Topbox – October 2014

It’s Topbox time! I was actually expecting my box this October since I remembered it was after Thanksgiving!

What I didn’t remember was that I ordered the LouLou box and I completely forgot what was supposed to be in it. More on that in a separate post, though.

Topbox October 2014

Anyway, I got the original tube packaging but this month’s box looks pretty good again!

What is it?

Topbox is a Canadian monthly beauty box subscription that features 4 deluxe samples for $12 per month, shipped right to your door via Canada Post. Some months even include full sized products! Keep in mind that they do have a waitlist of about 2-3 months from initial sign-up before you start your subscription!

Bioderma’s Sensibio H2O Micelle Solution ($8.78 for 100mL) – $21.95 for 250mL

I’m starting to really like Bioderma’s products. The sample of face cleanser I got from an earlier Topbox is now hiding at the Monsieur’s place and it works really well alternating with my usual face wash!

Their micelle solution is absolutely legendary and I know so many people who swear by it as a makeup remover, mild cleanser and toner at the same time, so I’m super excited to try this!

MeMeMe Cosmetics’ Eye Inspire Mono Collection in Mirage – £4.99/$9 for about 5g (Full size)

Mirage is actually a burnt bronze colour that’s deep enough for some light definition on a natural look or as a base colour to layer on a smokey eye.

It feels pretty good and light, but I already have a colour very similar to this, so this might go into my swap pile…

Topbox October 2014

Prestige Cosmetics’ Back to Black Makeup Eraser Pen – Unknown price (Full size)

At first, I wasn’t sure what the product card was talking about and I actually thought that it was a misprint of some sort! The summary on the card was so vague that I wasn’t sure if I got the right product or not. To me, Back to Black is an eyeliner or a mascara of some sort.

It turns out that Back to Black is Prestige Cosmetics’ product line, like how Maybelline has their Eye Studio collection and Expertwear collection. The makeup eraser pen takes care of minor mistakes really, really well, which comes in VERY handy when it comes to liquid eyeliner! This may be a life-changer for me…

Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Serum Synchronized Complex II ($20 for 4mL) – $75 for 15mL

I’m not too sure if I’ll use this one since I’m trying not to use anything like serums or chemicals near my eyes. I might give it to my mom if she wants to use it since she likes to try things like this. However, I think that the sample size is very generous compared to the amount you’d get in a full size!

Verdict: 3.75/5 – I’m not going to use a couple of the items in the box but I do like how there’s full sized products from brands I’ve never heard of before! Plus, the Bioderma micelle solution and makeup eraser pen are GENIUS.

xoxo,

B.elle

Blood Donation

I donated some blood today for the 9th time (on record, at least)!

That sounds so sketchy but I donated a few times before I got the official Canadian Blood Services donor card, so a bunch of times didn’t show up on record.

Anyway, I heard on the radio that there was a blood shortage and, since I last donated in April, I went and booked an appointment.

I’ve never had a problem with the technicians at this location and Bay and College! They’ve always been very patient and professional with everyone who walks in but they also manage to keep a calm, casual atmosphere in the clinic.

Tonight took a bit longer than usual because there was actually a small queue for the beds! It’s very reassuring to see that the blood signal and broadcasts still work and people still go out of their way to donate, especially in a bustling city like Toronto.

image

Once I got into the bed, it only took about 9 minutes for me to fill a unit with blood! Apparently, it’s pretty average but my technician said that it’s actually kind of impressive since I’m so small.

(Thanks? I’m not sure how I feel about knowing that I’d bleed out and die in like 15 minutes, actually…)

Even though it took about an hour from the time I signed in to when I walked out, I would still highly recommend everyone to donate blood at least once because it literally saves someone’s life.

Plus, then you have a legit excuse to go to Fran’s diner and pig out on an all day breakfast or a giant, delicious meatloaf made in-house.

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Xoxo,

B.Elle

Urban Decay Build Your Own Palette – VOTE!

I’ve fallen in love!

No, not with another man… I’m talking about Urban Decay’s Build Your Own Palettes!

Urban Decay Build Your Own Palette

I always liked the concept of palettes because it puts a bunch of colours in one container for convenient access to a whole range of shades that you can choose from. The only reason that usually stops me from picking up a pre-made palette is that I often don’t use more than a couple colours.

Ultimately, many of the palettes available turns into a pretty big waste of money for me even if the value is already there.

That’s why Build Your Own palettes appeal to me so much. Even though it usually ends up to be more expensive than buying a pre-made palette, picking out my own colours and products will make sure I use it all and get the full value out of it over time.

I picked out Urban Decay’s Build Your Own Palette in Rebound because I don’t use more than four different colours for my eyes, including special occasions. There’s even a gigantic mirror on the top lid!

I haven’t made my own palette before, so it’s a new experience for me! I decided to take it slow and fill each slot one by one.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Chopper

The first one I picked out was Chopper, which is a light, shimmery copper with bits of silver flecks in it. It’s great against my slightly tan complexion as a neutral, everyday colour that can also double as a nice base for most other accenting colours. (I wear some pretty honkin’ glasses, so I need shimmer and sparkle to get the effect to stand out a bit more!)

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Last Call

The next one I got was Last Call. It’s a really nice, pinkish plum with a metallic finish that really works well as a bright, fun accent. I haven’t tried it all over the lid yet, though. I’m kind of scared that it might make me look like I haven’t slept!

Urban Decay Moondust Eyeshadow Moonspoon

The third and most recent colour I picked up was Moonspoon in their Moondust Eyeshadow line. It’s a medium sparkly gray eyeshadow that’s basically unicorn dust! It’s so silky and sparkly without making me look like Dazzler from Marvel.

All of Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are incredibly pigmented and the payoff is really worth the price! It’s best to use them with a primer of some sort (I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance, but I know that Urban Decay’s Primer Potion works incredibly as well), but there’s always a tiny bit of cast off after a whole day.

Urban Decay Eyeshadow Build Your Own Palette

I have one more slot left to fill and I want you dear readers to pick!

Choose one from the droplist or leave a comment!

xoxo,

B.elle

New Phone + Accessories – Samsung Galaxy S III

I was forced to get a new phone last week and I ended up getting a 16G Samsung Galaxy S III in navy blue.

Samsung Galaxy S III

Yay? Not really!

Actually, the Galaxy S III itself is pretty damn good. It’s just that the situation that led me to having to replace my old phone was pretty bad…

Samsung Galaxy S III

I went out with the Monsieur and his long-time friends from Quebec on a Saturday night and they decided that they wanted to hit up a nightclub. The music was actually fairly good at Gravity’s main room, but my phone was stolen straight from my purse.

It was an HTC One S, which is a really decent phone! But, it was already showing a bit of wear and tear since it was only 8G, it was already kind of old when I first got it in 2012 and the lock button didn’t always work.

I wasn’t overly broken up about losing that particular phone, but I was so panicked because I connected my phone to my work documents!

TOTALLY. FREAKED. OUT.

Luckily, the Monsieur took charge and lent me his phone so I could change all of my passwords right away. He even came with me to get my new cell phone since I needed one for a conference on the Monday and Tuesday afterwards!

(I still have to get him a thank you gift of some sort, but more on that later.)

Anyway, I’m still trying to get used to Samsung Galaxy S III since the interface is only slightly different from the HTC One S. Honestly, the change with small details like icon placement, different widgets and colour schemes feels a bit like having the furniture moved an inch to the left. Something’s a bit off, but it’s so hard to detect sometimes.

Samsung Galaxy S III Phone Cases

I ordered a couple of phone cases off of Amazon.ca and they just came in today. Thank goodness, since it’s already almost slipped out of my hands a few times…

Luxmo Rubberized Crystal Samsung S III Case

Luxmo’s Rubberized Crystal Case in Green – $3.45

This is a pretty sturdy two-piece case that has a really nice, slightly rubbery feel. It also feels a little too stiff on first glance, but the case snaps together REALLY tightly, so I’m really happy with it!

Verdict: 4.5/5 – It feels like a good everyday case that I can easily spot in my giant handbags and it’s actually the same shade of green as one of my old Blackberry phones. It’s perfect for the price I paid, but I’m still a little worried about its durability.

Carved Wood Anchor Samsung Galaxy S III Case

Carved’s Anchor Engraved Cherry Case – $31 on their website, $7.09 on Amazon.ca (on sale)

I have no idea how or why this gorgeous case was priced so low because it’s seriously an amazing piece of functional art!

Carved Wood Anchor Samsung Galaxy S III CaseThis is easily one of the best phone accessories that I’ve ever purchased! It’s so intricately carved, it feels extremely comfortable to hold and each piece is clearly one-of-a-kind due to the gorgeous wood panel.

I would highly recommend gifting a Carved phone case for any occasion! They’ve got an incredibly wide selection of pre-made designs available but there’s also some options to customize your case built into the website.

Hopefully, I won’t break or lose this phone since I actually quite like it with the case like this!

Now, if only I can make sure the Monsieur would like the book I’m planning on getting him just as much…

xoxo,

B.elle

 

Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick – Wolvesmouth

Have you ever suddenly get an image in your mind of something that makes you go, “Oh, my god… That would look SO awesome!”?

Maybe it’s a specific type of shoe or a really cute top that sort of maybe exists but you’re not overly sure but that’s okay because you really shouldn’t be spending more money than you should, but I’m sure you know that craving urge of “I HAVE to have it.”

That’s what happened to me earlier this week. Somehow, I imagined deep, plum-berry lips with a tiny bit of metallic shimmer that I knew would be absolutely perfect for my complexion for Fall and I needed to find out if it existed.

Luckily, I found this gem at Sephora!

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick Wolvesmouth

This is Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick in Wolvesmouth! It’s a gorgeous metallic berry shade with a slight shimmer and tiny flecks of iridescent blue glitter.

I had NO idea that I would actually be able to find the exact lipstick I had imagined! It’s actually better than I imagined because the iridescent blue gives it another level of depth that’s really beautiful.

Kat Von D Studded Kiss Lipstick Wolvesmouth

It’s definitely a luxury lipstick at $26 at Sephora, but I’ve heard really good things about how Kat Von D’s lasting power and, after it stayed on my hand after testing and trying to remove it with makeup remover, I have to confirm that it’s definitely got the value!

The only issue I have is that there’s only a few different colours available at the physical store. I know that shelf space is extremely valuable real estate in retail shelves and Kat Von D only has one section, but there’s so many shades offered online that aren’t on the shelf that I want to test first before deciding to buy it or not.

Verdict: 4.75/5 – If you’re looking for a really pigmented, slick and great lasting lipstick, it’s hard to beat Kat Von D’s Studded Kiss Lipstick line. Just be prepared to take a risk ordering online if you can’t find the shade you’re looking for in the store!

Have you tried Kat Von D’s lipstick or one of her other cosmetics? What do you think about it?

xoxo,

B.elle

Bar Hop on King West

The first time I went to Bar Hop was earlier this year when I called out a bunch of friends to get introduced to the Monsieur. A parkour/lawyer friend of mine had suggested it and I’ve fallen in love with the place ever since!

Courtesy of Bar Hop

Located at 391 King Street West, right between Spadina Ave. and Peter St. in downtown Toronto, Bar Hop attracts young, casual but trendy professionals of all industries in for some good food and drink.

Bar Hop has 36 offerings of craft beer with rotating casks, so it’s entirely possible that you’ll see a completely different menu every time you go.

They don’t take reservations, so if you bring a whole group of friends (4 is usually the best) it might be a while before you’re able to be seated if you want to sit together. But, it’s definitely worth the wait.

I went with Chris on a random Wednesday night for some dinner and drinks. Even though I had went with the monsieur on Saturday, they already had a different beer list! I was a little disappointed because I had this fantastic beer on Saturday and I couldn’t remember the name of it to get another recommendation.

Bar Hop Toronto

Ah, well. I ended up going with Left Field’s Prospect, which is a single hop American IPA that was seriously light and refreshing but it had plenty of personality to keep me interested.

Chris got Beau’s LugTread, which is a kolsch style beer that reminded us both of Rickard’s but much less hoppy, way crispier and very fresh tasting. The only problem for her was that it made her fall asleep really quickly! (She’s a lightweight for beer. Wine, not so much.)

Bar Hop Toronto

For food, I was instantly won over by their Meat Pie of the night: smoked chicken, chunks of merguez sausage, roasted corn in a hot creamy pot pie. They had a pretty fun sounding vegetarian pot pie with celery root and red quinoa, but I have a soft spot for sausages and smoked chicken.

As you can tell, the dish was really generously portioned! They actually bake it in a small cast iron skillet and it gives a whole new dimension of flavour to the pot pie, which was already really delicious in the first place.

The chicken chunks were so succulent and the merguez sausage was balanced out really nicely with the roasted corn, and when eaten with a good beer… HEAVEN!

Chris got their Fish and Chips and Stuff, which I had on Saturday. Served with tempura battered green beans, apple fennel slaw and a pile of fries and house made tartar sauce, the haddock filet was delicate moist and wrapped in a crispy, airy batter.

After tax and tip, I paid about $30 for my meal and that’s a great deal for a fantastic venue like Bar Hop.

Verdict: 5/5! There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll be back again very, very soon! If you’re in the area, you should definitely stick your head in and see if you can grab a seat. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed!

xoxo,

B.elle

Oasis Zoo Run 2014

I took part in the Oasis Zoo Run’s 5K Walk this year and it took place on September 20 within the Toronto Zoo!

Oasis Zoo Run 2014

And yes, that meant that Chris and I did the Walk through the Zoo! How awesome is that?!

We got there pretty early at around 8:50am to pick up our race package and get to the starting point, which actually went over pretty smoothly. There weren’t any major hold ups and the directions were fairly clear although everything seemed to have been delayed by about 15 minutes from the 10K race starting later than anticipated.

Watching the 10K runners pass by in the morning.

Watching the 10K runners pass by in the morning.

The last time I went to the Toronto Zoo was during a field trip for an Ecology course in university, and we were mostly focused on getting enough data for an assignment for me to remember much. Also, the Zoo was under some renovation in some areas during that time and I hadn’t been back since!

The planned route was carefully laid out and barricaded from public visitors so the participants would be able to go through the course with minimal disturbances.

We all started in corrals separated by colours. When I signed up with Chris, I wasn’t sure how long I would take so I put in the maximum amount of time at 1h30m and got placed in the Purple Corral with Chris. We were in the last group to start!

Running Shoes

I used these shoes for the run – New Balance Minimus WT1010v2. Love them!

Well… The last group in the 5K section, at least. The run also has a separate run for kids called the Cub Run, which started right after ours and had a much shorter distance for the kiddies to go.

Although, I was extremely impressed that there were a lot of young kids doing the 5K with their parents and I even saw a few who did the 10K run when they passed us on the routes!

For some reason, I expected the route to be a bit more… flat. It turned out to have a bunch hills, including one that felt like it had a 30 degree incline that we had to go up and down on the 3rd kilometer!

Courtesy of Canada Running Series

Chris and I walked the whole course together and I finished it in 49:34.4! Considering that we only jogged the first maybe 100m to get a good spot on the track, that’s a pretty good walking speed of 6km/h.

That’s faster than the Gardiner Expressway during rush hour! (Ba-dum-tsh)

After the run and some lunch, we went exploring the zoo and visited the giant pandas, polar bears, and the wolves before absolutely calling it a day.

Toronto Zoo Panda Toronto Zoo Panda Toronto Zoo Tiger Toronto Zoo Giraffe

Even though we didn’t do any actual running, finishing a 5K event has really inspired me to at least try to increase my fitness endurance over the next year so I can actually run for the majority of the route!

Right now, I’m not sure what sort of fitness plan I’ll try to follow, but it’s definitely something I’ll be looking into this season.

How do you train for marathons? Have you ever tried? I’d love to hear about your experiences!

xoxo,

B.elle