Manicure Monday: Daisy Dalliance

BASE: Essie Grow Stronger

COLORS: Dior Addict 150 (pearl), Essie Tart Deco (coral), Essie Shake Your $$ Maker (green), Ulta Fuschiamania (fuschia), Julep Charlie (yellow), Julep Sydney (red)

TOP: OPI Rapidry

Left hand with Essie Tart Deco
Left hand with Essie Tart Deco

Here’s my manicure of the week!  No, it’s not Monday, but still!  They were painted on Monday, but more importantly, Manicure Tuesday just doesn’t sound cool.

I wanted to go for a delicate and flirty floral this time around.  Originally I was going to paint a tried-and-true rose design, but I was inspired by Wondrously Polished and fell in love with this look!  Instead of  a solid base, I used only one coat of a white pearl polish, Dior Addict, 150, to create a sheer, simmering effect.

My favourite part about this manicure is how the flowers creep around the edge, like wildflowers at the side of a path.  It’s feminine and fun at the same time!

Bronzed Lips: Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick No. 17

I was just having fun playing around with some products that I normally don’t get to use in my everyday looks.  One of my favourites is this highly pigmented copper lipstick, Sephora Collection Rouge Shine Lipstick No. 17.

Bronzed lips look
A simple, clean face with points of high illumination along with navy eyeliner compliments the bright lips.

Depending on what you’re going for, this copper can be used to add a little bit of shimmer or it can take center stage.  The best thing about this lipstick is its versatility; I especially love dotting this in the middle of a pink or red lip.  Here, I went full out with the copper lipstick, and used a bright fuchsia (my beloved Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense No. 36 Satin Fuchsia) to line the edge and inside center of the lips, blending slightly inwards to create dimensionality.

As you can see, this lipstick is veeerrrry soft.
As you can see, this lipstick is veeerrrry soft.

Unfortunately, this color was a limited edition from a few years back (as you can see on their website, they skip from No. 16 to 18!) and they never issued a similar product.  If you’re looking for a similar metallic, No. 1 Honeymoon from the same line has the same high shine, although it is nowhere as saturated as No. 17.  The most pigmented and truely metallic lipstick right now is Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense 17 Pearly Gold, which is a longer wearing but less creamy formula than Sephora’s.   But both lipsticks have the same color code number, so it has to be a sign!

Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense 17 Pearly Gold
Make Up Forever Rouge Artist Intense 17 Pearly Gold

Do you have a favourite metallic lipstick?  Would you wear this look on a regular day around town or for parties only?

Giveaway! Make-up by One Direction: The Looks Collection

Win a limited edition make up set from The Looks Collection by One Direction before it’s available to the public!
Up All Night
Up All Night
Brandbacker and beauty company Markwins have teamed up to give you this exclusive first look and giveaway contest, and I’m so excited to share it with you before the make up collection even hits stores!

Winners will receive a Make-up by ONE DIRECTION limited-edition collection of beauty essentials, housed in a collectible keepsake tin. Inside is everything you need to rock all your beauty looks on or off the stage.

Much like the One Direction band members themselves, this prestige makeup line is fun, bold and a tad mischievous, featuring vivid shades, premium formulas and chic, collectible packaging and components.

1D fans, remember when Niall showed off his make up skills?

I hope you’re better at applying nail polish than Niall!

Check out the three kits, each named after a 1D song.  Every kit has 7 pieces and includes an eyeshadow palette, mascara, lip gloss (which glows under UV light!), lipstick, nail polish, a chubby multitasking crayon that can be used as eye liner and shadow.  It also comes with bonus stencils made from doodles by the guys; use it anywhere to decorate your accessories or give yourself a temporary tattoo.

Take Me Home
Take Me Home

By looks alone, Take Me Home is my favourite – I’m such a sucker for gold!  The eye shadow palette looks like it’s going to be great for building shimmery neutrals.  The black light activated lip gloss sounds really cool (although, where would I find black light even?).

Midnight Memories
Midnight Memories

I can’t wait to try these out!  My kit from Brandbacker is in the mail, and once I get it I will definitely let you know what I think about each piece.

If you’re looking to buy your own kit (or all three!) they will be coming to US stores through August.

Macy’s – August 11th
Stage Stores – August 25th
Dillards – August 25th
Beauty Brands – August 25th
Lord and Taylor – August 25th


Contest ends in two weeks on August 5th and winners will be picked at random.   They are giving out 50 kits, so don’t miss out!  Be sure to come back everyday and enter to increase your chances of winning!

You can visit their facebook page at to get all the latest details!

Powered by Brandbacker.

Manicure Monday: Poppy Garden

BASE: Julep Oxygen Smoothing Base Coat

COLORS: Julep Alexandra (cream), Essie Fifth Avenue (red), Covergirl Outlast Stay Brilliant Black Diamond (black), Essie Shake Your $$ Maker (green)

TOP: OPI RapiDry Spray

Left hand with Essie Fifth Avenue and Julep Alexandra
Left hand with Essie Fifth Avenue and Julep Alexandra

Time for a new manicure! Poppies are one of my favourite floral designs, with their broad fluttery petals and striking red and black contrast.  They’re also fairly easy to make without any tools, which was a huge plus this week because I couldn’t find my nail art tools ( lost?? ;__;!! ).

The finished product!
The finished product!

First I put on two coats of Julep’s Alexandra, a cream color which featured in last week’s manicure as well.  Using the brush straight out of the bottle,  I made the flower petals by controlling pressure (and thus how wide the bristles spread).  Then, using a toothpick and dipping in Essie Shake Your $$ Maker (what a name!), I made the stems and leaves.  The black poppy seeds were painted using the bottle’s brush too, by picking up just the tiniest amount of paint and dotting with the corner of the brush.  Just goes to show you that you can create nail art without a ton of tools!

Right hand
Right hand

If you like the polishes I used today and want to try out Julep’s awesome nail products for yourself, click here for your first box FREE.

Samples Sunday: Nest, Bumble & Bumble, and Origins

I receive a lot of samples, both trial and deluxe sized, and I probably end up using samples as much as I use the full-size products I actually buy.  Here, on this weekly feature, I will share my initial impressions to a variety of products.


nest dahlia & vines sample

With such a pretty packaging (I looooove florals), I was expecting something elegant yet perky.  But ew.  It smells like potpourri.  I’m going use the rest of the sample as as a room freshener only.



bumble & bumble hairdresser's invisible oil sample

Smells faintly of argan oil and – what’s this? – gardenia mmmmmh.  The shampoo and conditioner, like most Bumble & Bumble products, work well.  I don’t feel any of it’s detangling effects, but my normally coarse hair definitely feel more silky.

THE VERDICT: Buy when the price is right!


Sorry I don’t have a picture of the sample! It was just a generic container.

I was told by an Origins representative that the papaya extract in this exfoliator “eats” your dead skin – whoa.  This thick scrub does its job, but, as weird as this sounds, it smells too good.  I prefer a skincare routine that doesn’t make me crave papaya.

THE VERDICT: On the fence.

That’s it for today!  See you next week with more teeny tiny sample packets.

Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

THE STATS: $18.00 USD ($14.40 for Julep Maven members) for 8 mL/0.27 oz at Julep and Sephora.

Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment
Julep Oxygen Nail Treatment

Oxygen Nail Treatment is a formula that protects and improves the condition of your nails, all the while providing a light pink-tinted sheen.

From Julep:

Advanced plant stem cell complex provides anti-aging benefits, while ground-breaking oxygen technology forms a nonocclusive film on the nail, proving resistant to water penetration and improving the permeability to oxygen. Results are nails that are structurally stronger, and less prone to breakage and splitting.

Julep recommends using it once or twice a week regularly for best effect.  For the past few months, I have usually been using it for a couple of days every week between each manicure.  My nails aren’t particularly soft or brittle, but because they are painted 75% of the time, they are prone to yellowing even though I always use a base coat.  They also end up with small chips and cracks at the edges when they are especially long.

julep oxygen nail treatment
With two coats on and a 1/3 empty bottle.

I enjoy the delicate nude look the Oxygen Nail Treatment gives me, like a natural French manicure.  I use the treatment without any base or top coat, which means that after two days, it loses its shine and tends to lift around the edges.  But instead of being a bad thing, I take this to be a great indicator as it reminds me to remove the treatment.

Having used the Oxygen Nail Treatment consistently for a few months, I think the effects are great!  Yellowing is removed after one use (it may take a few rounds if your yellowing has been around for awhile), and I am definitely experiencing less cracking and chipping.  The downside is that the product does become goopy in the bottle, at about the same rate as a fast-drying top coat, which isn’t too bad all in all.

THE VERDICT:  Julep’s Oxygen Nail Treatment does its job while being pretty.

Manicure Monday: Julep’s Alexandra, Zelda, and Gianna

Julep’s Maven box for July brought me Alexandra, a light warm cream.  It’s the base for my manicure this week, paired with two of my favourite accent polishes: Zelda, a fine gold metallic, and Gianna, gold flakes in clear polish.

2014-07-11 13.10.29_edited
From the left: Alexandra, Zelda, and Gianna

Alexandra is an elegant color that would work well as a neutral base for nail art, or on it’s own for a refined look.  I gave Alexandra’s natural elegance a kick by using gold as my accent, with two different ones polishes for extra pizzazz.  The result is a manicure that is classy yet has lots of energy.



2014-07-11 13.08.36_edited
On my right hand, I switched up the accent nails to the thumb and the ring finger.

If you like the polishes I used today and want to try out Julep’s awesome nail products for yourself, click here for your first box FREE.

Boscia Cool Blue Calming Mask and Bright White Mask

Ugh, summer weather.  Not only does it make me feel like a sticky monster whose only superpower is to produce buckets of sweat, it also causes my skin to go crazy.  My cheeks and nose get really red, and breakouts not only increase in number but stray beyond their usual T-zone territory.  What’s a girl to do?

2014-07-08 13.53.55_edited
The mask set on my dresser.

My answer is to lather myself in masks.  I love every kind of mask, but I especially love peel off masks – if because of nothing else but the satisfaction of peeling it away at the end.  Peel off masks hug closer to your skin which gives the product an increased ability to do its magic. Plus, it saves you the pain of having to wash or tissue off a particularly stubborn product (clay masks anyone?  They feel great, but what a chore).

I’ve heard a lot of great things about Boscia’s masks, but have been a little put off by the price tags – at $38 a pop for the Bright White Mask, that’s about twice the cost of a good mask from another brand, like Origins.  I was lucky enough to stumble upon a deal at Sephora, where they were selling the Bright White Mask and the Cool Blue Calming Mask as a set for the price of one.  What a steal!  Boscia says:

Cool Blue Calming Mask: A calming, refreshing peel-off mask that instantly cools, calms inflammation, and hydrates.

Bright White MaskA brightening peel-off mask that helps to visibly even skin tone and diminish the appearance of hyperpigmentation.

After peeling off - you can see how the mask is pearlescent.
After peeling off – you can see how the mask is still slightly pearlescent.

Getting home that night, I used the Cool Blue mask right away.  It has a thick gel consistency and is pearlescent and translucent.  At first, I made the mistake of applying with a brush (I couldn’t resist! The brush feels so nice, it’s like being petted by a bird), but this formula goes on more evenly with fingers.  After application, you will look like a shiny blue monster instead of a sweaty one.  Feel free to invent an accompanying superpower (mine was the ability to turn sunlight into fairy dust).  This mask lives up to it’s name – it’s very cooling.  Of all the masks I’ve used, I think this one has the most intense and long-lasting tingle, which I love.  The tingling is also a great signal, because once it stops to tingle, it’s ready to be taken off.  Away you peel!

If you have trouble getting a grasp on your peel masks, simply rub your finger back and forth on an edge until it loosens up and forms a little roll which you can pull on.   If there are any bits left, simply rinse off.   After removing the Cool Blue mask, my face looked incredibly smooth and illuminated.  I was very very impressed and kept touching my own face.

I used the Bright White mask the next day, and funnily enough, I don’t think the Bright White leaves you quite as bright as the Cool Blue does.  It’s a great mask as well, with a cream consistency (this one you can use a brush with).  Boscia recommends that the white mask be applied generously so that it is opaque without any skin showing through.  The Bright White mask is more hydrating than the Cool Blue, and feels great on the cheeks.  This duo would be ideal for someone with combination skin, like myself, to use together as a multi-mask, with the Cool Blue on the T-zone and the Bright White on the cheeks.

I’m so happy with these masks that I’m really tempted to go out and buy every mask Boscia has.  I’m especially curious about the Luminizing Black mask and the Green Tea Oil-Control mask.  Maybe next time!

Crest Be Toothpaste

Thanks to BzzAgent, I got to try out the new Crest Be line of toothpaste.  Says Crest:

Since the dawn of toothpaste, mint has been confined to slight variations like spearmint or peppermint. All that time, this reigning flavor of freshness was dreaming of bigger, bolder and more delicious pairings. Oh, the places mint could take us if only we’d let it be free!

Free the flavors!  In Taiwan, where I was born, toothpaste flavors other than mint are not as unusual as they are here in North America.  I’ve long enjoyed flavors such as apple and green tea, but I have never ever had chocolate in my toothpaste!

2014-07-08 14.43.00_edited

This new line comes in three flavors: Dynamic, a lime spearmint zest; Inspired, a vanilla mint spark; and Adventurous, a mint chocolate trek.  I’m not sure “Adventurous” was much of a trek (as far as I know, I didn’t suddenly find myself hiking in the mountains while brushing!), but it was so delicious.  I would call it “Vacation” instead, because it smelt and felt like I was eating chocolate chip mint ice cream on the beach.  The problem with it though is that I might start getting hungry after!

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An adventure on my toothbrush!

The Lime Spearmint Zest was my favourite.  It is the flavor that I would most likely use everyday.  The lime lends a lightly fragrant crisp that makes for a fantastic marriage with mint.  It leaves me and my mouth feeling refreshed, which is exactly what I need after a brushing.

Unfortunately for the vanilla mint spark, I didn’t feel inspired as its name suggested.   It tasted a little bit chalky, like those very old-school baking soda based formulas.  It’s the lightest flavor of the three, which might be a plus if you’re looking for a less intense taste.

Philosophy Haul

Aaaah Philosophy.  I have a lot of memories tied up with this brand and their products.  When I first started working at Sephora, Philosophy was just getting really big – probably due to the Oprah bump.  It was one of my manager’s favourite brands, and we were encouraged to introduce their products as the first line of skin defense.

philosophy haul
The goodies!

Purity, of course, is the original workhorse of facewashes.  A gently foaming formula that is good for most skin types and purposes (but be careful around the eyes, this animal bites).  Back in the days when I worked at Sephora, we used to use Purity to clean the brushes from the makeup stations.  I loooove how it smells, but not how it feels.  I don’t really use Purity as a facial cleanser, but it’s become a habit to use it as a beauty tool cleanser (I’m looking at you, grimy sponges).

Hope In A Jar is not for me either, but there’s something about the whipped texture of that moisturizer always gets people excited.  After all, it was one of Oprah’s “Favourite Things!”  Ergo, it serves as a fantastic gift for a fellow product junkie.  In this case, mommy dearest.  The Microdelivery Peel and Philosophy’s new fragrance Loveswept was also put aside for mom, which leaves only one product: Miracle Worker.

Philosophy Miracle Worker

Miracle Worker is one of the products hitting the market that is reviving the retinol hype.  It is billed as “miraculous anti-ageing retinoid pads” with “next-generation retinoid technology that helps maximise skin’s rejuvenation potential, while minimising the risk of irritation commonly associated with traditional retinols.”  Outside of anti-ageing, many reviewers remarked that Miracle Worker eliminated blackheads and drastically decreased the size of their pores.

It comes in two parts – a bottle of oil, and a tub of 60 pads.  You pour the oil onto the pads, allowing the product to be soaked up before use.  One pad really does go a long way; I’m able to use one pad for the entire face, neck, and both hands and arms.  The pads are honey-combed and a little bit abrasive, which gives an exfoliating effect.  Philosophy recommends using Miracle Worker every day (with a healthy dose of sunscreen too!), which I did for a few weeks, before I decided to tone it down.

Why?  Honestly, it was just too much exfoliation for my skin to handle.  My cheeks began flaking and my entire face began to look a bit dull.  I don’t think there is anything wrong with the product, just that I have sensitive skin.  Miracle Worker definitely works.  Of all the products I’ve used to close up those pesky pores, none has worked so well or so quickly as this one.  Just don’t use it too much!