Tuesday, May 28, 2013

She was a day...tripper... NOTD - Deborah Lippmann

Daytripper... thats a Beatles song! Go listen to this song... apparently...It's about LSD... Believe me when I say I DO NOT condone the use of drugs, but I do condone the use of nail polish! ;) This is a mini size of Deborah Lippmann in Daytripper, which I got in my Holt Renfrew Spring/Summer Beauty BagThis is my first Deborah Lippmann and my first higher-end polish. 

I'd describe the colour as a creamy neon salmon, salmon because it's pink with a hint of orange. The colour is  sooo perfect summer. Upon application, the formula was watery, yet pigmented. I sparingly used three thin coats to get the polish to a good opacity. 

I was VERY disappointed by the way it wore. With a top coat, I usually expect a decent polish to chip or wear down within a few days. This HIGH END polish chipped within the first 24 hours. 

Yes, the colour is nice, but I think I could find something similar with China Glaze. The wear time of this polish was terrible and I was not impressed. The full-size goes for $19-22 at Holt Renfrew and several online stores. Would I ever buy a full size Deborah Lippmann Polish? Maybe, maybe not. Deborah Lippmann is known for her unique glitters, so I'd probably go for one of those instead. 

Are you a fan of high-end nail polishes? What do you think of Deborah Lippmann polishes? 

Monday, May 27, 2013

GIVEAWAY: Subtle Stunners ft. Akimbo

Akimbo is a sweet little etsy shop run by two sisters in California. These "subtle stunners" are minimalist and refined, yet their simplicity of their pieces just sings beautiful. The light, dainty quality of these pieces is perfect for spring/summer and won't weigh you down in the summer heat. 

I asked Jenny and Kim a few questions about their shop so you could get to know them a bit better! 

1. Tell me about your shop. 
We started Akimbo after we went to a jewelry workshop with our best friends. We've always been into making jewelry, but after the workshop, we learned techniques we weren't familiar with and that spurred us to start creating our own designs.

2. How did you get started on Etsy? 
We've been patrons of Etsy for years and because of its accessibility and community, we decided starting an Etsy shop would be a great venture for us. So far, we've had great support and it's been a learning experience working on different types of marketing and trying to get our name out there.

3. What inspires the aesthetic of your items?  
Both Kim and I are inspired by nature. We have a strong connection to all things wild and natural. Her style is definitely more organic and her color schemes fall more in the neutral range - muted golds to earthy browns. I tend to stay more on the side of contrasts in color, angles and textures. Our combination of interests fuels our creativity and really helps us design pieces that will fit anyone's aesthetic.

1. Malibu Bracelet - $15 // 2. Leonis Necklace - $20 // 3. Cassiopeiae Necklace - $22 // 4. Windsor Earrings  - $15

4. I love how you've named each of your pieces. How do you decide how to name your items? 
When I was working on the listings for Etsy, I wanted each piece to be recognizable by name. I started with our necklaces, naming them after constellations. Then I went on to name earrings after international cities and bracelets after cities in the U.S. It's been fun. We look at the style and colors and the overall "vibe" the piece gives us and then we assign them a name. It's fantastic when we get positive feedback on how we've named our jewelry.

5. Share a little love. What are three of your favourite etsy shops?  


Win your choice of jewellery up to $18 from Akimbo! The giveaway is opened Friday, May 24th to Friday, June 14th. Also, for the duration of the giveaway, you can get 15% off with the code FUNSIZEAKIMBO. BEST OF LUCK! 

**Opened to US/Canada Only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

**Special thanks to Jenny and Kim who have kindly provided the prize for this giveaway. I have personally not tried their pieces, but they look lovely**

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nothing but Blue Skies.... NOTD

I'm skeptical of items from Forever 21. Everything at Forever 21 is trendy, but anything I've ever purchased has lacked quality, from shrunken t-shirts and hole-y sweaters to fraying makeup brushes. However, I was willing to take a chance and put my $3.80 at risk because I had heard many good things about their Love & Beauty polishes. 

From their large colour selection, I chose Baby Blue solely because I love pastels and had yet to add a blue one to my growing collection. The colour is a gorgeous...well... baby blue. There's also a touch of very fine silver shimmer which gives the polish a nice sheen. 

Yes, the colour is wonderfully adorable. BUT... there's a but. The first coat of polish was ok, not opaque, but not too sheer. I waited a bit, then added the next coat. The brush picks up way too much polish, even when I wipe both sides of it on to the edges of the bottle. The polish-overload has clumped all over the bottom of my fingers, and it's not hot (see photo #1). With a little bit of playing round, the polish looks just fine (see photo #2). It's important to use this polish in extremely small dips, because the brush picks up too much to put on the nails which causes it to be thick and clumpy. 

So, despite being a semi-forever 21-hater this polish was actually not bad given the price. I'm not a fan of how the polish applies. Would I purchase more Forever 21 Love & Beauty polishes in the future? Probably not. That being said, Baby Blue is a beautiful springtime colour that matches the blue skies of sunny days, so I am content with my purchase :) 

Have you ever tried cosmetic products from Forever 21? What did you think? 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

NARS Blush Duo in Hungry Heart (I) / Desire

My first encounter with NARS and I'm impressed.

I took this blush off the hands as good as new from Mir at AM Polishes for a fair $20 (Thanks Mir!). It's NARS Blush Duo in Hungry Heart (I) and Desire. This is a mini-sized blush at 5g or 0.17oz. The NARS Laguna/Orgasm Duo retails for $27 CAD at Sephora, so I'd assume this one is worth about the same. 

The packaging is exactly what everyone says it is. The rubberized casing looks luxurious, yet minimalist. However, it gets quite dingy because any dust or foundation on your fingers sticks on to the packaging so easily. 

To reiterate, the left is Hungry Heart (I), which can be described as sheer glitter. It may have a white tone in the swatch, but when applied on the face, it is adds a touch of pure shimmer. This shimmer does not have a satin finish, unlike what I had expected, but I am happy that this glitter is not chunky. How do you use shimmer? Personally, I think this looks great over top of Desire (right). Hungry Heart (I) can also be swept over the cheekbone and brow bone for a glittery glow. 

To the right is Desire. Now I can see what all the hype is about. Desire is an ultra pigmented, matte hot pink. One touch of the brush on to the powder is all that is necessary for one cheek. You'd expect that the pigment to be so easy to make yourself clown-like, but the product blends seamlessly into the skin for a summer glow. It's not a natural glow, but it gives the most beautiful hot pink flush. 

Overall, the shimmer/blush combination works well together, but I am most certainly enjoying Desire more than Hungry Heart (I), as I'm typically too lazy to mix the two and love the way Desire looks on its own. As a duo, I think I could do with just Desire and if I had more foresight regarding this matter I would purchase it on its own. 

I am extremely happy with this purchase. The pigment of the NARS Hungry Heart (I) / Desire Blush Duo is out of this world amazing. I feel like Hungry Heart (I) is not totally unique but Desire... makes up for it all. Absolutely nothing that I own from the drugstore compares to the blush side and I feel like this is just the beginning of my adventure into high-end territory. 

What high-end blushes do you own? How do they compare to that of the drugstore? 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

HAIR: Simple No-Heat Beachy Waves

I'm not into haircare/hairstyling/hair-anything. I'm lazy and very fond of my natural hair. I get my hair cut less than once a year and donated my hair and got a pixi cut and hated it. The first more dramatic change my hair has gone through recently would have to be the Ombre. With Ombre, I find that something curly or slightly wavy highlights the colour 12312350980345 times better. 

Heat definitely ruins hair, and no-heat effortless yet pretty hairstyles are the way to go. 

Acheiving this look is quite simple. After showering (night), I did my regular hair oil/treatment, etc and then put my hair into a tight braid. **Make sure that the braid is not a side-braid. If it's a sidebraid, one side of the waves will be more defined than the other.** Next, I slept on it, woke up the next morning, and carefully let it out. To add a little body and definition, I used my only hairspray, the usually neglected March Anthony Salon Expert Colour Care Amplifying Texture Spray. And that's it! 

The two things I love most about this hairstyle (1) no-heat and (2) no-brainer. It's great for a lazy day, and since I'm feeling lazy most (if not all) days, this one is perfect! 

What's your go-to hairstyle? 

Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterpoof Kohl Kajal in Nude

The Rimmel Scandal Eyes Kohl Kajal Waterproof Eyeliner Pencil in nude is the first skin tone pencil offered by the drugstore that I'm aware of. I picked this up on sale for $7. 

Again with the plastic caps, the packaging is nothing special. The product is. I use this liner as an eye brightener on the lower waterline and also on the inner corner. 

(1) heart || (2) swatch || (3) blended out

There is a teeny tiny tug with this product, but for the most part it glides on quite nicely. The texture isn't as creamy as something like the NYX Jumbo Pencils or the UD 24 hour liners, but I have found that it lasts much longer than both. For me, on the waterline, this pencil lasts at least 5 hours. I'm guessing the lack of creaminess gives the product the ability to "stick" to the skin/waterline for longer rather than quickly slide off. 

For a "nude" it's very pigmented and typically don't need to go over my waterline to reapply. 

Can you tell the difference between with and without? 

Overall, this product is a great drugstore dupe for something higher end like the Stila Kajal Eyeliner in Topaz. Yes, this has become an everyday staple for me and the slightly peachy colour is much more natural than the stark white of the NYX jumbo eyeshadow pencil. As simple as that, it's pigmented, long lasting, and the perfect shade.

Do you use a light colour or dark colour on your lower lashline? 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Stunningly Inappropriate Nails - Cheeky Monkey Polish - NOTD

Someone asked me "What polish is that?"... and I was a little embarrassed to reply. It's Tramp Stamp by Cheeky Monkey CosmeticsCheeky Monkey is a funky, fun, edgy brand, not to mention their 3-free formula. Moreover, browsing the website and reading names like Nail Me, Dirty Secret , and Spank Me are bound to make you giggle. 

I purchased this polish at the Blush Pretty Beauty Board for $10, a good discount from their regular price of $15. I bought this mainly because I don't have anything like this in my collection. 

I'm guessing because this polish is new for Spring 2013, the bottles do not have the names in the white graphics. The bottle size is that of a typical full sized polish (15mL). The lid is rubberized and the brush is thin near the handle, fanning out slightly (comparable to that of an Essie brush). The larger lid is attached to the brush which makes it a little more finicky to hold when applying the 

The colour and formula of the polish stand out (even more so than the name). I'd describe the colour as a HOT red-toned purple with a cream finish. The formula is slightly watery but extremely pigmented. It's opaque in 2 coats and ultra-bold in 3. The lasting power is impressive at 4 days without chipping with Revlon's no-chip top coat. 

While the cheeky names are gimmicky yet hilarious, the actual formula, colour, and staying power of the polishes are beyond what I had expected and even surpass the price point. I'm also currently wearing this colour on my toes... it's amazing! It is said that you should live life with no regrets; if there's one thing I regret, it's that I should have bought more of these polishes. 

I'd highly suggest looking at the Cheeky Monkey Cosmetics website if you need a little pick-me-up and don't get offended easily. What's your "hottest" colour of polish for the summer? 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Holt Renfrew Spring 2013 Beauty Bag - First Impressions

Holt Renfrew is intimidating. I always feel like they won't take me seriously because I look like an 8 year old lost at Bay and Bloor... I faced my fears and went on a mission to pick up the Holt Renfrew Beauty Bag. I haven't really dabbled in high end cosmetics or skincare, and I thought it'd be interesting to try a few things out. 

The Holts Beauty Bag is $35 and comes with 13 different products and a $10 off $25 voucher for anything beauty/skincare/haircare/fragrance related at Holt Renfrew that expires July 31, 2013. 

The bag itself is as big as an oversized clutch. I got mine in blue to white ombre. There were also grey and purple. The inside lining of the bag is a plastic material, which means it's easier to wash. There is also big pocket on the inside (convenient!). A mini wallet-sized zip-up pouch is included as well and the pattern matches the inside lining of the larger bag. 

The samples came sealed in a clear zip-lock bag. Every bag contains the exact same products so there's no need to worry about getting a different colour or product. What you see is what you get. 

Sisley Gentle Makeup Remover for Face and Eyes
Initial Thoughts - That's one pricey makeup remover! The brand doesn't sound familiar, but we'll see how it compares to my Bioderma. 
Full Size - 125mL // $65
Sample Size - 30mL // $15.60

Estee Lauder Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator 
Initial Thoughts - I opened this one up and it has an odd stick applicator. It's a shimmery cream, so I think I'll be using this as highlighter. I typically don't use highlighter, so I'll also try mixing it with a little liquid foundation and see how that turns out. 
Full Size - 30mL // $72.50
Sample Size - 7mL // $16.92

Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus 
Initial Thoughts - Apparently the sun is the culprit of horrible skin. As far as I'm concerned, I don't have any prominent skin damage, but this seems similar to the "even-better" anti-darkness corrector so I could potentially use it like that.  
Full Size - 100mL // $100
Sample Size - 7mL // $7.20

Chantecaille Magnolia, Jasmine, and Lily Healing Emulsion for Anti-Redness
Initial Thoughts - The name "Chantecaille" rings a bell. I believe Tanya Burr (pixi2woo) has raved about their products before. I actually tested this one out right away because I have an extremely red nose. Within 15 minutes the redness had diminished. This might be better than using foundation on my nose (I find it always looks cakey).
Full Size - 50mL // $145
Sample Size - 8mL // $23.20

NARS pro-prime smudge proof eyeshadow base
Initial Thoughts - This is a cult product. I'm excited. Enough said.
Full Size - 7.37g // $29
Sample Size - 2.8g // $11.01

Lancome Hypnose Drama in Excessive Black
Initial Thoughts - I've tried a sample of Hypnose Drama before and I liked it. Although I dislike mascara in general, I'll use this one anyways. 
Full Size - 6.51mL // $31
Sample Size - 4mL // $19.05

Laura Mercier Invisible Loose Setting Powder
Initial Thoughts - wooo setting powder. I really like the Rimmel Stay Matte powder for setting my makeup, but I wonder how this one would look for my under eyes....
Full Size - 11.34g // $44
Sample Size - 1g // $3.88

Laura Mercier Mini Fan Brush
Initial Thoughts - Everything in the bag is small sized so I feel like everything would get used up quickly. Since this one's a brush, it should last a lot longer. The bristles are soft but I tried using this with highlighter and I think I saw something fall out. I don't have a fan brush, so this is a cute little addition to my collection.
$5 (guess-timate)

Molton Brown Heavenly Gingerlily Moisture Bath and Shower Gel
.Initial Thoughts - looks like the shower gel at a nice hotel. 
Full Size - 300mL // $34
Sample Size - 30mL // $3.40

Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum
Initial Thoughts - I don't wear perfume, plus this smells a little... mature 
Full Size - 30mL // $80
Sample Size - 1.2mL // $3.20

Deborah Lippmann Polish in Daytripper
Initial Thoughts - This is the product I was most excited for. The colour is so fun and bright. I can't wait to swatch it! I like mini polishes because I've only actually finished a mini-polish once. Regular sized ones are too big anyways.
Full Size - 15mL // $22
Sample Size - 8mL // $11.88

Oribe Supershine Light Moisturising Cream
Initial Thoughts - I recently dyed my hair for the very first time and it feels DEAD. I'll be looking forward to moisturising it in any way possible. The price is actually not bad considering you only need a dime sized amount for your hair. 
Full Size - 150mL // $39
Sample Size - 7mL // $1.82

Oribe Cream for Style
Initial Thoughts - Unlike the other cream, this might be useless. I don't style my hair. I did like how there were only two foil samples which means that HR didn't cheap out on curating these bags. 
Full Size - 150mL // $49
Sample Size - 7mL // $2.29

$10 off $25 Holt Renfrew Coupon
$0 - because I have to spend money to save money *?* I'll definitely be using this though!


I much prefer this to purchasing one product for $35. I find that I rarely stick to using one product, so it'll be nice to try a whole bunch of new things. This bag's offerings are pretty much what I wish all subscription beauty boxes had ... a variety of decently sized samples of recognizable luxe brands for a reasonable price. 

Overall, I'm extremely happy with the products that were inside this bag. Plus, I knew what I'd be getting before I purchased this bag and I am sure I will be putting more than half of these products to good use. There's a lot of variety... makeup, skin, hair, body and a pop of colour (the polish). 

There were tons of bags when I went (Bloor St.), so there's probably lots left if you're interested :)

Would you purchase a bag like this? What do you look for in a beauty bag? 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

FOOD: Mother's Day Brunch - Gallery Grill @ Hart House

Happy Mother's Day! Here's to all you mothers out there :) 

My brother, Dad and I took my Mom to a pre-celebration a couple weeks ago. 

We went to the Gallery Grill. Fabulous and delicious food in the perfect, serene setting of Hart House at University of Toronto. 

My typical Sunday consists of a homemade Sunday Brunch with savoury green onion waffles, poached eggs, smoked salmon, some random fruit and veg smoothie, and then a long afternoon slumber. Since I'm leaving for school in a week, my family and I decided to mix it up and go out for brunch instead. However, we wanted something a little more innovative than the typical brunch and opted for Gallery Grill at Hart House at the University of Toronto St. George Campus. 

They change the menu often in order to accommodate local produce and organic goods as well as naturally-raised foods, so I didn't really know what to expect going in.  

The Atmosphere. Hart House is a huge castle-esqe building. If you're familiar with Hogwarts, then this is what you might expect. We were seated on the second floor balcony looking over a large hall (kind of like the Hogwarts Great Hall). The photo (above) is the view from our seat. The tall glass windows were a nice touch. The restaurant reminded me a lot of Cafe Alcazar in St. Augustine, Florida, which is also located inside a historical building of similar architecture.

House-made Cheddar Drop Biscuits with Chive Butter || $3.95

Usually when I think of biscuits, I think of Popeye's. These biscuits reminded me a lot of Popeyes except they were 10x fluffier, 10x more buttery, and topped with a subtle amount of crisp cheese. They came slightly warm, seemingly right out of the oven. Not to mention, Popeye's doesn't have any whipped chive butter on the side.  Everywhere I looked (at other people's tables), I saw these cheddar drop biscuits. It's pretty obvious they're a popular favourite. I would probably go to Gallery Grill just for the biscuits.

bread || with meal 

The olive bread and wheat bread with olive oil were lacklustre compared to the biscuits. 

Grilled Beef Cheek with Mushroom Oats and  Pecan BBQ sauce || $17.95

Beef cheek is one of the most tender pieces of meat and Gallery Grill has paired it beautifully with a lightly dressed salad to cut the fattiness. The mushroom oats add a different dimension of texture. 

Roasted Pickerel with Pomelo Salad, Quinoa and Scallion Drizzle || $18.95

The two parts (salad and fish) tasted delicious together. However, after finishing the fish, the salad was way too acidic on its own. 

Okonomiyaki Pancake with Fried Egg, Nori, Japanese Mayo, and Okonomi Sauce || $15.95

This is what I ordered. I've had okonomiyaki at TNT and there's always hesitation to order Asian cuisine at a non-Asian restaurant, but this dish was delightful. Okonomiyaki is a cabbage + flour pancake and Gallery Grill topped it with an egg to make it more breakfast-like. If there's two things I love it's eggs cooked over-easy and cabbage (separately). The odd pairing of the two was something I had never thought (or dreamed) of. 

Warm Balsamic Apple Tart with Pistachio Gelato || $7.95

You can never go wrong with cooked apples and ice cream. There was no "tart" in this dessert, but I was expecting something doughy or flaky. After eating the dessert I found the "dough" was unnecessary, as the pistachio ice cream and cinnamon and sugar laced apples held their own.

This was no ordinary brunch. It was unique, delicious, and felt a lot like dinner rather than breakfast or lunch. Instead of my post-brunch nap, I took a stroll around the scenic U of T campus.

What are your Sunday rituals?

Gallery Grill on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

EVENT: The Blush Pretty Beauty Board - Beauty+The Groom

Sunday, May 6th 2012. 2pm to 6pm. The BlushPretty (http://blushpretty.comBeauty Board themed Beauty+Groom. I'd describe the Beauty Board as the ultimate "try-before-you-buy" event where you can slather and smudge all sorts of brands all over your body/face and then purchase it on the spot if it's love at first sight. A majority of the brands were local/Canadian and organic/natural which my sensitive skin and green-self quite enjoyed. 

Everything was well organized and it was quite obvious how much time, effort, and thought went into planning and executing the event. It was located at Loft 404 (the Ambrosia Hub), an urban-chic venue and was deliciously catered by Some Guys Culinary Co, especially those decadent pigs in a blanket! and to top it off, a light dessert of some of the most wonderful MANcarons I've ever tasted. There was also beats by DJ Bloo to set the scene for testing out products to my hearts desire. 

Myself and Christine of Little Red Bow

I invited Christine to accompany me to the Beauty Board. As both of us are newer bloggers, I thought it might be a good idea for both of us to test the waters at an event like the Beauty Board. We're wearing a really similar little dress from TOPSHOP petite. Us fun-size people gotta stick together! Plus, there's nothing like testing out a few products with some good company to do it with.

A group shot of the lovely people I met! Beatrice Trang of Beatrice Trang, Samantha of Gemstone Beauty, Christine of Little Red Bow, and Michelle of Cherise Cheeks. Samantha was lucky enough to win a few of the raffle prizes from Montagne Jeunesse, MIYU, and something else I can't quite recall. Congrats! (I'm jealous btw)

Michelle of Cherise Cheeks 

Leslie of Petite Pear Style

I also had the pleasure of meeting Leslie of Petite Pear Style. Believe it or not, I actually learned about the Beauty Board from watching one of her youtube videos! She's just as pretty and well-spoken in person as she is on camera. I have to say... I was a little starstruck! :)

I didn't spend too much, but I made a few "necessary" additions to my collection: 

Real Techniques Core Collection from Farley and Co - $20 - these ultra-raved-about-supposedly-holy-grail-makeup-brushes were a must try for me. Plus, I couldn't find them at any Wal-marts!

Cheeky Monkey Polish in Tramp Stamp - $10 - Can't say no to nail polish (especially if it's 3-Free) and this hot fuchsia with a fairly explicit name that I'm slightly embarrassed to say is going to be great for the summer. 

Apart from my purchases, every attendee received a goodie bag chock-full of products from several of the vendors: 

Pure + Simple || http://www.pureandsimple.ca - Sensitive Skin Face Wash 
Kaia || http://www.kaianaturals.com - 24 hr Booster Serum
Pelle Beauty || http://www.pellebeauty.com - Botanical Facial Mist + Stellar 

Crawford Street Skincare || http://www.crawfordskincare.com/ - Peppermint Vanilla Lip Balm
Kona Kare || http://www.konakare.com/ - Essentual Lip Balm in Orignial 
Sweet Leaf Bath Co. || http://www.sweetleafbath.com/ - Peppermint Lip Balm in Compostable Packaging

Revolution Organics || http://www.revolutionorganics.com/ - Freedom Glow in Bronze
Cheeky Monkey || http://www.cheekymonkeycosmetics.com/ - in Cheap Whore

FARLEY AND CO. (distributors) || http://www.farleyco.ca/Home.html
Blistop - blister prevention spray
Splat Hair Chalk - in Violet Sky
Monagne Jeunesse - Morning After Scrub (for Men)

Consonant || http://www.consonantbody.com/ - Organic Olive Body Soap
Dot and Lil || http://www.dotandlil.com/ - Finely Milled Soap in Rosemary Lavender
Ella's Botanicals || http://ellasbotanicals.ca/ - Beauty Bar Soap in Anoint Me (Cedarr and Patchouli)

More samples from Consonant 

A Paper Story ||  http://www.apaperstory.com/

Impress Nails || http://impressmanicure.com/ - press on manicures in Shaker and Ecstatic Cling

Paper + Cloth || http://paperpluscloth.com - Washi Tape
MIYU Teas & Beauty || http://www.miyubeauty.com/ - Hydrate Mi Beauty Tea (Green Rooibos, Goji Berries, White Pear Essence, and Candied Pearls)

Featherband || http://featherband.ca/ - Eclectic headbands for every occasion
Nayme || http://www.nayme.ca/ - Silver necklaces customized based on the meaning of names

A few more photos of some of the vendors! 

MIYU Tea and Beauty

Overall, a great experience. I met some wonderful people and got a ton of exposure to new products I've only ever heard of but can't wait to test. Special thanks to Stephanie and Elaine of Blush Pretty for making this event possible. Needless to say, I'm excited for next year and can't wait to see what Blush Pretty has in store!

**Unwatermarked photos were taken courtesy of other bloggers and I paid with my own money to attend this event!**