Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2 Review!

Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2

Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2

I am lucky in that I don’t work in one of those offices that are “fragrance free”.  This doesn’t mean that I think anyone can just drench themselves in a stinky patchouli bomb and have it be welcomed and appropriate, as I am fond of fragrance only with a very light, restrained hand. But when it comes to addressing allergies, I am firmly in the position that the allergy sufferer is responsible for maintaining a lifestyle so as to not aggravate their allergy, and not those around them. Allergies are so plentiful in variance that it is unrealistic to expect the general public to be sensitive to all of them for you. The point of this is – I get to (lightly, in small amounts) enjoy fragrances on an every day basis! Yay!

It briefly crossed my mind to ask if it was a fragrance free zone around the same time I asked if there was a dress code. I no longer had a concern about the issue when, moments later, I met a staff member who was Very Obviously Wearing Giorgio (is there any other way to wear Giorgio?) Although I’m sure VOWG applied with restraint, I could still smell it at least 10 feet outside her office doorway. This might bother some, but Giorgio reminds me of my very fashionable grandmother, so I actually appreciate its shrilly floral, unmistakable cloud of sweet 80’s statement fragrance.

I recall recently commenting that although I couldn’t pick a favourite fragrance, I tended to have very particular scents for very certain circumstances. Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2 is one of those! I wear this one mainly in fall, and generally for Thanksgiving and other holiday dinners. Why? It is full of cranberry! Let’s take a look at the notes!

Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2 Notes

Ralph Lauren Big Pony 2 Notes

Yup, that’s it. Allegedly. Cranberry and Tonka Bean. I do catch a hit of citrus in it from time to time as well. The cranberry is sweet, tart, sour and juicy, and the tonka bean lends a spicy warm baked goods feeling. No wonder I want to wear this over the holiday season! Although it is not a complicated fragrance, it is a delicious one. When I sampled this when it first came out a couple of years back, a woman followed me around the store with her baby stroller making “mmmm yummy” sounds! I wore this happily over our Thanksgiving here in Canada the other week, and I will wear it just as happily a few times between now and Christmas time. I will likely put it away again until next year, as I have in years before. Not only do i strongly associate this one with cranberry sauce and holiday baked goods, but it’s over simplicity makes me tire of it quickly. So to keep it special, I will keep this one for use between October to the end of December only!

Anyone have any special fragrances they reserve for holidays or special events? I can’t be the only one who does this!

Have a great weekend!

Marc Jacobs Honey Eau De Parfum Rollerball Review!

Marc Jacobs Honey

Marc Jacobs Honey

I know there’s a lot of you out there, but I’m not a Marc Jacobs fan girl. I skipped over the ever popular Daisy feeling that it was way too “green” for me (huge amounts of violet leaf) which was a pity as I liked the strawberry in it. I took a pass on the almost as iconic Lola, figuring I already had the same notes of rose, peony, pink pepper, musk, fruit and amber in Gucci Envy Me, which to my nose was better. I did, however, like Dot and it’s mutant ladybug bottle, and it’s Honey counterpart bottle which I’ve heard best described as a GMO bee.

When Marc Jacobs Honey came out, I knew that I had to try this one. Just like peach notes, I have been looking for a honey based fragrance for a long time and I was hoping this would be it! Notes are as follows:

Marc Jacobs Honey Top Notes

Marc Jacobs Honey Top Notes

Pears, Mandarin Orange and Fruit Punch in Top Notes

I know the pear is there, but to me it settles a bit in the background of the body of the fragrance meanwhile the top notes to me shine first as a sweet citrus, and then a splash of red fruit, which I guess is the fruit punch. It’s a light, refreshing opening.

Marc Jacobs Honey Middle Notes

Marc Jacobs Honey Middle Notes

Orange Blossom, Honeysuckle and Peach in Middle Notes

With effort I can actually manage to catch all these notes. The peach is of course too faint for my liking as I love peach, but the honeysuckle is there quite clearly and the orange blossom sits quietly underneath it. It is a pretty and sweet combination.

Marc Jacobs Honey Base Notes

Marc Jacobs Honey Base Notes

Vanilla, Woodsy Notes and Honey in Base Notes

I tried but was unable to manage to grab the vanilla notes in this, not that it bothers me either way. The wood notes have no threat of being overbearing here and seem to be there in just enough amounts to give Honey a drier finish to round out the sweetness. I finally, eventually manage to find the honey in this after dry down, and it is a warm, gourmand addition.

I’ve found a few reviews saying that Honey is similar to Dot, and although I do see the resemblance in type and structure, with a closer sniff they are really not that much alike. Where Honey has citrus and sweet punch, Dot has tropical coconut and tart red berries. While Honey might not be very complicated, it is still pretty, light, sweet and refreshing. I can’t see anyone really being offended by this one, unless they were maybe allergic. This would be nice used with a light hand for daytime, or at the office if there are any left out there that let us wear fragrances anymore. Honey would also suit a sticky hot summer night, again with a light hand to avoid the risk of becoming too cloying. I do wish the peach and honey notes were more prevalent to my nose.

I have a 10ml rollerball of this which I think is enough for me to decide if it is worthy of a larger bottle or if I should move on. Also perfect for throwing into my purse! I like that more and more lines are offering their fragrances up in the somewhat more economical rollerballs so you can still enjoy the next new thing – or many things – without a huge amount of commitment. This one was a gift from my Mom, lucky me! Thanks Mom!

Any thoughts on Marc Jacobs scents?

Enjoy your week!

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco EDT Review!

Comptoir Sud Pacifique  Vanille Coco

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco

It was a beautiful day in my area today, and I’m sad to think that might have been the last really warm day left of the season. Today I will be sharing a fragrance I have been wearing on the hottest days this summer, as it is light and breezy enough to be refreshing instead of suffocating and cloying when it’s particularly muggy out.

Coconut lovers only! Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Coco is a light, fresh, sweet and delicious simple scent that’s perfect for layering with anything of similar or complementary notes! I sometimes layer it with the Sunset by the Pool I’ve also been liking this summer and some other things I haven’t reviewed yet. The notes are coconut, vanilla, banana, whipped cream and heliotrope.

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Coco

Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanilla Coco

At first spray Vanille Coco opens up in a very refreshing, cool, almost water-like but not watery blast of banana! The coconut and vanilla soon follow, and the banana fades to subtlety. The vanilla here is a sweetened by powdered sugar, baked goods type of vanilla. The coconut is fresh, sweet, mild and unprocessed. The tail end of that gives you a smooth whiff of whipped cream to round it off. The heliotrope here presents itself as a tiny hint of almond here and there, but you can kind of tell the almond smell is of a plant source rather than nut, if that makes any sense to anyone. Almond but slightly green almond. Vanille Coco is not overly complex, but is still pretty. This lovely light fragrance, overall, smells like this!

YUMMY!

YUMMY!

I like the Vanille Abricot of this line as well. It smells similar, but warmer of course with the apricot and a few other fruit notes. When I layer Vanille Coco with Sunset by the Pool it reminds me of the Vanille Abricot which is nice and cost effective too! This one gets a gold star for being versatile for layering as well as being nice on it’s own!

Enjoy the last of your summer folks! Or if you are one of my Aussie readers, I hope you make it through your scorching summer unscathed!

Revlon Parfumerie China Flower NOTD, and Bonus Nicole Top Coat Plus (Scathing) Review!

Revlon China Flower, NOPI Top Coat

Revlon China Flower, NOPI Top Coat

It’s unusual that I have the opportunity to do a review on a product that I can file under both nail polish and fragrance. The Revlon Parfumerie line has been out for a bit now, and I think (hope?) they are clearing out their summer line for fall at my local retailers as I found what was left of a small display at half price. Hope they aren’t discontinuing the line but I wouldn’t be surprised if they are. Finding the China Flower one to look and sound most interesting, it came home with me.

The bottle is attractive. I really like the square shape, however I hate the round top. It made wielding the already harder to use small, thin, round brush more difficult as it was hard to stabilize. The shade is a brightened, summery, coraly red creme/jelly formula, very striking. It went only smoothly at 2 coats, but I used 3 for photo swatches. The result was a vibrant pop of colour against my skin, I really liked it!

Revlon China Flower Swatch

Revlon China Flower Swatch

Revlon China Flower Swatch

Revlon China Flower Swatch

Now about the fragrance. These nail polishes are intended to have a light scent once dry, and this one was quite unique and surely made itself known. I would describe it as a spicy/fresh scent. Something interesting about it is that it had a bit of the feeling you’d get from a whiff of Vicks – not necessarily the smell itself, but the sensation, this nail polish’s scent has a bit of an aromatic, medicated vapour sense to it. Hard to explain. I caught this scent when my hands were about a foot or so from my face. I read a post recently with this Revlon Parfumerie polish in a shade called Bordeaux which I wish was available here, it’s the exact shade of wine I’ve been looking for, and knowing myself I think I’d love the scent. If you’re curious it was over at ClassygirlKate‘s blog.

Part 2!

So I decided to try out the Nicole Top Coat Plus I got in a 3 pack of Nicole polishes over top of the China Flower. I am struggling to find something good to say.

I'm glad this photo is fuzzy.

I’m glad this photo is blurry.

Why am I glad that picture is blurry? Well, the longer I had it on, the more tiny little bubbles would pop up. Now usually that happens if your polish is slapped on in thick, wet layers too quickly. I applied this topcoat well after the Revlon China Flower had dried, after several minutes of taking, uploading and editing photos. Which brings me to my next complaint – although the polish was dry, this top coat pulled up colour onto the brush! Every brush stroke landed more and more red tint to the top coats brush! Not even my super cheap top coats do this! I wiped it off the brush best I could for the header photo. More time passed, I took some more pictures, and then took down my setup with the back scarf backdrop for my header photo to put it away, and then noticed that even though some time had passed, I had little fabric indentations on my nails from just lightly handling the scarf! Now I might expect that to happen immediately after painting, but not, say, 30 mins after applying a top coat in front of a fan on high on a hot day! Suspicious, I lightly touched the nail to see what was going on, and to my surprise it was sticky! Not wet really, but gluey, gummy, sticky! I have never, ever had a top coat – or any polish at all come to think of it – perform so poorly.

To summarize, the Revlon Parfumerie polish looked great and applied beautifully. The scent would be an acquired taste. Worth noting, I could still smell the China Flower under the (awful) top coat. The Nicole Top Coat Plus is officially the worst product I have ever put on my nails. The only thing I could see this being useful for is as a simple clear coat on bare nails, it seems to dry fine and not bubble up or be sticky in that application. The Nicole Top Coat Plus was so bad, I’m resurrecting my bad review haiku ritual for it.

 

Dozens of bubbles.

Why does this polish hate me?

My nails are now glue.

NOPE.

NOPE.

Bath & Body Works Peach & Honey Almond Fine Fragrance Mist Review!

Bath & Body Works Peach & Honey Almond FIne Fragrance Mist

Bath & Body Works Peach & Honey Almond FIne Fragrance Mist

When I was last at Bath & Body Works picking up the Sunset by the Pool which I enjoy very much (so it’s probably already discontinued) they gave me a coupon for $10 off with a card that told me of a new line launch, Artisanal Fragrances. The line includes Lemon Pomegranate Cream, Apple Blossom & Lavender, and the one I really wanted, Peach & Honey Almond, knowing that I love each and every one of the notes in the fragrance’s name.

The other offerings in the line didn’t quite grab me, although the Lemon Pomegranate Cream was quite refreshing and would probably be an awesome shower gel. Although the Peach & Honey Almond wasn’t exactly what I was expecting/hoping for, it is still quite lovely. I was really hoping for something more peachy, as I am on my never ending quest to find the perfect peach fragrance (so far Summer by the Pool is in first place). From Bath & Body Works, the notes in this fragrance are presented as follows!

 

Top Notes:

Juicy Peach, Flowering Quince, Zesty Clementine

Peach & Honey Almond Top Notes

Peach & Honey Almond Top Notes

 

Middle Notes:

Mimosa Flower, Apple Blossom, Blackberry Leaf, Almond

Peach & Honey Almond Middle Notes

Peach & Honey Almond Middle Notes

 

Base Notes:

Whipped Meringue, Caramel Vanilla, Tonka Bean, Creamy Golden Honey

Peach & Honey Almond Base Notes

Peach & Honey Almond Base Notes

Delicious sounding notes! After wearing this for a moment I realized it reminded me very much of another fragrance I like. Bath & Body Works Peach & Honey Almond is like Burberry Brit Light. I checked, and they have some notes in common: citrus, sugar (honey), tonka bean, vanilla, and most of all almond, that make them seem somewhat alike. This works out well for me as Although I love Burberry Brit in cold weather, it is far too heavy and cloying for a humid summer day. Peach & Honey Almond is a perfect ultra lightweight substitute!

I would also describe this fragrance as sweet, smooth, and a bit fuzzy. This is neither an in your face fruity nor floral. It’s a bit more gourmand. They honey/almond/tonka bean dry down adds the warmth and coziness of a musk without the pungency, which is nice. I can’t say as I pick up a heck of a lot of peach in this, but I am certainly not disappointed in it. I think this would wear well even in winter. Hope they keep it around a while!

I didn’t grab the other forms of Peach & Honey Almond as I kept this purchase very minimal (just enough to use the coupon), but there was a lotion, bar soap, a body scrub and shower gel for each of the new fragrances. I’m sure the fragrance would translate nicely to them, the lotion especially. If I find them on a great sale I might pick them up. Perhaps the Lemon Pomegranate one in shower gel form as I liked how refreshing it was.

Has anyone tried these out yet?

Enjoy your weekend!

Bath & Body Works Sunset By The Pool Fragrance Line Review!

Bath & Body Works Sunset by the Pool

Bath & Body Works Sunset by the Pool

It’s exceptionally rare that I am near a Bath & Body Works at all, let alone in one when they are having a crazy good sale on their new stuff! They happened to have their entire new summer line on for $5 apiece, so I made an exception (I’m trying to be on a body care buying break) and picked some up. Considering a full set of the large sizes of the fine fragrance mist (236ml/8oz), shower gel (295ml/10oz) and body lotion (236ml/8oz) would be $15 combined, it was well worth it. From their website, regular prices in Canada are $14 for the fine fragrance mist, $12.50 for the shower gel and $12.50 for the body lotion at the time of this post.

The new summer line (that I could find here) includes Cool Coconut Surf, Hello Sunshine, Peace, Love & Daisies, and Sweet Summer Kiss. I found it hard to get a good sniff of any of them with so so many nice smelling products interfering. I gave up on trying to figure out if I liked them by smell and looked for what the fragrance’s notes were as a jumping off point. I almost went with Hello Sunshine, when I picked up a bottle of Sunset by the Pool and read the notes: White Peach, Exotic Passionfruit and Sun-Warmed Woods. A quick perfunctory sniff assured me it smelled okay. As I have been looking for a more than single note peach based scent for a long time, I decided to grab this one.

When I got home, I decided to look up the notes. Their website shows two different sets of notes! The “Key Fragrance Notes” are still listed as a sun-ripe blend of white peach, exotic passionfruit & sun-warmed woods. But then there was a different breakdown when it came to the top, middle and basenotes, as follows:

  • Top Notes: Fuzzy Apricot, Sparkling Bergamot, Juicy Grapefruit
Top Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Top Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

  • Middle Notes: Lily Of The Valley, Mirabel Plum, Blood Orange, Apple Blossom
Middle Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Middle Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

  • Base Notes: Sun Warmed Woods, Madagascar Vanilla
Base Notes of Sunset by the Pool

Base Notes of Sunset by the Pool

 

What’s not listed here:

WHERE'S MY PEACHES?!

WHERE’S MY PEACHES?!

As you can see, no peach! Although I suppose apricot is close. Now to me, at first spray this fragrance hits me with pineapple! Not even in the notes! Along with the pineapple is a huge, juicy amount of blood orange. I love blood orange, and all citrus really, so I’m okay with this part too. The super juicy part does last for a good while, longer than I expected. Once it settles, it mellows out to a barely perceptible vanilla wood smell. You would have to really be looking for the vanilla to find it here. It works as a nice smooth base for the rest of the notes. What I mostly get out of this for the majority of the fragrance is a chewy, possibly dried, plummy apricot. This is sweet, but it is more the sweetness of fresh, ripened fruit rather than sugar. Delicious.

Label shows a peach and a hibiscus – there’s no peach nor hibiscus in this. It’s still delicious though!

Sunset by the Pool Label

Sunset by the Pool Label

The fragrance doesn’t last very long, maybe a couple of hours to my own nose, although I’m sure others would still be able to smell it faintly. As it’s a body spray, and not a strong scent to begin with, I wasn’t really expecting huge lasting power. It’s good enough for what it is!

As for the lotion, it’s a decent formula. It absorbs well and smells true to the fragrance, although it does reach the smooth dry down sooner than the spray. I generally prefer my lotions to be more emollient (I don’t know why my skin just soaks them up, it’s not that dry) but it’s good enough for light moisture. The formula boasts shea butter, vitamin E and aloe according to the label. Click for larger pictures.

Sunset by the Pool Lotion Label

Sunset by the Pool Lotion Label

The shower gel is as juicy as the fragrance and also performs well. Most shower gels I can’t use for more than a couple days in a row without my skin starting to hate it but this one seems fine so far! The shower gel also contains shea butter, vitamin E and aloe. The label below.

Sunset by the Pool Shower Gel Label

Sunset by the Pool Shower Gel Label

Overall I really like this, especially at the price I found it! I also like to layer it with another summer fragrance I have, which will also be reviewed at a later time. If you’re looking for a juicy, apricoty summer treat, give this a try. If you are looking for something truly peach, keep looking (I will). This will hold the place until I find something really peachy!

Have a great weekend, maybe even by the pool!

Tocca Florence Hand Cream & Fragrance Duo Review!

Tocca Florence

Tocca Florence

Up first for review from my Sephora prize/haul is this cute hand cream and fragrance rollerball travel set from Tocca. It includes a small (but not tiny) 60ml/2oz tube of hand cream and a mini rollerball fragrance which is 7ml/0.24oz.

Tocca Florence is elegantly described on Tocca’s website as “A Parisian beauty and sophisticate, Florence conjures memories of old-world Paris.”

Tocca Florence

Tocca Florence

Top Notes: Italian Bergamot, Grapefruit Leaves, Green Pear, Apple

Middle Notes: Ivory Gardenia, Crushed Violet Petals, Jasmine, Tuberose, Blue Iris

Bottom Notes: Blonde Wood, White Musk

Tocca Florence Rollerball and Cream

Tocca Florence Rollerball and Cream

Tocca Florence is a white floral that opens up green, likely due to the bergamot, and then after a few minutes opens up into an opulent gardenia scent. I can occasionally catch hints of the other fruit and florals, but they are light and fleeting as that gardenia sure does stomp it’s ladylike, well dressed foot all over the rest of the notes, save for a sniff of fuzzy violet leaves at the very end. After the gardenia shines through at it’s full force, it stays fairly linear. I would recommend a sample first if you are interested in this as it is very distinct and might not be for everyone. It would be gorgeous for the right person. Gardenia lovers only!

Tocca Florence Package Back

Tocca Florence Package Back

The hand cream’s fragrance stays true to the perfume itself. The size is perfect for a purse or desk drawer, and the formula is lovely and very soft and moisturizing, likely as its full of shea butter and coconut oil.

Although this one is nice, it wasn’t quite right for me and will be going back as I expect to be near a store this weekend and the package slip says I can return in any Canadian or US store, but with their track record I won’t get my hopes up. I do wish they had this travel set in other fragrance selections, as they have so many and some sound delectable!

Tocca_Florence_Box_Open

Nice sentiment 🙂

I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for the prize!

Sephora Order/Prize Opening! (and a word of caution)

Sephora_Order_BoxLast month I was the lucky prize winner of a giveaway from the wonderfully generous Rebecca at lastcontrast! The prize was a $50 US gift certificate for Sephora which I gladly put towards this order. I am relieved I was able to use it for this order, as Sephora sure did give me a hard time about it. If you want to get straight to the goods, please skip ahead to the picture below. If you want to be aware of the behaviour of companies you may be buying from and are selective about where your beauty products are sourced, please read on.

I had a write up ready to go regarding their refusal to honor this gift certificate as I was in Canada. I will summarize here. I had it from them in writing that they were keeping the cash for it and not providing any goods or refund to the original buyer. Obviously, this refusal to provide a solution was completely unacceptable.  Over the course of my numerous carefully worded, polite emails, I did the work for them with suggestions and workarounds (six in total) that I know companies should be capable of from my 20 years in customer service myself. I begged for my concerns to be brought to management (on multiple occasions) or at least to someone with the authority to assist me. All I got in response were canned answers from whoever had the misfortune of getting to reply to my email, and by their replies I could tell no one was reading my concerns. As I had given up, and they clearly didn’t even bother trying to actually assist me, I allowed myself to be upset. I sent them an email stating as such and that my write up regarding their blatant refusal to assist after taking someone’s cash would be made available to them via links on any social media I could find including my blog and their Facebook pages for public review.

And what do you know. Unexpectedly, I got a call. A CALL, and they left me a message. Not an email. Someone, only after my upset email, decided to help me. Evidently they decided to honor my gift certificate as a refund to my card after my order had shipped (presumably so I couldn’t back out at that point). This workaround was similar to one of my suggested solutions. Incidentally, I’m still waiting for this refund but they swear it’s gone through on their end. I’ll believe it when I see it, and if I don’t I will issue a chargeback, as I do have it (in writing again) that they were to apply said refund. I am disappointed that my polite calls and emails were brushed off and ignored, but the snarky, upset one that promised to share their willingness to swindle customers with the public got their attention. I think it says a lot about the difference between Canadian and US culture. The only thing that kept them from blatant theft was the threat of me telling everyone about it. Keep that in mind when you’re dealing with Sephora in the future, if you’re particular about where your beauty dollars are spent.

 

ON TO THE GOODIES!

Sephora_Order_Numbered

 

I will quickly go over the haul as numbered. I will do more thorough reviews as the products are used, would be far too much to go into here!

1) Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette – the reason I placed the order in the first place. I have wanted this for a very long time but wouldn’t ever allow myself to spend that ($64 Can) on a beauty product. The gift card prize was the only way this could have ever happened. I haven’t used them all yet but so far “Pistol” is my favourite! This no longer comes with a lip gloss, which is a pity.

2) Tocca Florence Travel Fragrance Duo – contains a hand creme and a roller ball fragrance. A light fresh white floral that leans green.

3) Smashbox Full Exposure Eye Shadow Sample – 10 shades, 5 shimmer, 5 matte. Single use sample portions.

4) Sephora’s Niche Fragrance Sampler – includes Maison Martin Beach Walk, Tocca Simone, Tokyo Milk Dark Tainted Love,  Nest Midnight Fleur, Clean Skin, and Atelier Orange Sanguine (the topmost left in the waxed paper wrap there is a post card and a sample vial. Most beautifully presented sampler I have ever seen.) There is also a Juicy Couture La La sample but this was not included with the niche sampler, but for this list purpose, and for my later review they will be grouped together.

5) Tarte Flush Cheek Stain – a deluxe sample, from redeemed points Sephora gave me for my “inconvenience” while they were still declining to honor the gift certificate. An impressive amount for a sample. This could last for a few weeks worth of daily uses at least!

6) Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Medium/Deep matte bronzer. Smells of chocolate, lovely. Also a points redemption as above. Also an impressive amount for a sample, this is the size of a large single pan eye shadow.

7) Make Up For Ever HD Powder sample – a tiny amount of powder on a card.

8) Urban Decay Primer Potion samples (x2 as one was with the palette) – 4 different types of their Primer Potion line, says there is to be a weeks worth of each within the packet. I’m particularly interested in the “anti-aging” one as I’d not heard of it before. I’m still not completely sold on the idea of needing one product to make another work as it should without assistance.

9) Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet – another points redemption as a deluxe sized sample. I admit to liking this far more than I thought I would. It’s simple but lovely.

10) Make Up For Ever “Happy Birthday” deluxe sample pack – contains a mini lipstick in N9 and a mini mascara in Smoky Extravagant. Added this to my order as it was available for free as my birthday is this month.

I would like to once again thank Rebecca at lastcontrast for her generous prize. I would have never had the opportunity to try these high end products otherwise. The out of pocket expense for the large list above was only $25 Canadian (I had to make it $75 for the free shipping as I’d rather the amount go towards product than ship costs)! Pretty good haul I think! 🙂

There was something missing from this order. I had selected that it be accompanied with the magnetic closure Sephora “gift box”, I was looking forward to using it for more attractive photographic purposes for this and all upcoming blog posts regarding the contents of this order. I sent them off another email to ask them about it. I found my order confirmation email where the words “gift box” were right there in black and white for their easy reference, and used it for my reply. I got an email back, immediately. They had the nerve to state that I had not included it on my order. Yes, even though it was stated right there. On the same page. On the order confirmation. Just a few inches down. I replied to them stating the obvious, that it is right there on the same page, but I don’t expect a reply at this point. I don’t understand why they didn’t send it, would have been a ton of free advertising as it would have been used in many of the photos for each of the upcoming reviews on all these products. What a missed opportunity for them, shame! EDIT: they sent back another email (was even from the same rep) saying they added 25 points to my account. Seeing as you need at least 100 to get anything I don’t know how this is satisfactory, but again the loss is really theirs – me as a customer and the free advertising they would have received.)

Although I will thoroughly enjoy using and trying out these products, and I am more than grateful for the prize, I am not sure I would ever order from Sephora again. They refuse to let their e-gift certificates to be used in Canada (why? That’s a huge market they’re just shutting out!) and their customer service is at best farcical and at worst dismissive and grossly incompetent. In the future, if I find the need for a high end beauty product, I will see if it is available from *any* other Canadian retailer first, such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Murale, London Drugs, any department store or even order directly from the product’s company website if need be. I don’t think I would ever put myself through ordering online with Sephora again. I am not close enough to a brick and mortar Sephora store for it to be much of a concern as to whether or not I’d go in to buy there.

EDIT: Unbelievably, I have even more disastrous service stories regarding this same order, they failed to refund me as promised and refused to explain why! Full story at the bottom of the post, here.

I did a quick search and there are some seriously horrifying Sephora customer service stories out there! Anyone else have one? I’d be interested to hear it! Also if anyone has any favourite looks with the Naked 2 palette they would like to share I’d be very interested in that as well!

 

Enjoy your week!

Simple & Summery Fragrances from Pacifica

Pacifica Roll_on Fragrances

Pacifica Roll-On Fragrances

As soon as June hits, as far as I’m concerned, it’s summer here! I like to cycle my fragrances by season. Some of them seem a little flat during my Canadian winter, and others don’t seem right unless the sun is out, and it is a selection of those I am sharing today!

I’ve had these Pacifica mini roll-ons for a few years now, and every summer I crave them as soon as warmer weather hits. Although I’m not overly familiar with the brand (hard to find in Canada), what I can gather from the small collection of scents I do have is that they excel at picking a few complementary notes and really showcasing them in a very fresh, fruity, authentic way. The fragrances are delicate and not exactly long lasting, but are inexpensive so you don’t have to feel bad about reapplying. I would think most of them would be suitable for mix and match layering as well!

 

Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit

Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit

Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit

Notes for Pacifica Brazilian Mango Grapefruit are listed as grapefruit, mango, peach, apricot and pineapple. Warm and juicy. To my nose the peach stands out more then the mango, but I really like peach so I’m probably just looking for it. The citrus of the grapefruit is definitely present but is subtle rather than sour or overbearing. A veritable, wearable tropical fruit salad, good enough to eat.

 

Pacifica Malibu Lemon  Blossom

Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom

Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom

Pacifica Malibu Lemon Blossom truly smells like summer to me. It reminds me of beaches and a sunscreen I had when I was younger. Notes are listed as lemon blossom, angels trumpet, herbal notes, sea notes, and something called litsea cubeba which is a shrub whose fruit is processed for lemony essential oil used in fragrances and flavourings. The lemon is more a lemon candy than a lemon cleanser, light and fresh, a little bit soapy with no acidity. Definitely a mood lifter. If you layered this with a vanilla scent you’d smell like a pastry picnic on the beach!

 

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange

Pacifica Tuscan Blood Orange is my favourite of these three. It has a blend of orange and strawberry that I like so much in the top notes of SJP NYC, which is also a favourite for the same reason. Notes are listed in full as strawberry, raspberry, blood orange, mandarin orange and sweet orange. Smells more of a sweet orange punch cocktail rather than plain orange juice, bright, zesty and refreshing. No floral notes are listed but I swear I smell something flowery hidden well under the fruit, something delicate, maybe honeysuckle?

For those who are interested, Pacifica products are 100% vegan, and also cruelty free, and all are marketed as unisex. The roll-ons are 10mls/0.33oz. I got them all from well.ca a few years back. Ingredients are listed as natural grain alcohol, parfum (a bend of natural and essential oils) and aqua. The package states a portion of proceeds support clean water, but I can’t find any information on where or how.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

May Empties and Samples Review (My First Ever!)

May Empties!

May Empties!

My first empties post! I really like reading these types as they almost always come along with a quick review of a product after it’s been used long enough to go empty, making it (presumably) a more thorough and fair assessment. By the time you finish a product, you’ve got to have something to say about it. Some of these are brand new to me, and some I’ve been using for a while.

I’ve numbered them 1-8 in the photo below for a quick write up about each.

May_Empties_Numbered

1) Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation 100 Ivory.
This is a product that I’ve been really wanting to try for a while, as I keep seeing such rave reviews. I was lucky in that the sample shade matched me well, and I really liked the texture. The coverage was also pretty good. My only concern was that it seemed a bit thick, cakey on some areas when applied with fingers, even when blended out. As I didn’t have enough product sample to try out different application techniques, I might try this out some time in the future with a damp/dry sponge/brush  etc to see what might work better for the formula. If this foundation contained sunscreen, I’d buy it again on the merit of that and the texture/coverage alone and learn to make it work for me regardless. But it doesn’t contain sunscreen. As it stands right now I’m a bit on the fence about this one. I prefer Rimmel Lasting Finish at the moment.

2) St. Ives Green Tea Cleanser

Initially, I really liked this cleanser. It has a very light green tea scent, has the surfactant my skin agrees with most (sodium laureth sulfate), has salicylic acid and even some green tea extract. It removed makeup well. Unfortunately, I noticed that my skin seemed to get oilier faster after using this product, so I decided to find out why. Turns out this product contains a menthol derivative (menthyl lactate) which can cause mild irritation and subsequent excess oil production. It’s a real shame they added that, this would have had holy grail beauty product status for me (tough accolade to obtain) and at $3.50, twice as sad.

3) Neutrogena Oil Free Acne Stress Control 3 in 1 Hydrating Acne Treatment

This is a 2% salicylic acid treatment, and as that, it performs well. I’ve been using this for a few years now actually, and my skin is smoother. The bottle doesn’t clearly say what the 3 in 1 effect is, it might be on the box which I don’t have handy. I wouldn’t really say this is moisturizing as it is in a silicone base and dries to a silky finish (think something like a thinner, watery version of the Smashbox primer type texture). As for stress control, well I wish stress control was as easy as a skin treatment. What this product is in fact really good at is helping speed up healing and minimize redness. Apparently this is discontinued in the US. It is still available in Canada, and I’m grateful for it as there is no other afordable, widely available within Canada irritant free salicylic acid treatment. The US has another option made by Clean & Clear but I can’t find it anywhere in Canada. If Neutrogena discontinues this in Canada I’m not sure what I’ll do! I will buy this as long as they make it. If they stop making it, I may have to rethink my love of Neutrogena.

4) Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti Wrinkle Cream

This one’s not quite empty yet but close enough to add here as I’m getting to the last dregs and I’d probably throw it out before my next empty post. I did a very thorough review on this one you can find here. I will buy this one as long as Neutrogena makes it as well.

5) Aussie You Can Shine Shampoo

Had a lovely super fresh citrusy orange scent. I suppose my hair was shiny, clean. I did like it. I might buy it again if it’s on a fantastic sale. I have a lot of shampoos to get through right now though, and although this performed well it wasn’t magical, it was shampoo, so this wouldn’t be an immediate rebuy. Only concern, it’s second surfactant is sodium lauryl sulfate, which is considerably more of an irritant risk than sodium laureth sulfate (it’s first surfactant). Although it doesn’t bother me, it does bother some people, so I thought it would be worth mentioning.

6) Aussie Moist Conditioner

A somewhat iconic, well known conditioner. I liked it. Has a nice tropical coconuty scent. It performed well, as I do like a richer conditioner. My only concern is I’m suspicious it might have made my skin break out. Looking at the ingredients the only thing I think that may have done that is the jojoba oil. I guess I will know within a few weeks if it were this conditioner or not. I’d rebuy on the same stipulations as the shampoo counterpart above, on a great sale.

7) Vaseline Cocoa Butter Lip Therapy

As you can tell by the well worn label, this was with me and used often. I’m the type who always needs something on their lips. I won’t use the lip balm types that have menthol, camphor, or other irritants as I find they are the ones that cause the “addictive” rebound lip balm effect. This is basically just Vaseline in a smaller container, and I already like Vaseline for a lip protectant. Yes, I’d absolutely rebuy, but I’ve already refilled this small container with the same Vaseline Cocoa Butter scent from a larger container so there’s no need to.

8) Comptoir Sud Pacifique Vanille Abricot from Sephora

Up last we have the end of a sample of Vanille Abricot. It was nice, a bit sugary for me. The sweetness was of an intense icing sugar variety. The apricot and other fruits (papaya and jackfruit) kept it tropical and warm. I liked it, but I didn’t $85 like it. Too bad I can’t find the Vanille Almande at all, now that might be worthwhile. If I ever did buy this, it would not be at full price and it most certainly would not be from a Sephora. Or anything else from a Sephora. At the moment I’m currently battling with them to get them to honor a new, perfectly valid $50 e-giftcard awarded to me as a prize, and so far (4 phone calls and countless emails later) they are refusing to assist me, provide any goods, or provide a refund to anyone (myself or the gifter) because I am in Canada (yes, we do have Sephora here). Essentially, they have the money paid for the gift card and are not interested in assisting me beyond that point and I do have this in writing from their most recent email.  I offered a set of six perfectly reasonable, fair solutions in a politely, carefully worded email. All were declined. I am awaiting final confirmation that they will keep the cash and refuse to provide goods or refund before I make my public write up to share on my blog, their Facebook, Twitter, and any other social media I find to be relevant to the subject. I will not purchase anything from a Sephora until this is resolved satisfactorily. I will, however, continue going in for free samples, at least until I feel I’ve received about $50 USD worth. Seems fair don’t you think?

Sorry to leave my empties post on that note, but there was no way I was going to say the word Sephora without saying what was on my mind. There will be a full write up soon on what happens. Up until today I was giving Sephora the benefit of the doubt as a large, well known company to do the right thing customer service wise and so far I’ve been greatly disappointed. Still hoping for the best as I would greatly prefer to report on a positive experience. 🙂

EDIT: Please see my new post about the products (good) and service (highly questionable) from Sephora. As this post of mine is popular, I would like to use it to help word get out. https://katezillablog.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/sephora-orderprize-opening-and-a-word-of-caution/

Moving on, has anyone tried any of these products? And if so, what did you think?

Have a great weekend!

 

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