wanted: a kick butt web host for my new project.

After completing this week’s grocery shopping (which consisted of running to Walmart, Costco, Sobeys and SDM!), I had a very light lunch and hunkered down on the laptop.

Why a light lunch? Because we are eating BBQ tonight! The first BBQ place here in town, anyways. So it will likely consist of lots of meats in large portions!

The reason why I am on the laptop right now is because I’m searching for a good web host. I have been displaced from the web hosting world for, oh, at least 10 years now so I have no idea what is good around the interwebs nowadays!

I’ve been looking at so many – ipage, justhost, inmotion, Host Gator – that my head is just spinning! I know I can’t trust the first thing that pops up on a Google search for “best web host review” because it seems that they are the sortย  will promote the host that is paying them the most. Not exactly the most reliable reviews, right?

So if anyone out there has an unbiased review of their web host or have one to recommend, please comment! I would greatly appreciate it. ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel like I am going backwards here but the reason for this is because I’m going to be turning this blog into a domain. It will no longer be called pixelated star but something else. Keep an eye out for that announcement soon.

Also keep an eye out for a haul post soon. I went to Target Canada for the first time yesterday and went a wee bit crazy on the Sonia Kashuk. And I maaay have also stopped by Murale and Lush to pick up a few things.

For now, my research for a web host continues!

lazy autumn days.

Happy fall everyone! Though, I’m not so sure if we’re still in the season of autumn here. We woke up to some of the white stuff on the ground. I still refuse to say the four letter word! We don’t usually get it until Halloween but sometimes it gets here early. A couple of weeks ago, I snapped this picture in my parent’s neighborhood. I love it!

beautiful autumn leaves.

beautiful autumn leaves.

Speaking of Halloween, we went to a Halloween party at a friends place last night. They went all out with strobe lights and even a fog machine! I think it’s their favorite holiday. Z and I dressed up, of course – I was Robin Hood, with a bow and arrows and all! And Z was a zombie from the Victorian steampunk genre… which later turned into Abe Lincoln Vampire Hunter.

Last night was a lot of fun but today is going to be lazy. This morning, I had coffee and read a bit of City of Bones. I had heard a lot of good things about the Mortal Instruments series but boy, am I ever having a hard time getting through the first book, City of Bones! The plan was supposed to be that Z and I were going to read the book before watching the movie but the movie has since disappeared from theatres and Z gave up and started another book. It was a bust of a plan!

I do plan on finishing City of Bones as quickly as I can so I can move on to the third installment of the Divergent series by Veronica Roth – Allegiant. Oh and the third book in the Bridget Jones series, too. I went a little crazy in the Costco book section. Whoops!

lazy sunday setup

lazy sunday setup

Prior to coming online to do this blog post, I watched the Diamond Edition of The Little Mermaid. Another Costco find! And it was just about sold out! Surprising as it was just released earlier this month. I am pretty sure this is the first Disney movie I have ever watched and loved. At least, the first one I actually remember! When this movie was released, I believe I was in grade one and I don’t know how many times I rewound the VHS tape to watch it over and over again! I truly had to have it.

That is it for now. I hope to post another beauty review soon – maybe even tonight if I get around to it! I hope you are enjoying what is left of the weekend. Until next time!

october 2013 regular topbox. murale.ca edition.

Topbox sent us our boxes uber early for October! Which is probably why I actually have time to hash out a review on the blog before the next one comes out. Cause we all know, this never happens!

It looks like murale.ca (a store very similar to Sephora here in Canada, spun off from Shoppers Drug Mart) is sponsoring this box so it is full of brands you can find at Murale. I’ve shopped there a couple of times now so I was excited to see this box! Until I opened it, anyway. More about that below.

topboxoctober2013So now down to the nitty gritty. What was in my box? Here we go!

1. Yves Saint Laurent – Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Babydoll
I’ll be honest. I was not too thrilled about seeing another mascara in a beauty box. My Ipsy glam bag has been ridiculously horrible for it lately. I have SO MUCH MASCARA! But I will admit, I was happy to see something from YSL in my Topbox. I don’t have anything from YSL other than my Touche Eclat so it will be nice to try something new from them. I couldn’t find this on the Murale sight but found it on Sephora and the reviews look good. This is an exciting find in my box. Can’t wait to try it!

the details. YSL Beauty – retail: $36.00 CDN, $30.00 US for 0.2oz (full size) – topbox sample is worth $10.80 CDN, $10.00 US for 0.06oz (sample)

2. Darphin Predermine Densifying Anti-Wrinkle Cream
The first of three (yes, three!) anti-aging products I received in this months box. “Predermine” is Darphin’s anti-wrinkle and firming line. I’m not quite sure I’m at that stage in my life just yet. Nonetheless, this is a pretty decent size sample for a very expensive product but I don’t know if I will use it just yet.

the details. Darphin Paris – retail: $200.00 CDN, $152.00 US for 50ml/1.6oz (full size) – topbox sample is worth $62.50 CDN, $47.50 US for 0.5oz (sample)

3. Erno Lazlo Transphuse Eye Refiner
Anti-aging product number 2 is an anti-aging cream. I’ve never heard of this brand before so it’s something new to me. On the Murale site, it shows that this product does the following: smoothes fine lines, tightens and nourishes, preserves and boosts collagen production, and, moisturizes, protects and increases elasticity. Personally, I’m already using an eye product that I use for dark circles and fatigue that I like so this one might be waiting awhile as I’m not looking for a true anti-aging eye product yet.

the details. Erno Lazlo – retail: $120.00 CDN, $100.00 US for 15ml/0.5oz (full size) – topbox sample is worth $24.00 CDN, $20.00 US for 0.1oz (sample)

4. Rivoli Le Visage Luminious Serum
I’m not entirely sure if this is an anti-aging product, per se, but it is a serum of sorts. I’ve never tried a serum so I think I may give this one a go. What I like about this is that there are no preservatives.

the details. Rivoli Geneve – not sure about price as I could not find this online

Overall, the October 2013 Topbox was okay. Th e value of this box was through the roof! While I like how they give us skincare, I really could have done with less anti-aging skincare. I am quite excited to try the mascara, though! I’ll give it a go when I get ready for work tomorrow.

Only 2 out of 5 pixel stars for the October box.

What was in your Topbox this month?

freebies. october 1, 2013.

I totally could have posted this last week… but I didn’t. My bad.

When I think back, I remember having pen pals. I had a couple through school and one in Australia. It was always a treat to receive a package with small trinkets from far off lands in it!

Now that I’m older, not much has changed. I love great mail days. I don’t know what it is about receiving something tangible in the mail but I think it’s fantastic! Last week, I got a bunch of freebies in the mail.

i love me some free goodies in the mail!

i love me some free goodies in the mail!

Here is what I received:

  • Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer: Back in July, I entered their Prime for the Very First Time Sweepstakes where they were giving away 150,000 deluxe samples at random. I received an email awhile back saying I won one awhile back now so I was very happy to finally receive it! Look for a review of this in the future. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Full Adhesive Post-It Notes: Post-It had a contest that lasted 24 hours on Facebook. This happened a number of times and I entered a couple of times so I’m not sure when I hit the jackpot. This was quite the surprise when I received it in the mail! I haven’t tried it yet but I will likely use them as I love Post-It products in the first place.
  • Korres 24-Hour Moisturizing and Brightening Cream: I signed up for this one on Facebook when Korres was offering samples on their page.
  • Garnier Dark Spot Treatment Mask: Again, I got this sample from Garnier’s Facebook page. They had 7,500 available each week for about a month. Can’t wait to try it as I had tried the MaskerAide masks before.
  • Glow Magazine’s October 2013 Issue: Just something I redeemed my Shoppers Drug Mart points on. I just started my subscription two issues ago… this is the third issue I’ve gotten and it looks like Heidi Klum is on the cover! I had a great time watching her on America’s Got Talent. You can read the magazine online on the Glow website.

Since then, I’ve received a few other things but I will save it for another post.

Happy Tuesday everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

favorite! l’oreal evercreme deep nourishing masque.

Gonna start something new here. I’m going to blog about my favorites! This can be a beauty product, tea, food, clothes, shoes… literally anything I consider a favorite!

In this case, I’m going to blog about a favorite hair product. Our relationship hasn’t been very long but I find it worthwhile to write about it.

Hair masks weren’t really something I have considered using before. However, lately my hair has been feeling drier than normal. I blame it on my hair dryer. And the sun. And the fact that I color my hair.

I forget exactly which beauty blog or beauty review on YouTube it was that first mentioned that this is a good mask to try but I ended up getting the L’Oreal EverCreme Deep Nourishing Masque.

This product is a part of L’Oreal’s EverCreme Sulfate-Free Hair Moisture System. I love that it’s sulfate free and love it even more for not containing any preservative nasties like parabens. In addition, the product boasts that it contains “botanical ingredients with Omega- 3 & 6 and a triple action conditioning system to moisturize naturally”.

l'oreal evercreme nourishing masque

l’oreal evercreme deep nourishing masque

I picked this up on sale at Shoppers Drug Mart for around $8 and I’ve used it for about a month now. The label suggests using it once or twice a week… or more if you have especially dry hair. I’ve only been using it once a week and it has been fantastic for my hair!

creamy like butta

creamy like butta

When you open the container, it looks like body butter. It doesn’t have a thick consistency, though. It’s so light and smooths onto wet hair nicely. You have to leave it on for 3 to 5 minutes before rinsing it out.

Even after my first use, I thought this product had potential! And after a month of using it, my hair is so soft and the ends aren’t as dry and frizzy as it was before. And it smells amazing! No lie. I would use this just cause it smells awesome.

Now that I’ve tried the deep nourishing masque, I really would like to try the shampoo that’s available in this line. I just have to keep in mind that there are two kinds – one for dry to very dry hair and another for normal to dry hair. I’m definitely in need of the normal one. And when I run out of this hair mask, it’s going straight on my shopping list!

I am rating this product 5 out of 5 pixel stars for being awesome!

the wedding. engagement session prep.

Goodness, it has been a few days since my last post! I figure I would write a post while I have a cup of Mom’s Apple Pie from David’s Tea’s fall collection. (Highly recommended, BTW!)

banff. july 2012.

banff. july 2012.

I have been very busy this past week making final arrangements for our engagement session that is coming up shortly.

I must say, if I were having a destination wedding (whether it be somewhere tropical like Mexico or in the mountains like Banff) I would definitely hire a wedding planner!

We chose a mountain outdoorsy theme. We make an effort to go to the mountains at least once a year and we love it out there.

Before I found a wedding photographer, I didn’t realize the groundwork one had to do for the engagement photos. But after reading my photographers blog, I soon realized there was stuff I had to do, too. Go figure, hey?

Things that had to get done:

Choose a location. What kind of photos do you want? Do you want them to be indoors with amazing interior design? In the city with amazing architecture? In the mountains? On the sports field playing your favorite sport together?

Make a hair appointment. One expense I didn’t find value in at first but thought about it and changed my mind. If I am going to be immortalized in these engagement photos, I should at least look good! Plus, wedding photography (including engagement sessions aren’t inexpensive. While I do a decent job making my hair wavy, I don’t trust myself to do it this time around. So I looked for a pro.

Make arrangements with a makeup artist. Similar reason as the hair appointment. I can manage my everyday makeup but I wanted someone who knew what they were doing. What better than someone who makes a living doing bride’s makeup? They do this all the time!

Choose an outfit. Or two. Perhaps one casual and one a bit more dressed up and formal. It provides you with a variety of fun shots and classy ones too.

Get a few props. What do you two like to do? Are you planning on taking pictures for your “save the date” announcement? Props are always handy. We are bringing a few token props ourselves!

Those were the biggies. I also had to arrange for accommodations and made a plan as to when we would connect with our photographers for our e-session.

Pretty much all set to go except for the arts and crafts bit. I might do a post on this later once I am ready to reveal what I have planned.

Have a great weekend everyone!

beauty review. garnier miracle skin perfector.

daily all-in-one bb cream.

sample packet of garnier skin perfector in "light"

sample packet of garnier skin perfector in “light”

Happy Thursday everyone!

As I continue to load my new Alex drawer from Ikea, I am finding products that I forgot I even had left, right and center!

One of the products I found – well, it is a sample really – is the Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector (Light).

This BB Cream came as a bonus in my June 2012 Topbox (yes, that was ages ago!) and I received three of these sample packets to try.

Now that I think about it, I think the reason why I haven’t tried it before is because it says the sample is “light”. I am an NC30 or NC35 skin tone when it comes to MAC so “light” doesn’t usually describe me.

What is a BB Cream, you ask? It is a blemish balm or beauty balm. These originated in Asia but soon enough, North American brands started producing them as well. The first one that hit Canada was from Marcelle which I tried and really liked! But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t try others.

how it looks on my hand.

how it looks on my hand.

My first impression when I opened it was that it wasn’t as light colored as I thought it would be. In fact, it matched my skin tone quite nicely once I rubbed it in. I was quite impressed! Though, now I wonder if lighter skin tones are able to use this. It may be too dark. I’m not sure.

You don’t have to use much of the product to cover your face. Each small packet lasted me at least 3 or more days. I applied the BB cream to my face using my fingers. On my fingers, I thought the consistency was a bit thick and sticky. I do wish it was a little bit lighter. I don’t usually have oily skin but I found that my face felt oilier when I put it on. I was definitely aware that I had something on my face. I’m not sure if I like that because I would have thought that the BB cream would go on similar to a moisturizer. At first I thought it was the humidity but it’s not humid anymore so that can’t be it.

the cream fully rubbed in on my had.

the cream fully rubbed in on my had.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I had much left on my face. At least, I didn’t see much when I was wiping off my makeup. This makes me question the longevity of the product throughout the day.

It may just be my preference but I really do prefer a lighter BB cream that I can put on and forget that it’s on my face. Not lighter in terms of color but lighter in terms of consistency. This was just too thick for me.

While I don’t think I would purchase a full sized bottle for myself, I think this is still a very good product that provides great value. You can find this product in your local drugstore for around $15 CDN or even less if it’s on sale or if you have a coupon.

In the end, I am giving this product 3 out of 5 pixel stars.

Enjoy your evening everyone. The weekend is just around the corner!

jawbone up: fitness motivation booster?

Yesterday while we were running errands, we did the unthinkable: we stopped at West Edmonton Mall. On a normal day, this would never happen – especially during the weekend of all times! – but we had to go to the Apple Store. Surprisingly, the mall wasn’t a zoo for once, however, there were a lot of Saskatchewan Roughrider fans shopping. Turns out there was an Esks game yesterday.

While the mall wasn’t a zoo, the Apple Store was busy, as usual. After much headache trying to flag down an “Apple Expert” (as opposed to an “Apple Genius”), we inquired about the Jawbone Up. There were many in size Small hanging up on display so I had no issue getting mine. (I have ridiculously small wrists!) Z on the other hand needs a Medium or Large… we aren’t quite sure yet. In the end, they didn’t have any. We even stopped at Best Buy on the way home and they were sold out too. These suckers are flying off the shelves!

Essentially, the idea behind this wristband is that you wear it 24/7 (even in the shower – it’s water resistant!) and it tracks a lot about your day. It tracks the number of steps you take in a day, you can input your food and drink into the tracker built into the app (or sync it to something like the LoseIt! app that I’ve been using on and off for the past couple of years), it tells you when you’ve been inactive for too long, it can act as an alarm clock in the morning and it even tracks your sleeping habits. I’m sure there are more features I haven’t explored yet. The wristband retails for $129.99 CDN and the app is free online.

Anyways, I did get one for myself in the color Onyx. Really, it’s just black. It seems that in Canada it is very difficult to find it in any other color even though the official site shows that it comes in eight colors and it just came out in purple – which I would’ve LOVED as purple is my favorite color. I set it up today and so far, so good. I downloaded the app to my iPhone and set up my account. The wristband is comfortable. I’m beginning to forget that it’s there.

Tonight I am going to test out the Sleep Tracker and I’m going to set up the Idle Alert. I will need it tomorrow as I don’t have any meetings or off site visits so I will be at my desk all day. A friendly reminder to get up and move can’t hurt.

I’m really hoping that this will get me motivated. I was working out regularly and eating healthy up until May when we had to travel quite a bit. I’m sure I’ll post more about it as I use it more. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve also wondered how it would compare to the Nike FuelBand or the Fitbit Flex. Might have to read up on those a bit sometime.

five months later.

my poor neglected blog.

So. I wrote two entries in here and then disappeared. I’m sorry.

Old habits die hard, it seems. I have been absent from the blogging world for a few years (read: probably since, oh, 2010-ish or so) I do need an outlet of some kind so I will try my best to at least write in here once in awhile. Perhaps this is what I need to kick start my idea to get a domain name and maintain a website again. As a hobby anyways. I just need to have a focus and I’m sure I can keep up with it.

Random tidbit:ย Being a teenagerย in the 90s, I got caught up in the boy band era. I’m currently listening to “The Golden Age of Boy Bands” on Songza. Gosh, it brings back the memories. So far I’ve heard Savage Garden, *NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, 5ive, Hanson… oh my! My first concert ever was *NSYNC. Shortly after that show, I went to see theย Backstreet Boys in concert. Ahhh, those were the days. Hockey and boy bands were all the rage!

Anyways, back on topic! Expect more posts in here related to beauty, photography and planning a wedding. Quite possibly also posts on healthy eating and fitness. I really do need to start that up again as the wedding is less than a year away!

Coming up on a blog post at some point in time:

  • Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty Boutique Haul: Finally took advantage of bonus redemption today with the additional bonus of 20x the Shoppers Optimum points! I do love my Beauty Boutique location. ๐Ÿ™‚ย Got quite a few things to replace staples that were running out, as well as, a few things from theย new Fade to Blackย fall line from Smashbox! Plus a big bag of samples! That was a nice surprise. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Wedding venue. Check. Wedding photographer. Almost check. Wedding topics!
  • Beauty boxes vs individual product reviews: I don’t nearly blog enough (right now at least) to keep up with blogging about each beauty box I receive so I’ve decided that I’m just going to review individual products that I either have in my collection or that I receive from one of my boxes.
  • From the depths of my photo collection: I take a lot of pictures. A LOT. I am not by any means a pro at it but I like to casually take photos.ย I will be going through all the pictures I’ve taken over the years and post one or two every so often.

So there you go. More posts soon. I hope you’re all enjoying your Friday evening!

regular topbox. march 2013.

I love beauty boxes.

My first ever beauty box subscription is from Topbox. I liked it because it was available for Canadians and at that time, most of the mainstream boxes weren’t. I added my name to the wait list in November 2011 and didn’t get my first box until March 2012. It was well worth the wait!

topbox beauty box. march 2013 edition.

topbox beauty box. march 2013 edition.

A year later, I’m still subscribed. Since then, Topbox has introduced the concept of prive boxes. These are special boxes that feature one beauty brand. It could be numerous samples or even full-sized products.

None of the March prive boxes caught my eye so I chose the regular box. A regular box contains four deluxe beauty samples.

Here is what was in my March 2013 Topbox…

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