April 28, 2016

OPI Infinite Shine Spring 2016 Nail Polish Collection

In addition to the new SoftShades 2016, nail polish lovers can look forward to the OPI Spring 2016 Infinite Shine Collection. I swatched last year's summer collection as well, but I think I like the shade range this year much more.

For those unfamiliar with the Infinite Shine system, it's OPI's answer to long-wearing gel-like manis that don't require any heat or UV lamps. The 3-step process requires a Primer (Step 1), Lacquer (Step 2), and Gloss gel polymer top coat  that cures in natural light (Step 3). I've been pretty impressed with the wear time and love how shiny my nails look.

It's Pink P.M. is a baby pink cream that leans white. I was surprised at how much I liked this considering I don't typically gravitate towards pales shades anymore. However, I do love a good white polish in the summer so that's probably why.

Half Past Nude is an opaque nude blush. Not my favourite personally but a good everyday colour, especially for work.

Sunrise to Sunset is a pale orange that kind of reminds me of a creamsicle. Unfortunately I don't think this is particularly flattering on my skin tone.

Rose Against Time is a nice bright pink. I love shades like this and it was very easy to work with.

Reach For The Sky is a super pretty cool grey-blue. It ended up being my favourite in the collection once I swatched everything.

Don't Provoke The Plum! is a bright fuchsia that applies like a dream. It's not a very unique colour but one I know a lot of people like.

Olive For Green was the polish I was most excited for since it looked so nice in the bottle. However, it was also the most difficult to work with. The first coat seemed quite watery and didn't apply that evenly but I was able to reach opacity with the second coat.

In Familiar Terra-Tory is a rich coral that's perfect for summer. I wear colours like this a lot (throwback to this old Essie fave) and this is a good one.

April 25, 2016

Suncare Essentials from Avène and Rodan + Fields

Vancouver has been getting some amazing sunny days lately which means I've been getting outside more. I was even able to go on my first hike this year (Instagram proof), which ended up being the perfect opportunity to test out some new suncare products.

First up, a new face sunscreen from Avène! I am picky with face sunscreens because they can often feel heavy or clog pores. I tend to prefer a more milky formula and thankfully the Haute Protection Emulsion SPF 50+ fits the bill.

This sunscreen is a recent addition to the Haute Protection line and features Pre-tocopheryl, a powerful antioxidant that's a pre-cursor to long-release Vitamin E, as well as Avène's famous thermal water that acts as a soothing anti-irritant. I love the tube pump which makes application both easy and hygienic, and was pleased with how well this blended into my skin.

I did get a bit shiny as the day went on but this is expected with my oily/combination skin. However, it was nowhere near as bad as some other face sunscreens I have tried in the past. I am definitely going to keep using this product as the weather heats up even more.

For my other suncare needs, I have been experimenting with Rodan + Fields, a new-to-me brand of dermatalogist-created skincare.

The Essentials Line features everyday dermatological necessities, including Lip Shield Broad Spectrum SPF 25. It's so important to protect your lips from sun damage and this balm not only contains SPF, but also moisturizing lipid molecules and peptides to help boost collagen production and smooth lip texture. The formula is nice and doesn't leave any white residue like other SPF lip balms; however, I personally find the scent quite obnoxious. I don't know how to describe it... it's citrus-y but in a really weird, somewhat unpleasant way. Thankfully it's not noticeable once actually on your lips.

The Essentials Line also includes a great Broad Spectrum SPF 30 Body Sunscreen. It's water resistant up to 40 minutes and is a very lightweight cream that blends in quickly. There's no special scent either -- this a very much a basic sunscreen, but sometimes that's just what you need.

Overall, I'd say Rodan + Fields is a rather no-nonsense "medical" skincare company that's clearly aimed at results rather than frou-frou scents and packaging. However, if you're looking for anti-aging products developed specifically by dermatologists, it's definitely worth checking out.

P.S. I also reviewed a bunch of other sunscreens last year so if you're interested in a comparison, be sure to check that post out here!

April 19, 2016

It's A Sheer Thing

I saw this amazing sheer basketball shirt in a store a few months ago but was devastated to find it completely sold out in my size. My mission to track it down did, however, end in success and all I can say is it was so worth it.

Shirt: Adidas Originals (similar and similar) / Sports Bra: Lululemon
Leggings: Lululemon (similar) / Shoes: Reebok x Sandro
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (here)

April 13, 2016

OPI SoftShades 2016 Nail Polish Collection

Every Spring, OPI releases a collection of pale and neutral colours for those who prefer more muted palettes for their nails. SoftShades 2016 is all about creamy pastels for a bit of a "mod" look.

While last year's SoftShades Collection featured a range of pink-toned sheers and even a glitter, OPI has gone in an interesting direction this year by making every finish a cream. This means the colours can be layered for extra opacity and can be used for a myriad of manis, from french tips to accent nails or other nail art.

In my swatches below I've only done two thin coats but you'll see most of the polishes would probably be best with three coats or two thick ones.

Stop I'm Blushing! is a pale creamy pink that leans on the peachy side.

It's A Boy! is easily my favourite from this collection. It's a gorgeous sky blue and even with only two coats was pretty opaque.

I Am What I Amethyst is a light pale lilac. It's not as purple as you would think given the name but is still a nice shade.

It's In The Cloud is a basic white though not as stark as Wite-Out. I personally prefer my whites to be a bit bolder but this is a good option for those who don't.

This Cost Me A Mint is a cool pale green. It's a true pastel green that doesn't lean turquoise which a lot of other similar shades tend to do.

One Chic Chick is a soft yellow and, as you can see, the most streaky of the bunch. It wasn't as yellow as I hoped it would be but is still an interesting colour.

April 10, 2016

A Week in the Windy City

So I realize it's been over a month since my vacay, but here I finally am with the recap! Chicago is a city I've wanted to visit for ages and it certainly did not disappoint. Admittedly, we did pick an odd time visit the Midwest (hello, dead of winter) but we were lucky in that it was super warm our first few days before it started snowing. That's why you'll see a wide range of weather in these photos even though I was only there over the span of a week.

Our hotel was located on the Magnificent Mile, in close walking distance to lots of main tourist attractions. This included Millennium Park, which is home to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the BP Bridge.

Plus, of course, Cloud Gate a.k.a. "the Bean" which we somehow ended up passing day after day. We saw it at dawn, at night, with crowds, with no crowds, with snow... yeah, we were kind of obsessed.

The view of Millenium Park was particularly spectacular from Cindy's Rooftop, located at the newly restored Chicago Athletic Association Hotel. The hotel was a super cool place to hang out... they even had indoor bocce (apparently a thing in Chi-Town).

We also got a great view of the city while sipping cocktails at the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Centre. It's a great alternative to the Skydeck in the Willis Tower and allowed us to admire all of the lovely architecture downtown.

In addition to many beautiful and historic buildings, the city is brimming with tons of arts and culture to discover. The Chicago Cultural Center was originally the central library and now houses free public art. We were lucky enough to catch an exhibition on Theo Jansen's Strandbeest which are basically the coolest things ever.

We also checked out the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago before venturing over to the South Side to visit the Stony Island Arts Bank. How amazing is that book wall?

On one particularly "hipster day", we even made our way out to Logan Square and partook in a brewery tour at Revolution Brewing.

A vacation for me is never complete without stuffing myself with food & drinks, many of which I made sure to document in real time on my Instagram. Apart from all the deliciousness, what visit to Chicago would be complete without trying a deep dish pizza at Giordano's? Honestly, I would never eat this again but I'm glad I tried it!

April 6, 2016

Just Do It

I really can't get enough of this athleisure trend, especially because I'm kind of loving that my weekend wardrobe and fitness wardrobe have basically melded into one. Now the exorbitant amounts of money I spend on workout wear are somewhat justified since my clothes are playing double duty!

Top: Rag & Bone/JEAN (here and here) / Tights: Nike (here and on sale)
Shoes: Nike (here) / Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (here)

April 4, 2016

Life Proof Eye Makeup with Blinc Box Discovery Collection and MUFE Ultra HD Concealer

I was recently sent the Blinc Box Discovery Collection, which includes 4 of Blinc's best-selling eye products. For those of you who are new to this brand (like I was up until now), their focus appears to be on achieving "Life Proof" results. What exactly does this mean? Apparently, cosmetics that are smudge proof, run proof, and flake proof. If they deliver on their promise -- sign me up!

The Blinc Discovery Box Collection contains the following:

Mascara Amplified. Blinc is known for its original mascara, which creates water-resistant "tubes" around your lashes. It's essentially the fibre lash concept with a focus on ensuring your mascara doesn't smudge at all. The Amplified formula is supposed to build on the original by adding volume and length, but as you know my straight lashes are finicky and I didn't think this mascara did much for them. I also found removal a bit weird... you're supposed to use water and gentle pressure instead of eye makeup remover but this just left me sweeping remnants of the "tubes" off my face for a while.

Eyebrow Mousse. I really didn't think I was going to like this because eyebrow gels never work for my sparse eyebrows so colour me surprised... I love this! It actually fills in the sparse areas and stays put.

Eye Shadow Primer. I've been a die hard UDPP user for many years but this primer is actually quite nice. It's a little on the light side so not sure how it would work for darker skin tones, although I suppose you would be putting eye shadow on top.

Eyeliner Pencil. A basic black eyeliner that's not too creamy (think Urban Decay 24/7) or too hard. It's well-pigmented for an intense line.

I decided to put these products to the ultimate test a few weekends ago when I headed off for a spa day at one of my faves, Miraj Hammam. This meant 30 minutes in a steam room followed by a full-body scrub and rinse. I did this all wearing the eye makeup below and guess what? It looked almost exactly the same after I left the hammam as when I entered, save for a few bits of mascara that must have been dislodged from the water pressure while I was being rinsed off. I was most impressed with the eyeliner... it seriously hadn't budged at all! If you're looking for seriously "life proof" products, Blinc's definitely got you covered.

Since my post-spa eye makeup was pretty much still intact but my face was otherwise bare, I decided a low makeup day was appropriate and I only needed to tackle my under eye circles. Mine are not very dark but the area can get puffy if I haven't gotten enough sleep. Enter MAKE UP FOR EVER Ultra HD Concealer, the latest addition to the Ultra HD line (you'll recall it also includes the liquid and stick foundation).

First off, I like the packaging a lot. It's a very skinny tube with a rounded applicator tip. You can dot on the product easily before blending with your fingers or a blending brush.

The formula, however, is very creamy which isn't the most compatible with my oily/combination skin. I've found that's been the case with all the Ultra HD products so far... they're definitely targeted to dry/normal skin in my opinion. The coverage of the concealer is nice but I needed to set it with powder because without it looked a little crease-y (as you can see by the photo above). Thankfully that's not too much of a hassle if it can banish those dark circles!

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