Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke, swatch

Illamasqua — Nail Varnish — Poke

Brand: Illamasqua

Cult British makeup brand Illamasqua has been stirring things up a little bit in the news! I agree with their Anti-Facism Pledge (’cause who wouldn’t be, really—except cowards and fascists) and applaud them for their stand.

We’re realistic. We know we can’t stop anyone buying our products. But we also know that no matter how hard some people work to make themselves beautiful on the outside, make-up can never hide the ugliness inside. So please, if you don’t agree with the above DON’T BUY US.

Prejudice, sexism and racism should never be tolerated. Whether you’re a brand or an individual join us and, together, we can be the change we want to see.

Hear, hear!

Today’s swatch is for Illamasqua Poke (no, not that kind of poke), a midtoned violet purple with fine, bluish silver shimmer.

Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke
Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Poke

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Clinique Beyond Rose eau de parfum

Clinique — Beyond Rose EDP

I’ve probably mentioned before that my husband and I don’t really bother to exchange gifts—we just allot ourselves gift budgets and get whatever we want! It’s a great way to not waste time and money, though it obviously lacks a little in the romance department. But we’re happy with the way this works for us!

This Valentine’s Day, he declined picking anything up for himself (I’m quite sure that the day he retires, he’ll blow all the accumulated gift money on something ludicrous), but I, of course, chose to “blind”-buy yet another perfume.

I am a lover of rose perfumes, and a few pricier ones have been on my wishlist for many years—namely Dark Rose by Czech & Speake, Rossy de Palma by Etat Libre d’Orange, Rose 31 by Le Labo, and Louve by Serge Lutens. However, because I’m fairly capricious when it comes to perfume, instead of getting one of my longtime wishlist items, I pounced on a perfume I’d never smelled.

In fairness, it did end up being somewhat less expensive than my wishlist items, and it had kinda-sorta been on a wishlist of sorts in my head. It is, after all, a rose perfume! And it comes in a beauty of a bottle.

In 2014, Clinique released an oriental rose perfume aimed at the Middle Eastern market. I believe it was originally sold in the Middle East and possibly at Harrods in England, as well. I read about it, swooned over the stunning bottle and the description of the fragrance, then tucked it into the back of my mind, since I clearly wasn’t going to get to try it out anytime soon in North America.

Named Beyond Rose, the fragrance has top notes of white pepper and mate leaf; heart notes of rose, freesia, and osmanthus; and base notes of amber, styrax, labdanum, and benzoin. I love rose perfumes in many guises, but spicy florientals are a particular favorite.

The past, present and future of the Middle East are in this magnetic and mysterious fragrance.

Elegant notes that combine to create an exhilarating experience, where the agreement of Wild Rose is exacerbated by spicy notes, and shrouded by a veil of Amber.

Earlier this year, I was browsing FragranceX like I do every now and then, and Beyond Rose caught my eye! I bought it almost immediately, knowing that Valentine’s Day was coming up and I had the spare funds for it. It ended up costing me a little over CA$125 with my 10% FX loyalty discount, and that also includes free shipping and no tax/duties. (It’s actually a tiny cheaper in CAD at FX, now, in case you’re interested, though I think the price difference is just down to currency fluctuation. They have several bottles left as of February 15, and I’m not affiliated with them.)

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Haulage! beautyBOUTIQUE by Shoppers Drug Mart (February 2017) fivezero's Chanel & Dior haulage

Haulage! beautyBOUTIQUE by Shoppers Drug Mart (February 2017)

Over the weekend, Shoppers Drug Mart held another Spend Your Points Plus event, and I redeemed 95,000 Optimum Points for $170 worth of haulage from beautyBOUTIQUE, Shoppers’ online luxury beauty store. Since this was a Plus event, I’ll get $30 worth of Optimum Points added to my account, as well.

It’s not as good a deal as some of the older Spend Your Points events (where you’d get to redeem 95,000 points for over $200 worth of stuff), but it looks like Shoppers has been phasing those out. It’s disappointing, but the Optimum Rewards are still pretty awesome.

beautyBOUTIQUE recently added Chanel (in its own boutique section, not mixed up with the riff raff in regular product categories!) and Urban Decay to its online store, which is great since those brands are not available in most Shoppers’ beautyBOUTIQUE locations. It was always a massive pain to redeem points in-store if I wanted products from several brands. beautyBOUTIQUE online has a lot of the brands together in one place, so I’m much happier redeeming points online, now. Plus, you can use for additional cashback!

Anyway, I would like to give beautyBOUTIQUE another huge rave! I’ve experienced a lot of crappy cosmetics delivery in Canada—cough! Hudson’s Baycough! Yves Rocher—but beautyBOUTIQUE has been fantastic. Everything arrived in a pretty little cardboard box, with bubble wrap and tissue paper so that delicate products are nicely protected. Free samples came in an organza bag tied with a ribbon.

Contrast that with nail polishes chucked into a massive cardboard box with no padding whatsoever, or a single crumpled up piece of brown paper at best, like I get from Hudson’s Bay and Yves Rocher. Yes, I’ve had luxury polishes shipped from HBC like that:

#PackagingFail by @hudsonsbay #wasteful and poorly packed. Loose #nailpolish in a huge box?! #smh

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Also, I placed my order on Saturday, and my order arrived the next business day, Monday. I do live in Toronto, but damn if that isn’t awesome service! They even sent me a shipping notice less than three hours after I placed my order.

Final verdict? beautyBOUTIQUE is pretty great. I’ll be shopping with Shoppers/beautyBOUTIQUE for most of my beauty products at the moment, since I’m currently grabbing my wallet and avoiding Hudson’s Bay, Winners/Marshalls/HomeSense, Amazon, and storefronts using Shopify.

On to the fun stuff! Here’s what I hauled:

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New Release: OPI — Fiji (Spring/Summer 2017)


Collection: OPI 2017 Spring/Summer, Fiji and Infinite Shine Fiji

OPI have released their new Spring/Summer 2016 collection, Fiji.

The collection consists of the usual 12 new Nail Lacquer shades, in both the regular Nail Lacquer and Infinite Shine Gel Lacquer.


This spring, OPI heads to Fiji—a dream destination bursting with exotic colors. Inspired by the islands’ bright flowers, dramatic coral reefs, vibrant sunsets and blue lagoons, the Fiji Collection takes you on a journey to one of the most beautiful places in the world. Get your nails summer ready and find your island bliss.

  • Coconuts Over OPI, subtle and toasty taupe
  • Do You Sea What I Sea?, shimmering ocean blue
  • Exotic Birds Do Not Tweet, radiant yellow
  • Getting Nadi On My Honeymoon, hibiscus pink
  • I Can Never Hut Up, iridescent, edge-of-dawn grey
  • Is That a Spear In Your Pocket?, lush, tropical teal
  • Living On the Bula-vard!, punchy red
  • No Tan Lines, warm sunrise orange
  • Polly Want a Lacquer?, lovely lavender
  • Super Trop-i-cal-i-fiji-istic, bottomless reflection of Sea and Sky
  • Suzi Without a Paddle, cool and tranquil blue
  • Two-Timing the Zones, vibrant pink

Nothing appears to be all that unique—I might pick up I Can Never Hut Up—but there are loads of fun brights for sunny days!

Happy shopping!



OPI Nail Lacquer retails for about US$9.50 / CA$12 and is 0.5 US fl oz / 15 mL. OPI Infinite Shine Gel Lacquer retails for about US$13 / CA$18. OPI nail polishes are currently free of toluene, formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate (DBP) and camphor. They are made in the USA.

OPI Products Inc. was originally Odontorium Products Inc., a dental supply company. It was purchased in 1981 and soon the company’s focus switched to selling acrylics to nail salons. Nail lacquers were introduced in 1989. OPI has been owned by global beauty company Coty Inc. since 2010. The company is based in North Hollywood, CA, USA.


A England Nail Varnish in Her Rose Adagio, swatch

A England — Nail Varnish — Her Rose Adagio

Collection: A England 2013 Winter, Ballerina

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today’s polish comes from indie brand A England’s 2013 Ballerina collection.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)
Natalie Portman in Black Swan (2010)

Her Rose Adagio is described by A England as “faded roses in a silver prismatic base, as romantic as it is ‘en pointe'”. The base is a pastel pink, but as the polish is loaded with fine, silver holographic shimmer, the overall look is pale mauve.

A England Nail Varnish in Her Rose Adagio
A England Nail Varnish in Her Rose Adagio

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The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in Meet Me at Dusk, swatch

The Body Shop — Colour Crush Nail Polish — Meet Me at Dusk

Collection: The Body Shop 2015 Summer, Colour Crush Nail Polish [Launch]

The Body Shop has been clearancing their nail polishes, so I couldn’t resist picking up a few more at CA$2 a pop. I’ve reviewed a few other Colour Crush Nail Polishes in the past, and they’re pretty nice polishes for the price (CA$8 but of course sales would make them about $4).

Here’s Meet Me at Dusk (820), a very conservative and office-friendly shade of soft brick rose in a cream finish. It runs warm, though it would probably still work quite nicely on cool-toned skin. My warm skintone probably makes it look a bit peachier.

The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in Meet Me at Dusk
The Body Shop Colour Crush Nail Polish in Meet Me at Dusk

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Sale Alert: Spend Your Points PLUS Event at Shoppers Drug Mart (Canada Only, Feb. 11–12, 2017)

This Saturday and Sunday (Febraury 11–12 only), Canada’s Shoppers Drug Mart is offering a Spend Your Points PLUS Event. The deal is pretty much the same as usual, but you get additional Optimum Points (rather than additional cash off a purchase). This works online at Shoppers’ beautyBOUTIQUE, as well, and they recently started carrying Chanel and Urban Decay, too.

Spend the following Optimum Points and receive:

  • 50,000 points for $85 off, plus $15 worth of Optimum Points
  • 95,000 points for $170 off, plus $30 worth of Optimum Points

The bonus points get added to your account a week or so later.

Here’s what I hauled after redeeming 95k points (it’s pretty easy to rack up the points if you use the app, load the coupons, and buy loads of baby and grocery stuff at Shoppers like I do). I spent $171, so in the end I paid $1 plus the tax on $171, which came to about $23. Also, don’t forget that works with beautyBOUTIQUE, too! It’s 4% cashback today.Read More »