4/28/17

April 2017 Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

It's the end of April, and you know what that means...time for another round of monthly favourites! I have discovered a few awesome products over the last few weeks, and gave an old 'unfavourite' one more chance before seriously labelling it as bad and sacrificing it to the garbage bin.  


Beauty:
Garnier Moisture Bomb The Super Hydrating Sheet Mask
Finally...a sheet mask that costs less than a Starbucks beverage. The Garnier Moisture Bomb Sheet Mask is amazing! It's extremely wet and saturated with moisturizing ingredients, including hyaluronic acid, which retains moisture and in turn helps reduce signs of aging. The addition of pomegranate not only makes it smell nice but also acts as an antioxidant to prevent environmental damage. The face mask feels incredibly cooling, even after 15 minutes and makes my skin feel hydrated, plump and radiant.


Now they may be cheap, but so am I, and I don't let a single drip go to waste. I like to stick my hand in the foil packet and rub the excess liquid all over my body. It makes my skin feel super soft! 

Revlon Matte Balm in Mischievous
This colour has been neglected and I only have myself to blame for not giving the white-based orange lipstick a true chance! Although it has a bit of a yellow undertone and looks pretty terrible worn alone, I recently discovered how beautiful Mischievous can be layered over other colours. Lately I have loved using it to make some of my nude lipsticks are little more peachy.


Mario Badescu Facial Spray With Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater
I was pleasantly surprised to find an Anthropologie store a short distance from where I live and discovered a nice display of Mario Badescu products. The skincare range can be hard to find in stores, especially outside of the downtown core, so with excitement of my rare spotting I decided to try the Facial Spray with Aloe, Herbs and Rosewater. As you would expect, it smells like roses and feels nice and soothing on the skin. I imagine it will be great to have lying around during the summer, especially if kissed by a little too much sun.


For now I enjoy using it immediately after washing my face to prep for moisturizer. It's also nice to use throughout the day when my skin starts to feel a little tight and in need of a hydration boost. 

LUSH Scrubee
I can't stop raving about this cutie (which now looks less like a bumble bee and more like a sandy rock after so many uses). I dedicated an entire post to LUSH's limited edition body butter, but I continue to share my thoughts and love for the product outside of my blog, advising everyone I know to try it. The toffee scent is truly the best thing I have ever smelt! If LUSH made a perfume with the same notes, I'd buy a lifetime supply.


I try to avoid using it every day because it is somewhat harsh and abrasive, but I truly love how moisturized and smooth my skin feels after each use. I bee-lieve it is a Mother's Day limited edition item, which means I need to buy a back-up soon and you only have a couple of weeks left to try it for yourself! 

Lifestyle:
Riverdale on Netflix
Riverdale was recommended to me from many different people and I'm so happy I listened. The murder-mystery, drama series is based on the characters from Archie comics and the plot seems to get more and more bizarre after each episode. It is targeted to a younger audience but I can't denying being hooked on the dark story, which is comparable to Pretty Little Liars. There are plenty of secrets being hidden by the characters, all who are dealing with their own insecurities or struggles. It doesn't hurt that Archie is a hunk (when did the comic book character ever have a six pack?) and Jughead, played by Cole Sprouse (formally from the Suite Life of Zack and Cody) is broodingly loveable.

Most of all I enjoy how Netflix releases new episodes of the first season every Friday, which prevents binge-watching and gives the viewer something to look forward to each week.

What were some things you loved during the month of April? I'm always curious to try new products or open to watching new shows. Hit me up with your recommendations!

xxx

4/25/17

DIY Chia Juice + Why You Should Be Drinking It


I love, love, looooove chia seeds and continue to enjoy ingesting them in many different ways. More recently I tried making my own chia juice and it was a big success! When hydrated, a gummy-like barrier forms around each seed creating an interesting gel-like texture. It's a fun way to drink more water and dilute sugary juices that are normally a big no, no.


The chunky beverage may not be for everyone, but I highly recommend trying chia juice for yourself before deciding against it. The benefits are awesome!

Chia seeds can hold up to 10 times their weight in water and are full of fibre. Therefore, they help keep you hydrated and feeling full for longer. They also contain more omega-3 fatty acids than salmon, more calcium in weight than milk and are a complete source of protein! Chia seeds are also said to help boost energy levels, which I can attest to! I basically live the #SlugLife and could sleep anywhere, at any time if given the chance. But after drinking a cup of this nutrient rich beverage, I seem to feel much more energetic. It's a lot healthier than caffeine too.


If we're getting real here though, this seeded drink simply helps me go to the washroom...

The incredible fibre content helps to regulate bowel movements. TMI? Sorry, not sorry. Those of you struggling with a similar issue will thank me later.


Here's how easy it is to make chia juice at home:
Tip: Use a mason jar or sealable container as the steps involve lots of splashing
  1. Add 1 Tbsp dry chia seeds to 1 Cup of water
  2. Shake for about 15 minutes to prevent the seeds from clumping together
  3. Let sit in the refrigerator for roughly 30 minutes
  4. Combine with your juice of choice (I used Ocean Spray Cran-Pineapple
The end result looks like a runny version of strawberry jam.

I like to add more chia water than juice to tone down the sweetness and sugar/caloric intake. Ideally I would use an all-natural juice, but the price of some makes me sick. Instead I like to remind myself that a glass of half chia water and half juice is much better than a glass of pure juice. At least I am filling my body with antioxidants and plenty of other body pleasing benefits at the same time. 

xxx

4/23/17

Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino Inspired Makeup

Everyone and their dog has been talking about the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino lately. Personally, I think it sounds kind of gross. The creamy, mango flavoured beverage not only changes from sweet to sour, the colours also transform from purple and blue to pink. Don't get me wrong, I like trying new things and interesting flavours, but something about the creamy-tang elements makes me cringe. I also question the pink and blue 'powders' sprinkled over the whipped topping. It's like the thing flew through a Colour Run or something. What is that stuff???


Update: I did my research and Starbucks calls it 'fairy powders'. I'm pretty sure it's just coloured sugar but somehow I'm even more deterred...


Despite my hesitancy, there's no denying how pretty and Instagram worthy the drink is. I couldn't resist using it as inspiration for this makeup look. I've been wanting to play with bold colours for a while now but felt somewhat unimaginative. I thought Coachella would ignite some creativity but the trends this year sadly haven't impressed me.

I guess it just goes to show that inspiration can come from literally anywhere, especially when you least expect it, including the latest Internet breaking food craze...


The bright colours and glitter may be a little too much for everyday wear, but it brought out my inner child just as much as the wondrous drink probably did for those brave enough to try it. 

I used a ton of different products and everything is listed below, but the two mains shadows were Morphe Sassy (the most magical magenta) and Morphe B.A.M, which I buffed along my lower lash line to look like the sour blue drizzle. I also used the NYX Face & Body Glitter in Rose for my inner corners to mimic the questionable fairy dust.


I totally felt like a beautiful unicorn (minus the spiral horn) and had no shame wearing this vibrant makeup out and about to run some errands.


Rumour has it the mystical drink will no longer be available after today. So if you're interested in trying the Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino, hop to it! Like the rare creature it's named after, we may never see it again...

All Products Used:

Face

Eyes
Tarte Tartelette Amazonian Clay Matte Eyeshadow Palette
  • caregiver (upper crease)
  • force of nature (crease)
ColourPop Creme Gel Pot in Cry Baby - discontinued (waterline)
Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal Big Shot Mascara
L'Oreal Brow Stylist Definer in Brunette
Essence Cosmetics Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel Mascara in Browny Brows
Ardell Demi Whispies

Lips
NYX Macaron Lippie in Violet
Maybelline Colour Sensational Vivid Lipstick in Vivid Rose
Revlon Matte Balm in Showy
Buxom Full-Bodied Lip Gloss in Pucker Up

Have you tried the Unicorn Frappuccino? What did your taste buds think?

xxx

4/21/17

Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer - Is It Worth The Money?


I must have been on another planet when I purchased the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer. It wan't until a few weeks ago when I was reviewing my purchase history on Sephora that I realized how expensive the product is. I bought the travel size version (0.5 oz) which costs $28 dollars!!! At the time I did have a pretty hefty gift card, so perhaps I justified my purchase by not having to use my own money...

Regardless, I was shocked and thought it would be a good idea to share my thoughts on the primer for anyone wondering if it's worth the money.


The Dr. Brandt Pores No More Primer is meant to be a "quick fix for flawless, photo-ready skin" and instantly mattifies shine and minimizes the look of pores. The orange-y tint turns transparent when applied to the skin and a slight blurring effect is visible after smoothing over problem areas (which is the t-zone for me). While it doesn't emphasize dryness, it is very, very matte.

Sidenote: If not shaken pretty aggressively before use, the oils will separate and the product will squeeze out like runny mustard. Gross! 


I quite enjoy the velvety texture and lavender scent. It also contains tea tree oil as an antibacterial ingredient to help shrink pores and fight against breakouts. A little goes a long way (I have had this tube since December and there is still a good amount of product left inside) although I'm just not convinced it is the right primer for me...

I don't have large pores and my skin is not particularly oily. To be honest, I don't notice a huge difference when I use this product.


Because I have dry skin, foundation applied over the primer ends up looking flakey and cake-y. I have come to realize that I should probably steer clear of mattifying primers and turn to hydrating ones instead.

My final opinion: I don't hate, nor do I love it. Although I do look forward to seeing if it extends the longevity of my makeup on sticky summer days when the sweaty moustache makes an appearance. For my skin type and needs, however, I'm just not sure it is worth the money and I probably won't be purchasing it again. I can see how it would be awesome for anyone concerned about the size of their pores or dealing with oily skin though.

Have you tried the Dr. Brandt Pores No More Pore Refiner Primer? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

xxx

4/18/17

Prepping For Warmer Weather With Scrubee


The clever name and cute design of this exfoliating lotion bar makes me daydream of summer, and with skirt and and tank top season on the horizon (hello 20+ degree weather) soft and smooth skin is pretty much a priority.

The toffee scent of the Scrubee Body Butter, however, is what sold me! It's similar to LUSH's Honey I Washed The Kids Soap, with a little extra cocoa butter for even more sweetness. The intoxicating caramel-honey fragrance fills my entire house and I find it lingers on my skin for quite a while. When used before bed I can still smell the yummy scent on my skin the next morning.


The trick is to use it in the shower on wet skin. The stripes on this adorable bumble bee are made up of ground almonds and coconut shell, which although slightly abrasive, work really well to buff away dry skin. It also contains fair trade organic cocoa butter, shea butter and coconut oil to help replenish moisture. It's pretty much a perfect two-in-one product for healing skin from the cold winter months and prepping it for warmer weather. I really enjoy using it before shaving my legs!

It's also limited edition, so grab one before it flies away for good! They cost $7.95 each and can be found online or in any LUSH store.

xxx

4/14/17

Easter Brownies With A Healthy Twist


I've been having a lot of fun testing strange recipes lately and for the past few weeks I've been dying to try black bean brownies. With Easter coming up this weekend, I thought it would be the perfect chance to bake some healthy treats. I used ingredients and instructions from this pin but swapped the chocolate chips for M&M's Milk Chocolate Speckled Eggs. The spring-like colours look so cute sprinkled on top, the hard coating provides a nice crunch and the chocolate centres add even more sweetness to the brownies.


You would never guess that these are packed with protein thanks to...black beans! Despite being thinner than typical brownies and less cake-y, they are just as rich, gooey and delicious. I know it sounds disgusting for the bulk of this batter to be made up of something that is normally savoury, but I promise the beans are not noticeable. Your Easter dinner guests are sure to be fooled and your vegan friends will be happy!


The recipe is also easy and clean-up friendly. Each ingredient can be tossed into a blender - or food processor (unfortunately something I don't have) - and whizzed until smooth. I put my chocolate eggs into a ziplock bag and used a rolling pin to smash them into smaller pieces. I mixed 1/2 a cup in with the batter before pouring it into a 9x9 baking pan and baking at 350 degrees. After roughly 10 minutes, I decided to remove the pan and sprinkle the top with more chocolate before baking for another three minutes. This ensured the colours stayed vibrant and didn't melt away.

Although seriously good, my only complaint is that these brownies are far too thin. Next time I would double the recipe in an effort to make them a little thicker. Otherwise, I can't see myself making regular or boxed brownies anytime soon...

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups black beans (rinsed and strained)
1/2 cup quick oats
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/3 cup real maple syrup
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

"Hoppy" Easter ya'll!
xxx

4/11/17

Knotted Half Up-Do

I've always loved wearing my hair half-up and half-down, with a bit of volume at the crown. But lately I've been jazzing it up by adding a simple knot. 

This style works best on second-day hair, with a little grease to help hold it in place. When I took these photos, mine was freshly washed...hence the brutal frizz. I also really like how it looks with tousled curls, which are usually the nicest a day after they've been styled.  


I like to tease around the crown to create volume before taking a section of hair from both sides of my face and bringing them to meet at the back of my head, forming one single ponytail. I actually don't even secure it with an elastic, instead forming a loop and tying the whole section it into a knot. 


I like to leave the end sticking out (like a piggy's tail, as Dev calls it) to make the hairstyle look a little intricate but undone. I'll also pull at the knot from different angles to make it more voluminous and messy, and use a grand total of two bobby pins to hold everything in place.


It's such an easy style and takes minutes to create.


xxx

4/4/17

Testing Sweet Potato Toast Variations

BIG NEWS! Toasters are no longer just for bread or Eggos. Nowadays people are swapping out bad carbs for good to make - Sweet Potato Toast!


The idea is to use slices of sweet potato as the base for ingredients that would typically be spread on bread or stuffed in a sandwich. It's awesome for gluten-free folks or anyone trying to watch their waistline. It's also a great way to sneak in some extra veggies as well.

I was surprised to learn that you can actually cook sweet potato in a toaster. Intrigued, I decided to give it a try for myself but unforuntately it didn't work too well. Even after 10 minutes on high, my sweet potato toast was quite crunchy (raw) despite having burnt bubbles in some areas. I'd suggest popping them into the microwave for a few minutes first, or baking them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes to cook all at once, and all the way through. A toaster oven would probably work too.

Some of the flavour combinations I've seen online are pretty crazy; like smashed peas and smoked salmon or coconut cream with strawberries. I decided to stick with more basic and common toast toppings, using both my Mom and Dad as guinea pigs to see what they thought.

Smashed Avocado and Tomato
This is my absolute favourite way to eat toast! I don't think the avocado I picked was quite ripe enough (it's always a gamble) so sadly this combo didn't claim a gold ribbon. It was good, but some of the other toppings won us over.


Peanut Butter and Banana 
It doesn't get any more classic than peanut butter and banana!


Unfortunately, this one received three thumbs down. My Mom's exact words were "EW! That's disgusting", but I had to give her some props for at least trying the strange combination. 

One of my favourite dishes at Thanksgiving is mashed sweet potatoes with toasted marshmallows on top, so I expected this sweet combo to go down well. However, I used natural peanut butter, which lacked a sugary element I think this recipe needed. It may be better with regular Kraft peanut butter spread...

Egg Salad
This was both mine and my Dad's favourite combo!


I like to mix a dash of curry powder into my egg salad, giving it a bit of a sweet and spicy flare! If you have not tried this before, I highly recommend you do.

Baked Beans 
Another classic. Who doesn't love beans on toast?

This was my mom's favourite. The sweet potato didn't soak up the brown sugar and molasses sauce from the baked beans, so if you're not one for soggy bread, this would probably be a good alternative!


The topping combo possibilities for sweet potato toast are literally endless - pulled pork, tuna salad, avocado with a poached egg, cream cheese and cucumbers - I don't know about you, but they all sound pretty good to me! It may just be a health fad for now, but I can definitely say I had fun experimenting and testing each flavour combination. 


So next time you can't decide what to make for lunch, bust out your adventurous side and try sweet potato toast. And when you do, let me know what flavour combinations you try! 

xxx