Feb 28, 2014

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush Collection

This is my current collection of Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blushes.  They are currently $31 each at Sephora and I think these are one of the best value and quality blushes on the market today.

Tarte recently gave some of their products a facelift, including these blushes.  You can see in the photo, the two with the gold embossed name are the two in the new packaging.  These powder blushes have only received a facelift, not a change in size - unlike the cheek stains and the lip tints unfortunately.

My two new shades are swatched below - and just like the others - they are beautifully pigmented, easy to apply, easy to blend, and long lasting.

I really like these blushes because they are virtually fool proof.  They go on relatively sheer at first, so as long as you use a gentle hand, you can build them up in intensity and you can apply most colours to most skin tones.

On the left is True Love, one of the newly released shades.  It is described as a reddish pink.  I think it gives a nice healthy flush - perfect for winter.

On the left is Natural Beauty - described as a muted strawberry red.  It is a deeper done, and more pigmented, it gives a deeper tint - but also very wearable.

Feb 27, 2014

new Clarins Opalescence Poudre Teint & Blush Spring 2014 release

This is part of the Clarins Spring 2014 launch which I could not resist when I was at the Bay one day.  It is the new Clarins Opalescence Poudre Teint & Blush and it is $40 at the Bay.

The packaging alone is gorgeous with a beautiful mother-of-pearl style palette.  The pattern inlaid in the blush is so pretty and has a lovely golden overspray (mine is mostly gone since I have been using it this week).

This is one of those multi-purpose powders as it has several different colours in the palette.  You can blend them together as I like to do and use it all over your face (lightly) as a lovely fragrant finishing powder.

Or you can concentrate your brush on the more pigmented areas and use the shades for blush or contour.

Feb 26, 2014

Too Faced Chocolate Bar Palette Review

Hello Beauty Friends,

This palette is DEFINITELY a case of "the bloggers made me do it".  I saw the blogs, read the descriptions, and that was it - I was hooked.  I bought this palette impulsively - virtually sight unseen.

Meet the Chocolate Bar Eye Palette by Too Faced.  It is $59 Cdn at Sephora for 16 eye shadows.  It also comes with a "glamour guide" that gives you some application tips.  If you've ever had a Too Faced palette, you'll know that they tend to include these, which can be really helpful for someone new to makeup as well.  It is really good value when you compare to the current Naked 3 palette that is $62 for 12 eyeshadows.

It is a beauty of a palette -  very wearable, but has a great mix of shades, textures, finishes - AND the lovely scent of chocolate!

These colours work very well with lots of palettes I already have including the Naked 3 and Naked Basics by Urban Decay.

Here are swatches of each of the three rows on my arm.

Row 1:  Gilded Ganache, White Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Black Forest Truffle, Triple Fudge

Row 2:  Salted Caramel, Marzipan, Semi-sweet, Strawberry Bon Bon, Candied Violet, Amaretto

Row 3:  Hazelnut, Creme Brûlée, Haute Chocolate, Cherry Cordial, Champagne Truffle

If you don't already have an assortment of neutral & shimmery browns/ nudes, this might be a good palette for you!

Feb 25, 2014

MAC paint pots collection

Hello Beauty Blogger friends,

Here is my current MAC paint pot rotation:

  • Painterly
  • Groundwork
  • Rubenesque
  • Stormy Pink

In case you are not familiar with MAC paint pots, the MAC website describes them as follows:
"highly pigmented eye colour that goes on creamy but dries to an intense, vibrant finish.  Long-wearing, colourfast.  Creates seamless coverage without weight or caking.  Blends smoothly over the lids.  Cream-based, can be mixed with MAC shadows and liners.

Personally, I find them to be a creamy shadow, that I like to apply with my ring finger, that set like powder.  They are very long lasting and do not crease.

Many people use them even INSTEAD of an eyeshadow primer, especially a neutral colour like Painterly.

I wear these very frequently, paired with a darker crease eyeshadow, and a simple brown or black liner.  That's why I have such neutral colours.  I want to experiment with some other colours too - but these ones are just such workhorses.

Here you can see the colours swatched on my arm.  Stormy pink has been my current favourite this past week.  I think it's a great all-over eye colour.

Feb 24, 2014

Laura Mercier Enlightenment Palette review

Hello Beauty Fans,

Here is another impulse purchase of late …  quick Sephora run at lunch (you know the drill).  $80 later here we are … another gorgeous neutral palette for the stockpile.

Meet my new love - the Laura Mercier Enlightenment Eye & Cheek Palette.  A thing of true beauty.

I think I'll have to grow another face to wear all this stuff - but never mind!  It doesn't go bad does it?  DO NOT answer that question ….  I'd like to live in my ignorant bliss thank you very much.

Anyway - Laura Mercier and I get along quite well - very well actually.  Every since I met the Artist Palette last December, it was true, buttery, blendable LOVE.  Hard to beat the buttery loveliness of her eyeshadows.

Do I NEED more neutral shadows?  Well, hmmm … anyway - this is a perfect purse sized palette - and the blushes are GORGEOUS as well.  And - I do travel for work - so it's more of an INVESTMENT piece anyway, …..  let's just say.

Feb 21, 2014

MAC haul - Fantasy of Flowers

Hello friends,

I went to MAC yesterday, with the intention of picking up the Mineralize Blush in Petal Power from the new Fantasy of Flowers spring release.  I wound up with a couple more things (of course - what else is new).  First of all, it's sister (cousin/ whatever) blush Azalea in the Afternoon was SO pretty.  (I've been crushing on blushes lately)  And of course - they only had ONE left.  And it's Limited Edition (of course - what else is new - thank you MAC).  So they both came home with me.  Then I spied the gorgeous Cremesheen Glass (my favourite gloss finish) in Galaxy Rose ….  and then I got to chatting with the girls (as you do) - and remembered I'd been meaning to try Rebel - after reading so many blogs about it later (I MIGHT have a long lost one in a drawer somewhere … but who's counting).

And … here we are ….

BUT - they are gorgeous, right?  And I'll wear them and love them and treasure them forever more, right?  Because they are LE after all ….

Let's just say - the Bloggers made me do it!  THE END.

(We all know how this story ends)


FOTD - shimmer & nude

Here's my makeup look of the day - rockin' a little bit of shimmer with a nude eye.

I have quite a few of the Tarte blushes in my drawer.  I LOVE them!  They have beautiful colour, they last, and they are just the right size.  I hate it when blushes are huge - what are you supposed to do with them?  This colour is pretty new to me - I ready about it online - and had to try it out.  I think it suits my skin tone.

Feb 20, 2014

Make Up For Ever - old faves

I have LONG been a devoted fan of Make Up For Ever.  This was definitely one of my first higher end brands that I branched into when I started working and could afford more than drugstore chic.

The HD Microfinish Powder was one of my first discoveries - and I still use it - a decade later.  I couldn't tell you how many tubs I've gone through - from the first format to the new one (which is AWESOME by the way!)  I haven't tried the pressed powder version yet, but it is on my list!

This is un-dupe-able.  It truly has no match.  And trust me - I have tried MANY finishing powders.  Yes, I have seen all those scandalized celebs with the big white patches under their eyes.  BUT - unlike them - I'm not too often on a red carpet surrounded by paps - so I think I'm good?

Regardless - this powder sets foundation to a beautiful fine finish.  It doesn't clog pores (unlike MAC does to me, terribly) and I can still put a powder blush on top without feeling like I am too cakey.

In this format, the MUFE HD Microfinish Powder is $39 Cdn at Sephora.  And worth every penny.

I'm also embarrassed to show the state of this poor eyeshadow.  BUT it only proves how much it has been loved!  And this is my second one as well.  So expect to see this on an "empties" post before too long!

Before the Maybelline Tattoo Eyeshadow craze that has swept the beauty world by storm over the past year or two, there was this.  This is my beloved Aqua Cream in Shade Pink Beige #16.  $28 Cdn at Sephora.

Aqua cream eyeshadows go on smooth as butter - like a perfect creamy shadow should.  But they dry to a powder finish.  And they LAST and last.  It just stays perfect all day.  I LOVE this colour for every day - add a brown crease colour and a black liner and you are in business.  Not too shimmery for the office either.

YSL lipstick love

Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy in Mouthwatering Berry - my new lipstick love!

Probably the most expensive lipstick I own - or at least right up there.  But - isn't she gorgeous?

This colour just goes on so nicely - so smooth - and a beautiful sheer berry colour.  It feels like your favourite lip balm.  PURE perfection.

LOVE!  Clearly - I'm going to need more …..


Feb 19, 2014

my quest for a primer - back to the old ....

Sometimes you don't need to re-invent the wheel.  I've had an ongoing quest to find the PERFECT primer.  You know the one, right?
  • minimizes oil throughout the day
  • minimizes & blurs pores
  • creates a smooth surface for your foundation
  • helps your foundation stay and last all day without wearing or sliding off
  • makes your skin feel soft
  • ideally gives you a nice finish or even brightening
I feel like I've tried everything out there - and yet - today I went back to my very first primer discovery from YEARS ago - Smashbox!  Weren't they the first to market?  Anyone know?  Actually it was my mom who first introduced me to this concept after she got a sample in the mail and fell in love with it.  I thought I didn't want to add another layer to my makeup (silly girl).

Well - it is 5:30 pm and my makeup has been on since 7:00 am - and so far so good!  Still wearing my Lancôme Teint Idole that I set with MUFE powder and I am feeling pretty happy about my skin.

Feb 18, 2014


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FOTD: Urban Decay Naked Basics and a new primer fail

Hello beauty friends!

This is my makeup look for the day.  Here are the products I've used:

Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer
Lancôme Teint Idole Foundation (110 Ivoire C)
MAC Studio Finish Concealer SPF 35 in the shade NW20
Yves Saint Laurent Touche Éclat in 1 Luminous Radiance
Maybelline Instant Age Rewind Dark Circle Eraser Concealer in Fair
Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Plum Pop
Benefit Hoola Blush
Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette
Maybelline Color Tattoo in pink (no longer available)
Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil in Soft Brunette
Covergirl Clump Crusher Mascara
Chanel Rouge Coco Lipstick in 54 Le Baiser

I hope you like it!  Selfies are new to me.  Clearly I've had a little help here with my Camera+ app - I swear the fine lines don't look nearly as bad in person.

I have to say - I think that the Urban Decay Naked Basics is one of the most under-rated palettes out there.  I combine that with any pretty shimmery, brightening eyeshadow and I am good to go.  It has the perfect matte soft brown for blending out the crease and the perfect matte soft black for lining eyelashes.  I just love it!  If it is every discontinued - I will have to stock up in a big way.

This is day two using the Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer - and so far I don't think it's for me.  It is 5:30 pm now and I applied this face at 7:00 am.  I have had to blot several times today and re-powder.  I'm feeling pretty oily and ready to wash my face.  It was on sale for $8 so worth a try, but back to the hunt I go.  I think I will have to try the Lancôme primer to go with my foundation.

I used Lancôme foundations years ago - and went away from them for whatever reason.  But I've since re-discovered my love for this brand.  They have the PERFECT colour for me - as proven by the Sephora colour match system several times.  And I get fabulous wear from it (aside from today's primer mishap).

My Clinique Cheek Pop Blush in Plum Pop was my weekend find - I had been anxious to see it in person - and it was love at first swatch!  The perfect cool toned pink for me - hurray!


NOTD: Nails Inc. Porchester Square

I am LOVING this polish, Porchester Square by Nails Inc!  Definitely one of my new favourite polishes.  I've never used Nails Inc. before but I read so much about this colour in particular from the UK beauty bloggers that I took their recommendation and tried it out!  This is $11.50 at Sephora.  It is described as a dove grey - and that is pretty accurate.  I think it is a perfect neutral - suitable for work and every day.

With this sandwich of layers I get almost a full week of wear with this colour.  It applies beautifully - so smooth & even.  This is two coats.


Feb 17, 2014

Concealers Part 1: Blemishes

I'd like to share with you all I've learned about concealers and the different ways I like to use them.  This is part one and I'll focus on concealing blemishes.

I know I'm not alone in saying that blemishes are my nemesis.  I have fought with them as long as I can remember and I'm sure I've tried most concealers on the market over the past 15+ years.  In my teens I swore by Covergirl (the liquid with a wand formula) and that did very well for me as far as I can remember!  In my early twenties I got into Clinique and used probably dozens of their concealers over the years.  Once I started working in my mid-twenties I really branched out into other brands.

My current rotation of concealers for blemishes:

Benefit Erase Paste in the Shade No. 1 Fair is my go-to blemish concealer.  I have used at least 3 or 4 of these tubs in their entirety.  It is $32 from Sephora.
  • The colour is a good match for me most of the year
  • It has a relatively thick consistency
  • It has full coverage
  • It lasts all day
  • It "plays nice" with my foundation and powder
  • It handles raised bumps and scabs from healing blemishes

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer in the shade Medium 1 Custard is my latest addition to my blemish covering arsenal.  I use the shade Light 2 Vanilla as an under-eye concealer but it is a little too light for use around my mouth and nose.  I've been using this product for about a month and am liking it so far.  It is $32 from Sephora.
  • The colour is a good match for my winter skin
  • It has a medium, buildable coverage
  • It has a nice, creamy consistency and isn't too sticky
  • It blends nicely on top of my Lancome Teint Idole foundation.

Revlon Photoready Concealer in the shade 001 Fair is one that I bought after reading about it online.  Several beauty bloggers recommended this product - as they often do the Revlon line as a whole.  I was really surprised!  For a $10 concealer (compared to my $30 NARS product) this was a great buy!  I've been using it for about 6 months and I will definitely re-purchase.  It is $11.99 from Well.ca.
  • The colour is perfect for me - blends in seamlessly
  • It is so easy to use as I just twist up and apply it from the tube
  • It is nice and creamy and blends without creasing
  • I like to apply this under foundation if my skin is especially bad because it doesn't interfere with foundation at all
  • It is perfect to carry in my purse for mid-day touch-ups.

MAC Studio Finish Concealer SPF 35 in the shade NW20 is a product I use every single day - whether I'm doing a full face or not.  This is my holy-grail concealer for any discolouration in my skin - sun damage or pigmentation.  This stuff is magical, I swear.  I bought it when I ran out of Benefit Boi-ing (a REALLY good concealer - $26 from Sephora).  It is $22 online from MAC.

  • It applies beautifully with a concealer brush (I use the MAC 195 to apply)
  • It buffs out seamlessly (I use the Sephora Pro Airbrush Concealer 57)
  • I can use it under or over my foundation.
  • It is the perfect little portable pot to slip into any makeup bag or travel kit

Brushes for concealer:

When you are dealing with blemishes, brushes are really important.  First of all if you have acne or pimples - you need to avoid using your fingers as that will add bacteria and slow the healing.  Also, touching the blemishes can make them even redder.


Here you can see the shades on my skin.  I haven't blended obviously so you can see what the original shade looks like.

I hope that this proves useful to some readers!  Next up - using concealers for under-eye coverage.


Feb 16, 2014

Introduction to Serendipity's Loves

Hello everyone and welcome to my new blog!

I am not brand new to the blogging world as I've been a passionate crafty blogger for almost five years now.  BUT this is my first beauty blog!

I can't wait to get started - I have a head full of ideas.

First, let me tell you a little bit about myself.

I am 30-something (well closer to 40 really, but who's counting), married, mom to a nearly 10 year old son, Sam, and work full time in marketing.

I have loved makeup and cosmetics since I was a very little girl.  I used to sit in the bathroom watching my mom put her makeup on all the time.  She started teaching me about skincare and makeup application when I was quite young.  I can remember reading girls magazines from England when I was as young as 10 or 11.  I quickly started reading as many tutorials as I could and trying new techniques.  In university I used to have a long line outside my dorm room every Friday night with girls wanting makeup application.  I would finally shut it down so I could go out myself!

Once I started working, I became even more passionate about high-end cosmetics and makeup techniques.  And once I entered the blogging world, well, the rest is history …

Can't wait to get started!


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