Luxebox Winter 2013

Thursday 19 December 2013

This is my second Luxebox by Loose Button, and my first regular box (last month I opted into the LouLou box upgrade).  I was very excited to open it when it arrived, and was not disappointed!

The box its self looks lovely.  I wrapped a friend's Christmas get in my last box and she commented on how sturdy and pretty it was.

Gold and white  <3

So excited!  I see some items from this season's LouLou box!

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Moisturizer 30 mL
Value $8.80

Two days ago I ran out of my favourite Ole Henriksen moisturizer.  I wanted to go pick up another one, but decided against it for three reasons.  One, I put it on my Christmas List.  Two, I also put Sephora gift cards on my Christmas List.  And three, it is a rather expensive product.  If I buy it after January 1st it will count towards my 2014 VIB Rouge count.  Given that, I was happy to receive enough moisturizer to tide me over until January 1st.  While it doesn't leave my skin feeling as refreshed as Ole's does, this one does the job.  I probably won't buy this one again, but thats just my brand preference.  I have normal skin, and this product claims to work for everybody.  Its fine for me, but I don't love it.

EVOLVh UltraShine Moisture Conditioner 75 mL
Value $7.50

LUXE TIP---UltraShine will be unlike any conditioner you've used before. It will feel completely different, because it is. Rather than coating hair (as most other conditioners do), UltraShine penetrates the hair shaft to moisturize and repair hair from the inside out. Specialized amino acids rebuild damaged hair, gradually returning hair closer to its ideal composition. When you apply the conditioner it will feel as if it is vanishing. This is because it is being absorbed rather than just sitting on top of the hair. UltraShine will also balance the pH of your hair to its optimum level of 4.5 - 5.5.

I admit to having tried this product before reading the Luxebox website.  It was difficult to get out of the bottle (perhaps because it was so cold from transit, though I think it is more a formula issue).  At first I was confused as to why my hair didn't feel slippery when I applied the product, so I added more... and it still wasn't slippery.  I read the package and it all made sense, so I brushed it through and gave it some time to soak in.  Though my hair didn't feel conditioned in the classic sense, it was wonderfully soft and silky all day.  It was even good enough that I used it the next day.  My hair felt light, and dried quickly.  The brand celebrated being organic, vegan, and sulfate free (sulfate is what mass your normal shampoo foam up and removed a bunch of good and healthy hair oils).  Their website challenges consumers to a 2 week challenge.  Personally I would rather have two weeks of both their shampoo and conditioner to try out before investing in their products-- I think I will get about 3 uses, maybe 4, out of this sample.  While I am indifferent to organic and vegan labels on products I liked the results this one delivered.  I can't guarantee that I will purchase this product, but it makes my list of things to look out for in my travels!

L'Occitane Shea Butter Hand Cream 10 mL
Value $2

Love this product!  I have the full sized and I love it.  I will add this purse friendly mini to my collection as #3.  I love having these to toss in my purse to protect my hands from winter.  Anybody else noticing a "Moisture" theme so far in this box, or is it just me?  So happy to have another one of these!  At this rate I will never need to buy the full sized again... :)

L'Occitane Pivoine Flora Eau de Toilette
Value $2.93

This has a pretty floral, feminine smell.  The box is prettier than the bottle.  I haven't decided if I will keep it or put it in my gift bin.  Regardless, this is nice and light, just not entirely my style.  But I appreciate the brand, and the quality.  If I do keep it it looks like the contents will be easy to transfer to an atomizer.

Covergirl LipPerfection Jumbo Gloss Balm "Ruby Twist"
Value $10 (Full Sized)

Mmmmmmm drug store brands...not exactly thrilling in a "Luxe" box.  Anybody else feel that way?  Maybe I am just biased.  Actually I am biased.  But this is not "Luxe".  Putting that aside, full sized products are good.  And this is a pretty colour that does its job.  I would not buy this again given that I have a fair number of other similar products.  But this is nice, and gets the job done.  I will probably toss this on for a less done up sort of day.

Clinique High Impact Mascara in Black
Value $5 (About? Full sized is $19 and this is a standard mini)

More mini-mascaras!  I will never ever ever ever ever run out of mascara.  I have about 10 minis I have obtained in various boxes and promotions, and some full sized mascaras Sephora gave me as a VIB Rouge thank you gift.  This will go in the little place where I stash future use mascaras.  Given that they only last about 4 months once you start using them (bacteria and such) I will not be giving this one a try for a while.  Sometimes I even end up giving my mini-mascaras to friends when we are getting ready for an event together and they forget theirs (WAY more hygienic than sharing a mascara).

Essie "Hors d'Oeuvres" Nail Polish
Value $11 (Full sized)

I know it looks silver in the bottle, but on my nails it is this amazing, complex glitter.  Okay, maybe not complex, butI would describe it as a gold micro-shimmer base with variously sized silver pieces of glitter. It isn't a pure gold, or silver, more of a white gold.  It feels very luxurious- I could't stop looking at it on my nails.  My only complaint is that it chips so easily.  Even with a base coat and a high quality top coat I found it chipping with in 12 hours of applying it.  If you are planning to wear this to an event I would recommend applying it the day of.  I can't wait to wear this on Christmas for dinner so I will apply it Christmas Day after all the presents are opened.  I recommend two coats to get the full coverage "luxe" feel.  Note: This polish was featured in their advent calendar.  Lucky me!

Loose Button Lip Brush
Value $14 (Full sized)

This is a neat little brush.  You need to put the two pieces together to make the brush emerge.  A lip brush has been on my list for a while, but I never get around to buying them because something prettier always catches my eye.  This is a great brush for lip balms in little pots (yay hygiene!) but I wouldn't recommend it for applying lip stick as it is too soft and the bristles too long.

Total Value $61.23 (+/-)
What I paid $26 (+/-)

I am beyond impressed with the value and quality of this Luxebox.  While I may not be in love with every single item I have a use for each of them.  I will note that I am very happy that I did not pay the extra money to upgrade to the LouLou box because of the items in the LouLou Box six were in my regular box (noted in bold).  The part that makes this better is that I actually got the items I wanted from the LouLou box (including an Essie nail polish in a colour I simply LOVE).  

  • Kiehl’s | Ultra Facial Cream (7 mL)
  • Essie | Assorted Shades (Full Size)
  • L’Occitane | Shea Butter Hand Cream (10 mL)
  • CoverGirl | Jumbo Gloss Balm in Ruby Twist (Full Size)
  • No Dark Shadows | Complexion Enhancer (Full Size)
  • L’Occitane | Pivoine Flora Eau de Toilette (5 mL)
  • Loose Button | Lip Brush (Full Size)
  • Pantene Expert Collection | Advanced+ Keratin Repair Split End Fuser (30 mL)
  • Bonus 4-issue subscription to LOULOU Magazine

Topbox December 2013

Monday 16 December 2013


This weekend was lovely because I came home to two boxes an a Julep order.  This morning got a little brighter when my LuxeBox arrived.  Can't wait to review that one in a few days once my final exam is over.  One little teaser though: love the Essie polish.

Back to Topbox...

As usual, four items.  There is a coconut lip balm, perfume, nail polish, and an eye cream.  Not too bad.  Bonus!  The box is the perfect size for wrapping up some of my mom's presents from Lush!

 Estée Lauder Modern Muse Eau de Parfum Deluxe Sample 2.9 mL
Value $3.33

Growing up I thought this was a brand for my mom, but they have done some serious rebranding.  Instead of smelling like a "Mom" perfume, this smells elegant and classy.  Perfect for lunch with the Grandparents, dinner with your boyfriend and his parents, or even for grabbing brunch with your best friends.  It smells ladylike, and who doesn't want to smell, and feel, like a classy young lady?

Belvada Coconut Lip Butter - Full Sized - 10 mL
Value $10

Nothing special, but it smells yummy, moisturizes well, and reminds me of the ones at the Body Shop.  The packaging leaves much to be desired, but it does the job.

Cuccio Colour Nail Lacquer - Full Sized - 14 mL
Value $10

I get nail polish sent monthly from Julep, so I am always hoping for something else from my boxes.  That aside, this polish applies well (2 coats in the following photo), and is a pretty cherry red.  Not sure if I will keep it or gift it, but either way its nice.  I was only a tiny bit disappointed that it was "Cuccio" and not "Gucci".  Read the label wrong when I first saw it! Oh well, a girl can dream!

Skiin Smoothing and Soothing Eye Cream 3mL
Value $9.99

 The packaging doesn't make me excited.  But I won't judge a cream by its cover.  I already have my skin care routine working well, but will set this aside for my mom.  Other reviews seem to rate it well.  It doesn't show up well in photos but it has little air bubbles or beads in it.  Neat.

Total Value $30.32
What I paid $12

Love Modern Muse and the lip balm.  Pretty indifferent to the other two.  Not bad Topbox, but I hope next month is better (and maybe has a Privé option...)

Ipsy December 2013 "Celebration"

After spending a few days away from home, I came home to my Ipsy bag, Topbox, and Julep Cyber Monday purchases.  Talk about sample overload!  It was fun to sit and open them all at once, but then it was done, and all I was left with was packaging that had to be thrown out, and a general sense of disappointment.

When I first saw this month's Ipsy bag I was pretty disappointed.  So disappointed in fact that I promptly canceled my subscription.  Last month I really had nothing to say, so I didn't bother post.  In short-- I am pretty sick of Be a Bombshell, Pop, J. Cat, and false eyelashes.  And look!  All four at once.  I enjoy Ipsy, and maybe in 6 months I will come back once they get their brand quality up a bit.  Once upon a time Ipsy gave me Smashbox AND Urban Decay in the same bag... those were the days.  Alas, those days are gone.  Perhaps they will come back?  And maybe when that day comes they will also actually personalize the bags?

This month I received Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in "Smokin Hot" (Black/Grey/White), The One Stick by Be a Bombshell in "Girl Crush" (Pearly baby pink), Signature Fragrances by English Laundry, Big Lip Pencil by J. Cat in " Caramel Mocha" and Strip Lashes (fake eyelashes) by Andrea.

It is a sad day for Ipsy when my favourite thing about the bag is, well, the bag.  This is sleek, black, and  useful.  

A close up of the products.  The J. Cat pencil isn't as awful as the last J. Cat product (awful awful body glitter), and the Be a Bombshell is about as lacklustre as the rest of their products.  At first I was pretty disappointed that I was getting sample sized perfumes in my bag (those come for free at the Sephora or Shoppers counter and don't belong in a service I pay for).  However I was pleasantly surprised that these were much larger than expected.  Sadly, I won't get the apparent use of them because they arrived like this:

Signature Fragrances by English Laundry
Value $1? (Value taken away for the spilled product)

The men's fragrance on the left was 3/4 gone, and about 1/4 was missing from the female version.  Given that my bag had a strong smell, and some of my packaging was stained it was evident that through out my bag a whole sample of perfume was floating around.  The mix of the two scents isn't pretty, and has even ruined the pretty black bag that I love so much.  Le sigh.

See the yellow-orange? That was my perfume...

Additional note, am I supposed to just automatically hand over half of this gift to my boyfriend?  Do couples actually do matching fragrances?  I guess I will never know what it is like to have a matching couples perfume, because the men's one is all over my bag.  My boyfriend will probably be okay with that, so at least there is one positive note.

The One Stick by Be a Bombshell in "Girl Crush" (Pearly baby pink)
Value $16

This product is thicker than expected.  I thought it would be more of a lipstick.  So that's nice.  Its too pale to be a proper blush, and too pink to be an eyeshadow for me, but this will probably be an okay highlighter?  One swipe uses a whole lot of product so I don't expect this to last all too long. Also, too much glitter.  I applied it this morning with a brush and it took a lot of product for it to show up.

Big Lip Pencil by J. Cat in "Caramel Mocha"
Value $3.99

This is a waxy stick.  The colour pay off is nice, and it is sort of pretty.  My lips but better?  Alas, I have about 15 lipstick-glosses that I would pick before this one.  


Strip Lashes (fake eyelashes) by Andrea
Value $3.49

Major flash lashes.  Save them for next halloween?

 Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in "Smokin Hot" (Black/Grey/White)
Value $6

These grey scale eyeshadows resemble this set by Smashbox that I already own.  I love Smashbox shadows because they are creamy, blendable, and long-lasting.  I haven't loved any of the Pop products that Ipsy has sent me before, so I won't even bother to take off the plastic.  In the re-gifting pile it goes!  Overall I am not terribly pleased with this bag.  Heres to hoping Topbox can keep me happy for a few months.  Nothing much to "Celebrate" here.

Total Value $30.48
What I paid $18
What I will actually use $3.99

Update-- IpsyCare got back to me.  They will be sending me a new bag as a result of the perfume spilling and ruining a few things.  I was told that they can't guarantee that I get the exact same items the 2nd time around.  That's fine given how little I liked this bag.  Here's hoping for the eyeshadow brush!  I requested it, so I would be pumped if I received it.

Ole Henriksen - Creator of Flawless Faces

Sunday 15 December 2013


My Favourite Ole (say Oola) Henriksen Products
From Left to Right

As previously mentioned my first interaction with Ole Henriksen was at a Sephora event where I got to meet the man behind the brand, and have an amazing mini-facial.  I have traditionally been skeptical of expensive face products after a short, ineffective, stint with Boscia which ended up being returned to Sephora for store credit (which in turn bought the scrub featured in this post...).

I start every morning with cutting one of the wipes in half and clearing my face.  I also go this at night.  I cut the sheets in half because they are expensive, and I hate to see some of the product go to waste.  They have a delicious vanilla-orange scent not online the best creamsicle I could possible imagine.  They leave my face feeling fresh and clean, and are effective at make-up removal.

Then I apply some of the Truth Crème Vitamin C Advanced Hydration.  It also smells of oranges, and summer time, and all things good in the world.  Though not as yummy as the wipes.  I love how light and hydrating it is.  Now that this deluxe sample is almost done I want to try Nurture Me (another of their hydrating creams) because when I tried it at the store it felt like a cushion for my skin.

At night time I apply some of the crème followed by two pumps of the Pure Truth Vitamin C Youth Activating Oil (basically liquid gold but for your face).  It has more of a pungent orange scent which I have pretty much gotten over.  The oil is bright orange in colour and is great for healing acne, rashes, bumps, irritation, and anything else that could possible be wrong.  I swear by this stuff, and oil in beauty products in general.  This stuff is packed with all of the good things.  It took a few weeks to get use to going to bed with an oily face, but after seeing the results I just can't complain!  It makes my skin feel dewy, soft, and generally perfect.

Walnut Complexion Scrub

In the shower I start off with this scrub.  It has a delicious sweet nutty scent and leaves my face feeling clean.  Then I follow up with either of their cleansers.  I have samples of both and am still going back and forth between the orange one and the foaming one.  They btw smell good and leave my skin feeling clean, but I think I am leaning to the orange gel.  Back to the scrub- it exfoliates my skin with out being too rough and leaves me feeling fresh.

Blue/Black Berry Enzyme Mask

When I think of a mask I think of a clay mask, so seeing this clear jelly had me a little confused.  Apply a generous amount and let it sit for about 20 minutes.  It applies cool to the skin and leaves a light tingly sensation.  When removed with warm water (it doesn't exactly dry) it leaves skin looking simply radiant.  It feels like the outer layer of skin is all gone, replaced by something new and fresh.  The product says to apply it two-three times per week, however I find once a week is sufficient for me.  More than that I think would be overkill.  After I am done with the mask I like to apply some of my magic liquid gold skin oil and let it soak in all its glory.

Over all brand impression: I can't stop using the words "fresh" and "clean" to describe how this brand makes me feel.  I have never been so in love with a skin care line.  Honestly it makes me feel like I am feeding my skin all of the things it needs to shine and glow.  After using this skin care routine for two days I saw noticeable improvement and after four days my wind burn was all gone.  I can't ever see myself leaving this brand for my skin.  Three weeks later and I have no regrets.  If its good enough for his long time clients Jessica Alba and Ellen DeGeneres then its good enough for me!  His products smell delicious, and feel luxurious.  But the best part is just how good they are for your skin. 


Amazing skin.

Look at that skin!

Naked Basics by Urban Decay

Saturday 14 December 2013


Packaged in a pretty matte copper coloured case with 3-D text, the Naked Basics Palette contains 5 matte colours and one shade with a slight shimmer.  The packaging, similar to Naked 2 includes a mirror.  However lacks the high quality brush that are included in the larger Naked series packages.  I understand that this is probably a cost and spacing measure, but how sweet would a mini Urban Decay brush be?  Or, in general, a set of Urban Decay brushes.  Anybody know where to find those?

On the lighter end of the palette, Venus (slight shimmer), Foxy (Yellow-nude matte), W.O.S. (Pale pink matte) and Naked 2 (Matte light taupe).

On the darker end of the palette Faint (Matte medium brown) and Crave (Matte black).


In all of its glory!

Swatches from light to dark.

Currently I own Naked and am really hoping to get Naked 2 for Christmas.  I love, love, love Naked.  But always hesitated to get Naked Basics due to the matte shades.  Last time I went to Sephora, with my $20 holiday promotion gift card (for VIB Rouge) an Urban Decay Artist was in.  I asked her to create a smokey eye for me with this palette because I was unsure about the matte.  With a touch of black in the crease, and a whole lot of blending she created a deep and complex smokey eye (which was rather Adele-like).  The best part was being able to recreate it at home.  

This palette really surprised me.  The mattes are sophisticated and grown-up with out being too "mature", and the shades are easy to blend.  If you have fare skin like me, be careful not to use too much at once as the eyeshadows are quite pigmented, like other Urban Decay products.  This product is best done in layers.

I wish the shimmer was a touch more shimmery.  These colours are also fun to play around with with the other Naked shades.  I am gearing up for a 10 day vacation at the start of January, and am keen to take this with me.  I love products that are easy to travel with, and this one takes up next to no space.  My goal is minimize the amount of make-up that I bring with me as I often over pack (isn't there a saying "Home is where the make up is"... no?  Well there should be.) 

For $32 you can't go wrong with this little palette.  I can't wait to keep playing around with it and seeing what else I can do with it.

Josie Maran Colour Stick and Lipstick

Friday 13 December 2013


Josie Maran was a big fashion model.  However, she did not like all of the chemicals found in the luxury make-up that was constantly being used on her for shoots.  So she founded her own company where 100% Argan Oil is the signature ingredient.  

Oils are the big thing in make-up right now.  From cleansers to hair treatments, from skin moisturizers to shampoos they are everywhere.  I was first curious to try this product because of the Argan Oil component.  Currently I use a Moroccan Oil Shampoo/Conditioner and I really enjoy how soft and silky it makes my hair.  Given how cold Canadian winters can get, a little extra moisture can hardly hurt!

I am a big fan of rose gold.  The packaging is beautiful.  I really enjoy some of the phrases on the colour stick: soothes and heals, vitamin e and essential fatty acids, ultra-hydrating, multi-tasking balm for lips, cheeks...anywhere!

I love how warm and universal "Spice" is.  Described as a "nude warm brown" on, I would describe it as more of a dusty rose (even though that is actually the colour name of another stick in the collection).  As first I thought the smell was rather strange, but it has grown on me.  It smells natural (though my boyfriend says "Dish soap") but indistinct.  

"Spice" can be used on your cheeks or lips, though I prefer just using it on my cheeks.  I take a stippling brush and then apply it gently in layers.  Though not super highly pigmented, a little goes a long way.  I love the natural looking flush it leaves me with, and the idea that it is doing good for my skin while I brave winter walking between classes.

I tend to prefer matte finish bold lipsticks.  However I really enjoy this one.  Colour in the middle, wrapped in a clear, hydrating balm.  It has a light to medium coverage and is super easy to apply mirror-free!  It doesn't have the natural scent of the colour stick which is nice.  The colour in the middle is just gorgeous, so sometimes if I want a more bold look I will take a lip brush and just draw from the core.  All in all, glad I bought this.  

Swatching the products, you can tell that the colours are quite similar and do compliment each other.  The colour stick is on top, with the lipstick on the bottom.  

Note: When applied with the stippling brush the colour stick is not this dark and pigmented.  

And finally, a little note on the bottom of the lipstick.

So Many Samples!


Somewhere over the course of my life as a Sephora customer, and general make-up addict I have come to accumulate this stash of free product samples.  I have pawned some off to my mom, others off to friends, and yet still have this pile.  My New Years Resolution will be to use up these samples, or find somebody who will.  But let's face it, these just aren't as fun as Deluxe Samples.  That said, I just can't ever say no.

There are a whole bunch of face masks, anti-aging things, skin serums, and primers or all sorts.  I should take to packing these when I go away for weekends.  I did find some gems in there though!

Pretty Things and Christmas Cheer


White & Gold Bow Bracelets, $18
Also in pink, red, and black.

I first spotted these beautiful little bracelets last month while browsing Indigo for a gift.  I loved it, but was not excited about the idea of spending $18 for a bracelet at Indigo (maybe if this was Tiffany's...).  Feeling all the virtue of self-restraint I put it back.  Fast forward two weeks and it was on sale for 50% off.  I debated getting just the white one, or also grabbing the pink one.  Instead of coming up as $9 & tax it came up to $5 and change.  Decision made.  White and pink purchased.  Regrets? None.

Kate Spade Stationary

Adorable.  Simply adorable.  The little tumbler mug? Thank-you cards?  That journal?!?  If only I had a use for such beautiful little pieces of paper.  The black journal "Leave Something To The Imagination" would be the perfect travel journal for my upcoming winter vacation.  But for now I will admire from a far.  Last time I practiced restraint at Indigo I came back to find my beloved on for 50% off.  Here's to hoping that Indigo is just as king next time I drop by?

Ole Henriksen Event
Sephora, Eaton's Centre

Earlier this month Ole Henriksen has an event at my local Sephora.  They started the event with little snacks (fresh fruit, nuts, and Perrier.... mmm) and an introduction to Ole himself.  Next up was a mini-facial that left my skin oh-so-soft and a photo with Ole.  He was so charismatic, and left all the girls there feeling like a star (he is the man behind Katy Perry's flawless skin).  I will review the products later.  However the vase of flowers and oranges that was beside me during my facial was delightful.  I can't wait to recreate that this spring or summer.

You know what else made this the best Sephora event I have ever been to?  Leaving with a good number of fancy samples.  And perfect skin.

541 Queen Street West

Mamma Loves You Vintage is located on Queen Street West, between Spadina and Bathurst.  Though they carry a whole bunch of vintage things what draws me in every time I wait for the streetcar is their little bowls of rings.  At $5 a pop, I have so far picked up two.

I Know How To Cook
Indigo $10

Mainly I think this book is adorable.  But also my mother maintains that I can not cook.  Therefore she should get this for me.  Given that this is unlikely, I will likely get it for myself sooner rather than later.

Spotted at about Queen Street West & Portland

I love cats.  I love Christmas.  Easy :)

Home-made Glitter Jars
Perfect for mascara, lip gloss, eyeliner, etc.

Last month I learned how to make these beauties and now doing my makeup every morning has gotten a little bit more glamourous.  Next month I plan to put together a post showing how to make these.  Its incredibly simple.

Hope you enjoyed some of the pretty things I have come across in my travels of Toronto.  This was a fun post to write, so I may write a few more!