Saturday, December 6, 2014

IMATS Toronto 2014 Review & Haul!

IMATS Toronto 2014 Review & Haul
Two weekends ago was my first time attending Toronto IMATS! As I had never been before, I was excited but hesitant, not knowing what to expect. But, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised! If you're not interested in my experience, scroll down for the haul!

Firstly, it was smaller and less chaotic than I thought, probably also due to the fact that I was there before it opened on the first day (Saturday). Among the vendors were: NARS, MAC, Make Up For Ever, Hakuhodo, Velour Lashes, Esquido, Beauty Blender, and several others.

I brought my mom with me so we could split up and hit more booths in less time. We arrived around 8:10 and were able to walk right in at 8:30 when the doors opened. I had made a list of what vendors I wanted to go to and what I wanted to purchase from each, as well as how much each item regularly costs so I could know how much of a deal I was getting (I'm super organized like that). 

I immediately made a beeline for Velour lashes and purchased what I wanted, while my mom headed to Beauty Blender. After Velour I wandered around for a bit and debated buying some very inexpensive Morphe brushes (decided against it). The MUFE booth was getting pretty busy by this point, so I quickly placed my order with them and got in line. While I was waiting my Mom went to MAC, which ended up being a bit disappointing because either they were sold out of the blot powder and prolongwear concealer or they were sold out within minutes. Afterward my Mom took my place in the MUFE line so I could continue shopping. Collectively (haha), we ended up waiting in line to pay at MUFE for probably an hour. In the meantime I hit up Hakuhodu, the one vendor I hadn't planned out my purchases for, and Esquido. We left around 9:45, but most of that time was spent waiting at MUFE! 

If you're going to purchase a fair bit, the ticket price is definitely worth it. If you've never been, I highly, highly suggest making a list and going to your most important booths first to ensure you get what you want. I waited until the end to go to NARS and they were sold out of what I wanted, but they were also a bit disappointing because the only discount they were offering was $10 off a $75 purchase.

1. Eat beforehand
This may seem like common sense, but you're going to need your energy (especially if you go first thing in the morning)! We had a small breakfast and coffee (!!) an hour or two before we got there and were absolutely starving by the time we left. At the very least, pack a granola bar.

2. Make a list
This is probably the most important in my opinion. You can view which vendors will be at IMATS before you go and make a list of which vendors you want to go to and what you'd like from each. When you're there looking at thousands of products it's easy to forget what you originally had your heart set on. Had I not double-checked my list while I was there I would have forgotten some of the things I really wanted.

3. Price things out
If you don't know how much products retail for, you won't know if you're getting a deal or not.

4. Bring cash
Every booth I purchased from took credit, but some had minimum limits, so if you only wanted one thing you'd be out of luck.

Velour Lashes in You Complete Me
Velour Lashes in Extra Oomph Oomf
Like I mentioned above, Velour Lashes was the first booth I hit. They had all their lashes out so you could see and touch them all, and everything was discounted from $35 to $20! I purchased 'You Complete Me' and 'Extra Oomph.' I kind of regret getting Extra Oomph, only because I originally thought I'd be able to wear them on their own, but now that I've looked at them I think I'll only be able to layer them over another pair of lashes.
Esquido Lashes in BFF
Esquido Lashes in BFF
Esquido Lashes in Lashlorette
Esquido Lashes in Lashlorette
At Esquido I picked up 'BFF' and 'Lashlorette.' I originally had wanted BFF and Unforgettable, but the girl in front of me purchased the last pair of Unforgettable! So, I settled for Lashlorette instead. Esquido was also discounted. I can't remember the exact amount but I think it was similar to Velour. These were also extremely hard to photograph because of the metallic background in the lash box.
MAC Bronzing Powder in Golden
I was only able to get the bronzing powder (in Golden) at MAC, although my mom purchased it so I didn't get to see the booth. The receipt showed a 'student discount,' I think it was around $6 off.
Hakuhodu Eye Brushes in J007 and H2889
I wasn't planning on purchasing anything from Hakuhodo but got sucked in by their softness. I wish I had made a plan in advance. I would've purchased some additional brushes had I been able to think it through. I ended up with J007 (horse) and H2889 (horse; I'm 99% sure that's what it is, I threw out the plastic with the label on it). These are actually my first Hakuhodo's! I don't think there was a big discount on these (if at all), but they had some special sets at cash - gorgeous, but still quite expensive.
MUFE Artistry Shadow in D200, Camouflage Concealer in 01, and 250 Eyeliner Brush, Make Up For Ever
MUFE Make Up For Ever Artistry Eyeshadow in D200
MUFE Make Up For Ever Artist Shadow D200
I restocked on my beloved camouflage concealer at MUFE, though I was disappointed they didn't have the individual pots. I also picked up the 250 extra fine eyeliner brush and an artistry shadow in D200 and palette. There was a pretty good discount at MUFE, the concealer was about $12 less, and the eyeshadow about $4 less.
Finally, Beauty Blender was my ultimate deal of the day. I purchased six beauty blenders and a solid cleanser for $60! Suuuuch a good deal. And yes, all six are for me. Purchased at a normal retailer it would have been at least $125 CDN.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Top Ten Fall Nail Polishes

The weather is steadily getting colder and my favorite season is well underway. It's time to put away your shorts, bring out the heavy knits, and, naturally, update your nail wardrobe!
The Dark Chocolate - Nicole by OPI Hard-Kourt Fashionista
Brown is such a quintessential Fall color and if it's something you're not going to wear often, this chocolate shade is budget-friendly.
The Deep Red - Dior Rouge Massai
This is such a pretty, classic, deep red. Red is one of the most important staples in your nail wardrobe and this is one that deserves a lot of credit. I love slightly cool, blue-based, deep reds and this one is perfect.
The Sultry Navy - OPI Keeping Suzy at Bay
This blue from the San Francisco collection is a favorite of mine for one main reason: you can tell it is blue (not black) from afar. Although I'm a huge fan of dark colors, sometimes on the nail they apply darker than you thought and end up all looking like identical nearly black shades. This one applies slightly darker than the photo suggests, but definitely still blue. It's so pretty and I always get compliments when I wear it.
The Luxe Plum - Chanel Provocation
Everyone needs a dark, slightly vampy purple in their lives. Everyone. Being cool-toned and fair-skinned, purples are my jam. The nice thing about this color, besides how beautiful it is, is that it looking stunning on both warm and cool complexions. A deep shade like this will always be in style.
The Feminine Purple - OPI I'm Feeling Sashy
This was part of the Miss Universe collection and with good reason. I'm Feeling Sashy is a really pretty feminine, sophisticated purple.
The Touch of Glitter - Nicole by OPI Follow Me on Glitter
I have very mixed feelings about this polish. It looks amazing on the nails, especially in the winter months, but the removal process - ugh! I suppose this could be counteracted by using a glitter base coat, but I find those cause the polish to peel prematurely. You (and your nails) might just have to suffer through the dreaded glitter removal. Pain is beauty, right? Say what you will about the Kardashians, but their polish collection colors are pretty nice. Graphite and glitter, what more could you want?
The Dusty Pink - Essie Ladylike
Your neons and brights are going to have to (I mean if you want..) to this pretty subdued hue. It has slight brown undertones, which help it translate nicely in the cooler months.
The Winter Nude - Nails Inc. Gel Porchester Square
Another glossy, gorgeous polish. I don't tend to wear a lot of white on my nails during the winter, so this is a really nice alternative. It comes in the regular polish line as well as the Gel Effect formula (pictured), but I do like the Gel Effect a lot better.
The Alluring Almond - Essie Glamour Purse
This is a really pretty light to medium brown. Another color I think would suit both warm and cool skin tones.
The Shimmering Emerald - Deborah Lippmann Laughin' to the Bank
I definitely saved the best for last. I seriously cannot say enough good things about this polish. Such a gorgeous hunter green emerald that works with almost every skin tone. I wore the above design on a super fun snowboarding trip last year and whenever I wear it, it reminds me of the good times. It was originally released as a limited edition shade, but I still see it regularly. So seriously, check it out (or don't, and I'll keep this gorgeous shade to myself :P).
Unfortunately, this was the best photo I could get of swatches on paper. But it gives you somewhat of an idea of the colors compared to one another.

P.S. Sorry for the lack of regular posts lately, I've been swamped with school, but hope to be on a semi-regular schedule soon!<3

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Fall Lust List 9.14

Photos property of their respective brands.

Rebecca Minkoff Love Crossbody in Latte
This one is top of my list for a reason. I've been drooling over this for the past two weeks and I'm currently in the I-definitely-need-this-now stage. It's just so beautiful and classic. Rebecca Minkoff is my go-to designer for handbags and this little lady is no exception. 

Chanel Nail Lacquer in Provocation
I adore shades like this for Fall. While summer primarily means brights and whites for my nails, I tend to gravitate, almost exclusively, to nudes, greys, and darks for the Winter. Provocation is a really pretty deep cool-toned purple that really flatters all skin tones.

Christian Louboutin Beaute Nail Color
This is something I have not bit the bullet on...yet. I know I'm going to be picking up at least one of the colors soon, but at $57 CDN a bottle it's not something I'm willing to purchase sight unseen. Swatches are slowly popping up online and I have my eye on a couple shades. I can't wait to stare at the gorgeous bottles on my vanity.

Frye Regina Ballet Flat
An ode to buttery soft leather and classic shapes with a little bit of an edge. If you weren't aware, I love Frye, from flats to heels to their amazing boots - I've got them all. My current LBFs (Little Black Flats - an absolute necessity in every womans wardrobe) are the Frye Carson flats, which I've been living in. They're comfortable, classic, and go with everything from jeans to cocktail dresses. The Regina flat is similar but with a pointed toe, rather than rounded. As I begin to make my transition from university to the corporate world, flats like these will be a beautiful staple.

Tom Ford Lip Color in Casablanca
This is a really beautiful mauve plum shade, perfect for Fall. 

Aerin Porcelain Peony
I'm in the very slow process of redecorating my office and this little ceramic peony will look so sweet on my bookshelf. Peonies are my favorite flower!

Diptyque Vanille Candle
I think the Verbena and Lemon is probably my favorite Diptyque candle, but as temperatures drop, I love filling my home with warm, comforting scents, and vanilla fits that role perfectly. Diptyque's Vanille combines vanilla with sandalwood and a few other notes to produce a sophisticated scent.

Aerin Lilac Path Eau de Parfum
This is definitely not a Fall scent. However, some days I just want a really light, fresh fragrance, and Lilac Path fits that bill perfectly. It smells predominantly of lilacs and is really feminine and pretty. It certainly doesn't hurt that the bottle is gorgeous either.

Rebecca Minkoff Julian Backpack 
Another Rebecca Minkoff I've been eyeing. Although I'm in my final year of university, I've never actually used a backpack... While it may be useful on days I bring extra books and a snack to campus, it's main purpose for me would be for travel. I cannot stand lugging a purse and a carry on (and my dog in her carrier) around the airport or when I'm out. This chic backpack is the perfect alternative to keep my arms free.

Links & Where to Buy
Christian Louboutin Beaute Nail Colour, $57 CDN, also available at Holt Renfrew
Tom Ford Lip Color in Casablanca, $55 CDN, Holt Renfrew
Diptyque Vanille Candle, $69 CDN, Holt Renfrew

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Chanel Confident #94 and Aura #96 Rouge Coco Shine | Fall 2014

Chanel has four new Rouge Coco Shines for the Fall as part of the Collection États Poétiques: 93 Intime, 94 Confident, 95 Viva, and 96 Aura. I'm a big fan of the Coco Shines because they deposit pretty color, while keeping the lips hydrated. Although they are less pigmented than the Rouge Allure or Rouge Coco, their color can definitely be built up. And for me, they're absolute perfection for on-the-go, as they can be applied easily without a mirror. I picked up two of the shades, Confident and Aura.
Confident is a cool-toned mauve pink that is a really nice, slightly darker, my-lips-but-better color. I am such a sucker for a mauve lip colors because I find them so flattering on my fair, cool-toned skin. I initially swatched the four shades on my hand and only purchased Aura, but after 20 minutes of browsing I returned to the Chanel counter to purchase Confident as well (snagged the last one!). I'm so glad I did because I'm in love with the color once it's on. I'm actually planning on purchasing a backup!
Aura is a deep, cool-toned berry. Both of these shades are lovely for Fall, and I can already tell that I (or rather my lips) will be living in them for the next couple months. While it looks very dark and intimidating in the tube, Aura is a great shade for those who are hesitant about making the foray into darker lip colors. Start out with a sheer light wash, and then gradually build up the color.
The first swatches show one swipe, and the second are multiple swipes to build up the color. I found Confident difficult to accurately swatch, as the color is truly amplified when applied over your natural lip color.
Nars Fast Ride (left) vs. Chanel Aura (right; swatched heavily)
At first I thought Aura might be similar to Nars Fast Ride (which I love), but after a quick comparison, you can see they are quite different. Fast Ride is more purple and muted, whereas Aura is lighter, brighter, and more berry-hued.

Both colors had the characteristic glossy sheer finish of the Rouge Coco Shines and alright lasting power. Naturally, they will require more frequent applications than a full-pigment lipstick.

Confident, Aura and the rest of the collection are available online or at Chanel counters for $39 CDN. Hurry and get them before they're gone!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Creating a Custom Lipstick with Bite Beauty & Sephora

Bite Beauty Lip Lab Custom Lipstick
As a VIB Rouge member at Sephora, I get to hear about (and experience!) many perks. One in particular that I have been drooling over for forever, is visiting the Bite Beauty Lip Lab in NYC. Here, Rouge members can simply flash their shiny red card to enter Willy Wonka's lipstick factory and make a custom lipstick shade. Although I've been to New York several times, I had no trips planned in the foreseeable future, and wasn't going to plan a trip solely for a lipstick... So I was thrilled when Bite announced a series of pop-ups inside Sephora to make a custom lipstick. I attended the event this Saturday, at the absolutely beautiful, newly renovated Sephora inside Square One in Mississauga.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab Custom Lipstick Shades
The first step was meeting with a Bite Beauty consultant to test out colors and determine the finish and scent of my lipstick. For the custom lipsticks, Bite created 29 completely new shades (unavailable in their current line) that you could select alone, or combine with others to make your perfect shade. I had fun playing, but knew almost immediately which colors I wanted to combine. My only qualm with the colours is that there weren't many in the nude or dark range. The darkest colors that you see in the above picture, when swatched, were actually lighter, fuchsia shades. In hindsight, you could've asked them to add more white to make it lighter. The finishes to choose from included matte, luminous (cream), and sheer. According to Bite, matte is their longest wearing and is much creamier than traditional matte lipsticks.
                  Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Bite lipsticks normally have a wild berry scent (which the rep told me was because they didn't want to be too similar to MAC and other brands with a vanilla scent), but you could choose from wild berry, cherry, violet, mango, or vanilla. 
                  Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
These were the little lipstick bon bons that were used to create each lipstick. It looks like there aren't that many colors, but each lipstick had a custom recipe combination to create the shade. I chose to combine two different colors to make my perfect shade.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab Custom Lipstick
Here is the magical combination that goes into creating my shade. The clear lipstick base, a little berry fuchsia, some beige, and pink.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab Custom Lipstick inside Sephora
Am I the only one that thinks this picture is beautiful? Look at that! After combining the colors, the lipstick is melted down.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Next essential oils were added to scent the lipstick. I went with a combination of vanilla and wild berry. 
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Melted and stirred again to produce the final color result. 
Creating a custom lipstick with the Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Next the liquid is poured into a mould which sat on a very cold metal plate to solidify the lipstick.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
After a few minutes of cooling, the excess is scraped off the top.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
 The mould is opened to reveal the fully formed lipstick.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Lastly, an empty tube is placed down over the lipstick and then pulled up to reveal the final product.
Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
Et voila! My finished custom lipstick! 

This is the card the first consultant filled out, which I then handed to lipstick scientist. Love my color? Simply copy the shade (2/3 of shade #5 and 1/3 of shade #19) to create one of your own. It cost $36 CDN for the lipstick, and this was not limited to one per person, nor limited to Rouge or VIB clients. If I were able to add something to the customization process, it would be to have label stickers available to print. Currently, the bottom of my lipstick is just a generic "luminous" sticker (not even the finish I chose). It would be nice if they had a little label maker where you could name your custom shade (your name or a fun color), print the sticker out and put it on the bottom of the tube.
Creating a custom shade with Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora
I'm really happy with how it turned out. The colour is a perfect shade for Fall, and on my initial test wear, it did last a very long time on my lips. I plan on attending another event in Toronto in October and bringing my mom so she can make one as well - it was truly a fun experience. Check out the Bite Beauty Facebook page for upcoming event dates! 
Creating a custom lipstick shade with Bite Beauty Lip Lab inside Sephora