Monday, February 18, 2013

2013 Empties Part 1

It's been a while, huh? Let's get right to it. The first empties post of 2013!


Eminence Organic Skin Care Apricot Whip Moisturizer - Smells very sweet and strongly of... apricots, I suppose. The texture was rather thick, to the point that it was difficult to blend into skin. I ended up using it on my hands and had such an aversion to the scent that I was glad when it was gone.

Eminence Organic Skin Care Black Perlette Grape Moisturizer - This one was much better. Again, it smelled of fruit but in a lighter and fresher manner. The texture was soft and non-greasy, leaving the skin dewy and plump. I like it but would prefer skincare that's either unscented or fragranced very lightly.

Sunday Riley Bionic Anti-Aging Cream - I don't know what the scent of this was but it is so strong that I could smell it on me the next day. Can't get over it and will never purchase it.

L'Occitane Precious Serum and Precious Cream - The serum is a very thin clear liquid, which surprised me. Most serums I tried in the past have heavier consistencies than their cream counterparts. Nonetheless, I patted the serum onto skin without moisturizer and found that it wasn't enough to combat dryness after cleansing. I got two uses out of the sachet but couldn't see a difference on the face. The cream, however, is very effective at soothing dry patches and generally plumping up the skin during the night. I may consider using the both together or purchasing just the cream alone.


Stila In The Light Palette (Sample) - This is one of two sample strips I received from Sephora as bonus for an online purchase some months back. The shades are Bare, Kitten, Bliss, Sunset and Sandstone. While they are nice enough and form a great variety of nude/neutral shades for an everyday look, it was difficult to tell if the thin layer of powder on a paper strip was true representation of how the powder shadows would feel in a regular size palette. I had to rub the bristles of the shadow brushes fairly hard to transfer the colours and got tired of the sample after one use. Still, it's a good trial to see if the shades are something that would work with your individual colouring. For me, yes. But I don't need anymore neutral shadows or palettes.

L'Oreal Double Extend Beauty Tubes Mascara - It's the only drugstore mascara I use and it's the only drugstore tubing mascara that I know. Given the price, it's effective and pretty awesome. The tubes will not smudge or budge and comes off easily with warm water at the end of the day. However, I find the size of the wand to be too large for my tiny Asian eyes and lashes and prefer my other go-to, Clinique Lash Power. But I will probably return to this drugstore gem again since this is my 4th or 5th time despite all the other mascara samples clamouring for attention within my train case.

Shu Uemura Phyto-Black Lift Firming Anti-Wrinkle Cream - It was pretty good but not worth a huge rave. I got one or two uses out of it but don't recall seeing any tremendous results. Probably wouldn't ever purchase. I don't even want to know how much a full size costs. Seriously, don't tell me.

By Kilian Water Calligraphy - If you join the By Kilian club on Facebook, you receive free samples with every new launch. They started to mix up my name and address with another club member the last few times and I stopped receiving samples after the Asian Tales collection. Need that remedied at some point but I'm so backlogged on perfume reviews that it hardly matters right now. Water Calligraphy was very badly received by perfume critics at large and I didn't have any expectations of it. However, it was exactly the kind of faint, fresh scent that I needed on a very strange rainy winter day. I ended up spraying it all week long, and the next thing I knew, the vial was finished. I even went so far as to check if Bloor Street Holt Renfrew has the full bottle in stock -- and they do. If I ever happen to have $250-$300 to burn someday on a delightful flyaway scent that everyone hates, this is what's going to happen.


Kerastase Elixir K Ultime - I purchased this as a replacement for my beloved MoroccanOil and had an on and off love affair with it. While oily in texture and consistency, it's not something that one would use to nourish the hair. I'd not use the word "serum" to describe this product, but we live in a confused time right now. When my hair was shorter (and therefore curlier), I ran it through wet hair and just let it air dry, and added a few more drops to the dried hair to smooth out the frizz. During winter with longer hair, I used it as a heat-styling agent to combat frizz. While effective and multifunctional, it's quite costly at around CAD$50. I've gone back to MoroccanOil for time being and remain confused about Elixir K Ultime.

Simple Refreshing Facial Wash Gel (PR Sample) - Reviewed here and loved until the last drop. I will definitely purchase this in the future.

Lancome Bi-Facil Eye Makeup Remover - Reviewed here and still my holy grail. I have a couple of more of these sample sizes to use, thank goodness. While I'd love to rely on this full-time long-term, it's too expensive for my cheap ass to purchase on the regular.


Josie Maran Tinted Moisturizer in Butter - It's the best tinted moisturizer I've used to date, in terms of shade match, coverage and moisturizing effect. Unfortunately my face doesn't deal well with Josie Maran products. There's about 1/10th of the tube remaining but my face freaked out after the last time I used it, and I'm not sure if it's because it's too rich or if the product has aged and gone bad. I won't be purchasing tinted moisturizers at all from now on so that's a goner. But I highly recommend this to normal-dry skin types.

SilkyGirl Magic BB Powder Foundation - Reviewed here. My sister and I both rely on this Asian drugstore gem now. The shade 03 Medium is too dark for my paler winter visage, but it's perfect for summer. I'm hoarding my one last pan for Summer 2013 and currently trying to use up some old liquid foundations I've been neglecting.

Rexall Cottons - I use these to remove nail polish. I haven't worn nail polish in months but I keep trying to get back into it, only to wipe everything off immediately after applying. So the cottons kept getting used even though my nails have been bare almost all the time since November. Anyway, $2 cottons can't be beat. This pack lasts me half a year.


Love That White Smile Tooth Gloss - I received this when the company was just launching and passing out freebies on the streets of downtown Toronto. I tried using it a few times but there are no instructions available on how to use it and I don't like the sweet flavour of the gloss which makes me feel like I'm ingesting the product instead of being serviced by it. Teeth are coated with it for "protection" against stains and I suppose it stays on... forever? It's like walking around with remnants of toothpaste in your mouth. No thanks.

MAC Lipstick - I don't remember the shade, but that's because I never got to use it. I received it as a freebie in a makeup swap and accidentally went HULK SMASH one day. Since I don't have depotting materials for broken lipsticks, sadly it had to be tossed.

Korres Jasmine Lip Butter - I think I'm the only person who doesn't like the Korres Lip Butters. Like real butter, it has to be melted on the lips, but I find that the product never penetrates the lips and remains purely on the surface, which I find irritating and ineffective. The shade Jasmine also makes my lips look paler, so I've been using it only at home and am ridiculously happy to see it gone.


Also in my empties bag, I keep a ziplock bag filled with Back 2 MAC empties. It turned out that I had 7 empties, but we need only 6 to redeem for a free lipstick or eye shadow at Canadian MAC stores. I turned in my stash and came home with Lady Danger Lipstick, which is totally sexy and a little bit scary.


And that's it. I'm going to keep empties posts going as a way to conduct mini reviews and assess repurchasing possibilities. But I've decided to stop counting the number of empties this year, as it has been established enough times that my average number is about 100 products per year and I've become quite good at finishing products I've committed to using. No more stressing over not being able to finish something or feeling wasteful. After two years of struggling with simultaneous greedy consumerist and frugal hoarding habits, it feels great to finally be at a more balanced place where I can enjoy the things I have without feeling panic over unattainables. That's what "empties" is truly useful for, to cultivate better daily habits if you're someone who hates waste like I do. But it's not for everyone either and I respect that. No big deal.

51 comments:

  1. Oh wow, you finished a whole bunch of stuff! A bottle of Kerastase Elixir Ultime? Must have taken a while! My bottle still looks pretty new because it doesn't take a lot each time!

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    1. It took about a year and a half maybe? I used it a lot more in the summer. But I also use a lot of it at once because my hair is frizzy and textured. If you have fairly straight and naturally smooth hair, you'll need only the tiniest dab of this on a regular basis.

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  2. I laughed out loud at your closing sentence re: By Kilian.

    Love the idea of Back 2 MAC but I've only ever purchased two products from them so...I've got a while to go.

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    1. I'm a little mortified by how much I like something that is so universally despised. But oh well. :)

      Only 2 MAC? Wow! MAC was a coming of age brand for me so my journey began in high school. I think this is my 5th or 6th B2MAC (there was a big gap in the middle years).

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    2. How does one join the By Kilian fan club, btw? Is it just liking it on Facebook?

      I think the thing about MAC, for me, is that the one nearest me is staffed by very grouchy people and I get intimidated and leave before buying anything.

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    3. Yep. There might be a separate tab on the Kilian page where you fill out your info.

      I hate grouchy sales people. It doesn't stop me from looking at the items, but I make a point of saying that I'm going to buy it elsewhere if I like something, so that they smarten up a bit in the future.

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  3. I love empties posts for the mini-reviews, too! I want to see Lady Danger on you, Liz! Please! Make it happen! And tooth gloss? What the hell?! I've been curious about the Korres lip butters for, oh, 5 years, but haven't gotten around to buying one. And now I never will! Good to know :)

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    1. I'm terrible at lip swatches but I shall keep on trying. FOR YOU, AMES.

      A lot of people like the Korres butters so it may work for you. I'm definitely in the minority here so try it first before you write it off. :)

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  4. So many empties! Thoughts on EMR that's cheaper than Lancome Bi-Facil for when you run out: Sonia Kashuk's from Target is phenomenal. Tied for effectiveness but from more natural ingredients is The Body Shop's Chamomile one. I love the liquid one but found one mascara that it wouldn't remove so I just bought the waterproof cream version and it worked like a charm! P.S. I only wear waterproof mascaras and they are crazy stubborn. These work great :)

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    1. I use Bioderma and some cleansing oils, and I've had good results with the L'Oreal version that's basically a drugstore dupe for Bi-Facil. (We don't have Target or Sonia Kashuk in Canada yet but SOON! They're building the stores now as we speak.) I recently read a good review of The Body Shop remover as well, so it's on the list of items to try. Thanks for the tip re: waterproof cream. :)

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  5. Hi Liz,

    I liked the relaxed feel of this empties post and how you've calculated a ballpark figure for your empties! Lady Danger is really one of MAC's most exciting reds. I hope you get good use out of it :-D

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    1. Hi, Dovey! Thanks for noticing that. :) I hope to get good use out of Lady Danger, too! It's a new frontier for me. :)))

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  6. I love reading other's empties post. I used to hoard and had that annoying habit of using things half way. Then when I started the empties post, I was determined to use things up. I think it has helped me build a good habit. Now, I get annoyed when I don't use up my skincare for example (let's not talk about makeup). I only purchase another bottle of skincare when I'm about to run out. If only I could do the same with colours...
    Instead of accumulating my empties in a bag, I put mine in a tray. Same difference :-P

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    1. Exactly! It's good habit building. :)

      I can't really finish makeup either, except for the odd mascara and lip gloss. I'm going to try to hit pan on a shadow this year but it's not a big life goal or anything, lol. And I like using a bag for empties because it takes up less room in this very cluttered place of mine. Tray sounds nice, hahahah.

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  7. Lovely!

    I still need to count my empties because that makes me really happy! Wish I could arrive at your Zen stage soon!

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    1. Bloggers and their OCDs, lol. :)

      I was actually going to be extra accurate about counting, then realized I didn't want to bother counting in the first place. No purpose for me and just more work!

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  8. I don't like the tube version of the lip butters -- the pots sink in more. I'm about to Back to Mac and I have no idea what to get! I've got about 5 options in my head going, varying from Lip Glass in Entice, to the lipstick in Cosmo to Tempting eyeshadow. haaaalp.

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    1. I didn't realize the tube and pot differed! But I'm not drawn to the pot any more for it - it looks quite small and a little messy.

      Lol, I hear you re: MAC. I had to go to the store 3 times to figure out what I finally wanted. Originally I was sure it was going to be a shadow, but every day I wanted something different. :)

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  9. Woo, very zen! I'm glad :) Empties to me are just a good way of gauging how long things last and make a good platform for mini reviews, like you said.

    For Back to MAC, can you return anything in MAC packaging? Like brow gels and stuff?

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    1. You can even return wet wipes! But they have to be the standard MAC packaging from the permanent collection. Some LEs are not accepted. Apparently there's a sign on the package (box) if it's eligible for B2M.

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  10. I lol'd at your comments on the Kerastese elixir! I admire your finishing a product despite being confused about it. I know the feeling :-)

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    1. Haha, sometimes we just have to wing it. Once a product goes down halfway, I make it a mission to get rid of it, even if I don't like it. :)

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  11. Loved this post, as I always love your empties posts :) lol at fragrance, sometimes it is good to like something that nobody else does. I find the L'Occitane Precious cream nice and thick for when my skin has dry patches, haven't tried the serum before so quite glad now. We can't back to mac for anything but lipsticks in Australia, but I would prefer an eyeshadow. Isn't it funny, the thing I use up most makeup wise is eyeshadow, and that is what you aim to hit pan on. I guess I use my lazy day shades quite a bit ;) I am still struggling to finish up my NYX Peach blush and it is so close I cannot wait!

    X

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    1. I heard about your MAC woes from Vita - it's so unfair. But I hear there are some places in Europe that doesn't do B2MAC at all, so I guess it's better than nothing. I wonder why it's different from country to country.

      My lazy days means no eye makeup at all, lol. I can't wait until you finish that NYX Peach. What a monumental achievement! :D

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  12. I always enjoy your empties posts too, Liz. Like others have said, it's nice to read all of the mini reviews. I've never tried the Korres tube Lip Butters, but I do quite like the potted versions. They seem to hydrate quite well and some of the shades are really pretty. Love the idea of Back 2 MAC too, but have never had enough empties to actually do it. Maybe one day :)

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    1. I like some of the Korres shades but I think at this point I prefer just aiming for a regular lip gloss or lipstick if I'm looking at colours. :)

      MAC was a Canadian makeup staple for years, so I have a long history with it. You just relax and play with all that nice Chanel. ;) ;)

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  13. Super-cheap option for depotting lipstick - those 7-day pill holder things you get from the drugstore for like 1$. Just mush the lipstick into the well and voila! If you get the ones that don't have the raised font, you can just add a little label with the lipstick name overtop to conceal the "day" printed.

    I started using these for my kit, and I can't be bothered to shell out the mega bucks for a Japonesque lipstick palette holder thingie.

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  14. I like the actual potted Korres lip butters but have yet to try the tubey ones. I do agree about Jasmine though--it pales out my lips and kinda makes me look sick so I only wear it at home (I've had the same pot for over a year. IT JUST WONT GO!!! :P). It also does seem to kinda just sit on the lips but I also have the Rose version and that one is less creamy and thick, more balmy and emollient. At least in my opinion. I've been wanting other shades (Guava, Pomegranate and Quince) for a while so I think I will finally indulge once I finish Jasmine. (dang, should have gotten one of the sets from Christmas. It included all those shades and was reduced to something like $25...AND it came with hand creams!! :/)

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    1. Oh wifey, your comments always make me smile. So much excitement! I love it. :D

      I've only tried the tubes and bought it in a pack of 3. Jasmine is done, I gave away another one, and now I'm left with Pomegranate or Guava - I forget which. I totally agree with your assessment re: their general lack of emolliency. Maybe I'll try the Rose one in the pot someday, but with all the other choices out there, probably not. I liked Korres much better before they hiked up their pricing some years back.

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  15. Awesome empties! I agree you no longer need to count LOL, we'll just set that number to 'highly impressive' each month. And I keep meaning to do Back to MAC, but every time I set aside an empty I seem to lose it in a matter of weeks...oops.

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    1. Haha, thanks, MM! I'd get so upset if I lost a MAC empty, but I'm cheap that way!

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  16. I've never kept track of empties before, but I have two empty sample packets sitting on a side table now! Your final paragraph is very thoughtful -- reviews and product info is good, but I really appreciate your thoughts on consumerism/acquisition/anxiety over acquisition.

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    1. Thanks, Amanda. :) I get bored with straight reviews. While they're purposeful, it doesn't do anything for me to conduct them. I like to get the complicated tormented thoughts pushed out some way or another. :)

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  17. Ooh you got Lady Danger? That's AWESOME Liz!!! What a hefty load of empties you posted - I have to say L'Oreal mascaras are generally pretty good as far as drugstore products go. Could that be because of their relationship with Lancome I wonder???

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    1. I always really liked L'Oreal in general. Kind of makes sense, I guess. :)

      Just put on Lady Danger for the first time because of your comment, and wow, it's going to require some courage to wear out. It's so not my usual kind of shade. But it's an amazing colour!

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  18. Yayyy, empties! I always find empties posts so inspiring, haha! I'm looking forward to my own February empties. I got rid of a number of foil packet samples on my trip to Chicago. :D

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    1. Trips are always good for testing out samples. I'm trying to clear out a handful of sample packets each month and so far that's going rather well. :)

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  19. Don't you feel excited when you see some products is going to be empty soon? LOL That's what I'm feeling actually.
    I am actually interested to try that kerastase hair oil but considering the price is a bit too steep for my budget, I'd go for other brand then.

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    1. I get super pumped when I see pan or anything that's half finished. :D

      I had 20% off the Kerastase elixir - otherwise it was never going to happen. Hair isn't THAT important to me, lol. I mean to try the lower line L'Oreal drugstore counterparts eventually. Given how much of the elixir is filler stuff, I can't imagine they're all that different.

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  20. I used to be a great fan of Lancôme bifacil! it's HG Status (I still think it is though. only I hardly had the chance to try it again since I hardly shop at Lancôme if at all) I like Chanel's version better (the one with oil an water in clear and blue kind of thing), it left my eye area less oily to the touch than the Lancôme. I recently picked up sth from Lancôme and they gave me bi facil as sample so I'll be revisiting it soon :)
    please show us how lady danger works on you!!
    I wish one day I don't need to count the number of empties lol but for now counting it makes me feel fulfilled or accomplished (kinda like 'hey I FINISHED SOMETHING!!!') lol and keeping the numbers will remind me how diligent / random I had been for the past month, sort of like a reminder :))

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    1. oh and on the subject of counting, I recognized there's a need to list out the products of each category that I have in the stash already (ahem...blush and eyeshadows and palettes and 65937 bottles of serums) as a way to warn me against good-bargain-but-I-don't-need-it types of impulse buys. also is a note to self that this and that bottle is waiting to be finished. there's a symbolic meaning to the ritual of a junkie :P

      even though listing might not entirely stop against impulse buys but it helps to exercise some self restraint in face of reality (the numbers of unopened stuff etc)

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    2. I know, some people's OCDs really take off with this empties count! LOL I feel accomplished enough in sticking with and finishing a product that I don't need the final numbers to feel any better. Getting rid of old stuff is good enough for me. But I totally get why some people want to draw up tally sheets and everything. :D

      And I haven't tried any Chanel tools or skin care - just a little bit of their makeup. I'm scared of being spendy there and will probably look at drugstore options for removers and such.

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  21. Every time you upload one of these posts, all my held-back voyeuristic tendencies come flaring to life, lol! I seem to have a mental block when it comes to keeping stuff I've used up or am planning to toss, to save for a post like this; I automatically place in my recycling bin and immediately wipe it out of my mind. Go figure. I wanted to mention that the L'Occitane Precious Serum is not meant to be worn alone; you're right - it doesn't offer the moisturizing feel we associate with most skin care, but I've been using this steadily for some time and I love how my skin has been feeling - plus, the smell is so fresh!

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    1. I love being a makeup voyeur and really appreciate that about you, Eugenia. LOL I should post some more monthly faves type things but I never think of taking the pictures until it's too late and there's no sun for days!

      Damn them, I don't think L'Occitane is capable of producing anything that doesn't smell good.

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  22. LOL @ the By Kilian experience! I'm tempted to sign up to their page, but then if I ever got a scent I loved, I'd die dreaming of owning a full bottle - and it's FAR too expensive for me!

    Weird about the polish dry spell, but I'm sort of in a similar rut - I'm still wearing it (though - this week was the first time I skipped it altogether), but nothing is DOING it for me anymore, you know? Maybe we got oversaturated? Just need a palate cleanse for a while?

    You must show us Lady Danger! That's awesome, I don't think I've got enough MAC empties yet but I'll keep working at it :P I think for the moment I've reached a good place in terms of what I own vs what I want to buy. I *just* got to this place like, last week LOL so we'll see how long it lasts. I've been finding just playing with my makeup more and spending more time looking at FOTD rather than new products has helped immensely! And my empties bag is effing BURSTING at the seams - must do a post but OMG it's going to be the LONGEST EVER.

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    1. I'm getting into this game of looking for perfume dupes, so it doesn't bother me too much. There are so many things that I want and can't have already, so I just add it to the list! LOL

      Definitely oversaturated re: polish. I'm so grossed out by my gigantic stash and can't believe I used to shell out $12 for OPIs. But I want to enjoy what I have and keep trying to wear them, but maybe I just need to enjoy naked nails for a while.

      And yay for reaching your happy place! I think going through the stash is always good exercise and reminds us of what we have instead of what we don't. Can't wait for your LONGEST EVER EMPTIES, hahaha!

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  23. YOU GOT LADY DANGER????????? WOW!!! I am so PROUD of you!!!

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    1. THIS IS THE YEAR TO LIVE DANGEROUSLY, MY FRIEND. >;)

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  24. Love, love, love that you got Lady Danger!!! One of my favourite shades of all time. :D

    This post has got me curious about that Kerastase serum... I'm not sure of the Kerastase will perform better than my current Bumble and Bumble oil, which I love and also cost $50 CAD (though I bought it in the US for $38)...

    YAYYYYY EMPTIES!!! (Let me know if you want any more MAC containers!)

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    1. SORRY, I DON'T KNOW WHY I MISSED YOUR COMMENTS. >__<

      I'm still trying to work up the nerve to wear Lady Danger full force! But it is GORGEOUS.

      I haven't tried the B&B oil and can't compare, but it might come down to how you like the texture of the product? Kerastase is not a true oil.

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