Thursday, 30 January 2014

Coming out of the holidays always leaves me in the winter blues. Especially when you've had weather like we have here in the Great White North, where temperatures have been plunging into the - 30's and there's no end in sight until probably April if we're lucky. Nothing like a little retail therapy with my unused Christmas gift cards to beat the blahs!

Tops: Tobi // Sleep Shirt: Nordstrom // Boots: Call It Spring // Sweater: Dynamite // Blouses: Dynamite/Hopes Boutique // Dresses: Old Navy/GAP

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling under the weather it's difficult enough to get out of bed everyday, let alone try to make myself look presentable. Alas, unless you are bedridden, life must go on. Here are a couple of tips that I have been using lately to stop myself from looking like a hot mess on those dreaded mornings.
Wash up.
Even if you are not generally a wash-in-the-morning type of person, just do it. I like using a simple, gentle cleanser for my face that isn't full of acne fighting products. It not only helps me wake up, it helps to start the day feeling a little less..gross. Don’t forget to moisturize that parched skin of yours and really let it sink in before jumping into the beauty routine.

Keep it light.
Opt for a tinted moisturizer/BB cream or mix a bit of moisturizer in with your regular foundation to lighten it up. There's nothing worse than feeling strangled by your makeup. Keep the rest of the look simple: a little blush to keep you from looking completely dead, curled lashes and lots of mascara. If you need some colour in your life, gloss/balm is your girl. Stay away from the lipstick and your dehydrated lips will thank you.

There’s nothing like a bun on a miserable day.
Am I right? A little dry shampoo, a little sock in your hair and you’re good to go. It’s out of your face and keeps you looking clean and not as disheveled as you may feel on the inside.

Accessorize strategically.
Keep outfits simple and comfortable and add a couple of fun accessories to keep it interesting. Scarves are like a little security blanket that you can carry around with you without judgement. They also happen to make a nice little pillow for if you need a snooze on the go. If you feel more like yourself with a little bling, go for a non-heavy stud earring since your ears are already on show.

Get up.
If your job is anything like mine, you’ll be on your tush for most of the day. It’s easy to sit down and get lost in the blahs of every day business. I usually start to wear out by lunchtime. If the weather isn’t bad, get outside. Nothing like a bit of fresh air to perk you back up. If not, maybe walk the stairs of your building or go for a little stroll to the lunch room/cafeteria for a cup of tea. Taking breaks always makes me feel less lethargic.

Here's hoping that Punxsutawney Phil and Wiarton Willie predict an early exit from the Polar Vortex (could they have picked a more ominous name for a weather pattern?) and we can start nudging our way out of the deep freeze and flu season. Feel better sickies!

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Bronzer - Matte or Shimmery, it all depends on your preference (I use either Nars Laguna or NYC Sunny), bronzer not only can be used to amp up your all over complexion but it can be used to contour your face AND eyes. Using a matte bronzer in the crease can create subtle definition. Find a compact that has a dual bronzer and blush and you get twice the usefulness for the same amount of space.

Concealer Wheel - I use the Coastal Scents Camo Quad in Medium which comes with three shades I can use/mix for spot concealing on my face, no matter how much of a tan I`ve got at the time. The formula is almost gel like so it can be used all over the face. It also comes with a white that I can use in the inner corners of my eyes to make myself look more awake as well as on my cheekbones as a matte highlight for the face. I can also use the darkest shade to contour.

Neutral Eye Palette. The Wet N Wild Vanity palette is pretty much the perfect multitasking palette, but the same functionality can be achieved with simply a light neutral shadow and a dark matte shadow. The light shadow can be used as a highlight and blending colour,  all over the lid and in the inner corner of the eyes, as well as on the cheeks for a glowy look. A dark matte shadows can be used for eyeliner during the day and then put in the outer corner/crease to smoke out a look for a night out.

Tapered Blending Brush. I have yet to come across a brush that truly measures up to the MAC 217. I can do a whole eye look with this one brush no problem. If you're going to invest in one eye brush I would hands down say go for this one. Fluffy brushes are even great for blending out concealer, though make sure you've cleaned off any pigment from your eyeshadows before heading into cream products.

Retractable Kabuki Brush. The perfect face brush to take on the go, it's dense enough to apply a powder foundation, but used with a light hand can be great at blending out bronzer and blush. Snap on the cap and it's ready to come with you in your makeup bag without getting covered in germs.

Throw in mascara and you`re ready for an entire weekend, day and night! Do you have any multi-use products that are perfect for travel?

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

I am, and always will be a big proponent of thrifting. Some of my favourite items of clothing and home decor are from thrift stores and have cost me next to nothing, however I do understand some people's hesitation when it comes to hitting up the thrift store. To help you with the art of thifting, here are ten pieces of advice before you head out.

1. Location, Location, Location.
Get to know the stores in your area. This may take some time but you'll start learning which ones tend to get the best stuff. As a general rule, the more affluent the area usually the better the better the finds.

2. Be patient.
It can take some serious time to sift through the garbage and find the diamonds in the rough. Make sure you're prepared to spend a good chunk of your day in there.

3. If you're looking for something, you probably won't find it.
Thrift stores are unpredictable by nature, so if you have something particular in mind they can be the most frustrating place on earth. Unless you're planning on doing many regular trips, don't go in with too high expectations. The best things are always the ones you just happen to stumble upon.

4. Know the sales.
Most thrift stores will have weekly sale days, get to know the ones in your area so that you are hitting up the best deal possible.

5. Look for potential, but not too far.
Sometimes all a piece needs is a good scrub and it's good as new, but don't fall into the trap of buying junk just because it's cheap. Really think about whether you'll really get around to fixing that hole up before it comes home with you.

6. Shop the whole store.
Two of my favourite things I've found at the thrift store are a cardigan that was in the men's section and a denim jacket that I found in the kid's section. Don't be afraid to go outside of your gender/size section.

7. Try everything on.
Just like in any other type of clothing shopping, just because it looks one way on the hanger, doesn't mean it will translate the same on your body.

8. Layers are key.
To avoid having to wait in line for a change room or keep going back and forth, dress smart the day of. Leggings, a plain tank top and a cardigan are my usual thrifting outfit. Most things I'm able to try on without having to step into a change room.

9. Bring a friend.
Not only will it be more fun, but you're more likely to be 100% satisfied with your purchases if you get a second opinion. Be careful who you bring though, make sure they are ready and willing to make the trek through the racks with you!

10.  Enjoy the treasure hunt!
Honestly, you really have to be in the groove to have a good thrifting experience. If you don't enjoy the idea of spending the time finding the little treasures - stay home and shop online.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

I have been planning on doing a little refreshing of my bedroom for some time now. Though these plans may not come into fruition for a couple of months (I may be moving if I get some good news at work!) I thought I would share some of the pieces that have inspired the new design.

It started out with a simple colour palette. I've always loved the colour teal, instead of going the more extreme route that I did in university by putting the colour all over the walls, I decided to feature it as an accent instead. Going neutral with the walls will allow for a lot more customization in the future if I feel like changing things around.

I've always loved the idea of a feature wall, but after the sticker shock of wallpaper, I looked into more of a DIY route. Time consuming yes, but the end result looks fantastic. I'm thinking of doing the pattern in a clear gloss or metallic finish instead of a contrasting colour to give the wall some dimension. Mirrors are a beautiful way to decorate, but why put to waste the ones I already have. Since I won't be buying any furniture, changing the knobs is a quick and easy way to freshen things up. My work space also has to fit within my bedroom which means that it can look a little cramped. A ghost chair may help solve that problem. Finally, to bring back a bit of interest and colour, pastel and metallic accents.

Looking for any of the tutorials or photos that inspired me? You can find them all in my Bedroom Refresh board on Pinterest.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

No doubt 2013 year was the year of the blog for me. Not only did I start this little gem you are perusing right now, I started becoming seriously dedicated to reading my favourite blogs. Bloglovin' has a lot to do with that, since it's an easy one stop show for me to read what's new in the life of my favourite bloggers. I follow almost 70 blogs now, but it is these blogs that I have looked forward to hearing the most from this year.
If you are into beauty, this is your girl. Cara does great Makeover Mondays showing how much makeup really can transform your look and liven up your confidence. She's super real and down to earth when she shares bits and pieces from her personal life, and she has the cutest little family.
IHeart Organizing
I may not be organized in real life, but boy do I love drooling over the pretty organization that Jen does on this site. Every time I read a new post it gives me the energy to try and tackle something and whip it into shape. If you need some of that in your life, get on it.
Nadine not only has massively cute dog Archie but she's funny to boot. She has so many insightful posts that I can relate to, and her blogging tips have really helped me navigate these new waters this year.
Kelly has the most gorgeous decor, DIYs, and seriously hilarious posts. She really inspired me to start my bedroom redesign, which I'll be sharing a little bit more in a future post! I love that she gets things done without taking herself to seriously.

Dana is a fellow Ontario native who shares my affinity with design and creativity. Her blog is stunning to look at and she has posted some of the most helpful tutorials on blog design I've read for those of you who are not as comfortable with dealing with code. She recently started a spin off site completely dedicated to web design which I have also been loving.

And there you have it folks! That wraps up my seven day posting spree celebrating and sayonaraing 2013. If you have stayed with me during this series I hope it was to your reading pleasure, and be sure to let me know what you would like to see from me in 2014!

follow me on: bloglovin' / twitter / instagram / pinterest

Sunday, 5 January 2014

Welcome back to The Hit List, where I am summing up my top five favourites in a multitude of categories. I have already gone through my winners for Beauty Standouts of the year, so today we'll be tackling the the worlds of skincare and haircare.

I'm sure if you asked my boyfriend he would agree that I have way too many items in these two categories, but unlike a lot of beauty products skin and hair products can vary massively on different people. To give you an idea if these might possibly work for you lets take a second to talk about me shall we?

I have combination/oily skin that is prone to breakouts, and because of it's generally ghostly pallor is also prone to redness and hyper-pigmentation. My hair is naturally curly, fine but I have a lot of it, highlighted every few months, and generally dry and limp. And there you have it, so let's jump right in.

Garnier Refershing Gel-Cream. I've already spouted the virtues of this moisturizer here. It's what I've used on my daily face for at least two years now.
Kirkland Facial Wipes. Again, a product that I have talked about previously, these wipes are cheap and cheerful and get the job done. Coming in packs of 150 wipes, you really can't go wrong.
Philosophy Purity Cleanser. I finally caved and bought a sample of this in October or November, and sadly for my wallet, this cleanser really is worth the hype. It's gentle but removes makeup and makes me feel soft as a baby's bottom. Now if only it didn't come with a nearly $25 price tag attached, it would be just perfect.
Life Brand Tea Tree Oil. I've tried so many spot treatments it borders on ridiculous. I don't get too many spots now that I'm out of that awkward high school/college phase, but I am prone to hormonal breakouts and they just drive me crazy. This oil has been the only thing that I've seen a dramatic difference with this year. It's curious though, I bought another brand of 100% Tea Tree Oil when I was on vacation this summer and it didn't seem to work out for me. Strange right?
Skindinavia No More Shine Makeup Finish. You may disagree in the categorization of skin care for this one, but I rarely use it to actually set my makeup. I use this mostly as a pre-makeup spray. It helps control oil from the source, and it works great.

Batiste Dry Shampoo for Light/Blonde Hair. My favourite dry shampoo ever I discovered this year, and I think I've tried almost all the varieties out there. This baby is a quadruple threat for me. It smells divine, a slightly sweet vanilla-ish scent that isn't too overpowering, it works fantastically at absorbing oil, gives me some volume, which trust me I need, AND helps hide unsightly root growth. It looks a little scary coming out of the can, but blended in it adds just the right amount of lightness to let me get away with a few more weeks before I hit the salon in the winter when my natural hair darkens up. A+++
L'Oreal Studio Silk&Gloss Hot Straight Smoothing Cream. I have used this stuff consistently since I was in high school. It is one product that for me, does everything it claims: protects from heat, smoothes the hair, and stops frizz. I'm not kidding. I have been in the rain and this stuff still keeps my hair straight. I sometimes use it even if I'm not straightening my hair because it makes my curls less frizzy.
Samy Fat Hair "0" Calorie Mousse. I discovered this product this year, and it has become a staple any time I'm going to be blow drying my hair. It gives me tons of beautiful volume without feeling crunchy or sticky. Air drying with this doesn't work as well, but for nights out this is my hair bff.
Tangle Teezer/Tangle Tamer Max. I only photographed the Tangle Teezer, but I also have the Sally's brand Tangle Tamer and I don't really see too much headway of one over the other. I was so skeptical of this, and the first time I tried it I wasn't really impressed, but going back to a regular paddle brush afterwards felt like torture. Don't be fooled, this doesn't just magically glide through your hair, but it does make getting the tangles out a little less painful, and I'm good with that.
Alterna Bamboo Kendi Oil. This is a never ending hair oil. I swear, I've had it for almost two years now and I'm barely past halfway through, and I use it regularly. I'm not sure how much "mending" it actually does, but I find it helps make my tangley hair more manageble to brush out, and makes it feel soft once it's dried. I use it on wet and dry hair and neither makes me feel like I need to get right back into the shower. Really lovely product.

And that wraps up today's episode of The Hit List 2013! I'll be back tomorrow with some of the more random things that tickled my fancy this past year tomorrow.

How is this for irony? The day after I commit myself to follow-through I schedule out my post for the day and it doesn't go up. Well, if anyone has any info on how I can make Blogger stick to the schedule I give it, I'd love to know. At any rate, you'll be in for a treat today as I'll be posting not one but two installments of this next series.

Today I bring you my top 5 favourites from my face, eyes and lips collections. Without rambling too much, let crack on. If I've already given a review on the product, just follow the link to get the details! Let me know if you would like to see more detail on any of the products I've given my stamp of approval below.  

Stay Flawless. Perfection in a foundation if I've ever seen one. Read more about why I love it here. Lately I've been mixing it in with a bit of my favourite moisturizer to lighten the coverage and it has still been working flawlessly.

Milani Multitasker. This was my staple in the summer. Coverage without being heavy. Matte but not flat. It can be used as a foundation or setting powder if you use a light hand. The only con I would say is the absolutely massive packaging. The product itself is lovely. 

Benefit Coralista. A cult classic in the beauty world, and for good reason. I never used to be a real blush person, but I've reached for this almost everyday since I got it. A tinsy bit of shimmer and the perfect corally colour really brightens up my fair complexion. Winter or Summer this one is a winner. 

Coastal Scents cover quad in Medium. I recently re-fell in love with this product. Talk about a multitasker. Four shades means that it works for me all year round, and not only for concealing. The formula is creamy but not sticky, it dries to a perfect finish. Love love love.

Garnier RollerBall. I think I will own this for forever and ever Amen. Not the heaviest coverage (though if you let it sit for a minute before blending it helps) but good enough for me. It feels light and lovely and you can read more about it here.
Jordana Best Lash Extreme. I can't buy this in Canada, but every time I've been across the boarder this year I've picked up at least one tube of this mascara. So cheap, yet so good. The formula does thicken up quite a bit, but if you clean up your brush a bit it can do magical things to your eyelashes.

Original Naked Palette. An oldie but a goodie, I used this nearly every day this year in some capacity. I originally had the Naked 2 on my wish list this year, but ended up taking it off when I shared it with my family because I really don't think I need it. I love the original that much. 

Satin Taupe. The single eyeshadow of my dreams. Normally I go for warmer colours (aka the Naked palette) but when I'm looking to do a more smokey type of look this has been my go-to. My boyfriend also loves whenever I wear it so that makes it an automatic favourite.

Jordana Easy Liner. Jordana just hit it out of the park for me this year. I have both black and brown now, and the brown became and instant favourite that made its way into my everyday routine. I used to hate doing liquid liner, but it is not only easy to remove (I used to line my waterline every day and wake up with raccoon eyes no matter how well I cleaned my face) but super flattering and not too harsh for everyday.

Maybelline Colour Tattoos. The lazy-girl's miracle product to looking put together. I now have 4 different colours and love them better than my MAC Paint Pots. Now if only they would make any of the matte beige offerings permanent.

EOS Lip Balm in Honeydew and The Body Shop Honeymainia Lip Balm. I am a lip balm girl at heart. I can't tell you how many I must have lying around in my life, but these two were the ones that made the greatest impression on me in 2013. EOS balms have been around for years, but I realized recently that they are what I use on the most regular basis. The Honeymainia Balm slipped in at the last moment as a Christmas goodie. The smell of it is just divine, and I've been keeping it by my bed and applying it every night before hitting the hay.

Bourjois Chubby Stick in Peach on the Beach. This is possibly the most gorgeous colour I've ever owned. Not too bright, not too overly shiney, just plain beautiful. It looks like a summer colour, but I've been wearing it recently too as shake up of the traditional darker winter look.

NYX Matte Lip Cream in Tokyo. The formula on this one is the most important part. I'm not a super glossy lip fan, but I suffer from chronically dry lips and this is one of the lip colour products I can stand wearing because it doesn't make me look like I'm withering up.

NARS Dolce Vita Lipstick. Again a last minute favourite, but I got this as part of the Sephora Super Stars kit and it was instantly joined the rest of my carry along products so I think that says something.

Friday, 3 January 2014

I'm going to start this out by being completely honest. I have a track record of being terrible with perseverance. I'm the kind of person that gets really excited to start something, but then loses steam along the way and lets things fall by the wayside. So I think it's safe to say that traditional "resolutions" don't fly with me.


Everyone needs something to strive towards. While the physical date of January 1st shouldn't be the only motivating factor, wanting to better yourself isn't something that should be brushed off as a cheesy by-product of the end of the holidays. If you are looking for some inspiration, Lara Casey does an incredible series on setting real meaningful goals.

This year, I have decided to focus on follow-through.

Instead of rhyming off a long list of things I want to accomplish, I want to spend my energy on focus and commitment, making small achievable goals along the way. I've learned through work that you are only likely to achieve all your goals if you only make 1-3. And so, my overarching goals for the year: one for me, and one for anyone else.

1. Not to take for granted any of my blessings. Use my creative energy it to finish something every week.

2. Pay it forward. Focus on giving back as much as I have been given. Do one thing for someone else every day.

And that is that! So far I'm doing pretty good, but that's how it always starts out doesn't it. What are your goals for 2014?

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Welcome to 2014 on TVIB! Kicking off the new year I'll be bringing you a new post every day for the first week of 2014. I hope you enjoy ringing in the new year with me!
It seems somewhat cliche, but I do think it is important to reminisce every so often so that you don't lose sight of what makes up the important moments in your life. When it comes to reflecting on the past year, I must say, thank the Lord for Instagram. The modern day photobook has allowed me to bring you this compilation of some of the most memorable things for me in the past year. 2013 was definitely a year of milestones for me, which can't exactly be captured on film, but here is a glimpse of what my life has looked like over the past 12 months. If you would like to see more of the bits and clips of my day to day life, you can go on over and follow me on instagram to keep up to date!
NYE 2012 // Canadian winter wonderland // spring (yes, spring) at the cottage // Muskoka flooding // gloious spring // anniversary/birthday blooms // summer walks with my favourite boys // my bff returns from Israel // crazy rain storm in Toronto // perfect cottage weekend with my besties // hanging with the dolphins in Estero Bay // most incredible sunsets in Fort Meyers // apple picking // SAE Foundation sends kids in Zimbabwe to school // turkey time with my family // my brother's second album release // crazy ice storm takes out the tree in my backyard..and my power // welcome to my family Christmas.

I hope you all had an incredible 2013 and a fabulous New Year's Eve. See you tomorrow!