Friday, October 31, 2014

A Book Devoured: Half Way Home by Huge Howey

Just J A Book Devoured: Half Way Home by Huge Howey

I purchased this e-book as it was so cheap - $2 cheap, so I thought, how can you go wrong? I was also hankering for some honest-to-good sci-fi and this book delivers. Taking place in a distant future, super-intelligent computers called Colony pilot huge ships carrying everything a planet needs to be colonized: machines, materials to build shelter and equipment, and embryos of animals and humans.

Porter is one of those humans, his embryo activated and grown 15 years before reaching his new home. Floating within his liquid incubation cell, he is trained and educated by Colony in his designated profession (psychologist) and on what his purpose in life is: to produce profit for the faraway humans who sent him and 500 others out here.

At least, that was the idea. Suddenly, Porter is woken up. He is surrounded by smoke, flames and the smell of burning flesh. Colony has crash landed. Now, they're on their own.

Half Way Home starts off with a really interesting premise, kinda like a futuristic Lord of the Flies and while I thought this was a good read (again, $2!) I can't say this was an amazing book. For one thing, it feels too short and you're cut off just as things start to get really interesting. Actually, this book feels like the first part of a mini-series and it reads very much like a movie. That being said, I found it hard to put down and raced through to the end. This book is a good weekend read, if nothing else!

Purchase Half Way Home via Amazon.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polish collection: swatches part 1

I'm so excited to share with you today part 1 of my giant swatch fest with the new Colour Crush nail polish collection from The Body Shop. Launched just this Fall, this is a totally new category for TBS and boy is it exciting!

Featuring 24 shades, these polishes come in a range reds, pinks, blues, purples, greys and greens so there's something in here for everyone. The ‘4 free-from’ formula does not contain Dibutyl Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Formaldehyde Resin, and Camphor, and is also vegan!

The brushes are of a medium width, which kinda sucks as even me with my teeny nails prefer a wider brush, but the colours apply easily and consistently. The packaging of these polishes is pretty no-nonsense as well and retail for $6 each, which I think is right on the money for TBS' price point. After 3 days wear, chipping started to appear, which is about average for me. I'd still recommend purchasing these polishes despite that simply because they come in a range of fun colours and they dry really fast. I am a very impatient person when it comes to nail polish, so long drying times torture me, but these dried super quick. Lately I've been watching my way through the Avatar: The Last Airbender series and these nails didn't even take me one episode to do!

Now, onto the fun part - the swatches!

Just J - The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polish collection: swatches part 1

Just J - The Body Shop Colour Crush nail polish collection: swatches part 1

Please excuse the shitty phone pics as I didn't have time this weekend to take proper photos! All swatches are done with 2 coats. Here I am wearing:

  • Crimson Kiss - a BEAUTIFUL blood red that actually looks a lot richer and deeper in person. It's my favourite shade of the collection so far!
  • The Body Shop Green - is a deep forest green that looks brighter in photos but almost like a green-black in person. You could probably get away with just 1 coat of this one, but for consistency in swatching I did 2 coats.
  • Mint Cream - is a lovely spring time color. More blue-mint than green-mint, this color reminds me more of a lighter robin's egg blue. This color would be great for a bride's "something blue"!
  • Crazy for Blue - I thought I would love this color more as it looks so vibrant and sapphire-y in the bottle, but on my hand it seems a bit muted in tone. 
  • Hemp Over Heels - this is getting way out of my comfort zone with this type of pea green, but it actually didn't look too bad on me! Hemp Over Heels is probably best for someone of the pale and blond variety.
Join me next week for more swatches and be sure to check it out yourself in stores!

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Eccotique Spa launches new "Dual Exfoliation" facial

As a beauty blogger, you can be sure that I love giving my skin a good pampering when I can so I jumped at the chance to try out the new Dual Exfoliation facial service at Eccotique Metrotown a couple weeks ago.

Just J: Eccotique Dual Exfoliation spa at Metropolis at Metrotown

This new service just launched at all Eccotique locations in Vancouver and involves an intensive 45 minute exfoliating workout for your skin. With the changing seasons running havoc on me, this seemed like just the trick to reset my skin for winter.

The Dual Exfoliation facial uses 9 different products and involves both chemical and physical exfoliants, as well as a soothing mask accompanied by a cold stone massage.

If you're unfamiliar with the differences between a chemical and physical exfoliant, a physical exfoliant is what you're probably used to seeing. While a physical exfoliant uses natural or synthetic granules to scrub away dirt and dead skin cells, a chemical exfoliant opts to use the power of acids, like apple or lactic acid, to dissolve away impurities. Chemical exfoliators are generally gentler and usually come in a mask form.

The products used in this new Eccotique facial are:
  • *Aveda Enbrightenment Cleanser - removes dirt and improves skin clarity
  • *Aveda Enbrightenment Toner - a correcting toner that also exfoliates with salicylic acid, evens out skin tone and treats pigmentation
  • *Aveda Tourmaline Refiner - a bamboo scrub that stimulates skin for higher cell turnover and sloughs away dead skin cells
  • *Aveda Outer Peace Acne Relief Pads - gently exfoliates with salicylic acid
  • *Aveda Outer Peace Cooling Masque - eliminates redness with natural alfalfa 
  • Aveda Plant Peel - a chemical exfoliant containing natural plant acids
  • Salt and water packs - reset the mineral balance in your skin and soften it
  • Aveda Enbrightenment Serum
  • Aveda Enbrightenment Cream
  • Green Science Lifting Eye Cream
* indicate products available for purchase

Having come straight from work, I relished an hour to chill with a lovely facial massage. Located right behind the Metrotown food court, I was surprised by how quiet and contemplative the spa area was as.

Just J: Eccotique Dual Exfoliation spa at Metropolis at Metrotown 

Eccotique's products are all based on natural ingredients so you can be sure that your face is getting quality treatment. After a long work week, nothing felt better than getting a hot towel pressed onto your face and to have someone massage away the tension. My esthetician also used aromatherapy at the beginning and end of my treatment to relax me even further. The whole process was mostly pleasant and I think I even dozed off at times!

Despite being uber relaxing and knowing the quality of the products, I can't say I am thrilled with the results of my facial. I hate to say this, but this might be due to my esthetician. Usually when I've gotten facials, the first step is the removal of all makeup, but she left my eye makeup on totally intact and was very brief with cleansing my face before putting on the first scrub. Also, despite my expressing concerns about over-exfoliating my skin, she didn't ask me how I felt throughout the process or talk me through the products as I've had done with other spas. 

I wasn't also a fan of the way the facial switches between heating and cooling products. The cooling mask is nice, but I did not like the cold stone massage. I was actually shivering despite the thick blanket on top of me throughout the facial from the combination of cold products and the cool room.

After the facial was complete, I was disappointed as my skin didn't feel as refined and polished as Sheila had experienced or as soft and glowing as I'd experienced elsewhere. A few days later my skin started to react a bit as well, with breakouts on my chin and jawline. 

Overall my results were so-so, but I would still recommend checking this service out at the Eccotique in Richmond Centre. Spa services are very dependent upon the service, so hopefully my experience was just an isolated one!

Just J: Eccotique Dual Exfoliation spa at Metropolis at Metrotown

Just J: Eccotique Dual Exfoliation spa at Metropolis at Metrotown

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Guest post: Halloween nail art by Chantal's Corner

Hi everyone,

I'm Chantal from Chantal's Corner and I'm happy to be a guest for J this month as part of the Canadian Beauty Bloggers' monthly guest posts. This month's theme is Halloween so I wanted to do some fun nail art. I decided to do various faces, but only the eyes (and a few noses). I like to keep it easy.

I had to use quite a few products, but I tried to re-use colours as much as I could.

My middle finger is a mummy and I tried to make it "dirty" by mixing some brown and white polish to make some lines, but it came out very light and the camera barely picked it up. I still like it. :-)

Are you doing some Halloween nail art this year?

Thank you for reading!

Thank you Chantal for the adorable nail art! Don't forget this is the last day as well to enter my Obiqo Skincare giveaway!

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Friday, October 24, 2014

YSL Touche Éclat Rose Gold review

Just J: YSL Touche Éclat Rose Gold review

There are only a few products that are truly iconic in the beauty world: Chanel No. 5 perfume, Guerlain meteorites, DiorShow mascara and of course the Touche Éclat highlighter pen by Yves Saint Laurent.

Heralded for years as the HG of YSL fans the world over, this legendary product is renowned for its magical properties. Before the current market saturation of highlighting and contouring products, there was the Touche Éclat. Now, YSL has debuted a new generation of this favored product: the Touche Éclat Rose Gold.

The Product
As part of the new YSL Beauté: Lumière Passion collection, the Touche Éclat Rose Gold is the same great product, but with a new rose-tinged look. The entire Lumière Passion collection celebrates Laurent's love of pink and how it is 
"the colour of femininity, the colour of both a shy blush and passionate exuberance - pink is fresh, youthful, and joyous. It brings cheer and radiance to every complexion" - Lloyd Simmonds, Creative Director Make-up YSL Beauté 
The pink tones within this highlighter pen contain shimmer to brighten skin and also help to neutralize sallowness to reveal a youthful glow.

Price & Packaging
You can purchase  the Touche Éclat Rose Gold via Sephora, but only if you're a VIB Rouge member for $72. I'm not sure why the restriction as I think otherwise this would just sell out super fast. Like the original, the Touche Éclat Rose Gold is a sleek click-pen with a brush applicator.

Just J: YSL Touche Éclat Rose Gold review

To be honest, while I appreciate the slimness of the pen and its gorgeous gold sheen, I'm not a fan of this type of pen applicator. Inevitably, the brush gets gunky with product, which isn't the most hygenic. Also, you have to click like 3-5 times to get any product out and when it does come out, it is not distributed evenly on the brush. I don't put the blame for this upon YSL as this is a common deficiency amongst the pen applicators I've used. Finally, last gripe about the packaging is that the shininess of the tube makes this prone to fingerprints, which I vigorously rubbed off for these photos!

How to Wear
Contained within my media package for this product, was a handy how-to sheet detailing two ways to wear the Touche Éclat Rose Gold.

For an instant anti-fatigue effect during the day, apply Touche Éclat Rose Gold to:
  • the inner corners of eyes
  • underneath the eyes to cover dark circles
  • upper eyelids
  • sides of the nose
  • along smile lines
To create an illuminating glow at night, apply Touche Éclat Rose Gold to:
  • brow bone
  • upper cheekbones
  • bridge of the nose
  • all around your lips

I tried wearing the Touche Éclat Rose Gold both ways described above and I have to say, well, maybe I was swayed by the hype. I was picturing Arwen level luminosity and the Touche Éclat Rose Gold didn't quite live up to it. Yes, it does have a lovely pink sheen to it that is quite flattering on my skin... and yes, it blends really well and you only need a teeny bit to get any effect... but it is also rather glittery and slippery to apply! 

Maybe we're all so used now to the subtle shimmers of the Hourglass palettes, but I found the Touche Éclat Rose Gold to be very sparkly and therefore not as sophisticated as I had imagined. YSL is a brand that I would associate to women 25+ and this level of glitter does not fit with that image. The glitter also kinda accentuates your pores, which is another reason why this may not be friendly to older women.

Just J: YSL Touche Éclat Rose Gold review
Should be all about that base, not the sparkles
Left: blended
Right: unblended

In terms of application, I would recommend applying the Touche Éclat Rose Gold before your blush or other face products. Normally I like to apply my highlighter last so that I can pinpoint just where I need it, but the Touche Éclat Rose Gold doesn't play very well with others. This is especially the case with powder blushes where it just washes away all color. That being said, the Touche Éclat Rose Gold does look really beautiful with my Cargo Swimmables blush in Ibiza if applied very sparingly. 

Final verdict
Ditch - I really really really wanted to love this product. It's such a classic that I'm thrilled to have in my collection, but for the price and results, I think there could be better options out there.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween look: Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie

It's exactly 10 days to Halloween! Do you have your costume yet? If you're like me, probably not. I'm a huge procrastinator and the pressure of being creative usually overwhelms me into inaction. This year though I'm actually semi-prepared thanks to the CBB guest post topic for October: Halloween looks. This was the perfect opportunity to force myself to figure out a costume and a fun makeup look.

I've done a zombie makeup look before, but I didn't like the fact that I had to buy fake blood and special makeup to create it as I didn't have a lot of white and black makeup at the time. For this year, I knew I wanted to create a look that I could do with the makeup I had on hand. After a lot of searching around, I found my inspiration: Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie:

And here is the finished look I came up with:

Just J Halloween look: Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie

Just J Halloween look: Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie

Just J Halloween look: Wyldstyle from The Lego Movie

To see how I created this look and the products I used, head on over to Exquisitely Chic for the tutorial!

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Monday, October 20, 2014

Obiqo Skincare: Radiant Day Cream and Smoothing Eye Cream review and giveaway

Just J: Obiqo Skincare: Radiant Day Cream and Smoothing Eye Cream review and giveaway

New Zealand has always been on my travel bucket list because of its beautiful landscapes, exotic wildlife and abundance of adventurous activities! Plus I'm a big LOTR fan so of course I'd want to visit Middle Earth! Unfortunately, a ticket to NZ is not in the cards for awhile yet as I'm currently house and wedding poor, but I can get a piece of that New Zealand freshness care of Obiqo Skincare.

Obiqo Skincare is a line of face and body products focused around the restorative and purifying aspects of the New Zealand ocean. Combining the powers of sea kelp, European marine extracts, and the anti-aging French sea lavender, each Obiqo product will restore, repair and rejuvenate your skin.

Another thing that makes Obiqo unique is its commitment to naturally sourced ingredients. The sea kelp Obiqo uses is Ecklonia Radiate and is harvested only from kelp that washes ashore and their organic sea lavender is certified 100% natural by ECOCERT.

The Products
Obiqo was kind enough to send me two products to review: the Radiant Day Cream and the Smoothing Eye Cream.

The Radiant Day Cream is a light, yet deeply hydrating moisturizer that has been enriched with sea kelp, sea lavender and various New Zealand plant extracts to help prep your skin for the day.

The Smoothing Eye Cream is a silky soft cream that provides a hit of hydration and anti-aging extracts to reduce fine lines and brighten tired eyes.

The Guts
The Radiant Day Cream's top ingredients include:

  • Capric triglyceride - an emollient derived from coconut oil and glycerin that helps repair skin and prevent moisture loss
  • Sweet almond oil - an emollient that also helps naturally prevent acne by cleansing pores
  • Glycerin - a moisturizer
  • Glycerol stearate - a naturally derived ingredient that provides a slippery feel to the product
Besides the above, this cream also contains algae extract (emollient), hydrolized collagen, hydrolized elastin (both anti-aging), sea lavender (anti-aging), kiwi fruit extract (antioxidant), and Pohutukawa extract (toning and moisturizing). I love it when products actually follow through on their claims - this cream is packed with natural antioxidants!

The Smoothing Eye Cream's top ingredients include:
  • Capric triglyceride
  • Glycerin
  • Sweet almond oil
  • Glycerol stearate
Surprisingly the eye cream contains the exact same main ingredients as the moisturizer! It also contains algae extract (emollient), hydrolized collagen, hydrolized elastin (both anti-aging), sea lavender (anti-aging), cucumber, kiwi fruit extract (antioxidant), evening primrose oil (emollient) and macadamia nut oil (moisturizing, anti-aging). 

Overall there is not much difference in the ingredients between these two products except some variance in natural extracts. 

Price & Packaging
The Radiant Day Cream retails for $29.99 on Amazon for a 50 mL bottle. For all its luxurious ingredients and branding, the packaging is pretty cheap on this one. It's a simple pump bottle, but for some reason, is really slippery to hold. I dropped this a couple times just onto my bathroom counter and the lid cracked easily. As well, the pump is a bit hard to control so that you either get a big gloop of product or hardly any at all.

The Smoothing Eye Cream retails for $29.99 on Amazon as well for 30 mL. This is quite honestly the largest eye cream jar I've ever had! Maybe the round shape is kinda deceiving as most eye creams come in a tube format, but I'll admit that I'm fooled. The packaging for the Smoothing Eye Cream totally makes me feel like I'm really getting value for my money! One thing to note though -  if you're not a fan of jar creams you'll be disappointed as this one doesn't come with a plastic applicator.

As per usual, I tried out these products dutifully for 4 weeks. Both feel light, absorb quickly and leave my skin feeling plump and hydrated.

The Radiant Day Cream is a perfect daytime moisturizer. It absorbs quickly and a little goes a long way. One little pump is enough to cover my entire face and it spreads readily. If you have oily skin, you may find this a little too rich for you, but for my normal-dry skin, it was perfect. I actually think this would make a good night cream as well with all its anti-aging properties; just apply it a little heavier and you're good to go!

The Smoothing Eye Cream is a little trickier to apply. As it's rather slick, it spreads a lot and takes awhile to absorb. The jar format also makes it really easy to over-apply, no matter how lightly I dabbed my finger. My eye area did feel really soft and moist after using this cream. I'd definitely keep using it as a night eye cream, but as for daytime use, I'm not so sure. It didn't keep my lines away, although I found that on my makeup free days, it fared better. 

Oddly enough, I actually feel like this cream is more like an overall moisturizer than an exclusive to the eye product. I've even tried smoothing it over my forehead to target my dry lines there and it works pretty well that way too! This cream would be great if you're a really low maintenance person or travelling as an all-in-one night treatment.

Final Verdict
Buy - both products are affordable, contain awesome ingredients and could work for a variety of uses and not just what is says on the label.

Now for the fun part! I am giving away both of these products to one lucky reader to try! Just fill out the entries below. Sorry, this contest is open to Canadian residents only. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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