Pretty In Bronze: life
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label life. Show all posts

Monday, December 03, 2018

All About My Moissanite Engagement Ring
December 03, 20180 Comments
Hello!

This is just a small post I'm writing to talk about my engagement ring. This is not in any way meant to show off, but I wanted a place to put pictures of it so I can share them on Pinterest and have somewhere to link back to since this first photo is going around without linking back to me. I'll go more in depth of another big reason why I decided to share this after my description of the ring. Finally, I've also gotten A LOT of questions about the ring from pretty much every single person that has seen it, so I wanted to make a post where all of the information and links are provided to make everything easily accessible.


My ring setting is a 14k Rose Gold Petite Pave Cathedral engagement ring from James Allen. The website does a great job at showing you up close (360 degree view) what your ring will look like with different shaped stones as examples. My stone is a Charles & Colvard Forever One Colourless Cushion Moissanite. It's approximately 1.3ct in weight, but it measures 6.5mm wide (the same length on each side). We purchased the loose stone from Fire & Brilliance since they were having a sale that made it even more affordable and they are an official retailer so the lifetime warranty is included. We also bought the setting when it was on sale for 25% off. If you don't already know about moissanite, check out this FAQ page on the Charles & Colvard website.

I wrote a full experience post about James Allen since getting the setting from them ended up being a huge rollercoaster ride (and not the fun type). I won't be writing about my experience with Fire & Brilliance since I can just tell you now that they're perfect! Their customer service is amazing, they have very fast shipping and they deserve all the publicity!

I'm going to include a few close-up shots I took as I was writing this. The ring was not clean at all when I took these and I was just using my side-table lamp in the basement so you won't see it sparkle as much as the outdoor photo above, but you'll be able to see the details a bit better!


The last thing I wanted to show you is the ring adjuster I bought! So when I got my finger sized it was summer and about thirty degrees celcius outside. My fingers tend to swell quite a bit, so I was a size 5.5. I had it sized at two separate jewellery stores just to be extra safe. The second Steven put the ring on my finger when he proposed near the end of October I knew it was too big. It was quite cold out that day and is still very cold now that it's almost winter (fully showing thanks to Canada). I didn't want to send the ring back to have it resized since I'm pretty sure it'll fit fine in the summer, but I also didn't want to add one of the metal sizers since they scratch up the rings. After doing a bit of research, I found this plastic sizer that has a special memory material that I can slide into my ring without people being able to notice (I'm wearing it in the photo just above this paragraph).

This is the RINGO Invisible Ring Sizer and since the band of my ring is just under 2mm thick, the x-small size works perfectly. It was under $12 CAD so way cheaper than resizing or having metal balls added to the band. I will eventually order directly from their website so I can buy a bag of just this size, but on Amazon you can buy a multi-pack so I'll try using it for other jewellery I own.



 That's it for my engagement ring! I feel super weird posting this, but I know so many people wanted to know all about it and after Steven and I's experience having it made we wanted people to know more since a lot of the information I provide in my experience posts were not readily available online for Canadians.

Thank you so much for the support! Please let me know if you have any jewellery cleaners you swear by (specifically for 14k gold) since I clearly need to get some.

See you soon!



Saturday, December 01, 2018

Our Canadian James Allen Engagement Ring Experience
December 01, 20180 Comments
Hello!


I originally wasn’t planning on writing on my blog about our experience purchasing my engagement ring (we were only going to leave website reviews), but so much has happened that I’ve never read about that I wanted to provide the information I wish I had before starting this journey. Prepare yourself for a very long post.



James Allen is pretty famous for engagement rings. They offer a huge selection of rings of all metal types (including rose gold) and even offer customization and men’s rings. We went with them because we wanted to provide our own stone since we wanted a moissanite instead of a diamond. In mid 2018, one of my friends got engaged, and her now husband used James Allen for the ring, and provided his own diamond. They had nothing but great things to say, so we really dove into our research on the company. Most of the reviews were extremely positive, but what made us decide to go with James Allen is their warranty, free shipping to Canada, and most importantly; the ability for us to provide our own stone.










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Before Ordering



The first time we contacted James Allen was to confirm if they would work with a moissanite for my engagement ring. Their website mentioned other stones, like sapphire (which is lower on the Mohs hardness scale), but not moissanite. We used their live chat and they told us that there would be no problem since it’s the second hardest stone next to a diamond. We were ecstatic to hear this. I mentioned in the live chat that we lived in Canada, and they confirmed that shipping would be free without a problem, and that they could email me a shipping label as soon as we had the stone to start the order process. My Moissanite Engagement Ring blog post is now up, and it includes our thoughts on buying a loose moissanite stone from Fire & Brilliance. After the stone arrived, we immediately started the order with James Allen.



Ordering My Ring



The second we had the moissanite, we started up a live chat with James Allen, informing them that we wanted to purchase an engagement ring. We had planned on waiting for a sale in October, but they happened to have a sale that same day that was supposed to last 24 hours only, so we jumped on it (only to learn that it had been extended for an additional two days). We provided all of our information, but when it came to providing our own stone, we were told that we could not ship it from within Canada. This was not mentioned to us before, nor is it anywhere on their website. We had looked this up in the past, but I guess all of the reviews were by Americans. I asked my friend, but it turns out her husband’s company shipped the diamond for him inside of the US. Ok. No big deal. We live less than two hours away from the border, so we decided we’d make a trip.


The shipping label was supposed to cost us $30 USD, but the customer service agent I dealt with that night quoted us $50 USD, which is insane since two previous agents told us it was $30, including what the website says. The agent was pretty rude overall in their responses. After deciding to ship it ourselves with our own insurance (ended up costing under $30 CAD so we saved big time there), we started the order process. There were several difficulties on the agents end (like spelling my name wrong, even though it was typed right in front of them), but finally after several tries the information was correct. We were then told that they couldn’t ship our ring to Canada once the ring was completed because we had provided our own stone. What? This was news to us. We knew for a fact that my friend’s engagement ring was shipped directly to her mother-in-law’s house in Canada, with their customer provided stone and also from the first agent we spoke to. The agent told us that we must have been lied to, and given incorrect information by previous agents, but that it could not be done, nor had it ever been done before.


We had to sign up for a mail forwarding service that would receive our ring in the US after it was complete, and we would then have to pay for additional shipping and insurance from that service to us. The agent confirmed that this would be fine so I provided my payment information. We were told that we would receive our information package (shipping address, instructions, etc.) in under 24 hours once the payment was confirmed, which was perfect since that would mean we’d have the details by Friday evening, and we’d be driving to the US Saturday morning.


Guess what never showed up? I was frantic, so I started another live chat to inquire about what was happening. It turns out that the rude customer service agent (I swear they had it out for me) never processed my order. They simply ended to conversation, and did nothing. The new agent confirmed that the old agent did not do what they were supposed to, and processed my order. I immediately was charged on my credit card (it was on pending) so I knew it had gone through this time. They assured me that someone would be in Saturday morning at 4 or 5 AM EST to send me my shipping information since I told them that I would cancel my order with them if I didn’t have my info by 9AM when we were leaving for the border. They also reminded me that because I live in Canada, that my ring could not be shipped to me directly, so I explained the mail forwarding service we were going to use. No problem again. The next morning I woke up to the email so we printed the information out and set off to the United States.


After Sending off the Ring / Making the Ring



Sending the ring off was easy (USPS customer service in Lewiston, NY was great!). The only issue was that it arrived a few days late due to the hurricane. When it was finally marked as delivered, I immediately started a live chat with James Allen to inquire about the next steps.


James Allen confirmed that my payment was received in full and that the ring was being worked on. Online, the tracker skipped forward to ‘Quality Assurance’ by the end of that day, which means it had been mounted and inspected. The agent said that the moissanite was inspected and all was good, but it was currently being mounted. When I finally received my email a few days later saying that my ring was being worked on, the email said that when the stone arrived in the mail, that it would require my signature. This is an issue because I couldn’t be in Delaware at the mail forwarding company to sign for the stone, so I started yet another live chat.


This live chat individual told me that I could not use a mail forwarding service (even though at least two previous agents said it would be fine). I explained that there was no other way since I live in Canada, and they once again confirmed that the ring could not be sent to Canada. The agent told me to email their customer service, stating that I give my consent to have the ring sent to the mail forwarding service, without my signature, so that’s what I did. At this point I was in full on panic mode. Thankfully, in a few hours I received a response explaining that for that to be possible, I would have to be refunded the price of the ring, and pay again through wire transfer (which makes no sense), but the email also said that for everything to move forward easily, I could change my shipping address to my home address in Canada, and that way I could sign for the ring.


I know what you’re thinking. “But Amy, they told you several times that it was impossible for them to ship your engagement ring directly to Canada because you provided your own stone?” Yes, that was what I was told, and I even had the chat transcripts in my email to prove it. I wasted no time and called James Allen directly (I was given the wrong phone number in the email and had to look it up myself). Thankfully there was no hold time and I was able to speak to someone at James Allen’s head office. I explained the situation, and they assured me that James Allen can 100% ship my engagement ring to Canada for free, without any issue, even with me providing my own stone. The lady asked me to forward her the chat transcripts and even read them out loud, including the part that said “Since you are providing your own stone, the ring can only be delivered to a US address” and was immediately shocked at it. She apologized several times and changed my shipping address right away. She blamed the issue on improper training as the agents I heard the wrong information from were all new, and the original one who said Canada was fine had the proper training. No idea how this misinformation could’ve possibly happened, but I was just happy to save some money by not having to use the mail forwarding service.


The estimated shipping date was October 3rd, over a week away from my ring being in production. I also let the lady on the phone know that the website was displaying my ring as being in the quality assurance phase, when it really was in production, and she fixed that for me as well and was embarrassed that so much incorrect information had been provided to me. After the phone call, I was finally able to relax a bit, and let my friend know. She was shocked because her customer experience was nothing but amazing, however she never used their online chat. So if you buy anything from James Allen, especially if you’re located outside of the US and providing your own stone, do not waste your time with the online chat. Tell them the proper address, make sure you can go to the US to have it shipped, and then call them if you have any issues.


The only other thing that stressed me out is that my payment to James Allen that was once pending disappeared completely off of my online bank statement, and the money had returned like magic. When I checked in to see my ring, James Allen confirmed that payment had been received in full. I stressed out about that quite a bit for almost two weeks, but finally two days before the estimated shipping date the charge returned to my credit card, this time complete.



Shipping



Even though my estimated shipping date was October 3rd, my ring entered the quality assurance phase on October 2nd and shipped out that same night. I have a theory that they were quick about it since my experience had been negative so far and I urged them to have it to me in Canada before my birthday since at the time we were planning a trip and I thought Steven might have wanted to use that as an opportunity to propose. This was a nice surprise since it meant I’d be receiving it on time for sure. FedEx is amazing and told me that it should be delivered on October 3rd by 5 PM. Of course I’d have to pay taxes upon receiving the stone, or prior, but that’s to be expected. Due to NAFTA, duties were not required (thank God because that would’ve been very expensive). I wasn’t at home when they attempted delivery the first time (nor was anyone else), but the next day thankfully someone was at home and signed the FedEx box. I paid the taxes through the phone the night before so it would be less of a hassle. When I got home that night, the ring was there and even though I wasn’t going to look at it, I made sure Steven had inspected it and verified that everything was looking perfect and nothing was missing.



The Ring



The first time I saw the completed ring was when Steven proposed! I was super excited and we both cried during the proposal. Once it was over, I couldn’t stop staring at my ring. Despite the terrible customer service from the online chat (The lady on the phone was wonderful at least), whoever had worked on my ring did an amazing job. Their name is actually on one of the cards I received for Quality Assurance so at least I know that information and that they’re great. If you want to learn about the ring, check out this short blog post where I tell you everything about it in case you’re interested in a similar style, the stone, and anything else.


All in all I’m very happy with my completed ring. If the wedding bands from James Allen were in our budget, we’d definitely go with them, but those are above what we’d like to spend. I do still recommend James Allen, but if you live in Canada please know that you can 100% provide your own stone as long as you ship it from within the United States, and that they WILL ship it directly to your house in Canada without any extra costs. If you want to avoid a headache, just call James Allen rather than dealing with their online chat. And if you do deal with an online representative, make sure to ask them for a transcript of your conversation and don’t end the chat until you see it in your email’s inbox.


That’s it for our experience ordering my engagement ring with James Allen! I’ve pasted the review I left on their website below (which they’ve seen and shared the picture of my ring on social media, but not the review of course). I shared the same picture myself so hopefully mine will get more recognition since it links back to this blog!


Review I left on James Allen: We live in Canada and wanted to provide our own stone to go along with one of the James Allen settings. We went over the border to ship it to them (much more affordable to ship it yourself with insurance than pay the company to provide a label), and sent it off. The process was very quick and the ring turned out beautiful and perfect! My issue was the customer service. The 24hr live chat was very inconsistent and provided the wrong information. I was told by several different representatives that the ring could not be shipped back to my Canadian address once completed since I provided my own stone. This is not true! I called James Allen and they assured me that the representatives were wrong, and even read the chat logs out loud and were shocked to see the wrong information. This had us very stressed out because I thought I wouldn't be able to receive my ring, or would have to pay much more and jump through hoops to receive it. Definitely call them if you have questions to make sure you are getting the correct information. I highly recommend the quality of the rings, especially if you are providing your own stone! Also, wait for the 25% off sales since they are frequent.


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See you soon!

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

January Beauty Favourites
February 07, 20180 Comments
Hello!

I've decided on a few small-ish New Year resolutions that relate to beauty for 2018, and one of them is doing favourites posts every month. It's a week into February, so I thought it'd be a good time to look back and post my January beauty favourites! This is actually quite big for me considering the most I've done favourites posts/videos in the past two years is once every quarter, and even then it's usually once a year like my 2017 Makeup Favourites. Let me know if you want me to do a post or video on my 2018 beauty resolutions!


Too Faced Chocolate Gold palette


This should be no surprise considering my Chocolate Gold Swatches that I posted a little while back, as well as my Halo Eye GRWM/Tutorial. This palette is amazing! It's super pigmented, easy to blend, has the important matte colours incorporated into it, and has bright pops of colour mixed in with the regular golds and silvers. This isn't for everyone, but if you like metallic-looking eyeshadow I think you'll really love this!


Chorus Supernatural Glycolic Facial Peel


This product was recently sent to me for consideration. I've been using this every single week since I picked it up the last week of December (the instructions say once a week) and I can definitely say that I feel a difference in my skin. I just posted a full review on the product so click here to read it! I've been using products from Chorus Supernatural products for over a year now and really love their brand so much that I've purchased products on my own on multiple occasions, so I was really excited when they invited me to become an affiliate (The links for the website and for the peel are affiliate links.! You'll be seeing this again soon in a different blog post or possibly a video (or both)!


Juicy Couture Gold Couture Perfume


I've been lusting over this for years now! I got a mini sample with a Sephora purchase about two years ago and fell in love right away. Since then I've been trying to collect as many mini samples, and would only use them on super special events (like Steven and I's anniversary and weddings), but I was waiting around to gain enough Shoppers Drug Mart optimum points to buy it. This year Steven decided to buy it for me as one of my Christmas presents, and since Shoppers is switching over their points system, we used all of my points up to pay for part of it. This is my favourite perfume of all time so far, though the Chanel Chance EauVive is a close second. If you like sweet scents that aren't mature, definitely check this out!


That's it for my January favourites! I want to keep these favourites posts quite short since they'll consist of the products I've been enjoying the most for that month (not my overall favourites... those will be much longer).

See you soon!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Gigi Hadid X Maybelline Collaboration Canada - Limited Edition Collection
October 24, 20170 Comments
Hello!

I have a really exciting post for you today! I received lots of information in the press release and official fact sheet, which I will be taking information from, including all of the prices! This is the first time that Maybelline is doing a limited-edition collaboration. There are two themes for this collab: New York Glam & LA Glow. "Gigi focused on developing all-in-one palettes that celebrated her girl-on-the-go, bicoastal lifestyle, while giving fans an insider’s look into her life passions" (Press Release).

Credit to Maybelline New York

             
Both collections will be available for pre-sale in Canada on November 17th on Amazon.ca and Walmart.ca . The collection will be physically available in retails across the country on December 5th. To my knowledge Canada won't be getting the other Gigi collab products (like those face palettes), but I did not confirm it!


Here's a look at the East Coast Collection!



And here's the whole West Coast collection!

I honestly can't pick my favourite collection as a whole, but I can break it up! For eyeshadows I definitely like the West Coast half better. West Coast also wins since they have the Liquid Strobe in Gold. It's a tie between East & West Coast for eyeliners since I'm intrigued by the nude eyeliner, but I've also never tried a Maybelline liquid eyeliner. It's also a tie for the Tinted Primers since they seem to be the same. The East Coast half definitely wins for mascara since it is a fibre mascara!

Now for what arguably most of you would want to know. Which collection am I more excited for in terms of lipstick? The picture below is of all six of the lipsticks in the collection. I personally don't like reds so I'm only interested in the East coast half (especially erin and mcaul), but I know most like reds so these might be perfect for you!



I'm going to attempt to organize all of the products and pricing by collection to make things easier! I'm a bit confused about some of these as their descriptions don't match the names on Maybelline's Instagram, but it should be ok considering when you go to purchase you'll actually see the colours! I want to reiterate that I don't know if these are the only products coming to Canada, but these were the products and prices listed! These are not set final prices. There might (likely) be sales going on so keep your eyes peeled for those!

East Coast Collection:

Gigi Fibre Mascara $14.99
Gigi Lasting Drama Liner Cool $12.99
Gigi Master Precise Liner $12.99
Gigi Strobe Liquid Cool (black) $14.99
Gigi Eye Shadow Brush $12.99
Gigi Primer (Light Medium) $12.99
Gigi Eye Shadow Palette Cool $16.99
Gigi Eye Shadow Palette Warm $16.99
Gigi Color Sensational Mattes ('taura', 'erin' and 'mccall') $11.99

West Coast Collection:

Gigi Wing Mascara $12.99
Gigi Strobe Liquid Warm (nude) $14.99
Gigi Eye Contour Brush $12.99
Gigi Primer (Medium Deep) $12.99
Gigi Lasting Drama Liner Warm $12.99
Gigi Color Sensational Mattes ('austyn', 'lani' and 'khair') $11.99

*Only some of the items are listed with the official product names


What do you think? Are you excited for this collaboration? Let me know why or why not in the comments!

*Blog post may be added to add new photos. This blog post is not sponsored, and no product was received.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Revlon #ColorStayAllDay Event Recap
July 21, 20170 Comments
Hello!

On July 11th I went to the Revlon #ColorStayAllDay event in Toronto. Yes, it's spelt color and not colour since it is an American brand (believe me, several bloggers mentioned the spelling that night). I actually got invited directly by the PR company which was extremely exciting, and other blogger acquaintances that weren't, got the opportunity to go thanks to our awesome Canadian Beauty Bloggers network.

Gigi Gorgeous was the main attraction at the event! If you don't know who that is, you've been living under a rock. I actually vlogged the entire experience along with my mini cottage vacation and that will be up in a few weeks! I have very few photos from the night, but I do have a mini haul from all of the products that came in the goodie bag as well as what I got at the event itself. I'm going to give a few points about my first thoughts of each product, but if you want me to give a deeper review on one or a few of them, let me know!

Before I jump into the products, here are a few actual pics from the night.



Gift Bag



Colorstay Brow Crayon - 310 Soft Brown


This was very scary at first, purely because of its size. It's very large and I couldn't imagine how I'd put this in my eyebrows without making a mess, but it ended up not being a problem at all! It's very creamy and easy to apply and dries down to powder finish (wax to powder according to the packaging). This was super easy to use and looks natural if you have thick eyebrows like me! I just swipe this on and use a brow brush to finish up. This takes me about 15 seconds to use in the morning!

Blending Brush (Stippling brush)


I had only ever seen one review on this, and it was a negative one. For some reason I still had hopes that this would work well, but unfortunately it doesn't. In the video where I try this out for the first time it was never washed and shed absolutely everywhere! It didn't blend or do anything for me. I washed it and tried it again a different day, but had the exact same problem. If it didn't shed, it'd still be a no because the brush is just to sparse and does not blend anything nicely at all. This was definitely disappointing for me. I do not recommend!

Colorstay 2 in 1 Kayal Eyeliner Waterproof Pencil - 104 Graphite


I got a dark grey colour in my bag and was really excited! One end is the product, and the other end is the brush. The right line is just the product, and the left was the same size, but I used the brush to spread it out. This was easy to apply in waterline and tightline, but unlike the claims, it's not waterproof. It actually comes off very easily so don't use this if you touch your eyes a lot, or need this to last. It does work nicely on lash line with brush to blend it out and I feel like it'd have better staying power there as well!

Colorstay Unlimited Suede Lipstick - 095 Finale


This is very very creamy.  I 100% would recommend a lipliner for sure with a colour like this with this formulation. I love the formula though because it's very easy to apply, and feels very moisturizing. The lipstick is also very easy to remove, which is a huge plus for anyone that plans on taking it off to eat, and reapply it. I will have a hand swatch below with the next product as well!


Colorstay Lipliner - Red


This lip liner has a great formula! I love these twist up lip liners, so huge points there for me. The formula isn't very creamy, making it last a lot longer, but it isn't too stiff either. It's pretty much the perfect consistency. This comes with built in sharpener (the red bit), which makes it even easier to apply if you need a really sharp tip. This stuff lasts forever and is very hard to remove with just a tissue and water, but it will come off without too much of a fuss if you use a makeup remover, or even a makeup eraser. This works perfectly with the lipstick I mentioned before!

Colorstay Creme Eyeshadow - 730


This is so pretty! It comes with a mini brush built into packaging that is actually quite useful! But don't forget to wash it. It's still a brush and you should wash them  frequently. The formulation is amazing! It's super pigmented, is very easy to apply, and I didn't notice any creasing! Eyeshadow applies nicely on top, which is a plus, but really isn't necessary because this is amazing on its own! Definitely a new favourite of mine!

Colorstay Gel Envy - Top Coat + 030 Beginners luck


These are proving to be really good! They're still on my nails (two days) without any chipping whatsoever, and that's only normal for me with my Essence or Wet n' Wild nail polishes! The coloured polish also claims to act as a base, so I applied it directly to the nail. This has a nice applicator and dries very quickly, allowing me to add a second coat by the time I'm finished my other hand! More than one coat is required for this colour at least, but I don't mind that since most of my polishes require two. The top coat seems to work really well with this nail polish, but I have yet to test it with a different brands nail polish, so we'll see!

Colorstay Makeup (Foundation) Normal/Dry - 180 Sand Beige (Y)

I'm an idiot and forgot to take a picture of this, but this is the same one I got! At the event, one of the lovely Revlon ladies helped me find my correct colour. I was very adamant on finding something that leaned more towards a yellow undertone, and this one was the closest! This actually matches me really really well so good job! This foundation applies really really nicely with beauty blender. It has a pump now (didn't before) which is a huge deal for me!!! Another big factor when it comes to foundations is them oxidizing/getting darker throughout the day. This foundation remains the same colour that it dries, so if you swatch this and it matches your skin at first when it dries down, it'll match you for the rest of the day as well! This claims to last 24 hours, but I won't be testing that out unless I get into a weird situation where I can't wash my face. I've worn it for 16 hours and it still looked great, so I'm leaning towards believing that claim. I only use one pump and it gives me a nice medium coverage. Two pumps will probably be perfect for anyone who wants full coverage!

That's it for the products! I will have a video up on Wednesday of me applying all of these for the first time, so keep an eye out for that! I will add it to this post as soon as it's up. I will also add the vlog to this when it's up, but it'll be at least another week for that!

Thank you for reading!




@beautybyamysousa