Luxe Box Summer 2016 – Review & First Impressions

Luxe Box Review

Welcome to my review of the Summer 2016 Luxe Box! I received my very first Luxe Box in the Fall of 2015 and sadly, this will be the last box I receive.  I’ve decided to cancel my subscription because I’m considering trying something new and non-beauty related/focused and while I’ve generally enjoyed my boxes, I’ve never been blown away by them.  I found that Luxe Box could sometimes be disorganized – for instance, this month’s box came without any type of product card? Other times the cards would be inaccurate or missing products.  Also, there many times where I’d receive a shipping notification after my box had been delivered.  Those are small things but after a while they tend to add up.  In addition, I was a little frustrated that the boxes weren’t more uniquely curated, given that they were only sent out on a quarterly basis.

That said, I do really appreciate the fact that this box only ships on a quarterly basis – that’s why I signed up for it.  And I do find the price pretty reasonable for all that’s included ($26 CAD/month plus GST – shipping included) for 7-8 deluxe samples, with at least 1 full size item included.  Lastly, they are a Canadian company, and I love supporting Canadian businesses when possible.  So while I think they have some room for improvement, I wouldn’t hesitate to consider them again if I choose to sign up for another beauty subscription box.

So, with that out the way, let’s get into what my Summer 2016 Luxe box included…

Barefoot Venus Lip Bliss

Barefoot Venus Lip Bliss (Spearmint) – $7.50 CAD

Moisturizing Mango Butter chock full of Vitamin A, and deeply nourishing Shea Butter bursting with Vitamins A, C and E combat free radicals found in the sun’s rays.  The Meadowfoam Oil serves as a natural SPF and the Aloe Butter all work together in this seriously cute, 100% natural Lip Bliss. 

I’m a bit of a lip balm fanatic and I love trying new types; I’m not a fan of mint-flavoured balms but I have to say, this is a pretty good one!  It took a bit to figure out how it actually works (you push the tube up from the bottom) but the formula is super thick and buttery and it feels really moisturizing.  Bonus points for the unique and cute cardboard packaging.  Pretty happy with this!

Mirabella Refreshmint Eyeshadow Pigment
Swatch of Mirabella Refreshmint Eyeshadow Pigment

Mirabella Refreshmint Eyeshadow Pigment – $10 USD

Innovative loose powder formula contains conditioning ingredients to soften skin. Versatile pigment can be blended from icy to mint, with either a wet application for bright color with a sharper finish, or a dry application for a more pearlescent look.

I was really excited to see this included in the box!  This is one of my favourite colours yet I don’t own any eyeshadows in this shade.  What I like about this is you can apply it with a fluffy brush for a sheer wash of colour or pack it on with a flat shader brush for a more intense look.  I won’t be wearing this on the regular, but it’s a nice addition to my collection.

Morgan Taylor I'm the Good Witch

Morgan Taylor Nail Polish – I’m the Good Witch ($?)

Last season’s box also included a full size Morgan Taylor polish, and while this is a different shade, I’m a little disappointed in the lack of effort involved in including an item twice.  Despite that, I do really like this polish – the glitter is really multi-faceted and colourful and has a rose gold look to it.  I’ve used it a few times as an accent nail paired with Essie’s Topless and Barefoot and the two pair really well together.  So I’m happy with this addition but I would have preferred something a little more unique.  Note – I wasn’t able to find a price online so I’m not sure how much this retails for (as mentioned above no product card was included).

Novex Brazilian Keratin Deep Conditioning Hair Mask – $4.99 USD for 15 mL

Novex Brazilian Keratin Deep Conditioning Hair Mask is an enhanced treatment to restore smoothness and deep repair all types of hair. This product is enriched with Vitamin E and the most genuine Brazilian Keratin.  Recommended for dry, dull and frizzy hair.

There’s not many deep conditioners that I can use on my hair, given how fine it is.  Typically they just end up making my hair greasy. I’ve tried this once and unfortunately I can throw this into the “doesn’t work for me” pile.  The formula is really thick and creamy and I was a total greaseball on Day 2 after shampooing (I can usually go 3 days without washing).  I think this would work best for those with coarse/thick hair.

pur~lisse BB Tinted Moist Cream SPF 30 – $32 for 1.4 oz (received 0.34 oz.)

Your beauty balm (shade: Light) that glides on like tinted moisturizer with all the age-defying, coverage, sunscreen benefits of an foundation and BB cream! Featuring our exclusive Asian Herb extracts complex, Chamomile & Artemisia soothes skin while Sugar Maple improves skin’s appearance and retains moisture to create a gorgeous & glowing complexion.

I received a BB cream in my Spring box, so this was kind of another repeat; this is also a second time receiving a Pur-lisse product. I wasn’t too impressed with the Model Co’s BB cream so I didn’t expect much from this.  Thankfully I was actually pleasantly surprised!   I’ve tried it a few times and it’s moisturizing and provides light coverage but it still evens out my skintone.   I could also see this working really well as primer underneath foundation.  I find this to be quite similar to my Clinique City Block so I don’t think I’d order it but it was nice to try it out.

Harvey Prince Organics Sincerely Body Cream – $24.00 for 12 oz. (received 0.5 oz.)

Revitalize, soften and soothe your skin’s dry, rough patches with our hydrating Sincerely Body Cream.  An intensely moisturizing and deeply nourishing blend of Shea butter and sweet almond oil, combined with extracts of French bergamot and South African freesia, Sincerely Body Cream brings out your body’s natural luster, giving you silky smooth skin all day long. Infused with Harvey Prince Sincerely perfume.  Suitable for all skin types. Hypoallergenic. Non-comedogenic.

I’ve never heard of this brand before and I’m always open to trying new body moisturizers so I was excited to try this out.  Unfortunately I can’t say I’m a fan; the scent was really perfume-like and overpowering.  In addition, I had some major issues trying to get this to absorb – when I applied it, it turned white and just kind of sat on top of my skin, no matter how much I tried to rub it in.  So weird!  Not a fan.

O.R.G Skincare Mineral Peel Face with Brightening Agents – $44 USD for 2 oz (received .16 oz.)

Facial and makeup prep exfoliant with natural brightening agents.  Mineral Peel Face is the first all-natural enzyme exfoliant that extracts dermal debris and dead skin within seconds of application for instantly smoother, softer, radiant skin.  

Now this was intriguing to me!  Sometimes I find chemical exfoliants to be a bit too harsh for my sensitive skin but I noticed that the active ingredients (ascorbic acid, retinol, hyaluronic acid) were lower on the ingredient list so I figured it would give it a try.  I’ve used it twice so far and I probably have one application left because unfortunately my spray bottle leaked in the bag during transport. Basically you spray this on dry skin, let it sit for a few seconds and then massage your face, which triggers exfoliation.  It’s kind of a weird experience to literally be rubbing your skin off your face!

I have actually used a product very similar to this before – Peter Thomas Roth’s FIRMx Peeling Gel.  The ingredients are different but it basically does the exact same thing – and PTR’s version is slightly cheaper per ounce.  I think I actually prefer the PTR because it’s in gel form, rather than a spray.  I found the spray a little harder to apply – I ended up spraying it in my eyes and in my hair a few times – with the gel you can apply it exactly where you want it.   Plus I can order the PTR version through Sephora’s Canadian website and not have to deal with shipping, duty and exchange rates.  So while I liked this product, I can’t really justify ordering it on my own.

Overall, this was a good box with more hits than misses for me, so I’m happy to go out on a high note!

Do you have any suggestions for what subscription boxes I should consider next?  If so, let me know below!

Read about my previous Luxe Boxes here: Spring 2016 / Winter 2015 / Fall 2015

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Beauty Trash: July 2016

Empty Products 2016

Another quarter, another round of my beauty trash!  I’ve changed the name of this re-occuring post to Beauty Trash from Used & Abused because it didn’t really click with me how inappropriate that could be perceived.  Eek.  Call me naive.   Anyway  I’ll get my repeats out of the way first thing, and then it’s on to new products I used up!


Batiste Dry Shampoo

Batiste Dry Shampoo: Only 3 bottles this time – however I’m really loving the new Ella Henderson scent!  I’m hoping this isn’t limited edition and it sticks around permanently!

Repurchase?: Yes

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream: One of the only hand creams that I regularly repurchase and always have to have on hand.  I go through a lot of these in the Winter because when my hands get really dry, my eczema tends to flare up but this keeps it in check.  I absolutely love this stuff!

Repurchase: Yes

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water

Sephora Triple Action Cleansing Water: My favourite micellar water, hands down.  Full review here.

Repurchase?: Yes

Delectable Super Smoothing Body Polish

be Delectable Super Smoothing Body Polish (Strawberries & Cream): This is my second “tube” of this scrub but the Strawberries & Cream scent is divine.  It reminds me of a Strawberry Shortcake doll (do you remember those?) More details on why I like it here.

Repurchase?: Yes


CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion - PM

CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion – PM: I really enjoyed this night-time moisturizer and it lasted me a long time – almost a year!  I appreciated that it included active ingredients such as Niacinamide and Hyaluronic Acid and I actually found I experienced similar results to one of my favourite moisturizers – Peter Thomas Roth’s 10% Glycolic Acid moisturizer.  It left my skin feeling moisturized and seemed to decrease the amount of redness I’d experience after washing my face.  The only drawback is that this does include parabens, which I’m not crazy about.  I haven’t repurchased it yet but I expect to at some point.

Repurchase?: Yes

Peter Thomas Roth Max Sheer All Day Lotion: I’ve had this for a while and barely used it but unfortunately it’s expired so I chucked it.  I didn’t mind this but I don’t think I’d repurchase it – while it did its job as a sunscreen, it took a really long time to absorb and left my skin feeling a little greasy.  I had a really hard time trying to make this work under foundation so I wouldn’t repurchase it.

Repurchase?: No

Sephora Total Purity & Cleanse Gel

Sephora Total Purify & Cleanse Gel: I loved this extra gentle face wash – my only gripe is that it didn’t remove my eye makeup very well.  My skin always felt so soft, yet clean after using this and my sensitive skin was just in love with it.  It had a light green tea scent that I found calming and soothing when used before bed.  I’m currently using some other cleansers but I wouldn’t hesitate to re-purchase this in the future.

Repurchase: Yes

Fresh Soy Face Cleanser: This was just okay for me; it was gentle and I had no issues with irritation but I wasn’t crazy about the light cucumber fragrance (I hate cucumbers and anything cucumber-scented).

Repurchase: No

Clinique Liquid Facial Soap (Mild – Dry/Combination): Another cleanser sample that I was just ‘meh’ about; it did the job but it didn’t do anything special and I found my face felt a little tight after using it.

Repurchase: No

Purlisse pur-delicate Gentle Soy Milk Cleanser:  This was a sample I received in a previous Luxe box; the first few times I used this I actually quite liked it – it seemed to take all of my makeup off easily, even eye makeup.  Then I stopped using it and went back to a few weeks later and it didn’t seem to work as well.  So I’m not sure what changed?  Regardless, it appears to be discontinued, not that I could see myself paying $36 for it anyway.

Repurchase: No

The Face Shop Character Mask

The Face Shop Character Mask – Moisturizing (not available online): This was also included in a previous Luxe Box and I was excited to use it because it looked hilarious.  And it was, but I didn’t really feel like it did anything but I haven’t found a sheet mask that has.  My skin felt moisturized for about an hour after and that was about it.

Repurchase?: No

Kirkland Daily Facial Towelettes

Kirkland Daily Facial Towelettes (available in-store): I use these to remove swatches and clean my countertops and makeup vanity.  I do not put these anywhere near my face because these are beyond irritating to my skin.  Read more about it here.

Repurchase?: No


Frilly Lilly Shea Butter Creme

Frilly Lilly Shea Butter Creme (Argentinian Lemon): I picked this up at a local esthetics salon by the same name and at first I wasn’t sure about the lemon scent but it totally grew on me and I find it perfect for summer!  I also loved how it didn’t leave my hands feeling greasy or slick – it just moisturized them nicely.

Repurchase: Yes

L’Occitane Hand Gel Creme (Citrus Verbena):  Another hand cream that smells absolutely amazing!  This smells so fresh and clean and the gel formula is cooling and refreshing.  I’ve already bought another tube of this but I’m not going to lie, the $12 for 1 oz price tag kind of hurts given that this only lasts me a couple of weeks.  But L’Occitane has sucked me in so I’ll probably still keep buying them!

Repurchase: Yes

St. Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion

St.Ives Fresh Hydration Lotion (Naturally Energizing): I’m not sure if St.Ives is no longer carrying this particular scent as it’s not showing up on their website (just on Amazon) but if that’s the case I’m kind of disappointed because I really liked it.  I prefer body lotions that aren’t too thick but still really moisturizing and that describes this perfectly – except it’s in a handy-dandy spray format.  I’m using up some other body lotions right now but I will be picking up another one of these at some point.

Repurchase: Yes

Hawaiian Blend Aloe After Sun Lotion: I’ve had this for years and finally used it up – and I’m pretty sad about it.  This is such a great product to apply after you’ve spent a day in the sun, or if you’ve had a burn and need something to soothe your skin and prevent peeling.  I find that applying aloe vera gel helps cool your skin but doesn’t do much to moisturize it, which if you’re burnt, you really need.  I’ll definitely be picking up another bottle of this the next time I’m in Hawaii!

Repurchase: Yes

Bath & Body Works Twisted Peppermint Body Lotion (no longer available): Another oldie, I don’t even want to know how many years I’ve had this lying around for.  I finally decided to use it up and I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.  This actually provides a pretty good amount of moisture!  Plus the cooling peppermint sensation was kind of nice too.

Repurchase: Yes

Cake Supremely Rich Bath & Shower Foam

Ombra Aromatic Foam Bath (Eucalyptus): One of the first things I do when cold weather or the flu hits is go out and pick up this bubble bath.  It’s fantastic for soothing sore and aching muscles and the eucalyptus oil helps you breathe easier.

Repurchase: Yes

Cake Milk Made Supremely Rich Bath & Shower Froth:  I’ve gotten to the point now where I literally cannot live without this stuff – I always have a bottle on hand to replace the one I’ve just finished up.  I use this mostly as a bubble bath, but it works really well as a shower gel too.  They have various scents but this one might be my favourite because it’s so unique – it smells like whipped cream tastes, with a hint of raspberry.  Plus it leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth.

Repurchase: Yes

Rocky Mountain Soap Bubble Bath – Vanilla Ginger (no longer available): Can you tell I like bubble bath?  This was a Christmas gift and I enjoyed it I felt like I was bathing in gingerale.  The only drawback was that this was pretty liquidy so I used it pretty fast.  I wouldn’t purchase this regularly but it’s nice as a treat once and a while.

Repurchase: Yes

Mitchum Unscented Gel Anti-Perspirant

Mitchum Gel Anti-Perspirant (Unscented): This is the only anti-perspirant/deodorant that I’ve found that works for me; TMI – I tend to sweat a lot but I can actually wear this every other day and get away with it.  I’ve tried others and they just don’t compare.

Repurchase: Yes

Britney Spears Fantasy Perfume

Britney Spears Fantasy Perfume: Yes it’s Britney Spears perfume but it’s awesome.  Plus it’s super affordable and lasts all day.

Repurchase: Yes


Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara

Smashbox Photofinish Primer (Blemish Control): I was a little afraid to use this because I expected it to be drying given that it contains salicylic acid; it wasn’t but I didn’t find it did anything to keep my oily t-zone under control.  If you have blemishes and dry skin, this might work okay for you but I have other primers that work much better for me.

Repurchase?: No

CoverGirl Oh Sugar! Lip Balm (Cupcake): My initial thoughts on this really haven’t changed much – you can read them here.

Repurchase?: No

Better Than Sex Mascara: I still really like this mascara but I might be falling slightly out of love with it.  While it checks every box (lengthening, thickening, volumizing, separating) the flaking and smudging are starting to drive me nuts.  I’m tempted to try the waterproof version to see if it’s any better.  I’m currently using up another sample size of this so I’m going to finish that one up before I decide if I should purchase it again.

Repurchase?: Undecided

LipSmackers Lip balm (Strawberry Coconut / Dr. Pepper): Technically these should fall under Repeats but I forgot to split them out in the photo, so they’re down here.  Full review on Dr. Pepper here. Strawberry Coconut performed the same but it didn’t have the tint that Dr. Pepper has.

Repurchase?: Yes


Beauty Blender

Beauty Blender: I’ve said before how I didn’t expect to love my Beauty Blender as much as I do.  I bought it because of the hype but I truly feel it does live it up to it.  I’ve tried other versions and I find that they work fine for the most part, but they’re just not quite as good as this. This one lasted me a whole year; make note that I didn’t use it every single day but I took good care of it and cleaned it regularly and thoroughly.  I know they recommend to replace it every 3 months but out of pure curiosity I cut my open before I threw it out and it literally looked brand new inside.  My personal opinion is that if you take good care of it, one can last you way past the 3 month mark.

Repurchase?: Yes

Sephora Eyelash Curler: I’ve been wanting to get rid of this eyelash curler for a while and it sealed its fate one day a few weeks ago.  I went to curl my lashes with it and one of the silicone covers flew off, causing my hand to slip and resulting in a handful of lashes being ripped out.  #ouch  That’s my biggest complaint about this curler – the silicone covers were always coming off.  I’ve since purchased a replacement (Tarte’s version) and I haven’t looked back.

Repurchase?: No

Wow that took a while, I think I need to do these more often.  What products have you finished using lately?

Pick 3: Essential Summer Beauty Products

Essential Summer Beauty Products

When summer hits the last thing I want to be doing is wasting my day inside doing a full face of makeup – only to have it sweat off my face a few hours later.  I like to keep my makeup routine simple and quick most days, especially if it’s hot outside.  In the second installment of my Pick 3 series, I’m sharing with you my 3 essential beauty products for summer!

  1. Facial sunscreen: Before my trip for Mexico in May, I was on the hunt for a good facial sunscreen.  I ended up with Clinique’s City Block Sheer Oil Free Daily Face Protector.  I wore it everyday while in Mexico and I love it!  It has a light tint to it, so I feel comfortable skipping foundation if I so choose – but it also works fantastic as a primer under foundation.  It’s also NOT GREASY which can be really hard to come by in sunscreens, specifically ones for your face.  Another bonus – it’s safe for sensitive skin (that would be me!) as it contains only physical sunscreens (not chemical); I haven’t experienced any breakouts or irritation from using this which for me, is extremely rare.  Highly recommend this!
  2. Mascara: It’s a rare day when I don’t leave the house wearing mascara – even if I’m heading to the beach/pool.  I’m naturally fair so my lashes are almost invisible without it.  One of my new favourites is Tarte’s Lights Camera Lashes mascara. This is another product I brought with me to Mexico and I was so happy with it!  I’d wear this during the day when we were at the beach and believe me when I was say it was HOT and extremely humid (like 40+ degrees Celsius).  I usually bring a waterproof mascara primer with me for beach days but I forgot it this trip and figured I’d end up with racoon eyes by the end of the day.  I was pleasantly surprised to discover that was not the case at all – my mascara stayed put all day!  Now I wasn’t dunking my face in water or anything but I think that given that this is not a waterproof mascara, that’s pretty impressive.  In addition it gives my lashes some amazing length and a good amount of volume, although I would prefer that it thickens them a bit more.  I did find this to clump a little in the beginning but now that it’s dried out, that problem seems to have disappeared.  Given all it’s benefits, this has become my go-to summer mascara.
  3. Blush: I really struggled with this 3rd one – blush or lip gloss?  In the end I went with blush because if I’m being honest I can’t always be bothered with applying lip gloss every couple of hours, but blush is usually a once a day type of thing.  Or at least it should be – which is why NARS Orgasm blush made my list.  I’ve worn this blush for years and I know that many aren’t fond of its glittery-ness (#notaword) but on me, it just looks shimmery and glowy.  Plus the longevity of this cannot be beat – it’s the longest-wearing blush I own, which is important for those hot summer days.  And the peachy pink shade looks great on my naturally pale skin or when I’m lucky enough to be sporting a hint of colour.  There’s a reason this is a cult classic.

What products would make your top 3 list for the Summer months?  Let me know below!

Thanks for stopping by!

Review: SoftLips Luxe & CUBE Lip Balms

Softlips Luxe Lip Balm

If there’s one beauty product I cannot live without, it’s lip balm.  My lips are chronically dry and I suspect I have a mild case of lip balm addiction (this is a real thing – google it!) as I feel a little panicky when I’m without some kind of moisturizing lip product.  It’s a rare occurrence for me not to have a lip balm on my person.  So I was pretty pumped to hear that I had qualified for the Soft Lips campaign through Chickadvisor’s Product Review Club.  When I received the package I was pleasantly surprised to see I had been sent 2 flavours from their new CUBE line, and 2 from the Luxe Line, plus a cute little makeup bag!

A quick note about Chickadvisor – if you’re a Blogger in Canada or the US and you haven’t yet signed up with them yet, I’d highly recommend it! I’ve had several great opportunities to review full-sized products through them and I really appreciate their process.  Basically I receive emails once or twice a month regarding product review opportunities and I get to decide if it’s something I’m interested in or not.  If so I complete their survey and then keep my fingers crossed and await notification.  If I’m selected, I usually receive the products within a few weeks and am given a reasonable amount of time to write a review on the Chickadvisor site.  There’s no obligation for me to write a blog post on any of the products I’ve received but I always do because they make for great blog topics.  Also, I’m just raving about them because I truly do think they’re a great resource for us Bloggers – they didn’t ask me to do this!

Softlips CUBE Lip Balm

Anyway, back to the lip balms; as mentioned, I received 4 Softlips balms in total – 2 from the Luxe line and 2 from the CUBE Line. First let’s look at the claims of the CUBE lip balms:

CUBE lip balms are described as sleek, stylish and sophisticated in design and are uniquely formulated with a Lip Perfecting Technology that blends 5 lip loving benefits into 1 to give beautiful, luscious looking lips.  The formula hydrates with shea butter, while anti-oxidant-rich ingredients Vitamin A, C & E work to replenish lips.  With one glide it smoothes away roughness, leaving a soft and silk-like texture on the lips.  It has a long-lasting moisture barrier that protects against further dryness, while natural olive extracts add a touch of shine leaving behind a perfect radiant finish.  Gluten & cruelty-free.

Those are some serious claims for a lip balm! 🙂

First up, I must say, I love the packaging on these!  They’re made of a thick, clear plastic and each flavour has a different colour base.  Despite being made of a sturdy plastic, they are relatively light and could easily be tossed in your purse.  But because they’re so cool looking, they also display nicely on your makeup vanity or nightstand.

I was also a huge fan of the Berry Bliss flavour that I received; it smells so good that I could almost eat it.  It reminds me of some kind of candy or drink from my childhood – it’s sweet and fruity and just delicious.  I also received the Fresh Mint flavour, which is a classic but mint is never my first choice – I always go for the fruity or sweet flavours.

I can’t say I’m really a fan of the dome shape of these balms; I always prefer lip balms in stick/tube form.  Mainly because I always end up getting the product not just on my lips, but around my mouth.  This can cause breakouts on my super-sensitive skin, so I always have to be super careful when applying these types of balms,  and avoid using them before bed or prior to eating or drinking when the product can easily stray from my lips.

On the bright side, these are super moisturizing.  The formula is creamy and silky and my lips have never felt so moisturized and hydrated.  I didn’t really feel like they added any extra shine compared to any other lip product I’ve used but my lips definitely felt smoother.

Softlips Luxe Lip Balm

Now on the Luxe line and it’s claims:

Sleek, stylish and sophisticated in design, Softlips Luxe is uniquely formulated with a Lip Perfecting Technology that blends 5 lip loving benefits into 1 to give you beautiful, luscious looking lips.  Can be used alone or as a lip conditioning base before applying lipstick.  Gluten and cruelty-free.

The claims here are a little more simple but I actually think they deliver on them very well!  This lip balm is lighter and thinner and therefore not as intensely moisturizing when compared to the CUBE formula.  However, it works REALLY well under lip products, particularly my NYX Soft Matte Lip Creams.  I really struggle with wearing liquid lipsticks but these made them much more bearable and comfortable for longer.  They just leave a nice thin layer of moisture on your lips which is exactly what I’m looking for in an everyday lip balm.

I also really appreciate the packaging on these; they are also made with that same thick, clear plastic with a coloured base that corresponds to its flavour.  These mimick a lipstick tube and I LOVE that – it makes applying these precisely so easy.

As mentioned I received two flavours of these as well – Creamy Coconut and Silky Shea.  I liked both flavours, although I preferred the coconut because I love coconut anything.  The Shea was nice too – it had a very light, sweet scent and I don’t know how to describe it except to say it was more than pleasant.

So what’s my verdict on these?  As much as I like the CUBE balms, I don’t see myself repurchasing them simply for their domed shape.  However, I would definitely re-purchase either of the Luxe balms.  I think they are perfect as an everyday lip balm and great to store in your purse, car, desk, etc.  Note that they are both devoid of any colour so they both can work well under any lip product.

Softlips CUBE and Luxe lip balms retail for $4.67 although prices can vary based on retailer.

Special thanks to ChickAdvisor and Softlips for sending me these products to try!  These products were sent to me for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

Loves & Letdowns – May 2016

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe; The Rosie Project; Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick Airy Fairy; Tarte Tartetist Lash Paint; L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil; L'Occitane Hand Cream Gel

I haven’t done a Loves & Letdowns post for a while and decided it was time.   I find that doing them on a monthly basis was a bit of a struggle for me – I don’t always have a long list of things that I loved (or let me down) so every couple of months seems to work better.  Without further adieu, here’s what I’ve been loving lately:

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil: My mom passed a sample size of this shower oil on to me a while back and I decided to break it out back in April.  I’ve been using it several times a week and I LOVE it.  I put a drop or two directly on my skin and rub it in and it produces a light lather.  It leaves my skin feeling smooth and moisturized but not greasy; I particularly like using it to shave my legs as it leaves them feeling so silky.  I much prefer this over the Almond Supple Skin Oil that I purchased at the Sephora sale, and I most definitely plan on purchasing the full size.

Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara: I received this sample at the Sephora sale and I’ve been using it off and on since (you can read my first impressions review here).  Honestly, my opinion hasn’t changed, I still really like this mascara, although the packaging isn’t the best.  I thought for sure it would dry out quickly given the design of the tube, but surprisingly it’s still going strong!  Therefore I’ve added this to my purchase list, which is big considering I rarely splurge on non-drugstore mascaras.

Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe: I just did a full review on this so I bother repeating myself.  It’s awesome and I highly recommend it.  I’ve been using it non-stop for the last 2 months so it definitely deserves a spot on here.

L’Occitane Citrus Verbena Hand Cream Gel: I go through hand cream more than any other product and I love trying new ones.  This smells amazing; it’s so fresh and clean and refreshing.  The fact that it’s a gel means it isn’t intensely moisturizing but it works great for me in the summer months when my hands aren’t quite so dry.  Plus the gel leaves behind a nice cooling effect.

brow stylist

L’Oreal Brow Plumper by Brow Stylist (Transparent): I was in need of a new brow gel and given how impressed I was with the Brow Stylist Definer, I thought this would also be worth a try.  And it is great!  The small brush makes it super easy to get a precise application, while the formula keeps my brows in place without leaving them crunchy or sticky.

Swatch of Rimmel’s Airy Fairy

Rimmel Lasting Finish Lipstick (Airy Fairy): I picked this up after hearing Young Wild & Polished says its one of her favourite drugstore lipsticks, and I can see why.  It’s a great pinkish nude shade with a maeuve undertone and the slightest hint of gold shimmer.  I find the formula kind of drying so I do make sure to coat my lips with balm before wearing this and before re-applying.  Despite that I really like how this looks on me – often nudes can wash me out but I think this one works!

Blaze Pizza: Pizza is the one thing that I feel like I could eat every day for the rest of my life and never get sick of.  I LOVE thin crust pizza but it can be hard to find places that make it right!  Enter Blaze Pizza!  This is a chain restaurant that has just started to expand into Canada.  I’ve eaten here a few times and the pizza is delicious!  The best part is you can customize your pizza and put whatever toppings you want on it for only $10.45 CAD.  I only wish the location was closer so I could eat here more often.

The Rosie Project: I read this book while on vacation and it was the perfect beach read!  It’s a hilarious account of a socially awkward genetics professor on his quest to find love.  I couldn’t help but picture Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory as Don here – way too many similarities!  If you just want to sit back and read something easy yet enjoyable, I’d recommend this.

And a few letdowns….

Monthly Letdowns - May 2016

China Glaze Let’s Jam: I need help, I cannot stop buying nail polish!  I really need to start wearing ones I already own before I buy more, but when I saw this collection swatched on various Youtube channels, I knew had to try at least one.  By the time I found the collection, there weren’t many colours left – not that I was disappointed about scoring this one – it looked gorgeous.  Unfortunately it was a huge disappointment.  It’s a lilac purple shade with a blue shift but the blue shift is barely noticeable, except in certain light.  And I think I got a wonky formula – this took FOREVER to dry, no matter how long I let it set.  I literally applied this and 5 hours later my nails nicked and smudged, even though it felt completely dry to the touch.  I’ve tried applying it numerous times with the same result.  I have zero patience for formulas like this!

Mitchum SensitiveSkin Soft Solid Deodorant: I typically wear Mitchum deodorant because it’s the only one that is effective enough to wear every other day.  I really don’t like wearing deodorants with aluminum in them but I’m a big-time sweater and I just can’t go the natural route.  Because I have super sensitive skin, I couldn’t resist giving this a try.  Unfortunately it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as my regular Mitchum Gel.  I have to put several thick layers on for it to work, and if it’s a hot day out, it only lasts for a few hours max.  I also have to apply it daily, I can’t skip a day like I can with the gel.  I also hate that it’s a white solid; it doesn’t dry completely so I end up with white marks all over my clothes.  Fail!

L’Occitane Verbena Icy Lip Balm: This was an impulse buy when I was picking up the Verbena hand gel; unfortunately I just don’t find this moisturizes my lips at all.  It has a super thin and lightweight formula and it just kind of sinks into my lips and leaves no benefit behind.  In addition, the scent is almost non-existent.  Wouldn’t recommend this.

What made your favourites list this month? Let me know below!

Have a great day!

This & That Fridays – June 3


Happy June and Happy Friday everyone!

What’s been going on with me:

Wow it’s been a while since I did a This & That Friday post…and a bit since I posted regularly.  The last few weeks have been a little mad around here.  I was completing a course and purging and organizing my house for an upcoming garage sale and then we headed out on a one week vacation to Mexico to celebrate our anniversary.  I had fully planned on doing up some posts while on vacation but the internet was spotty and I got frustrated and gave up on that idea.  Which actually wasn’t a bad thing!  I checked Instagram and Twitter once in a while but for the most part I spent a lot of time reading books and just relaxing.  The problem being that when I got back I had lost my motivation to blog.  Does that ever happen to you?  Despite being really behind on posts, I just had no desire to sit down and type up anything.  Thankfully I seem to have cleared that hump now and I’m looking forward to getting back into it!  Note that I’ve changed up the format of my This & That Fridays posts – let me know how you like it!

As mentioned above, I was completing a course back in May that was keeping me pretty busy; in line with my 2016 Goals, I registered for and completed a course in Graphic Design.  It was a lot more work than I expected but I absolutely loved it!  I plan on continuing on with the program and I will potentially have an exciting related update later on this year so stay-tuned!

Have you seen this?

Apple’s Cookie Monster commercial?  🙂 Love it!  If so, then you need to watch the bloopers.  Cookie Monster was always my favourite Sesame Street character.

collection of 25 No-Bake Peanut Butter Desserts…those Kitkat Crunch Bars are just calling my name.  You’re welcome!

Did you hear?

That Victoria Secret is discontinuing their swimwear line?  I seriously wanted to throw an adult temper tantrum when I heard this – WHY??? WHY???  Apparently they’re not making enough money off of it.  I mean, their quality could sometimes be hit and miss, but I’d be willing to pay a little more if it mean they’d keep it around.  VS is my go-to for swimwear as they typically have cute styles for a reasonable price so I’m sort of at a loss of where I’ll shop for swimwear going forward.  On the bright side I picked up a new top and bottoms for pretty cheap a few weeks ago as they were clearing out their stock.  Sad! 😦

What I’ve bought recently:

Gap Print Halter Romper – I brought this with me to Mexico and it was so comfy and so cute!  Very easy to dress up or down, based on the shoes and accessories.

Tarte Eyelash Curler – I needed a new eyelash curler and it was a toss-up between this one and Shu Umera’s version.  I ended up going with this one and I’m so glad I did.  I used one of these years ago and I forgot how much I love it!  I have a bad habit of pinching my eyelids with my eyelash curler and this eliminates that completely.  Plus it’s so comfortable in my hand and it fits my eye shape perfectly.

IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better CC Cream – 2 months after purchase I finally received my order of this CC cream from the Shopping Channel (don’t get me started…) and I hate to say it, but it was worth the wait!  It’s been the only thing I’ve used on my face for the last 2 weeks and I don’t really care to use anything else right now.  I’ll be doing a full review on this in a bit so keep an eye out for it!

What I’m currently coveting:

Gap Linen Surf Shorts – I’ve been having a lot of success at Gap lately and I really like these cozy shorts in Palm Springs Pink.

Glo Brilliant Teeth Whitening Device – I really want something to whiten my teeth – the problem being my teeth are SUPER sensitive with little enamel left on them, so I can’t use simple things like whitening toothpaste or strips.  I hate the price of this but all the reviews say it works with little to no sensitivity.  If you have any other suggestions please share below!

Ikea Falkhojden Desk: I’m looking for a desk for my office and I’ve fallen in like with this one – but I hate that it has zero storage, even with the add-on unit.  Also considering the Kimpen/Lalle.

That’s it for this week – have a great weekend!

Review: Too Faced Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

Too Faced's Love Flush Blush Wardrobe
Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

Up until a couple of years ago, I was a one-blush kind of girl.  I never saw the need to have more than one blush on hand.  Since then, my blush collection has definitely grown, but I still didn’t really see the need for an entire palette of just blushes – it just kind of seemed like a waste to me.  I couldn’t see myself possibly liking or actually using that many blushes, so what was the point?

Enter Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush Wardrobe.  When this launched late last year, I thought it looked nice but didn’t really feel the need to run out and buy it.  But then I kept coming across bloggers and You-tubers raving about it.  So I took a closer look at it and it didn’t take long before I was convinced I needed it.  So I picked up my own at Sephora sale a few months ago and I’m so glad I did!  I gave a brief review on it in my Sephora Haul & First Impressions it but I’ve been loving it so much that I feel it warrants its very own review.

Too Faced's Love Flush Blush Wardrobe
Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

So, a little about this palette; it contains all 6 shades of their Love Flush Long-Lasting 16 hour blushes, sized at 0.07 oz each and retailing for $45 CAD (although Too Faced’s website is selling it for $50 CAD so buy it at Sephora).  For comparison’s sake, a full-sized (0.21 oz) blush retails for $32 CAD. So all in all, this is a pretty good value.

The packaging is made of a sturdy yet lightweight cardboard; I’m not a fan of cardboard packaging as I find it damages and stains easily and it doesn’t take long for it to look worn.  As a result I won’t be traveling with this, but I rarely travel with more than one blush anyway so for me it’s not a big deal.   Also included inside is a long, albeit decent-sized mirror.

Too Faced's Love Flush Blush Wardrobe
Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

The blushes are set out in a horizontal strip and contained in heart-shaped pans.  At first I wasn’t sure how it well this would work with a brush but I’ve had no issues.  I like using my e.l.f angled blush brush to apply these and it works really well.  If you prefer using a larger fluffier blush brush you might have an issue with it not picking up the product on all of your brush or picking up some of the neighbouring blush.

The blush shades included are:

Swatches of Too Faced's Love Flush Blush Wardrobe
Swatches of Too Faced’s Love Flush Blush Wardrobe

Love Hangover (described as a perfect warm pink)

Baby Love (described as a dusty nude with gold sparkle)

I Will Always Love You (described as a gilded peach)

How Deep is Your Love (described as a watermelon pink)

Your Love is King (described as a plumy rose)

Justify My Love (described as as a bright pink with gold sparkle)

I have to say, swatching these doesn’t really do them justice.  They aren’t the highest pigmented blushes I’ve tried but they are extremely buildable, and that’s exactly what I love about them.  I find I rarely use highly pigmented blushes because I’m on the paler side and they require me to use a very light and careful hand. With these I can get a nice wash of colour with one application and more intense application with a second.

Note that Baby Love and Justify My Love are described as having “sparkle’ in them but I don’t experience any sparkle or glitter when applied at all.  I’d describe the finish on all of them to be satin, with I Will Always Love You leaning towards a more shimmery, almost subtle highlight-type finish.  The formula on these is great – it’s soft and extremely bendable but not at all powdery.

The only caveat – they claim to provide 16 hours of wear time.  I have to dispute that because there’s no way that these last that long on me.  On average I’m getting about 6-8 hours of wear, depending on what foundation I’m wearing that day.  I feel like 16 hours is a LONG time though…does anyone really need their blush to last that long?  Regardless, I can’t say it lives up to that claim.

I love all the options it gives me and the fact that it’s expanded my blush horizons.  Baby Love and Your Love is King are not shades I would not normally reach for as I tend to stick with peach and pink tones.  I didn’t realize how versatile and flattering a neutral blush could be, nor did I think I could pull off a plum hue – turns out I was wrong!

If you’re interested in this palette, I’d recommend you pick it up sooner rather than later as it’s limited edition.  I’m not sure how much longer its slated to be around but I really don’t think you’d regret this purchase – I certainly don’t!

Thanks for reading!

pick 3: Nail Polishes for Spring

Top Nail Polishes for Spring

I’m starting a new series on my blog called Pick 3; in this series I’ll be picking my top 3 favourite things in a variety of categories and share with you why I’ve chosen them.  Note this won’t be limited to just Beauty – I plan on doing Top 3 in Travel, Fashion, Recipes, etc.  The opportunities are endless and I’m pretty excited about it.  So I hope you enjoy!

I’ve been doing my nails more often now that the weather is getting warmer, so I thought I’d kick this series off with sharing my top 3 nail polishes for Spring.  I expected this to be a fairly easy one but then I started going through my polish collection and I realized otherwise.  It was a bit tough but I finally narrowed it down to these three:

Essie Play Date Nail Polish

Essie Play Date:  Described as a soft, yet bright purple, this might be one of my favourite polishes EVER.  It has a fantastic formula; you could potentially get away with one coat but to get the true colour you really need two coats.  I always get so many compliments when I wear this shade and it’s been my go-to Spring polish for years now.

Deborah Lippmann She Bop Nail Polish

Deborah Lippmann She Bop: I don’t own many Deborah Lippmann polishes but the ones I do own are highly regarded.  This is described as a fresh, flirty pink cream; I would describe it more as a cool-toned pink with a hint of a purple undertone.  The formula on this polish is stellar, easily buildable but fully opaque with two coats.  This is a great everyday shade that is subdued enough to wear to the office but a nice step up from a neutral colour.

classic maggie (68)

Essie Lounge Lover: This is a new addition to my collection and its fast-becoming one of my favourites, particularly for my toes!  Corals are pretty much a no-brainer for the warmer months but what I like about this one is the fact that its slightly more muted and leans more to the pink side, which is really nice for Spring.  The formula is pretty good, although at times I can find it slightly patchy so there’s a two-coat minimum requirement with this one.

Notable mentions include Essie’s Mint Candy Apple (although the formula can be a tad frustrating) and Peach Daiquiri (another one of my favourites but I use it more in the Summer months);

If you had to pick your top 3 polishes for Spring, what would they be?  Let me know below!

Review: CND Vinylux Weekly Polish

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish & Top Coat

How often do you do your nails?  I go through stages where I do my nails every week and then others where I don’t do them for months.  I love having polished nails but I like to make sure I have enough time do to them properly.  I don’t have a steady hand so if I rush through applying polish it never ends well.  And after I invest time in doing my nails, nothing irritates me more than to have them chip after a day or two of wear.

That’s why I was pretty excited to give CND’s Vinylux Weekly Polish a try.  I was sent a package containing CND’s Weekly Polish in Regally Yours #140 and a bottle of their Weekly Top Coat as part of ChickAdvisor’s Product Review Club.  Using these two together claims to result in 7 days of chip-resistant wear.  Sounded promising to me!

The Vinylux line is described as a fast-drying, 2-step system that offers brilliant shine that lasts.  It also claims that natural light will result in increased durability; I’m not exactly sure what that means and I couldn’t find anything online that explains that, although I’m assuming it means a UV lamp isn’t required to set it.  Lastly, these are 7-Free polishes meaning that these are free from toluene, camphor, formaldehyde, phthalates (DBP), formaldehyde resin, xylene and lead.

CND Vinylux Royally Yours Weekly Nail Polish

I’ve been wearing this polish for the last 2 weeks and I definitely have an opinion on it.  First up, where it delivers:

  • I can vouch for its claim that its fast drying.  This is what impressed me most. I’ve applied it twice over the last few weeks and within minutes it was dry to the touch and I could apply a second coat or the top coat.  Only once did I have it smudge after application and that was my own fault.  I definitely appreciate this factor in a polish as I can be pretty impatient waiting for coats to dry.
  • The formula is thin and relatively easy to work with (however this is also a bit of a problem as described below)
  • The weekly polish lets off a decent amount of shine but the Weekly Top Coat is exceptionally shiny.  I love having shiny, glossy nails and this doesn’t disappoint.
  • There is no base coat in this line and it is not recommended you use one as it will negate the adhesives in the colour coat.  Given how dark and deep the shade I received was, I very concerned about using it without a base coat as I was certain it would stain my nails.  I can’t say it didn’t stain them at all – it did leave a slight tint behind but no where near what I was expecting and am used to with darker colours.  I found that to be impressive.

And where it falls a little short:

  • Unfortunately for me, this wasn’t a chip-free polish.  I’ve applied it twice over the last two weeks; the first time I was pretty hard on my nails and there were some small chips and noticeable wear on the tips of my nails after the second day.  Because this is such a dark colour, the chips and wear were pretty noticeable but there was no large chips or peeling at all.  I didn’t think it’d be fair to judge it solely on that experience, so after a week I removed and re-applied it again the following week when I was much kinder to my nails.  Unfortunately I experienced the same issue and it was actually a little worse.
  • I attempted to use the top coat to cap my nails in order to provide that extra bit of protection as they suggested, but it rubbed the polish off the tips of my nails (I did ensure my nails were completely dry before doing so).  If I could get this to work, I feel like this would definitely help with the chipping and wear as all of that took place on the tips on my nails – nowhere else.
  • While the formula is thin and easy to apply, it can be a little bit patchy.  The colour I received was a deep, dark purple that actually appears black after applying 2 coats and the top coat.  Despite those two coats, there were some very visible areas on my nails where the polish was spotty.
  • I had a small gripe with the brush – it’s on the thinner side but I prefer a thicker brush as I find I can apply polish more evenly this way.  I feel like this may have contributed to the patchy application.

I’m kind of on the fence with this – there were things I liked about it but the lasting power was basically their claim to fame here and it didn’t work all that well.  I’ve admitted defeat on the shade that I was sent but given that it wasn’t one that I would have picked out for myself, I may give another colour a try and see if there’s an improvement.

CND Vinylux Weekly Polish retails for $12.95 CAD and is available at select retailers and salons.

Special thanks to ChickAdvisor and CND for sending me these products to try!  These products were sent to me for review purposes but all opinions are my own.

Mother’s Day Gift Guide

Mother's Day Gift Guide

Did you know that Mother’s Day is less than 2 weeks away?  Eeek, it always seems to sneak up on me.  This year I’m attempting to get ahead of the game and I’ve put together a gift guide in case you need some ideas too.  I thought I’d break it out by price point because everyone has a different budget but that shouldn’t mean you can’t get your Mom a great gift!


My experience is that Moms’ like to keep organized, so why not gift a book that specializes in that exact subject?  Spark Joy: An Illustrated Master Class On The Art Of Organizing And Tidying Up ($13 – SALE) has been touted by many as life-changing | A beautiful journal ($25) makes a wonderful gift for anyone.  Maybe your Mom doesn’t write but she make lists or just jots down important things; doing it in something that looks like a piece of art makes it that much more enjoyable | Perhaps a Herb Gardening Kit ($25) because flowers die and how awesome would it be to snip a sprig of rosemary or thyme right from your own little kitchen garden? | You can never go wrong with a gift card to Shopper’s Drug Mart.  They sell everything from snacks to lipstick and anything in between.


Candles are nice but the scent from diffusers lingers longer and you don’t have to worry about them burning your house down if left unattended. 😉 Illume’s Blackberry Absinthe version ($32) is the perfect mix of fruity and musky without being overpowering | Sunglasses are a Spring/Summer essential so pick Mom up a classic Wayfarer pair in this beautiful gold and tortoiseshell design ($42) | Not only is this S’well water bottle ($45) sparkly, it keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours or hot for up to 12 hours. | What about a pretty little polka-dotted jewellery box ($50) to hold all of her precious treasures?


Treat Mom to a day at the spa with a Gift Card ($75).  These are great because they can be redeemed at over 5,000 spas across Canada, the US, Mexico and the Caribbean | I couldn’t resist throwing in another Kate Spade item because these Cluster Stone Stud Earrings ($64) are perfect for Spring! | My mom recently introduced me to L’Occitane’s Verbena line and and I love the scent – it smells so fresh and clean.  This Verbena Star Gift set ($76) gives her the chance to try out some of the best products in the line. | Any makeup-loving Mom would appreciate this Lancome Spring Essentials set ($65) that comes complete with 7 of Lancome’s best beauty products (that palette looks gorgeous!).


You can give your mom the gift of memories with one of these Fuji Instax Mini 8 ($86) Cameras.  How fun would it be to instantly print your photos? | Or stick with a classic fragrance like Coco Chanel Eau De Parfum Spray ($85); this is one of my Mom’s personal favourites | Having a zip wallet you can throw your phone into is so convenient, I don’t leave home without mine.  Fossil makes this vibrant version: Sydney Phone Zip Wallet – $86 | Last but not least, how about this goes-with-everything, rose-gold watch with a ceramic bracelet ($76 – SALE)?

I hope my picks spurred some ideas for you!  Usually I buy my Mom a gift and we spend the day together – we going shopping, hit up a movie or enjoy lunch/dinner together.  Do you do anything special with your Mom for Mother’s Day?

Have a great day!