Beauty: Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation Review

I recently received the new Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation, and I wasn't sure what to expect. So I really took my time to try it out, in order to give you the most accurate review possible.

The Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation is sold as a medium-to-full buildable coverage foundation formulated with a skin optimizing complex that improves skin texture, gives you 16-hour of wear with no fading and full-powered radiance, and fuses with your skin tone thanks to specialized pigments. Mind you, this foundation comes in a whooping 33 shades, so finding the right one for you shouldn't be an issue!

You may remember that while I absolutely loved (and still do) Nars' stick foundation, its lasting power isn't the best on my combination skin. I was that much more curious to put the longwear claims to the test with this one, and see how it set itself apart from other Nars' foundations.

I wore the Nars Natural Radiant Longwear Foundation for a couple of weeks. I have long days, that include wrestling with a toddler, walking outside in very-cold weather and adjusting to my overheated office. I even wore it to my son's swimming lessons, where I have to be right by the pool in a very hot, very humid atmosphere (I imagine that's what Florida's like? Florida always strikes me as the ultimate test-place for foundation haha. But I digress).

I'd love to list the pros and cons on this foundation, like I usually do, but if I'm being completely honest, I couldn't come up with any cons. Aside from the price, maybe. At $60 CAD ($49 USD), it is pretty steep.

You know my love for lists and bullets points, so I'll make this easy for you:

Medium-to-full is accurate, but it's definitely more on the "full" side. I didn't really know what a "radiant" foundation was, but after trying this one, I can't think of a better adjective to describe it. The finish is not flat matte, not glowy either. It's luminous, it's fresh, it's radiant

Fantastic!! The formula is so light, it literally feels like you're not wearing anything (and I HATE "feeling" the foundation on my skin, so this is a big one for me). It is also easy to blend, not too runny, not too dry. I do need at least a pump and a half to cover my entire face, which is fairly unusual for me (I usually use less in other foundations).

Lasting power
Drumroll please... while I haven't tried it for 16 hours (who wears foundation for 16 hours?), I can honestly say that the lasting power is incredible. It lasts through extreme temperature changes, sweat (I wore it to the gym once, it didn't move). The formula doesn't break down on my combination skin, and while I do get shiny after several hours, it's nowhere near as much as I do with some other foundations. It does settle into my fine lines when I first put it on (pretty sure this is a law of nature), but it doesn't crease throughout the day. 

I also tried out the infamous Radiant Creamy Concealer ($37 CAD - $30 USD) for the first time, if you can believe it (it was quickly followed by a second, third, fourth times and so on...).
I loved it, and while it wasn't as much of a breakthrough as the foundation for me, I do think it's a very, very good concealer.

In a few words: it is creamy, easy to blend,  provides buildable coverage (again, on the "full", which is all I want in a concealer), and while it may seem a bit thick, I think it's the creaminess of the formula because it doesn't feel heavy on the skin. It does crease a little, but I have yet to find a concealer that doesn't.

Both products are now available online and at Sephora, Murale, Shoppers DrugMart, Hudson's Bay and Nordstrom.

As always, while these products were sent to me for review purposes, my opinions are unbiased and honest.

Book Review: Uncommon Type, by Tom Hanks

When I saw that Tom Hanks had written a book, I was very intrigued and  extremely excited to get my hands on it. He's such an amazing actor, and so likeable. He seems like a genuinely decent human being, and I was interested in what he had to say. Or write, in this case. 

Uncommon Type is a collection of seventeen short stories. 
I'm not a lover of short stories. Something about the format never appealed to me  and although I did very much enjoy Edgar Allan Poe's stories as a young teen, I couldn't even finish Alice Munro's Runaway - not because I didn't like it, just because I lost interest somewhere before the last few stories. Y
ou see, I am somewhat of a bulimic when it comes to books and stories, and I like to dive in and barely come up for air (and by this I mean, pause my reading) until the end. Short stories don't allow me to do that. I have to pause between each one. I have to say goodbye to the characters I liked after only a few pages, when I usually need a few hundred to properly prepare myself. I also tend to need a fairly substantial reading break between stories. So I usually devour a novel in a few days, and it'll take me a few weeks before I can really let myself be enthralled in a new book. Short stories paint a very frustrating portrait of myself, one where I binge on a story in a few minutes, but can't seem to read another one right away, thus making finishing the whole book seem like a daunting task. 

But I digress. Enough about me. 
I did manage to read all the stories, albeit a little painfully. And I didn't dislike them. I even liked some of them. But not many. Not the way I wanted to. 

The stories struck me as a little erratic. All over the place. Some were good, a few really good, and some were just average, bordering on boring. 

Maybe it was partly due to the fact that I had high expectations, and that I couldn't detach Tom Hanks the author from Tom Hanks the actor, but while some stories made me forget about it all, a lot made me feel like I was just reading some famous actor's essays for that writing class he's taking to pass the time (or worse, to build his ego).  Now that's not what I think of Tom Hanks. I just think the writing was a bit inconsistent. Brilliant at times, sprinkled with clichés and images that felt a bit forced. 

Speaking of forced? I am completely ignorant when it comes to the context of this book. I haven't read anything or seen any interviews about why Tom Hanks wrote this book or how. But I am pretty certain he has a thing for old typewriters? Well, they are old by definition but you know what I mean. It might have sounded like a great idea at one point to include an anecdote about a typewriter in each story as a sort of common thread.. but it wasn't. It felt forced, unnatural, and a little too obvious. I thought it was amusing when I first realized it after a couple of stories, but then came to expect it, almost wondering how the author would plug it in, sometimes making it fit within the storyline with the subtlety of a bull in a china shop because there's just got to be a typewriter. 

So unfortunately, no, I didn't love the book. But, oddly, I do think fondly of it. The characters in Uncommon Type are pleasant for the most part, the clichés comfortable. The writing is surprisingly rich despite the lack of subtlety of some parts, and it certainly didn't feel like a cheap celebrity memoir. 

* I received this book complimentary for review purposes. Thoughts and opinions are (obviously) my own

Beauty favorites: My top 10 products of 2017

2017 has come to an end. Among the usual year-end reflections is a little recap of my most used beauty products. I've tried to stay as honest and unbiased as possible, featuring not just the products I love, but those I actually used the most.

1. bareMinerals Statement Matte liquid lipstick in Luxe - I've loved this whole line and this shade was my most-used.

2. Buxom BIG Tease mascara - I've only recently tried this mascara for the first time but I am in love: it doesn't clump, doesn't smudge, and creates a perfect fanned out, voluminous fake lash effect.

3. Benefit the POREfessional Pearl Primer - this is another newer release but I haven't been this enthusiastic about a primer in a long time. This little wonder in a tube manages to give you poreless and matte but luminous skin. 

4. Benefit GALifornia Blush - I wore this blush for 4 months straight this summer. If you know me, you know I like to switch shades so this was unheard of! 

5. Vichy Mineral 89 Skin Booster - I have already gone through 3 bottles of this. I love this serum/booster so much!! I wear it on its own in the warmer months, and under my usual serum and moisturizer in the winter. It's like a fresh, pleasant glass of beautifying water for your skin.

6. Benefit Good Proof Brow Pencil - I don't like spending too much time on my brows, but I do want perfect brows. This is the product that makes this miracle happen. 

7. L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise mascara - another mascara I've used a ton this year. This one gives you great, full babydoll lashes. It does smudge on me a little though, so make sure to wear a primer.

8. itCosmetics Your Skin But Better CC cream - a tinted moisturizer that provides full coverage, has SPF50 and lasts all day? Yes please. 

9. Nars Velvet Matte Foundation Stick - when I reached for foundation, this was usually it. I love the stick form, it makes it so easy to apply. The formula is creamy and the coverage is fantastic. 

10. Klorane Dry Shampoo with nettle - I've used Klorane dry shampoo for over 10 years now, but only tried the nettle version this year and I'm never switching. This is the best dry shampoo, period. 

What were your favorite beauty products this year? 

* Please note that some of these products were sent to me complimentary for review purposes. However, this did not affect my opinion of the products, and the facts that I kept reaching for them over and over and re-purchasing them. 

How to: 30 day wellness challenge

I was recently challenged to commit to 30 days of health & wellness with Renew Life Probiotics. 
It wasn't a tough decision for me to say yes: my husband and I have made a major commitment to our health last year and took some important steps towards a better version of us. Not just for our physiques: basically, we want to live a longer, healthier life. Who wouldn't? 

If you are just embarking on this journey, it can be overwhelming. Here are a few steps to guide you along the way. 
It may seem obvious, but this is really where you need to start. Move, walk, run, find your groove with it. Don't sign up for 5 classes a week right off the bat. You will set yourself up for failure. Set a realistic goal and try and stick to it. I started working out twice a week for 35 minutes, then added yoga, then gradually (after several months), incorporated running and increased the intensity and frequency of my workouts. 
Learn to know yourself and what works for you: I know I can't make time to go to the gym, so I work out at home and run around my neighborhood. I use apps, videos, and go with my personal preferences to stay motivated. 

yours truly, sweaty but proud after a workout

One little tip I have for you: try to keep track of your efforts with a fitness tracker of some kind for the first few weeks. It will not only help you stay motivated but it will make you aware of how much you actually move. People tend to overestimate their activity level. 

Another obvious one, but drinking water is key to feeling your best. You will shed water weight, eliminate toxins, replenish your body's hydration (which is especially crucial if you work out & sweat).. all that good stuff. I try to start my day with 18oz of water, and drink more throughout the day. If you do one thing, let it be drinking water. 
Dieting is not my cup of tea, but my husband and I have changed our eating habits in a major way. Mind you, we were fairly healthy eaters to begin with, but we are even more mindful about what we eat now. It needs to be good (and I mean, yummy, because we both love food), and it needs to be good fuel. We have cut down our meat intake even more, we favor whole, ancient grains, healthy fats, we incorporate vegetables every chance we get and control our portions. We have cheat days, we still snack once in a while, drink wine and enjoy life, but those "core habit" changes go a long way. 

I have also been taking probiotics to help with my gut health. I've always been very careful to incorporate healthy bacteria into my diet (by eating yogurt, mostly - the good kind, without gelatin or corn byproducts), but probiotics supplements are an excellent way to do a little cure if you have been feeling unbalanced, uncomfortable, or to restore your digestive flora after an antibiotic treatment for example. 

Finally, the same tip I gave regarding tracking your activity applies to your calories. For a few weeks only (no need to obsess about it!), track your calories in an App. It will help give you an idea of how much you actually eat, and what your weaknesses are. 
This is the most important piece of advice I could give you. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Don't starve your body of the food it needs (or craves, really! indulging is ok, even necessary once in a while!), don't be disappointed if you don't see results right away. As frustrating as it is, this process takes a ton of efforts but it also takes time. So be strong, be proud, don't beat yourself up over a missed workout or a post-lunch donut. Just show up for your next workout and keep making healthy choices at the grocery store. 

Do you have any New Year resolutions to be healthier?

* This article is not sponsored, but I did receive a complimentary 30 day supply of Renew Life probiotics & some tools to help me with the 30 day challenge.

Holidays 2017: Stocking Stuffers

Up next in my gift guide series is what is probably my favorite category: stocking stuffers! I love that you can go small, original, funny, convenient and creative all at once. 

- 1 - 
A warm fleece lined jacquard tuque. I love that this Kombi one bears France's colors (or the USA's, depending on your allegience!)

- 2 -
You can't go wrong with a bunch of Burt's Bees tinted lip balms. They are my favorite brand of lip balms and I love their flavors.  

- 3 -
I have this obsession for pretty mugs, especially if they are seasonal.. This Squish & Sprout one is particularly adorable. Check out the shop regularly for new designs! 

- 4 -
You may have seen these adorable Nars love triangles in my Nars x Man Ray review here. I just had to include them in my stocking stuffers gift guide!

- 5 - 
Come Fall, I turn into a hot chocolate junkie. But I like the good stuff. Made with real cacao. These Cacao 70 hot cocoa powders will be sure to satisfy hot choc snobs like me (my picks are Mexicocoa, the spicy one, and dark of course!)

- 6 - 
How cute is this tin filled with the cutest Fresh Sugar Lip balms? I love these balms and this is the perfect way to own a ton of shades. 

- 7 -
Last but not least, our favorite candle of the season. You see, we are huge fans of Nest Fragrances in this house, but this candle takes the cake. It's Christmas in a jar, and they make a small version that will fit into every stocking.

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