Friday, August 22, 2014

Wake up to Better Hair

With fall just around the corner, many of us will be preparing to get up earlier for school, work, and other activities that begin in September. This means that we will have less time to do our hair in the morning. For this reason, the mattress experts at Casper (http://blog.caspersleep.com/) have asked me to share some hair preserving tips in honour of their “Own Your Bed Head” project. While they specialize in making comfortable mattresses, they don’t know how to fix bed head. That’s why they have reached out to beauty bloggers to share their tips and tricks for waking up to better hair.
Here are my top five tips.

1. Sleep on a satin or silk pillowcase – This is my first and best tip. I have been doing it for years and my hair looks so much better in the morning. It’s smoother, frizz free, tangle free, dent free, and static-free. Also, sleeping on a satin or silk pillowcase is good for preventing wrinkles around the eyes and those pillowcase lines on the face.Wash your pillowcase every few days to avoid any product build-up. For an inexpensive set, I recommend checking ebay.

2. Don’t go to bed with wet or damp hair – If you go to bed with damp hair, it will dry with little dents based on the way that you sleep on it. I recommend drying your hair at least a few hours before bed and making sure that it is completely dry. This is especially important for those of you with straight hair who want to wake up to smooth and manageable hair.

3. If you are going to bed with damp hair, braid your hair before bed – Instead of waking up to random dents, wake up to soft waves instead. On days when I want a breezy, effortless look, I wash my hair a couple hours before bed, spray it with a bit of texturizing spray, and braid it when it’s close to being dry. If you don’t wash your hair before bed, you can also just wet it a bit with water before braiding. The next morning, when someone asks what you did to get those beautiful waves, just say, “It was like this when I woke up.” Also, if you are planning to curl your hair in the morning, sleeping in a braid is a good idea (even when your hair is dry) because it will allow you to wake up with some texture and grip that will make the curling process faster and help your curls last longer.

4. Use dry shampoo before bed – If greasy, limp hair is your problem, apply dry shampoo before bed instead of in the morning. It will have the entire night to absorb grease and add volume. Just brush out  the excess when you wake up.

5. Sleep with your hair in a bun to preserve curls – To make your curls last an extra day, wind your hair into a bun before bed. Try to wind it in the direction of your curls and pin it up high enough so that you can sleep comfortably. Doing this will keep your curls intact and prevent any unwanted frizz.
What are your tips for avoiding bed head?

*this is NOT a sponsored post*

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 2014 Beauty Box Five


The August 2014 Beauty Box Five features products to help us transition from summer to fall. The products are meant to provide beaming skin, dazzling lips, and lustrous locks to keep us glowing through the changing seasons.
If you are unfamiliar with Beauty Box Five, it is a subscription service that sends its members five cosmetic samples each month. The service is open to those in Canada and the USA, and subscriptions start at $12 per month. The best part is that shipping is free!
The brands that Beauty Box Five works with are also very impressive (see them all HERE).
Now let’s talk about the August items…

1. La Fresh Travel Lite Makeup Remover Wipes  |  Retail: $19.99 for 48 packets – I could have used these on my last weekend trip. I forgot to bring makeup wipes so I had to miss out on wearing mascara. My lashes were sad. On a happy note, these wipes are oil free and safe for sensitive skin. The sample package contains 8 wipes and the package is nice and compact for travel purposes.
2. Pur-lisse Pur-protect SPF 30  | Retail: $55 for 1.7 oz – This sounds like my type of moisturizer with its lightweight formula, SPF 30, and gentle ingredients for sensitive skin. The sample contains .5 oz/15 ml.
3. Novex Brazilian Keratin  |  Retail: $19.50 for 2lbs – This conditioning treatment sounds like the perfect solution for summer hair that needs help recovering from chlorine, sun, and wind damage. BB5 recommends applying it on freshly washed hair and leaving it on for 25 minutes. The sample package contains 30 g / 1.05 oz.

4. Style Essentials Nail Polish  |  Retail: $7 for nail polish collection – I couldn’t find much about this product online. I think the retail price is for more than one bottle of polish. The bottle seems small and contains 7 ml of product. The shade is a black with silvery glitter.
5. Nanacoco Lip Gloss  |  Retail $3.99 – I’m surprized by the low price tag on this item. The packaging looks very sleek and expensive. I received a pretty shimmery hot pink shade called Popular. It looks a lot like a Bare Escentuals Buxom Lip gloss that I used to love in the shade Kanani. Aside from containing good ingredients like Vitamin E, this lip gloss adds shine to the lips without stickiness. It sounds like an affordable yet high quality product.
Overall, I think the August 2014 box from Beauty Box Five contained a nice assortment of products although they may not have as high of a value as those in previous boxes.  I’m looking forward to next month’s box!
To learn more about Beauty Box Five and to sign up, visit https://www.beautybox5.com/
*Although the products mentioned in this post were sent for review purposes, all opinions expressed are honest and are my own*

Dashing Digits Floral Nail Accessories (Review + Pictures)


When I’m in the mood for an effortless and pretty summer nail look, I love to combine a light polish colour with a floral design. Sometimes I create my floral nail looks using a dotting tool, but that can be time consuming. An easier and simpler option is to use Floral Nail Accessories like these ones from Dashing Digits.
With their pink and purple petals and subtle splashes of glitter, these dainty flower decals are perfect for adding a pretty accent to your already polished nails. I painted my nails with Essie’s Topless & Barefoot for a professional event I was attending one morning; when I got home in the afternoon, I added these flowers to make the nail look more appropriate for a summer party I was attending that evening. The decals stick very well and I did not bother using a topcoat because I knew that they would be fine on their own—I was right!

If you have never heard of Dashing Digits, it’s an online store that offers a line of full coverage nail wraps and nail accessories. One thing that I love about their products is that they are more accommodating for small nails. As someone with tiny hands and nails, I often have trouble finding decals to fit on my small nail surface. As you can see from the photos above, I had no trouble with these.
The product comes with a generous amount of flowers in shades of pink and purple. Aside from this design, the company has many other floral and other decal designs, as well as nail wraps. You can check them out on the company’s website (http://www.dashingdigits.com/).
The company is always adding to its inventory and updates customers on new arrivals and promotions on its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DashingDigits)
To receive 15% off your next order, you can use the discount code WELCOME at check out.

In addition to trying out these floral nail accessories, I also had the opportunity to try out the dazzling pink cheetah nail wraps in the photo above (see my post on them HERE).
What are your thoughts on this floral nail look?
*Although the products mentioned in this post were sent for review purposes, all opinions expressed are honest and are my own*

Dashing Digits Pink Cheetah Glitter Nail Wraps (Review + Swatches)


How beautifully sparkly are these Pink Cheetah glitter nail wraps from Dashing Digits? While I have tried many nail wraps over the past few years, I have never used any with a pretty glitter overlay like these.
As you can see in the close-up swatch below, these nail strips are packed with glitter. However, they are not sparkly in an overwhelming way. The sparkle comes out more in a well-lit room and looks amazing in the sunlight. I recommend wearing them to an outdoor party or a day at the beach to really appreciate their dimension.

If you have never heard of Dashing Digits, it’s an online store that offers a line of full coverage nail wraps and nail accessories. One thing that I love about their products is that they are more accommodating for small nails. As someone with tiny hands and nails, I usually have to spend a bit of time trimming nail wraps to fit the small surface of my nail. However, with these wraps I only had to cut the ones for my pinky nails a bit—the rest fit perfectly! Also, no heat source is necessary for application so they can be applied on the go.

This set of nail wraps includes 14 different sized stickers. I found that they were easy to smooth out than the stickers from some brands because they are a bit thicker so they are less likely to leave creases and air bubbles. Another great aspect of this product is the smell. Some of the drugstore brands have a strong nail polish smell and these strips do not. Like most nail wraps, they are easy to apply since the application process involves peeling plastic off both sides of the strip, smoothing the strip over the nail, and buffing away any excess with a nail file. As you can see from the photos in this post, I was a little rough with my buffing and trimmed slightly too much off some nails. I recommend consulting the instructions that come with the product and the application tips on the company’s website before applying (http://www.dashingdigits.com/).
If you’re not into glitter, Dashing Digits offers other options like regular nail wraps, 3D wraps, and nail accessories. The company is always adding to its inventory and updates customers on new arrivals and promotions on its Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/DashingDigits)
To receive 15% off your next order, you can use the discount code WELCOME at check out.

In addition to trying out these glitter strips, I also had the opportunity to try out the pretty nail flowers in the photo above (see my post on them HERE).
What are your thoughts on these dazzling pink nail strips?
*Although the products mentioned in this post were sent for review purposes, all opinions expressed are honest and are my own*

Saturday, August 16, 2014

NOTD: Essie Topless & Barefoot

During the summer, I usually wear lots of bold pink, pastel purple, or creamy bright peach polishes. Sometimes I get tired of all the colour though and want my nails to look polished but similar to their natural state. 

Essie Topless & Barefoot is the perfect shade of beige pink. Unlike most nudes, it looks great against my pale skintone and gives my nails a very clean, fresh look. In my opinion, it’s the perfect polish to wear when you want your nails to be noticeably manicured but in a way that is appropriate for everyday wear, even at the office or for a job interview.

The creamy formula of this polish from Essie’s Spring 2011 collection, allows it to look opaque in just two coats, but I applied three for fun. It’s a bit thicker than other Essie polishes that I own and looked streaky during application; however, it smoothed out completely while drying and set rather quickly. It also looks glossy without a top coat.

Overall, I really love this polish and will keep it on hand for those days where I’m in the mood for a nail look that is effortlessly stylish and works with any outfit.

Zesty Quinoa Patties with Pineapple and Avocado




As someone who rarely eats meat, I’m always looking for meatless alternatives that aren’t carb filled or bland. These zesty quinoa patties are a perfect option for a vegetarian meal and they are great for summer with fruity toppings like pineapple and avocado.

I found the recipe on Portuguese Girl Cooks and modified it to suit my family’s tastes. Here is my version.

Recipe

Ingredients:
2 ½ cups cooked and cooled quinoa (about 1 cup uncooked)
1 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon grapeseed oil for frying
1 sliced avocado for serving
1/2 fresh pineapple for serving, cut into chunks (canned pineapple will also work)

Directions:
1. In a medium bowl, combine cooled quinoa and bread crumbs. Mix until the quinoa is evenly coated.
2. Add the next 7 ingredients and mix to combine.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg whites and Dijon mustard. Add the egg mixture to the quinoa mixture and mix to combine.
4. Using your hands, form the quinoa mixture into patties. Use about 1/2 cup of the mixture for each.
5. Heat the grapeseed oil in a frying pan over medium heat and add the patties a few at a time. Cook for 3-5 minutes per side until golden brown.
6. To serve, add a few quinoa patties to a plate and top with sliced avocado and pineapple. Add a bit of lettuce on the plate for garnish (optional).

Monday, August 11, 2014

Madam Glam Nail Polish (Review + Swatches)


Today, I’m very excited to share a wonderful new nail polish brand with you. Madam Glam, based in the Fashion District in New York, is a French inspired line sold exclusively online. It offers around 100 glamorous colors from chic and sophisticated to more audacious and sassy.
As you can see from the polishes above, the Madam Glam line features colours in a range of shades, finishes, and formulas. From neons to glitters to pastels to nail care treatments, this brand has something for everyone. There’s even a selection of chic, rich, and trendy gold polishes that are perfect for the upcoming fall season.
All Madam Glam polishes are “five-free”, so they do not contain Formaldehyde, Toluene, DiButyl Phthalate (DBP), Formaldehyde Resin or Camphor. When on the Madam Glam site (http://madamglam.com/), you can see an ingredients list for a polish by clicking on its picture—very convenient and reassuring for those of us who love polish but are trying to use beauty products with fewer harsh chemicals.  The best part is that Madam Glam polishes are cruelty-free so they are not tested on animals.
This online company also makes it easy for shoppers worldwide since free shipping is available for orders over $25, as well as free exchanges and returns.
To get a closer look at the polishes, to see what the colours look like on the nail, and to read my thoughts on each colour, check out the swatches, bottle pictures, and reviews below.

Show me the Ruby, Ladylike, Haute Couture, So Nude

Show me the Ruby is a vibrant ruby red shade that is opaque after just two coats. Although my camera makes this shade look a bit brighter than it is in real life, it is an exquisitely firey shade with a smooth formula. The cream finish makes it very bold yet versatile.

Ladylike looks similar to Show me the Ruby on the nails in the pictures, but it’s easy to see the difference between the two by looking at the bottles. Ladylike is a more muted, timeless shade that’s perfect for daily wear. It reminds me of In Stitches by Essie and Fifth Avenue by China Glaze which are two of my favourite polishes. This creamy shade looked flawless after two coats.

Haute Couture is a medium-toned nude shade. The warm base gives it a modern flair. This shade is perfect for work or an event that calls for chic attire. Although some nude shades can be quite sheer, this cream finish polish was opaque with only two coats.

So Nude is lighter than Haute Couture and has more of a neutral base. While it may look like your average nude polish upon first glance, So Nude is unique with its subtle splash of shimmer that can be seen on the nails when the polishes catches the light. Since the formula of this polish is a bit more sheer than the others, I’m wearing three coats of it in the swatch above.

Like a Princess, Pink Reptile, Flirty Mood, Angel Walk

Like a Princess is a shimmering light candy pink shade. Because of its beautiful shimmer, this polish stands out in my collection of cream finish pinks. It applies smoothly and is opaque after just two coats. On the nails it looks like pink satin fabric with its glossy sheen and dimension.

Pink Reptile has one of the most unique finishes that I have seen in a nail polish. It almost produces the marbled effect that occurs when oil mixes with water. The combination of the sheer pink base with the swirls of golden shimmer is perfect for giving the nails a sweet glow. The swatch above features three coats of Pink Reptile.

Flirty Mood is my favourite of the bunch. You need to try this polish to understand why I love it so much. Unlike the typical nude polish, Flirty Mood is completely opaque in just one coat! And, despite the fact that I have a few pastel purple cream polishes already, this one is unique since the shade is more white than purple. It gives the nails an effortlessly clean and modern look that would look great for daily wear or even a wedding because the subtle purple tint makes it soft and wearable.

Angel walk is a white pearl shade with gold undertones. I used only two coats of this polish. The shimmer is ethereal and the shade reminds me of one of my favourite eyeshadows from Bare Minerals called White Gold. It’s the perfect polish to wear when you are in the mood for something white with a bit of added glamour.

Honey Cream, Green Watermelon, Cashmere Party, Quick Dry

Honey Cream is my ideal shade of gold polish because it is truly golden rather than yellow, and the gold sparkles make it luxurious and dazzling like a piece of fine jewellery. After only two coats, this shade is easily opaque. It’s soft finish prevents the shine from being too dramatic, making this polish very classy and wearable.

Green Watermelon is a very refreshing shade for someone like me who does not think to wear green polishes often. With its mix of mint and apple, this green tone can complement many skin tones. I really enjoy the formula of this cream polish as it jelly-like and glossy. I used two coats in the photo above.

Cashmere Party is a classy grey shade that glows like a string of grey pearls. The subtle shimmer makes this shade very wearable and not at all stark or harsh like some grey creams. It’s quite opaque with one coat, but I applied two for a more finished look.
The last bottle (clear purple) is a Quick Dry product that really does help the polishes dry faster. It makes them look even more glossy and also leaves the cuticles looking healthier and less dry. 
Overall, I am very impressed with the Madam Glam line. It boasts many beautiful shades that are unique, fashion-forward, and accommodating to polish lovers with a range of different styles and tastes. The fact that most of the polishes require minimal coats means that application is easier and drying time is faster. They also dry to a naturally glossy finish. In fact, I am not wearing a top coat in any of the pictures in this post.
While I love all the shades that I have tried, my favourites are Like a Princess, Pink Reptile, Flirty Mood, Cashmere Party, and Honey Cream. While So Nude and Flirty Mood are currently out of stock, the company is currently remaking them and will advertise by email and on instagram (@madam_glam) when they are back in stock.
Have you tried Madam Glam polishes? Which shade is your favourite?
*Although the products mentioned in this post were sent for review purposes, all opinions expressed are honest and are my own*

Friday, August 1, 2014

Sally Hansen Real Nail Polish Strips in Pink-A-Dot (Review + Photos)

A couple years ago, I made a haul post featuring these nail strips from Sally Hansen. In the post I showed another set of nail strips called Are You Single? which I wore on Valentine’s Day and really enjoyed.

A couple weeks ago, I remembered that I had this set in Pink-A-Dot and decided to use it for an effortless and cute summer nail look.

Like Are you Single?, the Pink-A-Dot strips were very easy to apply. I only encountered a bit of difficulty with trying to find the perfect size strip to fit my nail. I have very small nails and a lot of the strips were just a tiny bit too big so I had to trim them with scissors. They were easy to cut though and I did not ruin any strips during trimming process. The best part is that there was no drying time so I was able to get on with my day immediately after application. They have a faint nail polish smell, but it did not linger like the strong scent of traditional liquid nail polish does. 

The pattern is very cute with its creamy background and pink polka dots. The finish is glossy but the polka dots have a faded look to them that gives the strips a fabric-like dimension which I really like.

The only downside is the staying power. While the last set of strips stuck to my nails really well and lasted for two weeks, these strips did not. After about 5 days, they began lifting near the cuticles and I had to remove them because they kept getting caught in my hair while I was blow drying it. They were at least two years old though so the glue may have been getting weak. The strips removed easily with regular nail polish remover.

Overall, I really enjoyed the easy application and cute pattern of this product. I would definitely purchase more if I find them on sale because these strips can be a bit pricey where I live.

Have you tried these nail strips from Sally Hansen? If so, what are your thoughts on them?