It's no secret that I love a good cat-eye liner. And over the years, I've used lots of different products to achieve the look. Between gifts from friends & Sephora bonuses, I've amassed quite a few and thought I would share my favourites, why I love them, and which ones I think can be skipped.
I've gone through about 3 tubes of this stuff. It's super black, the felt-tip is great, it lasts all day, and the price point is fantastic. This is the one I reach for when I need a quick, no fuss liner. It glides so beautifully and will always be a staple for me.
I'll call this a 'marker' style tip to differentiate it from the felt tips. (The tip is 'drier', and more like a marker than a true liquid liner.) It worked well, but I found it faded to a more grey shade that I didn't like.
This has more a 'marker' style tip as well, but it's much smaller and the colour is a deep black. It also lasts all day - even my coconut oil makeup remover sometimes has difficulty with it. I love this one for it's precision; it might take a bit longer to apply because it doesn't 'glide' well - 'stamping' works better with this one - but I know it won't budge at all.
Unlike any other liner I've tried, Benefit created a gel liner with a built in application system. I do like it, but you have to have enough product on the tip for it to apply well, but not too much or else it clumps and falls off. It takes a bit of practice, but the results are worth it.
Truthfully? This is practically identical to the Lineur Intense from L'Oréal; they are sister companies after all. The gold on the packaging is lovely of course, but I found the colour of this one wasn't quite as black as I would have liked.
This & the Stila one below were from the Sephora liner favourites kit released around Christmas. (Great kit by the way!) I'd been wanting to try this out after hearing a lot of hype about the 'brush' tip and I'm so pleased to say I was not disappointed! The colour, the tip (it really is a little brush), the ease - SO good. Probably my all-time favourite on this list.
If you're looking for a liner that will not budge one millimetre, then this is for you. I have it in the dark brown shade, which is a nice change some days from the black. The colour is great, the marker tip works really well and there's no fading or patchiness as the day goes on. You definitely will need a great make-up remover to get this off (even coconut oil struggles with it) but that's a small price for a liner that doesn't give up.
Is there a favourite out there that I've missed? A classic I need to try? Let me know :)
Spring is finally blooming here and I am so excited! There's buds on the trees, flowers are starting to bloom & the cold days of winter seem to finally be over. Today's artist feature is full of florals & whimsical design - a perfect compliment to this time of year :)
Melissa reached out to me about her shop, Sweet Water Decor, and I knew it was a perfect fit the moment I opened her shop. It is full of my favourite fonts, happy prints & cheeky mugs. She was even sweet enough to offer a discount that you can find at the bottom of the post, so read on!
What inspired you to open your shop?
I got engaged in September and was going through all of my stuff and actually decided to open my shop to sell my acrylic paintings. From there I started adding art prints, save the dates, wedding invitations, mugs + stamps! Searching for my own save-the-dates on Etsy, I started looking around and thought, I could definitely design these myself! I took photoshop classes in high school and have a natural talent for art. When I was younger I wanted to be a designer. I combined that with my merchandising background - being a buyer for a major retailer, and voila! My shop was born. I imagine brides like me shopping at my shop. The girls that love a little bit of glamour mixed with shabby chic with a modern twist. I love getting inspiration and use my fashion background to come up with some of my ideas for the shop. I just opened my second Etsy stop - Stamps Lux - where I sell stamps exclusively.
What is the process of creation like?
I first get inspiration, either while walking in my beautiful small town, Starbucks coffee in hand... to washing dishes...ideas come to me. I even have these little notebooks that I carry with me or are by my bedside that I jot design ideas as I get them before I go to bed. From my idea I create it in photoshop and bring it to live. I love it when I see my own designs on paper or on my mugs instead of just in a picture. We print all of our mugs, and it's so exciting to see a final product!
Your work features some gorgeous typefaces, do you have any favourites currently?
I use a lot of Carolyna Pro - it's perfect for weddings! But I've fallen in love with Jacques & Gilles and even used them for my own invitations! Emily Lime creates such beautiful fonts - I'm pretty sure she's my best friend I never met.
Is there a cool back-story behind one of your prints or other products?
My strong, brave, beautiful, courageous mug and print is one of my absolute favorites. It came to me while washing dishes honestly! I pictured in my mind the woman my mom raised me to be - strong, brave, beautiful & courageous. I added an arrow as well to top it off! Each word has a different font, really bringing out what I hope to inspire other women to be. It was so great to hear from one of my customers, she bought this mug for herself and one for her friend. She wanted to thank me as she was going through fertility treatments and her friend was going through cancer. I hope to touch all of my customers and it really makes me know that God has put me where he wants me - designing & making beautiful works to share with & inspire others.
It's officially the first day of spring!!! Oh to know that winter is coming to an end; it happens every year I know, but every year feels new when you've been buried by snow for far too long. I can't wait to see little buds on the trees, smell fresh cut grass, plant my herb garden & delight in those long summer days. Until then, some reading to keep us distracted while the snow melts :)
"What if we saw attention in the same way that we saw air or water, as a valuable resource that we hold in common? Perhaps, if we could envision an “attentional commons,” then we could figure out how to protect it." - The Cost of Paying Attention
"But where is the line between just the right amount of beauty and inspiration and what we deem as too much or too showy? ... what is “too” much? And who decides what’s “normal”? Here’s what I think: There is no normal and there is no perfect." - Negativity Online
"In art, this is very important. Art is where associations are made. Art is where we form the narratives of our identity." - Lighten Up
"After working through my utter shame over being a totally judgmental zit up in my head, I ran headlong into relationship with them and kept coming back, week after week." - What to Do When Women Seem Scary
"Because no one is providing me with a list of priorities, a number of hours, or a pay rate, I have to embark on that road of trial and error." - Resources for Freelancers
"...time is power. As trite as it sounds, but the way we live our days, what we do at 10 am, at 3 pm, how the evening flows, like habits, it really is the way we live our lives." - The Way We Live Our Days
For the clovers, I created 4 sets of 2 dots around an imaginary 'square' shape on my nails, and then put a little more polish in the middle of the dots to join them together. Hopefully the photo below will help illustrate a bit better!
. This wall has grown quite a bit since it started, and my philosophy is to always buy art that I love. If something doesn't 'speak' to me, it doesn't make the cut - otherwise I'd have enough art to fill this wall 10 times over ;)
I also love supporting creatives & small businesses, so that's where pretty much all of my art has come from. These shops are full of SO much talent - too much talent to keep hidden - so I'm sharing where all my art has come from over the years. Some pieces are no longer available, but maybe you'll find something you love even more!
hover over the photo to see the corresponding numbers
Most of these stores have really reasonable prices, but if you just don't have much to invest in art yet, I would suggest looking for a bulk discount (like BOGO) or waiting for a sale. Most shops will also offer some sort of first time purchase discount or a code when you sign up for their newsletter.
This winter has done terribly dry things to my normally oily skin. I posted a few months ago about some of my favourites, but I've added a few new things to my routine to help battle this winter dryness.
This is everything from day to night, from my hands to my face. Fresh & Caudalie have pretty much taken over my skincare; my skin loves them & just feels better when I use them. I bought a 3 piece kit from First Aid Beauty, and while the cleanser was not for me, the moisturizer & radiance pads are both really great. Some people get weirded out by putting oil on their face, but I swear since I started using coconut oil to remove my makeup that my skin looks better. I've even used it as a moisturizer when nothing else is working!
What are your favourites for keeping your skin happy in the winter? Any hidden gems I need to know about?
I have loved lettering & calligraphy for a long time, so a few weeks ago I decided to give it a try! I did some research, bought some tools, and have been practicing ever since :) For those of you wanting to try calligraphy too, I gathered all my favourite resources to help you get started!
(If you sign up with the link above, we both get a free month!)
From how to hold the calligraphy pen, to forming letters, to supplies you'll need & worksheets to help, Molly Jacques shares it all! And it was so handy to visually SEE someone doing everything, rather than just a photo.
I'm not suggesting copying these calligraphy greats, but many of them have kits to purchase with all their favourites, or teach classes you can attend! I love the behind-the-scenes sneak peeks many of them share :)
Happy weekend! Hope you had a lovely week :) We're due to get more snow today (oh Canada...) so I'm planning on a quiet, snowed in morning, reading by the fire. Here's some posts I loved this week in case you find yourself with some time to read...
You've heard me talk about Julep boxes quite a bit on this blog, but I usually don't go back afterwards to update you on my thoughts after I've used a product for a while. Thought this would be the perfect opportunity to do so, especially since I've found so many great products from Julep! (though in full disclosure, there have definitely been a few duds too!)
Eye Sheen ('Pale Nude') - I saw a lot of comments about the formula of this; how people were expecting a more solid cream shadow & thought this liquid one was odd. I love the formula of this though because it 'sets'. So my oily lids aren't a total grease-slick halfway through the day like they would be if I used a regular cream shadow. A total keeper for me.
Ink Gel Eyeliner ('Black') - I liked this a lot. My first experience with gel liner & while it would never replace liquid for me, I did like it. However, I looked at my jar a few weeks ago & saw something similar to this photo here. Don't think I'll be using this again...
Angled Brush - Nice bristles, good weight to the handle, great brush.
Polish ('Love') - I don't think I've worn this since, but it's so pretty! I thought it was a great bonus item for Valentine's day & the gold cap was extra special.
Polishes ('Lilou', 'Monaco', 'Lizanne', 'Margaret', 'Princess Grace') - All the cool blues & greens? Love, will wear a lot. The yellow & orange? Not as much - they're just not my colours. In fact, I wore Lilou to see if I could wear a yellow & several people commented that it was not their favourite colour on me.
Lip Gloss (in 'Awestruck') - I still reach for this almost every day. In fact, I bought a backup in November because I love this gloss so much!
Blush ('Peach Bellini') - Love. Use this almost every day. Packaging is great, colour is gorgeous, love!
Bronzer ('Light Golden Bronze') - Julep's customer service was great & sent me out a new bronzer asap when my original one was smashed in the mail. The colour runs a little warm for me, but I'm super pale so most bronzers do. I do like it & use it quite a bit, just with a light hand haha
Polishes (Jet & Brigitte) Classics! I didn't have a black or white (shocking I know...) so these have both been used multiple times, usually for nail art but also for full manis. Great shades!
Polishes ('Jeanne', 'Paulette', 'Kam', 'Jules') - Gorgeous spring shades! I love how they all work together & I will wear all of these again & again.
Plie Wand - Truth time. I don't use the Plie Wand. I was excited to try it out & see, and it's not a case of dislike or anything, but I already have a routine for painting my nails & I found the Plie Wand a bit awkward. I still want to work with it & I'm planning to pick up the creativity kit because I think it will be GREAT for painting thin lines or dotting, but for my everyday manis? Not something I use. However, I think if you struggle with painting your nails & want something to help steady your hand, this would be perfect.
Gel Eye Glider ('Blackest Black') - A great black eyeliner! Glides on smoothly, stays put. I do prefer self-sharpening or twist up liners, but this one is still really nice.
Polishes ('Neha' & 'Tazeen') - I wore both of these at my best friend's wedding in August :) Tazeen on my hands (our dresses were hunter green so it was perfect) and Neha on my (hidden) toes. Gorgeous colours & I can't wait for summer again to paint my toes! haha I also used Tazeen for this holiday mani.
Mascara ('Go Big') - A nice, black mascara. I wouldn't repurchase, but it creates nice, natural looking volume and doesn't go too 'spidery' or clumpy for me.
Polishes ('Shari', 'Devon', 'Malala') - Shari ended up surprising me & became my new favourite neutral polish. Devon is lovely too with it's microshimmer, but Shari stole this box for me. Malala was a bonus item that came with my favourite 'Awestruck' gloss (it was cheaper to buy the add on than to buy the gloss separately) and I'll admit I haven't worn it yet. Warm pinks don't usually work for me, but I'll have to give it a try soon.
Orbital Eyeshadow ('Supernova') - Beautiful shadow! I like applying this wet to get the full impact of the purple/pink colour shift, but it works dry as well for a more toned down look.
Polishes ('Sienna', 'Ilga', 'Paula', 'Nell') - Loved all the shades! Sienna is a gorgeous gold foil & Ilga is that perfect vampy red that doesn't look black. Paula is just my kind of colour :) And while Nell wasn't a perfect match for Butter London's Tart with a Heart, it's still a gorgeous sparkly polish!
Nail Stickers - I wore them for this mani, and they lasted a few days before I had to apply a bit more topcoat to keep them laying flat. I was able to use one sticker for 2 nails which means they'll last longer, since you don't get a ton of stickers in the pack.
Blank Canvas Lip Primer - I haven't been able to bring myself to use this much, the chemical smell is just a bit off-putting. Maybe that will wear off with time though? I'll give it another few shots before I give up, but I'm glad I didn't pay for this (was a bonus item in my box).
Overall, I was really pleased with almost everything I received in my Julep boxes last year! I use the beauty products a lot, and their polish is consistently good. I already picked up January's box (review coming soon!) and February's box has another bonus this year so it might just need to be picked up too haha
Have you tried Julep? I know you can buy a few polishes in Sephora, but the pricing through the boxes is a way better deal. If you join the Julep Maven program, you get future discounts on products, free shipping & of course, first pick of their new products!
You can get your first box free (& skip boxes whenever you like!) if you sign up through this link (which is an affiliate link, but there's no extra cost for you & we both get free polish - win-win ;).
Along with the cold weather always comes this deep desire to curl up in front of the fire with a good book :) Here's what I've been reading lately & what's on my to-be-read list...
As Chimney Sweepers Come to Dust - Alan Bradley
I adore the Flavia de Luce series & the newest release is just as good - maybe slightly better simply because it's set in Canada! If you haven't read this series, I highly recommend it!
A God in Ruins - Kate Atkinson
I read & loved 'Life After Life', and when I saw this on the pre-order list I was intrigued simply because it was by the same author. Turns out it's a companion novel to 'Life After Life' which just has me even more interested...
The Girl on the Train - Paula Hawkins
This one was recommended to me, and after reading the description I had to put it on my list. "Just what goes on in the houses you pass by every day?" I'm thinking I might have to pick this one up tomorrow to devour all weekend :)
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
A novel that weaves a story so beautiful, it has to be recommended! I read this over the holidays and so enjoyed it.
What are you reading? Any books you're looking forward to this year?
I love a good gallery wall (if you follow me on Instagram you already know that!) and I have to admit I'm pretty proud of mine. But it's not something that happened overnight. It has been collected & curated over 3 years and it's still not quite finished - there's a good chance it never will be 'done' - but I've learned a lot along the way.
I shared this thought a few months ago with a photo of my wall & it's still true now:
Wherever you are, remember that all good things take time. This gallery (which, lets be honest, is so not important compared to many things) took over 3 years. And there were many moments of not-so-pretty (and more than a few extra holes in the wall) to get it to this point. Things take time - nothing in life happens overnight. So keep asking and seeking and working, you'll get there soon.
All the photos I could find of my gallery over the past 3 years - along with my thoughts on collecting & curating your own gallery are below.
The two prints that started it all. I bought these prints from Leigh Viner during a holiday sale after admiring them for years.
Hopefully you can see the evolution in the photos above, but it grew pretty slowly. At one point, I decided I was not happy with the arrangement, so everything came down and I planned it out with paper. I mixed up the frames, the type of art, and the colours to try & achieve a more 'balanced' look.
Below are some daylight shots (and so you can see the blue I used to have!) and the reason you usually don't see my desk - haha! Thankfully I have more storage under my desk now so it doesn't get that bad, but oh man.
! I purposely made sure I liked the frame arrangement before I painted so I could fill in all the holes I'd made over the years. The soft grey has made the biggest difference, and I could not be happier with how it turned out!
Starting to look a little more familiar, non? Some of the photos were switched, and I finally finished the bottom half of the wall (that took far too long to decide what to do with!), but here's what it looks like now:
Full of things that I love, that inspire me, motivate me and make me smile. I love waking up to this view every morning! And that blank wall you can kind of see in the mirror? Not so blank
So, after 3 years & many nails holes later, what are my
// Pick art that you love, that speaks to you in some way. It will all come together.
// Try different 'mediums': photography, illustration, paintings, originals, text, etc.
// Let it grow organically. Start small, & build as you go.
// Paper templates are great, but eventually you just need to:
// Get out that hammer & do it! Guess what happens if you make too many holes? Nothing. Fill them in & try again (or just hang another frame overtop ;)
And one bonus tip: make it yours! Use your own photos, paint a little canvas, find something that can't be bought anywhere else. These are often the sweetest touches, & it also means that no one can recreate it :)
You can see some more shots of the wall on Instagram under the hashtag
I really do love Instagram, but sometimes it's styled ideal can be more than a little unrealistic. Thought I'd share some behind-the-scenes thoughts from a few photos I've posted in the last month :)
There are days the top of this desk can barely be seen, so it was in dire need of a clean-up. I'm happy to report it still resembles this photo, although there might be a few other beauty bottles added ;)
This shot taken from the car a few weeks ago is still one of my faves, even the dirty windows. This is real life after all ;)
While my desk is often this messy, it's only ever this 'styled' when the camera comes out :) Other wise I'm sure I'd be bleeding everywhere from those gold tacks. And my pen holder is usually kept upright haha
I get a bit bored with the usual nail photos, so I tried to style these a bit. Needless to say, this was a great idea in theory, but oh man the outtakes are awkward haha
On the few 'milder' days we've had (read: barely above freezing), getting outside for a walk has been a nice break from my desk. I took this same shot back in the fall - what a difference 12 weeks can make!
And finally, my challenge for 2015 is to learn calligraphy! I bought some ink & nibs online, took a course from Molly Jacques on Skillshare, and have been practicing every day since. The topmost sheet in this photo was full of capital B's, and the bottom sheet has a nice splat from when my nib & I didn't quite agree ;)
ps, if you sign up through this link, we both get a free month on Skillshare. They have tons of classes - I have my eye on several more!
Any stories to go along with some of your Instagrams?