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If you've been following my blog, you might have seen my big foundation collection post last fall. I've been trying to finish up some of the ones I have but got sidetracked with the new Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence foundation. I thought it would be a great glowy foundation for the winter time so let's see how it is!


Basics
Name:Shu Uemura The Lightbulb Essence
Shade: 12 shades, I have 564 Medium Light Sand
Price: $66
Size: 30mL
Available at Sephora



Packaging: The packaging is simple but sturdy. The foundation comes in a glass bottle that feels heavy. The cap is the interesting part of this foundation. It is a twist off with a dropper and there is also a knob at the top to push the product out of the dropper. There's nothing jaw dropping about the packaging but it is very functional and it feels well made. 


Skincare Claims: I love when foundations include SPF as I hate applying sunscreen on its own. Usually foundations will have SPF 15 but this one has an impressive SPF 45! Unless you are tanning in the sun, this is great coverage for every day. 

This foundation is called lightbulb essence because it actually contains 5 different essential oils. The Shu Uemura brand is known for developing foundations with skincare benefits and with continued use, this foundation is suppose to help you achieve better skin. The botanical oils are lavender, rice nuka, geranium, ginger, and camellia.



Shades:  The shade I have is 564 medium light sand. There are 12 shade ranges available but it stops at a medium tone. I would say the entire range will cover Asian skin tones but not encompassing all skin tones. 


Medium light sand is a neutral beige and when swatched it initially seems quite a bit darker than my skin. But once it's blended out, it looks to be a bit lighter and a better match for my skin. 




Formula: The foundation is very watery and thin in consistency! But it does have a lot of oils in it's thin consistency. I use the corresponding sponge to apply by using a tapping motion and can get medium coverage. I've also tried using a foundation brush and it works as well but I find that the foundation sinks into the brush quickly and therefore I need to use more product.

Before and after foundation

After foundation

I really like the initial glow of the application. I actually prefer lighter coverage, luminous foundations so this is right up my alley. I do find that although it feels weightless, the product never really dries down unless you use powder on top. While it isn't sticky, if I touch my cheeks, I can definitely feel that there's product. 

After finishing the rest of my makeup

The luminous glow also only wears for about half the day. I feel like it's quite good for my dry skin but at the end of the day, I do see it cling to any dry patches! So it's good for hydration but not good if you have peeling dry skin, which is kind of a catch 22. 


There is a sponge that is made specifically for this foundation and I quite like it. It's a lot more dense than a beauty blender and you don't have to use it damp. The bigger round side is what you would use to pat in the foundation. then the smaller pointed side is what you can use to control the glow. I find the smaller side is good for getting into the curves of my nose. What I really like about this sponge is that it retains the product but when you press onto your skin, the sponge gives the product back out!

It is definitely my favorite way of applying this foundation.


Overall, I really like the idea of the foundation including SPF and skincare benefits! It performs well for the first few hours but loses its glow. Depending on how long you like your foundation to last, this may be a big or small drawback to the beautiful initial finish.
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Can you believe it's almost Valentine's Day?! I swear this year totally crept up on me. How many of you have already gotten your presents ready? I'm definitely still working on mine but for today I wanted to share with you a couple of Valentine's Day worth looks using the Too Faced White Peach Palette!


If you've seen my previous eye looks using the Too Faced Sweet Peach Palette, I like to create unique looks but are still wearable for every day! I know most people don't use 10 different shades in an every day look, so I wanted to create ideas that are very wearable. I also have two new tricks that are especially for Asian eyes that I'll be incorporating!



Look #1


For this look, I wanted to play up the pink for Valentine's day, add a little glitter and incorporate my latest trick for making your crease stand out! 

To start, I used Peach Smoothie all over my lid and brought it above my crease. I used a clean brush to just buff out the edges. Then I patted Glistening Peach underneath the area below the crease. I had to use some setting spray and dip my brushes into it in order to get it to the intensity I want. Lastly is my newest trick! Use On the Grill along the crease line to deepen your crease with a liner or a detailer brush. It looks a little dumb when your eyes are closed but when you open your eyes, your double eyelid will look much more pronounced and defined!



Look #2


For my second look, I wanted to play up the assortment of peach shades in the palette. I started with Peach Suede in the middle 1/3 of the lid. Then I used Sweet Fig on the outer 1/3 of the lid. Lastly I did Peaches & Dreams in inner 1/3. You'll have to go back into each shade a couple of times to reach a good intensity and have a smooth blend but distinct colors! Then my new trick is to line your bottom lash line slightly lower than where your actual water line is. I used On the Grill on the bottom lash line and I start my color in more of a straight shape than curving it up along my natural waterline. 

In the photo above, closer to the outer corner of my bottom lash, you can see the liner shade starts a couple mm below my actual waterline. When you stand a bit further back, this helps your eye look bigger as it tricks your eye into thinking where you put the liner is where your waterline starts!



I'll end off the post with a mini review of the palette so you can see all the shades in action! The White Peach palette has 12 shades in both matte and shimmer formulas. Most of the shades are in the light range. I love orange/purple shadows so the color scheme is right up my alley! I do wish there were slightly deeper midtone shades as I find a few of them are too light and gives a slight ashy look. There are only two dark shades in the palette, On the Grill (matte charcoal), and Peachy Passion (mine's shattered but it's a glittery navy purple)


All of the matte shades are incredibly soft! I do find the pigmentation on these to be less than some of the other palettes like the Sweet Peach palette. My favorite shade is Glistening Peach and it reminds me of Bellini from the Sweet Peach palette. What I do like about this palette is that the shades are actually inspired by peaches and offer a different combination than what's currently on the market. I'm really excited to use this in the summer time as I love an all coral look on the eyes, cheeks and lips!

What I think this would also be great for is if you need a simple look using one shade. If you have light skin tone, you can easily use Peach Suede, Peach Sorbet, Peach Smoothie, or Sweet Fig all over the lid. I wish I had the Peach Passion shade as I think that would help create a very different look in comparison to all the lighter shades. I would agree that the White Peach Palette is better for light-medium skin tones but I don't think every eyeshadow palette has to universally flatter everyone. 


I hope you liked my looks and that it inspired you for your Valentine's day makeup. Also if you have Asian eyes, let me know if my two tricks worked on your eye shape! I'm so happy to have received this palette so I'll keep experimenting and if I come up with something great, I'll be sure to share on Instagram!

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I love finding good deals on fashion and it pains me to buy things full price, but my mom has been telling me to invest in nicer pieces. Before I buy them though, I like to search up how it looks when worn and especially how well it wears over time! I wanted to splurge on a nice pair of flats but surprisingly I found a lack of content showing "designer" pieces (designer in quotation as Sam Edelman is relatively affordable) and how they age! I bought my Sam Edelman Felicia Flats in December 2016 and wanted to share my thoughts and photos after one year of use!




If you are not familiar with Sam Edleman, it is an American designer focused on shoes. The Felicia Flats are one of their top sellers and is in a classic ballerina design. There are usually quite a few classic colors to choose from in both leather and suede. Then each season, they'll usually release some limited edition colors. The Felicia flats retail for $145 CAD and you can usually find the more unique shades go on sale. You can find them at The Bay, Nordstrom, and on Sam Edelman online.


First Impressions: I initially picked this pair because of how SOFT the leather is! I have never felt any other shoe with leather this soft. Additionally, the shoes are extremely light so it's easy to pack into your bags if you like to change your shoes at work. When worn, the sole gives lots of cushion. It's hard to describe but think about the shoes you have where you don't feel like you're stepping on the ground. 

I normally have a lot of issues with flats falling off my heel, so whenever any flats even stay on my feet I give it a lot of attention! I think the elastic band around the top really helps with the fit. I think you'll definitely feel the difference the first time you step in these, especially if you've been wearing synethic leather ballerina flats say from Aldo.


Design: The Felicia Flats are a super classic ballerina style with bows in front. The shoe has an elastic band that helps to stay on your feet. I've had the worst luck with flats and elastic bands as they usually dig into my ankles and leave terrible blisters! But the elastics on these aren't that strong and I never had any discomforts. The inside sole has Sam Edelman written all over and the bottom sole is a flat leather piece with an extra rubber heel. 


How it Wears: For the one year I've had these flats, I have only worn it indoors for work! Because of how soft the leather is and how thin the sole is, I don't really recommend wearing this out and especially not in Raincouver! I would say after one year, the leather still feels just as nice as the first day! I do see scratches near the toes (see picture above). The paint near the heels are also chipping (see picture below). But overall, they are still in great shape!



These have been my go to work shoes when I want to wear flats! I probably only wore it 1/4 of the time from Jan-Sep, but have been wearing it 3/4 of work days from Oct - December! It goes with almost all of my outfits and is so comfy to wear. The price definitely still is high especially since I don't feel like the leather is super durable. But I am really glad I made the purchase as the shoes are extremely comfy and I love the design. I think if any colors I liked went on sale below $100, I would pick up another pair!


I hope to do this series with my YSL Cardholder and my Gucci Marmont bag but I'm going to give it a lot of love before the one year is up. Hope this was helpful for anyone looking to buy the Felicia Flat! 

Related Shoes Posts:
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Earlier last year, I was invited to a L'Oreal Luxe event and went home with tons of goodies from the brands. While I was decluttering my red lipstick collection (full post to come), I realized I haven't tested out this Lancome liquid lipstick so I wanted to do a full review post with demo.



Basics:
Name: Lancome L'Absolu Velvet Matte
Shade: 4 shades available, I have 181 Entracte
Price: $32 CAD
Size: 8mL

When I first saw this product, I couldn't believe it was new as I thought Lancome would have already had liquid lipsticks in their collection. But to my surprise, they actually haven't expanded into liquid lipsticks until now! There are only 4 shades in the Velvet Mattes but 9 shades for L'Absolu Gloss Cream & Sheer.



Packaging: In typical Lancome fashion, the product packaging is non fussy and quite basic. The only real detail of this lipstick is on the cap where you can see the Lancome logo embossed. For me, I found the packaging a bit boring as I wish it either felt more luxurious or the tube could have been more unique.



The product has a pretty good stopper and pulls out all the excess product so you end up with a good amount on the applicator. I'm also a pretty big fan of the applicator. It has two distinctly flat sides so you can swipe all across the lips. While if you flip it on the side, you can get a more precise line.





Shade: The L'Absolu Velvet Matte I have is in 181 Entracte which is a bright orange based red. It definitely brightens up my whole look when I wear it. It looks a bit intimidating but I've been finding red to be a gorgeous color to wear to go with any look. It's especially good when you don't have time to do makeup and it makes you look put together in one minute.


Formula: I love that they put the word Velvet in the name as that's a great way to describe the feel! It has a mousse velvet texture when applied and is very creamy! It takes a while to dry down so I do find I end up with pigment on my teeth if I'm moving around. You definitely don't have to worry about level of pigmentation though as it's full impact!


There was no specific mention about long wearing but I put it to the test and wore it out for 8 hours including eating a meal and having multiple drinks! The color didn't look fresh anymore but you can still see the staining on the lips AND I liked that it did not smear or travel outside of the lips. Please excuse my dry chapped lips though.

Stain left behind after wiping off with tissue.

Lancome L'Absolu Velvet Matte in 181 Entracte after 8 hours of wear
It is a really great high impact liquid lipstick that feels wonderful on the lips. However, there are so many amazing liquid lipsticks already on the market that it's hard to see the differentiation in this product. But if you are a Lancome fan and like full pigmentation or if you are new to liquid lipsticks, you'll really enjoy this for special occasions. Otherwise, your current favorite red liquid lipstick might just do the trick already.

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I would say my style of travel involves finding hidden gems and smaller cities that people might not have heard of! When I was planning my trip to Sydney, one thing I really wanted to do was experience the amazing Australian beaches. What caught my eye was Hyams Beach, voted the whitest beach in the world. It's only about a 3 hour drive from Sydney so I thought it was worth the road trip for a few days and also check out the Shoalhaven area which includes Hyams Beach and Jervis Bay.


I'm going to share with you my top picks for things to do along the way as well as attractions that I thought were over rated. Also, I'll list out some of my favorite restaurants/cafes on the trip. Lastly, I have a Google Map pinned with all the attractions so you can use it for your trip planning!


What to Do:

1) Bald Hill Lookout



The good thing about the drive to Hyams Beach is that it's away from the city so you  are less likely to get caught up in traffic. We left the airport and encountered traffic for the first 20 minutes or so. But from then on, it was pretty smooth driving, although "Princess Motorway" is not like the highways here in Canada. There are stop lights and roundabouts throughout.

Just under an hour south of the airport is Bald Hill Lookout. This was our first stop on the roadtrip and we were blown away by the views! The photos don't do it justice enough. You are staring out into the Ocean and you also see a stretch of golden beach with a cute town.



Originally we were looking for Stanwell Tops but I think you access that by hiking up a trail. If you are driving, Bald Hill was really easy to pull over, there was a parking lot and not that many people!

2) Symbio Wildlife Park
$34 Adult Admission


Just up the hill from Bald Hill Lookout is Symbio Wildlife Park. We actually didn't do this one after another and went to Symbio Wildlife Park on the way back into Sydney. One of my must dos when in Australia was to play with Koalas and Kangaroos! I was debating between Symbio Wildlife  Park and Shoalhaven Zoo but the location of this one was better for our planning.


We spotted 4 koalas when we were there and also joined in the ranger on a special talk. Then there's an opportunity to take a photo with the koala if you pay an extra $10 per person. We gladly paid the fee and got to take a photo and be really up and close with the koala. You can't hold them unfortunately but I did pet it!



For kangaroos, there was a whole section of the park that was grassy and free for the kangaroos the roam. You can buy feed from the park for around $2 a pack and it was tons of fun feeding the kangaroos. The experience was pretty similar to what I had in the Okanagan this summer but it was still fun and the difference was that the kangaroos in Symbio were more active and even were hopping around!

3) Hyams Beach


Our main destination for the drive was Hyams Beach. If you haven't heard about it, I'm not surprised as it's such a hidden gem! The closest town is Vicentia where we stayed at Dolphin Shores but the closest town with restaurants/cafes is Huskisson. They are all within a 15 minute drive though so it's not a big hassle.


The nice beaches I've been to in SE Asia could not be more different than Hyams Beach. I was used to businesses selling drinks, or hustlers trying to braid your hair. But there was nothing commerical about Hyams Beach and it's just pure white sand. There is a parking lot but we didn't find it and just parked on the street and walked down. We got down to the beach and was amazed at how beautiful it was and took photos and hung out for 30 mins before we walked past  the curve and realized we weren't even on the main beach!



The sand was so soft and white but it unfortunately wasn't warm enough to lie around. I guess the fact it's not commercialized also makes it hard to spend all day there as there's no food or drinks for sale, and no washroom facilities. The beach started to get crowded in the afternoon but only around the "entrance", if you just keep walking down the beach, the sand is just as nice but there will be way less people around!

4) Jervis Bay Wild Dolphin Cruise
$65 Adult Admission


Later that day, we had signed up for a Dolphin Cruise as many dolphins make Jervis Bay their home! We selected Jervis Bay Wild and the Eco Adventure Tour which is about 2 hours departing twice a day from Huskisson. I did not expect the boat to go so fast but for the first 20 minutes it was like a rollercoaster ride while we skipped and sped through the ocean. Everyone on the boat was having a great time and super entertained by the thrilling ride.



Then we began searching for dolphins! Unfortunately on the day we went, we were in the middle of a few rain storms. It was sunny when we left from the dock but halfway through we were caught up in a rain storm and had to all work together to close up the zippers.  I would warn that the cruise is really cold even in the summer so make sure you bring a warm sweater! I was really sad that we never did find any dolphins but the captain did his best. In Vancouver, a lot of whale watching companies invite you back for free if you don't see any whales but they did not have a similar policy or else I would have wanted to come back the next day!



I would probably recommend the Dolphin Eco Tour which is only $35 per person instead of $65 and it's about 1.5 hours long. I actually found 2 hours to be a bit long as there's not really a washroom on the vessel and in our case since we found no dolphins we spent a long time just circling around in the water.

5) Two Figs Winery


It's not a vacation without wine! I've always liked wine, but ever since cracking a bottle with my boyfriend in the middle of the week became a norm, I enjoy wine tasting on vacation even more! There are a few wineries in the region but we settled on going to Two Figs winery. There wasn't a tasting room outdoors (which is what I prefer), but it was okay because it was rainy anyways! There is a tasting fee of $5 per person which is waived if you buy a bottle. The tasting fee is really cheap even if you don't buy a bottle as it allows you to try 12 wines! We enjoyed quite a few but finally decided on the Fizzante Dolce to bring home back to Vancouver.





I think the location of Dolphin Shores was such a perfect setting for us to visit Hyams Beach early in the morning without the crowds. I researched a ton of other options though so you can find other hotels in Jervis Bay that might work better for you.

What to Eat:

If you know me, you know that I love to scarf down oysters by the dozen! I talked about oysters at the Sydney fish market, but I also scouted out a great place in the Shoalhaven area by Perfect Catch Seafood. The oyster platter was $20 and it was delicious! You can also order fish and chips. I also meant to visit Jim's Wild Oyster Service but it was more out of the way and we didn't have time.



Now that we are talking about food, I wanted to share some of the food options. The closest Woolworth (large chain grocery store) was in Vincentia about a 5 minute drive from our hotel Dolphin Shores. We went there to get some snacks and also ate at Opporto once and Salty Crab another time. Opporto is similar to Nando's and features portguese chicken in fast food form! We really liked the food and thought the eating area was clean. The next day we went to Salty Crab but was a bit disappointed with their items. It was a bit too fried and bland for our liking.




Some of the best breakfast of the trip we had were in Shoalhaven including 5 Little Pigs in Huskisson and Hungry Monkey in Kiama. The coffees were also really good and I ordered a flat white almost every breakfast I had! If you like coffee, Albert n Miso was a pretty cool local coffee shop that we visited. We didn't have any main dinners as we were jet lagged and our daily waking hours were 6am-7pm haha. But I did list out some good dinner options in the map based on my research!



A couple things we checked out but were disappointed in were the Sea Cliff Bridge, Kiama Blowhole, and walking around the towns of Berry and Nowra. Sea Cliff Bridge is so nice to look at especially the photos taken by a drone. However, if you drive, where you can park the car is quite a walk away from the sea cliff bridge and you can't get the gorgeous S curve view when you are walking in it.


We went to Kiama Blowhole and waited about 20 minutes but nothing happened! We had a delicious breakfast at Hungry Monkey but other than that, there wasn't much in the town to see!


Lastly, the towns of Nowra and Berry were in some online travel guides but I found that the shops weren't close enough so you can just stroll the streets. It would be a good stopping ground if you had a car and had a destination in mind. I was hoping it would be a quaint beach town but it just didn't have enough "cool" shops that are close together.


A couple places I wish I went but didn't have time are Jim's Oysters, and the White Sands Walk. Also while driving I saw that the towns of Bulli and Thirroul looked like they had lots of hipster and modern shops which would be fun to stop at. Both towns also had golden empty beaches!

I book marked all the spots I talked about in this post in this Google Map! The places I visited are in pink while the places I want to go to are in grey! I always use My Maps now whenever I go traveling as it helps to visually map out where all the attractions are! If you don't already use it, try it for your next vacation!

 


I'm so glad I made the road trip to visit areas outside of Sydney even though we were only in Australia for 6 days in total. I loved finding some gems and beautiful views that just can't be possible in a big city! Let me know which of the attractions you'd be most interested in!

I received complimentary admission to Symbio Wildlife Park courtesy of Destination NSW. We also received complimentary tour on the DOlphin cruise. 
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I'm so thankful that in the past few years, I've received lots of press sample beauty products to test out for my blog! However, that usually results in a huge (by my standards) makeup collection that is sitting and collecting dust! I do a pretty good job of trying to use up older products and passing along things to friends and family! However, I do hoard lippies quite a bit and to my surprise, I realized I had 20 red lipsticks sitting around!


I know for a lot of bloggers, 20 red lipsticks is nothing! But I probably only wear bold red lips twice a month maximum so that means I'm only using each lipstick once per year! Join me as we look through my collection and what I kept and what I'm decluttering!


Traditional Lipsticks



The Teeez Cosmetics Lipstick is a true red that has a glossy shine and a thin finish. For me, I decided to keep my Shu Uemura as the "shiny" finish and the Quo Lip Crayon as the true red.

Similarly, the Essence longlasting lipstick is another true red that has a thin finish. This one is matte but the Quo Lip Crayon is also matte and also this product is one of the oldest in my collection.

I recently received the Gigi x Maybelline collection and I LOVED the lipsticks! I decided to keep another shade, Khair, as it was more unique. 


From Left to Right: Mary Kay Gel Semi-Shine Lipstick in Red Smolder, Apple Berry, and Scarlet Red

I actually really like the formula of the Semi-Shine lipsticks from Mary Kay but these shades were not my favorites. Red Smolder and Apple Berry both have a bit of shimmer in them that gives a metallic effect. Scarlet Red was quite nice but I decided to keep some of the other shades that are more unique.



From Left to Right: Quo Lipstick in Raspberry RedMaybelline x Gigi Colorsensational Lipstick in KhairKiss Matte Liquid Lipstick in Celeste

Here are the three lipsticks I did keep!

The Quo lipstick actually came in a holiday collection so I'm not sure if you can even get it anymore. But it's a beautiful blue based red that makes my teeth look very white!

The Gigi x Maybelline Lipstick in Khair is the most orange based red I have! I think it'll look amazing with a tan and just brings a punch of color!

I lumped the Kiss Lipstick in this photo but it's actually a liquid lipstick. It is a true red with tons of pigmentation and the only liquid lipstick I kept as I'm actually not a big fan of that type of formulation!

Lip Crayon and Lip Stain



From Left to Right: Annabelle Twist Up Metallic Lipstick Crayon in Heartbreaker, NYX Epic Ink Lip Dye in Revolt, and NYX Epic Ink Lip Dye in Poised

The Annabelle Lip crayon had a metallic finish to it that I wasn't a fan of. The two NYX Epic Inks were nice but the formulation was a bit weird. It is very watery and thin and definitely more of a lip stain. There is very strong pigmentation but I found it a bit messy to apply and I just wasn't that big of a fan of the finished look. Decluttering all three.



From Left to Right: Lancome L'Absolu Velvet Matte in 181 EntracteEssence XXXL Longlasting Lipgloss in Silky RedUrban Decay High Color Lipgloss in Assassin, Bite Liquidifed Lip in Flambe

I just reviewed the Lancome liquid lipstick and it's actually a really great product! But I decided to keep the Kiss liquid lipstick instead as it dries down a touch faster and I also like the shade better.

The essence lipgloss has a velvet texture as well but much thinner. This is older in my collection so I'm moving this out.

The Urban Decay lipgloss is super old and I got it from a Vancouver Beauty Blogger meet up a few years ago! The shade is metallic and I'm just not that big of a fan.

You might be surprised I'm getting rid of the Bite lipstick! It's a gorgeous vibrant orange but it's too glossy and creamy and gets all over my teeth.



From Top (clockwise): Quo Matte Lip Crayon in Simply Red, Shu Umeura Tint in Balm Lip Color in Fire Flower, Laneige Two Toned Lipstick in Red Blossom, and Givenchy La Rouge Lipstick in 305 (unpictured)


Here are the three lip crayons I did keep!

I kept the Quo lip crayon as it's really easy to be precise and it's a gorgeous true red. The Shu Uemura lip color is a very glossy orange red, this is the only shiny one I kept! The Laneige lipstick I wasn't sure if it even belonged here as it's a much less pigmented lipstick and good for every day wear. Lastly I forgot to put the Givenchy lipstick in the photos but I love the packaging and it's a pretty pink red.


So there you have it! I started with 20 and now I have 7! I'm really proud of myself and glad that I have a more refined list of red lipsticks that will always work.

List of Products I Decluttered
Bite Liquidifed Lip in Flambe
NYX Epic Ink Lip Dye in Revolt (orange)
NYX Epic Ink Lip Dye in Poised
Urban Decay High Color Lipgloss in Assassin
Annabelle Twist Up Metallic Lipstick Crayon in Heartbreaker
Mary Kay Gel Semi-Shine Lipstick in Scarlet Red
Mary Kay Gel Semi-Shine Lipstick in Apple Berry
Mary Kay Gel Semi-Shine Lipstick in Red Smolder


List of Products I Kept

Shu Umeura Tint in Balm Lip Color in Fire Flower
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I can't believe Christmas is coming up which means it's time for beauty gift reviews! Today, I'll be sharing a no-brainer gift for any beauty lover: the Essie Leathers Collection by Rebecca Minkoff. The gift set features 4 minis that will in a leather like finish. Intriguing? Yes! It also comes packaged in a super cute box which looks like a Rebecca Minkoff purse which I actually have!




Side note, if you don't know, Rebecca Minkoff is essie's global color designer! Very cool!



Each nail polish is 5mL but the brush feels just like the regular size. I actually like mini sized products as I never finish products anyways and polishes end up getting thick and goopy before I can finish them. The four polishes sit comfortably in a heavy duty plastic try. The outer box is packaged as if it's a Rebecca Minkoff purse and is so adorable!

The shades are inspired by Rebecca Minkoff's fan favorite leather bags but they do lean towards the holiday theme. I'm not sure if I've ever seen the red, blue, or green bags? It retails for $18.99 which is a fantastic price point for a pre packaged gift and you can find this at Shoppers Drug Mart!





Cross Body Heat: My favorite shade of the pack, this is a purple lilac that is in the same shade as the box packaging and the real purse. It's not very Christmas/holiday friendly but when it comes spring, I'll be wearing this shade all the time!



Tote-ally in Love: The next three shades seem more holiday inspired as I don't recall seeing any purses in these shades.This one is a classic Christmas shade and is a deep true red.



In Hot Purse-uit: I kind of wish this was a gold to round out the collection but this shade is a royal navy blue. It is a beautiful striking shade but I'm not sure if it's holiday or purse inspired.


Back in the Saddle: Lastly, we definitely need a green to to represent the Christmas trees. This one is a nice deep forest green which I have been loving this season.



The most interesting part about these polishes is definitely the leather finish. It gives off a gritty appearance which surprisingly does look like leather but still feels very smooth to the touch. The closest way I can describe it is that it looks like when you touched your polish before it dried down and left a finger print, but in a nicer way.



You can use a top coat though which will usually leave a glossy finish. If you want to keep the leather finish, I would recommend either not using a top coat or using a matte top coat. Each of the polishes also look like they have glitter in the bottle. But once applied, none of them are glittery and instead gives off that pebbly leather appearance.



I love the unique inspiration and the adorable packaging of this gift set! It's extra luxurious as it feels like a essie + Rebecca Minkoff present all in one. For a friend that enjoys makeup, give this gift for an adventure combining nail polish with fashion!
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Do you have all your Christmas shopping done? If not, don't worry as The Body Shop got your back with a ton of pre packed gift sets and all within a friendly budget! Their online shop currently has 40% off almost everything, and ebates is also doing an 8% back so you'll really get great bang for your buck! I have a few different sets to share but definitely browse their website as they have a lot more options that might best suit your needs.


The Body Shop has an impressive selection of skincare items. The Drops of Youth collection is meant for tackling the first signs of aging. I feel like I'm starting to get to the age where this is necessary and will definitely start looking at anti-aging benefits in my skincare.

The set contains the Youth Concentrate as well as the Youth Cream and both I believe are full size. The two products are very highly rated on The Body Shop site so I'm excited to try them.



The gift is packaged in an all green box with circles that look like ornaments. The added touch is the silver bow that keeps the box closed and makes this look like a nicely prepared present!




Like I said in my previous gift guides, I wouldn't necessarily go for skin care if I'm buying a gift for someone else as skin care can be very specific. I love this next gift which is the Frosted Berry festive Tin ($28) and it comes in this oversized purple ornament! You can close up the lid and present it as the circular ornament, it even has string so you can hang it on the Christmas tree!


Inside, you will find a travel size of the Shower Gel, Body Scrub, Body Butter and Hand Cream. This is the perfect size to use a scent just during the holiday season. Frosted Plum has a fruity scent but also a bit of a holiday spice, it is really delicious!


I am always in need of hand creams and The Body Shop makes them in so many scents! This would be a great gift to give to coworkers as they are all individually packaged and great for splitting! The Spread the Love gift set ($40) contains these scents: Mango, British Rose, Shea, Strawberry, Moringa, Pink Grapefruit!



The formulation of The Body Shop hand creams are very thin and light. I personally like this as I just need a bit of hydration usually after I wash my hands. But if you are using your hands heavily the formulas might not be hydrating enough for you. Either way though, the scents are amazing and so fun to throw into your purse!




Lastly, a classic gift set to cover all body care basis, the Strawberry Premium Gift ($46) will be your best pick. The set includes a full sized Shower Gel, Body Butter, Body Scrub, Body Mist and a travel sized hand cream!


The box is in shades of red and includes messages of values that The Body Shop believes in. The box is also tied up with a bow to start with so it's gift ready! The inside of the lid also has a crossword puzzle that adds a bit more fun to the gift. This is definitely great to gift as a pampering gift or even for yourself to get all your body care items in a pretty box!



There are a few other gift sets that caught my eye including the Robot Money Box and the Mask Sampler Set. I love that so many of the products come gift ready as I'm horrible at wrapping presents! Hope this helps for anyone still looking for a last minute gift idea!

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I hope you have been enjoying my travel posts recently! I've so far only talked about Sydney but today, I'll be sharing my first recap of my travels in Tokyo. One thing I like to do when I travel is to do experiences that's unique to that city. That's why I decided to check out Robot Restaurant in Tokyo!



On our first day in Tokyo, we strolled down the winding roads of Shinjuku in search of Robot Restaurant. I was still getting used to all the back alleys in the city as I thought a big tourist show would be on a main street. But after some searching, the bright lights of Robot Restaurant can't be missed. There's also tons of promoters outside selling tickets right before the show. If you plan on going, I do recommend buying through Voyagin (Discounted tickets including one drink and front row seats for $79 CAD, I'll get into more details a bit later).



For me, I had a bit of trouble with the whole "check in" process. We were kindly offered media tickets by Voyagin but I've never had such a hassle with a media check in process. I had to go through 3 different employees finally talking to the manager. They wanted to see my business card, which I didn't think of bringing around when traveling all day. We were told we can't come in and then they finally said okay it's fine but they they questioned where's my camera. I knew my phone would take better photos in the dark than my DSLR. It took about 30 minutes of back and forth before we finally got our tickets.


I was getting anxious as the tickets said "failure to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled show time will result in the cancellation of your reservation" so I thought we were late. But once we were led in, we were actually shown to the waiting area. The wall paper and the decorations in the hallways and waiting room are pretty crazy and super fun to look at. There was a live performer who was very good! But I didn't really enjoy that they asked you to go early to the show just so you can buy drinks and snacks before the show.







After a while, the hostess led all of us in the waiting room down the stairs to the actual show room. I think the Robot Restaurant name threw me off as I thought we might be sitting in tables with Robots doing shows around us. But actually there is a "runway" and 3 rows of seats on each side. If you buy tickets from Voyagin, you'll be guaranteed front row seats which is a lot more interaction with the performers and better for taking photos! But we sat in the 3rd row and the view was fine too.




For the first little while, they sold more drinks and souvenirs and created a summer fair like environment. They had cocktails in a light up cup, beers, popcorn, and lots of Robot Restaurant souvenirs.


The show started with a roar, about 10 performers all started playing the drums together and it was a thundering beginning and I barely knew where to look. For the next 15 minutes, weird animals and other creatures came out in floats parade style and fought with other creatures. I was trying to figure out the plot but there really isn't any. The show itself was interesting in the sense that there is an over amount of lights and sound and you are trying to figure out what you are watching. However the intermissions every 15 minutes selling drinks and souvenirs really breaks up the atmosphere and makes it feel more like a tourist trap than a once in a lifetime experience.



I think how much you enjoy the show is based on your expectations! I was thinking that there would be high-tech robots or really skilled performers doing acrobatic dances like Cirque du Soleil. So I was a bit disappointed with the level of professionalism of the show. There's still tons of people who think it's an absolute must go and a totally unique experience. It's very hard to sum up the show as it's just meant to be an overload of all your senses! There's crazy laser lights, loud cheers, and even some flames.


I think my experience might also be biased because of how frustrating the "check in" process was. I received such warm hospitality throughout Tokyo otherwise that this experience really stood out to me.



Here you can see in the light how small the "runway" is for the robots.

If you are interested though there are at least three show times each day at 5:55pm, 7:50pm and 9:45pm, regular price of 8,000 Yen (~$80 USD). Try and grab food before or after the show as the food in Shinjuku will be much better than at the show. We went to Raamemmanrai for ramen and Bar Benfidditch for cocktails before the show and both were FANTASTIC! If you buy your tickets through Voyagin, you get a discount, a drink voucher, and front row seats. So if you do decide to go visit, make sure to get your discounted tickets online!


Make sure to browse Voyagin's huge selection of tours (over 1000!) for other unique Japanese experiences in Tokyo! A couple other activities that caught my eye on Voyagin includes the Mario Cart drive and a visit to the Hedgehog Cafe. I like that you can see so many experiences all together on one site and also Voyagin usually has discounted price compared to buying straight from the vendor!

Unfortunately the Robot Restaurant didn't live up to my expectations but I'm glad I had the chance to see what the hype is all about! If you visited, did you have a different experience? Would you add it to your itinerary when visiting Tokyo?
I received complimentary tickets to Robot Resturant coordinated by Voyagin
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I just put together a great gift guide for luxury beauty lovers that you should definitely check out. But if you are looking for a cheaper option, think under $20, then this post is for you! We've all been in situations where we need to get our coworkers a last minute gift and hopefully these ideas will help you out! Once again, I tried to stick to products that are more universal and you won’t need to know their skin color/type or shade preferences.

Being by Sanctuary- Chili Mango & Tonka Bean Hand Cream
Available at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations
$10



I was recently introduced to this brand that just arrived in Canada! They create body products with very unique flavor combinations. For example this product is Chili Mango and Tonka Beans! The products are made with millennials in mind using natural products and no animal testing. I really love the scent of this and the texture is great too. Also, how good do their other scents sound: Water Lotus & Pomelo, Hibiscus & Coconut Water!


The Body Shop- Coconut Soft Hands Warm Kisses
Available at The Body Shop


$10 on sale for $6



The Body Shop is a classic place to go for pre packaged gifts, another post on this soon! They have these fantastic Soft Hands Warm Kisses sets in Coconut and Shea Butter! It's only $10 and currently on sale for $6 which makes it such a great option as it's already pre packaged and ready to go! I love their hand creams because it absorbs so fast as it is a thinner consistency and their scents are delicious!

Hard Candy- Lips of Love Set
Available at Walmart
$4.97



This set wins for best value! You get 3 lip glosses and a makeup pouch for only $4.97! The brand is mainly aimed towards the younger crowd but I’m very pleased with the quality of the lippies. They are a much thinner consistency than say Stila Liquid Lipsticks but gives a medium coverage and feels surprisingly comfy on the lips. The colors in this set are super neutral and would flatter a variety of skin tones.


Rocky Mountain Soap Co - Peppermint Lip Balm
Available online
$5.50





I have a gift option if you want to support local! Rocky Mountain Soap Co is a Western Canadian brand that only produces products using very natural ingredients. This lip balm is a peppermint flavor and feels buttery soft. The ingredient list is made up of things I can actually pronounce: sesame seed oil, beeswax, cocoa butter, shea butter, sunflower seed oil, peppermint oil, and Vitamin E. That's all there is and it makes me wonder why we would ever need more ingredients than this in any lip balm!

Kiss - Be Linked Nail Strips
Available at London Drugs
$10


What better way to get in the holiday spirit than with Christmas themed nails! These decals make it super easy to do nail art. You can paint a plain base coat in a neutral color. Then you just peel off the stickers and stick on your nails. Finish with a top coat and it looks like fancy nail art. There are also 5 full nail stickers if you don’t feel like using nail polish at all.

Impress Nails - Claim to Fame
Available at Walmart and online
$7.99


Alternatively, you can gift them a manicure set without a Christmas theme but will definitely keep them in style. I started using impress nails about 3 years ago and there was a learning curve. But either they improved their designs or I got better, I can put a set of these on in about 5 minutes now and they’ll last at least 3 days! Their designs are better too as they used to only have solid shades. Now there are some very trendy manicures available as press on nails.


Real Techniques- 4 Mini Miracle Complexion Sponges
Available at London Drugs and Ulta
$10.20


Beauty blenders are amazing but quite pricey especial if you need to replace them often. Real Techniques has great quality brushes and sponges for a much more affordable price. This set is really cute with multi color mini sponges so you can use them with different products and not mix it up. These sponges are perfect for applying concealer, highlighter and getting foundation into small creases. It's also really great to travel with!

7th Heaven - Charcoal Peel Off Mask
$2




For a real stocking stuffer at only $2, the Charcoal Peel Off Mask is the latest addition to 7th Heaven’s large line up of masks. Their packaging is iconic with fruits/vegetables over top the models eyes. Although I have to say sometimes it is a bit freaky. But these masks work surprisingly well and although it’s suppose to be a single use, I can usually get 3-4 uses out of one package. I also like that it's peel off as sometimes washing off mud masks gets quite messy.

So there you have it, 8 different options for beauty gifts less than $15! Hope everyone's finished their holiday shopping and ready to celebrate the holidays with their loved ones!

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