NAILS | Holo Taco "Orange Drink" Swatch

I know that an entire blog post to this ONE colour is totally unnecessary, but the Holo Taco Rainbow Collection deserves all the attention! Each and every nail angle is just pure nail porn and with our summer finally hitting Vancouver two weeks ago, I am going to take advantage of every shred of sunlight I get just to watch my nails sparkle! I thought about doing nail art, but orange is sort of a tough colour to work with and I didn't want to use black and have this be a Halloween nail art post (though I cannot WAIT for Halloween manicures!). With regards to Halloween, the other thing I cannot wait for is wearing a fun face mask to work! We have to wear company-provided surgical masks, but on Halloween I have been all cleared to draw some lips and fangs out of cardboard and stick them on our masks to have a little fun! Yes, I know COVID is terrifying and if we get a round two in the Fall, I might not be so perky about the whole thing, but for now, it's a way of staying positive. 

Holo Taco Orange Drink Swatch
Purchased by me

SKINCARE | COSRX Hydrium Moisture Collection

Up until this point, I had only tried two COSRX products even though they are such a cult favourite when it comes to Korean skincare. Their product line is extensive and I think I just felt overwhelmed since EVERYTHING looked good. With a focus on skin health at an affordable price, COSRX consistently uses ingredients that have been proven to actually DO something. The packaging is simple and the purpose of each product is clear while allowing the user to cocktail and create a skincare regime that suits their lifestyle.

COSRX Hydrium Moisture Collection
PR gifted

NAILS | Summer Fruit Slices with Ella + Mila #CBBxManiMonday

It's officially summertime once I get fruit on my nails! It's also an exciting day because I get to try a new nail polish brand that I have only gotten a chance to admire through swatch videos on YouTube or on Instagram. Say hello to 7-free, vegan and cruelty-free ella+mila, named after the twin daughters of founder, Narineh Bedrossian. These polishes are geared towards all, but especially for young kids who want to spend some quality time with their moms and paint their nails! 

Ella and Mia I Pink I Love You Swatch
Polish provided by PR

SHEET MASK | Yadah Red Energy Mask

Some of you know that I decided not to renew my FaceTory subscription after having it for two years not because of a decrease in quality, but because of the crappy USD to CDN exchange rate. There is also a shipping charge which also gets converted into CDN making it really hard to justify right now. I think we are all trying to be more mindful about where our money goes and I know I can live without buying sheet masks for probably a solid year! What I will miss is the exposure to hard-to-get masks and brands I have never heard of as well as the FaceTory brand of masks which I really enjoy. One of the brands that I have to thank FaceTory for introducing me to is Yadah

Yadah Red Energy Foil Mask
Part of my Facetory subscription

NAILS | OPI "Don't Tell a Sol" #MidWeekMani

I'm going to use these midweek manis to chat as that is something I truly miss now that I am back at work. It is evident that I no longer have as much time for introspection and being as "in touch with my feelings" as before, but I think that might be a good thing. Someone at work noted that I seemed happier and was laughing and joking more. The team we have now is small and we have all spent each and every day together working the same exact shifts for the past 2 months. We get along, no one fights or talks shit about another person and everyone knows their role to keep this machine going. It has been quite incredible to witness and be a part of because I never thought I could feel at peace in an environment I had come to accept, over the past 5 years, as stressful. I'm sure things will change again, but so far so good and I will enjoy it!   

OPI Don't Tell a Sol Swatch
 Polish provided by PR

NAILS | Heating up with Holo Taco with Red Licorice #CBBxManiMonday

Sorry this is coming to you a little late! I had a work training session via Zoom for the whole day that was pretty intense that I had to take a nap right after! I can't believe I have another two more days of virtual role-playing...wish me luck. I had posted a few weeks ago that I rewarded myself with the Holo Taco Rainbow Bundle for my birthday and though it was $98 USD, I am still happy I have this family together as I've always enjoyed Cristine's videos and quirky sense of humor.

Holo Taco Flame Nail Art

 Holo Taco Collection purchased by me

SHEET MASK | Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask

I am probably not in the best mood to be writing about something as relaxing as #SheetMaskSunday, but I am annoyed that one, I have to work on my day off and attend a 5 hour virtual workshop and two, talk about a sheet mask that I had hoped would be a bit better than it was. The new Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask is another biocellulose sheet mask that claims to be unique, but is in fact fairly derivative and on the entry level spectrum of its kind. Though I suspected this would be the case, I wanted to find out as Philosophy does make some pretty amazing products especially in the area of peels. When I worked for them five years ago, they were at the beginnings of wanting to pitch themselves as the "peel brand" and were among the first chemical exfoliators I used.

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar Moisture Mask Review
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Blue Mask, Blue Eyeshadow

This is more of a rambly post as opposed to a makeup look post, but the time has come to embrace wearing a face mask. In Asia, masks are worn with ease, but here in North America you'd be hard pressed to find anyone wearing a mask who isn't in a healthcare setting. Even if people are obviously coughing or sick, there is no mask wearing and I have always been one of those who wished it was more the norm. Well, I guess now I have my wish. I will only speak about how face masks are perceived where I live in Vancouver, but generally I used to see a few on public transit during cold and flu season and I want to say almost only on Asian riders. There is definitely a social anxiety to how people will perceive you should you be wearing a mask. Working in retail, it's almost better to go home than come to work with a mask because of how clients will look at you, but now that it is the rule, I have had no choice but to get used to wearing one five days a week.

Face Mask Makeup
Mask purchased by me and makeup PR gifted*

BOOKS | What I've Been Reading Vol. 2

This post seems like perfect timing as Vol.1 of this series happened right at the start of Quarantine. I was still working trying to find a way to feel safe leaving my house and feeling this immense anxiety which I know I lot of you related to. It all seems so long ago. It seems like life is divided into pre-COVID and now which we can't even call "post-COVID" because folks, it's not over so wear a mask, keep your 2m of distance and don't think of it as a "mask on your freedoms". I actually only read ONE book in the 7 weeks I was off work but it WAS almost 1000 pages and had FOOTNOTES so it was a tough one to get through. I've had a hard time getting back to reading as I always want to sleep or just veg and watch my ASMR videos to get to bed, but I think it also depends on the book. I went a bit light on my reading in terms of content the last 4 months, but I plan on reading what I would consider some heavy hitters over the next couple of months so after these more fun reads, my brain is itching for something a bit more meaty!

NAILS | Under the Sea #CBBxManiMonday

If you Google image search "Little Mermaid Nails", this manicure by Spellbound Nails is one of the first to pop up AND also one of the cutest ones I have ever seen. I think I remember seeing these nails back in 2013 when they were posted as this was around the time I followed a whackload of nail polish bloggers and marked it as something to try on the bucket list. I guess 7 years later ain't bad!

Polishes PR gifted

SHEET MASK | Wishful Thirst Trap Cocoon Mask

When makeup brands branch out into skincare, I always do a little side eye because the skincare always ends up being something that isn't particularly innovative, but claims to be or just uses average ingredients and has fancy packaging and a big marketing budget to make it the hottest thing since sliced bread. As much as I hated to admit it, a lot of Huda Beauty products I have tried have turned out to be some of my favourites. I was initially very resistant to trying and featuring her products because I don't identify with the image she projects nor do I want to be yet another Instagram groupie of hers and many other "influencer brands" that have emerged over the last 5 years. 

Wishful Thirst Trap Cocoon Mask
 Purchased by me

SKINCARE | Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection

I've said it A LOT now, but I can't stop saying how unbelievably CUTE the Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection is! I was more familiar with their sheet masks as I went to Walmart last year and bought probably 30 masks (much to my husband's chagrin)? It was a bit of a splurge, but I had a feeling this kbeauty brand had decent and affordable skincare so I made a little note to make sure to give the rest of their products a try because there are some NICE ones (ahem the Refining Rose line)! 

Soo'Ae Squeezed Lemon Collection
PR gifted

NAILS | Ode to The Little Mermaid #CBBxManiMonday

This month, the ladies and I have decided on "Summer Lingo" as our theme so the words we are choosing from are things like: "beach", "tropical", "mermaid", "fruit", "cactus", "heat" etc so expect to see some fun manicures for the next few weeks! I have ALWAYS wanted to do a "Little Mermaid" set of nails and there just never seemed like a good time until now I guess! Little Mermaid nails are a bit dated now as it was really popular about 5 years ago and then we must have all gotten it out of our systems so I haven't seen them in a long time, but because of that, there were a wealth of designs to choose from! I finally settled on this design by @agikeringer as I thought it had all of the best elements of Ariel and I always loved her friend Flounder!

The Little Mermaid Nail Art
 All polishes provided by PR except Girly Bits "Le Freak"

SHEET MASK | Trish McEvoy Hydrate and Glow Dry Sheet Mask

You guys know how much I love my dry sheet masks and though I know they aren't for everyone, I have found them to be a mess-free way to save some time and hydrate my skin especially on those lazy nights (which are slowly feeling like EVERY night). I pretty much compare every dry sheet mask that comes out to the one from Charlotte Tilbury because it's the easiest and most accessible to find for most of us whether it's online or in person at Sephora, Nordstrom or Holt Renfrew. Even though the dry sheet mask technology was developed and first used by Nanette de Gaspe, CT was the first to make a dry sheet mask that wasn't over $100 and now that there are enough dry sheet masks out there at just under $30, the NDG pricing just seems ridiculous! The Trish McEvoy Dry Sheet Mask has similar claims like CT in that it promises luminous, hydrated skin without the mess in just 15 minutes, but there are some very slight differences that I will get into below!

Trish McEvoy Hydrate and Glow Dry Sheet Mask
 Purchased by me

MAKEUP | Indigenous-Owned and Made in Canada Cheekbone Beauty Liquid Lipsticks

I am so SO happy to be featuring Cheekbone Beauty on Cosmetic Proof today as ever since I saw it on Jennifer's Instagram (@jennifer_q85) last year AND Dragon's Den, I have been wanting to support this company and try their lipsticks! I kept putting it off as I know I have FAR too many lipsticks as is, but when I went into Quarantine a couple of months ago, I said to myself that I would spend on beauty more wisely and with the state of the economy now, it makes the most sense to buy Canadian. Then came the Black Lives Matter movement and the spotlight has been rightfully directed at the systemic issues that have plagued the BIPOC community for decades and/or centuries. I wrote what amounted to a journal entry a few weeks ago which sums up what I want to do for myself and for these communities of colour.

Cheekbone Beauty Liquid Lipstick Review
 Purchased happily by me

HAIR | ghd Helios Professional Hairdryer

In every sector of the beauty world, there are the brands and products that are so luxurious there are  angels constantly singing around them and ghd is one of those brands. My first experience with ghd was 5 years ago with their limited edition, 1" Periwinkle Professional Styler. After having gone through a number of cheap hair straighteners around the $50 mark, I started looking into ones that were better quality and ghd was the first brand that popped up. It also helped that at the time, I was working as a freelancer in Sephora so I was always checking out the ghd styling tools as they were right next to the brand I was working for. I used to think the key to having nice-looking hair was all in the flat iron, but it turns out having a hair dryer that does most of the heavy lifting from the start can save you a lot of time in the styling step!

ghd Helios Professional Hairdryer
 PR gifted