Monday, 28 April 2014

Ordering Makeup Geek Eyeshadow {First Impression}

In case you didn't know... The Makeup Geek website is amazing.  It is such a comprehensive site with video tutorials, forums, reviews, etc.  When you're shopping for eye shadows they have photos of their shadows swatched next to others within a similar color family.  This allows you to easily chose the right colors to create certain looks or perhaps even the perfect palette.

I have heard so many great things about Makeup Geek products so I started looking around for fun. I wasn't exactly planning on making an order- but, once I started looking I found it difficult to narrow my shopping cart down to only 10!   You will hear these eyeshadoes being compared to MAC cosmetics over and over but they retail for literally half the price.  You can purchase them in a pan for $5.99 (American) or in a compact for $7.99. I also found a page on the MUG website where Marlena (creater of Makeup Geek) shows an in depth comparison with side by side swatches to various MAC eye shadows allowing you to find similar colors for much less.  It's a great resource and if you're interested you can find it here.  

Since a little while ago I purchased a MAC 15 pan palette insert (and only two shadows to go in it at the time) I was hoping that these pans would fit into it.  I found it was really difficult to find a straight forward answer reading other reviews and even when you compare their weights MUG is heavier, meaning you receive a little more product in a MUG pan.  If you're reading this asking the same question then:
YES- Makeup Geek pans fit into the MAC palette inserts however, they are not magnetic so you will need to attach a magnet to the back in order to adhere them safely into the palette.  If you are using a ZPalette (which I recommend) you do not need additional magnets.  Read about my ZPalette here. 

MUG Single Eyeshadow Pan in Burlesque

"As Makeup Geeks, we stay true to who we are. Cosmetics are not used to change ourselves but to enhance the exquisite and unique people that we are. To be a Makeup Geek means to be a reflection of our inner beauty.
XOXO, Marlena"

Ordering to Canada:

As I mentioned above, the Makeup Geek website is extremely user friendly.

Shipping was affordable (around $7 to Victoria, BC) but it took around 3 weeks from date of purchase to receive my package.  Three days until I received my shipping notice/ tracking number and another 2 weeks it was in my hot little hands.  Another thing worth mentioning is that when the charge went through onto my Visa the total cost was converted to American dollars- which is fine- but it wasn't something that I was aware was going to happen  or had even thought about before my purchase.  The conversion increased the total cost of my order by around $12- food for thought if you're planning on doing the same.

Despite it all, I was so pleased when my package finally arrived! It was in a small box with both foam peanuts and bubble wrap to ensure none of my shadows were broken (nevermind that I dropped my phone on 3 of them after recieving them- cries real tears).  The pans themselves came in small windowed cardboard envelopes with white and pink design and a note/ mission statement signed from Marlena.

What I Bought:

Beaches and Cream
(Kind of) Compares to: MAC Bisque
Beaches and Cream is much warmer than Bisque, I wouldn't personally consider them to be dupes. On the Makeup Geek website it is described as a "creamy matte natural beige with just a hint of peach," I put this shadow in my cart last minute when I saw the photo of it swatched next to Cinderella- the two shades compliment each other beautifully!  I also think it will serve as a great wash of color during the summer with a light warm brown in the crease.

Not only does it look beautiful paired with Beaches and Cream. I thought this color would compliment my Naked3 palette, it's beautiful.  I would describe it as a pale pink shadow with peach shimmer.

Creme Brulee:
Compares to: MAC Tete a Tint (now discontinued)
When I recieve this color I was a little disappointed at first glance because I thought it looked too similar to Beaches in Cream, however, to my (pleasant) surprise it swatches a lot deeper than it first appears in the pan.  A follower on Instagram also told me that this is the perfect everyday crease color. It is described as a "medium sand color with a soft matte finish."

Compares to: MAC Patina
"A dark sand and light taupe tan with slight shimmer." I love taupe shades and I know that this is a color I will get a lot of use out of.  Adding a shade with some shimmer into an otherwise all matte look can really complete the look and give it some dimension.

This shadow is just a touch darker than Hipster and of course matte. It is the perfect neutral brown.  I have plans to wear this as a quick and easy crease color.  Love. 

Cocoa Bear
Compares to: MAC Brown Script 
I was very hesitant with this color because I'm not usually drawn to warm colors and in certain lights Cocoa Bear is a very red-toned brown.  It is also one of the most talked about and popular Makeup Geek shadows and after playing with this a little bit today I understand why!  I know it is going to be such a versatile color in my palette.

Brown Sugar:
Compares to: MAC Twinks
This is my kind of color! It's a warm toned shimmer shadow, described as a "copper brown".

Prom Night 
Compares to: MAC Satin Taupe and Urban Decay Mugshot (Naked3)
This color is almost identical to Mugshot so if you have the Naked3 palette you may want to pass on this one.  This being said, it is beautiful and extremely pigmented.  

Compares to: MAC Cranberry
I died when I swatched this color. I'm in love. It's described online as a "deep metallic burgundy" or "the perfect color" (go ahead and quote me).

Sea Mist
I'll admit- I'm a neutral kind of girl and I don't stray far from browns and the occasional purple so this shadow was a bit of a wild card.  However, the day I was shopping online I had just watched a Jaclyn Hill Spring Makeup Tutorial and was feeling inspired.  It's a beautiful green- teal and I'm excited about incorporating a little more color into my eye looks (baby steps).

Collection of Makeup Geek shadows
First Thoughts:
After swatching these shadows I am so impressed the formula- her matte shadow in particular are so buttery and creamy which is how I know that they will be easy to blend.  I can't wait to begin using them to create looks.  I did notice that two of my shimmer shades, Cinderella and Sea Mist, were a bit powdery when I swatched them so it will be interesting to see how they translate on a brush.

Overall, I'm really pleased with my choices and I'm excited to use them and create a more formal opinion.  Make sure to stay tuned for a more in depth review of these shadows, as well as a Prom 2014 look and a DIY on how to magnetize and organize your palette!

What is your favorite Makeup Geek eye shadow? 

* UPDATE: I tried to magnetize my MAC palette but ended up switching to ZPalette! If you're curious about more information or a direct comparison- you can find it here.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Spoil Your Mumma for Under $50

Mother's Day is coming up quickly (Sunday, May 11) and each year I find that it gets harder and harder to come up with something that shows my mum how much I appreciate her.  Thus,  I thought it would be a good idea to compile a list of pretty things my diva mum likes in hopes it will help you find something perfect for your fabulous mum (that won't break the bank)!

  1. Lush Bath Bombs: What is better than the gift of relaxation? No honestly! Is there anything better?  Lush has a huge selection of handmade natural bath bombs each formulated for different reasons- mosturizing, sleep inducing, calming- and their range of scents is anywhere from lavender and florals to sweet candies.  Basically there's something for everyone.  My favorite is Butterball which is made with cocoa butter to moisturize the skin.  They range in price anywhere from $3.95- $12.95
  2. Lush Bubble Bars:  Along the same lines, Lush has a line of bubble bars which I think are very unique.  Opposed to traditional liquid bubble bath- you crumble a portion of the solid bar into running water and it suds up your tub!  Similar to the bombs there are all sorts of scents and each is formulated with unique oils to serve different purposes.  Pictured above is Sunny Side, which disolves into beautiful shimmery golden water and is full of citrus oils and vitamin D.  They range in price from $4.95- $12.95.
  3. YSL Rouge Volupte Shine: These lipsticks are so luxurious.  The Volupte Shine feel like butter on the lips and look like they are fit for a queen.  They provide a sheer wash of comfortable color which is perfect for a busy working mum.  They retail at Sephora for $39 and are availble in 19 different shades.   
  4. Fragrance:  I believe fragrances are one of the best gifts.  Rollerballs are great to stash in purses and desks and usual average at about $25- $40 (Nest's "Midnight Fleur" is shown above, $30).  Or, if you're unsure about what type of fragrance your mum may like mini fragrance collections make great gifts.  The Coach Mini set (shown above) includes deluxe samples of four Coach Poppy fragrances for $48 and even better is that often retailers like Sephora or Shopper's Drug Mart have Fragrance Sampler promos that include multiple small samples that you can try and then later exchange for a full size of your favorite!
  5. Flowers: It may seem cliche but Mother's Day is in May when tulips and daffodils are blooming and beautiful.  A bouquet of bright Spring flowers is always a good idea and the perfect gift if you and your mum live in different cities. Simply call a local florist and have a bouquet delivered to her door!

  1. Naked 2:  My sister and I bought this palette for our mum for her birthday in December and she loves it.  She uses it every single day and has already hit pan on a few of the shadows.  Neutral palettes likes these make great gifts for mums because they are full of wearable every day shades.  We chose Naked 2 because the cool taupe shades happen to suit our mum's style the best but there are three unique Naked palettes, each retailing for $62.
  2. Full size Fragrance: Once again, I believe fragrance makes a great gift, so if you have a little extra money to spend this month upgrade that rollerball to a full size bottle of a brand new scent .  Alien by Thierry Mugler is one of my mum's recent favorites.  It's a rich woody scent with floral notes.
  3. Dinner and Drinks: Finally, one of my favorite things to do with my mum on any occasion is take her out on a mother- daughter date.  There's nothing your mum will love better then spending time with you, especially if you don't see her very often! So take her out somewhere nice and treat her to a delicious meal.  

I also thought it was worth mentioning that every year my sister and I get together to organize gifts for our mum.  This way, together, we can afford something a little nicer that we wouldn't have been able to apart!

What are you getting your mumma for Mother's Day?

Monday, 21 April 2014


Something bought or offered for sale cheaper than usual or expected.
Creating a look for less 
 Or... my first thought: dupes.
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm vs. MAC Matte Lipstick
Revlon (left) vs. MAC (right)
One of my favorite drug store products are the Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balms, they're pigmented, they last a long time, and they're crayons! I'm a big fan of crayon style lipsticks or balms because they're not only cute but easy to work with. My sister introduced me to the Matte Balm line when she bought me "Shameless" for my birthday around Christmas time last year and when I went in to swatch the rest of the line I couldn't help but recognize a lot of similarities between them and some iconic MAC matte colors.  I chose five of what I believe to be the closest color dupes.

Starting from the left:
Revlon Standout vs. MAC Viva Glam I
Standout tends to be a bit brighter on first swatch but you can build the color up to be almost a dead ringer for Viva Glam I, which has been sold by MAC since 1994(!)  A deep dark red which is classically beautiful, especially when paired  with a bold winged liner.
Revlon Sultry vs. MAC Craving and Twig
This is the shade that inspired this post. I picked it up from a local Shopper's and when I got home I noticed it was similar to my MAC Twig lipstick (far right), but I also thought it seemed similar to Craving (swatched directly to the right of Sultry and on my wish list.) Craving, even though it is an Amplified finish, is a much closer match because they are both more rosier- pink whereas Twig, a satin finish, is much more of a muted brown pink.
Striking vs. Lady Danger
I'm loving this red- orange shades especially for summer.  I find Lady Danger to be a bit bolder and orange-r on first swipe but once again Striking is easily built up for a bolder color.

(Striking/ Lady Danger repeated)
Shameless vs. Heroine
I've seen these two compared before and although they are similar were the biggest stretch for a match in my opinion.  Shameless is a tad darker and it is the only one who's texture is a bit chalky and uneven. 
Showy vs. Candy Yum Yum 
Finally, this is the match I was most excited about.  The colors truly are an exact match.  Showy is everything cult followed Candy Yum Yum is famous for a bright, neon, matte, blue- based pink.  It just may be my next purchase as I have been dabbling with Candy Yum Yum for a long time.  

Direct Comparisons:

Bold and buildable
Long wearing
Long wearing
$6.99- $11.99 CDN
$19 CDN

My only dislike of the Revlon Matte Balms is the scent.  It throws me off to have such a bold color smell like a peppermint chapstick.  However, considering the price difference, I think I can get over it or at least work around it.  One final note is when washing the swatches off my arm I couldn't help but be impressed with both brand's staying power.  I took this photo after scrubbing them with a makeup removing wipe!

Don't forget to search #Bloggersdoitbetter on Twitter to find out how other "Bloggers Do Bargains Better"!


Thursday, 17 April 2014

Coco and Lulu by Cake {Review}

Where have you been all my life?

I stumbled across this nail lacquer in Chapters of all places and had to pick it up because of both the bright color and the cute bottle (of course).  When I went to check out with my polish and a few other items the cashier commented on how much she loved the line... and before I paid another employee walked by and commented "Oh! Great polish!" So I knew I was on to something good.  

The shade I picked up in Ma Belle, a true fuchsia.

2 coats of Ma Belle Nail Lacquer
I googled the product when I got home and I found out that Cake is a Canadian beauty brand (go Canada) that teamed up with Chapters/ Indigo to create an exclusive line of polishes that are on trend each season.  Now that I've found them I'm actually disappointed that I missed out on their winter collection because they are still pictured on the Chapters website.  They look fabulous but are all "Out of Stock". Wah.  Teasing me.  

Claims: "Specially formulated for a long-lasting, high gloss finish and free of dibutyl phthalate, toluene, and formaldehyde. 0.5ml/0.5 fl.oz."
Finish: Glossy
Lasting Power: About two days of chip-free wear and then another 3 days with minor chips. 
Packaging: Perfection.The glass bottle is substantial and sleek.  It looks beautiful displayed on top of a vanity.
Price/Availability: $8.50CDN both in stores and online.  

How I Used It:
I first applied OPI Nail Envy, which is technically a nail strengthener and not a base coat but I use it as one anyway. Then the first coat of Ma Belle was a little underwhelming however once I applied a second coat the color deepened beautifully.  I skipped applying a top coat because I don't actually have one at the moment!  If anyone knows of a great one, please leave any recommendations down below. 

  • Bright pigmentation 
  • Smooth formula
  • Buildable color
  • Beautiful finish
  • Cute packaging and label

  • Limited shades in store!  It's hit or miss if you're going to find them in stock but online they've just released their Spring line which 6 colors.  I've ordered Call  Me L8R that is described as an aqua green (but looks to me as more of a minty blue) and OMG I Love This Color which is a bubblegum pink.

Even though I was somewhat disappointed after the first coat I know this color will be well loved this Spring/Summer. It's the perfect neon fuchsia, which isn't something I would normally wear on my hands but is everything I could ever want in a pedicure.  The formula applies smoothly and easily, and like I said before the bottle is so cute.  I own a lot of Nicole by OPI polishes and the application and formula of Coco and Lulu trumps them without a doubt.   

Have you tried Coco and Lulu or Cake before? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Happy Thursday!

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Lip Duos! {Tag}

 A few weeks ago on Instagram I did my first ever photo challenge! It was created by @ahxo0209 and simply asks you to pick a different pair of lipgloss/ lipsticks everyday for a week! I loved that it challenged me to dig through my lipsticks to find/ rediscover some beautiful combos.

I thought it would be fun to do a recap and include swatches of each of my picks from the week as well as a swatch of them layered together! 

Day One: Nude
In the past I haven't been very comfortable with nude lips- but I finally found something that works with my olive skin tone.  MAC's Naked Bud is a lustre finish neutral that is easy and comfortable to wear.  MAC Nymphette layered on top gives it a pinkier- golden sheen.  Both of these swatches photographed a little oranger than they appear in person.  I consider them to be peach-y. 

Left to right: MAC Naked Bud, MAC Nymphette, both layered

This being said I usually prefer a darker nude! Revlon Sultry is a beautiful rosey- brown "my lips but better" color that when paired with NYX Tiramisu butter gloss (another perfect my lips but better color) creates an amazing day time color suitable for class, work, running errands, and everything else in between.  Tiramisu is one of those glosses that is just an all around star- it pairs well with almost every peach, pink, brown, and nude lip color in my collection.

Revlon Sultry, NYX Tiramisu, both layered

Day Two: Light Pink
Light pink is a little out of my comfort zone but this lip duo is perfection.  MAC Fabby has a frosted finish that the MAC website describes as a mauve. However, I feel like its a true golden- pink.  It's almost Nymphette in lipstick form (although that doesn't really translate in these photos).  I usually layer it with Revlon's Color Stay lipgloss is Crystal Lilac.  This color is so unique- a light pink with tiny purple micro shimmer within it that catches in the light.  

Mac Fabby, Revlon Crystal Lilac, layered

Day Three: Coral/ Orange
MAC Coral Bliss is one of my favorite lipsticks, it's the perfect balance between coral and pink.  For the purposes of my Instagram photos I paired it with my well loved Arbonne lipgloss in Posh, which pulls out the pink undertones.  But after I posted the photo I stumbled across my Maybelline Color Elixir Gloss in Breaktaking Apricot, which looks very pink when swatched alone however when layered with Coral Bliss they create a true coral color.

MAC Coral Bliss, Arbonne Posh, layered, Maybelline Breathtaking Apricot, layered with Coral Bliss

Day Four: Bright Pink
I included a lip swatch of MAC Pink Nouveau on my Instagram so I really felt like this Elizabeth Arden gloss deserved the spot light.  It brightens any lipstick and is gorgeous all on its own (which is not something I say about many glosses).

Elizabeth Arden Pink Pout

Day Five: Red
I talked about these two colors recently in my "Secret to Long Wearing Comfortable Red Lips" post so you won't be surprised about why I chose to include them in this tag. They're my favorites! Both are blue based reds. Rihanna's Viva Glam is frost finish and Viva Glam I is matte. 

MAC Rihanna Viva Glam, MAC Viva Glam I

Day Six: Purple/ Berry
Shameless is perfect on it's own.  It does tend to bleed so I usually line my lips with MAC Currant lipliner.  For the odd time I want to pair it with a gloss I found two options for two different looks.  Revlon's Sugar Violet isn't very pigmented on your lips therefore it gives a beautiful sparkle and shine without altering the color beneath it drastically.  My other gloss is Maybelline's Color Elixir Raspberry Rhapsody which lightens Shameless and pulls out fuchsia tones in the color.  

Revlon Shameless, Revlon Sugar Violet, layered, Maybelline Raspberry Rhapsody, layered with Shameless

Day Seven: Your Most Unique Color
Finally, my most unique color.  I love these matte lip crayons by Bite Beauty (I feel like I've said that about every product I've mentioned).  The shade Grape is a violet shade but in the right light or layered with the right lipstick or gloss is can be such a pretty pinky-purple.  I mentioned on Instagram that I don't usually pair this with a gloss- but if I were going to Sugar Violet plays with the pink undertones in Grape and adds a beautiful sparkle.

Bite Beauty Grape, Revlon Sugar Violet, layered
What are your favorite lip duos? Leave a comment down below or tag me on Instagram!


Thursday, 10 April 2014


You may have heard about (or seen) the "Bloggers Do it Better Challenge" recently that Gemma from Touch of Belle has so wonderfully orchestrated.  When I heard about it over Twitter I thought it was a great opportunity for a newbie like me to not only continue to be inspired and have motivation for my posts but also connect with like-minded bloggers.  

What's unique about this challenge is that Gemma provides us with very broad topics- for example, the first one (this one!) is "Bloggers Do Spring Better" which allows each participant to have a creative license and write about absolutely anything and everything.  As a result a network of  connected blog posts with the same theme is established. I love it!

I've been thinking about this post for a long time and I'm almost embarrassed about how late it is- considering it was supposed to be posted this past Monday.  However, since I've been so incredibly busy with a full time practicum and am just now finding the time to sit down and focus on myself for a second I figured it was better to be late than never! *drumroll*

Blogger Do Spring Better: Going Nude

A trend that I've noticed and loved this spring is nude which actually something that is a little new to me.  Is it not the constant struggle to find the perfect nude?  

Maybelline's Dare to Go Nude Limited Edition Spring Collection

Sephora's nude picks for Spring as seen on Instragram

This being said I think when the weather warms up everybody needs some color! Thus for my first even Bloggers Do it Better post I have decided to marry the nude Spring trend with beautiful shades of rose-y pink, and gold with my top Spring picks!


A little while ago I was doing a "Lip Duo" tag on Instagram, in which I featured everyone of these little beauties while talking about Nudes.  I can't help it. I love them.  I think the one thing they share universally is how comfortable they are- which is really important to me!  

From left to right:
NYX Butter Gloss in Tiramisu: This gloss is perfection.  It's just light enough to wash over a dark color to lighten it up for day time and just dark enough to deepen a lighter color.  Plus, just as the name indicates the texture is butter.
Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Sultry:  I found that this color is very similar to Mac Twig Satin lipstick (I have a comparison post in the mix) but much more of a rosey shade.  The earthy/brown undertones make it easy to wear day- to- day.  This is the closest I've come to a "my lips but better" color.
MAC Lustre lipstick in Naked Bud: This lipstick is limited edition from the Fantasy of Flowers collection released recently.  It's described as a "neutral sheer nude" on the Mac website.  Personally, I find it has just a hint peach undertones which is perfect and what I think makes it the only true nude lipstick I've ever purchased.  The lustre finish is so comfortable and honestly I have nothing negative to say. Well, actually, It wouldd be nice if it wore a little longer but I take beautiful color over longevity any day.  I like to pair it with either my NYX Tiramisu gloss or Mac Nymphette for more of a golden-peach color.

Tiramise, Sultry, Naked Bud


From left to right:

MAC Warm Soul: This is the definition of the perfect blush.  It's universal.  I can reach for this color no matter what my lip/ eye color is and it never fails me.  It's a beige toned blush with the smallest flecks of gold shimmer.  In the winter I sometimes skip bronzer and just dust this along my cheeks for a healthy glow.  
MAC Superb:  Another limited edition MAC product from the Magnetic Nude collection and also the first ever Extra-Dimension Skin Finish I tried.  What I love about this is it's almost impossible to overdo when you apply it with a brush or like below you can apply it with your finger for a much more concentrated pigment-  both on the cheekbones or directly over blush you just glow. Its beige-y, it's peach-y, its even purple-y in some lights.  Whatever it is it I can't get enough.
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil:  Not the first time I've mentioned this bronzer! (Read more about it here)  Well suited to the name it is a milk chocolate-y shade, soft, natural, blendable. Did I miss anything??  What I have been doing lately when I'm in a rush is taking my Real Techniques blush brush (any tulip shaped blush would work) and mixing both Warm Soul and Chocolate Soleil on my brush applying it in a tapered shape to my cheek bones.  Boom.  Instant fool-proof cheeks.

Warm Soul, Superb, Chocolate Soleil


From left to right:
Naked 3: The infamous naked palettes.  How can you talk about nudes without mentioning them?  I got my Naked 3 palette from my loving boyfriend at Christmas this year. I chose not to swatch it because you can find thousands and thousands of similar photos with a quick Google search.  The versatility of this palette is unreal.  The rose- gold theme makes it unique enough to be able to create a look exclusively with its colors or complement any other shadows in your collection. 
Urban Decay in Sin: When I think Spring and Summer I think cream products.  So I decided to chose two cream shadows and bases to include in my Spring picks.  This primer potion is actually the sample I received within my Naked palette but I've been keeping it in a sample pot to get the most use of it.  The color is so beautiful that I will sometimes just wear it alone with some mascara, but pair it under any of the Naked 3 shades and you've struck gold.     
Maybelline 24H Color Tattoo in Pure Nude: I heard alot about these color tattoos before I decided to finally go out and actually try one.  I picked the lightest color "Pure Nude" which may or may not be limited edition with their Dare to Go Nude collection I pictured above.  I think this shade is comparable but just a touch lighter to Mac's Paint Pot in Bare Study which my mum has used for years under her shadows.  The formula is super blendable so the only issue I took with this is I found if I wore it alone with no shadow on top it creases after a few hours.  What I love about any light cream shade like this is it is not only beautiful by itself but will also intensify the colors of any pigments you place on top.

Sin, Pure Nude


Finally, my favorite manicure lately is Essie Eternal Optimist which is an oldie but a goodie.  I think of it as kind of a dusty rose shade. Which sound un-appealing but is actually really flattering on your nails (especially if you have more of a tan/olive undertone in your skin like moi) and since I'm a sucker for an accent nail Nicole OPI The Next CEO gives a pop of sparkle. 

Oh Spring, love love love.  Writing this has me so excited for the change of seasons.  Thank you again Gemma for organizing such a great project.  I look forward to the next one and I promise to be on time! If you are interested in seeing any of the other Spring interpretations (they range from cooking, to personal memories, to beauty, etc.) search #BloggersDoItBetter on Twitter and maybe even get involved yourself or if you have already published one send me your link below!