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

Archive for March, 2012

Makeup Geek

Magnetic Makeup Palette

Marlena , the CEO and founder of Makeup Geek is well known for her wide range of makeup tutorials.  Ranging for both the beginner and advanced makeup geek, their site has something for everyone.  Back in the fall, they launched their own makeup line including a wide range of eyeshadow shades and brushes.  Many were compared and swatched next to MAC colours and listed as dupes.  I figured, for half the price of MAC (only $5.99/each), they would be worth a try, so I placed an order for 6 shadows and the makeup geek crease brush.  I ended up super happy with my purchase and decided to place another order this past February.  Only trouble was the second time around, my order never made it to me.  I followed up a couple of times with the Makeup Geek customer service team and once the maximum allotted time ran out, they offered to refund my money or to resend my order.  I definitely still wanted my items, so they sent out my order again.  About a week later, I received my order.  YAY!  Special thanks to Makeup Geek for replacing my lost order with no hassle!

Makeup Geek Store Purchase

So let’s take a closer look at what I picked up:

Makeup Geek Eyeshadows

Makeup Geek eyeshadows

The metal pans are all labelled on the back side, just like MAC.

Magnetic Makeup Palette

MUG Eyeshadow Swatches

I’ll see if I can incorporate some of these into a look soon so you can see these eyeshadows in action.  For starters, you can see Envy featured in a look here (the second one).

Makeup Geek Brushes

My experience so far with the Makeup Geek brushes is that they are super affordable and much better than your typical Wal-Mart or ELF brush.  I’ve had no issues with bristles falling out at all – the next time I want to refresh my brush collection, I will be turning to Makeup Geek because of their amazing prices for brushes.  The crease brush shown below was $4.89 and the bent liner brush a whopping $3.79.

Makeup Geek Crease Brush

Eye liner brush by Makeup Geek


The Makeup Geek Store also carries a couple of other brands including Make-up Designory, Palladio, NYX and Sugarpill.  At the time of my order, I didn’t think NYX was available in Canada, I had never seen it anywhere.  Upon further investigation though, I learned that this brand is available at Rexall PharmaPlus’ as well as Jean Coutu Pharmacies.  You won’t find this brand at Shoppers Drug Mart or Wal-Mart.

So let’s take a look at the NYX lipsticks I grabbed.  First off, I just want to say that I am so happy with these!  I love that I now know where I can buy them locally, so I can go and peruse the different colours.  NYX’s round lipstick is available in an unbelievable 126 shades!  I picked up Fig (a rosy-pink colour) and Margarita (a shimmery peachy-pink) and paid $3.99 for each.  They have a lovely creamy consistency and my lips continue to feel moisturised even throughout long extended use.

NYX's Round Lipsticks

Swatches of NYX Lipsticks

Margarita Lip Swatch

Margarita by NYX

Fig Lipstick Swatch

I also got a Cream Blush by NYX  in shade Boho Chic.  This is my first cream blush ever, in the past I’ve always resorted to the pressed powder style, or cheek stains.  But, one of my amazing friends Rachel swears by cream blushes, so I figured NYX’s Rouge Cream Blush for $5.99 would be a good one to start out with and widen my horizons.

Boho Chic Cream Blush by NYX

Cream Blush Swatch by NYX

Boho Chic Cream Blush Swatch by NYX (blended out on the right hand side)

Palladio Brow Gel

My eyebrows are super guilty of falling down moments after I’ve shaped them.  Clear brow gel is a complete and total life saver.  Being able to hold them in place is like a dream come true.  This brow gel is $5.89 and a staple in my makeup kit.  In addition to the spool that is used for the gel application, there are two other brush styles available here to help you shape and tame your brows, or even your lashes.

How do you hold your eyebrows in place?How do you shape your eyebrows?


Makeup Geek offers a wide range of Z-Palettes.  You can get them in different sizes and patterns.  The Z-Palettes are magnetized and perfect for your random eyeshadow pans.  Anything with a metal pan will stick right in here so you can keep everything together.  Nice and easy!  The see-through top is probably my favourite feature…you can see what is inside immediately.  Do you have any idea how much I wish you could see into the MAC palettes?  I have three identical ones and am always opening and closing them until I grab the right one (I guess it is time to label them on the outside somehow).

My palette featured here is size “large” (they also come in small and Pro size).  You can see how I just tossed them in here and the magnets hold them perfectly in place.

Small – $13.99

Large – $18.99

Pro – $27.99

Z-Palette, large zebra

There is actually a lot of space in the large Z Palette.  If you have a large amount you are trying to sneak in, you can really stuff them in here, all different shapes and sizes.  You can see I added a couple small Mary Kay eyeshadows in as well.  With the purchase of a large Z-Palette, you also receive a pack of metal stickers (in case your eyeshadows aren’t potted in a metal pan) so you can take advantage of this magnetic makeup palette.

Magnetic Makeup Palette

Makeup Geek offers international worldwide shipping and even some ready made value kits to save you money.  All orders are placed in American dollars and given the strength of the Canadian dollar right now, there is very little difference when your credit card is actually charged.  If this post has peaked your interest, please check out their site here www.makeupgeek.com

Happy shopping Makeup Geeks!

Thanks for reading,


How to tell if you are warm or cool toned

If you have ever ventured very far into the world of cosmetics, you have definitely heard the terms warm toned or cool toned.  The big question is, how can you tell if you are warm toned or cool toned?  Many people think that it has to do with hair colour and whether or not you have fair skin.  But it really doesn’t.  It has to do with the actual undertones of your skin.

The easiest way to tell is to hold up your arm and look at the inside of your wrist.  If your veins are blue then you are cool toned and if they appear more greenish you are warm toned.

If you have a warm skin tone it means that you have more yellowish tones in your skin, opposed to pink.  And gold jewellery will look nicer on you than silver.  Vice versa for someone cool toned.  Silver will be more flattering and your undertones are more pinkish than yellow.

Knowing the undertones of your skin can make a big difference when selecting the right shades of makeup.  By this, I am referring to foundation, eyeshadows, blushes and lip products.

Warm Tones

  • Your foundations should be yellow based
  • You will look best in lipsticks with a yellow base rather than a blue base (more on the peachy side if you are dealing with pinks and more of an orange-red instead of a deep dark vampy red)
  • Eyeshadows with a yellow or golden undertone will look best.  Greens for example that have a tinge of yellow will be more flattering – such as limes or citrus shades of green.
  • Coral or peachy blushes will be the most complimenting on warm skin tones
  • Here is a colour chart to help you visualize:
  • Some warm toned examples that might look familiar: 

Cool Tones

  • Your foundations should be more pink based
  • You will look best in lipsticks with a purple or blue base  (more berry like shades, rose pinks, dark vampy reds)
  • Eyeshadows with a bluish tinge to them will help make you glow.  Using the green example from above  for comparison, you would want ones that are closer to blue, or a teal.  Browns with a matte rose undertone should be selected over golden yellowish brown hues.
  • Blushes with true pink pigments will look best (fuschias) on people with cool skin tones
  • Here is a colour chart to help you visualize:
  • Some cool toned examples you might recognize:                                 

What happens if you just wear whatever?

Playing around with makeup  is generally just something I like to do – just have fun and experiment, I’m not always trying to make myself up perfect.  But there is no denying it, some colours are more flattering than others.  My Bright Sunshine and Lime look is a perfect example of someone with Cool Tones using Warm Tone makeup.  Although it wasn’t horrendous,  you can see that it wasn’t overly complimenting to my skin.  It could even be argued that it washed me out a bit or makes me look tired.

Lemon Lime Makeup

For someone like myself, being cool toned, purples in my eyeshadow are something I can’t go wrong with.  Blue undertones in my makeup look natural, healthy and compliment my colourings.  When paired with a berry lip gloss, it is a winning combination for a cool toned look.

What tone are you?  Do you keep it in mind when purchasing makeup?

Thanks for reading!



Feeling Soft and Sweet?

Pastel Eye Makeup

Dying to try out some new products from my recent MAC haul I came up with this soft, sweet look for last Saturday night.  Pastels are something I don’t use often when it comes to my makeup and I do love to experiment…so this was my finished makeup look.

MAC Makeup Look

I used the pinkish-white side of the Fresh & Mint Mineralize Eye Shadow by MAC all over my lid and the greenish side on the outer edge and up through the crease.  They are both very subtle colours, so you don’t have to worry about working hard to blend these together.

Pastel Eye MakeupMAC Eyeshadow Review

I wanted to use a nice vibrant eyeliner in a contrasting colour that wasn’t already in the look (so green was out).  I opted for my new Petrol Blue Pearlglide Intense Eyeliner from MAC.  It is so easy to work with and I knew it would have no problem gliding over the shadow cleanly.

Pastel Makeup for Brown Eyes

I find the soft pastels from the Fresh & Mint Mineralize Eye Shadow really soften the look while complimenting my dark brown hair and the Petrol Blue Pearlglide Intense Eyeliner make my brown eyes really pop.  To me, this is a great makeup look for those wanting to make your eyes the focus but are afraid to go overboard with a bright colour or a heavy smoky eye.

What Makeup makes brown eyes pop?

For the rest of the look:

Brows > Filled in with Mystery Eyeshadow by MAC

Mascara > Clinique’s High Impact Mascara

Skin > MAC’s Studio Careblend Pressed Powder in Light Plus

Cheeks > NARS Blush in Orgasm

Lips > Buxom Lips Bare Escentuals in Leslie

Hair > Soft wavy curls using Sultra’s  1″ rod The Bombshell

Pastel Makeup for a Brunette

I hope you all enjoy this look!  Let me know what you think!



If you liked this look, then please be sure to check out “Feeling Flirty?” for a similar look with a different spin.

A Spring Time Nail Marble

Bright neon marble

Hey Everyone!

So with the record breaking beautiful weather we had been having this March, I was inspired to do a Spring Time Nail Marble.  I went with bright colours this time to try to capture all the sunshine we’d been receiving here in Ottawa.

To start out, I used a basecoat to prevent the yellow from staining my nails.  I then painted all my nails with two coats of Orly’s Hook Up Nail Polish.

***I chose to do a yellow base for this nail marble because I wanted the colours to show up very bright and vibrant.  Giving them a bright yellow background to lay on top of, does just that.  Please keep in mind that you will have to adjust your base depending on what colours you use.  For example: purple on top of yellow might end up looking sort of brown.  You can always use white to be safe, but it can also lighten the colours a bit and almost wash them out in a sense.  When in doubt, experiment and find a combination that works for you!***

Bright Yellow Nail Polish Swatch

Once dry, I taped around my nails with scotch tape and was ready to start my nail marbling in the water.  Here is a look at one of the designs:

Green yellow and blue nail marble

The polishes used are:

Green – Paper Chasing by China Glaze

Blue – Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails Xtreme Wear Polish in Pacific Blue

Yellow – Orly’s Hook Up (same as the base used above)

Here is a look at some of my nails before the removal of the scotch tape:

Blue green and yellow nail marbling designs



I drank the Kool-Aid

Pinky-Peach Blush

Orgasm Blush by NARS is a cult favourite among beauty bloggers, makeup artists and beauty lovers alike.  It is one of the most talked about cosmetic products out there, often described as the most universally flattering blush that looks good on every skin tone.  This blush experienced such wide spread success, even with its high price point, that NARS created an entire line of cosmetics in the Orgasm shade.  They created matching nail polish, lip gloss, illuminators, etc etc.  So I finally drank the Kool-Aid and decided to give it a try.

Orgasm Blush

NARS Orgasm Blush is best described as a sheer peachy-pink pressed powder blush with small gold flecks.  It goes on nice and sheer, is very natural looking, and gives you a healthy sun kissed glow.  I’ve been using it all week and absolutely love it – you will see it popping up in some upcoming looks very soon!

Pinky-Peach Blush

Peachy-Pink Blush

Here you can see how sheer and natural looking this blush really is. On the left you can see what Orgasm looks like blended out.

Where does NARS Orgasm Blush get its name?

NARS Orgasm Blush was created to give you a completely natural looking flush.  Or perhaps it could be referred to as an *clears throat* afterglow.

I’ve also heard of Super Orgasm, what is that?  

Super Orgasm is another peachy-pink NARS blush, but it contains larger gold flecks.  So if you love your shimmer, be sure to check out Super Orgasm too!

Where can I get it?

In Canada, the best source of NARS Cosmetics is Sephora.  <- That link is showing US dollars, but it will convert to Canadian dollars upon checkout ($32.00).  Or, you can always make your way to the nearest Sephora Store to check out the products in person.  Many Bay locations also have NARS counters as well.  And because NARS is a Canadian cosmetic company, you can also order directly from their website, they offer free shipping on all orders over $100.00.  I must say though that I prefer Sephora.  You get to check out the product first in store if you like, you collect points, get free samples and it is the same price – you can’t really go wrong!

Thanks for reading everyone!



More MAC in March

Fresh & Mint Mineralize Shadow

The month of March has been flying by.  It has been super busy at work the past two months and I know that has played a big part in the days and weeks just disappearing.  Our wedding feels so recent, yet it was almost two months ago already.  Crazy!

I wanted to take a minute and post about my MAC Cosmetic purchases for the month of March.  I was lucky enough to visit the MAC Pro store in Montreal with my good friend Marie-France and I also made another purchase here in Ottawa locally just yesterday…somehow the items seemed to have piled up quickly this month.  :/

First, lets take a quick peek at the MAC Pro store in Montreal.  It is located on Rue Saint Denis, a very busy street filled with a number of outdoor shops.

MAC Pro store

For those of you that don’t know, MAC Pro stores carry a great deal of product not available at regular MAC stores or counters.  This includes a great deal of body painting product as shown below…but also different colours in the products you regularly use (eyeshadow, blushes, lipsticks, glosses, liners, etc)

Body Painting Product

My purchase for actual PRO products was quite limited, I only picked up a couple of eyeshadow palette refill pans that aren’t available outside of the MAC Pro store walls.

I grabbed Bio Green and Bottle Green.  You can see them featured here with the rest of my haul and I will swatch them below alongside the Golden Olive pigment I picked up.

MAC Makeup

Everything else pictured is available at any MAC counter or store.  From left to right we have the Golden Olive MAC Pigment, Fresh & Mint Mineralize Eye Shadow, Black Line and Petrol Blue Pearlglide Intense Eye Liners and as previously mentioned Bottle Green and Bio Green Eye Shadows.

I took a lot of pictures and did a lot of swatching for you guys in case there is something here you are considering purchasing.

Let’s start with the Golden Olive pigment.  It is absolutely beautiful and even though I have a lot of green shadows, this is unlike any of them.  It has a lot of golden shimmer to it and I think it is going to be a lot of fun!

MAC Green PigmentGreen MAC PigmetnGreen eyeshadow swatch

As promised above, here are the swatches of the Bio Green and Bottle Green MAC Pro eye shadow shades:

Bio Green, Bottle Green, Golden Olive Makeup Swatches

I’ve also got swatches of the Pearlglide Intense Eye Liners as well, in Black Line and Petrol Blue.  (You might remember that I fell in love with these several weeks ago when I purchased Undercurrent and Designer Purple, visit my post “Feeling Flirty?” for full swatches and a makeup look using this liner.)  I absolutely love these eye liners, they go on creamy, are highly pigmented and all have a touch of glitter.  You can smudge them when first applied, but then they set quickly and you don’t have to worry about them for the rest of the day.  I’m so glad MAC decided to make this product a part of their permanent collection.

Pearlglide Intense Eye Liner Swatches by MAC

And last but not least, there is the Fresh & Mint Mineralize Eye Shadow.  The mineralize eye shadows by MAC are known for their ability to be applied dry or wet (please note that my swatch below is showing them applied dry, if you were to use a wet brush they would appear darker and more intense).  I think I see myself mainly using this product dry – it looks like it would make for a great soft and shimmery look.

Fresh & Mint Mineralize Shadow

MAC Mineralize Eye Shadow Swatch

I am having a hard time deciding what I am most excited about.  Is there anything here that you can’t wait to see incorporate into a look?



Magnetix Nail Polish by China Glaze

Magnetix 3-in-1 Magnet by China Glaze

So, about a week and a half ago I picked up a couple colours from the new Magnetix collection from China Glaze.  I got to try them for the first time last night.

China Glaze Magnetic Nail Polishes

I got Pull Me Close and Cling On.  I’m sorry – but they came up with the cutest names ever for these Magnetic Nail Polishes.  So clever! (Okay, perhaps I just amuse easily.)

3 in 1 Magnet from China Glaze

For the month of March, Sally’s Beauty Supply store has a promotion where you buy two of the colours, you get the set of magnets for free.  So for $14, I got two polishes and the magnets.  More expensive than normal China Glaze, but certainly a different and unique result too.

The Instructions:

  1. If you are one of those people that like using a basecoat, this is your first step – GO!
  2. Apply one coat of Magnetix nail lacquer.  Let dry.
  3. Apply second coat of Magnetix nail lacquer.  Even though the instructions only tell you to do one coat, I find your colours are much more vibrant if you do two.  In the picture below, the nail on the left is with one coat, the nail on the right is with two coats.  You can really tell how sheer one coat is.How Many Coats should I use for Magnetix Nail Polish?
  4. Immediately hold magnet over damp nail.  Hold it close without touching your nail for 5-10 seconds.  You can see in the picture below that there are little ledges to rest on your finger to help you avoid smearing your wet nail all over the magnet surface.  What do the magnetix magnets look like?Magnet from China Glaze
  5. Once nails are dry add your top coat.  Enjoy!
*Keep magnet clean.  If you get nail polish on the surface of your magnet, wipe it off using nail polish remover right away.*

The Designs:

The China Glaze Magnetix 3-in-1 magnet is regularly sold separately.  But as I mentioned above, it is currently included at Sally’s with the purchase of two Magnetix Nail Polishes.

Magnetix 3-in-1 Magnet by China Glaze
You have the diagonal line magnet design:
3-in-1 Magnet for Magnetic Polishes
You have the star design:
3-in-1 Magnet from China Glaze
And then you have the arrow design:  (I would say this one was the design I had the hardest time getting to turn out nicely.  I think I need more practice!)
Magnet Set for China Glaze Polishes

Things I noticed:

  • I found it easiest to have the hand you are working on resting flat on a desk or table.  You are less likely to accidentally touch your wet nail with the surface of the magnet.
  • It takes some messing around to get the patterns to come out nice and clear.  I had a hard time getting the patterns to come through as clear as they show in pictures.  You have to hold the magnet as close as possible to the nail, without touching it and be fast!  Don’t dawdle getting the magnet over your damp nail.
  • Remember, all of these polishes can just be used as regular polish as well, so pick out a colour you’ll love for regular use too!
  • Keep in mind, the design sets into the polish as the nail dries.  If you pull off the magnet too soon, the nail polish will start bleeding back together and the definition in the design may blur.
  • To create different looks remember that you can rotate the magnet, you don’t need to use it the same way each time!
  • Lastly, if you screwed up a nail or aren’t crazy about how the pattern turned out, throw on another coat of polish and try again, it works like a charm.
Magnetix Nail Designs

If you are interested in the other Nail Polish Collections for Spring 2012, please click here.

September 16th, 2012 Edit: China Glaze has since come out with Magnetix II a collection featuring all new magnets and new polishes!  Check it out here.

Thanks for reading everyone – hope you have a great weekend!