Saturday, November 22, 2014

November 2014 Beauty Box Five

The November 2014 Beauty Box Five features products to help us remain gracefully grounded. The products are meant to encourage us to stop and give ourselves an extra 10 minutes of pampering during this busy month.
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 November items…

1. Afterfeather Refillable Travel Bottle | Retail: $8.95 for a set of two refillable 2 fl oz bottles – For those of you who love to travel, these pretty bottles are the perfect place to pack your beloved liquid products on your journey. This box contained one bottle with an adorable dandelion pattern. The bottles are reusable and also TSA-approved!
2. Laura Ashley Body Butter | Retail: $20 for a set of six 1.75 oz body butters – These nourishing body butters come in cute little jars and feature a range of scents. I received the lavender version. I love body butters and can’t wait to try this one. Lavender is not really a favourite scent of mine but I think it will be a great product to use before bed to help me relax and unwind.
3. DenTek Floss Picks + Case | Retail: $2.49 for 4 – I think this item is my favourite in this month’s box. It sounds crazy but I love floss. I floss my teeth at least twice a day and always keep floss in my purse. These little picks will make flossing on the go even easier.

4. Dove Deep Moisture Body Wash | Retail: $6.49 for 22 oz – I’m looking forward to trying this body wash since it contains gentle cleansers that develop a rich lather and leave skin soft and smooth. The sample contains 1.8 fl oz.
5. HASK Macadamia Revitalizing Shine Oil | Retail: $2.99 for 5/8 fl oz – This shine oil is meant to revive dull strands and hydrate the hair. While this product sounds wonderful, I have found that oils often weigh down my fine hair, so I will save this item for someone else.
Overall, I have to admit that I was a bit disappointed in the November box. I have always been happy with BB5 but this month’s box wasn’t as exciting. While it did contain a nice assortment of products, they weren’t as exciting as the items in past boxes. Despite this, I’m looking forward to next month’s box and hope that it will be back up to the BB5 standards that I have been impressed with for a long time!
To learn more about Beauty Box Five and to sign up, visit
*Although the products mentioned in this post were sent for review purposes, all opinions expressed are honest and are my own*

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mini Sephora Haul + Reviews (Tarte Blissful & Urban Decay Naked Basics)

I have another Sephora haul to share with you today. I usually read lots of reviews before purchasing a product to make sure that I will love it and won’t need to return it. I feel bad returning makeup since I know that it usually has to be sent back to the company and disposed of. The two products that I purchased in this haul are items that I have wanted for a long time. I purchased them a while ago and had time to try them out, so I have included reviews below.

The first item is one of Tarte’s Amazonian Clay blushes in the shade Blissful which is described as a shimmering warm peach. Despite the description, there is no shimmer in this product. It’s a warm matte coral peachy pink shade. I have a cool complexion and was worried that this colour wouldn’t work for me, but I actually really like it. It warms up my cool, pale complexion a bit, but it is not overpowering or too bright. In fact, it takes much longer to build this colour than some of my other Tarte blushes. It’s almost as though this blush is packed so tightly in the pan that it’s harder to pick up the product on my brush. This isn’t really a problem for me though since I like to have control over how much I’m putting on. I like to use this on days when I want to brighten my complexion and look very fresh and awake, so I usually pair it with my Revlon lip butter in Papaya and the peach side of my MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Blonde as a cheek highlight and eyeshadow. It gives me that peaches and cream look. Overall, I really like it and recommend it to those looking for a subtle pop of peach.

The other product that I purchased is the Naked Basics Palette from Urban Decay. I never got into collecting palettes from UD’s naked line. I do really love my Naked 2 palette but skipped the first Naked palette since the colours looked too dark and too warm. I tend to wear very light shadows that make my eyes look naturally bright. I did try out Naked 3 but found that the shadows all had red or pink undertones which did not complement my complexion and actually irritated my eyes. I think that the Naked 3 palette was the only makeup item that I have ever returned. I was very disappointed since I really thought that I would enjoy it. After I returned it, I avoided wearing eyeshadow for quite a while. Then I decided that I would buy a palette containing only light shades without too much shimmer. After lots of research, I discovered Naked Basics. This is the perfect palette for me. I can create many different looks with it and my eyes never feel overdone. I don’t use the black all that often but I use all of the other shades quite a bit. My favourite thing to do is use my ring finger to pat W.O.S. on my lids. It’s a creamy matte shade so it covers all the veins in my lids and gives my eyes a more awake look without revealing that I’m wearing makeup. For an easy, subtle look, I like to use W.O.S or Foxy as a lid colour, Venus as an inner corner and brow highlight, and Naked 2 as a crease colour. When I want to go a bit darker, I add a bit of Faint to the outer corner. If I’m feeling really bold, I’ll line my top lashes with Crave.  Overall, I’m so impressed with this palette and recommend it to anyone who likes to wear very natural looking eye looks.
What do you think of this little haul? Have you tried any of these products? What are your thoughts on them? Do you recommend any other products from Tarte or Urban Decay?

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pineapple Shrimp Stir Fry with Coconut Rice

t’s been a little while since I’ve posted a recipe, so I wanted to share my new favourite rice dish. This stir fry features a few of my favourite things: pineapple, shrimp, and coconut. It’s very easy to make and is a bit more unique than the average stir fry.

The original recipe is from Canadian Living, and I modified it to make it a bit more fall appropriate (it’s too cold to go outside to use the grill).



Stir fry
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated
25 cooked jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 pineapple cut into small cubes
1 carrot, grated

2 tablespoons butter
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, grated
1 cup jasmine rice
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.
2. Add green onions, garlic, and ginger. Stir occasionally until softened (4 minutes).
3. Add rice. Stir until lightly toasted (2 minutes).
4. Stir in coconut milk, water, and salt; bring to boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and no liquid remains (15 minutes).
5. In a small bowl, whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and ginger.
6. Add shrimp and pineapple to a pan and cook over medium heat. Pour lime juice mixture over the shrimp and pineapple. Stir occasionally for about 6 minutes.
7. Add pineapple and shrimp to rice. Mix in shredded carrots before serving.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sephora Haul + Mini Reviews

A while ago, I placed a little online Sephora order to try out a few products that I had been curious about. I have had some time to try some of them so I included mini reviews below.

The first items that I purchased are these mini bottles of Living Proof Full Shampoo and Conditioner. The salon that I go to used these products on my hair once and I really liked the results. I opted for the smaller bottles in case I wasn’t happy with the products after using them for a few weeks. While I love the fact that this combination gives my hair volume and keeps it cleaner for longer, I will not purchase it again. The biggest problem though is the fact that these products create volume and thickness by creating texture in the hair. This texture created horrible tangles in my straight, fine hair. Specifically, the hair at the back of my head near the nape of my neck always had huge clumps of tangles in it while I was using these products. I have since switched to other Living Proof products which don’t cause the same problems. It is a bit sad though because I loved the volume that these products add to the hair.

Next is one of the Make Up For Ever HD blushes in shade #210 (Cool Pink). This is a beautiful pink shade that really compliments my pale complexion. While it is a cool pink, I think that it is also very neutral and would work on warmer skin tones too. The cream formula of this blush is wonderful.It glides over the skin very evenly and looks very natural. There is no shimmer in this blush which is nice for a change. I was inspired to try this shade after purchasing a more peachy shade back in the summer (#215 – Flamingo Pink). I loved the formula so much that I wanted to try a pink shade too. While these HD blushes are a bit pricey, a little really does go a long way.

I picked up another pink blush as well—the Tarte Deluxe Cheek Stain in Energy. This is one of those products that goes on clear and changes colour with your skin chemistry to create a flattering shade for your unique skin tone. It creates a nice, light pink shade on my cheeks and the product feels very light and comfortable on the skin. It leaves a very natural, dewy finish. While I do like this product, I never really seem to reach for it. I think that is because the pink shade is similar to many that I already own. The mini tube and easy application make it perfect for travel though.

The last two items are a Hand Healer from Jack Black and some Shiseido eyelash curler pads. The Hand Healer was a deluxe sample that I added during checkout. I thought it would be a good product to have on hand (literally!) for winter. The eyelash curler pads are just extras that I picked up for when my current one wears out.
Out of this haul, my favourite product is the MUFE blush. What’s yours?

Thursday, November 6, 2014

September 2014 Julep Maven Box (Boho Glam)

Back in July, I signed up for Julep and took the Maven quiz. I was sorted into the Boho Glam group and got my first box for free by using the code FREEMAVEN at checkout. If you are interested, you can sign up for Julep HERE and get started on your quiz to see which category you fall into. If you don’t like what is offered in that category, you can opt for another. Even if you are not interested in the monthly subscription, Julep also sells individual polishes. You can check out the pretty new spring shades on Julep’s Nail Polish Color Page by clicking HERE.
To see my intro box, click HERE.

What I really like about this service is that you can skip boxes and send boxes to a friend. Since I already have a decent collection of nail polish, I skip a few months here and there. I decided to only opt in for boxes that were truly unique and contained products that were not similar to any in my collection.

The grey polish in the September Boho Glam box really caught my eye and helped me decide to order the box. It came with two polishes and a lip crayon. The polishes are in the shades Erin (oyster grey crème) and Mary Lee (oxblood satin). I think that I will save the oxblood shade for a giveaway since, while very pretty for fall and winter, it’s a bit out of my comfort zone. I love the grey shade though. It’s a nice change from the pinks and purples that I have been wearing. I selected the Plush Pout lip crayon in the shade Aurora Pink because it looked like more of a cool-toned mauve pink on the Julep site. However, as you can see from the picture above, it’s a warmer coral pink. I do like the colour though.

Overall, I am very happy with the September Julep box. I always appreciate boxes with cream finish polishes in seasonal shades. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s in store for November.
What are your thoughts on the September box?