Thursday 30 April 2015

Gift with Purchase Bags, Yet Another First World Problem

I collect makeup pouches faster than you can say "Gift with Purchase". A dime a dozen, these bags make their way to my home without any effort. Whether from a gift set or as a receptacle for the aforementioned Gift with Purchase, these, honestly unwanted, make up bags just keep coming. And strangely they are marketed as part of the perk of the GWP phenomenon with the "free cosmetic bag" being almost as readily offered as the "Gift with Purchase tote." Can someone make it stop?

Wednesday 29 April 2015

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora*

*Press Sample

l'occitane pivoine flora eau de toilette review

L'Occitane's Pivoine Flora Eau de Toilette* ($55CDN, 75ml) has been a nice break from trying to smell like a man.  After a few mistrials where I've ended up a bit too Eau de Manly-Man and another mishap where I started to attract female ant swarms, Pivoine Flora's green floral scent was a good reset before I continued on my journey for something deeper.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Ben Nye Neutral Set Powder

ben nye neutral set review

There are more than a few times when I've left a product unloved because it was finicky. The Ben Nye Classic Translucent Powder in Neutral Set was one such item. Supposedly a great transparent setting powder, the mini tub bought during IMATS was awful to dispense and I always got more or less powder than I actually needed. This was on my blog sale for a while but I realized I knew how to fix broken powder products. 

Monday 27 April 2015

Current Favorites #3 ft Illamasqua Rude, Annabelle Peony and Make Up For Ever Smoky Stretch

favorites make up for ever smoky stretch mascara illamasqua rude annabelle peony blush

I don't even know if this the third 'current favorites' type post but let's just say it is. I've avoided posting monthly favorites because I can't quite commit to that timeline. My "favorites" crop up in spontaneous and unexpected time intervals. Lately I've been pairing Illasmasqua's Rude cream blush with Annabelle's Peony Blush On which makes a great coral mix. Another product that I've been enjoying is the Make Up For Ever Smoky Stretch mascara mostly because it has been better than I expected.

Sunday 26 April 2015

The Eye Brush Hunt

A reader asked me for my top brush picks and I've been holding off because the perfect eyeshadow brush is still evading me. With my large selection of eyeshadow brushes, you'd think I'd have the perfect one but there isn't even a small handful that I really love. Really, I just put up with most of these.

Saturday 25 April 2015

Quickly on The Body Shop Matte Kajal Liners*

*Press Samples
The Body Shop Matte Kajal Liners black and white swatch review

I have no experience with Kajal liners and certainly no experience with a matte Kajal liner so when The Body Shop's launched a black and white Matte Kajal Liner* ($15CDN) I was intriguing. Right away I thought of Andy Warhol, mod clothing and Edie Sedwick. If white liner doesn't scream 60s to you, then you need to readjust your psychedelic chemical dependencies. 

Friday 24 April 2015

Smelling Like "Sexy Man"

I've been on the hunt for the perfect men's perfume, something a little deeper, a little sultry and a little unexpected. A scent that makes a person want to give me another sniff or two. You know, that feeling when you want to sniff down a really good looking and smelling guy.

Wednesday 22 April 2015

Lipcote: A Necessity

Lipcote review

There aren't many things that I'd say you need or must have but I'm almost willing to bet that the Lipcote Lipstick sealer will give you the "Ah-Ha!" moment you've been waiting for. Guys, it seals in your lipstick.

Tuesday 21 April 2015

Getting Old and Preserving my Youth*

*Press Sample
Murad Youth Builder rejuvenating aha hand cream detoxifying white clay body cleanser review

There comes a time when every woman turns 25 and they are suddenly jarred into this new realm of adulthood by having to choose the 25-35 age bracket during an online poll. I'm sorry but 10 years is a huge space of time. While pre-25 year olds may still cling onto survey response that are bracketed every 5 years, I had a momentary panic when I saw myself 'lumped in' with, oh god...the over 30 year old crowd. 

Monday 20 April 2015

Quickly on Two Fuller Coverage Foundations

I've been sitting on these two foundation post photos FOREVER. In an attempt to clear off my desktop space (these photos weren't even taken in the same year) here are some quick reviews for two fuller coverage foundations that I quite like. 

It's not often that I need full cover. Mostly I use them if the porcelined, perfected and smoothed look is what I'm going for. The Covergirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 and the Revlon Color Stay Whipped suit that purpose but in both cases I still haven't found the best color match.

Saturday 18 April 2015

Safety Wardens, Old Boyfriends and the Dior Eye Reviver Palette

review swatch Dior Eye Reviver Illuminating Neutrals nude eyeshadow palette

There's nothing safer than a slightly shimmery nude palette. Nude palettes, like brown shadows, are a safety warden in the makeup world; a pleasant smile, a quick hand across the street, and you're good to go. Nude palettes, giving guidance for non-offensive eye looks since Day 1.

Testing new products can be a gamble. Eyeliners can smudge and foundation can disappear or be the wrong shade (nothing builds confidence quite like suffering a day of Oompha-loompha skin tone), And during a week of important work and personal meetings, I knew I wanted to be 'safe'. I also really wanted to dive into the Dior VIP goodie bag so I made the zero risk choice to test the Dior Eye Reviver Palette ($63CDN). Safety can be a good thing especially when one of my personal meetings was with an ex-partner I hadn't seen in 4.5 years.

Thursday 16 April 2015

Getting Jigae With It

I'm not Korean but Korean food is a staple in my single-basement-suite-hold. It's easy to make, very flavorful and with a few staple ingredients you can, pretty much, make most items. One of my most often made dishes is an non-authentic, but close enough, version of Kimchi Jigae (Kimchi Stew)

Monday 13 April 2015

Koan #3: Changes and the "Help Jenn" Survey

It takes a wise man to learn from his mistakes, but an even wiser man to learn from others.
- Zen Proverb

Hey dude,

Lately, a few things have been bothering me about ABZ. I'm not entirely pleased with all the posts I generate and I seem to be engaging less with other bloggers. My stats have been steadily decreasing and though that is not of major importance, I think its a symptom of some problem I have yet to diagnosis.

Trying to post daily has resulted in less time reading other blogs and doing the part of blogging that is most enjoyable, connecting with other bloggers. Yet there are obvious benefits to continually posting and in some ways I may need to continue this habit for a little while since I have the unfortunate #firstworldproblem backlog of semi-obligatory posts to get through. In the coming months, there will be few important things I need to devote my time to in order to successfully transition to a new location in July. Because of this and some general dissatisfactions, my current blogging habits seem unsustainable and I'm wondering if I need to slow down.

To try and figure out what's going on, would you please consider filling out this survey? 

I'd truly appreciate your help in improving and moving ABZ along to a new happy medium. I'm hoping not only my consistent commenters, but also my silent readers, will give me a hand.

Help a girl out?
Thank you.

Sunday 12 April 2015

Tiffany Earings and Brown Eyeshadows

I am not persuaded by the iconic Tiffany's blue box. Though "classic", "timeless" and "luxurious", I'm almost persuaded to dislike its WASP-y, privileged aesthetic. My heart is definitely not set on a Tiffany's wedding band (how conservative, how "wait while I put on my jodhpurs for the equestrian club") and some of their more affordable items seem very dull. But when my aunt gifted me the Elsa Peretti Bean earnings, I changed my mind just little and was also reminded of how my makeup tastes have also changed over time.

Saturday 11 April 2015

PSA: Blue Lips

Look, we all can't live like the little pixies we hope and dream we will be. Makeup artists live up their creations in magazine editorials but those magical green eyebrows and neon glossy pink lids will just bring ruin to society. What? People wearing non-natural colors in non-natural places? Let's just all paint our nipples purple and dip dye our faces  while we're at it. I'm sure we'd fit right into The Capitol and we know how that society turned out didn't we. 

Friday 10 April 2015

Sweet Potato Sushi

I've been thinking of ways to cut down on starchy carbs or at least switching out for 'better' starches (having said that I'm cooking some Kimchi Jigae right now and I fully intend that have it with some coconut rice I made (Miismatched maybe, but delicious? We'll see). The only problem is that my love for sushi is boundless and those little morsels tend to be made with rice. As proof of concept, I tried to recreate sushi using sweet potato as a substitute.

Thursday 9 April 2015

Paul & Joe Liquid Liner and Lip Liner Duo

*Press Sample
paul & joe liquid eyeliner lip liner duo 4 review swatch

A couple of weeks ago I was formally introduced to Paul & Joe Beaute. Already aware of this line since its been pretty popular in Asia I was happy to learn that it has recently entered into North American markets via Shoppers Drugs Marts. The rep described all the brains behind each beauty product. Not only adorable, pacakged, from his descriptions ,the formulas are no slouches either. I've already tried and loved one of their boxed blushes and I can't wait to try more.

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Mixing Socks and Mixing Skin Care Ft. Dermalogica Skin Hydration Booster

*Press Sample
Dermalogica Skin Hydration Booster review

Missing socks are one of the major crises of our times, up there with food insecurity and oil dependence. Describe a wicked social problem and I can counter your example with the improbable situation where putting two things into a closed drying vessel only yields one of them back out again. Conservation of mass somehow does not apply to laundry. In order to keep both my feet in a state of warmth and modesty, I've started mixing up single socks in the hopes that they will work together in lieu of their missing partners. 

Tuesday 7 April 2015

Hair Doppelgängers: Clear Intense Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner*

*Press Sample

clear intense hydration shampoo and conditioner review

Sometimes in life, we happen across the same types of people but in a different forms, maybe a new partner reminds you of a previous relationship, maybe a new friend brings to mind an old acquaintance. No two people are ever true doppelgangers but that can't quite be said of beauty products. Using the Clear's Intense Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner* ($7CDN each, 375ml)  triggered some far off memories of a shampoo long pasted.

Monday 6 April 2015

L'Occitane Almande

*Press Sample
review of L'occitane's almond velvet balm amande baume de velours

Really fancy things intrigue me. I want to know how it is that something got so fancy and I want to be fancy too. I want to be that girl that can throw the dollar bills in the high end boutiques while sales people fall over ingratiating themselves to me. Let me roll up in my Benz at the Chanel, like its a drive-thru. But let's get real here, I'm more than a couple million shy of being able to do this, and if I want it to rain money, I might be able to rain down a couple of five cent coins...but let me dig into my couch to find some first. 

Sunday 5 April 2015

Viva Health Skincare*

*Press Sample

viva health skincare review amaze exfoliating get hyaluronic acid review

I've mentioned briefly that Viva Health Skincare* was kinda great. There are two amazing products in this line that you really have to try!

Friday 3 April 2015

Currently Reading #4

When I go to the library and borrow books, I feel like I have parcels of presents just waiting to be opened. I'm not even kidding or exaggerating. Does anyone else feel like that? Anyways, here's what I've got on the go right now.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner*

*Press Sample

live clean coconut milk shampoo and conditioner review

If scent is a major driver of haircare purchases and Coconut is right up your alley then the Live Clean Coconut Milk Moisturizing Shampoo and Conditioner* ($7 each, 350ml) may be for you.

Wednesday 1 April 2015

Dave Lackie's Dior VIP Dinner Recap

If you have heard already, Dave Lackie is the modern day male equivalent of a make-up and beauty bestowing tooth fairy. Beauty Editor and frequent contributor to Cityline, Dave is constantly giving away prizes and seats to amazing events, and has quite a following on Twitter. Often cited as 'the nicest man ever!', "so awesome" and "the best!", he is a genteel host but also a bit of a man of mystery. 

I often enter his twitter gift giveaways but secretly hoped to win a seat at the extravagant VIP dinners he puts on (to offer the public a chance to experience the life of a beauty editor for a night). When a draw for a Dior Dinner opened, I HAD to enter and amazingly got chosen.