Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

I'm not one to dress up and go crazy on Halloween. I don't like it much. But Halloween nail art is always an exception!

I got this idea from MissJenFABULOUS on Youtube. She has really great seasonal (and all-around) nail art tutorials. Check her out if you haven't already!

What are you up to this Halloween?

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

October Favorites 2013

Hey everyone! I feel like I haven't done a "favorites" post in a while so an October one is definitely due. I'm personally excited to get on with November and then December, because it means Christmas is coming up!

Autumn Day candle by Bath & Body Works: This has got to be one of my favorites (if not most favorite) scents from Bath & Body Works. It's sweet and fresh and fills up the room instantly. It's also a universally enjoyed scent so it makes for a great gift!

Carmex lip balm: My lips have been crazy chapped lately because it's been reaaaaal cold here, so Carmex is a must for me. EOS has nothing on Carmex lol.

OPI "Bubble Bath": I recently got ahold of the Top Ten OPI minis set, and I'm going to dedicate a whole post to it as soon as my nail wheel gets in (why yes, I did order a nail wheel). My favorite so far is Bubble Bath. Even though it's pretty sheer, it's the perfect nude for my skin tone.

Maybelline Super Stay 10 Stain Gloss in "Ruby Indulgence": I made an entire post about this product so check it out HERE!

Smashbox "Vivid Violet": I've had this lipstick for quite a while now and every fall I like to bring it back to life for at least a couple days throughout the season. It's a daring color - pure purple - so it's not for every day, but it compliments my skin tone really nicely and finishes off an outfit quite well. You can see a swatch HERE.

Revlon "Lash Potion" mascara: Admittedly, this mascara is a pain to remove because it's super waterproof, but it does wonders for your lashes. It lengthens and adds volume without getting clumpy and gross. Definitely pick it up!

NARS "Sin" blush: I got this as a birthday gift back in February and have been wearing it a ton lately. It's SO pigmented that you only need a little to get a nice flush of color. It shows up less purple than how it appears in the pan - on my cheeks it becomes a deep pink shade. Very pretty.

Miley Cyrus' "Bangerz": So. I think Miley is really problematic (in terms of her persona/media influence), but this is a GREAT pop album. Some of my favorites are FU, 4x4, and #getitright. If you automatically rejected it but are generally a pop music fan, please give it a shot, you might be surprised!

Lorde's "Pure Heroine": Totally on the opposite side of the pop spectrum, Pure Heroine has also been a new favorite this month. At first I thought all the songs sounded the same but I came to really enjoy it. My favorites are Royals, Team, and White Teeth Teens.

Switched At Birth: If you're looking for a new TV show to start on Netflix, seriously consider Switched At Birth. I usually dismiss ABC Family shows since most of them are a bust (*cough* Secret Life *cough* Pretty Little Liars), but this one is fantastic. It's about two teens who were switched at birth and get reconnected. One of them is deaf, which adds a super interesting dimension to the show. I'm excited for the next season!

Now You See Me: Great movie. Great cast. Ending leaves a little to be desired but the storyline is so unique that I didn't mind.

What were your favorites this month?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

7 Deadly Sins TAG

Hey everyone! I haven't done a tag in a while and I don't have any other posts planned so I thought I'd give this one a go. I found it on Jess' blog Coffee and Cosmetics, and I know it's a popular one but in case you haven't done it yet, feel free to grab it :)

1. Greed: What is your most inexpensive beauty product? What is your most expensive beauty product?

My most inexpensive beauty product is anything that I bought from Elf. I have their studio brush line and one of their gel liners, and both are great value for money. Their products are only a couple bucks and really do the job. They're nothing fancy but if you'd like to save some money on basics, Elf is a good option! Their online website is particularly easy to navigate, and shipping doesn't cost an arm & a leg.

My most expensive beauty product (that I bought with my own money, i.e. not gifted) has to be my Vice 2 palette. I don't tend to splurge on single items - I'd rather save up some money and buy an array of things. Although the Urban Decay palettes are quite expensive, I think they are SO worth it. The quality, originality, and durability are incomparable.

2. Wrath: What beauty product do you have a love/hate relationship with? What product has been the hardest to get?

At the moment I'm having a love/hate relationship with the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation. It's an illuminating, anti-aging foundation, which is lovely in theory, but the problem is that it's chock-full of shimmer. I still can't decide if that's an issue for me or not! It was fine in the summer with a nice tan, but it seems silly to have a glowy face in the winter. Looks like I'll have to move on from it during the time being.

Living in Canada, I'm pretty lucky when it comes to beauty products being available for me. We have Sephora and Mac, and Bioderma is sold at my nearest drug store. I think the only products that posed some difficulty for me were my Real Techniques brushes. It took forever and a half for them to become available at Walmart here, and I could never seem to find them on trips to the States. Of course, UK brands are difficult to get.

3. Gluttony: What are your most delicious beauty products?

Well since I don't tend to eat my beauty products this is a bit of an odd question... However, some products smell so good they could almost be edible. Two of my favorite-smelling lip glosses are from Buxom and NYX. I'm definitely a sucker for sweet scents as opposed to more perfume-y scents like Chanel.

4. Sloth: What beauty product do you neglect due to laziness?

I definitely neglect using concealer. I feel like foundation does the bulk of the work when it comes to covering up, and I don't feel like my under-eye circles are that noticeable. I also neglect powdering sometimes - and more often than not I regret it at some point throughout the day! Oops.

5. Pride: What beauty product gives you the most self-confidence?

The beauty product that gives me the most self-confidence is eyeshadow. On days that I actually put the effort into applying it, I feel instantly rejuvenated haha. Knowing that I put in the extra work in making my "look" complete makes all the difference. I'm no expert when it comes to applying eyeshadow but when it turns out looking great, I feel super accomplished haha.

6. Lust: What attributes do you find most attractive in the opposite sex?

I find this question a little irrelevant so I'm going to replace it with "Which product/brand do you find has the most physically attractive packaging?" 

Even though I'm still gushing over the packaging of my new Vice 2 palette, my answer for this question is very easy: NARS. The sleek packaging and the rubber-y texture gets me every time! I even love the extra kerning on the letters and the curved edges. I contemplate buying NARS products if only for the packaging... To have a big NARS palette one day is my dream - totally wish I'd gotten my hands on Danmari when I had the chance!

7. Envy: What product would you most like to receive as a gift?

At the moment I am dying for a YSL lipstick. I can never justify the price in-store but if someone loved me enough to buy me one as a gift... I would be so so so happy! The packaging and quality looks incredible. I would definitely buy a red color making it feel even fancier :)

I tag: Hannah from Hips Like Cinderella

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Urban Decay Vice 2: Swatches & First Impressions

On Monday I finally got my hands on the beautiful Vice 2 palette from Urban Decay. I stupidly did not order the first Vice palette when it came out last year, so I wasn't going to make the same mistake twice!

It's no secret that I have issues with Sephora, so I unsurprisingly did not order this from their website. The Urban Decay site was having their annual friends & family sale, and although they don't ship to Canada, my friend Emily had it shipped to a relative of hers in Florida who then brought it back for me. Throughout this entire process, I saved $25 on this palette. Instead of paying around $78 Canadian, it cost me $53. I just can't get over how much we're ripped off here in Canada! Sephora hikes up their prices so much, it drives me nuts. Even though it's sometimes unavoidable, I try my best not to give Sephora my business.

Now that I've ranted, let's get on to the palette itself. The packaging is absolutely stunning. I really love the design on the front of the palette, and while I'm usually not crazy about bedazzled makeup products, I think it works nicely here. On the inside, there is a huge mirror on top which is very practical, and on the bottom you have your shadows.

For some reason X-Rated got really washed out in this photograph - it's actually a matte baby pink (see swatch below)

I think this is a really awesome array of shades. I love the mix of colorful and neutral shadows - it makes this a very versatile palette. The only thing I wish is that there were more matte colors, like that  super electric blue from the first Vice palette. The only matte color we get in Vice 2 is "X-Rated", a slightly underwhelming matte baby pink.

Early standouts for me are Shellshock, Damaged, Voodoo, Betrayal, Ambush and Rewind, my favorite definitely being Damaged. Urban Decay makes a killer emerald green. Betrayal is this amazing blue-purple duochrome, reminiscent of Mac's Stars 'N' Rockets, only more pigmented and smoother.

Some disappointments are Madness, Strike, Stash and Habit - all have very minimal pigmentation. Strike is like the sad version of Half Baked, while Habit is so chalky it barely shows up on the skin. Another slightly annoying thing about this palette is that there are three versions of a black-based shadow with blue glitter/shimmer (Lovesick, Prank and Poison). I'm not sure this was entirely necessary.

Overall I think this palette will be great for occasions. I foresee navy smokey eyes, green and purple accents, rose gold lids... There possibilites are endless!

What do you think about Vice 2? Liking the look so far?

PS. Abundance of Erica now offers advertising! For more info click HERE :)

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Butternut Squash Soup for the Student's Soul

Hey everyone! I haven't posted a recipe for quite some time now (because frankly I'm not the best role model when it comes to cooking)... That said, I came across this super easy recipe for butternut squash soup that even I couldn't mess up, so I thought it would be a shame not to share it!

Butternut squash soup is definitely one of my favorite fall food items (right next to pumpkin pie), and I look forward to having some every year. It's great to portion off and freeze, that way you can defrost and eat it whenever you're craving a hot meal. It's a really warm and comforting pick-me-up, especially when you're smack in the middle of midterms!

- A butternut squash (cubed)
- Half a shallot (diced)
- A clove of garlic (minced)
- 1 tsp. of olive oil
- Water (3-4 cups)
- Half a beef bouillon cube (or chicken or veg)
- 1/4 tsp. of salt
- Crack of pepper
- Pinch of thyme
- Pinch of paprika (to your taste)

First you'll need to peel and cube the butternut squash, which is definitely the most strenuous/time-consuming part. Try doing it as-is, but if it's too difficult, cut the squash in half and pop it in the oven for a bit. This will soften it, making it easier to peel, and will also reduce cooking time afterwards.

When your squash is peeled and cubed, put it aside and move on to preparing the broth. Dice your shallot and mince your garlic, then add it into your pot with the olive oil. Wait until the shallot & garlic brown up a bit, and don't forget to stir. Meanwhile, grab 3 or 4 cups of water (depending on how thick or how liquidy you like it). Add half a bouillon cube to the water, as well as your salt and pepper. Add in the pinch of thyme as well. Fresh thyme is best but dried works too.

Once the garlic & shallot are ready, add the water mixture to the pot. Wait for the bouillon to dissolve, then add your squash. Let it simmer with the lid on for 30 minutes.

When the soup is ready, put it into a blender or use one of these fancy immersion blenders like I did haha. Once that's done, you can add paprika if you'd like. I think paprika enhances the flavor really well but if you're sensitive to spicy foods you can leave it out. Add more salt if you feel like it's necessary. If you find it too thick, you can add some more water as well.

That's it! Serve and add garnish with some extra paprika or thyme if you want. Overall this recipe is super easy and it's great for leftovers throughout the week. Enjoy :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Models Own "Luis Lemon"

Hey everyone! I know this may not be the colour to expect when you think of "fall nails", but when I saw this on sale at NailPolishCanada, I just couldn't resist. I'm thinking of it as my fall nail polish palate cleanser.

"Luis Lemon" is a vibrant highlighter yellow color. It's a little sheer on its own, but a white base coat will really make it pop. The polish applies thick yet smooth, and is overall a pleasure to work with. I'm quite impressed with the quality considering most neon polishes tend to be streaky. I only needed one coat over the white to get the shade in the photo above.

This is my first Models Own nail polish and I'm excited to try out some more. "Luis Lemon" is a winner for me!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Fall Lip Love: Maybelline Super Stay 10 Stain Gloss in Ruby Induglence

Hey everyone! Last year I posted some of my fall/winter lip picks, but this year I have one product that's been better than all the rest. And it's from the drug store. Ladies, the Maybelline Super Stay 10 Stain Gloss in Ruby Indulgence is your only fall lip necessity.

The colour is this amazing, unmistakable crimson red that veers closer to berry than orange. The application is great. It has a blood cell applicator (I don't know if that's a correct term haha) that makes it easy to shape the cupid's bow. You can flip it over and fix up the edges with the sharp tip to get that perfect finish. It lasts quite long and only really needs to be reapplied after eating or something. Another part about this product that I love is the scent. It smells like Kool Aid or some other tangy juice. It's great!

I've had two opportunities as of yet to rock a darker fall lip and this product has been my choice both times. The shiny (but not sticky) finish makes it super easy to wear and reapply throughout the night.

Here's an example of me wearing it on a night out. Matches my top and red eyes perfectly ;) Hahaha.

Nail Polish Canada Wishlist #2

Ahhhhhhh I haven't posted in so long! Can you tell it's midterm season? Well, it's also holiday season for nail polishes and makeup companies... Which means new releases!!! Most of my favorite nail polish brands have already released Winter and Holiday collection so I thought I'd put together a new Nail Polish Canada Wishlist. I've done one of these once before (click here to see it), and as you know, Nail Polish Canada is the place to buy nail polish. They have every possible brand and helloooo free shipping.

First up is Color Club's "The Uptown"... I mean, do you see that gorgeous shimmer? Ugh, and that duochrome. It just looks so cool and all the reviews and swatches I've seen are great.

Next is Essie's "Sable Collar". It looks a little boring in the bottles but from the swatches I've seen, it has this really awesome metallic sheen on the nails. I don't have anything like it so it would be amazing to own.

Models Own "Hedonist" is the only polish featured in my last wish list that I still do not own. Need to get my hands on it ASAP before they get rid of it!

Next up is Essie's "Warm and Toasty Turtleneck". If you already have a light purple creme I wouldn't recommend this because it's probably similar to what you already own. BUT, I don't have any nail polish this color surprisingly, so I'm really eyeing it!

Generally I have mixed feelings about Butter London since they are pricey ($17) and their hit rate for me is 50% (I have two Butter Londons - love one, dislike the other), but "Giddy Kipper" is one I can't resist. All the swatches make it look so edgy and crisp and lovely.

This 5-piece dotting tool set is only $9.95 and really, it's only a matter of time I shell out for me. It's been sitting in my wish list for so long and I want to get into nail art more!

To my surprise, Nail Polish Canada now sells TheBalm products! So cool! The prices are exactly the same as anything you'll find in-store, and with NPC's rewards system and free shipping, it would be silly not to purchase the "Mary Lou-Manizer" there.

And finally, the creme de la creme: OPI's "Take Ten" Mini set. This set basically contains mini versions of the greatest OPI shades ever, including Pirouette My Whiste, Alpine Snow, Bubble Bath, Tickle My France-y, You Don't Know Jacques!, Cajun Shrimp, Big Apple Red, German-icure, Malaga Wine and Lincoln Park After Dark. And the best part: it's only $30! Hallelujah!

Voila! My second ever Nail Polish Canada Wishlist. Anything you've been after?