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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?

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Review: Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength Gel

In general my nails are quite weak. They always split at the tips, especially after removing nail polish. So, I decided to try a commercial strengthening treatment to see if it would help at all.

Sally Hansen VitaSurge
I picked up a bottle of Sally Hansen VitaSurge Strength Gel. It cost me $7.49 for a 13.3 ml bottle at Rexall. As you can see on the package, they promise "stronger nails in 5 days". To be honest, I think I picked up this treatment as opposed to another brand because I saw a beauty editor in some fashion magazine recommend it (I think it was LouLou, but can't be sure).

It has a very thick, fuzzy brush and tiny white "beads" suspended in the gel (I guess these are the "micro-vitamins"?)

The first thing I noticed besides the blue gel formula was the smell - it is highly perfumed.

My nails before treatment
As you can see, weak and peeling nails :(

With strength gel applied 
After swiping on the gel, it takes about 10 minutes to be fully absorbed. It does feel nice when absorbing and my nails feels slightly stronger immediately afterwards. I repeated the process once a day for five days. The package said it could be used over nail polish as well, but I wanted to try it without so it could really soak into my nail bed.

After 5 days of treatment
To be honest, not only did I not notice a difference in my nails, another one of my nails cracked after the 5 day treatment (note the crack on my ring finger nail. It only appeared after applying the gel every day!) My other two fingers in the picture look a tiny bit better, but I wonder how much of it is due to growing out for 5 days and how much to the strength treatment? I can't really tell.

Because of this, I'm going to have to say the Sally Hansen VitaSurge strength gel is a miss. To me, there just wasn't enough of a noticeable difference over the course of the 5 day treatment to recommend it to people who have weak, peeling or brittle nails. Also, if your nose is sensitive, the fragrance in this treatment might be a bit irritating. I also wonder how much this was recommended by the beauty magazine in which I first saw it, and how much was paid advertising. In any case, I'll try another treatment soon. Any recommendations?

Sunday, January 27, 2013

200 posts giveaway! eos Alice in Wonderland

Well! 200 blog posts! I think this deserves a mini-celebration...so check for the giveaway deets at the end of this post.

I've been wanting to try an eos (evolution of smooth) lipbalm for the longest time. I have heard great things about it - how it's organic and moisturizing and I was curious about the shape as well. When I saw the Alice in Wonderland limited edition collection come out, I thought, "That's the one I want to try". Months passed and no luck finding it. Then, when I was recently browsing in Rexall, out of nowhere, I saw it! Yippee! So here's my review:

The eos Alice in Wonderland set!
Lovely scene inside the package
The lipbalms in the set
Cute little pods
Close up of the lipbalm
In this package came three flavours - the blue is Blueberry Potion, the pinky-red is Watermelon Wonderland and the cream is Sweet Vanilla Nonsense. The Blueberry does smell tart and sweet; Watermelon doesn't smell necessary like watermelon, but maybe honeydew melon. And Vanilla smells like light and creamy vanilla cake mix. Yum! If I had to pick a favourite from these three, it would be hard because they are all really nice, but I think I'm slightly partial to the scent of vanilla.

In terms of moisturzation, the eos balms do keep my lips hydrated for several hours, but it is a light balm. Definitely not thick or goopy. It's pleasant to apply as well - having the balm in a little ball shape means that you can swipe both lips at once, and it only takes two seconds to do so. Also the eos balms are really convenient to take with you - much easier to find in a gigantic purse than a thin little lipbalm stick!

Now for the giveaway! I wanted to share this fabulous find and my new love of eos...I was able to pick up two more of these Alice in Wonderland packs for my followers and readers. So two lucky people will each win one of these eos trios!

Contest closes February 8, 2013. Open worldwide!

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, January 26, 2013

January Ipsy bag

Hey! Sorry for the long break in posting, I was in the process of moving. Urgh! Stressful. We are still waiting for our new home to be ready so in the meantime I'm set up at my mother-in-laws. I made sure to bring some of my beauty bags/products with so I'll have bunches to blog about!

So today I have for you my January ipsy bag. Nothing new to those of you who have gotten one, or have already watched/read unboxings but I thought I'd add in my 2 cents about this month's bag in any case :)

The big ol' pink envelope! 
This month's bag and product card (the brush came outside the bag)
LOVE the lining!

The rest of January's products
So first let's tackle the brush...

Close up
This is a full size Soho beauty eyeliner brush and it's constructed quite well - the bristles are soft but firm (if that makes any sense). I needed one of these like yesterday, since I lost my smaller liner brush so this is an excellent replacement. I have several eyeliner pots that this would work well with.

big sexy hair hairspray
Another item I am happy to see. I love travel-sized hair products, as I rarely finish full-sizes (only of shampoo usually). This is a 50 ml volumizing hairspray from big sexy hair and I have been wanting to try something from this line for ages. I have seen this at Winners but hadn't picked it up yet; here's the perfect opportunity to see what it's like!

Josie Maran Argan oil
Even though this is a 5 ml sample, it really packs a punch! I received this same product in a past QVC New Beauty Test Tube and LOVED it. It's an excellent face moisturizer - I know it seems odd putting oil on your face, but give argan oil a go, it smells great and leaves skin soft and dewy.

Nailtini polish
YAY! Nailtini :) The millionaire polish I got in the November bag was so fun, I was happy to see I got another full size one, however I was really hoping for the oxblood. Frappe is a sheer pink - I don't wear sheer colours that often, but I'm thinking this would be a good base for maybe some glitter! Or if I ever attempt stamping ;)

Pacifica body butter
Everyone has been raving about this cream. And, quite rightly I think. I used some as a hand cream; it really got to work on my dry, dry, dry winter skin. But what is best about this is the scent. Tuscan Blood Orange is described as "Sparkling, juicy blood orange with notes of red raspberry and spicy sweet Italian mandarins. The scent of the Mediterranean beach." And you know what? It smells exactly like that, and it's divine. Ok, maybe I can't tell if it's an Italian mandarin or not, but still. Heaven in a tube. Thankfully they sent 73 mls of this thing; I'm going to make it last!

So, this month's ipsy bag had no makeup and the last two (November, December) were chock-a-block full of that. Even though I LOVE mostly makeup or makeup-only boxes (hellooo, Starbox!) this was actually really nice to receive as well. This was a good selection of products, and the sizes are fantastic. That blood orange cream especially - that made this month's bag for me!

ipsy is still a winner in my books. If you want to get on the waitlist to sign up - go to ipsy.com. Bag is $10/month - free shipping in the U.S. and $4.95 extra/month for Canadian subscribers.

If you got a bag this month, what did you think?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Julep Maven February preview!

Aaaaand...it's the 20th, which means it's Julep preview time! What's in store for February?

(all images from Julep.com)

February collection
Lovely! Awards-themed (aka Oscars, Golden Globes, Grammys, etc.) Very glam!

All your February colour selections
Let's take a look at all the style profiles :)

American Beauty

Boho Glam


Classic with a Twist
IT Girl
All style profiles come with a free gift - the Freedom Polymer top coat. It is supposed to cure in 5 minutes under natural light, dry to a gel-like shine and last for days. I am so intrigued about this item! The Oxygen Nail treatment included in all boxes but IT Girl is a nail strengthener (and basecoat I believe) that dries to a light sheer pink). I have not yet found a nail strengthener that really works, so another item that I'd like to see if it lives up to its claims.

What do you think of the colour selection? I'm partial to Marion, Joan, Ingrid, Julianne, and really interested in the holos Rebel and Ginger. If you just can't decide, you can get the whole Glamour Nail Wardrobe for an additional $35 (on top of your monthly $19.99 Maven subscription) and get all the February colours, the topcoat, nail treatment and bonus Ellie and Oscar (glitter gold) polish all packaged in a lovely white jewellery box (they mention this is a $252 value)

The whole collection (+$35)

Hmmm, maybe need to see some swatches before you decide? Julep's got ya covered!

Hmm, I think the swatches I'm most drawn to initially is the IT Girl box - I like the pigments of Marion and Joan and Rebel looks very fun! Still not sure what to get though.

And to make things harder, of course we have the add-on's (you can only  choose 3 though!) This month you can add on any of February's colours or Oscar for $4.99 each, the Freedom topcoat or Oxygen nail treatment for $9.99 each, either the black (volumizing) or brown (lengthening) mascaras for $9.99 each, the Hand and Cuticle stick (featured in the January box) or Quick dry polish drops for $9.99 each or the Swatch me stickers or Polish remover pads for $4.99 each. Or you can add on any of these four additional collections:

The 'A' lister: Morgan, Julia, Jennifer ($14.99)

Best Dressed: Jane, Ginger, Rebel, Oscar ($19.99)

Old Hollywood Charm: Stefani, Catherine, Eileen ($14.99)

Red Carpet Romance: Lucy, Sienna, Nora ($14.99)

Oh man! I think I like some of the collections better than the Maven profiles - especially the 'A'-lister and Best Dressed. In Best Dressed, you can get the limited-edition rose gold glitter Jane, named after Julep's founder. Also it was mentioned that starting in February, they will specially number the limited edition bottles of polish. 

Neat! Now decisions, decisions...I'd love to hear your thoughts on the February Maven boxes. What colours/style profile are you drawn to this month? What do you think of the topcoat/nail strengthener? The plethora of add-on's and additional collections? The numbering of limited edition shades? And finally, what is your favourite awards show?

If you'd like to sign up to become a Julep Maven, consider using my referral link. If you'd rather not use my link, you can also sign up here. I'm not sure if this code works, but give it a try - PENNY at checkout.

*Update* Jane (rose-gold glitter) is now available as an add-on ($4.99)!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Liebster Award x2

Who-hoo! I've been nominated again for the fabulous Liebster award again by the fabulous and wonderful Chelsey at my beauty full adventure and Helen at beauty delights. If you don't read and follow these lovely ladies do so right this very minute!

Helen explains a short history of the award in her post here. This award has taken off  - now the number 11 is very prevalent; basically, you answer 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions that the nominating blogger posed to you, and ask 11 questions to the 11 other bloggers you nominate! People have modified this though to suit their needs.

I have decided to follow a combination of what Chelsey and Helen answered (using an 11/5 combo) - I will post 5 facts about myself, answer 11 questions from Chelsey and 11 from Helen and nominate 5 bloggers with 5 questions for this award who have less than 300 followers. Phew!

Ready, set, go!......

......Five random facts about myself:

1. I believed in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny until I was 8 years old. (Even now, I'm still secretly hoping that Santa exists. Why would NORAD go through all that trouble to track him every year otherwise? Just to make kids happy? Please!)
2. I make up silly songs and sing them to my cats (Whaaaat? Doesn't everyone do this? ;)
3. In order to get up the nerve to break up with a past boyfriend, I watched the entire 6 1/2 seasons of Sex and the City (it inspires "go girlfriend" confidence!)
4. I daydream a lot. Perhaps constantly. I tell myself this is great plot and character development for the book I say I'm going to write (and have been saying for at least 15 years).
5. I really want to be in a musical some day - like community theatre. Though it takes A LOT of practice and time, which school is really eating into. When will I be finished? Feels like never!

.......Eleven questions from Chelsey:

1. What makeup essentials do you wear on a daily basis? Concealer, BB cream and mascara - that's my minimum!
2. How often do you shop for makeup? Window shop...all the time. Purchasing is getting much less frequent, thankfully, perhaps a few times a month (other than my beauty box subs).
3. What is the one beauty item you have an excessive amount of? Lipglosses. I'm afraid to count them up, actually!
4. If you could choose the decade you'd want to live in right now, what would it be? 80's hands down.
5. Reason behind your blog's name? I chose CityGirl when I started because I wanted to write about a slice of life living in the city. That turned into book reviews and now here I am blogging about beauty...but the beauty part has been the most fun! It is still neat to look back on old posts though.
6. Mac or Windows. Don't hate me but I don't like Apple. This stems back to when I was a kid and we had an old 80's Macintosh. All my friends had PC's and they would make fun of that Apple. I couldn't even play computer games, only use that crummy paint program.
7. Favourite TV show at the moment and why? Game of Thrones. Watch the first few episodes and you'll surely get hooked! I can't wait for the 3rd season to start - I literally subscribed to HBO so I could watch on the comfort of my tv when each episode comes out.
8. What book are you reading at the moment and would you recommend it? I just finished The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling. It is definitely a 180 from Harry Potter, but I actually quite liked it.
9. Sample Boxes, yay or nay? Still yay. The U.S. ones are getting better than most of the Canadian ones though. Canadian boxes- step up your game!
10. What influenced you to decide to become a blogger? Well initially I just wanted to write more but I switched to beauty because as someone wrote on a youtube post "watching {beauty box unboxing} videos are so oddly entertaining". I totally agreed, signed myself up for some boxes and the beauty fiend in me took off!
11. What is your favourite season? Definitely autumn. Pumpkin, apple cider, leaves changing colours, scarves and jaunty hats...oh my!

........Eleven questions from Helen:

1. What is the first perfume you ever purchased? I think it was Love's Baby Soft. Oh yeah!
2. Favourite Disney movie? Does Toy Story count? Disney owns Pixar, right? Or how about Toy Story 2 - when Wheezy the penguin gets put on the shelf because his squeaker doesn't work and then the mother puts him in the garage sale. How cruel!
3. If you could only eat one type of meat for the rest of your life (pork, chicken, beef) what would it be? Hmmm, I will go with chicken. When you don't know what something tastes like, it usually tastes like chicken. And chicken tastes like chicken. So really I'm just eliminating a step and going straight to the source.
4. Where do you do most of your online shopping? Ummm, I don't want to incriminate myself because I'm trying to cut my spending, so I will just say I love window shopping online at Sephora. I could browse that store for days!
5. Favourite TV series (old or current). Old: many, but today I'm thinking Fresh Price of Bel Air. New: Game of Thrones (you know it!)
6. What colour are most of the nail polishes you own? I think I'm pretty even in my polish stash, but I probably have a tad more pinks, purples and blues.
7. If you could dye your hair any colour and it will only last one day and it does not damage your hair at all, what colour would you dye it? Can I cut it as well? Then I'd do a crazy rainbow mohawk just for kicks - but my hair better be back the next day!
8. Would you rather be stuck wearing the same coloured eyeshadow the rest of your life or the same lipstick/gloss? Would have to be the same lipstick/gloss - I usually go for a neutral mouth for everyday look (and have about a bazillion nude glosses) but like to change up my shadow.
9. Favourite snack? I love those Crispy mini rice cakes in butter popcorn. I have to watch it though, that bag'll go fast otherwise.
10. Do you have a plan of survival for a zombie apocalypse? Yes, it is somewhere between Night of the Living Dead (original movie) and Shaun of the Dead. Basically I want to survive and end up at a pub sharing a pint at the end of the day. If any of the zombies behave and don't eat me (which is counter-intuitive for zombies, but just saying) then they can share in the pint as well. I'll have a Guinness, please.
11.Ryan Gosling or Ryan Reynolds? Ryan Reynolds. Full stop. Thankyaverymuch!

......And the nominations are (in no particular order):

Candice at Mirror Image: A Beauty-Full blog
Anna at Makeup and Masala
Aleksandra at Plumpish Beauty
Lucy at Simply Blushed
Laura at The Diniwilks 

.......Your questions are (should you choose to accept this mission):

1. If you had to pick one country to live in the rest of your life (and it can't be the country you currently make a home in) where would it be and why?
2. Pick one makeup brand that you would gladly wear the rest of your life. Why do you love it?
3. What character of a novel or movie do you really relate to?
4. Facebook or Twitter?
5. Riddle me this. You move to a new town and it's time to get your hair cut. The town only has two hairstylists. You go to the first one; her hair is cut horrendously, it's messy, sloppy, uneven and basically looks like a weed-whacker hit it. You drive to the second stylist. Her hair is clean, neat, cut perfectly and looks like a million bucks. Which stylist do you go to and why?

Well this was a monster post! Now I know why I haven't gotten started on that novel yet :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

January Prive Topbox

My January Topbox has arrived! Everyone this month received a special prive box - it's a specially curated box with products from only one brand. In future months you can opt-in for your chance to sample prive boxes (future boxes include Benefit, Lippy Girl and Miracle 10) or receive the regular Topbox. But to roll out the program this month they started with an "iconic" brand...


What I received 

I've been a fan of Clinique since I was a teenager. WAY before all these beauty boxes started, my favourite thing was to get the bonus bags at the Clinique counter (gift with purchase). I know other cosmetic companies do this but the Clinique bags were always the best! I would get the bag a few times a year, when purchasing a refill of the Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. That yellow lotion was my go-to for years, until my skin started getting drier and I found it wasn't as quenching as I needed it to be. Then the beauty boxes started and I got the chance to sample all different kinds of creams. Still, it's very nice to revisit a trusted brand.

Rinse off makeup remover
I am very familiar with this remover as I received it in many bonus bags in the past. It's a very nice makeup remover; the only reason I generally don't buy the full size is because of the price ($25 for 125 ml). I find that Quo or even Simple makeup removers do the job just as well and they are less than half the price. This is a giant sample though, at 60 ml!

Clarifying Lotion - Dry/Combination
The full size of this either 200 ml for $16 or 400 ml for $27 and this sample is 60 ml so another great size! I have not actually tried the clarifying lotion in their 3 step system before (I went from cleansing to moisturzing, no in-between!) so this will be nice to try. You just put some on a cotton ball and sweep it over your face, like a toner. I really like how they gave me a sample exactly for my skin type - dry/combination.

Colour Surge Eye shadow duo - Strawberry Fudge.
The little silver box is an eyeshadow duo in the colour (flavour?) Strawberry Fudge. Sounds yummy! The name makes sense when one shadow is a pinky-shimmer and the other a rich chocolate brown. In general I like Clinique eyeshadows; I find there is good colour payoff and it wears well, but you must prime your lids first, otherwise there can be creases. I have a feeling I've received this sample in a bonus bag a long time ago, I definitely don't have that old duo kicking around though! I really like using these little compacts for travel - they fit very nicely in a small toiletries bag. This is a 1.6 gram sample; the full size is 2.5 grams for $25.

Wrinkle cream!
Well, nothing to make me feel old like a good wrinkle cream ;) Seriously though, this is the product that is highlighted on the outside of the box - it is a cream to help repair sun damage and minimize the appearance of wrinkles. The product card says, "At 12 weeks the visible wrinkle reducing power is remarkably close to a dermatological laser procedure. 63%, to be exact". I am judicious about keeping my face out of the sun so not much sun damage to report there, and I don't have very deep lines so this will probably just be a very nice face cream for me. This is a 7 ml sample; the full sizes are $57 for 30 ml and $86 for $50 ml.

Overall, I'm very happy with this Clinique prive box. All of these items would be included for free in various bonus bags that they offer from time to time (at Sears or the Bay) as gifts with purchase. The difference is these samples were purchased (as part of my monthly Topbox membership) and I didn't pay minimum $25/$30 at the cosmetics counter. So it is still a good value. I think I'm most excited for the Clarifying Lotion, as I haven't used it before and wonder if it really will be a good addition to my night time skincare routine.

What do you think of this Topbox Prive box? Do you like/dislike Clinique products? Have you signed up for your chance at a future Prive box?

Friday, January 11, 2013

Glamour Doll Eyes December OTM

This post is a bit late but it's a good one, I promise! I've known about Glamour Doll Eyes for some time now; she is based out of  Las Vegas and has awesome, awesome, awesome eyeshadows. Check out her site for the full collection. Glamour Doll Eyes has an OTM (Of The Month) which showcases a fun shadow (and possibly extras) each month. This subscription sells out SUPER QUICK, and on the 8th of every month new subscriptions open. The price is around $6 plus $2-3 for shipping. (For more info on OTM's go here). I was not quick enough to snag the January OTM, but I was fortunate enough to get the December one and that's what I'm swatching today. December's OTM had a bit extra so it was a bit more money - it was $12 for me all in.

December OTM (love the hot pink box!)
What's inside

Product card
 Let's see what I got!

Ooh lots of fun stuff to try!
First, the eyeshadows...

Such cute little containers
Laced with Snow, Cat in a Parka and You've Got Coal (love the names)

So pretty!
Here's the swatches:

Top: Laced with Snow; Middle: Cat in a Parka; Bottom: You've Got Coal

These are seriously nice shadows - excellent pigments and the colours are gorgeous! (On a side note, even though these containers did not come with sifters, I didn't experience a colour explosion when opening them; all the pigments stayed nicely in their containers).

In the December OTM, sneak peek sample colours were included too!

Some shades from January's Halo Collection
"Unveil" and "Undressed" 
Swatch it up!
Two more lovely shades. The product card says that this collection brings "neutral to the next level".  I think I'm more partial to "Undressed" as I like the hint of shimmer it has!

A highlighter sample was also included:

Eye Bright highlighter 
Swatch of the Eye Bright
According to the product card, this highlighter can be used to highlight the brows/inner corner of the eyes. I love to use shimmy white shadow in the corner, now I will try this! It is very soft and creamy, blends well.

Glamour Doll Eyes also included two products from other companies...a Sedona Lace blending brush(yay!):

Sedona Lace Tapered Blending Brush 863.
Soft...and love the bristle colours!
And, a sample of Polar Bear Kisses lipstick from Kiss My Sass:

Great colour!

Swatch of the lipstick
Whaddya think?
I love this colour - a deep pinky-red and the pigment smells like sweet candy! It wears for several hours as well.

And that's it! A lot was packed into that little box. My first Glamour Doll Eyes OTM is a hit - it's such a fun little beauty box with lots to play with and experiment. I think my favourites are the shadows though - absolutely gorgeous shades. I also really appreciate how ingredients for each of the products are listed, either on the product itself or on the product card.

If you want to get your mitts on one of the next OTM's, I suggest you go to the OTM page and sign up for the mailing list. An email is sent out before the subs go live, and you can pick your subscription option at that time (1 month, 2 months, 3 months, etc). Subscriptions usually open on the 8th of the month, so put that on your calendar as well. There's also fun full size and sample size eyeshadow collections you can try if you don't want to wait for an OTM spot to open up.