LIPSTICK REVIEW | Create juicy summer lips with Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

I’ve really been enjoying my small collection of Christian Louboutin lip products, and the most recent addition to my collection is the Sheer Voile Lip Colour in the shade Mexicatchy. This product was actually the first Louboutin lipstick I’ve ever tried on my own lips, which prompted my immediate love of the Louboutin lip collection.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

Of the three formulas of Louboutin lipstick, the Sheer Voile Lip Colour is the one that offers sheer to medium coverage with a glossy finish. I’m not a huge fan of glossy lips, preferring satin or closer to matte, but I’ve honestly been using this more than any other lipsticks in my collection now that summer is approaching. Despite it being called a sheer lipstick, it’s actually quite pigmented, delivering medium coverage in just two swipes. Mexicatchy is a gorgeous summer shade – a stunning bright coral red that brighten your complexion.

Review

My favourite thing about this colour in this formula is that it does not settle into lip lines at all. I have very dry lips, and most lipsticks, especially the ones with more slip, tend to settle and gather in my lip lines, creating a not-so-flattering look. However Mexicatchy applies and wears smoothly for a few hours before disappearing due to me eating / drinking.

With a Louboutin lip liner, this product lasted over 8 hours on my lips. Yes you read that right – a glossy, sheer-ish lipstick can last a really long time on your lips. I don’t always wear this with a lip liner, preferring to pop this on when I want to go for a glamour red without the heaviness, but it’s nice to know that when I want the option, it’s there.

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

The downside of course, is the price is pretty out there. At C$120 a pop, not everyone can afford it, but it’s definitely a nice treat for yourself. You can purchase the Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour at Holt Renfrew.

The swatches

Review and swatches of Christian Louboutin Sheer Voile Lip Colour in Mexicatchy

Product provided by PR for review consideration; all opinions are my own.

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How I afford designer and luxury products

Today’s post is a bit unconventional from my usual. If you follow along on my Instagram, you’ll notice that I post a lot of designer stuff. I have a somewhat high maintenance life in that I love designer products, whether it is Valentino shoes, or YSL handbags. I wanted to talk a bit about how I generally afford these things, because I know a lot of women out there love designer products as well. I do have some tips and tricks up my sleeve that help me save money. They don’t call me the deal fairy for nothing!

1. Create a wishlist

In my mind, I have a set wishlist of the shoes and bags I want to buy, and I slowly check them off my wishlist over the years. With designer stuff, it’s very easy to get sucked into the current “it” style without thinking about longevity. I consider a number of factors before even putting it on my mental wishlist, including but not limited to:

  • Will it stand the test of time
  • Is it practical, for example can I wear this to different events, can I wear this to work, is it comfortable to wear, will it go with a lot of outfits
  • Does it fulfill a hole in my collection, for example a Chanel mini is on my list because I don’t have any evening bags

Once I have it on my wishlist, I generally stick to the wishlist. I’ve never bought a bag on impulse, and I always mull over it for at least a few weeks. During this time, I go back to the store to look at it, try it on, read online reviews and watch review videos. I want to make sure that whatever I’m buying is exactly what I want with no issues.

2. Follow the sales

I only buy my designer stuff on sale. I’ve only bought one bag at retail – my Louis Vuitton Alma BB, and that was only because I had a few gift cards for Holt Renfrew. I’ve purchased only one pair of shoes at retail – my first pair of Ferragamo Varas – and then later I bought two more pairs at pretty good discounts. Every other bag, shoe, clothes I bought on sale. My best buy was a Roland Mouret dress for 85% off; I paid under $500 for a runway dress that retailed for $3,000. Even my Chanel bags, I bought from my personal shopper and friend who gets a discount from the salesperson.

This goes with step 1, because if you have a mental wishlist and are sure of what you want, you know exactly what to look out for. My favourite “retailer” or discount designer goods is Erica at HGBags. She has some amazing prices on classic items. I purchased my Valentino Rockstud flats from her for half off the Canadian retail price at the time, and same with my Christian Louboutin Simple pumps. Both styles are classics that pretty much never go on sale at a department store, yet you can find them through her for fantastic prices. She also sells Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, and once in a while she’ll get in some Dior and Chanel bags as well.

My other amazing sale resource is my personal shopper and friend Claire (Orchmelia on Instagram). I purchased my Chanel Jumbo from her, brand new with stickers and full set, and saved myself over $1,200 the Canadian post-tax retail price. You can go buy a Chanel wallet with that money you saved (#shoppingmath).

3. Buy pre-loved

My first designer bag, I bought pre-loved off eBay. It was a Chanel Just Mademoiselle Tote in Lambskin with ruthenium hardware, and I saved $1,200 off retail. Out of my designer bags, I bought 1/3 of them pre-loved. The rest of them I didn’t buy pre-loved only because the style was so new, or the second hand price was too similar to retail to justify it. Buying pre-loved doesn’t mean it’s used. You’d be surprised at how many people buy designer things, take them home, never take them out of the box, and then resell them at pretty much brand new condition. The Chanel tote was one like that, it still had all the stickers on the hardware, yet I saved a lot of money by going that way.

The only thing I don’t like buying pre-loved is shoes. I feel like feet are a weird thing, and I don’t really like the idea of putting my feet in shoes that other people have worn around all day.

4. If you can afford it, aren’t in debt, are in good financial standing, buy it NOW

Take this piece of advice with a grain of salt. I’m not telling you to go out and hoard all of your wishlist items right now. But if you’ve had your eye on something for a few years, and you can afford it, and know that eventually you will very likely buy it, you should just buy it now. Designer goods go up in price at insane speeds, so if you don’t buy it now, it will go up in price at a rate that is much faster than your wealth will accumulate. A good example is the Chanel classic medium flap. In 2010, the price was hovering around $2,000. Now it’s over $6,000 in Canada. In the meantime, did your wealth triple? Unlikely.

5. Save money in other areas of life

I work full time and earn a full time salary. I don’t really make any money off my blog, maybe a few sponsored posts here and there, but nothing that I can really call income (i.e. less than $1000 a year). I don’t have investment income either, as all of my investments are for retirement savings purposes only (and yes I do save quite a bit there).

Aside from buying designer bags and shoes, I generally live pretty frugally. My biggest expenses are my mortgage payments every two weeks, and then I also have The Bar Method membership that is monthly. We generally cook dinner at home, and we try to limit eating out to once a week, where we also budget our eating out to be around $30-40 max for two people. I bring a home-cooked lunch to work pretty much every day and I rarely buy Starbucks or coffee out, and just drink the coffee in my office. I don’t own a car, and take public transit to and from work. I also have automatic debits set up every month to withdraw money from my paycheque into separate RRSP and pension accounts.

Basically, I figured out that being frugal every day but buying designer products once in a while is happier than if I lived fancy every day but didn’t have money left for designer products. It’s all about deciding where your priorities lie, and then executing on it. Unless you make a ton of money at your job, have very wealthy parents who are happy to support you, or don’t care about savings at all, then you can have it both ways. Otherwise, it’s really hard to live a life of luxury on a day-to-day basis and also be able to buy a ton of luxury products too.

Anyways, most of this blog post was general rambling, so I apologize if it was too long. I hope it was helpful in that you can see how I can afford to buy designer stuff. I’m not wealthy, by all means. I have a good job, and my parents are self sufficient so I don’t have to worry about supporting them, so I’m in a good place in my life right now. I do work hard, so I can justify rewarding myself with nice things. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

Home tour & design – my bedroom, as well as décor ideas and tips

I’m back with another home tour, this time featuring my bedroom! Of my entire home, my bedroom was probably one that I poured the most thought into. Since living at home on my childhood furniture, then upgrading to a hand-me-down bed, I’ve always dreamt about how I would decorate my bedroom. I wanted my bedroom to be a sanctuary, somewhere I can escape to for relaxation and intimate conversations.

Find your dream bed

I moved into my apartment with my 20+ year old bed and mattress set that my family has owned for longer than my brother has been alive. It worked for the time being, but I couldn’t wait too replace this. Home ownership is expensive so I unfortunately had to replace one thing at a time, but I made it my priority to buy a new bed frame. I figured it’s better to get a nice frame first so that when I do buy the mattress, it wouldn’t be on the floor for any extended period of time. I was so in love with the Dream Bed by the Cross Design, but I really couldn’t afford the $3,000+ price tag (really, how many people out there could?).

I ended up finding this lady who works with her 75 year old father in law to custom make any kind of upholstered bed you want. She said she’s gotten several requests to make something similar to the Dream Bed and would be happy to make one for me… for just $1,200, which is just 40% of the cost of the Cross Design version. She even delivered it to my apartment and we assembled it together. Everything from the height of the headboard to the height of the mattress off the ground was customized, and my customized bed was made and delivered to me within a week.

In addition to it being an amazing place to fall asleep, it also creates a central look to your decor. My dream bed is comfortable, modern and luxurious looking, all together. It’s not too feminine that my boyfriend refuses to be seen sleeping in it, but it’s not too industrial or cold looking either.

Spice up your curtains

In addition to the bed, my biggest decor item were my curtains. Curtains are a great way to change up the look of a room without investing too much into a permanent look. I live on the 11th floor of a high-rise building, facing east, so I get a lot of sunlight in the mornings (it’s really HOT!). I’m also a night owl so I really like to sleep in on weekends. When I first moved in, the previous owners had left these set of really ugly, maroony-brown curtains. It just darkened the entire room, but thankfully they blocked out the sun. One of my first “reno” projects was to change up my curtains. I got these curtains custom made for me – they are double layered with the back layer a light-coloured, satin-like fabric so it reflects more of the light. While they aren’t 100% light blocking, I like that the colours really do brighten up my room and adds a bit more of a feminine flair.

Mix up original and sentimental artwork

I love Dana Mooney‘s artwork, and my apartment is filled with them. In my bedroom, I have a pink ikat piece by Dana right next to my bed, which I absolutely adore. On the wall that is right next to the door (and mostly hidden from visitors) are framed art and other things that are sentimental to me and my significant other. Things like cards that he made me, or photos that we took together that I love are posted here. The bed directly faces this wall, so I look at it every night before bed. There are only a few things on there, but I love that this is a cleaner way to put up personal photos without using photo frames that take up room on your side table.

As you can probably tell, our apartment is mostly decorated by me. Don’t worry, my boyfriend gets his own mancave to decorate as well (including his own light-up Pylon), so he’s well taken care of in terms of his need to hang up nerdy things.

Introducing Clinique “Service as you like it” counters at the Bay Downtown Vancouver

Wide counter shot_8180

Clinique recently opened a “Service as you like it” counter at the Bay in Downtown Vancouver. This is only the second of its kind in Canada, the other one being in Montreal. This is also the only counter in North America that uses English and Chinese signs. The counter design one that I find truly innovative and something I think all beauty brands should adopt. With the widespread use of the internet, more and more consumers are become more informed about the products that are available on the marketplace, and to be quite frank, some people don’t need product consultants anymore because they know exactly what they want.

Clinique has developed this counter for the convenience of all of their shoppers. Whether you just want to grab something during lunch hour and go, or you need a skincare consultation, they will be able to meet all of your needs.

Skin care round table wide_8118

Everything is laid out for your convenience, including all of the skincare products, base and colour makeup products. The products are organized by skin type, need and also product line so basically anyone can find what they need easily.  All of the product stock is also placed directly underneath the product descriptions so if you need to buy something quickly, you can just grab, pay and go without having to wait for someone to help you.

Skin care & treatment wall with iPADL_8198

Another feature that I really like is how they have their best sellers neatly placed out for their customers to see. Sometimes when I encounter a beauty brand I just want to know what their most popular products are. This is an easy and accessible way for all customers to see their most loved products. This stand in particular is geared towards Clinique’s big following from customers from Asia.

Asia Best Sellers_8143

I first learned about this bracelet service on a British blog that described how they first implemented this at Selfridges in London. You choose a bracelet based on if you want to just buy and go (white), browse in peace (pink) or you want a consultation (green). This aligns perfectly with their “Service as you like it” philosophy.

Service As You Like It Bracelets

Also what I absolutely love is that they have prices out in the open written beside the product names. One of the most annoying things that happens to me when I am shopping for beauty products is that if I want to know the price of a product, I have to talk to a sales associate which means they will start to assume that I want to buy something. Most times, I don’t want to buy, I just want to browse. Having the set-up this way means that customers can browse in peace.

Colour Table close_8104

To help with the consultations, there are also iPads installed in the store that can help you decide which products you need based on a series of questions that you answer. This is completely unbiased and you don’t have to worry about sales associates pushing products to you.

Clinique Apple iPad 2 Skin Diagnostic

The Clinique “Service as you like it” counter is now open at the Bay in Downtown Vancouver in the main beauty hall. I highly recommend that you take a look around. In general though, the Bay in Downtown Vancouver has down an amazing job renovating the entire store, including installing full-size beauty counters like the one shown here, as well as adding a Topshop, a designer clothing section at the Room on the 2nd floor, and rumour has it, Uniqlo is set to move in as well.

Wide shot centre_8113

Quick Cleanser Reviews: Philosophy Purity Made Simple, Burt’s Bees Radiance Cleanser

Here are some more quick reviews, this time of cleansers I’ve tried recently. I’ve been looking for a mild cleanser that won’t dry out my skin. I’m also trying to move to more natural skincare products, so I’ve been avoiding products with sulfates and too many chemicals in them.

Philosophy Purity Made Simple

  • Texture: Light creamy gel, slightly runny and foams up a little bit. This is perfect for people who want a milder cleanser.
  • Quality of clean: Cleans very well without stripping my skin or making it feel dry or tight.
  • Price: $10USD for 3 oz on Sephora, available in a number of different sizes
  • Overall: I really like this cleanser; it cleans well without stripping my skin and it is very easy to use. Too bad it has sulfates in it or else I’d stock up on the large size.

Ingredients: Water, Sodium Lauroamphoacetate, Sodium Trideceth Sulfate, Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, Coco-Glucoside, Coconut Alcohol, Peg-120 Methyl Glucose Dioleate, Aniba Rosaeodora (Rosewood) Wood Oil, Geranium Maculatum Oil, Guaiac (Guaiacum Officinale) Extract, Cymbopogon Martini Oil, Rosa Damascena Extract, Amyris Balsamifera Bark Oil, Santalum Album (Sandalwood) Oil, Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Oil, Cinnamomum Cassia Leaf Oil, Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil, Daucus Carota Sativa (Carrot) Seed Oil, Piper Nigrum (Pepper) Seed Extract, Polysorbate 20, Glycerin, Carbomer, Triethanolamine, Methylparaben, Propylparaben, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Yellow 5 (Ci 19140).

Burt’s Bees Radiance Cleanser

  • Texture: Light creamy cleanser that slightly foams up, very similar to Purity Made Simple.
  • Quality of clean: Cleans very well without stripping my skin of its natural oils. Everything about this cleanser reminds me of Philosophy Purity Made Simple, except that this one is more natural).
  • Price: $12.85 for 175mL from Well.ca
  • Overall: If you are particularly sensitive to scents, then you may not like this one. The first time I used it I was completely taken aback by the scent as it smells like hair dye, specifically ammonia. I’m used to it now, and I’m pretty sure there is no ammonia in it, it is probably just the combination of all the ingredients that is making it smell like this. I love it and I will continue to buy it. Also interesting to note that this product is 99.2% natural.

Ingredients: water, decyl glucoside, carthamus tinctorius (safflower) oleosomes, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, glycerin, royal jelly, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) oil, hydrogenated jojoba oil,, vaccinium myrtillus (bilberry) extract, saccharum officinarm (sugar cane) extract, acer saccharinum (sugar maple) extract, citrus aurantium dulcis (orange) fruit extract, citrus medica, limonum (lemon) extract, fragrance, glucose, xanthan gum, citric acid, sodium chloride,, lactoperoxidase, glucose oxidase

P.S. I’m flying home today! =)

FOTD with Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Regard Perle and Vitalumiere Aqua

I wore this look to the Dean’s Grad event a few weeks ago. Regard Perle is really gorgeous when swatched, but when used to apply to my eyes, especially with the brush, the powder just flies everywhere. I prefer using the sponge that comes with the palette to apply as that gives the best pigmentation. I also used the new Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation in shade B20 Beige-Tendre. I really love this foundation, it is smooth, super blendable and gives off this very natural glow. I will do a full review of it at a later date.

Eyes:

  • UDPP
  • Dollywink Liquid Liner
  • Chanel Les 4 Ombres in Regard Perle
  • Maybelline Falsies mascara

Cheeks:

  • Benefit Sugarbomb

Lips:

  • Sofina Aube Couture Designing Rouge in RS301

More photos:

Final look with my friends Mensa and Sara:

Full swatches: MAC Surf Baby [link]

MAC Surf Baby is MAC’s annual summer collection that is bright, sunny and beach-y. You can see information for the collection here. Iswii has posted up swatches for basically everything in the collection here.

What are you thinking of getting? That blush looks really good, so does the lipstick in Hibiscus. Whats on your list? =D

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Swatch/Thoughts: Chanel Joues Contraste in Espiegle

I have been lusting after this blush since I visited Montreal in February and swatched it for the first time. The only photos seriously don’t give this blush enough justice. Most of the photos just show it as a peach blush with some sheen, but this is SO much more than that. I have tried to capture the beauty of this blush for you in these photos; I hope you enjoy them!

Espiegle is a peach blush with sparkles in it. The sparkles are very small and swatches as this uber gorgeous, glowy peach. The formula is very finely milled, soft and smells good too. While it is not too pigmented, it works beautifully on all skintones because it is buildable.

The one I have is the international baked version of the Chanel Joues Constraste. Chanel comes out with a US-exclusive version which is just a regular pressed powder blush. I’ve never used or tried the US version but I have heard from people who’ve used both (and judging the only swatches) that the US version is more of a slight sheen and less glowy compared to the international version.

Here is a shot of me using Espiegle. I used it lightly, but you can also build it up for a more intense peach look.

This blush was released as part of Chanel’s Spring 2011 collection, but it is permanent so if you are still on the fence about getting it, its not a rush!

What do you think?

FOTD with Chanel Ombre Perlees, Espiegle and Dior Addict Lipstick in Diorissime

I did this look for a Queen’s alumni event that look place in Calgary last Tuesday. I used Chanel for pretty much everything on my face except the lips. I’ve been trying out a new foundation, the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in shade B20 Beige-Tendre, so I will do a full review of this product as soon as I get some more uses out of it. Here is my look breakdown:

Eyes:

  • Ombre Perlees de Chanel (left 4 shades – white, peach, purple and green)
  • Maybelline Falsies mascara

Cheeks:

  • Chanel Joues Contraste in Espiegle

Lips:

  • Dior Addict Lipstick in 249 Diorissime

What do you think about this look? Is it bright enough for Spring yet?

New online site for Japanese cosmetics: Artie Beauty and Cosmetics + DISCOUNT CODE!

If you’re in the US, you can benefit greatly from this promotion. Artie Beauty and Cosmetics is a new online stop stocked with popular Japanese cosmetics, skincare and haircare products. Prices are reasonable and shipping is free for orders over $50. They stock popular products such as Shiseido Tsubaki haircare (only $18.99 for each large bottle), Prettia Bubble Hair Color ($12.99), Gatsby Hair Wax ($10.99) and Shiseido Hadasui Mist Toners ($10.99).

Right now you can save even more with the code ARTIE10 for 10% off. Artie has given MaddyLoves readers an extra treat by saving an additional 5% with code MADDYLOVES. You can combine the two codes for 15% off your entire order!

Sadly, they only ship to the US, but shipping is free for orders over $50 which is great for all of my US readers.

The discounts expire on April 30, 2011, so remember to take advantage of this while it lasts!

UPDATE: Artie now ships to Canada, UK and Australia Check shipping rates here. You can also get shipping for orders over $85.