Tuesday, 29 April 2014

April showers are out in full force this week, but instead of getting all Debbie Downer why not use that extra time inside to treat yourself to a pamper night? There's nothing quite like cozying up and having some 'me' time to the sound of spring rain and your latest Netflix binge.

It may be a cliche, but candles do really help to give the evening ambiance, and this Lavender Lemonade candle from Target is a great budget buy that seriously smells amazing.

I tend to leave the scary green face masks and the sexy slicked back hair treatments to nights when the boy is not around. The Queen Helene and Macadamia Deep Repair masks are cult favourites for a reason - they really do perform to their claims. The hype is real people.

Let the masks do their magic while you hop in the tub. If you're the showering kind, grab a shower cap so your mask has the maximum time to treat your tresses. I take the opportunity to do a scrub down - my favourite is the Tree Hut brand that I am currently sad to be without. Any recommendations for a replacement?

I will admit - I'm pretty bad when it comes to keeping moisturized. My legs are extremely sensitive, especially after shaving, and I can't stand the feeling of most thick body creams. Thankfully I have recently found not one but two that finally seem to agree with me. Fast absorption without skipping on the deep moisture! I soften up with either the Garnier Soothing Gel-Cream for Sensitive Skin or the St. Ives Skin Renewing Moisturizer and pop on a pair of the Bath & Body Works Shea Socks for good measure. Even if they don't do anything in terms of moisture, they are probably the softest socks ever.

If you're still battling the casualties of the harsh winter like I am, slap some Argan Oil on your cuticles and get ready to settle into a marathon of TV/movies that you may or may not be embarrassed to watch with anyone but yourself.

What's your favourite way to pamper yourself?
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Friday, 25 April 2014

While I do love the occasional splurge item, I am truly a bargain shopper at heart.  Why head straight for Sephora when there some real gems at the drugstores? American shoppers have it all well and good, but even drug store makeup in Canada can cost you a pretty penny. Here are my top 5 products under $10 (US and Canadian)!
1. L'Oreal Infallible Eye Shadows are just phenomenal for their pigmentation and texture. It doesn't hurt that they also have the most beautiful colour selection in the drugstore! Amber Rush is amazing for a one-stop-shop eye look - so bright, so beautiful.

2. Yay for Target for bringing Sonia Kashuk Blushes to Canada! Sunset is a beautiful coral shade that can be applied sheer or built up to pack a serious punch. On the cheeks it reminds me a lot of Benefit Coralista, at a quarter of the price and way more convenient packaging.

3. L'Oreal Voluminous Mascara in Carbon Black is my old faithful mascara. I've had a not so quiet love affair going on with Jordana Best Lash Extreme for few months, but since it's not available in Canada I went back to Voluminous after my last tube and I still love it. Not quite as much volume/clump as the Jordana, but boy does it make my lashes look great.

4. I have a rocky relationship with some of the Rimmel ScandalEyes Eyeliners, but the colour Taupe really knocks it out of the park. It's a unique colour that is fantastic for a soft but defining look on the lash line. There is simply nothing else like this in the drug store.

5. And finally, Rimmel Stay Matte Powder is a great setting powder for combo to oily skin types. I use Sandstorm, but it doesn't provide much in the way of colour, so if you're looking for coverage this might not be for you. I use it once in the morning, and it lasts me throughout the entire work day - no touch-ups required!

What's your #1 budget beauty item?

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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Continuing on with the Beauty Basics series, we move into the tools of the trade: brushes. I am a firm believer that brushes can totally transform the way your makeup looks, in the best way possible, but I know the variety and price tags can sometimes be overwhelming. Whether you're just starting out or building your collection, here are my must-have-most-used picks for the face.

While I use these each for a specific purpose, the beauty of these are that they can be used in application for so many different purposes - just be sure you clean them!

A synthetic kabuki style brush is perfect for liquid or cream foundations. The density helps for quick blending and synthetic fibers won't absorb and waste a ton of product.  Plus, they can double up to work with your cream blushes or bronzers. Flat top, rounded or angled is all up to preference. The Sigma F80 is an old faithful, but lately I've been loving this angled one from Coastal Scents that is even more wallet-friendly.

Traditional flat concealer brushes don't really do it for me. I've found that large blending brushes actually give the most flawless application, since they diffuse the product so it's not an obvious cover up job. They also work great for dusting setting powder under the eyes. I've used the Sigma E40 for years and it's never let me down.

A large powder brush is a no brainer if you like setting your makeup or using bronzer. They get it done quick and easy. If you tend to O.D. on the blush or bronzer, you may want to try your hand with a duo-fiber stippling brush instead. It applies with a lighter hand so it's perfect for giving you a natural glow and flush. Again, Sigma has been my brand of choice but you can always hit up Sephora if you're wary of ordering online.

Want something that is easy to transport? I'm a bit of a germ freak so tend to favour retractable brushes since they can be kept sanitary while rolling around in your makeup bag or purse. A powder and concealer brush and you're good to go for touch ups!

What are your most used face brushes? I'm always on the hunt for great staples!
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Favourites round ups are probably some of my favourite posts ever - so why not jump on in and link up with Meet At The Barre to show off some of the things that have been tickling my fancy this week!

Favourite product:
I may be seriously late to the party on this one but the Maybelline Color Whisper in Lust for Blush has such a great texture and colour. Perfect for the non-lipstick lover that I am most of the time, though my makeup drawer might tell you differently.

Favourite Song:
I probably should be ashamed, but I'm so not. When I'm at the gym that cake cake cake cake just makes me work so much harder.

Favourite project:
I love me some good DIY, but let's be real. Most of the time I don't have the time or attention span to do big projects. I have a tray that I bought from a thrift store that's just been waiting for a coat of paint for three months.This vase is not only super easy and cheap, but it fits in with my madness for flowers right now. Give me all the flower arranging things.


Favourite Discovery:
Potter fans rejoice, Hogwarts has gone digital. I mean, come on. How had this never existed before? I'm tempted to enroll just to answer the question that's been gnawing at me since 1997: is potions really that hard?

Favourite moment:
When my work on a pilot project went in front of the CEO of the company and they loved it, I probably looked like this:
But felt more like this:

What have you been loving this week?

Linking up to: The Diary of A Real Housewife , Meet At The Barre & That Friday Blog Hop
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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Before the ugly shock of snow this morning, we were having a long streak of beautiful spring weather. To celebrate Tyler and I took his adorable dog Dakota to the Royal Botanical Gardens - one of my favourite parks in the area. It may look dead right now, but in the summer it's seriously amazing.

 So serious. 
 Collared Shirt: H&M {similar} | Sweater: {J. Crew Factory} | Skirt: H&M {similar}
 Tights: Sears {similar} | Shoes: Aldo {similar} | Watch: Michael Kors | Bracelets: Joe Fresh 
Tyler convinced me to try on this lobster sweater a few weeks ago when we were outlet shopping, and I fell in love! It's incredibly soft and adds a bit of interest to an otherwise simple outfit. I got a surprising amount of compliments on it - even if one of them did start with "Do you work at Red Lobster?". No, no I don't. 

If you don't already think Dakota is the cutest, here's a little fact to push you over the edge: he sneezes when he gets excited. I mean come on, that's just hilariously precious am I right?!

Linking up today with Style Sessions. How are you dressing for the bipolar weather lately?

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Sunday, 13 April 2014

Even though I do love testing out new products, I have normal to oily/acne prone/somewhat sensitive skin so when it comes to my face I don't mess around. I think I've finally got a routine down pat that has been working great for me, and if it aint broke why fix it, right?
Mornings are simple - cleanse, moisturize, and get on with the day. Currently I am using Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser, but if you're looking for a cheaper alternative, try out the Cetaphil cleanser for oily/acne prone skin. I follow up with my old faithful Garnier Gel-Cream for Normal/Combo Skin, a great dupe for the Clinique Gel Face Lotion.  Add a little Origins Vita Zing Eye Cream to brighten things up a bit and I'm ready to go.

If I could give one piece of advice about skincare, it would be: PLEASE remove your makeup! I use the lazy girls bff - Kirkland Makeup Remover Wipes. Looking for something a little more heavy duty? Coconut oil is great at removing tough eye makeup in a breeze. I follow up with my trusty favourite cleanser and night time moisturizer. The Garnier Gel-Cream for Dry Skin is perfect for night to give a little more moisture without getting greasy.

If my skin is having a freak out moment, I have a few tried and true spot treatments. Mario Bedescu Drying Lotion or Tea Tree Oil are my go to for on the surface spots. If it's one of the deep demons, I like to think that the Mario Bedescu Drying Mask helps speed up the process of going away or coming to the surface.
If you want details on any of these products click the link or comment below!
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Wednesday, 9 April 2014

I'm going to let you in on a little secret - my cottage is probably my favourite place on earth, and if you've ever been to the Muskoka Lakes area you probably know where I'm coming from. After a couple of weeks of extra long work days it was a relief to be able to escape the city for a weekend up north.

It may officially be spring, but winter was still out in full force. The snow-ice mixture was up to my waist which made getting from the car to the door with our bags quite an adventure. Still, I could never get tired of this view.

I mean come on. 

After spending most of the weekend cozied up close to the fire, Sunday afternoon turned out to be gloriously sunny. So we packed up again and spent a bit of time in the sunshine before heading out for dinner and home. I busted out my new favourite winter/spring transition dress from J. Crew and some of my well-loved staple accessories.

 {Dress} | {Blazer} | {Watch} | {Boots} | {Necklace}

Spring is finally here my friends, and I just can't even get over it. Bring on all of the sunshine and dresses.

What shenanigans did you get up to this weekend?

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Sunday, 6 April 2014

After my first round up post on Foundations, I thought I would next tackle my biggest weakness when it comes to beauty buying -  Lip balm. Where I live it's cold probably on average seven out of twelve months of the year, and I suffer from chronically dry/cracked lips for the majority of those seven months. Of course I like to put to the test all the things, so here are some of my most used lip balms and what they bring to the table.

 Lipsticks tend to look uneven on your dry lips? The EOS lip balms make a perfect not-too-slick base to help your lips maintain their moisture. Soft Lips are great to throw in your pocket or purse on the way to the beach or pool since they are super slim and have SPF.

The Nivea Lip Butters are best kept at home for an overnight treatment. Sanitary reasons aside, they are thick and moisturizing enough to stick around all night. If you're looking for something with a wide range of colours that still provide a good amount of moisture, you should look into the Sugar Fresh range. They may cost you a pretty penny but they are the best of the hybrid lip balm lip colours that I've found.

Last but not least, if scent/taste is big in your world, The Body Shop Lip Butters should hit the spot. There have so many flavours to choose from, they ought to have something for everyone. 

What would you suggest for my next lip balm impulse purchase?
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Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The birds are chirping, the sun is shining, and I'm slowly starting to be able to see the grass in my front lawn. April has brought with it real signs of spring! What better way to celebrate the start of a new glorious month than to root through my trash? If you have read any of my other empties posts - you know the drill.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. I've had the Oily/Combo skin version of this cleanser in my skin routine for years, and somewhere along the way I picked up the plain old original formula to give it a whirl. Well, it was a big fail for my face. It didn't feel like it was really getting my skin clean, in fact it actually felt like it was leaving a gross film behind. But, it was a big honking bottle and I wanted to find some sort of use for it, so I've been using it up as a shaving lotion. Even for that it wasn't anything to write home about.
Recommendation? It probably depends on your skin type but I will definitely not be repurchasing again. 

Joico Daily Care Balancing Shampoo. I got this shampoo in a set with the matching conditioner for Christmas one year, and at first thought I really didn't care for it. Let me tell you, if I'm using up a shampoo before a conditioner that says a lot about it. It definitely grew on me and was a great, simple shampoo that wasn't too moisturizing and wasn't too stripping (aka 'volumizing'). It just left my hair really clean and smelled great.
Recommendation? I would give this a try if you're looking for a new shampoo without any bells or whistles.

Clairsonic Sensitive Brush Head. Okay so maybe this is not "empty" but it is on it's way to the trash. I probably kept this for a little longer than I should have, but it's finally looking pretty ragged and was ready to be retired. I got a few of the "deep pore cleansing" replacement heads for Christmas and honestly can't really tell the difference.
Recommendation? If you have a Clairsonic I feel like this one is always a safe choice for your money.

Tree Hut Brazilian Nut Scrub. The smell of this scrub is so completely divine I can't get over it. To me it smells like butterscotch ripple ice cream. Yes, that specific and that good. It also happens to do a great job at exfoliating AND is under $6 if I remember correctly. Win-win-win all day. Unfortunately I don't think I can get this in Canada, but the next time I head to the US you bet I'm coming back with a stash.
Recommendation? Just go now, you won't regret it. Even if butterscotch ripple smell isn't your cup of tea, they have a few others to choose from - including coconut lime my favourite combination of life.

Garnier Moisture Rescue Gel Cream. I won't bore you talking about this again since I've already mentioned it in several posts, but I go through this stuff like nobodies business. If you have normal to oily skin go get you some. Seriously.

It's incredible how much doing these posts have encouraged me to really use up what I already have. All on my journey from product hordem. Do you feel this accomplished when you use up products?
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