Sample then Splurge? Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance

Breakouts, breakouts, breakouts. I’m trapped in the never-ending cycle of ‘I shouldn’t wear make-up because I’m breaking out’ but ‘I need to wear make-up because I’m breaking out’. I’ve been trying to methodically deal with the root cause of these chin blemishes but I’m concerned that I’m also making my life more difficult and disrupting the healing process by using the wrong products on my skin. If you’ve been following me on this blog, you might notice that I will splurge on anything that helps to conceal, cover, and stay. But I also detest being taken advantage of by ‘luxury brands’.

So, I got out my samples and started testing. I have recently had full size products of Smashbox, Hourglass, and Stila. My face kept getting worse so I figured it was time to pull out the Laura Mercier Foundation Primer – Radiance sample and it proved worth the spurge.  At $26 for one measly ounce it better be! This lightweight, creamy gel creates an invisible barrier between skin and makeup to prime your face for color. I find my foundation spreads easier, lasts longer and feels better on my skin. Since I typically use very matte products on my face, I like that the radiance adds a youthful pearlescent tint that stops my make-up from looking too mask-like. It is also dermatologist-tested and non-comedogenic with all sorts of vitamins, etc. to keep my face healing but looking healthy. I highly recommend this primer.

Fun fact, on the Sephora site Laura Mercier touts that she was the first to invent foundation primers!

Are there any other primers I should try?





Sample then Splurge? Diorskin Forever Perfect Foundation

I discovered something wonderful at Sephora – you can ask a sales associate to give you foundation samples to take home!!!!! This may be old news to a bunch of people, but I’m pretty excited about this. After another bad skin month, I was looking for a medium to full cover foundation and I was debating between Too Faced Born this way and Dior Forever Foundations. Too Faced was out of the running immediately when I swatched it because it was too orange. Dior was brilliant but I was humming and hawing about parting with $64 CAD for yet another liquid foundation. Well after getting the sample and playing with it for two days I have to say I totally SPLURGED and ordered this amazing product. 


Can you see the bright red pimple on my chin and the burst blood vessels under my right eye? Me either 😀


010 Ivory is a good match for my extremely fair complexion. I am also extra pale due to hibernating inside since November!

For anyone with problem skin, I highly recommend this product. When I layer it over a high-end primer it lasts my entire workday before I get any shine (I like Stila, Hourglass, or Benefit primers). I love that it is so easy to apply. I created the looks above with a finger dabbing application and liberal use of mini beauty blenders around the pimples, scarring, and crow’s feet. I also like how this product applies a thick even layer but doesn’t feel thick on.

If I had to fault this product on anything it is probably that it can give a ‘mask-like’ effect if you do not add contrasting blush/bronzer/highlighter. So this is your warning: don’t skip on using your contouring kit with this product otherwise you will look like you have a mask on!

Now I’m curious about Dior’s other make-up products. Let me know if you have any opinions!

— Missy

Missy’s March Favorites

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Ottawa’s March came in like a lion and is leaving like a lamb. I used this loooong month of limbo between winter and spring to try out some new cosmetics and do some journaling.

Beauty Counter Cleansing Balm

Beauty Counter is a new line I’m trying out. My face has been breaking out pretty bad lately so I was interested in trying out a product line that prides itself in using the best ingredients possible and none of the nasty stuff (above and beyond US and Canadian Regulations).

This cleansing balm is everything I want in a face cleaner, melts away make-up and leaves my skin feeling awesome. The site lists tons of benefits but I think the best thing about this product is that it’s practically a one-step cleanser and moisturizer! LOOOOOVE it. Continue reading

Missy’s February 2017 Favorites

Whenever I think about February, I think about Valentines’ Day and my husband’s birthday. Both great times for dates! For this month’s favorites I’m going to look at romantic make-up and skin care.

Josie Maran Whipped Argan Oil Body Butter

I first got hooked on these pots of wonder when Sheena gave me a big one she had gotten tired of. Another woman’s cast away is another woman’s treasure! Nat got me an amazing set of the travel sized body butters for Christmas and I love all the subtle scents and the velvety finish it gives my skin head to foot! If you like light scents, thick cream, and quick pay off I highly recommend this product.

First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Lip Therapy

This is possibly the best lip balm out there. Reasonably priced with no harsh smell or effect this lip balm takes my lips from Sahara Desert to sultry after a few nightly applications. I got this balm in a kit and I will definitely be purchasing it again!

tarte Tarteist Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Bae 

What’s more romantic (and kick ass) then a red pout? This liquid lipstick is ultra-pigmented which allows me to have lightweight velvety lips in a sophisticated matte finish. I was on the fence about this product at first, but I now seriously love this product. It certainly isn’t for everyday application and you NEED a lip brush to apply it properly but I love the effect and the results. Bonus – it doesn’t transfer as much as traditional lipstick!

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Date Night!

What does your romantic make-up routine consist of?


Sample then Splurge? Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask


I tried Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask last week when my face needed a bit more love. And I really liked it! It was a bit exfoliating and made my skin feel smooth and supple. I also enjoyed the fact that it was a neutral color so I applied it and then didn’t have to wipe down my taps and sink after washing it off (anyone who uses those black charcoal masks know exactly the unholy mess I’m talking about). It also had a pleasant natural scent.

So I thought “Yes! This will totally be an awesome splurge post” … and then I hit the brakes. This mask retails for $112 CAD for 100ml! That’s $1.12 a ml! And a ml is not very much!

So sorry Fresh I’m going to pass on EVER getting this mask. It is waaaaay too pricey for the good results. For that price I expect Disney princess radiance in 10 minutes.

Is anyone else using this mask? Do they find that it is worth the price?






Happiness is Matching Lipstick and Lip Liner: A Review of the Marc Jacobs Longwear Lip Set


On Thursday I worked until 7pm, missed my gym class due to traffic, and everything just feels ugh. On those nights it’s so lovely to come home to a Sephora box. Especially one containing the new Marc Jacobs Longwear Lip Set. I am ridiculously pleased with this product already and I’ve only owned it for a few hours. Nothing makes me happier then matching. I still long for the matching twinsets of the 50s.


So polished! Love these vintage looks!

The arrival of my travel size and reasonably priced ($26 CAD) lip liner and lipstick in the shade Slow Burn was just what my face needed to turn my frown upside down!

This is how I imagine a Marc Jacobs friendly post-it would look.

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Confessions of a UD Fan Girl: Junkie Vice Lipstick Palette Review

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such a pretty lip palette!

I tried to resist, I really did, but the siren song of another Urban Decay palette was too much to resist. I am an unabashed fan girl of this brand. I loved the ads when I was a teenager and I became a devotee of the brand when I was living in the UK a decade ago (the smog eyeshadow is still one of my absolute favorites!)

Eyeshadow in color Smog
Smog eyeshadow … works in every season and every occasion ❤

So I was pretty heartbroken when the UD Junkie Vice Lipstick Palette was sold out super quick at Sephora. My wallet might have been happy, but my heart, my heart, was shattered! How could I possibly live without a limited-edition lip palette with 12 shades of the new UD formula?! All housed in a glamorous, gold-accented gunmetal case to boot!

I recommend this palette. The new vice formula is highly pigmented without being cakey. I’m actually taken by surprise every time I use this palette with how gorgeously light the formula is. Whether I can attribute this feeling to the application with the retractable lip brush or the actual lipstick itself, is yet to be determined but love is love, so I will try not to question it!

The downside to this palette? Some of the colors are pretty ‘out there’ for a mild mannered mom and office worker … but so help me, I’m going to be rocking some sweet lippie looks on girls’ nights and New Years Eve!

I will also take the brand’s advice to play around and combine the colors to dial up and deepen hues. The possibilities are endless! I find the compact a little bit too bulky for my everyday purse but it is sturdy enough to pack away in luggage for a vacation – I can’t get bored with 12 lipstick shades during a vacay!

Right now I’m loving the shade Carnal (a medium warm nude) and my daughter’s favorite shade for mommy to wear is 714 (bright red).

If you are looking to treat yourself I highly recommend getting this $45 CAD palette with Bite Beauty’s Line and define lip primer for $25 CAD. $75 CAD for 12 luxury lip shades is a pretty decent price in my books. What do you think?

— Missy

Sample Then Splurge? Smashbox Photo Finish Primer

I’m excited about this post series. It’s going to allow me to take more make-up risks as well as help me use up or give away the vast array of samples I’ve accumulated. The first product I’m excited to share with you is the Smashbox Photo Finish Primer.


Something interesting about this primer is it was the first product created at Smashbox photo studios in L.A. Smashbox is all about making your make-up look good for photos and last under hot lights and hot California weather! It’s their bestselling product and Smashbox says, “the best way to start your makeup every day!”

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A Few Minutes Revising Halloween 2016 Before Christmas Madness Begins

Nothing notes the change of the season quicker than Nov 1st in Canada. Since we celebrate Thanksgiving mid-October there is nothing stopping stores from getting out their X-mas gear ASAP when the last trick or treaters pass by the house.

I was actually in the mall October 28th and was shocked to see most of the Halloween items on clearance to make way for the Christmas merchandise!

I love Halloween and I’m not ready to say good-bye to it just yet! So I going to tell you about a pretty make-up costume I did with Nat this year. Our costume was the idiom ‘Green with Envy’. So we donned our best green and black clothes and make-up and had the words ‘NV’ on ourselves.

I thought this would be an easy and pretty costume to pull off. I have a vast make-up collection and access to Instagram and Pinterest so I thought I was all set. But not so! Green is a very difficult color to wear. We are always trying to cover up green tones in our skin because it can make us look sickly (in my case I vacillated between looking dead or beat up …. eep). I think because green is so tough to wear that a lot of make-up companies don’t use it. I had a lot of blue/green or brown/green colors to work with but very few other options! Calamity!

All in all, I have to say I was saved by the Stila in the Garden palette and Urban Decay Spectrum and Alice Through the Looking Glass palettes. Stila had pretty green accent colors and Urban Decay offered the bold colors I wanted for my look. My whole face was done with eyeshadows from these 3 palettes in combinations too crazy to recount.

Here’s some pics of my look:

And with Nat:


What did you do for Halloween 2016?

— Missy

Sample then Splurge? 1st Step – Organize!


I have a thing for samples. They are fantastic for the following reasons:

  • They are usually given free or with points (I’m a sucker for free AND points!)
  • They appease my curiosity without destroying my budget
  • They are typically the perfect size for a product (I mean WHO ever gets to the bottom of a lipstick when you have a rainbow of colors to choose from?)

The problem with samples, though, is they tend to accumulate faster than I can use them or I simply forget! During my maternity leave I really got into using my samples because I didn’t have as big of a budget for skin care, make-up, and other products and potions. And now that I’m back at work and a mom and I don’t have as big of a budget for skin care, make-up, and other products and potions … such is life I suppose *sigh*

Therefore, in a quest to save both time and money I decided to organize my samples so I’ll be less tempted to buy just because I’m bored with my current collection. So without further ado, let’s take a look at my sample drawer organization and see how I’ve divvied up my free goods!

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Deceptively Great Skin Tint



As you probably know make-up has different definitions. Just like a size 10 pair of pants vary in wearability and fit between women’s stores, I find the term skin tint, foundation, base, etc. very confusing. Hourglass’ Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint offers amazing coverage and is my new favorite foundation … but it’s a skin tint … zuh?

I finally organized all of my samples into cute little clusters. One make-up bag for perfume samples, make-up, face washes, masks, body creams/scrubs, and moisturizers. Not only are these great for travel but they are also awesome for when you need a bit of make-up for an errand before you shower for the day. My choice sample time? Going to the dog park. Pretty much everyone in the family needs a bath after tromping around in the muddy dog park … but of course according to the laws of the universe I WILL meet someone I know there whenever I decide that I’m not wearing make-up/brushing my hair/wearing pants/etc. All that to say, is that 3 weeks ago I pulled out a little packet of the Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint in Ivory without high expectations. I was hoping for a slight evening out of my skin tone and some coverage of blemishes. What I got was WHAM BAM COVERAGE MA’AM!

This thick formula covers your most stubborn scars and scabs and leaves your skin feeling like butter. You rub it in like a moisturizer – it is really dense but then it melts into your skin beautifully. I actually made a special trip to Sephora to purchase this *gasp choke* $68 CAD for a 1oz tube. But who am I to argue with a product that works and saves precious minutes in the morning. I’m still loving Bobbi Brown, Nars, and Benefit (in that order) but my skin has changed. Wrinkles, combination skin, scarring, and blemishes meant a lot of time being spent on precise product application. I literally swipe this thick skin tint on and I’m out the door. It covers the messed up bits but doesn’t dry my skin out or gather in my wrinkles. The finish is also very light weight and pretty once you give it a few seconds to set.

My only complaint with this product is that it has a tendency to go shiny within 4 hours so a mattifying powder is a must. The gluey nature of the product is also a turn off for me but again, it works, so I can certainly overlook these flaws for its overwhelming benefits.

After using this product for 3 weeks I think my skin looks better and I haven’t experienced as bad hormonal break outs.

Give this product a whirl if you can relate to my skin woes. Or send me recommendations of what to try next!


– Missy

In Defense of Moms Wearing Make-up

Being a mom is tough. If you are a mom or would like to be one someday, I’m sure you’re already aware of the pressures women and moms are under. To steal a term from Tina Fey, there is a lot of “girl on girl crime” in the parental scene. “Girl on girl crime” can be defined as when a woman sabotages or makes assumptions about another woman based on superficial judgments. There is no way to tell a person’s personality or abilities by how their hair looks, weight, clothes, or make-up. But let’s face it, women are encouraged to be competitive with each other to the point of insanity. I think it causes a lot of unnecessary anxiety and misunderstandings.

I recently got stung when another mom commented on my make-up. Now I could be reading too much into it, but I feel the comment was meant to shame me.

Other Mom: “I don’t know how you possibly find the time to do make-up, I never wear it because I’m too busy being with my kids”

You see? I felt like there was an mean undercurrent to the message that I’m somehow neglecting my daughter because I take time every day to apply some make-up. I’ve learned not to give people like that a lot of my time, but comments like that can cut deep.

I would love to tell you that I had a witty retort for this woman, but I’ve learned to deal with people like that by smiling and changing the subject. It’s not worth my time to explain to them that I typically wake up extra early to do my make-up or if that doesn’t work out, I tend to make it a fun game with my daughter who happily sits on my lap and feels very grown up with her own make-up brush. I wish I could bottle up the giggles as I tickle her with brushes and take pictures of her looks of serious concentration when I ask her what colors are her favorite. It’s becoming a fun bonding time with her and I don’t think I would trade those moments for anything.

— Missy