Feb - Mar 2015 Empties

This month I have managed to use up quite a few things, which means YAY for more counter space!

Products include:
1. Nivea - In-Shower Body Milk
2. Bioderma - Purifying cleansing Micelle Solution (Sebium)
3. H20 - Hydrating Toner
4. MAC - Fix+
5. MAC - Brush Cleanser
6. Amazing Cosmetics - Foundation (Tan)
7. Nars - Primer (sample)
8. Dr. Brandt - Pore No More (sample)
9. Maybelline - Illegal Length Mascara

Products that I would not purchase would be the Nars primer or the Dr. Brandt - Pores No More primer. The texture of both of these are very different, the Nars is very runny and the Dr. Brandt one is a super whipped texture. After the Nars one dried on my skin, it left a tacky-ish texture, it wasn't sticky? but it didn't feel dry either? It wasn't for me and it left my skin oily mid-day. The Dr. Brandt one didn't cover my pores well, and had a VERY pungent herbally smell. It didn't last long, but the results of the product weren't good enough for me to keep using it.

Products that I may purchase again are the Amazing Cosmetics Foundation or the Maybelline Illegal Length Mascara. Both of these products delivered, I like them, but honestly there are so many different types of foundation and mascaras out there that I would like to try different ones first before deciding if I will come back to this one. Same goes for the H20 Hydrating Toner and Mac - Fix+. I used the H20 primer in high school, its a classic good one - I bought it on sale at Winners for $6.99, that's a bargain. The Mac Fix+ is good, but there are so many different setting sprays I might try them out before I come back to this. Rift now, I'm loving the Urban Decay Chill Setting Spray.

Products I love and will purchase are: the Nivea In-Shower Body Milk - it provides a very good layer of hydration and moisture that lasts through the day without being greasy. Bioderma Micelle Solution - I have used this for years, it takes off everything with ease - put some on a cotton pad and it will take off waterproof mascara and gel liner, I love it. Mac Brush Cleanser  - I like this as a daily cleanser. I do not use this to do a deep cleaning of my brushes - I only use this to spot clean after each makeup application to prevent buildup. I use the Sephora Solid Bar Cleanser and my heart belongs to that.

What are some of your empties this month? Please share them with me, I would love to hear from you.

Until next time, XO - M.

March 2015 Favorites

Another month has come and gone, can you believe how fast time flies? Spring has officially started, however, mother nature has other plans in store for us. I don't know where you're located, but currently in Toronto, it is still cold, windy and we have temperatures in the negatives * sad panda *.

Enough blabbering - here are my favorites for the month of March! Please be sure to share with me any favorites you have this month, I'd love to check them out!

1. Smashbox - Photo Finish Primer Water
2. Graydon Clinical Luxury - Hair Smoothie
3. KOKO lashes - 201
4. Miracle 10 - AHA Gel 1Light Serum
5. Giorgio Armani - Cheek Fabric Sheer Blush 305 Dolci
6. Milani - Bella Eyes Gel Powder Eyeshadow - Bella Cappuccino 03 Satin Matte
7. Charlotte Tilbury - Filmstar Bronze & Glow Face Sculpt and Hilight
8. Chanel - Soleil Tan de Chanel
9. MAC Cosmetics - Amplified lipstick - Craving
10. Kellett Skincare - Boost Peptide Gel
11. Giorgio Armani - Luminous Silk Foundation 5.75
12. Benefit - Roller Lash Mascara
13. Indie Lee - Blemish Stick

My skin has finally calmed down since its crazy breakout this past winter and I have been able to finally feel comfortable in my own skin again. With that being said, I have gone back to using the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation with a peach-toned blush for spring, keeping it light and bringing out my inner glow. My favorites this month are centered around creating a more dewy, radiant glow - hence the bronzer, hilighter and such. I still love the Smashbox primer water, it boosts my hydration and creates a smooth base for makeup application - to fill in my pores, I use the Smashbox pore filler or the Too Faced Prime and Poreless.

The skin favorites are what have got me through this past winter ... my ultimate favorite this month however has to be the Graydon Hair Smoothie. It has a blend of essential oils including brocolli seed oil, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. This green blend feels like nothing upon application, which is deceiving, however when water is mixed in, it becomes smooth and silky. This is light enough to be used directly on the scalp and it has helped with my hair growth. I unfortunately have really thin hair, and ever since I used this, my hair has been soft, shiny and a bunch of baby hairs come out. The scent of this product is very herbally and relaxing - I LOVE IT. I am ordering the 1L bottle once this is done! I got this a few weeks ago, and I've been using it religiously every day with my Lush Shampoo Bar. The combination together has helped lots.

Check back in a few days, I will be doing my empties soon! :)

Until nxt time, XO - M.

CND Summer 2015 Garden Muse Collection - Vinylux and Shellac*

Brace yourself my fellow beauties, CND is launching the Garden Muse Collection and the colors are GORGEOUS!!

CND has this collection in both the shellac and vinylux formulas. The difference between the two is that one you can do yourself, and one you will have to get done at the salon. 

The Shellac requires curing with a UV light, but lasts up to 14 days. I prefer Shellac over Acrylic or Gel as you do not need to buff the nail with an electric buffer. I hate those things, I got burned a few times with those, that extreme heat from the buffer, the friction... HATE IT! However, with the Shellac, it is non-abrasive and you get gel-like nails with the gloss and shine that lasts 2 weeks, chip free. Vinylux, is a polish formula you can apply at home by yourself. It does not require any curing - you use the special top coat and the formula is said to naturally cure via sunlight and will last a week, chip free. 

I was fortunate enough to be invited as the +1 of my nail polish partner in crime, Samantha from Gemstone Beauty, to attend the event at the Four Seasons Hotel Spa in Toronto. Super posh! An afternoon of luxury :) Check out her review here. Sorry it took a few weeks to get those post up, i was really hoping to get my hands on the Wisteria Haze before I posted my review here... However, once I get it, I will create some tutorials and share it with all of you. 

Here are some pictures from the event:

 This is the design and color I picked, Wisteria Haze with an accent nail of abstract roses made with Beckoning Begonia and Butterfly Queen. The wonderful Jennifer actually did the pretty accent nail and I got compliments for days. I really have to try to recreate this once I get this!

Wisteria Haze was one of the most popular colors of the day, as I was told and I'm not surprised. It's a perfect lilac color, perfect for any season and it works really well with my skin tone. It makes my hands look tanned, not washed out - bonus! I was getting a lot of compliments when I was rocking these nails...must.. get...*my precious*...

We were spoiled with a goody bag from the event, it contained the majority of the Garden Muse collection and a yummy macaron... Oh CND Canada you sure know how to spoil me, what makes my heart flutter, and that is....FOOD AND NAIL POLISH! :) 

Thank You once again for allowing me the pleasure in attending this event, and for pampering Sam and I, I look forward to your next collection ~ Can't wait to see what you've got planned!!

Until next time, XO - M.

Kellett Skincare - Boost Peptide Gel Review *

A few months ago, I was sent the Boost Peptide Gel to try out and review from Kellett Skincare, located right here in Toronto. This year has been the year where I have finally been introduced to the world of higher end skincare and the benefits of incorporating different types of acid properties to my products. Don't let the word "acid" turn you off as it did me at first. I was really intimidated by that concept and word, why would anyone want to put acid on their skin??, but upon doing lots of research and trying out the products for myself - I have finally realized that I have been missing out.

I've included the product information straight from their site below to let you all know about the benefits of this product before I tell you about my own personal experience with this. 

30 ml / 1.0 Fl Oz - $199.00

> Water-based, oil-free vehicle, fragrance-free, and non-comedogenic
> Appropriate for use under makeup, sunscreen or moisturizer> A light-weight moisturizer for acne-prone skin

A unique Hyaluronic acid-based gel designed to enhance skin’s moisture and reduce signs of photoaging. Clinically demonstrated to treat damage generated by UV exposure which can break down collagen and elastin fibers within the skin.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE: Apply 1-2 times daily, or as directed.  Apply a dime sized amount to face in the morning and at night. Follow with appropriate Kellett moisturizers. Should be used within 3 months of opening.
CAUTION: For external use only. Use only as directed. Discontinue use if irritation occurs. Avoid direct contact with eyes. Keep out of reach of children.
FREE FROM: Free from Parabens, Synthetic Fragrances, Synthetic Dyes, Petrochemicals & Phthalates.
All my life, I would have to say that I was really blessed with my skin -I had oily/combination skin and didn't experience any major breakouts (even through puberty), and the only thing that I disliked was the blackheads I would get around my skin. I could use any product on my face, be it drugstore or fragranced, but as of this past winter however, my skin has been really acting up. Not only is it extremely dry, but it is now sensitive to alot of products that contain fragrances, and I have been developing more acne then normal. Acne breakouts on dry patchy skin - WHY! It seems like my skin would spontaneously sprout out these ugly painful pimples that could allow me to play connect the dots with it... graphic imagery I say. I needed something to soothe my skin, to moisturize it but not to aggravate my pimples. I even tried the First Aid Beauty face cream, and it did nothing. This winter has been quite harsh in Toronto, and with mother nature being bipolar, it has taken a serious toll on me.
When I was approached to try this gel, and after a thorough review of their site, I was quite excited to try this product out. I read great reviews online, and Helen Vong from TheSkiny.com swears by it (she has amazingly dewy clear skin that radiates!) and goes through bottles of this. 
The key ingredient in this serum is Hyaluronic acid which prevents the signs of aging and reduces any skin damage. It is also a good moisturizer and is said to heal wounds or burns, through the research I conducted, 
The consistency of this product is obviously a gel/serum but it is extremely light weight, non-greasy and doesn't contain any perfumes or residues. It absorbs really quickly into the skin, and there is no trace of it on your face afterwards. I love the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery, however there is a film of oil left on my skin afterwards, meaning it is more suitable to be used as a night-time product as I cannot apply makeup right after. 
With this serum, I can use it in the day-time AND at night, and I am not stuck waiting around for it to dry before I continue with the rest of my daily beautifying regiment. 
This product has provided me with amazing hydration this crazy winter, and has turned my dry patchy skin, to normal again. I am still not at oily/combination, which is great. Also, I have not broken out from this - Hallelujah! I am looking forward to trying out more products from this line, however, I have to start saving first because this is in the higher end of skincare. A little goes a long way with this, so I am really rationing this baby out right now!  
Hope you all enjoy the rest of your weekend and Thank You once again to Kellett Skincare for this amazing opportunity :)

Until next time - XO, M. 

March Guest Post ft. Chantal's Corner

Hi everyone!

I'm Chantal from Chantal's Corner and I'm excited to be a guest for Miranda today as part of the Canadian Beauty Bloggers' monthly guest posts!

Our theme this month is green and being close to St Patty's Day I decided to try some nail art around that theme.

The colours I used for this are both from essence (which I LOVE). The green is called the green & the grunge and the gold is my sunny side (from the 2013 sun kissed trend edition).

I then stamped with the Born Pretty 09 stamping plate. The plate I have is the first version of the plate; they have changed their plates since. But the new 09 plate still has the shamrock border.

At first I wanted the border to be a straight line at the tip of my nails, but when I tried it on my right hand it was next to impossible to get a straight line with the tips, so I decided to just do random angled lines, and this is the result.

Nail art doesn't always work out like you had planned, but I still like how these turned out so it's all good. :-)

Did you do some St. Patty's Day inspired nail art?

Thank you Miranda for having me as your guest today!

- Chantal :-)

NEW! Dry Spray Antiperspirants Review *

Hey Everyone!! Today's topic is personal hygiene products, specifically deodorant. For those of you who have been to the pharmacy or grocery store lately, you will see that there are some new products that have hit the shelves - Spray-On Antiperspirant/Deodorant! I was recently sent some of these products to try out, and they were kind enough to sent some for my hubby to try as well. 

Here's the assortment of mens and womens dryspray. 

Attached below are the mens products from Axe, Dove and Degree

The favorite of my husbands would have to be the Degree followed by the Dove. The one he reached for the least is the Axe, and that is purely due to the scent which is too cologne-ish.  

He is a really active indivdual - he goes to the gym every other day, and on the days he isn't at the gym, he's running. On Saturdays, he runs 16km-20km and I thought that there'd be no one better to test these out under an active sweaty environment then him. He would be able to tell me if this stuff really works. 
He sprayed on the Degree in the morning before work, and came home at the end of the day, went to the gym, sweated, came back and all was still fresh. *bell rings* this product really worked. 
The Dove started wearing out at the end of the day, pre work-out, and the Axe was just too strong, as mentioned before. The scent would waft out even hours later.. a bit too overwhelming. 

Next, is the womens line - I gave a bottle of this to my friend to try and I'll include her review below.

The Degree one, I wasn't a fan of the smell. It was too strong, and lingered in the air too much after application. It was like a cloud of fragrance around you, that stayed around for a good 20 seconds. 

I was personally a fan of the cucumber Dove one, I agree that it is a dry spray - there is no waiting around for this stuff to dry once you spray it. It is also a bonus that it does not spray on cold, that would really suck! The cucumber is a very light scent, however, it also does linger in the air for a while after you spray it. 

One thing to note is, I cannot wear regular roll-on deodorant. For some reason, my arm pit rashes out, and becomes really irritated or I would get in-growns (lovely visual sorry). However, I have been using this product everyday for the past few weeks, and I am happy to report that I have not developed any weird skin conditions or irritations. 

I will most likely continue to purchase the Dove Cucumber Dry Spray, and keep it in my gym bag just because its convenient and its the one thing that works for me, besides my all natural deodorant stick I use. However, I will not be purchasing the Degree - it was too overwhelming and I didn't find the lasting power to be as comparable to Dove. 

Last thought - the packaging of this product, with the metal cans seems a bit excessive. I mean, yes regular deodorant still has its waste in terms of the plastic container - however, metal aerosol cans, I feel like that may be more harmful to the environment? Thoughts?

Until next time - XO, M.

March 2015 Ipsy Bag

This month's Ipsy Bag is alright - the cosmetic bag that everything comes in though however, is super cute and perfect for spring. It fits right in with the "Floral Fantasy" theme.

Here's a list of products that I received:
Coolway - Glow Oil Treatment
NYX Cosmetics - Butter Lipstick
Chella - Ivory Lace Hilighter
pur-lisse beauty - Soymilk Cleanser and Makeup Remover
MARSK - Mineral Eyeshadow 

The products I'm most looking forward to is the pur-lisse cleanser and NYX lipstick. I've been taking a liking to all NYX lip products lately, my favorite is the butter lipglosses, I own about 7 of them. 

To be honest, I'm not sure how long I'm going to stay subscribed to Ipsy for. I need to find a new good quality, good valued subscription service to replace this with first. Any recommendations? Let me know!! Please!! Thanks!!

Until Next Tine, XO - M. 

Review of Benefit's Roller Lash Mascara

I'm sure most of you already know that Benefit recently came out with a new Mascara - the Roller Lash. A friend and I went to the small launch event hosted by Sephora and Benefit at Toronto's Eaton Center , and I decided to pick this baby up and do a review for my lovely readers. 

With any 2 Benefit Product Purchases, you were gifted an adorable tote and a sample of Puff Off!

Here are some pictures from the event:

Pictures of the Mascara Packaging - Front and Back, and what results the product claims to deliver:

 My lashes - before and after. 

I have the most pathetic and sad lashes ever. Without mascara, you can't even see anything on my poor eyelids - as witnessed in the picture above. Super short and fine... I also do not have the energy to rock a pair of fake lashes everyday to work so my search for a good mascara has been on-going.

As you can see from the before and after shot, it looks pretty good :) I am actually quite happy that I got these results without having to even curl my lashes first. To be honest though - the first two applications kind of sucked. It took a little to get used to, and now after a few tries, it really works with me and I will not be returning this product. I really was on the fence with this product when I first tried it, but now it has taken residence in my vanity drawer and is used daily. 

A good drugstore alternative, would be the Maybelline - Lash Sensational. Both products do not require a lash curler prior to application - however, the brush on the Maybelline is a bit wider and chubbier. The Maybelline is $4.96 vs. The Roller lash which is $29. 

Although I won't be returning the Benefit mascara, I probably won't be repurchasing it either. I would probably be sticking to the Lash Sensational.

additional products I picked up - deluxe sample sizes of these products I can throw in my travel bag. 

I also picked up a new lipstain/gloss from MUFE and redeemed 100 pts each on the Clinique deluxe sample size repair wear night cream and the Marc Jacobs gel liner - both GREAT point redemption products! I will also be tossing these into my travel bag. I love redeeming Sephora points for useful things I can take on vacation like creams, makeup remover and mostly skin stuff. 

Until next time, XO - M.

Drugstore Beauty Haul - March 2015

I recently decided to go on a beauty hauling at the drugstore as I haven't done that in quite a while. My friend and I decided to go to Shoppers Drug Mart and Walmart in hunt of some goodies and I thought I'd share the results of my haul with you.

Overall I think I did really well.. and most of the items I got were on sale :)

Swatches of the lipsticks I hauled - the colors on my arm are from top to bottom - lipsticks left to right. So, 135 is the top color, 160 is 2nd down from top etc... the bottom one is the essence lipstick I got for $2.99

I picked up 4 of the Maybelline colorsensational lipsticks at Walmart - they were on sale for $5. To be honest, I have never given drugstore lipsticks much of a chance - my friend actually convinced me to give these a try and I'm glad I did. Typically I always go to Shoppers to browse around for beauty products and they are actually way more expensive then Walmart. For e.g. I bought the Maybelline lash sensational mascara at walmart for $4.99 on sale and at Shoppers it was about $12.99 - BIG difference!

No beauty haul is complete without some nail products - I picked up the two NYC polishes for $3. The white one is those peel of base coats. I figured, for $1.50 I'm all for trying it out. I've been eying similar products made by Essie and OPI. I will report back on how it is! The orangey-red polish is perfect for my toes :) I'm really hoping that Spring is coming now that the weather is warming up and we've adjusted our clocks this weekend.

I picked up a few more eye related items - I've been on a hunt for those Milani Gel Powders for a while, I was stalking the Loblaws Superstore for them (since it's the place I know that sells them in Toronto), and to my surprise, I found them at Walmart at STC!! They are pricey though, at $8.88 - they aren't that "gel" like - I think that I would've probably wanted to buy the Color Pop shadows instead - those look more "gel-like" from what I've seen and heard.

Next I picked up the Essence shadow palette at Shoppers for $4.99 and a super adorable brush for my bronzer that is in a cute heart shape for $2.99 also by Essence.

Overall, I have to say that I did quite well for this drugstore beauty haul!!

I've got a few reviews and another haul coming soon - stay tuned!

XO - Miranda.

Blush Pretty B.F.F. with Graydon Clinical Luxury by Nature *

I was invited to join the Blush Pretty Team and meet the founder and creator of the Canadian-based brand Graydon Clinical Luxtury by Nature, Graydon Moffat. We all had a chance to meet with her in small, intimate groups and got to ask her anything we wanted. What inspired her to start her own skincare line, what is her best seller, and how she came into developing and creating skincare. Graydon shared her personal stories with us - some nerve wrecking and some inspiring, and through my blog post I will share some of everything with you. 

featured here is the whole range of products she offers. 

Graydon sources bioavailable Canadian grown ingredients, organic whenever possible and whole heartedly believes in "feeding your skin". She stays away from fillers, petrochemicals, toxic chemicals, artificial fragrances or colors. Graydon even uses certain products on her furbaby, Cayenne - i.e. the Body Oil, All Over Soap, Hair Smoothie and Germs Away Mist.

The lavish spread by the Blush Pretty Team

Graydon also offers customized service and 1 on 1 consultations, you will have to either purchase the Skin Consult and Tea with Graydon package on the website, or e-mail her at gm@clinicalluxurybynature.com

Most of her products come in sample sizes that you can purchase to see if you like it, they range from approximately $2 and you get a generous amount of it - enough for a few uses to see if it is suitable for you. 

We were all gifted little care packages by Graydon to sample and from playing around with the products and getting a thorough introduction by Graydon herself, I had also purchased 3 items that day.

Items purchased: Before Bed Spray, The Putty and Hair Smoothie

Before this skincare line was developed, Graydon told us that she was on a hunt for a good all natural skincare line. She went to the drugstores and had no luck, and from that she decided to use her culinary background to whip up her own skin food in the kitchen. She took a bowl and a blender, and just started experimenting, and blended a bunch of ingredients that she knew she wanted and from that she created The Putty. She took The Putty to her yoga studio, and shared them with her class - with all the positive feedback, she finally decided to start her own skincare company, which is Graydon Clinical Luxury By Nature. 

Over time, she developed new products, but never once did she sacrifice quality. She really and truly believes in what goes on your skin, should be good enough for your body. All of her ingredients used are disclosed on the labels. There isn't anything that is overly confusing or that you need a science degree to understand. It's all laid out, simple and concise. 

I am in love with the three products I got. The Before Bed Spray contains lavender, sweet orange and anti-microbial ingredients. You can mist this on pillows, sheets, and use it as a room spray. The Putty is amazing, it contains every type of good ingredient you can think of - avocado oil, aloe vera juice, hemp seed oil, coconut oil, rose water, shea butter, manuka honey and a dozen more ingredients. This bottle is a miracle worker. It is super soothing for dry and red irritated skin - and is good for people suffering from eczema, rosacea and psoriasis. During the winter, my hand breaks out in eczema, and it's really hard for me to find a lotion that will effectively moisturize my hands without aggravating my rash. This product however, has provided me with relief and comfort this past week and I keep it permanently in my purse. Finally, the Hair Smoothie - this contains broccoli seed oil with parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme essential oils. You massage this into your scalp to promote healthy hair growth. Some testimonials claim that this really helped in growing some hairs, and I'm always on the look out for hair growing products. I will definitely provide you with an update as soon as I have one!

Picture of Graydon and myself

 Left: our little gift bag from Graydon / Right: Picture of some products.

Have you tried any all natural products? What is your favorite? I do insist that you give this line a try! It is also Canadian Based - I love supporting local businesses!

Thanks again Blush Pretty for inviting me :) Can't wait to see what you guys have planned in the upcoming year!

XO - Miranda.