Monday, October 20, 2014

Good Morning Monday | 16

This week was a busy one, midterms are not my favourite pass time. Ugh.
But the weekend was about as perfect as fall can get. Pumpkin Picking!! Mitch and I went down to the pumpkin patch and found ourselves a few pumpkins to carve yesterday! Traditions are my favourite. And what a beautiful day too, you would have never guessed it was October! There were tons of pumpkins to choose from this year! And really Big ones too! I even picked up a Cinderella Pumpkin because it was just too perfect to leave behind, they look like they're from a fairy tale!
It was absolutely adorable and hilarious watching all the kids run around the field trying to find the best one too, followed by Dads in their gumboots!
Have you been Pumpkin Patching yet?

Sunday, October 19, 2014

First Impressions: Flower Beauty

This may be old news to some - but Flower Cosmetics, Drew Barrymore's exclusive to Walmart makeup line is now available in Canada! This was one of those products I'd been waiting so long for that I actually forgot about it! 

Flower Cosmetics launched in US Walmarts in January 2013, and as of this week, it is finally available in Canadian stores! I couldn't be more excited! But let me tell you why!
All of Flower Beauty is produced in the United States and is never tested on animals! They use luxury ingredients and packaging (beautiful packaging might I add) but have drug store prices. Because the Company doesn't have an advertising budget, they can afford to splurge on what's important. Drew speaks freely and passionately about the line  instead of investing in expensive campaigns and spokespeople. (read even more about all this, here)
Can you see why I'm excited yet!?

I went on a trek to both Walmarts in my city, and both only had a limited selection of lip and eye products out so far. There are also foundations, blushes, powders, concealers, highlighters, moisturizers, nail polishes, and mascaras.
Let me show you what I got!

I grabbed two neutral eyeshadows: a deep rose gold bronzy colour - "wild geranium", and a more more yellow-gold iridescent champagne - "good as mari-gold".
Both FLOWER colours are gorgeous, multi-tonal, and iridescent without glitter or heavy shimmer. The creme pots also include little stomper tools to keep the product compact. The single eyeshadow pots are creme shadows. They have a very rich, mouse-like texture. I applied them with my finger, (they would get gunked up in a brush, I think). I've tried them both alone, as well as an amazing bases for eye looks. 
Im not usually much of a fan of cream shadows, I tend to lean more towards something with a bit more "sturdyness" behind it. Like the Maybelline colour tattoos, or regular compact powder shadows. But we shall see how these two hold up over a few different looks. So far so good though!

The velvet lip chubby I chose is in the shade "Life's a peach". Its a gorgeous matte peach-coral. The pigmentation is great, and doesn't fall into creases on your lips. I exfoliated my lips first to keep anything from looking patchy, being a matte product and all.  It feels surprisingly moisturizing on the lips too!
The packaging for all the products is stunning: Rose gold FLOWER embellishments and accents, glass bottoms, and clean white. It feels study and well made but looks so delicate, girly and clean. I want to display these eyeshadows for goodness sakes!

I'm excited to try the face products as well, when they're available. Check back and see how they fare. We'll see how many of these products make it into my october faves! Have you tried any of the FLOWER beauty products? What were your thoughts? I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Simplest of Simple: Vegan Spinach Pesto with Mixed Nuts

Pesto fixes everything. Boring pasta? Fixed. Lazy Sandwich? Fixed. Hungry boy? Fixed. Too much Spinach in the fridge? Fixed.
As much as I loooove pesto, I've never actually made a traditional pine nut and basil concoction. Both ingredients are expensive and who really ever has those things when you want them anyway? In fact, I don't think I've ever had pine nuts in my house. Like saffron, and truffle oil they're elusive, and too good for me and my outdated humble apartment kitchen.
I have however, made many spinach pestos in my day! Lately I've been really digging spinach and sunflower seed, with a dash of nutritional yeast. That's some good stuff.
And who said pestos need to be loaded down with cheese!? Greens, nuts, seasoning, and binder. That's all you need for a rich, flavourful spread.

This particular mix is especially delicious smeared in sandwiches - or added to pasta to make a fantastic green sauce.
My favourite way to take advantage of pesto? Making roasted potatoes, or hash browns then stirring it into the pan to create a guilt-free super indulgent treat. Seriously. I can just have a plate of pesto potatoes for dinner and I'm good as gold. Back to back nights. Trust. It's happened more than once.

Ingredients & Recipe adapted from Vegan Visitor
  • 2 1/2 + heaping cups of spinach
  • few springs of fresh herbs (oregano in this case, but try basil, parsley, thyme, etc)
  • 2-3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup of roasted nuts (I used almonds and pecans. Walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, etc are also great options!)
  • 2-3 Tablespoons or less of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine spinach, herbs, chopped garlic, and nuts in a food processor. Mix until everything is roughly chopped, stopping every so often to scrape down the sides. Continue mixing and pour olive oil in a very thin stream until desired consistency is achieved. 
I prefer using as little olive oil as I can get away with, basically to cut down on the fat. I also don't mind a thicker, more rustic (fancy way of saying chunky) pesto at all. Then add salt and pepper to taste and give one more quick mix to combine it. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

I don't measure too much when I make pesto usually. Now that I've made it so many times I just know - a couple handfuls of spinach and about a half cup of nuts is about as precise as it gets. You can't really mess it up! Play with it as you go, what kind of blends can you come up with?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Good Morning Monday | 15

Happy thanksgiving to all my Canadian friends! I hope you had or are having a wonderful day with your family, or enjoying a Friendsgiving this year if you are away from home! Friendsgivings are the best!
Last night we had a delicious family dinner at my Grandma's house. A complete Turkey dinner that was entirely vegan or vegetatian! (aside from the actual turkey - thanksgiving isn't thanksgiving without a turkey according to Grandma) Everything was delicious, and I'm still full! Mashed potatoes, maple carrots, lentil loaf, mushroom gravy, quinoa salad, frittata, stuffing, mmmmm. And obviously leftovers!
  • Matte, full lips are in and I'm liking it. In the Frow has an awesome makeup tutorial on how to basically look like a bombshell.
  • We made Detoxinista's Coconut Curry recipe as a base for our curry dinner last night. So easy, so delicious, so fast! We threw in chickpeas, carrot, and red pepper as veggies. It was absolutely delicious and made fantastic leftovers, 3 cheers for cheap meals, amiright?
  • I've been fixated with two fantastic YouTube cooking shows lately. And they couldn't be more different from each other. First, AkameraKawaii, Kawaii Kitchen, makes the teeniest, tiniest, cutest recipes you can imagine! Picture corn dogs - for fairies. The tiny oven is lit by a tea light. Small! 
  • The other channel is Gordon Ramsay's . Yes, he has is own channel, and it's incredible. He basically just makes me want to cook mouth watering dishes all the dang time now! He shows you simple kitchen techniques to use in your own home, and how to make easy dishes in a short period of time. He doesn't scream, or swear, and his home kitchen is gorgeous. I now know I need to use olive oil in everything, season everything with sea salt and pepper, buy a pestle and mortar asap. Watch him burn his morning toast in this video, it will make you feel good about yourself.

Friday, October 10, 2014

8 Drugstore BB Creams for Glowing Skin

I can safely say, without any shame, remorse, or fear that I am addicted to BB Creams. I have been using a BB cream every day since I stumbled upon the first (to my knowledge) Drugstore BB cream -the Garnier Skin Renew BB cream many years back.

If BB Creams are not something you're familiar with, I'll fill you in. A BB (Beauty Balm) Cream is essentially a tinted moisturizer with lots of benefits for your skin! These benefits can include SPF, evening skin tone, brightening or mattifying the skin, shine control, blemish control, pore minimization, etc, etc, etc, on and on and on.
There are also CC (colour correcting) and DD (I don't even know what these ones do) creams on the market. Double-Letter creams seem to be becoming a huge trend in the beauty industry. Iv'e seen BB body creams, hair masks, even BB hairspray! But i'm not going to get into that...

I use a BB cream every day, whereas I'll wear a foundation maybe half the time, with a BB cream underneath of course! This is a list of the BB Creams currently in my makeup rotation, I do like some more than others but they are all great products with specific pros and cons. As you can clearly see, I'm a drugstore makeup junkie. I also find that a good quality, affordable BB cream can make a high end foundation go a long way!

My usual makeup routine goes something like this: moisturizer, BB cream, concealer, blush/bronzer, powder, eyes. So you can see I like to do a full face of makeup without any foundation. I apply my BB cream with a brush, (specifically the Real Techniques Buffing Brush) and treat it exactly the same way I'd treat a foundation.
Anyways, I ramble, Here we go!

Below I've listed the name, shade I wear, bottle description and benefits, followed by my opinion of the product.

Rimmel London Matte BB Cream 9-in-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup in Light
An oil-free, non comedogenic formula with a natural matte finish
-minimizes the appearance of pores
-evens skin tone
-controls shine all day
-Conceals dark circles
-Helps prevent blemishes
-Gives all-day coverage
This is on of my go-to choices for an every-day, foundation-free day. The coverage is fantastic. I find I only need concealer under my eyes and in a few spots on my face. The cream is truly matte, I don't get shiny on days that I wear this, even on my T-zone. It's one of my favourite BB Creams, as well as one of the least expensive!
The Downsides to this product? It's quite liquidy; I find I have to clean up around the cap to keep it from making my drawer a mess as it tends to seep (gross, seep). It it also a bit darker than my natural skin tone, I have to be very diligent about blending it out around my neck and jawline to avoid that lovely orange-face look that's never attractive.
Would I repurchase? Yes!

Physicians Formula Super BB in Light/Medium
An All-in-1 Beauty Balm Cream
Another cream with great coverage! I'll wear this one with or without foundation. It's smooth, thick and very blendable. Again, this product is slightly darker/more orange than my true skin tone so blending is key. I find though, once I've applied concealer, powder, bronzer, etc, the tint becomes less noticeable - Bonus! One other downside about this product, It can oxidize slightly throughout the day, becoming more orange than it was in the morning. And if your skin is on the dryer side, those patches will become more visible.
Would I repurchase? Yes

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream in Light/Medium
Instant all-in-one Innovation
-Hydrates for 24 hours
-Evens skin tone
I don't use the Skin Renew very often. I feel like since it first came on the the market, there have been so many other drug store BB creams that have surpassed it. It does have good coverage and a nice, rich consistency. The colour is a fair match for me. I have a hard time dealing with how oily the cream feels though. It glides too much for me, it kind of feels like an oil slick on my face until I add my powder. This may be a great product however if you have very dry skin.
Would I repurchase? No - too oily for my skin type

Maybelline Dream Fresh BB 8-in-1 Beauty Balm Skin Perfector in Light sheer tint
-Blurs imperfections
-Adjusts to skin tone
-SPF 30 (Titanium dioxide 1.15%)
-0% oils and other heavy ingredients
This was a daily choice for me in the summer weather because it does contain SPF. This cream has a build-able, sheer coverage that I wear about 50/50 with and without foundation depending on how my skin is that day. This is not a BB cream I would use as a replacement for foundation however because of how sheer it is.
Would I repurchase? Yes

Aveeno Clear Complexion BB Cream in Fair to Light
Instantly evens for a flawless complexion
-SPF 30
This is called a BB cream but I feel it's more of a tinted moisturizer. The packaging for this product is lovely. I like having a pump so you always get the right amount of product. The consistency of the cream feels very rich and smooth but it applies very oily. It feels a lot like Garnier's BB cream. It also looks very orange on the skin and tends to get patchy throughout the day. I honestly use this one very rarely. I'll see how it works throughout the summer however when I have a bit of a tan.
Would I repurchase? No - I don't like the tint or the wear of this product

Annabelle BB Cream Multi-Action Beauty Balm in Light/Medium
Innovative Fusion: Makeup + Skincare. An All-in-one skin solution. Hypo-allergenic, non-comedgenic, dermatologist tested, oil-free, paraben-free, perfume free.
-Protects with SPF 15
This is another favourite! I believe Annabelle is a line only available in Canada unfortunately. This little bottle is the only BB cream/Foundation I used all through my trip through Italy last Summer and I didn't regret it one bit! It has wonderful coverage, matches my skin very well and has SPF which is a great bonus! I have no complaints about the product itself. My only little problem is with the packaging. It is starting to disintegrate somewhat. The black covering on the bottle has started peeling, leaving teeny-tiny black bits on my hands while doing my makeup and the threading on the cap has come loose so I need to be very careful when putting it away.
Would I repurchase? Yes

L'Oreal Paris Nude Magique CC Cream in anti-redness
colour correcting beatifying tinted moisturizer for all skin types. Neutralizes redness to recreate the brilliance of perfect bare skin.
miro-pigments encapsulated in color-osmosis technology carried in an anti-red green emulsion that releases a color foundation in total harmony with your skin. This creates a perfectly even and corrected complexion without redness.
- Neutralizes redness
- Unifies complexion
- Perfects texture and radiance of skin
- Ideal coverage
- Hydrates for 24 Hours
- UV protection and anti-oxident
Please forgive my probably not-quite-right french translations! I purchased this CC cream (yes a CC cream!) in Paris, oh lala. I have yet to see this product in Canada, but it may be in the states. I love this product! It comes out green, and with tiny little micro-beads that dissolve on your skin. If your familiar with the Loreal Magic Skin Beautifier BB cream (also awesome), it feels exactly like that.
The product is very thin, and quite runny. It blends into your skin from green to beige matching your skin tone as you smooth it in. It has great coverage but doesn't feel heavy at all! It really does cancel out the redness, especially around my nose and chin. Due to the green-to orange tint it leaves on the skin, this product is defiantly one too wear under foundation.
Would I repurchase? Yes!

Covergirl CG Smoothers BB cream tinted moisturizer in 705 Fair to Light
9-in-1 Instant skin enhances
- Natural looking radiance
- Sheer colour
- All-day hydration
- Improves skin elasticity
- Blends effortlessly
- Lightweight
- Helps skin feel smooth
- Covers to instantly improve skin's appearance
- Won't clog pores
I would say this BB cream does do all it claims to do, which is what every BB cream claims to do really, but I don't like it. The coverage is very, very sheer. The colour is very, very, light. This is not a BB Cream I can wear without a foundation over top. Once it goes on, it kind of... disappears. If you already had perfect skin this would be fine as a tinted moisturizer, but let's face it. No one has perfect skin already. This may be a great option for a young girl just starting to experiment with makeup.
Would I repurchase? No - not enough coverage for my liking

What are your favourite drugstore BB finds? Have I missed any? I'd love to know!

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