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

Archive for October, 2012

Two halves of a whole: a black and silver nail marble

nail marbling

I haven’t done a nail marble in a while and when my good girl friend Isabelle came over to watch movies and have some nail fun.  She wanted to play with the Zoya jelly polishes and make “jelly sandwich” nails and I felt like marbling because it had been ages since I had.

silver and black nail marble

I started with a white base on all my nails.  I used “Paper Mache” by Fingerpaints.  It required 2-3 coats for completely opaque coverage.

good white nail polish

I wanted do use neutral colours and nothing too bright.  So I actually opted for a black and silver.  I used “Liquid Vinyl” by Orly as my black nail lacquer and “Platinum” from Mary Kay as my silver nail lacquer.

black and silver nail marble

Using scotch tape you want to tape around your nails, exposing just the white and covering the skin about one-third of the way down your finger.

silver and black nail marbling designs

Using a small bowl (that you don’t care about ruining) fill it with room temperature water.  I am using the bottom half of an old pop bottle.  Given the dried drips down the side, you can see I reuse this all the time.  Then, alternating each time, drop your polish into the centre of the water.  Let each drop expand before dropping your next one.  It should create a bullseye like pattern similar to this:

water marbling - silver and black designs

Then, using a toothpick, create a design in the water.

nail marbling tutorial

Then, simply dunk your finger in the water.  Remember that your nail will pick up the exact pattern of wherever your nail makes contact with the design.  If you are going for a specific design or pattern, you will likely only be able to do one nail at a time.  Repeat for all nails, so your hand looks something like this.  Also, don’t forget, that while your nail is submerged, use your toothpick to grab the extra “skin” of polish on the water before pulling out your finger.

nail marbling tutorial - silver and black nails

Give them a few minutes to let them dry before removing the tape.  Then simply clean up your fingers and skin with a q-tip soaked in nail polish remover.

black and silver nail marbling

nail marbling

Do you guys like how this nail marble turned out?  Do you have a favourite colour combination for water marbling or something new you would like to see?

Thanks for reading everyone!



If you are completely new to marbling I have a more complete photo tutorial here.

water marbled nails - black and silver

10 Gorgeous Lipsticks for Fall

Things have definitely changed outside here.  Certain days the wind chills you to the bone and the leaves have all started to fall.  People hustle to their cars quicker than before.  Boots are on ever other set of feet and pea-coats and belted trenches have made their way back already.  Winter’s threat is just around the corner and Spring feels very far away.

If you are anything like me and you carry around 10-15 lip products in your purse at any given time, its definitely time you pulled out those spring and summer shades and replaced them with something more season appropriate.  I pulled out all my watermelon and peach shades and have replaced them with shades lending themselves more to the berry, grape and raisin variety.  (Have you ever noticed all the fruit references before?!?!)

So, I wanted to share with you my 10 Favorite Lip Products for Fall 2012. (in no particular order – click to enlarge)

My Top Ten Lipsticks for Fall 2012

Russian Red  

lipsticks perfect for fall

Russian Red is a part of MAC’s Matte Lipstick collection which are available for purchase at MAC stores or counters at your local department stores.  Retails for $17.50 CAD or $14.50 US.  It is a beautiful true red, not really lending itself to either cold or warm tones.  Long lasting and not at all drying, MAC’s lipsticks are what made them famous and as the weather turns colder a nice bold red lip can add a classy pop of colour to any look.  For more swatches of Russian Red, please click here.


"Moody" by tarte, lip swatch

Tarte’s LipSurgence natural lip tint’s are some of my absolutely favourite lip products.  They are peppermint infused so they have a minty scent and are a nice hydrating product for your lips.  Because this product is a tint and not a lipstick it goes on sheer and stays put like a stain.  Moody is a nice deep berry that enhances your natural lip colour creating a richer looking lip.  This product is available for purchase at Sephora and retails for $31.00 CAD or $24.00 US.

Black Honey

lip swatch of "Black Honey" by Clinique

Black Honey is a shade that the majority of beauty blogger’s have owned at one time or another.  Clinique’s Almost Lipstick collection is known for its lightweight sheer pigment that merges with your lip colour creating a unique look for every one.  Black Honey is a deep blackened raisin shade with a soft shine.  Available at your local department stores or at Sephora.  Retails for $19.00 CAD or $15.00 US.

A Different Grape 

"A Different Grape" lipstick swatch by Clinique (on lips swatch)

Clinique’s Different Lipstick  collection is aimed at feeling smooth and comfortable on, while providing a wide range of shades.  “A Different Grape” is a pinkish grape shade that covers well and brings lots of colour to your lips without being overpowering.  This product is available at your local department stores or at Sephora. Retails for $19.00 CAD or $15.00 US.

Heather Moon 

dark plum/mauve lipstick by Clinique

I absolutely love this shade for fall.  It is a nice deep mauve/plum shade that applies like a dream, is long wearing and doesn’t dry out your lips.  Clinique’s Long Last Lipstick collection is available at your local department stores or at Sephora.  Retails for $19.00 CAD or $15.00 US.

For Keeps

For Keeps swatch by MAC

Strathmere, Ottawa - outdoor winter wedding

I should definitely be a big fan of this one, considering it is the shade I wore for my wedding!  MAC’s Pro Longwear Lipcolour collection is by far the longest lasting of all of these products and the biggest pain in the butt to get off.  They are completley non transferrable when drinking, eating or kissing – so you never have to worry about patchy looking lips with this.   Not something I like to use everyday, but it is perfect for when you don’t want to worry about touch-ups or smearing.  “For Keeps” is described as a rose-plum with iridescence.  This is available at MAC stores or counters at your local department stores.  Retails for $28.00 CAD or $23.00 US.


"Hope" by tarte lip swatch

The same product as “Moody” from above, “Hope” offers a matte finish in a warm rose colour, perfect for fall.  Products from Tarte’s LipSurgence natural matte lip tint collection are available for purchase at Sephora and they retail for $31.00 CAD or $24.00 US.


"Unchanging" swatch by MAC

 This was the runner up when selecting my wedding lipstick.  A fantastic product, but I opted for the slightly more noticeable shade.  Unchanging is a soft neutral lilac pink from MAC’s Pro Longwear Lipcolour collection and is available at MAC stores or counters at your local department stores.  Retails for $28.00 CAD or $23.00 US.

Berry Rich

great berry coloured lipsticks for fall

Berry Rich is exactly what it claims to be, a rich berry shade that isn’t too bright for autumn.  It adds a beautiful pop of colour without being too overpowering.  New York Color’s (NYC) Ultra Last Lipwear  line is available at your local drug store or Wal-Mart for anywhere from $1.50-$2.00.  The packaging certainly looks and feels cheap and you always want to make sure you always have it close for touch-ups.  But for the price, this is great value.  I was impressed and pleasantly surprised.


nude lipsticks for Fall 2012

Celebutard is a nude peach beige perfect for creating a polished natural look this fall.  Absolutely perfect for a bold make-up look or a dramatic smokey eye where you want your lips to compliment rather than compete.  Kat Von D’s Painted Love Lipstick collection is available at Sephora on-line or in-store for $23.00 CAD or $19.00 US.

Although some of these shades are bold, they aren’t super bright the way spring and summer lip colours tend to be.  These 10 lip products give you variety between soft, matte and muted or deep, rich and daring…as well as everything in between.

What are your favorite lipsticks this fall?  And how many do you have in your purse right now???

Thanks for reading!



Wicked: a China Glaze collection for Halloween 2012

Roguish Red Manicure with Glitter Goblin tips - a Halloween manicure

This collection has been out for a few weeks already, but unfortunately I am just getting around to sharing it now.

WICKED is China Glaze’s 2012 Halloween Collection.  It is made up of 6 new polishes plus a Ghoulish Glow in the dark nail polish.

China Glaze Nail Lacquer Collection "Wicked"

From Left to Right: Cast a Spell, Immortal, Bizarre Blurple, Glitter Goblin, Roguish Red, Make a Spectacle

Ghoulish Glow is however only available in their special 4 pack of nail lacquers, where as 3 of the shades above are only sold individually (Cast a Spell, Immortal and Make a Spectacle).  I grabbed the 4 pack as well as “Make a Spectacle” because it was just TOO pretty of a glitter to walk away from.

Value Pack from China Glaze's Halloween 2012 "Wicked" Collection

The 4 pack is an incredible value at $11.99 CAD or $9.99 US at Sally Beauty Supply Store’s.  Otherwise, the polishes are sold individually for $5.99 CAD or $4.99 US.

Roguish Red, Glitter Goblin, Bizarre Blurple and Ghoulish Glow (China Glaze's Wicked Collection)

Here is a look at Roguish Red complete with Glitter Goblin Tips.

Roguish Red Manicure with Glitter Goblin tips - a Halloween manicure

Roguish Red is an orange-red creme nail lacquer.  It has a very nice opaque formula with which you can almost get away with one coat.  You will need two to make it perfectly opaque though.

China Glaze's 2012 Halloween Collection "Wicked"

Glitter Goblin is a clear base polish packed with orange, silver and iridescent glitters.  They are very fine and will require multiple coats if you are going for full coverage.

Festive Manicure, Halloween Nails, manicures for short nails

My favourite use of “Make a Spectacle” so far is in a Jelly Sandwich manicure.

Katherine Nail Polish by Zoya in "Jelly Sandwich Nails"

But it is an absolutely gorgeous opalescent glitter with a clear base that makes for a beautiful top coat, no matter the base colour.  Here I have layered it over top of “Bizarre Blurple”.

"Make A Spectacle" Glitter Top Coat - a Nail Lacquer from China Glaze

“Bizarre Blurple” on its own is a very pretty polish too.  It is a rich blue-purple shade (no shock given the name) with mainly blue shimmer.  Depending on how the light hits it, it can appear more blue or more purple.  I experienced slight bubbling with this polish, but it is definitely my fault and not that of Bizarre Blurple.  I know I was impatient and didn’t wait long enough in between coats and my first coat wasn’t completely dry.

swatch on nails of Bizarre Blurple by China Glaze

I’m still debating whether or not go to back for “Cast a Spell”.  It is a very dark polish that appears completely black in lots of lighting.  But it is actually a dark olive base with gold and green shimmer.  If I end up caving and picking it up, I will be sure to add it to this post.

All in all I’m very happy with this collection.  Make a Spectacle is my new favourite glitter polish that I own and the 4 pack is great value.  I wasn’t sure I would like Roguish Red very much when I grabbed the set, but after wearing it last week with the glitter tips, I managed to fall in love – so I’m super happy I now have an orangey-red in my collection.

What polishes are you most excited about this Halloween?

Do you have a favourite from China Glaze’s “Wicked” Collection?


MAC PRO products NOW available ONLINE!

Hi Everyone!

I’m super excited about today’s quick post.  Starting today, October 18th 2012, MAC Cosmetics has made their entire collection of PRO products available online!

Anyone who is subscribed to their newsletter would’ve received this via email today:

For years, they have always had this secret collection of colours and products that you could only purchase through a MAC PRO store, either in-store or over the phone.  But now, they are available online for regular purchase.  You will still need to visit a PRO store to touch, feel and play with the products, but at least now they are much more accessible for purchase.

On the left hand side of their website, where they have all of their categories, there is now a new one called “PRO PRODUCTS”.  It is split up into sub-categories for eyes, lips, face, multi-use and tools.  It is really fantastic!  You should be on there snooping around right now!  They have all sorts of cool stuff like lip palettes and lip mixes, glitters, paint sticks, setting powders and body paint.  This is of course in addition to a number of extra shades in the products you already know and love!

how do you find pro products on MAC's website?

I do have some posts already featuring some swatches and reviews of MAC PRO products that you can check out here:

Eye Shadow

Pigments (also contains my regular MAC pigments, but I do specify which are PRO)


MAC has always had a great return policy too, just like Sephora.  They allow you to return used or new product within 30 days of purchase if you are unhappy with it for any reason.  But when purchasing PRO products in store, they always needed to be returned to a PRO store.  So if you lived three hours away, you would more or less be out of luck.  I inquired today with a MAC artist online in regards to their return policy for PRO products purchased through their website and this was their response:

“Just like regular online purchases, stores will not take online purchases back.  They must be shipped back to MAC Online.”

Definitely something to keep in mind when ordering.  I know personally, that I will be checking out swatches and reviews of the products on-line before purchasing anything new. 🙂

There is a lot of really cool stuff from the MAC Pro collection to check out – so you’ll have to let me know which products you are most excited for!!

Happy shopping everyone!!



My First Topbox

October Topbox contents - review and unboxing

What is Topbox?

Topbox is a Canadian beauty box where you spend $10/month and they mail beauty samples to your door.  Shipping is included (taxes are extra) and you can have your beautiful little package shipped anywhere you like.  Your subscription automatically renews on a month to month basis, so as long as you are happy with it they will continue to send you little “presents” every month. I’m not sure about you guys, but I absolutely LOVE getting mail…and packages are the BEST kind of mail.  It makes me so happy when a little box filled with fun beauty products arrives…which is even cooler when you have no idea what to expect.

More About Topbox

You fill out a beauty profile on-line in regards to hair colour/length, skin colour, eye colour, etc so that they can customize your box every month to best suit YOU.  Topbox offers you these beauty boxes, with a super wide variety of brands:

  • benefit
  • MUFE
  • China Glaze
  • Pari Beauty
  • Yves Saint Laurent
  • Stila
  • Deborah Lippman
  • Lise Watier

…just to name a few!  For a complete list, check out their website here. What is also great is that they even offer discounts on full size products from these brands as well.  So if after you’ve tried out a sample and you are absolutely in love with it, you should be able to pick up the full-size at a good price.

How do I get a Topbox?

The big draw back?  Topbox has a waiting list of several months.  I signed up middle of April and am just now getting my first box now, in October.  So, my recommendation is, if this interests you at all, go ahead and sign up (you don’t pay anything now) and if you change your mind by the time you reach the top of the list, you can just withdraw, easy as that.  They don’t start your subscription until you confirm you’d like to proceed. If you want to sign up, you can join here on their website simply by using an email address and creating a password.  It will show as “sold out” but you will get an email telling you that you have joined the waiting list.  Then you can check out what I am receiving every month and decide if Topbox is for you.

Where does my Topbox ship from?  How is it shipped?

where does Topbox ship from?

Topboxes ship from the Toronto area via Canada Post, so if you are located in Ontario you should receive your Topbox in 2-3 days, but if you are on the west coast, you could be waiting up to 5 business days.  They are a cylindrical box wrapped in brown paper.  The packages are small enough that they fit right in your little mail slot, so you don’t have to worry about being home to receive it!

The actual box itself is a cardboard tube wrapped in decorative paper with two hard plastic stoppers as ends.  Definitely reusable in my opinion.  I’m sure I can find something to store in these!

my very first Topbox - a review

My October Topbox

So, after waiting 6 months, I received my first Topbox.  The four samples come complete with a description card detailing what is inside your Topbox, where you can buy the products and what they retail for.  Here is mine:

(click to enlarge)

Topbox review

My samples:

October Topbox contents - review and unboxing


This is a two part sample.  The radiance eye contour comes in a sample size of 3ml.  It is designed to correct and brighten the eye contour area.  Full size retails at $72.50, which makes this sample valued at $14.50.

Endocare tensage radiance contour and ampoules

The ampoules (vials inside the boxes) are an intensive anti-aging regeneration serum for all skin types (to be applied to face and neck after cleansing).  These two samples (2ml total) are valued at $16.86 given that 7ml retails for $59.00.

This sample set is great value, but I need to actually use it in order to benefit!

Masker Aide

Hydrating Facial Sheet Mask.  Full size sample, retails for $4.99/mask.

Said to “awaken, refresh and replenish your skin.  The cooling effects of the mask will help de-puff and awaken your eyes, while natural Peppermint Oil awakens your senses.”

All Nighter Facial Sheet Mask by Masker AideMasker Aide All Nighter Mask from Topbox

This, I will absolutely be using and am excited to try out!

Stila Eye Shadow Palette

paper makeup palette from Topbox

This paper palette features 10 different shades by Stila from their “in the light” palette.

(click to enlarge picture so you can see recommend looks from Stila)

"in the light" palette by Stila

The full size product is 14g, sells for $50.00 CAD and comes with a full size eye liner.  There is no measurement anywhere on this sample pertaining to weight or volume, so it is impossible for a value to be calculated.

Vasanti BrightenUp! Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator 

Vasanti BrightenUp! sample from Topbox

Said to “Dramatically improve your skin’s texture to reveal softer, brighter and younger looking skin!  Enriched with powerful papaya enzymes, micro-crystals and aloe to exfoliate, gently cleanse and add radiance.”

The full size product retails for $34.00 which gives this sample an estimated value of $5.67.

I am personally currently in love with my Lancome “Pure Focus” Facial Scrub, but am sure when I run out, I will give this a try…mostly because I love using up product I have laying around.  I try not to be overly wasteful.

My first thoughts

I’ve got to say that I was a little disappointed, after the big long wait.  I know with beauty boxes like this, that you usually get some things you wouldn’t normally pick out (that is part of the fun!), but generally speaking, you should get one thing you are super excited about as soon as you lay eyes on it…I can’t say that I did.  I was all pumped up after months of hype and was kind of let down.  But who knows, perhaps I will fall in love with one of the skin care products…  The Stila eye shadow palette was the biggest disappointment for me.  It’s cool that you can try multiple shades, but this sample isn’t anything better than what you might get in a magazine or free from Sephora.  I certainly won’t be cancelling my Topbox, I want to stick with it for a few months, but I am definitely hoping that November has a better showing than October.

I was also disappointed with the variety this box offered.  3 skin care samples and only one makeup sample?  Not ideal!  I would much rather receive a box with a bigger emphasis on makeup.  Or at the very least, some sort of balance between the two.  I’m hoping for a different experience next month – I’ve got my fingers crossed.  🙂

Are any of you receiving beauty boxes from Topbox already?  What did you think of your October Topbox?  Did you receive different products than I did?

Thanks for reading!



Feeling Earthy? (a rainforest makeup tutorial)

how to apply eyeshadow

It feels like forever since I’ve done an eye makeup tutorial.  This one is super simple and fast to do.  I tried to make a season appropriate look for this time of year, but still have some fun with it.  With this eye shadow combination I still get my “necessary” pop of colour with the bold green, but the look is grounded by the brown eye shadow.


I used 3 eye shadows from MAC Cosmetics – Swimming, Humid and Mystery.

MAC eye shadow swatches - "Mystery", "Swimming" and "Humid"

But you can certainly recreate this look with any similar combination of shadows.

How to create this super simple look:

green and brown eye makeup

*follow any of the links below for swatches, where to buy and other shades available*

  1. As always, fill in your brows first to help frame the area.  I used Mystery eyeshadow by MAC Cosmetics for this.
  2. Prime your lid and all the way up to your crease.  I used Urban Decay’s Primer Potion.  It is super important to use a primer if you want long wear time and to avoid creasing.  Your shadows will also apply more vibrantly and stay true throughout the day/night.
  3. Using a flat eye shadow brush, dab Swimming eye shadow by MAC all over your lids. (from the inside of the eye to the outside of the eye).  Any bright green will work for this, you don’t need this specific shadow.  Just make sure it is not lime green, you want it to be more of an earthy tone.
  4. Using the same brush (brush off all the green pigment first on a kleenex) use your Mystery eye shadow (any dark brown matte eye shadow will do) throughout the crease and up onto your brow bone.
  5. Then, using a fluffy crease brush, sweep Humid eye shadow (or a nice dark forest green) gently back and forth through your crease. This will help meld the dark brown and the bright green together, creating a more fluid and blended look.
  6. For eyeliner I used Master Precise Felt Tip Liquid Liner (available at Ulta in the US and at Shoppers Drug Mart in Canada) on my lid.  I didn’t apply any on the lower side of my eyes.  I wanted to create a softer and more open look rather than closing off my eye.
  7. Finish the look with at least two coats of mascara.  I used They’re Real! mascara by benefit.
  8. (Optional) Add false eyelashes to your look.  I get such volume and curl out of this mascara I decided not to bother with lashes.

how to apply eyeshadow

How to get the rest of this look:

Face > For my under eye concealer I used Erase Paste by benefit in shade No.1.  Then, all over I used Clinique’s Moisture Surge Tinted Moisturizer in shade 01 topped with MAC’s Studio Careblend Pressed Powder in shade Light Plus.

Cheeks > Margin Blush by MAC Cosmetics (a frost powdered blush)

Lips > Bite Lip Shine in shade “Vintage”

rainforest makeup

What do you guys think?  Are you a fan of this combination or do you hate it?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.  Tell me, what make-up are you sporting this fall??

Thanks for reading!


Jelly Sandwich Extravaganza with the Fall 2012 “Gloss” Collection by Zoya

green jelly sandwich nails, blue jelly sandwich nails

Jelly Sandwich nails are probably my most favourite manicures.  They are simple, pretty, easy to create and the longest lasting of any manicures I’ve had.

I only had one jelly polish and was having a hard time tracking them down.  So when I heard Zoya had come out with a fall collection featuring all jellies, I was excited.  I’ve never had a Zoya polish before as they aren’t the most accessible here in Canada, but I know how popular they are south of the border.

Gloss Collection - fall 2012 - Zoya

So I decided to grab this “Gloss” Collection from nailpolishcanada.com for $24.00.  You can also purchase it for the same price online at zoya.com (if you are in the US) or ebay/amazon.  They are sold everywhere for $8.00/each or $24.00 for the set.

Fall 2012 Gloss Collection by Zoya

This collection contains Katherine, Paloma and Frida – all beautiful jewel toned jelly polishes.  They are sheer, build-able and great for layering.


Katherine was the first shade that I tried.  It is a sheer, dark plum.

Katherine swatch - jelly polish by Zoya

One coat:

Katherine jelly polish - swatch and review

Four to Five coats are required to get mostly opaque coverage:

Katherine nail polish by Zoya - swatch and review

Using “Make a Spectacle” glitter polish from China Glaze’s new Halloween collection, I applied one top coat.

how to make jelly sandwich nails

Glitter nail polish from China Glaze 2012 Halloween Collection - "Make a Spectacle"

In order to make a jelly sandwich manicure, I added another layer of “Katherine” on top.  This gives the illusion that the glitter is floating inside the jelly polish, creating a cool 3D effect.  You can see the difference here, with and without the jelly polish on top:

what are jelly sandwich nails?

This mani ended up being a beautiful dark and vampy jelly sandwich.

dark and vampy jelly sandwich manicure


Paloma is a nice bright fuscia jelly lacquer.

One coat:

Paloma swatch - Zoya Gloss polish

Three to four coats:

"Paloma" by Zoya - nail polish swatch and review

*I found it was slightly less sheer than the other two in the collection and required less coats to reach an opaque look.*

For this jelly sandwich manicure, I also used “Make a Spectacle” glitter nail polish from China Glaze.

Zoya's "Paloma" and China Glaze's "Make a Spectacle"

jelly sandwich nails using "Paloma" by Zoya


Frida is my favourite polish from this Gloss collection.  It is a nice rich teal.  It is however the most sheer of the three.

One coat:

"Frida" review - nail polish by Zoya

Four to five coats:

"Frida" swatch - jelly nail polish by Zoya

To make this into a jelly sandwich manicure, I used “Mermaid Tale” by Orly.

polishes to make a green/teal jelly sandwich

teal jelly sandwich nails using "Frida" nail polish by Zoya

I really love all three of the shades in this collection and they are just perfect for this time of year.  No better time to sport jewel toned polishes!  They are gorgeous with or without the jelly sandwich, but I love the little bit of fun the glitter adds to each manicure.

Remember: Removing glitter nail polish doesn’t have to be a chore.  Check out my tutorial on removing glitter nail polish – the easy way!

What is your favourite polish this fall?  Do you have a favourite from this “Gloss” collection from Zoya?



jelly sandwich manicure using Frida and Mermaid Tale