The last time I put my MAC Dark Side Amplified Lipstick on, it hurt!! My lips started to burn and feel blister-y. The pleasant, vanilla scent often associated with MAC lipsticks has vanished, so I think it's safe to say my beloved fall lip colour has gone bad. Which is a shame because MAC lipsticks are not cheap and I really did love the bold wine hue.
Instead of running out to purchase a new one, however, I thought I would shop around to find something similar with a smaller price tag. I found the Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Colour in Cherry Bomb and was super happy to discover that it is almost an exact dupe. It's slightly deeper and has more of a matte finish, but I'm quite happy with how it looks on my lips. And the best part is it cost less than $3!
Mac Dark Side (Left) and Wet n Wild MegaLast Lip Colour in Cherry Bomb (Right)
The flat, round shaped bullet is a little harder to work with and I have a tough time creating a sharp edge or defining my cupid's bow, but with a colour this rich I often prefer using a brush to apply and perfect it anyways. Overall I'm quite happy with the very inexpensive dupe!!
Dev and I started actively looking to buy a house at the beginning of September, and while it's been a fun and exciting experience, it's not been without a fair dose of stress. We've now seen 29 different homes. We've put an offer on one, only to be crushed and out-bid by a competitive offer; and more recently we decided to walk away from an accepted offer after having the property inspected.
House hunting truly is a part-time job! My Dad once compared it to the second most stressful thing, next to having a baby (which I have also yet to experience). I'm not sure I agree with him just yet (it hasn't been THAT bad), but I can definitely understand why he would have said it. It's super time consuming and stressful!! Instead of having date nights or adventuring on weekends, we are having house hunting marathons and hopping from one address to the next, trying to fit in as many showings as possible in our free time.
Luckily, I have a few different ways to relax that seem to help manage my stress levels and I wanted to share them with you, because I know everyone is facing stress in some way or another.
1. Chill in a Bath
One of the items on my house wish list is for it to have a bath. I honestly don't know what I would do without one. Sitting in a tub of hot water, surrounded by fluffy and fragrant white bubbles while a candle burns beside me is my #1 favourite way to chill out. It's my 'me' time - when I don't have to talk to anyone - and I can completely forget about everything going on. 2. Do a Face Mask + Treat Stress-Related Blemishes
Every now and then I like to take some time to relax with a face mask - either in the bath or while lounging on the couch in my pyjamas. My absolute favourite is the Garnier Moisture Bomb The Super Hydrating Sheet Mask!! It feels so cool and hydrating.
I like to follow up my pamper session with the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion to target specific spots on my skin. I know I'm not the only one that suffers from major breakouts during stressful times. When life gets chaotic, my brain feels too full, and I have too much going on at one time, I get THE WORST pimples. The Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is really great at shrinking these spots and helps to make them disappear quickly.
3. Cuddle Up With a Cuppa (of Hot Chocolate)
I didn't know this until a couple of weeks ago, but it's important to avoid caffeine when feeling run down. It is a stimulant and can actually increase stress levels rather than reduce them. Instead, I've been enjoying my healthy hot chocolate, which I shared on the blog just last week.
4. Read a Book
Diving into someone else's story is the best way to forget about what may be going on in your own.
5. Manage Time Better
House hunting is somewhat unpredictable. At any time I need to be prepared to go see a listing we like. I've had a hard time balancing work, blogging, house hunting and a sneaky secret project you'll soon find out about in the new year. In an attempt to make use of my time better, I'll write blog posts on the train while commuting to work and dedicate a day on the weekends to take as many photos as possible. Time management is something I still need to work on, but when done effectively it really helps alleviate stress. 6. Get Active!
As hard as it may be getting to the gym, the endorphins released after physical activity are 100% worth it! 7. Get Lots of ZZZs
Now this is something I haven't struggled with much in the past - I once thought I could sleep anywhere, at any time - but lately I'm awaken by dreams or nightmares (usually about different houses we've seen or certain house hunting situations). I've made a conscious effort to climb into bed early and turn off any distractions like the TV, my phone or my laptop.
I try remind myself that stressing is a waste of time, however, it's always easier said than done and unfortunately certain situations are bound to feel overwhelming. It's inevitable. But I've realized how important it is to recognize these feelings of stress, because there are ways to cope, and self care is what matters the most.
Fall is here and winter is coming! Colder temperatures have arrived and I'm constantly trying to warm up with a cup of hot chocolate. While the sugary, pre-packaged mixes taste amazing (especially topped with marshmallows or whipped cream) they're definitely something I try to have as a treat every now and then. When I'm on a bit of a hot chocolate bender and drinking a cup every day, I opt for this healthier version so I don't feel so guilty.
1 Cup Hot Water
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Honey (or to taste)
1 Teaspoon Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
A Pinch of Salt
1 Teaspoon Maca Powder
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil
Depending on the day - if I'm feeling a bit wild - I'll even add a pinch of cayenne.
Coconut oil is really good for gut heath; cinnamon helps boost metabolism; maca powder can help increase energy levels; and I like to think a tablespoon of natural honey a day helps keep the doctor away. This recipe has a few more ingredients and takes a bit more time to prepare, but it's worth it - especially for hot chocoholics. It satisfies sweet tooth cravings and feels like a warm hug on a chilly day.
The marshmallows were purely to make this drink more Insta-worthy. Be aware...they may not contain a ton of calories and are fat-free, but they're still full of sugar. Since the drink is so healthy, a marshmallow or two could be justifiable, but I personally leave them out. Besides, this hot chocolate is tasty and sweet enough on its own.