NAILS | I-did Ikat #CBBXManiMonday

I seem to be fixated on nail art from five years ago as it seemed there were so many designs and techniques that emerged in that time that focused more on hand drawing with one nail art design being "Ikat Nails". Ikat is a dyeing technique used to pattern textiles with the pattern looking somewhat like zig zags or like jagged lines in a diamond shape. I don't know why I thought I wouldn't be able to do this design at the time, but I'm so glad I tried it now because I think I will be "ikatting" more often even if I am a little late to the game!

Ikat Nail Art
 Some PR samples

SKINCARE | Avon x The Face Shop Skincare Routine #LunarJanuary

One of the more exciting collaborations that happened late last year was Avon's partnership with Korean beauty giant and one of my favourite Kbeauty brands The Face Shop! I was not expecting this, but while I learned awhile back that when it comes to skincare, the Koreans know their stuff, it's still a fairly foreign area for the Western world. Despite growing up pretty white-washed, I seemed to immediately gravitate towards Korean skincare when I seriously started taking care of my skin and was enamoured with the technology employed in the products as well as the entertaining approach they took to marketing skincare. Now, I have talked about The Face Shop a lot over the years because I truly think they are fun and effective products to use and try and now I have a whole routine to share with you that goes from head to toe!

Avon x The Face Shop Skincare Routine
 PR samples

SHEET MASK | The MUCH Talked About SK-II Facial Treatment Mask #LunarJanuary

This is the "oba-chan" or "grandmother" of sheet masks! I remember hearing about the SKII Facial Treatment Mask about five or six years ago as the "ultimate red carpet treatment" and was being used by various celebrities to give their skin a reboot. Made in Japan, this sheet mask is soaking in "pitera" which is a yeast by-product "rich in vitamins, minerals, organic acids and amino acids that aid in cell renewal". Sounds, AMAZING right? So, why wasn't I as impressed as everyone else on the Internet?

SKII Facial Treatment Mask Review
Purchased by me

NAILS | Newspaper Nail Art #CBBxManiMonday

Life can have its disappointments - like this set of nails. Newspaper nails were a trend around 2012 and though they were on my list of things to try when I first started doing nail art and blogging, there was always something more interesting to try and now eight years later, in our month of "Experimentation" it felt like the perfect time to attempt. As you can see, this did not turn out like I had hoped and though I have my theories as to why, I don't love the results even at their best to try again... 

Newspaper Nail Art
 Purchased by me

KBEAUTY | Sulwhasoo ShineClassic Multi Powder Compact #LunarJanuary

There are more and more brands jumping onto the marketability of Lunar New Year packaging with effort and innovation ranging from putting the SAME product in a RED box to a truly limited edition piece that you would both want to display and use because the inside is just as beautiful as the outside. The Sulwhasoo ShineClassic Multi Powder (aka blush) is quite obviously, the latter and I wish I had started collecting earlier, but then again I was still a student in 2003 when the ShineClassic compacts were first released and probably had other things to spend my money on like books and tuition! Even now, I know each of these compacts is an indulgence, but I truly feel like I am purchasing a piece of art so I think going forward, I will grab one every year and somehow find a way to display it!

Sulwhasoo Shineclassic Multi Powder Compact
Purchased by me

NAILS | Bio Sculpture Gemini Nourishing Nail Polish in Pursuit of Beauty

Oh my my, TWO manicures in one week?! I can't believe I used to paint them 3-4x per week! This is when using a peel-off base coat is super helpful because one of the worst things I despise about the whole nail art thing is taking off polish. There is something about that step this I truly hate, whether it'd be the cotton balls, the rubbing, the waste I am creating so because I used a peel-off base coat for my Bubble Nails, I popped them off right away and applied this beauty of a blue from Bio Sculpture!

Bio Sculpture Gemini Nourishing Nail Polish in Pursuit of Beauty
 PR sample

SHEET MASK | The Creme Shop x Hello Kitty Shooting Stars Sheet Mask #Lunar January

At the end of 2018, The Creme Shop launched a most exciting collaboration with the Queen of Sanrio herself - Hello Kitty! I went a little crazy with my order in October 2018 because I thought it was a Holiday collection, but now I see that not only does The Creme Shop still have the masks, but now have even MORE Hello Kitty masks! I have yet to finish what I purchased, but the masks are so cute that I had to share this one for #LunarJanuary!

The Creme Shop x Hello Kitty Shooting Stars Sheet Mask
 Purchased by me

NAILS | Bubble Nails Made with Actual Bubbles! #CBBxManiMonday

Folks, welcome to "Bubble Nails"! It has been a long time since I have tried anything with gel polish let alone a fancy new nail art trend so yay for this month's #CBBxManiMonday theme of "Experimentation"!  

Bubble Nail Art
 PR samples

LIFESTYLE | What I'm Watching on Netflix #NaBloPoMo

This is what I love about #NaBloPoMo - sharing something completely unrelated to my usual content that is a huge part of my life and that is Netflix! I never thought the day would come when Canada would finally have access to some truly decent shows and now I often don't know where to begin so I have grudgingly accepted that Netflix recommendations CAN be quite useful. Like many of you, I watch a lot of Netflix, but wanted to share what I have been watching over the past month!

1. The Witcher

Ok yes, you get to see a fair amount of Henry Cavill in the buff and while I've liked the guy since seeing him in The Tudors and more recently in Mission Impossible (unfortunately wasn't a fan of him in Superman), I really enjoyed his performance playing Geralt of Rivia in The Witcher. I am familiar with the video game, but didn't know it was based on a series of books by Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski. While some of you might not be into the whole lore of magic, monsters, potions and witches, I found each episode (with the exception of one) entertaining especially because there is always a monster of sorts in each. There is even a dragon and a genie! 

SHEET MASK | Cle de Peau Beaute Illuminating Concentrate Mask #LunarJanuary

Well, when it comes to this whole #NaBloPoMo thing, I'm not doing all that well and I had a feeling it would go this way. I just can't physically bring myself to blog every single day to the quality that I would want. I have also been distracted with doing house cleanup and then tiring myself out. I think if I did more journal style entries and talked about my personal life then maaaaybe I could do it, but I really don't want to go there because it might look like you've stumbled upon the diary of a teenage girl writing in Live Journal (I can't believe I ever thought that was a good idea).

So, heads up - #LunarJanuary is going to be predominantly sheet masks because 99% of sheet masks are made by Asian brands! Continuing on with luxury Asian brands, I've got a doozy comin' up with Japanese luxe brand Cle de Peau!

Cle de Peau Beaute Illuminating Concentrate Mask
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | YSL Beauty Rouge Pur Couture Stud Collectors 2019 with Swatches

YSL has some pretty makeup with pretty packaging, but eight years ago this brand became one that I will ALWAYS have a soft spot for because I was PROPOSED to with an engagement ring at the bottom of a box of Touche Eclat! I have kept that EXACT Touche Eclat as well as the box as a treasured memory and though it's probably not safe to use on my skin anymore, I'm probably never going to throw it away (or look to see if there is anything growing on it...) Now, I have yet another thing(s) that I will never be able to get rid of because this limited edition Rouge Pur Couture Stud Collectors packaging is SO CUTE and striking! Inspired by rocker chic studs, these came out late last year and I wish I had paid more attention, but Christmas is always so crazy for me at work that I'm pretty much on autopilot until Dec. 27th!  

YSL Beauty Rouge Pur Couture Stud Collectors 2019
 PR samples

NAILS | Rose Quartz #CBBxManiMonday

It's my first nails of the year! This month, the girls and I will be playing with the theme of "Experimentation" which means I have been looking at new (and some VERY old) techniques that I have not tried starting with the "Rose Quartz" nail art trend from a little while ago! It looked so fast in all of the videos I watched, but in reality I'm not that great with "organic" designs so my manicure kind of just looks like wavy white lines, but oddly enough they turned out kind of pretty.

Rose Quartz Nail Art
PR samples

SHEET MASK | Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Mask #LunarJanuary

For the last two years I have been doing something called #LunarFebruary which is where instead of Valentine's posts, I focus on Asian beauty brands in honour of the Lunar New Year. Well, call me a bad Asian, but I assumed that the Year of Rat would once again fall in February, but haha, LUNAR means the new year can come in January too! I am kicking off this month of Asian brands with one of my favourites - luxury Korean beauty brand Sulwhasoo

 Sulwhasoo First Care Activating Mask Review
This exact mask in this post was purchased by me, but I was sent another one afterwards in PR that I have yet to use as I originally bought a pack of 5.

LIFE | Goals, Motivations or Whatever You Want to Call 'Em! #NaBloPoMo

Traditionally, National Blog Posting Month is in November, but I missed it so a couple of us in the CBB decided that January might be a good month to try it since it is a month of reflection for most and a time to re-evaluate and reset the clock on goals and motivations. I have never been one for making New Year's resolutions because it's always so disappointing when you don't achieve them by "time X". When it comes to setting goals and planning, it has actually been my day job that has made me more organized as in addition to making the numbers as a team and personally, I also set goals to improve client relations and learn from my mistakes even if it means having a cry or have someone tell me I need to do better. Thankfully, after 13 years of luxury retail and dealing with both awful and wonderful situations, I've gotten to the point where I feel confident enough to at least FEEL like I know what I'm doing! *cue the nature photos that don't really relate to anything I've really said*

SHEET MASKS | Top 11 Sheet Masks for 2019

 Some PR samples featured and will be marked with an "*"

2019 was definitely the year of the sheet mask with many brands surprising me with ones of their own. I made a list of all of the sheet masks that I tried this year (yes, there were a lot!) and these 11 sheet masks were the ones that stood out so let's get started!

 Pixi Plump Collagen Boost Youth Infusion Sheet Mask*
Top 11 Sheet Masks for 2019