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Burberry Rosewood Eye Shadow

I've been craving me some Burberry cosmetics for a long time -- I'd say since Lisa Eldridge's review came
out.  A word of caution:  if you watch that video, you will just want it more.  I didn't end up getting anything from the video, but I'm extremely happy to have the Sheer Eye Shadow in No. 09 Rosewood.

The packaging is beyond gorgeous.  The box is made of thick cotton card, and it opens to reveal a velvet pouch embossed with the signature Burberry check.  A granite-coloured compact slides out -- more Burberry check -- which closes with the most satisfying snap.  It comes with a standard sponge-tip applicator that no one will ever use (except to swatch), and the mirror inside is full-size.

The actual texture of the product is fantastic. Thing is, I don't know if the Burberry texture was overhyped or what, but I was initially a little underwhelmed with the texture.  Don't get me wrong, it's smooth and evenly pigmented and soft (yet not too powdery), but I think I was expecting that smush that I usually acquaint with Urban Decay's shimmery shadows.  In fact, it's probably better that there's no smush, because I do find I tend to pick up too much product if that's the case.  To reiterate, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the beautiful texture of this product, I just had a weird moment of culture texture shock.

Which brings me to colour -- I didn't buy this myself so I didn't really get a chance to test it in person, but I am not regretting this colour in the least.  In the pan it's a cool, light taupe with the tiniest hint of shimmer running through it but on the eye it shows up as a smokey lavender-mauve, almost gray!  The shimmer is barely there on the lid, it just adds a bit of luminosity.

Lately I've been wearing this all over the lid, just blended out with a MAC 217 or my trusty Hakuhodo Kokutan T.  If I'm feeling fancy, I'll use my pinky finger to dab on a bit of Urban Decay Toasted on the centre of the lid, with a quick flick of Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Liner.  I like to pair this with a light, sheer wash of blush, usually MAC LoveCloud.  And on the lips...maybe another Burberry product I came across?  I'll show you later this week!

These are available at Holt Renfrew in Canada, I believe they're $33/2.5g .  What are your favourite Burberry products?  I'm desperate to try the Light Glow blush in Tangerine!

What's in My Bag?

 Let's start with my most-used item -- my wallet.  It is so unbelievably dirty.  I desperately need a new one.  I keep an inordinate number of receipts in there and I almost never clean it out.  Horrifying.  

Next to my wallet is a very typical Moleskine 18-month planner, which I only really started using when I had about a year left.  Oops.  I use it for to-do lists, wish lists, appointments (which I also put in my Google calender, which I get on my phone, which is probably overkill) and more wishlists.  I like writing with an ink pen instead of ballpoint, and my weapon of choice is the Sharpie Pen.  It bleeds slightly less than an Ultrafine Sharpie.  That blue thing is a little pill case containing Advil, gummy vitamins and various supplements.  Oh, and my phone is a Google Nexus S with a terribly cracked screen. *sadface*

I constantly forget my keys, especially when Tod is here on the weekends.  We both have a terrible habit of not locking the door if the other is still in the apartment...disaster awaits.  I'm not sure what my logic was when I decided to attach this tiny Roots Pouch to my keys, but inside I have my credit card, some subway tokens and a Pocket Monkey.

Directly above and below my keys are my sunglasses (Rayban Aviators in the widest possible size) and my beauty essentials, which I showed earlier this week.  I also like to keep a book on me, because I can't sit still without some sort of distraction.  Currently, I'm reading Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl.  I'm 80% sure its giving me nightmares.  The purple tube in the lower left hand corner is my current hand cream-- it's a Tom Ford Violet Blonde body lotion that doubles as my everyday fragrance, for days that I forget to put perfume. I.e., every single day of my life.

I'm not going to lie -- I showed you mine so that you all would show me yours.  If you've done a What's in My Bag post, leave it down below or just tell me of any fun things you keep with you!

Testing Elizabeth Arden

Ah, the infamous Elizabeth Arden Red Door.  Discreetly printed into these gorgeous gold compacts, I almost feel like I'm standing outside their 5th Avenue salon.  Almost.

I've been so looking forward to warmer weather that a summery day look was in order.  I love a lightly smoky eye in the summer!  Paired with bronzed skin and juicy lips, it's usually my go-to look for cocktails on a patio.  I kept the base light and simple, under-eye corrector with a little mineral powder on top just to give a nice, matte finish.  On the eyes I used the eye shadow duo in Beautiful Color Eye Shadow Duo in Heathered Plums 04* -- the buttery, lighter shade is perfect for an everyday wash of colour, and the darker shade makes for an amazing liner.

Can we talk about this Pure Finish Radiant Bronzer Powder in Warm* for a moment?  Have you seen anything so beautiful?  The powder is made of four different shades -- a rosy, dark brown, a golden brown, a light ballerina pink and an ivory shot through with gold shimmer.  This isn't one of those bronzers I'd necessarily use to contour; this is a traditional, shimmery, glowifying (that's a word) bronzer.  Use it to fool people into thinking you've had an extra week of holiday.  The Beautiful Colour Radiance Blush in Plum Perfection 03* has an insanely blendable texture (not unlike the eye shadow) and the most subtle, barely-there shimmer running through it.  If you regularly watch my videos, you'll know that I prefer to use the same brush for foundation, blush and bronzer to give it a more seamless finish.

Lips are finished off with a lipstick/lip gloss hybrid that is so pigmented, I can't even put it on full-strength.  Beautiful Colour Luminous Lip Gloss* is chock full of ultrafine pink and silver shimmer to give your lips dimension, and formulated with mango and shea butter to keep your pout hydrated.  The best part?  The built-in mirror.  No joke.

Deets:  These are available online on the Elizabeth Arden site, at most department stores and the occasional Shoppers Drug Mart.  That  beautifully embossed bronzer is limited edition and will run you $38/10g of product.  The blush is permanent and is $26/5.4g, and all eyeshadow duos are $28.50/3g.  That lip gloss goes for $18 --  the same as a MAC Lipglass but with a smidge more product at 5g.

Keep an eye out for a few more Elizabeth Arden -- maybe a few things from the Eight Hour line? We'll see!

*PR Sample

Purse Beauty Essentials

I keep a catch-all pouch in my handbag to corral all the beauty items that end up running around my bag when I'm not looking.  This particular case is from CARGO, and it came stuffed full of fun beauty products.  Truth be told?  I bought it for the bag and haven't looked back.

Let's talk lips.  I'm a lip product fiend enthusiast, and I firmly believe that I need a lip look for every eventuality.  I'm kind of a just-in-case girl.  I always bright a neutral lip and a lip balm, so the Clarins Lip Perfector works on both counts.  Right now I'm using up 02 Apricot, but I'm feeling one of the new colours that are due out this spring!  Then I always a need a red lip (because you never know), and my go-to of late has been Chanel Rouge Allure #99 Pirate (swatch here)  It is the perfect blue-based red and the formula is classically gorgeous.  I also throw in a punchy, bright colour -- in this case, GLEAM Uncontrollable* (review here).  The fuschia-violet goes on ultra-glossy and leaves behind a popsicle-like stain.

Next, I'll throw in a base product -- usually an opaque concealer that I can apply with my fingers.  Weapon of choice?  Cle de Peau Concealer in Ochre -- this works under my eyes and on blemishes, so it's a winner in my book.  Next, for a little cheek colour, I like to go with something more neutral (if you're feeling a brighter cheek, use that red lipstick), so I've stashed my recent Stila acquisition: Convertible Colour in Peony.  I'm also someone who needs eyelid definition and the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Bad to the Bronze more than does the trick.  This shimmery, waterproof bronze brings just the right amount of light to my eyes.

I went on a mini-road trip this weekend and since I'm supremely prone to motion sickness, I like to indulge in a little aromatherapy to help quell any queasiness.  Not only is Caudalie Beauty Elixir a fantastically refreshing on-the-go spritz, the herbal scent really does make me feel more refreshed and less sick.  Have any of you tried Tiger Balm?  It's reminiscent of that, but less pungent and significantly less likely to hit you over the head.

Other miscellaneous items that I keep in there include random hair ties, tiny claw clips and whatever jewelry I've shed that day.  Usually one of these.

What beauty products do you keep with you?

*PR Sample

Urban Decay Vice Palette

This is the one that got away.  A beautiful combination of buttery, creamy shadows in a fantastic range of shadows with the most perfect bright/neutral ratio.  Yes, we are talking about the Urban Decay Vice Palette -- one of those instances where I debated far too long about getting it, and I'm feeling the regrets.

Fortunately enough, my beautiful friend Peruana who is a beauty fiend lite managed to get her hands on the palette. We've been talking about me playing with it for months, and I knew I had eyes for only one colour.  Chaos.  Come to us, precious.

This is one of those tutorials where I literally sit down and play with makeup -- there is no direction, no plan -- I play with all the colours and I hope it turns into something I like.  The process usually goes something like, "Ooh, pretty colour!  Are we going out after?  Is it night time?" and those are the factors that decide which products I use, how crazy I go with shapes and colour, and how much glitter I can use.  Super professional, no?

Hope you enjoy the tutorial and don't forget to watch on Youtube for a full line-up of products and links!

Current Favourite Lip Combination

Winters are essentially an exercise in lip hydration  -- that is, I switch between any one of these lip balms.  If I use anything else, my lips turn into a minefield of lip splitting waiting to happen.  Not pretty.

Then it starts to warm up, the winds die down and I'm free to wear as much or as little product as I want!  I don't often go for the lipstick + lip gloss combination (I'm far too lazy for that), but I've been playing with a few of them lately, and I've found one I particularly adore.

I'm currently rocking Chanel Rouge Allure Romantic, topped off with Naked Lip Radiance from GLEAM, a nude, peachy gloss.  For those of you have trouble finding a my lip but better colour, this is a great compromise.  I don't know about you guys, but for me, MLBB (there's some blog slang for you) colours tend to wash me out or make my lips look oddly swollen.  This combination settles into a very flattering rose-pink, with just the right balance of brightness and warmth for my skin.

The trick to achieving this look is to find a nude gloss that puts more weight on pigment than shimmer.  For example, this doesn't work well with my beloved MAC Nymphette -- that colour comes off too much like a gold shimmer and doesn't actually alter the colour of the lipstick underneath.  Clarins Lip Perfector 02 is an ultra-hydrating option, and Stila Lip Glaze in Apricot also works well -- that one gives the smoothest finish.  A fantastic drugstore option is Revlon Nude Lustre -- this colour is flattering on everyone I've put it on.  Layer it over a bright lipstick that you know adore and you're on your way!  To keep your lips from feeling like they're overloaded with product, don't apply from the bullet.  Instead, use your fingers to stain on the lipstick for a lighter texture.

What lipstick/lip gloss combinations are you playing with?

11 Questions Tag (twice)!

A couple lovely ladies tagged me to do this -- the idea is that they ask 11 questions, I answer them, then I ask you 11 of my own.  I tried so many times to film this, and it was just wasn't working out -- random fire alarms, filled SD cards, camera batteries dying, I gave up and filmed as much as I could.  I figured I'd answer one of the tags in the video, and the other here so those who visit my Youtube channel could enjoy one, and the readers could have the other!

I answer Annick's questions in the video -- she's the writer behind The Small Little Things in Life.  Here are her questions!

1. You are traveling to Morocco and can only bring 5 makeup items. What would those items be? 
2. What is your favorite eyeshadow of all times.
3. What's your 5 minute face? 
4. Do you pencil/draw in your brows? If so, with what products?
5. Tell me of an embarrassing makeup moment or story 
6. Heels or flats?
7. What is the most luxurious makeup item you own?
8. Do you have any pets? 
9. You've won a gift certificate at Sephora for $100. How would you spend it? 
10. What's your skin type? 
11. Do you like ice cream? What's your favorite kind?

Becca from The Beauty Sample tagged me to do this too!  Here are her questions, with my answers!

1. Do you have a go-to look when it comes to makeup? If so, describe it!
My go-to look is usually nothing!  If I'm putting in a tiny effort, the first thing I'll do is this look I recently showed you.
2. On average, how often do you buy new makeup? Do you buy makeup more in-store or online?
I really hope my mother isn't reading this.  I'm pretty sure I buy something every month, but it comes and goes in waves.  For example, around June, there's a few warehouse sales in Toronto and that ends up being...not a great month for me, budget-wise.  I've recently dabbled in online makeup purchasing, you can see my first purchase here!
3. Are there any brands that you have been dying to try but haven’t gotten a chance to yet?
SO MANY.  Tata Harper skincare is one of them, Costes fragrances, MAQPro, By Terry, Rouge Bunny Rouge, Tom Ford, REN skincare, Burberry makeup, T. LeClerc, Ellis Faas makeup, Barry M, Collection 2000...shall I go on?
4. Do you spend more money on makeup or skincare?
This is a tricky question.  I think my current makeup collection holds more dollar value, but I regularly use up and replace my skincare.  It's probably both?   I know for a long time I was spending way more money on nail polish than anything else!  You know what scares me?  My tolerance for outrageously priced cosmetics is getting higher and higher...
5. When it comes to skincare products, do you like to try new things a lot or do you stick to something loyally if you find it works for you?
Both!  One of my cardinal skincare rules is that you should establish a routine that always works for you, no matter what.  Then you can play with other products without worrying that you won't have something to go back to.
6. Most reached for blush as of late? What about eyeshadow? Eyeliner?
Blush is one of those things I can switch up every day.  I'm currently loving using my lip colour on my cheeks!  Eye shadow...anything neutral?  Currently it's Naked from Urban Decay.  I almost never wear eye liner these days, but I've been playing with the Stila Stay All Day liner (giving myself fun tattoos), and that's working really well!
7. Do you have any “HG” products? If so, share!
Not sure that I do...I have products that I adore, but none that I would necessarily call HG.  I think that kind of implies that you don't want to try anything else and my Product A.D.D. refuses to let that happen.
8. Is there that one perfect product that you keep searching for but have yet to find? If so, what is it? 
If one day...ONE DAY, I could find a foundation that is green enough to suit my extremely olive skin...I don't think I'd look any further.  It's not enough for foundation to be warm -- it has to have a little green in it. That is, if it makes you look ill, it's probably right for me. I'm open to any and all suggestions!  
9. If you had to choose just one beauty brand to shop from for the next 5 years, which brand would you choose?
What's supremely funny about this question is that I feel like my perfect brand is one of the ones I mentioned above.  Out of the ones I've tried so far...Institut Esthederm for skincare (they're the creators of Bioderma!) and Make Up For Ever for cosmetics!
10. Are you a sucker for packaging and/or pretty presentation (like the new trend of gorgeous, intricately embossed powders)?
Yes. Yes. And yes.  I (almost) never buy them.
11. You’re already running late but have on a completely bare face. Do you take an extra 5-10 (or even 15…:P) minutes to throw on just a little bit of makeup or do you go as is?
Not even a little.  If I'm late, I'm running out the door, stopping only to brush my teeth (because if I don't, my entire day is legitimately ruined).  The only other thing I might stop for is a face oil!

This was such a fun (yet oddly difficult) tag to do!  I'm going to recycle a few of the questions I loved answering.  I tag Christine B. from Little Red Bow, Evelyn from We Were Raised by Wolves, Esther from In a Nutshell, Alma from Honey Lushy and Jessica from Pixel Bunny!  No pressure though!  
  1. Check your bag.  What lip products do you have in there?
  2. Do you also hate CAPTCHA codes on comments?
  3. Tell me an embarrassing makeup story!  What's one makeup habit that (in hindsight) was so, so wrong for you?
  4. What's the one product/trick/technique that instantly boosts your confidence?
  5. What do your favourite physical feature on yourself why?  How do you enhance it or show it off?
  6. Share: your favourite blog? One that you think deserves more attention?
  7. What was the most recent beauty item you repurchased?
  8. What's worse:  Terrible drawn eyebrows or horribly chipped polish?
  9. Most affordable beauty favourite?  Most expensive beauty favourite?
  10. Any HG products?
  11. Go-to nail colour?
Anyone reading this who feels like answering any of the questions, I'd love to hear them!

my hair

After I did my Batiste review, I got a couple of questions from Becca at The Beauty Sample about my hair.  I figured it'd be fun to do a hair history -- that way, if I review any hair products in the future, you'll always have this to come back to.

My hair history begins with a very typical, toddler bowl cut.  Unlike most parents who decide on this cut, my parents decided to bring me to a salon and have someone inflict it on me.  If I had any of the baby pictures, I would show you's probably better that I don't.

I'm going to skip over the first decade and  half of my life where I remained under a regime of regular bowl cut oppression, and into a time after puberty when my hair grew out.  I didn't do much with my hair in high school -- I didn't even own a hair straightener!  I pulled my hair back in a pony tail every day and went about my nerdy way.

Then it happened -- I got a perm.  Before you ask, here's how it happened.  I was going to a wedding in Hong Kong, and my cousin suggested we get blowouts.  The hairstylist gave me a few waves with a curling iron and I thought...wouldn't it be great if I woke up and my hair looked like this?

You should know that nothing in life is that easy.  In fact, I'm sure most people know that, it just took me two perms to figure out.  Yes, two.  Back-to-back, no less.

The perm wasn't as bad as the word "perm" conjures -- here's a photo for your viewing pleasure.  The issue was that my hair came out completely fried and damaged, from root to tip.  That is, despite my efforts at deep conditioning, I had to wait until the entire length of my hair -- root to tip-- grew out before it would stop feeling like hay.  The first night I laid down after straightening my hair post-perm, it literally felt like I was sleeping on horsehair.

It was Halloween. Not that I didn't wear fairy wings all the time, under my clothes.

Now my hair is pretty routinely subjected to heat-styling -- I'd say I style twice a month, maybe more in the summer.  In the video you can see my hair colour, texture and length.  I've never dabbled in hair colour, and I hope I won't have to for a few more years (though I do have more than a few greys peeking out).  As for my cut, I've had the same hairstylist since I was five.  I've grown to stop resenting him for the Bowl Cut Era, because he does a fantastic job now. He is also responsible for all of Tod's crazy haircuts that I choose for her.  Check out her Arizona Muse-inspired cut here and her asymmetrical cut here.

Check out the video for all the products I use to keep my hair it does in the video.  The Youtube info box will also have a full list of products!

100 Point Perk

I (and I'm sure everyone who's reading this) recently got an email from Sephora about a few of their new 100-point perks.  It was exciting because Sephora Canada's perks can be pretty hit or miss. I've seen some fantastic perk packs in the States, but the ones up here are kind of lacking.   What do you mean you're not a Sephora Beauty Insider?  Get thee to a counter, pronto.

Among other fantastic perks, they are offering a Stila Convertible Colour.  I beelined.  I've heard mixed reviews about this product, so I was excited to try it.  I'm a die-hard fan of the Stila Lip Glazes, but I haven't tried much else from the line.  In case there are a few of you who adore these or are curious about trying them, I wanted to get a first impression out so you can grab them before they disappear!

This is a cream product meant for cheeks and lips.  The texture is fairly emollient; on the cheeks it dries down to a slightly tacky finish which could be remedied with a little powder (or just left alone if you want a more natural finish), and on lips, it feels exactly like cream lipsticks have always felt -- none of this newfangled (old person talking) balm-texture that's been going on lately.  I can see why some people find it drying, but so far it hasn't made my lips flake at all.

The colour they're giving away is Peony, and I knew right away it was right up my alley.  So up my alley that I immediately felt the need to compare it to a few other products in my collection.  It's a pink-brown that looks red-based on the skin, so it mimics a flush very well.  In certain lights, I can see a hint of peach creaminess, but it doesn't show up that well on me.  It would pull peachier on a cooler skin.  This colour is so up my alley that I've included comparison swatches -- of the four, it is the most neutral.  Make Up For Ever HD #8 is a close match, but with a little more red in its base. Tarte Matte Lipsurgence in Exposed is much darker and browner, and Fusion SculptDiva in Haute is nowhere close, being a brighter, blue-based pink.  Are these product names just getting longer and longer?

Normally these retail $33 for 0.15 oz (4.3 g), and the 100-point perk size is about half, at 0.17 oz (2.2g).  Would I repurchase this?  Right now, I'm glad I didn't, just because I have so many blushes that I love and have yet to use.  But for (essentially) free?  You know I love anything travel-size.

Phalange Decoration

I don't wear a lot of jewelry, and if I do, I almost never post about it.  That said, I've been switching rather regularly through these pieces the past couple of months, so I thought I'd share!

First up, my Single Crochet Leather Ring from Dylanium Knits.  Dylan Uscher is a Toronto knit designer who has worked with several fashion elite in Canada.  I went to a bazaar where he was doing a rare sale of his pieces, and managed to snag one of these.  These come in several sizes and widths -- it's recommended that you buy one that feels snug, as they'll loosen with some wear.  He also makes studded and wool versions! It gives my uniform (a white button down, jeans and Keds) the slight bit of edge that it needs to keep from looking too boring.  Every time I wear it, someone asks me about it.

My puppy ring garners just as many oohs and aahs as my leather ring.  It's made of a heavy bronze (not good for when you need to write or type for an extended period of time), but the weight is oddly satisfying.  Tod has the Golden Retriever version, which has fur etched all over it.  Careful though, these rings are really big!  They don't look that big on Tod or me because we're tall and have giant man-hands.  This I ordered online from Nove25.

This ring was a gift from a friend.  He said he found it on a beach in Caesarea when he was a kid and had kept it ever since.  I was extraordinarily touched when he gave it to me for my most recent birthday.  It's a smooth, matte, turquoise stone in a gold-toned setting.  Due to its proportion, I'm pretty sure it was made for a child, but it fits perfectly onto my pinky for days I want to wear something but nothing.  Does that make sense?  I love a delicate pinky ring, it feels so lady-like without being over-the-top.  One of my favourite pieces I've ever received.

My rings live in a tiny, little bathtub from Umbra.  Tod got it in Vancouver last year and it is the most organized part of my jewelry collection, floating in a sea of tangled necklaces, bangles and chandelier earrings.

Everyday Makeup

Lately I've been in a bit of a makeup rut.  Not in a bad way, more in a I have my routine down-pat type of
 way.  It lies somewhere between lazy winter face and light spring face with its ultra-light, but perfect base, highlight, rosy cheeks and groomed eye.  In fact, if I'm in a massive rush, I'll even skip gloss and brows (and usually mascara, but that's just me).

Also, since some of you have yet to meet Tod in a timely capacity, she is the model for my video.  Tutorials have been few and far between since she moved away (weekends are now usually spent scouting for milkshakes and extra-thin crust pizzas instead of filming), so it was nice to try and get back into the groove.  Also, we went on a bit of a makeup hunt and came back with Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer samples, so we needed an excuse to play with them.

Since this is my first attempt at a voice-over tutorial (how much rambling/awkward pausing can I get into eight minutes if left to my own devices?  Find out.), she ends up talking through the entire video.  At one point (or five) she gets some pretty weird facial posing going.  It's worth a watch just for that.

Hope you enjoy the tutorial and don't forget to subscribe/sound off in the comments!


Every now and then, I find myself going through my old posts for inspiration.  I've been blogging for a while now, and it's given me the opportunity to experiment with my web identity.  I know a lot of you are new to my site, so here are a few throwback posts -- prepare yourselves for terrible picture quality, limited product selection and unfiltered thoughts.

I almost prefer the way I used to write on the blog -- it was much more of an instructable.  You can check out one of my favourite looks I've ever done here.  It was my version of an "editorial" look (in my defense, it seemed wild because it was before everyone got into this bright lip thing) and fully amped up the edge by making my model do a lot of awkward hand positioning.

Speaking of my model, a lot of you have never met her!  I call her Tod.  It's such a strange thought because there was a time when I was afraid of the internet and used her face as my own.  That is, I would pretend to be my roommate so I wouldn't have to share my identity.  It got especially funny when people started recognizing her and asking her for makeup advice.  The best Tod story I have on the blog is one of her horrendous first dates.  I wrote it in first person because I was planning to publish it before I came out.  It's still one of my favourite posts to date.

I recently posted about travel organization, but I don't know that my new readers completely understand how much I love travel containers.  Check out my post here -- all those containers are still valid.  And you're seeing right, I didn't even have regular access to a camera back then.  I do have one addition: I now use those Bath & Body Works anti-bac containers for shampoo, conditioner and body lotion when I travel.  They're easy to decant into and they are just squeezy enough to get all the product out.

While I much prefer the quality of my blog now, I really love some of my older posts.  I'm thinking about republishing them with my own photos and more accurate/applicable advice. What do you think?

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