Tuesday, December 02, 2014

NYC Long-Wearing Nail Enamel: Skin Tight Denim

I've had this dark blue polish for years now, but for some reason I was scared of wearing it for a really long time. I pulled the NYC Long-Wearing Nail Enamel in Skin Tight Denim out again the other day though and it's just such a gorgeous, gorgeous shade of blue, somewhere between navy and ultramarine, that I don't know why it's taken me so long to come around to it. It's just blue enough to look blue and not black, but it's not necessarily an in-your-face bright hue. It's also got just a hint of metallic-y shimmer running through it, and I know a lot of people don't like metallics or glitter in their nail polish, but I've never really gotten out of the pre-teen obsession with it. The metallic effect is honestly quite subtle though, and I think it just lends a really pretty finish to the nails.

Again, I'm always into the glitter, so I jazzed things up on both ring fingers with a layer of a brown sparkly Lord & Taylor polish on top of the blue. Unfortunately this mini was a gift so I don't know the name of the shade, but Essie's Summit of Style looks similar.

I think this is such a pretty colour on both fingers and toes for the winter months. It's a very cool-toned polish that can be bold and striking in some lights, and more muted and subtle in others. What do you think?

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Currently... | November 2014

It's the last day of November, and you know what that means...the holiday festivities can really kick off tomorrow! Instead of doing a monthly favourites, I thought I'd try something a little different and record a little snapshot of life as I currently know it.


...loving in my makeup bag
Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey. This is so, so perfect for just slicking on everyday when running to and from classes - it's got a lovely dark but sheer berry-toned tint, goes on so smoothly, and is wonderfully hydrating.

origins plantscription face oil clinique almost lipstick black honey

...loving on my skin

The Origins Plantscription Face Oil. Slathering oil on a somewhat blemish-prone face takes some getting used to, but with the cold wind whipping at my poor skin all day every day, my face is definitely appreciating the extra hydration.


Aaallll the cozy warm sweaters


A Nation in Pain by Judy Foreman and The Pain Chronicles by Melanie Thernstrom. Yes, they're both suggested reading for a class on, you guessed it, pain, but they're actually pretty good. The Pain Chronicles in particular has a lot of the author's own experience and narrative weaved in. It may not seem too applicable right now to us younger folk, but chronic pain is so prevalent that it's still definitely something to be aware of.

pain book

...listening to

All the Christmas playlists I can find on 8tracks and Spotify. I'm also going to see Book of Mormon Wednesday night (eeee!) so I've been listening to the Broadway recording of it quite a bit!


Mug cakes. I'm obsessed. I have to stop myself from making them every single night...I blame Amanda's Double Chocolate Mug Cake recipe for opening me up to the wonderful world of no-hassle desserts.


Delving into my statistics textbook. I'm in serious trouble for that class, which just makes me even more reluctant to dive in, because I know as soon as I do I'll realize the situation is even more dire than I thought it was and I'll just be even more anxious...it's a vicious cycle. I clearly have this whole studying thing down pat.

...proud of

The fact that I finally put together a passable CV. I don't know how I've managed to scrape by without one up til this point, but I've got one, which is the important part!

...worried about

Finals....'nuff said.

...excited for

Christmas! I know it might seem early for some of you but I've been listening to Christmas music for three weeks already and I'm not stopping any time soon! I absolutely adore snow, winter, the holiday season, and just everything that goes along with that. Whenever the snow is falling outside, I have to keep myself from having a huge dopey grin on my face as I pretend I'm walking around in a snowglobe. I also spent the weekend Christmas shopping, tree-decorating, and card-writing, all while carolling at the top of my lungs in my bedroom...you can never have too much Christmas spirit, right?

I also can't believe I'm going to be back home in Calgary in less than three weeks - I know everyone says this at all points in the year, but time flies.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Neostrata: Gel Cleanser & Matifying Fluid

My mother is forever picking up bargain beauty buys for me whenever she's out shopping, which I love and am eternally grateful for. Over the summer she picked up a duo of Neostrata products for me for an absolute steal of around $14 at Winners, and considering I've seen these retail at around $30 each in drugstores, snagging both products together for half that price was fantastic.

Amazing deals at Winners aside, I've been using both the Clarifying Gel Cleanser and Oil Free Matifying Fluid regularly for a few months now, and they've definitely become staples in my skincare routine.

The cleanser is a light blue gel that can be lathered up nicely and massaged into the skin, leaving things feeling noticeably cleaner and fresher. It has 2% salicylic acid, which is handy for blemish-prone skin, but I haven't found it overly drying or irritating even after using it daily or even twice a day for months. This has honestly been my daily go-to cleanser, both first thing in the morning and in the evenings after taking off my makeup.

The matifying fluid is a bit more of a unique product - I haven't yet come across something quite like it. It can be used as a primer for makeup, but I've honestly just been using it to tone down the shine all over my face on no-makeup days. It comes out of the tube as a rather watery white fluid, which you can then massage into your T-zone, or if you tend to start looking like an oil slick all over like I do, all over your face. What happens next is kind of strange: it doesn't really absorb, per se, but the fluid somehow changes texture and instantly mattes things down...and the important part is that it keeps things under control for hours. I'm not really sure how to describe it - it ends up with almost a powdery, chalky texture, but in a really good way, if that makes sense at all. It leaves my skin feeling super smooth and soft and non-greasy, which I am all for. Apparently it's filled with all these little microspheres that sit on your skin and absorb all the excess oil, which is how it gets its matifying properties - whatever it is, it works!

I'm not sure I'd pay full price for either of these, but for the price I got them for there's no denying that they do an excellent job of what they claim to do. I actually like the no-fuss packaging and product names, it just makes it simple and easy to pinpoint what you're using and why you're using it.

What's your current go-to cleanser? Have you come across any similar "matifying fluids"?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sweater Weather

Sweater Weather
Sweater Weather

It's getting to that chilly time of year again, and when I can't be bothered to shimmy myself into a skirt and a pair of tights, you'll 100% find me slouching around in jeans and comfy sweaters instead. And before we get into it, I'm just going to go ahead and throw it out there that American Eagle jeggings are the only jeans I've found that even come close to fitting me, so I own about twelve million pairs of them in different washes and they're the only jeans I wear, and the only jeans pictured below.

Here's some of my favourite cozy knitwear!

Sweater Weather
sweater: H&M // boots: Aldo // hat: Call It Spring

I've never been able to convince myself that I can pull off beanies, but here I am taking the plunge...(and finally succumbing to the bitterly cold reality of Montreal and Calgary winters.) Also, this sweater was on sale for $10. Win.

Sweater Weather
sweater: Bootlegger // booties: Aldo // jacket: River Island 

Something a for a warmer sweater weather day, ya know what I mean? I like to think that the leather jacket and heeled booties keep the sparkly sweater from looking too...glittery.

Sweater Weather
sweater: H&M // boots: Hunter // scarf: it's that one from Germany // leg warmers: Ardene  

You can never go wrong with a chunky knit sweater and a basic infinity scarf for those really lazy days...throw on a pair leg warmers if it's really chilly and you're good to go!

 Sweater Weather
sweater: Garage // boots: Nine West

And finally, something that's just a touch less slouchy and more classy. Since everything in that photo is pitch dark from the waist down, I thought I'd throw in a couple shots of those fuzzy suede booties I'm wearing, since they have quite a bit of detail - I snagged them for around $35 at a sale a few years back and I still absolute adore them and pull them out on a regular basis, both for casual daily wear and for evenings out. I haven't seen any really similar styles since I bought them, so let me know if you find anything like them!

suede boots

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Jenna Hipp: Shaken Not Stirred

I'm back with another Jenna Hipp nail lacquer, and this time it's Shaken Not Stirred. As much as it might seem like a toned-down neutral at first glance, I actually think it's quite a unique colour. I see tons of beiges and greiges out there, but to be honest I don't think I've seen many straight-up greys. It's got enough colour not to make me look like a corpse, but not so much that I look like a robot. It strikes a nice balance in between...because we're all looking for that balance between corpse and robot, right?

Yeeeah. Sorry. Not the best at describing colours...still working on that.

I'm not sure how well it translates in the photos, but in certain lights this also has a cool, almost blue-y undertone that's also really flattering.

The point is, I think this is a lovely and surprisingly versatile colour for anything from a sophisticated and classy night out, to day-to-day life as a student. I never thought I'd find myself reaching for a grey nail polish on a regular basis, yet here I am!

What do you think of grey nails?

Friday, November 21, 2014

Life in Pictures #5 | Holiday Spirit

It's time for another Life in Pictures, where I share an incredibly random assortment of pictures from the past week of my life, and leave the bulk of the explaining up to you guys!

christmas lights
starbucks red cup
candy shop
christmas lights

P.S. In case you couldn't tell, just throwing it out there that I live for Christmastime, so there's going to be plenty of holiday excitement going down in all aspects of my life over the next month...

P.P.S. I finally got around to joining the Instagram party...go give me a cheeky follow @carinaaroo!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sephora Skincare Goodies



Now that the holiday season is looming ever nearer, Sephora's bringing out all the goodies in the form of value sets and limited edition collections. I added so many to my "Loves" list on the Sephora website that it took all the self-control I had not to add them all to my basket...nonetheless, I used my dwindling tube of the Murad Acne Body Wash (which I reviewed here) as an excuse to place an order to repurchase it, and treated myself to a value set. After much indecision, I settled on the Origins Bestseller Kit as I was planning on picking up the GinZing Eye Cream and Charcoal Mask anyway, and this set includes a full size of the eye cream and a mini of the mask. It also has minis of the GinZing Energy Boosting Moisturizer, Night-A-Mins Renewal CreamPlantscription Face Oil, and Frothy Face Wash, which made it incredible value for money - the eye cream on its own is $37.50, and the entire set only cost $46. It seems I placed my order just in time, too, as the kit went out of stock within a day or two afterwards and I don't think it's coming back, unfortunately...but some other similar skincare value sets I'd still definitely go for are the Cleansing Ritual To Go and Beauty Unmasked sets, which are under $40 and feature a few Origins goodies as well as a few other products from brands like Boscia and First Aid Beauty that I would definitely shell out for. If you planning on getting one, make sure you snap it up now because these skincare sets are selling out really quickly!

Sephora's also currently offering 8 free samples (code SEASONSET) on online orders of at least $35, which come in a red makeup bag as a bonus. There are 3 options available - I went for the Flawless Refresh, featuring a ton of skincare products, a few lip colours, and some fragrances. The First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, Clinique Almost Lipstick in Black Honey, and the GlamGlow ThirstyMud Hydrating Treatment were highlights of this set that I've wanted to try for a while, which is why I chose Flawless Refresh, but there are also some reeeally nice minis in the A Bright Night Out and Pampered Party Prep as well so it was a tough call!

Of course, there are also the 3 free samples that come with every Sephora order: this time around, keeping in with the skincare theme, I went for the Cover FX BB Gel Mattifying Anti-Blemish Treatment, Shisheido IBUKI Refining Moisturizer, and GlamGlow PowerMud Dualcleanse Treatment.

Finally, I was pleasantly surprised to discover an enveloped filled with perfume samples in my box - everything from Tom Ford to Chanel and a few other goodies!

After this little haul, I think I'm set for experimenting in the skincare department for quite a little while. It'll be a toughie not going crazy and using all the new things at once...much as I'd love that, I don't think my skin would agree quite so much, unfortunately, so I'll be spacing things out and sampling everything in the coming weeks and months.

What are your favourite holiday products? Do you have your eye on any value sets at the moment?