I did my eyeshadow palettes big and small a few months back, so now it’s time to wrap up the eyeshadow inventory.
I don’t know if ColourPop eyeshadows really are cream or not, but they dry up in like thirty-five seconds so I’m going to go with yes. Anyway, I have five colours: Paradox, a deep burgundy; Animal, a neon orange; Stereo, a dark purple with gold and pink glitter; Boy Band, a metallic copper; and Beverly, a dark berry.
Of these, I get the most use out of Boy Band (a one and done shade that I can smear all over my eyelid when I’m in a rush) and Paradox, which looks badass. Animal looks hideous on me, but I still have fun with it. Stereo looks totally different in the pan than it does on the ColourPop website and I never use it, and Beverly is dry as a bone now.
Here’s Animal on its own:
And here it is with Realgar from the Modern Renaissance palette blended above it and Buxom Covert Affair on the lips:
And iPhone selfies of how I wore it to see Laura Marling in May, with NYX Sapphire eyeliner and NARS Brigitte on the lips:
Paradox looks great on its own, and I have discovered that when you layer a blue-brown duochrome shade on top of it you get the most amazing look. Sadly I have no photographic evidence that I have ever worn Paradox, alone or otherwise, but one day I will try to get some and update this post.
Moving past ColourPop! I currently only have three Maybelline Color Tattoos (except for Tough As Taupe, which I use on my brows exclusively): Pink Gold (UK version of Inked in Pink), Electric Blue (… which is navy, not electric blue), and Tenacious Teal (featured in my “Life On Mars?” look). Inked in Pink is the only one that’s still available in Canada. I rarely reach for these anymore, although I loved them enough back in the day to have fifteen at one point. Powder eyeshadow wears better on me than any cream as long as I use a base, so that’s what I reach for.
Finally, I have one of the glorious new-ish Stila Magnificent Metals Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow in Rose Gold Retro, which is PERFECT. It’s so shiny and metallic and beautiful, and it never creases.
Here are some swatches for your viewing pleasure!
L-R: Stila Rose Gold Retro, ColourPop Animal, ColourPop Boy Band, ColourPop Paradox, ColourPop Stereo, ColourPop Beverly, Maybelline Pink Gold, Maybelline Electric Blue, Maybelline Tenacious Teal.
Lancôme single shadows are nice, but probably not $24 nice. Luckily, I paid for neither. Vue, a neutral rose gold, has sentimental value for me, as it’s the first eyeshadow I ever used. My mom may have given this to me or I may have stolen it from her makeup bag, but either way I have very fond memories of applying it all over my eyelid with a Q-tip when I was seventeen and the youngest person working at Urban Outfitters and wanting to look fancy and put-together. I don’t use it very often now, but it’s just one of those products that I can’t part with.
Infinitely Indigo is a shade which Aisling sent me in a big box of goodies when she was moving to England and I was first getting into makeup. Aisling is definitely a neutral kind of gal, and I believe she picked this up in Vegas, which is exactly where you would decide to buy blue eyeshadow. This product has stuck with me through approximately six moves because I like owning expensive shit. Its place in the future of my collection is unclear.
I don’t know how I can say that $24 for a single eyeshadow is overpriced but then rave about ones that cost $36, but here I am. I just really like the NARS Dual Intensity shadows, though of course I buy them at Murale, with Optimum Points. These shadows give an utterly glorious metallic sheen even when used dry. Callisto is the first one I acquired and definitely my favourite of the two: it’s the most stunning silvery pink. (It looks amazing applied all over the led with Buon Fresco from ABH in the crease!) Desdemona is a rich burgundy purple. I’ve found that these work the best patted onto the lid with a finger; the pigment doesn’t seem to stick very well to a brush.
L-R: Lancôme Vue, Lancôme Infinitely Indigo, NARS Callisto, NARS Desdemona
And that is it for my single eyeshadow collection! Next up will be eyeliner, and to finish out the series we’ll do lips. (That will be an undertaking – I haven’t photographed it yet!)
There is cat hair in this picture, which is an accurate representation of my life.
I’ve been toting around a Forever 21 crossbody bag that I got for £18 in Glasgow for over two years now. (Before that I had a £10 Primark bag that predictably lasted about 5 months.) I’ve been looking to upgrade my bag for the better part of a millennium, but nothing was meeting my specifications. I wanted a crossbody that could fit a decent amount without being too big, I wanted it to be black, I wanted it to be simple (i.e. sans fringe or bling), and I absolutely needed silver hardware. Gold metals do not enter my home, and I see so many otherwise beautiful black bags that are ruined by gold hardware. This is really a matter of personal preference, but it’s one of those things that just is a dealbreaker for me.
Discovering Montreal-based company Matt and Nat was a revelation for me. Their pieces are simple, attractive, and functional; they have silver hardware; and they’re vegan. I’m a meat-eater, but I draw the line at wearing dead animals on my body. That just seems needless. And of course I loved that they’re a Canadian company – they even have a bag named after my old Montreal neighbourhood! Matt and Nat pieces are also quite reasonably-priced for the quality and their commitment to sustainability.
After browsing their website I finally decided on the Elle bag, which met all of my specifications and basically looked like an upgraded version of my shitty Forever 21 bag. I held off ordering for a very long time, but finally the old Forever 21 bag disintegrated completely and so I bit the bullet.
Matt and Nat Elle compared to my Forever 21 bag:
You could say I know what I like!
The Matt and Nat Elle bag has one outer slot and three inner pockets, one of which zips. The back pocket and middle, zipped pocket both have smaller pockets on the side perfect for holding little things that tend to migrate to the bottom of the bag if not adequately contained. There’s a magnetic flap which covers the three main pockets, which I think is very cool.
I’ve had this bag for about two months now and I’ve found it great: it’s small enough that I don’t feel weighed down but large enough that I can reasonably bring everything I need with me; it’s very sturdy and well-made; the way it’s organized makes sense to me; I think it’s a sharp-looking bag. With bags I favour simplicity 100% of the time, and this is a simple, versatile piece that I can wear with anything.
Size reference, using the book I’m currently reading.
When you see the random junk I’ve been hauling around in here, you’ll see why I limit myself to a smaller bag.
Earbuds – I have these tucked into my bag at all times because the worst thing ever is to leave your house for a long commute without earbuds. These are just the default Apple ones, which fit my ears well. (I think I have small ear holes, because a lot of earbuds really hurt!)
Bic pens – These are the cheapest, most common ballpoint pens and I adore them. Real stationery nerds probably think I’m uncultured swine, but they write so smoothly! I buy them in bulk and keep multiples in all my bags. It is never a good idea to be without pens!
Mini notebook – I mainly make notes on the Evernote app on my phone, but I’ve been out and about and wished I had a notebook handy plenty of times so I just keep one with me. I don’t use it that often, but it’s teeny tiny so I figure why not. My friend Ashley did the hand-lettering on this years ago!
TTC tickets: Funny story! After I graduated high school, I kept buying student tickets for public transit because I figured nobody would know the difference. In the past five years, that theory has proven true 100% of the time. I actually switched to paying adult fare in the past year, figuring that I was pushing my luck, but out of habit I went to my corner store and asked for ten student tickets, so I’m working my way through this stack of them.
Wedding keepsake: When my friends got married, all the guests got these little paper hearts infused with seeds. I tucked mine into my bag for safekeeping, where it has remained for the past two weeks.
Movie tickets: I’ve known for over a year that I would be seeing Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk when it hit theatres, since Harry Styles is in it and obviously I support anything he does. My brother and I saw it on Saturday, and then we went and saw it again with my parents on Wednesday. Before the positive reviews started coming out, I didn’t necessarily have high hopes for it, but it was great: so expansive, intense without being manipulative, and singular in its lack of focus on character backstory. Beautiful cinematography, music, and sound-mixing too!
Phone: I always put my phone in the front flap for ease of access. It’s a white and silver iPhone 6S with an unnecessarily expensive case from Sonix. (My entire iPhone-owning career I have only ever bought cheap $10 cases from mall kiosks, but I saw this case from ACROSS THE TELUS STORE and knew I had to have it. Roses are my birth flower and I have two rose tattoos!)
Programme and receipt from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts: I went to the MMFA with my friends Katie and Caitlin when I was in Montreal earlier in the month and I have not cleared my bag out since then.
YSL Lipstick: Lest you think I have managed to only hoard one lipstick in my bag, this is the only lipstick in this pocket.
House key: Self-explanatory. No idea when or where I got the keychain.
Disposable camera: Every summer I like to buy a cheap disposable camera. It’s a lot more fun than the instant gratification of iPhone pictures. I only have one picture left on this roll and I am hemming and hawing over what is special enough to photograph before I get the film developed. The last camera I got developed was disastrous: only seven of the photos turned out. I’m hoping this one fares better, because I took a lot of pictures at my friends’ wedding.
Wedding officiating script: I do not need this anymore!!! I also didn’t even use this copy on the actual day of the wedding, so it was a waste of printer ink.
Thank you card: My friends wrote me a card and bought me a bottle of rosé as a thank you for officiating their wedding, which was super sweet because I was absolutely buzzing to do it just for the extreme and utter honour of it all. The rosé will make a lovely sangria!
Grocery store receipt: I bought a bottle of water for $0.89. Exciting stuff.
Sunglasses: I knew I became a real adult when I bought prescription sunglasses! These are the Sunset style from EyeBuyDirect. I got them during a BOGO with a pair of clear frames. The case came with them.
Lipstick: Told you! Here I have two Revlon Balm Stains, in Lovesick and Romantic, and a Buxom lip pencil in Hush Hush. (This one lives in my bag pretty consistently since it’s my favourite everyday lip colour at the moment.)
Wallet – This is the Matt and Nat Vera wallet, which I got for 40% off at Marshall’s. (I bought this pre-bag – it was my first Matt and Nat piece, and what convinced me to bite the bullet on the bag.) It’s simple, but I like the front flap detailing. It has enough slots for my cards (a perpetual struggle for me in the era of loyalty cards) and a zippered-off compartment for change. Those are my wallet must-haves, so this works very well for me.
Card holder – I put my most-used cards in this so I don’t have to cart my whole wallet around at all times, and just for general ease of access. This was $30, which I feel is slightly steep for something so tiny, but card holders seem to be pricey in general. Most of the ones I’ve seen online are real leather, too, which is a no-go for me, so I decided to just go full throttle with the Matt and Nat theme and throw Max into my cart when I ordered my Elle bag. I like that this one has a middle pocket that you can stick bills into. I don’t know how I ever got by without a card holder – it’s so convenient to have all my must-have cards in one tiny wallet that I can easily slip into my back pocket when I don’t want to carry around my whole bag. For the record, I have my driver’s license, debit card, credit card, and Optimum card in it.
MMFA ticket: There really is no rhyme or reason to where things end up in here: why did I not tuck this ticket away with the MMFA programme and receipt? Who knows! Anyway, if you happen to be in Montreal soon, the Revolution show is very cool. Most of the MMFA is free, and the exhibitions cost $15. This ticket also got us into the Jean Paul Gaultier wedding dress exhibition, which was very neat as well.
Blotting papers: These are from Joe Fresh and they work as well as any other blotting papers. I mainly use them on my nose, which is the only part of my face that gets oily.
Compact mirror – I have many of these Sephora mirrors that come with gift cards, as you probably do too. At this point I just have one in every bag I own so that I never have to switch them over. Maybe one day I could get a cool/cute/pretty compact, but when I have like 900 of these lying around what’s the point?
So, today we have learned that I hoard receipts. Based on all the junk I carry around in my bag for indeterminate amounts of time, you can probably see why I deliberately go with small bags. Can you imagine the strain on my shoulder if I had a big bag? NO THANK YOU!
Onwards with the inventory series! Today I’m doing highlighter, bronzer, and contour products all in one, since I don’t have enough of the latter two categories to warrant their own posts. As always, I’ve linked to full reviews where they exist.
Whoever led me to believe that the ELF Illuminating Palettes were good should be JAILED, because they are TERRIBLE. I am so heated about this that I am in caps lock mode. You’ll be able to see better in the swatches below, but they have basically no payoff at all and are powdery and dry-looking. I’m on board with a subtle highlight, but these are just bad.
Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed in Moonstone was my first highlighter purchase, and it’s one of my favourites. It’s the perfect light champagne shade for my fair skin, and though it packs a punch it’s not glittery or chunky. I don’t always want a highlight this in-your-face, but it’s beautiful for those moments. The SSP in Opal is most talked-about, but if you’re on the fairer side check out Moonstone – it gives pretty much the same effect but is more suited for fair to light skintones.
I really enjoy the peachy-pink glow of my Hourglass Ambient Strobe Lighting Powder in Iridescent. However, all in all I think this is a pretty standard highlighter, and I was expecting more of Hourglass. As the world’s biggest Ambient Lighting Blush fan, I yearned for them to do a proper highlighter for ages, so of course I was first in line to buy one when they launched. I do think this is a nice powder – finely-milled, soft, and glowy without being glittery – but I was kind of expecting them to revolutionize the highlighting game. I enjoy the one I have but I won’t buy another.
The first four swatches are the ELF highlighters, but you can’t even see the first three because THEY ARE SO BAD. After those we have Becca Moonstone and Hourglass Iridescent.
I much prefer powder over cream when it comes to blush, but with highlighter it’s the opposite. It’s partially the ease of swiping on a cream product and partially the finish creams tend to give. Powder highlighters are usually more intense, whereas creams are slightly toned-down and melt into the skin better.
The Topshop Glow Highlighter in Polished is probably my favourite highlighter ever: it gives an intense, pearly glow that is downright otherworldly. It’s a statement highlight, but I love it. I own nothing else remotely like this.
Glossier Haloscope in Quartz was my first exposure to stick highlighter, and it could not have been a better one. This is an incredibly emollient formula which looks almost glazed on the skin. It can be applied directly from the stick and blended in with the fingers with minimal effort. It’s super pretty and just how I like my highlight to look: present but not over-the-top.
I wasn’t expecting much from the new-ish Revlon PhotoReady InstaFix Highlighter Stick in Pink Light, but I do like it. It has a dryer texture than the Glossier Haloscope by far, so I like to apply it by rubbing my finger in the product and then tapping it onto my face. It also doesn’t blend as easily, but it doesn’t require excessive elbow grease by any means. It gives a very nice, borderline metallic pink highlight. They do make one in a champagne shade as well, but champagne highlighters are a dime a dozen and I do find something more pink-based quite flattering on my skintone. My only major complaint about this product is that it costs $23 in Canadian drugstores. Like… what? DO YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT THE DRUGSTORE IS, REVLON????
Finally, the newest addition to my highlighter collection, Vichy Teint Idéal Highlighter. This is a liquid product which is applied via rollerball. It’s a very thin, sheer, almost white-based formula which doesn’t add much colour to the face but which gives a glorious wet look. I got this at a Vichy brand training and wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, but it’s quickly becoming one of my favourites. It’s easy to apply straight from the tube, blends in easily with the fingers, and looks stunning on the skin. I’d definitely recommend this one if you want a wet-look highlighter!
L-R: Topshop Polished, Glossier Quartz, Revlon Pink Light, Vichy Teint Idéal.
Bronzer & Contour
I only ever have one bronzer at a time because it’s not a product type which I use heavily. Currently I have the Physician’s Formula Butter Bronzer in Light Bronzer, which is a good option for fair skin. I find this slightly warmer than the lightest shade of The Body Shop Honey Bronzer, for reference, but it still works fine on my skin. I’m not a bronzer connoisseur so I don’t have much to compare it to, but it’s nice. I don’t know that it’s necessarily worthy of the raves it got on YouTube when it first launched, because it doesn’t seem like anything special to me, but what do I know about bronzer? Not much! Oh, I also really dislike the strong artificial coconut scent, but that seems to be one of its drawing points for many people.
I love love love my Kevyn Aucoin Sculpting Powder in Light for contour. It’s not too ashy but not warm by any means, and the depth and shade work very well on my colouring. This is a pricey little guy, but so far I have no regrets about this purchase.
L-R: Physician’s Formula, Kevyn Aucoin
Obviously, I’m very happy with the state of my bronzer and contour stash – I have one product to fulfill each of those functions, which is exactly what I need. I think my highlighter collection is a tiny bit excessive for someone who isn’t a highlighter fanatic, but it’s under control. I don’t see myself acquiring more products in any of these categories, at least not for quite some time.