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Review: NARS Pencil Sharpener

It may be odd that I'm reviewing a pencil sharpener out of all the wonderful beauty products that I've been trying out recently. But I've always believed (& I'm sure you makeup enthusiasts will agree with me here), that the tools we use are just as important as the products. Just like brushes or an eyelash curler, a good pencil sharpener will last you years.


The NARS pencil sharpener, which is made in Germany, is exactly one of those durable beauty tools. Since it's made in Germany, you can expect a higher quality sharpener for a higher price than something that's made in China. For $8.50 CAD + tax at Sephora, you get a dual-ended sharpener in the classic NARS rubber & plastic finish. This comes packaged in the simple black cardboard packing like the rest of their products.

The dual-ended sharpener is so convenient because I can sharpen my regular eyeliners & lip pencils as well as bigger lip pencils or kajal eyeliners. I have tried using this with drugstore & higher end pencils & haven't had any problems. However, I've heard that some people have had problems with some of the Sephora brand pencils which are slimmer, which I don't own any of so I can't comment on that.


I really love how you also get a cleaning stick. This securely slides into the front top portion, which is then covered by the lid, so you won't have to worry about losing it. The stick allows you to reach any small shavings or clean off product that's stuck to the blades without getting messy. The shavings get collected in the top portion of the sharpener, but in case you want to clean the back of the blade thoroughly, NARS has made this easy too. Simply pop out the bottom part of the sharpener to reach the back of the blade.


Besides all of these good qualities, the main reason why I chose to review this product is because of its performance. If you've only used sharpeners from the drugstore, you'll be able to tell the difference right away. It sharpens your pencils so smoothly & you don't have to rotate the pencil too much for it to sharpen, which means it's not wasting any more product than is necessary. This point itself should sell you on this sharpener, especially if you use more expensive pencils! With cheaper sharpeners you may have run into problems where you've just slightly sharpened your pencil and a bit of the tip just breaks off & you end up wasting more product to get a nice tip. I've been able to get a sharp point with this sharpener & the tip has never broken off.


The only downside is that the NARS rubber & plastic packaging may collect dust over time but you can wipe it down easily with a wet cotton pad. Don't mind the picture above with the shavings - that's dirty on purpose for that specific shot since I was experimenting.
I've been using this sharpener for over 2 years now & I love it. The last 2 pics are of my sharpener & the top 2 pics are of my mums brand new sharpener that I told her she HAS to buy because it's amazing.

Make the investment & purchase the NARS pencil sharpener. You won't regret it.


xoxo

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Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post. The product mentioned is purchased by me & all opinions are honest & my own.
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Cute & Comfy Shoes from Reef

I don’t live anywhere close to beautiful beaches, which is one of the reasons that I haven’t really been exposed to surfing or that lifestyle, so this was my first time hearing about Reef. I did some research & their website says the following: “Reef is a core surf company. [They] create authentic and innovative products intended to nurture an incredibly fortunate lifestyle that involves surf, sensuality and a life filled with happiness…Reef continuously creates high quality, comfortable sandals and surf apparel for an active lifestyle. Our products are eco-friendly as we constantly strive to improve our environment.”

Although I’m not a surfer, while browsing through their shoes for girls, I found cute shoes. I actually dislike wearing socks & boots all the time, so I avoid wearing them for as long as I can. I opt for flats at times even when there’s snow on the ground – yeah.. I can be a bit crazy at times. Keeping that in mind, here are the top 2 that I liked even though the weather in Canada is chilly these days & most people here wouldn’t choose these to wear right now:

  • “Suede wedge features hand woven textile from India”
  • These would look great with so many outfits. You could pair these with skinny blue jeans & a casual T-shirt for a casual look. You could also wear them with skinny jet black jeans, a plain gray or white T-shirt tucked in the pants at the front with lots of jewelry & accessories for a more dressed up look.

  • “Mattress-inspired quilted PU foam footbed with anatomical arch support”
  • I was attracted to these because of the colour. I have a handbag & a shirt that are similar to it & it’s hard to find casual shoes in this colour. & if you think you won’t be able to wear these with a lot of outfits, you might be surprised – I used to own mustard coloured flats that I wore with everything. They added that extra pop of colour, which I really like.

In the footer of their leather flip flops for women page it states that “This popular Reef footwear features ISA L.I.T.E. (low impact to the environment) leather sandals, soft suede footbeds, and comfortable arch support.” I’ve actually spent some extra money for flats that had soft footbeds & comfortable arch support & those were super comfortable even on days when I was on my feet all day, so I would definitely recommend you to look for footwear with these features.


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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me using images from the brand’s website.
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24k Drama


Before I start getting carried away on this keyboard, I want to let you know that this is a look that I did months ago (in Feb 2014 to be precise). If you follow me on Instagram, you may have spotted this look a few times already - I haven't included any of those pics in this post, but keep reading for links to them if you want to check them out. Also, this post is picture heavy, so I'll try to keep the rest of the post short.


If you don't follow me on Instagram (@saimese), here are the pictures & video that this look appeared in prior to this post: {picture 1 • picture 2 • video • picture 3picture 4picture 5}


Moving on to the products used.

Kisses:
Rimmel London Exaggerate Full Colour Lip Liner in 063 Eastend Snob
Medusa's Makeup lip gloss in Whispers

Face:
Revlon Colorstay foundation for combination/oily skin in 250 Fresh Beige
Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25 Medium
Maybelline Dream Matte Powder in Honey - Medium 3-4 [to set the concealer & foundation]
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil matte bronzing powder [to contour]
Laura Geller's Blush-N-Brighten in Roseberry [cheeks]

I didn't remember to take a picture of the highlight product(s), so I'm unable to recall what I used since this was months ago. It seems like I used a combination of items, including an eyeshadow.


Winks:
Too Faced Shadow Insurance Primer
Prestige Cosmetics eyeshadow in C-153 Angel [highlight]
Annabelle Cosmetics Studio Pigment in Magentini [browbone + crease + outer 3/4 of lower lashline]
Glow Essentials pigment in 24k [lid]
BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in CM20 [black shade in the outer corner + crease]
Pari Beauty Transforming Eye Gel [mixed some in with the pigments & black eyeshadow for better colour payoff & to reduce fall-out]
Maybelline Ultra Liner waterproof liquid liner in Black [upper lashline + inner & outer wings]
Almay intense i-color defining liner in Onyx [tightline + waterline]
L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black [upper & lower lashes]


Since the look was super dramatic, I wanted to use dramatic eyelashes too.


Brows:
Senna Cosmetics Sketch-a-Brow pencil in Dark Taupe [inner third]
Senna Cosmetics Sketch-a-Brow pencil in Mink [outer two-thirds]


I wasn't aiming for an Arabic, Bollywood, or South Asian bridal inspired makeup look, but I know that's what a lot of people would call this. I just really wanted to use my 24k gold pigment that I bought from the beauty school (Glow Academy) that I went to because I hadn't used it before. One thing led to another & it just turned into this dramatic look while I was doing my makeup. I really like how it turned out.


xoxo


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Blinged Out Brows

When I saw Huda Kattan's (also known as HudaBeauty) video on Bling Brow by Benefit last week, I completely loved the look. I decided to try it the next day itself! I knew I wanted to wear a bold lip for fall too, so this look was created with both of those things in mind.


You do not need the Bling Brow kit for this look. You can use bindis instead, which are self-adhesive & are applied mainly by South Asian women on their forehead between their brows. These would be much cheaper. However, I don't wear bindis, so I used what I already had: rhinestones that are meant for nail art, lash glue, & a tweezer. I decided to go with 2 regular/clear rhinestones with a lavender rhinestone in the middle. Due to my rhinestones being smaller, the lavender one didn't show up as well in person or in pics, so next time I would definitely go for a darker purple or just use 3 clear ones. I've also used these rhinestones in other makeup looks that have been previously posted on the blog, but only on the inner or outer corners of my eye.


Winks:
Eyeshadow primer: Too Faced shadow insurance
Browbone + crease: MAC eyeshadow in Saddle
Lid: MAC eyeshadow in Bamboo
Outer corner + crease: BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in MM17
Waterline + lower lashline: NYX jumbo eyeshadow pencil in Purple
Lower lasline: BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in CS06 & blended that out using BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in CM08
Tear duct + under brow arch: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in 129 Tiki
Liquid eyeliner: Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner in 01 Blackest Black
Tightline: Milani Liquid Eye liquid-like eyeliner pencil in 01 Black
Lashes (upper & lower): 1 coat of L'Oreal Voluminous Original

I've posted close up pics of the eye makeup in the following post: Review: BornPrettyStore.com lashes #L-09 & brush 


Face:
Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel (used as a primer)
Revlon Colorstay foundation for combination/oily skin in 250 Fresh Beige
Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25 Medium (under my eyes & around my nose + mouth)
e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Clear (to set my concealer & the areas where I get oily)
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder in Original Chocolate (to contour my cheeks, jawline, & temples)
Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in 129 Tiki (cheekbones)
Senna Cosmetics sheer face color powder blush in Moonberry (cheeks)

Brows:
BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in MM17 (fill in some of the sparse areas of my brows)


Kisses:
Vaseline (applied lightly before I started with my makeup)
Sephora cream lip stain in 03 Strawberry Kissed
Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Color in 916D Raivin' Raisin (applied on top of the Sephora lip stain with a lip brush)


I'm trying to grow out my eyebrows, so they're all over the place. The look would be much better with cleaner brows. I still ended up LOVING the blinged out brows on myself so much that now I want an excuse to wear these.
They're over the top, but if you're confident you can rock them, especially if your rhinestones are as small as the ones I used. I did the look for this blog & ended up wearing this look to the mall, but that's just me. These would be perfect to wear to weddings too - they totally go with the bold outfits & makeup at South Asian weddings.


Would you wear these blinged out brows? I'm curious to hear what others think of these.

xoxo


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Tarte Cosmetics Brushes for a Flawless Base

If you are someone who has to travel during holiday season, picking outfits ahead of time, packing presents, & packing all your hair, makeup, & skincare products can be a mission. To some people I know it might seem a bit early to speak about the holidays, but it’s already November & Sephora has its holiday gift sets on display. Tarte cosmetics is one of those brands that always has pretty holiday gift sets. This year, I decided to browse through their products online & I really liked some of the tarte cosmetics makeup brushes. The 3 makeup brushes that caught my eye will help you achieve a flawless base, which is important especially during the holidays when you’re taking lots of group pictures & selfies.


$32

This brush is actually on tarte’s best sellers list. It’s dense, which will allow for a full coverage application. It’s also fairly large, which means you can buff your foundation in quicker & it’s supposed to give you an airbrush finish. Quick & easy full coverage = perfect!


$22

Whether I apply liquid or powder foundation, one step that I make sure I don’t skip is brushing through my brows with a spoolie brush. I do this because I already have really dark, full brows & I don’t fill them in unless I’m wearing a lot of eye makeup for a special occasion. Since I don’t do anything to my brows on a regular basis, I go over them with a spoolie brush to make sure the eyebrow hair is brushed through & in one direction instead of being all over the place since my eyebrow hair is long too. It also gets rid of any foundation that I may have buffed on to my eyebrows while applying it & my eyebrows look dark again.

If I was filling in my brows, I would use the angled side of the brush & I know a lot of women would use it for this purpose. However, if you’re someone like me & you already have full brows that you don’t fill in, you can use the angled brush with gel eyeliner to create a classic winged eyeliner look. I also use angled brushes to apply eyeshadow to my lower lashline, so this brush is definitely a winner for me.


$32

Even on days when I’m not wearing a lot of makeup, I love sculpting & defining my cheekbones & this is such a great multi-purpose dual-ended brush for doing that. This brush may be used in a lot of ways depending on your preference of how sharp you like your features to appear. The rounded end may be used to buff out any cream or liquid highlighter. Due to the brush being so dense, you may also use it to pack on a lot of product in the hollows of your cheeks to contour.

The angled end allows for easy product placement. It may be used to buff & blend out any product packed on in the hollows of your cheeks with the rounded end. If you’re not a fan of a really sharp contour, you may use the angled end alone to apply your contour powder lightly & this will give you a more natural contour. This end can also be used to apply blush once you are done contouring.


I love how these brushes would allow me to achieve a perfect base & save room so I can pack all my eye makeup brushes, which I have the hardest time narrowing down. These tarte cosmetics brushes are made from sustainably harvested bamboo. The bamboo handles along with the gold ferrules & densely packed bristles give these brushes a luxurious feel. & who doesn’t want that luxurious feeling during the holidays?


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*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me using images from the brand's website.
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Eid-ul-Adha 2014 makeup look


In my Eid-ul-Fitr 2014 makeup look post I had said that I won't be getting that dolled up on Eid-ul-Adha this year. That was the original plan, but as you can see from these pics things turned out a bit differently. I did get dolled up at night & here are the products I used to do so.


Winks:
Eyeshadow primer: Too Faced shadow insurance
Under brow + inner corner + tearduct: Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in 129 Tiki (as a highlight)
Lid: Prestige Cosmetics eyeshadow in C-179 Golden Retriever
Browbone + crease + outer V: BH Cosmetics eyeshadow in MM17 (I used a large fluffy blending brush to first apply this to the browbone. Using a smaller blending brush I applied this colour to the crease. Lastly, using a dense domed brush I applied this to the outer V & used the smaller blending brush used earlier to blend it with the gold lid colour)
Lower lashline: Mary Kay at Play baked eye trio in Ocean View (I used the lighter blue in the middle)
Liquid eyeliner: Milani Eye Tech Extreme Liquid Eye Liner in 01 Blackest Black
Tightline: Milani Liquid Eye liquid-like eyeliner pencil in 01 Black
Waterline: Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 005 Nude
Lashes (upper & lower): 1 coat of L'Oreal Voluminous Original + 1 coat of Maybelline the Colossal Volum' Express in Classic Black


Face:
Monistat Soothing Care Chafing Relief Powder-Gel (used as a primer)
Revlon Colorstay foundation for combination/oily skin in 250 Fresh Beige
Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25 Medium (under my eyes & around my nose + mouth)
e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Clear (to set my concealer & the areas where I get oily)
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder in Original Chocolate (to contour my cheeks, jawline, & temples)
Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in 129 Tiki (cheekbones)
Laura Geller Blush-N-Brighten in Roseberry (cheeks)


Kisses:
Sonia Kashuk velvety matte lip crayon in Mulberry Nude 08 (all over)
Revlon matte lipstick in 002 Pink Pout (all over)


Are you tired of seeing this pose yet? I was trying to show off this handmade fabric ring that my cousin, Azra Momin, made & gave me. All the good, clear pics ended up with me in this pose, hahaha!

xoxo


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Review: BornPrettyStore.com lashes #L-09 & brush


When I got these lashes in the mail, the first thing that I noticed was the pretty mint packing with the clear cover. These are the #L-09 lashes from www.bornprettystore.com & they come in a pack of 5 for $4.99. The lashes itself are really pretty too. They're shorter in the inner corner & get longer + thicker on the outer corner.


I didn't have to cut these lashes because they fit my eyes perfectly, but you may have to cut them depending on the shape of your eye. These look fluttery, natural, & beautiful once they're on. They're perfect if you're not wearing a heavy smokey eye because they add just the right amount of glam like they did to my look as you can see in these pics.
I haven't tried stacking these lashes (wearing 2 pairs on 1 eye at the same time). I feel like they would look really nice stacked too.


The stiff brush was a flop. It's a wooden handle brush for $1.84 & the only thing I would use it for is to apply eyeshadow primer or a cream eyeshadow. Even then I would suggest using your fingers as it would give you better results & would be a lot quicker. The brush handle feels cheap & the brush itself is nothing special. I'd rather spend the same amount of money on a brush by e.l.f cosmetics.


Product list for this eye makeup & the details/pics on the rest of the face will be up next week!


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*Disclaimer: This post has complimentary product(s) sent for consideration. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Review: Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector

I like to test out skin care products for a while before I review them since reviewing skin care & makeup products is very different. With most skin care products, you start seeing results after a while & with consistent use. I have been trying out the Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector for over a month and a half now & I'm finally ready to review it.


As per their website:
"CLINICALLY PROVEN RESULTS
  • Instantly gives the skin a radiant glow
  • 2 weeks: 89% of women saw an improvement in the texture of their skin, and 78% noticed a more even skin tone
  • 1 month: dark spots look significantly reduced and pores appear tighter and less visible"
Their website also breaks down their claims to perfect & correct in 4 categories: skin tone, dark spots, pores, & fine lines. For more information on specific claims within those categories, click here.
The website also includes some of the key features of the product including hypo-allergenic, perfume free, paraben free, dermatologist tested, & recognized Skin Health Program by the Canadian Dermatology Association.


When I started using the product, the first thing I noticed was the packaging and the tip that dispenses the product. The pink tip is softer than the rest of the tube & allows for spot treatment, which is good if you only want to apply it to areas where you have dark spots, larger pores, or fine lines.
The consistency of the product is like a light weight moisturizer. It's not too runny or thick & does not have any scent to it. Depending on your skin type, you could use it by itself as a moisturizer. However, they do recommend that you apply it prior to your moisturizer, which is what I chose to do since my skin needs extra hydration. I use less than a pea-sized amount for my whole face & I follow that up with a pea-sized amount of my Cetaphil moisturizing lotion. I do this twice a day.
If you look closely, you'll see a slight pink pearlescent finish, which I believe is what adds a slight glow to your skin once applied. The glow is barely noticeable & it just makes your skin look fresh.


I don't really have any sunspots or dark spots besides acne scars. I didn't see a difference in those, but I wasn't expecting them to fade since my acne always scars badly.

My skin was darker around my forehead, mouth, & jawline, but after 2 weeks of consistent use twice a day, I saw that my skin tone was more even. Now after more than a month & a half of use, my skin tone has definitely evened out more & I would feel alright going out just wearing under eye concealer & setting that instead of feeling like I have to wear foundation too. It's an awesome feeling & I would recommend the product for this reason alone.
I've never had large pores, but in the past year I've noticed that the pores on my cheeks (closer to the bridge of my nose) have gotten a bit larger & this product has helped tighten & reduce those pores.
In addition to that, my skin has gotten slightly softer.

The Marcelle Ideal Skin Perfector has been available at Marcelle.com & in stores since August 2014 for $24.95. Although the price may seem a bit high to some, this product will easily last me for a little more than 2 months & it's always good to invest in quality skin care products.


Do you think your skin tone, dark spots, pores, & fine lines could use a bit of perfecting & correcting?


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*Disclaimer: This post has complimentary product(s) sent for consideration. The opinions expressed are my own.
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Brown Smokey Eyes & Bold Lips for the Spark Sessions Conference

It's no surprise that I've been slacking at blogging, but you may have noticed that I'm trying to get back into the groove of things. If not, then click either (or both) of the links below that will take you to my recent posts - they will open up in a new window, so you won't be interrupted.

I'm planning on updating the blog regularly starting next week. I have a few ideas for posts, but if you'd like to see something specific, leave a comment below or get in touch through any other social media accounts that you follow me on.


Now that I'm trying to blog more, I thought I'd enter a contest to win a trip to attend the 2014 Spark Sessions Conference, which is Canada's fashion & beauty blogger conference. It's about time I took this blog to the next level & I think that being able to attend the conference would be the perfect opportunity to push me in the right direction.

This is my entry for the contest - a makeup look that I would most likely wear to the conference. Now, this was a bit hard for me because when I travel I usually I tend to pack way more products than I would need & do my makeup depending on my mood that day. Am I the only one who does this?


The look that I decided on was a smokey brown eye, winged black eyeliner, falsies, lots of mascara on my bottom lashes, & bold red lips. It's classic & it would go with any outfit. The look is quite dramatic so I filled in my eyebrows slightly to pull the look together.
& of course, I can't forget the heavily contoured & highlighted cheeks. It's my favourite part! Although, I will have to remind myself to go easy with contouring & highlighting my cheekbones - that's one thing I tend to go a bit overboard with.


Do you think I should add some colour to the look if I win? *fingers crossed*


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Eid-ul-Fitr 2014 makeup look

This Eid I won't be getting as dolled up as I usually do, so I thought I'd post the makeup look that I did on Eid-ul-Fitr this year. It was my first time stepping outside my house wearing winged eyeliner on the inner corners of my eyes. Usually I rub/scratch the inner corners of my eyes when I'm tired so I've always been slightly afraid that I'll rub it off, but luckily that didn't happen - phew!


Winks:
Eyeshadow primer: Too Faced shadow insurance
all eyeshadows used are from the Urban Decay (original) Naked palette
Under brow + tearduct: Virgin
Browbone: Buck
Lid + inner 2/3 of lower lashline: Half Baked
Outer 1/3 of lid: Smog (applied over Half Baked)
Crease: Hustle & Darkhorse
Outer 1/3 of lower lashline: Hustle
Upper lashline + tightline: Mary Kay gel eyeliner in Jet Black
Waterline: Rimmel Scandal Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal in 005 Nude
Lashes: L'Oreal Voluminous Original (upper & lower lashes)
Falsies: Huda Beauty lashes in 01 Giselle


Face:
Revlon Colorstay foundation for combination/oily skin in 250 Fresh Beige
Maybelline Fit Me concealer in 25 Medium (under my eyes & around my nose + mouth)
e.l.f. High Definition Powder in Clear (to set my concealer & the areas where I get oily)
Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Matte Bronzing Powder in Original Chocolate (to contour my cheeks, jawline, & temples)
Hard Candy So Baked Bronzer in 129 Tiki (cheekbones)


Kisses:
YSL Rouge Volupte lipstick in #25 Soft Beige


Eid Mubarak my loves!


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