August 2017 Beauty Favourites

A week ago I didn't think I was quite ready for summer to be over, but the colder temperatures these past few days have encouraged a change of heart. Bring on the PSLs, yellow leaves, apple picking and cozy sweaters! 

However, I still can't believe August is over. Which means there are only four months left of the year! How crazy is that?!

If you're curious to know which beauty products I've been loving the past month, keep reading. 

With SPF 20 protection and a nice amount of coverage, I have frequently reached for this Revlon ColorStay foundation towards the end of summer. It's lightweight, blends into my skin nicely and creates a near flawless canvas. Since it's formulated for normal or dry skin, it doesn't look cake-y and while I haven't worn it for 24 hours (why someone needs makeup to last this long is beyond me) it is practically budge proof. It has even survived a long work day that began at 6:30AM, followed by a late night sweaty hour of beach volleyball. 

I've especially enjoyed applying the foundation with this blending brush. The dual fibre bristles do shed like crazy, which can be a little annoying, but I really like the way it buffs and melts makeup into my skin. I've been constantly using it for powders like bronzer and blush too because it picks up lots of pigment but evenly blends them out. I also think it looks pretty badass with the Diamond Grip handle and pops of red. 

Is it just me or do the names of beauty products seem to get longer and longer? 

The shade range of this concealer is pretty impressive! I purchased 04 Butter Cream which is a tad too light for me right now (although I can make it work) but should be perfect for fall and winter. It's definitely very brightening and makes me look more awake on days when all I really want to do is crawl back into bed. I also like that it is thin but still has decent coverage and the unique, angled applicator is both soft and easy to use. 

I've talked about this liquid lipstick quite a bit on Beauty by Birdy, and as you can tell from the scratched up packaging, it's well-loved! As the seasons seem to be changing, I've been gravitating to this warm rose shade a ton. It's really the perfect transitional colour, as it's dark but not too dark. The formula is also great and long-lasting! It can feel a bit drying at times but it never settles into lip lines, or cracks or flakes. I rarely have to touch it up and have managed to get through an entire day with this lip colour (even after eating or drinking...depending on the food or beverage). 

I'm so impressed with the wear-time of this blush - it seriously lasts all day! I also like that it doesn't have any thick chunks of glitter and never looks powdery. The colour is also going to be perfect for fall because it is deeper, yet still neutral. 

Well there you have it...all of the beauty items I loved during the month of August. I can't wait to see what products I fall in love with during the month of September. 

Ps. Are you excited for fall?



Mini Mania! Teeny Tiny Products I'm Loving RN

I heard a rumour that Sephora Beauty Insider points will now expire after 18 months. I'm not sure if this is true, but at the time I panicked and decided to trade all of mine for some fun, miniature items. Some of these are also mobile/online offers or pint-sized items I got sucked into buying purely because they were cute as hell.

The lavender coloured mask looks cool and reveals a brighter complexion when washed away. 

It smells so fresh and so clean, clean. 

It has a similar texture to coconut oil and easily melts makeup away at the end of the day. 

Mini or travel sized? I'm not sure...but they're definitely smaller than the full-size bottles (which also cost a hefty amount). This combo makes my hair feel so, so soft and way less frizzy. 

The rounded shape of this lipstick bullet makes it a little hard to apply, but the colour is gorgeous and lasts a really long time!

What are some teeny tiny beauty products you're loving right now? Do you ever get sucked into the 'Aisle of Doom' at Sephora??



A Tip To Soften Tough Soles

The older I get, the dryer the soles of my feet seem to get. Please explain to me why this happens...I know I'm not the only one!!

Anyways...it has reached a point where a thin layer of lotion just won't suffice. Gosh no! Now I'm globing that stuff on by the heaping handfuls hoping that it does something - which also makes it impossible to jump into bed or walk anywhere without creating a slippery mess. I'm pretty much left lying with my feet in the air waiting, and waiting, and waiting for them to dry. I've even tried putting on thick socks after applying lotion, but they always seem to just absorb all of the cream.

Realizing that I needed to find a way to ensure the moisture really penetrated my dry skin, I came up with the idea to use Saran Wrap. Genius, right? I'm sure I'm not the first to try this trick, but I can attest to the fact that it works! After pumping out a generous amount of lotion (I'm currently using the St. Ives Soft & Silky Coconut & Orchid Body Lotion) I'll wrap my feet in plastic wrap, which helps the cream stay in place and really absorb into my heels. I'll then put a pair of cozy socks over the top to make sure the Saran Wrap doesn't slip around and I'm free to roam, relax or do whatever my heart desires.

I generally leave it on for 30-45 minutes, but I have noticed that it starts to get uncomfortable after too long (comparable to soggy feet after getting caught in the rain on a long walk home, or spending far too long in a bath and coming out with toes that look like shrivelled prunes). I've also only been doing it once or twice a week, but I have noticed a significant improvement and my feet finally feel soft and smooth!



Empty Products + Mini Reviews (Part 3: Makeup)

It's finally time for the third and final post in my empty product series!! I cannot wait to clear out all this junk (and begin collecting garbage again...for another post in the future, of course).  

Cinema Secrets Makeup Brush Cleaner
I promise I'll get to the makeup soon, but first I must discuss this magical liquid! It's a little pricey in my opinion but works like no other to spot clean makeup brushes. It removes all liquid or powder residue and dries super fast! A little also goes a long way, and therefore the cost is slightly more justifiable. It also smells like vanilla, which can be a bit overpowering at first, but seems to mellow out over time, leaving behind a subtle scent that makes applying makeup even more enjoyable.

The Revlon Lip Butters are still some of my favourite lipstick formulas! I'm super sad to part ways with the shade Strawberry Shortcake, which has been used up entirely. It got to the point where I was digging into the bullet with either my finger or a brush to get every last bit. I love the pale, Barbie-ish pink colour (especially in the summer when I'm a little more tan) but the creamy formula is also super comfortable and hydrating to wear. 

EOS Strawberry Sorbet Lip Balm 
Chapsticks are like bobby pins...I have no idea where they go, but they always seem to disappear. It's pretty rare that I get through an entire lip balm before losing it, but the EOS spheres seem harder to misplace. I feel quite proud of myself for finishing the Strawberry Sorbet scent, which I kept - for the most part - on my bedside table and used every night before bed.

Mac Cosmetics Prep + Prime Fix +
Does a setting spray count as a makeup item? I think it does. They can be used in so many different ways: as a skincare step to hydrate and refresh skin; to melt powders and get rid of 'cake face'; or to intensify the pigmentation of eyeshadows. I absolutely love the Mac Prep + Prime Fix + because it is unscented and the mist is nice and fine. I don't think it increases the wear-time of my makeup, but it does give a pretty, dewy finish. 

Wet N Wild Photo Focus Setting Spray
Contrary to the Mac Prep + Prime Fix +, the Wet N Wild Photo Focus Setting Spray does in fact help my makeup last longer. It's much cheaper, but unfortunately, comes in a much smaller sized bottle. I have gone through a few of these now and it boggles my mind at how quickly the product seems to disappear each time. It also has a bit of an odd, chemically scent (which I'm not a fan of) but it feels lightweight on the skin and has never caused me to break out.

L'Oreal True Match Lumi Foundation
I wanted to love this foundation more than I did. Considering it has such amazing reviews and costs a tad more than many other drugstore brands, I thought it was going to be amazing. Unfortunately, it sat on my skin a little weird, especially around my nose. Instead of melting in and looking like perfected skin, it settled into dry patches and looked a little too heavy.

NYC Smooth Skin Loose Face Powder
This is a fantastic translucent powder from the drugstore! It can be used to set concealer and foundation, or to bake specific areas of the face, but it's also really nice when worn alone to reduce shine. It's very finely milled and melts into the skin, filling in pores and creating a perfected canvas. It's also incredibly lightweight and looks quite natural.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer (x2)
I've been experimenting with a bunch of different concealers this year, but none have managed to claim the number one spot in my heart like Maybelline Fit Me. It's affordable (I usually stock up when I see them on sale for $5.99) and has a creamy, medium coverage that does not settle into fine lines or crease. No matter what...I'll always come back to it!

Maybelline Lash Sensational Mascara
I was really disappointed in this mascara (and myself for accidentally buying it in waterproof) at first because it felt too wet and almost always transferred to my lids. But over time as it began to dry out, I began to like it more and more. It also felt very comfortable and safe when wearing contact lenses.

Maybelline Volum' Express The Colossal Big Shot Mascara
Can you tell I like Maybelline mascaras? I particularly liked the wavy bristles on the Big Shot brush, which really latched onto my lashes and created mega volume. The tube is also gold and pretty...nuff said.

C.O. Bigelow Rose Salve
Another lip balm that I didn't lose! Unfortunately, this one isn't actually empty...instead it's just garbage. I managed to hit pan, but as soon as I did the tin began to rust and I simply did not feel comfortable applying any more salve to my lips. It was nice while it lasted - I quite liked the soft, gel-like texture and subtle rose scent.

Benefit Gimme Brow Volumizing Fiber Gel in 03 Medium
I've never been much of a brow gal...in fact I almost never do my brows, but a sample of the Benefit Gimme Brow appeared on my doorstep last year in THE CUTEST packaging and I couldn't resist giving it a try. To my surprise, I actually really enjoyed it and suddenly I was taming my fuzzy caterpillars daily. It contains tiny little fibres that help fill in sparse areas and dries without ever feeling crunchy or stiff.

I hope you enjoyed this empty product series and learned something from my mini-reviews. In case you missed the first and second post featuring skincare and haircare, click here and here. Thanks for reading!!



Customizing Vegan Or Gluten-Free Recipes Can Be Fun And Easy Pea-sy

You don't have to be vegan or gluten-free to enjoy recipes from a vegan or gluten-free cookbook. I'm neither and I absolutely love the Made With Love Cookbook by Kelly Childs and Erinn Weatherbie, owners of Kelly's Bake Shoppe and Lettuce Love Café in Burlington, ON. However, sometimes it can be expensive to purchase ingredients like xanthan gum (a gluten-free thickener) or coconut sugar (an alternative to golden sugar) - especially if you don't already have them in your kitchen cupboards. Plus, strange sounding ingredients can often make a simple recipe seem quite daunting.

But recipes are meant to be used as a guideline...

Break the rules! Make substitutions and experiment with different ingredients, or ones that you already have lying around for a customized recipe.

For example, I recently made these Love n' Peas Muffins from the Made With Love Cookbook but used almond milk instead of rice milk, whole wheat all-purpose flour instead of gluten-free all-purpose flour, and pumpkin puree instead of butternut squash puree. I also used chia seeds instead of xanthan gum (the name of this product intimidates the hell out of me) but instead of following directions and adding them to the dry ingredients, I stirred them into the wet so they could absorb some of the liquid and thicken.

For the record...Google will be your best friend in this scenario! A simple search will provide a ton of different substitutes for eggs, flour, dairy and many other ingredients that vegan or gluten-free recipes often swap out.

The small changes I made to this recipe worked and these veggie filled muffins tasted great! They're no longer gluten-free...but that's exactly my point! You don't have to be gluten-free or vegan to enjoy a plant-based, gluten-free cookbook. Just trial and error and have fun!

Ps. What are your thoughts about peas in muffins? Yay or nay?



A Birthday Gift From Sephora

I had to wait until July, but I finally collected my birthday present from Sephora Beauty Insider and the gift choice was a no-brainer. While the Caudalie Moisturizer and Serum Set sounds lovely, I couldn't resist the chance to FINALLY test a Tarte blush and opted for the Tarte Lip and Cheek set.

I have been wanting to try a Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush for years now! But with the number of beauty brands on the market I seem to get distracted by new products - and if I'm honest, the $35 price tag makes me squeamish. This little set is the perfect chance for me to experiment with the product before committing to it with my own cheddar.

It features an Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush in the colour Paarty and a Tartiest Creamy Matte Lip Paint in Birthday Suit. Cute names, right?! They're pretty generous sizes too, considering they were free! The blush is 0.05oz (or 1.5g) and the liquid lipstick is 0.03oz (or 1mL).

They're both really nice nude colours that would compliment a bunch of different skin tones. The blush is a rose-y, tan shade that leans slightly mauve as well. It's extremely pigmented and a little goes a long way but it blends beautifully on the skin. It has a long wear-time (as the name and 12-hour claim would suggest) and the pigment lasted through an entire workday on my cheeks.

I've only tried the liquid lippie twice but unfortunately I am not as fond of it as I am the blush. The pale pinky-nude colour is nice and pigmented, but the formula seems far too drying. After just one hour it begins to crack and the only way I can describe the end result is 'Pepto Bismol lips'. If you've ever chewed one of these chalky digestive relief tablets (or two, or three...depending on your situation) you'll understand what I mean.

So while I probably won't get much use out of the Matte Lip Paint, I am uber excited to finally add a Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush to my collection (even if it is sample size) and have been wearing it on a regular basis.

FYI - there's also a birthday gift set geared towards men! It features a Jack Black Moisturizer and Cleanser for the man who isn't afraid of a little pampering.

And if you don't know what Beauty Insider is...it's Sephora's rewards program and a gateway to free beauty items. It doesn't cost anything to join and every dollar spent in the store or online earns a point that can be used towards deluxe sample sized products. All Beauty Insiders are eligible to redeem a birthday gift each year - no purchase necessary!



July 2017 Beauty & Lifestyle Favourites

July was a good month for testing out new beauty items - some good, some bad and some great enough to be included in my favourites!! The warm, sunny weather also reminded me of an "old bae", who seems to get much more attention during the summer months.

Continue reading if you're interested in the products I couldn't put down last month!


L'Oreal Voluminous Lash Paradise Mascara
If you have seen the blog post I wrote all about this mascara, then you probably already knew it was going to appear in my monthly favourites! It's just so, so good!! I like that it is both lengthening and volumizing at the same time. It holds curl like a dream and my lashes feel plush all day long.

Revlon Colorstay Crème Eye Shadow in 730 Praline
I am super impressed by this Revlon cream eyeshadow!! The shimmering champagne colour is stunning, pigmented and easy peasy to wear. It can be worn alone for a bright and effortless look, but it's also beautiful when paired with my next favourite! It comes with a sneaky built-in brush that I actually enjoy using (for once) and the formula is practically budge proof. I have tried using a primer underneath and found that it started to crumble and dry out throughout the day, so I definitely think these are best when used alone!

Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette
I never thought I would be such a fan of warm-tones eyeshadows but this palette surprised me. It's been my go-to all month and I've had so much fun experimenting with different looks. Each shadow is buttery, pigmented and they blend nicely. I'm especially keen on the shades Lumbre, He Devil, Dirty Talk, Scorched and Ember.

Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy Longwear Nail Enamel in Beginner's Luck
I published an entire post to this beautiful nail polish not too long ago, so I won't blab forever. The iridescent pink colour is beautiful and makes me feel like a mermaid!! What more could a girl want?? The formula is also very long-lasting and impressive, especially for a drugstore product. It's I wore the entire month!

Philosophy Amazing Grace Perfume
This itty bitty little bottle of perfume was a 250 Beauty Insider point perk from Sephora and was my favourite fragrance of July! I have used Amazing Grace in the past and I love it just as much now as I did back in the day. It's so fresh, clean and sophisticated! It may not look like it, but I have used the perfume quite a bit since receiving it around mid-July, therefore a little goes a long way. My only complaint is that I wish it had a spray pump (the open top is very risky for spillage!). I'm a sucker for the small sized bottle, however, which is perfect for tucking into a purse pocket.

NYC Smooth Skin Bronzing Powder in Sunny
A.k.a. Old bae! I seem to fall more in love with this affordable, drugstore bronzer every summer - particularly when I have a tan. I like that it's matte and leans more terracotta, warming up my skin and making me look sun-kissed (even though truly my face is much more pale than my body thanks to lots of sunscreen and frequent exfoliation). It's slightly powdery but blends nicely (not patchy) and looks quite natural on the skin. It also compliments any eye look I create using the Urban Decay Naked Heat palette. It's practically all I've worn for the past few weeks and most days I'll skip blush, choosing to use a small amount of this bronzer on my cheeks instead.


Nike Juvenate Back and White Running Shoes
These running shoes saved my life when Dev and I were in Europe and if I had written a June favourite's blog post (yes...I'm guilty) they would have been featured then! We did so much walking and I can only imagine how sore my feet would have been if I had only packed sandals. Surprisingly, I've been reaching for them on a regular basis since - even more so than flip flops or slides - and I'm so happy I made the splurge. They match a ton of different outfits and trick me into thinking I'm an 'athleisure' fashionista!

They got a little dirty last weekend while playing my new favourite sport...Frisbee Golf, or Disc Golf, or Frolf...whatever it's called. 

PC Buffalo Wing Sauce
I put this sh*t on everything! Now, I know that's not the right slogan for this hot sauce, but it's the truth! I love using this tangy, spicy condiment on pretty much everything and anything - especially eggs! It's also 0 calories, therefore making it a much better option than sugary ketchup or BBQ sauce.

The OA on Netflix
It seems like eons ago since I finished this series but that's because I watched the entire thing in just a few days at the beginning of the July. In my defence, there was only eight episodes. However, had there been more I have no doubt I would have spent more time watching the mysterious show and less time writing blog posts, doing laundry, and let's be honest...showering. Have you seen that commercial where the couple binge watches Netflix long enough for the man to grow a beard? Yep...that very well could have been me.

It's definitely very strange but I think that's what I like best. It's unlike anything I have ever seen before and each episode left me with unanswered questions. I don't know about you, but I love shows that do this! I have so much fun speculating about what may happen next or how a story may end. To summarize, it's about a girl who goes missing for seven years and returns as "The Original Angel" with mysterious powers and an interesting story.

What were some of your favourites from the month of July??