Friday, November 29, 2013

Chevrons: Round 2!

So I attempted a chevron trick on my nails last week and it was a demi-fail, but I wanted to redeem myself by trying again. The good news is that Chevrons: Round 2 was a success!

aka Bailey, Chevron nails, Revlon Raisin Rage
And there's no bad news! So that's cool, right? No one needs bad news the day after Thanksgiving. 

I was trying to choose which 3 colors to use for this chevron mani, and was having a tough time deciding. Trying to go for something autumnal, I grabbed my Revlon bottle of Raisin Rage, which is a shimmer-free, raisiny burgundy shade. That's when I said, "Oh day-um. There's a color scheme right there!"


Raisin Rage, Revlon, nail polish

So I decided to use the Revlon bottle of polish as my inspiration, and gathered a gold and a black polish too:

Revlon Raisin Rage, Big Spender Nina Ultra Pro, Revlon Stiletto, nail polish
I followed the exact same steps that I took last week, except this time I gave the base color (gold) more time to dry before applying the chevron nail decals. I also did some de-sticking of the decals before placing them on my nails - meaning that I first stuck the decal strip to the back of my hand a couple of times to remove some of the stickiness. This gave me a better chance of not ripping up my base color when I went to remove the decal from my nails.

Chevron nails, burgundy, gold, black, nail polish

The gold polish that I used - Big Spender by Nina Ultra Pro - isn't the same "yellow-gold" as the gold on the bottle of Revlon polish, so it's a slightly different look. But I don't actually own any yellow-gold polishes - guess it's not my favorite color.

aka Bailey, Chevron nails, burgundy, gold, black, nail polish

And speaking of Big Spender, I'm OBSESSED with the brush that comes with this polish.  It's like it was MADE for my fingernails. See here for diagrams and illustrations of exactly what I mean.

aka Bailey, Chevron nails, burgundy, gold, black, nail polish

If you want to order some of your own chevron nail decals, I ordered mine from Inspired Nails. (Not an affiliate link... what do I look like? Some sort of professional??)

aka Bailey, Chevron nails, burgundy, gold, black, nail polish, Revlon

I am satisfied with how these came out, and they made a fine addition to my Thanksgiving outfit. 

Chevron nails, burgundy, gold, black, nail polish

What did you rock on your nails for the holiday? I'd love to see! And now that Thanksgiving is out of the way, we can officially move on to Christmasy nails without shame. I'ma deck the shit out of my halls nails. WHO IS WITH ME?

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Random Round-Up: Beauty, Fashion and Music

Apologies in advance for the smorgosbord that this blog post is about to be. I just knew that these things needed to be blogged about, and my time was short because of the holiday week - so I decided to throw these all together! So put on your "I can deal with random blog vomit" panties, and LET'S DO THIS.

1. Aveeno moisturizer + Marcelle DD Cream = Good

Aveeno Ultra Calming Daily Moisturizer, Marcelle DD Cream
This Aveeno Ultra-Calming Daily Moisturizer is pretty much... my daily moisturizer. Unless I forget to apply it, I wear it everyday. I like it because it has SPF 15 in it, and it gives my skin a healthy glow. My skin has been going a little nuts in the last month or so - seems like I am always breaking out. And normally I don't give a crap and go about my business without thinking much about how my breakouts look. In fact, I don't own any concealer at all - and literally never have in my life. But for some reason I was feeling a bit more self conscious about my skin than usual, so it seemed like a good time to try out the Marcelle DD Cream product that had been given to me at the #blogvancity event back in September.

OK, so confession: I had NO idea what DD cream was when I received this product in September.  And the packaging, as you can see, didn't really help me out in terms of knowing what was awaiting me inside that container. I thought the product was going to be white. If you didn't know what DD cream was, and you saw that container, wouldn't you think you were looking at a glass container with white product inside?? So imagine my surprise the first time I pumped out a bit of this product and saw that it wasn't white at all - it was in fact quite tinted. Too darkly tinted for me to use it as-is, which is when I had the brilliant idea to mix it with my off-white Aveeno lotion.

This, I don't mind telling you, really was a terrific idea. I use about a 3:1 ratio of Aveeno to DD cream, mix them well between my fingers, and then use my fingers to apply the mixture just like I'd apply my daily face lotion. It is very light coverage, as you can imagine, but it takes away some of my redness and evens out my skin tone a bit.

I don't use the DD cream everyday, because I don't love the idea of a makeup product covering my entire face. If I wipe my nose and my Kleenex gets covered in tinted cream, it gives me the weirds. I have to assume my skin is better off without a layer of makeup on it, so I'll stick to using my Aveeno/DD cream combo only on the days I'm feeling self conscious. It's nice to know it's an option though!

From Marcelle's site:
Marcelle DD Cream: Going beyond a BB Cream, DD is an all-in-one tinted cream that not only corrects but really protects your skin from external aggressors. 
. Tightens pores
. Visibly improves skin texture
. Evens and smoothes the look of skin
. Promotes removal of skin impurities
. Controls shine
. Offers immediate and long-term hydrating benefits
. Protects skin from environmental stressors
. Helps prevent signs of aging
. Soothes and calms dry/damaged skin
. Provides anti-dull radiant complexion
The 1 oz bottle retails for between $18 and $27, but I got it for $Free.99 at the #blogvancity blogger event. Holla! Sidebar, the list of ingredients on this product is a mile long. So... read at your own peril.

2. My birthday present from Sephora!

Sephora VIB 2013 Birthday Present, Benefit Cosmetics, They're Real mascara, Watt's Up highlighter

As a member of Sephora's VIB rewards program I get a little treat every year around my birthday. This year's present was very exciting for me, as a woman who has eye lashes. Sephora was giving out a little Benefit duo with a sample of the They're Real! mascara and the Watt's Up highlighter! I've heard about They're Real! for years but never bought myself any of it because I just tend to lean towards drugstore mascaras. Getting a free sample of this much-discussed mascara was a very nice birthday present indeed.

Benefit Cosmetics, They're Real mascara, Watt's Up highlighter

Check out this wacky brush - the end of it is like a medieval weapon of some sort, isn't it?

Benefit Cosmetics, They're Real mascara, brush head

I've used the mascara just a couple of times so far - but so far, so good! It separates my lashes well and hasn't clumped or crumbled at all. It was a little strange to do my lower lashes with that crazy brush, but I got it done.

I don't have a ton to say about Watt's Up yet. I swatched it on the back of my hand, and it's creamy with a nice sheen to it. It miiiight be a little dark for my skin, but maybe I can keep it for a summertime highlighter when my face is a little more tan.

3. My 100-point gift from Sephora - Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat

Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat

As part of that same VIB rewards program, I earn points for every dollar spent at Sephora. I've had a ton of points accumulating for awhile (like years), so I also selected a 100-point perk at the checkout - this Julep Freedom Polymer Top Coat.  The product promises to deliver a "gel-like shine without the hassle of curing lights." The reviews for this product are very mixed over on the Sephora site, so I'm not sure how it'll be. Have you tried it? Let me know in the comments!

4. Funny/insulting sidebar: Caudalie thinks very little of me. 

Caudalie pink makeup bag
I received this makeup bag as a free gift when I purchased a Caudalie hand cream (a Christmas present for my Grandmother). Um... thanks Caudalie? Without you I'd be straight garbage.  

5. Arbonne FC5 Moisturizing Night Créme

Arbonne FC5 Moisturizing Night Creme

Now here's a good time. I ordered this Arbonne FC5 Moisturizing Night Créme awhile ago but for reasons that I won't go into, it was sent to my sister's home in Massachusetts. She included it in her birthday package to me earlier this month, so I was finally able to try it out! Very happy to say it was worth the wait! This is so thick and creamy and smells subtly like citrusy vanilla - almost like a creamsicle or something. It's much, much thicker than the last night cream I'd been using - a Philosophy cream brazenly called When Hope Is Not Enough. (Sup with all these beauty companies trying to make us feel ugly?) (Oh, wait, nevermind.)

From the Arbonne site:
For normal/dry skin. Rich moisturizing crème nurtures skin while you sleep, helping to maintain young, beautiful skin.
I've only been using this cream for a few nights, but I do love the way it smells and the way it feels on my skin. Only time will tell if it can MAKE ME BEAUTIFUL. #UglyDuckingSigh.

6. New Forever21 nail polish

Forever21 nail polish, blue and silver glitter

Forever21's nail polish line - Love & Beauty - has been stepping up their game a bit recently. These polishes cost only $3.80 in Canada (usually $2.80 in the US), and this polish is paaaaacked with glitter! It's got tiny rounds of silver, navy and cobalt and larger hex glitter in cobalt and silver, all in a clear base. It's so packed with glitter that you might be able to get it almost opaque in two coats! I've swatched it a few times now and can't wait to get it onto my nails.

Forever21 nail polish, blue and silver glitter

7. Emerald Forever21 sweater
Well I don't want to toot my own color-wearing horn, but this shade of green is really flattering on me, so I was psyched to spot a soft, chunky emerald sweater at Forever21 this past weekend. It's got a hi-lo hem and an oh-so-cozy loose fit. My plan is to take it for its inaugural spin on Thanksgiving, with some skinny jeans, big earrings and that gorgeous brown Adrienne Vittadini bag I found at the thrift store in September. This emerald sweater was $33.80 here in Canada, but it's $27.80 in the US - story of my life. Its color is a lot more vibrant in real life too - it comes off a bit muted in these Forever21 pictures.

8. Thrifted 90s/00s R&B CDs

90s R&B, BoyzIIMen, Lucy Pearl, Babyface Unplugged

It's a must that I scour the Salvation Army's CD selection every time I go in there. The 4th Ave Salvay has THE BEST selection of 90s music. Ever. Like hundreds of your favorite 90s artists, all in one place - and all for only $2 each. I saw at least 3 copies of Maroon 5's Songs About Jane album - which was part of the soundtrack to my freshman year at UMass back in 2002-2003. There were 2 copies of Boyz II Men's Cooleyhighharmony album, so obviously I grabbed one of those.

A copy of Babyface's 1997 MTV Unplugged album and Lucy Pearl's self-titled debut album (straight outta 2000!) also made it home with me that day. And I'd love for you to tell me the last time you even thought about Lucy Pearl.

Sidebar, as much as I loooooove looking through the CD selection, it's actually really sad for me to see so many abandoned classics ending up at Salvay. I can only hope that the former owners of all these albums have at least made digital copies of the music and are only abandoning the CD format - not the music itself. #90sForLife. #BestMusicEver.

ALRIGHT Y'ALL. We got through it - my most random blog post of the month! (I didn't check back to verify that statement, but it might be true.)

Did any of this make you say "OOOOH la la!!"? Have you picked up any random things you're loving lately? Are you still reading? BUELLER??

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Holiday 2013 LUSH Goodies!

If there's one thing that puts me into a good mood, it's walking by a Lush store. Am I right, ladies? These stores smell so yummy, and you can smell them a mile away. Not only the smell, but the stores themselves are so bright and cheerful that they make me want to eat them. Eat the store. Because they just look and smell that good. #EatinYaStore. #Done.

Lush stores look especially inviting during the holiday season, because they come out with all types of freaking adorable holiday products that they then use in their window displays. So when I saw that the stores around Vancouver had been putting out their Christmas-themed goodies, it was just inevitable that I'd go in and get a thing or two. Here's what I picked up from the 4th Ave Lush store last week:

This little guy is actually the popular year-round Lush bath bomb Butterball turned into a festive snowman for the holidays! His little orange nose is even a tiny bath bar.

Here's what Lush says about Snowman:
Our year round best-selling Bath Bomb, Butterball, has been transformed into a dashing Snowman with a festive red scarf and a delicate carrot nose- just for the holidays! We know luxuriously long soaks in hot baths are a favorite winter pastime, but they can leave skin feeling a little dry. Snowman’s generous helping of cocoa butter ensures skin stays soft and hydrated, regardless of how long you spend soaking. The comforting, blissful vanilla aroma lingers softly on the skin long after the bath.

The other item I purchased that day was actually the very first item that caught my eye when I walked into the store because it was part of their storefront window display- the Luxury Lush Pud bath bomb, which is apparently a reference to figgy pudding. So Euro.

I've never had figgy pudding, but damn is this bath bomb cute! It has the same scent as their Twilight bath bomb, which just happens to be my favorite Lush bath bomb!

Here's what Lush says about Luxury Lush Pud:
This year we have completely transformed the traditional LUSH Pud. The first thing you'll notice is the deep purple color of the base, studded with polka dots of color that float to the surface making pastel islands in the water. Then you'll inhale the magnificent aroma of lavender oil, sweet benzoin and comforting tonka absolute. You may recognize the scent from our best-selling year-round bomb Twilight. Sink in for a fluffy, frothy end-of-day soak, relax, release your worries and emerge for a restful slumber.
Sounds maaagical. I can't wait to try this one! Sounds like it'd be a great thing to try on a chilly evening right before bed, no?

Sometimes it takes me awhile to get through my bath bombs, so I'm not sure when I'll get around to actually using these products. But in the meantime, the Lush bag that's holding these bath bombs is right next to my desk and I've kept it there on purpose because the smell of them wafts up at me throughout the day and I LOVE IT.

Speaking of things smelling awesome, another holiday Lush product that I saw (but didn't buy) was their new Secret Santa bath bomb. Its shape is modeled after their first-ever Lush store in Poole, England and they've captured the quintessential "Lush store" smell and put it into this bath bomb! So cool. I might go back and get that one...

Check out all of Lush's seasonal Christmas stuff here - browse now before they're all gone!!

Do you have Lush stores near you? Do you love or hate the smell of these stores?

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Black & Silver Chevron Nails

Holy crap this week flew by! I swear we JUST finished our jam-packed weekend with Dave's parents, like, yesterday. How is it Friday already?! Not that I'm complaining - just startled that it's already nail day! Hey-ooooo! #ThrowYaNailsInTheSkyLadies.

This week I was again stumped as to what to paint on zee old gals (that's apparently what I'm calling my fingernails today), so like last week I popped over to my Pinterest nail polish board to see what was up.  Well... I didn't find what was up exactly, but I did see enough chevrons in my board to remind me there were some yet-to-be-used chevron nail stickers in my stash of nail supplies. #Duh.

Black and silver chevron nails

I ordered 3 sets of chevron nail decals from Inspired Nails back in September after I saw my homegirl Jennie raving about them in a blog. The decals came with chevron, anchor and star stickers. (They were $4.50/set at the time, but they're $4.99 each now.)

The nail design you see above is not the original look I was going for. The strip of bare nail in the center was an accident... but just read on.

My plan was to have 3 different colors on each nail - silver sparkle at the cuticle, silver in the middle, and black at the tip. So I grabbed these polishes - Stiletto by Revlon, Beware by Pure Ice and a Silver Grey by Love & Beauty:

Stiletto by Revlon, Beware by Pure Ice and a Silver Grey by Love & Beauty

Before painting my nails I also prepped by grabbing a pair of scissors (for snipping my chevron stickers to the right length) and a pair of tweezers (to help me peel the sticker off the nails without messing up the polish).

Nail decals, tweezers, scissors, aka Bailey

First I painted all of my nails one coat of the silvery grey color and waited what seemed like a solid amount of time for it to dry. Thinking they were dry, I placed a chevron nail decal across the "French tip" area on my pinky, ring and pointer fingers. I place the decal about halfway down my thumbnail and left my middle finger blank. Then I painted below each chevron with silvery glitter polish and above each chevron with black polish. Using my tweezers, I then started peeling the chevron off of my pinky nail, hoping to reveal a still-grey strip beneath it.... No such luck!! The grey polish came right up with the sticker!

Black and silver chevron nails, silver glitter

Mreh. Not exactly what I was hoping for, but........... let's go with it, hmm?

Black and silver chevron nails, aka Bailey, nail polish

So I'm definitely going to try this again, except I'll wait way longer before placing the sticker next time. In the meantime - just think of the nude strip in the middle like Britney Spears' mid-drift, circa 2001.

Chevron stripes, black and silver, aka Bailey, nail polish

Also... don't the black tips kind of look like little mustaches if you look at them quickly?

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Parents Visit + Touring Vancouver

This past weekend, David's parents came all the way from Massachusetts to visit us here in Vancouver! We had a packed weekend full of tourist-type activities and LOTS of amazzzzzzzzzing food. No, seriously. Did you see how many z's I put into the word "amazing"? The food was all really that good. So here's a little breakdown of our time very well-spent last weekend:


Tony and Pauline arrived in Vancouver mid-afternoon and settled into their room at the downtown Marriott hotel, where they stayed on the 28th floor and had an impressive view of downtown and the Coal Harbour/Gastown area. David and I met them at their hotel and the four of us walked a few blocks north to the waterfront and ate dinner at The Cactus Club Cafe. I've eaten at 3 different CCC's around the city and they're all completely lovely as far as I'm concerned. This time I ordered a roasted butternut squash soup that came with seared scallops, apple curry foam, and basil oil. (I just realized this is what I ordered the first time I went to CCC, way back in October 2012.) I also had a salad of seasonal greens with almonds, feta and a lemon-thyme vinaigrette. All yummy!

After dinner we walked around by the water, but it was quite cold and rainy and the view of North Vancouver wasn't too great, so we walked back to the Marriott to have a nightcap for an hour or so before Dave and I grabbed a cab back to our apartment. We don't "grab cabs" often at all - we usually walk or bus it everywhere - so this was a treat that we kind of indulged ourselves in all weekend long!


On Saturday we picked up T &P at their hotel in the morning and we drove north of the city to Squamish to show them some of the views along the Sea-to-Sky Highway. Again, it wasn't as clear as we were hoping, but we did get some patches where the clouds would part and show us a towering mountain peak or two:

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC
.  david admiring the mountains  .

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

Mountains along Sea-to-Sky Highway, BC

From there we continued just north of Squamish to the town of Brackendale, where we stopped at a tourist viewing area for nesting bald eagles. It's apparently the home of one of the largest congregations of bald eagles in North America. We got to see an eagle up close right away - in a tree above us right as we were getting out of our car in the parking lot!

Bald eagle in a tree, Brackendale, BC

The eagle viewing area, known as Eagle Run, is atop a long dike with a stretch of the Squamish River between us and the eagles in the trees.

Eagle Run, Hatchery, Brackendale, BC

We probably ended up seeing around 15-20 eagles (and also a couple of seals!) that day. Apparently there'll be waaaay more eagles in December and January, so I hope to go back then and hopefully take some better photos. For now, you can sorrrrrta see the eagles in the pictures below - just look for the bright white spots in the trees!

Bald eagles at Eagle Run, Brackendale, BC

Bald eagle in water at Eagle Run, Brackendale, BC

Bald Eagles in a tree, Brackendale, BC

On the way home from Brackendale, we stopped in Horseshoe Bay, a small community in West Vancouver. There, we took a few pictures...

Horseshoe Bay, BC, propeller
.  tony took this picture with his ipad. ayo technology!  .
... and then grabbed some lunch at Troller Ale House, where I ordered a quinoa/black bean veggie burger with a side salad. The burger was ENORMOUS. Like the size of my face.

We began making our way back to Vancouver (via a detour around Stanley Park to show Tony and Pauline some big trees), and went back to our Kitsilano neighborhood to give an extremely brief tour of our apartment before heading back out for a nice afternoon walk in the lingering daylight.

We're in love with our Seaside Bike Path, so we knew we wanted to take Dave's parents along it so they could see the beautiful views it affords of the city. We walked along the path from our apartment for a half hour or so before eventually turning around and heading back towards Granville Island...

On the island, we got some tea, showed Dave's parents around the bustling Public Market...

Granville Island Public Market, colorful produce

... and then we all split up for a couple of hours to refresh and regroup before our 6:45 dinner reservations at The Sandbar (just recently voted the Best Restaurant on Granville Island).

Dave and I had been to the Sandbar twice before, but this was the first time we were eating inside on their second floor, rather than out on their third floor's heated and covered patio. Totally different vibe than being on the patio, but - good news! - being surrounded by four solid walls inside the building does not detract from the incredible food. I ordered pan roasted prawns with citrus cream and a chile-rice that were just as good as you'd imagine them to be. I really love this restaurant, and I'd recommend that anyone who likes seafood head there if they're in Vancouver.


For their final day in the city, we took Dave's parents around the UBC campus, where Dave gave us all a tour of the lab building where he does all of his research everyday (I know I don't talk about it much here on the blog, but Dave is in a graduate program in the Earth and Ocean Sciences Department at UBC - that's why we're living here in Vancouver!).

For lunch we did a quick walk up and down 4th Ave in Kitsilano before deciding to stop in at Burgoo. I'd been to Burgoo just the week prior for a solo lunch, and it was yummy food with a nice atmosphere. This time I ordered their Gooey Grilled Cheese Grillers - a generous portion of grilled cheese made on angle-sliced baguette with mozzarella, gruyere, Swiss and white cheddar cheeses. It's a yummy sambo, but a LOT of fried cheese!! Burgoo has a great soup-and-sandwich combo option so I added a cup of butternut squash soup to my order. (Are you picking up on the fact that I love butternut squash soup?) The soup is filled with warm spices and maple syrup and garnished with toasted hazelnuts. I actually hate hazelnuts, but that wasn't Burgoo's fault. I should have asked for the soup without them! #Oops

On Sunday night we made sure to bring Tony and Pauline to Kibune - arguably our very favorite restaurant here in Vancouver. It's a deliiiicious Japanese restaurant that's right around the corner from our apartment, and I'm actually perpetually appalled at myself for not having written a blog all about it yet. Someday, I swear! I've entirely lost count of the number of times that we've been to Kibune at this point.

We ordered an amazing spread of different Japanese dishes - sushi, sashimi, gyoza, vegetable and prawn tempura, spicy beef and lots more! Really, the food is worth an entire blog post so I won't go into it too much right now. Suffice to say - if you're in Vancouver and looking for some Japanese food that will knock ya socks off, head to Kibune!

After we'd stuffed ourselves with Japanese food, we took a quick walk up the hill to 4th Ave so that we could then walk back down the hill and check out the view of the city. I didn't snap any pictures of the view that night, but this is basically what you can see walking down the hill from 4th Ave to my apartment:

And that was the end of our evening and our eventful and food-filled weekend with Tony and Pauline! It was so much fun to show them all of our favorite spots and be a tourist in my own city. Having visitors is a great excuse to really take advantage of all of the awesome things that Vancouver and BC have to offer.

I can't wait to go back to Brackendale in a month or so to see some more eagles, and I've been re-inspired to spend more time in the Granville Island Public Market because there are so many talented vendors there.

Have you had any visitors lately? Anyone else want to come visit us? :)

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Kibune Sushi on Urbanspoon Cactus Club Cafe on Urbanspoon Burgoo on Urbanspoon The Sandbar Seafood Restaurant on Urbanspoon