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The 'B' List. A look at the beautiful things in life. This blog is devoted to that list. Join me on the journey, why don't you?

Monday, December 31, 2012

NOTD: Happy New Year!

Wishing all my readers a very Happy New Year! Another year is gone and 2013 is upon us. Overall it was pretty good but I am looking forward to what the new year will bring. What's your New Years resolution? Mine is to go on a bit of a beauty product no-buy for a bit, other than my beauty boxes (as I've got lots to use up). We'll see how that goes!

For New Years, I've got my NOTD using Julep Ivy (shimmery blue-purple) with Vivien (champagne gold glitter) as an accent. 

Julep Ivy and Vivien (December Maven box)

Love it!

I think these colours naturally go together - the gold lights up the deep blue shade and the overall shimmer of the mani puts you in a celebratory mood! Plus the larger chunks of glitter in Vivien really look like champagne bubbles!

My hands get so dry this time of year. Any DIY tips or product faves to prevent this? Regular hand cream isn't cutting it for me - I need a hydration infusion! 

What's your New Year's NOTD?

Friday, December 28, 2012

December Topbox review

This is the latest I've ever done my Topbox post, but I'm a bit behind on posts due to the Christmas season. Also, it took 7 days to get to me! (5 of those days it was just sitting in a Canada Post warehouse). I know the post office is extremely busy this time of year, so I don't really blame them, and now that I've had it for awhile I got to try out all the items so I can tell you what I think!

Festive red tissue paper

December Topbox products
This month I received Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser; Goldwell Jelly Boost; Ferro Cosmetics Blush and Chloe Eau de Parfum.

Murad Cleanser (30 ml sample)
This is actually a really nice cleanser; you just wet your face and massage the scrub in, then rinse. It has a really gentle exfoliant in it, so it doesn't feel too harsh on skin, and it isn't heavily scented. This is a good sized sample, the full size is 200 ml for $35.

Goldwell Jelly Boost (30 ml sample)
I wasn't so sure about this product when it arrived - spray gel? Really? But I gave it a go and quite liked it - I used it as indicated on the directions (spray on towel-dried hair), then blowdried and it made my hair feel thicker and defined my waves. I also like how this product doesn't have a strong scent. Full size is 150 ml for $18.95.

Chloe Eau de Parfum (5 ml sample)
Several months ago a mini Chloe body lotion came in a Topbox. In this box came the actual perfume, and I have to say I like it better than the lotion. I put this on and it lasted for about half the day before it started to fade. Full sizes are 50 ml for $90 or 75 ml for $115.

Ferro Cosmetics Blush sample
This is a mini-sample of Ferro's blush times 3 (for cheeks, eyes, lips). I would only use it as a blush though, as that what this pigment looks like to me. I received the colour Bashful. This sample has a few issues - one it is less than half full and two, it needs a sifter! Otherwise when it's opened, pigment spills everywhere. Barring these problems, it is a good colour and lasts all day on cheeks. The full size of this retails for $20.

Swatch on hand (pardon my reddish hand! I had just come in from out
of the cold)
I know many subscribers expressed disappointment with this particular Topbox. Initially, I had a similar reaction, as the products included don't look like much at first, and don't really have any rhyme or reason as to why they were included. But after trying them all out, I have to say that I do like these products, especially the jelly boost (which I thought I would hate) and the cleanser.

One big thing is the packaging; I do think that Topbox could have made this box a little more festive, - either through the product card, how it was packaged or what was included. Also, I feel this box should reflect the price increase ($10 to $12 monthly) through an extra sample or maybe have the blush be filled up more than halfway.

Topbox has recently announced that they will be offering a Prive box. Here's what the email said about this box.

"Starting in 2013, we will be introducing the Privé Box™. Each Privé Box will showcase a selection of products from one featured brand. As a Topbox member, you get exclusive or priority access to these boxes. We are very excited to announce that you will all receive our first Privé Box this January, from one of the world's most iconic beauty brands.

Like our monthly Topboxes, the Privé Boxes will be customized when applicable. Hence, we recommend that you update your basic Beauty Profile, especially if your beauty needs and sense of style are evolving."

So I guess we'll see what the beauty brand is come January, and how this new Prive box stacks up to the regular Topbox!

What did you get in your Topbox this December? What did you think of it? Thoughts on the new Prive box?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Palette Heaven! Quo Back to Basics and IT Naturally Pretty Essentials

Santa decided that I needed some palettes for Christmas so here's a peek of the Quo Back to Basics and IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Essentials. Oh that Santa, he knows what a girl wants!

Quo Back to Basics

Ooh, shadow heaven!

 Close up of the colours
As other bloggers have pointed out, the Quo Back to Basics palette is a wonderful dupe for the highly coveted UD Naked palette, though at a much better price (UD is $60, whereas this lovely palette retails for only $25). And I know that Santa saved a few dollars extra (it was on sale for $22.99). A palette of this type should be in every beauty junkie's stash for creating all sorts of looks (natural, smoky, etc), and if you don't want to spend your dough on Urban Decay's, head on down to your local Shoppers Drug Mart to pick this baby up!

IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Essentials palette (all wrapped with a bow!)

The palette

Your whole look!

Close up of the palette

IT Cosmetics came out with this travel palette and when Santa saw this as a showstopper on The Shopping Channel, it was a no-brainer! ($39.99 on Showstopper day; regular price $55.57). Just stash this in your travel bag or in your desk at work; it has everything you need to create your look (minus the mascara).  In the middle is a blush, powder, and bronzer, on the left is eyeshadow primer and concealers, on the right are eyeshadows and along the bottom are lipglosses. I really like IT Cosmetics - I use their giant brush and Bye Bye Under-Eye concealer every day (see haul post here) and with this kit I get my own little makeup stash of IT to go!

I've got lots here to play with and experiment, and these should definitely see me through the New Year, when I try my best to go on a bit of a no-buy for a bit (outside my beauty boxes).

Do you have either of these palettes? What is your go-to palette? What is essential for you to have in a palette - just one product (eyes, lips) or a full look (face, eyes, lips)?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Festive NOTD's!

Happy Boxing Day everyone! Did you get up bright and early to scope out the deals? There's lots going on online if you don't want to venture out - go to your favourite store's website and see what's on sale :) If you celebrate Christmas I hope you had a great day filled with family, merriment and presents [my husband actually got me two polishes - I didn't think I'd get any beauty-related gifts (since I have so much already) but there was Essie Mademoiselle and Essie Turquoise and Caicos tucked away in my stocking!]

So I wanted to share with you two NOTD's I rocked so far during this Christmas season.

First is an easy Christmas mani using two polishes from my December Julep Maven box - Scarlett (red shimmer) and Harper (green glitter).

Gorgeous shades!

Scarlett is an absolutely gorgeous shimmy, candy apple red and I like the contrast with Harper (green base with green glitter and tiny flecks of blue, which I think it gives it more dimension.) I also like how with a topcoat (I used Out the Door), Harper is smooth, not bumpy like many other all-glitter polishes.

Obviously, this mani would work with other red/green polishes, but if possible try to mix up textures to keep it fresh (and a little funky!)

The second is Kelara Lacquers Festivus (yes, from Seinfeld). Kelara Lacquers is an wonderful little indie polish company that sells on Etsy; Festivus (multi-glitter) is from their holiday collection - "Festivus for the Restofus!"

Cute little bottle!

I love this multi-glitter!

This is a standout polish that sparkles like mad under the Christmas lights! It's one of those polishes where the multicoloured glitter makes you want to keep staring at your nails - it definitely catches your eye. I think this is a really fun choice for the holiday season.

What polishes did you reach for/are you wearing over the holidays? And what do you think would make a great New Year's Eve mani?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Winter Edition Fortune Cookie Soap Box

Christmas is almost here! So let's review a holiday-themed box, shall we? I ended up keeping my Fortune Cookie Soap box subscription, since I liked the fall edition so much. It only comes four times a year (which works really well for me) and is my only bath and body product sub.

Grinch-Themes FCS box
How fun! The Winter box has products inspired by the book/movie "How the Grinch Stole Christmas".

This season's goodies
L to R: OCD Hand Sanitizer, Roll on perfume, Body Wash and Personal Space room spray. 
First is an OCD hand sanitizer in the scent "Whobilation" - a mix of peppermint and cherry. It is also festively sparkly!

Next is a roll-on perfume in the scent "Cindy Lou-Who" - it is very light and sweet, like candy. I actually really like this fragrance and have been rolling it on my wrists for the past week!

Then comes a mini-bottle of body wash in the scent "Cheer Monger" (I love these names!) It is a blend of chocolate, marshmallows and peppermint and it smells like the hot chocolates I make (I add in a drop of peppermint extract to regular hot chocolate and throw marshmallows on top - try it, it is yummy!)

And we have a mini-bottle of Personal Space room fragrance in the scent "Dear Santa, I can Explain..." Another item I have been misting around the house for the past week. It smells like pine and tangerine, but not too strongly of pine (I think the sweetness of the tangerine balances it out). Really nice!

Hydrate Me gum drops
These mini Hydrate Me's are in the fragrance "Goody Goody gum drop" and they do smell really fruity! FCS Hydrate Me's are amazing - just rub on your skin after a shower and the oils condition and hydrate your skin, so much so that you don't need to use body lotion afterwards.

Whipped Cream body lotion
This whipped cream lotion sample is scented in "Pinch of Grinch". This might be my favourite scent of the box - it looks green but smells like lemon sugar! Yum.

Naughty or Nice bath fizzy
LOL - this naughty or nice bath fizzy looks exactly like little lumps of coal. Brilliant! It doesn't smell like coal though, I can't quite place this scent but it is very fresh.

Fortune Cookie Soap
And last we have a full-size fortune cookie soap in the scent "Holiday Cheermeister" (carrot cake and cream cheese scented - mmmmm). I love these little soaps :)

Overall I think this was a great little box. I like all the scents and I love the theme - very creative and fun. I actually just watched Jim Carrey's version of the Grinch a few days ago for the first time; it was pretty good, but do you think it tops the original cartoon?

The Soap Box by Fortune Cookie Soap ships 4 times per year. To subscribe it is $19.99 U.S/$28.00 Canada/$34.00 International (includes shipping). All boxes come with a $10 coupon towards a future purchase as well.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

January Julep Maven Preview

I know I literally JUST got the December box (which I'm still pouring over - have tried out Harper and Scarlett, gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!) But it is the 20th, which means it's Julep preview day. Here's what's coming in January (all images from julep.com).

Your January selections
Neons and nudes, oh my!

American Beauty - Mindy (pink sheer); Bethany (neon orange)
Hand and Cuticle stick

Boho Glam - Teresa (pink pearl); Fiona (lime neon);
Hand and Cuticle Stick

Bombshell - Ava (ballet pink); Bette (neon purple);
Hand and Cuticle Stick

Classic with a Twist - Grace (light pink); Madison (neon pink);
Hand and Cuticle stick

IT Girl - Nina (orange neon); Nikki (yellow neon); Amelia (champagne frost)

Julep Escape Nail Wardobe (+30) all 11 colours + Hand and Cuticle Stick

Hmmm, let's see the swatches...

American Beauty
Boho Glam
Classic with a Twist
IT Girl

Left: Neons swatched over Eileen (white base); Right: all the nudes this month on one hand.

For add-on's this month, you can choose from any of this month's colours ($4.99 each), Eileen (white base - $4.99); the Hand and Cuticle stick ($9.99); set of 10 polish remover packettes ($4.99 - these actually work really well); set of 3 "swatch me" stickers ($4.99) and 3 different polish sets collections - Sand and Seashells, Bora Bora and Fiji Lagoon (each set is $14.99).

Add-on: Sand and Seashells (Emmanuelle, Emma, Hayden)

Add-on: Bora-Bora (Taylor, Renee, Mandy)

Fiji Lagoon (Courteney, Robin, Blake)

Add on: "Swatch Me" stickers - to organize your Julep polishes

My verdict? Lots to choose from this month, but for me, the colours I actually wear the least are nudes and neons! I like how they gave a resort-y feel to the selections (those neons brighten up a winter day!) and if I was going down south this winter, I might be tempted to add some neon to my nails. The nudes though are really similar, so I don't think getting the whole collection would be for me. I actually like the add-on polish sets a bit better than the Maven box selections this month! I do think the swatch me stickers are a neat idea, but not something I need at this time. I think my December box (and that New Year's mystery box) will see me through January, so I don't think I will get a Maven box this month. 

What do you think of the January selections? Are nudes/neons your favourites? Any add-on's caught your eye?

*UPDATE* If you skipped the month (like I did), Julep is offering a deal to get either the Bora Bora set, the Sand and Seashells set or a Beach-ready pedi prep set (includes Sicilian Blood Orange foot soak, a bottle of  their acetone-free polish remover and two toe separators) - for $19.99 (each). Check it out here

Want to join and become a Julep Maven? I have a referral link you can use here, if you'd rather not use that sign up here instead. Code PENNY2012 will get you the first box for a penny!