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December 29, 2014

What can I do for YOU ?

Every year, we make resolutions for ourselves. This year, while I am making one for me, I'd also like to make one for you.

I'd like to do more of what you like to read about. Of course, it wont be purely what you want, but have more of that in.

What would you like to see more of in 2015 from Gemstone Beauty?
Looks
Reviews
Nails
Swatches
Empties
Other (please specify in comments)
Poll Maker
Please let me know!

December 28, 2014

Merry Christmas to All!

I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas! (sorry I'm late!)


Apparently I've been a good girl this year since I received a Clarisonic Mia 2! Needless to say, a review on that will be coming up in the future.

I also have quite a few items that I'll be reviewing in the New Year. As you can see, I received quite a few items in about a 3-4week span. Most of the items seen are from the Spark Sessions gift bag and a large prize that I recently won. There's a few items in there that were provided to me for review as well.  As always, I'll let you know what was sent to me for review and what was purchased or won, etc.


What did you get for Christmas?
Is there anything you'd like me to review?



December 18, 2014

The final week of Nail Art with Miranda

Hard to believe we started this 5 weeks ago. It really seems like yesterday Miranda & I were just chatting about it, getting our themes in place, and now, Christmas is next week.

 NEXT WEEK! Can you believe that?  I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around it myself.


Holiday Characters have been on my mind since the day we put this together. I was eager to get this one started!

I couldn't decide on just one, so I went with 4.You can wear them all together, or you can just do one of the characters as an accent nail, etc.

I really enjoyed doing this set. The Santa hat was a tutorial I found here.


 I tried to make Rudolph's nose look glowy by using red sparkly polish. I think it worked.






Go take a look at Miranda's nails!  Our Rudolph are almost identical! Except both of ours have eating disorders (mine's chubby and she thinks her's is a little anorexic ;)  )

From our family to yours, have a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and an amazing New Years!








December 11, 2014

Miranda & Sam's Nail Art Challenge: Week 4

One more week left! Where has time gone?

For this week, I knew I wanted something simple that you'd be able to wear with whatever you wanted.

I took the french manicure and wrapped it up!

Simple yet elegant, this was the perfect choice. You can easily use whatever colours you want. I went with the double accent nail since I couldn't make up my mind between green or purple.





Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of my tools. Since I recently won and received the Ceramic Glaze, I had to try them out!

- Sally Hansen in Gray-t Escape (beige/nude)
- Ceramic Glaze Ruby Bling (red)
- Ceramic Glaze O Holly Night (green)
- Ceramic Glaze Sugar Plum Sparkle (purple)
- Ceramic Glaze 24 Karats (gold)
- OPI Alpine Snow (white)
- Rhinestones
- a small brush

Now, unfortunately my cat also decided to step on the green nail while I was waiting for the top coat to dry. Ugh, cats!

Go take a look at Miranda's cute gradient sparkle gift wrapped nails. I love sparkly wrapping paper :)






I've already started the last set of nails and I cant wait to show them to you!


December 07, 2014

Holiday Nail Art Challenge Colab - Week 3

I'm a little late, sorry! It's been hectic these past few days, but I'm here.
This week's Christmas Decorations theme was a challenge. I really wasn't sure what to do. So while staring at my dinner table one day, it hit me. Blue & silver and balls!

November 30, 2014

Nivea's changing your Shower rouine



Growing up, I was never into moisturizing. It was too girly for me. As I got older, I started using them more frequently, but was annoyed that it would take a few minutes to absorb before I could feel comfortable enough to fully dress. Since then, I’ve only applied to my dry spots.

Like most people, I don’t have time anymore to wait around, so I’d skip on the moisturizer.



When I met with Nivea at Spark Sessions, they told me about their new In-Shower Body Milk. You apply it in the shower after you wash then you rinse it off, towel dry and you’re supposed to be left feeling smooth & moisturized, non-sticky and ready to get on with your day.

It’s supposed to save me time and leave me moisturized? This sounds too good to be true.

I was wrong. 

After I dried off, my skin felt great! I didn’t have to wait. I didn’t feel like there was a layer sitting on top of my skin. I was soft and moisturized. All. Day. Long.

I had received a full size bottle in my gift bag (from Spark Sessions) and two samples from Nivea as well. As much as I wanted to keep it all to myself, I had to share this shower changing product with some friends. 

The Nivea In-Shower Body Milk comes launches in January and is a serious must have for everyone who wants to feel smooth and save time.

November 27, 2014

Holiday Nail Art Collab: Week 2

This week's theme for the collaboration with Miranda is Holiday Treats.


I decided to go with my boyfriend's favorite treat, candy canes. I also included a cute sugar cookie star. While sugar cookies are not my favourite, they're so good and I look forward to them every year.

Tools of the art:

- OPI Alpine Snow
- essence Oh My Glitter
- Revlon Casino Lights
- Zoya Blu
- essence Pearls
- Dotting tool
- Stripping tape

The yellow & purple (with some white) formed the light brown for the sugar cookie and the dotting tool was used to apply the pearls.

I attempted to paint some candy cane stripes, but quickly learned that I suck at it, so I taped over it. If you look at the thumb, you can see a bit of red under the tape. Oh well.

I'm very adamant about cleaning my makeup brushes. This is my fav scent!

Make sure you check out Miranda's blog for more pictures of her nails!



November 23, 2014

Overview: Spark Sessions 2014

A week has gone by since Spark Sessions, and I'm still trying to organize everything and catch up on sleep!

For those of you who are not familiar with Spark Session, this is a Canadian blogger conference. The focus is more towards beauty and fashion bloggers, however the information that you take away can be applied to bloggers of all interest. November 15 & 16, 2014 marks the 2nd year for Spark Sessions. Looking at their sponsors, they have grown compared to their first year.

I learned about Spark Sessions last year, but it was already too late to buy tickets. I put myself on their email list and patiently waited until tickets for this year's event come for sale.
Some table-top decorations

The event included a small breakfast (croissants, yogurt) and a nice lunch each day, a variety of "Sessions" (workshops), speed networking, a sponsor fair and of course, if all that networking, socializing and learning wasn't enough, an amazing swag bag.

We had some special speakers, including Vanessa Craft (Elle Canada), Andrew Sardone (Globe Style Advisor) and Cheryl Hickey (ET Canada).

A wonderful selection of treats by The Purple Cupcake

Sessions included information about legal issues every blogger should know about, turning your passion for blogging into a full time job, how to build a relationship with the PR pros, how to put together a media kit, steps for doing a blog makeover and many more. There was a total of 10 workshops.

Day 2

As you can imagine, there was many note taking and picture taking. I have about 15 pages of notes and several photos of slides. Here's just a glance at some of the notes I took down:

- Don't be afraid to pitch the editors/PR. Find the actual name of the person that you're contacting. They're notorious for not replying to emails. They're busy. Just keep trying.
- Don't just "be better" than other bloggers. Be Different.
- Be yourself. It's better to be known for who you are, not what you do.
- Don't try to "buy" likes or followers. It's obvious. (ps - I'm sure most people know this. I hope).
- Don't be a loose canon online.Company A may have pissed you off, but they might be represented by company C who works with companies L, M, N,O & P. Your online rants, can cost you working with other companies.
- On Pinterest, don't cluster Pin. No more than maybe 3 pins at a time. More than that and people just get annoyed and everything goes unnoticed.

Me & my dear friend Beatrice from beatricetrang.com

Other than a minor issue with the washroom (by the end of day 1, all washroom were out of order. We arrived on day 2 to find port-a-potties outside.), I had a great time. I would highly recommend any new, novice and intermediate bloggers to join in the future. Even more advance bloggers can go home learning something new.

The Crowd Social booth. One of the sponsors

Another sponsor, Nicole by OPI. These are some of the newest shades coming soon


Another sponsor, Vitabath, showing their two new scents for the holidays. Both smell amazing!
Swag bag + a few items that I managed to pick up while visiting the sponsors.
Additional photos can be found on instagram! @Gemstone_Beauty

Check out Beatrice's posts from Day 1 & Day 2.

November 20, 2014

5 Week Holiday Nail Art Challenge with Miranda - Week 1




I've teamed up with the talented Miranda, of Miranda Loves, to bring you a 5 week holiday nail art challenge. It's the first time I've done a challenge like this, but I'm looking forward to seeing our weekly creations. You can expect a new nail art from each of us on Thursdays.

Do you feel like participating and showing us your interpretation of each category? Follow & tag us on instagram. You never know, we may showcase our favourites. @Gemstone_Beauty & @Mirandachan  (Beware! Cute puppy pictures on Miranda's!)

We put together our most festive categories and turned them into a weekly nail art challenge. The holidays just aren't the same without any one of these items. So with that, I bring you week 1.

Snowflakes/Snowfall. After yesterday's snow, this could not be a more fitting category. Being from northern Ontario, it's not Christmas unless there's snow. There was one year that we didn't have snow until a day or two before. That was almost scary!

There's a certain tranquility to watching the big fluffy snowflakes dance their way to their resting spot.Then the beauty of waking up to a winter wonderland, with the ground and trees almost sparkling. And of course, the snowmen when you got the sticky snow.

So that's my inspiration. Glistening fluffy snow and a snowman.


tools of the trade. Old makeup sponge for fluffy snow and Debora Lippman to add some sparkle to the snow



And just above is the reason why those nails are not on my hands. It's the first time I've done fake nails to put on top of my own (mine are currently short stubs with cracking cuticles). I thought I'd glue toothpicks to the back to better maneuver them while painting. Fail. Haha.

To go Miranda's blog to see more details about her nails.  Don't you just love the rhinestones?  I really need to step up my game for next week!


November 17, 2014

Collaborative Giveaway | Get Glam for the Holidays

There's something magical in the air this time of year. The snow falling and resting peacefully on the tree branches, the twinkling lights of Christmas decorations and just sitting by a fire with hot chocolate. It can also be a slightly crazy time of year. Malls are packed, stress of last minute holiday shopping and trying to put together that perfect outfit for your holiday party.



November 06, 2014

Recent Lack of Posts + pictures + upcoming events

I'm so sorry! I have many things piling up and I've fallen horribly behind and I feel like I've been neglecting you.

I hope you can forgive me.

You see, the past 3 weeks have been hectic. We have a new family member. A puppy.

October 24, 2014

Don't sweat it! Holiday season's a breeze with Perspirex

With Canadian Thanksgiving over and Halloween just a week away, the holiday is sneaking up on us faster than we know it.

It's the time of year when we have all these great, and sometimes awkward, holiday events with our colleagues, friends and family. Whether you wear a nice sweater and it's unexpectedly too warm or you wear a dress and you're suddenly sitting beside the guy you're crushing on, you want to avoid the embarrassing sweat marks.

October 08, 2014

Review & Swatches: Inglot Haul (Part 2)

So you've checked out my latest blush crush, learned about the Freedom System palettes, how to work them and now you want to see the good stuff: what goes in them!

If you haven't already, check out my experience at the Inglot Toronto store and my Haul Review Part One.

Lipsticks


October 04, 2014

Inglot haul review (Part One)

If you've read my previous post about my experience going into Inglot for the first time with a several lovely fellow beauty bloggers, then you can imagine how difficult it was to pick a starting point for this post!

Since I bought so many items, I thought it best to make this into a two posts. Read on to see what I purchased and some reviews. See part two here

What did I pick up?


September 30, 2014

Review: I Love ...

I wont lie, I feel a bit like a grade schooler, writing "I Love...", haha. But these products deserve the name I Love...

With scents like Strawberries & Creame, Lemons & Lime and Raspberry & Blackberry, there's a smell for everyone to fall in love with.


September 24, 2014

Makeup Tag!

So I was recently tagged by the lovely Miranda over at Miranda Loves. Go take a look at her answers. Here are mine:
 
1. What foundation do you use?

I usually just need a light coverage to even out my skin tone. Right now my favourite is Clinique Repairwear Laser Focus All-Smooth Makeup SPF15 in shade 1. Also testing out the Rimmel Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation in 100 Ivory and liking it so far.

2. How about concealer?

I don't use concealer very often. When I do, it's usually the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser, which is a little more of a brightener, or when really needed, MAC Pro Long wear.

3. What do you think of fake eyelashes? 

Never really into false lashes. They look great in high profile shots, but not an every day thing. I like the more natural one and will wear them once in a while for no reason (twice a year?)

4. What brand of mascara do you use?

I don't have any that I swear by right now. GOSH & Dior are probably my two favourite brands when it comes to mascara

5. Sephora or MAC?

Sephora! MAC just hasn't appealed to me

6. What make up tools do you use in application?

Brushes? Several Sephora and Quo brushes, a few Real Techniques and my beloved Real Techniques sponge. And can't forget an eyelash curler.

7. Do you use a makeup base/eyeshadow primer for the eyes?

  Eyeshadow primer is a MUST for me. Up until I found my HG primer (Urban Decay Potion Primer), I was not into makeup because shadow would crease like mad. I can sometimes get away without a foundation base/primer, but I find using one makes a difference.

8. What is your favourite eyeshadow/colour/shade?

  I tend to gravitate towards neutrals - browns, bronze, golds. They tend to compliment my blue eyes. However I do love playing with purples and greens to bring out a little more of the green in my eyes.

9. What do you think of pigment eye shadows?

  They can sometimes be tricky to use as they have a little more fall-out. That being said, once you know some tricks, they are awesome as they are usually "pure pigments" and therefore you get a better colour payoff. My trick: dip your brush into the pigment, then slightly push your brush onto the inner part of the container's lid to make sure your brush hold on. Lightly tap the excess, then gently push it onto your lid (do not sweep across to apply). After application is done, you can then lightly sweep to blend.

10. What is your favourite lipstick?

I'm going to have to go with Dior. They've never let me down. However Inglot might be fighting for that spot.

11. What is your favourite blusher to use?

Lancome Blush Subtil in Miel Glacé, NARS Orgasm and Inglot cream blush 82

12. Do you like drugstore makeup?

Mascara's yes, just about anything else, not really.

13. Name a makeup crime you hate?

This was a tough one. People who use the wrong shade of foundation (and don't even make an effort to blend!). People who do a full face, but do nothing with brows (some are blessed with perfect brows, but most are not). Lining your lips with a lip liner that's 5 times darker than the lipstick you're wearing. UGH!

14. Do you like colourful shades of makeup or neutral ones (lipstick, eye shadows, etc.)?

This varies day-to-day. For work, I tend to stay with neutrals, sometimes a pop of colour on the lips. Weekend, whatever I feel like!

15. If you could leave the house with just one makeup item what would it be?

Mascara.

16. Could you leave the house without any makeup on?

I've done it. I prefer to at least put on mascara though.

17. In your opinion what is the best makeup line?

There is no "best". There are some that are better than others in general, and some that are most definitely the "best" for a specific need. Best selection of eyeshadow colours? Make Up For Ever & Inglot.

18. What do you think of makeup?

  Makeup is my art. It's a form of self-expression. While some people hide behind makeup, feeling like they need it for one reason or another, it should be meant to enhance your natural beauty - not hide it. However, there are times when you just need to put on a full face to feel fabulous! 
 
Now.. I would like to tag: 
Ashley aka Romanian Butterfly
Jasmine of The Happy Sloths
 

September 19, 2014

Hot Now: Inglot Toronto

For makeup lovers across the world, Inglot is a must have in a kit. From beautiful neutrals to bold colours for both eyes and lips, Inglot offers a wide selection of products for eyes, lips, complexion, cheeks and nails.

Known for their Freedom System, each palette is customizable to whatever you would like, and with over 1500 shades to choose from, there is no shortage of options. The possibilities are endless!

The store, located at 19 Dundas Square (beside the Hard Rock Café, right across from the square) will be opening its doors to the public on Saturday, September 20 from 12 - 6pm.

September 16, 2014

Review: Covergirl's Bombshell Volume Mascara

Mascara is a must have item in every woman's arsenal of tools. For many, if you had to rush out of the house, mascara would be applied quickly or stashed away in the purse to be applied later. It can often bring tired looking eyes back to life. It's not something we're taught, we just know how to do it.

With so many different options out there (volumizing, lengthening, waterproof, etc), we're constantly trying something new, hoping to find that one mascara that'll give us lashes like in the commercials (ladies, they were falsies, don't believe the commercials!)

September 09, 2014

That HURT! : A tale of waxing, featuring Skin Envy

Fall may be just around the corner, but that's no reason to let legs to stubbly. While the weather has started to get a little cooler,  we start wearing tights under dresses or shorts however we still see some great summer days, loaded with short-shorts, dresses and everything in between. Perfectly smooth legs are a no-brainer when it comes to fashion! And even though you might be wearing tights, smooth legs are a must!

Many options are available to obtain smooth, hairless skin. Shaving, waxing, epilators, threading and laser are all methods commonly used today.

September 05, 2014

Amie Skincare Review (two new favorites!)

Award-winning UK based skincare line, Amie, has launched 8 of their best-selling products in Canada, exclusively at Shoppers Drugmart.

August 21, 2014

Boxx Cosmetic's Melina has a new sister!


Back in June, I was delighted to attend a small event hosted by Boxx Cosmetics for the second year running. We got the chance to test out some of their products (the eyeshadow in Sakura will be mine one day!) and chat with the staff, along with the owner and founder, Sandra, about the makeup and what's new.

August 13, 2014

Tutorial: How to depot Urban Decay eye shadows


A while back I showed you how to depot shadows from a Kat Von D and Lise Watier palette. Well, after way too long, I'll show you how to depot individual Urban Decay shadows - the old ones and the new ones. There are only two differences between doing the two, however one of the differences are a paint in the butt.

August 10, 2014

The best clean your face will ever have, without using harsh exfoliators!

We all have our own routines when it comes to prepping our face for the day or taking it all off at night before bed. Most remove makeup, clean and maybe use a toner, followed by an array of serums, creams and moisturizers. Perhaps a few times a week you'll use an exfoliating scrub on your face. No amount of regular cleansing feels as good or as clean as an exfoliator, but we know that it's a little too harsh to do everyday.

August 05, 2014

Review: Too Faced Bullet Proof Brows

Summer makeup is generally light and breathable. Something that can withstand the heat and humidity. With the recent weather we've been having here in southern Ontario, 30C feels like 40C with humidity (86F feels like 104F), I've been putting my makeup to the test.

There's been a few days where I've decided to go with the bare essentials - liner, mascara and brows. Doing my brows is something still fairly new to me since I have lots of them, however I've noticed the difference it makes and have added it to my routine. I started with a pencil, however really didn't like 1) the colour 2) how often I had to sharpen it 3) general application - it just didn't seem right. I'm weird, aware of that. 

After reading about several products online, I decided on the Too Faced Bulletproof Brows, which if you remember, I purchased as part of my birthday gifts to myself!

July 19, 2014

Ecotools Skin Perfecting Brush: A brush made for BB Creams

Warmer weather brings lighter makeup, and for me, that's using a nice, light BB cream instead of heavy foundations.

Typically, I'll apply a BB cream using my knock-off beauty blender from Winners. Simply wet the sponge until it swells up, squeeze the water out, apply BB cream dots to my face then dab/bounce the sponge to create an even, flawless finish.

Recently, I was sent a tool that's supposed to eliminate the first two steps of my not-so-long process. The Ecotools Skin Perfecting Brush.

June 26, 2014

Birthday Haul... Oh My!

As some of you know, it was my birthday last week and I decided to splurge a little on myself since I haven't in quite some time (over 4 months!)

So, here's everything I bought, received as presents and a few freebies. Anything that I received the week before, I counted as early birthday presents. Makes turning a year older that much more fun! haha.



June 21, 2014

June 15, 2014

There's a new liner brush in town: Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush

The perfect winged liner. It's what every girl wants. In order to master that perfect flick, the right tool are needed and the most important tool of all, is the brush.
We've all been there at some point.
Photo credit: unknown

I'm pretty good with my liner, but I'm still on the hunt for the perfect brush. Almost there. When I received the Real Techniques Silicone Liner Brush to review, I was hoping that this would be the end of my search.

May 31, 2014

Quick & Easy Manicure that's sure to imPRESS

Hello lovelies!

It's been so long, but let me tell you, I've had quite the adventure. Purchasing a house is no walk in the park. And don't even get me started on the issues I had with trying to get the internet going. If you follow me on Facebook, you'll know a little more about my frustrations.


April 30, 2014

essence Spring/Summer 2014

I'm a little behind since essence has already started releasing many of these new items, but some of these items are so great that I just have to share them with you!

**Warning!  Lots of pictures **

April 15, 2014

Nail Treatment Review

Oh! Hey there blog! Haven't forgotten about you, just been busy.

Busy is more like equal parts busy and lazy. Lazy from being stressed. Buying a house is no walk in the park. But, the good news, we get the house in just over two weeks! Time seems to have flown by.

So to keep myself from pulling all my hair out, I've been watching lots of Dexter (I only discovered around Christmas and I'm now at season 7), played and beat Lego Marvel Super Heroes with the bf (seriously addictingly fun game) and Pinterest. I think my "home" board went from maybe 30 pins, to 229. Check it out if you want some ideas - For the Home and feel free to follow any of my boards!

March 16, 2014

Reason for recent Lack of Posts...

I just wanted to take a quick minute to apologize for the lack of posts the past 2 weeks. We just bought our first house so things have been a little crazy with doing research and looking for lawyers and all that fun stuff!

I should be getting back on track this week, and I'll be sure to have some posts scheduled for when we do the move.

The house will slowly go through some small transformations. Is anyone interested in before/after or how-to's & tips?

*hugz*

-Sam

March 02, 2014

Why you should clean your makeup

You often hear about the importance of having clean makeup brushes. But what about your makeup? Sure you know that you shouldn't share your makeup and that the shelf life of mascara is 3 months and powders are typically about 2 years, but lets face it, we spend our hard earned money on makeup and we're going to keep it until it's completely finished! (certain products I strongly advise against doing this).

We clean our brushes for two reasons: to clean old product/colors off and to get rid of the bacteria that they collect so that we don't smear that bacteria all over our face and eyes and lips. But clean brushes mean nothing if your makeup is dirty and harboring bacteria.

February 19, 2014

Influenster #Mysterybrand VoxBox

I've been having mail issues the past few weeks, so after hunting down the post office that had my mail, I finally received a few packages, including my Mystery Brand VoxBox.

L'Oreal, who owns over 25 global beauty companies, has teamed up with Influenster to give us a sneak peak at their newest product line to help repair damaged hair. The catch? We don't know the brand!

February 17, 2014

Real Techniques Core Collection: Review

There was a time where you would browse forums or Facebook groups and everyone was talking about the Real Techniques brushes and how to get their hands on a set in Canada. It seemed like the only store that carried them were constantly sold out. I wanted to know what the fuss was about, but didn't have the patience to stalk the stocking people at the store. Needless to say, when I was given the opportunity to try these brushes, I jumped on it and I'm quite happy that I did!