Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Is it just me or has the last half of April just flown by? Things have been extra busy in my work and home life, so I apologize if I'm behind on responding to all of your comments. I swear I'll be playing major catchup this weekend! Fingers crossed I'll have heard about my camera by then.

Since things have been so crazy I've been reaching for more old standbys than new products this month, but I've also gotten a ton of new things towards the end of the month so look out for those in my May posts!
Tarte Amazonian Clay Blush in Exposed | I brought back out my Exposed blush and have been loving the rosey-tan flush it's been giving my cheeks. There have been lots of late nights so this brings back some colour to my face when I'm tired, and semi-doubles as a bronzer so I can skip that step. It doesn't look like much in the pan, but if you haven't already tried this shade I highly recommend it!

MUFE Aqua Eyes Pencil Liner | These are hands down the best pencil liners I've ever tried for lining the upper waterline. They are long wearing and don't smudge out into the corners of my eyes like some other pencils do. I've had my pencil for longer than I probably should but it lasts so long so definitely worth the money in my opinion! I've been using both black and charcoal a ton this month.

Sonia Kashuk Shine Luxe in Sheer Pink Lust | I talked about this shade already in my 5 wearable lip colours for spring post, but this one has been a perfect desk companion for me. It evens out the tone of my lips and gives them a bit of hydration, all while looking very natural. I'm glad I picked this up before my Target closed for good.

MAC Nylon | My recent go-to spring look when I'm in a rush in the morning is winged liner, lots of mascara and a brightening eyeshadow in the inner corners of my eye. It's like adding an extra few hours of sleep to your face, I swear. MAC Nylon is a frosty white-gold that is perfect for not looking too icy while still making major impact with minor effort.

J Crew Pastel Earrings | I found these on a whim during a quick outlet stop late last month and instantly fell in love. As someone who doesn't typically wear statement earrings, or really earrings at all, these were just understated enough to come home with me. They're not too heavy so they're comfortable to wear and perfect for dressing up a simple outfit like this one I wore a few weeks ago. They're super affordable too for J. Crew jewelry!

Stila Stay All Day Liquid Liner in Dark Brown | By now you probably know how much I love the black version of this liquid liner. Recently I've been reaching more for brown as a less-harsh version for my everyday look. I will say I was a bit disappointed in this product because it doesn't seem nearly as smooth and opaque as my black liners have been, but it is a beautiful rich brown and the staying power is incredible so I just deal with it. Has anyone else tried the brown shade? Did I get a dud?

What have you been loving this month?
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Monday, 27 April 2015

Accessorizing can be what takes and outfit from plain to Pinterest-worthy, but I know it can be difficult to know where to start. Of course accessories are all dependent on your personal taste and style, but as someone who has struggled in the past here are some of the tips I've learned along my personal style journey!

Find the "Dead Zone"

Once I have my clothing choices down, I look at the outfit to see if there are any large open spaces that immediately draw the eye. Filling these "dead zones" with pieces that balance with the proportions of the space is a great starting point. Long pendant style necklaces and scarves help to draw the eye up and down and can make you appear longer and leaner, while statement pieces bring the attention to your face and neckline.

Balancing Act

I prefer my accessories to coordinate versus match. Sometimes jewelry comes in matching sets, but I prefer to split them up into different outfits to let each piece make their own statement!  Choose a focal piece that you want to shine, and build around that. Rocking a bold lip? Having a colourful arm party? A neutral dainty necklace or scarf can help balance it out. Wearing a pattern on the bottom? Chunkier accessories on top can harmonize the look. That being said, don't be afraid to play with patterns, textures and finishes. Just because it's neutral doesn't mean it can't make a statement!

Save or Splurge?

While I don't think it's at all necessary to spend a lot on trendy accessories, consider investing in a few key pieces that are versatile and classic. When I'm in a rush and don't know where to start, there are a few key pieces that I know I can rely on to go with virtually any outfit. My staples are: a skinny black adjustable belt, a chunky watch, pearls and delicate clear stone pieces. These can all be dressed up and dressed down with ease and are neutral enough to go with any other colour scheme. I wrote this post on my 5 most worn pieces of jewelry in 2013, and I still wear all of those pieces at least once per week!

What's your best advice for accessorizing like a pro?
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Friday, 24 April 2015

Happy Friday friends! I am so ready for the weekend. Unfortunately my camera seems to have broken (cue minor heart attack) and has to be sent out for repair. I'm trying to find a loaner to work with, but I hope you'll bear with me in the meantime for the next couple of posts. Don't worry, I'll still be posting! I love reading Karly's Things That Thrill Me posts, so today I thought I'd put together some of the things I've been loving from all corners of the Internet lately!

Jaelan gave some great advice on how to get high end makeup on a small budget that has me seriously jealous I can't take advantage of all those Ulta sets!

I've recently fallen in love with the tutorials from Abby of Twist Me Pretty. I like wearing my hair down, so this Twisted Crown Braid sounds like the perfect simple style to keep my hair down, but out of my face as the weather warms up!

Last year I was at an event where they served the most delicious strawberry basil cocktails. This recipe from The Kitchn sounds like an amazing non-alcoholic version that I can't wait to try.

If you didn't already know, I'm a tea freak so when I saw this DIY drink perch from Francoise et Moi I knew it was a project I would definitely need down the line!

How dreamy is this office space from Love Luck Kisses & Cakes? That glass top desk is gorgeous for displaying supplies, or dare I

If you're into hand lettering, I'm willing to bet you'd love this simple tutorial on how to digitize your writing without a scanner.

And last but certainly not least, I have now tried at least three of these better than takeout recipes, and let me tell you: SO GOOD. The Lo Mein is seriously delicious and best of all super quick and easy!

What links have you been loving lately?
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Wednesday, 22 April 2015

For me there is something especially exciting about changing up my makeup for spring - anyone else feel the same? Maybe it's because it's my favourite season, but I just love dusting off my tried-and-true favourites and adding a choice few new products! Here are the additions I've had to my routine lately:
Setting Spray | During the winter my skin was dry enough that I didn't need to set it at all. Now that the temperatures and humidity are on the rise, a makeup setting spray is the perfect product to set my skin without drying it out. I use the original Skindinavia Makeup Finishing Spray, but they also make a version available at Sephora. I've heard the is drugstore version is a great option for half the price!

Bold Lip | I recently did a post devoted to my favourite wearable lip colours for spring, but a bold bright colour for nights out is always a fun option. The formula of the Sephora Cream Lip Stains is amazing - budge-proof while still feeling light on the lips. Strawberry Kissed is a beautiful alternative to red for the season.

Beachy Scent | Time to put away those heavier winter fragrances and pull out your lighter, fresher perfumes! I recently picked up Replica Beach Walk after hearing Carly rave about it, and I highly recommend you give it a try next time you're in Sephora. It has the beachy, coconut undertones, but with a bit of a floral/musk that helps balance out the sweetness.

Faux Glow | If you've been a long time reader you'll remember the Clarins Radiance Glow Booster from last summer. If you have naturally fair skin this is perfect for giving your face a natural looking boost, and mixes with your own facial moisturizer so it's perfect for sensitive/acne prone skin. I finished an entire bottle last summer and can't wait to bust it out again!

Bright Eyes | In the spring I tend to lighten up my makeup and focus on bright eyes and long lashes. I finally caved and bought the First Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy and let met tell you: it's expensive, but it works amazingly! It's an eye cream with a peachy-salmon tone that helps hydrate and de-puff as well as conceal and correct dark undereyes. Perfect for "no makeup" days. If you're on a budget I've love the Maybelline Age Rewind Brightener for years.

I also love bringing the focus to my eyes by using a bright shadow in the inner corner. My favourite for spring/summer is MAC Nylon a super brightening white gold that is perfect paired with a bright lip and tons of mascara. If you're looking for something a little more subtle, MAC Ricepaper and Urban Decay Virgin are two other favourites.

What are your spring beauty essentials?
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Monday, 20 April 2015

Do you ever have those days that you have to look somewhat put together but just can't stand the idea of wearing anything that doesn't make comfort #1? On those days, cotton dresses are my BFF. Easy and comfortable to throw on and can be dressed up or down in a flash.
Dress: J Crew {similar} | Cardigan: Express {similar} | Earrings: J Crew {exact}
Shoes: Airwalk {similar} | Necklace: H&M {similar}
This cardigan is actually Tyler's, but it was the perfect weight and length for the warm but breezy day. Sneakers kept the whole outfit super casual and comfortable for running around during the day, but since I knew my hair would be up (and would it really be me if I didn't add a little bling?) I added these pretty pastel statement earrings that play well with the minty tones in the dress. Can you believe I got them at J. Crew for $6? Such a steal. Their muted tones aren't too loud, but they add just a little bit more interest to an overall very basic outfit.

What are your go-to clothing items for put-together comfort?
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Linking up with: Jana | Laura | Lauren | Saumya | Amber

Friday, 17 April 2015

Since I recently hit the 100 follower mark on Bloglovin, and am creeping up on the same milestone for Instagram and Twitter, I thought I'd do a little re-introduction of myself for anyone new (or old) to my blog, and get to know you a little bit better too! For those of you who've been around a while, you know I love a good Q&A.  Shout out to Jaelan, who came up with this whole idea a few weeks ago and I decided to adopt it!

Before anything else I would just like to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone who reads, comments, tweets, and comes along on adventures in life with me. I have loved getting to know every single one of you, and I hope that I continue to make new friends along the way!

I'm Nadia - a quiet, creative and compassionate lover and appreciator of all the beautiful things God has sent my way.  I grew up in under the influence of my master seamstress of a mother, tech whiz of a father, style queen of a grandmother, and my first love of ballet where I fell in love with the artistry of makeup. I'm willing to bet you can see their influence on this little space. Whether it is remixing your wardrobe, expressing yourself through nail art or just learning what is worth your hard earned money, my goal for this blog is to make things as relatable, achievable, and informative as possible!

Now enough about me. I want to learn more about you! If we haven't already met, introduce yourself! Here are some things I'd love to know about you:
1) What are you looking forward to most this weekend?
2) What is the first thing you do every morning?
3) What are you reading/watching currently?
4) Where do you most want to travel but have never been?
5) How are you feeling today?

Here are my answers:

1) My best friend's fiance (originally from Israel) has just arrived in Canada and they're moving here permanently - so we're having a potluck to celebrate!

2) I'm trying to get into the habit of reading a chapter of the Bible first thing every morning while I'm still in bed. I find it starts my day out on the right note, and I love learning more every day. If anyone has any reading plan suggestions I'd love to hear them!

3) I'm still working my way through The Goldfinch, and Tyler and I just started watching Jericho on Netflix - so far so good!

4) I've wanted to go to Australia since I was little, but more recently I've really wanted to visit Prague.

5) Yesterday was a bit of a rough day, but today the sun is shining, I feel well rested and I'm ready for the weekend!

Ok your turn!
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Wednesday, 15 April 2015

I love a good bright lip as much as the next person, but in my everyday life super bright shades aren't always the most comfortable or appropriate. I may have a drawer full of lipsticks that I don't find occassion to wear very often, but I've made it a personal goal to start putting my lip drawer to good use. These are five shades I'll be rocking the most often this spring!
Sonia Kashuk Sheer Pink Lust | I keep this warm nude pink at my desk because of both the colour and formula. As the name suggests, these lipsticks are sheer but they give just enough colour to even out the tone of my lips and gives them a really pretty shine. It's a bit thicker than a tinted lip balm type of product, so I find it lasts longer and gives some moisture to the lips. The colour is a flattering natural that goes with everything so it's a prefect work staple!
Maybelline Color Whisper in Lust for Blush | This may seem similar to Sheer Pink Lust, but in reality it is much more on the cool side, and leans more pink than nude. I find I wear this most when I'm wearing cooler colours in my outfit - blues, purples etc - but it is a very flattering colour and a super light balmy texture so it's a great purse option.
Bourjois Peach on the Beach | This colour can be very full on if you want it to be, but I prefer dabbing it on and blending in so it acts more like a stain. Don't be fooled by the "waterproof, 10 hours of wear" claims, but despite that it is a beautiful shade of peachy-pink that is just bright enough to look super fresh for spring!
Revlon Coralberry | If you want to venture into the orange colours but aren't sure how comfortable you'd be, I highly suggest Coralberry as a first pick. It has definite orange undertones, but is a bit deeper so isn't quite as daring as a lot of other options. It's really quite flattering on, and I've gotten compliments when I've worn it to the office. Definitely something different that is worth a try!
Revlon BalmStain in Smitten | Finally the boldest of the bunch, Smitten is a pretty medium-cool toned pink that while being bright, still remains super wearable. The stain formula is pretty potent, so it's the type of colour that you don't have to worry about reapplying every hour. I love a good crayon-style bullet because they're easy to apply and great for on the go. A colour like this is perfect with a simple eye and neutral outfit!

What lip colours do you wear most in the spring?
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Monday, 13 April 2015

Finally we are starting to see the beginnings of real spring weather around here. A week of stormy days is much preferable to any sort of solid precipitation in my books, so I say bring it on. Besides, it gives me an excuse to revisit my favourite thrift store find ever.
Coat: Thrifted - The Bay {similar} | Dress: Forever 21 {similar} | Boots: Winners {similar}
Necklace: Nadri {exact} | Watch: Asos {similar}

Does anyone else find the "inbetween" seasons the absolute best to dress for? Give me spring and fall styles any day. I know sometimes it can seem less exciting to get dressed on dull/dark days, but I'm a firm believer that an outfit can make your day just that little bit brighter!

How do you brighten up a rainy day?
Remixed Pieces:
One | Two
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Linking up with: Lauren | Jana | Laura | Lauren | Saumya | Amber

Friday, 10 April 2015

Happy Friday! Today it's time once again to take a little look into my beauty trash and get the low-down on the products I'm actually finishing/tossing. Spoiler alert: this may read more like a favourites post because these are some of my holy grail products right here!

Covergirl Stay Flawless 3-in-1 Foundation | It's no secret that I absolutely LOVE this stuff. It's mattifying, medium-high coverage without feeling heavy, and it lasts all day long. I was literally scraping the bottle to get every last bit of product out, and was mixing with my moisturizer to create lighter, fresher coverage for weekend days.
Recommendation?  During the winter I did find it emphasized any dry patches I had so I wouldn't recommended it to anyone with dry skin, but normal-oily skins will love this stuff. Definite repurchase!

Coastal Scents Camo Quad | This has been my favourite concealer for covering up blemishes since university, but I'd had this particular one for waaay too long so it was time to toss. It's a drier creamy texture that gives great coverage, but blends like a dream and sets so it stays in place. I use Medium and love having all the colours to mix so I could use it no matter how tan I got. The white is great for highlighting the eyes!

Recommendation? I think this is a way under-hyped product. It's inexpensive (especially when you get it during a 50% off sale), multipurpose and really just great quality!

Marcelle Cleansing Water | I discovered this in the fall and did a full review comparing it to the super-popular Bioderma. I've been using it ever since! I've given bottles to my Mum and my Grandma, and even keep one in my gym bag. It's since been repackaged as their Micellar water, which comes in a different bottle, and I've even bought one of those just so I can refill the conveient packaging.

Recommendation? If you can find it, try it! I don't think you'll be disappointed. The only downside - as far as I know it's only available in store in Canada. It is available for US ordering online though!

Jordana Best Lash Extreme Mascara | Sadly, I finished up my last back-up of my HG mascara. This stuff gives me everything I'm looking for in a mascara - volume, darkness & a little length. I've realized recently what sets this one apart for me is not just the formula but the brush. It's a dense bristle brush, but unlike most similar mascara brushes, this one is smaller so it avoids the whole mascara-on-your-eyelid fiasco that comes with having smaller eyes.

Recommendation? This stuff is so cheap it's worth a try even if you're on the fence. Unfortunately it's not available in Canada, but on my next trip to the US you know I'll be stocking up!

I also finished up yet another bottle of the Garnier Gel-Cream for combo-oily skin, but I've talked about that enough that you can just go read my thoughts here if you're new!

Does anyone else find you tend to use up all your favourite stuff at once? What have you finished up recently?
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Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Over the past few years, a classic winged liner has come to be my signature look. Because I have hooded eyes, adding a subtle flick helps to instantly lift the eyelids and emphasize my lashes. I've had a couple people in the last few months ask me how I get "the perfect wing", so here we are. With the combination of the right product and a little bit of practice, I can get this done in 30-seconds or less everyday!
I always start out with a thin line all across the base of the eyelashes, starting from the center, moving to the outer corner and stopping just where the lashes start to thin out in the inner corner. For my eye shape, I avoid going all the way into the inner corner as that tends to close up the eye.

STEP 1 | Find the angle you want your wing to take by pointing the tip of the applicator towards the end of your brow. Think about where your eyelashes naturally fan out when they're curled. Because I have smaller and slightly down-turned eyes, I find it more flattering to have my wing every so slightly inward from my very outer corner.

STEP 2 | Stamp the applicator against the skin so it makes a straight line. This will be the base for your flick.

STEP 3 | With the tip of the applicator on the tip of your wing and the whole applicator still pressed against the skin, drag the tip down towards the lashline with a bit of pressure. This will both taper your wing perfectly to meet your lined lashline, and fill in the flick at the same time. I find this is the key for getting a smooth, seamless shape!

STEP 4 | Sometimes, especially if it is getting dry or running low on product, the applicator will skip a little while you were tapering towards the lashline. No big deal! Use the tip of the applicator to fill in any bald spots.

STEP 5 | This is optional, but to pull the whole look together line your waterline with a black, or dark coloured waterproof pencil. This one is my absolute favourite. This fills in any gaps you might have left between the liquid liner and your lashline, and helps blend everything together for a seamless look!
Did you find this helpful? I hope so! Don't forget to check out more posts from my Beauty Basics series for simple tips to maximize your makeup & skincare! 

What would you consider your signature look?
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Monday, 6 April 2015

Although I was greeted Easter morning by a new blanket of snow on the ground, it still felt appropriate to start dusting off some more of my spring wardrobe for the day. Thankfully the snow had melted by the afternoon, now let's hope it stays that way!
Headband: H&M {similar} | Blouse: Loft {similar} | Skirt: H&M {exact}
I bought this feather headband around Christmas with the intention of wearing it for New Year's Eve,  but that day came and went and it just sat in my closet. When I pulled out this skirt for Easter, the grey and rose colour pattern immediately bought it back into my mind. Nothing like a celebration for adding a little extra sparkle right? It was still much too cold to go bare-legged, so instead of picking my default black opaque tights, I decided to keep things a bit lighter and go with this subtly patterned grey pair.

Do you have an accessory that you absolutely love but have never found an excuse to wear? 

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Linking up with: Jana | ErinSarah | Lindsey | Lauren

Friday, 3 April 2015

Another month has come and gone and I don't know about you, but I was definitely in need of a day off so I hope you are all enjoying the start of your long Easter weekend! Let's get into the favourites.

Elf Small Stipple Brush | You may recognize this brush from my post on my DIY Natural Daily Brush Cleanser, because it has gotten non stop love from me since I picked it up at a Target closing sale. I've been big into cream blush (more on that in a minute) and this is the absolute perfect brush to apply with - it's a great size, picks up the right amount of product, and blends amazingly. Absolute must-buy if you are into cream cheek products!

NYC Blushable Cream Stick | Speaking of cream blushes, this was the only one I had in my collection, and it has been on my cheeks for the past month and a half straight. I'm still dealing with a bit more dry skin and the cream formula has been great at giving that fresh dewy look to the skin. I don't think they make these anymore, but I've heard the Maybelline Blush Sticks are very nice as well!

Maybelline Dream Smooth Mousse | I featured one of these in a recent empties, and it reminded me how much I used to love this foundation. Since my trusty CoverGirl Stay Gorgeous was still making me feel a bit dry, I decided to pick up another one of these and have been loving it. It's a cream formula, but once set with my Stay Matte Powder it makes the perfect combination of moisturizing but not greasy. I will say the colour selection isn't great for the pale girls - this is the lightest colour and it oxidizes to be a hair too dark for me, but it'll be perfect for the spring as I start to get some more colour.

Maybelline Lash Sensational | This mascara had been getting some rave reviews from my favourite bloggers and Youtubers so I decided to give it a go. I didn't fall in love with it at first, but as I continued using it I've really come to love the look it gives. It's a very lenghtening and separating mascara, but doesn't do a ton in terms of volume. There is absolutely zero smudging, transferring or bleeding that happens during the day, which is amazing for my lower lashes, though it does make it a little bit harder to remove at the end of the day. All in all it doesn't beat my HG Jordana Best Lash Extreme, but it gives a really pretty fresh and awake look for spring.

Wet Brush Pro | Last but certainly not least, I've been obsessed with my Wet Brush this month. You all know I'm a big fan of the Tangle Teezer, but when my hairdresser used this brush on me during my appointment last month I was instantly sold. My fine curly hair becomes a nightmare of tangles after washing, but this thing - no joke - just slides right through those tangles. It's incredible! I leave this for use exclusively after showering, and use my Tangle Teezers for dry hair.
In terms of a lifestyle favourite - if you are looking for a new book to read, I highly recommend picking up Jodi Picoult's Leaving Time. I recommended it to a friend while I was in the middle, and she blew through the whole thing before I was even finished and told me to call her as soon as I hit the end because she was so excited about it. It's that good.

What have you been loving this month?

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Wednesday, 1 April 2015

A few weeks ago I came across the Pantone Spring 2015 Colour Report and instantly fell in love with the whole palette. Since multi-colour nail art isn't something I wear on a regular basis, I was inspired to try and incorporate as many colours as possible into something that would be both simple and wearable.
 And this is what I came up with! After loving the striping tape I received from Born Pretty Store in my colour block mani a few months back, I decided it would be the perfect tool for getting these crisp peek-a-boo coloured stripes. Here's how you can accomplish the same look yourself:
STEP 1 | Paint each nail with a different shade you want showing as the stripes in the final look. I went for: Tangerine, Aquamarine, Strawberry Ice, Lucite Green, and Toasted Almond. Make sure you let these colours dry completely before moving on.

STEP 2 | Apply nail striping tape in whatever pattern you'd like to show through on the nail. Make sure you remember what order you've layered them!

STEP 3 | Doing each nail individually, cover the nail and striping tape with one coat of an opaque white polish, I used Sally Hansen White On, and before letting the white coat dry peel off the layers of tape to reveal the colour underneath.

STEP 4 | Allow the nails to fully dry, and seal the design in with the topcoat of your choice. I decided to go matte since it gives a nice soft look, but it looks just as good with a shiny finish.

And you're done! Which of the Pantone spring colours are you most excited about this year?

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