Thursday, February 28, 2013

February Favorites

Hey everyone! Can't believe my birthday month has already come to an end. Sad, sad. However, that means it's time for February Favorites! I'm adding non-beauty favorites to this post because I don't actually have that many beauty favorites, so here goes...

TRESemme Keratin Smooth Heat Protectant Spray: I got this as a Klout perk at the beginning of the month and have been really loving it. I got it with the shampoo & conditioner from this line so I'll be reviewing the trio soon!

Bumble and bumble Surf Spray: You guys probably could have predicted that this would be in my favorites this month because I gave it such a positive review. Seriously though, it does great things for my hair.

Soap & Glory Hand Food: My hands have been soooo soo dry this month and this has been my go-to hand cream. Do I think it's particularly life-changing? No, it's a hand cream. But it smells nice and does the job, so I'm happy with it.

MAC Lustre lipstick in "Syrop": I got this as a birthday gift and have been wearing it everyday since. It's such a nice, subtle color and I think it matches my skin tone really well. It's pretty sheer too since it's a Lustre finish, making it really easy to reapply throughout the day. Love!

OPI Liquid Sand in "Get Your Number": Guys. This stuff is SO cool. I haven't been on my NOTD game lately so I haven't photographed it (unfortunately), but I did snap a quick Instagram - CLICK HERE to see it. The application is just unreal and the texture is awesome. I really would love to purchase another one but I've been going a bit nail polish-happy this month, so unfortunately I'll have to refrain...

Bath & Body Works Candle in "Winter": This is my only "empty" for this month, and for good reason. This was such an amazing candle and I'm so sad to see it gone. It was the perfect combination of sweet and spicy with a little bit of fresh pine scent. It wasn't overbearing whatsoever and made the house smell fresh and cozy.

iPhone 4: I got this in the middle of the month and of course, it has been my number one favorite. It's so much more user-friendly compared to my Blackberry so I've been really happy with it. That also means I've got a few app favorites this month...

Apps Gone Free: This is an app that offers paid apps for free on one-day-only promotions. I've gotten some great games and utility apps out of it so it's definitely worth the download. It's awesome for iPad too!

Instagram: Of course, I had to get an Instagram. (Link to follow me is in the left sidebar). I actually much prefer Instagram for my NOTDs lately so if you want a sneak peek of what I've been wearing on my nails - check it out!

Icon Pop Quiz: I had this app on my iPad for a while now and actually beat all the levels, but they seem to have updated it and added some new ones. Basically you have to guess what each image corresponds to. All of the themes are pop culture-related. It's really had me hooked!



This has been my absolute favorite YouTube video this month - Tyler Oakley featured on You Deserve a Drink. It made me laugh so hard, I must have watched it at least 7 times.



If you are interested in the whole YouTube phenomena, I highly suggest ninebrassmonkeys' documentary series on the topic. This week's video has proved to be incredibly controversial (I too have some issues with it - especially his opinion on makeup gurus), but the core argument is valid in my opinion. Have a look for yourself!

So that concludes the February favorites! Please leave links to your "favorites" posts in the comments below, and please recommend some good apps for me to download!

Friday, February 22, 2013

OPI Euro Centrale Collection GIVEAWAY! [CLOSED]

Hey everyone! So I was at the mall yesterday and decided to pick up the OPI Euro Centrale collection minis for a little giveaway. I've been really happy with my blog lately and I expanded my social media a bit (Instagram and Facebook), so I wanted to call attention to those as well.


The shades include (left to right): Can't Find My Czechbook, Suzi's Hungary AGAIN!, You're Such a Budapest, Oy-Another Polish Joke


TERMS & CONDITIONS:

1) Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY
2) Must be 18+ years of age or have your parent's permission to enter
3) Must fill out the Rafflecopter form below to enter
4) Must be willing to provide a shipping address if won
5) The winner will announced in a separate blog post and will be emailed
6) You are only eligible to win if you have not won a previous giveaway on Abundance of Erica (including this, this, this, and this)
7) If the winner does not respond to my email within 48 hours, another winner will be contacted
8) All prizes will be shipped in pristine condition (none have been removed from their original packaging), but I cannot be held responsible for damages that occur in transit
9) GIVEAWAY ENDS ON MARCH 15TH

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Confessions of a Blogger TAG

Hey everyone! A while ago, Meghan from Mainly Meghan tagged me to do this post! I had it sitting in my drafts for so long that I figured it was finally time to bring it to life. Big thanks to Meghan for tagging me! Do go check out her blog :)

Have you had any past online presence before? (Other blog, YouTube, etc)
Yup! I had one other blog before. I can't remember what it's called and I think I deleted it, but I used to use it as a diary type thing where I'd recap my day and stuff. I think I posted a total of maybe four times? LOL. Kind of a fail. But I've had Tumblr and Twitter for a very, very long time. I'm no internet newb ;)

Why did you start a blog?
Specifically - because I was procrastinating on some homework. Actually - because I knew I wanted to get into the online beauty world, and I felt like YouTube was too big a leap (still is).

When did you become so serious about starting a blog?
Well, I started mine in February of last year, but I only started blogging "seriously" in the summer. I mean, I still don't see it as a very serious thing. I don't give myself any restrictions and blogging is, in the end, just a hobby. My only goal is to post at least 10 times per month, which is pretty challenging especially because I'm in school, but it's reasonable considering my will to keep this blog alive and running.

What was your first post?
I guess you can say I kind of eased into blogging about beauty. My first post was this gem of an introduction, and my three subsequent posts had nothing to do with beauty. My first beauty post was my "most worn tag: summer 2012" - back when I included 2000 photos in one entry hahaha.

This is the first picture I ever posted on this blog. Sooo pretty right? :P


What has been your biggest challenge while blogging?
Coming up with content is tough sometimes but I always manage to think of something. I think I get into this rut of like, "is this post going to be popular? Are people going to want to read this?" and sometimes I forget to blog about what I like aside from beauty. I used to do Tumblr recaps (i.e. what I've been reblogging on Tumblr), and movie reviews. I plan on doing more soon.

Where do you see your blog in one year?
Hopefully at 1000 followers! I do work really hard on this page and it would be great to see so many people enjoying it!

What is the most rewarding thing about blogging?
I think it's nice to have my friends come to me and say "hey I read your blog! It's great!" It's a huge confirmation for me because I know at least someone is appreciating my posts - and I can get instant feedback.

What is the most discouraging thing about blogging?
I'm going to be honest. I feel like most of the people that read my blog and comment are only looking to advertise their page. I don't get any real feedback. I rarely get comments that show an engagement with the post. It can be a little discouraging.

But then I realize we're all in the same boat; our goals are to reach x amount of followers and you need to put yourself out there somehow. It serves as a lesson to me as well: I try to comment on as many other blogs as possible to show that I a) care and support my fellow #bbloggers and b) actually read the post! However I do leave my URL at the bottom because it's true - I gotta do what I gotta do lol!

What's your lasting inspiration or motivation?
I think it's just the thought of seeing how much my blog will have evolved in one, two, three years. I love going through a popular blog's archives and seeing how basic and trivial their early posts were in comparison to where they are now. My blog is essentially beauty-related, but I put a lot of "Erica" into it. So it's going to be cool to see how it turns out.

I'll go ahead and tag a few people... Sophia, Jessica, Laura, Sophia, Beth, Laura, Elysa, Annabelle. Of course (as always), feel free to complete the tag yourself! If you got this far it would be a shame not to leave a comment! ;)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

REVIEW: Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray

The Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray has received a lot of hype within the online beauty world, and I figured I'd try it out for myself and get back to you guys!

I was searching for a product that would give my hair a little something extra. It felt a little dull and limp and needed some body, so I picked this baby up at Sephora. I paid $19 for it, which admittedly is a little pricey, but let's see how it fared...


I tried out the product on two different occasions. On the top right: third-day hair. I wanted to see if it would give my lifeless curls some body. It seems like the spray straightened it out somehow, but I like the way it de-frizzed and smoothed out my hair.

On the bottom left: You can see very clearly in this photo that the spray livened up my hair significantly. It added volume, controlled frizz, and defined the curls. This morning (see the next photo), I found my curls perfectly intact. Usually they deflate during the night, but the spray somehow managed to hold the curl. Incredible!

Note: The bottle says to use it on damp or dry hair - but I recommend using it on dry hair. It didn't do much for me when my hair was wet to be honest. I simply heat styled, and then used this in lieu of hairspray. Also, make sure you wash it out properly in the shower to avoid buildup.

VERDICT: I really, really love this product. I think it does wonders. If you feel like your hair is a little dull definitely give this a shot. I can't say it works for everyone but it definitely worked on me!

Monday, February 18, 2013

How To Win a Giveaway: Top 7 Tips

Hey everyone! As you all know I love entering giveaways. I think it's a great way to acquire new products if your pockets are tight, and nothing really beats the feeling of winning a giveaway!

I've won I think about 5 or 6 giveaways to-date, so I thought I'd share some tips. I guess when it comes down to it, you need to have a bit of luck on your side, but I've noticed there are a few ways to approach a giveaway effectively.

An assortment of my giveaway wins to-date (not all of them - just a few)


1) Make sure you're eligible: There's nothing more disappointing/annoying than winning a giveaway that you were not eligible for in the first place (some giveaways are UK only, for example). It's crucial to read all the terms before entering - this will make your life and the giveaway host's life much easier.

2) You need to have a GFC account: To be honest, I've no clue how to make one - you'll need to Google that for yourself (sorry! I made mine so long ago I forgot how!), but most blog giveaways require that you follow them via GFC. Also - up your chances by creating accounts on the following platforms: HelloCotton, Bloglovin', Klout, SheSaidBeauty, Instagram, and YouTube. Of course, you will need Facebook to join a Rafflecopter giveaway, and a Twitter account is important too.

3) Enter every day/as often as you can via Twitter: Most blog giveaways allow an extra entry for a daily tweet. I suggest creating a separate Twitter account for blogging & giveaway purposes to avoid spamming your friends with giveaway tweets (mine is abundanceerica, for example), but be careful - many bloggers know that people create accounts solely for giveaways and could disqualify your entries, so make sure you use it to interact with #bbloggers as well (i.e. don't take advantage of people by creating multiple accounts!).

4) Misc. Twitter entry tips: The following are a few ways to make tweeting about giveaways easy.

Step 1: Click the "Tweet" button on the giveaway widget. This will open up a dialogue box containing a pre-written tweet & therefore will save you the trouble of having to make one up yourself.

Step 2: Add the hashtag #giveaway to the beginning of your tweet. This will simplify your life when it comes to tweeting daily. You can more easily discern giveaway tweets from your other tweets. For an example feel free to view my Twitter page - how quickly did you locate my giveaway tweets?

Step 3: For a split second, your dialogue box will change to this and then close. You'll need to be quick - before it closes, click "View it on Twitter -->". This will send you to a direct link of your tweet so that you can easily copy & paste it into the giveaway widget (seen in Step 1).

5) Write up a blog post about current giveaways: Every once in a while, write up a blog post linking current giveaways. Most giveaways give a good amount of entries for completing this. Also, you will get tons of hits on your blog - they're some of my most viewed posts! Check out my most recent one HERE.

6) Don't disregard non-Rafflecopter giveaways: Although I couldn't imagine holding a giveaway without using Rafflecopter (genius system, really), it's a good idea to enter non-Rafflecopter giveaways as well. These tend to be more low-profile and you will have a better chance in winning because they tend to circulate the web less.

7) Enter Twitter/Facebook/YouTube giveaways too: Many cosmetic companies will have giveaways on Twitter asking you to follow and retweet for a chance to win. I've won a Benetint from @BenefitCanada by doing this! Facebook giveaways are good to enter as well - except I participate less because they usually involve spamming your friends. YouTube giveaways are more difficult to win because YouTubers tend to have a bigger following, therefore more people will be inclined to enter, however I did win Amarixe's Lush giveaway recently so they're worth a shot! My tip would be to bookmark YouTube giveaways and re-name them to the date they close - that way you know how much time to you have to enter.

BONUS TIP: Never, ever, ever unfollow a blog after their giveaway is over. I won't even explain this. Just don't be rude.

That's all folks! I hope you found this post useful! I think I may write up a post about how to host a giveaway properly (seeing as I've done 4 thus far so I have some experience)... Let me know if you'd enjoy reading that in the comments!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Current Giveaway Updates

Hey everyone! I thought I'd make a quick post to update you all on giveaways currently going on in the beauty world. NOTE: I haven't included all of the giveaways I'm currently entering - only the ones that offer additional entries for a blog post. If you want to know about more giveaways check out my Twitter which you can find on the right-hand side of this page (or you can click here to follow)!

http://daisy--meadow.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/nearly-500-gfc-followers-giveaway.html
http://aqeelakeela.blogspot.ca/2013/01/300-follower-giveaway.html

http://www.epiphanniea.co.uk/2013/02/mac-stereo-rose-giveaway15.html
http://lolarose1.blogspot.ie/2013/01/thank-you-giveaway-mystery-box-of.html
http://sophiameola.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/1000-follower-chanel-beauty-goodie.html
http://dawndugong.blogspot.ca/2013/02/giveaway-win-urban-decays-glinda-or.html
http://princesagr.blogspot.gr/2013/02/300-followers-giveaway.html

(If you have an international/North American/Canadian giveaway going on and would like to be added to this post - well worth it because my giveaway posts get hits for weeks & weeks after I publish - go ahead and leave a quick comment!)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Birthday Presents to Myself (Haul!)

Hey everyone! So my birthday is not for another couple of weeks, but I've already done a little shopping for myself (naughty). I celebrated with my family who all gave me money (a little disappointing in all honesty because I love a good thoughtful gift, but it's okay), so I thought I'd go ahead and buy a couple items I've been wanting--none too expensive because I'm trying to save up for a new camera. Anyway - onto the haul!

iPhone 4: So turns out I didn't have to pay for this little guy at all! My dad's contract was over and he was able to upgrade to an iPhone 5, so he passed this one onto me! It's in perfect condition and I'm already loving it so far! :) PS - follow me on Instagram: abundanceerica!

Bumble & Bumble Surf Spray: I popped by Sephora last Sunday just to have a browse around, and while I was looking at the hair stuff I noticed this and remembered someone on YouTube going on about it (Zoella I think). Anyhow, the sales lady persuaded me into buying it and although it was a little pricey ($19), I have been really loving it!

OPI Liquid Sand in "Get Your Number": I don't always fall into the "texture" nail polish trap because I usually get over them quickly (remember the OPI Shatter phase), but this one seems versatile enough that I probably won't get bored over it. It's basically a sparkly matte polish that dries into a sand texture - but I figure I could always use a shiny topcoat over it if ever I want a change :) Will do a NOTD asap!

Rimmel Match Perfection Concealer: I've been on the market for a new concealer lately so I watched one of FleurdeForce's old videos and found out that this is one of her favorites. Thought I'd try it out for myself!

FYI: I purchased all of these online at nailpolishcanada.com - such an incredible online shop! They have any nail polish you could ever want! :D (Left to right: Essie Bikini So Teeny, Essie Fiji, Butter London Trout Pout, Butter London Wallis, OPI Liquid Sand Get Your Number)
Butter London "Trout Pout" & "Wallis": I've been meaning to try Butter London polishes for ages now - mostly because I love them in Allison's NOTDs. Trout Pout & Wallis are the ones I opted for because they both really caught my eye. Can't wait to try them out!

Aveeno Foaming Cleanser: This is a repurchase. I really like this product because it's a fuss-free cleanser that does the job quickly.

Bath & Body Works "Coconut Leaves" and "Beach Cabana" mini candles: So I also stopped by B&BW on Sunday to have a look at their new spring scents, and I was actually going to purchase two three-wick candles and a room spray instead, but it ended up coming out to over $40 at the till - which, if you're a Bath & Body Works fan like I am, is much too expensive. I was shocked they weren't having any promotions on and decided to leave them, because I know they will be on some sort of sale in a week's time. Instead I got two mini candles to satisfy my candle need, and I'm really loving Coconut Leaves so far!

Essie "Bikini So Teeny" and "Fiji": Again, these are two polishes I've been wanting for a while!

Hope you enjoyed the haul!

PS. I opened up a Facebook page and no one has liked it yet! It's a little lonely so come on over? :)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

Zoya "Blu" + China Glaze "Ruby Pumps" hand-drawn hearts (I used the end of a bobby pin!)

Personally I'll be spending the day in bed watching My Mad Fat Diary. Maybe I'll bake something. (LOL, at least my nails are festive!) Have a great day everyone!

Friday, February 8, 2013

NOTD: Zoya Jacqueline

Hey everyone! As I mentioned previously, I recently got ahold of Zoya's new spring collection, so I'll be featuring each of them in a string of NOTDs :) This is actually the second one from the collection that I've tried so far (totally forgot to take a picture of Neely when I had it on).

Top left: natural lighting, top right: artificial lighting, bottom left: with flash, bottom right: natural lighting (but w/ more shade)
I'm very, very pleased with the formulation of these polishes. They're incredibly high quality and opaque in only two layers (I used three for good measure). Jacqueline is what I would describe as a pale, eggshell or magnolia yellow. It's really polished and classy, and is a nice alternative to a stark white or a plain nude. This shade is creamy and buttery--I really love the effect of it.

I'm excited to try the other shades in this collection, especially Blu (creme pale blue) and GeiGei (shimmery baby pink). Look out for those NOTDs coming soon! :)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Daily Skincare Routine (Day & Night)

Hey everyone! Lately I've been paying close attention to skincare and I feel like I finally found a routine that works for me. To give you a bit of history - I struggled with acne throughout high school and college. I had constant redness and your occasional splotch of cystic acne. I went to the doctor who prescribed a topical lotion as well as some pills for me to take, which worked incredibly well. (Note to readers: if you feel like your acne is a problem - do bring it up to your doctor during your next checkup).

Although the medicine my doctor prescribed worked well, eventually the pills ran out, and I wanted to maintain my clear skin without having to get back on them. The first step to a clear face is getting to know your skin. For instance, I'm aware that my skin is acne-prone due to the fact that my skin both dry AND oily (I'll explain this further on). Once you know your skin, you can pick and choose products more easily - ex: if you have dry skin, you shouldn't choose an oil-free face wash, because it will make your skin flake.

All that said, the following is how I prep my face for the day and how I get it ready for bed.

Morning face routine
1) Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleanser: First, I will use this cleanser or the St. Ives one depending on how I feel. If I'm looking for something gentler I will pick this one. I honestly prefer the Aveeno foaming cleanser, but this also does a good job in giving my face a quick cleanse. Sometimes I will use both the Aveeno and the St. Ives.

1-2) St. Ives Apricot Cleanser For Acne-Prone Skin: If I feel like my face needs a bit of a deeper clean, I'll opt for this. It's a milky texture but it also has cleansing beads which is quite nice. I'm not sure if I would repurchase this or the St. Ives exfoliant because I feel like this might be a little too gentle, but it does the trick nonetheless.

3) Benzaclin: This is the topical lotion that my doctor prescribed. I use the smallest possible amount on my problem areas. Literally just one tap of this is enough. The only problem is that this is very drying, so it is crucial to moisturize afterwards.

Small digression/explanation... As I mentioned earlier, my skin is both dry and oily. What I've discovered is that the topical cream dries my skin out even more, so I need to moisturize afterwards to counterbalance that. If I don't, my skin will overproduce oil to try and compensate for the dryness, which in turn makes my face look oily. Moisturizing will keep the skin hydrated and it will not feel the need to create excess oils. Moisturizing skin that has a tendency to be oily seems counterintuitive - I'm aware that it sounds crazy to add moisture to already oil-prone skin - but it does the trick. I promise. These oils are also what clog your pores and create acne. Vicious cycle, it seems.

4) Stila One-Step Corrector: This is what I use in lieu of a simple moisturizer. It moisturizes, primes, counteracts redness, etc. For a full review of this product click HERE.

5) Urban Decay De-Slick: I use a few spritzes of this to mattify my skin as a further precaution to avoid oil build-up. I think this really, really makes a difference and I can feel it in my skin throughout the day when I forget this step.

6) Marcelle Hydra-C Foundation: I don't really pay attention to the skin benefits of foundations because I believe taking the proper skincare treatments/precautions are more important. But, I added this in just to represent the fact that at this point, my face would be ready for makeup.

Nighttime face routine
1) Bioderma Eau Micellaire: To remove the day's worth of makeup, I start by putting some Bioderma on a cotton round to remove my eye makeup. It does a great job in breaking down even waterproof mascara. If I feel like I have a lot of face makeup, I'll also use a makeup wipe to preliminarily remove it (NEVER rely on makeup wipes to complete the job - always use a cleanser afterwards).

2) St. Ives Apricot Cleanser: I cleanse my face with this before bed because it helps to remove any leftover makeup, and the weird film that makeup remover/wipes leave on my face - anyone else have this problem?

3) Benzaclin: My topical acne cream. I use this twice a day.

4) Aveeno Positively Radiant Moisturizer: As I mentioned, it's super important to moisturize. If I don't moisturize, I will undoubtedly wake up with a super oily face (so gross).

I should also mention that I now sleep with my hair in a braid or in a bun so that the oils in my hair don't touch my face while I sleep - it makes a big difference as well.

Anyway, I hope you found this post informative! Sorry it's a bit of a hefty read, I should really start making YouTube videos for my longer-winded posts lol. Let me know in the comments what you think!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

January Beauty Favorites (Finally!)

Hey everyone! Long time no blog! I'm finally finished my most hectic week of school (apart from final exams), so I thought I'd finally post my January favorites. I didn't have too many favorites this month because I didn't usually have time to focus on my makeup in the mornings, so most of these products would be nice to use if you're in a rush (and I'll tell you exactly how & why I use them).

Bioderma Micellaire Solution: I received this for Christmas and have used it almost every day since. It does an incredible job at removing eye makeup (waterproof as well!), and I also use it as a toner. If, let's say, I already washed my face in the morning, but I'm only getting ready in the afternoon, instead of washing my face again before makeup I'll put some Bioderma on a cotton pad and quickly sweep it onto my face. I'm kind of sad about how fast I'm using up this product considering how expensive it is, but I would definitely say it's worth it!

Marcelle Hydra-C Foundation: This foundation was on sale at Pharmaprix this month so I decided to pick it up instead of my Marcelle matte foundation, and I have been really enjoying it. My favorite part is the packaging. It's not a pump or a screw top, it's a squeeze tube, so you can control exactly how much product you need. It's super practical!

Blistex Lip Medex: I haven't been putting too much color on my lips lately because they've been sore and dry, so I mostly just reached for my Blistex. It does a really good job at moisturizing, and sometimes I'll put it on right before bed and wake up with really soft lips. Definitely a staple product.

Dual-Ended Sephora Face Brush: I picked this up at Sephora on Boxing Day for $12 and have found it very practical. I've been wanting to get the MAC 168 angled blush brush for a while now, but I really feel like this Sephora one has remedied that need. I don't use the round side as I find it too dense for powders, but the angled side is perfect for blush, bronzer, and contouring.

MAC 217 brush: Now I know why Tanya Burr has like 10 of these bad boys. They're so practical for eye makeup - be it for an all-over wash of color, contouring, or blending. I've even seen this used as a concealer brush which is just astounding. It's so multi-purpose and incredible, I highly recommend it.

NARS Laguna bronzer: I've said before and I'll say it again, I adore this bronzer. I've been going back and forth between this and my NYC Sunny bronzer, but I have to say there is really no comparison. This one is just 100% better. It's the perfect shade for my skintone, it's super sheer, and it makes my skin look really healthy. I swear by this stuff.

Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadow in "RSVP": I think I wore this almost every day in January. I patted some on to my lids with my finger, contoured a little with some matte brown eyeshadow - using my 217 ;), added some mascara and called it a day. I think it's really comparable to Urban Decay's Sin (but I'll probably do a full post on that). It's really convenient and a nice shimmery nude for every day.

So that's it for my January favorites! Now onto February (my birthday month)!