Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Hi everyone!

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted.  Unfortunately, we had a bit of a scary weekend:  another big bleed that prompted a 2-day hospital stay.  This whole placenta previa business is terrifying and crappy.  Now that I'm officially home (from both the hospital and from work), and restricted in terms of what I am able to physically do during the day, I'm hoping to post a bit more regularly.  We'll see how that goes. . . the best intentions and all :)

Next up will be a review of my first Tester Korea haul! I might just call it my mask addiction haul since that's pretty much what I bought.  Oh well, my husband has started doing sheet masks with me once or twice a week so I can justify it :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SquareHue March 2015 Review

And now for something completely different. . . well, not completely I guess.  It is still make-up/beauty stuff after all :)  P.S. Sorry this post looks funky - I lost it and had to repost it from my email.  Not a good afternoon here today :(

SquareHue's nail mail! For those unfamiliar with SquareHue, they make and sell 5-free polishes through a subscription service.  They do not, at this time, sell the polishes outside of the monthly service.  Unlike other monthly nail polish subs, SquareHue does not offer choices or previews, instead promising 3 full-size, on-trend colours and finishes according to a particular theme.  This year, they are doing a different decade every month so this month, the colours are inspired by the 1920s.  While I can't select my own options/colours, it is really easy to skip a month (or many) and to re-establish the sub whenever I like.  I wasn't really down for the 1900s or 1910s but was hoping this month would be a little Gatsby-chic :) Love the 1920s :)

Here are the shades SquareHue came up with to honour this decade in our history:

From left to right, "Cocktails & Cigarettes 1920" (a sheer Pearl shade), "Style & Speed 1921" (a silver micro glitter) and "Art & Deco 1925" (a copper shimmer)

Swatches on their info card:

Cocktails & Cigarettes:
While originally not that excited by a sheer polish, this one is delicate and shimmery, kind of like Daisy Buchanan herself (read The Great Gatsby if you haven't ok? it's short and so representative of the period).  A peachy-pink, I was pleasantly surprised to see a bit of turquoise shine to this sheer.  The formula is easy to work with and looked lovely with two coats, although certainly not opaque.  This one is growing on me.  While not something that I would usually reach for (I like my nails a little flashier), this is subtle and totally work-appropriate.

Style & Speed:
I love a good silver polish.  And this one is a good one.  It has a bit more depth than other silvers I have owned in the past and the micro glitter finish stays nice and shiny without leaving glitter all over the place.  The formula is nice enough but needs a bit more work to level properly (or at least my husband had a little trouble doing my toes for me - but he's no expert).  Still, pretty good to go after two coats.  I much prefer this to the gold SquareHue sent me a few months back (pre-blog, sorry!) as this type of metallic suits my skin tone nicely.  That said, it's not very exciting and very much something I could easily have already owned (if I hadn't used up my last silver a while ago and delayed replacing it).

Art & Deco:
I like this one a lot.  I was nervous about a copper shade but find this one looks almost rose-gold with a decent amount of pink to it.  I like.  The shimmer is not as shiny as the micro glitter above (you can really see the difference in the swatch pic) but it does have a nice sheen.  I find the formula similar to Style & Speed in terms of ease of use as well and, while two coats is nice enough, I think three really helps bring the colour out a bit more.  This is lovely and understated for a metallic finish.

Overall Verdict:
This is a pleasant enough collection from SquareHue but not the most exciting set I have received from them (that would be the Prague collection from November).  I am, however, really happy to see some new finishes and no yellows/oranges.  SquareHue seems to send out a lot of creams and a lot of shades that I find a challenge with my colouring - well, not this month!  I will wear all of these shades, happily, and am pleasantly surprised by them - particularly the two I was most nervous about.  That said, I hope not to receive any more metallics for a while as I have received a silver, copper and gold from them thus far and, while I like metallics, don't need a bronze in my collection as well :) I am in for next month since the 1940s is so rich with history and I love old Hollywood glam.  After that, we'll see.  I might take a break until we get to decades I actually experienced in person (a good jelly finish for the 1980s? please??).  But if they hit it out of the park, all bets are off! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Ipsy March 2015 Review

Ipsy, is a monthly subscription service which sends you 5 make-up, skin care or hair care items per month packaged in a make-up bag.  The products are often deluxe sample sizes but there are usually a few full-size items as well.  The cost is $10 per month with free shipping if you happen to live in the states but for those of us in Canada, add $4.95 shipping as well as exchange.  There are savings to be had if you subscribe to a longer period, though.  I paid for a year up front which worked out to $184.33 Canadian funds, or $15.36 per month.

If this review piques your interest in Ipsy, please consider using my referral link :)  I'd appreciate it!  There is usually a waiting list but they often offer ways to skip the line.

Here is what came in my Ipsy bag this month:

Marsk Cosmetics Mineral Eye Shadow in Lucky Penny (0.04 oz sample = $0.75 value, 1.2oz costs $22.50 on their website)
Nice formula and pigmentation.  Unfortunately, this isn't the best colour for me (I know you can't see it in my terrible pic but it's, true to its name, a copper shade).  I'll give it a try or rehome it to my sister who seems to be taking all of my terrible eye shadow shades off my hands.  I've adjusted some of the info on my quiz to hopefully target better, more colourful shades for me - we'll see if it works.

Chella Ivory Lace Highlighter (FULL SIZE $18 value)
Again, nice formula and pigmentation.  On my skin tone, this almost works best as a concealer (yes, I'm that pale) but it does do a decent job lightening under-eye circles or brightening up my brown bone.  I don't tend to use highlighters that often (despite how many I've received from Ipsy) but I do like this one better than most and can get some use out of it.

NYX Butter Lipstick in Little Susie (FULL SIZE $6 value)
While this looks wildly bright, it. . . okay, it is wildly bright (for reals, the colour of the tube is the colour of the lippy).  That said, it kind of works for me in a springy kind of way.  I really like the formula and the pigmentation is good.  This seriously costs $6? I might need to pick up a few more.  I like this even more than I liked the NYX Butter Lip Balm Ipsy sent me a few months ago.  Well played, Ipsy.

Sexy Hair Soy Renewal Creme Oil (1 fl. oz. sample = $5.46, 4.2 fl. oz. costs $22.95 on their website)
I want to like this, I really do. . . but I just can't.  This is exactly the kind of styling product I like.  Even though it suggests using it when blow drying, I like smoothing a little of this type of product through dry hair for softness, smoothness and a little texture.  It does a great job smoothing down flyaways and taming frizz.  Notice how I keep saying "this type of product"? That's because this particular one is driving me insane.  I put it on my hands, rub through my hair and. . . have glitter all over my palms.  WTF? It doesn't even seem to add shine or sparkle to my hair! Just to my hands.  *sigh*

Dr. Brandt Skincare Pores No More Anti-Aging Mattifying Lotion (0.26 oz. sample = $9.18 value, 1.7 oz. costs $60 on their website)
Again, I want to like this.  It does what it promises:  moisturizes, smooths and mattifies, providing a great base for make-up.  It also reeks to high heaven.  It contains tea tree oil which I don't usually have an issue with (and I make my own face wash with the pure oil in it so I know the smell, trust me) but behind the tea tree scent is an unpleasant herbal / medicinal / chemical kind of smell that I can't stand.  Maybe I'm spoiled with all of my excellent k-beauty finds but this is a let-down.  I'll use it, since the smell does fade away shortly after application, but I won't be sad when it's empty either.

Overall Verdict:
This month, my bag had a value of $39.39 but almost $15 of that value came from the two products I really can't see myself getting a lot of use out of.  I will force myself to use the lotion, plugging my nose if necessary and may get some use of the hair creme, as long as I have time to scrub the sparkles off my hands.  The product I am most happy with is the cheap lippy so I guess "value" is in the eye of the beholder, huh? While I could be happier with the highlighter and the eye shadow, I will use them but I wish they were more exciting.

To be honest, the shine is coming off of this sub for me.  I'll finish out the year and then that may be it for me.  There are only so many makeup bags one person can use and while I have discovered some new products I wouldn't have purchased and some new shades I'd never have tried, I have been disappointed by an equivalent number of products as well.  I think this is a great sub for those just starting out, or newbies to make-up and can't deny that it's usually a good value for a great price. We'll see what happens over the next few months.  Maybe I'll try something new when my year's up!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

"Every Pregnancy is Different" For Reals

It's been a while since I've posted anything parenting-related.  Here's part of the reason why.

Last pregnancy was a dream.  No morning sickness, no real complaints or challenges.  I was tired - like really tired - and that was about it.  And I hated it.

Ok, hate is maybe a strong word but I am not one of those women who enjoys being pregnant.  As someone who struggled/s with my weight most of my life, I do not enjoy seeing things change in the way they do when you're pregnant.  I did not like feeling tired and like I couldn't do the things I wanted - like eating sushi and having a glass of wine on my 30th birthday (although the new recommendations from Health Canada now permit the former, but not the latter, obviously).

This time around, I was getting a handle on the whole being pregnant thing.  I am still not over the moon about waking up to pee 782 times a night or falling asleep on the couch at 4pm or being so hungry I burst into tears because I can't decide what to eat. But I can also look at my older son and know why I'm doing this, what it's all about and how short term it really is in the grand scheme of things.

It also helps that this is kind of a miracle pregnancy.  We thought we had lost this little one in November. . . until we discovered in January that we hadn't.  Miracle, right? Like this baby is supposed to be born.  And he is a tough little guy.

And then, more bleeding.  At first, just some spotting.  "Sometimes that happens after sex," my midwife assured me.  Another week goes by and there is a full on bleeding episode.  TMI, I know but it was a bit of a horror show.  With a clot.  And I panicked.  My midwife met us at the hospital and checked me out only to verify that it's not normal bleeding (no kidding).  I have complete placenta previa.

For those who have no reason to know what this is, the placenta is completely covering my cervix.  Often this is only partial (as in "partial placenta previa") and it is very rarely the case by the end of a pregnancy.  Usually, as the baby grows, it will move.  But that is very unlikely in my case because of the way the placenta is shaped and located.  That drug-free, vaginal birth I had last time? Not this time.  Unless there is a surprising change, this will be a scheduled c-section.  Terrifyingly, it could also be an early emergency c-section if there is more bleeding that doesn't want to stop.  I'm already on modified work at 5 months and will likely be completely off work and on some form of bed rest within the next month.

Now to wrap my head around that new reality and make my peace with it.  On the bright side, being pregnant and the issues I had with it last time? A piece of cake.  Those who say "every pregnancy is different" - still irritating, but not completely talking out of their asses either.

Sunday, March 01, 2015

First RoseRose Haul

I had to find a new place to get my kbeauty fix. . . but where to turn? Some of the helpful ladies on MUT suggested RoseRoseShop and, after shopping around for a bit, I decided to take the plunge.

Shipping Info:  This order was placed on January 31st and arrived at my door on February 20th.  While that's not the fastest shipping ever, it is comparable to Memebox's shipping when they were shipping to Canada from South Korea.  The box also spent 4 days making its way through customs and had actually been opened by them and examined.  Nonetheless, there were no customs charges despite this order clearly being worth much more than the "gift value" RoseRoseShop had labelled it with.  Shipping costs with RRS is determined by weight so this wasn't a super-cheap order to ship.  Shipping costs came to just over $30 but, even with shipping, I still found the prices here to be an excellent value and was able to get many items for 50-80% off!

Here's a pic of the whole haul (it looks like so much more when it's not words on a computer screen!):

So, what did I get? Well, let's start with masks (because I always love to talk, and use, masks!).  All prices listed will be in USD.

(clockwise from top left:  Leaders Mediu Foot Peeling Mask Baby Soft Foot x2, Baroness Green Tea Sheet Masks x10, 3W Clinic Coenzyme Q10 Fresh Mask Sheet x10, Tonymoly Intense Care Snail Foot Mask x3, Etude House I Need You, Pomegranate Mask Sheet x3)

Leaders Mediu Foot Peeling Mask Baby Soft Foot (2-pack for $2.60, 50% off sale)

While I have not yet used these particular foot peeling masks yet (what's the point with all the snow?), I have used peeling masks in the past and enjoyed them.  I have also heard excellent things about Leaders so I'm excited to give these a shot.  For those who don't know, foot peeling masks are housed in little booties that you wear on your feet (obviously, I know) for a period of time and then you wash off the essence.  At first, it may seem like nothing has happened but within a few days, your feet start shedding dry skin like no one's business.  It's kind of gross, kind of satisfying and in the end, it looks like you have brand new feet (like a baby's, hence the name)! I needed to get more of these after my first experience but I will save them for sandal weather.

Baroness Green Tea Sheet Masks (10-pack for $1.92, 80% off sale)

Those who have read this blog before know that I love green tea in skin care products.  It is soothing, yet appropriate for my skin and doesn't cause breakouts.  While these aren't the highest quality masks I've ever worn, they are nice enough and do the job.  And seriously, for under 20 cents a mask - ?

3W Clinic Coenzyme Q10 Mask Sheets (10-pack for $1.83, 80% off sale)

Coenzyme Q10 is for smooth and vibrant skin.  Again, these aren't the highest quality masks I've ever used (I tried one of these on my husband last night and he liked it okay but it was his first sheet mask ever, lol) but they do the job and that price is just amazing :)  They also have a ton of essence!

Tonymoly Intense Care Snail Foot Mask (3-pack for $2.96, 30% off sale)

These are foot masks, again housed in little booties but purely for moisturizing and nutritional purposes.  You can wear them for longer than the peeling foot masks and do not need to wash off the essence.  These were billed as "samples" but they are still, obviously, full size so I'm assuming they would usually come in a different amount per package? I tried them last night and do feel moisturized.  For those concerned about the snails - there is no off-putting scent and nothing feels weird about this product (well, weirder than wearing booties full of essence anyway); the snail slime extract provides nutrition to dry skin.

Etude House I Need You, Pomegranate Mask Sheet (3-pack for $0.92, also on sale -50% off maybe?)

These are nice.  Etude House is a quality brand and it shows in these masks - they just feel a little more substantial than some others (see above).  I chose Pomegranate because it promised to be smoothing and energizing plus it smells really nice :)  These were also a "sample" package but again are full-size so it must just be the number of them.  They are still on sale although not as steeply, at 20% off ($2.19).

And now for the non-mask goodies:

(clockwise from far left:  Welcos Merit Killing Me Zombie Crazy Gloss Lip Tint Gift Set in Bloody Red, Welcos Merit Killing Me Zombie CC Cream Set, Tonymoly Egg Pore Deep Cleansing Foam, Skinfood Parsley and Mandarin Toner, Tonymoly Mini Lip Balms in Peach and Berry, Banila Co. Clean It Zero Samples x4)

Welcos Merit Killing Me Zombie Crazy Gloss Lip Tint Gift Set in Bloody Red ($8.66, on sale 55% off)

Welcos Merit Killing Me Zombie CC Cream Set ($10.39, on sale 55% off)

I'm a sucker for zombie anything and how awesome is that packaging? I'm reviewing these together because I actually did some swatches! I know, right?! But here goes.  The first shot is of these products out of their boxes:

The cc cream includes a large (40ml) pump-style version for at home and a 7ml tube to go.  A little goes a long way (like, I don't even use a full pump for my whole face!) so these should last a while!  The lip tint set includes a Crazy Gloss Tint (that's the larger one) and a smaller Watery Gloss Tint - more on those later.

 Here's a swatch of the cc cream upon first application at left - see how white it is? And an inexplicably sideways (and slightly out of focus?) shot of it rubbed in at right.

I am really enjoying this cc cream.  I never thought I could "get away" with wearing anything other than a heavy foundation capable of covering up acne and acne scarring but now that my skin is looking better than it ever has, I am happy to use something lighter that has less coverage.  I also love that this has an SPF (even if it's only 30) and am really impressed by how well it colour-matches.  It even matched my husband's arm which is much darker and warmer than mine so that's super-impressive too!

And here's the swatch of the lip tints.  Texture-wise, I prefer the gloss tint (at left) as it feels a little more creamy and substantial.  With the watery tint (at right), I worry a bit about it migrating from my lips before it sets.  Colour-wise, while they are both nice, I think the watery tint is truer to its name - it really does look more "bloody" but both work for me.  They don't have quite the staying power of other tints I have tried and tend to fade from the centre, outwards, but they are still longer-lasting than most of my lipsticks.

Tonymoly Egg Pore Deep Cleansing Foam ($4.62, on sale 20% off)

This cleansing foam also includes delicate exfoliators and has good reviews for oilier skin.  I have heard that it does have a higher ph than many would prefer but I'll give it a try.  I might save it for warmer months when my skin does get oilier (especially because this summer, I'll also be dealing with postpartum hormones and all the fun 16-again skin that goes with that!).

Skinfood Parsley and Mandarin Toner ($5.19, on sale - 25% off?)

This line from Skinfood is intended for "troubled skin" and promises to control excess sebum and skin problems while hydrating skin.  I'm using a toner right now so I'm waiting on this one but did open it to take a sniff - wow! The parsley scent is a little intense! Hopefully it dries down much subtler or I'll smell like I've been cooking all day :( We'll see how this one goes.

Tonymoly Mini Lip Balms in Peach and Berry ($4.54 each, on sale 20% off)

How cute are these lip balms? And they smell really, really delicious and genuinely like the fruits they claim to smell like.  The peach is very lightly tinted (almost not at all) while the berry includes SPF 15 and is pretty pink when applied.  Both require you to put a brush or finger in the little pot which isn't my favourite way to apply lip balm. . . but they're really nice so I'll make an exception.

Banila Co. Clean It Zero Samples ($4.23 for 4)

This is an oil balm that is used as a first cleansing step.  The balm is applied to dry skin and effectively removes make-up and impurities then water is added to emulsify the product and wash it all off.  A second cleansing step (often with a foaming cleanser) is then needed - especially for those of us who would break out horribly if we left an oily product on our faces! I am excited to try these out but I have an oil cleanser I need to finish up first.  If these work anything like that one (and like the rave reviews indicate), they'll be awesome!

Overall Impressions:

Shopping like this is seriously addictive.  I already have a Tester Korea order en route and am refusing to buy anything else until I use up some of my stash! In all honesty though, This whole order came to $86.33 USD including the significant shipping fee.  Even with the cost of shipping, that was cheaper than it would have been for me to buy most of these items through a source which offers free shipping (believe me, I comparison-shopped it!).  Further, I have to point out that I said "most of these items" because some of them were not available for other shops - especially the outrageously cheap masks at 80% off!  I am happy with everything I have tried thus far and excited to get through some products so I can try the others :) I will definitely be doing a RoseRose haul again. . . but maybe not for a while!