Quo Back to Basics Eye Palette

Quo Back to Basics Palette 2014

I wanted the last Quo Back To Basics palette but they are limited edition and sell out fast.  This year I was watching for them and was so happy to see them in the flyer the same day I received a Shoppers Drug Mart personalized coupon for 5000 bonus Optimum points when you spent $20 or more on makeup plus it was beauty gala day so I received a $5 coupon to use towards my purchase too!

The Quo Back to Basics palette comes in limited edition packaging (black with gold patterns) and contains twelve fairly neutral shades.  I opted for the browns but they do have a set with more pinks/purples too.  The brown palette is often blogged as a Urban Decay Naked dupe so you can imagine how popular it is with similar colours but priced at only $25.

Nothing is as beautiful as a natural you!  Highlight your existing beauty with this collection of 12 eye shadow colours, from light and barely there, to intense brown and smokey tones to amplify your eyes. Also includes a full size special edition eye shadow brush.

The Quo Back to Basics palette is super versatile, you get to choose between matte and shimmer – but not overly glittery or mix it up for your perfect look – or if you are very lucky, find the all matte palette.

The coverage on them is great, some of the Quo Back to Basics lighter colours need an extra swipe to get the same pigmentation at their Urban Decay counterparts but considering the cost difference, that is not a huge deal.  With the exception of the black, they go on dry with no loose powder dropping off the brush.  I have been using a smaller brush (from the Quo Rebel Chic travel set) for the black as it tends to drop.

Buy the Quo Back To Basics Palette

While Urban Decay comes with a liner and primer for $60, I personally love my own liner and have primers so save and pick this up for only $25 at Shoppers Drug Mart.  Even better, buy it on a 20x Optimum day or redeem your points – even cheaper!

Sadly, Shoppers Drug Mart do not heavily promote Quo on their own website, but Beauty Crazed has a full list of the Quo Holiday Collection here.

Are You An Influenster Member?


I have mentioned Influenster a number of times – it is one of my favourite sampling for influence sites.  In the image above, you can see the first VoxBox I received, about a year ago when Influenster first came to Canada and sent out Maple VoxBoxes.

It included the following items

  • Montagne Jeunesse Red Earth Clay Mask
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Curl Mascara (Extreme Black)
  • NYC New York Color Big Bold Clumping Lip Gloss (Blush Urban)
  • Broadway Nails imPRESS stick on nails (in purple)
  • IceBreakers Duos (raspberry flavour)
  • Skinny Cow Canada Heavenly Crisp Bar
  • Skinny Cow Canada Dreamy Clusters

Since then, I have received a number of great boxes from Influenster including nail polish and more imPRESS nails – and you know I love anything for my nails!

sally hansen gel kitInfluenster even helps you influence using their products.  Each VoxBox or Perk comes with small tasks to help you share.  None of this ‘host a party and tell your friends about it’ or just ‘let us know what your friends think of the product’.  Easy bite size tasks that you can do when you have the time and pick and choose which ones you do.  If you complete these tasks, you are usually rewarded by Influenster points and perhaps even prizes.  I have received an iTunes gift card and this amazing Sally Hansen gel manicure starter kit – a $70 value.

Influenster has changed a lot since they came to Canada, a new site, a new scoring system, the new InfluensterApp (sadly iOS only so this droid lover hasn’t tried it out yet) and now that the kinks have been worked out, is so much better than when they first came to Canada.  They have reviews even for products they are not being paid to share with Influensters and by leaving reviews, you can earn badges that increase your chance of being chosen for VoxBoxes.

One of the other new features is VoxPerks.  VoxPerks are usually discounts or samples that you get direct from the company and not mailed to users through Influenster.  Things like discount pet insurance, cheap memberships to sites like OnePlay and other similar offers.  The other major change is The Hub, which features blogs from Influenster members.  Again, not just paid posts that push a product, but real blogs from members – everything from recipes to reviews.  Choose Hub posts on beauty, fashion, lifestyle, food, entertainment as well as Influenster themed blog posts.

If you are not a member, click here to sign up – you might get the next VoxBox!


Great Customer Service From Kobo


I have mentioned my love of my Kobo Arc before.  I went from thinking I needed the feel of an actual book to practically living on my kobo tablet.  So imagine my dismay when last Monday I got a message saying there was a system update for security measures which I installed and then on clicking restart – nothing – a dead kobo!  Even worse, my warranty ran out recently.

Now I use my kobo heavily, having to replace it when it is on sale for $100 would not be the worst thing in the world, but since it was an update that caused it, I contacted Kobo to see if they could help me fix it.  Seems I was not alone as I read comments on their facebook page and forums and waited on hold for over half an hour to speak to a rep and there was no fix for my kobo either.  No blue screen of death for a kobo just a sad blue light that blinks 4 times before it shuts itself off without ever fully starting up.

At this point started shopping for a new tablet, while reading the comments, I found that Kobo are not known for great customer service but had been making efforts to turn it around – and they certainly did for me.  Despite the warranty ending, the rep told me to send all my info and photos to show the kobo was in good condition along with purchase information etc, some back and forth and just over a week later I have my paws on  shiny new kobo, the exact same as my old one so I don’t have to worry about a new sleepcover (they are fairly expensive and each is custom fit to certain models).

Had they not replaced it, I likely would have gone with a regular tablet and just installed the kobo and kindle apps. Since kindle books are often cheaper, they would have lost out on future business but instead they have a lifelong happy customer – one who got to read the new Richard Castle book the day it came out because they sent me the replacement in time!

GOSH Cosmetics Chick Advisor #GOSHGoddess Review


I was sent four GOSH products to test and review from Chick Advisor as part of their #GOSHGoddess campaign.  If you are not a member, sign up here to apply for their next testing opportunity – they have review opportunities for everything from household, pet and beauty products and you do not need to be a blogger to get them!

GOSH Cosmetics is a Denmark-based cosmetics company.   GOSH is a color cosmetics line that offers a vast array of colors to keep up with the latest trends including iridescent effects makeup with shine, shimmer, and dazzle, brightly colored mascaras and liquid eyeliners, pencils and nail enamels with the subtle sensuality of glitter, and a complete assortment of waterproof or semi-permanent makeup. They also cover all the matte cosmetic lovers out there who want a more natural and sophisticated look!  Find them at Shoppers Drug Mart.

GOSH Lip Lacquer in (6) FunkyLips: It’s neither a lipstick nor a gloss… It’s GREATER than both!  Intense, rich colour of a lipstick with the liquid, smooth shine of a gloss.

#GOSHGoddess Review

goshliplacquerDon’t be fooled by the bottle, it may look like nail polish but this is a lip product.  Thankfully for me since it looks way too red for me to wear, this colour is not as red as it looks in the bottle.  It is however very pigmented and lasts for ages.  I reapplied after lunch and was good until the end of the work day, 4-5 hours between applications.  It is glossy yet not sticky (because I hate when my hair gets stuck to my lip gloss) and did not dry out my lips at all.  Even better it has a sweet but light scent that reminds me of summer.  I would definitely buy these, but in a more neutral colour for daily wear.  Note: make sure you exfoliate your lips, it is not very forgiving on dry lips.

Buy it: $12 at Shoppers Drug Mart


GOSH Forever Eye Shadow in (6) Plum:  Forever Eye Shadow is a creamy, soft eye shadow stick. The extremely smooth and non-tacky texture allows for optimal playtime and blend ability before setting on the lid with an even finish.

  • Fantastic colour pay off
  • Metallic effect
  • 2 in 1  Eye Shadow & Eye Liner
  • Easy to apply
  • Long lasting
  • No need for sharpening
  • Perfume and parabene free


#GOSHGoddess Review

This Plum eyestick is a pigmented, cool-toned purple with  silver undertones and fine silver and purple shimmer.   ‘Plum’ is perfect for a simple smokey eye, it is metallic yet creamy and blends well while staying put once set.

I did wear an eye primer under this and it is was still perfect at the end of the day. It is not overly glittery so can be worn day or night and layered for more pigmentation.

These come in some great colours and I intend to pick up the Silver Rose and Copper ones which are closer to my usual colour scheme.

Buy it: $14 at Shoppers Drug Mart


GOSH Velvet Touch Prime’n Set Powder in Transparent:  For a close-up ready look, GOSH Velvet Touch Primer Powder transforms skin by visually minimising pores, fine lines, redness and imperfections. The silky loose powder creates a flawless, matte finish and comes in a clever pot with a sieve and a closing mechanism that stops the powder from spilling out into lid. Wear Velvet Touch Primer Powder on its own or as a primer, or sweep it over foundation for an airbrushed look that locks make-up in place and keeps unwanted shine under control.

  • Primer  – Minimizing pores, fine lines, redness and imperfections
  • Setting powder  – Gives a flawless, matte finish
  • Mattifying  Shine control

#GOSHGoddess Review

Primer-powderI am always a little suspicious of two in one products.  As a primer, this does not work for my skin but I can see it working for others.  I have some deep creased and combination skin and need something not powdered to fill and smooth, but to just even out my skin when not wearing makeup it looks great as a primer.  As a setting powder however, I love it!  I used it under my makeup on my t-zone to help with shine, plus to set my makeup.  It helped with shine for about 4-5 hours.  As a setting powder, it gave a very finished look, and did not have the sparkly look of many powders.

Buy it: $20 at Shoppers Drug Mart


GOSH Crazy Volume Mascara: Crazy Volume Mascara give lashes a major volume boost. Description The unique oversize fiber brush adds dramatic volume and extreme length to the lashes in one easy stroke. With no clumping or flaking, Crazy Volume Mascara ensures a smudge-free, highly defined look that lasts for hours.


#GOSHGoddess Review

This was my least favourite of the products Chick Advisor sent me to test as part of the #GOSHGoddess review panel.  There is not anything bad about this mascara, it is a decent product, just nothing special compared to the ones I already have.

Personally I prefer mascaras that make my lashes look fuller rather than just longer and I found this brush also held too much mascara.  It did last all day without smudging though which is impressive and usually the thing that has me running to waterproof mascara.

Buy it: $15 at Shoppers Drug Mart

Find out more: GOSH Cosmetics Website | Shoppers Drug Mart

Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this post but the products were provided free of charge.  As always, I will give my honest opinion based on my experience with the product.

A Visit to The Box by No Frills Store in Hamilton


Yesterday was the opening of a new grocery store in Hamilton.  While No Frills have opened a few of their small format stores “The Box by No Frills” across the country, this is the first within a reasonable distance to me.

Most The Box by No Frills stores are only 10,000 sq ft, compared to 25,000 for most No Frills and even larger stores for other Loblaws banner stores but they strive to sell the majority of things you will need in this small space.  They promise each The Box store will be tailored to the community, so no identical stores across the country, what sells well will be stocked and what doesn’t will not be restocked and the space used for items that do.


As you can see from the images above, the selection of each type of product is limited, there is no full aisle of anything in The Box.  The aisles are arranged to maximize shelf space, so it can feel a little claustrophic, especially if people decide not to go up and down the aisles in order.  There are only four aisles (yes just 4 small aisles) , a little more than half of the store with a large produce section in front and the cash registers in front of them.

The prices will not vary weekly at The Box like most stores do, they have a few “Weekly WOW” deals (this week included 4L milk for $3.65, bread for $1.80 and Jane’s chicken for $5) but most prices are every day rock bottom prices.  While you can find these items cheaper if you wait for a sale, they are reasonable and if you are on a budget, it is great to know how much items will be before shopping.

For most items, they carry No Name and just a single brand name for the same product (Kraft and No Name peanut butter for example).  Rather than an aisle of pasta related items, there is two sections of pastas and one of sauces, just one section for all of the canned vegetables and a small bakery section.  The biggest shock to this is the cereal section which is tiny compared to most stores.  Items are often still in the boxes and they do not waste time making them look pretty.

One of the biggest complaints I heard while in the store was the household cleaners were in the same aisle as food and that strong “cleaner” smell you find in most household aisles seems to stick to the food.  There was no fresh food in that aisle, but it did include some bakery and cereals which absorb scents through the boxes.


With the small format of The Box by No Frills stores, they also only have small carts.  This helps a little with the traffic of customers through the store but it is still a tight squeeze when people are on both sides of the aisle so a lot of waiting for people to pass to get items from the shelves.  Not much that can be done with this given the smaller size (except to recommend everyone follows the up one down the next aisle format).  It is probably not the kind of store you want to go shopping with children who run around.  The carts cost $1 rather than the usual $0.25 but staff were on hand with cart keys we got to keep for future visits to the store.

I can’t think of any items missing from The Box by No Frills but they did not always have my preferred brand.  While I will definitely be stopping by to pick up the fresh goods I can’t get at the Target store next door, I do not see it replacing my regular grocery store.  I tend to be brand loyal for some items and like the one stop shopping other stores can give me.  For those who do not drive and want to pick up the basics close to home (and on several bus routes), The Box will be a lifesaver.  With Sobeys now closed, there is little in the area until FreshCo opens across the street – but I think FreshCo will give it some serious competition.

I will be interesting to see if The Box format works for No Frills/Loblaws and if new ones open.

Garnier Fructis Color Shield Hair Care Influenster Review

Garnier Fructis Color Shield Review

I recently received a set of Garnier ColorShield hair care products from Influenster to review. Included in the box was

  • Garnier Fructis Color Shield Shampoo for colour treated hair
  • Garnier Fructis Color Shield Conditioner for colour treated hair
  • Garnier Fructis Color Shield Heat Protect & Shine Spray for colour treated hair

Garnier-Fructis-Color-Shield-Shampoo-and-ConditionerGarnier Color Shield Shampoo & Conditioner for colour treated hair

Stop dry out, fight fade out even after 45 washes! Color Shield Shampoo & Conditioner keeps colour bold and brilliant, hair silky and soft. Their unique, double-action formulas combines acai berry, a natural antioxidant that protects colour, and grapeseed oil, which prevents dryness. Garnier Fructis Color Shield is proven to perform.

This shampoo is a light pink colour and lathers well with a sweet smell.  My hair still felt a little greasy while washing, likely due to the grapeseed oil but did not look greasy once dry.  The conditioner is light and did not weigh my hair down but also did not leave it frizzy which often happens when my hair feels softer and has more volume.

Garnier-Color-Shield-Heat-Shine-SprayGarnier Fructis Color Shield Heat Protect & Shine Spray for colour treated hair

Protects against heat damage and boosts shine & vibrancy.  Formulated with camelia seed oil and acai berry extract, garnier Fructis Color Shield spray’s unique technology defends freshly coloired hair against heat and nourishes to extend shine and softness.    This complete defence product helps your fresh colour to last longer, protects against heat damage and boosts shine & vibrancy – for hair that shines with all its strength.

A little goes a long way with this spray, otherwise it will leave your hair feeling greasy.  My hair seemed to straighten more easily and you can almost feel the barrier on your hair protecting it as you straighten.  My hair is normally quite frizzy after drying and you can see from the image above that it was more wavy than frizzy after just blow-drying and straightened with less passes which also helps with protecting m hair from heat.


I like this product but will likely stick to Garnier Fructis Damage Eraser for shampoo/conditioner and only buy the Heat Protect & Shine Spray as it seems to work well for my hair.  The Damage Eraser seems to clean my hair better and not leave it feeling as greasy (even though it looks clean).

Full disclosure: we were only give a week to review this and my hair takes a while to get used to get used to new hair products and it is not enough time to review its colour shield properties of 45 washes.  These products were received free of charge from Influenster but I was not paid for my review and all opinions are my own

CH-CHING: Get Rewarded For Watching TV


Hamilton’s news station, CHCH TV is celebrating 60 years on air this month and to thank their loyal viewers, CHCH is introducing CH-CHing! – the country’s first ever broadcast TV loyalty program.

CH-CHing! is FREE! Just register at www.chch.com, and earn points to redeem for rewards such as gift cards, discounts, special offers, experiences and various goods from CHCH and its broadcast partners.  Viewers earn points by interacting with the CHCH brand on air and online, entering keywords from television programming, and watching and sharing news clips online.

Earn with CH-CHing!

Register for CH-CHing by June 30th and get a 6000 bonus point sign up bonus (plus there was a code during their 60-minute retrospective on CHCH’s history entitled 60 Years Strong with a bonus keyword code (if you missed it, the code is in the title – hint hint – enter it in all capital letters).

You get 100 points for sharing stories on facebook or twitter (max 3 times per day), 30 for watching shows like Sportsline and Square Off online and 50 for every 5 minutes of news you watch online.  Share by email and get 50 points and watch a news clip attached to a story and get 20 points – they really add up over time.  They will also have occasional partner content where you watch a popup advertisement for 2000 points.

Redeem Your CH-CHing points

You do not have to be in Hamilton to sign up, CH-CHing! is available across Canada excluding Quebec, but many of the prizes are from Hamilton area partners.  Just the sign up bonus and code from the retrospective was enough for me to redeem for a $10 ECS coffee gift card.  Most gift card redemptions are 1000 points per $1 but there are also physical prizes like CHCH ball caps and jackets, calendars and other items.

You can also redeem a small amount of your points for entries into contests.  Current contests are for a Nissan Micra, Holiday Valley Golf Stay for 2 and a Wild Water Kingdom pass for a family of 4.

Click here to register at CH-CHing! and see ways to earn points.

Herbal Essences Naked – BzzAgent Review


I received a package of Herbal Essences Naked Volumizing Hair Care to review from BzzAgent.  This was a very generous package of full size products plus travel sizes for friends and while I did have some issues with the Volumizing line, I paid for and tried the Herbal Essences Naked Moisturizing line and my review for that is included.

Herbal Essences Naked Shampoo

I was really torn by the volumizing shampoo, it leaves my hair feeling squeaky clean (crazy clean like they wash your hair in a salon) and the mint in it leaves your scalp feeling tingly and clean.  I could easily go an extra day between washes too.  As much as I loved the clean feeling, it did not leave my hair feeling manageable.  The whole line does help with volume but my hair was very frizzy after using this shampoo.  So when I was out last week, I saw the Herbal Essences Naked Moisturizing line on sale for $2.49 and picked up a set of that to try.  I likrf the Herbal Essences Naked Moisturizing line.  I got the same squeaky clean feeling as with the Volumizing but my hair was sleeker and easier to manage.

Herbal Essences Naked Conditioner

While I did buy the Herbal Essences Naked Moisturizing Conditioner, the Volumizing Conditioner works just as well.  It seemed to only be the shampoo that was giving me issues with manageability.  The  Volumizing Conditioner does help a little with the weight of my hair but the Moisturizing Conditioner left it shinier (at this point I feel like Goldylocks and want one that is in between!).

Herbal Essences Naked Souffle

By far the best of the set.  The Herbal Essences Naked Souffle smells great and really held my curls without any stickiness or visible residue.  A little goes a long  way to.  I have fairly long thick hair so often I need so much product it weighs down my hair and defeats the purpose of using it.  That was not the case with the Souffle at all and is the one I will carry on buying from the ones sent to review.

Herbal Essences Naked Line & Friends Reviews

Overall, I love the way that the moisturizing shampoo cleans my hair, but I have been following up with my regular conditioner to get that usual manageability.  I just do not have the time to spend an extra 10-15 trying to curl or straighten a frizzy mess but I will be passing on using the volumizing shampoo and conditioner in the future, they just do not work for me.

That being said, I gave the samples to both a friend and a coworker and they swear by the volumizing line.  Both have finer hair than me and more issues with volume (mine is naturally weighed down by its weight, their hair is shorter and helped by the product).  One has shoulder length hair that tends to be limp and no shape and she was literally bouncing around with happiness at her volume and the fact her hair was holding a curl.  The other has short curly hair and it helped give her hair a little more “ooomf” but she generally uses a lot of volumizing products anyway.  Both loved the clean feel of the shampoo and the scent of the entire line too.

So I guess it is just whether it works for you.

Check out other reviews as part of this BzzCampaign here.

imPRESS Press-On Manicure By Broadway Nails: Influenster Review

impress press-on manicure review influenster

I have actually tried imPRESS press-on manicure fake nails before as part of the first ever Canadian Influenster VoxBox last year but was delighted to get the design I mentioned I wanted to try back then.

The newest Influenster VoxBox comes with two sets of imPRESS press-on manicure nails, it looks like there were various colours sent out.  I received Control Freak (a bright pink) and Holla!  The Holla! design is hard to describe, depending on the light, the colour can look muted pink, purplish or a silvery bronze with a black lace and flower design over it.

imPRESS press-on manicure application

impress press-on manicure review influenster instructionsApplication is easy with imPRESS press-on manicure nails.  Go through the various sizes to find the nail that best fits your natural nails.  While it says go with the smaller size for best results, I personally found that a larger one filed to fit works better as the curve on the smaller ones can make it lift.  Lay the ten nails out in the order that you will use them (with patterned ones like these, you need to make sure the matching ones go on the right fingers).

Prep your nails as you would for painting your nails, wash your hands well and dry.  You do not want to be applying them when your nails are still damp.  Use the enclosed prep pad to wipe each nail to remove any leftover dust/debris/stay cat hair / whatever else.

Then you can start applying the nails.  Start from the baby fingers and do your thumbs last.  For each nail you just peel away the backing and press it down firmly.

To remove, you can soak your nails to help then apply some nail polish remover around the edges and they peel off.  Do not try to just rip them off if they are still well stuck, you will wreck your nails.  Then just buff your nails to remove any leftover glue or damage and smooth/shine before your next manicure.

imPRESS press-on manicure: My Experience

impress press-on manicure review influenster problemsI am really torn on these, I love the design and did not find them difficult to apply but I have quite a long nail bed and I found them quite short even after cutting my nails down completely.

I have read from other influenster reviewers that imPRESS press-on manicure nails did not last and came off after just one day.  I found the opposite.  I applied mine on Thursday during the day and wore them all weekend removing them today.  Some had lifted from the nail a little but despite washing my hair twice and a lot of typing and handwashing, they did stay on.

One of the mail reasons I removed them sooner than the 7 days they say they last is that I cannot stand tipwear and the beautiful design on my imPRESS press-on manicure was wearing away.  Now I put my nails through a lot, it is one of the reasons I often take the time to do an at home LED gel manicure so it is not surprising that they did not last a full week on my nails but the lifting was an issue for me.  As you can see from the image (right) the lifting was enough that my hair caught in it when I ran my fingers through my hair and the little tab on the tips of some of the nails makes them noticeably fake.

Overall, I can’t see myself wearing them on a regular basis but would definitely wear the design ones for a special occasion.  imPRESS Press-on Manicure by Broadway Nails have some beautiful designs and you know exactly how they will look (because you know a trip to the nail salon can end up looking like a 4 year old painted that cute flower on occasion).


 Tips for wearing imPRESS nails:

  • You can heat it a little with a hair dryer before removing the backing, then flatten or curve it to match your natural nail so they fit better and stay on longer.
  • Nails have a tiny number on the back side at the tip, use this to match the nails for each finger and to remember your size for next time
  • You can file off the tabs if you are careful but they are not always the exact same colour under the tab when you go for printed nails


Live Below The Line Days 4 & 5


Wow, the last week has been absolutely crazy!  On to days 4 and 5 of the Live Below The Line.   My week turned crazy busy so I did not have time to go looking for free fruit/vegetables with the new snapsaves rebates sadly but we still managed.

Over the two days we ate the rest of the pasta with meat/canned veggies in sauce we made (the next night using some cheese to make a pasta bake), some more beans on toast, chicken wit sauce).  On Friday I just could not face the oatmeal again and he was really hungry so he had two packets of Oatmeal and I used some of the potatoes we had prepared the night before for lunch to mash and make a couple of potato pancakes with 1/3 of the beans.

Friday was a crazy day for me and I was so tempted to grab my usual Second Cup smoothie when I finally left the office after 7.  Thankfully I had saved that orange for the last day and ate it on the train which gave me the sugar rush I needed.  I did however give in to my tea addiction and have a cup at a meeting on Friday, we had been in meetings for 4 hours with no breaks and 7 hours since breakfast, I just could not say no.  A cup of Tim Horton’s steeped tea has never tasted so delicious.

We came in under budget for the week with $0.74 left from the grocery budget but because we spent less on the first day we were very close on the daily budgets.  We had some pasta left over too.

I am very happy to say that I have not eaten cheese, oatmeal or beans since last Friday and we have nice bakery bread and not cheap sliced bread (oh Denningers, how I love your potato & onion bread).  While it is easy for us to go back to our normal eating/shopping habits, I really could not imagine being on that budget long term.  Our meals were very limited and far from healthy.  While you would not be stuck on daily budgets as well as weekly ones and could stockpile some items for various weeks and have more choice in meals, it still is very difficult.

We did treat ourselves to dinner out on Saturday, which even at a local family style restaurant cost over double our budget for the week.  A real eye opener seeing the bill for the meal compared to our grocery bill.