Tuesday, 25 February 2014

It's that time again. Time to go through my garbage and see what we get - the good, the bad, and the ugly, and we've got all of that this month. Let's just get cracking shall we?

L'oreal Total Repair 5 Damage Erasing Balm.  This product gets rave reviews online, but honestly I'm torn. It doesn't feel like it's really making my hair any healthier, but I do like it for a reason that most people probably would not. It weighs my hair down, so my naturally frizzy ringlet curls turn into soft waves.

Recommendation?  I'll probably buy it again to use in between my more expensive deep conditioner, but if you have fine and straight hair I would stay far, far away.

Garnier Fructis Volume Extend Dry Shampoo. It's ironic that as disappointing as I found this product, I actually have two bottles to throw away this month. I think that points to part of the problem though: I had to use so much of this dry shampoo to make any sort of difference to my hair. Volume? Yeah right.

Recommendation? It might be super cheap and smell great, but this dry shampoo really did nothing for me. I'll be sticking with my Batiste, and I recommend you do as well.

Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil in Zero. This was a cult favourite for the longest time before it was dethroned by Perversion as the "darkest black" eyeliner in the 24/7 line up. Personally, I'm still on team Zero. I think it's almost more flattering for everyday to go with something a little less harsh. It stays in my upper waterline better than most other pencils I've tried, and is great for the days I go light on the eyes.

Recommendation? Looking to burn a whole in your pocket? This one is a winner. While I did really love this eyeliner, there have been so many dupes of this product to come out in the drugstore market that I think I would have to try out a couple before coughing up the $22 for this pencil.

Mario Badescu Whitening Mask. Again a product that I'm torn about. The product itself I really did enjoy. No matter if I disturb them or not, any sort of acne leaves a scar on me. It's great. I feel like this mask really did help to lighten some of that hyper pigmentation. Here comes my problem:

I didn't get to use much of it before it became hard as a rock. I've been trying to crush up the pieces and add water to turn it back into a paste, but it's getting to be a pain. 

Recommendation? If anyone knows how to keep this formula from drying up so quickly, I might actually recommend it. As it stand however, I'd give it a pass because I sure didn't get my money's worth.

Jordana Best Lash Extreme. It is a sad day that I have to admit that my last tube is probably past its prime. This mascara was my top pick for 2013, and my love affair is far from over. It's cheap, it's black, it's lenghtening, it's volumizing, what more could you want?

Recommendation? The best $2.99 I could spend on my eyes, I swear. If you haven't tried it already, really what do you have to lose? Now if only I didn't have to flee the country in order to find it, it would be perfection.

And finally, Body Shop Elderflower Cooling Eye Gel. I picked this up on a whim at some point during a BOGO free sale or something similar, which is basically all the time at The Body Shop. Fortunately for me I didn't spend real money on it because this one was a definite dud. No matter how long I left it to soak in or how little I used, this product never seemed to fully absorb into my skin. It sat on top and left a sticky residue behind that made makeup application pretty bad. The longer I had it the worse it got - within a couple of months it has become a thick sticky mess.

Recommendation? This product was pretty much a fail for me, and I can't really see who would it would work for.

And on that positive note, that's a wrap! What's the most interesting thing in your trash pile this month?

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Sunday, 23 February 2014

Days are getting longer, temperatures are rising and the sun has finally come out to play. Spring is on it's way, finally. What better way to start incorporating a bit of the coming season into your wardrobe than with a spring inspired mani? Here are some of my top budget picks.

Looking for a less expensive dupe for Essie's famous Bikini So Teeny? Revlon's Dreamer comes pretty close with just a little less of a purple hue. If you're looking for something sheer and neutral, Finger Paint's Pastel-Me More is a beautiful pearly peachy-pink that looks very polished and chic. Mint Sorbet by Sally Hansen is a great budget pick for the mint craze that doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast. Julie G 9 to 5 is a beautiful bright creamsicle colour that I get compliments on every time I wear it. It looks subtle indoors but seems to glow once you step outside. And finally, Revlon's Gum Drop is a soft lavendar that actually smells like candy. Strange, but the colour is very flattering without being too bold.

What's your favourite polish pick for spring?
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Whether you're still in school or not, February and March is the prime vacation season to get away from the freezing winter blahs and head to somewhere with warm breezes and steady sunshine. I may not be lucky enough to be taking a beach vacation any time soon, but that doesn't stop me from thinking and dreaming about it. Constantly. If you're planning a getaway this winter, here are my top 5 spring break essentials.

1. Spray Sunscreen. It can be more expensive than traditional sunscreen, but the convienence of the spray format I think is totally worth it. No more sticky sun screen hands, especially when you're on the beach needing to reapply. The lobster look is never cute, and what comes down the line most definitely is not either.
2. After-Sun lotion. I was the only one that packed this on my last vacation to Florida, and everyone else on the trip was glad I did. The Silk Hydration After-Sun has aloe gel mixed with lotion so it was cooling, soothing and moisturizing which was a nice bonus.
3. Comfortable bathing suits. There is a good chance you'll be spending most of your days by the pool or the ocean. Not everyone may be comfortable parading around in a bikini, but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Tons of brands now make super flattering tankinis and one pieces. Just find something you love and are comfortable in and rock it!
4. Good coverage sunglasses. Large sunglasses can get a bad rap for being "bug eyed", but the bigger the more protection they give the sensitive skin on your face. It's all about finding the right shape for your face.
5. Cover up.  Whether you're comfortable showing off a ton of skin or not, it's good to give it a little break from the sun every now and then. There are tons of shapes, styles and colours so find one that is flattering to your body and has an element of sheerness to it for a little sexiness.

Are you going away this winter? What are your favourite things to take to a sunny destination?

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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The idea floating around that flats are inherently so much more comfortable than heels is a myth, and I know I'm not the only one who has fallen for it. So many times I have convinced myself to take home a pair after deciding that a 2 minute walk around the store totally matches up with my day to day wear. 

Digging, rubbing, blistering, bleeding, limping. Torture. But they're just so darn cute! What's a girl to do?

1. Before setting foot outside your door in the little devils, take a couple of days to wear them around the house with some sexy thick wool socks. This will help soften up the material and stretch them out a bit to give you some extra room. If you're impatient try using a hair dryer to speed up the process. 

2. For their debut into society, try pairing your pesky flats with some tights to cut down on the friction with your bare skin. Don't go for a 10 K walk the first time you head out, keep it short like a trip to the corner store or a desk day at the office. Baby steps.

3. If your problem is toe rubbing, try gel toe pillows/pads. These are used by ballet dancers to stop their feet from getting destroyed by pointe shoes. If you were never the dancing type you can find these at dance specialty shops or online from a ton of retailers for under $10. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so find some that work for your needs. If it's your heels that feel the pain, add a gel cushion to the heel of your shoe. You can find them almost anywhere these days.

4. Once you've worked up the courage to go commando, it never hurts to err on the side of caution. New Skin is a liquid bandage that creates a barrier for your skin without looking or feeling terrible. Toss it into your purse in case of emergencies and you'll be good to go. I've heard of Vaseline working much the same way, but I just don't really like the idea it rubbing off onto the material of my new shoes!

After a few weeks of testing out all of the above, I am glad to say I can comfortably make it through the work day without having to wince back to my car. It might take some time, but if you've made the investment in a nice pair of flats, why leave them to sit in the closet?

Have you ever found a pair of truly comfortable flats?
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Saturday, 8 February 2014

Base colour: Essie Fiji | Tips: Orly Rage | Top Coat: Sally Hansen Mega Shine

If you work in a corporate setting like I do than it's pretty likely you won't be able to get away with the typical hearts and glitter themed nail art. That doesn't mean that you can't be festive in a subtle way! How about a pink and rose gold French manicure? It's simple and classic with a bit of romantic twist. If you have trouble keeping a steady hand to to French mani's at home, try using page reinforcements to get a nice crisp line. Top it all off with a shiny top coat and you'll have a cute, polished look appropriate for any occasion!

What are you going to be sporting on your fingertips this Valentine's day?

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Thursday, 6 February 2014

I got some exciting news today, as of March 1st first I am officially full time! You know you're growing up when things like "dental coverage" and "pension" make you want to click your heels together. I had been working for the same company for over a year and was starting to think it was going to keep getting put off. Just goes to show, with hard work and faith it all works out in the end. This quote has seemed applicable in so many areas of my life lately that I felt the need to make a visual version that can be printed and displayed near my workspace. Click on the image to download your own printable version. Thanks for coming along on the journey with me!


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Sunday, 2 February 2014

V-Day is fast approaching, and if you're still on the hunt for gifts for all the loved ones in your life, here are some ideas from all different budgets to spark some inspiration.

For Him:
Leather Journal If your man is an avid list maker or writter, a leather wrapped journal is the perfect masculine sidekick. I made one for my boyfriend last year and embossed his name at the front
Gourmet Cooking Sauces .Tyler is a hot sauce connoisseur, so loves trying out different gourmet varieties. Whether the man in your life is a BBQ master or a spice fiend, putting together a set of high rated sauces is a surefire way to get to his heart through his stomach.
Video Game. Give this gift at your own risk, because it is likely you may be seeing a little less of him in the immediate future. COD Ghosts and Grand Theft Auto 5 I have been told are the 'it' games of the moment if you need some suggestions.
Wallet Phone Case. Most guys I know can get by with their phone, a few cards and some cash and they're out the door. A wallet case helps streamline the whole process and cut down on some of the bulk in their pockets.

For Her
Makeup/Brush Kit If your valentine is a beauty queen odds are she would love some new products to play around with. If she isn't already stocked, a brush kit is a great investment piece that she'll be able to use for years to come. If it's makeup you're looking for kits or sets are a no brainer. They get you the most bang for your buck, and Sephora even has some themed around Valentine's Day. How easy was that?
Custom Phone Case  If you're looking for something that you can DIY, a clear case and some fabric or scrapbook papers could be all you need for a sweet personalized gift.
Jewelry. If you've been going steady for a while jewelry is always a safe bet. I usually wouldn't spend a ton on bling for myself, but the items I've gotten as gifts often become some of my favourite pieces. Monograms, statement pieces, simple and classic, the possibilities are endless!
Bath Products. Does the lady in your life love a good pamper? Luxery bath products make great gifts. DIY some bath bombs or head to Lush for individual products or sets already to go for the big day.

For Anyone:
Personalized Mug. Initials, quotes, anything that reminds you of your sweetheart can be a great personal gift on a budget. Fill it up with some of their favourite sweets or ingredients for their drink of choice for bonus points.
An experience. Give them a home chef for a night, a weekend getaway, a spot in the drivers seat of an exotic car, anything that they may not consider getting for themselves. Arrange something on your own, or check out sites like Groupon or LifeExperiences.ca that have some experiences laid out for you.
Skincare. A quality skincare routine can be enjoyed by anyone, just make sure you know their skin type and what their needs might be before you dive in.
Subscription Box. The gift that keeps on giving, perfect for the adventurous type. Sign them up to receive a box a month of wine, chocolate, beauty products, tea, coffee, whatever tickles their fancy.