Sunday, 29 September 2013

The Drugstore Wonder - Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla & Macadamia

The drugstore can sometimes be overlooked in the Canadian Princeza world, what with all the shiny, fancy luxurious pots cluttering my vanity and clouding my senses with their opulent textures and scents. Its sometimes easy to forget that the high price tag is not the only way to get a performance driven, premium quality product. And don't even get me started about all the ridiculously overpriced disappointments. 

Luckily all it takes is one product to renew my faith in the beauty god's and the fact that the item in question comes from a drugstore, heavy-duty bargain brand such as Nivea is only icing on the sweetly scented cake. I love discovering little wonders like the Nivea Lip Butter in Vanilla & Macadamia ($3.99 here!) and proving the little snob deep inside me wrong and proving a point that seems to reiterate itself over and over again - "price tags mean nothing". This lip balm indeed preforms as good or even better than some of my much more expensive contenders. A huge score for the bargain beauty category! 

Some of my other Nivea excursions have ended in disappointment and regret but this time the little tin of this comforting lip butter manages to impress and stun my skeptical, sometimes snobby, girly self. 

In Canada the Nivea Lip Butters are available in Original, Raspberry Rose Kiss, Caramel Cream and Vanilla & Macadamia but selection can vary greatly depending on geographical location. The huge success may prompt Nivea to release more flavors and even some limited edition tins - that is my hope, anyways! The fact that I am pushing for limited editions is a testament to how much i enjoy the formula used for these hydrating lip potions. 

Official Description;
The moisturizing formula of NIVEA Lip Butter with Hydra IQ contains Shea Butter and Almond Oil and provides intense moisture and long-lasting care. The indulging formula creates senationally soft lips.

Cera Microcristallina, Paraffinum Liquidum, Polyglyceryl-3 Diisostearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea) Butter, Ricinus Communis (Castor) Seed Oil, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Aqua, Glycerin, Glyceryl Glucoside, BHT, Aroma, CI 77891, CI 77492

I will admit right away that this was a complete impulse purchase at my local grocery store, bought on a whim and once again seduced by the "mini" packaging. I am the advertising teams dream consumer - pretty, unique or just plain amusing outer shells have made me purchase many unnecessary and disappointing products. 
Luckily this cute tin was inexpensive and the product inside turned out to be phenomenal for a change! 

Since I had only vaguely heard some buzz regarding the Lip Butter launch and hadn't done any of my extensive product research prior to purchasing, I wasn't really expecting much from the Nivea Vanilla & Macadamia Lip Butter. I knew it would moisturize of course but based on previous Nivea Lip Products experiences I didnt think it would do much more than that. To be perfectly honest the appeal of the little tin faded rather quickly and it almost got swallowed by the uber amount of other lip treatment candidates. 

When I am wrong I say I am wrong - and I couldnt have been more wrong when it comes to this little drugstore wonder! I fell in love with the Lip Butter with one single use and today the Nivea status has risen to a whole new level thanks to the Vanilla & Macadamia Kiss formula. 
This is one of those rare lip treatments that manages to hit all the important features when it comes to a successful, all-encompassing lip care.

First off the Nivea Lip Butters contain high concentrations of Shea Butter, which deeply hydrates the lip tissue and seems to almost "lock" in moisture even after just one application. The texture is smooth, balmy and somewhat tacky in the tin itself but that "stickiness" does not translate on to the lips and once applied there is no left-over greasy residue to deal with. On the lips themselves the Lip Butters create a glossy (not shiny!) sheen with absolutely no tint, which makes it ideal for achieving that coveted healthy, no-makeup, radiant look. 
The fragrance of my Nivea Vanilla & Macadamia Lip Butter has a very milky-sweet undertone, with vanilla being most prominent but the overall scent is best described as comforting and even soothing. I can't get enough of it! 
There is definitively a flavor associated with the Lip Butter, which is usually a negative for me but this particular formula makes it work nicely by keeping the taste soft and as un-artificial as possible. I would describe it as a very light vanilla sugar cookie variation but without the usual sweet cloying factor and temperament. I personally love it and haven't met a person that had anything negative to say about it. A clear winner for the gourmand-lover like me! 

In conclusion I really have absolutely nothing negative to say about this drugstore wonder - high quality, high performance lip treatment that does not make me cringe at the cash register! 

Thank you for reading!

Have you tried the Nivea Lip Butters? Thoughts? What is your favorite lip balm? 



Body Care Moisturization - Worth it!?

Lets face it, body moisturizing is neither the most fun nor the most glamorous beauty activity of your day! I don't know what is more bothersome, the actual application or that "waiting game" after the process itself.
Feeling greasy and slimy is not my definition of beauty and yet I continue to mindlessly apply, reapply and smooth on various concoctions all over my body, almost daily!

Body moisturizers might not be the stars of my beauty regiments and yet if I skimp on them even for a day, my skin lets me know in a very red and itchy kind of way. Things can get even more dicy during those cold Canadian winters so when the temperatures go down I begin my lotion hoarding. The search for the perfect body lotion for my overreactive, sensitive skin has sent me down some questionable paths before but I carried on, only to emerge with a few bottles that I actually "like" using. Don't get me wrong I still find body moisturization cumbersome at best but with these creams of the crop the act itself is just a tiny but more enjoyable. 

There are a few features that I look for when shopping for a body care product, little details that make a bottle stand out in the sea of endless plastic, perfumy potions. 

The thing that is probably most important is surprisingly the price itself. For a girl with a collection of high end makeup items, skimping and scrutinizing prices like this can be somewhat of a foreign experience. However since I tend to use a lot of lotion on a daily basis a $100 bottle is not going to last very long so I have learned to improvise and recognize good ingredients and quality brands that I can afford to use copious amounts of. The Drugstore, Etsy and Handmade body products are the gold mine for great formulations and good prices joined harmoniously in a wonderful product. 

The second thing I pay a lot of attention to is ingredients in the formula. Just because I am looking at lower priced products doesn't mean I am willing nor do I have to sacrifice skin loving ingredients. Concentration of said ingredients is also important so when looking at the bottle information make sure to pay attention what is at the beginning of the list. There are a lot of brands out there that taut certain emollients on the bottle but in reality only contain minuscule amounts of it. The obvious moisture magnets are Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter, Almond Oil, Coconut Oil, Jojoba Oil, Macadamia Oil and the new comers Argan & Marula Oils.
The things you want to avoid are high concentrations of mineral oil and alcohol, silicones, parabens and petrochemicals. A lot of small, indie type brands are the front-runners when it comes to showcasing the heavy-duty emollient properties of natural ingredients. Their prices are very reasonable and the formula is usually very concentrated, which means the longevity of the product itself is extended and a little bit will go a long way. 

Another important attribute I look for is specific fragrance of the lotion itself. Now I am not talking about scented lotions like the ones from Bath & Body Works - those are made more for the scent than actual moisturizing power. My top lotions are either unscented or have a light fragrance that's not going to compete with perfume or body spray I may choose to use during the day. Fragrance layering is great for certain occasions but for everyday use I need a heavy-duty lotion that will primarily hydrate and soften my skin. I prefer for the scent to lightly linger on my body but doesn't overpower or interfere with the many other products I pile on during my beauty routine. If that wasn't enough, my girly nature also requires a fragrance I thoroughly enjoy! 

The last feature I scrutinize is texture of the lotion and it's absorbency factor. I may need deep hydration but that doesn't mean I am willing to wait around for the body lotion to absorb and settle in to my skin (especially in winter). The greasy, slimy residue is one of the main things that makes body moisturization the unpleasant ritual that it is. Avoiding that alone will make the task easier to stick to. Rich lotions that sink in quickly is a tricky combination to achieve so when you find "the one" I suggest hard core loyalty. It has taken me ages to find my ideal matches. 

The lotions that I personally swear by I'll go as far as say that I "love" using are: Desert Essence Spicy Vanilla Chai Hand and Body Lotion ($8.99 for 8 fl.oz.), Korres Yogurt Body Butter ($33.00 for 7.95 fl.oz.), Kiehl's Creme de Corps Soy Milk & Honey Whipped Body Butter ($45.00 for 235 ml), The Body Shop Honeymania Body Butter ($20.00 for 200 ml) and  Nourish Organic Body Lotion in Almond Vanilla ($16.00 for 8 fl.oz.)
Even though I have my perenial favorites which are no doubt going to make their appearance during the upcoming cold, snowy Canadian Winter, I am most excited about the MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Elbow, Knee & Heel Cream ($32.00 for 2 oz). If its half as good as their Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer (reviewed here!) I will be over the moon with it. Both will be re-ordered shortly :-)

I hope this was helpful to you!

What are your favorite body lotions? Any favorites I need to know about?



The Honest Company Spreads It's Honesty Across Canada Too

I am sure almost everyone has heard about the Honest Company by now but it might be news to you that they have recently expanded their shipping parameters to Canada and it's territories. To say I was excited about this is the understatement of the century!

The story goes that Jessica Alba started a project after having her babies and realizing just how unsafe everything in the world really is. Instead of sitting back, whining about the injustice and spending thousands of dollars on high end brands that guaranteed nothing, she decided to change the game and make her own "natural" goodness. 
Talk about the proactive attitude! She put her money where her mouth is and just like that The Honest Company  was born.

The "Honest" brand essentially offers clean personal and home care products that are safe, effective, affordable, accessible and trustworthy when it comes to ingredients and formulation effectiveness. Their brand prerogative is to be good for the user, community and environment through transparency, responsibility and commitment to their customers. 
To put it plainly - this stuff is free from the usual nasties other household brands routinely use and as such safe to use even around babies. The company guarantees everything they make and strives to provide excellent customer service.

To spread their "honesty" throughout Canada they have a couple of enticing promotions going on right now; offering free* trial packs in the baby, family essentials and health categories. These trial packages come with no commitment, full guarantee and great value; making the offer a little too good to pass up.

My free* trial package was very easy to order on their site and arrived very quickly for a Canadian mailing. 
When I placed the order I was fully aware that this was a trial package but what I actually received in the mail surpassed any expectation I may have had! There are no tiny, single-use packets here - the five products included were all generously sized (1 fl. oz.) and came in an adorable re-usable box. This means that they give you enough product to conduct a real, significant trial before ordering the full size, which is something I find so annoying about foil samples. Personally I need to use something more than once to decide if it's right for me or not.

The Honest Company and me are obviously on the same page with this one. 

The products included in my kit were:

The one thing that you need to be aware and perhaps the only small drawback to this incredible deal is that by signing up for the trial you are indeed enrolling in the Honest Company Membership Program. However this doesn't mean you are making that commitment just by trying the products - the membership is easily canceled through their efficient customer service, which is very helpful, knowledgeable and appreciative of any concerns you may have.

If you indeed love the products you get then you can keep your membership along with it's many perks. These benefits include discount prices, bundle purchases, shipping schedule flexibility along with order customization. Basically you are in the driver seat, you choose what you get, when you get it and how often you get it! They also have a referral program where getting a friend signed up you automatically get $20.00 store credit, which is more than generous and can really add up in terms of free products! Honestly (pun fully intended!) the membership perks are some of the best I have come across. 
The other free* trials they are offering is the baby diaper bundle and the new health (vitamins) pack. Just like mine they only require shipping & handling fee payment of $5.95, which is ridiculously low when you consider post office prices in Canada. 

The baby diapers & wipes bundle contains 7 cute diapers and 10 accompanying wipes; while the Health & Wellness bundle gives you a choice between a 1-Day supply of Prenatal & DHA/Omega-3 and Baby & Toddler Multi Powder and Kid's Chewable Multi-Vitamins. 

The products I have tried during me Honest trial have definitively impressed me so far with the Honest Organic Healing Balm and Honest Liquid Hand Soap being the obvious stand outs. What I love the most about all of the Honest Company products is their signature milky vanilla orange blossom scent, which manages to be both soft and prominent with very light lingering effect on the skin. 
After this trial experiment I have decided to give the Honest Company Essentials Bundle a whirl and see how my first "real" order turns out. Being of fickle & indecisive nature I have been scouring their website, changing out products in my bundle, trying to decide what I want to try first. 
As they say "first world problems" 

If you want your very own trial kit you can use my referral link here (which would be so nice!) or visit their website directly

I hope this was helpful!

Have you tried the Honest Company yet? What is your favorite product? 



*Disclosure - this post contains a referral link but is in no way sponsored by the Honest Company!

Saturday, 28 September 2013

My Deliveries - Elle Canada Beauty Box

Everybody loves getting packages and deliveries in the mail! In today's metropolis driven world where online shopping has become a completely regular (and beautifully convenient) phenomenon the mailman is no longer just a source of boring bills, far-away postcards and the occasional greeting cards. In fact with the vast expansion of the subscription box market, reliable international shipping options and fast-paced growth of online shopping sites - your mailman can quickly become one of your all time favorite civil servants, bringing all kinds of treasures that are bound to delight every single one of your senses!

When an unexpected, pink rose patterned, sweetly scented, beauty filled box, postmarked by the ubberly fashionable Elle Canada arrives at your door at the end of a very bad day, let's just say a girly girl like me is more than tempted to hug said mailman and scare the poor guy into oblivion. 
However as a frequent flier user of the mail system I recognize the risks of such behavior and  settle for a good old-fashionable happy dance! 

The Elle Canada Beauty Box is a fairly new promotional program that operates a little differently from the standard subscription box plans. The main difference of course is the fact that the Elle Canada Box is absolutely free (no shipping charges either) and doesn't have a particular delivery schedule (at this time). A few months ago, Elle Canada, had a promotion through their website inviting girls to sign up, fill out a short survey after which the participants were informed that if they were "eligible" Elle  would send them a special beauty kit for consideration and possible review in the standard 6-8 week time frame. Basically the entire process was a bit of a mystery, as nobody was clear on the eligibility criteria, whether or not they would get the implied beauty set or what the box would entail in terms of products.

The theme was thought to be Fall Beauty 2013 but even that bit was more of a speculation than actual concrete fact. 
Seeing how I had almost forgotten about this beauty opportunity the arrival of this adorably girly All-Star Box left me both delighted and excited to discover what Elle Canada deemed to be a Fall 2013 Must Have! 

A beauty kit curated by a trendsetting giant such as Elle holds a certain level of predetermined expectations when it comes to product choices. Seeing how this was an essentially free box I was even more curious to see what lay hidden in the chic pink box! 
Lets just say - I was both surprised and delighted with the un-boxing ceremonies!
My Elle Canada Fall 2013 kit included;

- Cover Girl Outlast Glosstinis Mini in Sangria (515) *Limited Edition*
- Cover Girl Clump Crusher by Lashblast in Black (805) *Full Size*
- Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Restoring Repair Mini Shampoo (1.69 fl. oz.)
- Vidal Sassoon Pro Series Restoring Repair Mini Conditioner (1.69 fl. oz.) 
- Crest 3D Whitestrips 2 Hour Express Dental Whitening Treatment (one strip)
- Venus Gillette Coupons 

Elle Canada included a mini magazine, "Looking Glass - The Lookbook" along with the beauty samples which was a lovely addition to an already amazing box. 
For once the box literature actually relates to the box contents, meaning that Lookbook really features the products received. It's filled with unique fall & winter styling tips and showcases helpful step by step tutorials to achieve the new trendsetting looks. Basically this is not some useless filler paperwork - this has the potential to be used as well. 

My final verdict is obviously very positive. The Elle Canada Fall 2013 Beauty Box included relevant, trendy and useful beauty bits that any girl would love and use on an everyday basis. In reality this is the first box I received where I know each and every item will get used - a rarity in the beauty box industry for someone as picky as me :-)

I am so excited about the Cover Girl Outlast Glosstini in Sangria - I can't wait to report on its awesomeness in the near future :-)

Thank you for reading!

Have you received the Elle Beauty Box? Do you subscribe to other beauty boxes?



Friday, 20 September 2013

Skin Care Jack Pot - MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer

I think this blog and the sheer amount of skincare posts illustrate the fact that I take my beauty products quite seriously. My reviews are lengthy, precise and hopefully helpful to those of you researching your next beauty endeavor. I take my time with testing things out and if I like something I can be quite vocal about it.

Well, I honestly can't be loud enough about this product - MuLondon's Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer just might be the single best skincare product I have ever had the pleasure of using. Everything about this moisturizer is beyond impressive and testing it out has gotten me so excited about everything else they have to offer so much so that I have been stalking their for website days plotting what is sure to be a huge order.  

In the world of cosmetics there is a lot to be said about the new crop of so-called natural and organic brands swept up by the rising need for good for-you products that are kind both to the body and the environment. The success stories are there and need to be celebrated but recognition needs to be given to the best of the best, those companies that deliver the natural products they promise without sacrificing functionality, feel and results. 
Let's just say that something being natural doesn't always translate into a good beauty product, which is why I believe in giving credit and recognizing this feat when someone gets it right. MuLondon doesn't just get it right, they bang it out of the park and present a product that not only outperforms moisturizers that cost 4x as much and promise a heck of a lot more than this lovely concoction even touches on.

Before I introduce you to what is probably the best moisturizer I have ever used I think its important to introduce the company and the man behind this seemingly unassuming brand that is bound to become a household name among natural beauty connoisseurs very soon.
MuLondon is an award-winning UK based cosmetics brand, specializing in natural, organic and almost entirely hand-made skincare products. In fact the founder of MuLondon, Boris, is their head hand-whipper! That fact alone makes their products sound wholesome and freshly inspiring!
The brand credentials and philosophy is completely committed to the natural, organic (where possible), pure and vegan lifestyles, guaranteeing absolutely no artificiality and complete transparency when it comes to ingredients and resulting product formulations. Basically there are absolutely no qualms and reservations with anything they make!

The Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer was my first MuLondon product and as you can see I am a huge fan already.

Official Description;
Delicious, decadent Organic White Chocolate Truffle face moisturiser. Indulge your skin and your senses in this luxury spread for your face and your body.
Contains organic Shea Butter and Jojoba Oil and rich, yummy & fragrant extracts of Cocoa and pure Bourbon Vanilla - to spoil, pamper and excite.
Added certified organic Rosemary Antioxidant helps replenish and revive the skin.

Vitellaria Paradoxa (Shea Butter)*, Cocos Nucifera (Coconut Butter)*, Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba Oil)*, Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary Extract)*, Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla Extract)*, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa Extract)

The first thing that blew me away with this face cream is the scent itself - this is decadent, luscious, rich and absolutely true to its description real white chocolate. There is no artificiality or cloying interference whatsoever, which means that while the fragrance is definitively sweet it doesn't have the overly sugar undertone usually associated with gourmand-like products. I loved it so much that if they ever decided to bottle this as an EDP I would be first in line to purchase the jumbo size. You can't go wrong with real bourbon vanilla

Since this is a rich, concentrated moisturizer with the emollient trifecta - Shea Butter, Cocoa and Jojoba Oil, the texture is quite thick and needs to be used sparingly to achieve the proper moisture balance. The fact that its hand-whipped allows the thickness to melt and glide easily on the skin surface, making it ideal for a very spa-like facial massage experience. The combination of scent and this creaminess elevates the simple act of moisturizing by engaging all of your senses at once and making your entire skincare routine feel just a little more special than usual. 

The key ingredients, Shea Butter, Jojoba Oil and Coconut Butter, make this cream ideal for anyone with sensitive, reactive, and dry skin, because all of those target and alleviate the symptoms of the irritated epidermal layers. Anyone suffering from eczema, psoriasis and similar skin conditions would definitively benefit from this, meaning that if all you have to deal with is dry patches then this amazing moisturizer will work like a charm. You really can't argue with results! 

I have used the MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer almost exclusively for the past few months and it has become one of my all-time favorite skincare products to date. Everything Boris and his team promise, this cream absolutely delivers and has surpassed every single expectation I have when it comes to facial moisturizers. 
In a world where big beauty companies make outrageous claims with equally outrageous "unclean" ingredients it is so refreshing to come across something like this that simply delivers and doesn't require a Masters in Organic Chemistry to decipher. 

The fact that the MuLondon products are also very affordable only further drives my point that they are awesome. 
My new favorite moisturizer is available in 30 ml for $15.00 and 60 ml for $25.00 here, proving that natural skincare doesn't have to cost an obscene amount in order to be amazing. 
I am almost out and this is going to be a definite repurchase :)

Have you tried the MuLondon products? What is your favorite natural brand? 

I hope this was helpful!



Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Seasons Are Changing And So Should Your Skincare!

I love summer! I love the sunshine, the trips to the beach, barbecues, exciting outdoor festivals and lets not even talk about the exhibition parks. I turn into a 12 year old girl almost instantly.

Despite the fact that summers obviously have all kinds of attractive qualities, my notorious fickle nature starts pining for the different kind of warmth only autumn can bring and daydreaming about chestnuts and rich jewel-toned colors develops pretty quickly after that.
Lets face it, the hot muggy weather and constant "perspiration", loses its very charm quickly when it comes to a girly girl like me. By the time September rolls around I am more than ready for a change!

With the season rotation the beauty connoisseur in me gets pretty excited about making the switch to a more fall-appropriate makeup color palette, treating the whole transition process like some kind of a "lifestyle makeover" and relishing each new discovery to its fullest.
As my beauty experience evolved I began to recognize that my skincare concerns were also affected by the upcoming temperature and environmental changes which naturally progressed to a shift in those routines as well. You would be surprised just how big of a difference a few formulation changes can make when it comes to skin happiness and more importantly, the ever elusive comfort factor. 

The warmer summer temperatures called for refreshingly light and usually gel-like textures, all of which will prove to be insufficient once the cold weather comes around. Those of you with drier skin will agree with me right away but I am sure that everyone would benefit from a little richer and creamier formulas once the cold starts setting in. The go-to summer products start under-performing but luckily I already have amazing back-ups to supplement my beauty regiment well before the Canadian weather starts playing around.

Today you guys get to witness yet another glimpse in to my beauty saturated world. It can get pretty ridiculous but try to bear with me - I promise there is definitively a method to my madness! 

Cleansing Procedures 

When choosing a cleanser for the fall or winter season the thing I always look for is that wondrous combination of "creaminess" and the "gentle factor". The summer may have vied for the "cooling effect" but in the cooler weather my bigger concern and end result is always all about efficiency without any kind of stripping or over-drying. In fact all of my "wintery" picks focus on adding things in to the skin as opposed to taking things out, which is something that can be a little tricky when it comes to the cleansing step. Essentially the cleanser needs to be able to effectively but gently clean my skin and enrich & hydrate all at once. Needless to say my love affair with cleansing balms becomes even more evident around this time because their balmy formulas when it comes to the concept of cleansing hydration.
My favorite transitional cleansers are: Pai Camellia & Rose Gentle Hydrating Cleanser ($70.00 for 6.8 oz), Suki Creamy Foaming Cleanser ($32.95 for 4 oz) and Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm ($35.00 for 3.8 oz).

Exfoliating my dry and sometimes flaky complexion is accomplished by an even more regular use of my Clarisonic Mia Cleansing System ($139.00), which coupled with my choice chemical exfoliants keeps everything smooth and in-check without over-drying and further irritation. When my skin needs happens to need a little bit extra scrubbing TLC then I reach for some substantially creamy and function targeted facial scrubs, which do the job quickly and swiftly in a manner of just a few minutes.
The most important thing about these scrubs is that they hydrate my skin without being greasy or clog-worthy!
Some of the best are: Michael Todd True Organics Tropical Fruit Enzyme Exfoliant Scrub ($18.00 for 3.4 oz), Aveda Tourmaline Charged Radiant Skin Refiner ($40.00 for 3.5 oz) and Juara Rice Facial Scrub ($29.00 for 4.75 oz).

The Toning and Treatment Step

The debate whether or not a skincare routine really needs a toner completely ended for me when I discovered the genius nature of chemical exfoliants and I really haven't looked back. Swiping a saturated cotton pad over your face takes mere seconds and the difference that short amount of time has had on my skin texture and appearance is more than amazing. For me that has solidified the toning step and I really can't imagine me ever cutting it out. The only thing that is important is choosing a formula that is gentle and low in alcohol content in order to minimize any over-stripping and drying, which is especially important during the winter months when vast amounts of time is spent in artificially heated environments.
My firm favorites still include Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner ($34.00 for 120 ml), Biologique Recherche P50 ($89.00 for 8.5 oz) and the new Korres Pomegranate Toner ($26.00 for 6.75 oz).

No skincare routine is complete without a treatment serum, which is basically souped up, targeted health supplement for your skin. The beauty of serums lies in the fact that depending on the formulation you choose you can treat any specific concern or problem your very own skin requires - nothing beats personalization when it comes to beauty routines and including one of these in yours is a sure-fire way to whatever your little heart desires.
Since I am a proud Canadian, our wonderfully cold winters and my own dry skin require highly hydrating, soothing and protective potions to help me acclimatize to the ridiculously fluctuating temperatures.
Serums that get the most play in my bathroom are: Aesop Damascan Rose Facial Treatment ($80.00 for .81 oz), Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum ($63.00 for 1 oz) and my trusty Clarins Bi-Phase HydraQuench Intensive Serum ($58.00 for 1 oz).

More and More Hydration

Keeping up with the hydration theme I am sure you can predict that my moisturization is going to be even more important during this transition phase and as the winter months get closer it will gradually intensify even more. My skin is definitively on the drier end of the spectrum but its also easily irritated and prone to clogging, which makes choosing a richer moisturizer a little trickier than usual. The formula needs to be deeply hydrating, soothing and rejuvenating but can't be filled with traditionally clog-prone ingredients such as mineral oil and the various "butter" variants.
The all stars in my skincare arsenal include: Tatcha Moisture Rich Silk Cream ($150.00 for 1.7 oz) and my new favorite MuLondon Organic White Chocolate Truffle Moisturizer ($24.00 for 2 oz). The MuLondon Skincare is probably one of the greatest discoveries of the summer for me so expect in-depth reviews very soon.

Another way I hydrate and pamper my skin pretty much year round is by including regular facial mask sessions each week and making sure to choose hydrating, luxurious formulas for maximum effect and best results. My favorite time to use them is right after a shower or hot bath on clean, warm and damp skin, leaving them to do their magic as I busy myself with body lotions, creams and rich moisturizing oils. Nothing beats beauty multi-tasking!
My new discoveries include: Rodial Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Mask ($45.00 for 50 ml), KORA Organics Hydrating Mask ($49.95 for 100 ml) and my new-found obsession Tarte Amazonian Clay Double Detox Facial System ($46.00 for the set!).

Just glancing at my blog and the over abundance of blog posts such as this one clearly illustrates the fact that I take my skincare very seriously so much as that I continuously invent reasons to talk about my over-planned regiments. With that in mind, its obvious that a lot of the products I introduce are not necessarily must-haves in a regular persons skincare routine however I can't deny the fact that all of these really do make a difference in the way my own skin looks and feels.
I firmly believe that investing in good skincare products, expensive or not, is important to every beauty queen out there - after all those beautiful fall makeup color palettes will never get to shine with their full potential is your complexion is lacking that healthy, radiant glow!

Do you change your skincare products with each season? Any favorites I need to know about?

Thank you for the reading :)



P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want some more Princeza Beauty Musings, please consider following me through GFC, Bloglovin, Pinterest or Twitter! Insert "happy dance" here :-)

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Enjoying The Little Things In Life - The September Edition

Everyone has "things" that make their lives a little sweeter - favorites that give that extra "kick" to the day and make reality a bit more bearable and worth waking up to.
As a beauty blogger and a girly girl these "life perks" obviously include a lot of pretty cosmetics and sparkly products that I like to talk about but believe it or not there are a few other things that make my world go round.
Today I am very excited to share the "little things" that have been making me happy in the past little while and hopefully you can introduce some of your own treasures in the comments. I am always looking for inspiration from my fellow beauty aficionados :)

French Macaroons

I already know that fancy packaging is very important to me and French Macaroons prove this preference without a doubt. Just looking at these tasty little morsels makes me smile. The infinite beautiful colors, flavor combinations and chic French beginnings are all reasons why I think macaroons are the perfect treat for every girl that appreciates the finer things in life. Pairing these "melt-in-your mouth" sugary bites with a lovely cup of tea has the ability to elevate any afternoon to a dreamy, sophisticated spectacle and perhaps reveals my affinity to pine for the Maria Antoinette "Let Them Eat Cake" era.

Cooking and all other Kitchen Escapades are definitively not something I partake in very often and after watching the many attempts of various "domestic divas" on YouTube and the Food Network, I am hesitant to even try my luck but seeing how these are hard to come by in my area I am likely to recruit someone with more experience to help me very soon!

Love's Baby Soft Fragrance 

Does anyone remember these soft little wonders? More importantly, does anyone still use this beautiful nostalgic scent? I re-discovered this small, cute bottle from my perfume collection a few weeks ago and haven't stopped using it ever since! I know its not the most sophisticated scent ever made but there is something so sweet and effortless about its wear that feels so comforting and beautiful to me and at the end of the day isn't all that matters?
Maybe its nostalgia but I really can't deny the attraction so I was thrilled to see that its still available and probably one of the most affordable choices I have!

Global Table Adventure

This is a really odd choice for me, seeing how I don't cook one bit but the appeal of "Eat Our Way Around the World" concept has become completely irresistible to me. I love looking up different countries on their Interactive Map, exploring menu options and discovering deliciously unique flavor combinations that can inspire anyone whose palate is even a little bit adventurous.
Being from the Balkans my favorite pages are obviously Bosnia and HercegovinaSerbiaMontenegro and Macedonia BUT the Coconut Curd Jam recipe from Asia has had me obsessed for weeks now. Its definitively on my to-do list!

The Short Game Movie

I am a big-big movie lover and even though I am not a movie critic in any shape or form, I can be pretty vocal when I love or hate something that is buzzed about. 

The Short Game movie gives a very unique, real-life glimpse into the lives of eight 7-year old professional golfers, training and competing in the World Championship of Junior Golf held in Pinehurst, North Carolina. These little boys and girls at a very young age are suppose to represent the next-big things in the competitive and rather overwhelming sport sub-culture, all the while maintaining somewhat normal family and childhood dynamics everyone else has to deal with. I am fascinated with real-life stories and any sport athletes dedication is always very inspiring to me BUT the fact that these are little kids make this movie even more amazing and compelling to watch. At 7 years old these little marvels of energy are doing more than I could ever dream about so given the chance to see how this is all balanced with their "regular life" is bound to be both entertaining and interesting to watch.
Take a look at the trailer and don't forget - this is coming to theaters on September 20th!

Fall TV Lineups 

After a rather disappointing summer of overplayed and rather appalling television choices (Big Brother 15 anyone?) I am finding myself very excited about what the Fall season might have to offer! I am a huge Walking Dead fan so the anticipation for Season 4 has been building up for a very long time now and I am currently engaged in a rather pathetic countdown to the premiere on October 13 on AMC.
The Teaser Trailer is now out and I am once again completely enthralled.

See what I mean?

Juicy Couture

Much has been said about Juicy Couture and their branding practices. I completely understand the reviewers labeling their accessory and apparel offerings as juvenile, loud, tacky and perhaps too trendy for fashionistas behind the big-name fashion blogs. I get it and agree with a lot of their points too! However Juicy Couture is just way too fun for me to turn away - I absolutely love their beautiful colors, numerous texture options, in your face graphics and the in your-face, glamorous notice-me advertorials. I have never been trendy a day-in my life but I have always tried to be fun so Juicy definitively caters to my girly side! Just take a look at one of my lust objects from a few seasons past!

A completely girly, pink, sparkly disaster that I wanted very badly! 

I hope you enjoyed this little post! Please share your favorites too, I am always looking for more things to obsess over :-)



Sunday, 15 September 2013

Review - Chantecaille Just Skin SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer

Chantecaille is one of those niche luxury brands whose creators purposely stay away from trendiness and hype, and focus on making classic products that always deliver. If I could commit to one brand for my beauty staples it would definitively be Chantecaille.

The brands philosophy relies on fusing the power of natural botanicals, essential oils and skin vitamins with the latest scientific research. They are commited to making both skincare & makeup with no animal testing, no animal derivatives, no mineral oils, no lanolin and no added fragrance. The founder Sylvie Chantecaille spent years developing and perfecting product formulations for the beauty giant, Estée Lauder so it's obvious that she poured all that knowledge & experience in her very own brand. It's safe to say she knows her stuff!

Perhaps the biggest reason I love Chantecaille (aside from top notch quality) is their constant philanthropy commitment and support of biological conservation efforts. As opposed to a lot of other brands that give-back once in a while, Chantecaille has been a constant presence in the fight for endangered ecosystems and animals at risk. What's even better is their desire to pass on this universal concern to their customers and promote awareness in the community through their products & press coverage. Almost every year Chantecaille releases limited edition items in support of the specified conservation efforts and then donates a portion of the profits to the selected organization. 
Pretty makeup and cute animal conservation all at once - double win! 

My introduction to Chantecaille began with the Just Skin SPF 15 tinted moisturizer, which was more than just a little impressive. The name Just Skin is definitively appropriate because this is the first product, in the line of many, that promises that elusive "my skin but better" and actually delivers.

Official description;
Lightweight tinted moisturizer perfects and protects skin with SPF 15
Ideal moisturizer, sunscreen, and foundation for both women and men
Revolutionary complex of botanicals fights free radicals
Smooth, velvety, extraordinarily lightweight texture

Water, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylene Glycol, Noepentyl Glycol Diethylhexanoate, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Glycerin, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Peg-400, Magnesium Sulfate; May Contain: Silica Dimethyl Silylate, Dimethicone/ Vinyl Dimethicone Crosspolymer, Mica, Silica, Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Phenoxyethanol, Dextrin Palmitate, Methylparaben, Tocopherol, Methicone, Alcohol, Camellia Sinensis Leaf Extract, Algae Extract, Lonicera Japonica (Honeysuckle) Flower Extract, Preregen, Nectapure, Edelweiss GC, Rose Water Concentrated E4445, Colorants, Talc, Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides, Stearic Acid, Aluminum Hydroxide.

Chantecaille promises that Just Skin will give you coverage, smooth out any fine lines, provides sun protection and perfects your complexion without looking chalky.
As a skincare enthusiast I love hybrid products like tinted moisturizers and Just Skin seems to be a perfect mix of coverage and treatment elements. It contains anti-irritants, antioxidants and anti-pollution extracts, along with titanium dioxide, which is a natural mineral UVB sun protection. Essentially it's a tinted moisturizer on steroids. 

The coverage offered is a bit like a lightweight foundation - it will even out your skin tone, cover up superficial redness, bring out natural radiance, smooth out any small bumps and finally dry to a clean natural dewy finish. Adding a concealer where needed can result in an almost perfect canvas.
The texture is a bit thicker than traditional tinted moisturizers and the feel is much more nourishing.
I love that the end results makes me feel and look much more polished.

The wear time for me is at least 8 hours and can last even longer with a good primer and slight dusting of translucent powder. Personally I never add powder on top because I love the dewy, healthy glow this gives but I can see how those with oily skin may need a little help halfway through the day.

The shade selection of this is quite limited and caters mostly to light-medium skin tones. I am on the fair side and the two shades that worked for me were Nude and Glow however all the shades are very forgiving since they blend so seamlessly.

My final conclusion is very positive!
Nothing else in my stash makes my skin feel or look as good as the Chantecaille Just Skin. I would even go as far as saying its my HG!

Chantecaille products can be purchased through their website

Have you tried Chantecaille products? What's your favorite tinted moisturizer? 



P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want some more Princeza Beauty Musings, please consider following me through GFC, Bloglovin, Pinterest or Twitter! Insert "happy dance" here :-) 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Brandbacker - Be a Star with BA STAR

I might have a ridiculously large makeup, skincare and other "necessary" cosmetic collection AND my naturally adventurous girly nature may constantly drive my need to try and experiment with new products and brands all the time BUT that doesn't mean that I am particularly good at any specific field of the beauty world. In fact my only real skill seems to be centered around the whole accumulation process and my sheer willingness to try and "play"  with any type of product that fits my "prettiness" mantra.

Unfortunately mineral makeup, loose powdery products and colour pigments usually don't quite fit in to my prim, proper, girly Princeza world. After repeated try-outs, brand switch-ups, tons of reviews and seemingly countless YouTube tutorial videos I have been forced to admit that they are just too messy, too cumbersome and definitively not fool proof for a klutzy novice like myself. 
However the beautiful colors, lovely textures, enviable finishes and the numerous skin-loving benefits continue to entice me all the time so I find myself coming back with renewed hopefulness and even a few stars in my eyes whenever there is something new to discover... My pre-occupation and slight obsession with all things "sparkly" doesn't help matters either :-)

When I was given the opportunity to try a new to me brand, BA STAR (through Brandbacker) whose specialty is all-things-that glitter AND whose professional makeup videos actually make those starry looks doable for beginners like me - I have to be honest, my excitement was through the roof! I will spare you the details but a happy dance was involved. 
The BA STAR Cosmetics site describes the brand as the #1 hit with Cheerleaders, Dancers, Competitors & Trend Setters (basically anyone who needs staying power when it comes to their makeup). \So if this makeup is good enough for that level of activity then surely it should preform spectacularly for a girl like me who hasn't broken a sweat in years!

And check this out from their own description!
Core Values. Convenience, Value, & Customer Service  
Whether you're a Top Ranked Competitor or just Starting Out!
Remember, even the Best were "Beginners" 
So, be Creative. Try Something New! Never be Afraid!

See for once my excited happy dance and renewed hope for my new "mineral pigment" beginnings could actually be justified! 

The two products I received for consideration are BA STAR Chocolate Star Dust ($8.75 for .5 oz) and the companion Glitter Glue Primer ($8.75 for 1.5 oz). The Chocolate Dust is a soft shimmer, high sparkle loose mineral shadow that manages to concentrate all the possible brown shades in to a dazzling, not-so-neutral eye accent. 

The Glitter Glue Primer is exactly what the name implies - sweat proof, heavy duty glue primer that holds both eyeshadows and chunky glittery pigments like nothing else I have ever tried. If you have an issue with any kind of fall-out then this stuff is as good as it gets. It won't move until YOU take it off. Very impressive for such a low-priced product! 

The BA STAR Chocolate Star Dust pigmentation is really out of this world and I can't even express just how amazed I was when I swatched this. Even though its technically a "glitter" product the texture is buttery, smooth and surprisingly cohesive with very little pigment fall-out. When used along with the Glitter Glue Primer then even that tiny bit of fall-out is eliminated and the gorgeous chocolate shimmers shine with all their might! Just look at these swatches!

Top - Alone
Bottom - With Primer

I feel that the label that BA STAR chose for these eyeshadows "star dusts" is more than appropriate because these loose powder pigments manage to hit that subtle line between glitter and shimmer perfectly without looking like its too much! As a girly girl I am definitively a huge fan of anything that sparkles but I find that as I am getting older glitter seems to appeal to me less and less so a perfect shimmer eyeshadow like this is definitively a jack pot for me. Its essentially heavy duty sparkle but with a sophisticated feel so if applied correctly this will definitively bring out your fun youthful side without looking juvenile and messy.
The Glue Glitter Liquid Base is definitively a star, an excellent primer that works with any kind of loose pigment, stays put for at least 8 hours (if not longer!) and doesnt feel heavy or sticky like some of its counterparts.

When I checked out the BA STAR website I was pleasantly surprised with the sheer amount of colors, palettes and kits they have to offer. The prices are more than reasonable and I can definitively see how their products would appeal to all makeup lovers. The "experimental" beauty connoisseurs will definitively have a lot to play with and because the Chocolate Star Dust impressed me so much I will definitively be going back for more mineral pigments very soon.

The BA STAR was generous enough to offer all of you lovely readers a discount code for a whooping 50% of your BA STAR purchase - just enter BBDUST at the checkout to reap the money saving benefits! Just hurry up because the code expires by September 30th 2013 How awesome is getting 50 % off makeup?

Let me know if you end up purchasing something and how much you like it! Because I know you will!



*This post is powered by Brandbacker

P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want some more Princeza Beauty Musings, please consider following me through GFC, Bloglovin, Pinterest or Twitter! Insert "happy dance" here :-)

Beauty TLC Kit - Sick But Still Beautiful

Even the best of us beauty queens get sick sometimes! The universe catches up to us and somehow it's summer, boiling hot outside and yet we are in bed with a cold. It happens a lot more than I'd like!
And as a girly girl a set back like that can really cramp my beauty style.
However I am anything but not persistent and you'd be surprised just how much pampering I can accomplish even when I am ordered to "bed rest"!

All beauty enthusiasts, including me appreciate a home facial a lot more than reruns of Jerry Springer or the infamous Days of Our Lives.
Why not take advantage of the time that you have to lay low and preform a few beauty rituals you don't normally have a lot of time for?

Here are some of my favorite rituals and tips that make me look a little less "grey" during those sick days.
Just because I feel terrible on the inside doesn't mean that I need to look like it on the outside :-)

*Washing Your Face in Bed is Easy With the Right Tools"
When you are laying down in bed, sick with no energy at all, the last thing you want to do is get up and go to the bathroom to wash your face twice a day (like you are suppose to). I know its so much easier not to do it, ignore personal hygiene and just sleep it off BUT if your basics are not covered, when you finally emerge from the "sleep coma" the mirror may freak you out!
To improve your chances of looking a little more presentable leave a few essentials by the bed where they are easy to reach and won't require too much effort to apply or use.
If the mere thought of standing up is giving you the bed-spins, remain in horizontal position and "wash" your face with some good quality facial wipes or soak a few cotton pads with cleansing water and swipe them over your face a few times. This is not only going to clean your skin but it will also feel refreshing and cooling, which is something anyone with a fever definitively appreciates.
My favorites and ones I reserve specifically for my "Beauty TLC Kit" are the Simple Skincare Cleansing Facial  Wipes ($6.00 for 25) and the Neutrogena Pink Grapefruit Cleansing Wipes ($7.49 for 25).
The cleansing waters I prefer for sick days are the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water ($39.00 for 10.15 oz) and the Clarins Cleansing Milk with Alpine Herbs ($34.00 for 6.9 oz).

*Maid of the Mist to the Rescue*
Facial sprays can be your best friend when you are sick! A few things feel as refreshing as a fine mist of a cooling thermal water to rejuvenate your senses and supplement the basic cleansing steps. For some tips on how to utilize facial sprays to their maximum potential check out the Maid of the Mist Feature. Spraying your face with a hydrating version of the facial spray will not only refresh you but will also keep your skin hydrated as you are recovering.
For sick days I highly recommend any toner-like spray with rosewater because those formulations are usually deeply hydrating, give the skin a comforting-soothing sensation and the fragrance is soft enough so it won't interfere with any sickness induced headache.
Two excellent Rosewater sprays are Jurlique Rosewater Balancing Mist ($42.00 for 3.3 oz) and the budget-friendly Reviva Labs Rosewater Facial Spray ($6.30 for 8 oz)

*Bust Out the Balmy Balms* 
Continuing with the hydration theme for skincare you need to choose rich moisturizing skin potions. If your skin is in any way sensitive, dry, red and/or irritated, the best treatment choice for "sick days" would definitively be deeply-hydrating multi-purpose balms. Those with oily skin may stay away from balmy moisturizers (if breakout prone) but still upgrade to a slightly richer formula of their usual cream. Since staying indoors is a prevalent characteristic of being sick, moisturizers with SPF protection are obsolete, which means swapping it out with your nigh-cream will give your complexion extra hydration and more time to engage in natural skin repair cycle. Red, raw noses will need a little bit more help so don't be afraid to layer and pack it on!
Don't forget your hands and neck!
I am a huge multipurpose balm fan and the standouts in my collection are Suti Purity Organic Moisturizing Balm ($41.00 for 50ml), Bobbi Brown Extra Repair Moisturizing Balm ($110.00 for 1.7 oz) and the famous Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream ($23.00, review here!)

*Lip Bomb Kit*
When I am sick the dehydration is always most obvious and prominent on my lips and nose area. I hate the sensation of chapped and flaky lips so no matter how bad I might feel I try to pull out all the stops to fix the problem ASAP. An everyday lip balm simply will not cut it for such extreme conditions so investing in a heavy-duty lip treatment is going to be very beneficial in treating these kinds of lip disasters.
The ones in my arsenal are Einstein Lip Balm Therapy ($12.99), Philosophy Kiss Me Tonight Intense Lip Therapy ($20.00) and my newest awesome discovery Lanolips 101 Ointment ($20.00)

*Bonus Points - lip scrub like Sara Happ Vanilla Bean Lip Scrub ($30.00) and the lip emergency is easily averted!
*More Bonus Points - apply a hydrating facial mask like the FRESH Rose Face Mask ($63.00 for 3.4 oz) and just sleep on it!

The Beauty TLC Kit will help you look a little bit better but in order to feel better you will need some soup, hot chocolate, tea, extra sleep, a downy comforter, a good book, a favorite DVD and if you are like me, your Mommy :-)

To our good health

Do you bother with beauty products when you are sick? What makes you feel better?



P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want some more Princeza Beauty Musings, please consider following me through GFC, Bloglovin, Pinterest or Twitter! Insert "happy dance" here :-) 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Review - Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo

Last month I went a little crazy in the hair care department.
After posting my "simple hair routine" based on the Moroccan Oil range, something terrible got triggered and suddenly I decided that I "needed" more products to add to the regiment even though it was working perfectly.
I invested in several expensive products that had great reviews and luckily they didnt disappoint in the least. However the cheapest purchase was the one that impressed me the most. Go figure!

Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo ($5.99 for 3.4 oz) was a brand new discovery for me, bought on a whim at Walmart after I noticed their huge display in the beauty department.
I had used Garnier Fructis Hair Care Products in the past but in this case I wasn't even aware that Garnier made dry shampoo and seeing how I was going to an unplanned sleepover that very night, picking it up was a perfect opportunity for testing purposes.

My usual dry shampoos of choice is Batiste ($7.99 for 6.73 oz) and Cake Beauty ($18.00 for 50g), which of course work beautifully but the Garnier version was by far superior to them.
I literally did not know what I was missing!

Official Description;
Looking for a fast way to refresh and extend your volume?
This dry shampoo, containing a blend of orange citrus and grape extract, immediately refreshes and bodifies lifeless locks, instantly creating volume you can see and feel.

Directions For Use;
Shake well before use. Hold can 6-8 inches from head and spray evenly to dry hair. Comb through to remove.

Key Ingredients;
Orange Citrus
Grape Extract 

The Garnier Fructis Hair Care Range bases all of their products on the concept of Fortified Fruit Science, which means that their formulations include fruit extracts, fruit essential oils and natural fragrances. Even though I prefer "clean" products when it comes to my cosmetic/& beauty needs I can commend Garnier for at least heading in the right direction.
I also can't exactly argue with the results and how my hair felt and looked after just one (clumsy) try!

My hair is typically Mediterranean, dark brown, thick, coarse and long so the "volume" factor of the Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo really couldnt be evaluated by me but I have heard from others that its pretty impressive in that aspect as well.

Since I only use the dry shampoo occasionally and only to extend a blow-out or delay washing my hair for a day at most, my experience with the method of application is not all that extensive and I am always worried about the white residue.
Luckily this dry shampoo was extremely user-friendly and probably the easiest to brush out. After a few quick strokes my hair was left refreshed, shiny, soft and lightly fragranced. Even though I prefer sweet, gourmand-like scents when it comes to perfume I find that for hair fragrance light fruity notes work better with my body chemistry. The orange blossom scent of the Fructis Dry Shampoo is lovely and light enough so it doesnt compete or overpower the fragrance of choice for that day.

*Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo Commercial

Trying the Garnier Fructis Dry Shampoo was a huge success for me and it impressed me more than some products that cost a lot more than this. It was a very pleasant reminder that the drugstore is filled with excellent budget beauty products that deliver the results they promise even at such low prices.

The whole experience has even inspired me to explore some other value options that have intrigued me for a long time now.
Saving money, new beauty products and promised results are always a great a combination!

Thank you for reading?

Have you tried the Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo? 
What is your favorite dry shampoo?



P.S. If you enjoyed this post and want some more Princeza Beauty Musings, please consider following me through GFC, Bloglovin, Pinterest or Twitter! Insert "happy dance" here :-)