Friday, August 31, 2012

Review & Swatches: Julep Maven's Stefani

Stefani was the other polish in my August Julep American Beauty box (the other is Dakota which I reviewed yesterday). Stefani is described as a "Gold Flecked Grey Metallic" on the Julep website.

Can you see the gold flecks in this picture? It was really hard to capture them but they are there! So pretty.

Stefani applied to my nails like a dream. This is the perfect colour for fall, a moody stormy grey. My mom told me I looked like the wicked witch with these on but I like it (and that's all the matters right?) It looks like a metallic version of Nars Storm Bird. Unlike some of the other polishes from this month's Julep box this one didn't make my ridges stand out too much.

Overall Rating: 4.75/5 I love this polish and I see myself wearing this a TON this fall. The only thing to be careful of is make sure to use a base coat as this is a dark polish and it will stain your nails if you don't.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Review & Swatches: Julep Maven's Dakota

Dakota was one of the two polishes in the August American Beauty box which I switched to from my usual Boho Glam box (which I never actually like to receive, I always switch...) Dakota is described as a "Rose Gold Metallic Chrome" on the Julep website. I've been loving rose gold lately so I thought this would be perfect for fall.

I really had high hopes for this one, and honestly was a little disappointed with the colour payoff. This was definitely more copper than rose gold in my opinion and I really didn't like it on my nails. It just looked blah next to my pale skin tone and it really showed off the flaws in my nails.

Overall Rating: 3/5 I didn't dislike this as much as Felicity but I still prefer Sienna and tomorrows polish, Stefani to any of the others I received this month.

I really like the idea of Julep, and I love love love that you can preview/switch your boxes to colours you like and if there are none that you want you can just skip a month. I think in terms of value Julep delivers every month, while other beauty subscriptions leave me feeling let down some months.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review & Swatches: Julep's Felicity

I added on Felicity to my August Julep Maven box because I needed a 3rd colour. Felicity is described as a yellow-gold metallic chrome which I think describes this polish perfectly. This is my lease favorite of all the polishes I received in August.

Unlike Essie's Good as Gold, this is a much brighter gold almost too bright for my tastes. I find it feels a little too 'Vegas Show Girl', not a look I'm dying to project. Even after two coats of this you could still see my nail, something I've never had with Julep polishes.

Overall Rating: 3/5 I think I'm going to relegate this polish to accents, such as dots or hearts on my nails. Having my whole hand painted in this is just a bit too much.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Review & Swatches: Julep's Sienna

So this is the last add on I got with my August Julep Maven subscription and it is described as a sophisticated gold metallic. The only thing I don't love about this polish is that it's a little gritty to take off, more like a sparkle polish then a metallic.

This is a gorgeous shade, kind of like a mix between silver and gold giving your nails a really sophisticated look. Honestly I couldn't stop admiring my nails with this colour on, it's going to be amazing for fall. I achieved bottle colour with two coats.

As you can see in the picture above you can see the ridges on my nails (especially my thumb) but it doesn't make it stand out as much as Felicity does. This truly is just a gorgeous colour, I can't get enough of it. 

Overall Rating: 4.75/5 the only thing that I don't love about this is the amount of scrubbing it took to get it off my nails.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Review & Swatches: Julep's Alfe

I decided to add on 3 extras to my August Julep Maven box and Alfe was one of them. Alfe was part of the Classic with a Twist box and is described as a royal metropolitan purple metallic. I would describe it as a cool, silver toned purple metallic.

Alfe applied very smoothly though you could see noticeable brush strokes from it. It's a very cool toned purple, with a definite silver tint to it. It has a metallic sheen to it and if your nails have any ridges (like mine do) it makes these flaws more apparent.  Like most Julep polishes it reaches bottle colour in two coats.

I can't say that this is my favorite colour I received in August from my Julep Subscription, this also isn't my least favorite. It's just not a colour I would choose to wear on a regular basis. 

Overall rating: 3.5/5 while it applies easily I really don't like how it magnified flaws in my nails or the fact that brush strokes where so visible. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Fashion Fridays #1: Fall Fashion

Fall Fashion

Fall Fashion by alysiamansfield 

Sadly summer is drawing to a close and school will be starting up in just a week or so. I am really excited for fall though as it's my favorite season to dress for. I've put together a few key pieces that I think are great additions to to anyone's wardrobe.

1. A Classic Leather Jacket - I bought a black jacket (similar to the one above) while I was in Italy and I've owned a brown one for years. This is a great investment piece that will be great from early fall into early winter, and again when the weather starts to warm up in March and you're sick of the bulk of your winter coat. Try and pick classic shapes and styles so that they last you for years. I've had my brown leather jacket for 5+ years and I still wear it all the time. 

2. A Cardigan - The one pictured above is the Wilfred Diderot cardigan which I received for Christmas last year. I love having layers that are warm enough that I can skip the coat when the weather starts to get a bit cool. I like the fact that this isn't in a classic shape, and the sweatshirt material makes this super cosy while not looking sloppy. 

3. A Layering Tank - This one from Talula I own in a bright pink colour and I love that the lace pattern gives an outfit a bit of texture. I have a huge collection of little silk tanks that I find at Forever 21 for super cheap (we're talking around $20 each) that I can throw on under blazers or cardigans that look a bit more pulled together than a basic ribbed tank. These layers are great year round, as you can wear them on their own in the warmer month (I love pairing them with maxi and pencil skirts in summer) and just throw on a blazer or cardigan in the cooler months.

4. Black Skinny Pants - I'll admit, I was a bonafide jeans girl until recently. I didn't own any pants that weren't jeans until I bought ones from H&M (Around $40 CAD) and the pixie pants from J-Crew (around $120 CAD). I love how these make an outfit that much more pulled together than if I was wearing jeans. The only issue I have with the pixie pants is that I have yet to figure out how to do the back zipper up on my own, embarrassing to say the least! Any tips on that?

5. A Slouchy Sweater - This one from Wilfred (I think it's called the Balzac sweater) is to die for. I own it already in a leopard print and in a pretty dusty purple but I really want it in a nice dark grey colour. These sweaters are super comfy but you look pulled together while wearing them (noticing a theme? Comfy but pulled together is the name of the game).

6.  Scarves - I love scarves, they're a great way of adding pattern and interest to a boring outfit. I never spend a lot on scarves and I tend to pick up new ones only when I travel. Scarves are also easy to toss into a bag if you start to get too hot, which makes them great layering pieces in the early fall when the weather goes from frosty in the am to hot in the afternoon. 

7. Flats - As I commute to school I need comfortable shoes that will last me on the days that I'm out of the house for 15+ hours a day. Simple ballet flats are an easy no brainer choice when I wake up at 5am and am not fully functioning. I own a pair in black and nude which go with everything so I don't have to worry about my shoes clashing.

8.  Ankle Boots - I am in love with these Tom ankle boots and have yet to find them in my size.  I want these for days when it's too cool to wear my ballet flats but I don't feel like pulling on my knee high boots. 

There you have it, some of my key pieces for fall. I tend to stick with easy pieces that wear well when I'm commuting for super long hours. I find it really easy to get into a rut with what I wear to school because I have to wake up so early and am gone so long so I'm going to try to make an effort to dress a bit better this year. 

What are your key fall pieces?  How do you stay out of a fashion rut when the weather cools down and all you want to do is wear hoodies, uggs and yoga pants? 

Also! check back Monday to Friday next week as I'm doing a review everyday on my Julep Maven August box!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Review + Swatches: Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette

urban decay, naked 2

I bought the Urban Decay Naked2 palette almost immediately after I got back from Italy and I really wish I had bought this before I went. This is the palette I would turn to for any holiday longer than a night or two. It's the perfect blend of neutrals for day to day with some gorgeous colours for a night time look.

urban decay, naked 2

 This comes with a double ended brush and a mini lip gloss that I forgot to take pictures of. I tried the gloss once and have forgotten about it until I started to write this post. I don't really use the brush as I have my MAC brushes that I love, but sometimes I'll use the blender side for a more subtle crease than I get with my MAC 217 brush.

urban decay, naked 2

urban decay, naked 2

The only colour I don't really use is Foxy but that's because I tend to use the same ones over and over. I love Verve for an inside corner brightening colour, it works amazing.  Blackout I use for liner or Busted if I want a brown liner. YDK is amazing for a lighter colour, I use it most of the time. Pistol is great for a grey smokey eye, I love it on my lower lash line and Snakebite for a bronzed smokey eye.

urban decay, naked 2

I love pairing Bootycall with Chopper or Half-Baked for an easy bronzed/ or coppery look and if I want to take it into a nigh time look I'll add Snakebite to the crease and lower lash line. For a more taupe-y look I love Tease, especially paired with YDK or Suspect. It just looks so lovely. Adding Pistol to the crease and lower lash line really makes this look stand out for night.

urban decay, naked 2

urban decay, naked 2

Packing: 5/5 and a large part of the reason I choose this over the original Naked palette. I love the metal casing as I feel it's super sturdy.
Pigmentation: 5/5 amazing, these show up so well on my skin.
Texture: 4/5 These are really soft shadows and I tend to get a bit of fallout and lots of dust from these
Longevity: 4/5 when used with my Urban Decay Potion Primer these last all day.
Application: 4/5 A bit of fallout, especially with the darker colours (Snakebite, Pistol, Blackout and Busted especially) but nothing some makeup remover can't fix.

Overall I would totally recommend this palette. It's an amazing value $60CAD for 12 eyeshadows, that's $5 each! When they retail for $22CAD for an individual eyeshadow. So while it seems like a lot of money up front, it really is worth it. I use every eyeshadow in this palette and if I go on any longer trips in the future I'm taking this with me 100%.

Overall Rating: 4.75/5

Monday, August 20, 2012

Review and Swatches: Essie's Cute as a Button

Essie, Cute as a Button

I picked this colour up on a whim, as I really really don't need more nail polish (thank you Julep Maven) but when these went on sale for $7.99 at Shoppers Drug Mart I couldn't resist. Normally these retail for around $12 depending on where you buy it from and this is the cheapest I've see it (other than buy one get one deals around boxing day).

Essie, Cute as a Button, Swatch

This is a really cute summery pink/coral colour. Perfect for summer days by the beach or pool. This is definitely going into my regular rotation of nail polish colours. I think I'll turn to this when I want a less intense pink than OPI's Strawberry Margarita.

essie, Cute as a button

The one thing that bugs me about buying these at Shoppers is that the packaging is slightly different than if I get this a beauty supply store. There's a sticker on the top with the name (most times it comes on the bottom) and a white Essie sticker on the side that I always peel off because it looks tacky.

Essie, Cute as a Button


Packing: 4/5 There is nothing wrong with the packaging per se, it's just nothing to write home about.
Pigmentation: 5/5 I got the bottle colour with two coats
Texture: 5/5 This is a nice creamy polish
Longevity: n/a*
Application: 4/5 I prefer OPI's larger brush, but nothing particularly bad about the smaller brush.

Overall I would recommend this colour, it's a perfect summer polish. This would look great on toes as well. Overall Rating: 4.5/5

* I can't wear nail polish to work so I only wear polish on the weekends. Sorry I can't test this for wear time. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Massive Highend Haul!

Laura Mercier, Nars, Chanel, MAC, Dior

So on Tuesday I posted about returning my Sephora + Pantone brushes, and because I was in Toronto I stocked up on a few other products that aren't easily found in my area.

Laura Mercier Oil Free Flawless Face Kit

I picked up the Laura Mercier Oil Free Flawless Face Kit ($80CAD) from Sephora. It's a really good deal as you get two brushes to apply product with, the foundation primer, a tinted moisturizer, the undercover pot (two shades of concealer with the translucent powder) and a couple of applicator spounges with this really handy makeup bag. I'm really excited to test these out as I've heard amazing things about the concealer and the translucent powder. Laura Mercier is a rather expensive brand, their translucent powder retails for $45 for a full size one.

I picked up the Nars Laguna/Orgasm bronzer/blush duo which retails for $50. I forgot to take a closer picture of it, but I will post a review + swatches in a month or so once I've given it a thorough test drive. I've been using it for a few days and I have to say I love it so far.

 I also snagged a little travel version of Urban Decay's All Nighter Spray for $14 and cashed in 100 Beauty Insider points for a really nice sized sample of Benifits Watt's Up highlighter.

Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Coco Rouge Shine, Boy

Unfortunately there is no Chanel counter near me (the nearest one is 45 minutes away) so I took advantage of the fact that I was right by one to pick up the Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in the colour B10. This is a rather expensive foundation at $49, but I've heard such amazing things about it from so many YouTubers I respect (Pixi2woo, Missglamorazzi, FleurDeForce) that I really wanted to try it. I've been using it ever since I got it and I adore it.

I also picked up a Coco Rouge Shine in the colour Boy that my friend Christine of Starry Eyed Beauty told me to buy when we did our shopping day together. I took her advice and bought this super pretty shade but almost had a heart attack when the lady rung me in. It was over $30 for a lipstick! I think MAC lipsticks are expensive at $18 but this was huge sticker shock for me. While I really like this product and packaging I just don't think I can justify spending that kind of money all the time on lipstick.

Amber Diamond, Cremesheen, Creme Cup

The bonus of buying my Chanel products at the Bay was that I received a $10 off with $50 spent in the beauty department gift card for my next purchase! I had also been given a $50 gift card for looking after my neighbors pets for a few days for my local mall, which thankfully has a Dior and MAC counter in the Bay.

Shmmer Star, Amber Diamond, Creme Cup

So I just had to buy the Dior Diorskin Shimmer Star in Amber Diamond which retails for $45. This has been mentioned by just about everyone as an amazing highlighter that you can also use for your eyes and I've been lusting after this for a while. So I was $5 short and while the Dior Lipgloss in Sari Pink is on my wish list I really didn't feel like paying $30+ again for a lip product in a week. So I went over to the MAC counter and picked up the cremesheen in Creme Cup! I haven't purchased a MAC lipstick in so long and while I have a ton of things to depot so I can b2mac them I decided this was one of the least expensive beauty purchases I could make so I could get that $10 off.

Stila Rome, Stila French Rivera, Dior Extase Mascara

I also ordered online these two palettes from Stila, the Rome and the French Rivera sets. These are an amazing deal as you get 3 full sized Stila eye shadows + a holder for $18CAD when a single eyeshadow retails for $22CAD. Rome is now sold out, but there are still four other sets to get. I'm on the fence as to order the other three sets as these are such a great deal. In the Rome set there is Kitten, Golightly and Java. The French Rivera set has Kitten, Grace and Mahogany. Yes I did end up with two kittens but as my friend A- said you can never have too many kittens. I prefer the French Rivera set to the Rome trio as I find it easier to wear during day (the colours are a bit lighter). Both are great investments though, I can see these becoming my go to palettes for weekends getaways, simple pretty neutrals. I'll post a review and swatches really soon as I've already taken the pictures I just want to wear them a bit before I post a full review.

I had quite a bit of sticker shock while buying some of these items (ahem- I'm looking at you Chanel, Nars and Laura Mercier) but I'm really happy I took the plunge and bought these products. I couldn't wait to try them once I got home and I'm loving every one of them so far. I don't normally spend this much money all at once on makeup, but as I'm planning a purchasing ban from September until IMATS and most of these products had been on my wishlist for months I figured I would get a good back to school shopping haul in.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Review: Sephora + Pantone Brush Set

Sephora + Pantone bush set

I bought these brushes back at the end of June because I was attracted to their pretty packaging and thought they were a great deal! 5 Brushes for $46CAD when one of my favorite MAC brushes (the 217) was $27 for one brush. Sadly no matter how much I tried to love these brushes they were a huge fail and I ended up returning them to Sephora last week.

Sephora + Pantone bush set

First off they applied product terribly! I get fallout from my Naked2 palette even with my MAC brushes but this was ridiculous! Even with my MAC eyeshadows that I've been using for years now with no fallout, ended up all over my cheeks with these brushes.

Sephora + Pantone bush set

Another thing that drove me crazy was the bristles kept coming out partway (as seen in the close up shots) but wouldn't fall out. I tried pulling on the offending bristles but they wouldn't budge. This meant for prickly application.

Sephora + Pantone bush set

Thankfully the Sephora at Bloor Street West in Toronto was super nice and let me return these no problem even though I didn't have my receipt, or the original packaging and it had been over 3 months. A HUGE thank you to the lovely sales associates who were so nice about it. Honestly the customer service at Sephora has always been lovely, but this was just above and beyond.

Overall rating: DO NOT BUY. I think these are sold out as I can't find them on the webpage, but I did see some still in store when I exchanged these. I'm going to order the essentials kit from Sigma in the near future as I really do need more brushes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

July Glossybox

So this month's Glossybox is disappointing again. Not only did my JULY Glossybox arrive in AUGUST, but it's mostly things I could have picked up at the drugstore. I expect high end/different products from my beauty subscriptions and I've been disappointed two months in a row with Glossybox. I'm giving Glossybox one more month before I completely give up on it.

Zoya Nail Polish ($8.00) in Wednesday
This is really really similar to a colour I got in my Julep Maven box called Daphne, so this is kind of a bust.

Alessandro International Pedix Heel Rescue Balm ($19.95)
This is a good sized sample and smells nice, but I just got a sample of a foot cream two months ago from Glossybox! I'm overwhelmed with foot creams at the moment.

John Frieda go Blonder Spray ($13.99) Full Size

I've looked at this in the store and have read reviews for it so I was a little afraid to try this on my blonde colour treated hair. I tested it and honestly I can't see a difference. I also received a free sample of this from John Frieda as well so this really is useless to me.

Dove Softening Creme Body Wash ($5.99) Full Size
Honestly a full sized body wash from Dove? I thought these were supposed to be deluxe samples!

Burt's Bees lip Shimmer ($5.99) Full Size

Smells nice and looks really nice, subtle shimmer and very moisturizing. But still really disappointing because I can pick this up so easily. I subscribe to beauty boxes to try new products that I haven't heard of before, not stuff I can easily get!

BeautySoClean Sanitizer Wipes ($12.50)

Ok so these are kind of cool, I received 5 wipes in my box. I'll use these when sharing makeup with other people, but as I pretty much never do that these are kind of useless.