Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Lipstick diary: Week 7

I've been very late posting this because, even though I hadn't intended it to, this week turned out to be a bit of a dud in terms of originality: I've reviewed one of the lipsticks here and wear two regularly. Then the final straw came in the form of the last lip product, which was so terrible that I don't even have a face shot of it. Also, because these were taken such a long time ago, I have no idea what other makeup, if any, I'm wearing in most of these shots (although I can make an educated guess in most cases). 

We don't have screens in our apartment and I'm covered in mosquito/unidentifiable small winged bug bites right now, so I'm looking for a productive outlet for my rage.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Pearl and Daisy lip balm

On Elgin Street in Ottawa's Golden Triangle neighbourhood there is a lovely little boutique called Boogie and Birdie. It grew out of its next-door neighbour, a store called Mags and Fags, which (unsurprisingly) sells print media and tobacco products, but which in recent years has amassed a considerable stock of gift-y items. Last fall, the space next to it became vacant and Boogie and Birdie moved in!

A friend and I wandered in very early on - before their big "opening weekend" - and I was hooked. It's exactly the kind of store I like: they sell a variety of home decor, accessories, personal care, and food products. It's full of things to touch and sniff and poke, and, as a bonus, a lot of their merchandise comes from small producers, many of them Canadian. Among other lines, they sell products from Purple Urchin Soap, an Ottawa-based company whose face mask Latoya reviewed here.

I was in the process of moving to Turkey when I discovered the store, so aside from some stellar Christmas gifts I didn't have much opportunity to purchase things - but I was in the market for a new lip balm. I'm cranky about my lip care products: I use lanolin at night, so for daytime I like something that's a little nicer than ChapStick. Peppermint oil is irritating to my lips, and while I'm fine with some petroleum-based products (Smith's Rosebud Salve in a tube is permanently in my purse), I also like plant oil-based products because I find them better for moisturizing, rather than sealing in existing moisture. I have a moral opposition to paying more than about 7 dollars for an untinted care product that I'm likely to lose at some point. Finally, I'm a bit of a germaphobe and prefer products packaged in a tube, rather than a pot.

At the time, I was specifically looking for something without coconut oil, so this lip balm by East Coast soap makers Pearl and Daisy fit the bill. They have a variety of scents, but I found that some of their other ones were a bit cloying. I'm not usually into lip products that smell heavily like baked goods, and I'm trying to avoid peppermint oil, so I opted for the "Strawberry Jam" flavour. It smells like cooked strawberries and sugar (duh), but the scent disappears after a short time. It has no taste that I can tell.

Ingredients are apricot kernel oil, cocoa seed butter, beeswax, castor oil, rosehip oil, and aroma. The 4.25g (15oz) tube cost me about CAD$5-6 - I can't remember exactly.

The product is housed in an oval tube, which I quite like as I hate it when things roll all over the place. There is a ton of product; the little bit sticking up above the edge is what remains after 5-6 months of frequent use, without ever pushing the tube up.

It goes on a bit gritty but immediately softens on the lips, is wonderfully emollient, and provides an excellent base for colour lip products because it leaves a little bit of balmy residue without slipping outside of lip lines. I don't find it waxy, and it's generally very comfortable to wear either alone or as a base for other products.

I have used EOS, Burt's Bees, Caudalie (which I also love but CAD$13 for a lip balm - ouch!), and a few other brands and this is one of the best lip balms I've used, especially for the price. I'd like to check out some of their other flavours of lip balm (they have one called Orange Beep, which sounds adorable).

Pearl and Daisy also do a huge range of soaps, body balms, and other body care products, and some of their other lines sound delicious. They're available online at Terra20 and their website lists the brick-and-mortar stores that carry their products across Canada and the US.

Have you ever seen or tried Pearl and Daisy? What's your favourite lip care product?

Monday, 9 June 2014

Lipstick diary: Week 6

Lots of pink this week, proving once again why I do not need any more pink lip products. 

Because the Bite product is double-ended, there are only six tubes of product this week. 

Thursday - Revlon Lacquer Balm in Whimsical: bright, slightly blue-leaning pink with glossy finish.
Friday - Bite Beauty lipstick in Vidal: magenta-leaning pink creme.
Saturday - Revlon Matte Balm in Elusive: matte yellow-leaning pink (reviewed here).
Sunday - Dior Addict in Diablotine: sheer dusty reddish orange.
Monday - Fresh Sugar Rosé sheer tinted balm.
Tuesday - Bite Beauty lipstick in Pomegranate: creamy blue-based red.
Wednesday - Revlon lip butter in Sorbet: pink creme. 

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Almond-chocolate-cherry cake

I've never been one for layer cakes. I don't like icing, and my ideal cake is dense, not too sweet, and preferably swirled with filling or studded with fruit or chocolate. The kind of cake that you could eat for breakfast, for a mid-afternoon snack with tea or coffee, or for dessert. 

This recipe is based on a white chocolate-cranberry cake that we (either my mum or I) make every year at Christmas. It's one of my favourites because it fulfills all of the above criteria; in fact, eating a slice of this cake for breakfast on Boxing Day has become a bit of a tradition for me. As a bonus, it's a very easy, one-bowl cake. 

I had a bag full of fresh cherries in the refrigerator, and although I like eating them out of hand, something told me that we wouldn't finish the whole bag. Once I had decided to swap out the cranberries for cherries, a quick switch of dark chocolate instead of white and the addition of almond extract seemed like no-brainers. I omitted the glaze that usually goes on top, but you could definitely add one - it goes particularly well with the white chocolate cranberry version, although I think this version is rich enough as it is. 

Pitting cherries can be a bit of a pain if you don't have a cherry pitter. I used a narrow-necked bottle (mine originally held olive oil, but a beer or soda water bottle would work well), balanced a cherry on the neck of a bottle, and then poked the stem end with a chopstick. The pit was pushed out of the bottom of the cherry and landed in the bottle. I found this tip on the Chowhound cooking forums and it works like a charm. 

1c (250 mL) butter, softened
1 1/4 c (approx. 312 mL) sugar
1/4 c (62 mL) nar ekşisi sos (pomegranate molasses) - or you could just do what the original recipe calls for, if you live in a country that has brown sugar readily available, and do 1 c brown and 1/2 c white sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp almond extract
2 c (500 mL) flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 c (500 mL) cherries, washed, pitted, and halved
6 oz (170g) dark chocolate


Preheat oven to 350/180. Butter and flour a bundt or tube pan. 

In a large bowl, beat butter with sugar and nar ekşisi sos until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, orange juice, and vanilla extract. Add flour and baking powder to bowl and mix well. 

Stir in chopped chocolate and cherries. Spoon batter (it will be runnier than cookie dough but not as runny as pancake batter) into the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.

Bake for approximately 40 minutes (start checking after 30, depending on your oven temp). The cake is done with the top is cracked and browned, it has started to pull away from the pan, and a cake tester or thin knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. 

Our hand blender is still broken (I really need to go return it), so I was doing all the mixing by hand. This gave me a slightly larger crumb than I would have liked - the cake I remember making is a little softer and more delicate. Regardless of this small textural issue, it was absolutely delicious. I have eaten it for dessert, as a mid-afternoon snack, and (yes!) for breakfast, as shown in the photo above.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Packaging fail: Clinique Chubby Sticks for Eyes

I posted here about how my (unfinished) Clinique Chubby Stick for Eyes in Whopping Willow ended up in the empties bag: the colour bullet fell out of the tube and landed in the sink. It was one of my favourite shades and I was quite upset about it - not least because the Chubby Sticks aren't cheap! - but chalked it up to an anomaly.


I use this shade (Ample Amber) all the time. I brought it to Bodrum because, as a cream product, it's quick and travel-friendly, and while I was doing my makeup one morning the colour bit fell out and landed on the carpet. Because I couldn't sterilize it right away and because it got all smushed, I'm just tossing it. 

So these Chubby Sticks for Eyes are now 2 for 2 where packaging issues are concerned. In both cases, the colour bullet bit disconnected from the base, and because it's sort of loose in the plastic container it just fell out. I have to say that I am extremely disappointed, not only because I don't feel that I got my money's worth before these kicked the bucket, but also because I love the shades, formula, and convenience - but with this kind of track record, I don't know if I'll repurchase either Whopping Willow or Ample Amber.

Have you tried the Chubby Sticks for Eyes, and did you experience the same kind of packaging issue? Any recommendations for travel-friendly cream shadows in a good range of shades?

Monday, 2 June 2014

Lipstick diary: Week 5

This was yet another week in which I failed at taking daily photos - when I was in Bodrum M-W I didn't bring the proper camera and was also quite busy, and then the other days I was just lazy. Not a lot of manufacturer variety this week: two Revlon products and three Lancome!

As usual, swatches are in order of packaging photos in the order above. 

Thursday - Revlon Matte lipstick in Really Red: blue-based true red. 
Friday - Revlon lip butter in Strawberry Shortcake: sheer cool pale pink.
Saturday - Lancome Juicy Tube in Pink Horizon: nude-leaning pink with gold shimmer.
Sunday - Lancome Rouge in Love in 146B Miss Coquelicot: bright slightly red-leaning orange, more red than the swatch makes it seem (reviewed here).
Monday - Bite Beauty lip gloss in 2001: medium purple gloss (reviewed here).
Tuesday - Clinique Chubby Stick Intense in Mightiest Maraschino: pink-leaning red (reviewed here).
Wednesday - Lancome Absolu Nu in Rose Candy: sheer cool pink.

Face shots are below the jump!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Lipstick diary: Week 4

We were in Bodrum for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday of this week, so I got to test out some of these products in a variety of situations. Far less colour variance this week, though. 

Left to right for both swatches and packaging:

Thursday - Revlon lip butter in Lollipop: slightly sheer fuschia-leaning pink with bluish shimmer.
Friday - Vasanti tinted lip balm in Cancun: sheer orange with sparkles.
Saturday - Ilia tinted lip conditioner in Crimson and Clover: vibrant slightly pink-leaning red, sheer at first swipe but can be built up to opaque.
Sunday - Bite lip gloss in 2006: semi-opaque orange gloss. In the tube it looks as though it might be coral, but it comes out orange (reviewed here).
Monday - Revlon lip butter in Pink Truffle: browned pink slightly sheer balm/lipstick hybrid.
Tuesday - Bobbi Brown gloss in Rose Sugar: pinkish nude gloss with pink and blue shimmer.
Wednesday - Revlon lipstick in Fire and Ice: orange-leaning opaque red (the colour looks a bit off in the swatch photo).