January 2015 favorites

Friday, January 30, 2015

First month of the new year already coming to an end, insanity!

I've enjoyed quite a few things this month that really need some lovin' on here. Let's jump right in!

Skincare:

These are just some items that I've really used all month and fell in love with from day one and continued to surpass my expectations with time.

I've been trying A LOT of stuff lately (as wisely as possible to not piss off my skin) and I'm sorta tweaking my routine since my skin has changed quite a bit since moving to California. It's been adjusting to a new environment/weather so ya know, damage control! That being said, I will be doing an updated skincare routine once I've really got it down to specific products that I've been using steadily for a while without switching any of them out!
a picture of glamglow supercleanse daily clearing cleanser & josie maran argan exfoliating cleansing powder
GLAMGLOW SUPERCLEANSE Daily Clearing Cleanser ($39USD/43$CA) - HOLY WOW! I've mentioned numerous times that GLAMGLOW SUPERMUD Clearing Treatment Mask ($69USD/76$CA) is my holy grail of masks, but I've never featured it in a post as I haven't owned it in a while since it's so pricey (plus it's safe to say I own more masks than anything else, so tons of "replacements"). This is pretty much the same without the grainy parts and turns into a beautiful foam (mud to foam cleanser, it's bonkers!). On the plus side, it's cheaper, on the down side, it's sorta expensive for a cleanser and you use it way more often than a mask so run on faster (but the mask is 1.2Oz and the cleanser is 5Oz so it's not that bad)...It's so good I could weep! Worth every penny. My skin has been so clear and it doesn't dry it out or anything! If you need a gentle yet effective DEEP cleansing, I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do. I apologize in advance to your bank account.

Josie Maran Argan Exfoliating Cleansing Powder ($40USD/49$CA) - This little gem is a beautiful multi-tasker. You can "use [it] as an allover face mask, targeted spot treatment, lip scrub, or traditional exfoliator" (Source: Sephora). I usually just use it as my exfoliator 2-3 times a week and just mix it in with a bit of water and follow up with a face mask. On lazier days I create the same paste and leave it on for 15 min and then add a bit of water to get a mask/scrub combo going on. I also make sure to go over my lips and it really leaves them smooth! This is suuuuper gentle, none of those harsh scrubby parts, and the texture around it is just so creamy and hydrating. It's packed with great ingredients to really kick your skin back into shape. Lav-love-it!

Makeup:
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
This is why shooting can take forever. Notice Miso in the mirror; clearly she wanted to look pretty too ;)
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette ($29 USD/34$CA) - To no surprise as I did a review on it this week, which you can check out HERE (with tons of *dog free* pictures). I've been really loving the quick, fool proof, and flawless looks this has let me achieve lately.

As far as lip products go, I always tend to switch between one bold and one nude color for long periods of time. Lately in my rotation :

a picture of Nars Pure Matte Lipstick in Mascate
Nars Pure Matte Lipsticks in Mascate ($26USD/33$CAD ) - No joke, I saw my friend from afar and knew I had to have whatever lip color she was wearing. This bold red is matte but not drying and it's just an amazing shade that I think would look good on everyone. It's just  so chic and timeless. I wish I would have discovered this sooner!
a picture of Maybelline Touch of Spice
Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Mattes in Touch of Spice ($6USD/9$CA?*) - It's always a huge victory when I find a "nude" shade that really suits me. Everyone and their mother have been talking about this color so I picked it up. It's kind of that Kylie Jenner/90's nude lip but with a bit more warmth, it's really just perfect. I also love the formulation! Had never tried it before, but as the name says it's a matte, but it's creamy! Absolutely delicious.
*pricing really depends on your local drugstores.
a picture of Maybelline Touch of Spice and Nars Mascate (swatch)
Left: Maybelline / Right : Nars
Body:
Sorta random category but not really. I've never talked about shower stuff but this body wash is EVERYTHING.
a picture of Dove coconut milk & jasmine petals body wash
Dove Purely Pampering Coconut Milk with Jasmine Petals Body Wash
($9USD/13$CA?*)- This scent is fan-freakidy-fracking-tastic! It's not something I would have gravitated towards and even sniffed in the store, but I was out sick for almost a month and my lovely husband picked this one out. Man, I can't even describe it, it's sweet and floral but not in an overwhelming way, it just smells really feminine and luxurious. It's invigorating yet relaxing. PLUS, it feels amazing on the skin, and really moisturizes. BUT WAIT, there's more! The scent fills up the bathroom and you have a lovely lingering aroma. It does stay on the body which is nice too, but do not worry it shouldn't interfere with any of your perfumes. *pricing really depends on your local drugstores.

Well, that about sums it up for this month! What have you guys been enjoying as of lately?

Talk to you soon,

-Val

Product Review : Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Alright, so we all know that I own and love the Naked 1-3 palettes by Urban Decay. They are a staple in my collection, and I alternate between all 3 when I travel. The next logical move was getting an actual travel size palette that would become my go to. Enter the Naked Basics Palette.

Now this palette is not even close to being new (they've even had the 2nd one out for a while now) but I'm late to the party! I just figured I didn't REAALLLYYY need it, but caving in is a side effect of being a beauty product addict.
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (original)
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (original)

This compact little palette offers 6 matte neutral shades ; Venus (ok I lied, this shade has a bit of a sheen to it) , Foxy, W.O.S, Naked 2, Faint, Crave.
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette (original)

Honestly, the lighter shades are quite hard to swatch on my pasty arm, but on the eye as a highlight on the brow bone or in the inner corner or on top of another color on the lid to add more brightness to the look they are really lovely!
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette; Venus, Foxy, W.O.S
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette; Venus, Foxy, W.O.S (swatch)
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics ; Naked 2, Faint, Crave
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette ; Naked 2, Faint, Crave (swatch)

I think this is a great universal everyday palette, you can quickly create subtle to smokey looks in just a few seconds. It's pretty much all I've been using lately, cause I'm pretty lazy and as much as I love my bigger palettes, I like the limited options in here when I'm not feeling too creative because it rids you of the puzzle of choosing all the right shades. It's pretty fail proof. I also love that's in compact, so you can bring it anywhere, fits your purse or pocket even! Not that'd you'd need it at all times, but you know it's nice to know it's an option! Oh and it retails for $29 USD/ 34$ CA, which I feel is a reasonable price for a product that can be used every day and offers a superior quality of shadows...

Quick note, I've mentioned they have a second palette out in this "range", now unless you're crazy like me, you probably don't need this one AND the Naked Basics 2 (which offers cooler tones). I don't own the 2nd one yet, so I can't give a thorough review/comparison.
a picture of Urban Decay Naked Basics 2 swatch (Sephora)
Naked Basics 2 / Source : Sephora

I think it's important to evaluate which set of shades is better suited for your skin tone or which shades you usually gravitate more towards.

Though the cooler shades might be better suited for my fair skin, I personally find that the first one has a wider range of shades, in the sense that the build up from light to dark is more intense, therefore more versatile. Which is why I'm not running to the store to get the other right this second... Again, if all the shades don't show up well on your skin tone, it's besides the point. 

Which one do YOU prefer? Also let me know if you'd be interested in seeing looks created with the Naked Basics palette!

Talk to you soon,

-Val

NOTD : Edgy & Elegant

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Thought I'd squeeze in a quick Nail Of The Day post, show you what's on my finger tops, pretty excited about it!

I've been looking for a deep emerald green shade ever since Revlon stopped making Jaded Night. WHY REVLON? WHY?

Anyhoot, this Essie shade I had never seen in store before, but it is on their website so I assumed it wasn't discontinued. It kept popping up on Pinterest and random places of interest and I just knew I needed to have it. The hunt was real, and I ended finding a great deal on eBay and ordered a few things! (From user beauty-shine)

Bottom line, I think it's a really fun color for fall/winter and it has this really edgy look to it while being more feminine than black and also more interesting and unique. 

It's called Going Incognito and it's perfection!
a picture of Essie Going Incognito nail polish
a picture of Essie Going Incognito nail polish

a picture of Essie Going Incognito nail polish
a picture of Essie Going Incognito nail polish
That's pretty much it lovelies!

Talk to you soon,

-Val

Fashion Haul : Modcloth

Monday, January 26, 2015

I thought it might be fun to start a brand new chapter of Blossom In Blush by incorporating a little fashion post...Who knows, it might just become a permanent section of the blog! Thoughts?

Anyways, I recently placed my first order on Modcloth, because :
a) The dress was 70% off (that's right, from 94.99$ to 28.99$!) 
b) You get a 20$ coupon on your first order of 100$ or more
c) It was husband approved (he's a though critic when it comes to fashion. Yes I know...The boy who only wears jeans and hoodies, go figure!) 

So here is what I ordered :

This Way to Wonderful Dress ($28.99)




With the coupon, the order came out to just under 100$ including free shipping (4-9 business days, for all  50$+ US orders), which I think is a great deal for all this!

I ordered on Saturday, January 17th received it on Friday January 23rd, so it only took 5 business days, which is great! 

As I opened the box, there was no disappointment with the quality of the products, just what I expected and true to pictures. 

Luckily everything fits! The dress is a tad long (I'm only 5'2!) so I have to wear heels with it.
The shoes, can we talk about the shoes?? They are SOO gorgeous, and I don't own anything like that, I'm very pleased with this purchase. They're abit  higher than I expected, and possibly now my highest shoes, but I'll make it work!! 
The necklaces are actually less cheap looking than I thought! I wore the bow & arrow one on Friday night and already got some compliments, so that was a good buy!
Overall, I'm extremely happy with this order! 
Right now, I think you can still get 15% off with the coupon GOOGLY if you want to treat yourself (get those shoes!!! Haha).

I can't tell you about their customer service or anything cause everything was speedy and smooth but I would recommend ordering from Modcloth based on this experience, I know I wouldn't hesitate to buy again from them!

Hope you enjoyed this!

Talk to you soon, 

-Val

Overview : Origins Skincare

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Hey little rosebuds! (still working on a pet name for you guys! Seriously...Help?)

If you remember ages ago, I got a 500 point Beauty Insider Reward introducing me to Origins. 
a picture of the 500 points beauty insider origins box set (checks and balances, ginzing eye cream, ginzing moisturizer, high potency night a mins cream)

I've raved about the GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream before, because it really does wake up the eye and adds brightness to that area. However, I do find it could be a bit more hydrating. I still recommend this product, but it's not what I've been reaching for lately.

The two moisturizers pictured above ; GinZing (day) an High-Potency Night-A-Mins (night) are really lovely but I'm not 100% sold. The night one is really rich and makes your skin super smooth, very well hydrated in the morning. I found it a bit too heavy for myself, but I saw they also make an oil-free one, so maybe that would be better. The GinZing I have no complaints about; hydrates, smells awesome, but also doesn't really do anything special for me. It's just nice, you know? I know I said I would repurchase this in my September Favorites but...I'm a total liar, I'm sorry if you've purchased this from my recommendation. It's just that I can do "nice" for a fraction of the cost! But again, it's a good moisturizer.

That being said, I have had TREMENDOUS success with other products from this brand, and created quite the new obsessions. 
a picture of Origins Checks and Balances Frothy face wash with Clarisonic
a picture of Origins Checks and Balances Frothy face wash (texture)
a picture of Origins Checks and Balances Frothy face wash (frothy texture)

First off the, after trying it, I bought the full size of the Checks and Balances Frothy Face Wash ($21.50 USD/ 25.50$ CAD). WOW WOW WOW! My combination skin has been dreaming about this, and my dreams came true. It works beautifully with the Clarisonic which I love. It has a refreshing scent (more on the menthol side) and a nice creamy consistency that turns into a micro-foam when massed in with water. So it really gets down and cleans. My skin is now, well, checked and balanced! You really need the TINIEST amount, a little too much and it can be a bit drying. It leaves your skin squeaky clean, maybe too squeaky for some people, but it's perfection for me. If you have normal to dry skin, I would not recommend this. It may seem a bit pricey, but quite frankly it's really reasonable for high end and I haven't found any drugstore face wash that gives me the same results. If you have combo to oily skin, get it! 
***If you're unsure and you're a beauty insider you can use the code NEWCLEAN on your next purchase to get a deluxe sample! Nothing to lose! (I think the offer is good until next week).

During the Holidays, they had some gift sets including one with 3 of their masks ; Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask To Rescue Problem Skin, Clear Improvement Active Charcoal  Mask To Clear Pores and the Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.
a picture of Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask To Rescue Problem Skin, Clear Improvement Active Charcoal  Mask To Clear Pores and  Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask.
 Well Lawd! Color me impressed. These masks perform so strongly and are amazing quality for the price ($25.00USD /29.00$CA). I love all of them for different reasons. 
a picture of Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask To Rescue Problem Skin (texture)
If I had to repurchase only one, it would be the Out Of Trouble mask; in just 10 minutes your skin feels refreshed and calmed. It reduces inflammation (if you have break outs it's sooo soothing, that's usually when I use this mask the most) and redness, so it looks brighter too. Not only that, it really helps clear up your skin if used regularly. And the best part is, it's great for all skin types since it doesn't dry hard like your clay masks, it stays creamy on the face. The only downside is the smell, it's sorta minty fresh at first (kind of like Noxema or something) which I don't mind, but then there's this faint lingering smell reminiscent of sulfur. It's not terrible and I only use it at night but you know...I still could NOT live without this mask. Game changer. Perfect for speedy facials too!
a picture of Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal  Mask To Clear Pores (texture)
The Clear Improvement Mask is great at purifying your pores. I use it when my skin is feeling congested and clogged (as opposed to broken out) but can dry out my skin a tad which is why I usually follow up with the Drink Up Mask which I use instead of night cream. 
a picture of Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask (texture)
It's really nice and hydrating, plumps up the skin, has a light gel-cream consistency and smells oh so yummy (I want to say peachy?). It also helped heal an allergic reaction I had to god knows what! Which left most of my face dry, extremely chapped and flaky. I would highly recommend these 2 as well, but I COULD live without them. However, depending on your skin concerns, these might be more appealing to you.

Overall, I think Origins offers quality products, with good, and a lot of natural ingredients and are at lovely price range. Like every skin care products it's hit or miss, but I get a general good vibe with this brand and am always looking out for new products to try from them.

Have you tried any of their products? Any not mentioned here that I should try? Also would you guys be interested in an updated skin care routine? There's so much more than Origins! lol Let me know! 

Talk to you soon,

-Val

**Disclaimer : All products were purchased with my own money or Sephora perks. All opinions are my own and honest as always! :)

Champagne or Beer? : Beauty Sponges

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Hello fellow bloomers! (Does that sound like we're about to go through puberty together? I just want to find a fun and fitting name for my readers goddamnit! Feel free to leave suggestions...)

Anyhoot...

I'm sure by now you've all heard of the Beauty Blender. If you haven't, well this little device has pretty much changed the way a lot of women apply their foundation. Something about it just gives you that flawless, airbrushed look. It also makes the application incredibly fast and easy, blends in perfectly and is pretty much fool proof. For that reason it's been often imitated but never duplicated...Or has it?

The thing is, with most beauty sponges that have the same allure, they just don't have the same density. It's all about how the Beauty Blender bounces off your face. Most "wannabe dupes" just feel like your beating your face. I don't care that it's cheap, it just don't work the same girl, and it hurts! Hell nah!
picture of a generic beauty supply store Deluxe Face Sponge
Generic beauty supply store Deluxe Face Sponge
Here's the issue...The Beauty Blender is a steep $19.95 US/ 26$ CA. For a sponge. Yes I know! Is it worth it? Well I love it, and I always try to make it seem reasonable by comparing the price to a quality foundation brush, so that it comes out a steal! With the Beauty Blender you can also apply your concealer and powder and make sure all your face products are blended in seamlessly. So really it's multiple brushes in one, and no other sponge comes close. When you look at it THAT way, it's not so bad right? Wrong. Because today in the ring we have a new match of Champagne Vs. Beer!

On the right side, our Champagne fighter, THE Beauty Blender, never previously challenged by a worthy opponent.

On the left side, introducing a possible game changer, our Beer contender, the ridiculously affordable Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge! This sponge retails for about $5.99 US (I'm not sure about the Canadian price but you can find Real Techniques products at Wal Mart).

Let's get ready rumble!

Beauty Blender :
PR description:
Beautyblender features an open cell structure that fills with small amounts of water when wet. This allows the sponge to be “full” so that the makeup product sits on top of the sponge rather than being absorbed, allowing you to use less product every time. (Source : Sephora.com)
a picture of a dry and dirty Beauty Blender
Dry and dirty Beauty Blender*
a picture of a clean and wet Beauty Blender
Clean and wet Beauty Blender*

Performance - 4/5:
It does expand more than the Real Techniques, so maybe does soak up less product, but it's not like the other one is exactly soaking it up...This sponge gets so large though, that sometimes I don't find it 100% ideal for my under eye area. The pointed tip makes it easy for blemishes and "spot covering" but I need something in between for my under eye concealer. I usually combine the sponge and my fingers for that...But in the end, my makeup ends up looking pretty flawless. N.B : It does not work all that well with water based foundations so beware!

Maintenance - 4/5 :
I'm used to cleaning wedge sponges (back in the day) with liquid soap and that did NOT work for this guy. But turns out you just need solid soap (you really don't need to invest in their brand cleansers) and it comes out squeaky clean with no leftover traces of makeup. Bottom line, it's pretty easy to clean, and therefore can last a very long time.

Price - 2/5: I mean, sure it lasts forever and sure and does a lot for your makeup, but let's face it ; it's nearly 4 times more expensive than the Real Techniques one...

Final score : 3.3/5

Miracle Complexion Sponge:

PR description:
  • Rounded sides blend large areas of the face with a repeated dabbing or “stippling” motion.
  • Precision tip covers blemishes and imperfections.
  • Flat edge for the contours around the eyes and nose.
Its versatile design evenly blends makeup for a smooth, enhanced finish. (source: realtechniques.com)
a picture of a dry and dirty Miracle Complexion Sponge by Real Techniques
Dry and dirty Miracle Complexion Sponge*
a picture of a clean and wet Complexion Miracle Sponge by Real Techniques
Clean and wet Complexion Miracle Sponge*
Performance - 4/5:
It doesn't expand as much with water therefore doesn't cover as much surface area at a time...Maybe it also lets more makeup seep through the sponge, but on the other hand it can also be used more successfully with water based foundations. The flat section is PERFECTION under the eyes. Really does a stellar job at applying and blending my face products flawlessly.

Maintenance - 4/5 :
I'd say this one is a bit harder to clean. I feel like there's always traces of makeup lingering that just won't get out. So for that, maybe you gotta change it a bit more often but it's not even that much of big deal...

Price - 5/5: I mean, $5.99!! The ghetto cheapo sponges that don't work for shit are around $2-4 sooooo ya know!

Final score : 4.3/5

* All shots are on the same scale for comparison 

Final verdict : Garçon! Get me a can o' beer son!

Kind of a no brainer. Yes the Beauty Blender works great and I've raved about it forever, but having discovered the Miracle Complexion Sponge I can't really recommend it anymore or justify splurging on the original. Real Techniques offers a quality product that works just as well and is ridiculously affordable! Just sayin'.

What do you guys think? Have you tried either? Hope this was helpful!

Talk to you soon,

-Val

Haul : New at the drugstore

Friday, January 16, 2015

Hello lovelies!

If you follow the Facebook page, you've seen a post with a few displays I came across at my local Rite Aid. I didn't know if it was ok for me to take pictures, so I was trying to be subtle and only took those shots. BUT WOW! 2015 is looking to be a promising year for affordable beauty goods.

I resisted the urge to buy EVERYTHING and picked up a few things (some sorts new, and some hot off the press items).

I really wanted to try the new Garnier BB Cream for acne-prone skin, but they don't have the "fair" shade out yet, only "light to medium" which I'm afraid would be too dark on me...

I was hesitating between the new Maybelline Fit Me Matte + Poreless Foundation and the L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation. But a) I just talked about a phenomenal Maybelline foundation b) I never gave L'Oreal foundations any love c) it was BOGO40% off on all L'Oreal and I knew I had to get my hands on that Infallible Pro-Spray & Set Makeup Extender Setting Spray! Soooo ya know... Man oh man am I stoked to try these out! 

**UPDATE : you can read my review for the setting spray HERE and for the foundation HERE!**
a picture of L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Matte Foundation and L'Oreal Infallible Pro-Spray & Set
I did let myself tempted by other Maybelline products though ; I got me the Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Mascara (in the shade Deep Brown), and their new Lash Sensational Mascara. I'm a bit confused with the applicator on the brow gel, but we'll see...
**UPDATE : You can read my review for Lash Sensational HERE and the Brow Drama HERE!**
a picture of Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara & Maybelline Brow Drama Sculpting Brow Masacara
a picture of Maybelline Lash Sensational applicator/brush
a picture of Maybelline Brow Drama applicator/brush

In the Revlon section the new Photoready Eye Art Lid+Line+Lash caught my eye. I went with the shade Topaz Twinkle, because it seemed like the most wearable one, for me anyways, there's definitely some fun colors! They seem really cool ; you get a cream shadow on one end and a glitter liner on the other.
a picture of Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid+Line+Lash in Topaz Twinkle
a picture of the shadow end of Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid+Line+Lash in Topaz Twinkle
a picture of the glitter end of Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid+Line+Lash in Topaz Twinkle
a picture of a swatch of Revlon Photoready Eye Art Lid+Line+Lash in Topaz Twinkle

As far as Covergirl is concerned, I really wanted to get the new Full Lash Bloom Mascara (Lashblast), but I didn't find it at this location, however it shall be mine soon, I will make it my mission! They did however, repackage their Colorlicious Lipsticks (color coordinated, so cute) and I got suckered in and splurged on two new shades : Ravishing Rose and Coquette Orchid. I couldn't swatch them in the store, and now that I did, I'm afraid there might be too much sheen to them and they'll end up looking frosty on me...We'll see...
a picture of Covergirl Colorlicious Lipsticks
a picture of  Covergirl Colorlicious Lipsticks in Coquette Orchid and Ravishing Rose
a picture swatch of Covergirl Colorlicious Lipsticks in Coquette Orchid and Ravishing Rose
Top : Coquette Orchid / Bottom: Ravishing Rose
I don't usually gravitate towards Wet n Wild, but this little baby was on display, and only 4.99$ I figured I'd give it a shot. It's the Prep & Prime box set and it comes with the Coverall Primer and the Coverall Correcting Palette. What really drew me in is the correcting palette, shockingly enough I've never owned one. I used to dream of getting the Lise Watier one but never caved...I doubt this is a dupe but who knows... I might like it!
a picture of Wet n Wild Prep & Prime, Coverall Primer, Coverall Correcting Palette
And that completes my little loot! Have you seen any new cool products I should be getting my hands on? Also let me know if you'd like reviews on any of the things mentioned here. Can't wait to play around!

Talk to you soon,

-Val