Saturday, 20 December 2014

First Semester Empties (And Mini Reviews)

Hey everyone!

I rarely have empties, it takes a very long time to collect them up, so I very rarely have Product Empties posts.  However, I've recently decided I'm going to do a little post at the end of each semester with mini reviews of every product I've used up. I hope you enjoy it! It's mostly face/body care, but there are a few makeup bits and other things thrown in too.

Luckily, I've really enjoyed using most of these products, so hopefully you get some ideas for new things to try out!

Makeup
I don't know why, but I don't go through makeup products that quickly.  I do have a few empties to show you, but not many.


The first cosmetic item I have used up is the e.l.f. eyelid primer.  I LOVE this, it does an amazing job of keeping shadows in place all day.  It's also incredibly cheap, and I'm 99% sure you can buy it at Target as well as online (if you have a credit card).  I have repurchased this, and would suggest you buy one too if you're looking for an amazing eyelid primer!


I also used up the L'Oreal Voluminous mascara and I was so glad when I did.  I didn't like this, I found it got all over my face, flaked off, and just generally didn't stay on.  When it was on, it looked clumpy and didn't separate my lashes.  I loved this when I first got it, but it deteriorated to one of my most hated products really quickly.

Face and Body



Up first in the Face and Body category is the Dove Cool Moisture body wash in the Cucumber and Green Tea scent.  I really enjoyed this, I liked the scent and it lathers up really well.  I switch between shower gels daily and am always trying new ones, so while I may or may not buy this again, I do recommend it.


I have also used up the deodorant in the matching scent.  I think I had one of these in my last empty products post as well.  I've used this almost continuously for a couple of years, I really like it.


Let's just get the hygiene products out of the way.  I've used up my favourite toothpaste, the Colgate Cavity Protection toothpaste in the Winterfresh flavour. I've used this for as long as I can remember, it doesn't taste gross like other toothpastes which  is why I like it.  It's also super cheap, under $2 a tube... (I'm a student, cut me some slack!)


For makeup remover, I've used up this Guinot One-Step Cleansing Water.  I hated this.  It left my skin feeling sticky and tight, and the scent was so overpowering and fake.  It also stung my eyes, even though it says it's suitable for taking off eye makeup.  I also didn't find it did that great of a job.  I wouldn't recommend this at all.


I have also (finally) used up this 56 pack of Balea facial wipes.  I adore these, they are the best wipes I have ever used.  They can be a little pricey, but I always buy them when they're on sale at Shopper's Drugmart. 10/10, highly recommend.


I got given a pack of Simple facial wipes as well.  I didn't like these as well as the Balea ones, mostly because of the smell. On the upside, these aren't as dry as the Balea ones.  I would recommend these, but not as highly.


I have also used up an actual face wash, because face wipes are NOT the same thing people!  This is the St. Ive's apricot scrub, which has little bits of ground walnuts.  I found this effective, but very harsh.  Towards the end, I started using it to exfoliate my legs before I shaved, which it is also very good for.  In the future, I'm going to buy a small travel size for when I need a really harsh exfoliant, and something less harsh for bi-weekly exfoliating.  It left my skin feeling a little raw and looking a little red, not good signs.


This teeny guy is a sample size of the Clinique Acne Solutions Clinical Clearing Gel.  I liked this so much I bought the full size, even though it's on the more expensive side.  This gets rid of pesky zits so quickly.  I apply it at night directly to spots, let it dry, them moisturize.  By the time i wake up, it's like nothing was ever there.  I also apply this all over the face in a thin layer under my moisturizer if I'm having a really difficult time with my skin.  Again, I highly recommend this.  If you can get your hands on a sample, they last for a really long time and there's enough in there to give you a good idea of whether or not you will like it.


Also in the vein of facial care, I used up my tub of the Andalou Naturals Probiotic + C facial moisturizer.  I've already bought another one of this, I think it is an amazing moisturizer and I love that it smells like oranges!


You would know this if you follow my Bought It, Forgot It series, but I used up the LUSH Dream Cream Lotion in November.  I loved the formula and scent of this, and for the price it actually lasts a long time because you don't need to use very much.  It sinks into the skin beautifully and feels like a very luxurious product.  I've washed out the container and kept it, because if you bring 5 back you get a free face mask (and this one makes 5!)


I debated whether or not to include this, and decided to because I think it's so great.  This is the Equate nail polish remover, and it is probably the best nail polish remover I have EVER used.  It cleans polish off in no time at all.  I think this is a Walmart purchase, and the little bottle (which is more than enough for me) is only a couple bucks.


Also from Equate, I used up a tube of cotton rounds.  Again, the Equate ones are the best.  I hate it when cotton pads disintegrate on your face when you're trying to get off your eye makeup, and this doesn't do that.  They're also super cheap, $3 for a tube of 125.  I use these for almost everything, so it's great that they are inexpensive and of good quality.

Hair
I'm not much of a hair product person, but I do have a couple empties.


First up is the Batiste dry shampoo for deep to dark brown hair.  I liked it, I thought it did a really good job of soaking up oil and refreshing my hair.  That being said, it was a little bit dark for me, especially after I lightened my hair.   This also left a brown powder residue on my hands and hair brush.  I did like this, and would recommend it.  If you have a dry or sensitive scalp however, skip it.  This will only make the dryness and itchiness worse.


I have a shampoo I've used up as well, the Garnier Pure Clean shampoo.  This is paraben, sulfate, silicone, and dye free, and 92% biodegradable.  I like the scent, I like the lather, and I've used this shampoo for the last 8 months of so, I think this is my 3rd bottle.  That said, I've bought something else now that this is used up, because my hair gets used to shampoos and then looks like a greasy mess.  But I think I'll go back to this at some point.


I have also used up a conditioner.  This is my usual Prairie Naturals hypoallergenic Arctic Sun conditioner.  I've been using this for years, it leaves my hair so soft and shiny and healthy.  I'll be repurchasing this when I'm home next, I can only buy it in my hometown for some reason, I've never seen it anywhere else.

Other

I used up my favourite candle I've ever had this semester, the Vanilla Chai candle from Bath & Body Works.  This was sweet but spicy and just smelled so nice.  I'm really sad I used it up!


I also used up a whole bottle of Fleecy fabric softener.  My mom used to use this when I was little, so the smell reminds me of home, but it also leaves my clothes so soft and completely free of static.  I've bought another one, I just love it (and I hate scratchy clothes).

So there are all of the products I used up over the last four months.  For the most part, I have liked these products and would definitely buy them again (some of them I have!)

That's all from me today, I'll be back soon with more posts!

xoxo
Laura

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide for University Students

It is time for Part 3 of my Christmas Gift Guide!

This one is all gifts for College/University students.  Since I am one, I think this is a valuable guide.  There are things we as students need that, while not necessarily overly exciting, are fun (and practical!)

Available at Staples Business Depot
First up on the list are these removable wall decals.  These are basically giant, peel-able, removable white boards.  There is nothing better for planning out papers and assignments and budgeting time than a giant whiteboard, and in rentals you often can't drill holes in the walls.  This is the best of both worlds.  While you're at it, buy some fun dry erase markers to go with it!


In the realm of school supplies, why not get some fun notebooks while you're at it?  I have a different notebook for each subject, and usually one for lecture material and another for textbook reading notes.  Buy some 300-page, patterned notebooks, your gift-receiving student will love it.


Here's a boring one, but something students will appreciate.  Textbooks.  These are the evil of the post-secondary education.  These things suck hundreds of dollars that should be spent on groceries that grew on a vine, and not Ramen noodles. Textbooks are why students live off of Kraft Dinner!  Even buying one of two can make a huge difference, your student will appreciate it, I promise.

Okay, let's move away from school supplies, shall we?


For clothes, why not buy your student some school swag?  An alumni sweater is never a bad idea, but for the student who already has six (me) try something different.  Hats, scarves... onesies.  I would recommend the onesie personally! (This may be me and my boyfriend...)


If you want to give a gift set, why not create your own with tea, a mug, and some cookies?  'Tis the season for hot drinks and students suck up tea and coffee like it's water!  If I wear to create one of these for a friend, I'd put in a nice mug, a few kinds of tea and coffee (variety packs are great!) and maybe some hot chocolate.  And, of course, some tea biscuits!  If you don't want to make your own, you can find these type of gift sets all over the place (Starbucks, David's Tea...)


Another great present for students are nice headphones, especially for those who live in residence or have roommates.  University is noisy, and sometimes you just want to hear your music, not the party next door (or worse...)  Beats do great headphones, and even though they're expensive, they're worth the money.

That's all from me for today, and that's the end of my 3 part gift guide!  If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 just click the embedded links to go see those.  Otherwise, I hope you have a great day and I'll see you soon!

xoxo
Laura

Monday, 15 December 2014

Brittany's Prom 2.0

Hey everyone!

My friend and roommate Brittany recently went to Prom 2.0 with her boyfriend, it was event held through his university residence.  She asked me to do her hair and makeup, and wore her prom dress from Grade 12, and with her permission I'm posting the pictures I took of her beautiful self just before she left.  Enjoy!


For hair, I blow dried it with a little bit of Alberto heat protectant run through.  Then I curled in 1 inch sections away from the face around the barrel of a curling wand and used the Aussie hairspray to hold them in place.


For makeup, I used a very light amount of foundation to even out the skin tone, added in a teensy bit of colour with the essence blush in adorable, then gave her a dark smokey eye and a natural lip.

Doesn't she look so nice?! If you want to see another post with Brit, we did an O.O.T.D. at the beginning of the year that you can see HERE.

Hope you enjoyed this!  It wasn't my first time doing someone else's makeup, but since it actually mattered this time I thought it was worth sharing.  I really enoyed it, and love that Brit trusted me enough to play with her face :P (and she even let me put eyeliner on her waterline!!!  What a trooper!)


Until next time!

xoxo
Laura

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

How To: Survive Exam Season

It's Decemeber.

For some of you that means Christmas.  Family.  Fun.  For students it means exams.  All-nighters, stress, copious amounts of coffee, and calculating minimum grades needed to pass (we have all done it, don't lie to me).

Here are some tools and tips for surviving the most wonderful time of the year.

Survival Tools:
-Tea
- Earplugs
- Melatonin
- Kleenex
- Agendas/Calenders/Day Planners
-Multi-coloured pens and highlighters
- Cue cards
- 8tracks Instrumental playlists
(Try THIS one, THIS one, or THIS one)

Survival Tips:

1) Don't overdose on caffeine.  If you drink too much coffee, or even worse, sugary and caffeine-ridden Starbucks, YOU WILL NOT SLEEP.  Sleep is essential, your brain processes what you have been studying while you are asleep.  Lay off the stuff that keeps you awake and that will help you with Tip #2 which is...

2) Get into a normal sleeping pattern.  Staying up late to cram seems like a great idea until you're sleeping in until 2pm and realize all of your exams are at 8:30am.  Fun fact: If you go to bed at 9pm and sleep for 8 hours, you get a better quality of sleep than if you go to bed at 3am and sleep for the same amount of time.  If you're having trouble fixing your sleep pattern, invest in melatonin.  If you take it 30 minutes before you try to sleep, you will fall asleep and sleep well.  It only takes a few days to fix your sleeping pattern.  As well, avoid electronics an hour before you try to sleep.  Do a little bit of reading instead, it helps your brain wind down (even if it's material you need to know for an exam).

3) Come prepared to exams. This seems like a no-brainer, but let me explain.  Yes, you know you need to bring a pen, pencil, eraser, and your student ID to an exam.  But what about Kleenex for when your nose runs?  And a pair of earplugs for when you endup next to that annoying person with a hacking cough or constant sniffle.  Trust me, earplugs in massive exam halls are a godsend.

4) Peppermint everything.  Peppermint actually helps you retain and remember information. Trying chewing gum or drinking tea while you study, and chew that same gum during your exam.  If you can bring in drinks, bring a peppermint tea. Your grades can only benefit from it.

5) Take time off, but don't take days off.  It's good to give yourself a break, but make sure it isn't a full day.  If you lose motivation for 24 hours, it's just that much harder to get it back.  Take some time to go out for dinner, go for a walk, watch a movie, whatever you need to do.  But don't take the whole day.  You will regret it.

6) Study smarter.  Find what works for you and exploit that.  Maybe one hour chunks are the only way you stay focused.  Great, do that.  Maybe you study better in coffee shops than in libraries.  Maybe colour-coding is what helps you learn.  Maybe flash cards help you remember and retain information.  Sitting at a desk reading the same sentence 20 times is not going to help you learn, figure out what works and DO IT.

7) Make plans for when you're done.  Having that motivation is great.  Just knowing you are having dinner with a friend or going out with your significant other is enough to motivate you to get through to the other side of exams season.

I really hope this helps you guys make it through exams season.  My first exam was today, but for those of you who are done/almost done, congrats on getting this far!

Later!

xoxo
Laura

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide for Her

Welcome to Part 2 of my Christmas gift guide!

This post's focus is on gifts for the ladies in your life.  Maybe it's a girlfriend, sister, best friend, who knows.  Hopefully this will inspire you to give her something nice this holiday season regardless of your relationship! Enjoy!


So to start off, I've got this EOS lipbalm trio.  I actually bought this as a gift for someone, and bought one for myself at the same time.  I can vouch that this is an amazing product.  The flavours (strawberry kiwi, grapefruit, and orange blossom) are delicious, and the balm itself is really moisturizing and smooth.  At only $10, this is a great stocking filler or Secret Santa gift.


Along the same vein, a gift set from LUSH also makes a fabulous present. The prices range, so there's one for every budget, and I vouch for LUSH products 100%.  These are great for your bath junkies, and I personally hope to get one under the tree this year.  You can buy them online HERE.


If you're feeling really brave and don't mind spending the money, Sephora always has great gift ideas.  This year, I would recommend the And God Created The Woman eye kit from NARS.  This has a mini eye primer, a Wide Contour Eye Shadow brush, and six shadows in neutral shades, both matte and shimmer.  It retails for $68, so not cheap, but definitely worth it.


If you're buying for someone who likes fragrance, I would recommend the Bottled Dreams Fragrance Sampler.  They also make one of these for men, which I featured in my Gift Guide for Him.  This retails for $64, and contains 8 sample sizes of well-known fragrances.


Another great gift idea for women and girls is a matching scarf/hat/mitts set.  I personally love my winter accessories to match, I feel like it looks more put together.  You can find these sets all over the place, or go online and buy the matching pieces separately.  They range in price, but I definitely recommend you get something slightly more expensive that's lined, or made of wool.  Warmer is better than cheaper!

If you're thinking about getting jewelry as a gift, I would recommend a necklace.  I really liked THIS one from Bauble Bar, sorry I couldn't get a picture to embed in the post.  The charm is very dainty, and I love that it can be personalized with initials.  Bauble Bar jewelry is of really good quality, so for $58 this is good value for money.

That's all from me!  My only last piece of advice is that if you are thinking of buying clothes, make sure you know what size to get and DO NOT buy shoes.  There is a lot of risk when it comes to sizing on these items, so either avoid or be extra cautious.

Hope this helped a little bit.  I'm off, I'll post Part 3 in a couple of days!

xoxo
Laura

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas Gift Guide for Him

It's that time of year!

Christmas is slowly sneaking up on us once again, and people across the world are stressing out over what gifts to buy their loved ones.  This year, I have created a nifty little guide to hopefully help you find the perfect gift.

This is Part 1, gifts for the men and boys in your life.  Part 2 will be for the women and girls, and Part 3 will be a guide for buying for University students.  Let's hop right in!


There are a couple things here in the realm of personal care.  First is this awesome shaving kit from The Body Shop.  This retails for $35, but the products are a generous size, and it has a great shaving brush included.  It also helps children to get educations, read more about that HERE.  If you are looking to purchase this, click HERE and order online! (Side note: they also have a matching wash bag, for only $10)


Sephora also has a great collection of men's fragrances.  The kit retails for $45 and contains 5 deluxe samples of popular, well-known men's fragrances.  This is a great gift for men who like cologne, and these are definitely not Axe body spray! (Which needs to be annihilated.)


In the slightly more boring realm, these T-Max Heat socks from Mark's Work Warehouse are FABULOUS!  They have fluff in the inside and keep your feet so incredibly warm.  You can wear them as socks inside, but if you wear them outside your feet will never be cold, I promise.  They're really well priced too, at less than $12 a pair for all styles.


Now.  This is a gift idea that I personally want.  Very much.  Just this month, the new Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire came out.  They retail for $50 each, a little more expensive than usual, but if the guy you're buying for is/was a Pokemon fan, this is an excellent gift to buy.


Of course, if your man likes a nice drink every once in awhile, he may not always buy something good quality for himself.  That is my last gift idea for guys (and actually, I'm following my own advice and getting this for my father).  Yes, this is expensive, but it's a nice treat and hell, he might need it to make it through all the family time!

That's all for this gift guide, my one for ladies will be going up later this week!

xoxo
Laura