Urban Decay Full Spectrum Eyeshadow Palette


Kicking off the weekend with something a little different today, namely this bloody gorgeous Full Spectrum eyeshadow palette from Urban Decay that I received as a lovely and generous Christmas present (told you Santa was good to me!)

Retailing for $80.00 Canadian, this 21-strong eyeshadow palette is no lightweight from a cost perspective, but if you’d like to sample a wide array of some pretty out-there hues, or you’re interested in eyeshadow art (yes, that’s a thing) or you just want to mess about with some fantastically beautiful makeup, I’d recommend grabbing one of these palettes, because they’re just stunning.  And not for nothing, but Urban Decay are no slouches when it comes to these kind of super vibrant, high pigmentation cosmetics – these are superb eyeshadows, period.

We’ll take a closer look at the actual shades in a just moment, but first, let’s admire a packaging and design job very well done, from the matte-on-black finish of the embossed lid to the almost geometric placement of the eyeshadow pans.  This palette also features a whisper soft front closure, a large mirror inset into the lid, a dual-ended shadow brush tucked into the base, and a nice amount of heft to keep the whole works from toppling over.  So, so beautiful, but I am a sucker for gorgeous presentation.


Good looks aside, how did the eyeshadows perform?  Splendidly!  I admittedly haven’t given this palette much of a workout, save the swatches below, but I have no problems to report with skin sensitivity, and the shadows applied beautifully, blending softly and smoothly.  And the colours…a high intensity rainbow in three gorgeous tonal variations. There’s a little something here for everyone, no matter your cosmetic style or skin tone, and plenty of hues to challenge those looking to play outside the makeup box.


Nestled in their glossy black case, this assortment of precisely inlaid rainbow shadows can’t help but be anything other than eye-catching.  I’m drawn, like a magpie!  But how do they look on actual, you know, skin? Allow my pale pink hide to answer that question (having said that, how sad is it that my skin tone can best be described as a shade called “Iced”?  More like “Iced, with Freckles.”)


All told, I love this eyeshadow palette, and I’m so delighted it made an appearance under my tree this holiday – I’m a lucky beauty blogger, indeed. 🙂

One Big Blended Family

All In Bottle Shot

To my continued delight, I recently received a most generous press pack of blendable fragrances from Demeter Fragrance Library to test, muck about with and report back on. Like the Mr. Bubble campaign I took part in last September, this arrangement was brokered by Canadian Beauty Bloggers, a helpful online resource for Canadian bloggers, vloggers, Tweeters and ‘Grammers alike.  Pleased with the response to the one-bottle Mr. Bubble campaign, Demeter are now upping the ante a bit, providing bloggers with a range of complimentary, singular scents to mix and match and blend and otherwise play amateur parfumier with. I’ve long been a fan of Demeter’s spunky approach to fragrance (one of the blending scents is a cologne I already own) so this felt like a fun and natural fit.  There’s lots of delicious-smelling, DIY enjoyment to be had from these all-in-one blending kits, so let’s get into it!

Participants were asked to choose one of three different scent duos (jasmine/lavender, clean skin/sunshine or grass/dirt) to blend with a chosen base note trio (Hawaiian vanilla, angel food and gingerbread.)  I suspected that my choice, jasmine/lavender, was going to be a popular one, and indeed, I see there’s already a preponderance of posts favouring the floral duo.

Duo Collage

All the same, the point of this exercise is to build a unique custom scent, and with five lovely fragrances in the mix, as well as all the necessary blending accoutrements, Demeter has made it easy to do just that, enabling you to create a fragrance that, similarities in scent notes notwithstanding, is your unique creation and yours alone.  So we might all be dabbling in the night blooming lavender pound cake pool here, but everyone’s creative interpretation is going to be just a little bit different from their neighbour’s, and delightfully so.

Before I get into the actual fragrance creation, let’s take a look at the blending kits themselves.  For this campaign, Demeter chose the all-vanilla trio as its base note kit, although it’s also offered in scents ranging from smoky and woodsy to clean and floral. True to their name, these heavier scents form the foundation for your fragrance on top of which you layer one or both of the lighter scents from your chosen duo (which is also offered in a wealth of sweetly scented pairings.)  Having said all that, there’s no rule that stipulates that you must combine them in such a fashion.  In fact, the whole point is that there are no rules!  You can mix these fragrances (the duo and trio, both) exactly as you see fit, although I might warn against the all-in approach to fragrance creation – “jasmine gingerbread sunshine dirt cake” is a heck of a mouthful, and I can’t imagine it would smell that wonderful either.

Demeter Collage

Between the two kits, there are five one ounce fragrances, a funnel, four plastic droppers, a small stack of scent strips and an empty one ounce bottle in which to capture your perfect – and perfected – scent.  Of course, you could always go completely low tech and just fire two scents into the air – sideways! – and then glide through the mist like you’re Antonio Banderas in a beauty-obsessed version of Desperado, but where’s the fun in that (actually, that sounds like A LOT of fun!)  The set-up is simple and nicely intuitive – use the droppers to dab various scent combinations onto the disposable strips until you create THE perfect blend, at which point you use the empty bottle and funnel to create a lot of that perfect blend.  Easy!

But a beautifully blended fragrance truly is the sum of its individual parts, and so before we get to my creation, let’s first take a look at those singular fragrances.  Getting the negative out of the way first, I am no fan of jasmine, nor have I ever been.  I concede that it’s therefore an odd choice of blending fragrance on my part, although I was really after the lavender side of the duo, with jasmine simply coming along for the ride. Scent preference is a deeply personal thing, so I won’t fault you if you just adore jasmine, but to me, it smells simultaneously like hippie grandmas and an ex-boyfriend’s nauseatingly bracing cologne, neither of which I need to be reminded of on a day to day basis.  It does make for some rather beautiful nail art, though, no? Actually, as you’ll see, they kind of all did.

jasmine bottle

The other half of the scent duo is a gorgeous herbal lavender.  Lavenders can be quite tricky, as they often drift into “grannie’s unmentionables drawer” territory (again with the grandmas!) but this one is fresh and green and sweet, and not the least bit powdery or cloying.  Really lovely.

Lavender Bottle

Moving over to the base trio, angel food is the Demeter scent I already own (having a duplicate is stupendous, as the bottle I bought 15 YEARS AGO is just now starting to show its age.)  Unlike its diabetic-friendly namesake dessert, this fragrance is rich and sugary and buttery.  Immensely edible (but please don’t eat it.)

Angel Food Cake Bottle

If you’re looking for something a little less bakery-oriented, Hawaiian vanilla is a fresh and floral vanilla that’s evocative of the orchid plant that gives it life.  Mild and sweet, this vanilla will play nicely with other fresh florals and watery, clean scents.

Hibiscus Bottle

Finally, we have the fragrance I was the most excited to play with, gingerbread.  Spice-phobic folks need not fear this gingerbread, which is mild, sweet and dry, lacking that irksome and irritating fresh spice note that overwhelms most ginger-based scents.  Very nice.

Gingerbread Bottle

So lovely individual scents, all (save and except the jasmine) but what sort of fabulous creations did I wrest from combining them?  Well, I suppose it all rests on your definition of “fabulous,” but I don’t think there’s a dud in the bunch.  The “softness” of the scents aids in successful blending – there’s no sharp, unduly alcoholic tones to the fragrances, and they blend beautifully in nearly any proportion.  Just about as close to Demeter’s promised “foolproof” as possible!

Before settling on one favoured fragrance (the big reveal of which I’m saving for the end of this massive missive) I tried my hand at:

1. Lavender Vanilla Cake.  This blend of sweet lavender and angel food is the very definition of a gourmand scent, with a light herbal freshness to cut the all the sugary and buttery.  Yuh-um.

2. The Ex-Grannies.  That sounds like a punk band.  Or the bank robbers in a low budget remake of Point Break (so pretty much the recent remake of Point Break.) This combination of jasmine and Hawaiian vanilla represents my one and only attempt to blend with jasmine, and it failed miserably.  Best to leave this one to the grandmas and my ex-boyfriend’s gag-worthy cologne.  You can’t say I didn’t try.

3. Hawaiian Lavender.  I’m pretty sure there is no such thing, but work with me here!  It’s all about being creative, and that includes horticulture.  This blend of lavender and the most floral of the three vanillas combines beautifully, creating a soft, gentle fragrance the most in keeping with traditional floral perfumes.

4. Butter Your (Ginger)Bread.  Sweet and lightly spiced gingerbread gets a tender, almost buttery kick from delectable angel food.  Another beautiful bakery.

The last scent I blended was also my favourite, and the one I chose to bottle, a uniquely sweet and spicy combination of gingerbread and lavender I call “Gingy’s Hot Date.” Studies have shown that when it comes to stirrings of lustful feelings in people bearing the Y chromosome, lavender and spicy scents like ginger get the job done. So why not combine them into one monster aphrodisiac of a scent that will work its magic on men and gingerbread men alike?  Heck, gingerladies, too – let’s not leave them out of the sweetly scented fun.  This is a delectable, unexpectedly yummy-smelling fragrance that bridges the gap between earthy spices and rich gourmands, and I love it.

Gingy's Hot Date Bottle

All told, this was a fun do-it-yourself beauty project – like a science experiment, but less explode-y – and a well-run blogging campaign by Demeter.  A great experience all around, at the end of which you’re left with a beautifully scented reminder (or reminders) of your creativity.  Sweet!  And kind of spicy… 😉

Double Bubble

Bubble Bottle

YOU GUYS, I am beyond excited for this post! And why exactly am I so excited? Because that bottle of perfume I’m clutching up there, Demeter’s Mr. Bubble-scented cologne, is the first free/for-your-consideration item I’ve been sent in my fledgling blogging career, and I’m just as pleased as punch! I’ve seen other beauty bloggers tag their posts with casual disclaimers that they were sent this, that and the other thing for unbiased review, and I always think they’re so blasé about it. If that were me, I’d be screaming my good fortune from the rooftops – wherever you are in the world, you’d hear my whooping cries. And while I am a (former) student of journalism, and therefore well versed in the concept of honest, uncompromising review, I’m a beauty buff who just got her first freebie, and that’s just aces in my books. So I suppose that’s my not-so blasé disclaimer right there: I’m friggin’ excited, and a total lack of bias is probably not something you’re going to find here!

First, however, and perhaps most importantly as it pertains to the discussion of bias, I’ll note that this bottle of Mr. Bubble cologne was NOT sent to me for traditional smell-and-wear review. Rather, I was asked to recall and recount a memory of Mr. Bubble, the soap, which if you’re at all familiar with this blog and my writing style, is right up my alley. Moreover, I was not sent this perfume from Demeter itself, but rather through CBB, or Canadian Beauty Bloggers, an online networking resource for Canuck bloggers, vloggers and Instagrammers. As a small side note, my involvement with CBB has proven quite beneficial, and not just because of opportunities for product reviews like this one – CBB also offers up a number of beauty and blogging tips and tricks, tons of opportunities for cross-promotion, and they nurture an active and friendly Facebook community of helpful, like-minded beauty buffs. A truly terrific resource for the Canadian beauty blogger.


Secondly, a quick word about Demeter, a company I have been brand loyal to for some 15 years now – their perfumes are awesome. And while I personally am not completely sold on this fragrance, as my scent preferences err towards the edible, I can attest that, like the other five or six Demeter perfumes I’ve bought, Mr. Bubble is long-lasting, scent-true and complex – even their singular scents, like Sugar Cookie or Pomegranate, have distinct layers, and Mr. Bubble is no exception. It’s airy, fruity and a touch floral – lovely if that’s your thing. Best of all, it’s really nice to see a company that you’ve supported for so many years keep on keepin’ on, and well at that – I hope to be writing about Demeter in another 15 years’ time.

But for now, let’s flash BACK 15 years to a university-aged Sandra, fresh off her first visit to a Lush store. I was too, too excited to Lush it up and had, in fact, a mile-long list of must-have items – hand cut soaps, bath bombs and the like. Then I entered the store and was hit with what I call THE WALL OF LUSH. C’mon, you know that smell; it’s really quite distinct. Some people love the all-fruit, all-herb, all-essential oil smell of Lush, but I simply cannot abide it. And so I was exceptionally disappointed to discover that, to me at least, all of Lush’s pricey products smell like that one all-encompassing WALL OF LUSH, no matter the delicious-sounding description on the label. I left the store empty-handed and grumpy – I had major bath plans that evening, and stinky, expensive Lush was harshing my buzz. Then later on that afternoon, as I was working my cashier’s job at a local grocery store, a giant, inexpensive and yummy-smelling bottle of peaches and cream Mr. Bubble came across my cash. At the time I was a bit of a foolish beauty snob – I’d equate a product’s worth with its retail price, which is not fair to the Mr. Bubbles of the world. And so I decided to give Mr. Bubble the bath time shot it deserved, and you know what? It was totally awesome. Giant, soft piles of peachy-smelling suds, and the sweet satisfaction of knowing I wasn’t paying an arm and a leg for the privilege. Plus, at the end of my bath I didn’t smell like the floor of a chill tent at Burning Man. 😉

I haven’t taken a bath for relaxation in years (I’m thoroughly Team Shower) but this fun little exercise has me adding a bottle of Mr. Bubble to this week’s grocery list. It’s been a while, and it would be nice to be reacquainted again. In the meantime, though, I’m content with confining the Mr. Bubble to my pulse points, and my nails, like this manicure featuring one of my favourite lacquers, Polish Me Silly’s pink, blue and white matte glitter, Mr. Bubble. Double the Bubble for your bath time fun!

Bubble Polish Bottle