Friday, January 30, 2015

January Favourites | 2015

“january “january It's time for the first monthly favourites of the year! I know everyone says this, but I can't believe the month is over already. I'm excited to share with you my favourites of the past month so let's get started!

Sali Hughes - Pretty Honest / I started reading this about halfway through the month and I absolutely love it. There's a lot of hype around this book lately but honestly it lives up to it! If you're even slightly interested in beauty I'd highly recommend giving this a read. It has tips about makeup and what products to use, but also tips on how to act at a makeup counter, what to do when you go to a salon, how to take and give compliments, and so much more. I'm currently about 80% done this book but I'll probably be finished in the next day or two!

Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho / Fall Out Boy released a new album this month and it's fantastic. It's all that I've been listening to since it came out 10 days ago. My current favourite songs are Fourth of July and Uma Thurman.

Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Concealer in Fair / I used one of these concealers up last year but then moved on to other concealers. I picked up a new on this month and I had forgotten how much I love this stuff! It's super quick and easy to apply, blends in like a dream, and provides good coverage to under eye circles (and even spots in a pinch) without feeling heavy at all. I don't know how I ever went without this, but I won't make the same mistake again!

Colourpop Lippie Stix in Creature / I received a couple of Colourpop Lippie Stix for Christmas this year and they are amazing. My favourite of the two shades I got is Creature, a matte deep red. These apply wonderfully, have fantastic staying power, and for a matte are quite comfortable on the lips. I loved these so much in fact, that I placed an order last night for more! Expect a haul and swatches when I get them in the mail! (Review)

Bite Beauty BB for Lips in Tawny / This came in a Bite Beauty set I got for Christmas and I've been using it quite a bit! I'll apply this most mornings after my skincare routine and before I apply my makeup to prep my lips for the lipstick I end up applying at the end of my makeup routine. This also has a slight tint to it so I have worn it on it's own a couple of times too! It's nice and moisturizing without feeling heavy or sticky on the lips and it smells great too! (Review)

Lorac Pro 2 Palette / This has been a staple for me since I got it last month. I've used this at least a few times a week since I got it and I love it! The shadows are all gorgeous and unique shades for a neutral palette, and have incredible pigmentation. (Review)

Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer / I've had this primer in my collection for quite a while but only really started using it this past month. It came in a Smashbox gift set I picked up at Winners I believe ometime last year. I've really enjoyed using it this month though! Unlike most eye primers I use, this comes in a tube with a wand and applies to the lid similar to a concealer. It's pigmented and cancels out any discolouration on my lids and works great as a day-to-day primer as well!

Conair True Glow Sonic Skincare Solution Brush / This product has saved my skin I think. I started using it this month after I picked it up on sale at Target and my skin has only looked better and better since I've used it! I use this 1-2 times a day and it works great to buff off any dead skin as well as cleanse my skin. And it's much more wallet-friendly than the Clarisonic. (Review)

Tarte Tartelette Palette / Along with the Lorac Pro 2 Palette, this has been my other go-to palette for the month. It consists of 12 gorgeous matte shadows that range from warm to cool to plum-toned. This palette is ideal for everyday neutral looks, but works great in combination with other shadows and palettes too! (Review)

Julep Margit Nail Polish / I'll admit it, I've been incredibly lazy with my nails this month. I think I only painted them twice, as opposed to my usual 4-5 times. Part of that reason would be this polish! I wore it for about 2 weeks before any substantial chipping began happening, which was amazing. There was slight tip wear of course, but nothing bad enough to make me want to repaint my nails! Also the colour is a gorgeous taupe with a very slight pink sheen to it which makes it stand apart from other neutral polishes in my collection!

What were your favourite products from January? Let me know below!

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

How I Achieved My Best Looking Skin | Current Skincare Routine

“skincare I have never been one to have nice skin. I always envied girls around me with beautiful, clear skin who could go out bare-faced like it's nothing. Since I was about 11 or 12 years old I've struggled with acne. I've tried many different skincare products over the years but nothing has worked outstandingly well. In the past month or so I've switched up my skincare routine a bit and it must be working because in the past couple of weeks I've gotten compliments on my skin from 3 different people (one was a customer at work, one was a woman working at Yves Rocher, and one was my hairdresser). I don't think I've ever been complimented on my skin, and it's always been something I've felt self-conscious about, so those 3 comments really stuck with me. I still don't leave the house without my base on, but it's nice to be able to wear less full-coverage products without stressing over my skin too much. And my skin as it is now is by no means perfect, I still have discolouration and acne scarring, but it is heaps better than it has been over the past 10 years.

My skintype is combination/oily. I get oily throughout my T-zone, but also have dryer patches especially around my eyebrows. I do get breakouts still but the current skincare products I'm using are helping to keep those at a minimum. I also think my slightly healthier diet so far for the new year could be a contributing factor.

Morning Routine

In the morning I start by cleansing my face with the First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser on the Conair True Glow Sonic Skincare Solution Brush.  I then take the BiorĂ© Acne Fighting Astringent on a cotton pad and sweep it over my skin. I follow that up with the First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream. I don't like to have a super complex skincare routine for the mornings (and truthfully, I sometimes skip the first step here), but I feel like these products are fairly quick to use and work great.

Nighttime Routine

At night I don't mind spending a little extra time on my skincare. I find it quite relaxing to do lately, which is nice because I used to dread nighttime skincare. I start by removing all of my makeup with a Kirkland Daily Facial Towelette. I have been using these makeup wipes for years and they work great and they're inexpensive! Next I'll often use my First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser on my Conair True Glow Brush again. About 2-3 times a week, I'll substitute that step for using the Yves Rocher Pure System Daily Exfoliating Cleanser, which I either massage into my skin with my fingers, or use the Conair True Glow brush for. After cleansing, I'll apply 2-3 drops of Tarte Maracuja Oil into my hands, rub them together, and then onto my face and neck. Following that step I apply a layer of Yves Rocher Sebo Vegetal Zero Blemish Gel Cream to my face. Last, if I have any blemishes or spots, I'll use Lush Grease Lightning as a spot treatment.

I really think one of the main contributing factors to my skin improving is my new Conair True Glow Sonic Skincare Solution Brush. I recently picked it up when it went on sale and it's fantastic. It has 3 different "speed" settings and has a built-in 1 minute timer that beeps every 10 seconds, so you spend 10 seconds on each part of the face (left cheek, right cheek, chin, nose, left forehead, right forehead). It's also fully waterproof and comes with both a face and body brush head. I've been wanting to try the Clarisonic for years but could never justify spending $200+ on one, so I'm really glad I picked this up!

What are your current favourite skincare products? I'm currently looking for a mask to use a couple of times a week, any recommendations?

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Olive Green Smokey Eye | FOTD


Lately I've been experimenting a bit more with my eye makeup. For the past many years my go-to look has been a light neutral eyeshadow look with winged liner. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love that look still, but I have a lot of eye shadows in my collection that never get any love and I want to start using them more! I've been going sans-cateye more frequently lately and I really like the changed look!
“bornprettystoreFor the look above I swept an olive green shimmery shadow across my eyelid over primer. Then I took a medium brown matte through my crease. I highlighted my inner corner with a shimmery champagne shade. I then took the olive shadow along my lower lashline, and finished the look off with curled lashes and 2 coats of mascara. This look was super easy to achieve and I loved the result!

The star of this look was the gorgeous olive green eyeshadow, JoJo #18* from BornPrettyStore. It's a deep olive shade with gold shimmer throughout and applied smoothly with minimal fallout. It's good for someone like myself who is a neutral shadow lover, because it introduces some colour in a fairly neutral way. I feel like this look will be a new go-to for me, since it's super quick and easy and looks great!

You can get 10% off your order from BornPrettyStore when you use the code TCH10.

*This item was sent to Lipstick & Lacquer for review purposes. All opinions reflect my honest thoughts of the product(s).

Friday, January 23, 2015

9 Books to Read in 2015

“books One of my goals for 2015 is to read (at least) 12 books. I love reading and I often buy books throughout the year but I don't take the time to actually read them enough. In 2014 I added quite a few books I'm really excited about to my bookshelf and I look forward to reading them this year! I plan on reading one book a month, or more if I can! Here are 9 books I want to read at some point this year!

Pretty Honest by Sali Hughes - This is the book I'm currently reading and I'm loving it so far! It's a non fiction book written by beauty journalist Sali Hughes covering all things beauty. I've already learned so many helpful tips from what to do at a beauty counter, to all things skincare, to what foundation works best for my skin type. I'm only about a quarter of the way through the book so far but I can already tell it's a must-read for anyone into beauty or for anyone who wants to learn more about beauty!

Looking for Alaska by John Green - I have already read this book a couple of times but recently the 10th Anniversary Edition of the book came out and it has a beautiful new cover as well as 50 pages of bonus content that weren't in the original book. I really want to give this book another read and see what those extra 50 pages hold! (I believe there are some "deleted scenes" as well as a Q&A with John Green!)

Firecracker by David Iserson - I picked this book up on a whim sometime last year because the cover design caught my eye. As a graphic designer I could spend hours upon hours in book stores looking at all the different cover designs (so yes, I do judge books by their covers a lot of the time). I read the back of the book and it said it was written by one of the writers of the TV show New Girl. I really love New Girl and I really enjoy the comedy and writing of that show so I figured this would be a fun book to read!

If I Stay by Gayle Forman - I feel like everyone has read this book by now but I haven't yet! I saw the movie when it was in theatres and I really enjoyed it and wanted to know what happened next so I picked up a box set of If I Stay and the sequel, Where She Went. I really look forward to reading this to see what I think of it compared to the movie, and I look forward to seeing what the sequel brings as well!

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner - This is a book I picked up quite recently. I picked it up off the shelf because the cover seemed interesting and once I read the summary of it, it seemed like something I would enjoy reading. This book is about a beauty vlogger whose sister passes away. It deals with how she handles the loss while in the "public" eye of her audience. It seems like an interesting read since I watch so many beauty vloggers!

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - I got this book the same day I got Can't Look Away because there was a buy 1 get 1 50% off deal! This book is said to be "The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park" which are two of my favourite novels so I really hope I enjoy it as much as I enjoyed those two! Its summary says it's a "heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die". This book only came out in the first week of this year and apparently it's set to be a movie as well!

Landline by Rainbow Rowell - Over the past couple of years, two of my favourite books have been Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, both by Rainbow Rowell. I love the style that she writes and I can't wait to read this one. The cover is really nicely illustrated as well!

Refinery29 Style Stalking - This book is kind of more a coffee table book full of gorgeous photos of street style fashion. It goes over personal style and different trends in fashion. I really want to be more adventurous with the clothes I wear and I feel like this book will give me some great inspiration.

Grace's Guide by Grace Helbig - I've had this book since it came out sometime last year (I even went to one of Grace's book signings!) but for some reason I haven't gotten around to reading it! I've read the first couple of chapters but that's about it. For those living under a rock, Grace Helbig is a comedic YouTuber who is soon to have her own TV show on E! I've been subscribed to Grace's channel for quite some time and from what I've read of this book so far, it really captures how hilarious and down to earth she is.

Well, there is my current to-read list for the year! I really hope I get through these all and more over the next year and I'm genuinely excited to reading each and every one of them.

What books do you want to read this year? Any recommendations for me?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks | Review + Swatches

“jeffree “jeffree Attention all bold-lip lovers! You'll want to pay attention. There's a new liquid lipstick on the scene and this one is no joke. These are the Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Liquid Lipsticks. These are the first products in the Jeffree Star Cosmetics range and I am really impressed with them. I pre-ordered mine the day they became available, on Black Friday, and got the bundle with all 3 available shades (available on the Jeffree Star Cosmetics website). The three shades currently available are I'm Royalty, Redrum, and Prom Night.

I'm Royalty is a bright royal purple with a matte finish. Redrum is a bright blue-based red. Prom Night is a borderline neon bright Barbie pink. 

The formula of these is similar to products such as the Kat Von D Everlasting Liquid Lipsticks and the Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipsticks. They apply wet looking from a tube with a doe foot applicator and set as an ultra-matte finish. These do not transfer like a typical lipstick would either. The wear time of these is great as well. I can wear these for 6+ hours without the need of a touch up! All three of the shades apply very opaque in one pass over the lips. The only down side to these for me is that application is a bit tricky since the doe foot applicator is a little flimsy. I might try to apply these with a lip brush next time to get a more precise application. But other than that this product is a total win in my books! Jeffree is currently working on expanding the shade range of these liquid lipsticks as well as adding new products to his range which I can't wait for!

Are these lipsticks something you'd try out? What are your thoughts on the super bold shades?

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How to Take Better Blog Photos | 7 Helpful Tips

“better Over the past few years of blogging, I've taken hundreds or even thousands of photos for my blog. And through all of that trial and error I have picked up an idea of what works well and what doesn't. Today I thought I'd share with you some tips I've learned about how to take better blog photos! And remember, these are just tips that work for me. You may do things different than I do and if you do and you're happy with your photos then keep doing just what you're doing! I'm just sharing for those who might be curious as to how I take my blog photos!

1. Natural light is your best friend. Out of all the different lighting situations I've tried, natural light always looks the best. I've tried using regular light, and even a daylight lamp, but lights tend to have quite a harsh look in photos and cast dark shadows. I take most of my photos on my desk which is right in front of a big window. For me, the best time to take photos is between 11am and 1pm when it's nice and bright outside! I also hold a piece of white bristol board on the opposite side of my desk that the light is coming in to bounce the light onto the other side of the products I'm photographing. This bouncing technique also helps to eliminate any harsh shadows in your shot.

2. Keep it clean. When taking pictures of products (or anything, really) a nice clean background will help to keep the focus of your photos on the items your photographing, without a distracting background getting in the way. I mostly like to use a solid white backdrop. (If you don't have a white desk or table, white bristol board works great and is super inexpensive. You can just replace it when it starts to look grubby.) I also like the look of a subtly textured background such as light/white woodgrain, marble, or a soft knit or fabric. You can also try adding a small sheet of fun paper or tissue paper to add something to the background!

3. Add some flair. If you're taking pictures of 1 or 2 small items, the shot can be kind of boring if it's just the item with nothing else in the shot. I really like to add some small props or accompanying items to help fill up the shot a little more and add some interest. Some items you can add are rings, small decorative dishes, sunglasses, magazines, notebooks, small plants, a makeup bag, or any other small accessories or items that relate to the subject you're shooting in some way!

4. Avoid flash. This tip kind of goes with the first one I mentioned, but please avoid flash if at all possible. Flash creates harsh light and shadows and also reflects off of the items you're photographing. Especially if you're a beauty blogger and you're taking photos of products that often have plastic packaging, the flash will bounce right off of it. Natural light gives a much softer look to the lighting in the photo and will look much better!

5. Digital camera > phone camera. I know cell phone cameras have gotten quite good over the years, but chances are you also own a digital camera, and chances are it takes higher quality photos than your phone does. A digital camera also should have more manual settings that you can adjust to make the most of your photos! Just try it out, put your phone down next time you're taking blog photos and play around with your digital camera instead!

6. Try a different angle. This is one tip I need to take to heart a little more, but instead of shooting your products at one angle (my go-to is the birdseye view), take some photos at different angles too! Don't be afraid to try new compositions or angles for your photos because you may surprise yourself and really like what you come up with! And don't be afraid to take too many photos. Sometimes I take 50+ shots just for one or two of them to actually show up on my blog. You can always delete the ones that don't work later!

7. Edit your photos. I'm not saying everyone has to go and buy Photoshop or anything, but use the resources you have to edit your photos a little bit before posting them to your blog. I use Photoshop and occasionally Lightroom to edit my photos. If you don't have access to those programs you can use iPhoto or even a photo editing app on your phone to edit (just email your chosen photo(s) to yourself and save them to your phone. Use an app like Afterlight or VSCOcam to edit and save your pics, then email them to yourself again and save them on your computer!). Photos can always benefit from a slight brightness/contrast boost, and you can go into colour correcting, Curves, and Levels if you're more comfortable with editing.

Like I mentioned above, these are what works for me! If you have different techniques that work for you then that's great too!

Let me know below if you think you'll try out any of these tips!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Colourpop Lippie Stix | Creature + Feminist

“colourpop “colourpop “colourpop For Christmas, my friend McKenna gifted me a couple of Colourpop Lippie Stix! It seems like for the past few months Colourpop has been all over beauty blogs and YouTube channels and I've really been wanting to try out some products from the brand. Well, I've tried these two Lippie Stix in the shades Creature and Feminist and they did not disappoint! Creature is a deep red shade with a matte finish. Feminist is a blackened purple matte. As a fan of a vampy lip, both of these shades are right up my alley! These wear really well throughout the day and last around 5 hours before needing touch ups. They also remain quite comfortable on the lips considering they have a matte finish. If you get the chance to try some of the Colourpop Lippie Stix I'd highly recommend them!