Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Nail Art Wednesday: Girly Graffiti Nails

You know how sometimes you envision something in your head but your execution leaves much to be desired? This may be one of those instances where I had a completely different idea for where this design was going. I was inspired by Carolina's impeccable double stamping over at Colores de Carol so I wanted to give it a go myself. Unfortunately, I learned that as easy as it looks, finding coordinating colors that don't clash and picking a design that will work double stamped wasn't as easy as I thought. I was about to write this one off as a failure and go back to the drawing board, seeing as it just looked..messy to me. But Mr. J (strangely) ended up liking it so much that he dubbed it a "girly take on graffiti". So here it is in all its busy patterns:

With Mr. J's penchant for chunky glitter, I think that's why he liked this design.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Unboxing Loose Button/Flare Luxe Box for February 2012

I got a 6-month subscription of the Loose Button Luxe Box as my Valentine's Day gift from Mr. J this year (Yay! Isn't he the sweetest?). I've been flip flopping over these deluxe sample services as I couldn't decide which one to go with. Apparently, Mr. J was paying attention to my rambling and ended up choosing for me. As a matter of fact, this was an early present as he got it for me a few days before the 14th. That turned out to be a good thing as I was able to activate the subscription just in time to get the February box instead of waiting till March to get my first box! I'll let the photos do most of the talking (fair warning: there's a whole bunch after the jump!):

 As it came in the mail!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Guest Post at Chit Chat Nails: Mermaid/Ocean Inspired Nails

So this is why we moved Nail Art Wednesday to Nail Art Friday, and what a way to end the week, if I say so myself. In case you're not of a habit of reading post titles or just really tired with a low attention span and wanting the weekend already (yeah, let's skip Friday, why not?), today's post is a tutorial of how I did the Mermaid/Ocean inspired nails that we're showing off in a guest post over at Chit Chat Nails. To be fair, I think Hammie did a marvelous job so do please check out what he had to say over at Marta's. But I certainly felt left out that I didn't get to go visit with him so I ended doing a how-to to compensate. If you're here from Marta's blog, thanks for stopping by and we hope you like what you see. On with the design recreation that was Hammie's vision of the ocean on nails:

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Indulge without the Splurge: February 23, 2011

Yes, I missed last week's (I'm sorry!) but there weren't a lot of good deals to be had anyway, so not much missed really. Anyway, let's get on with the actual deals that are going on this weekend:

  • Now through February 26, 2012, visit select Estée Lauder counters at select Shoppers Drug Mart locations and receive your FREE trial pack of their new DayWear BB Cream SPF35, no purchase necessary. Also, get 20x the points with any $50+ Estée Lauder purchase. More details here.
  • Receive 20x the Shoppers Optimum Points® when you spend $50 or more on almost anything in the store on February 25, 2012. More details here.
  • Shop early, save more at The Gap this week.
    - 30% off your purchase when you shop today
    - 25% off your purchase when you shop February 24, 2012
    - 20% off your purchase when you shop February 25, 2012
    Valid online only. Enter promo code GAPCSPRING at checkout to get your discount.
  • Spend $38 or more on Elizabeth Arden products, you'll receive a free 7-piece gift set. The gift set has a value of $109 and includes:
    Ceramide Purifying Cream Cleanser (30ml)
    Ceramide Lash Extending Mascara in Black (3g)
    Ceramide Ultra Lipstick in Coral (3.5g)
    Ceramide Plump Perfect Life & Fire Moisture Cream (7ml)
    Ceramide Gold Ultra Restorative Capsules Face/Throat (7 pieces)
    Prevage Eye Advanced Anti Aging Serum (5ml)
    This offer runs from February 25 to March 19, 2012 (or while supplies last) at the Elizabeth Arden counter in your local Sears. There's a limit of one gift per customer.
  • Get a jump start on your spring wardrobe this weekend at Buy 1, Get 1 30% Off discount on all regular-priced items through February 26.No coupon codes are required for this offer, the 30% will automatically come off of an equal or lesser-priced item when two or more qualifying items are placed in your shopping cart. This discount applies to regular-priced items only, and cannot be applied to past purchases or used in conjunction with other offers. Not valid on JACOB Beauty products.
  • From now till  Monday, February 27th, enjoy free shipping from when you order any of the following products: GÉNIFIQUE - Youth Activating Concentrate, HYPNÔSE- Custom Volume Mascara, and FLASH BRONZER - Transfer-resistant Self-tanner Ultra-natural Instant Tan (Body). Simply enter the promo code FASHION upon checkout, after you've added one or more of the products listed above.
  • Old Navy Canada is offering a printable coupon on Facebook for 20% off a single item.  Excludes gift cards and jewelry.  Expires March 1, 2012. Print your coupon here.
  • Coach Canada is offering 25% off your purchase at any full priced store or at  Click here to "Like" Coach on Facebook to receive your printable coupon and discount code.  Not valid at Coach Factory stores.  Offer ends February 24, 2012.
  • Northern Reflections Canada is offering $10 off any new regular priced item when you trade in a pair of your old jeans.  Denim must be laundered and women's styles only.  Not valid online.  Promotion ends February 26, 2012. More details here.
  • Aeropostale has a couple sales going on right now:
    - $10 off your purchase of $50 or more in store (valid until March 11, 2012).
    - $20 off your purchase of $100 or more online (valid until February 26, 2012).
    Shopping online: enter promo code TWENTYOFF at checkout to get your discount. For in-store purchases, print your coupon here.
  • Save 50% off all reduced boots at Spring Shoes with some as low as $20. You can also save up to 70% off selected sale shoes, sandals and handbags. Promo is valid both online and in stores, for a limited time.
  • just announced another free glasses giveaway for this week where you'll only need to pay for the shipping, handling and insurance, which totals to about $15.
    To get your free glasses, select a pair from the coupon eligible list, then enter promo code FIRSTPAIRFREECA at the checkout page. The free glasses include both the frame and standard 1.5 index lenses. If you want to upgrade your lenses or get coatings, you can do so for an extra fee.
    Keep in mind that there is a limit of one free pair of glasses per household. 10 000 pairs will be given away and promo will end once all are redeemed or until February 26. As always, promo is valid for first-time customers only.
  • The Bay Canada is offering the following free samples:
    L'Eau de Chloe 5 ml - Offer ends February 29, 2012
    Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean Splash Away Cleanser 30 ml - Offer ends February 28, 2012
    Clarins New Extra-Firming Day Formula - Offer ends February 29, 2012
    All offers are in store only.  Quantities are limited. Note the fine print that says you may only redeem the coupon at participating stores so be sure to call ahead to avoid disappointment!
EDIT: New deals that just popped up on the radar!
  • From The Bay (photo is clickable):

  • Visit your Holt Renfrew store location and experience now, the instant innovation and high performance formula with a 10-day supply compliments of Kiehl's. One per customer while supplies last. More details here.
    Any deals that interest you this weekend?

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    Skin79 Oriental Gold BB Cream Review and Swatches

    BB creams (aka blemish balms, beauty balms) have been all the rage this year (and late last year, too). It exploded into the Asian market mostly from South Korea to the point where North American beauty companies are now scrambling to get a piece of the action on this new niche product. It's easy to see why there's such a huge demand for it. For the uninitiated (seriously, what rock have you been living under if you *still* haven't heard of BB cream?), BB cream is an all-in-one facial product that combines sunscreen, primer, foundation, moisturizer and other skincare benefits that range from skin whitening (very popular in Asia where the beauty ideal is porcelain white skin), blemish prevention (hence the name) to anti-aging properties. Basically, it cuts down on all the steps (and products!) you take to go through your skincare/makeup routine in the morning. Now, wouldn't you want that, too? I won't go in further detail about the other basics of the product as I feel it's already been discussed ad nauseam. If you feel the need to do more reading up, Janine over at Beauty Geeks has a great write up about it. Michelle over at Beauty Editor covers most of the bases as well as helps you decide if you need BB cream in your life. But both articles are focused on the BB creams that are just now available in North America from familiar brands like MAC, Smashbox and Marcelle. Being Asian with an insatiable curiosity, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and experience BB cream straight from the Korean brand that's being hailed as the "queen of BB creams": Skin79.

    Skin79 The Oriental Gold BB Cream

    Monday, February 20, 2012

    Cult Nails Iconic and a Special Birthday Shoutout to the Best Mom of All Time

    First off, let us start this post with a huge: Happy Birthday to my Mom!!! Yes, the woman who's taken care of me all these years (even now when I'm already married!) is celebrating her birthday today. She's halfway around the world as I write this and by the time this post goes live, it will almost be the end of her special day. Nonetheless, she is never far from my thoughts and is always in my heart. (Cheesy but true.) You see, my mother is my hero. Whether she likes it or not (she doesn't), I look up to her a lot and would like to be the exact same mother she was. Ours was never a perfect relationship; we had our fights and squabbles as well. But after all is said and done, we both know that we'll always be there for each other, no matter what. When I was much younger, I saw my mom as a superhero of sorts: she could do everything. She'd bake our birthday cakes, make our costumes from scratch for school activities or Halloween (one time she turned a cloth diaper into a turban!), helped us with my eyes there was nothing she couldn't do. Oh, she was a typical Asian mom in that she always pushed you to do your best, where good just isn't good enough. But she also made you feel better when you weren't. She was very affectionate with me and my siblings. She would randomly hug us throughout the day for no reason other than she wanted to hug you. Then I became I teen and as most teens usually are, became somewhat resentful of her parenting which I perceived as meddling. We never drifted apart, though. As I grew older, our bond just grew stronger and I'm happy to say that my mother has now become one of my best-est friends. She still worries about me and nags me about most everything as most mothers are prone to do, but we've reached a point where I've gotten to know the person behind the mom so it's not as bad as before. And you know something? That's when I realized she's a super superhero and I'm beyond grateful to be her daughter.

    In honor of her special day, I wanted to showcase a polish that reminded me of her. I picked something that she would want to wear herself. See, my mom loves red nail polish in all shades and tones. The redder, the better. If nail polish addiction collecting is genetic, that would certainly explain how it started for me. But while she never really collected nail polish, it's still fond memories I have of chatting it up with my mom as we both did our nails together.

    Just like my mom: Bold, classy and one of a kind.

    Friday, February 17, 2012

    Indulgent Intermission: A Whole Lotta Tags!

    I've been utterly remiss with answering all the blog awards that I've been tagged in that I decided to take one day to do them all. Yep, you read that right. See, it's gotten so bad that I've been tagged twice with the same award now! Bad, Carmela, bad. At any rate, I'll try to keep this as short and sweet as possible and break it up some with photos so it's not just a huge wall of text. Sounds fair? Okay, let's jump right into it, then!

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012

    Nail Art Wednesday: Cupid Nails

    When I first saw this design from the truly amazing Melissa over at the Daily Nail making the rounds over the interwebs, I knew I had to recreate it. But as with most designs that I take inspiration from, I like to put my own spin on things to make them similar but distinctly different. I originally wanted to use the concept with a Christmas-themed nail art design but I never got around to doing it. So, I figured that Valentine's Day was just as good a holiday to take this design for a spin! With some help from Cupid Kitty, I ended up with something simple, cute and definitely Venus approved:

    Who would've thought Cupid Kitty would be such a sharp shooter?

    Monday, February 13, 2012

    China Glaze For Audrey

    Continuing in the vein of this month's Valentine-esque colors, we'll be deviating a bit from the traditional colors. Usually, Valentine's means pink, red and white, and by now I'd think you'd have been sick of pink. See, it dawned on us that the month of love doesn't necessarily just revolve around these three colors. There are a few out there that are also associated with the holiday, albeit not as obvious and used in your average Valentine's Day decor/display. One of the colors that jumped out was a pretty shade of blue that as a box any woman would absolutely love to receive as a present any day:

    Maybe the boy will take a hint when he sees this pretty blue on your nails, hmm?

    Friday, February 10, 2012

    Color Club Hot Like Lava

    I hope you're not tired of seeing pinks yet as I have another pink stunner to show you today. See, when I embarked on this Valentine-esque mix of colors for the entire month of February, it didn't dawn on me till much later that pink is not the only shade I should be focusing on. (Well, there's red, for starters, but after all the red I wore during the holidays, I'm all red'd out. So no, you won't find more red this month. Sorry!) There actually are a whole lot more colors to V-day than just pink, red and white. No, this is not blasphemy. You'll see what I mean in the next couple of weeks. Anyway, let's get on with this in-your-face pink metallic:

    Shiny and hot pink. Everything a magpie of a hamster could ever want in life.

    Thursday, February 9, 2012

    Indulge without the Splurge: February 9, 2011

    Wow. I didn't realize it was two months since I've last posted an Indulge without the Splurge post. Anyway, without further ado, let's jump right into it. With Valentine's Day coming up, there are a bunch of deals and discounts you can score this weekend:

    • For all you Shoppers Optimum Points collectors, you'll be happy to know that starting this Saturday, you can  redeem them on cosmetics and fragrances for a better deal. Just in time for the big V-day, too! The redemption event runs from February 11-13, 2012, including cosmetics, select skin care products, fragrances, jewellery, hair colous, hosiery, bath foal and gel, and nail care.
             Spend 40,000 points, get up to $90 off your purchase (extra $27)
             Spend 80,000 points, get up to $200 off your purchase (extra $64)
    •  Take 20% off all men's and women's items over at Old Navy. Discount is available both online and in-store. Simply use promo code: GROWNUP at checkout to receive the discount. Take note that Old Navy ships for free on all orders $50+. Promo runs till February 12, 2011.
    • Missed out on last weekend's sales? Don't worry, there's still the Last Chance Sale over at Ecko. The promo is available online only and quantities, sizes and styles may be limited. Note that Ecko ships free on all orders $80+.
    • Stock up on fall and winter merchandise at Aritzia. For a limited time, save 50-70% off regular-priced fall and winter items during their Snooze, You Lose sale. Offer includes select outerwear.
    • How about shoes or handbags instead of flowers and chocolates? From now till Valentine's Day, all Aldo orders ship free with no minimum purchase price. Get an additional 30% off on sale boots and clearance styles and add a 10% off with coupon code: LUCKYU31511 for maximum savings! Free shipping will be automatically applied to all orders placed now through February 14, 2012. The 10% off coupon code is valid until March 15, 2012.
    • How about an awesome deal from Kiehl's? When you purchase any of Kiehl's Favorite Duos, you'll receive a free deluxe sample of Kiehl's Olive Fruit Oil shampoo and conditioner and your order will ship for free! The deluxe samples will be automatically added to your qualifying order, as well as free standard shipping (regularly at $6.95). This promo run only till 11:59pm tonight so if you're interested, place your order now! If you miss out, don't fret. From February 9-14, 2012, when you bring in a friend to any free-standing Kiehl's store in Canada, you both receive a free travel sized bottle (75mL) of Creme de Corps. If you're not a newsletter subscriber, take advantage of this promo by asking the sales staff and they might just have to add you onto the database! Find a store here.
    •  Till February 21, 2012, Abercrombie is putting their entire selection of jeans on sale with some discounted by as much as 50% off. The sale is available both online and in-store.
    • Clinique fan? It's bonus time at the Bay again! Starting today, spend $28.50 or more on Clinique products and receive a 7-pc gift set including Turnaround Overnight Radiance Moisturizer, Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion, Repairwear Laser Focus Wrinkle & UV Damage Corrector, Colour Compact, Long Last Lipstick, Different Lipstick. Promo runs online and in-stores. Note that the Bay offers free shipping on all orders $29 and up in the beauty department when you use your HBC MasterCard or HBC Credit Card. If you spend $75+ on Clinique items between now till February 12, you'll also receive a $25 savings card. The card can be used on your next in-store purchase of $100 or more (excluding cosmetics and fragrances). More details here.
    • With the launch of the new Buffalo David Bitton Canadian website, there are a bunch of great discount to be had:
              Spend $100 or more on new arrivals and you'll save $20 on your order. (automatically applied)
              Become a newsletter subscriber and receive 15% off your first purchase.
              Visit their sale section for deals on denim and more.

              Note that all orders $99+ ship for free.
    • Give the boy the gift of you. Until February 14th, receive 30% off on all lingerie at Forever 21. This deal is available online only. Discounted prices already shown. Also, free shipping applies on orders of $60+.
    • In the market for a new pair of runners in the GTA? For the whole month of February, get $20 off a new pair of New Balance runners when you bring in a pair of gently worn shoes. Limit of one discount per person and may not be redeemed for cash. $20 discount must be redeemed for shoes that are at least $50. Also note that your used shoes will be donated to people who need them. More details on the New Balance Toronto's Facebook page.
    • Get 10% off your entire purchase at Fruits and Passion Canada for both regular and sale priced items with this printable coupon. Coupon is good till February 14, 2012.
    • Another awesome gift with purchase deal: spend $35+ at and receive an 8-pc gift set that's a $178 value! Use code: SPRING12 at checkout to redeem this gift. Shipping is $6.95 for expedited parcel and free on orders $85+.
    • Spa Boutique wants you to save 15% off all Butter London products with promo code: BUTTER15. Simply enter the code at checkout.
    Happy Shopping! Oh, and you're welcome.

    Wednesday, February 8, 2012

    Nail Art Wednesday: Shattered Hearts Nails

    Not everyone is a fan of Valentine's Day. For some of my friends, they've long dubbed the day as S.A.D.: Singles Awareness Day. For others, it's just a highly commercialized holiday that brings enough money to florists and chocolatiers to last them the whole year long. (Have you seen how much prices of flowers and chocolate boxes are jacked up during February? It's ridiculous!) I wanted to do something other than the usual cheesy V-day mani, as well as use the black shatter polish I got from the China Glaze Haunting set. I was going for a "broken hearted" sort of theme but my optimistic streak ended up turning it into something edgy and fun instead:

    "You shattered my heart(s) but I filled it with glitter!"

    Monday, February 6, 2012

    CND Tutu banishes Monday blues with childhood nostalgia.

    I used to own a bunch of tutus. Not the Halloween costume kind, but honest to goodness ones, along with the tights, leotards and ballet whathaveyous. See, my mom had me take up ballet when I was 6 but it was such a demanding activity that my grades started to slip. I enjoyed it, yes. But it got so tiring that when my very concerned parents asked if I still wanted to do it, it was an easy choice.  This is how my weekday schedule looked like: 7:30am - 3:00pm school, 3:00pm - 5:00pm academic extra curricular activities, 5:00pm - 7:30pm, even 8:00pm sometimes, ballet class. Looking back, that does seem like a pretty tough schedule for a 6 year old to keep. So by the time I got home at about 8:00pm, I would be so tired that I'd end up skipping dinner and crawl into bed. Suffice to say that I got no homework done, either. I ended up quitting when I was 10 and one step away from toe shoes level. I would have wanted to keep doing it, if only to finally get toe shoes, but I just wasn't that good (unfortunately, I lacked the flexibility required so no Black Swan here :P) and it was interfering with my academics. Besides, I'd be so tired that the prospect of more sleep seemed a better choice. No regrets, but I would definitely want my future daughter(s) to try their hand at it. Now, continuing in the vein of Valentine-esque colors, I whipped out this soft, pale pink that reminded me so much of the color of my tights:

    A soft pretty pink!

    Friday, February 3, 2012

    Nicole by OPI City-Pretty Rose ushers in the month of Love

    How is it February already? Last week, I was just playing with my über adorable niece and now the house feels so strangely quiet with just us two (three, if you count Hammie) again. It's so eerie that I've even taken to leaving the TV on for ambient noise. (Is that weird?) Anyway, things are slowly going back to normal so expect the Indulge without the Splurge posts to be back up by next week. I'll also try to mix things up a bit in an effort to diversify with various beauty products that I've accumulated over the holidays and have been dying to write a review on. Now, while that will definitely be something to look forward to, rest assured that the nail polish posts will keep rolling out as usual. For the entire month of February, I thought it would be fun to feature Valentine-esque colors all month long: pinks, reds, metallics and maybe a Tiffany blue. To get the ball rolling, I busted out one of my absolute favorite pinks:

    A happy, cheerful pink to get you out of your winter rut!

    Wednesday, February 1, 2012

    Nail Art Wednesday: Black and Pink Ombre Nails

    When the Spring/Summer 2012 shows took over the runways last fall, a few of the nail art designs that graced the models caught my eye. Some were gorgeous, albeit unreproducible without using gel/acrylics, like the pretty lucite and lace manicure that CND came out with to complement Joy Cioci's show. Lucky for us DIY nail art mortals, there were a handful of designs that looked easy enough to try at home. I tried my hand (pun very much intended) on the nails featured on the Jen Kao runway:

    Aren't they just gorgeous?

    My (humble) attempt at high fashion nails.

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