September 2012 Haul: Sephora, MAC, Pandora

September 2012 Haul: Sephora, MAC, Pandora

Like Kyuu, I also have a weakness for shopping, but I can usually get my weekly dose of psychological happiness from window shopping and online browsing. While living in England, however, I mostly abstained from shopping (window or otherwise) unless it was for groceries or a decent umbrella. This wasn’t because there was nothing I was lusting after or wanted to ogle, but because – let’s face it – gorgeous and expensive designer brands are oh-so readily available and my willpower isn’t that impressive and neither was my wow-I’m-a-graduate-student bank account. Solution? Live at your local gym + Starbucks. While there, the biggest temptation was whip cream, and at least that was free if not a hinderance to my hips. But I digress.

Upon finishing my Masters in early September, I allowed myself to indulge in things I’d been eyeing (and avoiding) for a while, and to top it all off, I went on a week-long shopping spree in London Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus areas. Sure, my cards may have lost their magnetic strip, but it was worth it. So here’s a quick overview of what was purchased in September, in both Canada and England.

First up, the Sephora Collection Color Daze Blockbuster – a compact, east-to-display-and-store box containing 148 shades of waterproof eye shadow, longwear cream eyeliner, lip gloss, top coats, luminizer, creams, and blush. It also comes with a medium-sized mirror that’s on a surprisingly efficient angle and 3 makeup brushes. It became available to Sephora’s Beauty Insider members in late August, and for $49.50 USD ($60.00 CAD), it was – and still is – a steal.

I’ve only had the chance to use several of the eye shadows so far, but they are indeed longwear and easy to apply. Overall, I’m very happy with this purchase, especially since I was in desperate need of new shadows and liners. As the photos should show, you get a nicely compact product and a gorgeous array of colours to work with. Whether you’re aiming for glamorous,  edgy, simple, or sultry, you’ll find exactly what you need with this blockbuster box.

This item is still available online and in-store until November 4th (US and Canada). Visit Sephora.com for more information.

This is one of my favourite fragrances on the market right now: Angel by Thierry Mugler. It’s been out for a while, but I’d argue it’s still a great scent for autumn and winter. Me, I like to keep my perfumes light and citrus-like during the summer and switch into spicier and earthier scents in the colder months. I’d argue it’s always good to change up your perfume, 1) so you don’t get too used to your scent and start over-perfuming yourself, thus smothering everyone else, and 2) to give a fluid impression of fresh and clean to friends, co-workers, and passers-by.

While most fragrances do slightly vary in how they mix with a person’s natural scent, I’ve yet to meet two people wearing Angel who in fact smell like they’re wearing the same perfume. This eau de toilette and eau de perfume mixes beautifully with your natural scent and allows you to really make it “yours.”

Sephora describes the scent as, “Pure. Soft. Innocent.” It can be strong though if you wear too much, so be weary. I’ve gotten so many compliments on this fragrance – one guy even said, “You smell like a sanctuary,” and then clarified, “I don’t quite know what a sanctuary smells like, but if I did, I imagine it would smell like that.” Its notes include Bergamot, Hedione, Helional, Honey, Dewberry, Red Berries, Vanilla, Caramel, Patchouli, Chocolate, and Coumarin.

Beauty Tip: Layer your scent. I bought a bundle of the body cream and eau de perfume at Heathrow’s Duty Free. Many fragrances also come with shower gels too (though not this one). By layering your scent, you give it dimension and will still smell amazing, dawn to dusk to dawn again.

MAC Matte Lipstick in Velvet Teddy (left) and Honey Love (right). Bought at Harrods in Knightbridge; a gorgeous MAC store that is located in London’s most famous department store. Although pricey (£14.00 each – roughly $22.00 USD/CAD), if you’ve tried MAC in the past, you know their lipsticks are worth the cost. Extremely creamy, lasts reasonably long, subtly sweet scent, comes off easy in the wash.

I prefer the mattes as you can wear them flat or add a topcoat of lip gloss for a gorgeous sheen. Alone the matte is perfect for in-the-office and then it can easily be transformed into a hot downtown, girls-night-out look. I chose more beige/pink shades as I’m naturally pale and they work best with my skintone.

Beauty Tip: If you’re unsure if a particular shade will work with your colouring, don’t apply the testers to your lips. Let’s face it, that’s a smart way to pick up the cold sore virus and thus give yourself a new life-long beauty concern. Instead, apply the tester to the back of your hand or forearm. Most people’s skin tones are consistent, so if the shade works well there, it will compliment your face too.

Moisturising Nail Polish Remover Pads from Boots, one of the UK’s largest pharmacy/beauty chains. These pads are made with lanolin and vitamin E, and are acetone free. They also work quite well and leave your nails feeling hydrated opposed to brittle and dry (this sensation is usually due to acetone, which these pads are without). This product is great to have if you’re traveling and want the option of easily removing and reapplying polish; it’s compact and, unlike bottled nail polish remover, it won’t spill and make a mess of your suitcase. These pads also have a light nose-friendly scent.

Speaking of polish, I picked up 3 bottles last month. Sephora by OPI’s My Personal Serpent (left), OPI’s Samoan Sands (center), and Sephora by OPI’s S-age is Just a Number (right). If you’re a polish enthusiast (like me), you know that you can’t beat OPI for their brushes, quality, consistency, and colour array. I will post swatches of all three colours before the week is out.

Madden Girl (Steve Madden) faux suede platform pumps in royal blue/purple. These shoes have already undergone a month of frequent use, so if the shoes look slightly worn, it’s because they are. I’m a big fan of Steve Madden’s shoes and designs, and these quickly caught my eye one night at The Shoe Company.

They could stand to be a tad more comfortable, but they’re a well built platform pump and are the perfect accent for any outfit. They add roughly 3-4 inches to my legs, so they’re fantastic with a pair of leggings, skinny jeans, or a LBD (little black dress).

Honestly, I love shoes and I like to keep it fresh. A perfect way to renew an outfit is to associate it with a diverse pair of footwear, and for me, the more elegant and edgy, the better. These lace-up sandals are from Lipsy London and were bought at House of Fraser. Gorgeous store, so much variety, and very expensive. If you’re going to wander inside, just be prepared to spend a few hundred pounds before you walk back out.

I managed to snag these darlings for £75.00 (although they’re now marked down to £35.00 for those interested). They take some extra time to get on with all the straps and laces, but they’re worth it. Not only are they comfortable and well-balanced, they can compliment and dress up any outfit.

Lastly, I decided to buy myself a Pandora charm to mark my time spent in England, this one a darling silver double-decker bus with a Union Flag on top. The charm was bought at an official Pandora store and cost £40.00.

All in all, a successful month of worth-while purchases. Bought any of these items? Debating it? Share your thoughts below! <3

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