Monday 29 February 2016

One in One Out (Ft. Nuxe Rêve de Miel Face Cleansing and Make-up Removing Gel)

*Press Sample
Nuxe Rêve de Miel Face Cleansing and Make-up Removing Gel review

As my bottle of DHC Deep Cleansing Oil runs low, I've been thinking about which makeup remover to use next. Since the Nuxe Rêve de Miel Face Cleansing and Make-up Removing Gel* ($19CDN, 200ml) landed on my door a few weeks ago, it seemed like as good an option as anything else. DHC is a hard act to follow. As one of my favorite cleansing oils, DHC always rinses clean and I never worry about residual makeup or breakouts.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Skincare Shakeup: Repairing Dehydrated Skin

My skincare sits in drawers and I often forget about them. I have the vague idea that there's a interesting serum to try but inertia keeps me from switching up my routine. Usually I just keep using whatever is in my bathroom cabinet even if I'm only so-so about it. After a wonderful facial at Skoah, I realized that my skin was severely dehydrated and that was the impetus to switch up what I had.

Wednesday 24 February 2016

What is Eco-Cert? (Practicing Safe Skincare with. Schaf Products)*

*Press Samples
Schaf Skincare Moisturizer, Eye Cream, and Scrub Review

Here's a question for you. What are you willing to sacrifice for safe skincare?

It takes a lot of money and time to get a product Eco-Cert certified (at least ~$1500). It takes even more money and effort to get an entire line of products certified and Schafproducts, originating from Toronto, are all ECO-CERT certified.

ECO-CERT is an independent inspection and certification body. It is a benchmark for international organic certification and sustainable development. For cosmetic products to become certified, a minimum of 95% of the ingredients must come from natural origins. The products under go an annual audit to ensure that not only the ingredients are organic but that the formulas, packaging, and cleaning procedures of the company follow specific guidelines.  You can read more about this rigorous process here.

Monday 22 February 2016

Make Up Collection and Evaluation Part II: Inventory Facts

makeup collection

As mentioned in my Make Up Collection and Evaluation video, I'm hoping to purge and decrease my stash this year and I'm going to be methodical about it.

As an an addendum to that video, I'm airing my makeup dirty laundry to embarrass myself into compliance with my goals and to set a benchmark for where I've begun.

Saturday 20 February 2016

The New Gloss in Town (ft. Dior Ultra-Gloss in Ultradior, Everdior, Mirrored, and Fancy)*

*press samples

Dior Ultra-Gloss in Ultradior, Everdior, Mirrored, and Fancy

Dior Addict Lip Gloss in Bal D'été was the first gloss I fell in love with. I wore that orange shade all through summer and spring; it was perfect with only brows and brown liner. The shade got extra points when a friend commented on how beautiful it looked . That shade was my entry way into Dior and into lip glosses generally. There was something about that light orange that was so special and I don't think I've fallen as instantly in love with a gloss as much as I have with Bal.

Wednesday 17 February 2016

Hard Candy Look Pro! Tin Palettes in Natural Eyes*

*Press Sample

Hard Candy Look Pro! Tin Palettes in Natural Eyes

Everyone always buys a neutral eyeshadow palette first. Actually I recind that statement. The first palette I bought contained blues from MAC; Electric Eel (matte bright azure), Shimmermoss (bright, light aqua), Brill (light aqua) and Contrast (dark navy blue). I was crazy. What was I going to do with all that blue? Nothing, was what. Those colors stayed in my drawers for many years and the next palette I bought was the Too Faced Natural Eyes palette which got immediate and plenty of use.

Hard Candy Look Pro! Tin Palettes in Natural Eyes

But the Too Faced choice was a hard one. At that time, I wasn't sure whether laying down $40+ was going to be worth it for someone just getting into makeup. Now, you can get a full range of neutral shadows for so much less and the Hard Candy Look Pro! Tin in Natural Eyes* ($8.98CDN, 9 shades) is one option.  

Monday 15 February 2016

Clean is Getting Sophisticated (ft. Amber Saffron and Smoked Vetiver)!

*Press samples

Clean Reserve Amber Saffron and Smoked Vetiver

I am increasingly interested in fragrances and Clean has done something that really grabbed my attention with the new Clean Reserve* ($125CDN/100ml) line. The brand has always created simple and eco-conscious fragrances but now they have developed nine noticeably more mature and unique fragrances that are more sophisticated and luxurious than their previous scents. Not only are the bottles beautifully designed by each aspect of the product, from packaging to the ingredients, keeps in mind eco-consciousness and sustainability. When I saw these online, I was curious to see how Clean had upped their game, and honestly, they really have (and jeebus, these really smell amazing).

Saturday 13 February 2016

I Woke Up Like This (ft. A Lash Extension Experience with Double Take Studio* Vancouver)

*Services were received complementarily.

I literally woke up like this. 

There is not a drop of makeup on that face and yet I'm a million times more pretty than I was when I woke up the week before. Can I point your focus to my lashes? Because those are majorly contributing to all my pretty feels and maybe a few glances from David this morning. I didn't sprout those over night and credit goes to the team at Double Take Studio(4877 Main Street, Vancouver) who gave me my first lash extension experience. Let me break it down for you.

Double Take Studio was conceptualized when the owners, who run triathlons and do sports regularly, noticed that athletic women needed an option for beauty that was compatible with their intense lifestyles. Makeup at the gym is no one's preference and yet options for glamour even when running your 10 minute mile or moving up the squash competition ladder had to exist. Lashes seemed like a great answer and Double Take's business focus is on lash extensions in combination with wellness and other aesthetic services on the side. 

Wednesday 10 February 2016

#CBBFOOLPROOFBLEND by Demeter*, Let's Get Scientific About This


There are few things in life that are foolproof combinations. Salt + Pepper, foolproof. Oil + Vinegar, foolproof. We don't always have time to figure out what goes well with others and risk is involved when combining two things for the first time. At best, failed dinners, at worst...well, there are a lot of 'worsts'. At least with scents, Demeter makes blending easy with their Foolproof Blending Kits*.

Monday 8 February 2016

Happy Chinese New Year: Its the Year of the Monkey!

*Press Samples

Charlotte Tilbury Chinese New Year Look

Happy Chinese New Year!!!

If you aren't celebrating, or if you are, I hope you're having a great start to your February. Any holiday occasion is wonderful and CNY is made even better with all the Chinese food and desserts. This year, I wanted to create a sophisticated look to go with all the red and gold decorations and there isn't anything better than pairing that idea with luxurious brand, Charlotte Tilbury, to really ring in the occasion. 

Saturday 6 February 2016

Youtube Lashes (ft. Make Up For Ever Lash Show N204 and C709*)

Make Up For Ever Lash Show N204 and C709

I had a discussion with some beauty bloggers about their 'new normal'. Once you start using certain beauty items, a bulb goes off and you can't be without. A small set of people can't put down their falsies and would feel lash-line-bald without them. Trying out a few Make Up For Ever Lash Show* ($22CDN) lashes revealed why lashes are de rigueur on social media, Youtube and in person.

Wednesday 3 February 2016

Elizabeth and James Nirvana White* (Perfume, Rollerball and Perfume Oil)

*Press Sample
elizabeth and james nirvana white

When I was using the Elizabeth and James Nirvana (White)* Scent, I couldn't quit help but feel like it was what the Burberry My Burberry Eau de Toilette was aspiring to be. Between the two there are familiar notes.  That's not sufficient for a dupe alert but it does help.

Monday 1 February 2016

Happy 3 Years!

Beware: this post is mind dump.

Thoughts at the end of my third year of blogging:

I admire veterans of beauty blogging. Blogging consistently for 5 or more years is a feat of dedication especially when life conditions change. The commitment to always return to and continue the blog is worth acknowledgement and some of these bloggers continue to inspire me.

I also admire bloggers who are able to leave blogs and to know when the 'life fit' isn't there. The decision to leave is difficult and I've seen a few of my favorite bloggers do this recently. My mind has briefly flitted towards this now and then but I'm usually pulled back by the latest launch. If nothing else, eyeshadows will always bring me back from the brink. However, I've been contemplating this more recently.

I love the relationships I've strengthened through this blog and the fun times I've had because of it. 

Moving back to Vancouver has impacted my blog relationships. Being established in the Toronto scene was nice but making inroads in Vancouver has not been automatic. Not a bad thing since it has decreased (real or imagined) pressures on my blog. 

Moving forward:

My job has shifted the time I have for hobbies. Still interested in maintaining my blog, I'm also looking for ways to balance online and real life activities. I swear I'm going to get visible abs this year. In Toronto, spending time with David or family was impossible. Now that I can, these things are worth more of my time.

I've posted on even numbered days but I'm trying a new schedule of Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Posts may appear outside of this but the switch cuts down the number of monthly posts. Gotta live my real life, yo!

I recall some feedback I got in my poll. A reader noticed a shift in ABZ; the change from a 'personal blog' to 'business blog'. I have to agree with them since PR partnerships have contributed to ABZ's growth but I'm hoping to get to a better mix slowly. I would like to continue to write. No one aside from myself might be a fan but I want to tighten up my writing style and shift things back to 'personal blog' status. This might mean more non-beauty posts, more rambling lift updates, more whatever but I really want to (learn to) run my own race.

Still decluttering while balancing my heart's desire to try all the things.

I think about this post and how some of those 'resolutions' still hold strong for me this year. I can't say I did well on those in 2014 but I'm hoping 2016 is a good time to really start. At least I've been pretty good about the resolution on spending. 

Here's to another year or two, or three of ABZ. Thank you so much for hanging out with me!