Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Quick "Across-The-Border" Haul

Hey everyone! On Sunday my mom, brother, and I decided to head across the border into New York (state, not city) for a quick shopping trip. I didn't get too much stuff but I figured it's enough for a quick little haul. Enjoy!

TJ Maxx is the main store where we usually go so I stocked up on some summer clothes. Each of these were $12.99 which I think is fairly reasonable. The one on the left is just a one-size-actually-fits-all (*ahem Brandy Melville*) Roxy t-shirt. I thought it would be good to wear on days where I can't bother and just want to throw something on quickly. I thought the Paris tank would be nice to wear casually or even to dress up for nights out with a blazer or something. The last tank is definitely my favorite one - it's so fun and colorful and I can't wait to wear it!

Bath & Body Works was having a $10 sale on certain candles so you now I couldn't walk out of there without picking one up. Tiki Beach is one that I've been tempted to get for a while so I'm glad it was on sale! It smells so tropical and coconuty - love it!

I kinda restrained myself in Wal Mart during this trip and only picked up a few items. I got two Rimmel lip liners - one nude pink and one red. I honestly never really used lip liner before and the only one in our makeup drawer was a crusty brown one from like 30 years ago (thanks mom), so I thought it was time to rectify that. I would wear the pink one under neutral, pink, or mauve lips. I tried it under MAC Syrup and works really nice, and I tried the red one under one of the Kate Moss Rimmel lipsticks and it works perfectly!

Of course, I had to pick up this Revlon Nail Art Moon Candy in "Orbit" because I've been eyeing it like crazy. It was in my nailpolishcanada wishlist that I posted a little while ago. I'm actually ashamed to say that I've since purchased 6/8 things from that list.... Self control is clearly something I do not have.

Anyway, thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this little haul :)

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Beauty Would-You-Rather

Hey everyone! Quite a while ago I saw this tag on Bravenezz blog and I thought it would be fun! I wasn't actually tagged but what do you know, I'm doing it anyway. Rebel I am. If you'd like to do it yourself, please go ahead and link back to me so I can have a read :)
1. Would you rather lose all of your mascaras, eyeliners, lipsticks, and lip glosses or lose all of your palettes and eyeshadows?
I would definitely rather lose my palettes and eyeshadows, considering I hardly ever wear eyeshadow unless it's a special occasion! I'm much more of a mascara and lip person to be honest. PLUS, a lid full of eyeshadow isn't really complete without mascara'd lashes, am I right?
2. Would you rather chop off all your hair or never be able to cut it again?
I would chop it all off! Why not? It would get really gross and thin and brittle if I could never cut it again!
3. Would you rather have a coral cheek or a pink cheek?
I don't really have a preference here, but if I had to choose I would say pink. There are so many variations of pink blush that it could work year-round, but I feel like coral is very summer-specific.
4. If you had £1000 to spend, would you rather buy clothes or makeup?
At this exact moment in my life I would probably spend it on clothes just because I'm kind of lacking at the mo. I really, really need a new pair of shorts, a new bra, etc - as you can see I'm lacking essentials hahah. Maybe I would spend it on makeup at a different date.
5. Would you rather apply lipstick as eyeliner, or eyeliner as lipstick?
Well that's a creative question. I think I would apply lipstick as eyeliner because I could probably rock a bright-colored wing or something - not so much a black-lined lip... *shudder*
6. Would you rather only shop at MAC or Sephora?
Practically, I'm going to say MAC. I hardly shop at Sephora anymore because it's honestly just too expensive. MAC is reasonably priced, and they have the best quality anyway! (PS - not saying I wouldn't really miss Sephora though, it's my favorite "window shopping" location)
7. Would you rather only use one eyeshadow color or one lip color for the rest of your life?
I'll say one eyeshadow color! You can't really go wrong with a neutral eye, and I tend to get sick of lip colours easily so having to wear one for the rest of my life wouldn't go too well.
8. Would you rather wear winter clothes in summer or summer clothes in winter?
This is such a difficult question because where I live, winters are full-on WINTERS and summers are so humid and sticky and gross that you'd go naked if you could. I guess I would rather spend summer in winter clothes, because considering I don't have a job and I stay home anyway, I could crank up the AC and chillax in sweatpants. I'd miss the outdoors but hey, I'm being practical here.
9. Would you rather dark nails or bright nails all year round?
This is tough because I have my phases. I feel like bright nails would be a better pick because there are so many more options, whereas dark nail polishes all kind of have the same effect anyway.
10. Would you rather give up your favorite lip product or your favorite eye product?
Lip product. Mascara is essential.
11. Would you rather only be able to wear your hair in a ponytail or a messy bun?
Messy bun! I never do ponytails.
12. Would you rather never being able to paint your nails again or never use lip-gloss?
NEVER USE LIPGLOSS! I don't wear lipgloss anyway soooo.... Hahaha.
13. Would you rather shave your eyebrows and have none at all? Or sharpie them in everyday?
Meh, not a fan of this question because some people have no eyebrows due to sickness, so I guess I wouldn't wish that upon myself. I could Sharpie them in every day.
14. Would you rather live without makeup or nail polish?
...... This one's haaardddd. I guess I'd have to say... nail polish. Although nail polish is like my #1 beauty love, I feel like makeup is not really something I could do without. It's just an important confidence-booster, and I couldn't imagine not wearing makeup in formal situations!

And here's a picture of some sparkly goodness because this post was feeling really empty. Woohoo!

(This is not my photo - it's going around on Tumblr. Couldn't find the source but if it's yours I would be happy to link back to you!)
I TAG:
- Stacey
- Jessica
- Dawn
- Fiona
...and whoever else would like to do this tag :)

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Guide to Little Black Bag and My Experience

Hey everyone! A couple weeks ago I basically traded my life away on a website called Little Black Bag. If you're a present member of the YouTube beauty/fashion community you will surely have heard of it. I was inspired to place an order after seeing Elle (allthatglitters21) do an unboxing video because I thought everything she got was super cute and trendy!

All the goody goody gumdrops I got from my first LBB purchase! Ouuuuuuuh, ahhhhhhh


How the website works: 

Basically, you browse all of the items in the website gallery and you pick a main one that you love, then you check out, and Little Black Bag will surprise you with 1-3 additional mystery items for free! (You only get to see which items you got when you check out). Then, if you dislike the supplementary items you can trade them with other online users.

An overview of my trading:

Before I continue, I thought I'd do a quick run through of how my trading went so you can have a better idea about how it works. I had been skeptical about LBB in the past just because there was no clear indication re: the trading process, so let me fill you in...

The item I opened with was the "33rd and MAD by Koret croc crossbody" in the colour taupe. As my mystery items, I received a pair of ugly earrings, an awful ring, and a phone case. This is how I ended up with the items I shipped. "-->" indicates a trade.

Ugly earrings ($18) --> nicer pair of earrings ($16) --> Michael Marcus nail polish ($15) --> NCLA nail wraps in a nude colour ($16) --> NCLA nail wraps in "Electric Gradient" ($16)

For the necklace, I started off with an awful $18 ring and gradually traded up (maybe about 6 times) until I landed on the "All The Rage Multi Row Necklace" worth $26! Sweet!

Purple "Greene" iPhone 4/4S case ($26) --> Pink "Greene" iPhone 4/4S case ($26)

I added the "Restricted" sandals afterwards for an additional $45 that came out of my own wallet.

General observations/tips & tricks:

  • Before you even pick your first item, the website has you fill out a fashion/beauty questionnaire so that they can tailor your mystery items based on your picks. I'm not sure how closely it actually follows that survey because the only item that slightly made sense was the phone case (because I checked off "tech accessories" as an item I would like)
  • Keep in mind that Little Black Bag stocks items that are commonly sold in stores like Winners, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, etc. Only ship items you find unique, and never pay too much $ for a bag, especially if it's in shipping charges.
  • Before shipping, look up photos of your items. They may look different than how they do on the website!
  • Open a LBB at the beginning of the month because there will be more active members online, and trades will occur much faster and easier.
  • Make sure you open a LBB during a week where you're not too busy. If your goal is to trade for specific items, or to trade up for items of higher value, it's going to take days. Luckily, you have a week to finalize your shipment so there's plenty of time, but make sure you have time off so you can make the most of it!
  • LBB is filled with experienced traders. Many of the people on there are stay-at-home moms who place order after order after order. They know what they're doing and will sometimes take advantage of first-time traders. (EDIT: I've now been told by at least 4 separate readers that I am sorely mistaken on this - take from it what you will. Let me just add one thing: don't get discouraged by the competitiveness of the website. That's all!)
  • Before you accept a seemingly good trade, make absolutely sure that none of the items you're getting are sale items (unless you like them and intend on keeping them). I almost accepted a trade on my taupe Koret purse for an offer that contained two BCBG bags. After a bit of research, I found out that they were sale bags that don't do well in trading at all
  • Only trade for items of lower value on two conditions: 1) the item is well sought after amongst LBB users (to know this, you can see how many "hearts" or "likes" the item has). (EDIT: Apparently I'm wrong about this too. A better way to find out if an item is popular, survey the chat room and look at the news feed!) 2) If it's something you love and intend to keep/close with.
  • If you're looking for more expensive items than what you've got, trade up slowly. If you start off with a $16 item, trade up to $17, then $18, etc., until you make it up to something you want.
  • If you want to buy shoes, make them your starting item. It's rare that someone else on the site will have your size/have the specific style you want, so shoes are impossible to trade for. In hindsight, I would have opened with the shoes and tried to trade up for the crossbody.
  • Survey the chat room to see what people are up to, who's online, what items/brands are popular and what kind of things people are trading for!

    Using the Chat Room & Understanding the lingo:

    First of all, you can find the chat room by clicking "Connect" then "Chat".

    As mentioned, the chat room is a great place to get insight on what's popular and how trading on LBB works. Unfortunately, LBB doesn't have a direct messaging system, so this is really the only way to interact with other users. It's also a great way to let people know you're online and trading. Drop a link to your profile so people can see what you've got to offer.

    You'll need to understand some abbreviations & lingo that people in the chat use. Here are a few that I've taken note of...

    • Multi: For big ticket items (handbags, mostly), people will offer more than one item in a trade. This is called a "multi".
    • High: When people are wondering what the "high" is on a specific item, they want to know what the highest offer amounts to, that way they can match it.
    • Sale/Nonsale: In response to the "high" on an item, someone might say, for example "$100 sale/$70 nonsale". Sale refers to an offer that contains sale items, and nonsale refers to an offer that doesn't.
    If there's an item you really want, let people know in the chat room and leave a link to profile - you might be able to work out a deal! Also, if you're unsure about something let it be known in the chatroom. Although some do take advantage of first-time traders (as I mentioned), most will be happy to help you out!

    My items:

    All The Rage "Multi Row Necklace"


    So this item wasn't very popular on the website and was actually offered to me in a trade. It hadn't caught my eye in the gallery but the more I looked at it the more I liked it! After doing some research, I found out the All The Rage isn't one of the best brands on LBB - it's basically really cheap jewelry shipped from China. That doesn't actually bother me though.

    What I liked about this necklace is that there isn't much hardware so there's no danger of tarnishing or turning my skin green. It's entirely wrapped in different colour string and has a few metallic bits dangling. I thought it was super unique!

    I've already worn it once and as you can see, one metal bit has already broken off and the black string on the lower part has begun to unravel. That said, I'm still pretty pleased with this necklace and I find it relatively easy to style. Here's a picture of me wearing it out this weekend!

    (I'm on the right.)




    Next up are these awesome NCLA nail wraps in "Electric Gradient". I was so excited to find out these were stocked on LBB since I would never pay $16 for them IRL. I've already tried out the turquoise/lemon ones and they look super cool. I'll be doing a full "how to" and review of these soon!

    There's not much to review about this item per se, but I'll just mention that I'm really pleased with the quality of this case! It feels really sturdy and holds the phone well. I will say that the photo on the website is slightly misleading, because I thought the case was going to be embossed (with the diamond shapes), but it actually isn't. It's completely smooth on the exterior. Not a disappointment whatsoever, but it was a little misleading. If you're on the market for a new phone case, this is a great option.

    Finally, the item you've been waiting for... The 33rd & MAD by Koret croc crossbody in taupe. This is the item I opened with and, of course, my expectations were high. I have to say, my expectations were definitely met! The only thing is that I thought it was going to have a patent finish, but it's actually completely matte. I kind of like that better though!

    It comes as a crossbody but you can also unhook the strap and use it as an oversized clutch. It also comes with a band that you can attach to make it into a wristlet, which is cool. It's the exact size I anticipated so that's really nice. 

    The inside is a little tacky but nothing I can't handle hahah. It also comes with this little mirror attached on the inside, which is super handy! Overall I would totally recommend this bag. I've already worn it out and it holds all my stuff really well. Currently on the website, they have the same crossbody in stock, except in the mint colour, which is think is nice too. They also have the satchel version in stock, both in the mint and taupe colours. 

    Last but not least, the only item I received that I was disappointed with. These are the shoes that allthatglitters21 showed in her haul, and I thought they looked adorable! Admittedly, they still do in the photo. The thing I'm not impressed with is the quality. The back of the shoe where the heel goes is lined with felt that you might find at the dollar store, and the colour doesn't even match the coral of the shoe. Also, there's all kinds of stitching out of place, and it's overall made very sloppily. 

    Additionally, my feet are arched so when I put these shoes on, the front detailing doesn't stay centered but rather pulls to the side, which I find quite unflattering on. Once I find out how to do so, I will probably be returning these and getting a refund or a store credit.

    Final impressions:

    Overall, I had a great experience with LBB. The trading was super fun and addictive and I can see why there are so many LBB veterans. I also saved about $90 by using the website since all of the items on there are super discounted!

    Will I be ordering again? Probably not, although I would like to. It's just that the shipping for this box was crazy. I'm guessing shipping within the USA is probably cheaper, but since I live in Canada it was really pricey. I had a 25% off code (DGVR164) which is valid for first time users, so I managed to knock off ~most~ of the shipping fees, but unfortunately LBB doesn't offer coupon codes on subsequent orders.

    So in conclusion, I hope this post was helpful! Let me know how you feel about LBB in the comments below! If you would like to make an order on the website, feel free to go ahead and use this link: http://lbb.ag/d3AJ - it's a referral link that will give me store credit once you check out :) (I'm not special or anything - you'll get your own link once you sign up haha). 

    Monday, June 17, 2013

    Empties & Products I've Hit Pan On

    Hey everyone! I've been hoarding a few items over the past couple weeks so that I could talk about some products that I've either used up entirely or hit pan on. I've decided to share them with you today!

    Bioderma Sensibio H2O: This is what I've been using as my go-to eye makeup remover and it works like a dream. At first I was a little skeptical since this product is oh-so raved about on blogs & YouTube, but when I finished it I went back to my Rimmel remover for a little while, and let me tell you, it is not the same. I've already purchased a new one since I feel like you get good value out of the 250ml format. It lasted me five months which I think is pretty impressive since the bottle is relatively small.

    Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser: I probably discussed this product already in a previous post, but this is my daily face cleanser. I use it in the morning and at night and although I don't really think it gets rid of acne entirely (I use other products to do so), I think it does at least control it by reducing redness and keeping the pores clean. If I forget to use this at night, I immediately notice a difference the next morning - my face just doesn't feel as clean.

    Batiste Dry Shampoo (Tropical): This product was definitely well-loved. A 150ml can lasted me around 7 months, which is fantastic. It's super inexpensive and it really keeps my hair decent in between washes. I don't wash my hair every day since I do style it every time I wash it, so this makes me feel more comfortable about that. I have since repurchased it in a larger format with the original scent (though the tropical scent didn't bother me).

    Rimmel Stay Matte Powder (top left): I've discussed this product ad nauseum already so I don't feel the need to be too detailed here. It's just a really great mattifying powder. It doesn't give coverage but it really controls shiny-ness.

    Bailey Powder Foundation Duo (top right): This is perhaps the only product I received in a beauty box that has been so frequently used. Contrary to the Rimmel powder, this provides awesome coverage. I wouldn't use it alone, but over a BB cream or tinted moisturizer, or even just some concealer, it works out perfectly. I still use the bronzer side for days that I'm striving for natural-looking contouring. It's matte and just the right shade - no fuss.

    NARS Laguna Bronzer: Let me tell you, I was very sad to hit pan on this product. I use this bronzer on the high points of my face just to give my skin a bit of colour. A little does go a long way and you do get a lot of bang for your buck, but you will love it so much that you'll use it daily. It has a subtle shimmer which I find perfect for summer.

    Marcelle Hydra-C Foundation: I've been using Marcelle foundation ever since I started wearing makeup, and this foundation is my favorite from their entire range. I'm not even sure it has to do with the formulation, but rather the shade (it's an exact match to my skintone) and the packaging (so convenient and fuss-free!). But, sad story - they're discontinuing this :( I have since moved on to the Rimmel Wake Me Up foundation and am loving that though.

    Urban Decay Primer Potion mini: This has actually been empty for a really long time now and I just keep it around thinking I'll be able to get one last drop out of it. It hasn't necessarily been my favourite eyeshadow primer, but it's absolutely neutral (no colour) so it's really versatile - i.e. ideal for any eyeshadow look.

    So that concludes my first empties post! Hope you all enjoyed it :)

    Thursday, June 6, 2013

    Nail Polish Canada Wishlist

    Hey everyone! It's no secret that I'm obsessed with nail polish, which means I have a ridiculously large collection of it. That also means, unfortunately, that I can't justify purchasing any more. So, instead of buying the ones I want from my usual online store (nailpolishcanada), I figured I'd make a quick wishlist. Not exactly the same as making an order, but it'll have to do!

    Photos from nailpolishcanada.com
    First up is "For Audrey" by China Glaze. Surprisingly, I don't think I have a similar colour to this in my current collection. I have a turquoise but it's much more on the green side. I think it's such a cute shade and name - of course referencing Breakfast at Tiffany's. I feel like it would definitely be a staple in my collection if I were to own it!

    Next is "Bouncer it's Me" by Essie. Of the newer Essie collections (including their Resort Collection, their new wedding collection, their new summer collection, and their neons), this is pretty much the only one that caught my eye. I don't normally gravitate towards blue polish anymore but this one is so crisp and shocking that I can't help it!

    OPI hasn't really intrigued me with their new collections recently - I feel like nothing totally unique has been released and I'm not feeling their new liquid sands, but "Chic From Ears To Tails" is something I would like to own. I don't have a pretty, creamy pink colour, and from the swatches I've seen I believe this has a very slight glitter to it, so I think it would be really pretty on!

    Models Own "Hedonist" is a colour I've been eyeing for ages. I don't know exactly when Nail Polish Canada started stocking Models Own, but I'm so thrilled about it! These nail polish are extortionately expensive on the Models Own site and on ASOS (presumably because they hail from the UK), so I'm really glad they're only going for $8. There are other Models Own polishes that I'm after ("Luis Lemon" and "Indian Ocean"), but they're unfortunately sold out. I feel like Models Own is the only company that has put out anything super unique lately!

    Photos from nailpolishcanada.com
    It's no secret that Seche Vite is my favorite top coat ever, but once you're about halfway through the bottle it does start to get gloopy. "Seche Restore" is a polish thinner that supposedly gets the top coat back to its original state.

    Zoya "Godiva" is hands down the most gorgeous textured glitter that has been released in this entire trend - or at least of the polishes I've seen swatches of. It has the prettiest sandy texture and it looks so classy and elegant. I'm really sad that it's sold out at the moment but hopefully the site restocks soon! Otherwise I might have to pop Trade Secrets a visit!

    Next is Revlon "Orbit Moon Candy", a nail art duo that has intrigued me for a little while now. I nearly picked this up at Wal Mart but, of course, decided against it because I can't justify more nail polish. The combination of the two polishes makes a really awesome, quick galaxy nail.

    Speaking of the galaxy nail, NCLA released limited edition nail wraps in a galaxy print. I originally saw these on Little Black Bag (where I've just placed my first order!!! Expect a haul/unboxing soon!), but they were soo popular and impossible to trade for. They just look really cool, and I'm a big fan of the galaxy nail trend.

    So there you have it! My Nail Polish Canada wishlist complete. Any nail polishes you've been loving lately?