Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Products I Just Don't Love

Last week I had a feature on my five favourite products right now. This week I'm bringing you a short feature on three products that I'm just not loving- one even in spite of a previous good review on my part.

It's a tough road trying to find the right products for yourself, because each one of us is different and it seems like so many products are made to fit a particular box, one that we may not fit into. It's tough to find foundations that match our skin (see short rant here), it's tough to find products for sensitive-but-acne-prone skin (post coming soon!), and honestly it's just tough to find any product that does what you really want it to. It's even tougher when you're looking for affordable products for your small budget!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Week 4

This week's nail art design is inspired Dierks Bentley's What The Hell World Tour, and last week's nail fail!

I chose the same blue as last week's nail fail because as I had already talked about, I love the colour. It's fun, it's bright, it's smooth, and I have yet to really use it! It's Sally Hansen Hard As Nails Xtreme Wear in Blue Me Away! That's right, there is an exclamation mark right in the name.

My secondary colour is inspired by attending the Dierks Bentley concert in Hamilton. I chose Quo by ORLY because it's a Canadian brand (and Hamilton was the first stop in the Canadian leg of the tour), and because of the theatrics used in the show, I chose the shade Wild Child. This polish is a black base, with blue, purple, red and orange jewel tone sparkles in it.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

In My Life: University Take #2

I am so, so, so excited to make this announcement today that I have received an accepted an offer of admission to attend university starting in Fall 2017.

Some of you will remember last week reading about how I left university the first time and starting the application process again. If you missed it, you can read it here.

If you have read that post already, I hope you understand just how exciting this is! My application was only submitted last Friday (January 20th, 2017), and I was waiting until Thursday of this week to get the notice that they acknowledge my application. Then, when I signed back in Friday morning, I was greeted with this message:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

In My Life: What The Hell World Tour

Hello, again everyone! This week is a great week in my realm of blogging, because I have so much to write about. If you read my Tuesday post this week, you’ll know that I was up to something big and adventurous last night, but you still didn’t know what it was.

That’s because my boyfriend (Matt) and I spent three or more months hiding the fact that we were taking his younger brother and his girlfriend to the Dierks Bentley's What The Hell World Tour concert with Cole Swindel and Jon Pardi in Hamilton!

Most people who know me in real life know that I am crazy about country music, and I am crazy about concerts. I jumped at the chance to go to this concert, and it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made!

*Disclaimer: If you are going to another show of this concert, you may not want to read the whole post word-for-word, as I discussed a lot of things that happened and it could be a bit of a spoiler!*

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Bell Let's Talk: I Am Not Ashamed of My Mental Illnesses

Today is Bell Let’s Talk Day here in Canada.

It’s the day that thousands of people come together across Canada to raise money for mental health organizations and programs by tweeting, texting and talking about mental health. We use the hashtag #BellLetsTalk on Twitter, those who have Bell as a cell service provider can call and text, and on Facebook there are photos we can share, with each text, call, tweet and share resulting in a $0.05 donation to organizations across Canada.

This is a cause that is very near to my heart for several reasons. I have many friends and family members that are living with mental health disorders ranging from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder, OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). These are people I love and care about more than I can even tell you.

I also personally fight with several mental health disorders that make my everyday life a little tougher than I’d like it to be. I had a really rough couple of years spread out in the past decade or so, and I’m thankfully doing a little better now, and today I’m taking the time to tell you a little bit about me.

The above images are sourced from https://www.facebook.com/EndTheStigmaBadges/#

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

My Current Top 5 Favourite Products

Today, I'm off school as a physical and mental health day. I've been able to get some homework done, which is really great, and get ready for the next few days upcoming.

Tomorrow, my boyfriend, his newly 18-year-old brother, and his brother's girlfriend have a big Christmas-Birthday celebration, so I need as much rest as I can get! I'd love to tell you now what we're up to, but we've got a few secrets up our sleeves, so on the off chance that they may see this, I cannot reveal them yet. It should be a great night, and I'm very excited.

Another benefit of being off school today is that I'm at home, and I'm able to write this post about my top five beauty products right now. I've been wanting to post a favourites list recently, especially since I just got that huge order from e.l.f. Cosmetics that I talked about so much, and now I finally have a good chance to show you the products and talk about them. I'm also thinking about doing a top five least favourite products sometime in the next week, so stay tuned to see what I'm really not loving.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Week 3

It's been another busy week in the life of this college student, and it's actually been to the point where I have two anecdotes to share in relation to this week's edition of This Week in Nail Art.

The first story has to do with a big change to my nails this week: they're super short now! For the past two months I've been specifically growing and shaping my nails with this blog in mind. I wanted to have the best possible canvas for showing you my nail art and designs, and I got a great multi-sided file to help me do so.

This past week, I was supposed to trim and reshape them because they were finally at the point where they were just too long to manage in daily life anymore. When I was using my laptop, I couldn't scroll with the trackpad anymore! My nails were preventing my fingers from properly touching the pad. So, I was going to do a short trim and reshape them to prevent that problem from occurring.

But, unfortunately, that plan was not to be.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

In My Life: I Left University

This week, I have headed into a new milestone in my life. This morning, I had an appointment with an academic advisor to apply for university. This is especially notable for me, because I actually have been to university before, in September 2015, and I made the decision to leave university not long after that. Today, I wanted to talk about why I left university and how my life has changed since I made that decision.

Throughout, my childhood, I was always that kid who knew exactly what they wanted to do after high school. I even had plans about which post-secondary schools I would go to and when. My choices would gradually change over the years, starting with veterinarian to doctor, and in later years I got more involved in political and social justice, and headed towards that direction.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Get to Know Me Better: A Frustration and 21 Questions

Here I am again on blog post day, without a very good post to share with you. I’ve got a great post coming up this Thursday for In My Life, but unfortunately it is not ready to be shared today, nor would it make sense quite yet.

Instead, I’m here woefully exposing my unpreparedness to you. I hope this will not shape your perspective on my blogging, because I promise it will only go up from here. Today though, I have just two small things to share with you. A quick anecdote of what frustrates me the most about budget makeup, and a short game of 21 Questions.

Yesterday afternoon, before heading to class, my boyfriend and I stopped at the nearby mall to waste some time. I always head into the Shopper’s Drug Mart to see if there are any new brands or lines of makeup to put on my list. There were a few I had yet to try, so I was happy to have the chance to sample a few.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

This Week in Nail Art: Week 2

Unfortunately, again this week I only have one set of nails to show you. Time really got away from me as I pushed through my first week of my fourth consecutive semester of college. Geez, I really cannot wait for a break from school this summer!

In all reality, I've been really lucky to have the chance to push through four semesters in a row, because it has allowed me to catch up after missing the Fall 2015 semester. It's a lot of work, especially trying to get high enough marks to get accepted into the next program, but it's worth it and I actually feel pretty great about it. I put a lot of hours of hard work into my school, and I recently found out that I made the President's Honour Roll again for my third semester!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Wait Is Over: e.l.f. Cosmetics haul, swatches and first impressions!

(See the cat protecting the newly acquired makeup)

**Hold on to your hats everybody, today's post is a long ride!**

If you've read any of my previous posts, you probably know that I've been waiting quite a while to receive an order I placed with e.l.f. Cosmetics. It's finally here!

The order was placed around midnight on Boxing Day (December 26, 2016), and it was my Christmas present from my lovely boyfriend. He thought it was better to let me choose exactly what I wanted than to try and guess what I might like, which was sweet of him. He also says now that he thinks he'll be able to pick some stuff next time because he's now seen what I really like!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Designing A Custom Makeup Table!

It's a big semester for me at school with the start of my fourth consecutive semester, but I'm not letting that get in the way of designing my own makeup vanity and desk

It’s been a busy week in my life! College started back up on Monday, and I hit the ground with a running start. As of right now, I have courses in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Communications and TWO math classes. That means in addition to over 20 hours of lecture a week, I also have three labs. It’s definitely a lot of work, but I am very excited to push through this semester and get my certificate. I’m even looking forward to the project we were assigned on day one, which is looking at homeostasis in the human body in reference to a disease that disrupts it.

My second math course that I mentioned is the Grade 12 4U Advanced Functions that I need to meet the admissions requirements for the next program I’ll be going into. It’s a self-study course, which is both a blessing and a curse. I get to complete the course at my own pace, but it involves a lot of self-motivation, and I need to finish this course by March at the latest.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DIY Makeup Remover Wipes

How to make homemade makeup remover wipes in a reusable mason jar

I love the convenience of makeup remover wipes that come out of a package and require no extra makeup remover. I really, really do. It’s not even that I’m too lazy to get the separate bottle of makeup remover out and used it, but more so an issue of efficiency and reliability.

I’ll break it down for you here: I am an extremely clumsy person. I occasionally have issues with my hands just not working the way I want them to. I can be as careful as humanly possible, and still end up with a mess at the end. Sometimes it’s just having trouble opening things, other times it is spills. Big spills. I'm talking spilling an entire litre of water on myself big.

The relevance of my clumsiness is that particularly with the Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water that I currently use as my main makeup remover, the lid on the bottle is a bit finicky. There have been a few times now that I’ve luckily caught it ahead of time that the lid did not entirely latch closed when I was putting it away. I know it’s an unlikely occurrence, but I have a horrible image in my head of that bottle being knocked over with my luck and clumsiness.

It’s also a concern to me because of the two cats who live in my house, as they are not only adorable but very interested in going through and often knocking over all of the things I own. They really are two of my favourite cats ever, but I would still be a little disappointed to come home to that bottle knocked over. Both because it’s a mess I'd have to clean up, and because it might leave me with nothing to remove the makeup I was wearing that day.

My beautiful cats are always adorable, but they're also always clumsy and I need to protect my things from their mischief

For those reasons, makeup remover wipes seem like a great option. And, they are. Unfortunately, though, I think they are often considerably overpriced when compared with the cost of buying the makeup remover and the little cotton pads separately. I also think that they create a lot of waste pretty quickly with limited wipes per package, as you have to buy them more often.

So, I had to come up with my own solution. In order to remedy the problems of clumsiness, nosey cats and the cost of the more convenient wipes, I decided to make my own pre-moistened wipes.

By buying the products in bulk, I save money on what I would spend for the makeup remover wipes.

By combining the wipes and makeup remover in my own container, I’m eliminating most of the packaging and being just a little bit greener.

By taking the daily opening and closing of the makeup remover bottle out of the equation, I’m significantly reducing the risk of spillage.

Overall, I find it to be a great solution to all of my above-listed problems, and I also get to use exactly which makeup remover I want. Also, I use smaller pads, because I find the large wipes are a bit wasteful because it’s rare that you’re able to effectively use all the edges, along with the whole surface. If you need more wipe to use you can always pull another out, but it’s very hard to put it back if one full sized wipe was too big.
Without further ado, here is the ridiculously easy process for making DIY Makeup Remover Wipes.


The supplies necessary to make the homemade makeup remover wipes

Makeup remover, of your choice (I’m currently using Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water)
Small round cosmetic pads (usually found near nail polish remover, mine are from Shopper’s Drug Mart)
250ml wide-mouthed canning jar (I paid $7 for 12 of them at Walmart, and I use them for tons of stuff!)


A photo showing the mason jar I used to make my homemade makeup remover wipes

1. Remove the lid from your canning jar. If it’s a brand new jar, you may wish to wash it just to be sure nothing gross from the factory is left in it.

I demonstrate placing the fresh cosmetics pads into the mason jar

2. Take a one-inch (approximately 3cm) high stack of cosmetic pads, and place them in the bottom of the jar. In this picture, I took a little more than that, but that's just because I've done this before and knew how much extra makeup remover I'd need to do larger groups!

I demonstrate adding the makeup remover to the jar with cosmetics pads while making homemade makeup remover wipes

3. Shake your bottle of makeup remover, if necessary. Open your bottle of makeup remover, and pour just enough of it to soak through the cosmetic pads in the jar. 

4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until your jar is full. 

The finished product of makeup remover wipes in a mason jar is shown

5. Close your jar with the lid, and lightly shake to make sure all pads have absorbed the makeup remover. 

A homemade makeup remover wipe is held up to show the finished product

6. When needed, open your jar and remove as many as you need! 

You have now made your own DIY Makeup Remover Wipes! Hope you enjoyed this brief DIY tutorial.

I've made two jars of these makeup remover wipes now, and I still have at least a third of my bottle of Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water left. I also was using this bottle of makeup remover prior to making these jars, to give you an idea of how much this uses. I am still only at the top of my first jar I made almost a month ago, I just made a second jar to show you how in this tutorial!

If you tried this, please leave a comment below and tell me how it went!

– Erika Elise

Sunday, January 08, 2017

This Week in Nail Art

The first in a series of weekly posts about easy nail art and what I wore on my nails during the week

Welcome to the first ever edition of This Week in Nail Art on Creative Clever Beauty!

Saturday, January 07, 2017

e.l.f. Update

The e.l.f. Cosmetics shipping saga continues as I wait for my late order to get here

After I received my email letting me know that my order had been shipped, less a few items, I sent a Tweet out to e.l.f. cosmetics. I asked them if the item credit meant that the amount was returned to my credit card, or if it was store credit that I would have to spend on more products.

I was really hoping they could just give me a quick answer so I could figure out what to do, as it would be very inconvenient to make another order with the cost of shipping if you spend less than $25USD. Unfortunately, it took them a while to respond, and when they did they simply directed me to reach out to them via their chat on the website. I did so yesterday after getting home from the gym, and again I've been a little bit underwhelmed. I took a screenshot of the chat, and I've decided to share it here too,

I talked to e.l.f. Cosmetics after I was disappointed by their shipping wait, and now I'm disappointed by the e.l.f. Cosmetics customer service too

Now, I can't complain at all about how polite the operator was, because she was very polite, and she even responded well to my message with feedback. There is nothing overtly wrong with this chat. She responded quickly too, though almost a little too quickly actually. But, I get this strange feeling that they're just very impersonal. 

When I sent them an email asking about my order being delayed, I got what was definitely a copy and pasted response for everyone who asked, even though I included my order number. When they sent the apology email to everybody who was waiting, that was also very impersonal, and for those of us not within the continental USA, all we were offered was a $5 off code to buy more of the products we haven't even been shipped yet. When I send them a Tweet, they direct me to their website. When I go through the chat process, the operator responds so quickly that I know my particular order has not been consulted. I'm honestly not sure that she actually read the feedback, or just skimmed enough to know I was making a comment because she did not refer to any specific parts.

As I said before, there really isn't anything overtly wrong with this service. There's nothing particularly wrong with how the individual people have provided service. They've responded to everything, and they even responded quickly in pretty much all cases. It's just all added up to be very impersonal, which I'm sure they'd say is because they're very busy. I just think that if I were in their position, having studied just a bit of Sales and Marketing, that I would want to build good customer relationships. It's one of the best ways to build lasting customers who will continue to purchase their products. Though I suppose they're a large enough company that they don't worry much about that anymore.

As much as I've had some issues along the way with their shipping and service, I will not be letting that influence my reviews and experience with the products after they arrive. I am still extremely excited to get the items that did ship, and I cannot wait to review them and post them here. I'm sure there is a reason that so many people keep going back to their products, even outside of their affordability. I would really like to see the quality of all of the products and try using the products I am getting. Who knows, maybe it will change my current feelings about them and I'll be placing another order sooner rather than later!

I am still looking for suggestions for other affordable brands I to try, so if you have any suggestions leave me a comment below!

– Erika Elise

Friday, January 06, 2017

When It Rains, It Pours

Whenever one bad thing happens, there is bound to be more on the way, it comes in threes even.

I’m not entirely sure where we came up with the idea that things happen in threes. I’ve heard sayings about both good and bad things coming in threes. I’m hoping that my good things are coming because this week it seems I’ve had the bad ones.

More than a week later, my e.l.f. Cosmetics order has finally shipped

I’ll start off with the good news: my e.l.f. cosmetics order has finally shipped, and will hopefully soon be here! I was super excited to get that email last night. Once it arrives, I’ll have the chance to make some more interesting posts about some actual makeup. I am very excited for that, and to be able to play around with what I’ve ordered.

The first bad thing was definitely the amount of time I waited for the order to ship. It took seven and a half business days before my order shipped, which is more than double their estimated delay of 3 business days. Now, my anticipation is only going to grow more, and as a Canadian order, they say to expect to wait up to 30 more days to get the order after it has shipped! I’m really hoping it will not take that long, and I’ll soon receive it. I live not too far from the border, so there is a chance that I’ll get it a little sooner than if I still lived where I grew up.

The only reason that I’m really disappointed by this one is that I had been hoping that I might get the delivery while I was still on winter break and have the chance to play around with it before I’m back at school. As a side note, I’d like to interject here that as I will be returning to school on Monday, my posts will be reduced to probably around four to five posts a week.

When my e.l.f. Cosmetics order finally shipped, it was without my e.l.f. eyeshadow and a few other items

The second bad thing is that now since it has taken such a long time since I placed the order, not all of the things I ordered were included. This is what I read right under the first announcement that it was shipped. At the time, all of the items were in stock, and I actually managed to get almost everything that I wanted. Now, I’m not getting any of the eyeshadows that I ordered. This kind of creates a pretty significant problem, because I honestly do not own a single shade of eyeshadow right now. In addition to that, I was going to be creating some posts about looks created with just e.l.f. products, and now I won’t be able to do that. It’s really not a huge problem, but is disappointing when they were in stock at the time I placed my order.

While it says that I received item credit for the items that were not included, it doesn’t specify whether that means I now have store credit or the funds were replaced back on to my payment method. I hope that it means it was replaced on to my credit card, because at this time I don’t know if I will be placing another order with them soon.

So, I posted a status on my personal Facebook asking my friends for some recommendations on where I should order from or buy from instead to get those missing items replaced. I got a few nice recommendations, and suggestions for both in store and online shopping. But, this is where the third bad thing in relation to this set of events came into play. One person, without naming anyone, simply responded “you don’t need make up . Just saying”.

I know that this is intended to be a compliment, but it really and honestly rubs me the wrong way. First of all, that was not even a part of my question. Secondly, it’s like suggesting that there are people out there who do need makeup. As I responded, no one needs makeup, but many of us do enjoy playing with it, practicing with it and even just wearing it, for ourselves. We want makeup. And, there is nothing wrong with that.

A statement like that suggests that people who do wear makeup or like makeup are lesser than those who don’t, and it is perpetuating the competition between (mostly) girls that is so harmful to us. If you are trying to compliment me, don’t compare me to anyone else. It’s just unsettling to hear a statement that says “you’re prettier than her”, when you could easily just say “you’re pretty” or “you’re so pretty”.

Or, you can even reflect on things other than just appearance like “you’re so talented with makeup”, or "you're a great writer", for example. I don’t want you to compare me to girls or other people, because I don’t want you to put other people down to lift me up. I’m not better than any one of them. I’m here trying to build connections with other girls and my peers, so that we can be stronger together, not spread further apart.

And really, I’m here writing about makeup, nails, hair, etc. because it is fun to do. It’s talent, it’s skills, it’s a hobby, and for so many people it is beneficial. It gives me something to do when I’m bored, and something I can share with others. You can become someone else, you can show off things you love, you can cover acne that may damper your confidence, and so much more. I cannot even begin to cover the amount of different things makeup does for different people. Not to mention how I haven't even touched about how many people use it on stage or for another part of their lives. I'm just touching the surface here. Makeup is not something for people to hide behind. It’s this huge community of people who are coming together over united interests to share with each other, and I think that alone is pretty beautiful.

So, when I ask for recommendations on brands of makeup, please don’t respond “you don’t need makeup”, because that has nothing to do with the question.

On a positive note, I have received some great suggestions from other friends, and I'm trying to make a decision soon! And, if you do have any recommendations where I should get some eye shadow and additional products, leave me a comment here!

– Erika Elise

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Review: Bliss and Grace Brushes

Today, I’m bringing you a review on those super pretty makeup brushes I got for Christmas!

I’ve seen them called a few different things in a few different places, you may know this style as mermaid brushes, toothbrush-style brushes or by another name. If you know another name for these brushes, leave a comment and let me know.

This set is a 10 brush set from a company called Bliss and Grace. Having never heard of the brand before, I had to do a little research. They have a website (link blissgrace.com), where they have a Canadian address based out of Montreal, QC. However, all of their prices are in American, which seems a little odd. This brush set is listed for $109.99USD, but my set was purchased at Winners for significantly less. In fact, that is the only place I have actually seen any Bliss and Grace products.

I get the impression that this brand is based almost solely out of their online shop, so if you’re looking for a brush set you can walk into the store and have a chance to hold prior to purchase, this may not be the brand for you. However, the good news is that there are tons of very similar brushes from other brands floating around out there. And, Winners is a great place to go look for them, because you may save on some of the initial markup. I really love shopping there when I’m looking for brushes, nail polishes and other products that are not extremely sensitive, because they tend to have decent prices and more brands than an average small town drug store or mall.

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

Building a Blog: Baby Steps

Welcome to my new blog Creative Clever Beautiful, now with a personalized domain

I am super excited to announce that I have officially purchased and set up my own domain name! This means that my blog is no longer creativecleverbeautiful.blogspot.ca, and now is creativecleverbeautiful.com. If you type in the old URL while looking for my blog, you will be directed to the correct location.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

A Day in The Life... New Beginnings

For the beginning of 2017, I started a blog about my life, school, beauty and more

I'm happy to have rung in another New Year for the beginning of 2017. There are a lot of big things that will be coming in my life, including a big semester in school, heading back to the gym, some trips my boyfriend and I have already planned, and the start of this blog.


Alright, maybe I was a bit misleading when I said that I love DIY projects. I do love projects, building things to fit your own needs, and adapting things you want to love but just don't fit into your needs. But, I think I'm not alone in that I often find myself receiving help from family and friends who have brilliant ideas of their own. Regardless of whether a project can be completed entirely by myself or with the help of those around me, I love being able to say that things I own weren't just purchased off a shelf. Who doesn't?

I've definitely had some wonderful influences in my life in relation to DIY projects. When I was a kid, my parents practically redid the entire house themselves without getting anything professionally done. My dad built a giant playhouse for my younger sibling and I, and then he built the ridiculously large garage-sized shed in our backyard too. My mom never hired a painter for any room in our house, and she planned and dug out the entire garden herself. There was probably always some project going on in or at that house, but it was a beautiful house and it was definitely ours.

Monday, January 02, 2017

For the Love of All Things Beauty

As I mentioned in my previous post, my inspiration for this blog was born from the amazing makeup brushes that my boyfriend's parents gave me for Christmas.

Bliss and Grace makeup brushes and new affordable makeup

Pardon my questionable Boxing Day photography, but with this you can see just how quickly I jumped on board the idea of having some fun with makeup. They really twisted my arm for this one, didn't they?

An Intro to It All

Welcome to my brand new lifestyle blog, Creative Clever Beautiful.

Welcome to Creative Clever Beautiful! Add this to your list of blogs to read for beauty, DIY and personal stories, with a specialization in budget cosmetics and achieveable looks, DIYs and more for beginners and those with less disposable income.

I've been trying for years to put together my own blog. I was still in elementary school when I first learned about blogging, and tried to create my own, but as expected those attempts were low quality and quickly fizzled. Even more recently, I had sat down a few times and tried to open up a blog of my own, but I was always stumped when it came to exactly what I was going to blog about.

(*disclaimer time: as my first blog post, this is a long one!*)

I'm not formally trained or qualified in anything (yet), and I don't personally think my current life is very exciting. I thought about the things I'd love to write about, and I just struggled to put together a cohesive group of them to create a blog with.

But, over the Christmas holidays this year, I found my chance and I jumped at it. My boyfriend's parents gifted me this beautiful makeup brush set that I had been eyeing up at Winners for a few months now. The only problem with that was that I didn't actually own any makeup at the time that I got that present. That's right, I'd made it to almost 20-years-old without ever really getting into makeup. I played around with it as a very young teen, but I dropped it by the time I started high school, and I actually went to graduation, prom and my boyfriend's parents' wedding without wearing any makeup at all. More recently, I'd talked about wanting to try some newer products out, but I still hadn't purchased any.