Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hard Candy Blooming Lip Oils in Zen Strawberry and Calming Peach

Lip oils and I... we're good friends. In Summer 2016 I talked about 4 lip oils to check out. Here's one more - the Hard Candy Blooming Lip Oil ($7.48 CAD). 

What's special about the Hard Candy Blooming Lip Oils specifically is that they're not only packed with 10+ essential oils but the Blooming Lip Oils are also one of those magical colour changing lip products that react with the pH of your lips to bloom into a unique hue. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

A Month In Nail Art - January 2017

January has been a busy month and although I don't have time to blog every day, I do have time to do nail art at least once a week. It keeps my creative juices flowing and my hands dexterous. 

More Striping Tape Manis

A photo posted by stephanie lau (@stephh_lau) on

Friday, January 27, 2017

NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel & Hot Cloth Polish + GIVEAWAY!

NSPA (also known as Nirvana Spa) is a UK-based brand that creates affordable skincare, bathing and body products designed to help the everyday woman destress and unwind. NSPA has a whole boatload of products including fruity body butters and body washes, as well as a full lineup of skincare, which is available at Walmart. I've been testing out the NSPA Melting Cleansing Gel ($8.27 CAD) and NSPA Hot Cloth Polish ($13.97 CAD) on and off for the past 4 months. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Philosophy Clear Days Ahead

Philosophy: Clarity is an uncovered truth. A deeper look allows clarity to break through for a fresh start, rather than covering up what is wrong, reveal what is right. your new beginning starts now. Look deep within, uncover your truth and you'll find complete clarity was with you all along. 

Philosophy: Focus on what is right, then your days become clearer. 

I love the brand Philosophy's philosophy. Clear Days Ahead is a fast-acting acne treatment system. 
 featuring salicylic acid (a beta hydroxy acid) that penetrates the pores and exfoliates the skin to reduce breakouts, blackheads and whiteouts. There's 4 steps in total, which can be used individually or all in comination with one another - a cleanser, moisturizer, spot treatment and overnight treatment pads - all with some level of salicylic acid. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

MAKE UP FOR EVER High Precision Lip Pencils in #13 and #23

I'm going to put it out there and say that lip pencils are boring. A boring but oftentimes necessary evil in the lives of many beauty lovers. I, myself, have been on the hunt for the perfect pinky brown lip pencil to wear underneath all of my favourite pinky brown lipsticks. So, I jumped at the opportunity to test out a few of the new MAKE UP FOR EVER High Precision Lip Pencils ($22 CAD). 

The packaging. Simple and straightforward. It looks like a pencil and you can sharpen it. I personally would have preferred twist-up packaging on these but a sharpened pencil is much more precise than a twist-up one. 

The colours. MAKE UP FOR EVER's High Precision Lip Pencils come in 12 shades divided into 3 natural tone categories - nude (#10-#14), pink (#20-23) and red (#40-42). The shades are all curated by professional make up artists and are meant to be more natural, to define and enhance lips with precision. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland

In December, I had found that none of my foundations were matching me. So, upon receiving the $15 off $50 Sephora coupon, I took the plunge and picked up the NARS Velvet Matte Skin Tint in Groenland ($54 CAD). 

Yes, at $54 CAD it seems pricey but you do get 1.7 oz. which is 70% more than your typical 1 oz. foundation. Packaging is sleek and easy. It's nothing fancy compared to a frosted glass bottle, however the lightweight tube makes it ultra travel-friendly. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

VIDEO: Two Toned Glitter Nail Art - #MANIMONDAY

Filmed my first nail tutorial ever. Now I can check that one off the bucket list. Last week, I headed to the DubLoft, an small creator studio run by the makers of the video filming app DubDub (DubSuite, DubCandy, etc.). There at the studio, they had props, lighting and Inglot's new the Star In You Collection for me to play with. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection // #EverydayAgave

In the dry, chapped, depth of the Canadian winter comes the Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection to the rescue! The Bite Beauty Everyday Agave Lip Collection features a balm, scrub, and mask - a three-step treatment for hydrated, kissable lips. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Lancome Grandiose Extreme Mascara in Bleu Nuit & Bendable Liquid Eyeliner in Fuchsia and Silver Snow

In May 2016, Lancome launched the Grandiose Extreme Mascara ($36 CAD), which features a unique patented swan neck wand meant to deposit product perfectly onto the lashes. In September 2016, Lancome then launched the Grandiose Bendable Liquid Eyeliner ($40 CAD), which has a revolutionary wand bending at a 35 degree angle and pivoting to two stable positions.

As of January 2017, the brand will have released the both products in a few daring new shades (in addition to the already existing standard black). 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Make Up For Ever x Jessie J Artist Acrylip

In collaboration with Jessie J, MAKE UP FOR EVER just added the MUFE Artist Acrylip ($29 CAD) to their Artist collection. It's a product inspired by the intensity of acrylic paint, offering versatility in colour in and finish. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask and Lip Balm Duo

The winter months have been taking a toll on my lips. I tend not to wear lipsticks just because my lips are so bleh. As per usual, I've been putting a new lip treatment duo to the test - the Kaplan MD Perfect Pout Lip Mask + Lip Balm ($32 CAD).

Kaplan MD is a new-to-me beauty brand. It's a luxury skincare brand created by Beverly Hills dermatologist Stuart Kaplan, M.D. According to Dr. Kaplan, men and women alike want fuller and smoother lips without surgery. While yes, it is nice to have the stamp of approval from a doctor, but it's also very easy to slap a name on some packaging and call it a day. So the question becomes... is it really that good/worth it? 

Thursday, January 5, 2017

MUJI Sensitive Skincare Series

I promised this a while ago, didn't I? Back in October I attended an event at the MUJI Canada office and took home a few of the products. I did a brief overview post. I have been trying out the MUJI Sensitive Skincare Series for quite a while and I've finally come to a few conclusions on the MUJI Oil Cleansing for Sensitive Skin ($14.50 CAD), MUJI Toning Water for Sensitive Skin ($10 CAD), MUJI Moisturizing Milk for Sensitive Skin ($10 CAD) and MUJI Moisturizing Cream for Sensitive Skin ($14.50 CAD)

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

HAUL: BeautyBoutique.ca

During the holiday season, I was treated to some very generous gift cards to spend at Shoppers Drug Mart BeautyBoutique.ca

Beauty Boutique by Shoppers Drug Mart is an online beauty destination for makeup, skincare, and fragrances. It's comparable to Sephora with some differences: 
  • Beauty Boutique carries brands that are available at Sephora - to name a few: Urban Decay, Guerlain, Dior, Smashbox
  • Beauty Boutique carries brands that are not available at Sephora - to name a few: Chanel (soon), ArtDeco, Paul & Joe
  • Sephora carries brands that are not available at Beauty Boutique - to name a few: Make Up For Ever, NARS, Hourglass
  • Beauty Boutique offers 3 small samples (mostly skincare/fragrance) with each order 
  • Beauty Boutique has free shipping with orders of $50+
  • You can use and earn Optimum Points at the Beauty Boutique, a program which is bounds better than the Sephora rewards program. For every purchase, earn points that are redeemable for an actual dollar value of product on almost anything sold at Shoppers Drug Mart (beauty obviously, groceries, tech, etc.) There are also offers and events where you can earn 10x/15x/20x the points

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

PEACHY KEEN for the Too Faced Sweet Peach Collection

Too Faced's Sweet Peach Eyeshadow Palette is back in stock at Sephora. But not just that. If you haven't heard, Too Faced just dropped entire peach-themed collection of eye, lip and face products. Everything is currently available online but hits stores January 6th, 2017. 

The scent. Similar to the Too Faced Chocolate Collection (which smells like chocolate), the Too Faced Sweet Peach Collection smells like peach. Considering fuzzy peaches are my fave candy and I'm super into peach scented anything (artificial or not), I was beyond excited to unbox the Sweet Peach products. All of the products are infused with essence of peach and have a light peach scent, with the Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil being the strongest and most candy-like. 

The packaging. It's tacky but I love it. Something about the peach character design gives it a vintage vibe that makes it less childish. Also, the Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oils have the little guy in the rounded sticker at the top of the lid. And I'm super into the peach ombre. The embossing on both the the Papa Don't Peach Blush and the Highlighting Palette are fun albeit fleeting. The powder products also come in a magnetized tin. Do beware the tins though. They're sturdier than cardboard but the lid of my Highlighting Palette didn't come properly attached. 

Too Faced Papa Don't Peach Blush ($38 CAD)
This one's from the Too Faced archives. The Papa Don't Peach Blush is actually a re-release from the discontinued Brightening Blush line. The shade is a peachy bronze tone with a slight frosty shimmer. It's slightly more neutral than that of the blush included in the Sweet Peach Glow Peach-Infused Highlighting Palette. It's fairly natural and can be built up to a bolder pop of colour if you so please. 

Too Faced Papa Don't Peach Blush vs. Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Peach-Infused Highlighting Palette

Papa Don't Peach + Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Peach-Infused Highlighting Palette (Highlight + Bronzer) 

Too Faced Sweet Peach Glow Peach-Infused Highlighting Palette ($52 CAD) 
At a glance, it's gorgeous. The highlight is nice - a soft glow with slight shimmer in the perfect white, pinky peach tone. The blush is very similar to Papa Don't Peach, though slightly less soft in texture and more peachy/orange/pink in colour. Where Too Faced missed the mark the bronzer. It's alright but the texture of the powder makes it difficult to pick up with a brush and the pigmentation isn't up to par with the likes of the Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzers. 

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil in Peach Tease Swatch

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil in Peach Please Swatch

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil in Tickle Me Peach Swatch

Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oil ($24 CAD) in Peach Tease, Peach Please and Tickle Me Peach 
I'm always down to try a new lip oil. These ones lean more towards being a pigmented lip gloss than just an oil. In one word.. they're JUICY. Juicy, peachy colours and a kick of hydration too. They're not sticky and don't well up in fine lines like some glosses. However, the Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oils have a sheer to medium pigment to them unlike most uncoloured lip oils. They're comfortable on the lips and last about 2-3 hours, leaving a slight peachy stain. It's what I wish all glosses were. The Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oils are available in 8 shades - Peach Fuzz, Papa Don't Peach, Peach Side, Pure Peach, Peach Please, Poppin Peach, Peach Tease and Tickle-Me-Peach. 

Overall, I'm into the Too Faced Sweet Peach Creamy Lip Oils, Papa Don't Peach Blush and maybe the palette if I ignore the bronzer. If you're into peach tones and peach scents, you'll be peachy keen for this collection! 

Are you a peach person? Have you picked anything up from the Too Faced Sweet Peach Collection yet? 
Press samples featured

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Monday, January 2, 2017

You are '16, going on '17

We said goodbye to 2016 a couple days ago and now we're in 2017. I don't love resolutions because if I wanted to change something in my life, I would have done so the moment I thought of it. That being said, the new year is a good time to reflect and re-evaluate the past year and look towards the next. I just need to remind myself that change can happen more than once a year. 

School/Career-wise, I graduated twice, with a Bachelor's of Accounting and Financial Management and then my Masters of Accounting from the University of Waterloo. I studied for a couple months straight for the CFE (Common Final Examination) as part of the CPA accounting designation program which happened in September. I found out that I passed in December! 

In 2017, I'll continue working towards obtaining my CPA through practical experience and also look into other designations that I want to pursue including the Certified Fraud Examiner and Chartered Business Valuator Designations. 

On the blog, I wrote at least 3x per week in all 52 weeks of the year, oftentimes every day of the week. I made a bit of income but it's a teeny tiny fraction of what I'd make in my day job. I also made a few new blogging friends! 

In 2017, I want to take a step back at the blog and re-evaluate the quality and meaningfulness of what I am putting out. With a full time job, I'm finding I have less and less free time for blogging (or other activities) so I really need to figure out the best way to use my time. It might mean less reviews and posts in general or perhaps different topics for content (food, lifestyle, fashion). 

On the personal front, I traveled to Greece with my parents and went camping with Charles, Zubie and Zameer. I cut down my meat consumption by at least 50% (particularly beef, which I ate 3 times during the year - not full meals, just tasting!). 

In 2017, I'm going to try to cut down on my consumption of pork as I work towards transitioning to a more vegetable-heavy diet. I also want to make a trip to Peru (Machu Picchu, specifically) and maybe NYC and BC. Since 2017 is Canada's 150th b-day all the national parks are free during the year... so more of those during the summer/fall seasons. I also want to save up to move out of my parents place some time between 2018 and 2020. 

In general, I've got a number of things to work on... 

more organization, more hydration, more nature
more photos, more travel, more colour,
less meat, more vegetables
less screen time, more books
less things, more experiences

Do you have any resolutions for 2017? 

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