Friday, January 31, 2014

Honeybee Gardens Makeup Review

Today I have a review on cosmetics from Honeybee Gardens. For those of you who have not yet heard of this company they sell bath, body and cosmetic products that are derived from natural and recycled material. They do not test on animals and they are an environmentally conscious company. You can find Honeybee Garden's products on their website, health food stores, pharmacies, herb shops and specialty gift stores at participating retailers.
Party Girl
The first item I am going to review is this beautiful eye shadow palette called Party Girl

Packaging & Price
I love the cute bright packaging; it reminds me of old Hollywood glam meets the tropics! The palette includes a sponge applicator and a bamboo brush applicator. I like that the top cover is magnetized to keep the shadows covered and protected and the palette retails for $29.99, about $7.50 per shadow. The box that houses the colors is actually made of cardboard which isn't usually a material you would associate with a thirty dollar palette, but as I said the company is striving to be environmentally friendly. You can also open the box and slide the colors out if you would like to transfer them into something else.

The natural Ingredients in these shadows include aloe, cucumber, and chamomile. 

Colors & Pigmentation
The great thing about this palette is the bright, fun colors. The formula is very smooth and velvety in texture. The best way to apply them is with the sponge applicator or with a flat shadow brush used to pat on the color. The shades are very buildable but I found it best to use a good shadow primer. 

The quality and the pigmentation is great and shows up nicely on the skin. Although there are four colors the combinations you can create is actually quite good. You can use all 4 together, wear them separately or mix, match and blend to create many different looks. They are also great to enhance the lower lash line for a bold pop of color.

Here are some swatches, as you can see these colors are very striking!

Here is a look I created by blending all of the colors together. For this post I wanted to show off the vibrancy of the shades so I used the colors heavily for a saturated finish. I think the colors would also look great paired with shades from other palettes and they can be toned down by applying less. I paired this look with a sheer, slightly shimmery purple gloss.

When I went out wearing this look I was stopped by many women asking me what eye shadow I was using and commenting on how vibrant the blues were, I am looking forwards to seeing what else I can create!

For more information on this palette click HERE

Honeybee Gardens Truly Natural Lipstick in the color Superstitious
Superstitious is one of the newest shades in the line. All the lipsticks are paraben free, and contain botanical extracts and beneficial ingredients such as: castor seed oil, coconut oil, sesame seed oil, shea butter, cocoa, vitamin E, oregano, thyme, cinnamon, rosemary, lavender and golden seal.

Because of the oils, the formula has a shiny gloss like texture but it is non-drying on the lips and quite pigmented.

This shade is a deep blackberry color. It encompasses dark red and deep plum tones. Although I usually opt for brighter shades I am curious to see how this lipstick looks when paired with neutral eye makeup. On me this color looks quite vampy and although it may not be a shade that you can pull off at the office it may work for a night out. 

The lipsticks from Honeybee gardens also come in a wide range of shades from nudes, light pinks, bright pinks, reds, wines and berry colors. Superstitious is actually the darkest shade in the line. They retail for $12.99 each and you can find more information HERE

You can check out the website at:

**Disclaimer: These products were provided to me for a sponsored review courtesy of Honeybee Gardens. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Ripley's Aquarium of Canada Review

Today I have a review on an exciting new attraction that recently opened in Toronto. Right at the base of our iconic CN Tower is an underwater haven called Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada. The aquarium contains over 1.5 million gallons of marine life and water from around the world and 13,500 exotic sea and fresh water species!

I love the beauty of underwater reefs and I enjoy learning about the majestic creatures that live in the deep so this was a must see for me.

After visiting the beautiful Baltimore Aquarium in Maryland twice our new attraction had some stiff competition. Although Toronto’s transportation system is very limited the aquarium is easy to access via subway or Go Bus which is a good option during bad weather and to avoid the hassle of finding parking on busy city streets.

Being a new interest to visitors and residents alike, the lineup to get into the aquarium was quite long. Even early in the morning during a snow storm the place was swimming with people!

You can purchase tickets on arrival or online to avoid the lines, although if you do, keep in mind that you must specify the date and time you plan to visit within the hour. This may be one method of crowd control but it may not be convenient if visitors are delayed in their travel plans. During bad weather late arrivals will be allowed entry at any time but time slots sell out fast for the morning hours and up until 4pm. 

Although the space at the base of the CN Tower where the aquarium now sits is small, the facility utilizes every inch of space productively and there are beautiful exhibits and marine life around every corner. There are also many interactive experiences for kids which makes the aquarium family friendly and educational! There is even a gallery where visitors have the chance to touch odd looking horseshoe crabs and where children can crawl into tubes and crevices to get up close and personal with interesting creatures.

Due to large crowds and the one directional flow of traffic things can get rather congested. Having more options of veering in different paths so that visitors are not all in the same place at the same time would have been a good idea.

The variety of marine life, the beautiful colors of the sea and the display of different habitats from varying regions was truly breathtaking. There are 9 galleries to explore including Rainbow Reef and Ray Bay which is a captivating sting ray cove. As you enter the "dangerous lagoon" a conveyor belt slowly guides you through a tunnel where scores of fish and sharks hover above head and surround you. These encounters transports visitors into an undersea oasis making them feel at one with the ocean and creating an experience that is unique and surreal.

Photo found online

courtesy of 680 news

I think I found Nemo and Dory hiding out behind some beautiful coral.

There are also feeding times where divers delve into deep tanks and feed sharks, fish and sting rays which is quite exciting to watch! The entire facility and the animals are well kept.

Beautiful Seahorse

Although I have been stung by a jellyfish before I don't hold a grudge, Planet Jellies was one of my favorite galleries. The colors were fascinating. 

If you are looking for a place to eat while visiting your favorite sea creatures there aren't many options in the small cafeteria. A few fast food restaurants greatly limit the dining experience but there is a decent gift shop where you can purchase mementos and souvenirs at the end of the visit.

Adult ticket prices are $29.98, $19.98 for seniors and $9.98 for children. The aquarium is open 365 days of the year

Overall this beautiful aquarium is just what Toronto needed to revamp their tourism appeal and contribute to the experience of the city. If you are ever in the area I highly recommend stopping by and seeing it for yourself.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Make Up Forever High Definition Powder Review

I have heard a lot about Make up Forever’s high definition powder and on my trip to IMATS I was able to push my way to the front of the crowd and get 40% off of this wonderful product.

I have to be honest and say that I was skeptical by all the rave reviews because this looked like a simple jar of translucent powder. I didn't understand what was so special about it until I tried it and now I’m hooked! I didn't except such great results and I now have to disclose that this is the best setting powder I have used to date!  

This HD powder is made of fine particles and provides a matte finish to make skin look radiant in person and on HD cameras and devices. The translucent powder blends effortlessly into the skin, is suitable for all skin tones and provides an excellent finish on top of foundations and concealers. When I pat my brush into the product and sweep it over my skin it applies smoothly and seems to just disappear. 

My results
When I first applied this powder on top of my makeup I had been at the makeup trade show the entire morning and my skin was getting a bit oily and looked tired. After sweeping just a tad of this powder over my face and blending it in I noticed an immediate difference. My sister could not stop staring at me because she couldn't believe how much it brightened my face. It got rid of excess oil and shine and improved the look of my makeup in an instant! After applying the powder my skin looked radiant and luminous and my makeup looked beautifully finished and refreshed. I went from looking tired to looking well rested with just a few swipes of my powder brush, it was wonderful! I was pleasantly surprised at what a little bit of this product could do to improve the entire face.

A little goes a long way and using a bit less actually produces better results so no need to cake it on! I use a soft fluffy brush and  focus on my t-zone. The powder is very soft in texture. 

The only downside is that it can get a bit messy. If you shake the jar to sift out the powder it has the tendency to rise into the air in a cloud of white fluff which I find a bit wasteful. To help with the mess I find it best to just press your powder brush against the sifter screen instead of shaking the jar; the particles are light enough to be picked up easily.
This powder in the size I purchased (8.5g or 0.3oz) retails for $39 at Sephora. 

This is a photo I took recently for a makeup look I posted and I used this powder to finish my makeup.

Final thoughts
 I would recommend giving this product a try because I absolutely love it. It is great for people who like to take photos and great for parties, weddings and other events. Whenever I want to look my best in front of a camera or at a specific occasion you better believe I will be wearing this powder.

What is your favorite setting powder?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Winter Gift Ideas

You know when people say "they never win anything," well my winning streak was well below theirs. I was never whacked with the lucky stick and even with so many wonderful giveaways out there I wasn't entering very many. Then one day Desi from Dollface Disaster Beauty contacted me to inform me that I had won her Christmas giveaway! At first I thought she was looking for another Erica but lo and behold I actually won something!

I thought I would show you what I won since they are great gift ideas for the frigid winter months and for birthdays, gift baskets, a girls night in, Valentine's Day and other events.

She sent me this delicious yet functional set of Starbucks hot cocoa with a cute travel mug. This double hot chocolate is rich and velvety with bits of dark chocolate blended right in! I don't know about you but I am going to get my chocolate on tonight! This is great for those winter nights at home curled up in front of the TV.

Also in the package was a MAC Fix+ spray which can be used to refresh the skin before makeup application and to set makeup.

Other items won:
*Philosophy Cinnamon buns shampoo, shower gel & body wash
*Que Bella cooling glacial gel mask

Thanks to Desi for all these wonderful goodies!

And now for another cute gift idea...

Recently my friend gave me a belated birthday present that I thought would be a great gift idea to warm someone up on a cold night, as a chocolatey Valentine's Day gift, a care package, and more. There were a few other things in the bag as well including a MAC gift card (which I can't wait to use) and some raspberry truffles but we had a lot of fun using the hot chocolate kit on a snowy girls night in! 

The kit says that this is "seriously good hot chocolate for grown ups" because it has a little liquor in the mix. The chocolate is "A blend of the finest imported semi-sweet chocolate chunks, pure vanilla and premium ingredients." There is enough in the pouch for 8 servings!

The girls and I decided that if we were going to make hot chocolate for "grown ups" we were going to go all out! We added a shot of baileys and some mini marshmallows, it was delicious!

It has been a winter of ice and snow storms so I hope everyone is keeping warm.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Pelle Beauty Facial Oils Review

Today I have a review on a wonderful skin care line that I have been trying by Pelle Beauty. This company was founded by Marnie Cipriani; a health conscious woman who took advantage of the skin’s amazing absorption abilities and created skin products with natural ingredients that are beneficial for good health.

I Love finding products that are natural and chemical free. Winter can wreak havoc on the skin and here in Canada the temperature recently dropped to-35 degrees Celsius! I need products that will keep my skin moisturized all day and these oils actually help retain moisture and provides long lasting hydration. I am no stranger to using natural oils for skin care, in fact  my post on borage oil has proved to be quite helpful to my readers and since receiving these oils a few weeks ago I have used them every night!

Many of you may see the word "oil" and think greasy and shiny but "facial oils are one of the most natural and effective ways to moisturize skin." These are not the types of oils that clog pores and cause acne; in fact some of these oils may actually help prevent breakouts! Even on my combination skin they work well.
The first product I am going to review is the Stellar Lightweight Multitasking Facial Oil

This oil contains:
 *Meadowfoam seed oil:  absorbs easily into the skin to moisturize, reduce wrinkles and signs of aging.
*Black currant seed oil: high in antioxidants, reduces the signs of aging, antibacterial, rich in omega 3.
*Rice (bran) oil: rich in antioxidants, helps protect dry chapped skin, used in Japan for centuries for skin care benefits.
*Grape seed oil: treats acne, tightens skin, relieves dark circles under the eyes, moisturizes and fights aging.
*Vitamin E: crucial in protecting skin cells, protects against UV rays and helps reduce wrinkles. 
*Bitter orange flower oil: calming benefits.
*Sandalwood oil: fights bacteria, anti-inflammatory, helps heal and fade scars, softens skin, helps skin retain moisture, anti-aging, helps heal eczema and psoriasis, helps shrink pimples, can be used as an aftershave. 

How to use the oil
The oil can be used to moisturize skin all year round even in humid climates because of its light formula. You can also use it to remove makeup, as a makeup primer for dry skin types and a thin layer under clay masks helps condition and protect the skin. I have even taken to adding a few drops to my body butters or body lotions to amp up the moisture level and keep my entire body feeling soft and supple.

On the bottle is says to use 2-4 drops of oil after cleansing the skin and you can use it at night or during the day. I use the oil prior to bed because during the day my skin tends to become naturally oily under my makeup. I love that the bottles come with a medicine dropper so you can control exactly how much or how little oil you dispense. The scent is quite strong and predominantly smells of sandalwood, I find the scent calming and it does tend to dissipate as you wear it. The oil makes my skin look radiant in the morning!

There is no shine or residue (when used sparingly) and it gets rid of all dry spots. Even though this is a face oil I think it can be used on the entire body, I even use this oil to protect my hands and cuticles from becoming dry and a few drops would work well to moisturize after a pedicure for healthy looking feet.

The Stellar Multitasking Facial Oil retails for $42 for more information click HERE

The second oil I am going to review is called Luxe Beauty Oil and it is suitable for all skin types.

This oil is one of Pelle Beauty’s newest oils and one of my favorites! It has natural anti-aging benefits and 10 plant-based floral extracts and botanicals to“restore and revitalize lackluster complexions.” It also has aroma therapy benefits and it is the perfect way to end to a relaxing spa evening at home or sooth the skin after exfoliation.
This oil contains:
*Meadowfoam seed oil
*Rice bran oil
*Babassu oil: contains vitamin E, anti-inflammatory properties, contains antioxidants, helps treat itchy dry skin and scalp, helps treat eczema, restores hair elasticity, conditions and moisturizes skin and hair.
*Bitter orange flower oil
*Jasmine oil: tones dry sensitive and irritated skin, increases elasticity, helps improve the appearance of stretch marks and scarring.
*Rosa damascena flower oil: repairs broken capillaries, treats rough dry skin, reduces inflammation, irritation and redness.
*Ylang Ylang flower oil: helps treat oily skin,  treats acne and blemishes, stimulates cell growth, smooths wrinkles and signs of premature aging.

The Beauty facial Oil also comes with a medicine dropper applicator and has a very floral scent. Like the other oil a little goes a long way and I only use 3-4 drops. You can apply it directly on the skin from the dropper and massage in or as I like to do, apply a few drops to the back of the hand first and then press it into the skin using the fingertips. 

This oil feels like instant relief when applied to dry skin. I apply my oil before bed and all the amazing ingredients go to work and absorbs as I sleep. I wake up in the morning with hydrated skin that feels soft and my complexion looks fresh and dewy. These oils are a great way to pamper your skin every day.

The Luxe Beauty Oil retails for $68 For more information click HERE

What makes these particular oils so wonderful is that they contain no fillers, so you are not paying for watered down products, you receive 100% highly concentrated oils. The facial oils are vegan and made from plant based ingredients. The bottles will also last a long time because you only need to use a few drops a day. I would recommend these oils for anyone who suffers from dry skin or those who need to improve the appearance, texture and health of their skin. 

 For more information on Pelle Beauty you can visit their website by clicking HERE
You can also find them on:

**Disclaimer: These products were provided to me for a sponsored review courtesy of Pelle Beauty. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**

Friday, January 24, 2014

Dramatic Makeup

Today I have a quick makeup post mixing different shades of purples, lavender and blue. I love mixing my shadows together and creating my own custom shades. Sometimes I don't quite know what I will end up with which makes it even more interesting!

To get this look I used:
*Madison Street Beauty Wisteria- lid color (mixed with purples from the 120 palette)
*NYC liquid eye liner
*Urban Decay Primer Potion
*Maybelline Rocket mascara
*e.l.f face primer
*MAC Studio Fix pressed powder
*Make Up Forever HD powder
*e.l.f shimmering facial whip

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Steam Cream Review

Today I have a review on a new cream I have been trying called Steam Cream. Usually when I purchase creams I buy separate products for body, face and hands but this cream can be used to moisturize your entire body!

If you take a look at the website the creams come in many unique patterns and designs. You can even choose from seasonal tins and zodiac inspired artwork which allows you to personalize them for gifts. The decorative tins would look pretty on a vanity or dresser and can be used as a storage container after the cream has been used. I received the original tin which although isn't as fancy still contains the same great ingredients within. This simple design may also be more preferable for men.

If you are wondering why this cream is called Steam Cream it is because it is “handmade with natural ingredients and then fused together by a shot of steam.” This method of production is supposed to make the cream lightweight to provide excellent hydration for the face and body. Steam Cream is made in the UK and Japan and it is suppose to revive the skin by absorbing instantly. It is suitable for all skin types. 

The cream is very smooth and smells strongly of lavender. It contains: oatmeal, orange flower water, almond oil, cocoa butter, jojoba, lavender oil, rose,  neroli oil and more! 

I primarily like to use the cream to relieve my dry hands. It has a nice moisturizing formula that is quite long lasting and even with repeated hand washing my hands don’t seem to get as dry. After application I can feel the cream on my hands for a while but it makes my skin feel soft and hydrated right way; I can definitely see and feel the difference. Since I always have hand cream readily available this product works well and comes in handy.

The sample size I have is 25 ml so I like to keep this cream in my purse for use throughout the day. Although it can be used on the face I have not used it as a face cream.

The cream retails for $20 for a 75 ml tin and you can find it on the website HERE 
Steam Cream is also on:

**Disclaimer: This product was provided to me for a sponsored review courtesy of Steam Cream. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**

Monday, January 20, 2014

Beauty Box Five Review

Hi everyone, today I am going to review another beauty subscription called Beauty Box Five. I know that there are a lot of monthly subscriptions circulating so hopefully reviews can help you decide which box is right for you if you are interested in joining any of them.

Beauty Box Five is a subscription service that starts at $12 for the monthly box, $30 for the quarterly subscription and $99 dollars for a year. In this box you will receive a mix of luxury items as well as common brands ranging from hair products, skin products, nail products, fragrances and beauty accessories. Usually the box will contain 5 sample products but sometimes there are full size products included. The object of this box is to give you a sense of how a particular product works for you so that you can try out new brands and then purchase whichever ones you like.

The first item is the h2O+ hydrating treatment which is suppose to “deeply hydrate and plump fine lines” making them less noticeable. This product is light blue and has a watery gel consistency. When I tried it I did notice that it slightly smoothed out the texture of my skin so it can be used as a light primer. 

The next item is a pink nail polish by nubar called Hot Pink. As you can see on the front of the bottle it is formaldehyde, phthalate and toluene free. The bottle is ideal for travel and although I already have colors very similar to this, it is a nice bright shade and a great color for spring and summer. nubar is not a brand I have tried before.

I also received this Aveeno daily moisturizing lotion. This cream is dermatologist recommend and contains oatmeal and emollients to provide 24 hours of moisture. I already use many Aveeno products and I like this brand because it is usually very gentle on my skin and great quality. This sample of cream is very tiny and if I tried to use it as a body cream it would probably only be enough for one application. It is however convenient to pop into your purse and use as a hand cream.

The only full size product in the box was this bellapierre eye shadow in the color Tin Man. This shade is a lovely silver which I used in my New Years Eve makeup tutorial. It is a loose shadow that comes with a sifter top and it is very pigmented and blends easily. In the photo below I did not use a primer and the shadow adhered well to the skin and looks great. This was my favorite item in the box.

The last item is this pack of makeup remover pads by Every Beauty which is another brand I had not previously tried. I like that these sheets are 100% natural, suitable for all skin types and contains argan oil extract. They come dry and you are suppose to wet them with a few drops of water before use but I found that I needed a lot more than a few drops to use them. These pads are also alcohol and paraben free and I like that they are non-drying but the individual pads are way to small to remove all of my makeup in one go. These pads were not very effective, they did not remove my eye makeup and I had a difficult time trying to remove my foundation with them. I actually needed to use one of my regular makeup wipes after I used these.

Overall I think the box is okay. If you are someone who hasn't tried many different beauty products and you are looking to experiment and find new brands then this box may be a great option for just $12. I personally like receiving samples and when I find a good product I often buy the full size. I think this box had a good mix of different types of beauty products but some items are quite small.

For more info on Beauty Box Five check out their website by clicking HERE

**Disclaimer: These products were provided to me for a sponsored review courtesy of Beauty Box 5. All opinions stated in this review are my own and based on my experience with the products. Results may vary based on individual use.**
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