3/31/17

March 2017 Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

What the heck was Mother Nature thinking throwing us a bit of a snowstorm yesterday? I thought we were getting closer to warmer days! On a more positive note...it's the last day of March! This means a few things: April showers will bring May flowers; soon enough we will be able to ditch our bulky winter jackets; and I have a brand new round of favourites to share!


Beauty:
Maybelline Colour Sensational Inti-Matte Nude Lipstick in Brown Blush
Maybelline's latest matte lipstick collection has a nude hue for everyone, and while Brown Blush isn't technically the shade that best suits my skin tone, I absolutely love wearing the plum colour. I seem to always lean towards this spectrum of deep brown lipsticks with purple undertones. The formula is great (I'd expect nothing less from the Colour Sensational Mattes) and feels comfortable on the lips. It also pairs well with my next favourite!


Essence Lipliner in Satin Mauve
Can you tell by the size of this pencil, that I like it? It seems to be shrinking very, very quickly! Check out the swatch photo below though and you'll see it's almost an exact match to my current favourite lipstick. It's got that brown-y, mauve colour that I love. I've also enjoyed wearing it alone as an all-over lip colour, which ends up being very long-lasting.


wet n wild MegaGlo Highlighting Powder in Precious Petals
First of all, it killed me to ruin that pretty embossed flower! But this highlighter is seriously stunning and totally worth it. You're going to be floored by it's price tag too. Wait for it...sit down (if you're not already)...wait for it...it's $6! But trust me, it has the buttery feel and pigmentation of something you'd find at Sephora. There are no chunky flecks of glitter running through it, so it never emphasizes pores and seems to melt into the skin for a peachy, lit-from-within glow.


Essie Colour Corrector Primer
My nails have been slightly yellow lately...perhaps caused by too many turmeric recipe experiments (see here and here). This corrector has really seem to help! It makes them look slightly pink (again) and although it dries matte, there's still a bit of an iridescence which is just so pretty! My nails look healthy and normal again!


Tartiest Pro To Go Palette
This travel sized palette is meant to be used during my trip to Europe in a couple of months but it's basically all I wore during the month of March. Although there are only six shades, the colours are versatile and I'm so impressed with the pigmentation and wear-time - they will last all day, even without a primer (although my lids are not very oily).

Lifestyle:
Carrot Cake Hershey Kisses
If it weren't for wanting to share my love for these Hershey Kisses in this blog post and needing to snap photos, I guarantee they would be gone! White chocolate surrounded by an orange, cinnamon and nutmeg flavoured coating...they really do taste like carrot cake!


Nashville
I began watching Nashville a while ago, but seemed to have lost interest once I reached Season 2. After seeing commercials and catching snippets of the latest (very dramatic) season, I felt the need to pick up where I left off. This time around my mom is hooked and it has become a show we can enjoy together. Part drama, part musical - I think it would appeal to a wide demographic and it's not necessary to have followed from the beginning to enjoy or understand the story.

What were some of your favourite beauty products, food items or TV showers from the month of March?

 xxx

3/28/17

My Current Skincare Lineup

After struggling over the holidays and basically all winter, my skin is finally cooperating!! I've found a group of products and a simple routine that seems to have really helped minimize my breakouts.  


Skincare products in order of use:

Makeup Remover
To remove my makeup I've enjoyed using two different products depending on the day/situaiton. The Garnier SkinActive Micellar Water has basically become a holy grail product that I can't live without. It doesn't irritate my eyes or my skin and does a really great job removing all traces of makeup.


New to my routine are the Kirkland Signature Daily Facial Towelettes, which I bought from Costco for $15! The box came with a count of 150 total makeup wipes, including four 30-count re-closeable flip-top packs and two 15-count travel packs. I have a pack stashed (practically) under a pillow at Dev's house so I can literally wash off my makeup while in bed! They're not quite as saturated or wet as I would like, but they do work well at removing my makeup. The price is also pretty unbeatable!

Cleansers
The Philosophy Purity Made Simple is another product that I have been using for a couple of years now and will always be a staple in my skincare collection. It's my main squeeze and I use it both morning and night to dissolve any leftover makeup and clean my pores. It doesn't irritate my skin and I love the slight lavender scent. The Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser lives in my shower and is my go-to post workout. The truth is in it's name...it's gentle and never strips my skin.



Eye Cream
I've never really been fussy about eye creams and really just look for something that will hydrate and make my skin smooth. However, I think it's never too early to start wrinkle prevention, so despite being told I'm too young to worry about crows feet, I disagree! The Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Eye Cream contains Pro-Retinol (a form of Vitamin A) which helps fight against aging and improves elasticity. With the addition of caffeine, it's nice and refreshing too, especially in the morning.

Dark Spot Treatment
In an effort to minimize the appearance of blemish scars, I have incorporate the Neutrogena Rapid Tone Repair Dark Spot Corrector into my skincare routine. Unfortunately I haven't seen outstanding results and I have been using it every night for the past couple of months. I suppose the effects are slow and I will have to re-assess this product once it's empty and before I decide whether or not to purchase it again. I do really enjoy the spa-like scent though!


Moisturizer
I bought the Yes to Tomatoes Daily Balancing Moisturizer on a whim after spotting it on super sale ($5)! I like that it's 99% natural and the formula is not too thin and not too thick. It hydrates my skin without feeling overly heavy or clogging my pores, yet I never feel the need for more moisture. Don't let the tomato ingredient deter you - it also contains watermelon, pumpkin, almond oil, red pepper and cocoa, and although the combination creates an odd scent (nothing like tomato soup), it's really great for balancing and soothing the skin. I also like that it has a pump, which seems much more sanitary than potted moisturizers. I truly credit this product for helping calm my breakouts these past few months.

Pimple 'Cream' 
I recently wrote an entire post dedicated to the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, so if you want my full opinion, click here. To summarize, this stuff is pretty awesome and effective! It has also really helped to zap zits and prevent bacteria from spreading further on my skin.


You may have noticed a night cream missing. This is because I actually don't use one on the regular anymore. If I'm feeling super dehydrated I'll use a bit of my mom's Laneige Multiberry Yogurt Repairing Mask before hopping into bed. But I have noticed that too many products can not only be too much work, but also a bit overwhelming for my skin.


Want to know a secret? There was once a time when I NEVER washed my face and somehow had great skin. Nowadays I like to experiment with beauty products, but sometimes I'll skip a cleanser in the morning and use a few splashes of water instead. I'm telling you, simplicity is key! At least for me...

xxx

3/24/17

My European Travel Buddy - The Tartiest Pro To Go Amazonian Clay Eyeshadow Palette

We're going on an adventure!!!


In a little more than two months, Dev and I will be heading off to Europe for two weeks of exploration!! Our first stop will be Paris for my cousin's wedding, which sounds incredibly romantic and fairytale-like. I am looking forward to spending time with my family (my parents, aunt, uncle and cousins from Vancouver will be there too) while immersing ourselves in Parisian culture...and eating lots of cheese!! Our next destination will be sunny Barcelona and I cannot wait to see Gaudi's colourful architecture. Finally, our last stop before heading home will be Lisbon. We have heard nothing but positive reviews of Portugal and look forward to exploring the hilly, coastal city along with Sintra and its many decorative palaces.


Now, I've decided to tackle the challenge of packing just a carry-on and therefore must cut down on the number of clothing and (sadly) makeup I can bring. I decided to purchase the Tarteist Pro To Go Amazonian Clay Palette, which will be my European travel buddy for the trip. It's sleek and compact and really has everything I need to create a variety of looks while I'm away. It isn't the most cohesive eyeshadow palette (it could use a matte cream or black) but I think it will serve me well while I'm walking cobblestone streets, admiring interesting architecture, exploring castles or sipping on wine. I also don't think Dev will have much patience waiting for me to apply a full face of makeup every morning, so I imagine a shimmery shade like boss or hype all over my lids will be my go-to look.

I couldn't resist testing out this palette over the past couple of weeks and I'm really impressed! It includes three matte shades that are perfect for a transition and deepening the crease, a metallic golden-champagne and two iridescent colours with a duo chrome, micro-shimmer finish.

Swatched from left to right: drive, stylin, boss, hype, crisp, dominate

Each shadow is buttery and incredibly pigmented - just look at those swatches!! The mattes are a little more powdery and have a bit of kickback when dipping in with a brush, but surprisingly there's never too much fall out. Dominate is definitely my favourite! I could stare at it all day long, but the sparkly cranberry colour is less wearable than the other shades. I do appreciate the added pop of colour, however, and I imagine it would be quite interesting when worn along the lower lash line.


I love the sophisticated, matte black packaging with gold accents, and I think it's sturdy enough to survive our travels. I'm quite happy with my purchase and I cannot wait to explore Europe with my best friend. If you have any recommendations for places to see, eat or explore, please let me know!

xxx

3/17/17

#HealthyBirdy 4-Ingredient Banana Cookies

I'm a sucker for anything sweet and around three o'clock every day I get some pretty serious cravings!! Instead of reaching for a Wagon Wheel or Oreos, I've been trying to make healthy alternatives that will satisfy my weakness without sacrificing flavour. These four ingredient cookies are delicious and incredible easy to make. It's also a pretty mess-free recipe so your dishwasher fairy will be pleased. 


All it takes is mashed banana, quick oats, semi-sweet chocolate chips and dried cranberries. There's no sugar or flour, therefore they really are healthy! OK...maybe the chocolate chips aren't the best choice, but combined with the other nutrient rich ingredients, it's not so bad. Balance, right? 

These cookies are soft and chewy and make a great treat for breakfast, snack or dessert. While they taste good at room temperature, they're even better warm!! They also keep for a couple extra days when stored in the refrigerator, so I like to pop mine in the microwave for a few seconds to make the chocolate chips ooey gooey again. 


The great thing about this recipe is it's totally customizable. Use the banana and oats as a base for any add-ins you desire. They would be great with walnuts, raisins, shredded coconut, or even blueberries! 


Ps. Next time you think about tossing a 'bad' banana, think twice!! Remove it from the peel and pop it in the freezer so you can make these cookies whenever you have spare time. The more bruised a banana is, the sweeter it will be!! 


Ingredients:

2 Ripe Bananas
1 Cup Quick Oats
1/4 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Dried Cranberries


Directions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly grease the surface.
  3. Use a fork to mash both bananas.
  4. Stir in the oats, chocolate chips and dried cranberries.
  5. Place a rounded tablespoon (or more for bigger sized cookies) on the baking sheet. This cookie batter will not spread, so flatten each pile with the back of a spoon or wet fingers. 
  6. Bake for 10 minutes or until the edges appear golden brown.
  7. Let cool. 
  8. Enjoy!


These are a big hit in my house and seem to disappear pretty quickly (I once made three batches in one week). But they're practically guilt free, and therefore not a total sin when three, or four, or five go down the hatch. 

xxx

3/14/17

Mario Badescu Drying Lotion Spot Solution


According to (basically) every beauty guru on the Internet, the Mario Badescu Drying Lotion is like liquid gold for spot treating blemishes. It can be hard to find in Canada, besides making a purchase online, but the brand is also sold at Urban Outfitters. I popped into the store on Yonge Street a little while ago, hoping to buy a case for my new iPhone 7. I had hiked 15 minutes (one way) from my office in freezing cold sleet, only to discover that they didn't have the one I wanted. You better believe I wasn't walking out of there empty-handed, and decided to give this pimple solution a try. I have heard so many positive reviews and it seems like such an interesting product, so I thought heck, why not! My skin has been acting up quite a bit lately, so it has been the perfect time to test it out.


The drying lotion is quite interesting to apply. There are two separate solutions - the pink goop hanging out at the bottom is actually calamine lotion and the watery liquid contains salicylic acid. They key is to keep them separate and resist any urges to shake the ingredients together. The product is applied by dipping a Q-Tip into the glass jar, until it reaches the pink layer, before being removed and dabbed over any blemishes. It is intended to work overnight and washed off in the morning.


It dries quickly (although sometimes I think I am too quick to face plant into my pillows) and much like how you probably looked as a kid with the Chicken Pox, it leaves behind patches of pink.

Warning: it is strongly scented like alcohol and stings every now and then. The tingle is bearable, however, and in my opinion a sign that it's working. DO NOT apply it over broken skin or blemishes that have been victim of your fingertips though - it will hurt!


I wouldn't say it has wowed me like I hoped (I had high expectations), but it is good and effective! It seems to work much better on more mature pimples...aka. ugly white heads...but I would rather it miraculously zap away painful spots that appear under the skin and linger for way too long. Unfortunately it doesn't make them disappear overnight, but it does seem to shrink them. I've also noticed less scarring and hyper pigmentation after I incorporated this treatment into my skincare routine.

It costs $20 CAD, which is neither cheap nor overly expensive, but a little goes a long way and this bottle is going to last a while.

So, although it's not exactly gold...I am a fan and I am happy I gave this product a chance.

xxx

3/10/17

Take Me Back To Fall | Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick In Out Loud

I know spring is around the corner, but I purchased the Smashbox Always On Liquid Lipstick in Out Loud a few weeks ago and it has made me really wish we could rewind back to fall. The rich, velvety, burnt orange colour is unlike anything in my collection. It definitely has red undertones and despite being such a bold colour, it is easy to wear. I think it would work on so many different skin tones.


For this look I paired it with a smoked out green liner, which just adds to the pumpkin spice, sweater weather vibes. It's my personal favourite combination but the lip colour works well with neutral or golden eyeshadow too. 


Seeing as the star of this show is the Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick, I must speak to how impressed I am with this product. The unique colour is one thing, but the formula is another! It has a smooth, creamy texture and goes on opaque after just one swipe. It dries matte (a little darker than how it appears in the square tube) and with Advanced Polymer Technology it can wear for up to eight hours. While it's not exactly kiss proof, it does seem to survive drinks and dinner.

I sometimes find that it can create an unflattering ring in the middle of my lips, but I think this is a common occurrence with most liquid lipsticks - especially bold colours. It really doesn't bother me though because I can easily re-apply a small amount to the centre, often without a mirror.


And the applicator! I mustn't neglect its genius applicator. It's a teardrop shape with a sharp point that makes it easy to carve out the cupid's bows. There's a tiny hole in the middle which holds the perfect amount of product and it's slanted ever so slightly, which seems to make the application process a total breeze. I never have to dip back in for more product and it's never patchy. This is definitely one of the best liquid lipsticks I have ever used! 


You can see in the photo below that it accentuates the lines in my lips a little, so I would suggest exfoliating and applying a generous amount of balm before going in with a coat. My favourite is the Bite Beauty Agave Lip Mask, which I apply before starting my makeup (when I remember) so it can soak in and really hydrate my lips. 


Now, I know I should be reaching for bright pinks and magentas at this time of year, but the truth is I like to break the rules and I'm a sucker for unique colours. Despite being more fall appropriate, I am going to rock Out Loud whenever I feel like it...even if it's spring or summer. 


All Products Used:

Face

Eyes
Essence Gel Eye Pencil Waterproof in Urban Jungle
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette
Benefit Cosmetics Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel

Lips
Smashbox Always On Matte Liquid Lipstick in Out Loud

xxx

3/7/17

#HealthyBirdy Turmeric Tea Latte

I may not have had much success with the DIY Turmeric Face Mask, but Turmeric Tea Lattes have been a big hit in my books recently!

Sipping on a cup of this anti-inflammatory beverage is somewhat nostalgic and reminds me of drinking warm milk before bed as a child. The flavours are much more sophisticated, however, and I'm pretty sure the taste buds of my six-year-old self would have disapproved. But nowadays I find the hint of bitter spice quite enjoyable.


I have discussed the anti-aging skin benefits of turmeric in a previous post, but the spice has many other powers. It produces a compound called curcumin, which is a natural anti-inflammatory and can improve brain function. As an immune booster, it helps soothe belly aches, reduce gut infections and can prevent stomach ulcers. If that's not enough, it's supposedly also a secret weapon for fighting cancer and lowering cholesterol levels, which in turn is great for the heart. Talk about a superfood! 

This long list of health benefits is reason why I just feel better when I make a cup. 

I'm a bit of a tea addict - mostly because I enjoy sipping on something warm and cozy - but I'm trying to limit the amount of caffeine I consume in a day. This tasty remedy has become a great replacement for my usual cup of Earl Grey. 

Now, it is a strong flavour so I started with a small amount (half a teaspoon) when I first began making this drink. As my tastebuds adapted to the pungent, bitter flavour I was able to add more and more and now I use about a rounded teaspoon. I also add a teaspoon of coconut oil, which is a healthy fat that helps me feel full for longer and aids with digestion. It also moisturizes my lips at the same time! 


Feeling adventurous and want to try making one of these golden beverages for yourself? Use the following ingredients and simple instructions. 

Ingredients:

2 Cups Almond Milk
1/2 Teaspoon Turmeric
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Powdered or Grated Ginger 
1 Tablespoon Honey
1 Teaspoon Coconut Oil

Directions:
  1. Heat 1 1/2 cup of almond milk (I pop my mug in the microwave for two minutes)
  2. Whisk in the turmeric, cinnamon and ginger 
  3. Stir in the coconut oil and honey
  4. Heat the additional 1/2 cup of almond milk and froth it (note: almond milk will not foam quite the same as regular milk). Pour over the turmeric drink.  
  5. Sprinkle with a little extra cinnamon or garnish with a cinnamon stick
  6. Sip away and enjoy! 

If you do give it a shot, let me know what you think!

xxx

3/3/17

Piece Of Cake | Lancôme Juicy Shaker

If I had a choice, my cocktails would always look like this!! Don't get me wrong, I love an occasional martini - sweet or savoury (extra dirty) - but I'm a bigger sucker for lip products.


I mentioned in Tuesday's February Favourite's post that the Lancôme Juicy Shaker in Piece of Cake is my most recent beauty obsession. It was not an understatement! I have used this product every day, 10 times a day since I bought it a couple of weeks ago. It's unlike anything I have ever tried - packaging and formula-wise - and as the colour name would suggest, it's super easy to wear. I keep it in my purse and apply on the go when my lips start to feel a little dry.


Every time I pull it out at least one person stops me to ask "what is that?" and I absolutely love telling them all about it. It's a pigment infused, bi-phase lip oil; so if you let it stand still long enough you will notice a separation between the pigment at the bottom and oil on top. Shake the two together as if you're mixing a cocktail and prepare to 'wet your whistle'. It's deliciously edible ingredients include apricot, cranberry, peach and almond oils, which make it not only rich in antioxidants, but also super nourishing. Bonus: it tastes pretty sweet as well!


The formula is light and feels quite slippery on the lips. It actually took some getting used to as I have become accustomed to most glosses feeling thick and gloopy. Piece of Cake is a beautiful rose hue and despite applying extremely sheer, it seems to amp up my natural lip colour every so slightly. It makes them look glossy, plumped and healthy. The only downside is that it's not very long-wearing, but once it has been absorbed my lips feel nice and smooth.

The cushion applicator is like pressing the freshest marshmallow (minus the stickiness) against your lips. It's super soft and applies the perfect amount of oil and colour in one go.


I absolutely love how sophisticated this product is (it is Lancome after all...) but still playful at the same time. It's such a unique design and makes soothing chapped lips super fun! I can't wait to try more. 

xxx