IF YOU BUY ONE THING THIS MONTH…

DSC_0001…Let it be Mio’s Liquid Yoga*. If you read the online magazine Nouvelle Daily, then you’ve probably heard talk about this gorgeous soak bouncing around the blogosphere. I received a bottle to test out from Mio Skincare and needless to say, I was not disappointed. To compensate for my lack of exercise since I stopped dancing (as well as my habit of loading up on carbs), I’ve been biking on the daily to try and burn off some calories. Word to the wise: out of shape bodies aren’t too keen on sudden exercise. Had I realized this ahead of time I probably would have managed to avoid the end-of-the-week muscle aches, but then, I probably wouldn’t have been able to experience Liquid Yoga’s wonders to the fullest extent. You win some you lose some. By this point, you’re probably wondering about what exactly Liquid Yoga is. The brand says it’s formulated to: Relax and calm your busy mind; ease hard-working muscles and restore your body with our perfect milky-moisturising blend of essential oils, mineral salts and therapeutic herbs. In a nutshell, it’s a silky bath soak meant to ease muscle aches and help you unwind. So how well did it help out those biking aches and pains? I kid you not, they were gone after a single use. A warm soak with a dollop of this stuff is positively therapeutic; not only were my small aches gone but I the gorgeous sent did wonders to help me relax and sleep soundly. The best part? No lotion needed après soak, Liquid Yoga turns the water into the most gorgeous shade of mint that’s silky and moisturizing, so we get to skip the extra step after a dip in the tub. Even if you don’t exercise at all, I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good at-home spa day: it’s easy to use-just shake and pour as the tub fills, is delicately scented with essential oils like lavender and chamomile to help you relax and sleep easy, and is the perfect quick fix to unwind at the end of a hectic day/week. One quick warning from the brand before I sign off: Liquid Yoga may cause relaxation and happiness. What’s not to love? 

Will you be picking up some Liquid Yoga?

DE-STRESS WITH AROMATHERAPY ASSOCIATES.

DSC_0080If you’re a regular blog-reader/big-time-bubble-bather, chances are you’ve heard some talk about Aromatherapy Associates. Their bath and shower oil started making the rounds on the blogosphere around a year ago and hasn’t left since for good reason: it’s bloomin’ fantastic. If the idea of a product that makes your entire house smell like a Parisian spa appeals to you at all, that stuff’s your guy, but I digress. Case in point: you’ve heard of them Associates and their wonderful spa goodies. I was recently lucky enough to test out the brand’s newest launch, the De-Stress Massage and Body Oil*. Here’s how the brand describes the product:

“A soothing massage and body oil, perfect to ease muscular aches and pains, pre and post exercise. This therapeutic blend of arnica and lavender combined with rosemary and ginger will help support healthy circulation and revive tired, overworked muscles whilst nourishing the skin. A must have for any sports enthusiast.”

 Its claims? Anti-inflammatory, helps to heal bruising and nourishing Anti-inflammatory Brings circulation to stiff muscles Warming to muscle and stiff joints, eases muscular aches and pains.” Allow me to come out and say it: I love this stuff. I’ve been testing it out for the past few weeks and it was love at first pump (which sounded much better in my head than it does now, I promise). First off, the scent is to die for; a mix of herbal smellies like Rosemary, it’s lovely and pungent enough to help you wind down at the end of a long day without being offensive. If slathering an oil on before bed doesn’t sound like your particular cup of tea, have no fear, this one’s more of a dry oil in that it sinks in fast and doesn’t leave a tacky finish to the skin. What it does do particularly well besides imparting the skin with a light lullaby fragrance is help to relive muscle aches and pains. Now this is no Tiger Balm, so don’t expect deep penetration (not a good enough excuse to use that word) and pain relief, but along with the scent it does seem to help alleviate minor aches as you massage it into the skin. I’ve also tested popping a pump or two of product into the bath as it fills up, and the results were definitely blog-worthy; lightly scented water and silky hydration after getting out, meaning there was no need for moisturizer on top before bed. Though it’s not cheap by any means at $63 for ___ mL of product, I’d repurchase in a heartbeat. Overall, I’m beginning to think this has sparked a bit of a love affair with Aromatherapy Associates, so wallets everywhere beware; this may just be the beginning of the end for your cash flow.

ELIZABETH AND JAMES NIRVANA: BLACK+WHITE.

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I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth and James for years now; the line has this very contemporary, edgy-feminine feel to it that always brought me back. On a completely separate note, I adore the Olsen twins. Like I want to be them. Then again, who doesn’t? Probably the Olsen twins on a really bad day, but I digress. The anatomy of the Olsen street style is a subject I am well versed in, and yet how I had no idea that two things (three, counting each twin) I have followed closely over the years were related is putting me in something of an existential crisis. ‘How could I not see this? I should have known… My life is a lie…’ and so on and so forth. Not really, but you get my drift. The Olsen twins had a clothing line. This I knew. That it was specifically E&J? Nope, I did not know that. The fact that it took the launch of a perfume years later for me to realize this is more than a little disturbing. Alas, Mary-Kate and Ashley have me covered. Their two new fragrances, Nirvana White and Nirvana Black, soothe all struggles, I promise. I snapped these two rollerballs up in Sephora a few months ago, and I can definitely say, we’re in love. Albeit we’re going through a twisted sort of love triangle, but these two scents are nothing short of gorgeous. Both are quite musk-based scents, with Nirvana White being the lighter of the two. The other notes in this more floral offering are peony and muguet, while Nirvana Black sees strong Violet, Sandalwood, and Vanilla. *I’m still working (very hard) on my fragrance terminology, so forgive any of my naiveté you might read.* In human terms, I find that the White version starts off quite fresh-smelling; it’s sweet without being garish. More of a soft, powdery floral than any Flowerbomb type scent. This one lasted around four hours on my skin, but being that it is in rollerball form it wasn’t much trouble to re-apply. Still, if you’re like me and prefer a fragrance to last all day, this doesn’t quite have the staying power. On the dark side we have the spicier scent of the two, Nirvana Black. This one had better lasting power on me at around six hours, but still shorter than I might have hoped. The scent is absolutely divine, especially if you like perfumes that have a slight masculine sort of feel to them. Never fear, things don’t get too manly with this one, as it does tend to sweeten over time. Again, very sophisticated scent that feels edgier than its sister. The real magic trick here is the two worn together, something I think the Olsen twins did really well to reflect the image of their brand: feminine with an edgy masculine kick (hence the name Elizabeth and James after their siblings). They work seamlessly to make the perfect mix of a deeper, richer floral that keeps things from getting too girly in any way. Overall, I think both scents are lovely, and I think most people will find one of the two that suits them quite well. Again, I’d like to get the smaller 1 oz size in each to be able to mix the two, but it does seem like a lot of hassle to go through for a perfume that doesn’t last well enough on the skin. In the end, I don’t think the hunt for my signature scent is quite over yet.

What are your favorite perfumes? I’d love to get your recommendations, let me know in the comments below!

MY FAVORITE BLOGS OF 2013.

blog favesWith this being the year I got into both reading blogs and running my own site, I wanted to give a nod to the ones that both inspired me to start my blog and those that I’ve enjoyed reading all year long.

Porcelain Shree

I adore Shree’s blog; she always keeps her reviews detailed, but still very to the point. A lot of blogs I read usually don’t include any lifestyle/personal bits, so I love how refreshing it is that even though she stays true to chatting about beauty, she gives her readers peeks into her own life and updates us about what’s going on. Plus, I’m a sucker for pretty blogs, and her new layout is seriously gorgeous. Love.

20/30 Glam

My first ever comment from a reader on one of my posts came from this lovely pair of bloggers, Julie and Ashley. Besides being two of the sweetest people, they keep the reviews coming and I seem to always end up ogling the products on their blog. I don’t tend to see many tips/tricks posts around the blogosphere, so I love that they’ll do series of quick bits about new ways to use the products you’ve got.

But First, Coffee.

I’ve been reading Kallie’s blog for a while now, and I actually just saw that she reached a thousand Bloglovin’ followers, which is huge, so congratulations to her! First off, she’s seriously gorgeous, and I love watching her on youtube as well (you can check out her channel here). She gives great reviews for products, and I love reading her Sunday Inspiration posts as well.

Ana Céline Labod

I started reading Ana’s blog a few months back after seeing her Face of The Day post (here) and I remember noticing how absolutely stunning she is. I read a few of her older reviews and loved her style as well, and from there I was hooked. I love the way her blog looks (sensing a pattern here?), and her reviews are honest and concise, with some gorgeous photography thrown in.

hanhabelle

Since discovering Hanh’s blog a little while ago, I always do that thing when a post of hers pops up on my bloglovin’ reader where I drop everything to read. She has lovely taste, and her blogging style reminds me a lot of Kate’s from ghostparties., one of my favorite blogs. I love good photos when flipping through blogs, and hers are no exception, always sharp and stunning.

The Beauty Recensionist

Giada’s been a pretty constant reader of my blog, which always makes me happy; I love knowing that people out there actually care about what I write. Her own blog is fabulous; great photos, reviews, the whole nine yards, very reminiscent to me of Vivianna Does Makeup. Lovely read.

There you have it! My most-read blogs of 2013, simples.

A VERY LUSH CHRISTMAS.

Let it come as no surprise, I am a huge lushie. I love most everything about the brand, from their whole natural philosophy to their adorable merchandise. So I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t at least a little giddy when their Christmas collection came out. The full collection includes over 30 different bath and body products, as well as a few skincare bits. I recently popped into the shop after a trip to my not-so-local Ikea store, but I mainly stuck to bath bombs, with a few scrubs in the mix.

cindersFirst up, meet Cinders. This one’s described as a “warming cinnamon crackler” by the brand, and it’s priced at $4.95 here. It’s meant to give you the experience of sitting fireside, and I have to admit it does make your tub look (and smell) like a vat of bubbling cider. While it did fizz when first popped in and bubbled for a while, I had expected more of the “crackling” action to be going on; instead, there’s a few pops in the beginning and then it kind of settles to a normal bath bomb experience, although it did leave my skin feeling soft and smelling yummy after use. It’s nice, but I don’t think I’ll be stocking up on this one for the year.

snowmanNext, we’ve got the scrumptious vanilla ballistic, Snowman, priced at $5.95. For any Butterball lovers, this one has the same scent, if in a bigger size. Lush says that, “Snowman’s cocoa butter melts into hot bath water to get skin seriously soft,” which I have to agree on. I’m a big Butterball fan myself, and this cute rendition is irresistible. Love.

secret santaAs soon as I saw this next one in the store, I almost fell over it’s so freaking cute. Enter, Secret Santa. Here’s what Lush has to say about this one: “Modeled after the very first LUSH Shop in Poole, England, this limited edition holiday invention holds an exclusive new perfume called 29 High St! Drop the entire house into your tub or break it in half for two baths and revel in the cheerful orange water as notes of jasmine, lime, tonka and Sicilian lemon envelop your senses.” This definitely smells of a lush shop (I’m even considering picking up that new perfume just because it smells so damn good) and I love that you can break it into three pieces and get three full baths out of it. It’s on the pricier side of their bath bomb range at $9.95, but totally worth it in my opinion for the large size. My personal favorite.

bombardinoThe undisputed winner of cutest bomb (which sounded way better in my head) is baby Bombardino. This little guy smells of lemon cheesecake and is supposed to have a bit of champagne in there too. In summation, he smells divine. Great quickie bath and great gift, especially for kids.

puddy in your handsLet me preface these next two bath ballistics by saying that I’ve got some pretty amazing friends, one of whom was shopping at the nearest Lush and immediately called to ask what I wanted her to pick up. SQUEAL. First we have Mr. Pud (whose full name is Luxury Lush Pud, if you were wondering.), who smells exactly like my all-time favorite, Twilight, but with festive colors. I love this one, and I love that it’s big enough to split into two baths, since I hate only getting one use out of bath bombs.

sex bombThe second bath bomb she picked up for me, which is actually not a part of the Christmas line but their most popular item I’ve been wanting to try for a while now, Sex Bomb. They’re not kidding, this one smells seriously sexy. It’s packed with Jasmine, among other things like Sandalwood to keep things sweet but a bit musky.

oh yes, please pass me my ponchoOff the bath train and into the shower, I picked up the Ponche shower gel. This stuff smells amazing, especially for those mornings when you’re feeling particularly groggy. It’s got orange and tequila in it, and really gets me going for the day. I would say use a scrub afterwards, as it leaves things a little film-y, which would normally be fine, but because of the color, it is a bit annoying to towel off and see that the cloth has turned orange-y. Guilty as charged.

I did also pick up the Popcorn Lip Scrub and was given the Santa’s Lip Scrub as another gift by the same amazing friend (are you sensing a trend here?), and I have a review on both to come, so stay posted!

We are also still in the midst of Blogmas, and the giveaway is ending in six days! If you haven’t already entered, please do so below! What are your favorites from the Lush Christmas 2013 line?

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Sephora favourites giveaway

Stylinspire Succhisimples

IT’S A PERFECT WORLD

origins lotion

whipped action

So the other day, I’m going about my business, snooping through my mother’s cosmetic cabinet like every good girl does at least once a month, and something catches my eye. Not just anything, either. An ORIGINS thing. And tell me, what does one do when faced with a $30 body lotion stowed away, untouched and far from prying eyes, within the cosmetics cabinet of one’s own mother who, let me point out, neglected to mention its existence? One grabs the tub and runs all the way home, that’s what. Actually, it was more like I grabbed the tub and went to her office, demanding why I wasn’t told sooner. But still. It’s kind of a big deal.

The world is not that kind. Wait, scratch that. The universe is just too mean. It does not give away things for free, and it certainly does not give away origins things for free. But you know what it does do? Sometimes, if you look close enough, it opens a little door through which you have but seconds to run and grab one of your heart’s many (I assume, if you’re reading a beauty blog) cosmetic desires. And yet, that, in itself, is too rare of an occurrence to rely on for help when the old body butter runs low. But I digress.

In short, when the universe opens a door, run straight through and don’t ever look back.

And so it was that I ran, ran as fast as my short, stubby little legs would go, asked politely if, since she had deliberately withheld this magic from me, I could please steal it, since it obviously wasn’t as deeply loved as it should have been, to which she explained simply that it was a gift from last year that she didn’t even know she still had. Thanks, mum.

But the stuff. The Origins A Perfect World Body Cream? It’s the stuff of dreams, I say. Lightly whipped, it’s light enough to not sit on the skin and hydrating enough to lock in moisture all day and all night. And it smells yummy, but that’s just a bonus. Does origins make my skin happy and joyful? Yes. Could it possibly lead to my eventual bankruptcy? Oh yes.

 

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BRING IT, BRAZIL.

brazil nut Brazil nut. Anything new? Nope. But the Body Shop’s revamped brazil nut     line? That’s a different story.

Ladies and gentlemen, this stuff is worth phoning home about.

My love affair with The Body Shop is, to say the least, short-lived, seeing as I only just discovered it about a year ago, along with beauty blogs and youtube videos to make my face look a little less like I haven’t slept in a few years and a little more like I care about life. BUT. That isn’t to say that I am not deeply, deeply smitten with the brand. This is love.

I first found their coconut body butter through watching essie-button‘s youtube videos, in which she often spoke about her undying love for the stuff, and instantly had it in my head that I needed it in my life. So, I took a trip to the mall and pranced into the store to take a whiff, and let me be the first to tell you, it is incredible. One sniff, and you’re transported to this warm, charming Hawaiian island, watching yourself sip Mai-Tai’s in a bikini on white sandy beaches. Well, not really, but kind of. It’s a warm, comforting scent that I now cannot live without. My mum, born and raised in the Philippines, grew up around a whole lot of coconuts. Naturally, after purchasing my own small tub of magic, I ran home to her office and made her smell it, to which she reacted with a wrinkle of the nose and frantic motions for me to remove the stuff from her nostril area. Unfortunately, she hates it. Fortunately for the rest of the world, this is the most accurate test available for the authenticity of the scent; her hatred comes from smelling the fragrant scent of the fruit all her life. Thus, we both vouch that it smells exactly like real island coconuts. And so began the affair.

A few months ago, while out shopping with my best (and similarly makeup obsessed) friend, we waltzed past the shop and saw the new display of the brazil nut line, which the brand discontinued a few years ago. Naturally, the only thing to do was zoom in for a look. And so it was that I sniffed the body scrub for the first time.

The way that stuff smells. Holy. It’s this caramel-y scent that’s almost like a macchiatto with vanilla thrown in that envelops you in this warm cocoon of bliss. It’s INCREDIBLE. Against my better judgement, I decided against buying it, running in to Sephora instead to sample Nars “Sin” blush for the hundredth time to keep my mind off the beautiful scent. Fast forward to about a month ago, and both the scrub and body butter wound up in my basket at the check-out counter and later on my bathroom counter. After having used them for a while, I can safely say both are beyond amazing. The scrub has just the right amount of scrubbi-ness to exfoliate well and leave skin baby soft without being too harsh, and the body butter hydrates deeply and smells divine. I’ll be stashing these until long after I turn eighty.

You can purchase both at The Body Shop by clicking here.