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When it’s hard to wake up

26 May

You know you’re having one of those Mondays (or for me, it was the Tuesday after a long weekend) when you start the day using eye cream as face cream and spritzing hairspray instead of Evian on your face. All before that morning cup of coffee. But you know it’s not the caffeine in that cup that gives you that instant perk – what it really is, is the aroma.

I’m a scent connoisseur. Not that I collect bottles and bottles of perfume, though I do have a scent wardrobe and am very discerning about fragrances, but scents and aromas for me sets an atmosphere, recreates a memory or invokes a feeling. Whether using Narciso Rodriguez For Her to set a sultry mood for a night out, or burning Nippon Kodo’s Happy Valley in a hotel room to remind me of home. I keep Chandler Burr on my nightstand and Lucas Turin near the tub. I know when you walk by if you overloaded on Victoria Secret’s Love Spell, or you’re one of those lucky ones who can carry off Thierry Mugler’s Angel. But I digress.

Using scents and music (or droning news if you’re not prone to depression) is what helps me get out of the groggy and get ready for the workday (this does not apply to weekends, vacations btw – that’s a totally different scent category).

Clarins One-Step Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser – Perfect for the mornings whether you’re groggy or not. The orange scent is perfect as a pick-me-up and the gentle exfoliating and cleansing removes all traces of last night’s face cream and sloughs off all the dirt, toxins and pollutants after a night of skin detoxing. Just not around the eyes, please.

Sephora Collection: Indulgences – Coffee & Cream Morning Body Scrub & Nyakio Kenyan Coffee & Sugar Body Scrub (line relaunching 2011). Not only is caffeine a cellulite-buster, but you get your coffee fix through your pores first thing in the morning. What could be better than that? Either works great, just depending if you prefer your coffee black or with cream.

Aesop Mandarin Facial Hydrating Cream – the line is from Australia, but I discovered this in Asia where it has a major cult following. They are GREAT with samples, by the way. Buy on the continent online or at Barneys.

As for fragrance, that’ll be in another post. My music of choice to wake up these days is Annie Lennox’s Little Bird, Utah Saints Remix. Starts off mellow-ish, and within seconds you’ll be dancing around the room circa 1993.

Layering Mascara

21 May

Just had to share something that I did this morning that was a bit of a beauty breakthrough! I sometimes layer mascara to get both the best of volume and length (though I don’t think there’s one mascara out there that does that, yet) but I’ve been doing it the wrong way! I’ve always 1) lash conditioner 2) lengthening mascara 3) volumizing mascara. But walking past the mascara stand at Sephora, I caught a blurb about volumizing first, then lengthening. Is that why though my lashes look better layered, it still wasn’t WOW? Well my dear friends, I have to admit that they’re WOW today. Sephora was right. 1) Volumizing then 2) lengthening. Why? Because the volumizing mascara catches and magnifies every lash, then just build on lengthening the ends. And voila! WOW!

Recommended brushes and mascaras: Use the big barrel mascara heads for max volume, then a comb one for lengthening. Remember to work fast and don’t let dry between coats!

My faves, high and low are:

Fave high: Volumizing – Christian Dior DiorShow ($24usd)

Fave low: Volumizing – Cover Girl Lashblast

Fave (somewhat high b/c it’s not readily available): Lengthening – Majolica Majorca Lash Beautifying Mascara Frame Plus (available on ebay or adambeauty)

Fave low: Lengthening – Maybelline Lash Stylist discontinued and replaced with Maybelline Lash Stiletto Ultimate Length Mascara

Haven’t tried, but Cover Girl’s LashBlast Fusion and Maybelline’s Lash Stiletto Voluptuous Ultimate Length and Volume Mascara combines volume and length! Anyone try that? What are your fave mascaras and how do you layer?

Getting Lashed – where to get your lash fix in Vancouver

17 May

THE places for lashes:

  1. Wink Beauty Lounge is the original Vancouver lash lounge. Focuses on lashes but has other services as add ons. Your go-to place if you want to have everything done at the same time for a night out on the town: lashes, facial, wax, spray tan, mani/pedi. I am slightly dismayed by the ‘U.S.-type’ pricing for the lashes, as in ‘per lash’ though. *shudders* Edit: After some thought, they are just being honest and giving you an idea about the number of lashes applied as a half or a full set or more. But it gets us thinking: are you really counting the number of lashes being applied? (Gastown)
  2. Noir Lash Lounge – This is a successful local company that has given new life and new hype to lashes. It’s quite obvious that the proprietor is an addict herself, as her marketing, services and pricing reflect years of experience of being a lash extensions customer. Borrowing the business model and marketing tactic from Blo, Noir offers a menu of lash styles, so it’s a no-brainer.  Pick what you want, and get what you expect. Prices are $35 for a half set, $65 for a variety of full sets. Quality at a reasonable price, but I am somewhat sensitive to the lash glue and the removal solution that they use.  (Yaletown, South Granville)
  3. Tiffany’s Spa – I’m all about the deal, as well as the quick and dirty. This was my go-to place when I had my lash extensions for a year. You might want to communicate to the owner of how you want your lashes (the curl, length, volume, flare) if you’re picky, or just let her go at it for a natural look, but at $35 for a full set, it’s a steal. Like Noir, She to Shic and a couple of other places, a ‘set’ means as many lashes as it takes to get the look. Get a massage and your nails done while you’re at it as well. (Vancouver)

Places to try: (I welcome your reviews!)

  1. She to Shic Beauty Lounge  – Might try this place because it’s a 10 minute walk away and it’s all eco-friendly. Full set synthetic $55. Silk set (ooh!) $70, mink $80. I’ve never seen Mink lashes so affordable before! And get my nails done as well. (Kerrisdale). Sign up for the Kitty Card and you get 50% off your 2nd service.
  2. Elan Beauty is more of an ‘cosmeceutical spa’ offering permanent makeup (aka permanent eyebrow/eyeliner tattooing), laser hair removal, lasers and peels and teeth whitening. Uses US-made NovaLash’s premium products, notably the Platinum Bond Lash Adhesive, the only eyelash extension bond that is U.S. Pharmaceutical Grade tested (U.S.P. Class VI / ISO 10993 Certified), formaldehyde-free, and physician formulated for safety. No more red eye for me! Pretty pricey at $99.95 for a full set (as in doubles your lashes), but offers student discounts.
  3. Sweet Nail Salon Also sorta does the per-lash thing, but also has a menu of lash styles so prices vary. (Richmond)


  1. I also highly recommend using some sort of lash conditioner when you have your extensions in. My product of choice is Rapidlash. Though I haven’t noticed a growth spurt of lashes, they look healthier and don’t fall out as much. It’s important to maintain your lashes when they’re under so much stress with the extensions on! Found at Shoppers Drug Mart.
  2. If you want to remove your lashes, first rule of thumb is DO NOT REMOVE THEM YOURSELF. With the obvious said, because different places use different glue, the removal solution is different. So go back to the same place. Most places offer free removal, but call and check. If you get a new set at the same time, full removal should be free. But don’t take my word for it. Hey – I still don’t understand why some places charge for a blowdry when you go in for a colour or cut – so I should walk out with wet hair if I don’t want to pay the extra $30-45? But that’s another rant/entry in the making.

My disclaimer: I’m not here to promote or discredit any institution. I’ve been a patron of all and would like to remain that way. Thanks. =)

Beautyblender Sponge

3 Apr

I can’t recall exactly where I first heard about Beautyblender – whether in a magazine, TV show, beauty blog… oh yes now I remember… I’m a huge fan of Kim Kardashian. We both share a prominent behind… and I think that’s where the similarities end. I’ve always loved her makeup, and was introduced to Beautyblender by her makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic in this beauty tutorial.

I love makeup. I have spent thousands of dollars on makeup. But what good is makeup if you can’t or don’t know how to apply it properly? I’ve been through sponges, using fingertips, various brushes – all of them worked well in conjunction with each other. But when I travel, I am forced to take along extra sponges and an arsenal of brushes. The sponges tend to soak in a lot of product, and didn’t so do much except to blend whatever lines the brushes left behind and even after that it was still a bit streaky and I had to finish blending with fingers.

Then came the Beautyblender sponge. At $22 cdn for one or $28 for two, it was a pricey investment. Can a makeup sponge really change my life? No, but it sure as hell saves time and space!

The first time I used it, I thought “Finally! A sponge that acknowledges that my face is neither angular nor flat!”. It’s in a teardrop shape and gets into all the nooks and crannies of your face, and just sort of ‘rolls over’ and bounces on your facial contours effortlessly. You just wet it, squeeze the water out and ‘bounce’ (they have instructional videos on their site).I use it to apply (take a deep breath) colour correction base, foundation, undereye concealer, concealer, blush, highlighter and light coloured eyeshadow. I apply my bronzer with a big fluffy brush though. It has cut my routine and time in the morning by 30%, and has made application fun!

I know we’re told to wash our brushes after every use or to throw our disposable sponges away after, but who has the time and money to do such a thing? Plus, throwing away disposable sponges after each use is bad for the environment. Beautyblender has a disposal program for their sponges. It’s good to have a company care. And because the sponge is such an investment, it makes you want to wash it after every use, which is also good for your skin. Just use their cleanser or any ol’face wash, soak, squeeze, rinse and airdry.

I love this so much this is going into Christmas stockings this year!

You can get this in Vancouver at BeautyMark or Wink Beauty Lounge.

Midnight fun with nail art

3 Apr

I just did this. Total time from clean nails to polished, stamped and topcoated? 20 minutes!

plaid nails

Base is OPI’s French Collection You Don’t Know Jacques! – a dark taupe grey. Stamp is Konad plate #60 plaid print, and plate #57 lace tip.


This one was last week’s. Based on black on nude lingerie, the base is a very flattering neutral/nude (for my paleish-yellow/warm/cool skin tone, most ‘neutral/nude’ nail polishes turn out too pink or too peach. Don’t be afraid if this looks grey/mauve/pink)  OPI’s French Collection Tickle Me France-y, with Konad stamp #60 argyle print on alternating fingertips.

Beauty to buys

7 Mar
  • Beautyblender sponge
  • Nars Multiple Duo – Copacabana/St. Barts (limited) <– I think I have this?
  • Nars Single eyeshadow – Baby Girl (shimmer flakes!)
  • Nars duo eyeshadow – Hula Hula (lots of shimmer flakes!)

Nail Love loves!

5 Mar

I just came upon this while searching for OPI’s You Don’t Know Jacques polish.  Now I have to get ALL OF THESE and mani exactly the same! I agree it looks like a bed of rocks and goes so well together. Thanks Scrangie!!! <- she also does some really great reader requests and layering posts!

Thumb to pinkie: OPI You Don’t Know Jacques, Sephora By OPI Metro Chic, Rescue Beauty Lounge Grunge, OPI Parlez-Vous OPI, Sephora By OPI Call Your Mother.

OPI Loves

5 Mar

The new OPI Avoplex Oil to Go! – no more carrying around leaky and fragile glass bottles and fearing leakage in designer purses! No spillage when applying while driving.

Just bought (albiet a few months late) “You Don’t Know Jacques” from the France Collection – a very interesting and strangely flattering grey/taupe. No shimmer. I’m so over that. But there’s a lighter and perhaps more flattering colour in the Sephora by OPI collection called Metro Chic.  (link thanks to All Laquered Up)

I’m really into cremes right now (also the MAC Cremesheen collection, of which I bought 3 ).  Loves from the South Beach Collection (and links and thanks to e-polishblog for colour swatches) :

Must haves:

  • Paint My Moji-Toes Red – creamy rose red
  • Party In My Cabana – pink!
  • Overexposed In South Beach – gorgeous in the swatch!!!!
  • OPI On Collins Ave – this was the first colour I reached for!


  • Suzi & The Lifeguard – an opaque whisper pink. I didn’t even notice this one as the collection was called “South Beach” and I was thinking festive, bright and bold colours. Look better on the nail than in the bottle. Don’t know with my yellow colouring though.
  • Bronzed To Perfection – looks ick, but maybe fab with a tan!
  • Sand In My Suit

Ok after going through the actual swatches, I think I just might need to buy the whole collection!!! (Or most of!)

I don’t think I can use these enough to justify buying a whole bottle, and I’ve looked at cheaper brand for similar colours, but OPI’s quality cannot be beat! Plus, at beauty supply stores I’m paying $5.99 vs. $9.99+ at retail stores.

Bug spray

23 Jul

I’ve always been wary of using DEET, but what are the alternatives besides rubbing a citronella candle all over you?

Escents Aromatherapy Bug Off Mist

Product benefits: Keep bugs away naturally with lemongrass and lavender. Fresh and clean smelling, may also be used to scent and deodorize any space.

Directions: Apply to affected area as needed.

Product Code | 354-202
Top Notes | Lavender, Lemongrass
Size | 125 ml / 4 fl oz

Finally! A curler that works!

13 Jul

My hair is the bane of my existence. It obeys my hair dresser, but not me. He can use a $10 straightener and it will turn out silky smooth. I use a $200 tourmaline/ceramic straightener and it will turn out thick and coarse, and kinky later on in the day. But summer is not about straight styles, it’s about beachy supermodel waves – and now I know how to get it.

This curly style was definitely inspired by Tinsley Mortimer’s hair (see previous post) and with the HOLY GRAIL (only true beauty junkies will understand that one) of curling irons (and now I have to throw out my 3 sets of hot rollers, 2 sets of velcro rollers and 2 curling irons). This is the one and only Infiniti by Conair™ Instant Heat Ceramic.

This was recommended by the Tinsley article, as well as on one of my fave blogs. DO NOT GET THE INSTANT HEAT, and don’t get the MIST one. Get the INFINITI TOURMALINE/CERAMIC HEAT PROFESSIONAL ones. They do not sell these ones at Target (only the cheapie Instant Heat ones that damage your hair), and the cheapest ones I’ve found are at Walgreens. 1″ for $19.99 and 1.5″ for $24.99. Also at London Drugs, but more expensive as the 1″ goes for $32.99 or $34.99. I became so obsessed with this that I bought the 1″ for those “set” hair days aka Tinsley Curls, and the 1.5″ for large beachy waves. Heats up in an instant as it promises, temp control, and it has weight so when you place it on the edge of your bathroom counter it won’t be easily weighed down by the cord and swing around and burn you (from experience).My beach waves took 2 minutes or less, I grabbed random sections and held the curl for 5 seconds. Yes, I did get compliments on my hair!

Also, product was a part of the equation and I used a heat protectant curl spray: L’Oreal Studio Line Hot Curl. Cheap, and it works. No additional hold product was necessary!!!!!

Also useful is this video:

UPDATE: Slept and when I woke up the curls were still there! Not flat at all!