…but my blogging days are over. I have been agonizing over writing this post for a couple months now, and putting it off, but with a to-do list a mile long that never gets shorter, it’s time to finally cross this off the list.
Though I don’t feel like I owe anyone an explanation, I always wish for one when a blogger I follow stops posting – I guess that’s my need for loose ends to be tied. So here I am. Because I find this a bit emotional, I’m going to (try to) make this short and sweet.
Though there are bloggers out there that are super women that can find time to both blog and being a mother, I personally cannot. While I was on maternity leave, it was entirely possible, and though my posting slowed down, it was more because I was barely washing my face (at first, anyway), let alone wearing makeup. And once Elena started napping well, I took those moments of downtime to do the same. But since being back to work, finding the time to do much of anything is extremely difficult. And now that Elena’s older and only needs one nap a day, on the weekends we’re pretty much flat out the entire day. In the evenings, I get about 2 hours after she goes to bed to ‘relax’ (which usually involves watching a TV show or YouTube vid while simultaneously cleaning / packing a lunch / doing minor DIY renos around the house (I’ve painted 4 rooms by myself) – OR, spending time trying to plan our wedding, which is in 3 months, eek!) before I pass out from exhaustion around 9:30pm. All this to say, blogging is the last thing on my mind – I just don’t have a slot in my day where it fits anymore.
For a while, I felt guilty about feeling this way, because I could potentially throw up a post here and there – I mean, I have time to somehow paint my nails every week, so I must have some time, right? But as any mother will know, you start getting very selective with how any free time is spent – if you get 15 minutes of every day to do what you LIKE (not have to do), you want to fill it with something that gives you the most pleasure. Unsurprisingly, for me that’s often beauty-related – I still take the time every morning to apply my makeup (there are many tricks employed to keep Elena busy, mind you!), and as mentioned I paint my nails religiously every Sunday and Thursday. That doesn’t sound all that crazy when you read it, but it’s easy for people to judge – back in April when I was at the dentist she said to me ‘Wow, your nails are painted and you have a small child, you must have a lot of time on your hands!’ (to which I replied in my head ‘FUCK YOU, LADY’). The judgement actually kind of shocked me, because here was this woman who herself had two children – doesn’t she understand what it’s like? How you take any moment you can that seems like ‘free’ time to do something for yourself so you can keep your sanity? Huh. Guess not. In any case, after that comment I stopped feeling guilty about how I spent my alone/down time (because truthfully, I just felt pissed off after that), and realized that everyone manages those moments differently. We’re all just trying to survive.
Long story short (is anyone surprised I couldn’t help myself from babbling on?), blogging no longer feels like a ‘me’ outlet anymore. PR samples only gave me stress because I felt like I needed to post about everything that was sent my way. Coming up with original content was a HUGE challenge because the blogosphere is so saturated with other blogs doing the same thing over and over (and many of them doing it SO much better than I!). Rather than feeling like I was sharing my passion for beauty (which is still going strong, as ever), I got bogged down by all of it and this wonderful outlet became just another chore for me on my never-ending list.
So here I am, and here we are. I’ve been blogging for 8 years (!!!!!!!!!!!!!) and sadly it’s time for that chapter to close. I don’t feel regretful or conflicted though; I met some fantastic, amazing, wonderful people who enriched (and still enrich) my life in so many ways. Most of those people I’ve never met in person yet I feel such a kinship with them – it’s so weird how you can connect via social media or on someone’s blog and the friendships endure even if you are the most absentee blogger around. It makes me smile, and it makes me feel like it’s OK that I won’t be blogging anymore, because I still have those connections and that’s really what it was all about for me, anyway.
If you still want to keep up with me, I’m most easily found on Instagram – though it’s often full of pictures of Elena, I still plan to post snaps of makeup and skincare stuff that’s rocking my world – I mean, I still troll Sephora.com on a daily basis, so that beauty-centric part of me is never going away! Oh, and if you tune in around September 10th, you’ll likely see photos from the wedding (and of my MOST AMAZING DRESS)!
Thank you for joining me on this journey. I appreciate every single one of you who stopped by and read and/or commented on posts – you guys are the BEST! Be sure to stay in touch, ok??? ❤ 🙂
OMG. I’m still here. I know, it’s been ages! I picked up a few things today from Sephora in light of the 15% discount and it got me in the mood to post. Let’s do this!
Back at the end of November, I showed you guys my current skincare routine and mentioned a handful of products I had been trying from G.M. Collin. At that point, I gave you a quick overview of their Bota-Peptide Eye Contour, but I hadn’t yet tried the Bota-Peptide Concentrate. Today I wanted to give you a more in-depth review of both of these items since I’m long overdue!
First, a quick primer on peptides and why they’re important in the fight against aging skin. Peptides are amino acids that help bind moisture to the skin and help the skin to repair itself. More importantly, peptides applied topically to the skin encourage collagen production, which helps reverse some of the natural breakdown of collagen we experience over time (from age and external factors like sun and stress). Since collagen is what keeps our skin supple-looking and youthful, it’s a great idea to regularly use a product that boosts it’s production.
OK. So, the name ‘Bota-Peptide’ in both the eye treatment and serum is probably an indication we’re on the right track, yes? And indeed, both the Eye Contour and Concentrate are packed with a host of different peptides to battle the appearance of expression lines and wrinkles; the Eye Contour also is designed to reduce dark circles.
The Eye Contour ($96CAD) is a light eye serum that is somewhat hydrating as well (likely due to the Sodium Hyaluronate), as I can get away without any additional eye cream after using this (though note my undereye area isn’t particularly dry). Now that I’ve been using this daily for over 4 months (and wow, I just realized how long this has lasted!!!), I can confidently say that it has reduced any fine lines I’ve started to develop under my eyes – the area just looks so much smoother. I don’t know if my dark circles are reduced – I mean, they’re REALLY DARK so I have a long way to improvement – but the ingredient list boasts some badass circle-lightening ingredients (such as Vitamin K, caffeine and Haloxyl) that make me think they probably are lessened and I just haven’t been paying attention (oops).
Ingredients: Water, Phytonadione (Vitamin K), Phospholipids, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Glycosaminoglycans, Arachidyl Alcohol, Behenyl Alcohol, Arachidyl Glucoside, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Hesperidin Methyl Chalcone, Steareth-20, Dipeptide-2, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, PEG-6 Isostearate, Hesperetin Laurate, N-Hydroxysuccinimide, Chrysin, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Glycerin, Butylene Glycol, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Pentapeptide-3, Squalane (Vegetal), Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclohexasiloxane, Cetearyl Isononanoate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter), Oenothera Biennis (Evening Primrose) Oil, Triticum Vulgare (Wheat Germ) Oil, Hydrolyzed Hibiscus Esculentus Extract, Dextrin, Soybean (Glycine Soya), Caffeine, PEG-100 Stearate, Glyceryl Stearate, Octyldodecanol, Irvingia Gabonensis Kernel (Wild Mango) Butter, Hydrogenated Cocoglycerides, Ethylhexylglycerin, Dimethicone, Propylene Glycol, Cucumis Sativus (Cucumber) Fruit Extract, Chlorphenesin, Xanthan Gum, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil, Disodium EDTA, Triethanolamine, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A).
The Concentrate ($132CAD) has a very similar texture to the Eye Contour, which feels neither silicone-y nor *too* thin, and has a clean scent that I don’t even really register when using (which is my preference). I use this in the evening and apply a facial oil over top, though in the summer I could probably get away with using it on it’s own as it seems to provide a very light veil of moisture (dry skins will still need a moisturizer though). It dispenses easily from an airless pump mechanism; generally I use 2 pumps and this covers my face and neck sufficiently. As I rotate my skincare, alternating with a retinoid product, I use this every 2nd evening, and I always notice in the morning how soft and smooth my skin feels after using this. As I have few wrinkles I didn’t notice any drastic results, but I will say that the expression lines in my forehead have decreased since using this, and I honestly just feel like my skin looks more youthful.
Ingredients: Water, Acetyl Hexapeptide-3, Glucose, Xanthan Gum, Chondrus Crispus (Carrageenan), Cyclomethicone, Sodium Hyaluronate, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Medicago Sativa (Alfalfa) Extract, Glycerin, Carbomer, Polysorbate-20, Palmitoyl Oligopeptide, Palmitoyl Tetrapeptide-3, Butylene Glycol, Laureth-3, Hydroxyethylcellulose, Acetyl Di-Peptide-1, Cetyl Ester, Bambusa Vulgaris Extract, Pisum Sativum (Pea) Extract, Glucosamine Hcl, Saccharomyces/Xylinum Black Tea Ferment, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Seed Extract, Polydodecanamideaminium Triazadiphenylethylene Sulfonate, Polyvinylalcohol Crosspolymer, Dimethicone Cosspolymer, Thermus Thermophillis Ferment, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Polyacrylamide, C13-C14 Isoparaffin, Laureth-7, Dimethiconol, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Phenoxyethanol, Methylparaben, Ethylparaben, Propylparaben, Butylparaben, Sodium Hydroxide, Ammonium Acrylate-Acrylamide Copolymer, Polyisobutene, Fragrance, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis (Orange) Oil.
One other note: the PR person who sent this to me cautioned that as I have sensitive skin around my mouth, I might not want to use this in that area as it’s a powerful treatment product – however, after using it for the past several months, I’ve starting using it in that area anyway and have had absolutely no issues.
The final verdict? I really, really like these two products! I’m surprised at how much so. Though it pains me and my wallet, I actually think I’ll pick both of these up again when I run out – I just feel like they proof is in the pudding, both in my results and in the stellar ingredient lists. I mean, who doesn’t want their skin to look like this again?:
Have you tried any G.M. Collin products? Do you use any peptide-based products?
Well hello to those of you who still stop by my blog! It’s been quite a while, no? It’s true that a lot has gone on in the past month (Elena started at a day home and I returned back to work – eek!) but I’ve had opportunity to post, I just haven’t been feeling like it. I’m pretty much over READING beauty blogs let alone write one! It’s just the same old, you know? I’m so not interested in reading/writing reviews, and as I’m being particularly restrictive with my purchases (as usual, in an effort to reduce/streamline), I’m not too keen on reading about the new NBT (Next Big Thing) because that just creates WANT feelings and that’s not going to help my cause. But there’s always this desire to write, and to connect with people – and I’m still obsessed with beauty, as always – so even though I’m not feeling like doing the usual ‘thang’ I have been thinking a lot about writing *something*, so here I am 🙂
I realized a few weeks ago that I haven’t given you guys any details on our upcoming wedding (which will be in September!). So I thought maybe I’d give you an update on that and maybe add in an update about Elena as well because hey, she’s cute! Since I happen to have the new Spring/Summer collection from OPI, the theme of which is New Orleans, I figured I’d throw in some swatches of the shades for some visual interest and to kill two birds with one stone. Multitasking: it’s the way to go!
*Note: If you have any questions about a particular shade, such as it’s formula or on possible comparisons, let me know! I will gladly accommodate 🙂
Planning a wedding while on maternity leave was quite fortuitous, because I was able to get all my vendors in place without any hassle – phone calls and day meetings were a cinch, so I was able to methodically research (which, admittedly, aside from the photographer, was minimal – I am SO not a bridezilla!) and meet with each service provider to ensure it was a good fit. Also, because I started securing people early (we set the wedding date 15 months in advance from when we got engaged), I had no issues getting each vendor that I wanted, so YAY!
In August, I went wedding dress shopping with my mom, Elena and 2 of my bridesmaids (the 3rd lives in Ottawa). I though I’d found the dress at a popular shop in the valley called Tatum’s (it seems to be where the majority of my friends have purchased their dresses), but then I truly found THE dress when we spent the better part of the afternoon at Chester & Felicity, a bridal shop here in Halifax. I can’t go into detail – I want it to be a surprise! – but OMG guys. THE MOST BEAUTIFUL DRESS EVER!!!! I knew it when I first tried it on, but of course it was the most expensive dress of all of them so I held off. I came back a 2nd time with my mother and aunt to try it on again, and was instantly smitten all over again. My aunt, being like a 2nd mother to me my whole life, was gracious enough to offer to pay, so even though it’s still beyond what I think is reasonable to pay for a dress you’ll only wear once, I just had to have it. Seriously, just WAIT until you see this baby. SO. DAMN. AMAZING.
Of course, once the dress was picked, it was time to make sure my bridesmaids looked fabulous too! I did a wedding makeup in December, and the bridesmaid dresses were STUNNING and totally unlike your usual bridesmaid offerings. When I asked where they were from, I was told David’s Bridal, so that’s where we decided to look. My maid of honour had twins in October, so of course we waited a bit before going dress shopping, but by January she was (already!) looking great and we wanted to make sure the dresses were ordered in plenty time, so off we went to David’s to look at the selection. While they had a lot of your standard bridesmaid dresses, they also had several that were much more sophisticated and stylish, and we found the perfect choice – a long, Grecian-style one-shoulder dress with a defined waist and a sultry yet tasteful slit up the side. I really wanted the girls to have different color dresses, mimicking the colors of the sunset, and we lucked out – the dress comes in gorgeous shades of fuchsia, berry and plum. SO excited – they are going to look H.O.T.!
One of the last vendors I hired was the florist – we just met at the end of February. The company, Barefoot Blooms, is a florist and flower farm that embraces organic and sustainable farming practices, with flowers and greenery coming from their own garden and greenhouse. I really like the idea of utilizing local flora, being someone who prefers organic and local where possible anyway, so this seemed like the perfect fit. My visual for the bouquets is unstructured and a bit wild, so I think this also works with the kind of arrangements they specialize in. The reliance on local flowers also mean that the bouquets and arrangements won’t be finalized till close to the wedding, because our unpredictable weather means that the season for a certain type of flower may be affected. So, aside from the sole flower I know I want (dahlias), the rest is a bit up to chance! Which I kind of like (because I’m haphazard like that).
So, thus far, stress levels have been very low while planning the wedding. I’ve only recently felt a bit of pressure to get our invites out – with 6 months to go, according to etiquette I actually have plenty of time, but since we didn’t send Save the Dates, I feel like sending the invites earlier is appropriate. We’ve opted to utilize a wedding website to track RSVPs, so I had to put in some effort to get that set up (finding photos of Ryan and me is HARD! Since he’s away 2/3rd of the year, we have hardly any to account for our years together). But finally I think it’s ready to go, so once we get the last of our addresses, we can move forward and send the invites out! THEN I think things will really start to ramp up.
Wait! There is one thing I’ve been dropping the ball on that it’s kind of important – the HONEYMOON! We are planning to go to Iceland for the ‘moon, right after the wedding, but aside from knowing the location I haven’t done much to plan it. This needs to get done! Once I get the invites out this will be at the top of the to do list 🙂
OPI She’s a Bad Muffuletta! Gorg. See it here with matching lips!
On the Elena front: she’s learning new things all the time and it’s just so fun to watch 🙂 She’s not walking yet, but she’s doing a lot of standing up and peering over the coffee table at me or pulling herself up to cling to my legs lol.
I’m in no panic, she already leaves a path of destruction wherever she goes, and I know that’ll only increase tenfold once she’s walking! I didn’t walk till 15 months myself so I can’t judge anyway. Ryan, on the other hand, walked at 9 months (!) – must have been much more motivated that Elena and me haha.
As I mentioned, I started back to work, on March 1st. I wasn’t feeling stressed out about the return, but I wasn’t sure what to expect once I got back and how I’d feel. Perhaps because of that, it’s ended up being totally fine! The transition couldn’t have been easier – I started a new (acting) assignment right away, so I’ve been busy learning the ropes, and it’s been really nice to see all the old faces. I really like my colleagues and I know most of the people in our building since, as you know, I’m kind of a social butterfly, so it’s been nice to be back. Ryan happened to be home from work the first week I was back too, so that helped – he drove me to and from work and though I tried to handle the routine with Elena on my own (since I have to do it when he’s away), it was helpful in case I needed just a bit of assistance for those first few days.
I miss Elena and spending our days together, but it just makes the time we DO have that much more precious. She’s adapted to the new routine (she goes to a day home) pretty well too, so that helps. And I think it’s a great opportunity for her to spend time around other babies/toddlers and gain a bit of independence. We have to let them grow up, even if we don’t want to sometimes!
She’s had a doozy of a cold this week (classic kid who goes to day care), so it’s been a bit of a tiring week (Ryan went back to work Wednesday am), but she’s finally starting to get better and seem like herself again. It wasn’t all bad though – I got to get in some major snuggles, which I miss a lot!
This kind of thing happened all the time when she was much younger, but after about 6-7 months she just always slept better in her crib. While I’m thankful for that overall, I do still wish she napped on me here and there – it’s one of my favourite things to do 🙂
I’m not sure if you can tell in the previous photos or not, but Elena is still small – like, less than 14lbs small. She was truckin’ right along and gaining weight for quite awhile, but in the fall it slowed down to almost nothing, and she’s been hovering between the 13-15lb mark for months now.
I try not to stress about it too much, because she seems like a very happy, healthy baby, and she has a great appetite, but of course as a mom you can’t help but worry a bit. So we’re seeing a paediatrician on April 1st to get her checked out to make sure there isn’t anything going on. Apparently there is a term they use for babies like Elena, called ‘Failure to Thrive’ which just means they aren’t growing as fast as your typical baby. A woman from work said her daughter (who is now 25) was only 18lbs when she was 2 years old, and I think that’ll be Elena – she’s just wee. That’s all (I hope) there is to it. It does make her extra cute!
I think that’s the update on Elena in a nutshell – I mean she learns a new skill what feels like every day, but overall nothing major has happened lately (like learning to walk or starting to really talk). She’s just a joy, really, and I am just trying to be present with her every day and take it all in because it goes by so fast!
I mean c’mon – how cute is this kid!!?!
So there you have it – a bit of a life update plus a bit of polish fun! I’ve been pretty impressed with the OPI collections lately, I will say – there’s always a few shades I end up loving, and the formula is often on point, with a lot of cream shades being that creme-jelly hybrid that is such a pleasure to apply and wear. It makes it hard to keep my polish collection in check – though I have to tell you that I managed to get the number down to 50 this week!!! I’m quite impressed with myself, especially considering that every few months I receive another 24+ bottles from OPI that I have to weed through. You should SEE the giveaway pile!
So now – what’s new with everyone else!?
Several months ago, the lovely Chase Polan and her team sent along 2 products from her outstanding organic skincare line Kypris as a gift for me to enjoy. I was beyond excited to try more products from the brand, as I’d already fallen in love with the retinol alternative, Moonlight Catalyst (review here) and the newest addition to the family, the Body Elixir: Inflorescence (review here). However, I had skincare coming out of my ears at that point, and I didn’t want to open the bottles until I was ready to use them. In December, I finally had an ‘opening’ in my morning skincare routine, so I cracked open the Antioxidant Dew eagerly. Then, this month after finishing up another oil, I started applying the Beauty Elixir III in the evening as my final step, so now can talk about these products and share with you my experiences!
The Antioxidant Dew ($67US for 47mL) is an extremely lightweight, milky serum that is designed to restore strength, vitality and radiance to skin. As the name suggests, it’s loaded with antioxidants such as ferulic acid to fight free radicals, while also soothing inflammation and hydrating the skin.
There are many things to love about this serum: the beautifully light texture (SO perfect for layering!); how supple, calm and healthy my skin looks after use; how incredibly hydrated my skin feels with absolutely NO greasiness whatsoever. Though I generally use this sandwiched between a Vitamin C serum and a sunscreen, I’ve used alone on occasion and have felt no need for an additional layer of moisture. I also enjoy that this is free of essential oils so that all skins, reactive or otherwise, can use it without worry. Below is the ingredient list:
Water/Aqua, Glycerin, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Camellia Oleifera Seed Oil, Xylitylglucoside, Dipalmitoyl Hydroxyproline, Algae, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice, Phospholipids, Phragmites Communis (Reed) Extract, Symphytum Officinale (Comfrey) Leaf Extract, Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Extract, Poria Cocos Extract, Xylitol, Anhydroxylitol, Waltheria Indica Leaf Extract, Panthenol, Rosa Damascena Flower Extract, Rosa Centifolia Flower Extract, Calophyllum Inophylum (Tamanu) Seed Oil, Lecithin, Tocopherol, Ascorbyl Palmitate, Superoxide Dismutase, Ferulic Acid, Sodium Hyaluronate, Mannitol, Dextrin, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Sodium Anisate, Sodium Levulinate, Citric Acid, Sodium Citrate, Sodium Gluconate, Xanthan Gum.
I think the biggest selling point for me is that I can wear this serum in the day – as many organic treatment products are oil-heavy, I find they can leave my skin a touch too shiny (though I suspect for the more dry-skinned out there that this isn’t a problem). I love that I can pair this with other products without feeling weighed down or suffocated. So beautiful!
The Beauty Elixir III – Prismatic Array ($150US for 47mL) is a face oil that is filled with actives like CoQ10 (antioxidant) and Vitamin C ester (boosts collagen), as well as phytonutrients and essential fatty acids, all without essential oils to accommodate especially sensitive complexions (like mine!). It’s designed to help repair signs of environmental stressors as well as softening, nourishing and moisturizing skin so it looks more luminous.
This oil is extremely nourishing – you can tell as soon as you press it into the skin that you’re getting a treat. It’s rich amber color gives it away, anyway! This is packed with awesome oils like grape seed, baobab, kukui nut, tamanu, pumpkin seed and prickly pear (aka barbary fig seed), as well as black raspberry seed and cranberry seed. So much goodness! I apply this at night as my last step over a peptide serum and it gives me the best glow. In the morning, I wake up with plump-looking, soft skin that doesn’t feel greasy (though I do avoid using this around my nose where I get the most oily). While I love oils, I don’t always find I notice their effects in the same way as a serum – the biggest factors in whether or not I will repurchase one are: Does it irritate my skin? (Nope.) Does it have long-lasting hydration? (Yep.) If it’s a blend, does it contain many of my favourite skincare oils? (Yep!). Check, check and CHECK.
Even though there are no essential oils in this mixture, I also love the way it smells! Like the best blend of natural oils with a hint of sweetness. It’s not your typical ‘earthy’ scent; you know, the kind that isn’t offensive exactly but it smells like dirt and trees and herbs? This is nothing like that – maybe it’s the inclusion of coconut oil. Which, while we’re on the topic, I was very nervous about (it’s why I hadn’t ordered this myself previously), but this serum hasn’t been a problem for my skin in the least, happily!
Helianthus annuus (Sunflower Seed) Oil, Cocos nucifera (Virgin Coconut) Oil, Vitis vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil, Adansonia digitata (baobab) Oil, Aleurites moloccans (Kukui) Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum (Tamanu) Oil, Curcubita pepo (Pumpkin Seed) Oil, Ubiquinone (CoQ10), Opuntia engelmannii (Prickly Pear Seed) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Extract, Hippophae rhamonides (Seabuckthorn Bearry) Extract, Punica granatum (Pomegranate Seed) Extract, Rubus occidentalis (Black Raspberry Seed) Oil, Vaccinium macrocarpon (Cranberry Seed) Oil, Stearyl Glycyrrhetinate (From Licorice), Tetrahexyldecyl Ascorbate (Vitamin C Ester), Non- GMO Mixed Tocopherols.
Clearly, I need to add these 2 fantastic products to my regular roster. There are just so many things to like about them, and about Kypris in general – Chase seems to be one of the loveliest people (she always sends hand-written, personalized notes with her packages); they consistently use one of my favourite oils, tamanu, in their formulations; and I appreciate their ethos on so many levels (some of which I talked about here). And, a newly important factor for me is that they’re cruelty free!
Though I do try and avoid essential oils when I can, the other 2 Beauty Elixirs (versions I & II) sound so appealing; I’ve never really tried any products where rose oil was a predominant feature (as it is in the Beauty Elixir I) so I think that’s next on my list! I will mention that though the Elixirs feel a bit cost prohibitive (upwards of $150US), you do get more bang for your buck as general oil blends are only 30mL – and I just discovered that they offer seasonal pairings on the site which give you a discounted price (for example, right now you can get the full sizes of the Beauty Elixir I and the Antioxidant Dew for $265US, which would normally cost you $292US). And recently I heard a tip from Sugar Mamma that resonated with me – if you truly love something, you won’t mind paying full price. I have a habit of sometimes trying to find alternatives for items that I love, and always feeling dissatisfied (and sometimes spending more in the process!). Don’t do it! Of course, you don’t know if you love something before trying it, so Kypris kindly offers ‘mini’ sizes of their products for a fraction of the price 🙂
Have you tried Kypris products before?
Ok. It’s 9:01pm and I try to end my screen time at 9, but I am determined to get a post up so I’m going to make this snappy! [Edit: I went to bed before this was finished…what’s a couple more hours?] I received the Hello Kitty collection from OPI last week and it’s quite good! I know absolutely NOTHING about Hello Kitty and it’s popularity (not really into cutesy stuff as a general rule) but almost all of the polishes in this collection have a great formula and the shades are on point for spring. I’m not a fan of the cheap white ‘Hello Kitty’ print labels they’ve stuck over the regular OPI bottle tops, but it’s not a deal breaker either.
I’ve gotten all fancy today and thrown in some quick comparisons for you guys as well as the swatches. Let’s dive in, shall we?
Let’s Be Friends! & Charmmy & Sugar
Let’s Be Friends! is a pale lilac-pink. The first coat was patchy and I worried it would be a typical pastel cream, but by the second coat it evened out beautifully – with a little care you could get away with 2 coats (I used 3 as I slept on it before taking these photos, oops). In the end this is a lovely color with a glossy finish. I wore Charmmy & Sugar (a sheer lilac shimmer with violet, blue and silver glitter and a slight greenish duo chrome) on my index finger alone (3 coats) and over Let’s Be Friends (ring finger), because let’s get real, no one wants to remove more glitter polish than necessary. It’s a great layering shade, though I prefer the ethereal look it gives on it’s own. I kind of wish this had no glitter as I love the shimmering base color but the glitter takes away from it IMO. Fairly smooth glitter and easy to apply.
Small + Cute = ❤
A light pink cream. I love this color, but the formula is a PITA – the first coat was very streaky, the second a bit better, but it really requires 3 coats (or a very steady hand) if you want it to look flawless. A shame as this was one of my fave shades of the bunch! The formula is also a bit on the thicker side to give yourself time for it to dry (aka not before bed). Due to all the coats required and the thick formula I found this chipped within days.
Look at My Bow!
A soft orchid pink cream. This only needed 2 coats to opacity but its not 100% perfect – it’s a touch streaky. Beautiful color but not really for me, I think it’s a bit too saturated or something. I prefer the more muted look of Chanel Sweet Lilac (below).
Again I paired up to avoid glitter removal. Super Cute in Pink is a medium-deep orchid crelly (creme/jelly formula). Gorgeous! You can see very slight VNL with two coats but I like it this way to preserve it’s squishy-ness. This is a perfect spring shade and was effortless to apply. Starry-Eyed for Dear Daniel is a semi-sheer orchid shimmer with violet, pink, blue and silver micro glitter. It required 3 coats to opacity on the index finger (worn alone) and 2 layered (ring finger). It’s grittier to the touch than ‘Charmmy’ but not terribly so. While I liked ‘Charmmy’ on it’s own, I prefered ‘Starry-Eyed’ layered, as it gives it more depth and punch in color.
A sheer white shimmer. Sorry for the change in lighting, I found this needed sunlight to show off it’s pearlescent quality. These kind of shades aren’t really my bag, though it is pretty. Not much to say about this one, depending on your nail length you could get away with 2 coats (or if you don’t mind VNL) as I’ve done here. I’d think 3 would still not have it entirely opaque though.
Though ‘Grayt Lengths‘ looks a lot more gray than ‘Kitty White’, when held up to the light they’re VERY similar:
Never Have Too Mani Friends
I’m not much of a black nail polish wearer except for layering purposes, but this is a great black nonetheless – another crelly finish, super shiny, super easy to apply (all of the crelly-type shades in this collection are a dream to apply). This is just 2 coats. It would be a great choice for anyone in the market for a black polish (or anyone who loves a good black polish).
My Pal Joey
A saturated cobalt blue. It’s not as in-your-face as some other cobalt shades (think YSL Bleu Majorelle, Nails Inc Baker St.) – it’s a bit lighter and because of the crelly texture it’s not so bold in finish. I really like this – it’s playful and eye-catching, and these textures are seriously out of this world. 2 coats for opacity (no VNL in sight here). LOVE!
5 Apples Tall
Some of these shade names I don’t get at all…ANYWAY, this is a gorgeous coral red that has a crelly finish but is fairly pigmented – if you were in a serious rush you could damn near get away with 1 coat (though I prefer the density of 2, as usual). Love the look of this! I don’t always like reds on me but this looks really flattering on my skintone (I think). So easy to apply with zero issues. It’s extremely close in color to Essie ‘Come Here!’ and I like the formula better, so I’ll be swapping this in for that!
Spoken from the Heart
A lovely saturated warm pink. I love this one as well! Again, it has that crelly texture though it’s not as pigmented as ‘5 Apples’ so I’d suggest 2 coats for sure. Even then it gives a hint of VNL but as mentioned I don’t mind that with formulas like this, the slight translucency is what gives it that squishy finish. Again, super shiny on it’s own and a cinch to apply.
My Twim Mimmy
Again, WTF with the names? Anyway, this is a saturated medium yellow, very primary color-stuff (this along with the blue and red are like the most true representations of primary colors I’ve ever seen in a polish collection together). This doesn’t have the crelly texture (which would probably be a feat with yellow anyway since they’re the most annoying polish shades to work with) and is a touch streaky (I think 3 coats probably would be best so it looks flawless, but I was lazy and did 2), but as far as yellows go it’s actually not half bad. I don’t love it on my skintone especially as it’s so dense in color, but it might look better when I’m tanned.
Overall, I thought this collection was really well-done and even not knowing a lick about Hello Kitty, I could enjoy all the shades. These are all without base coat as well and the majority are SO SHINY! Pretty, pretty, pretty.
What are your thoughts about this collection / about Hello Kitty? What is the DEAL?
I have to admit, I have a bit of a bias when it comes to Arbonne…my experiences with the Associates who work for the brand has been nothing but ABSOLUTE BOMBARDMENT – any of my friends who have started selling Arbonne have been VERY intense about it, and truth be told the pyramid scheme feels a little cult-y to me. But hey, the perks must be rockin’ for people to go from laid back and chill to total pushers! So, maybe I’m just missing out?
In any case, it’s kind of a conflict for me because I have tried a handful of things from the line and I’ve pretty much enjoyed them all. I think the two lippies I have to show you today come out on absolute TOP though; these are AMAZEBALLS, guys! Let me break it down for ya:
Arbonne’s Smoothed Over Lipstick ($34CAD) is an über creamy formula with a satin-glossy finish, that soothes and moisturizes the lips with fruit extracts and helps lips look more plump and smooth. I know matte lips are still pretty trendy, but I’ve realized in the past few weeks that my lips don’t really love mattes – and not in the way you’d think. I mean, my lips can be dry, yes, so matte lipsticks don’t always feel (or look) so glorious over my flake-prone lips. But this winter season my lips have actually been more hydrated than usual, and yet some matte lipsticks still look a little craptacular. It’s all the lines, dudes! Though I have full lips, I never realized how many lines they have until recently, which is why certain matte lipsticks make my lips look super old 😥 I remember Kate talking about this and I couldn’t figure out what the heck she meant – I GET IT NOW, KATE, will you come back and blog again plz? ~sigh~
Anyway, since realizing this I’ve been keeping clear of the Offending Lipsticks (those that make my lips look crypt-like), and trying to wear ones that minimize the cragginess. These two Smoothed Over shades, Guava (a bright coral) and Currant (a bold red), couldn’t be more perfect in helping me achieve a better looking pout. Not only do they keep the lines at bay, but HOLY HECK these feel fantabulous! These are so comfortable and hydrating and lovely to wear, they truly feel like the best lip balm you’ve ever tried – except they’re a LIPSTICK! KA-BOOM. I’m 110% sold
Though I don’t wear red lipstick too often (for no good reason – I LOVE a red lip!), Currant might change that because it just ticks all the boxes: fabulous color (a true red I think would look great on everyone), flawless formula, and the shape of the bullet makes it really easy to draw on the perfect lip without the need for a brush (at least, until the tip is worn down some). I have two shots below, both in different lighting – the sun was setting as I was taking these photos – and you can see that it would look great in both the summer (the first shot with the sun still above the horizon) and winter (once the sun had set). GOR-GE-OUS.
The second shade, Guava, is still lovely, though perhaps a hint too bright for my deeper skintone – or perhaps, just for this time of year when my skin is more sallow. Nevertheless, I think this is a lovely spring shade and if you’re into corals – you NEED this in your life.
I have to tell you guys, I *just* received these lipsticks today and the moment I put them on I just had to write a post about them ASAP. I can’t get over how amazing this formula is, easily the nicest I’ve ever tried. Considering Givenchy Le Rouge (till now probably the nicest lipstick formula I’ve used) are $40 a pop, I feel like the Smoothed Over lippies are a steal for how great they are. Oh, and did I mentioned they smell delicious!? I can’t pick out the scent is but YUM – it’s some kind of fruity smell that isn’t overpowering, sickly or chemical-like. SO good.
Smoothed Over Lipsticks are vegan and formulated without gluten or parabens. BAM!
Hello and a Happy New Year to you all! I hope that 2016 has started on the right foot for everyone so far 🙂 The holidays, as usual, came and went lightning-fast and suddenly I only have 2 months left until I go back to work – yikes! I’m a bit anxious about returning to work but I feel like I fully enjoyed my maternity leave spending my days watching Elena grow and develop. She’s got such a personality now! She’s quick to smile and really just brightens my day, every day. I’m going to miss being with her 24/7 but I suppose I will just have to make sure I fully appreciate the moments I do spend with her!
Becoming a mom has obviously changed my life in a lot of ways. Whereas before my time was essentially my own to do as I please, it’s now dedicated to Elena and fulfilling her needs. I was and still am surprised at how easily I adapted to this change; being an only child I’ve come to fiercely love my alone time, but I haven’t minded having much (MUCH) less of it since she was born. Having said that, it does change how I spend those small windows of down time, and one of the first things to suffer has been this blog. It’s not that it isn’t important, or that I don’t love beauty as much as I used to (despite the fact that I wear much less makeup these days, I still obsess about beauty constantly)…but blogging requires effort, and I’m already at maximum output when Elena is up and about, bootin’ around the house. Mindless tasks are where it’s at when I have a moment to myself.
Clearly, I am at a crossroads. I can’t maintain a level of involvement with the blog anywhere near what I have in the past, but I’m also not ready to give up blogging yet either. I think what makes it difficult is when you’re blogging at a level in which you’ve got a bit of a reader base, you’ve made connections with people and other bloggers, and on top of it you’re receiving products from PR companies and brands, you feel like you have to maintain a certain output of posts, that you should be aiming for some level of success. But for me, I don’t blog to be ‘successful.’ I don’t blog to receive free product. I blog because I effing LOVE beauty and when I discovered there were other smart, badass people out there who also love beauty like I do, it opened up a whole new world for me. And that’s why I can’t let go, not just yet.
Basically, what I’m trying to say is that just because I haven’t posted in a few weeks, doesn’t mean I’m gone or that I’ll never post again. I realize that some readers aren’t ‘here for the ride’, they’re here just to read about new product and see swatches etc., and that my lack of posting might mean I’ll lose readers. It sucks, but the reality is that I just can’t keep up with that kind of demand. Ultimately, I just want to write, and talk about beauty, or even life if I’m feeling so inclined. All I can offer is me. If you’re reading because you like what I have to say, you like my obsessive list making, you like that I always ramble on longer than necessary – SWEET. Stick around, I’m not going anywhere. If you need more than that from me – I’m sorry, truly I am. I wish I could give everyone what they want, but that would mean I’d miss out on my OWN life; watching my little girl grow and enjoying being a mother. I can’t get that time back once it’s gone. At least I can rest assured that there are SO many other blogs out there that do what I do (did?), only MUCH BETTER.
OK, ramble over. Just needed to get that out there. I hope everyone is doing well and loving life in the present. I do have a couple of posts percolating in my mind so you may see something else from me soon. Or not. Depends on what life brings this week 😉
HUGS TO ALL XX
Ugh, you GUYZ. I’ve had these swatches done for a few days but Elena is keeping me on my toes, as usual! She’s been waking up at 4am for the past few weeks and is ready to PAR-TAY, she thinks it’s time to get up for the day and I’m DANG tired. Today she also thought resisting nap time was a great idea, so I’m just plain worn out. BUT I did finally get her down (I keep checking the monitor with fingers crossed that she’ll stay asleep for awhile) so what better time than to get these pics & post up?
I am extremely surprised at how much I’m enjoying the Starlight holiday collection from OPI – metallics and glitters are generally NOT my jam, but these are really doing it for me so far! The sparkle on a lot of these really is ‘out of this world’ (cue the cheese) and they look so pretty and festive in the dim light cast by the fire and/or Christmas tree. I keep wanting to change my mani every day to try them all fully (but ain’t nobody in THIS house got time for that, sadly). I’m working my way through the swatches though so I will have them all up before Christmas, I promise! Today I’m bringing you the first 6 which are the more moody, mysterious hues of the 18 shades in the collection (which, if I’m being honest, is INSANE – 18 colors!? When did polish collections get so HUGE?).
All swatches were taken in natural light unless otherwise specified.
Guys & Galaxies – a deep dark brown-red. It looks a touch streaky in the swatch above, but IRL it’s not, though you do need 3 coats to reach full opacity. It’s very glossy on it’s own – the shot above is with no top coat. It’s an easy formula to work with overall, despite needing that extra coat (though it’s a *touch* staining). I think this is a very sexy shade – and it’s NOT near black, which makes me happy.
I’m in the Moon for Love – this is a medium plum shimmer with golden micro-shimmer. Every time OPI comes out with a shade like this (Dutch’ya Love OPI?, Lost My Bikini in Molokini, Purpletual Emotion…), I’m like ‘eh’ – even though they all look flattering on my skintone, I just can’t get into these types of purples. There is a depth and richness to this shade that appeals to me (you can see it better in the 2nd photo, taken under artificial light), but I know it’ll just be another purple that I keep NOT wearing regardless. Good formula though, two coats to opacity, with no application issues at all.
Cosmo With a Twist – a royal blue with lighter blue shimmer that looks purple in some light due to a duo chrome finish. This SHADE, you guys!!! So, so gorgeous – it really looks like Outer Space to me. It needs 3-4 coats to reach full opacity, but it’s totally worth it. I would have never picked up this shade if left to my own devices, but I’m SO happy I got to try it out. Perfect holiday shade that’s not your typical red/silver/gold.
Give Me Space – a bold, medium blue with silver shimmer. This has a VERY slight prismatic effect that’s really only visible in sunlight – so don’t let that be a reason you pick it up! The first coat went on sheer but it managed full opacity in two coats. I found this shade a touch fussy to apply, it can pull in spots if not applied with a relatively quick hand. I suggest loading up the brush and applying coats in one go, versus dipping back into the bottle. This is a beautifully rich shade, but along with the shimmer being a let down it didn’t wow me.
No More Mr. Night Sky – a sparkling gunmetal. This is quite sheer; it requires at least 3 coats and looks best with 4. Despite that: he-LLO, gorgeous! This is another polish I would have never picked up as I don’t gravitate toward shimmers, but holy smokes – this is so pretty!! It’s the most beautifully sparkly, twinkly polish I think I’ve ever seen. It looks particularly amazing in low lighting (the 2nd photo), so it’s PERFECT for the holiday seasons parties and hanging out by the Christmas tree.
Centre of the You-niverse – a charcoal with silver shimmer and black glitter bits. This is 2 coats, though depending on how thickly you apply your coats you may need a 3rd. Even though it’s got minimal glitter, they’re so tiny they’re a pain to remove entirely. For black polish lovers though this is a great shade; top coat makes it really gleam.
Sooo, basically I want to keep 4 of the 6 shades shown…that does NOT help me decrease my polish collection! Dang it. I just think these are so lovely for the holiday season or for any time you want a bit of sparkle that’s a little understated (re: not a full-on glitter) but still fabulous. Well done so far, OPI!
Photo outtakes: Last night when I took the bottle shots Elena hightailed it to where I was and got her grabby hands in there lol…at least I got one good shot (above) before the destruction!