Cold Weather 2015 Favourites

Posted on November 16, 2015 under Favourites

I know it feels like fall has just arrived in a lot of places, but here in Montreal winter could come at any moment. We haven’t had real snow yet, just a tiny bit that melts as soon as it hits the ground, but it’s imminent. I suppose these are my fall favourites, but let’s call them cold weather favourites as most of them will transition well into winter.

theBalm Balm Jovi Palette

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This palette has been in my collection for years and is tragically neglected, so I’ve been making a point of pulling it out these past few weeks. It contains some perfect fall shades, and the shadows are generally of a great quality – pigmented and blendable. A bunch of these shadows make for beautiful one-shadow looks, a few of which you’ll see in an upcoming post.

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A few of my favourite shades: Alice Copper, Lead Zeppelin, and Moderato.

Wet N Wild Silent Treatment trio eyelid colour

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I predicted this would get a lot of use this fall, and so far I have been correct. It’s one of my favourite eyeshadow colours, period – this shimmery taupe-y purple is just so special and absolutely beautiful on the lids. It’s neutral but still interesting. It’s also gorgeous to work with; it’s so soft and blendable, and true to the colour in the pan. I sneak this into my makeup year-round, but I think it’s especially suited to fall.

Clarins Waterproof Eye Pencil

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My coworker received this as gratis but gave it to me because she doesn’t like waterproof eyeliner, and wow am I glad. One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! I use this pencil to tightline every day and it lasts all day without transferring to my lower waterline. It’s creamy and does not irritate my eyes whatsoever. On my top lashline, it transfers a bit, but it’s honestly the least transfer I’ve ever experienced from a pencil liner. It’s definitely a pretty penny, but I’d repurchase it for sure. (Also, it has since been sharpened. This picture was taken post-Halloween, when it was used to scribble all over various faces.)

Arbonne Intelligence Lip Treatment*

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My lips have never been in better shape and that’s all there is to that. If you’re interested in the full review, I went more into detail in a previous post.

Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry and MAC Lipstick in Rebel

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Sultry and Rebel could not be more different if they tried, but I have been wearing both of them non-stop this fall. Sultry is a gorgeous mixture of brown, pink, and red – I never know quite how to describe it. On my colouring, it’s a bit more deep and dramatic, but still on the neutral side of things. It’s the type of colour that goes so well with the rich browns and bronzes of fall. Rebel is obviously a statement shade, and it’s been one of my favourites for ages. It’s the most beautiful, singular magenta, and it’s my favourite lipstick colour ever. It suits this time of year so well, and it basically has not come off my lips in weeks.

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Sultry on the left, Rebel on the right. Obviously.

Oversized mug

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As you may know, I am big on staying hydrated. But when it gets colder, drinking a bottle of cold water is often the last thing I want to do. However, it’s tedious to continually make small cups of tea that amount to tiny volumes of water. Remembering the big mug I had in Glasgow last year (purchased from Primark, in case anyone is on the hunt), I hit up Dollarama to replace that sucker. This mug holds 500mL of tea, and it keeps me very, very warm. I am in love with it.

(Also, don’t mind Justin Trudeau staring at you. It’s a long story that involves cutting a 5 foot campaign sign down off a post at 3am and bringing it into our home. Okay, that’s the story. It’s actually pretty short.)

H&M Blanket Scarf

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I’m pretty sure that whoever invented blanket scarves was Canadian, because there is nothing more suited to this nation. I think the best coping mechanism for a Canadian winter is to just encase yourself in as many textiles as possible. And also to cry at the fact that the sun goes down at 4:30pm and it’s -40 degrees outside. Blanket scarves are, obviously, perfect for outdoors, but they are also extremely versatile when inside. Mine basically has not left my body since I purchased it. Multiple times, I have found myself on my sofa, nodding off after 17 hours of readings, and covered myself with the scarf and had a very warm and comfortable nap. And there is just something very, very appealing about literally wearing a blanket outside.

Zara Glitter Boots

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Just look at these boots and try to tell me that they aren’t the answer to every possible question or problem life could ever come up with. They are perfect. Granted, they were me settling because I can’t afford the Saint Laurent version that Harry Styles wore in SNL in December 2013, but they’ll do.

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These are like four billion dollars.

Theorem

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It seems that I am a fan of weird foreign 1960s films, a fact about myself which I kind of hate. But there’s no denying it – my favourite film of all time is Daisies, a Czech new wave film.

I watched Theorem for my Italian cinema class, and I was blown away by it. Given that it’s an art house film, it’s the type of thing that must be watched to be understood. The plot is very simple: an Italian bourgeois family is mysteriously visited by a stranger, who sleeps with each of them and who leaves abruptly. His departure makes each family member realize that there is a massive void in their bourgeois existence. It doesn’t sound like anything special, but it’s a beautiful film. There’s hardly any dialogue; most of it just music and images. Definitely the best thing I’ve watched for school this semester.

Baking and Cooking

I know I’m not the only one who always develops a time-consuming interest at the end of the semester, as a distraction from the piles of work I have to do. This semester I have been very into baking, which is productive and delicious enough that I can’t be too mad about it. My roommate and I have also instituted weekly Adult Nights where we cook a real meal together, and although I normally dislike cooking I always have such a good time when we cook together. Here are some of the creations to come out of my kitchen recently…

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I’ve made four pies so far and I have finally perfected a flaky, wonderful crust. Pictured is pumpkin pie with a brown sugar pecan glaze.

Katie and I made white pizza last night and it was AMAZING! The thin crust recipe we used was perfect, and our toppings of garlic, onion, mushroom, broccoli, and chicken were absolutely delicious. We still have 4 slices leftover, so that’s a few dinners sorted…

favourites-bagels

At 9pm the other day I got a bee in my bonnet about bagels, and so I made some! It took me about two hours, but it was worth it. They’re not quite as good as St. Viateur, but I’m really impressed with the recipe.

Next up: scones.

Those are my recent favourites – a bunch of stuff that has been keeping me warm, inside and out, in the increasingly cold weather.

Product marked with an asterisk was sent to me for review purposes. All opinions remain my own.

Fall lips with Arbonne

Posted on November 08, 2015 under Reviews

This post features press samples. I was not compensated for writing this post and all thoughts and opinions remain my own.

The makeup category that is my Achilles heel is lipstick. I cannot get enough of the stuff. I could fairly happily do the exact same eye and face makeup every day, but if I couldn’t change up my lipstick on a daily basis I would be a sad, sad girl indeed.

When Arbonne asked if I would be interested in trying some fall lip products, obviously I jumped at the chance. I had never tried any Arbonne products before, and, um, lipstick. Sent to my house. For me to put on my face.

arbonne-fall-lip-products

I ended up with the Intelligence Lip Treatment ($46 CAD), Smoothed Over Lipstick in Aster ($34 CAD), Glossed Over Gloss in Hyacinth ($31 CAD), and Lip Liner in Berry ($28 CAD) – in theory, everything you’d need for fall statement lips. These particular products go well together perfectly because each step slightly increases the intensity of colour, meaning you can go with a light berry with the liner all the way up to a rich, deep, and decidedly bold look with the lipstick and gloss layered on top.

All of the products are gluten- and paraben-free as well as vegan, for anyone who’s into that.

Intelligence Lip Treatment

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I’ve been playing around with this stuff for about two months now, except it’s not really playing because it’s SERIOUS BUSINESS. I don’t know how a lip balm with such a lightweight texture does its job so well, but either way it blows my mind. I use it before I put on lipstick and before bed and my lips have stayed soft enough to handle my most drying liquid lipsticks. It also sinks in really quickly and doesn’t feel greasy or otherwise unpleasant. It does have a scent – it reminds me of a popsicle.

According to Arbonne, the Intelligence Lip Treatment “helps soften the appearance of fine lines on the lips and contours, and supports the skin’s natural moisture barrier. Lips feel replenished, hydrated and moisturized. Arbonne Intelligence Lip Treatment enhances the appearance of lip volume and multitasks as a primer for lipstick or gloss.” Anti-aging lip products aren’t on my radar so I can’t speak to that, and I don’t find that it particularly increases lip volume – though I already have full lips, so I probably wouldn’t notice much of a difference anyway. However, it absolutely does make my lips feel “replenished, hydrated, and moisturized”.

This is a really pricey product, and there’s no getting around that. At $46 CAD for 0.33 fl oz/9.8mL ($139.39/fl oz or $4.69/mL), it does feel a bit like highway robbery. But it is, so far, honestly the best lip treatment I have found for my chronically dry, chapped, and peeling lips – and after using it twice a day for two months, there is still a tonne of product left.

Lip Liner in Berry

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I don’t have super strong feelings about this lip liner. I like the twist-up packaging because I’m lazy and hate sharpening products. I like the colour, as well; it’s definitely berry, but it’s not too intense. I don’t find it super smooth nor terribly dry. It drags a tiny bit and goes on slightly patchy, so sadly I don’t think it would work amazingly worn on its own. As a base for a lipstick, though, it’s fine. Personally I would not pay $28 for it, but I’ve been happily using it. This isn’t one I would say you need to run out and buy.

The Lip Liner retails for $28 CAD for 0.01 oz, or $2800 per oz. Which is… up there. But you already know that twist-up liners contain hardly any product, don’t you?

Smoothed Over Lipstick in Aster

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This lipstick goes on very smoothly and glosses over any dry patches beautifully. It’s also a beautiful colour, I think – it’s a very deep, mauve-toned berry that’s just enough for day-to-day life. It’s a great hydrating option for the cooler months when, at some point, we are all bound to have chapped, dry-feeling lips.

However, we all know that the trade-off for hydrating lipstick is that it does not last well. This one is no exception. I don’t have before and after pictures, but it barely holds up through a Second Cup White Hot Chocolate, let alone a meal. For a lot of people, this isn’t an issue – many would prefer their lips being in good shape to their lipstick being impenetrable. For shorter, less busy days, this is fine for me. For longer days where I know I will be eating on campus and may not have time to touch up, I skip anything and everything hydrating and go straight for the budge-proof formulas. But I know that the day will come when the most important thing to me is that my lips are comfortable, and this will be the first product I reach for.

The Smoothed Over Lipsticks go for $34 CAD for 0.14 oz, or $242.86 per oz. That’s obviously getting up there in price; I personally don’t get enough use out of hydrating lipsticks to drop that much on one, but if that’s your thing this is a great option.

Glossed Over Gloss in Hyacinth

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I’m normally not a lip gloss person, and pigmented lip gloss is something that bewilders me. If I wanted a bold colour that would come off the second I took a sip of water, I would buy, well… a lip gloss. But I don’t want that, so I don’t buy lip gloss. I decided to try out the gloss for the sake of completeness, and I’m really glad I did.

First of all, that colour is gorgeous! This is the exact type of colour I gravitate towards in the fall. Purple lipstick is kind of a thing of mine, but even I can’t deny that a purple-toned berry is much more wearable. Arbonne claims that this product provides sheer to medium coverage, but I would argue that it can be built up to full coverage. It is worn over the lip liner and lipstick in the above photo, so it is especially opaque.

The gloss has a slightly sticky feel to it, but nothing uncomfortable. If you hate any trace of stickiness in your gloss, this is not for you – but if a bit (which does fade with wear) is okay with you, you won’t have a problem.

What really impressed me was the staying power. I decided to have a cup of tea after applying this lipstick, and after one sip I was ready to be disappointed:

lipstick-mug

Surely that does not bode well, right?!

Wrong. Despite the gloss left on the mug, after chugging my tea it barely looked touched:

arbonne-lip-after-tea

I was very pleasantly surprised by this result (especially considering the lipstick did not hold up to the same test), so I moved on to phase two: having a bagel. (St. Viateur is the only way, incidentally.)

arbonne-lip-after-eating

Clearly the bagel did a lot more damage, but I still think that for a gloss the results are honestly pretty great. Despite the fact that I am lip gloss avoider, I honestly do see myself breaking this out during the colder months – as long as I think I’ll have a chance to touch up if I plan on having a meal while I’m out.

I also really like the applicator of this gloss; doefoots are never precise enough for me, and tend to gloop product on. I found that the individualized hairs on the brush-style applicator gave me more control and didn’t distribute too much product on my lips.

The Glossed Over Lip Gloss goes for $31 for 0.11 fl oz/3.36 mL – that’s $281.82/fl oz, or $9.23/mL. Again, getting steep – but if you’re a gloss fan, this one is excellent.

Here’s everything on my face in the context of a full makeup look.

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On my eyes, I used Garnet, Sable, Espresso, and Mauve from the LORAC Pro palette. My blush is Sleek Flushed.

Swatches of everything:

arbonne-fall-lip-swatches

All in all, I’ve really been enjoying the fall lip products I’ve tried from Arbonne. The Intelligence Lip Treatment is my favourite, but the gloss is excellent too. The lipstick is great for what it is, though it’s not my favourite of these products. The lip liner is the only product that truly falls short for me, but it’s not bad – just underwhelming.

Note: All products in this post were sent to me for review purposes, but as always this does not influence my opinion whatsoever. This post is not sponsored.

What’s in my bag?

Posted on November 04, 2015 under Lists

Over the past year, I have been searching for two staple bags, one small and one larger. I have found the larger bag, but I’m still on the lookout for a smaller bag that suits my needs. I have found, in this process, that I am apparently extremely picky when it comes to bags. My criteria for both of them are essentially the same, although obviously the volume differs.

Basically, my needs are as follows: black or navy, without gold or bronze hardware, free of bling, and with at least a few internal pockets. Ideally big enough to hold my iPad, although I will concede this point for the smaller bag. Finally, it must have a cross-body strap, as I am not all about carrying a bag in the crook of my arm.

Oh, and I’m on a student budget, so that limits my options rather severely.

marc-b-brook-bag

I’ve been using the Marc B Brook bag as my main school bag for about 2 months now, and I love it. Considering my last two bags were from Primark and Forever 21, at $120 this was a bit of a splurge for me, though it’s nothing in the grand scope of handbag pricing.

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Anyway, I love this bag. It’s sturdy, the perfect size, and partitioned off perfectly. It has three main pockets: two open, one zipped off in the middle. There are three smaller pockets on the inside that are perfect for the small items that I don’t want to lose in the bottom. It has a cross-body strap and handles, so it can be worn or carried. It’s perfect for my needs.

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So, what am I toting around inside of it at any given time?

Front open pocket

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Notebook: I take my notes by hand, because I’m old-fashioned. (I retain the information so much better than if I type it!) This semester I’m taking two anthropology classes and three English classes, so I found it easiest to have a notebook for each discipline.

Mars wrapper, Metro receipt for Bits and Bites and frozen pizza: Clearly I have not done a deep-cleaning of my bag in awhile. And really like junk food. :(

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Planner and pens: I don’t think I’ve talked about it on here before, but my friends know that I am in love with the large Moleskine Weekly Planner. I’ve been using one since 2009 and it suits my planning style perfectly. I’m not an obsessive planner at all; I mainly use it to track all the readings I have, although it’s useful for writing down assignments, tests, and appointments. I write in it with Staedtler Triplus Fineliners, which are my favourite felt tip pens. This set of 20 was a bit expensive, but I love having the colour variety.

Back open pocket

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Coursepack and textbook: I almost always have school readings on hand so I can make the most out of my downtime. I have so many readings to do now that I’m in fourth year that I pretty much don’t let a single second tick by without being productive. If I arrive at class early, the book comes out. And with about a 25 minute commute to and from campus, I get a lot of reading done on the bus!

Old quiz, study notes for a midterm: More trash! I took the midterm on the day I took these pictures, so that’s my excuse for that one – but I don’t know why the quiz was still floating around in there.

Middle zipped pocket

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iPad: I don’t always bring my iPad with me, but I did this day because I was reading an ebook for one of my anthropology classes. A lot of my readings are uploaded online, so I download them into the Adobe Acrobat Reader app so I can read and annotate them on my iPad when I’m on the go. I find this a lot easier than doing it on the computer, and obviously my iPad is more portable than my laptop anyway.

Wallet: I often just go to campus with my student card, bus pass, and debit card, but some days I’ll pop my wallet into my bag if I think I might want cash or any of my other cards. I’ve been trying to get into the habit of carrying my full wallet with me since I never know if I’ll want my credit card, ID, etc. My wallet is from Primark and aside from the fact that it’s disgustingly dirty I like it – and it’s held up well for over a year, which is pretty shocking considering it was like £4.

Emergency cheques from the bank: I ordered in three cheques so I could pay my rent and picked them up on the day I took these pictures.

Front compartment inner pockets

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Sephora compact: For touching up my lipstick.

Earbuds: I want to cry imagining ~50 minutes of commuting each day without music. I obviously also bring my phone with me, but I usually keep it in my coat pocket, not in my bag.

Keys: Self-explanatory. I attached them to a silver C keychain that I have had forever.

Cardholder: My cardholder is a convenient little sleeve for my bus pass (essential!) and student ID card, which I use to get into various student-only areas on campus. (Check out eighteen-year-old me with dark hair and bags!) I bought the cardholder at Dix-Mille Villages and I love it!

Back compartment inner pocket

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Lipstick: Obviously, my bag accumulates lipstick. Revlon Shameless and Rimmel East End Snob were from previous days; MAC Rebel was what I wore on this particular day.

Pens: I buy BIC Ultra Round Stic Grip ballpoint pens in bulk. So many people swear by fancy pens, but these cheap ballpoint pens are my life. I will not take notes with anything else. They’re like $2.50 a pack, they write smoothly, and they make my writing look really nice. I stock up on them at the beginning of every semester because I wear them out or lose them so quickly.

Phone charger: One day a week I’m on campus for 7 hours, and on Thursdays my school day tragically lasts 9 hours. A phone charger is essential for these days! I can’t remember what brand this one is; I just buy whatever is the cheapest at Walmart, since the Apple lightning cables are ridiculously expensive for something that seems to break every few months.

Etc

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Water bottle: I tend to clip this onto the outside of my bag since it doesn’t fit inside very well. Anyway, I drink water obsessively, as anyone who has hung out with me can tell you. I try to drink 2.5-3L of water a day. I cannot be without my water bottle on campus. This is a Camelbak Eddy 750mL. I don’t really think it’s worth the price, but I like it and will continue to use it.

Et voilà – my very uni-focused bag. I could probably do without having to lug all this stuff around with me, but where’s the fun in that?