December 21, 2015

Birchbox (December 2015)

We're only a few days away from Christmas and I know it's totally cliché to say it, but seriously, where has the year gone?! Craziness. I'll be taking a bit of a blogging break over the holidays, as I usually do, but before that I wanted to share my thoughts on this month's Birchbox (c/o).

To me, Birchbox has always been one of the original beauty subscription boxes. I remember hearing about it years ago when it was only available in the US and the company has come such a long way since then. For one thing, they now ship to Canada! But they have also expanded considerably, offering a men's box and a whole host of exclusive brands in their online shop (like Parlor by Jeff Chastain, a line of hair styling products that I got to test out a few months ago).

Here's what my December 2015 box contained:

Kate Spade Live Colorfully Perfume Sample. This is one of the good kinds of perfume samples that comes in a mini spray bottle (versus those little glass vials) so it makes for both easy portability and application. The fragrance is fresh with a tropical vibe thanks to the blend of white florals and coconut.

LOC x Tati Vibrant Matte Lipstick in Glam Life. I had never heard of this brand before but that's because it's a Birchbox exclusive curated by Youtuber Tati Westbrook (GlamLifeGuru). Glam Life is a dark berry shade that's perfect for Fall/Winter and the formula is really nice as well.

Sunday Riley Good Genes Treatment. Sunday Riley is a $$ brand that I've wanted to try for quite some time now... I'm always hearing/reading such good things about their products on Youtube and other beauty blogs. The Good Genes Treatment is one of their cult products, an all-in-one treatment and mask that's supposed to brighten and restore damaged skin.

JUARA Coconut Illipe Hand & Nail Balm. I love coconut so that was a huge plus for this product right off the bat. It's also moisturizing and not too greasy, and the sample size is great for throwing in my purse for on-the-go.

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo. I use a ton of dry shampoo and I like trying new ones, especially sample sizes when I'm travelling for work. Perk Up Dry Shampoo works well to get your hair feeling refreshed and the packaging is super cute, but there is not much volumization (for that, I always go back to my tried and true Batiste XXL).

Overall, I liked everything I received this month which is surprising since I'm usually underwhelmed by most beauty-only subscription boxes. I think it's because some of the brands are more expensive (Kate Spade and Sunday Riley, for example) and these are all products I would actually use.

P.S. If you need a last-minute gift, how good would a Birchbox subscription be? Just saying.

December 14, 2015

Oversized & Olive

For an outerwear lover like myself, this coat was the perfect addition to my Fall/Winter wardrobe. It's oversized for optimal layering opportunities and the olive colour is something a little different (but still well within my typical colour palette)... not to mention, it the totally affordable price!

Sweater: Vince / Jeans: J Brand / Coat: Forever 21 (here)
Shoes: Alexander Wang (here) / Bag: Chloe (different colours)
Sunglasses: Ray-Ban (here)

December 10, 2015

The Body Shop Spa of the World Body Care

A few months ago, I was invited to preview some new collections from The Body Shop (including their holiday 2015 makeup) and while there was definitely lots to get excited about, I knew without a doubt that I would love their Spa of the World line the most. If you're like me and love a little pamper time, it's seriously all you need to turn your bathroom into a relaxing, blissful "spathroom."

Inspired by ancient beauty rituals from around the globe, each product is made with natural ingredients and features The Body Shop's new packaging (the company has revamped a lot of their product lines to look more sleek and modern).

I moisturize regularly and am always on the look out for the best body butters and creams to keep my skin in tip-top shape. The Hawaiian Kukui Cream ($35 CAD) features kukui seed oil which is supposed to be effective on even the driest of skins. For a more delicate floral scent, the Japanese Camellia Cream ($35 CAD) is a great alternative. Both creams feel velvety soft, absorb easily and feel super rich and luxurious.

The Egyptian Milk & Honey Bath ($20 CAD) is a new-to-me type of bath product. It's a creamy fragrant powder that you scoop under running water and swirl until it's dissolved for the ultimate in bath time relaxation.

If you're looking for a multi-tasker, there's the Polynesian Monoi Radiance Oil ($20 CAD), made with a scented blend of coconut oil and tiare flowers that has apparently been used by the women of the Polynesian islands for two thousand years. It can be massaged into damp skin or combed through damaged hair (similar to MoroccanOil).

Scrubs are a mainstay for me, especially in the winter months thanks to all the dry weather. I'm familiar with salt scrubs like the Dead Sea Salt Scrub ($30 CAD), which delivers exactly as I thought it would.

For something a little different, there's the African Ximenia Scrub ($30 CAD). Ximenia is a type of tree rich in oleic acid, often referred to as the "Tree of Life", and provides a much more gentle exfoliation than the Dead Sea Salt Scrub.

For a truly spa-like experience, the Spa of the World line also includes two very indulgent clay body masks. The Moroccan Rhassoul Body Clay ($22 CAD) tightens and firms, while the Himalayan Charcoal Body Clay ($22 CAD) features purifying charcoal for a radiant glow. Of course, it can be a bit awkward applying a body mask in the shower but The Body Shop is thankfully also offering a new Body Mask Brush ($10 CAD), which allows you to paint on thin layers of the masks in long strokes.

Overall, I really like this new line -- there is a lot of variety and the products feel high quality. The price point is a bit higher than The Body Shop's other offerings but nothing unreasonable. Plus, you get a lot for what you're paying... the tubs of creams and scrubs are huge. With Christmas coming up, something from Spa of the World would absolutely make a great gift or stocking stuffer for a spa-loving friend... or you might just be tempted to buy a treat for yourself instead!

December 7, 2015

Nut-Free No-Bake Paleo Pumpkin Bars

It has been a ridiculously long time since I did one of these kitchen adventures posts, but I was so excited about these Nut-Free No-Bake Paleo Pumpkin Bars that I had to share.

My good friend and personal trainer recently opened her own fitness studio (if you follow my Instagram, you may have noticed that I have been hanging out at Blythe Toning Studio a lot) and along with working on our fitness, we have recently been into experimenting with new recipes. These bars came about after a discussion on how we could make "healthy" holiday treats since December can often be a bad month when it comes to maintaining one's eating habits.

Since I have a severe nut allergy, we adapted this recipe and made it even healthier by throwing in some chia seeds and hemp hearts. Not only was it super easy to make with no actual baking required, the result is delicious (especially if you love coconut) and packed with protein!

  • 8 medjool dates
  • ¼ cup of coconut flour
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ½ cup hemp hearts
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Line an 8x8 baking dish with tin foil.
2. Add the ingredients to a food processor and process until crumbly like a crust.
3. Scoop the crust into the baking dish and press down with a spatula.

  • 1 can organic pumpkin puree
  • 12 medjool dates
  • ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

1. Add the ingredients to a high speed blender (we used a Vitamix) and blend until smooth.
2. Pour on top of the crust and spread evenly with a spatula.
3. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. Pull out by lifting by the tin foil and cut into bars.
5. Dust with ground cinnamon before serving.

December 3, 2015

Chloe Marcie Bag in Dark Velvet

Before I (somewhat impulsively) purchased this Chloe Marcie Bag, it was actually never one I'd ever considered before. However, when I wandered into Nordstrom and saw this Dark Velvet colour sitting on the shelf, I was instantly smitten. This bag is surprisingly practical and fits a ton without being bulky, plus the top handles fold down so they don't get in the way if you want to wear it on your shoulder or cross-body. A warning to the people of Vancouver: you can expect to see me toting this bag around everywhere this Winter!

Coat: Community (Aritzia) / Pants: Babaton (Aritzia) / Booties: Vince (here)
Bag: Chloe (here) / Headband: Club Monaco (similar)

December 1, 2015


Last year, I introduced you to the Softlips CUBE and this year, I'm excited to share an exciting new product from Mentholatum... the Softlips LUXE Lip Moisturizers.

Silky Shea and Creamy Coconut

Playing off the CUBE's packaging, the LUXE Lip Moisturizers are housed in a sleek glass-like tube (it's actually plastic though). The product twists up and features a precision applicator similar to a lipstick.

The formula is similar to the CUBE as well, with Softlips 5 in 1 Lip Perfecting Technology that hydrates, replenishes, smoothes, protects & adds shine. The scents for Silky Shea and Creamy Coconut are rather subtle, which makes them perfect for use alone as a lip balm or as a base before applying lipstick.


The kind folks at Mentholatum Canada are offering a great prize pack valued at $50 to one of my lucky readers. It includes: a Softlips LUXE lip moisturizer Creamy Coconut, a Softlips LUXE lip moisturizer Silky Shea, a Softlips CUBE lip moisturizer Fresh Mint, a Softlips CUBE lip moisturizer in Peach Mango, a purse mirror, and a cosmetic bag.

Giveaway is open to Canadians only and closes December 10. Enter below for multiple chances to win!

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