You have to be odd
to be number one.
Dr. Seuss

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Essie Absolutely Shore

Ladies and gentlemen, I have found the Baby Bear of mint nail polishes. Essie Absolutely Shore. Yes, that is a reference to Goldilocks and The Three Bears, but what do I mean? Not too green, not too blue, not too bright, not too murky - it's just right. Essie has got mint perfectly right. I literally thought the hunt would never end....

Needless to say I'm obsessed with this nail polish. I have been wearing it nonstop for the past month, maybe more. It's the most gorgeous true mint shade. Incredibly flattering on the nails, very chic and polished with a bit of colour and life. Love. As with most Essie polishes, the formula is average but the colour is totally worth it. Thin, sheer colour in a perfectly workable consistency gets you some streakiness that disappears once you slap on a good four coats for full opacity. A bit of patience, a little control, and a slick of topcoat, and you'll have yourself a beautiful pastel manicure. This is easily one of my top five nail polishes of all time and I'm so happy to have it in my collection.

There was a long and winding road to this post coming to be - you may remember from my Spring Edit: Nails post that I intended to blog about this soon after - but I just wanted to give a shoutout to the people over at NailPolishCanada. Long story short. I purchased Absolutely Shore from NailPolishCanada and waited eagerly for its arrival. My package was delivered super quickly and it even came with lollies - so far so good! When I first applied this polish it was decent. I immediately noticed that the formula was a little thicker than I'd like but it worked so I didn't think much of it. However, every time after that application (~10 times) I would get bubbles developing in my manicure as the polish dried. Worst mani nightmare. I tried everything including nail polish thinner, which I really thought would do the trick, but nothing worked. I was really upset by this so I emailed NailPolishCanada to see if there was something they could do about it. I mentioned that it seemed flukey from first try and that I did try my best to work with it. Lo and behold, the next day I received a response apologizing for the polish and saying that they'd send me a replacement straight away. My package shipped next day and I received it the day after, and best of all this time the polish was A-OK! I was pleasantly surprised and impressed by their spectacular service. They communicated with me every step of the way, letting me know what the status of my package was. Hands down the best customer service I've ever received from any company. Brilliant! My fellow Canadians (and US too!), I highly recommend NailPolishCanada for all your nail polish needs or wants. Great prices, quick shipping, amazing customer service. This is not a sponsored post, I just wanted to acknowledge an amazing company that gave me a great shopping experience! Thank you to all of you over at NailPolishCanada! :)

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Origins Make a Difference Plus+ Rejuvenating Treatment

The Origins Make a Difference+ Rejuvenating Treatment is what I like to call the jack of all trades of my skincare stash. I'll make this really simple for you: you need this product in your life. I know I say that a lot in this blog, but that's just because I enjoy sharing the products I love and don't often talk about the ones I'm not so keen on. But back to the Origins treatment... If you have a skin issue, chances are this can help it.

I purchased this after hearing it oh, maybe a million and one times? on Kate's blog and Youtube channel (gh0stparties) and am so glad I did because it's got to be my all-time favourite skincare product. I love how this product is packaged - a nice and simple aquamarine-coloured pot that's made of plastic but looks and feels like glass. You've got the best of both worlds with this as it looks pretty on the bathroom counter, but you can easily toss it in your travel bag without fear of it breaking open and spilling everywhere. The treatment itself is a light-weight gel consistency that smells citrusy and feels invigorating, and a little goes a long way with this stuff which is always a plus. It's not the priciest of all skincare items but at $45 a pot it's good to know that it'll last you a while. How I apply this? I take a pea-sized amount and distribute it evenly over my entire face and neck day and night, before my moisturizer.

I originally picked this up because I was looking for something to quench my skin's thirst. My skin had been experiencing a lot of dehydration at the time and nothing in skincare arsenal could repair it. I first stopped by my Sephora for a little sample, and after first use I knew I'd be getting the full size. It does absolute wonders for my skin in that it really smooths over all my flaky patches and plumps my face up wonderfully. My face has never felt so lovely and silky and hydrated in its entire life. So dreamy...

Although I loved its intense moisturizing properties, I do have combination skin and I worried that it might not do so well with my shinier areas, so I was pleasantly surprised when I found that it balances those areas nicely as well. It sits on my skin so nicely without weighing it down and to be brief about it, it just makes my skin feel good.

Finally, I also reach for this product whenever I have spotty skin because it just seems to do something that alleviates the stress of it all. I've noticed that my spots don't stay on my skin for as long when my skin is properly hydrated so that may explain some of it, but it also has a calming effect on any red and inflamed areas that helps to keep them from getting worse. This treatment also seems to brighten and fade any existing acne scars, and I'm a fan of any and all products that can do that for my skin because I've got quite a few of those buggers.

It's safe to say that the Origins Make a Difference+ Rejuvenating Treatment is going to be a staple in my skincare routine from here on out. I really don't think I could live without this product because it just does so much for my skin that no other product can. And it's sort of like a 3-in-1 that is effective against more than a couple skincare problems. If you're on the market for something new in skincare or just want to give your skin an extra boost and pick me up, I highly recommend this product because it's a fantastic addition for any skin type!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

DIY Flower Crown

Let's talk about the one accessory that's been taking the world by storm as of late: the flower crown. After seeing the first few hundred, I thought, sure it's cute but how practical would it really be to own one? And to be honest nothing's changed since then and it's still pretty impractical to own one simply because it's really quite garish and over the top (the one I've made today at least!) but when I saw Caroline's (from burkatron) DIY on it I caved. This girl's blog is my personal heaven - seriously, go check it out! So out I went to purchase the materials for this DIY, and to be honest with you it ain't cheap! I didn't realize how expensive silk flowers were....

I'm considering making a smaller, more subtle one next but in the meantime, here's how I made mine...

  1. Silk flowers - Make sure to pick up a variety of shapes and sizes in a colour palette of your choice. You want to pick up ones that are wired so that they will be easier to weave into the crown. I got all of mine from Michael's craft store.
  2. Wired twine or any sort of garden wire - This forms the base of your crown.
  3. Jewelry wire - I believe mine is 26 gauge but this doesn't really matter.
  4. A pair of scissors
  5. Wire cutters
  6. Ribbon (optional but highly recommended)
  7. Heavy duty glue - I used E6000 because once it dries it's like cement!

Step 1: Take your twine or garden wire and weave pieces together so that you make a circle that is slightly bigger than the size of your head. You'll need some allowance for the flowers.

Step 2: If you've bought flowers like me, most of them will be on really long stems because they're meant to be put in vases. Using wire cutters, snip off just the flower bit with a short length of stem - this is what you will wrap around the crown base.

Step 3: Start attaching your flowers onto the base by wrapping the wired stem around the circle you've created. This part will take the most time because this is when you decide what kind of shape you want your crown to take, how you want to mix up the colours, whether or not you're using a pattern, what kind of flowers you want clustered together, etc..... Obviously you can choose to do whatever you like but as a general guideline, a flower crown typically looks better with the largest flowers up at the front then flowers decreasing in size as you go to the back of the head. Take your time with this step until you are happy with the placement of your flowers. If any of your flowers detach from the stems at any point, like some of mine did, just use some glue to stick them back together.

This is what mine looked like after attaching all the flowers. I went with a very soft, feminine pink and white colour scheme, and chose a few different types of flowers, both small and large, to make sure there was variety. I started with the larger flowers - I had the biggest one up at the front then just dotted the other relatively big ones along the sides. I then took the smaller flowers and used them to fill the gaps. I tried to distribute the pink and white evenly throughout the crown to make it look nicer. (The ribbon is just there for added effect, it is not attached to the crown, haha.)

Before moving on, try it on to make sure you like how it looks on your head! Sounds trivial but when I tried mine on, I realized that the 'biggest' flower was obnoxiously massive. Thankfully this particular flower was easy to work with. I simply pulled it off the stem, removed a the bottommost layer of petals and replaced it on the stem. It still looks huge in the photos below because I didn't make this change until after they were taken.

Step 4: Once you've attached all the flowers it'll be pretty much ready to wear, but there will be a lot of wires sticking out which could poke you. This next step is optional but highly recommended. Take ribbon in a colour that is complementary to your colour scheme and just wrap it around any exposed twine, wires, and plastic stems. Use heavy duty glue to seal down the starting and ending points.

Finished product!

And there you have your pretty, girly flower crown - perfect for picnics at the park, field frolics, special OOTDs or just plain lookin' cute!

Photos of myself taken by my sister Joy.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Current Loves No. 3

Wow, how long has it been since my last favourites post? Way too long. I need to do these more often! Here's a roundup of the things I've been loving lately...a bit of everything in this one - makeup, skincare, fashion, and even a fragrance!

Let's start with the makeup. I've been loving my complexion colour products of choice lately, and those would be Benefit's Hervana blush and The Body Shop's Honey Bronzing Powder in the shade 03 Medium Matte. Hervana is a great option for those of you who are just starting out with makeup or want a super subtle and natural flush because that's what this product does for you. It's a sheer, pretty corally pink and it does a lovely job at brightening the face up without making it look particularly obvious that you've got blush on.

I think bronzer is one of those products that I'm not really fussed about, as in I only ever own one bronzer (typically a matte one), to use for when I want to go for a bit of contour. Don't get me wrong I think it makes a world of difference and it definitely has its place in my makeup bag, but I just don't see the point in having more than one, unlike my collection of blushes, lipsticks, foundations, ... you get the point. I quite like my current Body Shop one for several reasons. Why not start with the fact that it has a cute/cool honeycomb pattern on it? Also, it's so easy to use - really sheer and buildable so you don't have to worry about overdoing it, and it gives the most natural definition. I think bronzer can really bring life to someone's face and this product does the job really well.

Last for makeup is the Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer, a product I've loved for a long time now. I'm on my second pen and have already purchased a third one when it runs out! I use this to conceal around my under eye area as I find it appropriately hydrating and highlighting while still having enough pigmentation to conceal decently well. If you've got some major darkness or pigmentation this may not do the job, but otherwise it's fantastic!

I wasn't sure whether to place this under makeup or skincare, but my next favourite product is the C.O. Bigelow Lemon Lip Balm. I highly highly recommend this for any of you with troublesome lips! Dry, chapped, cut, flakey, whatever it is this lip balm can solve. I remember using it once when my lips were in horrible condition - I had a bunch of bare lip skin (is that a thing?) from biting them so they hurt a lot - and I kid you not, 10-20 minutes later I felt no pain. I rubbed the balm off just to make sure I wasn't going crazy and my lips were healed! Miracle product this one is.

Two skincare bits. First, I've been loving the Origins Super Spot Remover, recommended by some lovely Brit Youtubers (which you know I love)...Kate, Anna, and Estee. I place them on spotty areas of my face when I feel them coming on and it just gets them taken care of. I've also noticed that it seems to help with acne scars which I have quite a lot of so I'm happy about that! But what I love the most is that it doesn't leave the area surrounding spots dry and flakey like a lot of spot treatments can do. Thumbs up Origins! Second is Cuccio Naturale's Pomegranate & Fig Butter Blend. In a blog post for the third time in a row?! I must love this stuff! Read the full blog post on this product here if you haven't already.

For fragrance I have been obsessed with Marc Jacobs Daisy Eau So Fresh. This scent equals spring. It's fresh, floral, feminine and sophisticated. I highly recommend you sniff this yourself in store because no amount of describing will do it justice! I'm usually really bad at remembering to spritz something on in the morning, but since my first spray with this little sample vial that I received in one of my Topboxes, I've been using it daily. It's like I want to smell it all the time so I'm so eager to spritz it all over in the morning! When this small sample runs out, ........ you bet I'm going to be getting a full size bottle. *Guilty gulp*

Fashion! I've been pretty much obsessed with my Aerie tortoiseshell sunglasses. I wear them everyday with anything and everything to keep my peepers protected from the sun. They are in the Wayfarers design which I think suits most face shapes and I'm super happy to have them. This specific pair is no longer available but I'm sure a ton of different brands and stores make a style similar to this! My last favourite for this post is my recently acquired light wash denim jacket from Gap which I got on a 40% off sale. To me this is the perfect piece of outerwear for the spring and summer. It has the light colour that goes with a spring/summer colour palette, it's not too heavy but it still keeps you warm from cooler evenings, and it goes with all your favourite spring/summer outfits. I rocked denim like crazy during my toddler days so I think of my childhood whenever I wear this. Awww.

Hope you've enjoyed this round of favourites and I'll talk to you soon in the next post!

Twitter: @jemcheng
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Friday, June 7, 2013

Cuccio Naturale Pomegranate & Fig Butter Blend

You've already heard me speak about this product once (in my last post) and now I've got a full-on rave coming your way. I am ridiculously head over heels about this product - it is heavenly.

As I mentioned briefly in the previous post, I received Cuccio Naturale's Pomegranate & Fig Butter Blend in my November Topbox last year and quickly dismissed it as 'just another body butter' to be used for vacation/holiday trips. It remained in storage until I got a gym membership recently and had to pack a toiletries bag with some shower goodies for after I workout. I remember liking the scent when I first sniffed the tube back when I first got it but it was a brand I wasn't familiar with so I didn't have any expectations of it. Or at least I didn't think I was going to be blown away by it....

I couldn't be more wrong. 

This body butter blend was absolute love at first application. It has quite a thick consistency as you can see in the photo below, which initially led me to think that it would be the sticky/greasy type, but when I spread it through my hands it magically thinned out and absorbed into my skin at lightning fast. But what really pushed me over the edge into purchasing a full size tub of this stuff was the way it made my skin feel just seconds later - silky, smooth, utter luxuriousness. It's a lot like cream makeup products that have a cream-to-powder finish. The end result is zero tackiness and one hundred percent comfortable moisture! And have I mentioned the scent that is the most amazing fusion of pomegranate and fig? It's there but not in a strong or overpowering way - perfect for a product that you may be slathering all over your body. It's just really nice and fresh and quite a "big girl" scent, if that makes sense. This butter blend comes in other scents as well which I'm planning to purchase in the future - papaya and guava nectar, milk and honey, lemongrass and lavender, and tuscan citrus herb (with bergamot and clary sage). Don't they all sound delicious?!

Pretty much the only thing I don't like about this product is how hard it is to get a hold of! Once I realized that I needed this product in my life, I did of bit of research as to where I could pick one up only to find out that they don't sell this stuff anywhere. In fact, Cuccio Naturale as a brand is only sold to spa and salon professionals. Ridiculous! Cuccio Naturale, if you're reading this - I bet you would turn a hell of a profit if you made this widely available to the public!!! So I turned to eBay and purchased this massive 8 oz. tub for roughly $10+shipping. It felt like such a luxury product that I expected it to be more expensive, so the price is totally worth it in my opinion.

This now sits on my bedside table to be used whenever I'm feeling a bit dry anywhere or even when I just want a refreshing scent to give me a bit of a jolt! Cuccio Naturale's Pomegranate & Fig Butter Blend makes me a happy camper. :)

Twitter: @jemcheng
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