Friday, March 4, 2016

Essie VoxBox Review (first base, gel setter, blanc, good as gold)

I received these products from the Influenster Essie VoxBox for testing and review purposes. Continue reading to find out what I think about the four Essie products that were sent to me.

I love this base coat. It makes my polishes last longer even if I don’t use a top coat. First Base is really fast drying and easy to apply so it’s a staple for me. I don’t have the smoothest nails but this does a great job providing a nice smooth canvas for my polish even though the consistency is quite thin. 

This is the first “gel” setting top coat I’ve tried but I am very impressed with it. The drying time was a lot faster than expected. Not only that, but I found that my nails didn’t chip as much as it does when I use other top coats (I went a good 4-5 days without chipped nails). I was pretty loyal to another top coat by another brand but after using this, I think I’m making the switch. The application gel-setter is a lot easier than the previous top coat (that isn’t even a “gel” top coat) because the formula isn’t as thick but still does the job. I’ve always been a big fan of Essie polishes so I am glad that they have now have an excellent top coat to match their polishes. 

I love that Essie Blanc is a true classic white shade (no yellow or pink undertones at all). The polish itself is quite opaque, but it goes on a tad streaky on my nails. I had to use at least two coats to get a nice even look. With that being said, this is one of the better white nail polishes I’ve tried in a long time (good quality white polishes are really hard to find). The brush is easy to work with, and with the right top coat, my manicure can last 3-4 days.  

I don't usually wear metallic nail polishes but I was so impressed with this beautiful "Good as Gold" shade from their mirror metallics collection. This goes on smoothly and is so opaque you could get away with just one coat. The finish is lovely as well. If you love metallic shades be sure to check out this gold metallic as well as the entire metallic collection - they have a gorgeous rose gold shade

I have always been a huge fan of Essie nail polishes and these products did not disappoint. The gel.setter top coat is a fairly new product so if you haven't checked it out yet, I highly recommend you do so.  Essie "Blanc" is the go-to white polish for me whether it is for a french manicure or for a simple white manicure to make my tan pop. Furthermore, you can create many chic nail art designs with "Blanc" and "Good as Good": think, white base with gold polka dots or tips? Or even a reverse french manicure - so glam. So if you are in the market for a good white nail polish check out "Blanc". I hope you found my reviews helpful. As always, all opinions are my own! Happy manicures, everyone! #essienailedit

XO Jenn

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Herbivore Botanicals Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Bar Soap Review

Herbivore Botanicals is a Seattle-based all-natural skincare company. I tried their Bamboo Charcoal Cleansing Bar Soap. This cleanser has activated bamboo charcoal that claims to deep clean the skin by drawing out impurities while remaining gentle on the skin, and tea tree and bergamot essential oil. The essential oils are antibacterial, antiseptic, and help with fading skin discolouration, making it ideal for my oily, acne-prone skin. In addition, the soap has coconut oil and olive oil for hydration.  Another big plus is that all Herbivore Botanicals are 100% natural and vegan.

From reading the ingredients and their claims, I had high hopes for the product. I used the soap as my facial cleanser twice or three times daily, and it lasted me about 4 months. I was impressed at how well it lathered up, and that it didn’t have any overwhelming scent. The soap did a good job of cleansing my skin and did not leave my skin feeling tight, dry, and stripped, as most soaps tend to do. I can’t vouch for how well the soap takes off a full face of makeup since I always use a makeup wipe or coconut oil to remove my makeup first, but I have heard from other people that the soap does do a good job of that. As for my skin, although I still have breakouts, I noticed that my skin did feel smoother and that my overall complexion did improve. The only downside about this product is that it is smaller than most bar soaps: for $12 CAD, you are only getting 4oz. whereas Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Bar Soaps cost about $6 for 5oz. Of course, you are getting an handmade, all natural, fairly effective soap with Herbivore Botanicals. I am looking forward to repurchasing this soap and trying out the other 3 varieties in the future! In the meantime, I recommend you check out this bar soap if you have oily acne-prone skin and want to try an all natural product. You can buy this on Amazon (US) and on the Chapters Indigo website.

Hope you found this review helpful!

XO Jenn

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

Wishing our readers a warm and happy Christmas, filled with the peace, joy and love. 
Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays, all!

XO Jenn & Nicole

Friday, December 4, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Home

I had such a blast coming up with the beauty gift guide that I decided to do another one. When I come to a standstill on what to buy someone, I usually end up buying them a gift for the home (food - usually chocolate - is the last absolute resort). With that being said, home gifts can be just as personal and thoughtful as any other gifts, even if you don't know the recipients' taste in home decor. There are always luxury items or must-have items that have a unique twist.

1 // 2 a, b // 3 // 4 // 5 a, b // 6

1. Faux Fur Throws

A throw is a go-to gift item, especially in the winter. Everyone practically needs them especially now that you can easily binge on tv shows and movies with Netflix. I know a throw is the most common home gift anyone can get but I wanted to include it anyway in case it never crossed your mind. Throws can be a thoughtful gift if you know the person's living room colour scheme, and even if you don't, o for a more lavish one. Chapters/Indigo has quite the selection.

2. Throw Pillows

Ok, I get it if you might not want to gift a throw again this year. No worries, there is still the option of the - yup, you guessed it – throw pillows! Like I mentioned earlier, you can’t go wrong with buying common home products that have a unique spin to them. We all know Chapters/Indigo has a beautiful selection but I want to show you some I found on the website, Society6. They have a lot of unique and fun items, but I was drawn to these particular pillow cover designs. If you know any Friends lovers - which I am sure is a lot - then they will LOVE this "PIVOT" pillow. They also have a “we were on a break!” one but I love this one a little bit more - can you imagine having this on a couch that looks exactly like the one Ross was trying to get up to his apartment? The “hustle” one, which is perfect for the hard worker in your life. They also offer have these designs on things like mugs, shirts, iPhone cases, and even shower curtains - to name a few! The two I showed are more simplistic but fear not, they also have abstract designs. You are bound to find the perfect design for anyone on this site.

FYI, the covers are sold separately from the inserts - be sure to choose the right item on the dropdown menu.

And a heads up for Canadians: Society6 ships via DHL so be prepared to pay the hefty custom fees.

3. Nebulizers or Oil Diffusers

Aromatherapy may be not be for everyone but if you know someone who is into natural remedies then this might be the gift for them. This can be a personable gift too because you can always choose a selection of oils to include with the gift. The Saje website has all the information you need to decide on the right oils. Here, I’ve included one of their pretty nebulizers that serves not only as an oil diffuser but also helps reduce dust and allergens. Saje has basic oil diffusers too, so make sure to give their website a browse.

4. Marquee Signs

Marquee signs has been so in lately. I see them everywhere and quite frankly, this is on my wish list as well. I contemplated on getting the ones by Heidi Swapp but I didn’t think the quality was that great, and the letters were smaller than I had envisioned them to be. Good news though, Michaels also sell a line of larger marquee signs that are made out of metal rather than cardboard. (With that being said, I think the Heidi Swapp ones would be great for someone younger.) There are even more options if you are in the US: Ellen DeGeneres has a line that is being sold at QVC, and Nordstroms carries a few different brands.

5. Candles

Like the oil diffusers, candles may not be for everyone but I feel like even if you don’t know someone’s personal scent preferences, you can always choose a best seller or something really pleasant smelling, which you can easily find in high quality candles. There are so many brands of candles out there (Bath and Body Works, Yankee Candle, Volupsa, etc.) but if you are looking for a candle to be the main gift and want it to be extravagant or luxurious, then I recommend Bond No. 9, and Annick Gouta.

6. Table Top Fireplaces

This may seem strange but my mom actually hinted that she wants one of these for Christmas, and that got me thinking. A table top fireplace is a great gift for someone who doesn’t have a fireplace or would like one in another room. I really can’t think of why anyone wouldn’t want this. It’s eco-friendly, smokeless, and let’s face it, it is so cute. It can create a warm ambience in any room for under $35.

I hope this little "gift guide for the home" was helpful. Happy shopping!

XO Jenn

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Holiday Gift Guide 2015: Beauty

If you're like me and leave Christmas shopping until December, then this makeup/beauty gift guide might come in handy. Beauty shopping is such a fun experience at Sephora, so this gift guide features a lot of beautiful gift sets that are available there. I personally love shopping for the makeup lovers in my life so I had a lot much fun writing this post. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful.

bkxo: 2015 Holiday Gift Guide: Beauty

1.  Buxom Don't Miss A Beat Full-On Lip Polish Collection

For the lippie junkie: This Buxom lip set set is the perfect gift for someone who loves to sport a glossy lip. It is also great even for those who is starting their lipgloss collection because this collection comes with 6 different shades that include both softer shades as well as darker shades. Not to mention, who doesn't love adorable mini travel size make up items - so cute.

For the hardworker (so almost everyone!): This gift is my go-to gift for any occasion to be honest. It is such a luxury item that I think a lot of people would love and appreciate because who doesn't love a relaxing bath especially in the winter time? The jar and the honeycomb scooper are so beautiful in it of itself.

For the girlie girl: When I saw this beautiful Too Faced gift set, I immediately thought of my teenage niece. She is such a girly girl that is just getting into makeup like her sister, so I know she would just freak over this beautiful set. Even if you are not looking to gift this entire set to one person, you can actually gift the 3 eyeshadow palettes seperately, and keep the house/box to yourself or give that to a younger recipient.

For the perfume connoisseur: I usually never gift perfume because everyone has such different taste in scents but this is an exception. This fragrance sampler kit from Shoppers Drug Mart and the Beauty Boutique offers 10 different  perfume samples and a scent certificate for you to purchase a full sized bottle of your favourite. I love this sampler so much because it has popular and well-loved perfumes like Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy, D&G Light Blue, and Versace Bright Crystal, so it is likely that the recipient will definitely find something he or she likes. D&G Light Blue is one of my top favourite scents so I know that even if I don't like anything else in this kit (which is unlikely), I could always restock on Light Blue.

For the natural beauty lover (or someone looking to go more natural): I know so many people in my life who want to try more natural beauty products, and Josie Maran is the brand that comes to mind. Her argan oil are an "HG" product for so many so I think this set would make a perfect gift because this set comes with the light version of that in addition to a few other miniature versions of her makeup products.

For the makeup collector: This stunning brush set by Real Techniques would make a beautiful gift or both someone who loves collecting makeup, and someone who needs a good makeup brush set. I have a few Real Techique brushes and still use them everyday, so I am confident that this range is just as good if not better. You can find the bold collection in drugstores like London Drugs or Ulta.

Have fun shopping!

XO Jenn