Monday, December 31, 2012

My Beauty Library & December Favourites

Favorite Products Vlog LaVanilla

It's my FIRST VLOG!!! 
Here I reviewed several of my Beauty Library products and some December favourites. Let me just say I learned a few newbie lessons:

1. When you have 20 products to review, prepare for a 26 minute video.
2. Oh, wait. YouTube only allows 9minute and 59second videos. Crap.
3. Learn how to use iMovie and edit the hell outta your video.
4. Why does it look so fuzzy? I guess the camera built into the Macbook Pro isn't going to cut it. 
5. Wear stage makeup, or you'll look like you have nothing on. In the words of my husband: "I think you needed some bronzer or more blush." Haha! Believe me, I have plenty of makeup on. It's just the video quality.

In case you didn't want to watch the video (I'm pretending not to hear you respond in the affirmative...), here's a synopsis!

I've stuck with this Beauty Library product for a long time, because it's not aerosol (ie won't clog before it's time). It has a pointed tip for easy application. It's smells wonderfully clean and lemony! Only downside is it's white, so it takes a lot of blending in my dark hair. I hope they one day do a tinted version.

It's a cooling gel consistency that doesn't leave a film on your face and does it's job! NO OIL! Love this stuff; best I've used ever.

I've used many natural (aluminum free) deodorants, and this is, by far, the best. I've tried others mainly because of the cost of this one, but I keep coming back. You get what you pay for. It's, by far, better than Tom's of Main and Clean. It smells heavenly & is so smooth and creamy.

Absolutely LOVE this facial spritz. I has citrus oil, rosemary oil, peppermint oil and flower water (among other healthy, invigorating things). It's great for your skin... and for your brain. :) I use it when I need some refreshing. It's just a great pick-me-up midday. (I also use it to set my foundation and powder while applying makeup).

Gotta love the price! I figured it would fade really quickly for $1, but it lasts ALL DAY! It's sticky, but it does it's job. I'm actually going to buy (almost) every shade. I also like the twist, click packaging.

I was pleasantly surprised with this one! I use it with my Lorac Behind the Scenes Primer, and it does last all day! It's buildable, has a strong pigment & a great base color. I'm wish the pot was just a bit bigger. It's hard to get a good amount on your finger when the opening is so small. I'm thinking I'll definitely buy some more shades. 

I tried this based on a recommendation from MaskCARA and wasn't 100% sure I'd like it, but I've been pleasantly surprised! I don't use it as my only concealer, however, because I'd rather not "highlight" my blemishes, too. I mostly use it for under eyes and when I HAC. I'll probably try some other highlighters when I run out, since I'm newer to HAC-ing. (Already know that Benefit's High Beam is too shiny for me & too expensive - $26). But if I don't find anything better or with the same value, I'll definitely come back to the Dream Lumi Touch.

Price isn't on the site - you have to go to your local store. I have the old packaging, but I really love using this stuff. It keeps lipstick from feathering and serves as a great primer. It moisturizes just the right amount for lipstick application. I sometimes try to prep my lips with balms, and it just smears every where. This stuff doesn't do that at all. The higher price is due to it containing Beta Hydroxy Acid & Salicylic Acid. I won't probably buy again, because I'm trying to weed out my products with propylene glycol and parabens.

Oh, yes... the fragrance I'm ashamed to admit I love. It doesn't smell like a teenie-bopper perfume. Promise! It contains the following: Freesia, Green Tea, Apple Blossom, Raspberry, Dewberry. I think it's the Green Tea that mutes the fruits a bit. It's not too fruity.

Lastly, I reviewed the Wakefield Dynasty books by Gilbert Morris. It's like a nerdy girl's Downton Abbey with more history. I really loved "getting to know" King Henry the VIII, Queen Elizabeth, & John Wesley. These books were published a long time ago... they're not even on his website any more. But I know they're cheap now on Amazon or at your local library. If you're a UK geek like me go check them out!

Alright, folks. What are your thoughts on these products? What were you addicted to in the month of December? Or, better yet, what books are y'all reading?

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Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Sephora VIB Welcome Kit Unveiled

The Sephora VIB Welcome Kit Unveiled

So... I'm a dork, and I love to ask and answer questions over at Sephora's Beauty Talk. I'm currently a "Beauty Buff" which basically means... well, nothing. BUT I like sharing my fave products (surprised?). Anyways, I see a lot of curiosity about the new VIB welcome kit on the forum. I've been VIB (Very Important Beauty Insider) for about 3 years and have never had a special card or received a welcome kit.  Until today! I was so stoked I thought I'd share my unveiling with y'all!

P.S. If you've re-qualified recently but didn't get anything, just walk into your nearest Sephora, and they'll give you one. 

To become a VIB member, you must spend $350 per year (um... easy peasy!!). In the past there wasn't a kit or special card, just an increase in emails with coupons and invites to special closed store events (that I never found time for). However, they've definitely improved the specials offered to VIBs first (normally a few days to a week before the normal Beauty Insiders get their emails). 

The new kit includes the following:

  • VIB membership rewards card
  • 10% off  coupon
  • 45 minute makeup session with a Beauty Advisor
  • VIB gift - mirror compact
  • Free shipping coupon
Reward card on the left and special gift on the right.

The Card:
Open the kit (like a book) and this is in the first fold.
It's plastic, silver and simple. On the back (sorry... I didn't think to take a picture of it) it says:

Then you fold it open one more time, and...

There are 2 cards w/ benefits:

First, we have the classic VIB 10% off your next purchase. You probably can't read what it says before SEPHORA. "*WITHIN 90 DAYS OF V.I.B. QUALIFICATION." 

Promo code to use online is on the back if you don't plan to use it in the store.

Next we have the VIB Private Access 45-Minute Dedicated Makeover Session with an Expert Beauty Advisor*

(And, again, "*Within 90 days of V.I.B. Qualification")

To the right is the "gift." It's a compact mirror. I'm sad to say this was a huge let down. First of all, I don't need another mirror. I have random ones from stores and companies that give them as swag and even an engraved one from a wedding I was in at some point. I never use them. Do you??

To make it worst, I couldn't open it. Seriously. I had to ask my husband to after it messed up the polish on my thumb nail. (And that's probably what did it in - mess up my nails and we're no longer friends).

If I could open it without my husband's assistance I might use it at some point... maybe to look at the back of my hair?

The one good thing about the mirror was when you pulled it out it revealed the last coupon, and my personal favorite:

VIB Free Shipping at
Yeah!!! I love to shop the website for the online exclusive deals and Lorac products they stopped carrying in store, so this is perfect. I can actually spend less than $50 and not feel guilty.

 So, are you close to VIB? Do you have more than 350 points in your Beauty Bank and aren't sure? I wasn't sure recently if I had qualified this year, so I just called the 877 # listed above, and they quickly told me I only had to spend $14 more dollars to qualify. I made sure to rectify that immediately! :)

Other than the benefits mentioned so far, what other benefits have you seen as a VIB member? Share the wealth!

---------8/21/13 note: I just requalified for VIB for another year, and the new kit comes with all that is mentioned above minus the mirror. Guess they learned!---------

Monday, December 24, 2012

Is LORAC Underrated? The LORAC PRO Palette Reviewed.

Is LORAC Underrated?

The LORAC PRO Palette Reviewed 

I've always been curious about Lorac's eye shadows after becoming addicted to the Behind the Scenes primer. But, after I purchased this relatively affordable palette ($42) I wondered why there wasn't more hype on the beauty blogosphere. I see so much about UD's Naked palettes (which is not paraben, sulfate, GMO & petrochemical free - all VERY important things to me), but not much on this one. So... here goes!

The packaging is sleek and compact. It's great for tossing in a makeup bag. (I'm definitely no MUA, so I do have most of my products in a bag thanks to my small detested pedestal sink with zero room on it). Packaging is smooth but sturdy and tends to get dirty. You'll see in just a sec... And I've used mine for months, so this is after much use. I also LURV how it comes with a large mirror! A lot of times these sleek palettes lack one, so it's definitely a huge perk!

Here you can see the relatively large mirror.

I REALLY appreciate so much about this palette besides the packaging. Here are my favourite (& not so) things about it!

16 shades!! I mean... WT(glorious)F? I spent more on the Tarte Femme Naturale Eye Palette & only got 12. (Not to mention they're chalky & not as pigmented/long lasting. You don't know how much it hurts me to say that, as Tarte is probably my #1 (or #2) go-to brand @ Sephora).

See the dirty?

Thank You, Lorac! It has shimmer AND matte! PTL!! (If you don't know what that means, you didn't go to enough church camps... :)). CHAMPAGNE is the only shade I'm not thrilled about... It's the one "glittery" shadow in the palette, and it goes on more like loose glitter than the rest of the shimmers. I don't have time for all the pixie dust fallout on my face, so I don't hardly use it.

Let's be honest, sometimes using ONLY shimmery shadows can be annoying. I'd like to be taken more seriously at work (I manage 32 people at an institute of higher learning... come on now!) Soooo, the matte options are perfect! They ARE ultra pigmented and last ALL day (especially with the primer, which is one of my "library*" items).

{Side bar: I looooooove reading & books - hence "Bibliophile." You'll learn... So, if I say something's in my library, it's because I don't buy the full size or have a 2nd go until it's been tested & really impresses me. I'm not typically loyal to many products, but there are a few... I'll do a post on that in the future. Same goes w/ my books. If I say it's library-worthy, than you know it's d*mn good, and the only allowed copy is hard back copy.}

Ok... 'nough of that. Let's continue:

I love (Xs 3) to use NUDE as a brow and inner eye highlighter. It goes on soooo creamy (as do all the colors) & pops! If I'm not in a shimmer mood I use WHITE for the same purpose. I started doing that after Essie @ Essie-Button raved about how much she loved her depotted (brand forgotten) white shadow.

For a while I didn't use TAUPE, but a life changing (ok.. exaggerating) video MaskCARA did here helped me see new ways to use it (as a contour along my nose and under my lip!) and almost the whole palette. If you're like me, you get stuck in a rut, using the same shades over and over, and I'm gad she shook it up for me! I love using GOLD as a liner & PEWTER is my favourite crease color. I layer it over Maybelline's Eye Studio Color Tattoo Cream Gel Shadow in Tough as Taupe.

(Yes... I like Taupe. I also have the NYX blush in Taupe as a contour powder. When you're as albino pale and cool toned as me, you can't use normal bronzers to contour.)

Time for the dark end. I'm super pale, as I mentioned already, and I don't typically use dark shadows for anything. But this stuff is awesome as a liner; I never used to use shadows as liners, but Lorac converted me! I actually haven't used a real liner in weeks. And that's crazy talk. 

I also didn't use GARNET once until watching MaskCARA's video. Now I do. I sometimes feel like having such pink undertones warm colors like garnet, coppers, etc don't work on me, but it does if done right! I also use SLATE all the time. LOVE it.

To wrap up - GET THIS PALETTE. It's creamy, pigmented, paraben free, affordable, has MANY colors, texture and function options and sets like super glue on the Behind the Scenes primer that comes along. 

Any other palettes you gals love? Anyone converted to Lorac now? :)

***Edit on 12/30: Since posting this I had a wonderful recommendation come to me via @AimeeJAdore on twitter that I should try the CHAMPAGNE wet. I did just that, and it worked GREAT and stayed on all day long! No fall out and deep, rich pigment. Thanks, Aimee!***

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