June 29, 2015

Pom Pom Co-Ordinates

I am still wading through my vacation photos but here's a little preview from the amazingly beautiful Budapest. These were taken around the Vajdahunyad Castle in the City Park. The castle structure features an intentional mix of architectural styles, from Romanesque and Gothic Renaissance to Baroque, and is surrounded by a lake that becomes a skating rink in the winter. It honestly looked like something out of a fairytale.

As for my outfit, I've become obsessed with matching top/short co-ordinates (which you'll probably be seeing a lot of on the blog this summer). This Raga Tahiti Set turned out to be perfect for keeping cool in the hot Hungarian weather.

Co-ordinates: Raga (top and shorts) / Sandals: Fly London (in different colours)
Bag: Longchamp (here) / Hat: Talula (Aritzia)

June 25, 2015

John Frieda Beach Blonde

Apparently it's throwback week here on the blog (what up, Hard Candy) because today's post is all about the relaunch of the John Frieda Beach Blonde Collection. Some of you may remember Ocean Waves, a cult classic salt spray that was discontinued years ago. After it was discontinued, bottles were selling on eBay for upwards of $100 and many fans petitioned the brand to bring the spray back. Well, John Frieda listened and they've brought back a newly reformulated version of the spray, plus 3 additional products to keep your hair looking beachy all year long.

Beach Blonde Cool Dip Purifying Shampoo ($10.99 CAD) is a lightweight shampoo infused with mint and seaweed extracts. The mint helps to clarify hair by removing dirt and excess products while the seaweed formula adds a bit of texture, prepping your hair for a tousled look. I love the smell and don't find this shampoo harsh on my bleached hair. However, I don't use it everyday as you know I alternate with purple shampoo/conditioner.

Beach Blonde Smooth Seas Detangling Conditioner ($10.99 CAD) is the companion conditioner to the Cool Dip Shampoo. It has the same minty fresh scent and is infused with omega-rich Kukui Oil to nourish hair and refresh the scalp.

Beach Blonde Kelp Help Deep Conditioning Masque ($10.99 CAD) has been my savior deep conditioning treatment, especially as my hair has taken quite a beating due to many rounds of bleach. It's formulated with a blend of Sea Kelp and Monoi Oil which are supposed to quench damaged hair fibres from root to tip for silky-suppleness and healthy-looking shine. I use it on the ends of my hair a few times a week in place of the Smooth Seas Conditioner.

And last but not least, the product return that everyone has been looking forward to: Beach Blonde Sea Waves Salt Spray ($10.99 CAD). It has a bit of a different name now but the essence of the spray is the same... especially the iconic coconut scent which never fails to remind me of summer. I have tried a lot of salt sprays (just a few examples here, here, and here) and I do really like this one. It adds some nice texture and doesn't leave hair feeling matted plus I am obsessed with this fragrance. I could seriously just bathe myself in it...

P.S. Don't let the name confuse you --  you definitely don't need to be a blonde to use these products!

June 22, 2015

Hard Candy Natural Eyes Neutral Eyeshadow Palette

As someone who grew up in the late 90s/early 2000s, Hard Candy evokes some extreme nostalgia for me. I still remember their colourful ads, which appeared in all my favourite teen magazines,and oh, how I coveted their iconic nail polish bottles with their matching plastic rings! So it's a little weird to me that Hard Candy, a line that was once sold in high end department stores, is now exclusive to Walmart. However, I do understand that the lower price point and product redesign makes the line much more accessible to today's teen market.

Being curious about the Hard Candy of today, their PR kindly sent over some products for me to try. What caught my eye immediately was this Natural Eyes Neutral Eyeshadow Palette. Does it look familiar? If you're thinking this looks suspiciously like a Too Faced eyeshadow palette, you'd be right. The metal tin, the 9 eyeshadows (not to mention their rather similar names), the 3 different looks and foldable instructions on how to create them... tell me this isn't just like the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette.

There are some differences, of course. This Hard Candy palette is only $8 which is an absolute steal compared to Too Faced's $36. Plus, it comes with a primer, mini black eyeliner pencil, and sponge tip applicator. The casing is not as sturdy as the Too Faced palette (the inside bit is made of flexible black plastic) and does not have the names printed beside the eyeshadows. Instead, you have to check the instruction booklet for those.

Unfortunately I don't own the Too Faced Natural Eyes Palette (only the Natural Matte one) so I haven't personally been able to compare swatches. After some Googling, it looks like the shades are not exact dupes but they are quite close. The Hard Candy palette seems a little warmer toned.

The pigmentation and quality of the shadows varies depending on the colour. I found the matte ones (Tease, Toying, Minx, and Chatty) easier to work with. They were buttery soft and thus blended well. The other shadows (Bashful, Girlie, Philander, Coy, and Frisky) were more difficult to work with. The texture is harder and grittier, meaning I needed to layer them on to get my swatches right.

Overall, however, I am very impressed with this palette especially given the price. For everyday use, I would not recommend the primer (it was a bit difficult to blend) or the liner (not dark enough and did not apply smoothly) but both are great add-ons to rely on in a pinch. Besides, you are still getting your bang for your buck even with the eyeshadows alone.

June 18, 2015

OPI Brights 2015 Nail Polish Collection

With the official start of summer coming up this weekend (and Father's Day, of course!), it's time for us all to change up our nail polish game by injecting fresh pops of colour and fun finishes. That's why the OPI Brights 2015 Nail Polish Collection is sure to appeal this season.

I was sent all 9 shades in the collection to play with so I decided to have another swatch party. Included: Hotter Than You Pink, Can't Hear Myself Pink, The Berry Thought of You, Down to the Core-al, I STOP for Red, I Sea You Wear OPI, My Car Has Navy-gation, Pinks and Needles, and Life Gave Me Lemons. (As an aside, whoever gets to name OPI nail polishes must have one of the funnest jobs...)

Hotter Than You Pink is a re-promote from last year's Neons Collection. It's a neon pink with a subtle shimmer. The first coat applies a bit sheer, but the above swatch is 2 coats so it does level out. I kind of think of this as a "Barbie pink" shade and I really like it.

Can't Hear Myself Pink is a metallic cool-toned pink. It's a bit too metallic for my tastes (very shimmery) but the formula is nice.

The Berry Thought of You is a berry creme that leans more on the pink side than purple. It's pretty similar to Dim Sum Plum though not an exact dupe, but you probably don't need both unless you're a hardcore nail polish addict!

Down to the Core-al is another re-promote from Neons 2014. Since my bottle of Essie California Coral is now too lumpy to use, this will be replacing it as my new staple coral. Note, however, that they are not dupes as Down to the Core-al has a bit of shimmer.

I STOP for Red is a red creme that leans very slightly orange. It has a bit of a jelly-like consistency but the colour is very similar to Off With Her Red! from the Alice in Wonderland Collection (and probably many other reds as well... it's a very classic shade).

I Sea You Wear OPI is a metallic blue with hints of silver iridescent shimmer. It's quite pretty if you like metallics.

My Car Has Navy-gation is a navy blue creme. This one has a bit of a weird formula; it applied quite sheerly the first coat and required 3 coats to reach opacity. Plus, although it looks very shiny in my swatch (I'm not wearing a top coat), the first coat dried oddly flat.

Pinks and Needles features pink hexagonal and round glitters of varying sizes suspended in a clear polish. I didn't think I was going to like this but I thought it looked pretty cool over the dark blue base. Not a combination I would typically wear but I am planning on sporting it again soon.

Life Gave Me Lemons is yet another re-promote from last year's Neons and also my favourite polish in this collection. It's a chartreuse creme that applies well, giving the nails that perfect pop of summertime colour.

June 15, 2015

Post-Vacay Check-in

Well, that was a whirlwind 2 weeks in Europe! If you follow me on Instagram, you'll have already gotten a peek at some of things I got up to while in London, Budapest, and Vienna. However, those snapshots are really only just a tiny snippet of a seriously amazing trip... and of course, full recaps to come here on the blog once I get around to sorting through my photos. In the meantime, I'm trying to readjust to post-vacation life... ugh. At least the gorgeous Vancouver weather has been making it a little easier.

Maxi Dress: Le Chateau (c/o) (similar) / Denim Jacket: Talula (Aritzia)
Bag: Rebecca Minkoff (here) / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (c/o) (here)
Bracelet: Melanie Audrey (gift) / Knuckle Rings: House of Hudson (c/o)
Ring: Dogeared (here)

June 1, 2015

Keep it 100

I alluded to an upcoming vacation in this recent post and wow, it's already time for me to jet off once again. Where am I going? Europe -- London, Budapest, and Vienna, to be exact! If you've been following my blog since the beginning, you may recall that I was last in Europe a few years ago visiting LondonParis, and Rome. European vacations are always fun and I'm especially looking forward to exploring two cities I've never been to.

I'll be taking a brief blogging hiatus while I'm away but you should still be able to catch me on Instagram... coincidentally where I originally posted this outfit a few weeks ago. Turns out I had a whole series of photos from this day!

Sweater: TNA (Aritzia) / Leggings: Lululemon / Jacket: Mackage
Bag: Proenza Schouler (here) / Shoes: Nike (here) / Hat: Golden State Warriors

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