Review: China Glaze Peonies & Park Ave City Flourish Nail Lacquer Collection

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Peonies & Park Ave
Lotus Down

Spring in My Step
At Vase Value

I have way too many nail polishes but when I saw this China Glaze collection being sold at Costco for only $20, I definitely had to get it. It was such a fantastic deal that was impossible to resist! I purchased this set of nail polishes around a month ago and I wanted to try them all before I gave my review. Above are swatches of some of the polish in the collection.

Who can use it?
All girls! And I guess boys who like having some colour on their nails?

What is it?
They're just typical nail polishes/lacquers. They do have hardeners in them as well.

When do I use it?
Anytime! Since the colours in this set are more bright and pastel-like, I like to use these particular ones moreso in the spring and summer (but that's my own preference).

How do I use it?
I get lazy and I just paint my nails without using a base coat or top coat. However, the best way to ensure that the polish is lasting and chip-resistant in addition to protecting your nails would be to use a base coat and top coat with the colour polish.

How much is it?
An individual China Glaze polish can retail approximately $5 (some places lower in price, some other places higher). I got this entire collection for only $20! Definitely try and purchase nail polishes from a beauty outlet or warehouse rather than at a regular drugstore because it costs a lot cheaper!

My thoughts?
I was bittersweet about these polishes. I really liked the colours of the polishes in this set, they're beautiful for the spring with the pastel colours and it looks great in the summer with the brighter colours as well. The polish dries quickly and the colour doesn't fade with wear. However, I found that these polishes (perhaps China Glaze as a brand) tend to chip very easily, even when I do have a base and top coat on. I would find little chips by the second or third day which is disappointing. Other nail polish brands that I've worn don't even chip as easily as these ones. If you're someone who doesn't mind touching up their nails whenever they chip then it's not too big of a problem (I, on the other hand, am one who doesn't usually retouch).

Maybe China Glaze and I just don't get along. China Glaze users, did you have the same experience as I did?

Until next time, Des

Life Moments: Tough Mudder

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tough Mudder. Hosted on 3 continents. Held in the same weekend. A 16 km obstacle course. 

Never would I have thought that I would be able to complete it, but I did. You're running up and back down double black diamond hills (since the course was held at a ski resort), trekking through thick slippery mud, getting electric shocked, dunking yourself in ice water, jumping off a 12 feet high wall... it really is a test of your stamina, strength, and mental grit. However, it was so rewarding to see that my team started and finished together. Team camaderie definitely plays a big role in completing this crazy-ass event! Cramps and blisters held us back but we didn't let that stop us! I'm so proud to have been a part of this group (Mudkip and Friends!) 

The obstacles on this year's Tough Mudder Toronto 2014 course were:

Glory Blades- Getting up and over 2.5m high walls slanted towards you.

Mud Mile- Running a mile over slippery, slimy mud hills and through waist-deep mud pits.

Just The Tip- Scaling sideways along a bare wall using only your grip and finger strength across multiple long hand-holds, if you can't make it you fall into mud water.

Devil's Beard- Crawl under a heavy rope net along the muddy ground. 

Arctic Enema- Jump into a pit of freezing ice water and submerge yourself to swim under a plank to get to the other side. 

Bale Bonds- Parkour over several big bales of hay.

Warrior Carry- Carry someone for 5 m and then switch for the next 5 m.

Berlin Walls- Climb up and over a set of 3m high walls.

Walk The Plank- Jump off a 12 feet high wall into a muddy water pit and swim 40 feet to get back on land.

Ladder To Hell- Climb up and back down an oversized, 5 m high ladder with widely separated rungs. 

Everest- Sprint up a quarter-pipe coated with mud and grease and make it to the top. 

Balls To The Walls- Scale up a wall 3.5 m high using only a muddy rope, doing the same going down the other side.

Funky Monkey- Monkey bars greased with mud that go up a steep incline for the first half and descend downwards for the second half, if you can't make it you fall into some muddy water. 

Kiss of Mud- Crawl commando-style under barbed wire on your belly in thick, goopy mud. 

Electroshock Therapy- Run through a field of live electric wires. 

We were rewarded with some good tastin' beer, a (cold) shower to rinse off the grime and mud (that got to places you never thought mud could get to), the classic orange headband and an Under Armour shirt that tells the world you are a Tough Mudder finisher. 

Worth it? Oh yea for sure, even with the muscle soreness and cramps that lasted several days after. This is now checked off on my bucket list. 

Are you tough enough to be a Tough Mudder? (This picture doesn't properly represent how tough you should be haha)

Until next time, Des

OOTD- Some Coral To Brighten Your Day ( + Bonus OOTD!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Many work clothes tend to fall into the monochromatic spectrum of blacks, whites, greys, and the occasional blues. Why not make a statement with your work outfit by adding a pop of coral?

Blazer: RW&Co.
White V-neck top: American Eagle
Black jeans: Old Navy
Flats: Target
Purse: Tommy Hilfiger

The coral blazer makes your outfit so much more exciting on a normal (maybe boring) work day. 

As a bonus, here is a work OOTD from Charmaine! She's totally repping the classic work look. 

Oxford: Ralph Lauren Kids
Skirt: Costa Blanca
Flats: Forever 21
Tote: Longchamp 

What is your favourite work outfit? I would love to see!

Until next time, Des

P.S. Photo creds to Charmaine for taking the pics of me!

Life Moments: Balsam Lake Cottage Trip

Friday, August 15, 2014

I had an amazing weekend with my McMaster family at the cottage. It was my very first time staying at a cottage... it was basically a giant slumber party with my closest school friends. Balsam Lake was beautiful. I couldn't have asked for a better grad trip with these hooligans. :)

It's a unique getaway, definitely different from the usual backpacking trips or going to an exotic resort. I enjoyed being away from the hustle and bustle of the city and life back home. There were great times at the beach, on the dock, walking around the local town, attempting to fish, stargazing, sitting around a campfire and making s'mores, boardgames, cooking meals , sharing life... a whole bunch of stuff that you usually don't get to do with everyone together as a big group. 

To The Famo, thank you for all the moments and memories created. Not just from this trip, but since first year when we all met one another. Here's to many more years of craziness to come!

What did you do and where did you go for your grad trip?

Until next time, Des

P.S. Photo creds to Tiffany T., Rosemary L., Lowell K., Wesley T., Derek T., and Christine W. for your beautiful contributions to this photo diary!

Empties No.2

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I realize that it takes me a while for me to finish products so the new trend will be three empty products with reviews for each every month. A nice and short post for you to read through. :)

Nature Garden Peach Smoothing Mask

Here comes another face mask review! It's likely that there'll be a face mask in almost every empties post because I love using them so much. It's so soothing on the face! This sheet mask has a subtle but crisp peach scent. It smells like real peaches, not like the artificial, sugary peach smell that we sometimes get from other products. I didn't see much of a difference in terms of smoothness after using it (the effects are probably more visible after multiple uses of the same mask) but my skin did feel refreshed. I have several more different Nature Garden masks to try out so I'm excited for those. You'll probably see them in future Empties post.

Essence Stay All Day Concealer

This was one of the first under eye concealers I ever used and it was good for a concealer that only cost around $3! It had a great brightening effect that was able to cancel out my dark under eye circles. It says that it can last 16 hours which I feel like it did for the most part. If I put it on in the morning it would usually last till the late afternoon before the concealer has somehow come off and retouching is needed. The longevity of the concealer is improved if I lightly powder my under eye area after applying it. Unfortunately this particular concealer is now discontinued but Essence does have other concealers that may work for your different needs.

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch Sunscreen

This sunscreen does its job well. It dries quickly after I smother it all over my skin and it has the typical but not super strong sunscreen-y scent. I have tried using this on my face and it doesn't break me out (I personally feel more comfortable using a sunscreen that's meant for the face than using this one). I noticed that after the sunscreen dries it leaves a hint of shimmer on your skin which gives my skin a nice glow when I'm out in the sun. With an SPF of 55 I only need to reapply once if I'm out in the sun for an entire day. It's a good and affordable product for something that should be worn everyday in this hot, sunny weather.

What empty products have you finished recently?

Until next time, Des

Eye Post #4: Frames for You, Frames for Me

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nowadays we see so many people with glasses roaming the streets. Sometimes we glance at them and think "Wow, those frames look so good on them!", other times we may think "Oh my, those glasses just don't work on them." It all comes down to which frames look best on your face, and there is some technique in choosing the best look for you! Continue reading if you want to determine which style of frames look best with your face shape. :)

Square Face

A "square" face is characterized by a broad forehead with a strong, horizontal jaw that's very defined. The length and width of the face seems to be almost equal. 

YES: Frames that are more rounded or oval-like will give contrast to your sharp facial features. Frames that are bold, or dark in colour will help divert attention away from the strong facial features as well. 

Example: Jennifer Anniston 
Taken from:

NO: Frames that are geometric or square-shaped will hyper-accentuate your facial structure.  

Heart Face

A "heart" face is characterized by broad forehead that extends into a small chin. These people have high, angled cheekbones. 

YES: Frames that are rounded or oval-like can soften the look of sharp, angled cheekbones. Thin and light-coloured  frames will balance the softer look of the narrow chin. Try to find frames that are slightly wider than your forehead. You want to balance widths of your face. 

Example: Jennifer Garner
Taken from

NO: Frames that are thick at the top or heavily embellished/designed. You don't want to attract more attention to the top half of the face. 

Oval Face

I'm included in this category. An "oval" face is characterized by a lightly and evenly curved forehead and jaw. Length of face is longer than the width of face. Deep frames are very flattering. This is the most versatile face shape.

YES: Almost any style can work as long as it can give contrast and add a look of additional angles to the facial curves.

Example: Anne Hathaway
Taken from

NO: Oversized frames that overwhelm your facial features. 

Round Face

A "round" face is characterized by full, plump cheeks, wide forehead, and round chin that is not as defined. Length and width of face is near equal.  

YES: Geometric/rectangular frames can add some angles and definition to your face. Frames that are wider but not as deep are flattering. You don't want frames that are too deep such that it swallows up your face. 

Example: Mila Kunis
"You're absolutely insane," she said bluntly.  He winked at her, placed his hands behind his head, and leaned back in his chair.  "I know that."
Taken from

NO: Small, short or round frames will accentuate the curves and roundedness of your face. 

Diamond Face

A "diamond" face is characterized by a narrower forehead, wider cheekbones, and a narrower jawline. Very angular face. 

YES: Oval or rimless frames adds contrast and minimizes additional angular lines of the face. Glasses with strong brow lines can help accentuate other features of the face other than the face shape. A balance between angles and the enhancement of other facial features is what you want.

Example: Rihanna
Taken from

NO: Very narrow or thin glasses will hyper-accentuate the diamond shape of your face. You don't want to draw attention to your narrow eye line. 

Oblong Face

An "oblong face" is characterized by very long and narrow facial structure. May have a prominent forehead or prominent chin. Long cheek line. 

YES: Oversized frames with geometric or round lenses will work well with your face. 

Example: Kristen Stewart
Taken from

NO: Narrow, rectangular frames will make your face look longer than it actually is. 

Glasses are now more than just prescription eyewear to help with vision, but they're becoming more of a stylish accessory. Hope this helps you pick out your future glasses! 

Until next time, Des

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