outfit is from Old Navy, and is super affordable.
 *Disclaimer*: You will notice my shoes are from The Children's Place. That is not a typo. I have size 3 feet which makes it disastrous for me to find shoes in adult stores. My best bet ends up being children's stores, which means ballet flats and I are best friends.
*Coral Skirt with Belt - Old Navy*
*White Scoop Neck T-shirt - Old Navy*
*White Jean Jacket - Old Navy*
*White Ballet Flats - The Children's Place*
*Nail polish - OPI Pink of Hearts*
*Lip Colour - Revlon Lip Butter - Peach Parfait*

I hope you enjoyed my outfit of the day!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Save Vs. Spend: Makeup Edition

I thought I would do a post today on some products I am willing to splurge on, and some products I never see the value in spending more then drugstore prices. This is just my opinion remember, and this selection will be different for everyone, but it is good to determine for yourself what your important products are so you don't waste money on products that wont deliver noticeable results.
Splurge Items
*Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion*
*Smashbox Photo Finish Light Primer*
*Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer*

You may notice a faint trend here. It goes without saying that the products I don't mind splurging on are all fundamental makeup items. With many things in life, having good fundamentals is important, and I feel if my basics are in order, whatever I put on top of it will look good. For instance, I don't buy expensive eyeshadow, so a good primer is essential in making sure what I do use stays in place and doesn't crease. That paired with the fact that I do have oily eyelids, makes a good primer essential in my collection. I was using a primer by e.l.f previously, and I have to admit I was happy with it and made excuses for it when my eye shadow creased 4 hours in. I could never go back after using my Primer Potion. My usual weekday is 10-11 hours long... and I come home with eyeshadow that is still in place. To me, that is worth the $24 I spent on this.
I've mentioned before that I have oily skin and that is very much true. That coupled with the fact that the office building I work in is always so hot (even when its -25 outside) usually just destroys any chance I have of making it through the day looking presentable. While I did previously love my Sephora brand primer, it is very sticky and not really a product for all over the face. I felt as though that primer was doing the job my MAC blot powder was already doing. This Smashbox primer is amazing and keeps my shine under control and the rest of my makeup in place all day long. They have a few different kinds, all dealing with different skin problems, but the Smashbox specialists recommended this one for me because my biggest problem is oily skin. You only need a tiny bit, so it lasts for a long time, actually making it a good value for the money. I paid $42 for this, and it is worth every cent in my mind.
My final product is concealer. Now technically I only paid $13 for this product, and I found it at Shoppers Drug Mart. However, but it is in this category because I would be willing to pay high-end price for a good concealer. I have dark circles and discolouration around my nose, and it's amazing the affects a good concealer have on my overall look. I look like I got a good night sleep (which is almost always a lie!) and my face looks polished and put together because my overall colour is even.
Save Products
*NYX Eye/Eyebrow Pencil-Black*
*Covergirl Lash Blast - Black*
*Love & Beauty Lip Gloss - Pink*

Now, in no way am I saying that if you spend say $40 on an eye liner it wont be better quality then my $3 liner. What I am stating here is that I simply do not see the value in the additional cost. When it comes to my eye liner, I find that my NYX eyeliner glides on smoothly, and stays on my waterline well throughout the day. When it comes to mascara, I just find that drugstore brands have come out with such good quality options that there's not reason for me to spend more money. Additionally, since mascara has a shorter shelf life then many other beauty products, the need for a hefty investment just doesn't resonate with me. I have been using CoverGirl Lash Blast for a loooonngg time and have always been happy with it. I do have quite long lashes though so if you have shorter thinner lashes the investment in a good mascara might be worth the money. The final product is lipgloss. This particular one I picked up at Forever 21 for $1.30! I don't notice a difference between it and any other gloss that I own. I actually own the O-Gloss by Smashbox and actually like the consistency of this one better. Since gloss rarely has a truely opaque colour, I think a cheaper alternative will get the job done, and save you money for investing in something that will make a difference to your overall look.

What it really comes down to is this: invest in the products that help your trouble areas. Have oily skin like me? Invest in a good primer and matte powder. Have short eyelashes? Find and invest in a good mascara that masks that problem! Have uneven skin tone? Invest in a good quality foundation. When your problem areas are taken care of, everything else will come together easier and look better!

What are some products you splurge and save on?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Spring Fashion - Forever 21

I recently indulged in some retail therapy at Forever 21. Oh how I love that store! My first mistake however was bringing along my boyfriend, since I need at least two hours to browse everything and his patience ran low. I did end up picking up some great inexpensive pieces for spring though. A lot of basics that can be worn different ways, with different things, making them hugely versatile. A pop of colour here and there is always welcome, and definitely gets me excited for spring. Overall, I bought all of this for just a little over $100 (with tax) - not bad for the quantity that I ended up with if I do say so myself!

Love the mixture of mesh and lace

By far my favourite cardigan - very long and light weight

Love the colour of this dress
Great classic skirt for work - purchased it in khaki too!

Love the hint of bright pink

Great layering piece - love the little leaf detail

How cute is this bracelet!
What is your favourite spring clothing piece?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Drugstore Haul

Hi Everyone,
I decided to do just a quick haul post. This is actually three different shopping trips I did in the last weeks of February. I didn't include any in my favourites because other then the mouth wash, I haven't owned any of them long enough to shape a true opinion. Now I know this haul isn't anything fancy but hey! I'm on a budget! So while none of these may be super exciting, they are all practical, planned out and effective.

1. Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer - I haven't owned a concealer in a long time. I definitely need one but it is one of those products I don't use due to laziness. This concealer contains apricot and raspberry extracts and does an amazing job of covering my blemishes and under eye circles. The Bourjois website says its $19, but I'd look to your local drugstore first... mine only cost me $13.

2. NYX eye pencil in dark brown - I received this pencil in black in one of my subscription boxes (forgive me I can't seem to remember which one), and have really loved the consistency and the longevity it has on my waterline. I wanted a good brown eyeliner for during the day since I am so fair skinned, black liner is a lot more dramatic on me then other people. NYX liners are cheap but have undeniable quality. NYX can sometimes be hard to find in Canada so check out their website for locations that sell their products.

3. Crest 3D White Mouthwash- This is actually a repurchase for me. I have been using this mouth wash for about three months now. When I can't justify the price or increased teeth sensitivity from Crest White Strips, this gives me the whitening I'm craving.

4. NYC Smooth Skin - I don't wear foundation on a daily basis, but I do like a little coverage and this powder gives me a very light coverage that evens my skin out without looking like I'm wearing makeup. And at under $3? You just can't go wrong.

5. Fekkai Silky Straight Ironless Conditioner - Now this product purchase definitely has some strategy behind it. I did not need a new conditioner, I still have plenty of my Paul Mitchell one and just purchased my Macadamia Oil Deep Repair Mask which I use as a deep conditioner. I'm pretty stocked for all intensive purposes. However, if you receive Luxe Box, in January's box you would have received a coupon for 8,000 Shoppers Optimum Points at Shoppers Drug Mart if you purchased one of the Fekkai hair products. These products run from $25 and up so they are definitely not cheap... but 8,000 points?!? The points are the only reason I purchased this product honestly. That is the equivalent of me spending $800 at Shoppers Drug Mart and I was just on the cusp of hitting the mark where I get $80 off a purchase. I have been collecting Shoppers Optimum points FOREVER, and have accumulated them so slowly its sad. It's nice to finally hit a significant points amount and this purchase helped me get there. The conditioner is actually a good product, I definitely notice my hair is naturally more straight after using it. Would I purchase it again? Probably not, I don't find it life changing at $28.

6. Wet and Wild Nail Polish "Party of 5" - I have heard this is a great dupe for Deborah Lipman - Happy Birthday, and wanted to give it a try. What girl doesn't love glitter? When I get tired of my same old nail polishes I throw a coat of glitter polish over it and it gives it a whole new look!
7. Sally Hansen X-treme Nail Polish "Bubblegum Pink" - I wasn't even looking to buy another nail polish when I went into Wal-mart but I saw this colour and fell in love. Unfortunately in the picture it shows up a fair bit darker then it really is. It really is a great mix of a bright and pastel pink that I definitely will be utilizing this spring.

Not exactly the extravagant hauls you see on Youtube, but none the less I still wanted to share my recent purchases. Some of these products will definitely pop up again in my March favourites! What are some of your recent purchases?

xo Kathryn

Thursday, 1 March 2012

February 2012 Hits and Misses

Hi Everyone,
Am I the only one who can't believe February is already over? Where did the time go! Well the end of the month means another Hits and Misses post and I am really excited to share the products I loved this month, and one product that just didn't get there for me.

February 2012 Hits
bh Cosmetics Eye Shadow 88 Tropical Matte Palette
I received this palette in the mail about half-way through February, and have been absolutely loving it ever since. Shipping to Canada was really fast actually, since it took less then a week including the holiday Monday.The pigmentation of the colours in this palette is just wild, I mean it surprised me being as I only paid $11 for it (bh had a sale where the palette I bought was 40% off). I decided to wear a coral colour one day when I was getting ready for work, ( am I the only one absolutely adoring coral this spring? My ginger hair says its not a good idea but I can't resist!) and it honestly was so true to the colour in the palette I did a double take in the mirror. While I haven't tried all of the colours in the palette yet, I have tried most of the pinks, purples, browns, and greys and am yet to find a colour that is not true to the colour in the palette. Definitely beats out my e.l.f. palette for my go to eye shadows and I could easily bring this sleek little case anywhere and be set. I thought about swatching this palette originally, but there are just so many colours and my ginger skin would ruin the swatches anyways.
Macadamia Hair Products
I have been liking watching Youtuber's "What's in My Shower" videos lately and that is where I got the urge to go out and purchase these products. I saw them in a few different showers, and there was nothing but rave reviews about them. However, when I went to my local beauty supply outlet, I found that the Deep Repair Mask was $35 and the Healing Oil Treatment was $36. Ouch! I couldn't justify it for something I hadn't tried before. Imagine my surprise when I walked into a Rexall the next day to find they now sold Macadamia Hair Products, and that same Deep Repair Mask was only $27!. Granted that is still pricey, but I was going off my high from finding it for $8 cheaper I purchased it ( I have looked around at a couple Rexall's and this seems to be their standard price there so it was not a fluke). I must have been on a lucky streak because that same day I went into a Homesense, only to find a gift package of the Healing Oil Treatment and an Oil Infused flat brush for $29.99. I took it as a sign and snapped it up (and immediately proceeded home since another dollar and I would be way over budget!).
While these products are definitely not cheap, they are worth every cent, and I cease to remember my hair before Macadamia products. Mixing the Healing Oil with the Deep Conditioner in the shower leaves my hair silky and softer then ever. I literally could not stop touching my hair the first time I used the two because I was so amazed. I use a scoop of the conditioner and a full pump of the healing oil and let it sit for 7 minutes, two times a week.The healing oil can also be used as a styling tool, but I would say less is definitely more here. I have extremely thick hair and a full pump of this leaves my hair heavy and weighed down, when used as a styling aid. You need to find that balance of sleek and shiny, which for me is about 1/4 of a pump. I will do whatever it takes to work this into my budget... definitely a new holy grail product!

Sally Hansen X-treme Nailwear in Mint Sorbet
If I told you pastels were big this spring would you be surprised? Of course not, they have been showing up anywhere and everywhere and I am jumping right on that band wagon. I was looking for a good mint green colour for spring when I stumbled upon this colour. Truth be told, Sally Hansen X-treme Nailwear is one of my favourite nail polish lines. There is just something about the brush, the formula, and the fact I can get it for $2.29 at my local Wal-mart that just wins my heart.This is a beautiful pale green and it only takes two coats to be perfect! While it is mint green, somehow it becomes this perfect neutral that pairs well with whatever I'm wearing, and gives that lovely pop of colour without being to overpowering for the office. I wore this a few times this month, which is a lot when it comes to nailpolish, and I can tell I will be going back to this again and again for spring.

Sephora Anti-Shine Primer
This is one of those products that I have rediscovered this month. I have had this for quite some time, but had taken on my habit I like to do of saving products I like for when I really need them, and then I never use them and they spoil. I have very oily skin and I remember when I discovered this in Sephora, I tried a little sample on my forehead...instantly mattifying! I was sold. This has been the perfect primer for me and I use it on a daily basis. I notice a big difference between my skin at the end of the day with Sephora's primer..and without Sephora's primer. Again if the anti-shine portion of this name doesn't give it away, this primer is really made for oily skin, so I wouldn't recommend it for girls with dry skin. For me though, it does the job and when I run out will definitely be something I repurchase (I believe I paid about $16 for it originally). 

February 2012 Misses

EOS Shaving Cream
This was a little bit of a impulse purchase ( which can either be a huge win or a huge regret). One of the curses of working in an office building that is above a Shoppers Drug Mart is that when I go to get the mail I usually stop and look through the beauty aisle on a daily basis, which use to lead to daily basis shopping! Now I make sure not to take my debt card with me, but on this particular trip I knew I needed some more shaving cream and since I get a 20% discount for working in the building, I decided to buy it there. I noticed this EOS shaving cream right away for three reasons; (1) the name EOS drew me since I have their lip balm and love it, (2) it was on clearance for $3 and, (3) it claimed to be natural and free of some of the nasty's other products contain. I bought it without researching first, but the second I got home looked for a couple of reviews. I got a mixed bag, with some people loving it and some people hating it. Well I guess it's clear by now that I side with the later. While I do enjoy the plastic packaging that wont rust in your shower, the product is what really let me down. It is not your typical shaving cream that foams up so you can lather your skin. This is more like using a moisturiser to shave (which I know some people do but I never have so it was very strange to me). Additionally, you need to use at least 5 pumps just to do the bottom of on of your legs. That's a serious amount of product and I am not surprised I went through this quickly. Overall, I was just seriously underwhelmed by this product. I used it up because I hate for things to go to waste, but I really did long for my usual shaving cream the whole time. I will definitely not be repurchasing this product again.

February is definitely a shorter month, but leaves more then enough time to fall in love with new products, and rekindle your love for some products you forgot about. I am not sad to see February go, since March means the beginning of spring and I have definitely had enough with this winter!
What are some of your favourites this month?

xo Kathryn