Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How to treat large pores (Post Acne) | Video

I could still remember a time when my skin was poreless, I was about 9 years old and I still look back at those photos with great fondness. The realities of puberty and a case of mild (but persistent) acne may have come and gone but pores are now one of my major skincare fusses. And from the great uproar of responses on some of my Instagram postings, it seems I'm not alone!

Throughout the years, I've been the test subject of many pore tightening, diminishing and treatment products in an attempt to balance this part of my beauty routine and in this video I've distilled all that experience into some helpful tips so you can make better peace with your skin.

Now years of exposure to advertising may have you thinking a few of my tips sound counter intuitive. But if there's one single marketing bubble I wish I'd popped sooner, it's the trend of extensively drying out your skin in an attempt to shrink pore size. All this is very temporary and in the long run will have a high chance of dehydrating your skin or worse yet causing your skin to produce more oil to compensate for the surface dryness you've caused. Just don't go there.

All in all, everyone has pores. It's nothing to be ashamed about even if yours are larger but you do deserve to take proper care of care of them! Don't forget to share with me your nuggets of wisdom and if you share any of my pore philosophies.


Monday, May 18, 2015

Review: L'Oreal La Palette Nude Eyeshadow | Look & Swatch

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

Drugstore makeup has come a long way now in the past 5 years that you can find just about every single category of product right in the beauty aisle down the block. While breadth has certainly expanded, there's always been one thing lacking for my everyday routine and that is eyeshadow. This spring, L'Oreal is hoping to change my mind (and yours perhaps) with their newly released nude collection eyeshadow palettes.

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

Brand: L'Oreal
Product: La Palette Nude 2 *
Variation: Nude 1 for light skin tones, Nude 2 for darker skin tones (shown)
Size: 17.5g total
Price (suggested retail): $29.99 CAD
Availability: Drugstores nationwide
Would I (re)purchase: Undecided.

Another nude palette you ask? Well, that was also my first reaction until I stopped and thought that there really wasn't very many options in a large cohesive format from the drugstore. Sure you can pick and stack your favourite singles, trios or maybe even quads but there's certainly still a need for a one piece does it all palette. To step up the game, this La Palette Nude has two variations in #01 for fair/light skin and #02 for medium/deep skin which is what you're seeing right now.

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

Set in a large black plastic casing, the Nude 2 is a selection of 10 eye shadows in finishes of shimmery satin, buttery matte and lustrous sheen according to the press details. This variant is also called Nude Intense for it's richer, deeper shades of taupes, mauves and plums. Now from my eyes and swatches, it was difficult to easily differentiate between the lustrous and satin shades so as far as I'm concerned this palette has 6 visible matte finish colours along with 4 visible shine finish colours.

La Nude #01 is focused on ivory, beige and caramel shades.

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

L'Oreal has also included a dual ended applicator with a sponge tip on one end and a small medium density rounded brush on the other. Before you cast this away in the name of useless cheap makeup tools, I actually found this to be well designed for this particular formulation.

The matte shades were all very smooth to the touch and not at all crumbly though quite powdery leading to some fallout but they do have good pigmentation. The shine shades were drier than what I expected (I'm used to wet/soft textures in my shine colours) and pigmentation is good as well, though perhaps slightly less than the mattes.

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

One thing to note is that the colours in the pan do not completely coordinate to the infograph on the back of the palette. All the shades however, translate very true from than to the skin but the formula layer badly and I wasn't able to build up the intensity of any of the shades beyond 2 layers. What you get in a single swipe is pretty much all it will ever be. The beautiful intense eye combinations in the promo photos are most definitely achieved by lighting and post production enhancements as I can't see this palette offering that type of depth on it's own.

Wear time is an average of 4-5 hours and I didn't notice any major creasing though as always, a primer is suggested if you have very oily eyelids.

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

La Nude #02 | Clockwise from top left: Shades 2, 3, 4, 1

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

La Nude #02 | Clockwise from top: Shades 6, 7, 8

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

La Nude #02 | Clockwise from top: Shades 8, 9, 10

The look I created (below) uses colours from the darker mauve/plum end of the spectrum with a pop of highlight in the center of of the lid. The palette inspired me to try a smokey hazy variation on a softly contoured eye with lots of heavy shadowing on the lower lash line. This was one of those looks that looked like it was going to be a crazy fail until the last minute when you put on some lashes, lower mascara and suddenly the whole thing pulls itself together!

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

With all that being said, there are 2 major downfalls to this palette that keeps it from being a top hit in my collection and they both have to do with the texture and formulation of the powders. For one, they seem to lack adhesion on my lids and often find myself reaching for an eyeshadow primer or a cream base to help it along. As well, the soft very talc heavy texture blends away almost a little too easily and what started out as an intense gradation can accidentally be blended away into a muddy singular colour if you're not careful.

The best way I've found to compensate for the latter is actually to use the sponge tip applicator to lay down and pat-blend the colour gently first before taking a brush to smooth out just the edges of the shadow. Resist the urge to over blend!

LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger

The L'Oreal La Palette Nude is a very welcoming addition to the drugstore beauty lineup which is currently terribly lacking in the big palette selection. The fact that this release comes with two options of a light and dark variant makes it double the creative fun and well suited for a wide range of skin tones. However just as there are things to love about this palette (smoothness and pigmentation) there are equally as many downfalls (lack of adhesion and too much blend out). Also, priced at almost $30 I'd be more inclined to go up to an introductory high end option even if it meant getting a smaller palette. On the other hand if I drugstore was my budget then this would easily be my pick of the bunch. To buy or not to buy? Well, it's your call.


LOreal La Nude 2 Review- Vancouver Blogger


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Wardrobe Architect: Fashion Basics Haul Video | April

Deep into the thick of the Wardrobe Architect Challenge, a year long wardrobe consolidating and sewing project, today's update takes a bit of a different turn. Since February's closet clear out it's become quite evident that I'm in serious need of some wardrobe basics. Nothing flashy, nothing grand but basic and functional pieces that I can pull as a foundation for an outfit any time of the year.


Sheinside Coat Westcoast Vancouver blogger4

Sheinside Coat Westcoast Vancouver blogger

Catch up on previous Wardrobe Architect posts! 

Now in the grand scheme of things this is just the tip of the ice berg. I'm still looking for a few pairs of perfect denim (being petite doesn't make that part any easier), my first grown up white shirt (nope, still don't own any) and a few other tidbits to ground my wardrobe. On a side note, I'm finally finished 1 of my 4 original spring sewing pieces and I think it'd be just darling with this textured grey coat. Have you been adding anything new to your closet lately? Let me know!


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Lifestyle: Help! I hate working out & Other Musings

If you've been all caught up with things in the past few days, you may have seen a snippet of this video on my Youtube channel. I think with all the glorification of clean eating and healthy living pushed in our faces (magazines, t.v., bloggers even), there seems to be a narrowing of these terms and almost a competition of who can on up the other in the public's eye of being fit and healthy. Even more so, working out just seems like a bore. Am I the only one?

With all that being said, the reality is, feeling at your own physical and mental best is very important and if I'm not feeling it, then I need to do something about it. Currently, it's not about the total pounds I'm trying to loose but rather trimming up a few inches in my mid-section, toning some upper body muscles and for goodness sakes, some daily stretches to ease that awkward cramp in my right hip from sitting cross legged at my computer for too long. Since food is something I have no plans to give up anytime soon, I thought I'd start off with getting some more exercise into my life. 

The response from that Youtube video has been excellent and I'm always so inspired by the honesty in everyone's comments. It seems that some people really enjoy fun-xercises like dancing while others preferred the efficiency of HIIT workouts. A few even suggested Yoga with Adriene which I've bookmarked for next month. 

But I think as far as motivation and fitness routines go, it's a pretty safe place to start with Casey's Blogilates calendar. Tons of variety, short videos and very easy to scale to my own growth. I'm currently on Day 3 and am happy to say that it's a good gradual climb for those wanting to get back into the swing of things. In other words, I still have full functionality of all my body parts and limbs although there's a slight tinge of soreness! I'd love to hear what you do to stay active and stay sharp plus any food suggestions that are more realistic would be much appreciated too. 


Sunday, May 3, 2015

Favourite Things #16 | March & April Edition


  • ANASTASIA | Brow Wiz Pencil | Reviewed
  • BOURJOIS | So Glossy Nail Polish in "Adora-Bleu"
  • REAL TECHNIQUES | Expert Face Brush
  • SAJE AROMATHERAPY | Nebulizer Diffuser*
  • SAJE AROMATHERAPY | Cloud Nine Diffuser Blend* (oil)
  • SALI HUGHES BEAUTYYoutube Channel

March and April came and went in such a blur that I'm still trying catch up with it. With all the makeup spring cleaning I've been doing lately, there hasn't been much new makeup discoveries to say the least so I relied on a few trusty staples to get me through the weeks. The Anastasia Brow Wiz for one, has been a daily savior. One a side note, life has also picked up pace which inversely means less sleep (who made up these rules anyways?) so I've been looking for little way to de-stress and remain sane in the thick of things. Coincidentally, I attended a local beauty event by Saje Wellness just in March and was introduced to their aromatherapy system which has made such a difference! A little ambiance and a cup of tea with Sali Hughes is literally what's been keeping me together the last few weeks.  

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to start on this new Blogilates business....more on this later this week. Enjoy the video, stay sane!

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Friday, May 1, 2015

Unboxing: Birchbox Beauty | Rifle Paper & Co. Edition

Remember the days before beauty box as a familiar term in your everyday vocabulary? It couldn't have been more than a couple of years ago when I first heard the term and was instantly excited about the concept. The year was 2010 and the name was Birchbox. As one of the first beauty box services in North America, it was an USA exclusive shipping only to the lucky beauty lovers down south. This year however, Birchbox has officially announced its Canadian service and I've even got a special box to show you.

BIRCHBOX | Beauty Box
Box shown: Rilfe Paper & Co. Box*
Price: $10 CAD + 4.95 S&H monthly | $100CAD pre-paid yearly (free S&H)
Fun Fact: Cool collaborations and fun exclusive premium LE boxes from time to time
Availability: Canada & USA

A quick refresher on beauty boxes for joining me for the first time: These are monthly beauty subscription services (like you would a magazine or membership) which sends you a selection of beauty items to try every month based on a preference survey you submit. The constant rotation of beauty products lets you keep things fresh in your beauty routine and discover something new every time.

After all these years in the business, one of the things that makes Birchbox stand out is it's collaborations with so very cool people. Specifically, April's box was a special project with Rifle Paper & Co. , a design house based out of Florida whom I have been (stalking) following extensively for the past year. Designer Anna Bond creates beautiful vintage inspired artwork that is kitschy, fun and sure to perk up your day. In fact, I love her work so much that in addition to collecting it, I've even used it in a DIY tutorial over on my Youtube channel.

Inspired by Japanese wood block paintings, Caribbean colours and Mexican folk motifs, this box is pink and coral themed with sprigs of fresh greenery all in Anna's signature stylized hand.

  • BEAVER | Nutritive Shampoo & Conditioner | Retail at full size: $19 & $20
    • Mild shampoo to gently cleanser and amino acid rich conditioner to strengthen and repair. It's a soft and pretty very light floral scent and the shampoo even looks to be pH balanced.
  • BEE-KIND | Shower Gel | Retail at full size: $19
    • Made with honey and calendula extras, both know to be great and moisturizing for the skin, this has a slightly zingy citrus scent and dispenses as a clear gel/liquid.
  • JELLY PONG PONG | Glow Getter Highliter | Retail at full size: $16.50
    • Formulated into a weightless gel, this is meant to skin a subtle pearlescent shimmer. I did a quick swatch on my hand and while it comes out an intense liquid metal rose gold/champagne colour, it blends out quickly into a fairy dust effect.
  • MEREADESSO | All-in-One Moisturizer | Retail at full size: $120
    • Created as an one step formula with anti-aging day/night cream, serum, eye cream, toner and primer benefits this sounds almost too good to be true. While I'm usually not easily swayed by these multipurpose products I must say that the list of great natural ingredients (grape, apple, white tea just to name a few) caught me by surprise and in a very good way.
Note: This was a special PR send so I did not have any survey done for the selection of products. However, when you sign up for your own, products will vary depending on your preferences.

Excited yet?  Not only are there products to try but this limited collection box is definitely a keepsake. In fact, I may need to shuffle some space to proudly display it on my desk for a while. Who knows, maybe I can even use it to store some of my other beauty samples. If you don't want to miss out on the next collaboration and surprise set of goodies, consider signing up for your very own box. Have you been a fan of beauty boxes? Let me know!

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