Lights Lacquer Nail Polish Review

Hey guys! So today I am doing a review on Lights Lacquer. The brand is owned by Kathleen Lights, one of my favourite YouTubers. I’ve purchased some polish from her previous brand, KL Polish. I would buy every single one of her nail polishes if the shipping to Canada wasn’t so expensive. But when I saw the fall collection I decided I needed some of those polishes in my life and purchased some!

I purchased three from her fall collection and two from other collections. The three from the fall collection are Mia, At Last, and We’ll Always Have Paris. The other two are Amethyst and Ruby.

I must say that all the shades are gorgeous. I don’t own anything in my collection like these five. There is a nice variety in the formulas as well. Mia and At Last are creme finishes, Amethyst is a shimmer, We’ll Always Have Paris is a micro-shimmer, and Ruby is like a jelly with shimmer. I love all the shades.

They were all easy to apply. We’ll Always Have Paris was the easiest because it’s a light colour so if I were to make any mistakes it didn’t show up. Ruby was a little more difficult because it’s a jelly with glitter so it’s easy to accidentally apply too much, but I didn’t find it too difficult.

The longevity of the nail polish varies. Keep in mind that I am not gentle with my nails. I don’t wear gloves while I do the dishes and I’m pretty careless when it comes to opening things. So obviously if you are gentler with your nails they will last longer. Also, the top and case coat you use can make a difference, and both of mine are pretty old. Mia lasted about two days before it started to chip. About a week later it was pretty badly chipped and needed to be redone. At Last was pretty similar timing. I don’t have any pictures of that one though because I just painted over the chips to extend the wear time. We’ll Always Have Paris has the best wear time so far. The combination of it being a glitter and a light colour meant that it’s last five days so far with minimal chipping.

So my overall thoughts on Lights Lacquer. I think if you want some unique shades, then it’s a good place to shop. If you want something that lasts long, either go for the glitters or shop somewhere else. These are gel so they aren’t supposed to last forever without chipping. I don’t mind that they chip because I love the colours so much. I will continue to wear these and would consider shopping from there again in the future.

Let me know in the comments below if you’ve ever tried Lights Lacquer or KL Polish before. As well, let me know what your favourite nail polish brand is, I would love to test it out!

xoxo

Lea

November Boxycharm 2020

Hey guys! Today’ post is my November Boxycharm. I would recommend watching my unboxing on Youtube if you haven’t already to see these products in action. I’ve tested the products a bit more and I’m ready to give you guys a more in-depth review.

Up first is the Natasha Denona Peak Palette. This palette is exclusive to Boxycharm, but the brand does have other five-pan eyeshadow palettes. I like the layout because it gives everything I need to great a warm-toned eyeshadow look. Natasha Denona’s eyeshadow formula is amazing – the mattes and pigmented but easy to blend and the shimmers are so gorgeous on the lid. Trying out the mini palettes is a great way to try out the formula before investing in a large eyeshadow palette as well. I definitely see myself using this more in the future. Price: $48 US (but also the mini palettes sell for $33 CAD on the Sephora website).

The next product is actually a new launch – the Dr. Brandt Antioxidant Spray Toner. I love a good toner, but I’ve never tried a hydrating toner before. This is supposed to tone, sooth and purify the skin to leave it feeling soft, hydrated and revitalized. Now I still need to test this out more because I find that it takes awhile to see results with skincare. The toner absorbs into the skin so quickly. The first time I used it I didn’t think I got anything on my face because when I went to rub it in the toner had already absorbed into the skin. What I’ve noticed so far it that the toner takes away that tightness in my skin after using a cleanser. I still need to go in with a moisturizer. This would be great for anyone with dry skin who don’t like oil controlling toners. Price: $40 US

The next product is the Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow+ Tinted Volumizing Gel. I rarely wear brow gel. My brows are naturally decent. There are a few bald spots that I fill in with a pencil but they stay in place pretty well. If you are someone who likes feathery brows or don’t have a lot of brows to begin with, this is the brow gel for you. It has some colour and volume to the existing brow hairs. It’s really easy to get the feathery look as well. Once it sets the brow gel stay put pretty well, unless you aggressively rub it (but why would you be rubbing your brows lol). If you are looking for a brow gel this is a good option. Price: $24 US, $32 CAD

I think my favourite product in this box is the Moda Ultimate Eye Sculptors. I love Moda brushes, I just find they are such good quality at a good price point. These two are unique in shape but work so well. The crease brush is tapered and oval in shape instead of round. This allows the brush to really get in the crease and blend out shadows while keeping the colour the most concentrated in the deep part of the crease. I don’t own anything like the triad eye brush. It’s triangular and cut at an angle that allows the brush to perfectly get into the outer crease. This is perfect for darkening up the outer v of the eye. I’m in love with these brushes and I see myself using the all the time in the future. Price: $15 US (currently on sale for $9!!)

And the final product is the Half Caked Game Changer Lip Fondant Trio. I absolutely love the branding of this makeup company, it’s just so girly and fun. That being said, I wish I had received something else because a liquid lipstick trio. I don’t wear lip products that much right now (because of masks and not leaving the house) and when I do it’s either a lip balm or a lip gloss. So I don’t see myself getting much use out of it. But I do like the fact that it’s a trio, so there are three shades. On the website you can choose any three shades within their range, but I received Theme Song, Low Key and 82′ Bordeaux. I think my favourite is 82′ Bordeaux, which is a deep red wine. The formula is easy to apply and transfer-proof at least. Price: $36 for trio (currently on sale for $32) or $12 for one lipstick

The overall total of my box is $159 US. I think this box is pretty good! Benefit and Natasha Denona are both really known brands. I also know Dr Brandt and Moda from having a Boxycharm subscritpion for awhile. The only brand I haven’t heard of before is Half Caked and I’m really into their branding. Sure I would have preferred maybe a gloss from Half Caked, but I don’t think there were any bad products in this box.

Let me know if you guys have tried any products in my box. And if you guys get Boxycharm, let me know in the comments what products you got in your box!

xoxo

Lea

Book Lover Gift Guide

Hey guys! Today is the last part of my gift guide series, and we are finishing strong with book lovers. If you guys follow my blog, you will know that my love of reading has come back stronger than ever this year. So I thought it was only fitting to do a book lover gift guide. I understand that buying books for someone can be hard. You might not know what books they already own or what they like to read. I’m here to help you out. I will be giving both book recommendations and a list of things that aren’t books that any book lover would love.

First, if you can take a look at their bookshelf. That way you don’t get a book they already have. Another option is looking at their wish list, whether it is on Goodreads or Amazon. If it’s on their wish list, a good chance is that they want to read it. A safe option is to buy them a gift card to a bookstore, that way they can pick out what books they want. But if you have an idea of what they like, then I would recommend getting a recent book launch. If the book came out recently then they are probably less likely to own it. All the books that I will be featuring on my list are all books that have come out this year and have good reviews. I haven’t read any of them so I can’t personally vouch if they are good books. But I have planning to post the best and worst books I’ve read this year sometime in mid-December, so you can also wait and check out that post. Okay, let’s get into the books.

Also just a note, I will be linking the Goodreads page for all the books for two reasons. First that way you can review the description of the book and some reviews to help you decide what to pick. Second I know most of you guys aren’t Canadian so it didn’t make sense to link to Indigo (our book store). So just order the books wherever you shop for books – but I recommend trying to buy from local stores if possible this holiday season 🙂

Mystery and Thriller

  1. Guest List by Lucy Foley. My mom has this book and I’ll probably read it eventually as well. This is a murder mystery set during a wedding on a small island off the coast of Ireland.
  2. One by One by Ruth Ware. A suspenseful thriller set at a mountain chalet. Perfect to read during winter – and I’m sure you’ll be excited to go to a chalet after reading this haha.
  3. The Searcher by Tana French. Another book set in Ireland, this one follows a retired detective who helps a boy find his missing brother.

Historical Fiction

  1. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. My mom read this book and loved it – she passed it along for me to read. The story follows Lakshmi who runs away from an arranged marriage and becomes a famous henna artist. This book is set in 1950s Jaipur.
  2. The Book of Lost Names by Kristin Hamel. Based on a true story of a woman who uses forgery to help hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis.
  3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett. I have heard so many good things about this book and I have it on my wish list. The story follows two twins, one who moves away and secretly passes for white. It’s set in the Deep South from the 1950s to 1990s.

Fantasy and Sci-fi

  1. Crescent City by Sarah J Maas. This is Sarah J Maas’s newest series and it’s one of Goodread’s top fantasy books of the year.
  2. The House in the Cerulean Sea. This book is highly rated and is described as a heartwarming tale about finding your family but make it ✨ fantasy ✨. It has great LGBT representation as well.
  3. The City We Became by N.K. Jeminsin. This is the first book is a new series by Jeminsin, that follows five people must come together and defend the city of New York.
  4. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. I have heard SO many good things about this book and want to read it. It’s about a girl who haves a deal that she lives forever but is forgotten by everyone she meets, that is until someone does remember her name.
  5. To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini. For anyone Eragon fans, check out Paolini’s new adult sci-fi that is a first-contact-with-aliens tale.

Romance

  1. One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London. Bea, who is a plus-sized fashion blogger, gest to be the next star on Main Squeeze (a fictional version of the Bachelor/Bachelorette).
  2. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert. This is a fake-dating-to-lovers between a Black, bi-sexual PhD student and a Muslim Pakistani-British ex-rugby player. Great diversity but also a super cute and fun book.
  3. Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. This sapphic romance is between Jo and her assistant Emma after they are photographed together on the red carpet.

Non-Fiction

  1. Untamed by Glennon Doyle. This was on top of the bestseller list for weeks. It’s about female empowerment and finding your true self.
  2. Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forget by Mikki Kendall. I think the title is pretty self-explanatory, but this is a book about intersectionality and feminism.
  3. A Promised Land by Barack Obama. This is Obama’s first memoir, starting at his political education through his first time as president.
  4. The Answer Is…: Reflections on My Life by Alex Trebek. This autobiography is of Alex Trebek, the host of Jeopardy!
  5. Extraordinary Canadians by Peter Mansbridge with Mark Bulgutch. I had to include at least one Canadian book on this list. This book is a collection of stories of Canadians who embody kindness, compassion, courage and freedom.

Cookbooks

  1. Modern Comfort Food by Ina Garten. I looked at this book in store. This is perfect for someone pretty new to cooking because it goes through all the basics. Comfort food is also perfect for this time of year and also with everything that is going on in the world.
  2. Antoni in the Kitchen by Antoni Porowski. If you know anyone who is a Queer Eye fan you have to get them this book. And even if they aren’t, there are some cool dishes in this book. They’re all elevated by simple to do.
  3. Outlander Kitchen: To the New World and Back Again: The Second Official Outlander Companion Cookbook by Theresa Carle-Sanders. If you know anyone in your life who is an Outlander fan and like to cook, get them this book. It’s full of recipes inspired by the places they go and the people in the books. They decided to do a second cookbook since the first one was so successful. If I hadn’t already bought my mom a cookbook for Christmas I would get her this one (I’ll probably get it for her birthday).

YA Novels

I could probably do a whole post on YA books but here are a few.

  1. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson. Who doesn’t love a good murder mystery? The sequel also came out this year, so you can always give them both books as well.
  2. Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. I have seen this all over booktok. It’s about a trans boy who summons a ghost to help him prove his gender to his traditional Latinx family.
  3. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron. A spin on the classic Cinderella story, it’s been summarized as black queer girls overthrowing the patriarchy.
  4. Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. This is the perfect book for anyone who is a fan of City of Bones. This is a contemporary fantasy that puts a twist on King Arthur but with Southern Black Girl Magic.
  5. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare. This one follows the story of Cordelia Carstairs, so anyone who’s favourite series is The Infernal Devices then will love this book.

Other Gifts

  1. Getting someone to store their book is always a good idea. If they have a small space a cart is a good idea. If they have more space then a bookshelf can be a good idea.
  2. If you have a friend that you always borrow books from, get them a library stamp or library embosser. This way the person can make their books and feel better about giving them out. There are so many cute customizable ones on Etsy.
  3. Getting someone book-themed art. It could be a print of their favourite book cover, it could be a college of classics, a stack of banned books, a book genre poster, or maybe some fanart or the map from their favourite series.
  4. If you know someone who loves to read in the bath, getting them a bath tray will help them not drop the book in the water.
  5. A book subscription service. There are so many out there, but most will send a book with some goodies every single month. The goodies range from merch to coffee or treats. I would recommend Googling it to find the best ones in your country.

And there you go guys! My super long list of recommendations for the book lover in your life. Let me know if you have any recommendations, whether it be books or book-related items in the comments down below!

xoxo

Lea

Beauty Lover Gift Guide

Hey guys! Today is the first of a few gift guides! I know it’s only November, but I wanted to get these gift guides up early for two reasons. First is next week is Black Friday, so there will be lots of deals (aka perfect time to shop). A second, with COVID-19 I’m sure lots of people will be shopping online so it’ll be best to do your shopping earlier if you want your packages to get delivered on time. So I have this post going up today, a general gift guide going up on Youtube on Sunday, and a book lover post going up on Tuesday. So let’s get into this beauty specific gift guide!

The first thing I’m going to recommend is a gift card. I know that might seem like a cop-out, but let me convince you otherwise. If you are reading this to figure out to get someone who likes makeup and skincare, they probably have a large collection. It could be hard to pick something out that they don’t already have in their collection. My mom doesn’t buy me makeup for Christmas anymore unless I specifically ask for a certain product. So by giving someone a gift card, they can get want they want! As well, the person could pool together other gift cards and money to get a more expensive product that someone might not be able to afford individually. So when in doubt, get a gift card! Okay now into specific products.

The first is the Revlon One-Step Hair Dryer. I got a similar one for Christmas last year and it’s pretty good. I know that some higher end brands have their own version, but I’ve seen so many reviews saying that the Revlon one is just as good so might as well get the cheaper one. This is perfect for someone who wants to do their hair but doesn’t know how to do a blowout. I think this is a great present.

One of the best kits when it comes to value is the First Aid Beauty All That Fab set. It’s a $167 value for only $64!! First Aid Beauty has some great skincare products and this set contains all of the best. The brand is also known for being great for people with sensitive skin, so you don’t have to worry about the products irritating someone’s skin.

If you know someone who has been eyeing Charlotte Tilbury products, then the Pillow Talk Lip Secrets Lip Set is the perfect gift. It comes with a full-size of their matte lipstick in the iconic shade Pillow Talk. It also comes with a mini of the matching lip liner. Finally, it comes with two lip glosses – one shimmery and one clear. Listen, if I didn’t already have this lipstick I would pick up this set.

Up next are two gifts for someone who can’t live without doing their eyebrows. Both Anastasia Beverly Hills and Benefit Cosmetics have sets that include both a brow pencil and a brow gel. Brow products are a great gift because it’s something people go through quickly. Also, it can be pretty easy to pick someone’s shade if you know their hair colour. ABH has four shade options and Benefit has three shade options.

The Fenty Beauty gloss sets have now become a staple for the brand. This year’s set includes four new shades – so you don’t have to worry if someone already has these shades. They come in a variety of shades so it matches a variety of tones. A great tip, you can also buy the set and spilt up the lipglosses. So if you are doing stocking stuffers or little gifts for your friends, you can give two to someone, or one each to four people (or to three people and keep one for yourself 😉).

A great skincare set is the Origins Mask Delights Mask Essentials Set. I’ve gotten myself this set in the past (hehe) and I loved it. Even though they are deluxe samples, there is a decent amount of product so I got many masks out of the tubes. This is a great way to try and test out a bunch of masks. I ended up getting the full size of the Out of Trouble mask, and I also loved the Retexturizing mask. This set is great if you don’t know someone’s skin type because there is a range of mask (but I will say it leans more oily). It’s also a pretty affordable gift at $25.

Similar to the Origins set is the Peter Thomas Roth Mix, Mask & Hydrate mask set. The jars are bigger than the Origins set (50 ml compared to 15 ml), but still smaller than a full-size mask (50 ml to 150 ml). This also someone to test and try out different masks. But just based on the size they will probably have these samples for a while. And I find this set more hydrating compared to the Origins set. I have the Irish Moor Mud mask and it’s pretty good, and my mom swears by the Rose Stem Cell mask.

When in doubt, getting a makeup lover a brush set is a great way to go. I picked out this Sephora Collection one because it looks pretty but there are so many great options out there. Brushes are a great option because it’s something that people don’t necessarily purchase for something, but it’s something they can always use more of. Having multiple brushes means I can extend the amount of time I can go in between washing my makeup brushes!

Now I don’t normally recommend perfume because it’s so personal. Everyone likes different scents and how a perfume interacts with someone’s body chemistry can change the scent as well. So I wouldn’t recommend a perfume unless you know exactly what they want. BUT if you know a perfume lover, getting them a sampler is a great option. I found this REPLICA Mini Discover Set. It has different scents so people can test out and see what they like. A bonus is you can offer you purchase the full size of their favourite scent for their birthday!

If you don’t have a lot of money, then getting a couple of Sephora face masks is a great option. This Skincare Surprise Set comes with a nose strip, an eye mask, a face mask and a lip scrub. At $14, this is perfect for a Secret Santa gift. Or you could also divide this up and use it for stocking stuffers as well.

I started with a blow dryer brush and I’m finishing with a legit blow dryer. The Drybar Buttercup Blow Dryer Set is the perfect gift for someone who is looking for a blow dryer. It comes with a brush, clips and three of Drybar’s hair products – a serum, a dry shampoo and a heat protector. This set is the same price as the normal blow dryer, so you might as well get all the goodies that come with it! If I wasn’t looking for a diffuser attachment I would ask for this for Christmas.

And that is my beauty lover gift guide! Let me know in the comments down below what is on your holiday wish list this year guys!

xoxo

Lea

Book Review 012

Hey guys! I am back with another book review. These are the books that I’ve read since finished the Throne of Glass series in mid-October. I’ve started a book journal recently so I’m hoping that it will be easier for me to write my reviews now. So let’s get into the books.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

So if you guys didn’t watch my Vlogtober videos, you might have missed that I recently purchased a bunch of classic novels. I was drawn by the beautiful covers, but I also haven’t read many classics so I decided to purchase 11 lol. I choose Frankenstein as the first one to read since it was October and I wanted something for the spooky season.

I’ve heard of Frankenstein is passing but I didn’t know the actual story. For those who also don’t know, Frankenstein is a Swiss scientist who creates this creature who wreaks havoc on Frankenstein’s life (Frankenstein was the scientist, not the monster). So I enjoyed learning the actual story. There are so great lessons to learn from the novel, and I also liked how the story ended. But that’s where my positives end.

I wasn’t very engaged while reading Frankenstein. I often found myself taking phone breaks, something I don’t normally do. I also fell asleep once while reading the novel. I found that they were too many descriptive passage and long monologues that didn’t add anything to the storyline.

When reading a horror, thriller, or mystery, predictable is an important aspect. I don’t mind if I can predict the plot twists, but I prefer it when I don’t. I predicted some things and other things I didn’t. So if you are someone who hates predictability, this book was 50/50.

Frankenstein is supposed to be one of the most famous gothic horrors. Now I don’t know much about the genre, but I expected to be scared. Overall I don’t think this is scary by modern standards, but I understand that at the time it could have been radical. Overall though I didn’t satisfy my wish for something scary during the Halloween season.

I give this book a 3/5. I can see why it’s a classic and why people like it. But I wasn’t engaged or scared, two things that I wanted from this book. Fingers crossed that some of my other classics are better than this one.

Gimme a Call by Sarah Mlynowski

I have a very large physical to be read list, with books that I’ve purchased back in middle school on my shelf. This is one of them. I kept this book because I’ve read quite a few other Mlynowski books, with the Bra and Broomsticks series being one of my tween faves. So I decided to give this book a chance.

The story follows Devi, a high school senior who drops her phone in a fountain and can only talk to her freshman self. Devi gives her younger self advice, such as staying away from her ex-boyfriend and how to get good grades. I loved the concept of this novel. Mlynowski took the simple idea of what would you say to your past self and developed into a story. I liked that whenever Devi tried to change the past it had ramifications for her current self, and they were both positive and negative.

I think there are great themes and lessons in this novel. I think they are great for younger readers to read and learn about. I think if I was 14 I would love this book, but a lot of the lessons I’ve just learned myself growing up.

There was also a lot of second-hand embarrassment that is common in younger YA novels. I’m not a huge fan of it. Sure it’s fine in small doses but too much is just too cringy for me. But maybe that’s just my age showing.

This book is also set in the late 2000s/early 2010s, so it was so fun to reach about fashion and technology back then. I grew up during this time so it was fun to reminisce.

I give this book a 3.5/5. I loved this concept and it’s something I will think about in the future. I would recommend this to younger readers, maybe 12-16. If I was younger I think I would enjoy this book more. But at 23 I just couldn’t handle the second-hand embarrassment.

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

A nonfiction book for once! I don’t read a ton of nonfiction but I had read amazing things about this book. I also love history so I thought this would be a good read for me. Sapiens is an overview of humankind from our creation to our current times (published in 2014) and also looking at future possibilities.

Now I took a break reading this book when I was about halfway through. I started it back in August, trying to read nonfiction and fiction at the same time. Then I started Throne of Glass and that went out the window. After Gimme a Call I decided to dedicate myself to finishing this book.

First, let’s breakdown the content. I picked up this novel hoping to learn a lot and I honestly knew a lot of what he talked about already. I’ve taken a few anthropology and history courses at university as well as learning many different ideological theories during my studies. Because Harari is covering such a large timespan, he just skims the surface on many different things. I wish he would have dived deeper into certain subjects more. But he does have an in-depth reference list, so I could look at his sources if I want to learn more about a certain subject.

What stands out though is that Harari has a different point of view compared to what I learned in school. So it was interesting because some of what he says is contrary to popular opinion. I also enjoyed his section on happiness because it was one of the few areas I didn’t know anything about it. The only thing is I don’t remember much of what he said. I almost needed to have taken notes to help me absorb some of what he said.

Now let’s breakdown the writing, because I think that’s just as important as the content for nonfiction. I found his writing style to be very straight forward and simple. The times that I didn’t know about something already, it was easy for me to get because it explained it well. I did find it a bit dry though. So the combination of me knowing information and a dry style meant that I wasn’t very excited to read the novel. I set myself daily page goals to get through this book. Nonfiction books can be engaging, but this one just wasn’t it.

So overall I give this book a 3/5. I would say it’s not the most exciting but it is easy to read. I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in history but doesn’t know much about it. If you have a moderate knowledge of history and anthropology, then you’ll be like me and be bored.

So guys those are the novels I’ve heard recently. Three very average books. Let me know if the comments what you have read recently and if you have any recommendations. I have a pretty long TBR, but I can always bump books up if you want me to read them sooner. 🙂

xoxo

Lea

Sephora VIB Sale Haul + Announcement

Hey guys! So let’s start with the announcement because that’s the exciting part. So I’ve mentioned on both my Instagram and Youtube that I got a part-time job that’s not in PR for the time being. So today I have my first in-store shift at SEPHORA! I know, super exciting! The position is only a seasonal cashier for now. Since it’s only part-time I am still planning to be posting twice a week. But I do want to make it clear that all opinions on my blog, Instagram and Youtube are my own and do not reflect those at Sephora.

So let’s get into the haul. Sorry I didn’t get the chance to post this before the sale was over. This isn’t going to be an in-depth review just because I haven’t had the chance to test the products out. I just wanted to let you guys know what I got quickly so you could pick them up while they are still in stock.

The first item is the Briogeo Merry Multi-Masking Kit ft. Don’t Despair Repair Deep Conditioning Honey Bear Mask. I got this set because I’ve heard so many good things about the Honey Bear mask in this kit. Unfortunately, the kit is sold out, and it’s the only way to get the Honey Bear mask. But the other two masks in this kit (the Don’t Despair Repair and Be Gentle, Be Kind masks) are both permanent products so you guys can still pick those up. There are also other kits featuring these masks as well.

The next product I got is the Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask. I had a sample of this mask before and I loved it so much that I decided to get a full size. It’s different compared to other hydrating masks because it gets warm and tingly. I would describe it more like a restorative mask. It takes my skin from blah to ahhhh. And the packaging is just beautiful.

The final two products are both Hourglass. The first is the Mini Ambient Lighting Edit. This is a limited edition product for the holidays that features a powder, blush, bronzer and highlight. I have heard so many good things about Hourglass face products so I thought it would be a nice way to try multiple of their products. The second Hourglass product is Unlocked Instant Extensions Lengthening Mascara. It’s a tubing mascara, which means that I only need to use water to wash off the mascara. I’ve never tried a tubing mascara so I thought it would be interesting to try!

I am so excited to play and test out all of these products. Let me know in the comments what you picked up in the Sephora VIB sale!

xoxo

Lea

Introducing my Book Journal

Hey guys! So if you haven’t noticed, I’ve gotten into reading recently. I loved reading when I was a teenager, but university and college impacted my reading levels. I was just so tired from studying all day that I wasn’t very motivated to read. But the combination of finishing school and being in a pandemic has increased the amount of reading I’m doing. I decided to start reviewing books on my blog and my Tiktok. But I realized I needed a better way to keep track of everything. That’s where the idea to have a reading journal came in.

Before I had two ways of tracking my reading. I have a page in my bullet journal where I simply rate the books I’ve read. It’s right beside my page for tv shows. Then after I finish book I write on a sticky note some of my thoughts and put it in the book. From there I would write a blog post. But I felt a void in this system. My notes weren’t quite small and simple. I also wasn’t keeping track of the dates. And finally I like to have physical records of thing (case in point my bullet journal), so I wasn’t satisfied with just digital reviews. So that’s why I decided to create a reading journal.

My previous book tracking system

I’ve seen it mentioned on TikTok before so I decided to do some research. And well it was a little overwhelming. There were so many different ones. Some people like to write notes while they read. There are some premade journals on the market as well. And finally some people are creative and do almost bullet journal like spreads for the reading journal. I debated buying a premade journal but I couldn’t find one that I liked exactly.

Then I had the brilliant idea of just creating my own layout in a notebook. As a notebook hoarder I have a few empty ones lying around. So I grabbed one and look at different layouts and pick and choose what I wanted to include in my.

My index page

The first thing I wrote was an index. It’s funny because I don’t use my index in my bullet journal, but I knew it would be important in this reading journal. That way I can look at the index and see what page a book review is, instead of flipping all the pages to find what I’m looking for. It might be easy for me to find what I’m looking for now, but in the future once I have dozens on books in here it might be difficult.

Next I decided to dedicate one page per book/series. I know people have different thoughts on reviewing series. I’m personally team review-series-as-a-whole. I never read one individual book of a series. I prefer to read series all together and will avoid reading a series if all the books aren’t out. And I wouldn’t recommend a series to someone if the last book sucked even if the first book was good. So that’s why in my example Throne of Glass series is one page, similar to how I wrote one book review for the whole series.

So obviously I decided to include the book title and author. Then I included some descriptive information such as genre, length and publication date. That way if I don’t have the physical book with me I can remember certain aspects. This is also helpful to giving recommendations – if someone wants a short fantasy novel I can flip through and find that quickly.

My review of the “Throne of Glass” series

Next I included start and end dates. I have a pretty good memory of when I read books even if I don’t remember the plot lol. My mind works in interesting ways. But I thought the start and end date would be interesting to see how long it took me to get through a book.

Then for ratings I put overall rating as well and excitement and ease. I think that while excitement and ease factor into a book’s overall rating, they can be different. For example I gave Frankenstein a 3/5 for overall but only 2/5 in excitement. A book could be easy to read but not the best book. For example, I read Gimme a Call which is meant for young teens. So it was super easy for me to read, but other factors brought the rating down.

The biggest section is my thoughts. This is where I go in-depth into what I thought. I debated putting in a synopsis section, but then I realized I can easily just Google that if I forget it. Whereas I can’t Google my thoughts about the book if I forget it. So here I just put whatever I think about the book. I talk about plot, character development and relationships, world-building, writing style, themes, etc. This journal is for me so I write whatever I want.

Finally I put a recommend to section. Just because a book is good doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. Lots of people only read certain genres or certain subjects. Some people only read YA or adult books, so it’s good to identify if people outside YA or adult could read the novel. This will be helpful to reference back to as well. If someone is like “Oh I’m looking for a book with romance but doesn’t necessarily need to be just a romance book” I can flip through a find that.

So that is the layout of my reading journal. I currently have three books in here that I filled out this weekend. I am excited to use it more and hopefully stick with it. Maybe in a couple of months I’ll update you guys on how it’s working and if I would change anything. Let me know if you have a reading journal and how you use it in the comments below!

xoxo

Lea

November Products of the Month

Hey guys! It’s that time of the month where I review some products and pick some more to review lol. Every month I picked two products to focus on using up. I used the two items I picked for October quite often, so I have pretty definitive thoughts on the products. So let’s get into it.

The first product is the Too Faced Born This Way Ethereal Setting Powder. I was hoping to finish this powder but it’s still going strong. What I like about this powder is that it looks very smooth and soft on the face. It’s not too matte but it does help keep my oil at bay. The only thing is that I’ve noticed that it has a slight yellow tint to the powder. I always thought it was my concealers but I’ve come to realize that it’s the powder. Now that’s helpful is I apply a concealer that’s pink-based because it will help neutralize it. I just need to be careful because if I apply too much underneath my eyes I notice the yellow tint. For that reason, I prefer other powders, but it’s still good. I will continue to use it until I finish it.

The second product I picked for October is the Tarte Big Ego Mascara. This isn’t my favourite Tarte mascara. This one has a big mascara wand and I’m not a huge fan of those because I always manage to get mascara all over my lids. So that’s somewhat annoying. I also don’t like the formula. It’s more lengthening than volumizing, but even the length is pretty mediocre. It just doesn’t do much to enhance my natural lashes. And finally, I wore this outside one day when it was really cold so my eyes were watery. And it smudged all over the place! I’ve never had that happen to me before. Now this all might be because this mascara is ancient (aka I’ve had it for over a year) so that affects the quality of the makeup. I think based on my experience but also its age I’m going to throw it away.

Okay now for November! I’ve been trying to pick basic products that I will hopefully use even on days where I don’t wear much makeup. So keeping that in mind I have decided to pick a powder and a setting spray. The first is the Glossier Wowder. I got this powder back in August and I don’t think I’ve used it once since. So I thought it would be good to use it. The second product is the Milani Make It Last Setting Spray. I am pretty close to finishing this spray so I thought it would be good to finish it up and give my thoughts on it.

So those are my products for November. Let me know in the comments if you’ve tried either my October or November products and what your thoughts were on them.

xoxo

Lea

Sephora VIB Sale Recommendations

Hey guys! So today I am sharing a comprehensive list of recommendations for the Sephora VIB Sale. For those who don’t know, twice a year Sephora does a sale where you get anywhere from 10-to-20% off your purchase. This is huge because Sephora doesn’t often do sales. The dates of the sale and the percentage depends on what level of their BeautyInsider program you are (see photo below). I was debating doing this post but then ALL my friends were asking what I was getting and what I recommend. So if you are interested in what I’m ordering head over to my Instagram stories because I’ll show my cart there. I will also do a haul once I get my order. Here I will be doing an in-depth recommendation list. I’m going to go through each product category for makeup and skincare. Unfortunately, I don’t have the money (or have received in PR) to have tested every product under the sun, so I will be listing some products that I haven’t tried but I have heard positive reviews for. I will mark if I’ve tried a product or not. Okay, let’s get into it.

Makeup

Primer

First is a cult-classic, the Smashbox Photo Finish Smooth & Blur Primer. This is the primer to use if you have oily skin or if you just want to have a smooth and even canvas for your makeup. This is a primer I will always have in my collection. One that is my wish list is the Laneige Glowy Makeup Serum. I have loved every Laneige product that I have tried and I have heard amazing things about this primer. This serum is supposed to hydrate the skin and keep oils at bay while giving a visible glow to the skin AND helping makeup last longer. That sounds pretty perfect to me.

Foundation

There are so many good foundations on the market and it’s all about personal preference when it comes to foundation. Either of the Fenty foundations, the Matte and the Hydrating are both amazing. Both foundations are full coverage and long-lasting on the skin. A foundation that I have on my wish list is the NARS Soft Matte Complete Foundation. I’ve heard Kathleen Lights and Samantha Ravndahl rave about this foundation and they both have dry skin. They say that while it’s matte the foundation is quite natural and looks good on the skin. Sounds amazing to me. Now I’ve had a few people ask me for a lighter coverage foundation/tinted moisturizer. I haven’t tried either of these so sorry if it doesn’t work out. But if you want something with lighter coverage check out the Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer and the NARS Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer.

Concealer

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer. That’s it. That’s what I recommend. It’s my favourite concealer. Now if you aren’t satisfied with my one recommendation, then you can also check out the Hourglass Vanish Airbrush Concealer and the Kosas Revealer Concealer. I’ve heard good things about both of those concealers as well.

Face Products

I could be here forever if I were to list all the blushes, bronzer and highlights that I’ve heard good things about. There are just so many good ones on the market. So instead I’m going to give you some tips for picking out a good one. First, decide what formula you want. There is a difference between using a powder vs a cream/liquid. Picking a formula will help narrow down the options. Next, decide what shade you want. Not every brand has every shade. If you want a specific blush or highlight shade then that will limit what brands you pick from. Bronzers some brands will lean more warm-toned or cool-toned. A good list of brands for blush is NARS, Rare Beauty, Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, Tarte, Fenty and Nudestix. For bronzers I recommend: Benefit, Charlotte Tilbury, Marc Jacobs, Fenty and Milk Makeup. For highlight: Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury, Becca. As you can see there are a couple of brands who just do face products well across the board like Hourglass, Charlotte Tilbury and Fenty.

Setting Powder

One of my favourite setting powder is the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder. It gives a very soft and natural look to the skin. Not cakey and matte unlike a lot of setting powders. The one I would like to try is the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder. Similarly to the Hourglass one, the Charlotte Tilbury setting powder is supposed to blur and reduce shin. It’s not a heavy-duty powder.

Setting Spray

My two all-time favourites are MAC Prep + Prime Fix+ and Urban Decay All Nighter. If you guys follow my blog you know my love of these setting sprays. Two setting sprays that I would like to try are the Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray and the Hourglass Veil Setting Spray. The Charlotte Tilbury setting spray is supposed to be amazing at locking in makeup. The Hourglass one is supposed to be great at hydrating and blurring the skin.

Eyebrows

You can’t go wrong with a brow pencil from Anastasia Beverly Hills or Benefit. Both the Brow Wiz and Precisely My Brow are fan favourites for a reason. I’ve noticed that a few brands are coming out with their version of the Glossier Boy Brow. Benefit, ABH and Urban Decay all have their version that I would be interested in trying in the future.

Eyeshadow

There are so many good eyeshadow palettes on the market it’s hard to recommend just a few. Some of my favourites include the ABH Soft Glam palette, the Natasha Denona Bronze Eyeshadow palette and the Huda Beauty Nude Obsessions palettes. One palette I would love to test in the future is the Pat McGrath Mothership palettes. They are just so beautiful, but they are also hella expensive.

Eyeliner

Eyeliner is usually not a product I get excited over. I generally don’t go “oh that eyeliner looks so good I want to get it”. So I don’t have any on my wish list. I do have two recommendations. The first is the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon. The second is the Make Up For Ever Artist Colour Pencil. I find the Marc Jacobs eyeliner to be creamier than the MUFE one. This means that the Marc Jacobs eyeliner is more pigmented and impactful, but it’s not as long-lasting. Both have an impressive shade collection so you can probably find the shade you’re looking for between these two eyeliners.

Mascara

I love mascara. It’s one of my favourite products to test out because I’m pretty picky. I have quite a few recommendations. First, any of the Tarte mascaras are good, but my favourite is the Tarteist Lash Paint Mascara. I know not everyone is a fan of the plastic wand, but I never accidentally get mascara on my lid while using this mascara. I think it gives the perfect balance between volume and length. The next is the Too Faced Better Than Sex Mascara. I like the formula but I don’t like the wand. I always get mascara on my lids. The formula gives me defined lashes and intense volume. And then one in the middle brush-wise is the Lancome Monsieur Big Mascara. This gives me long, fluttery lashes. I didn’t like it at first but once it dried out a bit I like it now.

Lip Products

Okay, there are SO many lip products out there so it’s hard for me to have tried everything. I’m going to give a few options for each category. I haven’t tried all of these but I’ve good heard reviews for sure. So for lipliners, I would recommend Charlotte Tilbury or Pat McGarth. For lip gloss, Fenty and Bite Beauty. I also really want to try Tower28. For liquid lipstick, 100% the NARS Powermatte Lip Pigments are my fav. And finally for lipstick the MAC and Charlotte Tilbury.

Skincare

Skincare is hard to give recommendations because everyone has different skin types. I also haven’t tried every single product under the sun because I obviously only use products for my skin type. So please keep that in mind with my recommendations!

Cleansers

I’ve tried two cleansers by OleHenriksen and I have loved both (I love the brand in general). Another one I love is the Fresh Soy Makeup Removing Face Wash. Two I have heard good things about are the Youth to the People Superfood Antioxidant Cleanser and the Tatcha The Rice Wash Skin-Softening Cleanser.

Moisturizer

One of my all-time favourites is the Laneige Water Bank Hydro Gel. A similar one is the belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb. If you want something a little thicker I’ve heard good things about the Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Moisturizer.

Exfoliator

If you want a chemical one, I recommend the Glow Recipe Watermelon + AHA Glow Sleeping Mask. I have this mask and it makes my skin feel smooth. Two other ones I’ve heard good things about are the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator and the Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Intensive Pore Exfoliating Treatment.

Toners

My current toner is the OleHenriksen Balancing Force Oil Control Toner. It’s great if you have oily skin. A toner for drier skin is the Fresh Rose & Hyaluronic Acid Deep Hydration Toner (also the bottle is so pretty). And if you want a gentle toner I would recommend the Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow PHA +BHA Pore-Tight Toner.

Makeup Remover

A great cleansing balm is the Farmacy Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm. I’m currently using the limited-edition Cherry version and it’s what I use to remove a full face of makeup. Two makeup removers I would love to try in the future is the Dermalogica Precleanse Cleansing Oil and the Boscia MakeUp-BreakUp Cool Cleansing Oil.

Face Serums

My current favourite face serum is pretty pricey ($95 CAD oof) but I love the Biossance Squalane + Vitamin C Rose Oil. If that’s a little out of your budget, I’ve heard good things about the OleHenriksen Truth Serum. I’ve also heard great things about The Ordinary, but I can’t figure out their brand and what products would be good for me.

Face Masks

My favourite category! Three of my favourites are the Farmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, Origins Out of Trouble 10 Minute Mask to Rescue Problem Skin and the Caudalie Instant Detox Mask. Two that I have heard great things about and would love to try are the Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask and the OleHenriksen Cold Plunge Pore Mask.

Woo and that’s it! I decided not to do any haircare since I don’t really have any recommendations – I buy most of my haircare from the drugstore. I hope you guys enjoyed this post and it gave you some inspo for your shopping cart. Please let me know in the comments what you are getting from the sale this year!

xoxo

Lea

October Boxycharm 2020

Hey guys! My Boxycharm posts are always some of my favourites to write! It’s fun because there are sometimes really good products and sometimes really bad products haha. Also, I feel like October was the longest month ever. Maybe that’s because I was doing Vlogtober so having to vlog every single day just makes it seem longer. I enjoyed it but I am also excited to have a break in November. Okay anyway, my Boxycharm!

The first product in my box is the Rodial Soft Focus Glow Drops. I’ve never heard of this brand before, but after getting my box I saw that they did a special collaboration with GlossyBox (another beauty subscription box). Anyways, these drops are a skincare and makeup hybrid that is meant to brighten and illuminate the complexion. These drops are not hydrating. The serum dries down very quickly and just adds a nice shine to the skin. So if you are someone with oily skin that wants the look but not the oiliness of a dewy primer this is perfect for you. It’s not the most brightening primer I’ve ever used, I have stronger in my collection. So I will continue to use it but I think there are better on the market. Also just want to know it has a strong candy-like smell. Price: $60 US, I found it at Shoppers for $58 for all my fellow Canadians

The next product is the Murad AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser. This arrived at the perfect time because I just finished my exfoliator yesterday. This cleanser has both chemical and physical exfoliating properties, so it’s the best of both worlds. It does a great job of cleaning my skin and making it feel smooth. The only thing is that it’s meant to be hydrating and I don’t see that at all. The first time I used this my skin was so dry and itchy because I didn’t apply a moisturizer right after. I’ve tried it twice since then and I haven’t had that itchy sensation again but I am careful not to use it too much. If you have sensitive skin be careful with this a maybe do a patch test before putting it on your face. Since the itchiness hasn’t returned I’m going to continue to use this exfoliating cleanser 2-3 a week! Price: $40 US, $52 CAD

Up next in my box is the Pretty Vulgar Nesting B!#%H Face Palette. If you’ve followed my Boxycharm posts you would know that I get these fall palettes pretty often and I’m rarely fans of them. There is only one palette for all skin tones. This is annoying for me because I can’t use some of the darker shades and someone with a darker complexion can’t use the lighter shades. I think it’s a lazy way to be inclusive. I get that it’s easy for Boxycharm to give this palette because then it works for everyone. But I’m not a fan because I won’t use it all the product. On top of that, I’m not a huge fan of the quality of the products. I found the bronzer and blushes to be too pigmented so it goes on heavy and then I have to work to blend it out. I also find that I get patches of heavy pigmentation as well. I think the quality of the highlights but I don’t like the shades. One is way to white sliver and the other is too deep. So overall not a big fan of this product and I wouldn’t recommend it. Price: $32 US

The next product is the Sol de Janiero Brazilian Kiss Tinted Cupuacu Lip Butter. Okay, I can’t believe I’m saying this but I’m kind of disappointed in this lip butter! I thought it was going to be more moisturizing and I find the formula to be stiff and dry. If you have any dry patches or crustiness, the pigment of the lip butter just sticks to those areas and looks gross. I also find myself having to frequently reapply this lip butter. It’s honestly more of a lipstick than a lip butter. I thought this product was going to be more like the Tarte SEA Quench Lip Rescue Balm, where it’s a hydrating lip balm with a bit of colour. I’ll still use it because I love the scent, but I wouldn’t reach for this if my lips were super dry. Price: $20 US

And the final product is the Lavaa Lashes Charm Faux Mink. I like these lashes! The band isn’t too thick so it’s super easy to apply and blends seamlessly with my real lashes. For being super a big pair of lashes they are also not too heavy on the eyes. There are not exactly everyday lashes because they are huge. This isn’t the best pair of lashes if I wanted to show off my eyeshadow. But I think for a simple look they would just bring it to the next level. If I was going out these are the lashes I would reach for. (Except I don’t go out anymore because of the pandemic, ya know). I see myself wearing these lashes many times. Price: $20 US

The overall total of the box is $172 US which is a great value! I’m not a huge fan of the Pretty Vulgar face palette and the Sol de Janeiro Lip Butter. But I like the Murad Exfoliating Cleanser and the Lavaa Lashes. So there were some hits and misses. Let me know what you guys think in the comments!

xoxo

Lea