Sunday, November 25, 2012

How to organize your make-up: My new acrylic storage case

I'm always looking for new ways to organize and display my make-up, so when I came across this beautiful acrylic storage at Walmart yesterday, I couldn't resist. You might have seen my post on my lipstick organizer, which showcases all my lipsticks at once instead of letting them lie in my drawers; I wanted to get something similar to display some of my lipglosses and face make-up. This one is simply perfect: it cost a reasonable $10, and has 9 compartments of different sizes to store every product you have in mind. If anyone is interested, it's called the "My Essentials Tray" from the brand Caboodles, which, according to their website, is sold in Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Harmon. I will let the pictures speak for themselves: I use the 4 middle sections for lipglosses, but I show how they could also be used as brush holders; as for the upper left section, which comes with a lid, I couldn't imagine anything better to store the samples I want to use up. 

I don't know about you, but I'm in love with this case. If you live in Canada and want to get it too, I suggest you check out the make-up section at your local Walmart! xoxo.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

October drugstore buys!

I'm afraid I don't have the most exciting hauls to share lately, but while there is a bunch of things I do want, I have to admit there's hardly anything I need. Still, the few products I bought at the drugstore this month are all from brands I never tried before! Here they are:

I have been wanting to try the Simple Cleansing Facial Wipes after seeing that brand popping up in my local drugstores, and reading/watching/hearing great reviews about this particular product. I wouldn't use wipes to clean my face every night, but it's good to have that option after a long day or in case of a sleepover (it's surely more practical to carry around than a bottle of make-up remover, a cleanser and cotton pads). The pack contains 25 wipes: I have already tried one of them, and it did a good job of removing my mascara, concealer and blush. I rarely wear much more on a daily basis, so I can't say if they would work as well on heavier eyes topped of with liquid eye-liner, for example -- but I'd think make-up remover would still be a better option.

Oh, and guess what? After about 4 or 5 empty jars of my beloved Nivea Light Moisturizing Day Care, I finally went out and bought something different. I still love that product, of course, but I was growing bored of using the same thing for months, and I wished to change it up. I was also looking for something a little lighter on the skin for the daytime (and compensate with an extra hydrating moisturizer at night). This seems contradictory with winter around the corner; the thing is, I'm usually running around every morning to get ready for class, and I needed something that my skin could absorb even quicker. I contemplated trying a higher end moisturizer for once, but in the end I couldn't make myself spend around $30 for 30mL of product, and I picked up Garnier's Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel-Cream at the drugstore.

We'll see if I like it. I've never tried anything from Garnier, but this product has some good reviews on MakeUpAlley (a 3.8/5 score as of now, which is decent for a drugstore product), and has apparently won some 2012 Beauty Grand Prix granted by Elle Québec & Canada. The scent is definitely very fresh and pleasant, which I welcome in any skincare product, especially in the morning. I just hope that the feeling on the skin matches it! The gel-like texture is also very interesting, but I can't say much more: I'll update you in a few weeks.

I also got my very first Mavala polishes, 151 - Marron Glacé and 92 - New Dehli. I just love how tiny they are (each polish contains only 5 ml, whereas an OPI polish stores 15 ml inside a bottle). Let's face it, how often do you use up every drop of a nail polish bottle? Even if I would decide to wear a colour every day for a year, I'm not sure I'd have time to empty it before the product goes bad. 

Last but not least, I treated myself to these delicious dark chocolate-covered candies from Brookside: these have pomegranate pieces inside, and the taste is heavenly! I actually think I'll pour myself a glass of milk and have some right now -- before carrying on with a long afternoon of studying for midterms.

Have a nice evening -- oh, and happy Halloween! How I miss the free candy! xoxo

Monday, October 22, 2012

Empties: October ♥

Except maybe for the sudden drops in temperature, I have really been enjoying this beautiful fall season. Not only is the fashion impeccable (I have a weakness for boots and jackets), but it also allows for comfy evenings in, made perfect by candles that smell of spices and a cup of tea with milk. Incidentally, those evenings make for ideal times to blog ;).

During these past few months, I used up some products that I really love. I've talked about two of them in my Morning routine post: they are the Clean & Clear Morning Burst facial cleanser with bursting beads (gitamin C and ginseng) as well as my Maybelline Baby Lips lip balm in Peppermint. You can check out that post if you want to know why I love using them -- and why I'm pretty sad that there is nothing left of them! The thing is, I can't justify repurchasing them for the moment, as I have two other cleansers to use up, and perhaps countless other lip balms. This means that my skincare routine has indeed slightly changed; but I won't bother with an update for the moment, as I much prefer the products I featured in my post back in June.
It's been a while since I've used the last of my Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer in Ivory (the one I purchased in March, that is). This one I had no choice but to buy again, since it is a staple of mine. I talk about my love for this concealer in this post.
I'm also done with the Japanese Cherry Blossom Creamy Body Wash from Bath & Body Works, that I've shown you over here. Although I find that the scent was not identical to their Japanese cherry blossom candle (which I adore), I loved this shower gel just as much. This was a nice change from the typical "fresh" shower scents that are offered out there: being more on the sensual side, I think this would also be a great choice for fall.

The next product is a conditioner from L'Oréal Paris that I bought while I was in Ukraine. It is from their Elseve line, and although I did not find the exact equivalent for America, the Russian translates to "Nourishment and Shine". Anyway, I do not suggest that you go looking for it, because I did not like it all that much: even though it wasn't awful, other conditioners can detangle my hair much better (the Herbal Essences Hello Hydration one, for instance).
I'm not sure if this one is entirely relevant, but I will mention it anyway: I've finished up this bottle of gummy multivitamins from Life. There were 70 of them, and the directions advise you to take 2 a day, which makes for a 35-day supply. Whether multivitamins work or not is still a controversial question, and I can't testify for their benefits -- but they certainly made me feel good about eating berry, lemon and orange-flavoured "candies" every morning!

This is it, girls -- I may be very slow in terms of using up products, but I'm still glad to have some empties to show you once in a while! I can't wait to read your empties posts, and I hope you're all enjoying this wonderful season. xoxo.

PS: Would you mind telling me what your favourite face moisturiser is? I'd really love to know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Beauty haul from my trip to Europe

Hello again! 
I came back from my trip nearly two weeks ago, and my schedule has been pretty hectic as I basically had no time to get settled in. I got back to classes and work straight away, the day after my arrival actually, but I finally have time to sit down and do some blogging :) (in my college library, but still good enough). And what better to start with than a post about my beauty purchases from across the border?

I have been away from home for nearly two months: as I wrote in my previous post, I started out with a week in New York for my birthday, and then had one day to repack my suitcase, as I was leaving for Europe shortly after my return. There I spent 3 weeks in Ukraine with my family, and took 3 more weeks to travel around a few European cities (Paris, Brussels, Stockholm, Oslo, Berlin and Amsterdam, in that order).
I picked up some beauty products from here and there -- I was excited to get my hands on some brands that are not available where I live, or that are resold here for an insanely expensive price.

Let's start with what I got in Paris, as I also stopped there for two days before boarding my flight to Kiev. I had the chance to meet up with a few friends and also browse around some lovely French pharmacies.

I had to make sure I didn't leave France without Embryolisse's Lait-crème concentré, a very popular product across Youtube and blogs. You can see that I started to use it already (by the way, I just love that malleable tube!). I needed a moisturizer for night-time and this does the job very well.
Along with that I bought a travel-size bottle of Thermal Spring Water from Avène (refreshing on hot days but not a must-have in my eyes), as well as a tiny bottle of Bioderma make-up remover. The size makes it very easy to throw in your bag for when you're sleeping over at someone else's house. As for the product, it is good, I'm not saying otherwise. But I'm glad that I spent less than 3 euros for that little bottle and didn't buy an overpriced full-sized bottle here in Canada, because to be honest, I find that my Neutrogena make-up remover works even better.
I also got the Dissolvant miraculeux from Bourjois, which I love already: such an effortless (and quick) way to remove nail polish!  I'm not sure how long is this product supposed to last, however; any ideas?
The Nuxe Rêve de Miel lip balm is a product I added in last-minute while waiting at the cash (ugh, they got me!) and while I think it's a decent product, I could have lived without yet another lip balm. What I don't like about it is the way it's shaped: it has a slanted tip like a lipstick's; but I'm trying to "flatten" it through multiple uses.

I don't know if this is common for most pharmacies, but at the place where I purchased the skincare part of this haul, they gave me some free samples. You can see two of them in the picture (from Aderma). There was also a sample from Avène, but I'm not quite sure where it went.
Again, I did not get anything extra when buying the two last products, so I'm not sure if this is something you should expect from these pharmacies or not.

Moving on to Ukraine :). I didn't buy much products there, but I'm very happy with the two I've got! The first is the Artdeco eyeshadow base: I wanted to try it for a long time but I couldn't find this German brand in my city, so I bought it in Kiev when I saw it there. My only complaint would be the smell, which is quite strong and reminds me of the scent of a shaving cream for men. Weird, I know! Maybe it's just me. Anyway, I saw later that there existed a fragrance-free version of it, but I did not want to purchase another pot just because of the scent issue. I just hope that my skin and eyes will not be sensitive to it.
When I was waiting around for my flight back to Paris, I wandered in the duty-free make-up store (my favourite part in every airport) and purchased a product I wanted for a long time: a YSL Sheer Candy lipstick, in the colour #5: Mouthwatering Berry. I may do a separate review on some of these products so I won't write a lengthy description about each of them, but this one is a gorgeous product, both inside and out the tube. As the name foretells, it appears as a sheer wash of berry colour on the lips, which is a welcome departure from the usual pink and nude shades. It is far from over-dramatic however, and shows up as a beautiful yet subtle tint (and can also be layered to achieve a more noticeable effect).

I got a few things in Germany as well: first, a L'Oréal Rouge Caresse lipstick in #501: Nude Ingénue. I understand they've been out in Europe for a while, and I wish we would finally see them in Canada! I must say, however, that this nude colour is the only one that appealed to me out of the range they had: they mostly sell pink shades that I don't really enjoy wearing on my lips.
Then, I thought I would take part in the dry shampoo trend and got tempted by the Volume Lift dry shampoo from Syoss (again, unavailable here, as far as I know) which I've been liking a lot to refresh my hair once in a while.

I decided to try a product from the brand Catrice, another one that didn't cross the Atlantic yet. I chose a Defining Blush from their new line, in #010: Toffee Fairy. A pretty brown colour that can serve either as a blush or for a bit of contouring.

I also purchased a jar of the amazingly thick Nivea Crème, for scarcely more than 1 euro. I love the packaging, wide enough but still very thin: another must-have to throw in your bag for emergencies!

Here you can see one of the many bars of chocolate that I brought back for my family from Germany; but this one is the last survivor as of yet. Their grocery stores sell an incredible variety of flavours of candy and chocolate, it's amazing for a lover of sweets like me. I wanted to buy every sort that was on display!

I feel like this has been a never-ending account of what I bought,  but I'll just finish up with my last purchase: two of my favourite magazines, the Russian Glamour (with the beautiful Ukrainian model Snejana Onopka on the cover!) as well as the French one (which costs only 1 euro in Paris, compared to nearly 5 dollars here, sadly!).

I have to run to class, so I'll end this post here. Afterwards I'm heading to the movies to make the best of the rainy day! I'll be seeing a highly intellectual movie about male strippers. Guess which.

Have a nice day! xoxo.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer Vacation!

It's already been a long while since I last posted, but I still wanted to stop by to say that I haven't forgotten my blog -- however I am and will be travelling for the rest of the summer! I spent a week in New York City after turning 21, and I am now in Europe, in the country where I was born. I'll be returning to my home town in the beginning of September, but I'll certainly be planning a few posts while I'm away.

Until then, I hope you're having an amazing summer! xoxo

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Empties: June!

Hey girls! I wanted to write a quick post about my empty products for June. I know I'm not the quickest in terms of using them up, but I'm still glad to have a few! Here they are:

1. Deep Repair Masque by Macadamia Natural Oil
There has been a craze about this product on Youtube, which I'll admit is what drove me to buy it. This is meant to be used as an intensive conditioner: you can leave it a few minutes on your hair before rinsing it off (although it's not advised to be applied more than twice a week). It's true that it makes your hair extremely soft, but to be honest I'm glad that my sister helped me use up the pot. There is nothing natural about this product and I much prefer using my virgin coconut oil when I want to treat my hair.

2. Oil-Free Eye Make-up Remover by Neutrogena
I have talked about finishing up this product in an earlier post. This is simply my go-to eye make-up remover, that I have loved and used for months. I have already repurchased it, as shown in that haul!

3. Brilliance Shampoo for Fine to Normal Colored Hair by Wella Professionals (50mL sample)
I'm still working on using up all those samples that I got from subscription services; this was one of them. I really liked this shampoo even though I do not have colored hair. I'm sure it's nothing I should be concerned about; I just can't tell you if it does something extra for girls who do! What I enjoyed most about the product was the smell, which is really the perfect scent for a shampoo. However, it is not enough to make me stick with the product, as I'm used to more readily available drugstore haircare.

4. Light Moisturizing Day Care by Nivea
I have just started blogging and yet I feel as I've talked about this product again and again. This has also been featured in my april empties. A favourite of mine -- I have yet to find a moisturizer that I like better, although I've been using this for so long that I'm now a bit curious to experiment with other skincare. Do you have any suggestions for me?

Well, that's it for this month! Please leave your latest empties posts in the comments, I love to read them! xoxo

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summer drinks: A healthy & refreshing blueberry-banana smoothie.

Girls, I feel like this website was a failed attempt at a beauty blog. I am supposed to post about beauty products, and yet I find myself compelled to post about food -- drinks in particular. Maybe I should rename it to "Drink your calories with Nastia" or something of that sort! Oh well, since I will mostly share healthy recipes, it still has something to do with beauty, right ;)? Anyway, I hope you don't mind my randomness!

Today's drink is a blueberry-banana smoothie that requires no more than 4 easily accessible ingredients. I discovered this little recipe thanks to the book "La bible des smoothies" by Louise Rivard, which offers nearly 200 pages of creative smoothie ideas. This is one of the easiest -- I would love to experiment with the others, but I always lack some ingredient to be able to do so. One day I will have tried them all!

For this one you will only need 1 banana, 80g of blueberries, 60ml of chocolate milk and crushed ice (as well as a blender to mix it all, of course).

Step 1: Throw the banana and blueberries into the blender, and pour the chocolate milk over the fruits.

Step 2: Set your mixture to blend, first slowly, then at a higher speed. Leave it on for about 1 minute: you want your fruits to be well-blended, but be careful not to turn your drink into liquid juice.

Step 3: Stop the blender and add some crushed ice.

Step 4: Blend once more. Again, don't overdo it unless you want your smoothie to become watery. 30 seconds to 1 minute should be fine, depending on the blender you use: just watch over the texture and stop when it becomes smooth, while still remaining thick.

Final step: Pour the mixture in a tall glass, add a straw, go outside and enjoy it while reading a good book :).

I hope you are all making the best of summer! xoxo.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My morning skincare routine

I thought it could be fun to tell you girls about my morning skincare routine, as skincare is probably my favourite part of the beauty world (I'd choose it over make-up any day). Not to mention, I think the right regimen can really kick start your day, especially when you would rather not start it at all and spend a few more hours in bed instead. Here are my own 3 (occasionally 4) daily steps!

Step 1: Morning Burst Facial Cleanser with Bursting Beads by Clean & Clear
You know how Clean & Clear ads always claim their products will "wake you up"? Well, I find that claim to be true in this case. I love to wash my face with this cleanser first thing in the morning, as it refreshes my sleepy skin and gives it a much needed boost.
My only complaint is that the beads tend to become scarce when you start to use up the product (you can see mine is almost empty). Perhaps the pump gets clogged after repeated use... Anyway, at least you can be sure that this product (which contains 236 mL) will last you a long, long while: in fact, I suspect that my little sister has helped me a great deal in finishing it up!
Also, this is not a product that will remove your make-up successfully, which is part of the reason why I use this only in the morning, on skin that has been cleaned up the night before (my night-time skincare routine will  be described in an upcoming post).

Step 2 (1x/week): Apricot Scrub (Gentle) by St. Ives
I don't know if I will ever be able to get through this product, since it's only meant to be used weekly and I need such a little amount even so. Anyway, I have nothing particularly insightful to say about this scrub: I like it (it does the job) but I do neglect it sometimes, meaning that I probably use it less than once a week. I must also say that even though this is supposed to be the gentle version for sensitive skin (which I don't necessarily have), I still find it a little too harsh on the face.
If you know of a scrub that you love so much that you look forward to using it every week, definitely share it in the comments!

Step 3: Light Moisturizing Day Care by Nivea Visage
I've talked about this cream here and here. This is my fourth time purchasing it (this time, I decided to try out the tube version as it seemed more practical/hygienic, but I notice that this one doesn't have SPF 15) and it still is everything that I could ever wish for: it smells great, it doesn't cost a lot of money and it feels very nice on the skin. Out of my entire skincare routine, this is the product that I'd have the most difficulty replacing.

Step 4: Baby Lips Lip Balm (Peppermint) by Maybelline
I leave the heavier lip balms for night-time: I won't bother applying a thick coat on my lips in the morning (it seems pointless when I'm about to have breakfast and drink water anyway). This lip balm, as simple as it looks, is perfect: it has a fresh peppermint flavour, it soothes my lips when they are irritated, and it's easy to reapply anytime with just a swipe.

Here I am all cleaned up and (partly) awake. Only then do I feel truly ready to carry on with my day!

My skin is all red from the scrub, haha!

Which products help you to start off the day, girls?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Walmart "essentials" haul

(Album I am listening to while writing this blog post: The Very Best of Lightnin' Hopkins)

I might have mentioned that I try to buy very few products as of late; to use up those I already have in my collection, mostly. Well, that still holds true: in fact, the only reason I stopped by Walmart earlier today  (despite the heat!) was because I ran out of a few things that my routine would dearly miss.

I was out of conditioner and I need conditioner at all times, otherwise my hair will not be happy. All Herbal Essences shampoos and conditioners were on sale for $2.00, so I didn't look any further and picked one out of their endless range. Each product of theirs triggers something specific -- roots, volume, split ends and what-not -- and I'm not sure they're all that different in the end, but every one of them smells really nice. I'm not one to boycott all drugstore hair products: I've used them forever and my hair remains healthy. Plus I wouldn't want to spend a fortune on conditioners alone, considering the rate at which I use them up! This one is called "Hello Hydration" and the scent is a blend of coconut and orchid, not bad at all!

I wonder, what is your favourite make-up remover? Mine is, without a doubt, the Oil-Free Eye Make-up Remover by Neutrogena. And I've tried many. I'm planning a complete review on this one, but let's just say this is my third bottle and I absolutely don't want to look elsewhere. It removes make-up flawlessly, as any product that bears that name should, and leaves no trace of a greasy film around your eyes. Two basic requirements, yes, but unfortunately most fail to meet them!

I was just walking along the alleys, browsing for anything I might not need, when I stumbled upon the Udder Cream by Udderly Smooth. I believe that Gaby has talked highly of their products (marketed for dry/chapped skin) and she is a wonderful reviewer, so this caught my eye. For some reason I thought that there was no way to get it but online, so I didn't really seek out this product before, but when I saw it in store I decided to give it a go. Besides, how can I resist at that price ($2.83 for 4 ounces)?
So far so good: I applied it on some dry patches I had on my arms, and the cream was instantly absorbed by my skin. Also, love that the packaging is old-school and perhaps amateurish; it does not give me the impression of paying more just for an elaborately designed tube.

I needed a base coat and a new top coat, so I thought of saving some money by going for a two-in-one:  this is the Multi Care Base + Top Coat by Revlon. I'll let you know if it's any good -- I just noticed it had rather poor reviews on MakeUpAlley, which worries me, but of course I still want to see for myself. 

The first time I purchased the Dream Lumi Touch concealer by Maybelline, I talked about it in my March haul: at the time I was looking for a new undereye concealer, and I chose this one based on reviews, hoping I would like it. Well, I did. It's pretty amazing, actually. It hides dark circles while adding a bit of brightness under the eye (very subtle, nothing over-the-top to be sure). My shade is 320 - Ivory.

That was it for this time. If you posted about any recent hauls, leave your links in the comments! I always love to check out what others by, especially in the beauty department ;).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Super quick and easy Iced Mocha recipe :)

A while ago I found a super simple, quick, easy (you name it) recipe for a drink that I absolutely loved to order at Starbucks and the like: the iced mocha. Don't mind the logo on my reusable cold cup: this drink is home-made and considerably cheaper than the coffee shop's alternative. It tastes just as good, the look of it can fool you, and it might be a healthier option as well. The recipe that I had went something like this; but really, you can customize it to your liking (my dosage, for example, is slightly different -- and I skip the extra sugar). Basically, you only need some hot water, ice cubes, milk, chocolate syrup, and instant coffee. Alright, let's get into it!

Step 1: Fill your glass with ice.

Step 2: Take a small dish, and pour in a few spoonfuls of hot water.

Step 3: Add in a few teaspoons of your favourite kind of instant coffee. I use 2 of them: I'm not an avid coffee drinker so I react pretty strongly to it, but as I said, add as much as you like or need.

Step 4: Stir the mixture to let the coffee dissolve in the water.

Step 4: Same process with the chocolate syrup. Add the amount you feel is needed -- it depends of how much of a sweet tooth you have! Once again, I use about 2 teaspoons.

Step 5: Stir. I told you, this is very basic.

Step 6: Pour the chocolate and coffee mixture over the ice.

Step 7: Time to fill your cup with milk! Use non-fat if you want to make it a bit healthier, or use whatever kind you fancy. Side note: Yes, this is a milk in a bag. I live in Canada and I know that some Americans, for one, find that weird beyond belief. Does it really seem that strange?

That's it! Put in a straw, mix it up a bit, and your glass will be filled with delicious swirls of chocolate. Yum!

I hope you try and enjoy! xoxo.
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