Declaring My Love for Minis

Mini’s.  I love them.  What defines a “mini” you ask?  Well I’m talking sample size.  Any sort of a sample size:  perfume, foundation, highlighter, eyeliner – you name it!   I get most of my mini’s from Sephora – 100 point perks {or 500 point perks, but rarely.  Those sizes are often more substantial, while still deemed a “sample” of the full sized product}.  Occasionally, I get a stellar mini from an Ipsy bag that finds its way to my rotation.   Frequently, I’ve nailed down a product or two from the Sephora line of shame.  Why the “line of shame” you ask?  Because it gets me EVERY TIME.  I line up, buy more than I need, test new things, come back.  Sephora/LVMH – marketing for the win!

Rotation is another word I’d like to define.  How each person uses their mini’s tends to vary, I’d assume. For me, most of my minis end up in my travel makeup bag.  It’s not my 100% travel-all-the-time bag, but rather is my overnight makeup bag.  Perhaps “24 hour makeup bag” is a better moniker.  Anyway, this is not only a way for me to keep some mini’s of my faves in the rotation, but also to try some products I might not get to on the reg.  

{Full disclosure: I use a lot of mini’s even in my regular daily rotation, namely for mascara samples.   It’s not just a travel thing!}


I thought the best way to show you just how deep my love of mini’s runs would be to go through my “24 hour” makeup bag with you.  Keep reading for a snapshot of my faves!


Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray:  this was a one time mini purchase and wasn’t a sample I received for “free” per se.  I fill this with my HOLY GRAIL setting spray {from the bigger size} so I always have it just when I need it.  I can take an eyeliner or an eyeshadow or even a blush and create a look using this as a base, or just use it to lock in my look all day.  


Tarte Clay Paint Liner in Bronze: just tried this for the first time today.  I’ve been a long time fan of Tarte.  I love their blushes.  I love their liners, whether clay pencil liner or a clay gel liner.  Their eyeshadows are highly pigmented and pop even without a primer.  This liner came up as a point perk from Sephora {sorry, not sure the level} not too long ago, and so I jumped as soon as I saw it.  I find that with my hazel/brown eyes, copper coloured liners just make them look brighter and wider. It’s an optical illusion, but it just works!


Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment: you’ve seen me post about these before; it’s no secret they’re a staple for me whether full sized or not.  Having one of these in my “24 hour” bag ensures that my lips are perfectly primed for whatever I throw on them – lip gloss, lip stick, lip pencil.  Oh, and if I throw in one with a colour base {as I sometimes do – depends on what I have} it can double as a daily lip colour.

Tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder: see above for my love of Tarte.  Their setting powder is the bomb dot comb.  I hate to use that phrase, but it’s just the best to describe it succinctly.  I use it all over to set a concealer {see below for foundation/concealer caveat} or just for my under eyes alone.  


Bobbi Brown Long Wear Cream Shadow Stick: {not sure, but I think this is in the colour ‘Shadow’} Bobbi Brown is, I think at least, an under-rated stellar brand.  Her esthetic is set to simply enhance your natural beauty.  What’s not to love?  This can double as an eyeliner, but I often use it as a base when I want to amplify the Costal Scents shadows. All of her products are buttery smooth and last for-ever.  I love them and will purchase {not this particular shade} a full sized pencil for sure in the future.


Costal Scents shadows: {Revealed Palette Sampler} these have the most insane pigment for the price.  These retail for $11.95 USD in full size; lord knows what a mini would be! I got them in an Ipsy bag if I remember correctly, and have used them religiously for the last year or two.  


Nars Orgasm/Laguna duo: two of my faves in a compact little package.  I wish I could have one of these everywhere!  Oh wait, I do.  I have one here, in my purse, at my office, and in my makeup collection.  I’m able to easily bronze up any look, do a light contour {see brushes above!} and warm up the cheeks with the universally flattering Orgasm {don’t let the name turn you off. You NEED this in your collection}.  


Benefit Roller Lash Mascara: I’ve posted about this before.  I do quite like the mascara, just not enough to justify purchasing the full size from Sephora.  I love the long, separated look it gives, and is perfect for every day.  I have a few of these in my backup stash.  It wears wonderfully all day, but just doesn’t quite give the volume I look for in a mascara.


MAC Lipliner in Dervish: I think I may have said it before, but, incase I didn’t here it is: I’m not MAC’s #1 fan.  I just think there are so many better brands out there, even a few at a lower price point.  Their lipliners aren’t anything to write home about but I’ve recently found myself with a few {extra} in my collection.  I’ve got many brands I prefer over MAC, so instead of de-stashing this one, I put it in with my 24 hour makeup collection just because this particular shade is wonderful all over the lip a ‘Your Lips But Better Shade’, if you will.  This way I can pop on a bit of liner and the Fresh Lip Treatment over top and give my lips a little pick me up on the fly.


Hourglass Ambient Light Correcting Primer in Mood Light: this one was a Sephora 100 point perk, if I’m correct.  And know what?  I love it.  I’m actually debating a purchase of a full sized {which is, undoubtedly, super $$}.  It gives a subtle glow to the skin and keeps hold of any later applied makeup perfectly.


Eyeliner Mini’s: Marc Jacobs Highliner {unsure of the shade} and MUFE Aqua XL in black – both of these liners wear so well on the lash line and the inner rim, so keeping these in here is a no-brainer.  With the copper Marc Jacobs shade and MUFE black liner, I can compliment any look or vamp up any day for a night on the town.


Cetaphil Daily Moisturizer with SPF 50: if you’ve been reading a while, you’ve seen my post on why good skin care is essential.  That’s why I’ve got this in here.  Plain and simple!


Chanel Glossimer in #166 Amour: is this not the absolute cutest mini in history?  I think so!  I have a couple of these that I’ve received from the Chanel counter.  I love Chanel glosses and this poppy pink shade looks far brighter in the tube than it translates onto the lips.  It gives enough of a shine to the lips to wear with any eye look and keeps them moisturized.


Urban Decay Lipstick in Naked: this is just a wonderful nude-pink shade that goes well with the tone of my lips.  It seems to work day to night, and while I’m not over the moon with the lippie formulation, it certainly does the trick.


NYX Sculpt and Highlight Brow Countour in Light Beige/Espresso: y’all know I hate to be without brows, so when I found this little duo product in the NYX store, I had to pick it up.  If I do nothing else on my eyes, my brows are always done.  This isn’t a HG product of any sort, but it does the job well and the highlighter pencil on the end helps tie any look together.


Misc tools: Tweezerman Mini tweezers {cause you never know when you gonna get a stray hair!} and Sephora travel eyelash curler.  This lash curler isn’t my fave but it certainly works in a pinch.  I’ve not only got one in here, but one in each of my purse makeup bags too.  Hair tie – I’ve got thick, somewhat unruly hair.  ‘nuff said.


Various brushes: these are hard to narrow down, but have, generally speaking, come from larger makeup purchases {Dior and Chanel!} or as a gift with purchase.  They make great purse-sized additions or are the perfect “24 hour” makeup bag substitution for the real thing!

**Foundation/Concealer caveat:  I often use the Maybelline Instant Age Rewind all over – under my eyes, on my face, wherever it needs to go.  It blends so seamlessly and conceals perfectly.  What’s not to love?  I don’t often wear foundation, but if I did, I’d grab a MUFE mini from Sephora and throw it in!  If I’m in particular trouble, I use what’s left of a Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque**



shop this post

Urban Decay All Nighter Spray | Tarte Clay Liner {similar here} | Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment |

Tarte Amazonian Clay Powder| Coastal Scents Revealed Palette {full size} |

Nars Orgasm/Laguna Duo | Benefit’s Roller Lash Mascara | MAC Lipliner in Dervish |

Hourglass Primer | Chanel Glossimer #166 | NYX Sculpt and Highlight Brow Contour




December Ipsy Bag

This month’s Ipsy bag wasn’t a huge disappointment.  I was pleasantly surprised, to say the least.  If you’ve been reading a while, you know Ipsy has been rather underwhelming lately.  I have decided to keep it for now and see if it improves in 2016.  If y’all know of any other beauty subscriptions, post’em below, will ya?  I’m in the market for something new {or so I think…}.



I was happy to see a Pacifica product in this month’s bag.  I hear lots about it on YouTube, however it’s not exactly easy to find here in Canada {ETA: it’s a Target exclusive} .  This particular lippie is the Pacifica Power of Love lipstick in thIMG_3829e colour Tender Heart.  It is described as a super power natural lipstick in wearable satin finish shades with incredible lasting colour.
It retails for for $10 USD {so like what, $25 in CAD???} and it’s 100% vegan, which is nice.  I wouldn’t call it long lasting, but the pigmentation is decent as you can see from the pic.  It isn’t overly long lasting, though I’ll consider wearing it under a longer-wearing gloss.

**check out this site for more about these lippies.  It’s a great cause and Id have bought one for full price if Ipsy didn’t do it for me**

Next up we have a little mini tarte Smooth Operator Amazonian Clay Finishing Powder.  This retails in full-size for about $40 at Sephora here in Canada and I believe that a small travel size like this one would be likely around the $15 mark.  I’ve used this baby before in the small size.  In fact, it has a permanens1261114-main-hero-300t residence in my travel makeup bag that I take on overnight trips for my finishing/setting powder for under eyes and concealer.  I love this stuff.  The website lists it as a translucent, silky finishing powder with Amazonian clay that sets makeup and diffuses imperfections. According to the Sephora site, this also mattifies skin by removing excess surface oil and the powder can even be used alone as a treatment to reap all the benefits of Amazonian clay.  I’m not sure about the last 2 statements since I’m not overly oily, nor do I really need any direct skin benefit from Amazonian clay {ok, I guess we could all use some, no?!}.  This little sample will make its way into my rotation once I’m done with the one I’m currently working on. 100% rave review from this girl.


This month’s bag also included a full-sized, limited edition Julie G polish.  IMG_3831I have to say that this isn’t my personal choice of colour; I don’t often use colours with any sort of shimmer and am not a fan of this particular shade of pink.  I have used the brand before, though, and can vouch for its lasting power and a drugstore price point.  I will certainly be passing this one onto someone who could use it.  If not for the colour, though, it’d be in my current collection.   These are hard to find, if not impossible to find, here in Canada, but I believe they retail for approximately $4 in US drugstores.


The inclusion of the Skinn Sugar Lips Polishing Scrub for Lips & Laugh Lines was something new.  Can’t say I’ve had one of these in a bag before!   According to the Skinn website, this can be used daily to exfoliate lips.  It is made with real sugar and a special butter blend, to make flaky, chapped lips and fine lines soon become kissably soft and smooth. It’s been really warm here in Toronto {luckily!} and so I’ve not needed a little TLC on my lips as I have in previous years.  I may keep this around, though, incase that changes upon my return from my sunny winter vacay.  The full size of this product retails for $20 US and can be found on the Skinn website as well as Amazon.


FullSizeRenderI’m getting a little tired of all the skin product samples.  Perhaps I need to re-evaluate my questionnaire on the Ipsy site.  The last little sample in this month’s package was from Lather and it’s the Honey Moisture Mask with Propolis Extract.  This product gets mixed reviews on Makeup Alley, but I may give it a shot following some recent breakout “activity” on my face {read: stress and eating like shit for the holidays}.



As I said above, this month’s bag wasn’t incredibly crap.  Quite honestly, I’d come to expect a bag full of sub-par samples instead of full sized, unique products from Ipsy {is it wrong of me to say that I miss Glossybox?}.  I think I may actually get my $20 worth on this month’s bag, a welcome change.   Keep you updated if anything peaks my interest further.






October Ipsy “Review”

First of all, apologies for the gap between posts.  My personal life{ok, my day job} has been beyond chaotic.  Nevertheless, I’m baaaaaaaaack!  You’re also prolly wondering why I’ve got “review” in quotes in the title.  The reason is simple: the October bag was so crappy shit that I don’t think it merits the time spent or space on my blog for a full review.

The lipstick that came with it – yet another product from The Balm – was ok, but super drying.  It also came with a rather tacky gold shimmer, creamy-but-not sort of a shadow from Mica Beauty.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to see them supporting a Canadian company, however, the product isn’t the best. Ipsy, try it out before you charge me, would ya?  I can’t even find a link to the direct shadow on their website, so it leads me to believe that it’s discontinued or I’m just a ditz.  Hopefully I’m wrong and it’s the latter of the two.

There was the inclusion of what I think was a full sized Delectable Nourishing Hand Cream, which retails for $12.  So while I have enough hand cream to moisturize the entire city of Toronto, this at least covers over half the cost of the bag.


The bag also included a brow pencil with a handy spooly on the end.  Now, had they sent me the proper shade {did I do that whole survey thing on my complexion ‘n stuff just for shits and giggles….or…..??}, this may have worked for me.  Alas, they sent me a light blonde shade that just doesn’t work.  I will most likely be gifting this one to a friend.

I have to say: Ipsy is consistently missing the boat.  The bags are getting repetitive and are lacking interesting products, not to mention the fact that they’re sending me shades that aren’t even something I could use.  I’m so far 1/3 for the last 3 months and am considering a new subscription service come the new year.

Sound off in the comments below.  How was your Ipsy bag?  If you’ve got another subscription you think I’d love, help a girl out!


September Ipsy Bag Review

It’s October now, I realize this. However, I think my Ipsy reviews will be a little different than just a regular unboxing if I’m able to provide a bit of commentary on the products I’ve used from the bag, amiright? If you like this, leave a comment below. If not, leave one too and we can maybe change it up for next month.

This month’s bag was a win. As you know from my last Ipsy post, the bag is a hit or miss for me. It came in a cute little rose gold coloured bag, and I’m a sucker for rose gold. It would make a great clutch, but I think I’ll use it for my overnight makeup bag now…yes, that’s a thing.

NYX. I love NYX. I was thrilled to see a NYX/Ipsy collab eyeshadow palette waiting for me in my bag. Can we have a moment of silence for this adorable little bow IMG_2189on the package too? As with any NYX shadows I’ve tried, these were gorgeously pigmented. I was able to create a few different looks using 1 or all 3 of the shades, however they were a bit dark for every day {full disclosure: I work in a conservative corporate industry, so smokey eyes are no bueno during the day}, but would create a beautiful evening look. I’ll certainly be taking this palette when I travel.


This month’s bag contained another Sephora Formula X polish – this one in a deep red shade. I get my nails done, so I didn’t get a chance to try this, but may pop it on my toes before the fall is over. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this formula of polish, and it’s a perfect little size for someone like me who doesn’t polish often.  These aren’t sold individually, but the brand itself is sold in full sizes at Sephora exclusively.

Ipsy almost always sends some skin care samples that are sizeable enough to give the product a proper try.  This month included the Avene Soothing Moisture Mask. A full size of this retails for over $26 on and the Avene website describes it as a creamy, non-setting skincare mask provides intensive soothing care to dehydrated, overstressed skin. The unique formula deeply penetrates skin and in minutes, sensitive or simply tired skin can become supple, soft and radiant again. What a great size sample of this! I’m excited to give it a try. As I’ve said before, my skin isn’t overly dry, but I’m quite sure that will change once the winter weather comes.


Trestique products seem to be a staple in Ipsy bags. I’ve never tried one of their lip products, so I was excited to give this lip crayon a go. It retails for $28 and according to the website, it is a creamy, lightweight, lip colour crayon with a natural matte finish and a BB Lip Balm {the Ipsy samples don’t come with the BB balm}. I think this would’ve been better with the balm, in all honesty. It goes on smoothly and I do like the nude shade, however it doesn’t wear that well throughout the day. It made my lips very dry and flaked off by the mid-morning. I won’t be purchasing a full size of this one, but it’s nice to wear under a smoother, more pigmented lipstick or gloss.IMG_2194

The Ipsy team includes brushes from time to time, and i’ve always been impressed with what’s sent whether the brush is from their own line or a popular private label.  This month had a double-sided Crown brush included {more specifically, the Deluxe Infinity Shadow/Crease Duet C476}, and it’s already made its way into my daily rotation!  I LOVE this brush.  It’s soft and blends really well, and applies colour very precisely.  Nothing IMG_2185but a rave review from this girl!  I’ve been using one end for my outer crease work, and the more pointed pencil brush end to apply contour on my nose.  It’s just a dream to work with no matter how I’ve used it so far, and I’m excited to use it when I travel {2 brushes in one,HELLO!}.  The brush is $6.99 USD on the US Crown Brush site {not sure if it can be shipped to Canada, though}, so it’s almost worth the full cost of the bag.  Love!

THE VERDICT:  This month was a hit!  All of the items in the bag were things I’ve enjoyed using for the month of September or could certainly see myself using in the coming few months.  Let’s hope this trend continues, beauties!

Comment below if you’ve reviewed your bag online, or if you’ve got a mini review of your own.  I’d love to hear from you!


August Ipsy Bag and First Impressions

Each month I see a $20 charge on my visa for my Ipsy subscription and I get a little pit of excitement iIMG_2086in my stomach. No, I’m not worried about the charge {ok I’m a little excited for the points!}. Rather, it’s just the opposite: I know that in a short week or two, I’ll have a pink envelope waiting in my mailbox FULL of beauty products for me to try {and the bubble wrap in the envelope is a bonus…so what? I’m a kid}. Some will be faves I’ve heard people talk about or have even tried myself, some will be new to me entirely, or something we don’t often get in Canada. For $20, it’s worth every penny to get something other than a bill in the mail. Being an adult sucks. Fact.

In the almost full year I’ve been an Ipsy subscriber, the bags {uber cute bonus and good for travel or gifts, btw} and contents have almost always been a win. Each month I will post my unboxing pics and first impressions. I’ll let you know what I plan to use, and see if it ends up in a favourites post. Kind of a fun experiment, test who’s really paying attention, ya know?

Alright, enough babble. Let’s get on to this month’s bag, shall we? {click to enlarge pics}


First up were some hair and skincare samples: Briogeo Blossom and Bloom. A full size of this product retails for $23 on Sephora’s website, and says it’s a volumizing spray fortified with natural hair thickeners. The description says that the spray will enhance the look of hair fullness with long term results and of course, it lists the natural ingredients in the product’s composition. I can’t say I’m overly excited about this one. I have long, thick, coarse hair and certainly don’t need any thickening. I believe I answered a question denoting this same thing on the Ipsy website!  Either way, it’s nice to have a new product to try, and it mayIMG_2100 find its way out of my beauty sample box to either my bathroom or the bathroom of a well-deserving friend!

Lather Ultra Mild Face Wash retails {in full size} for $19 on There’s not much by way of a product description, but it says that the foaming prep doesn’t strip the skin of natural oils, it’s mild and gentle for every day use, and the soothing anti-bacterial phospholipids leave skin glowing. Reviews are generally raving, so I’m excited to give this one a try!

This box had 3 makeup samples: a Doll 10 cream blush, a Skinn Cosmetics eyeliner, and a Hikari lipgloss.


The Doll 10 HydraGel Blush is designed with a hybrid gel technology to make you look like you’re blushing. It’s a cream based project, and is formulated with beneficial ingredients like shea butter, avocado butter, and Jojoba seed oil to hydrate the skin while Lavender extract provides luminosity. A full size retails online for $16, and I believe this is a sample size. While the colour is gorgeous, I’m not a huge fan of cream products.   I’m sure it’s perfect for many subbies; just not my preference.

Skinn Cosmetics’ Luxe Waterproof Eyeliner in Navy Seal {I feel like every. Single. Bag. Has an eyeliner of the blue or black variety, amiright?} This eyeliner is a pure luxury treatment liner that creates a smooth no-smudge line and retails for $9.99 USD. It, similar to some of the other cosmetics in this box, contains peptides, shea butter and Jojoba to firm the appearance of eyelids and smooth dry lids. It has a waterproof formula and claims it won’t come off until it’s taken off! The pencil comes with a built in sharpener, much like the Nars Larger Than Life line. I’ll likely pass this on too. I’ve got more eyeliners than I can count on two hands, and know of a few ladies this would look fab on.

Last but not least, a full sized Hikari lip gloss in Merlot. I must say, this was the only hit of the bag this month. The Hikari website shows 8 colours availaIMG_2115ble in a decent range of shades and each gloss retails for $13.   The product description says it’s a high shine matte gloss {yes, a high shine matte. What? How?} I love the pigmentation {click the pic for a larger swatch} and glossy finish. This isn’t a colour I tend to gravitate to whatsoever, but I think it will be a gorgeous, bright, berry lip.  I’ve got lots of glosses, but definitely see this one making it’s way in to my rotation come fall.


{by far Ipsy’s cutest prepster bag}

THE VERDICT: Ipsy missed the bag a little this month {get it? Missed the BAG}. The houndstooth bag and Hikari gloss are about the only things I look forward to using. I’m not overly upset, though, as the Hikari gloss I like retails for almost the cost of the bag.  Like anything else, I guess there will be good and bad months. Considering this is one of the only real “missed” months, I’m going to chalk it up to summer holidays and the Ipsy team being a little short staffed and fishing for samples. Here’s hoping the September box is a hit!

Do you subscribe to Ipsy?  Comment below and let me know your thoughts on the August bag.