Saturday, April 23, 2016

REVIEW || Tea Ave Oolong Teas

Hi guys!

So today I have a bit of a break for makeup, and I'm going to be reviewing a tea company for you guys! You may or may not already know, but I love tea, so this was a pretty fun review to work on! The brand I'm reviewing is called Tea Ave, and they sell exclusively oolong teas. I really like oolong tea, personally, so I was excited to get these samples and trying a bunch of types was cool. I was sent these samples for free, as well, but this post isn't sponsored and is completely honest.

Also, Tea Ave is a Canadian company, and they actually ship from Vancouver, which is really cool. Too bad they don't have a physical store! Anyways, here's a quick look at what I was sent:

all the tea packets

They sent me six different tea samples, three of their plain teas, and three flavoured/scented teas, which is a pretty nice selection of what they offer. They also gave me a menu that describes all the teas they offer:

tea menu

So first, let's talk about the plain teas I was sent.

Dong Ding:

dong ding packaging

The first one I tried was the Dong Ding, because it describes itself as "newbies." Each package had lots of information about the tea, where it comes from, and how to best prepare it, which is great. Also, the plain teas they sent me came in these fancy little pyramid shaped tea bags, which were nice because it makes the teas very portable and still have lots of room for the whole-leaf teas inside to expand. And you can buy at least some of Tea Ave's teas in tea bags if that is your preference!

tea bags

Above: Unused tea bag. Below: Used tea bag with expanded tea leaves.

used tea bag

This particular tea is very delicate, possibly because of the greener leaves you can see inside the teabag above. It also produces a fairly light tea, as you can see below:

dong ding prepared

This tea is a soft gold, and kinda looks like green tea. It has a beautiful, smooth, earthy flavour. Basic and delicious.

I also tried re-steeping the leaves for a couple of the teas I was sent, since the packages do tell you how to go about that, and I do find that it works pretty well, at least for a second steeping. This produces a les strong flavour, but you can steep longer for a fuller flavour. I also don't find that oolong teas seem to get that dry/tannin-y feeling that both black and green teas are so bad for!

Tie Kwan Yin:

tie kwan yin packaging
tie kwan yin packaging back

This tea describes itself as having a rich, deep flavour and mellow fruity notes. Which sounds lovely, but usually that doesn't mean much. So I was surprised to find that this tea has a distinctive fruity, almost peachy flavour, and a surprising natural sweetness! Obviously it isn't sweet like sugar or anything, but it is just a very tasty, flavourful, rich, and delicious tea! It would make a great summer tea, in my opinion!

Tie Kwan Yin prepared

It makes a much darker, almost copper-coloured tea, and is very smooth, not at all bitter, even when steeped for a long time (I like my teas strong, okay!), and I would certainly say this was one of my favourites of the selection I was sent!

Oriental Beauty:

oriental beauty packaging
oriental beauty packaging back

I really really liked this tea as well. It claims to have honeyed notes, and I suppose it did have a natural sweetness to it, and it certainly looks a bit like honey in the cup!

Oriental Beauty prepared

Again a darker tea, however, it has a very delicate flavour. It smells and tastes slightly floral, even though it is just a plain tea. However, I did find it had less of that earthy flavour that seems distinctly oolong to me. Still, it is delicious!

Rose Oolong:

rose oolong package

rose oolong tea

Of the teas I was sent, this one I was most hesitant to try, because I was sure it was going to taste like perfume, with those rose petals in the mix! However, while the hot steeped leaves smell rose-y, the tea itself just smells and tastes like a delicate oolong to me.

rose oolong prepared

That said, I like to steep my oolong teas a bit longer than suggested, which worked great with all of the oolongs that Tea Ave sent me... except for this one. The longer you steep this particular tea, the more that rose flavour really comes out, which I did not like. However, if you like rose things, maybe this is great for you! As you can see above, this tea is another lighter tea, with an almost green tinge, and a delicate floral flavour.

Magnolia Oolong:

magnolia oolong package

magnolia oolong tea

These last two I forgot to take pictures of the prepared tea, but honestly, a cup of tea starts to look pretty similar if you look at too many!

The tea leaves for this one had a scent that reminded me somewhat of jasmine tea, but not quite as fragrant. The steeped tea was again pale, and the flavour was mellow with little to no floral taste, but it did seeme to be sweetened somewhat by the magnolia. Again, it didn't seem to have the same earthiness that I love in most oolong teas, but it was still quite nice.

I would say this is another good starter tea, as even when I oversteeped the leaves, the flavour never got very strong, like some of the others would. It also doesn't have any type of flavouring that I think most people could find offensive. It tastes like a nice delicate tea!

Ginger Lily Oolong:

ginger oolong packaging

ginger oolong tea

I found that this tea had less of the smoothness that the others did, but that might be because of the slight ginger-y tang! It also tasted quite fresh, again, because of the ginger. I'm not usually a fan of a ginger-y tea, but this one was invigorating and tasty! It was unique, and probably the best of the three scented oolongs I was provided! I also think this one be a great one to brew cold, or serve over ice!

***

So that's a quick look at a few of the teas that Tea Ave. offers! Prices range from ~$2.50 for 25g for most of their plain loose leaf teas, or ~13.75 per 25g for their scented teas. You can also buy boxes of bagged teas for $39.99 (for 20 bags), as well as cute drinkware on their site!

If you're interested in trying any of the teas I mentioned, or any of the others that Tea Ave. offer, you can find them at TeaAve.com. Shipping is free for orders over $40 to Canada and the US, and orders under $40 ship for a flat fee of $8. They also provide three free samples with every order, so that's fun! They also have a rewards program where your purchases can be turned into coupons when you collect enough!

They're a fun brand, a Canadian company, and their products taste great, so I'd recommend giving them a go if you're interested! Also, I'm putting this up a day earlier than planned because I want you to be able to take advantage of the 20% off code if you're interested! Until tomorrow (April 24, 2016), use code FAMILYFRIENDS16 for 20% off your entire order.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you've tried this brand before, and also what your favourite tea or tea company is in the comments! =)

Thursday, April 21, 2016

REVIEW + SWATCHES || Shaaanxo 18 Colour Eyeshadow & Lipstick Palette by BH Cosmetics

Hi guys!

Sorry if I seem a little scattered in this video, I was feeling really not great—sniffles, stuffed up sinuses, headache, and my right eye had been watering for 4 days straight, plus I didn't sleep well—but I wanted to get my review up on this palette as quickly as possible so that maybe I can help those of you who may be on the fence about this one decide if this is for you or not, before the introductory sale price ends! Right now, this palette is only $14.50 USD, but the full price will be $22 USD, so best to buy soon if you want it!

I've also included some things I should have mentioned in the video to this post, so make sure to check out the pictures below, as well as a short breakdown of how I like each of the colours in terms of blendability and pigmentation. Spoilers: I really love the whole palette, as I'm sure you'll see from the video.

Click here to watch in HD, or watch below:

***

The packaging on this palette is gorgeous, including the box, which they basically made to look exactly like the palette inside. It's this prety pastel pink inpired by the lights in Shannon's background in her videos, and I really like the look, though I'm worried the palette is going to get dirty, so I keep putting it back in it's box so far!

front of package

back of package

So first, let's take a look at the lipstick side of this clever little two-sided palette:

lipstick lid

lipstick pans

I love the range of colours in here; you've got some pretty, nearly universally flattering nudes, some brights, including the orange-y red type of shade Shannon seems to have loved lately, a gorgeous bright pink, a coral, and a couple lovely berry shades! Maybe not everyone will love every shade, but I think they're all really wearable. Take a look at the swatches: (swatched from left to right, top to bottom. Click to see a larger image!)

lipstick swatches

The colours are all pigmented, and don't apply streaky (except that I'm shitty with a lip brush, but everything I've ever applied with a lipbrush applied streaky, so I think that's just my technique!), especially when applied with your finger! They can be applied both more heavily for a full-colour, opaque look, or sheered out for more of a stain-like finish. And of course, you can get adventurous and mix colours to create even more shades.

While the lipsticks are great, however, I was totally in it for the shadows when lusting after and finally purchasing this palette!

eyeshadow lid

eyeshadow pans

My picture above makes the shadows seem a little more neutral or cool-toned, but in reality they are all quite warm, and so so pretty! I'm glad that the picture seems to have caught the blue and the brown tones in the middle of the bottom row, however! Such a fun, duochromatic shadow! Here's some swatches: (again, left to right, top to bottom, and click to view larger.)

eyeshadow swatches

The first shade in the top row basically is my skin colour, so it doesn't show up in the swatches, unfortunately, but just imagine it in there before the pretty metallic highlight shade! All the shadows, though, are really great. I haven't had any problems with fallout, there's no chunky glitters, and both the mattes and the shimmers are very blendable and pigmented! I do wish there was a medium toned matte brown for a crease colour, but those two mid-toned matte shades (the yellow and rust) are really nice crease colours alone, or paired together like the look I'm wearing in the above video. And I have browns in other palettes if I really decide I need one.

Of course, if you don't feel you need a matte shadow for the crease (I don't always!), then you can pull in one of the more mid-toned shimmery browns for your crease shade. Overall, I think there is a lot of versatility and room to play around with this palette, and I think it is a fun addition to any eyeshadow lover's collection. Especially if you're a Shaaanxo fangirl like me!

***

Let me know your thoughts, if you're getting this one, or if you've already tired it! And have yourself an awesome day =)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

LIP SWATCH || Essence Cosmetics Liquid Lipsticks

Description

Click here to watch in HD, or watch below:

Thanks for watching!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

GRWM || My Birthday Party Makeup || 2016

Just the makeup look I wore to my super small, casual birthday party with some friends a couple weeks ago. We went to an Italian restaurant, then saw a late showing of Batman v. Superman, and went back to my friends' apartment to eat ice cream cake! Twas a good night! But of course, I had to put on some great makeup to make up for my super-comfy clothes! =D Enjoy!

And if the music isn't your thing, feel free to mute and play your own. If you like it, the artist is linked below, and I know his music is also available on Google Play (so probably iTunes as well?).

Click here to watch in HD, or watch below:

Thanks for watching!

Saturday, April 9, 2016

REVIEW || Vichy Ideal Body Collection || Aqua Sorbet & Replumping Lip Balm

Just a quick review of a couple of products from Vichy's Ideal Body range. These products were sent to me for review, but all opinions are honest and my own, and this video isn't sponsored!

Click here to watch in HD, or watch below:

Thanks for watching!

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