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.
My nails generated a lot of comments when I posted this photo to my Instagram. But I have a confession to make...
They were not my real nails.
The truth is, I'm a nail picker. Not a biter...a picker. My nails may look long and strong when I post nail art to the blog, but the reality is they only look this way 50% of the time. If I'm bored or stressed, I can often be caught picking at my nails and making them much shorter. It's a terrible habit that I just haven't been able to kick.
I've been wanting to try KISS press on nails for the longest time now, and I thought it only made sense to do so when my nails are short. There are some really great colour options, including some that are patterned and some that are available as matte or glitter finishes. In addition, they come in a variety of different shapes - oval, almond, square and stilleto. I personally couldn't help reaching for the chrome ones. The gel FANTASY Ready-to-Wear Gel Manicure set reflects blue, green and purple. They're stunning and makes me feel like a mermaid! I believe these are limited edition, but this review is really to focus on the application process and quality of the press on nails themselves. I wanted to test how easy they are to apply and how long they last.
Overall, they were really easy to put on. There are two options to adhere them in place: super sticky tabs or glue (both are included in the kit). I decided to use the adhesive tabs on one hand and glue on the other to see which wore the longest. The adhesive tabs were incredibly quick and foolproof to use. They were my preferred method, as I found the glue quite hard to squeeze and messy. But to guarantee a longer wear-time, glue was definitely the way to go!
Unfortunately, the nails on my left hand (the one using the adhesive tabs) began falling off after just one day. Actually, three of them didn't even survive a day. I applied them in the morning and by the evening they had peeled right off. The ones on my right hand (glue side) lasted six days, which I thought was quite impressive!
Luckily, this kit contains duplicates and a variety of different sizes. Technically there are enough fake nails for two complete manicures, but if one happens to fall off, it can be easily replaced with a new one. Or better...if you manage to catch one before it falls off and is lost forever, it can be re-applied. Reduce, re-use and recycle!!!
I have never received so many compliments on a manicure before! The best part is that the KISS press on nails mimic the look of a shiny, smooth, gel manicure without costing a pretty penny or damaging nails. I found these at Walmartfor roughly $9 and I'll definitely be buying more. They're also a great option for anyone who may live with someone sensitive to the scent of nail varnish. These are fragrance-free!
October may be over but that doesn't mean we can't continue to enjoy pumpkin scented everything. Luckily, The Body Shop's latest holiday addition satisfies all our pumpkin spice desires. The Vanilla Pumpkin Shower Gel combines Madagascar vanilla, tonka bean, hazelnut and maple syrup with... pumpkin, of course!! Although it's not the warm, all-spice fragrance we often associate with pumpkin desserts. Call me crazy, but it truly smells like squash. Subtly. The vanilla and hazlenut notes are much more prevalent (almost marshmallow-like), but there's definitely a scent lingering in the background that brings me back to my childhood - digging guts out of a pumpkin as I prepared to carve it.
I really like the twist The Body Shop has put on a fall favourite. It's different, and I can appreciate different (especially when pumpkin spice has been done a hundred times over). We've seen flavoured drinks and food, scented candles, lotions, makeup and nail polish. If you ask me...they all smell or taste pretty much the same. This shower gel is unique amongst the flood of pumpkin based products.
It's also a scent that can be enjoyed during fall AND winter! It's so sweet, cozy and delicious. I imagine lathering up with this warm-smelling shower gel on a bitter, snowy day and it makes me dread the cold months a little less.
If I blink, is 2017 going to be over? Where has the time gone?! I can't believe it's nearly November already!! Although I'm not complaining...I've been itching to put my Christmas bedding on since September.
Check out some of the products I loved and used constantly last month.
I've been using the dark burgundy (En Fuego) and purple (Ashes) shades a ton. I'll put a combo of the two on my outer corners and smudge a bit along my lower lash line. It's the perfect balance of warm and cool tones, and makes the green in my hazel eyes pop (which you guys know is usually my main goal when playing with makeup). The colours are dark and vampy, but they blend easily and the pigment is easy to control. I can build up the intensity to a smoky eye, or I can go a little more light-handed to create a 'natural' wash of colour. The two scream fall to me and have been my go-to whenever I'm wearing a chunky knit sweater or autumn hue shirt.
I'm obsessed with the scent of this bubble bath! It's sweet, nutty, warm and compliments a night of relaxation when the weather is cold and dreary. The fragrance lingers on my skin and is even noticeable throughout my house long after hopping out of the tub. It contains natural honey too, which help moisturize and soften the skin. I use a cap full and it's enough to coat the top of my water in fluffy bubbles. Mind you, my tub is on the smaller size...
The colour, formula, finish and wear time of this lipstick is everything! It's matte, but doesn't feel dry and it lasts on my lips for a really long time. I find I really only need to re-apply it once or twice throughout a day, depending on the kinds of food I'm eating or how much I'm drinking. But overall it stays in place. The mauve-y colour appears fairly dark on my pale skin tone but I love it for this time of year.
No surprise here...another salted caramel scented product. They're just too irresistible!
I've started to ration my burning of the Bath and Body Works Bourbon Sea Salt Caramel candle, however, as it seems to be melting way too fast. I was lighting it every night at the beginning of October because the scent is possibly the best thing I've ever smelt! But it doesn't seem to be available in stores or online anymore, and I'm afraid I won't be able to buy another once this one is gone.
I love peanut butter and when I see it go on sale for $1.97, I jump and stock up!! Only this time the sale was on Wow Butter, a peanut-free version I had never tried before. To my surprise, it tastes exactly the same! I typically opt for natural peanut butters that contain less sugar, but the flavour and consistency is much different from the PB I was fed as a kid. Wow Butter is slightly higher in calories and sugar, but it tastes great and has the same creamy texture. Lately I've been dipping dates into this imitation peanut butter and it's become my new favourite snack!
This Is Us on Netflix
It took me a while, but I finally began watching This Is Us on Netflix and it's GREAT!! I'm in awe of the acting, and the children casted to play the actors during throwback scenes fit each character perfectly. The story is so interesting, unique and heartwarming. There always seems to be some twist that makes me question what will happen next, and therefore wanting to watch more.
What were some of your most used beauty items, favourite snacks or TV show picks from the month of October?
I was lucky enough to attend a Canadian launch party for Being - a range of body care products by Sanctuary Spa - where I received a bag of goodies to try. But if I were to wander the aisles of Shoppers Drug Mart, I'm positive this brand would have caught my eye. The packaging consists of brightly coloured faces and features a corresponding ingredient for the eyes. It's so modern, bold, fun and pretty bad ass if you ask me! And while they all smell fantastic, part of me really just wanted to write this post to show you how cute the packaging is.
I'm a big fan of the Chilli Mango & Tonka Bean fragrance. It's so unusual! Who would have thought chilli and mango would work so well together, especially as a body spray. It's very citrusy and has a hint of bitter spice. It may not be the most winter-y scent but I think it's going to be great for summer!
The Salted Caramel & Macadamia scent is also pretty incredible. As you would probably expect, it smells super sweet and dessert-like. It's a delight as the weather begins to get cooler - I just love warm and sugary scents in the fall and winter! Don't you?
The Shower Burst is quite unique and interesting! It dispenses as a gel but turns into a rich, moisturizing foam similar to shaving cream. My only complaint is in regards to the metal bottle, which can cause tubs to rust if left in the shower for too long. Of course this is minor and something that can be forgiven. The product itself is quite fun and unlike many other shower gels on the market.
Each Body Scrub is a little different as they contain small granules of natural ingredients like cranberry seed, coconut shell shavings, salt, and macadamia nut, depending on the fragrance. I really enjoy the gritty texture - at least of the Hibiscus & Coconut Water one, which I was given at the event to test. It's the perfect balance between being too abrasive and being too gentle and works well to slough away dead skin without feeling uncomfortable.
The Body Butter is a little greasy in my opinion. But who knows, maybe it will absorb a little better as the weather gets cooler and causes dry/chapped skin.
Overall, the Being by Sanctuary Spa products are nice and the packaging is definitely worth a round of (silent and virtual) applause.
I posted a photo of Dev and I a few weeks ago and the number of 70s related comments we received was pretty funny. Although I wouldn't disagree...it totally looks like a polaroid stolen from my parent's old photo album. There was a vintage filter added to make it feel a little more retro, but our outfits definitely screamed Brady Bunch. I guess it just goes to show how fashion trends repeat themselves...
I absolutely love these striped, wide leg pants I grabbed from Forever 21 a little while ago (even if they give me mom bum...)!! I think it's ironic that they were labelled 'Contemporary Palazzo Pants' despite having super retro vibes. Regardless, they're incredibly comfortable and the burgundy, orange and yellow colours are quite fall-appropriate. I felt inspired and decided to create nails that matched!
I used a thin brush to paint stripes using off-white, burgundy, orange and yellow nail polish. They're not the straightest lines, but I think it mimics how the lightweight material of my pants flow and I actually don't mind a little imperfection. I also used a matte top coat to resemble the textured fabric.
Who remembers making or playing with silly putty as a kid? Well, LUSH has just released a grown up version...in the form of a face mask! Their new range of Jelly Face Masks not only help target a variety of skincare needs, but provides brief moments of sensory play too.
The Flubber-like products were too cool to pass up! I decided to try Bunny Moon, which contains honey, rose and chamomile to hydrate and soothe dry skin. It even contains flecks of gold, which I believe can help tone and firm.
When compared to the Love Lettuce Fresh Face Mask I recently reviewed, I like that this one is self-preserving! It's shelf life is much longer, meaning it won't expire before I have a chance to use it up. Instead of three-weeks, these puppies last four months!
It's extremely thick and has a bounce-y texture. To use, simply pinch apart a small amount and rub it between dry hands. The heat from your hands will melt it into a goop-y paste, which can then be applied to the skin and left on for 10-15 minutes.
I found it a little tough to rinse away - like trying to wash Elmer's Glue off your hands before letting it dry. I'd definitely suggest using a face cloth to speed up the process. But once removed, my skin did feel soft and smooth.
While it's definitely super fun to use, I found the intense floral scent to be slightly overpowering - it smells a lot like baby powder (only stronger). But LUSH gets points for making me feel nostalgic and making my pamper session feel like play time.
I've been commuting to Toronto three days a week for work (it used to be just once), and therefore spending too much money on breakfast, teas, lunch and snacks. I do love a good Sushi Burrito or Poke Box, but at $10-$15 each, my food spending can add up pretty quick! I'm also not one to wake up early enough to eat breakfast before leaving the house, so I tend to grab something once I'm in the city. Which means I'm buying both breakfast AND lunch.
My favourite and quick morning pick so far has been Bircher Muesli from Marché. It's delicious and filling, but costs more than $5 each time. Add a Starbucks Blonde Hazelnut Latte and I'm kissing my money goodbye...
So in an attempt to be more organized and bring more meals from home, I came up with my own copy-cat version of Bircher Muesli. It's super easy to make and a batch lasts all week! Simply mix all ingredients in a bowl and let it soak over night in the fridge. It's pretty much like overnight oats, although I always feel the need to heat my overnight oats in a microwave once I get to work, but I actualy really enjoy eating this Muesli cold. It's thick, creamy, tart, refreshingly tasty and full of nutrients. The addition of raisins is a personal preference as they add some natural sweetness, but they could definitely be left out or swapped for nuts...or pumpkin seeds - they'd be great in a dish like this too!
Ingredients (makes about 4 portions):
1 1/2 Cups Rolled Quick Oats
1 Green Apple (grated)
2 Cups Almond Milk
1/4 Cup Greek Yogurt
1 Pint Blackberries (roughly chopped)
3/4 Cup Golden Raisins
1 Tbsp Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Chia Seeds
Soaking oats overnight helps achieve a chewier consistency, which can improve digestion and absorption of nutrients. I especially love this recipe because it keeps me full (and focused) until lunch.
I realize we are well into October, but I have a checklist of activities I want to do before the month is over and I thought I would share it with you!
1. Go apple picking
This one's already been checked off personally, but for anyone who has yet to go apple picking, I'd definitely suggest going soon! The rows of trees become quite bare by the second week of October. 2. Go to a corn maze
One year Dev and I visited Hanes Corn Maze in Flamborough, ON with a few 'couple friends' and we split into teams for a boys vs girls race. It was so much fun (apart from some teenagers who were dressed in spooky costumes that would jump out and chase people) and I definitely want to try and do it again this year. 3. Take a haunted tour of Toronto Island
I'm a major wimp and afraid of pretty much everything. I can't do Halloween Haunt at Wonderland, but for some reason I really want to go on a haunted tour of Toronto Island with Spooky Lagoon.
4. Watch all three Halloweentown movies
I'll never get tired of this series. 5. Go for a hike and see the colourful leaves
There's just something so magical about throwing on a cozy sweater, scarf, toque and rubber boots to crunch through the trails and see all the beautiful colours. Fall is also my favourite time to hike because the cooler temperatures are perfect and the air seems so fresh. 6. Try the new Starbucks Maple Pecan Latte
I'm a little bored of the PSL (don't shoot me) but the new Maple Pecan Latte sounds delicious!
7. Go to the zoo
Two giant pandas arrived at the Toronto Zoo over four years ago and I have yet to see them!! They're rumoured to move to the Calgary Zoo in the spring of 2018, so I'm making it my mission to see the cuties before they go. It may not be a typical autumn experience, but I personally think the cooler temperatures (and hopefully smaller crowds) will be perfect for exploring the large zoo. Perhaps the animals will be more active too! 8. Visit a fall fair
I don't think I've ever been to a fall fair before (not that I can remember at least) and for this very reason I wanted to make it an item on my October bucket list. 9. Go pumpkin picking
I went pumpkin picking the first day of October, but I definitely want to go again towards the end of the month and closer to Halloween to grab some specifically for carving. Which brings me to my next item...
10. Carve a pumpkin
What are some activities you hope to do during October?
It's that time of year again...time to bust out the candles!
Bath & Body Works always kills it with their packaging, but I am particularly fond of their 3-Wick Candle designs this year! Some of them are just so modern, sophistocated and beautiful! They would add to any living space; and if you're like me and you like to clean the jars once the wax has melted, they'd be great decorative pieces for holding makeup brushes, flowers, pencils, etc. I especially love the marble exteriors!
Admittedly, half of these are for Dev...but seeing as we've begun our hunt for a house, I'm hoping it won't be long before they're mine too. The scents I chose for him are more 'manly' but still smell amazing!!! Plus the jar designs are simple and masculine, yet still elegant.
How beautiful has the start of fall been? While it hasn't exactly felt like fall outside, the leaves have definitely started to change colour and a little trip to a pumpkin patch on the weekend got me feeling very autumnal. However, the other day when it felt like a million degrees outside, I took my dog for a walk and trotted through crunchy leaves that had been swept to the curb...in flip flops! It was such a strange experience, but I suppose I should not complain about our Indian summer.
I've got a ton of goodies that I am so excited to share with you today! Some of these you may have seen in a blog post before, while others are new items I discovered and fell in love with during the month of September.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm I don't know why, but this balm cleanser makes removing makeup feel much more luxurious. It has the same texture as coconut oil - without the scent - and melts away nearly every trace of makeup. It leaves my skin feeling hydrated, but not oily and super soft. I am definitely going to buy a full-size jar when this mini runs out.
As you can probably tell, these little fellas are empty. That's because I've used them the entire month of September. The sulfate-free duo makes my hair feel so, so soft!!! The conditioner is super rich, and a little goes a long way (otherwise it's tough to rinse out and can end up making my hair feel greasy). Together they make brushing a breeze and my hair dries way less frizzy. They also aren't heavily fragranced, which I personally like.
My friend gave me this delicious smelling rollerball as a thank you for being her Maid of Honour and a part of her wedding a few weeks ago. It's actually been an item on my Christmas list for the past couple of years, so I was super excited when I spotted it tucked into my little goodie basket. It's quite floral, which is not normally my preference, but for some reason I really, really like the fragrance of Giorgio Armani Si. It's got a bit of a warm undertone and smells feminine, sophisticated and just plain goooooood!
Peach season may be over, but that doesn't mean I can't enjoy the sweet smelling fruits in other ways. This body scrub is from a local shop specializing in natural bath and body products and I'm a fan! It smells exactly like peaches and has just the right amount of exfoliants (made from raw cane sugar) to work well without being harsh. It's also super creamy and lathers into a nice, milky consistency.
There's nothing quite like a fresh Kat Von D Tattoo Liner! I hadn't worn liquid eyeliner for the longest time because my last Tattoo Liner had dried out. I couldn't find a dupe I liked and I didn't really want to fork out $25 for a new one. I finally caved, bought a new one and my life makeup looks suddenly felt complete again. I shouldn't really complain about its luxury price tag, however, as it truly does last a long time and seems to never dry out. It's also jet black, easy to control and doesn't smudge or dull throughout the day.
This rusty orange lip hue is the epitome of autumn, if you ask me! At times it can look red, but it's definitely a burnt sienna colour and reminds me of pumpkins! The formula is fantastic and its staying power never lets me down.
NYX Rouge Cream Blush in Boho Chic I'm quite enjoying the natural and glow-y finish of this cream blush!! It's easy to blend - whether with a dense brush or fingers - and never looks patchy. The light, cool-toned pink is also really nice on my complexion and makes my skin look healthy.
Lifestyle: Siesta Key on MTV I could note all the bad things, but it wouldn't change that brutal fact that I am totally addicted to this (sad) reality TV show. Sure, the kids are spoiled rotten, obnoxious and fake, but it's produced by the same company that brought us Laguna Beach and The Hills, and I freaking love the drama. What were some of your favourites from the month of September? I'm always looking for Netflix recommendations, so let me know what shows you can't stop binge watching.