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Moving this month has been such a busy and tiring process, but we are finally getting settled in and I have been able to focus on my blog a little bit more. So, even though it’s the end of January I still wanted to share my Top Beauty Discoveries of 2017!

I’ve tried a ton of new products throughout 2017, many of which I have absolutely loved. Though I tried my best to narrow it down, I still have quite a few products that I want to mention, so let’s get right into it!

Haircare

Live Clean Biotin Shampoo* and Conditioner* I already love Live Clean’s shampoos and conditioners, but this new release really delivered in giving my hair extra body and texture thanks to biotin, which works to thicken hair. And with added ingredients like ginseng and lavender, it also helped make my hair feel stronger. Like all Live Clean products, this range smells fantastic and contains no nasty ingredients.

Pantene 3 Minute Miracle Repair & Protect Deep Conditioner I decided to give this a try when it was on sale, and after one use I knew this would become a staple in my shower. The thick formula really works to penetrate the hair, and it left mine feeling so much more soft and smooth. For only a few dollars you really can’t go wrong with this product—even my boyfriend loves using this!

ISA Professional Titanium Flat Iron Hair Straightener* In terms of hair tools, I totally fell for this guy. I can easily straighten my hair or curl it with this tool in a matter of minutes. It doesn’t tug on my hair (like a lot of hair straighteners do) and it always leaves my hair feeling healthier than it did before styling. If you’re interested, check out my full review here.

Skincare

Natural JOE Organic Camu Camu Under Eye Nectar* This is still the best eye cream I have ever tried. With its serum-like consistency and all-natural ingredients, this is the only eye cream that has effectively reduced the appearance of my dark circles, as well as de-puffed and brightened my under eye area. Rereading my blogpost on this, which you can read here, has reminded me that I really need to repurchase this.

Eden’s Semilla Hyaluronic Acid Serum* Last year, I learned that I really love hyaluronic acid, as it really works to replenish the skin and combat signs of aging. With 20% hyaluronic acid, this serum gave my skin a significant boost of hydration whilst soothing and softening the skin. I also kept this in the fridge, which made applying this first thing in the morning an absolute treat. Read my full review of this product here.

Pixi Glow Tonic In 2017, I finally gave this cult product a go and I can finally understand why the beauty world constantly raves about this toner. Despite being an exfoliating toner, this is super gentle and really helps to exfoliate, brighten and smooth the skin. This product got rid of any little bumps on my skin and left my face looking much more healthy and radiant—I just wish it wasn’t so pricey!

Makeup

Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance* I’m actually not a huge fan of Laura Mercier primers, as they don’t tend to sit well on my combo skin and leave me looking shiny by the end of the day. However, for minimal makeup days I have loved using a tiny bit of their radiance primer to give my face a more luminous appearance. It gives my skin a natural glow that looks healthy and radiant.

Shiseido Synchro Skin Lasting Liquid Foundation* I can’t believe I actually fell in love with a foundation in 2017, but this new release by Shiseido completely won me over. Not only is it incredibly lightweight on the skin, but it also looks natural and wears well all day long without creasing. To hear more about why I love this product so much, check out this blogpost.

BareMinerals BareSkin Complete Coverage Serum Concealer If you’re in the market for a new high-end concealer, definitely give this one a try. The serum formula means this helps keep my under eye area hydrated without settling into any fine lines. This concealer also offers full coverage, so it easily conceals my dark circles, along with any discolouration. It looks so flawless on the skin and I am completely smitten with it.

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer A much more affordable concealer I also loved in 2017 was this one by Wet n Wild. It’s white cast-free under seven different lighting conditions, making it perfect to use for pictures, and overall, it’s just a great, affordable concealer. The one negative though is it’s nearly impossible to find in-store (I still have only seen it sold at one Walmart).

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in ‘Paaarty’ This blush was included in the Sephora Birthday Gift for 2017 and it was my first time (finally) trying one of the Amazonian Clay blushes. I love how this blush wears and the pinky nude shade works perfectly with my complexion. The formula of this is the perfect consistency—not powdery whatsoever—and I have been wearing this blush almost everyday since I got it. Thanks Sephora!

Essence The False Lashes Mascara Dramatic Volume Unlimited My favourite mascara I discovered in 2017 was definitely this affordable option by Essence. It’s currently in my top 3 favourite mascaras, as it ticks off both boxes in terms of volume and length, and the brush helps separate your lashes, and allow the mascara to go on evenly. It also doesn’t smudge off, flake off or sweat off (I tested all of this out in the Dominican and throughout the summertime).

Clinique Almost Lipstick in ‘Black Honey’ This was a deluxe sample in a Sephora set I redeemed for 500 points back in September, and it was my fuss-free, red-toned lip throughout the fall. This works with the natural tone of your lips, creating a unique and flattering shade for your complexion. It wears like a tinted balm, so it’s not only super easy to apply, but also super easy to wear. I will 100% be purchasing the full-size of this.

LipSense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color in ‘Pink Champagne’* and LipSense Gloss in ‘Glossy’* I was introduced to the world of SeneGence last year, and I’m pretty hooked. I love the shade ‘Pink Champagne’, as it’s a shade that is so easy for me to wear everyday, and paired with the gloss, the colour is able to last all day long (I also love wearing the gloss just on its own). If you’re curious about what makes LipSense so long lasting, I have a full blogpost on it, which you can read here

Nails

China Glaze Nail Polish in ‘Kill the Lights’* I spent a lot of 2017 not wearing nail polish, but when I was wearing it my favourite was definitely this one. I absolutely adore the mauve crème shade, as it looks so pretty on the nails and went with everything. It also dried quickly, was opaque in just 1-2 coats, and was pretty chip-resistant.

Fragrance

Kat Von D Saint Eau de Parfum* and Sinner Eau de Parfum* And finally, Kat Von D relaunched her Saint + Sinner fragrances last year, and I ended up falling for both. Between the lightweight, sweet and floral scent of Saint and the warm, spicy scent of Sinner, both fragrances wear beautifully just on their own or layered together. I have a full blogpost on these scents here.

What beauty products were your favourites for 2017? I’d love to know!

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It’s hard to believe it, but Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching! So, if you’re stumped on what to get that special someone in your life look no further, as JORD wooden watches have got you covered. This was the perfect option as an early Valentine’s Day gift for my boyfriend, Jason, as he had been wanting to get himself a watch to wear for night’s out and special events. I am also thrilled to announce that I am doing a GIVEAWAY, so make sure to check out the end of this post on how to enter!

Founded in 2013, JORD wooden watches are hand-crafted from raw materials, making each timepiece unique and also making it a great, sustainable option. And as long as you take proper care of your watch, it is capable of standing the test of time (come on, I had to get one ‘time’ pun in here somewhere!).

Jason ended up picking out the exact watch I would have chose for him, which is their Hyde watch in Ebony & Iron*. The natural ebony, which is hand-finished and pretreated with tung oils to finish and protect the wood, is so beautiful and gives the watch such a sleek, classic look. Jason loves the minimalist face on it, and the fact that he can easily pair it with jeans and a t-shirt (aka his daily uniform) or with more formal attire.

The one thing I definitely can rave about in terms of JORD wooden watches is their attention to detail. The watch comes housed in a wonderful handcrafted box, which I actually think Jason loved just as much as the watch itself! The hands on this watch are metal tipped and the face is protected by sapphire crystal glass. I love the couple pops of red on the face of the watch, as it brings the perfect amount of colour to this otherwise dark timepiece and it ties in with the subtle red that runs throughout the wood. This watch also uses a deployment buckle with push buttons, so you can take the watch off just as easily as you can put it on. Along with the Ebony & Iron, the Hyde series also comes in Walnut & Black and Kosso & Gray. To see the rest of the collection, you can view their men’s watches here and their women’s watches here.

JORD also offers personalized engravings on either the backplate of your watch or on the cedar box it comes in to make your gift that much more special. I chose to keep my engraving simple and opted for just my boyfriend’s initials (and yes, he shares the same initials as his favourite Tennessee whiskey). Check out their watch engraving page here for more information, and if you’re in need of some engraving inspo JORD also has a Pinterest page.

JORD wooden watches range from $139 to up to $495, and all watches come with a 1-year warranty, and JORD also offers free shipping worldwide. You also receive a JORD cleaning cloth to keep the watch’s face clean, as well as their 100% natural preserve cleaning oil and JORD polishing cloth to keep your timepiece clean and conditioned.

Now, onto the GIVEAWAY portion! I’ve teamed up with JORD to give one lucky winner $100 to use towards a beautiful JORD wooden watch of their own! All you have to do is click here to enter and you’ll automatically receive a 10% off code just for entering! The giveaway will run until February 4th, 2018 at 11:59pm—good luck everyone!

What do you think of these JORD wooden watches? Personally, I’m thinking about getting one of their Cassia watches for myself this Valentine’s Day!


Watch Gift Ideas

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Ellerow by Ellerow - 1w ago

I loved seeing everyone’s ‘A Year in Review’ on their Instastories towards the end of 2017, as I’ve been doing these for the last few years here on my blog as a way for me to look back and reflect on the past year. However, seeing as it’s already mid-January, I’m a little late to the party in getting this post up.

Taken on Jason’s birthday at the beginning of the month. We had a bunch of people over at our new place to celebrate!

That’s because my 2017 ended with Jason and I finally finding a place and moving in New Year’s Eve! The last couple of weeks have been an absolute whirlwind, but we’re slowly getting all settled in and I finally had the time to sit down and put together this post. I also decided to call this year’s post ‘A Year in Review’ instead of my usual ‘A Year in Pictures’, as I think it just sounds better.

Anyways, get comfortable because here we go!

I wanted to start off talking about the end of April/beginning of May, as it was a really emotional time for me. I had officially completed my undergrad, which was a huge accomplishment for me, and I felt on top of the world. And just a few days later, I was off to the Dominican Republic for a much needed vacation to relax and celebrate.

I had an amazing trip to the Dominican Republic, which you can read about here.

However, while I was in the Dominican, my cat, Sweeney, got incredibly sick. Coming home to a weak, lethargic and unrecognizable cat in just one week was an absolute shock and completely heartbreaking for me. After a ton of tests, he was diagnosed with anemia—which was caused by a parasite—and he was also diagnosed with diabetes and FIV. Between the vet visits, all the tests we had done and everything we had to get for him, I racked up a ton of money in vet bills, which put a lot of stress on me financially. I ended up setting up a GoFundMe page, which showed me how amazing and generous people can be in a time of need—I can’t even begin to express how thankful I am to those who donated! I also am extremely thankful for my mom, who’s my absolute rock, and of course, thankful for Sweeney getting back to his happy and healthy self.

Here are some photos of him from the last few months!

So much love for my sweet, handsome boy.

Feeling like I needed a little getaway, Jason and I took a road trip to Owen Sound over the May long weekend to check out the numerous waterfalls in Grey County. Seeing all the beautiful waterfalls, whilst being surrounded by nature and breathing in the fresh air, was just what I needed.

Enjoying the view at Inglis Falls.

June was a very exciting month, as it meant convocation! It felt unreal to graduate from one of the world’s most prestigious universities with honours and it was honestly just one of the happiest, proudest, and most wondrous days of my life.

All dressed up to celebrate Jimmy and Rosa.

Also in June, Jason’s dad married his longtime partner, and I was so happy to be a part of their special day!

Fast forward to the end of July, which is when I left my job of almost 7 years, which was both liberating and terrifying. Liberating because even though it was a job that had been so good to me, and one which I had learned and grown so much from, it had ran its course and it was time to cut the cord. Terrifying because I had been there for so long and because I have always had a job ever since I was 16, so it meant I was unemployed for the first time in my life. No longer having an income coming in was definitely scary, but it also really taught me how to become smarter with my money. It also made me a lot less materialistic, as I am definitely guilty of years of purchasing material items I don’t need in order to fill a temporary happiness. That has also been hugely liberating to breakaway from.

Over the summer, Jason and I spent quite a few weekends up north, camping at Algonquin and staying at friend’s cottages. I absolutely love being up north.

I also went to Elora Quarry for the first time ever!

In August, my best friend got married, and I couldn’t have been more honoured to be a part of her special day. This was my first time being a bridesmaid, so I was super nervous, but I was also so excited to be able to stand next to her when she said “I do”!

Photo by Nick Janzen Photography. Photos by wine.

And just one month before that, one of my other best friends got engaged in Italy! Which means I get to be a bridesmaid again—I can’t wait to stand beside another amazing woman on her big day!

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It’s hard to believe 2017 is already coming to an end, as it feels like it came and went in the blink of an eye. There’s a lot of things I’m looking forward to in 2018, and one of them (of course) is trying out a ton of new beauty products. There are quite a few brands I have still yet to try anything by, and that definitely needs to change in the new year.

So, in no particular order, here are 5 beauty brands that I want to try in 2018:

1. Fenty Beauty

At the beginning of September, Rihanna blessed us all with her beauty line, which has been getting constant praise ever since. Fenty Beauty prides itself on diversity and inclusivity, and with the liquid foundation offering a groundbreaking 40 shades, it means there’s a shade for every skin tone. My sister has been obsessed with the foundation, and seeing how beautiful it matches and looks on her skin, I’m totally sold. Plus, how dreamy is the packaging?

Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear FoundationKillawatt Freestyle Highlighter in ‘Mean Money/Hu$tla Baby and Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer in ‘Fenty Glow’

2. ColourPop

From what I’ve seen online, ColourPop offers a huge range of products that seem to offer great pigmentation and awesome performance without breaking the bank (most of their products are around the $6 mark). And if you know me, you know that I love affordable beauty, so the fact I still haven’t tried anything by ColourPop is quite surprising. You better believe I’m placing a huge ColourPop order in the new year.

Super Shock Shadows, Lippie Stix and Precision Brow Pencil in ‘Dope Taupe’

3. First Aid Beauty

Other than a sample I got of their cult-favourite Ultra Repair Cream—which I loved—I haven’t tried anything by First Aid Beauty. And ever since they expanded their line last year with their Hello FAB range, I’ve been eyeing this brand more and more every time I peruse Sephora. I especially need to try the Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer, which a few people I know have raved about.

Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration, Hello FAB Coconut Skin Smoothie Priming Moisturizer and Hello FAB Triple Protection Skin Tint

4. Glossier

It seems like everyone was talking about Glossier this year and ever since they announced that they now ship to Canada, I’ve been curious to try some of their products myself. To be honest, a lot of their products don’t interest me, but the handful that do, really do. I love the simple packaging, but I love even more that they have a lip balm that smells and tastes like birthday cake aka my weakness.

Birthday Balm Dotcom, Cloud Paint in ‘Dusk’ and Haloscope in ‘Moonstone’

5. Mario Badescu

This is a brand I would always look at in Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie and tell myself I want to try out and then forget about. This year I’ve seen so many people recommending the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, and since I’m a sucker for a good face mist, it’s high up on my list to try. They have a ton of other products with great reviews, which makes this skincare brand look really promising in delivering effective skincare.

Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater, Drying Lotion and Hyaluronic Eye Cream

What beauty brands are you hoping to try in 2018?

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Ellerow by Ellerow - 1w ago

I’ve been finishing products at record speed this year, so of course, I have one more ‘Product Empties’ post to share with you before the end of the year. To be honest, I could probably squeeze one more in next week if I really hustled!

Anyways, let’s dive into this round of empties:

Haircare

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

Pros: Love the fresh, invigorating crimson orange and mint scent of this, the citrus and mint feels stimulating, super inexpensive, no white residue, absorbs excess oil, free of parabens and colourants, don’t get as much product build up with this, as I do with other dry shampoos

Cons: Doesn’t give my hair much volume like it suggests, the nozzle on this one actually stopped working before I could finish it

Repurchase? Already have (here’s to hoping the nozzle doesn’t go on this one).

Garnier Fructis Style De-Constructed Texture Tease Dry Touch Finishing Spray

Pros: Smells good, affordable, gives the hair decent lift and more texture, dries well without being sticky, isn’t heavy on the hair

Cons: I just never found myself reaching for this

Repurchase? Maybe. I feel like I need to give this a second chance.

Skincare

Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Balm in ‘Quenched’

Pros: Great everyday lip balm, lightweight, hydrating, wears well under lipstick, smells good, contains SPF 20, affordable

Cons: Can’t think of any

Repurchase? Yes, I forgot how much I love this lip balm!

Eden’s Semilla Hyaluronic Acid Serum*

Pros: Amazing serum, contains 20% hyaluronic acid, replenishes the skin and gives it a huge boost of hydration, replenishes and softens the skin, kept this in the fridge so it also soothed any redness and puffiness, contains no nasty ingredients, fragrance-free, cruelty-free, vegan

Cons: Can only get this online through Amazon, hard to get out near the end

Repurchase? 100% want to repurchase this, but unfortunately, it says it’s currently not available in Canada (sad face).

I have a full review of this serum, which you can read here.

Bath & Body

Bath & Body Works Oahu Coconut Sunset Crushed Coconut Body Scrub 

Pros: Love the scent and creamy formula, contains coconut and monoi oils, which condition the skin, offers gentle exfoliation, skin feels soft after using this

Cons: Wish it was a tiny bit more abrasive, seasonal scent

Repurchase? Maybe.

Makeup

Illamasqua Matte Veil

Pros: Controls oil and mattifies the skin, leaves skin feeling soft and silky, creates a superb base for makeup, makeup goes on smooth, improves makeup longevity, cream-gel formula feels incredibly luxurious on the skin, little spoon included helps keep the product from getting contaminated

Cons: No stores seem to sell Illamasqua in Canada, expensive, in a jar, so can still be contaminated

Repurchase? If Sephora or Hudson’s Bay still carried Illamasqua I would repurchase this primer, as I absolutely adore it.

Vasanti Wonders of the World Colour Correcting Concealer Duo*

Pros: Corrects, covers and primes all in one, full coverage, wears all day long, doesn’t crease, the two shades allow you to create your perfect shade, oil-free, paraben-free, cruelty-free

Cons: Hard to get the product out near the end

Repurchase? Yes.

e.l.f. Tone Correcting Powder

Pros: Sets makeup really well, evens out skin tone, absorbs excess oil, specifically helped neutralize the red in my skin, very affordable, love the sleek, black packaging

Cons: This powder can break easily, does not neutralize all my skin tone problems, contains talc

Repurchase? Yes.

Chella Eyebrow Color Pencil in ‘Tantalizing Taupe’*

Pros: Easy to use, the fine nib gives plenty of control and precision, gives me fuller brows, looks natural, lasts all day, colour is perfect for my brows

Cons: Can only get this online, find I go through this product so fast

Repurchase? Yes.

Chella Eyebrow Defining Gel – Clear*

Pros: Holds eyebrow hairs in place all day long, locks in colour, gel sets brows without leaving them crispy, like the brush

Cons: Pricey

Repurchase? No. It’s a good clear brow gel, but it’s not worth the $18.00.

Essence I Love Extreme Volume Mascara Waterproof

Pros: Gives my lashes a ton of noticeable volume, wears well all day, isn’t clumping, does not smudge or flake, affordable

Cons: Like most waterproof mascaras, the formula dries out quickly, is a bit drying on the lashes and difficult to remove, the large brush makes it hard to apply to my lower lashes

Repurchase? I don’t typically buy waterproof mascaras, so I wouldn’t repurchase this right away.

Nails

Sally Hansen Insta-Dri in ‘Clearly Quick’

Pros: Love the brush on the Insta-Dri polishes as they contour to the nail, dries nails in seconds, gives nail colour a boost of a shine, affordable

Cons: Technically not a topcoat (but I still love using it like one), got too thick near the end, so it was hard to get out of the bottle and use

Repurchase? Already have!

You can read my last Product Empties post here. What products have you recently finished up?

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Lip colour that lasts until you take it off? Sign me up! As much as I love a good lip colour, I’ll be the first to admit that I am incredibly lazy when it comes to reapplying said lip colour throughout the day. LipSense by SeneGence promises long lasting, kiss-proof lip colour that will not smear, budge or rub off—it even claims to be waterproof! I was definitely intrigued and after having a few friends rave about it, I had to test it out for myself.

SeneGence has come a long way since they first introduced their LipSense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color in April 1999. Back then, there were only six lip colours available, along with a moisturizing lip gloss and a lip colour remover. Almost two decades later, there are now over 50 different colours available in 3 different finishes, which can be mixed together to create your perfect shade. The company has also expanded significantly since then, now offering a full line of long-lasting makeup and anti-aging skincare. Their products are not tested on animals, contain no animal by-products and they also do not use external packaging for their products in-order to reduce waste.

4 hours and still going strong.

The shade I went with was the LipSense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color in ‘Pink Champagne’*, which is a blue-based/cool tone pink with subtle shimmer in it. It’s a tad lighter than my natural lip colour, making it a really easy, everyday shade to wear. When you apply this, it has that slight tingling sensation that reminds me of lip plumping products (minus the lip plumping), which I assume is the lip colour adhering to your lips.  That tingling sensation quickly subsides, and the lip colour sets in only a matter of seconds. The product does feel quite tight and slightly uncomfortable on the lips, which is why the LipSense Gloss is an absolute must.

To seal in the lip colour and improve its longevity, I apply the LipSense Gloss in ‘Glossy’* on top. The lip gloss instantly relieves any of that tightness from the lip colour by adding a ton of moisture to the lips with ingredients like shea butter and vitamin E. It adds a beautiful sheen to the lips and really helps to enhance the lip colour. For a gloss, it isn’t too sticky and even though it has a more thick consistency, it does not feel heavy on the lips whatsoever. Though the lip colour does not need any reapplying throughout the day, you will need to reapply the gloss every few hours or so. I absolutely love the way the gloss looks and feels on the lips, and I’ll often wear it just by itself. Along with ‘Glossy’, their glosses also come in matte, shimmer and pearl finishes.

In regards to applying the lip colour, I do exactly as the directions say, which are:

  1. Apply the lip colour in one direction beginning with the outside corner of the mouth
  2. Allow 3-5 seconds to dry
  3. Follow up with a second and third layer in-order to build the colour up, allowing 3-5 seconds to dry in-between each layer
  4. Once the colour is dry, you must top it off with a LipSense Gloss (SeneGence doesn’t enforce the ‘must’, but I definitely do)

There are a couple steps I do do before applying the LipSense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color, which includes exfoliating my lips first, in-order to remove any dead skin, so the lip colour goes on as smooth as possible. I also make sure my lips are clean and bare before applying the lip colour, as the colour adheres best to bare lips. Lastly, I give the lip colour a quick shake before applying it like you would with a foundation or nail polish.

Paired with the LipSense Gloss, I have been able to easily get well over 10 hours of wear with this. The colour does not budge at all, but without the gloss, I find the lip colour on its own can rub and flake off after awhile. Using the gloss ensures the colour looks just as good in the morning, as it does in the evening—even after eating and drinking. Overall, once I got the hang of applying this, I really loved the longevity of the lip colour, and I have been wearing this combo a ton.

This is an unstoppable duo that I really cannot recommend enough. The LipSense Long Lasting Liquid Lip Color is sold for C$30.00, whereas the LipSense Gloss is sold for C$25.00.

It is also important to note that SeneGence products are all sold through SeneGence Independent Distributors. To find a distributor near you, you can do so here. And if you live in the Greater Toronto Area, my friend Christi is a SeneGence Distributor, and has an awesome Facebook group, which I really encourage you to join. You can find that here.

Have you tried LipSense by SeneGence? What are your thoughts?

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Hard Candy came out with a huge, adorable holiday collection this year offering everything from makeup minis and gift sets, to advent calendars and even Christmas crackers. Everything in the collection is also extremely affordable, with majority of the items retailing for under $5.00 and the larger gift sets ranging between $10.00 to $20.00.

I was so excited to create a holiday makeup look with a ton of the products from the collection—the final look is quite vampy, but I do really love how it turned out. Curious to know how some of these products performed? Just carry on reading to hear my thoughts!

Hard Candy Correct & Conceal All In One Kit* – $4.97

I really wanted to love this kit, but unfortunately, this was the one product here that really didn’t work for me. I used all six shades in the kit to correct my dark circles, minimize redness and conceal any imperfections and discolouration. No matter how long I blended these, they just seemed to sit on top of my skin. And even though I primed my face, set everything with a mattifying powder, and used a setting spray, these oily products were sliding everywhere, caking in spots and creasing badly after only a couple hours of wear. That being said, I am still going to play around with the three colour correctors, as I loved the coverage that they offered and really want to see if I can get them to work.

Hard Candy Look Pro! Highlight & Contour Face Sticks* – $3.00

Something that really impressed me though, were these two products that effectively work to sculpt and enhance your features. I used the contour stick to shape and define my cheekbones, top of my forehead and my nose and then went in with the highlight and applied that anywhere I wanted to draw light to. The stick formula of these make it so easy to contour and highlight your features and both offer great pigmentation and have such a creamy consistency that make them blend beautifully into the skin—I honestly can’t recommend this duo enough! And if you’re new to contouring and highlighting, they also have a helpful guide on the back of the package to help you out.

Hard Candy Mini Baked Illuminating Duo in ‘Twinkle Star’ – $1.47

I have seriously been loving this baked illuminator and wearing it pretty much everyday. The formula of it is a little chalky, but I personally don’t mind that in a highlighter. This little illuminator really does work to illuminate the face and I love how it looks on and how easily it blends in. For this look, I used it to highlight my cheekbones and my nose and also applied it to the inner corner of my eyes. As much as I love this product, I do wish it lasted longer on the skin.

Hard Candy Brows Now! All In One Brow Kit* – $4.97

This kit comes with so much for the price—four brow powders, a wax, brow highlighter and three mini tools—tweezers (always handy), brush (not worth using) and a comb (I prefer a spoolie for my brows, but this is still nice to have). The one downside is even though it comes with four brow powders, they are all very similar in shade, and would only really work for blondes or light brunettes. So, even though the shades work me, they wouldn’t work for a lot of other people (and I can say the same for the Conceal & Correct kit). The brow powders and wax aren’t too bad—they’re a little stiff and difficult to work with—but once you get used to them I do like how they make my brows look and the fact that it lasts all day. My favourite in this kit though is the brow highlighter, as the pink-tone works really well with my complexion, and I love the dewy finish of it.

Hard Candy Look Pro! Neutral Eyes Eyeshadow Palette* – $3.00

I’ve noticed two things when it comes to using Hard Candy eyeshadows. The first being that you need to use an eye shadow primer and second being that their eye shadows seem to have this top layer you need to work away at. Once that top layer is gone, the shadows are much more pigmented and blend a lot better. On top of that, these shadows have very little fall out and wear well all day long. I used the cream shade (top left) all over the lid before adding the light pink shade (second right) and light brown shade (bottom left) as my transition shades. Finally, I went with the darker brown shade (top right) and worked that into the crease and outer lid. The shades in here are so easy to wear and I have been reaching for this palette a lot.

Hard Candy Mini Eye Shadow Palette in ‘Guilty Pleasures’* – $1.47

If you find yourself lured by these glittery shadows, be aware—it’s just a spray over. There’s actually not much glitter in these shadows at all, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the shadows do perform really well, especially in regards to the price. I also love that this little palette also includes a mirror, which is always handy. I absolutely love the wine shade in here—which screams Christmas to me—and took that on the outer lid, as well as the lower lash line for this look. Like the previous eyeshadow palette, these shadows also blend well, have very little fall out and wear all day long.

Hard Candy Lips of Love Velvet Mousse Collection* – $4.97

This colour looks more red-toned in the tube, but on the lips it’s a much deeper wine shade, which matched the eye shadow perfectly. These lip products are super pigmented and have an amazing whipped texture that feels really lightweight on the lips. It does not apply patchy—like darker shades sometimes do—and it dries down to a demi-matte, so it doesn’t feel drying on the lips at all. I wore this without a lip liner and though it did fade a bit, it didn’t bleed or smudge at all, even after eating and drinking. The lip colours in this set don’t come with names, but this particular shade looks really similar to ‘Dahlia’ in their Velvet Mousse range.

Hard Candy Long Wear Mini Setting Spray – $1.47

And to finish everything off, I set it all with this mini of their popular setting spray. This setting spray gives your skin a boost of hydration and promises fade resistant, humidity protection, and 12 hour wear. Though it didn’t help the Conceal & Correct kit, it has set my makeup extremely well on other days. It has a great mist on it and smells like cucumbers, which is really nice and refreshing. I absolutely love this stuff and will definitely be purchasing the full-size of this.

For the affordable prices, I think there are some really great products in this holiday collection. Though not everything worked for me, a lot of it did really impress me!

If you’re not aware, Hard Candy is a cruelty-free brand that is sold exclusively at Walmart, and this holiday collection is exclusive to Canada.

Have you tried anything from this collection? What do you think of it?

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Today, I am sharing another instalment of ‘Sunday Stuff’, as it’s been awhile since I’ve done one of these. Technically, this is actually ‘Friday Stuff’, as I came home from the gym Friday evening craving a little pamper sesh. So, in regular pampering fashion, I ran a bath, lit some candles and made a cup of tea!

Here are the items that made an appearance that evening:

Live Clean Lavender Vanilla Aromatherapy Foam Bath* If you are looking for a bath product that gives you tons of frothy bubbles that last for your entire bath, then look no further. This newer release from Live Clean does exactly that, whilst being incredibly gentle on the skin and leaving it feeling soft and moisturized. Lavender and vanilla pair well together and the scent is so relaxing and leaves me feeling super sleepy. Along with lavender and vanilla, this also contains bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine and chamomile, which all uplift and soothe the senses. And just like all Live Clean products, this foam bath is free of any nasty ingredients, cruelty-free and made in Canada. They also have two other scents in this range—Fresh Water (one of my favourite Live Clean scents) and Tropical Coconut (smells like vacation).

Michael Todd Pumpkin Nutrient-Rich Facial Mask I almost always do a face mask when I run a bath, and on this night I opted for this intense exfoliating one. I’ve had this for awhile now, so I am trying to use up the last of it, but since you’re supposed to only use this once every 1-2 weeks, it’s lasted me a long time. This mask is super effective in improving dullness, fine lines, rough texture and enlarged pores with its main ingredients of pumpkin and alpha hydroxy acids. My skin feels like new after using this and I love that it contains no nasty ingredients and the fact that it smells just like pumpkin pie.

Avalon Organics Clarifying Lemon Shampoo* Once I drained my relaxing bath, I ran a quick shower to wash my hair and body. To remove product buildup, I reached for this clarifying shampoo, which effectively removes product buildup and helps eliminate excess oils. I love the fresh, invigorating scent of this, as it’s super lemony, but with a subtle sweetness to it. And along with the lemon essential oil in here, it also has a ton of other great ingredients in here to nourish the hair and scalp. I still absolutely love the Live Clean Apple Cider Clarifying Shampoo, but this is also a great clarifying shampoo with equally great ingredients. You can read my full review of this shampoo, along with its matching conditioner, in this blogpost.

e.l.f. Acne Fighting Spot Gel I have wanted to try this spot gel for ages, and spotted (haha) this at my local Dollar Tree, where I was also to snag the last one there. You might remember this as the ‘Zit Zapper’ (which is what the one I have is called), but it’s since been renamed. This gel is a combination of salicylic acid, witch hazel, camphor, green tea and aloe, which all work to stop pimples in their tracks. This was my first night using this, so I just rolled it over a couple of annoying blemishes along my jawline. The next morning I noticed a difference in terms of redness, which I was really thrilled about. It didn’t make my spots completely disappear, but for only a couple of dollars, it made enough of a difference to impress me.

SinfulColors Nail Polish in ‘Bitten’ With it being December, I had been wanting to paint my nails a festive red, but I threw out a ton of old nail polish and realized I no longer owned any reds. If you didn’t know, Superstore sells SinfulColors, so I picked this bright, vibrant red when I was there after the gym. I love this affordable brand because even though they’re polishes are only $1.99, the formulas are great, they wear well and they have a huge colour selection. This shade is opaque in just two coats and I haven’t had any chipping yet. There polishes are also free of toluene, formaldehyde & DBP.

Flexitol Lip Balm* Right before bed, I slathered on this intense balm designed for severely dry, chapped lips. My lips are by no means severely chapped, but they do get quite dry and chapped this time of year. It claims to reveal visible results in just one day, and it’s true. This loosens all of the dry skin on my lips overnight, revealing soft and conditioned lips the next day. I can’t believe how smooth my lips are from this—it gives me the same, if not better, results that I would get from a lip scrub.

If you fancy reading my last ‘Sunday Stuff’ post from back in April, you can do so here. Happy Sunday!

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Need some holiday gift ideas that won’t break the bank? Well, Farleyco has got you covered! If you’re not familiar with Farleyco, they are an online distribution company that caters to the Canadian market. They remind me of an online drugstore, offering not only the usual brands and products that you would find at your local drugstore, but also harder to find products from around the world.

There are so many lovely gift ideas here, some of which are by some of my favourite brands, which is why I am so excited to share it with you. Everything shown is under $11, making these wonderful options for stocking stuffers, Secret Santa gifts or to add to a gift basket for someone this holiday season. So, here we go!

EcoTools Ultimate Shade Duo* I’ve been a huge fan of EcoTools for years—the synthetic bristles on their brushes are super soft, have no fall out and are such great quality for the price. This set comes with two eye shadow brushes; the wide fluffy brush is great for applying colour all over the lid, as well as highlighting the brow bone, whilst the smaller, more dense brush gives you more precision for applying and blending accent colours. Overall, EcoTools is a great eco-friendly brand. They use recycled materials, such as recycled bamboo for their brush handles, and also use recycled plastic and aluminum. Even their packaging is made from 100% tree-free paper.

Other great gift ideas by EcoTools: EcoTools Facial Cleansing Brush, EcoTools Eye Enhancing Duo Set and EcoTools Six-Piece Bamboo Starter Set (such great value with this set)

Real Techniques Dual Ended Expert Sponge* Along with EcoTools, Real Techniques is another favourite brand of mine for makeup brushes. I also adore their makeup sponges, which have the perfect firmness to them for applying both powder and liquid makeup. This newer sponge seems to be a hybrid of the Miracle Complexion Sponge (which I use and love) and the Miracle Finish Sponge. This one is designed for medium to heavy application coverage—the orange side is good for applying foundation, whilst the pink side can be used for applying contour, highlight or blush. This sponge is perfect for someone like myself, who can get lazy when it comes to switching between makeup tools when doing my makeup.

Other great gift ideas by Real Techniques: Real Techniques Expert Face Brush (my favourite makeup brush), Real Techniques Lip Colour + Blur and Real Techniques 4 Miracle Mini Complexion Sponges

7th Heaven Charcoal Peel Off Masque* I’ve been using 7th Heaven face masks for over a decade and I honestly cannot recommend them enough. I love these affordable little packets, as they always work well and I can (usually) get two uses out of one. Charcoal peel offs have become hugely popular in the skincare world within the last year and I personally love them, but then again, who isn’t drawn towards a black peel off mask? This mask uses activated charcoal to draw out impurities, while witch hazel and birch leaf calm and soothe the skin. I’ve tried a few charcoal peel off masks and this is definitely my favourite one so far. I love the consistency of this mask and how it applied, dried and peeled off my skin, but I especially love how soft and clean it left my skin feeling. Even my boyfriend loves this mask!

Other great gift ideas by 7th Heaven: 7th Heaven Avocado Oil Mud Masque, 7th Heaven Hot Chocolate Masque (love their self heating masks) and 7th Heaven Strengthen Nail & Cuticle Finger Masques

Flexitol Lip Balm* With winter just around the corner, everyone needs a heavy duty lip balm they can rely on, and this one by Flexitol is a great option. Designed for severely dry, chapped lips, this helps relieve any soreness and discomfort and works to deeply hydrate and condition dry lips. It does have that medicated, menthol smell and taste to it, which I personally don’t mind. My lips have been pretty dry, so I’ve been applying this liberally before bed and it’s really helped to loosen any dry skin on my lips, making them look and feel much more softer and smooth.

Other great gift ideas by Flexitol: Flexitol Hand Balm, Flexitol Nail Revitalizer (I need this) and Flexitol Intense Hydrating Lotion

So…? Vanilla Milkshake Body Mist* These affordable fragrances will keep you smelling sweet and delicious all holiday long. These mini sprays are perfect for traveling or just stashing in your purse or gym bag. Seeing as I am slightly obsessed with vanilla scents, I have especially been loving this Vanilla Milkshake one. It has that lovely, sweet vanilla scent to it, but with other notes of peach and plum, it also adds a fruity element to it. The So…? Pink Grapefruit Body Mist* is also a delicious scent, great for someone that likes something more fresh and citrusy. This also has fruity notes, this time of mango and passionfruit, and it’s a perfect vacation or summertime scent.

Check out the rest of the So…? collection here.

I love… Bath Fizzer in ‘Strawberries & Cream’* Everyone loves a good bath fizzer and this one comes already wrapped like a present. I love that this fizzer does not irritate my skin and that it comes wrapped in two halves—this way you have the option of using the entire bath fizzer for one bath or using only one half and saving the other for another bath. You won’t get much bubbles from this, but it does fizz up and leave your bath water smelling lovely (though I wish the scent lasted longer). Unfortunately, I don’t have a link for this item, as it is sold exclusively in-store at Shoppers Drug Mart.

Other great gift ideas by I love…: I love… Strawberries & Cream Bubble Bath (add to your bath with the bath fizzer), I love… Strawberries & Cream Body Spritzer and I love… Strawberries & Cream Body Butter

I hope this post was a little helpful in suggesting some affordable gift ideas for this holiday season. I use and love all of the products here, and think any of these would make great additions to any gift!

Of course, make sure to check out Farleyco for all your beauty needs! Happy shopping!

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Happy Sunday! I’m currently trying not to think about the fact that it’s December 1st this Friday—seriously, did November even happen? Anyways, there are so many new things I have been loving recently from the drugstore, that I wanted to share some of them here with you. There’s also a ton of things I still have my eye on at the drugstore, but that’s for another day/blogpost.

Here’s what I’ve currently been loving:

Wet n Wild Photo Focus Concealer I have been searching for this concealer for what feels like forever—to the point I was starting to wonder if it just wasn’t available in Canada. After months of searching, I finally found it at the Walmart at Square One and it has quickly become my favourite concealer at the moment. It offers high coverage without creasing or caking and easily conceals and brightens my under eye area, and is also great for covering any blemishes. Like the Photo Focus Foundation, this concealer is tested under seven different lighting conditions to ensure your skin is always free of any white cast in photos. I honestly can’t rave about this concealer enough—it definitely rivals some of the high-end concealers on the market!

e.l.f. Hydrating Bubble Mask Something that we definitely don’t get in Canada is e.l.f. skincare, but my sister was in the US a little while ago and kindly picked this up for me. I was surprised how clean and soft this mask left my skin—you won’t get a crazy amount of tiny bubbles from it, but it definitely gives you enough to be called a ‘bubble mask’. This is more fun than anything to use, and I love watching the gel bubble up right before my eyes. The one negative I have is that it burns like crazy if you get it in your eyes, so be warned. I would also recommend not applying this near your nostrils, as once the bubbles begin to dissipate, it really tickles the inside of your nose.

Rimmel Wonder’Lash Volume Colourist Mascara This mascara has been on my list to try for ages, and I managed to score it for only $2.00 (!) when it was on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart with a $5.00 off coupon also stuck to it. I had mostly wanted to try this because it claims to gradually tint bare lashes in just two weeks, but I haven’t been using it consistently enough to notice much of a difference. However, I absolutely love how this mascara looks on my lashes. The brush on this easily separates my lashes and fans them out beautifully with zero clumping  It doesn’t really give much volume, but it does lengthen, and overall just enhances my lashes in the best way possible. Unfortunately, this mascara does have a tendency to smudge/bleed, so I don’t wear it on my lower lashes and I also avoid wearing this if I know I’m going to be outside.

Essence Colour Correcting Mattifying Powder For years, I’ve been in a pretty committed relationship with the e.l.f. Tone Correcting Powder, but this correcting powder by Essence is also really great. I love how the colours in this one are all marbled together, as it allows you to swirl them all together evenly. This powder neutralizes any redness and discolouration in my skin and sets my makeup wonderfully. It also mattifies the skin, which the e.l.f. one doesn’t do. If it only had a mirror, I would be completely smitten with this product.

Hard Candy Velvet Mousse Matte Lip Color* This lip colour is part of the Lips of Love Velvet Mousse Collection that Hard Candy came out with for the holidays. All three shades in this set are super pigmented, smell like vanilla cake and have this wonderful light, whipped texture that feels amazing on the lips. I particularly love this mauve shade, which dries down more as a demi-matte, which I like, as it still wears well throughout the day, but without feeling too drying on the lips. Unfortunately, the lip colours in this set don’t come with names, though I would say this shade looks pretty identical to ‘Spider Orchid’ in the Velvet Mousse range.

What have you been loving recently from the drugstore?

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