Annabelle & Marcelle Holiday 2016 giveaway | 30 items worth over $340!

Friday, December 2, 2016

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All year, I’ve toyed with the idea of running four giveaways throughout the month of December. But this fall, an even better opportunity fell into my lap: the chance to host a giveaway of the ENTIRE Annabelle and Marcelle Fall 2016 makeup collections, plus a few of Marcelle’s latest and greatest new skincare innovations.

I am a huge Annabelle/Marcelle fan, and I could not be more psyched to get to share this incredible volume of products with you guys. Even more, I’m shipping this straight to one lucky reader from theNotice HQ, so it’s open internationally for all of my readers who have been tempted by my Annabelle posts for years (but haven’t been able to order themselves!)

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How to enter

The list of items included in this prize is freakin’ LONG, so I figured I’d put the “how to enter” ahead of it – save us all a little bit of scrolling. To enter, use the widget below! (And let me know if you have a Gleam/Rafflecopter preference! I’ve enjoyed using Gleam as a reader, but this is the first time I’m running a giveaway using it.)

This giveaway is open internationally and will close on December 25th at 11:59 PM (MST)… so some lucky reader will probably be waking up to a particularly lovely Christmas present on Boxing Day!

Annabelle & Marcelle Holiday Giveaway

What’s in the prize…

In this prize are over 30 different products, including the entire Annabelle mascara lineup and ALL of the new TwistUp Metallic lip colours and BigShow Gel Lipliners.

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This big gift basket has a value of $349.50 CAD altogether, and it comes with a few awesome perks, too: not only are Annabelle and Marcelle Canadian-owned, but all of their products are cruelty-free from start to finish.

Skincare products marked * contain silicones, and products in bold are a few of my all-time favourites!

Annabelle BigShow Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Waterproof Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Expandable Mascara ($10.95 CAD)

Annabelle Outlash Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Lash Launcher Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Blast Off Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle Supernova Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Heartbreaker ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Purple Panache ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Heavy Petal ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Nude of Fame ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Crazy Coral ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle TwistUp Metallic in Rock & Rose ($9.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Red is Love ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Nude Attitude ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Fall for Fuchsia ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Call Me Pinky ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Royal Purple ($8.95 CAD)

Annabelle BigShow Gel Lipliner in Meet Rosie ($8.95 CAD)

Marcelle New-Age LumiPower* ($24.95 CAD)

Marcelle 3 in 1 Micellar Gel Eye Make-Up Remover ($13.95 CAD)

Marcelle Hydra-C Eye Contour Gel Cream* ($24.95 CAD)

Marcelle Ultimate Fringe Effect Mascara ($12.95 CAD)

Marcelle Ultimate Easy Lash Mascara ($9.95 CAD)

Marcelle Face Powder in Translucent Medium ($14.95 CAD)

Marcelle Flawless Compact Foundation* ($17.95 CAD)

Marcelle Flawless Skin-Fusion Concealer in Light to Medium* ($10.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 840 Pink Lace ($11.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 875 Berry Blossom ($11.95 CAD)

Marcelle Rouge Xpression Lipstick in 960 Show of Pink ($11.95 CAD)

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A few more snapshots of the prize bundle! 

Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence | Getting picture-perfect for the holidays

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

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Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence review

The product: Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence

I like to start every brightening/whitening post the same way: with a reminder that I don’t think that whiter or brighter skin is “more beautiful” than darker skin, ethnic skin, or hyperpigmented skin. Brightening products are a great option to have for those who choose to use them, but I don’t think anyone should feel the need to.

(You’re beautiful just the way you are!) 

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Why use a brightening product?: I have had countless sales associates tell me that I need to brighten my skin due to my ethnicity, but respectfully: fuck that noise.

I was really interested in this product because my skin holds a tan, and I don’t want my choice of holiday dress this year to be limited by my tan lines. But that’s not the only reason to use a brightening product: if you feel like your skin looks a little dull and you want a bit more glow, or if you have pigmentation that makes you uncomfortable and you’d like a slightly more even skintone, then brightening products could really help you outN. If you want extreme results, then opt for a peel or treatment instead.

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How it works: I like the Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence ($42 USD) in particular because it’s very gentle. It’s not sensitizing the way peels can be, so just make sure to layer under sunscreen during the daytime and use sparingly — the formula pills if you over-apply.

The formula uses licorice extract, arbutin, vitamin C, and niacinamide to brighten the complexion, plus a blend of sodium hyaluronate and hyaluronic acid to add moisture to the epidermis. It’s free of silicones, parabens, and fragrances, and it hasn’t been tested on animals.

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But does it work?: In short, yes. I used this “essence” twice a day on my chest tan (a rather unfortunate cross between a scoop neck and a v-neck) for two weeks straight, and I think my skin looked brighter and more even at the end of the test.

The only thing that confused me about this product is that it’s marketed as an essence, but it’s NOT a K-beauty essence. It’s applied like a serum and it acts like one, so why not just call it a serum? I mean, I know it’s just a thing that brands are doing nowadays, but… it’s confusing. Stop it, skincare industry. Stop it.

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The verdict?

If you’re nervous about holiday photos and you want to get a leg up over the competition (everyone has that hot cousin who always looks better than you in photographs; goddammit, Kylie, why are you so pretty), then right now is exactly the right time to start a brightening regimen.

The Paula’s Choice RESIST Brightening Essence is effective and unobtrusive, and more or less feels like a “nothing” step in your skincare routine wherein you’re applying water and waking up two weeks later with results. (Huzzah for skincare products that are easily added to/removed from your routine!)

Availability: $42 USD at Paula’s Choice and Nordstrom.

Keep reading! »

Saje Natural Perfume Collection + Goddess, Ananda | The Gift Guide

Monday, November 28, 2016

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The products: Saje Natural Perfume Collection; Goddess and Ananda Perfumes

You know how I shared my top holiday splurge recommendation on the blog last week? Well, Saje’s Natural Perfume Collection is my top budget pick. This review is all about the why (and I have plenty of reasons!)

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Saje Natural Perfumes

I LOVE everything Saje, and the Saje Natural Perfumes ($29.95 CAD) are no exception. They’re absolutely beautifully designed products, and they feature something that I have never seen on the market before: gemstone rollerballs.

Each fragrance is based in jojoba seed oil and has a different gemstone associated with it. While I don’t fully buy into mysticism, part of me loves it. (Yes, I still go to witches’ markets a few times a year.) I adore the idea of associating fragrance with a goal, and I love the mindfulness that each gemstone brings.

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Take, for instance, Ananda: a sweet, floral citrus with notes of grapefruit, juniper berry, and ylang ylang. It directs the wearer to “embrace your truth,” and features a tiger’s eye gemstone to guide the wearer into identifying their needs versus their desires. (Tiger’s eye is said to be extremely grounding, and enhances willpower.)

I love Ananda–it may be my favourite of all five–but it’s a very “bright” scent. For an earthier floral that’s still very popular, there’s always Goddess: a floral citrus with a vanilla base. It features strong notes of rose otto and jasmine, and its gemstone is rose quartz.

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The Saje Natural Perfume Collection 

There are a lot of similarities between all of Saje’s scents, which is why I love the concept of their Saje Natural Perfume Collection ($49.95 CAD). It’s just as delicately made as their full sizes, but it allows you (or a loved one) to try each scent on your own schedule. Each one will last for weeks of use, so don’t be wary of the smaller rollerballs!

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For instance, if you didn’t love Goddess and Ananda you’re insane and we can’t be friends, because Ananda is perfection, perhaps you might like Shanthi. Its rollerball is made from white marble to inspire mindfulness, and it smells like an herb garden – lots of lime, lemongrass, basil, and nutmeg. Smelling like an herb garden isn’t my thing, but I have to admit: it smells bloody tasty. 

For a very “incense-y” scent, there’s Yoga, which smells a bit like an alt clothing store or meditation studio. Its gemstone is an amethyst, and it smells mostly of michelia champaca oil.

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If you’re looking to get busy, there’s always Tantra, too.

Tantra is weird for me, because it does NOT smell like a sexy fragrance to me. I like it a lot, but… mostly it smells like incense and ginger ale: delicious, and also like diabetes. Its gemstone is a cheeky jade sphere (you know, because jade is lucky), and it’s a really complex scent. It has notes of champa, like Yoga, but it gets its “ginger ale” vibes from sweet palmarosa and spicy ginger.

Even if you’re not planning on buying, I’d suggest going into a Saje someday just to give Tantra a try. Olfactorily*, it’s a lot of fun!

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The verdict?

Saje’s natural perfumes are one of my top gift picks for so many reasons. I love the concept of gemstone rollerballs, but more than that, I love that they’re made from essential oils. Anyone who has worn a purely essential oil perfume before will know two things: they wear very close to the skin, and they fade quickly.

For that reason, they hit a middle ground between “perfume” and “self-care” that sits so well with me. They can most certainly be worn in conjunction with a favourite perfume, and they’re very inoffensive – whether you were to gift someone one or the entire set, there is something in each to appreciate.

Especially in Tantra.

Availability: Single perfumes are $29.95 CAD at Saje; the set is $49.95 CAD. (Get 20% off everything until the end of today!)

*Autocorrect and I are having an argument over this one, but I KNOW WORDS. If the OED says that I’m allowed to say it, I’m allowed to say it. 

Lustworthy: Lacy lingerie with Hopeless & Agent Provocateur | The Gift Guide

Saturday, November 26, 2016

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This holiday season, I’m featuring the most enticing items from my Gift Guide in a column simply titled “Lustworthy.” Tune in every Saturday from now until Christmas for your weekly dose!

Aha! I bet you thought that this series was going to be all beauty, didn’t you?

Well… this week, here are just a few other things that I’m lusting after, from cult-followed lingerie brands Agent Provocateur and Hopeless Lingerie. For me, these two brands occupy opposite spectrums of the same space. One is a wildly profitable luxury lingerie line and the other is a massively popular indie brand, but both produce unique silhouettes, oftentimes in unexpected fabrics.

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At the top of this post is the Mia Top ($114 USDfrom Hopeless; just above are the Eliza High Neck Bra Black And Blue ($215 USD) and Ismerelda Bra Black ($275 USD) from Agent Provocateur. At the bottom of the post are the Hopeless Lingerie Carrie Knickers ($61 USD).

(And yes, I’m having a moment with sheer tops right now. How did you know?)

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What’s on your wish list this week?

L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil | A holiday treat for yourself!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

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The product: L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil

This season while I was planning out my editorial calendar, I asked myself one question: if I could treat myself to only one expensive makeup or skincare item this season, what would it be? 

I was surprised by my answer: the L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil.

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The L’Occitane Immortelle Divine Youth Oil ($108 USD/$110 CADis a product that doesn’t quite work for me, which is why my selection of it is so odd. It’s a little too dry-finish and not quite hydrating enough, and yet… I love it.

It’s an all-natural, silicone-free oil that works well for an enormous range of skin types. Yes, it’s designed to be anti-ageing, but that’s not why I love it. (I’m far too young to be boasting about the effectiveness of anti-ageing products!) But this oil feels velvety, not oily, and it sinks right into both dry and oily skin alike.

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On top of all of that, the Divine Youth Oil leaves the skin with a satin finish and is beautifully perfumed – perhaps the most beautifully perfumed skincare product I have ever owned. I’ve been using it sparingly simply to extend the lifetime of its scent, and every single person who I’ve let share my bottle has loved both the oil’s scent and finish.

Because my skin is so dry, I use this oil in one of two ways: the first, mixed in with a moisturizer; the second, mixed in a 1:2 ratio with rosehip seed oil. Both methods mean that I get the moisture of the second product, plus the scent and satin finish of the Divine Youth Oil. It helps me extend the life of this oil while still getting all of its benefits, which makes the $110 price tag a little easier to swallow.

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The verdict?

The L’Occitane Divine Youth Oil comes with a hefty price tag, but if you’d like to treat yourself (or someone else), I think it’s worth it. No other oil that I’ve ever tried has smelled so beautiful and luxurious, and no other oil has been quite so soft and velvety.

Currently at L’Occitane, if you buy the Divine Youth Oil in a duo with their Immortelle Cleansing Oil, you essentially get the cleansing oil for $5 with free shipping!

Availability: $108 USD/$110 CAD at Sephora, L’Occitane CA, and Nordstrom.

Keep reading! »

Lustworthy: Eye palettes from Huda Beauty & Natasha Denona | The Gift Guide

Saturday, November 19, 2016

 

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This holiday season, I’m featuring the most enticing items from my Gift Guide in a column simply titled “Lustworthy.” Tune in every Saturday from now until Christmas for your weekly dose!

It’s tough to find a gift for a beauty junkie that a) they’ll actually appreciate, and b) they don’t already own, so this year, I have two eyeshadow palettes to recommend to you. They’re both pricey enough that most of my makeup-addicted friends are choosing not to buy them for themselves, and they’re just niche enough that perhaps you’ll even be able to surprise them!

The Natasha Denona Star Eyeshadow Palette ($169 USD/$215 CADis an 18-shade eye palette designed by Natasha Denona, an international makeup artist who was born in Croatia and grew up in Germany. Her line is still relatively unknown, despite being carried at Sephora, Beautylish, and Beauty Bay, but reviews are mixed – some bloggers and influencers swear by them; others aren’t as impressed.

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My second lust-worthy recommendation is the Huda Beauty Eyeshadow Palette – Rose Gold Edition ($65 USD/$84 CAD), made by beauty guru Huda Kattan. Huda’s story is really interesting, because while she was born in Tennessee, she moved to Dubai in 2008. She became wildly popular in the Middle East, but what’s fascinating (and wonderful) is that her popularity spread internationally, too.

Kattan now runs her company with her two sisters, and while I know she’s not exactly breaking down aesthetic expectations, I’m always thrilled to see a beauty icon who also happens to be a person of colour.

What’s on your wish list this week?

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