Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Ulta Haul

Is a haul still a haul if I didn't purchase anything myself? My mama recently went down to the U.S. with a few friends for some good old cross-border shopping. She asked me if I needed anything and I did request a few NYX products. While you can buy NYX in Canada I find everywhere around me carries a limited inventory, and it is never of the products I want. However, being the fantastic mother that she is she picked up a little something extra she knew I would love :) Don't you just love when Mom's do that!

  • Naked 2 Palette by Urban Decay - This was the "little something extra" my Mom surprised me with. I had mentioned this palette before to her. Several times I called her because I was in line to purchase it and I needed someone to talk me out of it. I don't care who you are, $60 on a palette is a lot of money! So when she went into Ulta and they had a special on Urban Decay products, she picked up the palette for me :). I was really excited when she gave it to me... I can't even count the blog posts and Youtube videos I have watched on it.. and now I had one. It actually took me three days to finally work up the courage to use it... it just looked so pretty brand new! I won't go into too much detail on it. I'm still developing an opinion and I have an interesting review/comparison post I am going to do on it, so watch out for that!
  • Urban Decay All Night Setting Spray - This was an additional gift my Mom got when purchasing the Naked 2 palette. It is a great travel size version of the product, and I actually have this exact same size already, but I'm almost out. I wear powder foundation on a daily basis, and a couple sprays of this really gives my face a natural no-makeup appearance.
  • Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion in Sin - I own the full-size version of this in the original colour. This was another additional gift that Ulta was giving away when my Mom was down there. This version is a sparkly bronzed pinkish colour, that is actually quite nice just on its own. A couple times I have worn this as the only thing on my eyes and it looks quite nice. However, if I'm going to pay the $24 for the full-size I would get the original. This version has some serious sparkle and if you are using matte eye shadows, I feel the sparkle in the primer would show through.
  • NYX Shine Killer - This is a skin primer for people with oily skin. I saw this on the Ulta website, and being that I am always looking for something to tame my oily t-zone, thought I would ask my mom to pick this up for me. It is a clear gel consistency, and at first use  I wasn't crazy about the way it applied to my face. Still developing an opinion though, I am sure you will hear about it at one point!
  • NYX Eyebrow Push-up Bra - My Mom couldn't stop laughing when she was retelling me the story of trying to find this at Ulta. My mom simply printed a list of the three products I wanted, went into Ulta, and handed it to one of the girls to find them for her since she knew she would spend hours looking. Apparently, it took three employees to figure out what this was, because it is a new product, and they were stuck on the word "Push-up Bra". In the end though, I am glad she found it because I really love this product. The brown colour is pretty universal and blends nicely with my eyebrows, and the pink is perfect for highlighting or even covering a small blemish. It is a nice multi-tasking tool!
  • NYX Soft Matte Lipwear in Tokyo - I saw this in a few Youtube video's and have been dying to try it! The colour looks so pretty and I like the fact that it is a full colour gloss/lipstick mix. They were pretty inexpensive too. I'm not sure I'm in love with this. The concept is interesting, and it dries matte and true to colour, but it really highlights any of your lips imperfections, and has a tendency to since into your lips natural lines. I think I need more time to play around with it.

It really is too bad Ulta doesn't have stores/doesn't ship to Canada. While I have never actually been in an Ulta store (gasp!) I see their deals from time to time  on-line and they seem to be substantial. I apologize for the quality of my photo, I can't seem to get the right angle/lighting/location etc. Sometimes I feel uninspired to blog, and I think it is because I am less then impressed with my photos. I take a lot of pride in my blog and want to take pride in my photo's as well. I'm working on improving them so if you bare with me, hopefully things will get better!

I hope you enjoyed this little haul!

xo Kathryn

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

April Julep Maven Box

I received my second Julep Box in the mail today. I recently blogged about giving in to the $0.01 marketing scheme and signing up, and I choose to continue the subscription. I can't see myself doing it every month, but for now building my nail polish collection has been kind of fun. This month I switched it up and ordered the Bombshell box. As well, Julep had a promo where a bunch of their nail polish was discounted, so I chose another one to add to my order. One thing I can say: I'm not a big fan that they shipped them separately. The website told me this was so my original box arrived on time but all I see is a waste of packaging. Totally not eco-friendly...I'm being picky here but it was just something I considered. Anyways, here is my box!

*Makeup Bag - A simple black makeup bag. It has the Julep symbol stitched all over it. I am not crazy about the feel of it... feels very cheap and I would have preferred even a plastic makeup bag. Still, it is versatile and good for travel. Bags like these always get used by me at one point or another.

* Toe Separators - I love that they are pink, very cute! I don't usually use these, because I get my pedicures done by a professional, but I know my mom uses these so I will probably give them to her.

* The Best Pedi Creme Ever - I have extremely dry feet which has come from my years of playing soccer. This is why I go get my pedicure professionally done, even though I moisturize my feet every night they still get pretty bad. This cream smells exactly like cucumbers which I love. I find it very thin though and I don't find it to be highly moisturizing but that's just my opinion.

*Parker -This is a bright beautiful orange. I actually picked this box specifically for this colour... I was dying for an orange polish in my life. However, I forgot I had this ordered and before I received it I purchased the Joe Fresh nail polish. They are almost exact dupes of each other except Joe Fresh is only $4. If you aren't subscribed to Julep but want a good orange nail polish I suggest checking out the Joe Fresh one. Though since I am loving orange nail polish I am sure both bottles will be put to good use!

*Annette - This is the second polish that came in my box. It is a beautiful neutral grey that had such amazing staying power 5 days later when I changed up my manicure, this colour was in almost perfect condition. It actually applies opaque in one coat, though I always apply two. It is not a unique colour but any stretch, I have at least two other nail polishes that produce almost similar colour, but the staying power makes it stand out.

*Renee - Julep had a deal where certain nail polishes were hugely discounted in March ( I believe it was around $4 -$5) so I decided to order Renee as well. This is a really interesting colour. Again, even though it is a lighter colour it applies really opaque and wears beautifully. The colour is a mix between a grey and a purple. In darker light, it definitely comes across grey, but in daylight it takes on a pastel purple hue. Maybe it's just me, but honestly in different lighting this colour can look totally different, which I find totally intriguing. The best part? In the lights of the office building I work at it looks grey (perfect neutral for work), but as soon as I step outside into the sun light I have pastel purple nails. What a multi-tasker :)

I really liked my box this month, though I believe I am going to skip next month. I am not sure I can justify $20 a month for nail polish every single month. I am also thinking of finally making a commitment to one beauty subscription box... will it be Glossybox or Luxebox? So undecided!

Hope this was helpful!

xo Kathryn

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Body Shop Mini Haul

I just recently had my 23rd birthday on April 3rd! I decided to take advantage of one of the perks of The Body Shop "Love your Body" card. While this card gives you 10% off any purchase, in the month of your birthday you get $10 off any product. I combined this with a buy one get one 50% off sale they were already having, and spent just under $20 for all four products, taxes in. Happy Birthday to me :)!

*Tea Tree Skin Clearing Foaming Cleanser - I have always loved foaming cleansers. I use to use one by Clean and Clear years ago. This one is from The Body Shop's Tea Tree skin care line, which is one of my favourites. Their tea tree serum has kept my skin in check for months! The tea tree smell is not overwhelming or lingering so if it is not your favourite scent you could still use this product. I won't give an opinion on its effectiveness yet since it takes awhile to see how my skin will react to something new, but you will see it in my April Hits and Misses if it's a winner.

* Nutriganics Refreshing Toner - This is a new product line The Body Shop launched not to long ago. This toner is actually more like a gel consistency, which is interesting since I am use to toners with a water like consistency. However, it has been working for me just as well as my harsh alcohol filled toners, so if I can pick a more organic option, I'm going for it! I read reviews saying this wasn't ideal for sensitive skin, but I have sensitive skin and it has been working great for me. They usually have testers of it in the store so maybe try some on your skin if your worried about the results.

* Born Lippy Tinted Lip Balms in Pomegranate(red) and Strawberry (pink) - This was an impulse buy. The Body Shop had a display of these sitting up by the cash register, and the lady in front of me was taking her sweet old time to decide if she wanted another product or not. This gave me lots of time to test and swatch these coloured lip balms. First off, these products are super moisturizing. Sometimes with coloured or flavoured lip balms I feel as though moisture is an afterthought, but these have replaced my Softlips as my go-to lip balm. They also smell amazing (like pomegranates and strawberries..surprise surprise!). As for the colour pay-off, when I say they are a balm the colour follows suit. I would say they have slightly less colour pay-off then the Maybelline Baby Lips. It is a colour where you don't notice it till you have put it on and you can see your lips have a slight red or pink tinge to them. They are great worn alone, or as a base for lipstick or lipgloss. These two had the most colour of the collection, along with a purple one that I did not pick up.

If you haven't checked out anything but body butters from The Body Shop I suggest giving their skin care line another look. Try it when they have a promotion on (such as the one I mentioned or sometimes they have 3 for $30), that way you get a good deal and can try several products. They also have cute trial size cases that have several products from a line, great for testing before buying the full size.
Hope this was helpful!

xo Kathryn

Friday, 13 April 2012

Versatile Blogger Award

My very first blogger nomination :) Not only a great award but I was nominated by one of my favourite bloggers, Courtney from Strawberree Swing. She has phenomenal taste and a great writing style. If you haven't checked out her blog yet you definitely should by clicking here. I don't think you can go back and nominate the person who nominated you...but if I could I would definitely nominate her! Anyways, onto the award!

I went to the Versatile Blogger Award site and got the low down on what it was all about. The rules are simple: Thank the person who nominated you (Check!), Nominate 15 amazing blogs, let those bloggers know, and reveal 7 things about yourself.
I am going to take a page from Courtney's blog. Since I am such a new blogger, 15 bloggers is a lot for a newbie like me. So I will follow her lead and list 7 random facts about myself, and in turn nominate 7 bloggers for this award:)

7 Random Facts
1. My whole life I was convinced I wanted to be a doctor. No one could talk me out of it. I even went to University for Bio-Med for a little bit. When all is said and done though, I am now an Accountant.
2. My brother and sister are old enough to be my parents. There is an 18 year age gap between them and myself.
3. The one thing that never fails to make me happy is my puppy Ollie.
4. The only food I ate till I was about 10 years old was Kraft Dinner. Now it makes me sick.
5. I once went to a Ricky Martin concert (Don't ask!)
6. It takes me about 2-3 hours to fall asleep every night.
7. If I could only watch one TV channel for the rest of my life, it would be The Food Network.

Now for the 7 bloggers I nominate for the award:
1. Aleeza from Stylish and Literate
2. Michelle from Eat Paint Sniff Glue
3. Jayne from Cosmetic Proof
4.  City Girl
6. Jem from Precious Jems

Thank you again to anyone that reads my blog. It still amazes me that people care what I have to say. Every comment makes my day and I really have discovered some great people through blogging. Good decision all around if you ask me :)

xo Kathryn

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

First Julep Maven Box

I wasn't sure what to make of the Julep boxes at first. The price of $19.99 sounded a little high to me for three products a month, and when it first came out I wasn't totally into nail polish. I decided to take advantage of the first box for $0.01, knowing full well it is just a marketing plan to get you in. For the price though, I was willing to take the bait. I was given Classic with a Twist as my first box, and this is what I received.

Nail Polish in Kelly - This is the light peachy pink on top. It is a very neutral and creamy colour. When applying it, it almost looks like an off-white, but when the final product is dry it takes on a more peachy-tone appearance. It is a little difficult to apply, and definitely needs 2-3 coats to be anywhere close to opaque. However, it wore beautifully and the staying power was impressive.

Nail Polish in Emma - This is the bottom purplish colour. It looks like it has a colour in the bottle but really when applied to the nails it is a lot of micro glitter. It makes a great top coat over any colour you want to add some glitz to, since the glitter is silver and very neutral. It is super easy to apply and will hide any imperfections that you may have in the base colour. I have not tried wearing this colour on its own, but I am sure with a couples coats you would get a nice affect. What I really liked about this was that the glitter was not rough like such glitter nail polishes are. It went on smoothly and again the staying power was great.

Julep Maven Facial for Hands - In most cases, you get two nail polishes and an additional manicure/pedicure related product in each box. This Hand Facial is what came in my box. I actually just mentioned it in my March favourites because I have been loving it so much. I use it every night before bed and my hands feel super soft after. It is effective, but gentle enough so that it wont scratch or ruin your manicure. It also has a wonderful citrus smell. The only downside? This product gets very runny, and I found even shaking it before I use it does not help. As a result, when you squeeze the tube, the runny product is really wasted until the more gel like product emerges. I still love it though, and will probably repurchase it when I am done.

xo Kathryn

Monday, 9 April 2012

March 2012 Hits and Misses

I hope everyone had an amazing March! I certainly did especially with that week of amazing weather we were blessed with. I had tons of options to put in my "hits" section this month which is great since I feel as though I am starting to understand what works and doesn't work for me. In the long run, this will ultimately save me money since I will be able to avoid purchasing products I know will not be used.
The Hits

March 2012 Hits
Marc Anthony Shampoo and Conditioner: I will not go into great detail about these since I recently professed my love for them in a product review blog post, but really I couldn't not include them. They are luxurious, creamy and effective and when I get around to doing a holy grail post you can bet these will be in it!

Skintimate Lotionize Shaving Cream: After my disastrous experience with the EOS shaving cream I was desperate to find something better. This was actually on sale at Wal-Mart when I saw it, and since it was the cheapest alternative I snatched it up. Sooo glad I did! I have never found a shaving cream to be any different then all the rest. But this one definitely is. It is super mositurizing and creamy and actually gives me a closer shave. When I run out, I will definitely be repurchasing.

Julep Maven Hand Facial Scrub: I received my first Julep box after taking advantage of their first box for $0.01. This came with my two nail polishes and I have been really enjoying it. Granted it is a little watery, but it leaves my hands feeling clean and super soft. I use it every night before bed and then apply a thick hand cream. My hands have never been in better condition!

Philosophy Chocolate Fudge Body Wash: This was a splurge! I mean honestly who pays $20 for good smelling body wash? Me apparently. I was in Sephora a little while back and just happen to take a whiff of this... and it was all over. I was hooked. It smells exactly like chocolate brownies, and I am huge chocolate addict. It is such an indulgent treat on days when I might be feeling a little off or down. It says it can be used as shampoo and bubble bath as well. While I am not adventurous enough to try it as shampoo, I did try it as bubble bath and found it a little disappointing. As a body wash though, it gets two thumbs up from me!
Joe Fresh Orange Nail Polish: This has been my go to nail colour this month. I had been looking for a bright creamy orange for awhile, when I spotted this at the grocery store one day. For only $4 I thought I would give it a try since my favourite Sally Hansen line didn't have the exact orange colour I was looking for. This was actually opaque in one coat, and had great staying power. The brush was great, and while it took a bit to dry, I was really happy with the overall product.
The Misses

March 2012 Misses
Lip Butter in Peach Parfait: I feel bad putting this in my misses category. I see these raved about everywhere I look. So let me be specific in saying I have never tried any of the other colours of lip butters, and my complaint comes with this colour in particular. I picked up the peach parfait hoping for a great creamy peachy pink payoff. It looks like it would be beautiful from the picture I took. Unfortunately, what I got was a gritty, incredibly sheer lip balm with large blue glitter flakes that are a pain to get off your lips. I kept trying to use it, hoping I would get the hype, but clearly I chose the wrong colour to try.
L'oreal Paris Re-Nurtrition Intense Mask: I had this deep conditioner in my bathroom from awhile back and had stopped using it. I couldn't remember why. Feeling bad for having a product sit unused, I pulled it out and used it for my weekly deep conditioner. Now I remember why I don't use it anymore. It is anything but moisturizing. I actually feel like I need to condition my hair after I use this. What's more is it leaves my hair tangled, frizzy and completely unmanageable. I am not sure why this product doesn't work me, but it was so horrible I could not even convince myself to use the remainder of it. Perhaps I've become spoiled from my Macadamia Oil Deep Conditioner, but I found even my daily Marc Anthony conditioner to be more effective.

xo Kathryn

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Product Review: New Marc Anthony Hair Products

Have you ever become a little obsessed with a brand? Where all you wanted to do was buy everything that brand has ever produced? Well, I have to admit I have felt a little like that ever since my Shopper's Drug Mart put out the new Marc Anthony Hair Products. I'm not sure what drew me to them, but I wanted all of them! They recently came out with three new lines: Oil of Morocco, Dream Waves and Frizz Free (not pictured below). All of the new products are sulfate free and are between $8 - $10 depending on where you pick them up. A little background information on my hair: I have long thick hair that is not colour treated. My ends and scalp are very dry, and my hair is naturally wavy. Please keep in mind that if your hair is different from mine, you may have a different experience then I did.
Marc Anthony Dream Waves Shampoo and Conditioner
The Dream Waves products were the first ones I tried. Truthfully, I was infatuated with the smell. They have the most amazing coconut smell, which reminds me of the pina colada's I had when I was in the Dominican back in December. Now usually I don't get suckered into purchasing things based on the smell. I know that many companies make products smell good hoping you will over look the sub-par performance of the product. In this case however, I didn't care. I bought them instantly. If you aren't fond of the smell of coconut, then the Dream Waves collection is definitely not for you. The subtle smell stays in your hair all day long and isn't masked by creams or sprays you may put in your hair after your shower.

Promises: The Dream Waves line promises to give you cute beach waves any time of the year. It also promises your hair will have more volume, appear fuller, and will be protected from UV rays. It states it is safe to use on colour treated hair.

Experience: I can not gush about this shampoo and conditioner enough. I have naturally wavy hair so I can't speak to whether or not it would give you waves if you had straight hair but I definitely saw increased volume. I wasn't even looking for it till I did my hair after using both the shampoo and conditioner and was like "umm... who teased my hair without me knowing about it?" It really was that much of a noticeable difference. My waves seemed a bit more defined, but again since my hair is naturally wavy it is hard to speak to this aspect of the product. The stand out for me was the shampoo. What a amazing experience. It left my hair instantly soft, much like a conditioner would. Overall, my hair was silky, had tons of volume, and smelled absolutely amazing all day long. I also like the idea of my hair being protected from the sun, since we often fail to be proactive about reducing sun damage to our hair.

Any Flaws?: I do have to say that when it comes to the conditioner, I feel I need to use a good amount of it to make my hair feel moisturized. This is definitely not a product where a little goes a long way. Keep in mind however I have very thick hair, and this probably wont be a problem for you if you have normal to thin hair. This shampoo does a great job with just a small amount of product but I find myself going back to the conditioner bottle to get more product.

Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
After my great experience with the Dream Waves line, I couldn't wait to try the Oil of Morocco line. The smell of the shampoo and conditioner reminds me of a traditional salon shampoo, which I love, but it is certainly not as overwhelming as the Dream Waves line. This line also comes with Oil of Morocco styling oil, which I didn't purchase since I still have some of my Moroccan Oil left. However, when I run out I may purchase the Marc Anthony Moroccan oil since the bottle is only $10.

Promises: This line promises to combat damage, breakage, dryness, dullness and frizz. It contains not only argan oil but keratin and grape seed oil as well. The conditioner also states that it will improve the manageability of your hair.

Experience: Again another winner. I actually had to sit here and decide which product line was my favourite, and I couldn't pick just one. The shampoo has a great lather, that feels very soft and fluffy compared to other shampoo lathers. The conditioner is amazing at making my hair silky smooth. I actually went to run my fingers through my hair after I had been using it for three days and was shocked at how great my hair felt. It was actually a completely different texture then it use to be.

Any Flaws?: I found myself in a similar situation with the Oil of Morocco conditioner. I definitely needed to use a good amount of product to properly coat my hair and have it come out feeling moisturized. This conditioner can also be a little bit deceiving. Since it is not as thick as some conditioners, when applying it seems like it will not do the job. Don't be fooled! When I rinsed the conditioner out my hair was silky and smooth, very similar to the feeling I got from my Macademia Oil Deep Conditioner.
Would I Buy Again? 
Yes Yes Yes! I truly believe I have found my holy grail product line. I say product line because both the Dream Waves and the Oil of Morocco worked wonders for my hair and I would be happy purchasing both of them over and over again. My star combination? The shampoo from the Dream Waves line and the conditioner from the Oil of Morocco line. I was saving up to buy the shampoo and conditioner from the Macademia Oil product line since I love their deep conditioner. But I no longer feel the need to shell out $30 for a shampoo when these products have blown me away. I haven't even touched my deep conditioner since I started using these products because my hair hasn't needed the extra moisture. I am already thinking about buying their Frizz Free line to see if it measures up!

I hope this has been helpful :)

xo Kathryn