U&A’s Holiday Beauty Gift Guide 2016

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🎄🎁Hey everyone!

Christmas is just around the corner and I’ve been busy shopping, trying to get it all done early. This time of the year always reminds me of gingerbread cookies, warm knit sweaters and holiday gift sets 😂. In all seriousness, most of your favourite brands come out with sets that bundle their best sellers together or they release limited edition items like eyeshadow palettes. This gives you an opportunity to try new things, or get the makeup you wanted in a kit with extra stuff. It's all enticing and a great way to stretch your dollar a little more, or a way to spend even more money during the holidays. But you know, there is no such thing as too much makeup!

I’ve picked up some great beauty gift sets that I wanted to share with you guys. To those that I will be seeing this holiday, and are reading this, unfortunately some of my gifts will be spoiled for you. But it’s all for the blog! For the rest of you, I hope this list will help you buy for that makeup hoarder in your life. Without further ado, lets show you my Christmas Beauty Gift Guide 2016.

1. Revive Beauty Blender or W.O.W. Mini Beauty Blenders, $6.99ea at Marshalls.
Compared to the $28CAD you'll fork out for the original Beautyblender, this is a steal. I found these dups at Marshalls for only $7. I will most likely do a full review on the two blenders but for a dup, Revive holds up pretty well. It absorbs water similarly to the BeautyBlender, and applies makeup easily and smoothly. The mini sponges will be great for contouring or applying cream shadows.  If you've never used a beautyblender-like sponge before, this is a cheap and cost-effective way to try it! 

2. Smashbox LIGHT IT UP Primer Set, $44CAD at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Ask anybody and they’ll tell you smashbox makes one the best primers out there. This set is a full sized Photo Finish Foundation Primer with a bonus travel sized Photo Finish Primer Water. It comes in a fun fluorescent box ready for gifting and great to reuse for storing all your other makeup! I love this primer and I know whoever you buy this for will too!

3. Smashbox LIGHT IT UP 3 Palette Set, $55CAD at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Okay, this is really cool. This set comes with three mini palettes, an eyeshadow palette, contour palette, and a lip palette, all perfect for travelling. The Eyeshadow palette comes with six colours: (L to R) Vanilla, Flamingo, Russet, Totally Nude, Amethyst and Dark Cocoa. The Contour palette has three colours: Contour, Bronze and Highlight, and the lip palette comes with three glossy and three matte lip shades: (L to R) Cognac, Pretty Social, Inspiration, First Time Matte, Jam On It Matte, Bing Matte. This is such a fun set, it comes in the same fluorescent box as the primer set and the palettes matches the box. It has a little bit of everything, perfect for the person you don't quite know what to get.

4. Tarte Colour Wheel Blush and Highlight Palette, $55CAD at Sephora.
I admittedly bought this one for myself a couple months back, but it would be a wonderful gift to receive. This is a beautiful blush/highlight set, it comes with 8 blushes and two highlighters. The top colours are very bright and summery: Mod, Deco, Surreal, Culture, and Idol and the bottom ones are more warm for the winter: Concept, Icon, Montage, Ironic, Crafty and Concept. With a range from dusty rose to bright pinks and corals, this palette will fit with many skin tones. You can even multipurpose this palette and use it as eyeshadow. I like using the highlight colours to brighten the inner corners of my eyes.

5. Lancome Juicy Shaker, $28CAD at Sephora or Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart.
Remember juicy tubes? I must’ve had 20 of them, no word of a lie. This is the new Lancome Juicy shakers that replaced the Juicy tube. They have a nurturing oil layer and a pigment layer, you shake it up to emulsify the layers together and use a spongey applicator to apply it. These are such a fun twist to lip gloss. They’re not overly pigmented, they give that little pop of colour and shine to the lips with out being too sticky or high maintenance. And they're a great stocking stuffer! It comes in 11 shades, I have it in Mangoes Wild. (I'm sorry I did not take an up close picture!)

6. Stila Eyes Are The Window Shadow Palette in Mind, $60CAD at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart.
Stila makes wonderful eyeshadows, that are always so pigmented and apply effortlessly. This one isn’t a holiday set and is available regularly throughout the year. This palette is a neutral all matte palette, with some bold pops of colour like the purple shade or the burnt orange. The only thing is, when I first purchased the palette, the shadows were cracked. I went to several Shoppers Drug Marts after to find a replacement and many of them were cracked. I think it has to do with the old packaging. The new packaging is the one I repurchased, which is the same eyeshadow palette but a different exterior, and I feel like this case is a lot sturdier than the old packaging.. here’s to hoping.

7. Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Intense Black, $29 at Sephora or Shoppers Drug Mart.
This is also not a holiday item, but it does come in a gift set consisting of three eyeliners. I just wanted the single black waterproof eyeliner. This is by-far my favourite liquid waterproof eyeliner. It’s absolutely the best in my opinion. Just like the colour says, it is such an intense black, and it dries relatively quickly, so there won’t be any chance for transfer on the folds of your eyelids. And when they say this is waterproof, they mean it. Go ahead and bring on the water works, this guy won’t budge. 

8. Quo Roll and Go Brush Set $55CAD at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Beautiful black handles with rose gold ferrules, this set comes with 10 brushes and travel case that will upgrade anybody’s vanity. If you've bought makeup brushes before, you know how expensive they can be, especially buying a whole set like this. Quo makes beautiful synthetic brushes, and this set is no different. The brushes are soft to the touch and have a good weight to them. The handles aren't overly large, or long, making them easy to hold. The bristles are dense which I like so that you can easily pack on eyeshadow or powder. Playing around with them, it doesn't look like they shed the bristles easily. Having said that, I haven't had a chance to use these brushes fully yet, but I use Quo brand brushes everyday for my makeup and I have no complaints. This is a steal for this many brushes, especially if you compare it with a powder brush from their professional line which is already $45.


Thank you for taking the time to read. I hope you found a little inspiration in this blog post for your holiday shopping. I want to say that a gift isn't about its monetary value at the end of the day. I love makeup and I wanted to share all the things I love with the people I love and that's what inspired this beauty gift guide.

Happy Holidays! I'll see you in my next post!

xo, Karen

Stila – In the Light

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Hi Internet,

Today I'll be reviewing Stila eye shadows, in particular shadows from their 'In the Light' palette. And I'll be showing a quick make up look.

Stila came out with three versions of these palettes, 'In the Know', 'In the Garden' and 'In the Light'. I have the 'In the Light' palette (but I wouldn't mind getting my hands on the other two..). The palette comes with ten different eye shadows, with a combination of matte and shimmery shadows: Bare, Kitten, Bliss, Sunset, Sandstone, Bubbly, Gilded Gold, Luster, Night Sky and Ebony. It also includes their Smudge Stick Waterproof eye liner in Damsel (the one in the box shown below). My palette comes with a large mirror on the inside of the lid - I noticed that some pictures online show only a cardboard lid.

The colours are beautiful and it makes the perfect nude palette. I often use this palette over any other palette I own, even Urban Decay's Naked palette. Stila makes high quality eyeshadows that are very pigmented and go on very smoothly. They blend very easily on the skin, with very little fall out. Nothing bothers me more than putting eye shadow on and the shadow gets all over your face. Defeats the purpose of it being an eye shadow. Because this palette features neutral colours, it would look good on any skin type.

I have swatched the colours for you, I apologize for my poor camera angle. I'm a medium skin tone, and you can see how vibrant each colour stands out on my skin. From left to right you have Bare, Kitten, Bliss, Sunset, Sandstone, Bubbly, Gilded Gold, Luster, Night Sky and Ebony. At the very end I have also swatched Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof liquid eyeliner that I use in the makeup look - one of the best liquid liners by far. I forgot to swatch the liner that comes with the palette, but it's a very nice medium-dark brown, that glides on smoothly, and dries to a matte finish, and stays put once it's dry. Great formula that doesn't 'run' and cause raccoon eyes at the end of the day - at least from my experience.

Now onto the makeup look! I have personally designed my own character model to use for my makeup looks and for the blog - something I will do next time is to print on cardstock.

Step one: Apply 'Bare' in the inner third of your eye lid. You can sweep this colour into the inner corner of your eye and on the lower lash line as well.
Step two: With a fluffy brush, sweep 'Gilded gold' on the outer two thirds of your upper eye lid. Blend up and outwards. Check in your mirror to see if it shows when your eyes are open. With an angle brush, smudge this colour into your lower lash line, concentrating the colour in the outer two thirds.

Step three: With your favourite eye liner - I'm using Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid eye liner - line your eyes as close to the upper lash line as possible and wing it out! This may take practice, just do small strokes and steady your hand by holding onto your arm with the other.
Don't forget to curl your lashes and apply mascara - here I'm showing Covergirl's Waterproof Lash Blast mascara.
Step four: Highlight the inner corner of your eyes with 'Kitten' or 'Bubbly'.

Some tips: To make your eyeshadow lasts all day and prevent creasing, I suggest wearing a primer before applying your eye makeup. I show above Urban Decay's Primer Potion. To mattify liquid eye liner (because they always dry shiny), take an angel brush and dab on black eye shadow over the liquid liner. This not only mattifies the liner, but also gets rid of any wibbly wobblies from a shaky hand.

And that's it!

I hope this was useful to anyone out there looking for the perfect nude palette.

You can find this palette on Stila's Website, and as well, select drugstores that sell the brand, including Shoppers Drug Mart. I bought mine at Murale by Shoppers Drug Mart for $50.00 CAD (and yes you can use your Shopper points at this store! so go crazy).

If you enjoyed reading this post or have any questions, please leave me a comment! And let me know if you want to see more makeup looks in the future.

Until next time,
xo Kern