A shade of the dramatic, where different is all there is.

Archive for February, 2012

no sense crying over spilled…pigment

I’ve talked previously about the MAC Pro products and how they have a wide range of Pro colours and products that aren’t available at regular stores or counters.  There are only 3 locations in Canada and of course Ottawa isn’t one of them.  In December my fiancé at the time (now husband) spoiled me by bringing me back an entire custom palette of shadows from a MAC Pro store in Vegas, 12 out of the 15 shades not being available in normal stores.  This tipped me off to the secret world of MAC Pro products and the allure of just what else they might have.

So, when a couple of friends wanted to go to Toronto for the weekend to go to the Auto Show, it was an easy decision.  The guys could go for the car show and the ladies could go for the shopping!  Staying in a hotel downtown, we were nice and close to the MAC Pro store.  Located on Queen Street, it is in the middle of many other shops (both main stream and the unique boutique type).

MAC Pro in Canada, street view

It was smaller than I imagined, about the same size as any other MAC Cosmetics store.  But, when you started looking closely, it was easy to discover it wasn’t like all of the rest.  All of their Pro colours were mixed in amongst the regular shades – so knowing their main products quite well helped us determine quickly what shades were Pro and which weren’t.  They had a great deal of products for face and body painting including their Chromacake and Paint Sticks, which although the bright colours were alluring, we really had no use for.

MAC Pro Store, Canada

So we ended up gravitating towards the products we normally use and began investigating all of the new shades available.  We both purchased two pigments in the end.  My friend got Platinum and Blonde’s Gold, both gorgeous metallic shades and I got Basic Red and Copper which I will swatch below.  It’s funny, because I was going to get the gold and she the red…but as we were looking at them she accidentally spilled the entire Basic Red pigment ALL OVER herself, the floor and the chair.  The container was only about 1/3 full, but it was enough.  It covered her jacket (thank goodness it was black), her hands and the front of her pants.  (I would’ve taken a picture, but I didn’t want the employees to think we had done this on purpose as some sort of prank.)  For those of you that know MAC pigments, you know you can’t simply dust them off or give the spot a little wipe to disappear….so a very pleasant employee, with a smile, told us “Don’t worry, it happens all the time” and helped her get cleaned up.  We took her jacket outside and beat it with a broom to get the excess off, but it was unwearable for our weekend in Toronto and needed to be properly washed.  At this point, with her hands stained pink from the pigment, she was in no way going to purchase the Basic Red pro pigment.  No way to start a new relationship I suppose.  But I couldn’t see such a gorgeous colour go to waste, so we switched up our selections and it was win win.  LOL

Special Pro Pigments from MAC not available in regular storesSpecial PRO pigment swatches, not available in regular MAC stores

The only other MAC Pro products that we bought that day were from the Chromaline collection.  These are highly pigmented pots that can be used as a liner or as a base.  They came in a wide variety of colours including white, black, red, magenta, pink, yellow, light blue, dark blue, green and purple.  Although I would’ve loved to purchase all of them, I figured it would be best to start with one to make sure that I didn’t only love it…but that I would also use it.  So I went with the vibrant blue called “Marine Ultra” and my friend picked up the staple white which she can use almost daily.

Bright Blue Eyeliner/Paint Pot by MACLiner/Paint Pot in vibrant blue by MAC

Needless to say, our first MAC pro experience was one to remember.  And for those of you wondering…with one run through the wash, her red jacket was black again.  😛

I will try to incorporate these products into some looks soon so you can see them in action.



Viva Glam Nicki Review and Swatch

Lip swatch of Viva Glam Nicki

About a week and a half ago I was telling you all about the new Viva Glam lipstick that came out from MAC.  (Ricky and Nicki for MAC Viva Glam)

You should also remember that I was rushing right out to get it.  In an attempt to capture it’s colour in different settings, I have included different pictures under different lighting.  So, let’s check it out:

Nicki Lipstick Swatch by MAC

Viva Glam Nicki Lipstick Swatch with Camera Flash

As you can tell it is a definitely a bright yellow-pink satin lipstick.  It sells for $14.50 US or $17.50 CAD.  And remember, 100% of the proceeds go towards the MAC Aids Fund.  So, when I first saw this, I imagined I would never be able to pull this off, and I’m still not so sure.  I usually lean towards lipsticks with blue undertones as opposed to yellow and usually not so bright (I reserve that for my eyes!).  But once I had it on, it started to grow on me.  I do feel though, that for me, it is a colour I would have to create a look around.  It certainly didn’t go with my Sunday look of: hair in a bun, glasses on, no makeup and a big grandpa sweater.

Please take this picture as an example of WHAT NOT TO DO:

MAC lipstick swatch on lips

Bathroom Lighting, no camera flash

Focusing on the colour though, I imagine it will be just lovely this spring once my face has been sun kissed (or I can make believe with bronzer).  I always feel like you can get away with brighter makeup when bright colours are spotted everywhere you look.

Lip swatch of Viva Glam Nicki

Natural Sunlight, no flash

The texture was very smooth and felt creamy on my lips.  It also persisted quite well through my daily routine of eating and drinking.  Because it is such a light shade though this is definitely not a “throw on without looking” lipstick.  If you have darker natural lips you will need to ensure that you apply it fairly heavily at the start to get a nice clean even coverage.  Or if you have a lip erase product, that would be a great way to start as well.

And remember, if this colour doesn’t seem right for you, visit their website where you can see their Viva Glam collection.  For any of these shades purchased MAC donates 100% of the proceeds to the MAC AIDS fund.  So feel free to grab more than one!



Be a Beauty Insider at Sephora

swatch of LipSurgence lipstick by tarte in shade "Lively"

For those of you who shop at Sephora you are probably already familiar with their Sephora Beauty Insiders program.  But in case this is new to you, let me take a minute to explain how it works.  It is completely free to sign up and when you do you will receive a points card.  And then, for every dollar you spend, you earn a point.

They have fairly good sized samples available as perks that you can spend 100 points on.  Or, if you feel like saving up your points, you can wait and get the 500 point perk which is a complete set of items (usually a mix and match of full size and travel size products).  The perks and rewards change frequently, so if you aren’t crazy about what you see that visit, don’t worry, the next one might be something you are dying to try.  I myself have been waiting for a few months as I wasn’t all that interested in the past couple 500 point perks that came out, but then I saw this in my email – announcing the new 500 point reward:

Sephora Beauty Insider Perk - Winter 2012

Finally!  Something I would actually use and better yet, a brand that I have little to no experience with.  So I went into Sephora yesterday to spend my 500 points and get my new kit from tarte.

Bronzer, Liptint, Finishing Powder, Eye pencil and face primer all by tarte

This is called the “Intro to Amazonian Clay try me kit” and in it you will find:

  • Amazonian clay bronzer in Park Ave Princess
  • Smooth operator Amazonian clay finishing powder
  • emphasEYES high definition eye pencil in black (full size)
  • ReCreate silicone-free primer with wrinkle rewind technology
  • LipSurgence matte lip tint in Lively (full size)

I of course wanted to do a couple of swatches for you guys in case you are debating spending your points on this perk, or simply wondering if tarte is for you.

emphasEYES high definition eye pencil, Park Ave Princess bronzer and Lively matte Lipsurgence lip tint

From Left to Right: emphasEYES high definition eye pencil, Park Ave Princess bronzer and Lively matte Lipsurgence lip tint

***Please note: the emphasEYES high definition eye pencil is actually labelled as a long wearing inner rim eye pencil.  It is extremely resistant to any and all smudging.  I actually had to go at this swatch on my hand twice with the makeup remover to get it to budge.  I can’t wait to try it out on my water line.***

swatch of LipSurgence lipstick by tarte in shade "Lively"

"Lively" LipSurgence natural matte lip tint by tarte on my lips

***I found this product really creamy, smooth and easy to apply.  I also didn’t find it drying at all, it kept my lips nice and moisturised.  And NO, this is not a one of those dreaded sticky lip products!  And to top it all off, when I removed it, my lips felt soft and smooth.  I’ll definitely be looking at their other colours next time I am in store.***

I hope you found this post informative in one way or another.  At the very least make sure the next time you are in a Sephora that you sign up for the points card if you haven’t already – and start earning your points now!



February Nail Polish Haul with an Accent

Sweet Hook and Vintage Violet Nail Polishes

Over the last couple of weeks I have added to my nail polish collection a little bit.  Between a visit to Cosmoprof and Sally’s Beauty Supply it got a bit out of control.

Sweet Hook, Outta Bounds, Re-Fresh Mint, Electric Beat, Paper Chasing and Turquoise Shatter Nail Polish

Left to Right: Ice Pink, Totally Teal, Outta Bounds, Re-Fresh Mint, Electric Beat, Sweet Hook, Paper Chasing, Turquoise Shatter

I’ve had a chance to try out a few of the different colours already, but if there is a particular one you want to see in action, let me know and I can get some pictures up!

Light Minty Pastel Green Nail Polish

Re-Fresh Mint by China Glaze

Periwinkle Blue Nail Polish

Electric Beat by China Glaze (From their brand new Electropop Collection)

The popular nail trend of an “accent nail” is something I hand’t tried out at all yet, so I thought it was about time I did some experimenting.  My first trip on this adventure was adding some white China Glaze Crackle in Lightning Bolt to create an accent nail.  I thought this was sort of different and fun – my husband however hated it and said “It looks like a 2-year old did your nails.”  So I will let you be the judge!  (On a side note though, he hates Crackle polishes as a whole.)

Blue Nail Polish with White Crackle on Top

Electric Beat by China Glaze with an accent nail in Lightning Bolt Crackle by China Glaze

I wasn’t satisfied that the accent nail was a complete failure, despite my husbands “encouragement” and I decided to try it out with a different twist as well.  Take a look at Paper Chasing by China Glaze with Orly’s Winter Wonderland glitter polish as an accent.

Bright Green Nail Polish with Glitter on top

Paper Chasing by China Glaze with Accent Nail in Winter Wonderland by Orly

Bright Green Nail Polish with White Glitters on top

My last example of an accent nail might just be my favourite, but I can’t decide.  For this I used Sweet Hook on 4 of my fingers (also from China Glaze’s new Electropop Collection) and for my accent nail, I used Vintage Violet from Fingerpaints.

Sweet Hook and Vintage Violet Nail Polishes

Sweet Hook by China Glaze with an accent nail in Vintage Violet by Fingerpaints

Purple Manicure with accent nail

What I think is so cool too, is that the combinations are endless.  You can mix and match and take it one step further if you want by doing the coloured accent nail like above and then adding glitter to it, or a crackle nail polish!

What do you guys think?  Are you a fan of the accent nail trend?

Very interested in hearing your thoughts on this!



Bright Sunshine and Lime Time!

Green and yellow makeup look (bright eyeshadows)

The title of this post screams Summer to me…so it feels a bit strange to be posting this considering we got hit with a snow storm yesterday…but here we are.  🙂

A couple of months back, a fellow blogger – Tina, requested a look from the MAC Pro Palette that I got in December as a gift from my then fiance.  She wanted to see Bright Sunshine Eyeshadow and Lime Eyeshadow together in a look.

Kelly, Lime, Sour Lemon, Bright Sunshine and Golden Rod Swatch (MAC Pro Eyeshadows)

So let’s see how it turned out:

MAC Pro Eyeshadow Look, Green and Yellow Makeup Look

Bright Eyeshadows together

Look with Lime and Bright Sunshine Eyeshadows by MAC

What’s on my cheeks?  Dollymix Blush by MAC

What’s on my lips to make them look so lovely?  Oyster Girl Lipglass by MAC (Yes, it is sticky – ugh, but it persists so well through eating/drinking, etc)

Do I even have to ask which eyeliner?  No, as usual it is Blacktrack Fluidline gel liner by MAC

This look was really really simple to create.  I only used the two shades and they blend together very nicely and easily.  I’m hoping this one gives you all the courage to experiment with some brighter colours, it isn’t so scary!

Thanks again Tina for requesting this colour combination and I hope it is close to what you envisioned!



Green and yellow makeup look (bright eyeshadows)

Danke Deutscheland (Part 3 of 3)

German's Parliament

The best way to get around Germany by far is by train.  Unlike other parts of Europe, Germany allows you to use a rail pass without a reservation.  You simply hop on the most convenient train and hop off when you are ready.  It’s fantastic because you purchase “days”, not trips.  So if you are feeling up to it, you can hit more than one destinations in the same day, or at the very least take advantage of the round trip discount.  Once in Munich, we took advantage of this in a big way.  There are several areas within about a 1-2 hour train ride from Munich that were perfect for day trips.  That way we could stay at the same hostel and not have to uproot ourselves every night and have to lug our packs around.  If you like the sounds of this and want to learn more for your upcoming trip, please check out Eurail’s site here.

So staying in Munich, we got up early and made the trip to Salzburg and spent the entire day…which makes Austria the featured travel destination next month.  🙂  The trains truly made flexibility in one’s travelling possible.  They are fast, efficient and affordable.  The passes aren’t available for purchase in Europe either, you need to purchase them before you go!  This is super important!  Otherwise, you will end up paying per ride which will end up costing a few hundred dollars more (at least) over the course of a 1-2 week trip.  Oh and did I mention that the train rides are so much fun?!?!  The views are stunning so everywhere you go there is something to look at.

View from the Train, Germany


Arbeit Macht Frei (Part 2 of 3)

Dachau Concentration Camp

As I promised, tonight I am going to revisit Germany.  I’ll be picking up in Munich, where we left off yesterday.  If you wish to start at the beginning click here.

For those familiar with the title of this post I don’t need to explain to you why a shiver runs down my spine whenever I see the phrase…and for those of you that aren’t familiar, please allow me to enlighten you.

Just a short hop on the metro and Gillian and I were off to Dachau, the first Nazi concentration camp to open in Germany and less than 10 miles from the Munich city limits.  The gates opened less than two full months after Hitler gained power and Dachau would be the camp that all other concentration camps would be modelled after.  Knowing that much of this camp had been destroyed after liberation, Gillian and I weren’t sure what to expect.

Dachau Concentration Camp, Germany