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

Archive for January, 2013

365 Days of Marriage

Engagement Ring with emeralds

Well, its been a year already, I can’t believe it!  On January 28th, 2012 I was lucky enough to marry my best friend and the love of my life.  I’m not sure where the time went, but I couldn’t be happier about who I spent it with.

Canadian Winter Wedding

James, you are the best husband a girl could ever ask for.  I love you more than anything and would do this all over again if given the chance.  

Pictures of an outdoor winter wedding

 (Maybe, minus the big bill this time!)

Winter Wedding at The Lodge, Strathmere

We were lucky enough to have our very own cousin and loving friend perform the ceremony. We love you Andy!  From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for making our day extra special.

So, as a dedication to our 1 year wedding anniversary I decided to share some pictures and a special video of our wedding vows with you all.  Thank you Ali for the video!

And of course, special thanks to all of those who made our wedding day a day worth remembering!  That goes for the wedding party and all of our friends and family who were able to join us.  We can’t imagine having shared it with anyone else.

Winter Wedding in Ottawa Canada
I really hope you enjoy these small snip-its from our wedding!  I know I do, every time I see them.

Winter Wedding in the snow
xox,

Shannon

Wedding Cake with Peacock Theme

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Topbox’s First “Prive Box” – Clinique

Clinique Prive Box, January 2013 Topbox

A couple of months ago Topbox announced that they would be adding a Prive Box to their offerings.  The Prive Box is a beauty box featuring products all from one brand, Topbox members would be able to see the box ahead of time and decide if they wanted the Prive Box that month, or the regular mystery box.  For January though, as their first Prive Box, it would be a surprise and everyone was to get one.  No one knew who the brand was ahead of time or what would be inside.

So when I saw the little cylindrical box in my mail box last week, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I unwrapped the brown shipping paper to find personalized paper featuring the name of a high-end brand – Clinique.

Clinique Prive Box - January 2013 Topbox

In Canada, Clinique is available at both Sephora and department stores and generally speaking costs a pretty penny.  The only time I purchase Clinique is during the bonus time’s where you spend a certain amount of money and get a beauty bag for free.  So, over the years I’ve ended up with a variety of Clinique samples, some of which I’ve used until they were gone, others I have hardly touched.  But nevertheless I was happy to see a well known brand in January’s Topbox and knew before opening it, that the value would be there this month.

My shipment didn’t have a tag # this month, so I’m not sure what box # I received.  But it was definitely customized for my combination skin.  Let’s take a closer look at what was inside:

Repairwear Laser Focus

Clinique Topbox

Said to be “A second chance for skin against sun damage and wrinkles.  At 12 weeks, the visible wrinkle-reducing power is remarkably close to a dermatological laser procedure.  63% to be exact.”  I guess that is how it gets its name.  I actually received this exact sample in my last Clinique Bonus Time beauty bag (months ago) and I haven’t even given that one a try.  So it will likely be some time before this seal gets cracked, but at least I have it for when I need it.  And honestly I probably should start incorporating these types of products into my regular routine.  This wrinkle and UV damage protector is 7mL in size.  The full size (30mL) retails for $57.00 CAD which makes this sample valued at $13.30.

Clarifying Lotion 3

Clinique Topbox (Prive - January box)

Part of Clinique’s 3-step skin care program this is actually for step 2 (the 3 refers to the skin type).  This is to be used after you wash your face and before you apply your moisturiser.  Again, this is my second time receiving a sample of this.  I received a larger sample (double the size actually) of this quite a while ago during a Bonus Time and still use it a few times a week.  So it’s nice to know that I won’t need to rush out and a buy a new one.  I can use this up as well…  This sample is 30mL in size and with the full size being 200mL and retailing for only $16.00 this puts this sample’s value at  just $2.40.

Rinse-Off Eye Makeup Solvent

Clinique Topbox offerings - January Prive Box 2013

This eye makeup solvent is to be used for quick removal or quick change.  It says that it leaves no oily residue so fresh makeup adheres immediately.  To me, that sounds like MAC’s Pro Eye Makeup Remover (the purple bottle) which is okay for some products, but won’t work well on anything with waterproof or waterproof like formulas (because of the lack of oil).  If you’ve tried this product already, let me know what you think of it below?  I’m curious about it and I have no doubt I will try it.  But considering I have both an oil-free and waterproof makeup remover on the go right now, I don’t have an immediate use for it.  This sample is the largest sample in the January Topbox, at 60mL.  The full size is 125mL and retails for $25.00, making this sample valued at an even $12.00.

Color Surge Eye Shadow Duo in 02 Like Mink

Clinique Topbox

Clinique Prive Box, by Topbox

This neutral toned eye shadow duo contains two “go-together” shades in a chrome slide compact.  I’m not sure how much use I will get out of this, given that I am such an eye shadow hoarder and already have far too many, but it can’t hurt to try it out…I just need to remember I have it.  🙂  The full size 2.5g version of this product retails for $25.00, so this 1.6g sample is valued at $16.00.

Total value of January 2013 Prive Box featuring Clinique = $43.70.  Not bad for a $12.00 investment.

Clinique Prive Box for January 2013

Overall, for this month, I see myself using 2, maybe three of the products regularly and can’t really say that I’m disappointed, but I can’t say that I’m super excited about it either.  Just sort of content with it I guess.  The value is there, the products are definitely high quality and generally speaking I love Clinique.  There just wasn’t anything in this box that put a giant smile on my face that I couldn’t wait to try out.  It’s just a variety of useful high-end products.  But really, that is good enough for me!  If you’d like to sign up to become a Topbox member, you can.  It is $12.00 a month with free shipping and you can cancel at any time.  Join here.

For February, they are featuring three different Prive Boxes.  One of which contains the highly sought after brand benefit.  They don’t have enough for everyone though, so I believe the people who receive it will be selected randomly from the people who requested it.  Should be interesting…I really hope I am lucky enough to get one!

Were you happy with your Beauty Boxes this month?

I signed up for Ipsy as well, so I should be receiving my first glam bag from them soon!   Can’t wait!

xox,

Shannon

To see what I’ve received in my last few Topboxes, feel free to follow these links:

October 2012 Topbox

November 2012 Topbox

December 2012 Topbox


KIKO Make Up Milano (Introduction and Review)

KIKO Make Up Milano

So, Saturday night we safely arrived back home in Ottawa.  After two flights and a very long day, we were in a word “exhausted”.  I’ve got to say, it felt very amazing to sleep in our own bed!

I’m so far behind with things I want to post about on here, so I will do my best to get caught up.  I’ll try to mix in trip photos over the next couple of weeks amidst everything else.  While in Europe I ran into a couple of make up brands that I’d never heard of before and to the best of my knowledge, aren’t available anywhere in North America, so I was sure to pick up a few items so I could share them with you.  And hopefully learn more about them from my European readers who have likely had a much wider experience with them.

Kiko Cosmetics, Venice Italy

The first one I wanted to post about is KIKO Make Up Milano.  Available online at their website for residents of Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Germany and the UK…KIKO Cosmetics is currently only available for sale in Europe.

KIKO’s identity is rooted in “Made in Italy” values and the world of the capital for fashion, art and design. The research into original textures and colours is combined with research into quality formulas with guaranteed performance, for a perfect fusion of quality and creativity.

www.kikocosmetics.com

KIKO Makeup

We ran into this stand alone cosmetics store in the shopping district of Venice.  They had every makeup and skincare product under the sun and tonnes of nail polishes too.  And as you can see, it was packed!  They had so much product in this little shop, I really wasn’t sure where to start.  Because I had no idea of if there were any “must-haves” for this brand, I just snooped around and picked out a few things I thought I would enjoy giving a try.

I ended up opting for two eye pencils, an eyeshadow palette containing 4 shades and a nail polish.

KIKO Make Up Milano

The Color Fever Eyeshadow Palette I decided on was the one called Hyperreal Green Wood (no shocker there!).

Hyperreal Green Wood - Color Fever quad

Inside the box the palette comes inside a small velvet pouch for safe keeping.  And you’ll be happy to know the lid offers a full size mirror with no wasted space.

"Hyperreal Green Wood" Color Fever swatches

The Hyperreal Green Wood palette features 4 gorgeous shades that are easily paired together and are all shimmery baked eyeshadows so they can easily be used dry or wet, depending on how intense you want the look to be.

Color Fever Eyeshadow swatches - "Hyperreal Green Wood"

Left to Right: Top Row, Bottom Row

The look I’ve created here is using a dry brush.  And I found them to be very vibrant with lovely pigmentation and great blendability.  After several hours of wear I experienced no creasing, fading or patchy wear of any kind.  I was very happy with this palette and the overall quality of the eye shadows.  I paid 12,90 Euro for this palette in store (that is equivalent to about $17 or $18 US dollars).

Hyperreal Green Wood makeup look by Kiko

I also purchased Nail Lacquer 298 (no cute names, only numbers) for 3,90 Euro (which is about $5-$6 USD).  The nail lacquer was not at all like I expected.  It was a very sheer shimmer and after trying it out, I would think this is best used as a top coat if you wanted to add some shimmer to a matte or creme blue, green or black polish.

298 Nail Lacquer by Kiko

298 Nail Lacquer by KIKO Make Up Milano

This picture here is showing 3 coats.  I did 5 and still had a visible nail line, so you’d have to do at least 6 for an opaque/close to opaque look.  Not sure who has time for that?

swatch of 298 nail lacquer by Kiko

Unfortunately I only picked up the one shade, so I have no idea of whether this is just the case with their shimmer formulas and if an experience with a creme would’ve been different.  I imagine it would be.  Perhaps if anyone has tried out more than one of their nail lacquers you can leave a note below??  I’m really curious!

As mentioned earlier, I picked out 2 eye pencils while at KIKO.  The first one was from their “Glamorous Eye Pencil” line and was number 404.  It was only 2,90 Euro which is equal to about $4 USD.

Plum eye pencil by Kiko (404 Glamorous)

It is a nice rich plum shade in a waterproof formula that starts out blendable and then sets into place.

swatch of Glamorous Eye Pencil by Kiko - 404

For this swatch, I did a single fine  line on the left which is just the width of the tip and then did a thicker swatch so you could see the true colour a little bit better.

The other eye pencil I decided to pick up was from the Smoky Eye(s) Pencil line in shade 03 (Violet Indigo).  This one retailed for 6,90 Euro which equates to about $9 or $10 USD.

KIKO Smoky Eye Pencil in "03"

 

When I saw this product, I knew I just had to give this a whirl because it was the first time I’d ever seen a brush on the end of an eye pencil opposed to a smudger.

"03" Smoky Eyes Pencil by Kiko Cosmetics

For the above swatch, on the left again I did the single fine line to show the width of the tip and on the right, I’ve lightly blended it out using the brush on the other end.

Both eye pencils had an extremely creamy texture and slid across my lids gently with ease.  Below, you can see I tried pairing the blue one with some brown crushed pigments to add a pop of colour to my look which created a nice alternative to brown or black.

"03" Smoky Eyes Pencil by Kiko

 

Overall I was really happy with the quality of products and given the price, you really can’t go wrong.  The brand is quite affordable and offers an absolutely massive range of colours and options for people, no matter their age.  The prices make it easy to try out multiple products right away unlike some high end brands that add up so quickly.  Now all I wish is that I’d grabbed a lip product to test drive too…and honestly, some of everything would be nice!  So, I can definitely say that I would buy KIKO products again if I’m ever back in Europe.  Hopefully someday they will expand their on-line store and make shipping to North America possible!

So, for all my North American readers, keep your eyes peeled for KIKO Make Up Milano on your next trip overseas and for my European readers, I’m really curious if any of you are fans of KIKO Cosmetics and if there are any “must-have’s” people should know about?!?

Thanks for reading!

xox,

Shannon

BE WHAT YOU WANT

www.kikocosmetics.com

 


Quick Venice Photo BOMB

Venezia Italia

I currently still have internet access and wanted to drop a quick bomb of photos on all of you from our time in Venice.  I know this isn’t the typical definition of “photo bomb”…but I’ve always been a little weird.

***click any photo to enlarge***

The Grand Canal in Venice Italy

The Grand Canal

Gondolas of Venice

Gondolas of Venice

Venice Canals

Canals

Venice waterways

One of the most picturesque canals in Venice

Venice sidestreet

Sidestreet

San Marco Gondolas, Venice

Gondolas across from Piazza San Marco

St. Mark's Basilica

Basilica di San Marco

We are boarding our cruise ship tomorrow and will have very limited internet access until we are back in Ottawa middle of January.  So I hope you enjoy these pictures from the few days we spent in Venice, Italy!   Most of them were taken by my ever talented husband.

Hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and I’m wishing you all an exciting and prosperous 2013!

Ciao!

Shannon

Venice Italy, canals and sidestreets